Pharyngula

Some things never change

Zeno has posted the complete text of a long creationist screed published in the Sacramento Bee. It’s got everything: the second law of thermodynamics, the fallacy of the excluded middle, the ‘law’ of biogenesis, mysterious barriers between species, and of course, the Imminent Death of Darwinism. It’s tediously familiar, and you’ve probably heard it all many times before. Only two things make it interesting.

It was published in 1981, and it’s mostly indistinguishable from creationist rhetoric in 2009. Which is rather depressing, if you think about it.

The author is someone who also defends geocentrism. The creationists have mostly given that one up, so there are some signs of progress.

Comments

  1. #1 Kathy Orlinsky
    December 30, 2009

    “First, within its own very restricted area, science is a valuable tool In the search for truth…

    Yes, that restricted area being Life, The Universe, and Everything.

  2. #2 PaleGreenPants
    December 30, 2009

    They have an eternal unchanging God. Why would their dogma change over a scant 30 years?

  3. #3 Glen Davidson
    December 30, 2009

    First, within its own very restricted area, science is a valuable tool In the search for truth, but outside this area, science becomes a distorted, subjective and misapplied thing, no longer true science at all and in great danger of generating philosophical and religious opposition. Not everything that scientists think, say and do is science.

    Change a few things, and you’ve got a pretty good answer to Behe and his “science” there. Science is restricted, and does not utilize Behe’s essentially religious analogical “method.”

    Still, you see some of the great divide between pseudo-scientific tripe like ID and parts of hard-core creationism. Science is understood to be the enemy of “Bible truth” by many of the latter (they’ll use it otherwise, however), but not by the IDiots–and some other of the Biblical literalists. True, they have to distort it before they like it, yet they likely do think that they’re just saving science from Darwin.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  4. #4 raven
    December 30, 2009

    The author is someone who also defends geocentrism. The creationists have mostly given that one up, so there are some signs of progress.

    No way. 20% of the US population are Geocentrists. 26% of the xian fundies are Geocentrists.

    C’mon it has only been 500 years since Copernicus. We have robots on Mars and space probes orbiting Saturn. You can’t expect religious mythology to die out that easily.

    Many fundies still believe the moon is a glow in the dark disk like it says in Genesis.

    The flat earthers are almost gone though. There are still a few. According to Genesis, the earth is flat and the sky is a dome held up by pillars with the stars being lights stuck on it. It has doors so that god can dump water on us and kill almost everyone when he gets annoyed. No idea how many xians still buy that astronomy but there could be more than one can imagine.

  5. #5 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    First, within its own very restricted area, science is a valuable tool In the search for truth, but outside this area, science becomes a distorted, subjective and misapplied thing, no longer true science at all and in great danger of generating philosophical and religious opposition. Not everything that scientists think, say and do is science.

    This is a beautiful example of fighting off cognitive dissonance. Saying that science is valuable “within it own very restricted area” allows them to benefit from all of the great things science has done for us, while still maintaining their anti-science positions. Medicine? The internet? Transportation? Science is great! Contradict my deeply cherished, wackaloon beliefs? Science is distorted, subjective, and misapplied!

    And then there’s the canard that evo-devo isn’t “true science,” which lets them claim that, if guys like PZ could just get past their own prejudices and do some real science, everyone would realize that the Bible was right all along.

    I will give him one point: no, not everything that scientists think, say, or do is science. On the other hand, nothing the creationists do is science, either.

  6. #6 Glen Davidson
    December 30, 2009

    Imminent Death of Darwinism

    Waterloo!

    Actually, it’s not Waterloo with creationism being the French side, it’s Napoleon’s invasion of Russia and ID/creationism freezing and starving to death from a lack of warmth, light, and substance.

    But zombie-science never really dies.

    Glen D
    http://tinyurl.com/mxaa3p

  7. #7 vanharris
    December 30, 2009

    I like Zeno’s illustration of a Cre*ti*nist – the guy has a finger pressing into each ear, & is grimacing in pain.

    Push harder, Cre*ti*nist, i say, until your fingers meet.

  8. #8 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    @raven (#4)

    No way. 20% of the US population are Geocentrists. 26% of the xian fundies are Geocentrists.

    I have to believe that that’s simple ignorance; if you walked out the door and looked around, it would be pretty obvious that the sun was going around the earth. These people should know better, but I can believe that they somehow missed the message. Actually, it may have just been a bad poll question: if you threw up something that asked “does the sun goes around the earth every day?” I bet a lot of people would just carelessly check yes.

    The evolution debate is another matter; creationists, at least the vocal ones, know about (something like) evolution, and know that rational people all accept it as true, but choose to believe something else anyway. It’s not just ignorance, it’s willful ignorance, a deliberate denial of the facts.

  9. #9 raven
    December 30, 2009

    No way. 20% of the US population are Geocentrists. 26% of the xian fundies are Geocentrists.

    I have to believe that that’s simple ignorance; if you walked out the door and looked around, it would be pretty obvious that the sun was going around the earth.

    Some might be ignorance.

    A lot of it is religious kookery. If you believe the earth is 6,000 years old, Noah had a boatload of dinosaurs, and evolution is impossible, then believing the sun orbits the earth is no big deal.

    In for a penny, in for a pound. Some of those Geocentrists have advanced degrees, Ph.Ds and so on. According to the bible, the earth is the center of the universe. That means the earth is the center of the solar system, galaxy, and universe.

    Religious nuts don’t let facts get in the way.

  10. #10 Zeno
    December 30, 2009

    raven: The flat earthers are almost gone though. There are still a few.

    See? Progress!

    As to the few who remain, a good source for their inspiration is Christine Garwood’s Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea. I found it fascinating, but also often depressing.

  11. #11 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    As a creationist, I believe, by faith, that the universe, the world, the earth and man came about by the purposeful action of a ?clockmaker.? An evolutionist believes, also by faith, that matter by itself was able to make the uphill journey from molecules to man, without any clockmaker being required.

    The problem here is that we’re using two different definitions of the word “faith.” If I was speaking casually, I might just say that I have “faith” in the scientific method, meaning that I have a certain measure of confidence in rationalism, empiricism, and the testing of hypotheses to produce useful, true information. This “faith” is essentially limited to the idea that the universe behaves in a logical, consistent manner.

    Well, actually, this “faith” does have one more element: “faith” in human fallibility. We might be wrong, and that is why we are constantly examining the evidence and challenging our assumptions. That is why our body of knowledge is constantly growing, constantly improving.

    But that isn’t the kind of faith Elmendof is talking about. He’s talking about Paul’s “faith,” the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” It isn’t a confidence in logic or reason or evidence, it’s a confidence despite the lack of these things, and even despite contradictory examples of the same. This faith starts out with a conclusion and holds on to it, no matter what, and that is why their positions and their arguments is so stagnant.

  12. #12 Pierce R. Butler
    December 30, 2009

    raven @ # 4: 20% of the US population are Geocentrists. 26% of the xian fundies are Geocentrists.

    You-know-what needed.

  13. #13 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    @raven (#9)

    In for a penny, in for a pound. Some of those Geocentrists have advanced degrees, Ph.Ds and so on. According to the bible, the earth is the center of the universe. That means the earth is the center of the solar system, galaxy, and universe.

    Sweet mother of mercy. I have never heard of a PhD arguing for geocentrism, and frankly, I can die a happy man without being exposed to that in person. Are these real PhDs, or “Dr. Dino” degrees?

  14. #14 Sastra
    December 30, 2009

    “Scientism” — which is defined as what happens when science goes “beyond its proper domain” — is pretty much worthless in conversation unless people pin down exactly what they mean by it. This is hard to do with the religious/spiritual, because their stock-in-trade is the slide between superficial resemblances. If it makes sense to say that a scientist who claims to have scientifically proven that Beethoven is “better” than Bach is misapplying the concept of scientific method and investigation, then it should make equal sense to say that a scientist who says the earth is 4.5 billion years old is guilty of the same sort of “scientism.” What people consider possible to investigate objectively, and what they don’t, is a fluid dividing line.

    The next accusation of scientism will come from a religionist who agrees that evolution is safely in science’s domain, but ghosts aren’t. Or ghosts are, but vitalism isn’t. Or vitalism is, but miracles aren’t. Or miracles are, but God isn’t. Or the-God-I-don’t-believe-in is, but not the vague God of impressive handwaving. And so on… till you get to something relatively non-controversial like saying you can’t scientifically defend one taste over another.

    It’s particularly annoying when they act as if everyone is on the same page as they are, because we all agree ‘scientism’ is bad.

  15. #15 Kevin
    December 30, 2009

    But. And. It. How. What. Ehhhh?

    How can someone honestly believe in Geocentrism anymore? I mean… flat-Earth is in the same vein. You can’t freakin’ see anything 2 miles away on the ocean.

    And Geocentric universe just doesn’t work because if it did, there’d be all kinds of crazy going on, and the Moon would be warmer than the Earth part of the year.

  16. #16 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    These and other insurmountable scientific barriers flatly preclude evolution happening by natural means in the here-and-now world, and that means that evolution can be said to have been scientifically disproven. This is an embarrassing predicament for evolution, and the problem has the best evolutionist brains in the country trying to find a way around, over, under or through these scientific laws to save evolution from disaster. But whether evolutionists like it or not, it’s all over for evolution’s claim to be ?scientific.? There is then really no justification for creationists to compromise with evolution by propping it up to look alive in public school science classes with the two-model system.

    This, I think, is an example of “over-charging.” District attorneys will sometimes (or often, depending on who you ask) charge a defendant with crimes that they know that can’t prove, and sometimes know that the defendant didn’t even commit, because it make the lesser charges seem more plausible. It’s an appeal to people’s innate desire to compromise. “Well, we can’t find him guilty of murder, so we’ll find him guilty of manslaughter, instead.”

    Here, I think Elmendof is making a claim that he knows people won’t buy (“let’s throw evolution out of the classroom altogether”), so that people will compromise and accept what he actually wanted all along (“equal time for my religion in the science classroom”).

  17. #17 RickR
    December 30, 2009

    Sastra is dead on, as usual. However, I happen to know it is empirically true that “Poseidon” is a shitty movie, and the people who like it, suck.

  18. #18 Sastra
    December 30, 2009

    thomas c.galvin #13 wrote:

    I have never heard of a PhD arguing for geocentrism, and frankly, I can die a happy man without being exposed to that in person. Are these real PhDs, or “Dr. Dino” degrees?

    In some cases, real. Skeptic Magazine (I think) recently ran an article which looked at the religious and scientific beliefs of conservative Orthodox (Hassidic) jews. They’re an interesting case, because unlike many Christian Fundamentalists, they strongly value education and degrees from legitimate universities — but, like the Christian fundies, these Jewish fundies reject much of modern science. There was a rather surprising number with postgraduate degrees who even endorsed geocentrism.

    As I recall, even more surprising was that those with science degrees were actually more likely to embrace geocentrism, than those with advanced degrees in other disciplines. It was as if the study of science had kick-started their conspiracy mentality into overdrive, because there was more direct conflict — and they were committed to keeping the religion pure. A Phd in Literature could perhaps afford to be sloppy on the strict dogmatic line in the science area, for not much was riding for him there, and not much expected.

    It’s an interesting area of psychology. I wonder if most committed YEC would admit to drawing the line at geocentrism, and agree that they would throw out their religion, if this is what it lead to.

  19. #19 Hurin
    December 30, 2009

    R.G. Elmendorf is a registered professional engineer and a graduate of Cornell University, who lives near Pittsburgh, Pa. Five years ago, he issued a $5,000 challenge to anyone who could show how evolution can operate in the same world as the second law of thermodynamics. He says he hasn’t paid off yet.

    If this asshat can show me how the second law of thermodynamics and the biblical God can operate in the same world, I’ll pay him ten thousand dollars.

  20. #20 sandiseattle
    December 30, 2009

    I’m gonna have to agree with the below: I’m calling bullshit on raven until we see some link to the quoted stats.

    Pierce R. Butler | December 30, 2009 3:00 PM

    raven @ # 4: 20% of the US population are Geocentrists. 26% of the xian fundies are Geocentrists.

    You-know-what needed.

  21. #21 raven
    December 30, 2009

    Sweet mother of mercy. I have never heard of a PhD arguing for geocentrism, and frankly, I can die a happy man without being exposed to that in person. Are these real PhDs, or “Dr. Dino” degrees?

    Both. Most are probably diploma mill graduates.

    Jeanson, the creationist who just graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. and joined the ICR is a Geocentrist. He stated that the earth is the center of the universe, the dogma. The earth isn’t even the center of the solar system and is out towards the edge of the galaxy. The center of the galaxy is a very large black hole.

    A lot of these are the usual, computer programmers and engineers. There are a lot more than you want to imagine. That 20% is 60 million Americans.

  22. #22 tuckerch
    December 30, 2009

    The Second Law, eh?

    MC Hawking has, as always, the last word on the subject!

    Creationists always try to use the second law,
    to disprove evolution, but their theory has a flaw.
    The second law is quite precise about where it applies,
    only in a closed system must the entropy count rise.
    The earth’s not a closed system’ it’s powered by the sun,
    so fuck the damn creationists, Doomsday get my gun!

    Listen to the whole lecture/rap here

  23. #23 cervantes
    December 30, 2009

    Err – it’s possible to get a Ph.D. in literature, art history, and even, yup, theology. So I don’t see any particular reason why there couldn’t be lots of religious fanatics with Ph.D.s, even from Harvard, which by the way has a divinity school.

  24. #24 religiongonecrazy
    December 30, 2009

    I don’t think you can expect the Creationist creed to get any more advanced than where it has always been. It’s obvious they have been using all the same talking points for the last 30+ years because they cannot come up with any new research as is the case with science. When you base your “theories” off a 2,000 year old fictional book written by non scientists, and 30 year old ideas it kind of tends to leave these in a state of perpetual limbo.

  25. #25 raven
    December 30, 2009

    sandiseattle:

    I’m gonna have to agree with the below: I’m calling bullshit on raven until we see some link to the quoted stats.

    Gee sandi, don’t you ever get tired of being a stupid religious kook? Probably not, being bored requires some mental ability to even realize you are bored.

    For those who can’t quite believe how stupid religious fanatics are despite dealing with creationists and YECs, google works.

    When I first saw those statistics, I didn’t believe them either. Then I looked them up.
    They are real. Even more Americans think the earth is 6,000 years old, somewhere around 1/3 of the population.

    Wikipedia Modern Geocentrism:

    Modern geocentrists believe that they are the true standard-bearers for an appropriate integration of science and religion. In particular, Gerardus Bouw has claimed “Invariably, those [creationists] who do take more than a cursory look [at geocentricity] become geocentrists”. Many modern creationists disagree, including Ph.D. astronomers such as Danny Faulkner [3][5].[unreliable source?]

    Morris Berman quotes survey results that show currently some 20% of the USA population believe that the sun goes around the Earth (geocentricism) rather than the Earth goes around the sun (heliocentricism), while a further 9% claimed not to know.[6]

  26. #26 sandiseattle
    December 30, 2009

    Raven- I’ll accept Wikipedia. Glad you did as we asked, sad to see you couldn’t do it polite like. Oh well points for quoting the source of your claim anyhow.

  27. #27 Strangest brew
    December 30, 2009

    # 11

    “The problem here is that we’re using two different definitions of the word “faith.” ”

    Yes your point is valid, but from retardation’s point of ignorance faith is what it is, the faith of believing in a 100 different things before breakfast loosely interconnected with a fairy story and at times interchangeable with ‘belief’.

    They cannot understand science, simple like so!

    They assume that folk espouse the scientific theory as a ‘belief/faith’ and because it is only a theory it must require faith to make it work…bit like their delusion… cogito ergo sum, or summat similar.

    Religious victims are incapable of contemplating deeper then a ‘belief/faith’, it is all they know, when anyone contradicts their cozy little fairy story they can only assume that person has a different ‘belief/faith’ system, they are used to that in religio circles, they know other folk have different ‘beliefs/faiths’ but they do not understand that ‘belief/faith’ in a sky fairy can be actually non-existent, that would be scary and unheard of, so it must be a ‘belief/faith’ of something else, they know not the difference.

  28. #28 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    @Sastra ($8)

    In some cases, real. Skeptic Magazine (I think) recently ran an article which looked at the religious and scientific beliefs of conservative Orthodox (Hassidic) jews.

    I think this is the article you’re talking about.

    This is both fascinating and depressing. I see a lot of similarities between the stance Orthodox Jews take on education (dangerous, but necessary to earn a decent living) to he attitudes of a lot of the fundamentalist Christians I know.

    According to their (small) survey, about 13% of the Orthodox Jews surveyed believed in geocentrism.

    Strangely, about 73% were young-earth creationists, but about 41% believed that the dinosaurs existed millions of years before the humans. I wonder how the overlap deals with the fact that dinosaurs lived millions of years before the creation of the earth?

    The rest of the article delves into the effects of education. Only 1 out of 50 science majors believed that human beings evolved from apes. Here’s the problem, though: if someone asked me that question, I’d usually say no, too. I wish the has asked if “human beings and apes evolved from a common ancestor.”

    Only 1 out of 49 said that “evolution correctly explains the origin of life.” But, again, that may be a problem with how the question was put. We often say that “evolution explains the diversity of life, while abiogeneis explores the origin of life.”

    84% of science majors were young-earth creationists, however, and that leads me to believe that the responses would have been the same even if the questions were more carefully worded. How depressing.

  29. #29 https://www.google.com/accounts/o8/id?id=AItOawk8OXe4QLH9T3aEU-3gCukSRBV5NYevTek
    December 30, 2009

    Off topic but was doing some research on New Years

    Traditional Christian New Years Celebration: Celebrate Circumcision of Christ.

    Traditional Pagan New Years Celebration: Drink massive quantities of alcohol and party.

    Pagans 1, Christians 0.

  30. #30 Strangest brew
    December 30, 2009

    Not surprised at all by those statistics.

    Religion is a lie and to function it needs to lie, no matter the evidence piled against it, religion must be true, cos they are in a mental pile of creamy batshit if it ain’t so, and the religion would cease to be simple like so!

    gasp!…that might mean another religion might be true…(being not so shit hot on extrapolation like they is, except where a ambiguous sky daddy obviously means so and so and not so and so!)

    It opens a ginormous rusty tin can of worms, best to disregard contra-evidence and make up your own, which they do and then some!

  31. #31 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    @Strangest brew #27

    They assume that folk espouse the scientific theory as a ‘belief/faith’ and because it is only a theory it must require faith to make it work…bit like their delusion… cogito ergo sum, or summat similar.

    I think there are two sides to that. A lot of “run of the mill” faithful, and a lot of people in general, have never spent much time or energy really studying something, or examining their own beliefs. There people probably think everyone is as lazy in their reasoning as they are.

    When guys like Elmendof talk about “faith in science,” though, I think they’re simultaneously trying to bring scientific inquiry down to their level, and elevate their theology to the level of science. Basically, they want to seem humble and smart at the same time.

  32. #32 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 30, 2009

    Elmendorf sez:

    Evolution claims to be a self-caused, uphill process, but the principle of the second law of thermodynamics is that all processes are downhill.

    As a result, nothing can be built, plants and animals cannot grow, and the universe is a 3K vacuum with a thin scattering of quarks spread evenly in a 6000 light year radius.

  33. #33 tsg
    December 30, 2009

    The problem here is that we’re using two different definitions of the word “faith.”

    I usually address this particular canard with “conditional acceptance of that which we can observe (ie. science) is not the same as unconditional acceptance of that which we can’t (ie. religion), whether or not you use the same word to describe them both.”

  34. #34 Harry Tuttle
    December 30, 2009

    The whole question of origin is more accurately history, not science, no matter how much scientists like to investigate and speculate about history.

    As an historian I assume this means he has primary source documentation regarding the origin of life?

    After all, what scientist observed the steamy landscape and erupting volcanos of the evolutionary scenario, or the zap-zap of the creation scenario?

    What, as opposed to the dozens of historians who witnessed it?

    This dude’s grasp of historiography is about as firm as his grip on basic physics.

  35. #35 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    One of the most basic laws in the universe is the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This states that as time goes by, entropy in an environment will increase. Evolution argues differently against a law that is accepted EVERYWHERE BY EVERYONE. Evolution says that we started out simple, and over time became more complex. That just isn’t possible: UNLESS there is a giant outside source of energy supplying the Earth with huge amounts of energy. If there were such a source, scientists would certainly know about it.

    Surely putting myself in Comic Sans demonstrates that I’m being facetious here. Wouldn’t want anyone to take that seriously. But given what happened in a recent thread, here’s your disclaimer. Actually, the whole thing is quoted from something I believe was written by a poe.

  36. #36 Mystic Olly
    December 30, 2009

    @ #8 :”I have to believe that that’s simple ignorance; if you walked out the door and looked around, it would be pretty obvious that the sun was going around the earth.”

    And we turn to Wittgenstein . . .

    Wittgenstein and a companion are on a stroll through Cambridge.

    ?I?ve always wondered why?, says W., ?for so long people thought that the Sun revolved around the Earth.?

    ?Why?? said his surprised interlocutor, ?well, I suppose it just looks that way?

    ?Hmmm?, retorted W. ?and what would it look like if the Earth revolved around the Sun??.

    I picked that up from Tom Stoppard’s fantastic play Jumpers.

  37. #37 Strangest brew
    December 30, 2009

    #31

    “When guys like Elmendof talk about “faith in science,” though, I think they’re simultaneously trying to bring scientific inquiry down to their level, and elevate their theology to the level of science. Basically, they want to seem humble and smart at the same time.”

    Absolutely…

    They are gagging for a level playing field because they know damn full well they cannot compete on the actual level they whine from.

    Hence the language they use in trying to get their delusion into science class, their holy grail made flesh so to speak.

    ‘Teach the controversy!’

    Trying to give the impression to media and by default society that there are two competing bona fide ‘theories’ vying for supremacy.

    And that suggests controversy in interpretation of the available evidence.

    Equality by inference, same as their pretty little diplomas from the disgraceful degree mills they set up themselves, to confer a perceived equality in graduates, it might just fool their hard of thinking marks, that the bogus Phd so earned requires equality in educational standards.
    You can tell the bogus ones, they tend to brag about their …ahem!…intellectual awards!

    Tis all about trying to equalise the debate, problem is they have to lie and fabricate their platform from self manufactured scaffolding, and damnably creaky it be, so it is!

    And coincidently hence the conflation of their ‘faith’ with their insistence on labelling the scientific process as a matter of ‘faith’

    That they can handle, they know how other religions work cos they are a religion themselves, they understand the nuts and bolts of that pile of dog turd, but are incapable of wanting or being able to understand the process of scientific investigation.

    They label it ‘Faith’ or ‘Belief’, because that is the dog whistle to their own posse, it is a handy metaphor, they can projectile vomit at will at the enemy then cos they think they know how it works….and project they do!

  38. #38 Red John
    December 30, 2009

    Traditional Christian New Years Celebration: Celebrate Circumcision of Christ.

    Traditional Pagan New Years Celebration: Drink massive quantities of alcohol and party.

    Pagans 1, Christians 0.

    I know which one I’m looking forward to.

  39. #39 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    @Mystic Olly (#36)

    ?Hmmm?, retorted W. ?and what would it look like if the Earth revolved around the Sun??.

    That really is an excellent point.

  40. #40 Mystic Olly
    December 30, 2009

    @39

    Well, I didn’t think it was a good point – it’s just that your comment reminded me of that anecdote . . .

    And if I don’t get to comment again tomorrow – have and Happy New Year to all . . .

    (PS If any of you are visiting the Iguacu falls in Brazil in the next year be sure to visit the Parque das Aves just by the entrance to the national park (end plug))

  41. #41 raven
    December 30, 2009

    Elmendorf sez:

    Evolution claims to be a self-caused, uphill process, but the principle of the second law of thermodynamics is that all processes are downhill.

    As a result, nothing can be built, plants and animals cannot grow, and the universe is a 3K vacuum with a thin scattering of quarks spread evenly in a 6000 light year radius.

    Worse than that. Humans are impossible. There is a theory that we all start out as a single celled zygote and then grow and develop in a womb into something called a baby. That baby develops into something called an adult.

    Obviously, such an uphill, self caused, self organizing process requiring energy and an increase in complexity couldn’t happen.

    Humans must just simply be poofed into existence because the second law of thermodynamics says so.

  42. #42 MadScientist
    December 30, 2009

    Yes, even in the 21st century – you know, Buck Rogers’ century – the catholic church still promotes its own superstition as well as promoting superstitions which it pretends to combat:

    http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=22994

    It appears that the voodoo priests of jesus don’t really believe that jesus alone can save them.

  43. #43 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    Raven:
    Excellent analogy. I may borrow that sometime (with credit, of course).

  44. #44 Andreas Johansson
    December 30, 2009

    I once had the questionable pleasure of having to explain to a creationist (Arthur Biele) that according to his understanding of the 2nd Law, it’s impossible to empty a glass of water.

  45. #45 Pierce R. Butler
    December 30, 2009

    raven @ # 25: Wikipedia Modern Geocentrism…

    Thx for supplying that (I wasn’t “calling bullshit”, ftr, just seeking source…).

    However, the article you cite doesn’t seem to have that 26% (of the xian fundies being geocentrists) number. The 20% figure comes, say the Wikians, from an unspecified study in a Morris Berman book I don’t have to hand, so further follow-up is not possible tonight.

    And my swiss-cheese memory is jabbering about some poll a few years back, taken over the phone, in which a few superstition-related questions got tacked on at the end because the researchers couldn’t afford a survey of their very own – one whose results were widely discounted once it was revealed the respondents were wrapping up an hour-plus ordeal and probably by then would’ve admitted to personally shooting Caesar. Could Berman have been citing that?

  46. #46 raven
    December 30, 2009

    Raven:
    Excellent analogy. I may borrow that sometime (with credit, of course).

    Sure. This isn’t anything I made up though. It is an old point that probably doesn’t have an identifiable author.

    Pierce, it is wikipedia. They don’t have everything. The 26% number comes from the original survey data. Gallup maybe??? who knows.

    The numbers are believable. Even in European countries they still get 10% of the population as Geocentrists. You have to remember that half the population has an IQ less than 100. A lot of 70’s to 100 in there.

  47. #47 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    This isn’t anything I made up though. It is an old point that probably doesn’t have an identifiable author.

    Ah. Well it’s a very good point and you’re the first person I have seen use it (I think). I’m grateful that I don’t get into discussions with creationists outside the internet very often. It happened once back in April, and it wasn’t very fun. It was a coworker and friend. The conversation went very rapidly from evolution to social darwinism to relativity to abiogenesis conservation of energy to relativity, with my hardly being able to get in a few words edgewise. The coworker refused to accept that there is supporting evidence for the effect of gravity on time (what would Einstein know, anyway?), and basically just refused to accept that just because he can’t understand something doesn’t mean other people can’t. He thought the conversation was enlightening, I thought it was like trying to nail Jell-O to a badger.

  48. #48 nejishiki
    December 30, 2009

    My favorite quote on thermodynamics and biology:

    “Recognition that the “entropy of a physical system” is not meaningful without further qualifications is important in clarifying many questions concerning irreversibility and the second law. For example, I have been asked several times whether, in my opinion, a biological system, say a cat, which converts inanimate food into a highly organized structure and behavior, represents a violation of the second law. The answer I always give is that, until we specify the set of parameters which define the thermodynamic state of the cat, no definite question has been asked!”
    E.T. Jaynes, “Gibbs vs. Boltzman Entropies. (1962)
    http://bayes.wustl.edu/etj/articles/gibbs.vs.boltzmann.pdf

  49. #49 Pierce R. Butler
    December 30, 2009

    Strangest brew @ # 37: … the nuts and bolts of that pile of dog turd…

    Either you win the Mixed Metaphor Du Jour prize – or you feed your mutt some heavy-duty chow.

  50. #50 CJO
    December 30, 2009

    Inducing a dumbass to confess that it sure seems to him like the sun goes around the Earth is not really the same as having identified “a geocentrist.” It’s just having identified a dumbass.

  51. #51 raven
    December 30, 2009

    The conversation went very rapidly from evolution to social darwinism to relativity to abiogenesis conservation of energy to relativity, with my hardly being able to get in a few words edgewise.

    That is the Gish Gallop. We’ve all seen it.

    As someone else stated, “It is almost impossible to turn a crackpot.”

    We just have to make sure they don’t overrun our society. The fundies are just baggage being draggged along for the ride.

    It sounds pathetic but all societies have baggage of one sort of another. So while we are dragging our baggage along, they are dragging theirs as well. If it wasn’t that way, we would be left behind in someone else’s dust.

    What makes this eerie is a well known fact. All civilizations fall sooner or later. In my lifetime the British empire and the Soviet empire both imploded. I’m hoping our US civilization lasts for my existence and that no one lets the fundies carve it up with their knife.

  52. #52 thomas.c.galvin
    December 30, 2009

    What makes this eerie is a well known fact. All civilizations fall sooner or later. In my lifetime the British empire and the Soviet empire both imploded. I’m hoping our US civilization lasts for my existence and that no one lets the fundies carve it up with their knife.

    I honestly think we’re in the last stages. There’s just so much wrong with our schools, our corporations, and our government to think that this whole lumbering beast of a country can continue on, and far too few people seem willing to make the changes necessary to salvage ourselves.

    But, much like the British empire, I think that this is just going to result in a decline in our overall standing in the world. China will soon be (and, according to some, already is) challenging out status as the “only world superpower,” the Euro is or will replace the American Dollar as the currency of record. English may decline in popularity, etc. We’ll still be around, we just won’t be the big kid on the block anymore.

    Which may or may not be a bad thing. I’d love to be on the “winning team,” so to speak, but not if the winning team is made up of creationists, climate change denialists, and the like.

  53. #53 Andreas Johansson
    December 30, 2009

    The numbers are believable. Even in European countries they still get 10% of the population as Geocentrists. You have to remember that half the population has an IQ less than 100. A lot of 70’s to 100 in there.

    I don’t think intelligence has much to do with it. One can be very stupid indeed and still learn to parrot commonly known facts.

    Apart from religious commitments, I figure that a big factor is lack of attention, either in school, or when answering the poll.

    (I’ve had a lot of conversations along the lines of “Did you X?”, “No, I did X” – presumably there’s a fair number of similar situations where they just say “no” …

    I may be a poor communicator, but so are a lot of pollsters.)

  54. #54 Paul
    December 30, 2009

    The coworker refused to accept that there is supporting evidence for the effect of gravity on time (what would Einstein know, anyway?)

    Forget Einstein, that’s just an appeal to authority. GPS would not work without relativistic adjustments to the clock rate on satellites.

  55. #55 Paul
    December 30, 2009

    Eww, somehow the link didn’t work. Here it is.

    Also, I didn’t mean to imply Einstein isn’t a good authority on physics (obviously). But there is no need for an appeal to authority when you can just as easily point to the actual evidence.

  56. #56 sqlrob
    December 30, 2009

    If this asshat can show me how the second law of thermodynamics and the biblical God can operate in the same world, I’ll pay him ten thousand dollars.

    Piece of cake. Anyone can do it.

    goddidit.

  57. #57 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    I didn’t intend to use Einstein as an authority, but I see why it looks that way. I only meant to invoke him as further illustration that arguments from ignorance are flawed. Just because my former coworker doesn’t understand gravity doesn’t mean there haven’t been other people who understood it better.

    Besides, he refused to allow the use of clocks to measure time in any sort of illustration, thus he dismissed the experiments involving atomic clocks at high altitudes. He would would just say that those clocks are flawed and don’t prove anything. Truly frustrating.

  58. #58 WowbaggerOM
    December 30, 2009

    He would would just say that those clocks are flawed and don’t prove anything. Truly frustrating.

    It sounds like one of those times when it’s good to remember the saying ‘you can’t reason someone out of a position they weren’t reasoned into’.

  59. #59 Red John
    December 30, 2009

    Humans must just simply be poofed into existence because the second law of thermodynamics says so.

    But then we have the question of how this ‘poofing’ is a downhill process, because if it’s not, then the 2nd law of thermodynamics rules out.

  60. #60 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    I thought it was like trying to nail Jell-O to a badger.

    Easily my favorite new saying

  61. #61 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    However, you can slap somebody out of a position they weren’t slapped into, and by the end of the conversation that’s all I wanted to do.

    Paul: Thanks for that link. It was a fascinating read. :-)

  62. #62 Red John
    December 30, 2009

    Grr, ‘rules it out’.

  63. #63 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    the fact that the Earth is not the center of the solar system or the galaxy does not mean it is not
    the center of the universe.

    Ehouse

  64. #64 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    the fact that the Earth is not the center of the solar system or the galaxy does not mean it is not
    the center of the universe.

    Except it’s not.

  65. #65 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    Is too.

  66. #66 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    Ohhhhh I see how it’s gonna be.

  67. #67 'Tis Himself, OM
    December 30, 2009

    The Earth is the center of the observable universe. And since the universe doesn’t actually have a center, the Earth will do as well as anywhere else.

  68. #68 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    The Earth is the center of the observable universe. And since the universe doesn’t actually have a center, the Earth will do as well as anywhere else.

    Does that mean my house is the center of the universe?

  69. #69 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    no, seriously, I don’t know that it is or isn’t. I was commenting on the above flawed logic.

    Ehouse

  70. #70 raven
    December 30, 2009

    the fact that the Earth is not the center of the solar system or the galaxy does not mean it is not the center of the universe.

    Yes, it does. Absolutely.

    If one assumes relativistic frames of reference, there is no center to the universe either. So no place can be the center or every point is the center.

  71. #71 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    I am tempted by the idea that all physical points are at the center of the universe.

    Ehouse

  72. #72 Red John
    December 30, 2009

    Does that mean my house is the center of the universe?

    No, because my house is the center of the universe.

  73. #73 RickR
    December 30, 2009

    “No, because my house is the center of the universe.”

    You’re all wrong.

    My cat is the center of the univers.

  74. #74 RickR
    December 30, 2009

    Universe, dammit.

  75. #75 Miki Z
    December 30, 2009

    We’ve been talking about relativistic frames of reference over at Zeno’s blog, which is more mathematically oriented than this one. It’s all about choosing the frame of reference that makes computation the simplest. If we choose a geocentric model we can reformulate the laws of planetary motion in terms of this new center and then, with any luck, prove that the new laws are “irreducibly complex”.

  76. #76 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    As is mine. We are living within the expanding moment, the expanding center, and are therefore part of it.

    Ehouse

  77. #77 John Morales
    December 30, 2009

    Miki Z,

    It’s all about choosing the frame of reference that makes computation the simplest.

    Indeed.

    [anecdote]

    I once wrote a program to do dart-scoring for a friend, where one could just click on a graphic of a dartboard as input. Determining where the click was seemed tricky, until I got the idea to use polar co-ordinates from the center¹; after that, the computations were trivial and the code much easier.

    ¹ The angle represents the number, the radius whether it’s a bull, single, double or triple. :)

  78. #78 a_ray_in_dilbert_space
    December 30, 2009

    The Universe has no center because at the time of the Big Bang, it consisted of a single geometric point. So, all points in the Universe (that is, still in causal contact with eachother) are equivalent. Wrap your mind around that.

  79. #79 Rorschach
    December 30, 2009

    I am tempted by the idea that all physical points are at the center of the universe.

    I want what he is smoking.

  80. #80 David Marjanovi?
    December 30, 2009

    mysterious barriers between species

    Hitler’s Iron Law of Nature.

    R.G. Elmendorf is a registered professional engineer and a graduate of Cornell University, who lives near Pittsburgh, Pa. Five years ago, he issued a $5,000 challenge to anyone who could show how evolution can operate in the same world as the second law of thermodynamics. He says he hasn’t paid off yet.

    Is that offer still valid? If so, can someone send me his contact information? I could make good use indeed of 5 kilobucks…!

    ?Hmmm?, retorted W. ?and what would it look like if the Earth revolved around the Sun??

    Pure genius. A white crystalline powder.

  81. #81 Ehouse
    December 30, 2009

    ref #75

    that’s going back to the solar system again. Earth’s relation to the universe can’t be extrapolated from it’s relation to the solar system or galaxy. The laws of planetary motion do not apply.

    The universe is the center of the universe.

    Ehouse

  82. #82 Don Smith
    December 30, 2009

    Hey PZ,

    You missed one of the hallmarks of creationist screeds:

    R.G. Elmendorf is a registered professional engineer

    The author’s completely irrelevant area of expertise cited as if it means something.

  83. #83 Rutee, Shrieking Harpy of Dooooom
    December 30, 2009

    Alright, can someone please explain to me, without straw manning, how thermodynamics has fuck-all to say about Evolution?

  84. #84 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    Alright, can someone please explain to me, without straw manning, how thermodynamics has fuck-all to say about Evolution?

    It doesn’t, yet idiot creationists want to say that because evolution requires an increase of information (and they say that is equal to energy) that it goes against 2LoT. They forget about closed systems and other things that make them look foolish.

  85. #85 Rev. BigDumbChimp
    December 30, 2009

    blockquote fail

  86. #86 tsg
    December 30, 2009

    Forget Einstein, that’s just an appeal to authority.

    Just to be pedantic, it’s not an appeal to authority if the authority being appealed to is an expert on the subject being discussed. But, yes, actual evidence trumps an expert saying it’s so.

  87. #87 Rorschach
    December 30, 2009

    Just to be pedantic, it’s not an appeal to authority if the authority being appealed to is an expert on the subject being discussed

    Just to be extremely anal, it is not always and automatically an appeal to authority if the authority being applealed to is an expert on the subject being discussed.

    ;)

  88. #88 Kel, OM
    December 30, 2009

    Alright, can someone please explain to me, without straw manning, how thermodynamics has fuck-all to say about Evolution?

    The misconception of entropy, that everything is heading towards disorder – so how could evolution make order?

    At least that’s the thinking, even if it did affect in the way they wish it to then it is still no problem to evolution because of the DNA as the mechanism. Unfortunately as Dawkins* puts it, the dead hand of Plato means that people see perfect forms and degradation from such form. As opposed to seeing change in form over time where successful incarnations get passed on.

    *Wasn’t Dawkins but I read it in his book

  89. #89 John Morales
    December 30, 2009

    Rutee, SHoD,

    Alright, can someone please explain to me, without straw manning, how thermodynamics has fuck-all to say about Evolution?

    Hee hee¹. May I direct you to talk.origins? :)

    (more generally, here).

    ¹ Sorry, it’s not often that I link to it for non-creos… but TA links or quotes them accurately.

  90. #90 KOPD42
    December 30, 2009

    … straw manning …

    Peyton’s cousin?

    Anyway, if it wasn’t for the sun they might have a point. But since the earth is not a closed system, the 2nd law of thermodynamics has exactly fuck-all to do with evolution.

  91. #91 Uzziel
    December 30, 2009

    If I may offer a slight bit of criticism on this post . . .

    Linking to a 28-year old creationist rant and saying “look, the creationists never learn” isn’t exactly a water-tight argument. It’s obvious to those of us who follow these folks that they hardly ever come up with new arguments (I think irreducible complexity was that last halfway decent one), but this post, taken by itself, doesn’t really demonstrate the point.

    It would be nice to link to a couple of more recent attempts by creationists to bring these arguments to bear. I’m sure there are many other examples.

  92. #92 Kel, OM
    December 30, 2009

    Linking to a 28-year old creationist rant and saying “look, the creationists never learn” isn’t exactly a water-tight argument.

    I think the latter is implied, that the readers here know what arguments are paraded by creationists today – yet historically some of us weren’t even born in 1981 ;)

  93. #93 kantalope
    December 30, 2009

    Good luck on collecting your kilobucks…I imagine the catch is you have to convince said engineer to collect and that person is totally unable to be convinced.

    And that is a pretty good catch.

    I recommend trying it small scale: try convincing a garden snail or rock.

    It would help if you play a tape that repeats nahnahnah can’t hear you over and over

  94. #94 nejishiki
    December 30, 2009

    Alright, can someone please explain to me, without straw manning, how thermodynamics has fuck-all to say about Evolution?

    It doesn’t really. You can’t simply look at a process and say it violates the 2nd law. You need more than that, preferably some kind of measurement that shows a violation, or a really tight statistical argument that includes all necessary variables.

    It does have relevance, though, in that organisms can’t violate the laws of thermodynamics any more than they can violate other laws of physics, so we will expect them to deal with this in the course of evolution. But, while this is true, it’s not really interesting until you apply it to specific species or biological processes where it can actually give insight.

  95. #95 WowbaggerOM
    December 30, 2009

    Linking to a 28-year old creationist rant and saying “look, the creationists never learn” isn’t exactly a water-tight argument.

    I don’t know; a 28-year old creationist rant isn’t all that long when you’re talking about people who are basing their lives on a 2-thousand-year-old fairy tale.

  96. #96 MrFire
    December 30, 2009

    It’s obvious to those of us who follow these folks that they hardly ever come up with new arguments (I think irreducible complexity was that last halfway decent most recent one)

  97. #97 Uzziel
    December 30, 2009

    I think the latter is implied, that the readers here know what arguments are paraded by creationists today – yet historically some of us weren’t even born in 1981 ;)

    Oh, you kids today . . .

  98. #98 MrFire
    December 30, 2009

    Additional text fail @96. I meant to add a winky as a peace gesture. So:

    ;)

  99. #99 Antiochus Epiphanes
    December 30, 2009

    The Universe has no center because at the time of the Big Bang, it consisted of a single geometric point. So, all points in the Universe (that is, still in causal contact with eachother) are equivalent. Wrap your mind around that.

    Apt metaphor: Imagine a two dimensional universe. All points on the universe can be plotted on the surface of a baloon. As the baloon expands so does the distance between points*. However, there doesn’t need to be any center, as it were. Now imagine a three dimensional universe…ow. My brain broke.

    *oooo…and notice how the further distant the points were from eachother, the more quickly they recede causing light waves to spread out into the red end of the spectrum.

  100. #100 Uzziel
    December 30, 2009

    @98 – ‘sokay, that was hilarious.

  101. #101 Pygmy Loris
    December 31, 2009

    Only 1 out of 50 science majors believed that human beings evolved from apes. Here’s the problem, though: if someone asked me that question, I’d usually say no, too. I wish the has asked if “human beings and apes evolved from a common ancestor.”

    Humans did evolve from apes. Our last common ancestor with Pan and Gorilla was most certainly an “ape”. I would say humans evolved from apes. It’s simple truth. I would also say humans evolved from monkeys. The last common ancestor of humans and Papio hamadryas, the hamadryas baboon, was an animal we would call a monkey.

    Of course, monkeys and apes are both paraphyletic groups.

  102. #102 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    I would also say humans evolved from monkeys.

    But, but, then why are there still monkeys ??
    Answer that, ha !!

  103. #103 Pygmy Loris
    December 31, 2009

    But, but, then why are there still monkeys ??
    Answer that, ha !!

    Curses, foiled again! :)

  104. #104 Don Smith
    December 31, 2009

    Humans didn’t evolve from apes – we ARE apes.

  105. #105 Joe the Plumber
    December 31, 2009

    @82:
    Depressingly enough, it seems to be easy to pull “professional engineers” to the dark side of cre*ti*nist boondoggery (not that there is another side)
    It’s called the Salem hypothesis (and PZ, of course, has already been smack on it) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_hypothesis

    In addition to the hypotheses listed, I wonder if a deeply ingrained disposition to tinkering predisposes “professional engineers” to believing in the Great Tinkerer in the Sky?

  106. #106 JohnnieCanuck
    December 31, 2009

    … then why are there still monkeys?

    For the same reason there are still Catholics.

  107. #107 eddie
    December 31, 2009

    So many people seem to miss the point of the geocentrism argument, on both sides. Of course the sun can be said to go round the earth, or vice versa depending on the frame of reference. The xtian dogma was that everything; sun, planets, stars revolve around the earth. Plainly false.

  108. #108 John Morales
    December 31, 2009

    Never mind geocentrism, that’s nothing.

    The universe is made specifically as a stage for people (anthropocentrism), as Shakespeare intimated.

    (Do I need a smiley? ;))

  109. #109 scooterKPFT
    December 31, 2009

    All of you frickin atheists are wrong.

    Wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

    There IS a God !!!11!!

    BEHOLD !!!11!!

    Praise BoB

  110. #110 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    scooter,

    we’ve already covered that here !

    ;)

  111. #111 jennyxyzzy
    December 31, 2009

    #105

    In addition to the hypotheses listed, I wonder if a deeply ingrained disposition to tinkering predisposes “professional engineers” to believing in the Great Tinkerer in the Sky?

    No, that’s not it. Or rather, any engineer that thinks like that is a really bad engineer. A good engineer can often look at a system that they don’t know, and ask themself ‘how would I go about building that?’, and as they are a good engineer, they come up with the right answer of how the system was built.

    However, that only works for systems that are man-made. If you try to apply that trick to things that the natural world throws at us, you get an awful lot of WTF moments. Why is the human eye designed the way it is? Why do we suffer from auto-imune diseases? Quantum physics?!?! That is why we have scientists, to figure this stuff out, instead of just grabbing the nearest engineer and asking them how it’s done.

    So, good engineers figure out very quickly that they can guess right for man made systems, and that they guess wrong for non-man made systems. Bad engineers on the other hand are regularly confronted with complex systems that they don’t understand, regardless of whether they are created by man or by nature. They aren’t able to tell the difference between the two, but they note the superficial similariy of great complexity between the two types of systems.

  112. #112 John Morales
    December 31, 2009

    Jenny @111, that’s the best and most plausible explanation of the phenomenom I’ve ever come across!

  113. #113 Rorschach
    December 31, 2009

    Why is the human eye designed the way it is?

    Unfortunate wording, that.
    PAX6 would disagree with that !

  114. #114 Baccala
    December 31, 2009

    Jenny #111 nicely put

    Raven also in regard to your statistics – I can see it.

    I add my 30% rule to the equation. That is that in general in the USA 30% of population is RWA in nature. Intelligence, professional accreditation, education, environment, and stunning counter argument has no bearing on their instilled beliefs.

    They have a psychologically deep seated need to have authorities, dogma, and faith in their lives – and to passionately and unwaveringly support them intellectually and otherwise. They also need enemies to their stands on things (so they can wage “holy wars” – another need) and scapegoats (people and things that somehow muck up their view of truth and a perfect world).

    Most standard walks of life have RWA members. Some walks of life have a greater share because that environment selects for them. Some have a lesser share for the same reason. But any standard walk can be contaminated at sometime and to some degree.

    For instance – scientist paths are not ideal environments for them. But occasionally there are brilliant scientists with major cognitive dissonance between professional and non-professional lives. And there are those scientists that operate on a cult of personality within the field (to them all is erroneous if it violates their scientific dogma especially if its their guru’s scientific cult dogma – facts be damned).

    Engineers and doctors have a greater share because those fields are more friendly to RWAs. They are more organized in thought and practice for one thing. And they have the facts more concretely (the handbooks) – that is it is a more black and white world – less discovery and more application. This is not to demean anything – or even say creativity does not exists there. But just that the environments of those fields are less precluding than say a career in theoretical science.

    Obviously among PhD’s in Theology the proportion of RWAs will be much greater. But from the other side of the spectrum – even Theology is contaminated with non-RWAs. These non-RWAs are more prone to lose their faith and move to other fields and/or become essentially secular theologians that are in it for a variety of secular reasons good and bad.

    We are a mixing pot if not a melting pot.

  115. #115 Forbidden Snowflake
    December 31, 2009

    I was about to storm in and protest all the hatin’ on engineers, but suddenly remembered an instance a few weeks ago, right after a lab experiment, when the instructor (an engineering grad student) recommended that my lab partner see an acupuncturist about her medical problems, and stated some bogus hand-waving reason why the effectiveness of acupuncture can’t be tested scientifically.
    I know, this isn’t creationism, this is an completely unrelated form of epic fail, but it utterly deflated what was supposed to be my bold defence of engineers everywhere.

  116. #116 Baccala
    December 31, 2009

    Forbidden Snowflake – I don’t think you have to defend anyone

    All of us have our wishful thinking “facts” we go by when the chips are not down

    And as I mentioned above – with about 30% of the population prone to RWA thinking well some will slip into all professions

    Happy New Year

  117. #117 Andreas Johansson
    December 31, 2009

    RWA?

  118. #118 alfedenzo
    December 31, 2009
  119. #119 Paul
    December 31, 2009

    Just to be pedantic, it’s not an appeal to authority if the authority being appealed to is an expert on the subject being discussed.

    Just to be pedantic, appealing to an authority is appealing to an authority, whether or not said authority is an expert. But that does not make it a fallacy, and I never implied it was.

  120. #120 tsg
    December 31, 2009

    Just to be extremely anal, it is not always and automatically an appeal to authority if the authority being applealed to is an expert on the subject being discussed.

    After having done some research, I will retract my statement. I have been laboring under the misconception that the Appeal to Authority Fallacy only counted case #2 from here ie. quoting a respected person that is not an expert in the field. It turns out that this particular instance qualified under case #1 from the same link ie. the authority is unnecessary, the evidence can be examined directly.

    We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

  121. #121 Qwerty
    December 31, 2009

    From Zeno:

    “[Elmendorf] also suffers from a poverty of imagination.”

    Yes, this is what I think distinquishes creationists from those who examine the evidence and think evolution is a fact. The creationist lacks imagination. Why else would anyone believe in Genesis which is on its face a simplistic origin myth?

  122. #122 DLC
    December 31, 2009

    but, I don’t have faith in the scientific method!
    I don’t claim that science works without any proof of that. I know it, because science delivers the goods. (to borrow from Sagan)
    It’s not a matter of irrational belief, but of certain knowledge.
    One cannot focus a telescope upon God and know anything about him/her/it/them. One can focus a telescope upon Epsilon Eridani and discover things about that.

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