Man, Todd Friel is painful to listen to — so many grating rhetorical tics. Can someone tell me where this weird habit of carefully voicing every vowel and adding extra vowels to the ends of words come from? When he calls Bill Nye unreasonable and lying, it comes out
UN-REEE-ZUN-A-BULL-AH and LIE-ING-UH. It makes him irritating to listen to before I even think about the content.
Here, you can suffer too.
If you don’t want to listen — and I don’t blame you — I’ll give you instead his two stupid arguments against Bill Nye’s points in the recent creation debate. They are focused entirely on the bogus distinction Ken Ham makes between observational and historical science. I can tell I am going to have to spend a lot of time in the future slapping down idiots who triumphantly march up to me and declare that evolution is a historical science, and therefore I made it up.
His first case is an example of the two kinds of science. He has a bug on a piece of paper; he declares that he’s about to do “observational science”, and he merely describes it. It’s got spots, it’s got eight [???] legs, it’s some kind of ladybug or stinkbug. Already I can tell he’s not very good at this, but he announces that this is the only true science.
What would historical science be? Then he provides a couple of scenarios, that someone carried it in their pocket and put it there for him to find, or that it flew in through a window. But we can’t know! Nothing in the past can ever be tested scientifically! In Todd Friel’s world, he could have been snorting cocaine off a rent-boy’s butt yesterday, and because it isn’t happening right now in front of you, it didn’t happen. Awfully convenient for Todd.
But actually, we can test hypotheses about the past. Did it just fly in? If his recording studio were in Minnesota right now, we could definitively say no — a small beetle would last for milliseconds at -20°C. Did someone carry it in? Much more likely — we could check who has access to agricultural supply houses, we could talk to people, we can even be pretty confident that Friel set this all up in advance. Did God just poof it into existence on that piece of paper? That’s the least likely possibility. We can examine similar and prior conditions and determine the relative probability of whole sets of causal events in the past, and even make tests. For instance, Darwin hypothesized that Pacific islands were colonized by seeds that drifted across the ocean, and he did experiments, soaking seeds in salt water for varying lengths of time to test how long they could survive and germinate. To claim that you can’t do tests of ideas about the past is simply nonsense.
Friel was also LIE-ING-UH. He tried to rebut Nye’s claim of trees that are 9550 years old, older than the Earth in the creationists’ myth, by saying flat out that they were NOT dated by counting tree rings. Actually, yes, they were, and the ice cores were dated by counting layers. It actually is that straight-forward. Then Friel announced that their age was determined by radiocarbon dating…
which is proved, PROVED, not to be reliable. Carbon dating is reliable within its boundary conditions. My car is reliable as well, but I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t work if I dropped it through a hole in the ice over Lake Minnewaska and then tried to start it as it was sitting on the lake floor. Does that PROVE that I cannot use it to drive from Morris to Minneapolis? Especially in the face of evidence that I do exactly that fairly regularly?
His second big example of Nye being an UN-REE-ZUN-A-BULL-AH man is that Nye pointed out that no wooden boat has been built that was the size of the ark, and that past efforts to build very large wooden ships failed because the material is not adequate to handle the stresses of the sea — they twisted and leaked and were a pain to maintain. I’d say that that’s pretty good observational science: build something, test it, and see if it’s possible. Then we can apply those observations to the past; is it likely that 8 Mesopotamian farmers could build a boat that exceeded the physical properties of the material, with techniques far greater in reliability than those developed by thousands of skilled shipwrights with centuries of shipbuilding expertise? Friel says yes. He waves his hands and said maybe Noah and friends figured out a better way to construct wooden boats.
Then, right after that, he floors me by announcing that we can’t convince Nye because Nye doesn’t care about the evidence.
Hey, where did this giant palm print in the middle of my face come from? I guess I’ll never know, because it happened two minutes ago, and that’s historical science.