Dispatches from the Creation Wars

Astronomy for Creationists

This article on the new creation museum cracked me up. It focuses on the planetarium and the arguments for a young universe in it. Let’s play “spot the logical fallacy”:

“We start from the Bible, and that’s what makes it a little bit different than so many other planetarium shows that you’ve seen before,” Lisle explains. “And we’re going to deal with age indicators, things like blue stars, which even my secular colleagues say can’t last billions of years,” he says.

Blue stars are massive stars that burn themselves out relatively quickly. And yes, they do exist, invariably found in star clusters with lots of stars that have existed for far longer. The argument is just plain idiotic. It’s like arguing that if you find an object on the earth that has a shelf life of 5 years, the earth must only be 5 years old. Uh, no. Only if you’re an idiot.

Comments

  1. #1 Dan
    May 31, 2007

    Ed writes:

    Let’s play “spot the logical fallacy”

    I thought it was “We start from the Bible…”

  2. #2 llDayo
    May 31, 2007

    I’m wearing clothes that are at the most 2 years old. I guess I’m a child prodigy. Do you think in 4 years I’ll be allowed to play tee ball?

  3. #3 CHV
    May 31, 2007

    Idiots? You mean like anyone who’d pay to get into the museum?

  4. #4 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    I was amused by the promotional photo of the planetarium which had the constellations clearly marked. You’d have thought fundamentalists would steer clear of pagan symbols and associations with astrology.

  5. #5 Donald Wolberg
    May 31, 2007

    Freedom is marvelous. We can be as silly or dumb as we wish, or as insightful and brilliant (although I suspect I have long tended towrds the former rather than the latter). I suggest it is only because of the right to be dumb, that billiant looks so good. I would not spend much effort treading on the creationists or their bricks and mortar; the reality of wht they do will result in their own demise–the market place of ideas works. Here in New Mexico, we have Roswell and a UFO museum and parades and marvelous alien reconstructions. It is just marvelous for tourism, but in the end, not many critically thinking people have been “converted” to the nonsense. I also suggest that we need to figure out why so many main line museums, not-for-profit science based museum, are in such a dire economic situation.

  6. #6 kehrsam
    May 31, 2007

    Ginger: Several constellations are mentioned in Job. The group Job calls “The Prisoner” is almost certainly Orion. No pagans needed.

  7. #7 Leni
    May 31, 2007

    Ed wrote:

    Blue stars are massive stars that burn themselves out relatively quickly. And yes, they do exist, invariably found in star clusters with lots of stars that have existed for far longer.

    What’s worse, they are also characteristic members of new galaxies, which are typically found at higher redshifts (ie are older). The subject of blue galaxies (because they are young and therefore particularly relevant to the study of galaxy formation) is a huge topic in astronomy.

    Aside from that I can’t for the life of me imagine what they would want with blue stars. What about red stars? Brown dwarfs? Black holes? Cepheid variables?

  8. #8 chris
    May 31, 2007

    I thought it was “We start from the Bible…”

    Me too. Shouldn’t it be more like, “We start with the observed phenomena…”?

  9. #9 CHV
    May 31, 2007

    Okay, I’m confused.

    I just rang up the Creation Museum’s website, and it has almost nothing on the facility’s layout, or list of current exhibits. I wonder if this is due to a poorly designed website, or if this “museum” just has nothing inside it but a dusty Bible and basket of plastic dinosaurs?

  10. #10 apy
    May 31, 2007

    This Creation Museum has unfortunately made it very visible how much of a problem education is.

    From another article on the museum http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2007/05/31/creation_museum/index1.html :
    Inside the Confusion exhibit, I strike up a conversation with Tim Shaw, a high school student visiting from Florida. “I don’t care how long it took to make the Grand Canyon,” he tells me. “It’s not how old it is that matters to me. What matters is being right with God. Darwin’s theory has no God. It can’t be right. I don’t know if this story is truer than Darwin’s theory, but I do know it’s better.”

    Forget the obvious issues with Mr. Shaw’s reasoning, the very fact that people believe evolution implies a god does not exists shows that he understands nothing of the theory. How an we expect people to drop their religious teachings when they don’t even understand the basic concepts that we all take for granted? You have wonderful people like Dawkin’s and Hitchens writing excellent books on it, but the only people I know of that have even heard of these people already agree with them. Ignorance has been running rampant in the world since the beginning of reason, but it seems like more and more we are just talking to each other rather than to those that would benefit the most from it.

  11. #11 dogmeatib
    May 31, 2007

    apy,

    The problem is that people like Tim Shaw wont listen to their teachers regardless of the quality of the instruction. By the time they get to high school, they’ve already been indoctrinated into the “Darwinism=atheism=communism=evil” camp. This kid’s statement says it all, he doesn’t care how long it took to make the Grand Canyon, he doesn’t care how old things are, he doesn’t care about Darwin’s theory, doesn’t know if the museum is “truer,” it just feels right so he’s going to believe it over all of the evidence. That isn’t an issue of education, for that kid, nothing is going to convince him that the Bible isn’t the inerrent word of God.

  12. #12 mark
    May 31, 2007

    Are those blue stars fixed to the same sphere as the regular stars?

  13. #13 Kristine
    May 31, 2007

    Well, I can’t last billions of years, either.

    So that must mean that the universe is only 42 years ol–uh, I mean 29. 29 years old! I’m 29 every year for my birthday. Just like the universe! Yeah. Anyway, beauty is ageless! ;-)

    Boy, I sure ain’t looking forward to those blue giant hot flashes. No, siree.

    Good thing that dark matter is chocolate.

  14. #14 SLC
    May 31, 2007

    Re dogmeatig

    Don’t think that only ignorant or stupid people believe in a creationism and reject scientific observations. Consider the case of Dr. Kurt Wise, BA in geophysics, Un. of Chicago, PhD in geology, Harvard, Un., PhD student of Stephen Jay Gould. Attached is a commentary by Richard Dawkins on Dr. Wise, written more in sadness then in anger.

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/dawkins_21_4.html

  15. #15 carey
    May 31, 2007

    Well, I only got a BA in astrophysics, but I am reasonably certain that *all* the evidence points to a universe which is 13.7 billion years old. The evidence we see astronomically coheres very well with models derived from basic physics. Moreover, if the universe is only 5K years old, then god had to create the distant galaxies with photons in flight toward the earth – so if you *must* have a young earth, then you necessarily posit a god who is a trickster. Ockham might have something to say about that.

  16. #16 Poly
    May 31, 2007

    apy writes:

    How can we expect people to drop their religious teachings…

    Ah – so that’s your agenda. And here I foolishly thought we were promoting science here, and not decrying religion as such.

    How silly of me not to realize that all the talk about the importance of science education and respect for the scientific process is merely a facade. What we are actually promoting here, you would say, is the triumphing of anti-religious prejudices if not the end of religion.

    I do commend your honesty, however. At least you aren’t hiding behind some silly rhetorical statements – you are coming right out and saying that religion is ignorance and our goal should be to end it.

    apy continues:

    You have wonderful people like Dawkin’s and Hitchens writing excellent books on it, but the only people I know of that have even heard of these people already agree with them.

    Sam Harris – that “wonderful” anti-Muslim bigot, supporter of torture, and dabbler in the paranormal – yes, he surely speaks for science and reason(not!). So contrary to your assertion, I have read him and there is no way that I agree with his pseudo-science babblings.

    I won’t even start on the philosophical howlers expressed by him and by Dawkins.

    Oh … my mistake… it isn’t really science and reason we are speaking about here anymore – it is how to be anti-religious and how to hide that prejudice behind the science banner.

    You’ll have to excuse me – I’ve been listening so long to the people who claim that anti-religious prejudice is not promoted here that I actually began to believe them.

    Now let me see if I can find that turnip truck you people think I just fell off of.

  17. #17 ColoRambler
    May 31, 2007

    Over at Bad Astronomy we’re having a little fun with Answers in Genesis’s understanding of astronomy, nicely summarized in this bit of dreck. Among other things, AiG has brought up old howlers that were worked out decades ago: lunar recession rates, the existence of spiral arms in galaxies, and so on.

    The scary thing is that this document is attributed to “Dr. Jason Lisle, Ph. D. in astrophysics”. How can you get a degree in astrophysics without at least hearing about, say, the origins of spiral arms in galaxies?

  18. #18 Jonathan
    May 31, 2007

    Sam Harris, Poly? Didn’t you mean Chris Hitchens?

  19. #19 Brendan
    May 31, 2007

    Poly, I metaphorically kick you in the shin (not hard, of course, it’s symbolic)
    You’re deliberately misrepresenting apy’s sentiments about religious indoctrination. apy never said “get them to drop their religions,” apy said “get them to drop their religious teachings.” The point is to discredit obviously false teachings, which religions tend to be full of. It’s not a matter of getting rid of religion, it’s a matter of getting rid of ideas like Young Earth creationism, which all available evidence indicates to be false. It’s not our fault that bad reasoning and poor science are often halmarks of religious teachings.

  20. #20 Poly
    May 31, 2007

    Johnathan:

    No, I do mean Sam Harris.

  21. #21 Jonathan
    May 31, 2007

    Hmm… because apy never mentioned Sam Harris, and you’re not too careful with your proofing. (My name isn’t Johnathan, as an example.)

  22. #22 apy
    May 31, 2007

    I don’t mean to be harsh Poly, but it seems like you simply setup straw man arguments. I never said religion was bad, I said their teachings, which, I will agree, I was not specific about but still, I never said to do away with religion. I also never mentioned Sam Harris, so your feelings about him seem rather irrelevant to my statements. If we want to point out 1 person’s negative actions to attack and, supposedly, discredit a point I’m sure I can name several people you never referred to that embody bigotry in the name of religion but that doesn’t really do anything.

  23. #23 Mark
    May 31, 2007

    From the comments

    I want to see the museum. I hope they didn’t make any major mistakes

    Keep your fingers crossed.

  24. #24 Simon Packer
    May 31, 2007

    We are sitting on a planet with a tenuous grasp on the physics of the matter and structure around us. Our grasp is necessarily specific to conditions we are able to replicate experimentally. We make stacked conjecture about what pertains in environments we cannot replicate. And we kid ourselves we know the universe is 13.6 (or whatever the latest self delusory pseudo precise figure is) bn years old, having made itself by accident from nothing nowhere. Ummm….
    There is a big difference between saying we have postulated a possible mechanism for observed galaxy structure and saying that we worked all this out with certainty years ago. There is a big difference between saying we have achieved a rather unsatisfactory temporary concensus about how the moon got there and saying we really know. Get real, get honest. Stop playing games of pseudo certainty. I expect Jason Lisle has his eyes wide open about some of the self-delusion going on in scientific circles concerning the soundness and permanence of some of our conclusions about long range history.

  25. #25 Neon Ovenlight
    May 31, 2007

    Creationists – if they can’t refute a scientific argument, they’ll call you stupidheads, obfuscate the issue and moan about how they deserve respect because they believe a fairy tale. Yes, this is science. The science of whining.

    Creationists flop like a certain soccer team when their pre-determined and absolute correct notions are not regarded with the same esteem as hard facts. Who are they trying to impress, science or the ‘creator’?

    Science is not a democracy. They may have debates and disagreements, but the thing that science must accept creationism because it’s an ‘alternate viewpoint’ is ludicrous. Good luck getting a scientific flyer for your ‘the grand canyon was made in a few days’ hypothesis, or any scientist who’s willing to taint his rep touching it.

    There are no hypothesis’ in creationism. Creationism always starts with the answer FIRST.

  26. #26 Chuck C
    May 31, 2007

    Ah – so that’s your agenda. And here I foolishly thought we were promoting science here, and not decrying religion as such.

    We are promoting science here, and we are not decrying religion ‘as such': we are decrying the fundamentalist practice of using religious teachings in an attempt to obscure scientific knowledge and preserve ignorance among ‘believers’.

    How silly of me not to realize that all the talk about the importance of science education and respect for the scientific process is merely a facade. What we are actually promoting here, you would say, is the triumphing of anti-religious prejudices if not the end of religion.

    Try reading a little more closely. We promote the responsible teaching of science within science education and the end of religious meddling in science education. You want dopey old fairy tales, fine. But don’t try to foist it off on others as science and expect to get a free pass. And that is the point of this museum: it has nothing to do with religion per se, it is an effort to undermine quality science education. It serves no other purpose.

    I do commend your honesty, however. At least you aren’t hiding behind some silly rhetorical statements – you are coming right out and saying that religion is ignorance and our goal should be to end it.

    Poly, I do believe that some (maybe most) religion is ignorance, but I deeply and sincerely support your right to be just as damned ignorant as you want to be. Really. Go ahead. I will never have as my goal the elimination of your ignorance, unless you freely choose to end it. After all, I like being amused.

    Got any turnips, BTW?

  27. #27 Poly
    May 31, 2007

    Brendan writes:

    apy never said “get them to drop their religions,” apy said “get them to drop their religious teachings.”

    A distinction without a difference. My objections to apy’s remarks still stand.

    Brendan continues:

    The point is to discredit obviously false teachings, which religions tend to be full of.

    In other words, it isn’t so much that you are promoting science as such – which would be a fine thing if that was what you were doing – as that you are promoting the discrediting of (at least some)religions because of their “false teachings” – a category you feel competent to decide for others based on some sort of belief system that you subscribe to.

    Brendan continues:

    It’s not a matter of getting rid of religion, it’s a matter of getting rid of ideas like Young Earth creationism…

    Why would you want to “get rid” of it? Is anyone forcing you to believe it? Is the “idea” impeding the scientific process? If yes, then you can properly object to the coercion or the impediment.

    But as for the “idea” itself, you can only state that it isn’t in accord with our current scientific knowledge, and that it is highly unlikely to be true.

    There isn’t much further that I can go at this point.

  28. #28 S. Rivlin
    May 31, 2007

    Reading the comments to the article on this site (http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/05/creation_museum_planetarium_sh.php) is both entertaining and frightening.

  29. #29 Dave S.
    May 31, 2007

    Simon says:

    We are sitting on a planet with a tenuous grasp on the physics of the matter and structure around us.

    I think our grasp is pretty good. “Pretty good” by the way does not mean “certainty”, in case you were wondering.

    Our grasp is necessarily specific to conditions we are able to replicate experimentally.

    No, it isn’t. We can know about events we can’t ourselves replicate experimentally.

    We make stacked conjecture about what pertains in environments we cannot replicate.

    Who’s we? Maybe that’s what you do, but that’s not what scientists do. They’re busy formulating testable positive models and testing them over and over. Accepting those (provisionally) that pass the tests, and rejecting or modifying those that don’t.

    And we kid ourselves we know the universe is 13.6 (or whatever the latest self delusory pseudo precise figure is) bn years old …

    Please provide us with the age you find acceptable and the scientific evidence that lead to it. Perhaps the mainstream scientists are wrong.

    …having made itself by accident from nothing nowhere.

    What scientific theory states that the universe “made itself by accident from nothing nowhere”?

    Ummm….
    There is a big difference between saying we have postulated a possible mechanism for observed galaxy structure and saying that we worked all this out with certainty years ago.

    I’ve searched this page, and the only one using the word “certainty” in this context is you.

    There is a big difference between saying we have achieved a rather unsatisfactory temporary concensus about how the moon got there and saying we really know.

    Even if there were an “unsatisfactory temporary concensus”, that doesn’t mean just any explanation is as good as any other.

    Get real, get honest. Stop playing games of pseudo certainty. I expect Jason Lisle has his eyes wide open about some of the self-delusion going on in scientific circles concerning the soundness and permanence of some of our conclusions about long range history.

    If he’s anything like Jonathan Sarfati or the rest of the same organization, I expect he doesn’t. The whiff of dishonesty and self-delusion you smell is coming from that direction.

  30. #30 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    “Several constellations are mentioned in Job. The group Job calls “The Prisoner” is almost certainly Orion. No pagans needed.”

    Except that the illustrations of the constellations are obviously pagan. One is Gemini and the Orion constellation has a sword and an animal skin shield. That said, I was wrong. It was the planetarium at “Noah’s Park” in Florida that I was thinking of. Same principle applies, though.

  31. #31 Royale
    May 31, 2007

    I love this comment from that site:

    ————————————————–

    If the Creation Museum tells us that the earth is young like 6000 yrs or so then they are going to look like fools.

    The earth could be billions of years old. The Bible allows for that.

    The earth was first populated by angels. Lucifer was in charge and still is. He rebelled along with about 1/3 of the angels. The earth lay in ruins and most of the animals perished. You can see it in the fossil record.

    The earth’s surface was redone a few thousand years ago with seed bearing plants and mammals Adam and Eve were instructed to repopulate the earth. The earth was destroyed again by a flood. Some of the larger mammals were left behind. You can see them in the fossil record.

    I want to see the museum. I hope they didn’t make any major mistakes

    ——————————————-

    Yeah, I want to see the museum too. I’d love to see which mistakes they actually didn’t make.

    (granted, I live in NYC and no way in tartarou I’m driving 600 miles for that crap)

  32. #32 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    “I’d love to see which mistakes they actually didn’t make.”
    The Albigensian heresy

  33. #33 Ted
    May 31, 2007

    How is the life-span of blue giant stars evidence even for a few-thousand year old universe anyway? Yeah, they apparently don’t last billions, but they still last millions.

    Maybe the creation museum should be more careful and not talk about astro-physics issues.

  34. #34 Coin
    May 31, 2007

    “And we’re going to deal with age indicators, things like blue stars, which even my secular colleagues say can’t last billions of years,” he says.

    I wonder if the planetarium just doesn’t include red stars.

  35. #35 Leni
    May 31, 2007

    Poly,

    Sam harris is not an anti muslim bigot, he’s anti-Islam because he thinks the teaching are barbaric, not because he irrationaly hates Muslim people. There is a distinction.

    Usually i just ignore your posts, but this one was just too inflamatory to let go.

    …as that you are promoting the discrediting of (at least some)religions because of their “false teachings” – a category you feel competent to decide for others based on some sort of belief system that you subscribe to.

    When those teachings rely on aped science and are espoused by lying, cretinous con-men, yes, yes, a million times yes. We’re talking about creationists, remember?

    They are the ones who made a 6000 year old earth integral to their religion, not us and we aren’t responsible for coddling their idiotic, demonstrably false beliefs, especially since they are the ones abusing science for personal gain.

    There isn’t much further that I can go at this point.

    Can’t say I’m sad to hear that.

  36. #36 ColoRambler
    May 31, 2007

    If he’s anything like Jonathan Sarfati or the rest of the same organization, I expect he doesn’t. The whiff of dishonesty and self-delusion you smell is coming from that direction.

    I’ll say. “Dishonesty” characterizes this entire organization, Mr. Lisle included. Consider his discussion of galactic spiral arms:

    1) Things closer to the galactic center orbit faster.
    2) So the arms should have wound themselves up, into an impossibly tight spiral, due to the inner regions revolving more quickly, over a time frame less than a billion years.
    3) Therefore, the Universe is much younger than such an age.

    What competent scientists have concluded, of course, is:

    3) Therefore, maybe the spiral arms don’t really behave like that.

    And sure enough, we have a better explanation: the arms don’t behave like the individual stars in a galaxy. Rather, the arms are star-forming regions (probably density waves) that are traveling with a different velocity than the individual stars overall. There are perfectly good physical reasons for this sort of phenomenon, and the astronomical literature has plenty of discussion.

    Mr. Lisle’s most infuriating error — made repeatedly in the document I linked to — is claiming that there is an unsolvable problem while ignoring the existing knowledge of how to resolve it. This is simply hideous, even without the religious angle he takes. It’s doubly hideous when it concerns elementary information in his own field: his own thesis advisor teaches an undergraduate astronomy course that covers current understanding of galactic dynamics.

  37. #37 Ginger Yellow
    May 31, 2007

    I’ve never understood how creationists conceptualise their arguments about cosmology. How can you use evidence from galaxies to argue against “billions of years” when we can only see the galaxies because the light has travelled to us over billions of years?

  38. #38 apy
    May 31, 2007

    Ginger Yellow,
    Because the speed of light has been slowing down over the years of course, everyone knows that!

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-decay

  39. #39 David Marjanović
    May 31, 2007

    So that must mean that the universe is only 42 years ol–

    The Answer! You know, life, universe, everything…

  40. #40 grasshopper
    May 31, 2007

    Damn! I thought this post was about Gastronomy and the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

  41. #41 beepbeepitsme
    May 31, 2007

    This is what happens when people believe in the absolute inerrancy of any book. This quote expresses best how I think about it.

    “A scientist is a man who changes his beliefs according to reality, a theist is a man who changes reality to match his beliefs.” – Volker Braun

  42. #42 Binary Jones
    June 1, 2007

    I like the idea of the flying spaghetti monster. It explains why the world is full of meatballs.

  43. #43 kehrsam
    June 1, 2007

    Sam Brownback clarifies his position on evolution:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/31/opinion/31brownback.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

  44. #44 Phobos
    June 1, 2007

    secular humanist museums

    Huh? Is there any science museum which has a mission statement to support secular humanism? Science is science. It would be nice if creationists would stop making trying to make it a God vs. atheism debate. But I suppose that gets them more followers than actually conducting science.

  45. #45 mollishka
    June 1, 2007

    I’ve sometimes wondered why the literal Bible folks have chosen to go after evolution so much, when astronomy presents a much clearer problem to the 6,000 year old Earth idea. Is the general public just more enamored with astronomy than dinosaurs? Or is it more difficult to find “holes” in astrophysical logic?

  46. #46 Coin
    June 1, 2007

    Huh? Is there any science museum which has a mission statement to support secular humanism?

    I don’t think so. It would be kind of neat if there were one though.

  47. #47 jba
    June 1, 2007

    mollishka:

    Astronomy has too much math. :)

  48. #48 Bob Carroll
    June 1, 2007

    The arguement that the age of the universe is limited by the fact that there are relatively short-lived stars may gain force from a common misconception: that all stars were formed at the beginning of the universe.

  49. #49 twincats
    June 1, 2007

    From Royale’s post:

    The earth’s surface was redone a few thousand years ago with seed bearing plants and mammals Adam and Eve were instructed to repopulate the earth.

    LOL!! Why didn’t god’s redecorating the earth make it into the bible?? This gives a whole new meaning to “Divine Design” which is one of my favorite shows on HGTV.

    Is plagiarizing god a mortal sin or a venal one?

  50. #50 Leni
    June 1, 2007

    Bob Carroll wrote:

    The arguement that the age of the universe is limited by the fact that there are relatively short-lived stars may gain force from a common misconception: that all stars were formed at the beginning of the universe.

    Is that what they are thinking? My god that is so staggeringly stupid I didn’t even think of it. Here I thought there would be some sort of related arguement against standard candles like cepheid variables, or maybe an attack on the Hubble constant. Something. (I did do a quick google but nothing obvious came up except a two sentence blip that I couldn’t make heads or tails of regarding the low content of metals in blue stars. Then I got bored and went off to do the dishes.)

    That’s just flat out idiotic though. Star formation is an ongoing process that results from all kinds of things, including galactic mergers that could not have possibly have occured in… oh wait… nevermind.

    I guess God could have just made the galaxies all smashed together so they just “appear” to have merged…. *sigh*

  51. #51 kehrsam
    June 1, 2007

    Leni: Did you really not understand that the objection that some stars being too young to have been around for all time was unrelated to overlooking the problem of the propagation of light over billions of light years?

    I have lots of friends who believe this sort of thing. This is because all they are looking for is a refutation of some scientific theory; whether the resulting mishmash makes any kind of sense is extraneous to the issue. It is rather like the global warming skeptic who stands firm on the fact that Tuesday was decidedly cool for this time of year.

    By the way, if you have never had a 3rd grader tell you that anyone who denies a literal rendition of Genesis is Hell-bound, then you are missing a real treat. Hey, education is a dangerous thing.

  52. #52 Anuminous
    June 1, 2007

    I agree, kehrsam. I had a seven year old explain to me that because I did not have sufficient faith god loved her more than he did me (jba — it was Marielle). I thought I was very good to neither laugh in her face nor lecture her in any way.

  53. #53 raj
    June 2, 2007

    From the blockquote

    “And we’re going to deal with age indicators, things like blue stars, which even my secular colleagues say can’t last billions of years,” he (Lisle) says.

    No, blue stars can’t last billions of years. But according to observation, stars are apparently still being formed. And the light from blue stars doesn’t get to earth instantaneously–it might take billions of years for the light from some blue stars to get here. I guess that Lisle hasn’t heard that “c”, the speed of light is finite.

  54. #54 Simon Packer
    June 2, 2007

    Person comes up with redshift idea and Hubble equation. Person spots microwave background. Persons radiodate some rocks. Lots of people beaver away at detailed theories and bodge them to fit. Still no unifying equations. Now we know the universe is 14 bn yrs old!
    Darwin writes simplistic book around superficially plausible basic idea. Takes hold. Lots of people write very silly books on details. No hard proof whatever. Looks increasingly desperately unlikely the more we understand of the details of life. Now we know we evolved by random process! Or was it we were selected by an environment that came about by random process. Whatever, sounds pretty daft to me, however much peer reviewed gumph and simplistic justification is written about it.
    Steady state assumptions, possible gross simplifications, lack of experimental consolidation, stacked conjecture with few or no means of verification on the way. Plenty of potential to tweak assumptions. Likely mass delusion.

  55. #55 Coin
    June 2, 2007

    English teacher dies of horror

  56. #56 Sean
    June 3, 2007

    Impressive. Not often I see a thread killed by sheer incoherency of writing.

    In what geographic location is ‘beaver away’ in common usage?

  57. #57 gwangung
    June 3, 2007

    Impressive. Not often I see a thread killed by sheer incoherency of writing.

    Particularly on a site that attracts creationists and other nut cases…

  58. #58 Leni
    June 4, 2007

    kehrsam wrote:

    Leni: Did you really not understand that the objection that some stars being too young to have been around for all time was unrelated to overlooking the problem of the propagation of light over billions of light years?

    Oh no, the problem is not that I didn’t understand that it didn’t relate to other issues, it’s that I wildly overestimated the ability of the creationists.

    I didn’t know what their problem with blue stars was period, so in my silly girlish optimisim I assumed that the argument couldn’t be as mind-numbingly idiotic as “all stars ‘were created’ at the same time”. (Actually, it never even occured to me that it would be that stupid, lol!)

    I thought they must have found something to quibble with- perhaps about stellar evolution from blue stars- and had then used that bit of disinformation to propagate larger, more complicated (although still logically dubious and scientifically worthless) sounding lies. Or that they’d at the very least target something even just a little bit relevent to determining the age of the universe.

    Don’t ask me how, but for whatever reason I was actually caught off guard by how shallow and irrelevant the issue is. Not that that isn’t the case with biological evolution, it’s just that I’ve grown used to the fact that some of the arguments against it at least have the superficial appearance of being the result of higher thinking.

    This blue star thing is pure stupid though. It’s the astronomical equivalent of the argument from banana. I’m at a loss to explain why that surprises me, though. Ultimately I think it springs from my irrational desire to believe that people aren’t really as dumb as we seem to be.

    Hope is a terrible thing. I shall never entertain it again ;)

  59. #59 Judy
    June 5, 2007

    These Creationists who claim the Earth to be only 6,000 years old, are Biblically ignorant. “In the beginning, God create the Heavens and the Earth”. PERIOD! It doesn’t say when.
    No wonder people think they are foolish! They should! A statement like that, makes Religious people look stupid!
    The Bible claims the Earth to be ancient and Science proves it. There is no contradiction.

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