Pharyngula

Lucas report

Last week, I mentioned that this crazy creationist, Bill Lucas, was going to be speaking at Virginia Tech. Now we have a report on the talk. Guess what? He was crazy!

Comments

  1. #1 MH
    September 23, 2008

    Gene Ray + Christianity + PhD = Bill Lucas

  2. #2 ryanm
    September 23, 2008

    laminin = 4 armed molecule = Jebus’s cross.

    subatomic particles = magical rings = Jebus’s crown.

    P.Z., quit being so obstinate. It makes perfect sense.

  3. #3 Red Dragon
    September 23, 2008

    See also Neal Adams for the expanding Earth crap.

  4. #4 Jello
    September 23, 2008

    Well that was just bat shit bonkers. The sad thing is, to many in the genral puplic this still “looks” scientific because he used other peoples charts and graphs and because they were never taught how to tell the difference between real science and a snake oil salesman.

  5. #5 Paper Hand
    September 23, 2008

    Wow … that was actually pretty funny. The planet Ganymede! Michelson-Morley experiment DISproves Relativity! No light-speed limit!

    “It just don’t make no sense! If something doesn’t act the way everyday objects do, it can’t be true!”

  6. #6 Ericka
    September 23, 2008

    Did anyone actually stay around to ask him some questions? That’s the part I was really hoping to hear about.

  7. #7 Mu
    September 23, 2008

    I’m lost. If the earth expands, does it get less dense? Or is there a vacuum bubble forming at the center?
    Doesn’t the man know that nature abhors a vacuum?

  8. #8 Ericka
    September 23, 2008

    Oh, never mind…read further…

    Did anyone who posts here stay for the second half? Any details on that part?

  9. #9 scooter
    September 23, 2008

    It seems Lucas failed to bring up the Time Cube in his talk. Very disappointing, it would have been a good fit.
    —————————————-
    Scooter’s Ike Pix and vids

  10. #10 Alex
    September 23, 2008

    His thots on graviddy r all rong!

  11. #11 Glen Davidson
    September 23, 2008

    It’s kind of a synopsis of the worst YEC nonsense that we’ve seen in the last couple of decades (& it’s all pretty bad).

    I wish he were crazy, since there’d be some hope if he were. I’m afraid that he’s just stupid, whether it’s native stupidity, or the kind of stupidity that comes from defending lies your whole life.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/2kxyc7

  12. #12 Brain Hertz
    September 23, 2008

    Somewhere on the “Common Sense Science” site (I can’t find it right now, but it’s there somewhere) there’s an explanation that the “spinning ring model” and all associated buffoonery were formulated by it’s author while he was still in high school.

    And that, it turns out, is all you need to know.

    It’s probably worth pointing out that the name “Common Sense Science” gives a prety big hint as to where he went wrong. Assuming that the concept of “common sense” applies to matters beyond everyday scale experience is a very, very bad one.

  13. #13 Alan Chapman
    September 23, 2008

    I’d pay to see Bill Lucas in a debate with Michio Kaku.

  14. #14 Holbach
    September 23, 2008

    Alan Chapman @ 13

    I doubt if that would be considered a debate. A man of science debating a closet moron. Send him back to Gannymede, or it’s moon, Jupiter. Dumb shithead posing as a halfwit.

  15. #15 JStein
    September 23, 2008

    @ 13. I’d pay to see that, too. I would also bring a toothpick, for Professor Kaku, of course.

  16. #16 Larry
    September 23, 2008

    That there is some real Jedi Master science: (waves hand) These aren’t the science facts you’re looking for.

  17. #17 Donovan
    September 23, 2008

    I see. So the oscillating electrons in a finite ring bring the GHY to the point where G + C^4 = the sustained velocity of universal shift differentials. Since C^4 remains a null set because of variance, G is undefined and radioactivity decays all matter, creating the expansion for the earth.

    BOOOYA PZ!!! Take that! God clearly loves me, the science proves it! How else can you explain why I have no frikin’ clue?

    I have spent tens of thousands of dollars, struggle every day with a job I despise to pay tuition, beat my head against books, sleep an average of 4 hours a night, and all for what? I could just blow shit out my ass like this guy and be paid to talk around the country. Sorry guys, but being a Xian pays better for less work. I’m joining up with Hovind. See you in a debate, PZ. You won’t prove my theory wrong, because I never really had a theory to begin with.

  18. #18 Adam
    September 23, 2008

    Looks like a lot of people got punk’d by Roger Ebert’s creationism article:

    http://blogs.suntimes.com/ebert/2008/09/this_is_the_dawning_of_the_age.html

  19. #19 co
    September 23, 2008

    Ebert’s little rant about credulity, though making a moderately good point, seems too much like the “gry” joker in this XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/169/

  20. #20 varlo
    September 23, 2008

    This may sound totally off subject, but I believe it is not. When I was in second grade (circa 1937) a schoolmate asked me what I did the previous night. I said that I went to Bernie Samuels house and played. He said “You shouldn’t have done that!” I asked him why not. “Because he’s a Jew” he said. Now I had never heard that word before, but even then I had a fairly good ability to evaluate tones and I knew from his that a Jew was something bad. I also knew that Bernie Samuels was a nice guy, so I immediately responded “He certainly is not!” And after recess ended the ensueing he-said-he said, argument and I returned home and told my mother about the exchange I learned (somewhat) what a Jew was … and thus, thanks to the fact that Bernie S was a nice gu I escaped forever any anti-semitism.

    Now to tie it to this discussion … I am inclined to think that anyone with a brain, upon hearing the drivel that passed for exposition by the impossibly stupid idiot in question would recognize it for inanity (or insanity) regardless of whether they had ever heard of either Creationism or not. If there is any identifiable fallacy not violated here, I cannot imagine what it is. I can hardly wait for the rapature. Let it come before I die so I can be rid of these idiots forever.

  21. #21 Clemens
    September 23, 2008

    Physics is an interesting field for crackpots. I’m a physics graduate student and reactions of “normal” people in conversation towards this is to immediately suppose that you’re a genius. Also, due to education in general, people now less about physics than, say, biology: Although I have no real understanding of genetics and so on, at least I know what the main idea of evolution and natural selection is, so I have a simple picture in my mind. But hardly anyone who is not a scientist has any idea of quantum mechanics, only that it is weird and mind-boggling.

    That’s where the crackpots come in: First, it gives you bragging-rights to describe yourself as a physicist. Second, people have not even the littlest understanding of the principles in physics, so you don’t need such an understanding either..

    If anyone happens to meet this guy again, ask him:
    a) If Q.M. is wrong, please explain the observed violation of Bell’s inequality which clearly demonstrates that the effects of Q.M. cannot be explained by ANY “local” theory.
    b) If Special Relativity is wrong, why do muons in a particle accelerator at high speed decay slower than muons at rest?
    c) If General Relativity is wrong, why is GPS so accurate?

  22. #22 Zetetic
    September 23, 2008

    I mentioned this on the last thread about the guy, but I was the very last comment after it had disappeared off the front page, so I imagine most people missed it. (Sorry about the repeat if you caught it.)

    My fiance figured out that if you Google for the papers on the Common Sense Science website you will have no problem getting access to them. Apparently they don’t have things set up properly to limit access to those who have paid, so if you have a link to the paper it will allow you to see it.

    Here is a link to one of them: http://www.commonsensescience.org/pdf/articles/hydrogen.pdf

    My fiance’s comment on it: “I saw one of the papers on the structure of hydrogen… it didn’t have any math really, only saying that work done has shown that the spectra of hydrogen is predicted by it. But the show stopper was him saying that his model does not allow the hydrogen atom to be stable by itself, and only works for hydrogen molecules (H2)… so therefore it is impossible to have atomic hydrogen. It is not easy to have atomic hydrogen… but this is not in the realm of esoteric particle physics experiments. There are commercial atomic hydrogen generators for use in semiconductor processing.”

    I’m not a physicist myself, so I can’t speak to it personally. But I thought some of you might be interested in reading his papers without having to support the lunacy financially. :)

  23. #23 BerRuss
    September 23, 2008

    This might not be the appropriate venue for this, but I’ve been an agnostic up to now, and I’m familiar w/ the arguments favoring agnosticism. It seems, at first blush, that atheism requires as much a leap of faith as w/ the religious (don’t pile on…I’m not being insulting…this is a genuine question). Where can I go for arguments/analysis that deal w/ this question? Thank you.

  24. #24 Kel
    September 23, 2008

    It seems, at first blush, that atheism requires as much a leap of faith as w/ the religiou

    What leap of faith is that exactly?

    Just remember the difference between atheism and agnosticism:
    theism is a belief in a deity, atheism is without belief in a holy deity
    gnosticism is to know God, agnosticism is to not know God

    They are two separate issues. If you believe in God, you are a theist, if you don’t you are an atheist. If you know God doesn’t exist; then you are a gnostic atheist or a strong atheist. If you are unsure of whether God exists then you are an agnostic atheist or a weak atheist.

    I wrote a blogpost on this topic explaining the basics of the terminology if you would like to read more
    http://kelosophy.blogspot.com/2008/09/f-word.html

  25. #25 Sauceress
    September 23, 2008

    #2 ryanm

    laminin = 4 armed molecule = Jebus’s cross.
    subatomic particles = magical rings = Jebus’s crown.
    P.Z., quit being so obstinate. It makes perfect sense.

    DNA = spaghetti morphology = His Noodly Appendages
    RNA = spaghetti morphology = ditto
    Chromatin and histones = spaghetti and meatballs
    Chromatin scaffolding = spaghetti
    Brain = spaghetti morphology
    Veins = spaghetti morphology
    Intestines = spaghetti morphology
    Reproductive organs (testis and gonads) = meatball morphology.
    ect…ect.
    It makes perfect sense!

  26. #26 Sauceress
    September 23, 2008

    “testis and gonads”?!?
    Doh! How about ovaries and gonads!

  27. #27 Alan Chapman
    September 23, 2008

    Both Michio Kaku and Lawrence Krauss have covered some of this material and neither operate under any illusions about what is probable and improbable. It’s fun to imagine that we’ll have transporters and warp drives some day, but let’s be realistic. What separates Kaku and Lawrence from people like Lucas is their willingness to acknowledge deficiencies in ideas presented. This shows integrity and objectivity. I’ve seen evolutionary biologists do this during debates with creationists when they offer ways to falsify evolution. Creationists invent filler and present it as fact. Peer review exists to protect us from error and creationists don’t understand why that’s important. I don’t claim to be an expert in physics or geology, but some of Lucas’ claims are downright outlandish. Others are simple errors which he could’ve easily corrected by paying a quick visit to Wikipepdia. Take his claim about the Mid-Atlantic Ridge being evidence for the expansion of the Earth as just one example of a glaring error. There was a show on the Science Channel just recently which discussed this very issue. Is Lucas unaware that oceanic plates are subducting under continents?

  28. #28 RockProf
    September 23, 2008

    As a geologist, this guy’s just bat shit crazy. It’s a shame most christians are dumb as stumps and eat up anything that claims to support a biblical worldview.

  29. #29 Jason W
    September 23, 2008

    @Clemens, #21:

    Wow. I’m admittedly a physics dullard, but I did some Googling on GPS and General Relativity, and that’s some pretty incredible stuff that had honestly never occurred to me.

  30. #30 Alan Kellogg
    September 23, 2008

    Sauceress, #25

    DNA is rigatoni

  31. #31 Alan Kellogg
    September 23, 2008

    BTW, there is no gravity, space-time is bent.

  32. #32 JohnnieCanuck, FCD
    September 23, 2008

    BerRuss #23

    What Kel said. It’s binary. There is no middle value.
    Theist = 1.
    Atheist = Not Theist = 0.

    Repeat the above for Gnostic. With 2 bits, you get 4 possibilities – 00 01 10 11, not 3 as in Theist > Agnostic < Atheist.

    To expand a little more: Even a strong atheist knows she can’t prove a negative; for example that god(s) don’t exist. Most any atheist would agree that were one of these unlikely gods to show up, it, being omnipotent, could likely prove its existence to her.

    Is an atheist then really just an assertive agnostic? No. Just look at how atheists and most agnostics live their lives.

    Pray? No.
    Try to behave in a manner most likely to appease the Unknown Entity (UE)? No.
    Trust that the UE is benevolent? No.
    Debate with others, the likely characteristics of the UE? No.
    - They live as if there is no god.

    So what then defines someone who identifies as an agnostic? From my perspective, the agnostic is unwilling to accept all the negatives attributed by the religious to those labelled as atheists.

    God haters. Devil’s spawn. Nihilists. Communists. Anarchists. Sociopaths. Amoral. I’m sure I missed a few, but enough.

    The agnostic likely has religious friends and family, maybe even co-workers that would take it personally when their faith gets rejected outright. Coming out as an atheist often has a significant cost. That’s when it may seem better to equivocate and claim to be uncertain.

    Still, there are apparently as many different ways for people to define themselves as non-theists as there are kinds of theists, which is a lot. You might even be an Ignostic, without even knowing it (seriously).

    As to where to go, Wikipedia will give you a good start. Agnostic. Atheist. From there, follow the references.

  33. #33 Crudely Wrott
    September 23, 2008

    Forgive me if this has been mentioned but hasn’t the idea of all things expanding been sufficiently dealt with?

    That is, if everything in the universe expanded overnight such that when one awoke one saw all familiar things twice their previous size through eyes twice as large it is logical that their would be no apparent or provable difference. That is, because of the universal expansion there would be no discernible change in scale. All relative measurements would be the same as before. This is because the class of things that had expanded would include inches, millimeters, acres, and all other conventions of measurement.

    Or does Lucas propose that everything expands except us poor, puny, adrift in the cosmic miasma and wholly dependent upon outside guidance, humans?

  34. #34 Jason
    September 23, 2008

    @#23 again – Are you ‘agnostic’ about santa claus too? Surely we can’t definitely disprove his existence either…

    You are either theist or atheist. There is no third choice. Do you believe god exists? Yes-Theist. No? A-theist. Simple.

    Gnostic/Agnostic is a different topic altogether, concerning whether it’s possible to know god. You are either a theist or an atheist, AND you are either a gnostic or an agnostic, but you can’t be one in place of the other because they are different topics.
    Gnostic theist – ‘I believe god exists and I know he is Jebus’
    Agnostic theist – ‘I believe god exists but we can’t know anything about him’ a.k.a. deist
    Agnostic atheist – ‘I doubt god exists but I don’t think we would know about him even it he did’
    Gnostic atheist – ‘If god existed, we would know about it, so therefore he doesn’t’

    The current misuse of the term ‘agnostic’ to mean ‘I doubt god exists but I don’t know for sure’ (which is an atheistic statement) I think stems from people simply being afraid of the consequences of calling themselves atheists.
    Or, to put it more simply, agnostic is what atheists call themselves when they don’t have the balls to call themselves atheists.

  35. #35 Capital Dan
    September 23, 2008

    If only we could get Christians to embrace the same demands for proof and the scrutiny of that proof which the skeptics and the rationally minded follow.

    It’s just astounding that, in their supposed moral superiority, they would rather lie and deceive than seek any verifiable truth about life, the universe and everything.

  36. #36 Crudely Wrott
    September 24, 2008

    @ BerRuss, #23:

    Please consider how much faith it takes to not believe in that for which there is no good reason to believe. To not believe in that for which you have not been adequately persuaded. To not believe in anything which has no evidence or practical application. No usefulness. For instance, claims that a belief will manifest as an understanding of the nature and purpose of creation itself. Mind you, replies to the question of the nature and purpose of the universe are like trinkets on sale at the local bazaar. And the merchants at each kiosk will all claim that their offerings are of the earliest antiquity, supported by the most convincing of fable, oft repeated and handed down (with the usual embellishment) from vendor to vendor lo, these many years.

    To believe, or to accept only on the basis of the sales pitch, that the world is awash in Invisible Supernatural Spooks (or Spook) is to cast one’s self adrift in a sea of contradictory and mutually hostile sales pitches. The seasoned buyer will discount the claims of the seller and look instead at the merchandise itself. If the product or gee-gaw performs as advertised then one may well consider the purchase worthwhile and potentially profitable. Lacking said performance (read, the jillion prayers every day that are not answered), the buyer may be excused for keeping his money in his pocket. Faith is not an issue. Knowledge is.

  37. #37 Thinker
    September 24, 2008

    On the basis of #36, I nominate Crudely Wrott for a Molly – extremely well written! (… or is that wrotten?)

  38. #38 Jason W
    September 24, 2008

    You know, I get really tired of being told that because I think ‘agnostic’ is the better label for what I actually believe and/or don’t believe about how the universe works, that somehow I’m a coward for it.

  39. #39 Kel
    September 24, 2008

    You know, I get really tired of being told that because I think ‘agnostic’ is the better label for what I actually believe and/or don’t believe about how the universe works, that somehow I’m a coward for it.

    I bet people feel the same way about atheism being called faith…

    If I had to pick a term for myself it would be either ignostic or theological noncognitivist. It sums up my position far more accurately.

  40. #40 Naked Bunny with a Whip
    September 24, 2008

    that somehow I’m a coward for it.

    I wouldn’t do that. You can’t decide if you believe in gods? Fine. As long as you’re not using words to mean things they don’t mean.

  41. #41 Clemens
    September 24, 2008

    #33

    It is not true that one would not recognise if everything in the universe suddenly would be twice as large. It is because different quantities scale differently.

    The electric force between particles, for example, would not become twice as weak, but four times as weak. Other quantities would double, other quantities get eight times smaller. These scale-differences would be noticed.

  42. #42 Crudely Wrott
    September 24, 2008

    @ Thinker, #37:

    “. . . or is that wrotten?”

    Quite wrott, mate! And thank you.

    (~gee, how ’bout that? a nomination. in this company I get a nomination. how ’bout that?~)
    /end dreamlike trance

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