Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Creationist Logic

Over at Volokh, Jonathan Adler posted a link to Derbyshire’s response to Gilder and that has brought some real prizes out of the woodwork. Especially amusing is one Joel B, who gives a breathtakingly idiotic response to another commenter. The original commenter, riskable, said:

In our universe full of energy and particles, each particle is being pulled via various forces (gravity, magnetism, etc) and so they come together.

Seems a fairly unassailable statement, doesn’t it? It’s not universally true, of course. Under some circumstances, molecules come together, while under other circumstances they don’t. But here’s Joel’s delightfully whacky reply:

No!…Our universe demonstrates the oppositve that over time, molecules do not “come together” they come apart, as trite as it is, our universe is one where greater order is descending uniformly into greater chaos, except where there is some external intelligence to force order.

Really Joel? You mean it takes some external intelligence to “force” hydrogen and oxygen molecules to come together to form water? Riskable’s response was on point:

I hate to be the one to break this to you, but if molecules didn’t come together you wouldn’t be sitting in front of that keyboard. You’d be a gaseous mess of basic elements floating about in an ever expanding space.

Comments

  1. #1 Susan Brassfield Cogan
    July 14, 2006

    “our universe is one where greater order is descending uniformly into greater chaos”

    this is the standard Christian mythos. That is, that everything has been decaying since the fall of Adam and Eve.

    “You’d be a gaseous mess of basic elements floating about in an ever expanding space”

    I think that neatly sums up Joel B’s thinking ability.

  2. #2 llDayo
    July 14, 2006

    Beat me to it, Susan. Sounds like the typical misconception of the 2nd law argument. Our universe is decaying and only chaos comes from that, er something like that.

  3. #3 Chuck
    July 14, 2006

    Eugh; so much ignorance of physics and thermodynamics, so little time. I propose a new rule: no one is allowed to throw around terms like “order” and “chaos” and cast their interpretation of the cosmic/mystical/religious implications of these terms unless they know what the hell they are talking about.

  4. #4 Alejandro
    July 14, 2006

    Just seven words: For gravitational systems, entropy increases with density.

  5. #5 gwangung
    July 14, 2006

    Eugh; so much ignorance of physics and thermodynamics, so little time. I propose a new rule: no one is allowed to throw around terms like “order” and “chaos” and cast their interpretation of the cosmic/mystical/religious implications of these terms unless they know what the hell they are talking about.

    Just ask them to do the math. 2nd Law can be expressed as an equation…ask them, at the very least, to plug and shove.

  6. #6 PaulC
    July 14, 2006

    Joel B’s view may be more common than any sane person can imagine. It reminds me, albeit at a different level, of Falwell’s statement after 9/11: “God continues to lift the curtain and allow the enemies of America to give us probably what we deserve” for example. The implication is that chaos is the norm and that we are only safe from it through the direct intervention of God–his “curtain” of protection.

    Obviously, this is a pretty alien way of thinking for a scientist. In reality, the universe follows predictable laws. It’s not benign or malign, but neutral. It would probably be more disturbing to me if otherwise favorable miracles started happening, since I’d lose the security of having predictability. But to someone who views everything through the lense of good and evil, the only thing keeping us alive is a series of favorable miracles won through devotion to a jealous God. This is scary stuff.

  7. #7 JIm Spencer
    July 14, 2006

    I have never understood the human longing to explain the purpose of life. We are here, the other critters and plants are here, what more do you need?

    Every religion I have studied fosters the assumption that humans are evil or flawed, what bullshit. No one thinks themself evil, yet there are an abundence of evil acts. Is this what religion is trying to explain?

    Love, Live, Enjoy for here dosen’t last long.

  8. #8 Beaming Visionary
    July 14, 2006

    “our universe is one where greater order is descending uniformly into greater chaos”

    In Joel’s defense, it’s understandable that a creationist or religious fundamentalist would, by default, be convinced of such a thing. After all, such people typically have access to reflective surfaces.

  9. #9 FhnuZoag
    July 14, 2006

    Enh. If it was a reference to Dark Energy etc, or the second law of thermodynamics, this is somewhat ok. The only problem in that is ‘uniformly’, really.

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