We here at the seminary have enjoyed kicking Ken Ham and his ridiculous ideas about science around. Today, I came across a twelve year old post from his organization of dipshits, Answers In Genesis. Poke around, they’re hilarious if you have a smattering of understanding evolution and the scientific method.
The post is titled, “Do Creationists Reject Science?” The answer, of course, is yes. They don’t expect their ignorant readers to know any better, though.
Let’s take this baby paragraph by paragraph. I may ignore one or two if they bore me.
“Anyone familiar with the creation/evolution debate should know that anti-creationists love to lob the accusation that creationists are “anti-science” or that they “reject science.” Evolutionists frequently label creationists “flat-earthers” and even go as far as suggesting that consistent creationists should deny the law of gravity!”
There is no such thing as an “evolutionist”. It is a scientific theory that is 100% accepted by scientists who study the natural world. The dichotomy is clear: you either believe the bullshit in the Bible, or you believe in what science has proven to be true, which makes you a scientist. Our early writers of the creation hadn’t a clue about what was above or below them. It’s really not much of a stretch between them and flat-earthers of today.
Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of biblical creationists and Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).
What the fuck is a Darwinist? Again, this is ridiculous terminology, science isn’t arguing his theories anymore. These idiots can’t even get the idea of a hypothesis correct. You begin not with something unprovable- why the fuck would you bother doing an experiment if your conclusion would never waver from the hypothesis? You begin with something falsifiable-something that is subject to disproof, but could, through the rest of the steps in the scientific method, be shown to be true, or come to a conclusion that requires more hypotheses. That is how it is done. This has nothing to do with faith. If we are simply talking about cosmology and physics, then we must work backwards through the evidence to get the clearest possible picture of what is happening in the universe and what has happened. We’ve gotten so good that we know what happened a ten thousandth of a second before the creation of the universe. And we’re not guessing at that point-we’re observing and using theories of energy and matter distribution that prove to be correct every time. Some of us are answering the question of how what seems like nothing became something. We’re doing exciting work, exciting thinking-not this boring-ass Biblical shit whose writers were consumed by superstition 2000 years ago.
You can’t ask a question, fail to get your answer, and just go “God must have done it. It says so right here in this Bible”. It’s a particular Christian prejudice they will never unlearn. God exists because the Bible says so, and the bible is the word of God.
Holy fucking circular logic.
But they do it anyway:
For Bible-believing Christians, God’s Word is our starting point: our presupposed foundation through which we interpret and balance fallen man’s ideas, including those derived scientifically. Although some may consider this a foolish faith, everyone has such faith in something. But which is foolish: faith in the unmovable Word of the omniscient creator God or faith in man’s fallible, changing ideas?
A-ha. You motherfuckers ARE anti-science, because our fallible changing ideas are what help us move on to more advanced experiments. When we developed things like lenses, the whole world was new. Nothing was as it seemed, small or large. You couldn’t ignore the previous fallibility if you tried. It’s the nature of science to keep questioning and looking, unless you are up against something like evolution, which has been impossible to disprove. Evidence piles up for it constantly, through the fossil record, through direct observation of organisms, and our ability to look at the genomes of any creature we wish. That is why it has special status as a theory, like relativity, like gravity. It remains the same no matter how many whacks you take at it (this is not totally true for some of these but for simplicity’s sake let’s leave it alone).
Also causing confusion is the simple distinction some try to make between “faith” and “science.” Answers in Genesis believes this dichotomy is in error, because some form of faith (in a religion) is required to believe in creation or evolution. Both creation and evolution make claims about an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. Thus both creation and evolution fall under the category of historical science.
The old “you weren’t there, so how could you know” argument. Well, that pretty much kills both science and religion, doesn’t it? Only belief in a magic book can get you out of this conundrum. I’ve already addressed the fact that there’s plenty of the observable past inside and outside our bodies.
This author goes on to extol the work of Gregor Mendel, a monk who taught us a lot about breeding and genetics by studying butterflies; and to disparage the work of Darwin, who merely made up a “story” about what he “thought” might be true. Mere “philosophizing”. In the author’s mind, these are different things, and one is of no use. But we do what Darwin did all the damn time in science; we see something interesting, and begin formulating hypotheses and creating ideas. And like it or not, Darwin has been right on the money every time. Indeed, we are all related, from the protozoan to the human. This is a process that has taken billions of years to occur. Religious weirdos always think that evolution must always mean a jump to another rung on the species ladder. No. Things evolve all the time. Every time something reproduces, an evolution can occur. Could be a negative one. There are so many factors that can contribute to an evolutionary change-even mere chance and error. It takes time we often can’t comprehend for life to order itself in a radically different macroevolutionary manner. The similarities between all creatures, though are simply impossible to ignore. But we have to be “special” in the religious mind, so people like Ken Ham won’t really engage Darwin’s actual theories, merely present cartoon versions of it. It’s easier to demolish a strawman than have an actual argument.
They end thusly:
We believe that the evidence, when speaking for itself, attests to the faith required to assemble a viewpoint on origins. When students have access to both sides of the argument, we have no doubt they will see that evolution, like creation, is a position supportable only through faith. When they see that many of the “evidences” for evolution are simply suppositions, they will understand that only God can give an eye-witness account. And, as we know from science, first-hand experience is much more reliable than just-so stories.
Do these people see the things they write? Is there anything more story-like than the creation myth? Talking snakes? Whole people made from ribs? Magic apples? Punishment by a deity just for knowing stuff? Light being created before the sun? The moon as a light source? Flaming swords and angels? And that’s just the first three idiotic chapters of the Bible. But somehow that’s more convincing than what science, always wondering, has shown us how things really are. And it will continue to find itself incorrect and improve upon itself and that is OK.
Uncertainty is what the religious mind cannot handle. We who are done with silly superstitions are fine with the unknown. You can’t know what you can’t know. So it goes.
My kids wear a shirt that says, “The thing about science is that it’s true whether you believe it or not”.
That about nails it.But as you may have noticed, some people are having issues with the facts that teachers tell children. They shut down talk of sex. They whine about “new math”(which is only a paper representation of what your brain does anyway). And, they get positively apoplectic when evolution is taught.
In sum, these poor kids who have to suffer this will go into the world very ignorant of basic reality. Some call it child abuse. I don’t know if I’d go that far, but I bristle when I get told that I have a religion because I believe in evolution:
A federal court rejected the argument from a Christian group in Kansas which said that evolution was religious “indoctrination” and should not be taught in schools.
COPE said that teaching evolution took children “into the religious sphere by leading them to ask ultimate religious questions like what is the cause and nature of life and the universe – ‘where do we come from?’”
What? Huh? These are not religious questions. The’re fundamentally existential. Everyone asks these questions at some point, and not all of them come to a conclusion that we are here because of a god.
You know, I have got to hand it to the court system lately. Even in a bass-ackward state like Kansas judges know that something stinks about their claims about the school system endangering children:
But the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver last week upheld a lower court’s ruling which said that COPE lacked standing to bring the suit because it could not show that it had been harmed.
Bam. Case closed. Sanity rules the day. Blow it out your ass, Christians. Your quest to make your kids dumb is thwarted, at least for the time being.
It’s Sunday. I’m kind of tired. Go read Why Evolution Is True instead of here. He addresses the creationist “you weren’t there so how can you say it happened” claptrap regarding the distant past. I took a stab at it, but WEIT found the words I was lacking. A small sample:
None of us were there during the American Revolution either, or when Julius Caesar was assassinated. Reader George probably never met his great-grandparents. How can he prove they existed? The same way we find evidence of any past event! If science relied only on things we could see happen in our lifetimes, we would be immensely less knowledgeable.
Science 1, God 0.
Alternately, you can check out what’s on my mental jukebox.
I’m not Wonkette. I do not have infinite patience for the sad and absurd in the world, nor do I make any money chronically cataloguing it. Sometimes I find something so godawfully fucked up that I just have to hang my head, shake it slowly back and forth and go, “damn”.
That’s what happens to me when I read about Megan Fox. No, not this one:
Maybe you haven’t heard of the other one I know. Here’s that one:
What’s in a name, right? Well, they may have something in common. They are both not very bright. They are also good at acting. The first Megan is an action star. The other one is a walking comedy. Sadly, we will be talking about the second one today.
Megan Fox is a Christian homeschooler. She once went to a science museum and “audited” the exhibits about the evolution of life. I don’t recommend that you watch that for more than a few minutes. I don’t want you to be convinced that she is right and lose you to the light side. No, it’s more like am trying to save you from a nosebleed. I myself haven’t been able to finish it. Now, normally, if you’re going to prove a scientific theory wrong, you must at least know as much as the theoretician about the subject matter before you go about critiquing it. It stands to reason that you must first understand something before you try to fix it. Megan doesn’t roll that way, though. She made a horse’s ass of herself, snarking at the exhibits and “debunking” them with her all-too-common sense. Then she went to a creationist museum and her Occam’s Razor suddenly got dull, proclaiming it “convincing”. Because supernatural beings and Noah’s Ark certainly sound less crazy than how life became and becomes so diversified.
Megan honey, sarcasm and funny faces have not, and likely will not dislodge the theory of evolution from the scientific canon-much as my sarcasm will not dislodge you from believing in your creationism. Maybe it’s a matter of taste. Megan believes what her Bible tells her to. I think the scientific method is the best way to find out what things are and what things happened. Proving the existence of God relies on a simple tautology; that the bible is the true Word of God. Why? Because the bible says so. I prefer the idea of an evolving (sorry, Megan) body of accumulated knowledge that is testable and falsifiable. Megan’s “science” would have me look around at how perfect this world is, and how it must have been created by God. But we have microscopes and telescopes telling us that order and beauty is an illusion. Those who perform observations have been wrong about shit all the live long day. But slowly but surely we learn more about the things in this strange and improbable universe, and we don’t think a even more improbable god is the key to knowing it all. And they call the best of our tested hypotheses facts. Facts are hard to disprove. And evolution is one of those facts. Megan, you must know the theory of evolution like the back of your hand if you want to “audit” it. I bet you have never cracked open “On The Origin Of Species” to find out how natural selection works, or even Googled yourself into knowing about it. And the video makes clear that she is painfully ignorant of actual evolutionary theory. She relies on tired canards like “we weren’t there so we don’t know” or things “why don’t bears turn into horses”?
I ain’t no expert, but I have a basic familiarity with speciation, genetic drift, die-offs, bottlenecks, dead ends, and the environment’s factorial effect on its lifeforms. Bears don’t turn into horses because they are not on the same tree of species, you half-wit. No evolutionary biologist is asserting that that ever, ever happened. And nothing happened instantaneously-macro evolution takes eons to occur. The complexity of life didn’t just happen (oh, wait, to you it did!). And the idea that just because we weren’t there it isn’t possible to know anything about that location or time period is beyond the pale. I believe in the expansion of the universe because of the Doppler effect, and I believe that dinosaurs existed millions and millions of years ago because stratigraphy and radiometric analysis of fossils tells us that it is true. I believe in endosymbiosis, the theory that shows that the organelles of our cells may be the remnants of ancient prokaryotic bacteria that came together to form the eukaryotic cells that make up us and all the other complex life forms. These are pieces of knowledge I have gathered as a curious individual. They have been confirmed by rigorous testing. And until someone unlike Megan Fox comes up with a scientific refutation of these theories, I will probably not change my mind. I wonder Megan, since you weren’t there for creation, how can you know it happened your way? Nope, gimme that Bible, dingaling.
To make a long story short, Fox can make fun of evolutionary theory because she doesn’t understand a word of it. Her whole idea of evolution is one big strawman. She is the stupid’s smart. She’s not even that-she’s just plain stupid, and we have to share oxygen with her, even though from an evolutionary standpoint that is inadvisable.