Uh-uh-uh! You didn't say the magic word!
May 22, 2005 11:57 AM   Subscribe

Fig-leaf-eating Velociraptor Scandal! Look, I've got nothing against religion but if you believe a word of it you are, in the words of Robert Burns, "a dumbass fuck".
posted by Pretty_Generic (181 comments total)

 
Denial runs deep in the Bible Belt.
posted by veronitron at 12:01 PM on May 22, 2005


Homer: "Jesus must be spinning in his grave."
posted by fossil_human at 12:07 PM on May 22, 2005


Ah, but you see, PG, that's just some wakos. Most of the real christians are educated, rational and reasonable people.

/sarcasm
posted by c13 at 12:08 PM on May 22, 2005


My five year old boy knows more about dinosaurs than any of these fuckwits. It's just a huge shame that people who might believe this gibberish stay quiet about it in the UK or I would be sorely tempted to let him humiliate them.
posted by longbaugh at 12:21 PM on May 22, 2005


c13: They are. Never confuse the radical right with true conservatism. and never confuse fundamentalists with mainstream religious thought.

You are using the actions on the extreme to tarnish the beliefs of millions of people who believe in God, but do so in a more-rational, less-public fashion.
posted by hipnerd at 12:23 PM on May 22, 2005


Imaginary friends are great, but just keep them out of the scientific museums.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:27 PM on May 22, 2005


Tell me again why democracy is such a good idea in a country run by christian cultist nutters? Seems like a benevolent dictatorship might be a better answer... It certainly seems to be the case now, the problem is the wrong dictator is in power. . .
posted by mk1gti at 12:28 PM on May 22, 2005


If there's no death, why can anyone eat vegetables? Doesn't that kill plants, too? :x
posted by taursir at 12:35 PM on May 22, 2005


An illustration shows two green sauropods in the ark alongside more conventional elephants and lions.

But why wouldn't the lions just eat the peaceful sauropods? This just isn't adding up.
posted by cmonkey at 12:38 PM on May 22, 2005


The final exhibit depicts the Ice Age, where the last dinosaurs existed with woolly mammoths until the cold and hunting by cavemen caused them to die out.

The Bible doesn't say anything about any so-called "Ice Age." Blasphemers!
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:43 PM on May 22, 2005


hipnerd: Gallup says Creationism has a very, very strong penentration in the US:

Which of the following statements comes closest to your views on the origin and development of human beings?

1) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process [38%]

2) Human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process [13%]

3) God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so? [45%]

So 45% of the country is uneducatable dumbasses.

And 34% of the country think the bible is the literal, inerrant word of God.

Not to politicize things, but it needs to be said that Christian fundies, at 20% of the electorate, gave Bush his strongest support among any demographic, 80%. While I think we anti-Busheviks have built Karl Rove into a arch-mastermind, certainly his strategy to hook the idiot fundies was a stroke of electoral brilliance. Pander to them and you've got a very solid bloc of voters.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:46 PM on May 22, 2005


mkgti: Hitler apparently had a saying that democracy was fundamentally flawed since the vote of an idiot and wise man counts the same. I like Churchill's "least-worst" formulation instead, Hitler, and Civ II, having demonstrated that enlightened despotate ain't so hot either.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:48 PM on May 22, 2005


Fascism works fantastically well in Civ III.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 12:52 PM on May 22, 2005


i don't understand why god would make slow and soft gentle plant eaters and agile sharp toothed carnivores, then set them both about eating grass.

I know it was the snake that tempted eve, but i bet the lions put him up to it.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 12:53 PM on May 22, 2005


If there's no death, why can anyone eat vegetables? Doesn't that kill plants, too? :x

Come on, taursir...everyone knows they go to Veggie Heaven.
posted by ktoad at 12:54 PM on May 22, 2005


That's not the only one. Another "creation museum" is opening up near Cincinnati.
posted by tizzie at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2005


We need an invasion and occupation by scientists--I swear to God.
posted by amberglow at 12:55 PM on May 22, 2005


amberglow, I couldn't agree more. Between creation myths and stem cell phobia, we need an intervention.
posted by tizzie at 12:57 PM on May 22, 2005


Heywood Mogroot
Karl Rove's strategy to hook the idiot fundies was a stroke of electoral brilliance. Pander to them and you've got a very solid bloc of voters.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
And there's the rub: Who in their right, civilized mind would want to lower themselves to consort with such pointy-headed morons. One may as well bathe with swine in a pigsty...
We may as well fence off the country to keep the easily misled and enraged from harming others. They certainly seem to think that would be the best thing to do with those who do not share their deluded, backward views.
Not saying we should build concentration camps or anything, but it certainly does seem that this government is moving in the direction of doing everything it can to disenfranchise the citizen from active participation in the function of government (Dept. of Homeland Security, No fly lists, endless war on terror and related budget shortages for everything else needed to run or advance a society), reduction of funding for education, sending as many jobs overseas as they can think of 'for the sake of the stockholders', disempowerment of the 'liberal media' (sock puppets).
I'm just sayin'
posted by mk1gti at 1:01 PM on May 22, 2005


I'm all in favour of the fundies having their own museums. For one thing it'll keep them from burning down ours in a protest against "the evolution heresy".
posted by clevershark at 1:11 PM on May 22, 2005


Yeah, I have to back up Mogroot in Mogroot vs. hipnerd. There's not much confusion going on when secular, rational, educated people point out that creationism certainly is in the 'main stream' of Christian thought.

Personally, I wish all of the supposedly rational and educated and middle-of-the-road Christians would make their voices heard, if they do exist, by protesting against the hijacking of religion by their more insane nutjob counterparts. Where are all the op-eds by Christians aimed at other Christians? The only people I ever hear backing up evolution are folks like Richard Dawkins.

Not just on evolution, but on everything too. Everytime MeFi goes overboard Christian-bashing, somebody pops up to say that actually, the vast majority Christians are totally reasonable people who, for example, believe in science and equal rights and individual liberty from government. Well, fat lot of good that silent majority is doing.
posted by josh at 1:12 PM on May 22, 2005


Heywood Mogroot writes "Pander to them and you've got a very solid bloc of voters."

Some people say there's good money to be made in prostitution, but most of us are damned if we're ever going to find out if it's true.
posted by clevershark at 1:14 PM on May 22, 2005


Ah, the five thousandth MeFi thread that exists for no other reason than to give the large MeFi contingent of smug atheists the five thousandth chance to yammer smugly about how stupid religion is and how dumb believers are. And look, this time we get a chance to dump on Southerners too! The Ozarks, hee haw! And if anyone disagrees, we exercise that famed MeFi wit and tell them to "fuck off." I love the smell of assholery in the morning.
posted by languagehat at 1:19 PM on May 22, 2005


languagehat writes "Ah, the five thousandth MeFi thread that exists for no other reason than to give the large MeFi contingent of smug atheists the five thousandth chance to yammer smugly about how stupid religion is and how dumb believers are."

You gotta love an argument where both sides spend their time painting the other with wide brushes.
posted by clevershark at 1:21 PM on May 22, 2005


So you're down with the creationist-educational-dinosaur-museum thing, languagehat? You consider it beyond reproach?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:22 PM on May 22, 2005


So, languagehat: are you going to stand up and defend the creationist museum, or what?
posted by josh at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2005


Where are all the op-eds by Christians aimed at other Christians?

Well, they exist in the blogosphere at least.

*shrug*
posted by theonetruebix at 1:23 PM on May 22, 2005


It makes perfect sense why, for the Jews, the day of the translation of the Jewish bible from its original Hebrew (the "Septuagint" translation) is considered a tragic day.

Without the 73 or so volumes of the Talmud ("the oral law"), which provides so much of the explanation, the bible taken literally is often impossible to understand.

The world was certainly at some point created ex nihilio, which science will probably eventually confirm, but there is no (Jewish) biblical problem with dinosaurs roaming the earth. Time and space are created dimensions, that were created after the original creation ex nihilio.

Briefly, even one of the most authoritative rabbinic writers, Rambam, wrote that the creation story in Bereshis (Genesis) is a metaphysical story, not to be taken literally.

Any discussion of this issue should probably also mention the very serious problems with Carbon-14 dating. These include the assumption that the rate of decay has remained constant over the years, the rate of formation has remained constant, atmospheric concentrations have remained the same, and the assumption that all life uses Carbon-14 equally.

Again, I don't have any problem with dinosaurs that are hundreds of millions of years old or more, but the "scientific method" also uses a lot of bizarre assumptions on pure faith, and is prone to human bias more than many believe. There is a lot of discussion on its usefulness, but most scientists actually believe that carbon dating is only useful for objects less than 50,000 years old.

If one reads the text of the Jewish bible in a poor translation, without explanation or commentary, and take the resultant unrecognizable product literally, you will end up with a mess. The truth as presented in the Jewish bible is much more difficult, nuanced, and multi-faceted than many people are willing to believe.
posted by Adamchik at 1:29 PM on May 22, 2005


the "scientific method" also uses a lot of bizarre assumptions on pure faith

Name one.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:34 PM on May 22, 2005


So you're down with the creationist-educational-dinosaur-museum thing, languagehat? You consider it beyond reproach?

What, museums have to be "beyond reproach" now? Did I miss a section of the Patriot Act? It's a building full of exhibits of various types. Some people like it, some don't, you pays your money and you takes your choice. I wouldn't give them a dime myself and I think the rationale is ridiculous, but that's true of all sorts of museums and other institutions that I don't see held up for ridicule on the front page of MeFi. Explain to me how this is postworthy except as an excuse to vent about religion, and also how the "discussion" here is any different from that in the other 4,999 such threads. Or, for that matter, how it's different from a "Kerry the flipflopper" thread over at the Right-Wing Site That Shall Not Be Named, with the object of vitriol changed. It's lazy, thuggish pack behavior, and I don't like it. But hey, suit yourself -- MetaFilter does not exist to satisfy me. Whatever makes you happy.
posted by languagehat at 1:41 PM on May 22, 2005


That's fine.. Teach this crap in a museum, or in school, but it should also be taught in Sunday morning service that Darwinist philosophy is just as viable a concept, and everything the preacher may have told you in the last hour and a half may have been dogmatic hogwash.
posted by Balisong at 1:43 PM on May 22, 2005


But languagehat, isn't that just a nice bit of sophistry? Museums are not, ideally, about "you pays your money and you takes your choice." That is the problem that the article is documenting, not the way in which museums are meant to be designed and approached.

I agree that this is pretty identical to all the other threads and maybe not postworthy--but to the degree it's identical, it's because crap like this is staggeringly widespread already and, seemingly, spreading.

What, museums have to be "beyond reproach" now? Did I miss a section of the Patriot Act?

No: Museums ought to be about truth, not blind faith. Your parallel is completely absurd.
posted by josh at 1:46 PM on May 22, 2005


It's just very shocking to me that a museum, the kind of institution we associate with telling academic and researched truth, is teaching such obvious lies. I consider that vent- and post-worthy. I feel the same way about Kerry's poor voting history.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:48 PM on May 22, 2005


Not just on evolution, but on everything too. Everytime MeFi goes overboard Christian-bashing, somebody pops up to say that actually, the vast majority Christians are totally reasonable people who, for example, believe in science and equal rights and individual liberty from government. Well, fat lot of good that silent majority is doing.
Yup. I've been saying it for ages--they have to speak up way way more. They're enabling their insane brethren.
posted by amberglow at 1:52 PM on May 22, 2005


Oh yeah, and I said:
You consider it beyond reproach? (based on your desire for us not to discuss it reproachfully)
and you said:
What, museums have to be "beyond reproach" now?

That... doesn't... compute.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 1:53 PM on May 22, 2005


the "scientific method" also uses a lot of bizarre assumptions on pure faith, and is prone to human bias more than many believe.

It appears that you are confusing "scientific method" with "hypothesis".
Secondly, a lot of the assumptions look bizarre only because you're unfamiliar with the topic.
And finally, the main difference between science and religion is that the latter modifies its opinions based on the available evidence, while the latter tends to do exactly the opposite.
For ( a possibley bad) example, you don't really see much written about the creationist bullshit by earlier biblical scholars. Why is that? And you don't see them mentioning dinosaurs much either.
posted by c13 at 1:53 PM on May 22, 2005


"Possibly", that is...
posted by c13 at 1:54 PM on May 22, 2005


the "scientific method" also uses a lot of bizarre assumptions on pure faith

Name one.


How about five?

1 - The world is real.
2 - The real world is knowable and comprehensible.
3 - There are laws that govern the real world.
4 - Those laws are knowable and comprehensible.
5 - Those laws don't [radically] change according to place or time, since the early stages of the big bang.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:55 PM on May 22, 2005


Museums teach lies.

I learned this when I went to a "Western History" museum. It was all about the cowboys and the trappers and the frontiersmen who settled the west.
And how they had to battle the evil, Godless, savages who would abush them in the middle of the night for no reason, or that they would form a campaign to wipe out the evil, Godless, savages where someone would want to build their home/buisiness.

Is that an appropriate view of the western settlements?
What does that teach us about history?
What does that tell us about people in "Power"?
What does that tell us about museums that still teach this version?
posted by Balisong at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2005


BTW, The point of the above 5 axioms underlying the scientific method is not that any of them are right or wrong, but rather that they cannot be proven or disproven by the scientific method. You have to either use some external source of information (philosphy, religion, whatever) to reach your judgement about them, or take them on faith. They cannot be proven or disproven within the scientific method.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 1:58 PM on May 22, 2005


I do not believe in "creationism" as it is defined today... but I also don't believe in ufo's or haunted houses, like 42% of the population does.

As for the infallibility of museums, does anyone here still remember elementary/middle school history classes? We were all taught that Columbus had to fight some overwhelming belief that the world was flat, which is untrue and leads to some pretty wacky conclusions about how important Columbus really was. I could go on. Educational accountability needs to be more fundamental than some privately-owned museum.
posted by muddgirl at 2:04 PM on May 22, 2005


"Some people like it, some don't, you pays your money and you takes your choice. I wouldn't give them a dime myself and I think the rationale is ridiculous, but that's true of all sorts of museums and other institutions that I don't see held up for ridicule on the front page of MeFi."

This isn't about consumer choice. This is about how we grasp the nature of reality. It's kind of a big deal that a huge portion of the American population has decided to ignore fact and reason, and instead accept the literal meaning of a book (Genisis) that was writen by a guy (Moses) who claimed God dicated it to him.

Personallly I think people who believe this are worthy of our smug comments. If not them, then who?

For those of you struggling with the notion that evolution is simply a theory... please check out this piece in Scientific American:


posted by Rusty Iron at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2005


Dang link didn't post:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-8E49809EC588EEDF
posted by Rusty Iron at 2:08 PM on May 22, 2005


thedevildanceslightly: I put it to you that the desire to prove something requires a standard of proof, and the best we can hope for is the old chestnut "beyond a reasonable doubt". The scientific method can't prove anything, absolutely, to everyone's satisfaction. The thing is, it admits that, and it tries far, far harder to seek justification for its claims than any other way of looking at the world.

Also, I don't see why #5 is in that list at all. Why can it necessarily not be shown that the laws of physics have changed in the past, and who would be unwilling to accept that fact if they were shown incontrovertible evidence?
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:10 PM on May 22, 2005


There was some talk in this thread about arranging a Mefi roadtrip. Imagine how much more fun it would be for us smug atheists to yammer smugly about how stupid religion is and how dumb believers are ...there! Plus, the gift shop has got to be worth the trip alone.
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:32 PM on May 22, 2005


"...most scientists actually believe that carbon dating is only useful for objects less than 50,000 years old." - Adamchik

Indeed. Which is why no scientist uses carbon dating on objects older than that.
To date rocks older than 50kya there are a host of alternatives - see this for some of them. Uranium-Lead is popular and has been very finely calibrated.
Your list of possible problems with C14 dating doesn't apply to the other radiometric dating techniques, except for the suggestion that the rate of decay could change with time. For that to happen some very basic laws of physics would have to be wrong - possible, but unlikely, and to object to radiometric dating on that basis would push your argument dangerously close to "physics is wrong, I am right, I am not a crank" territory.

As for the whole religion bashing thing. WTF? Yes, there are countless millions of people who believe in their religions, attempt to live up to them and quietly get on with their lives simply trying to make the world an incrementally better place. And there are crazy people who use their religion as a bludgeon. To use the latter to beat up the former is a little impolite.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 2:35 PM on May 22, 2005


I reckon 2 and 4 are the same, 2 implies 3, and 1 is meaningless.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:35 PM on May 22, 2005


Look, I've got nothing against religion

Bullshit. It's pretty obvious you have an axe to grind. And why do you find it necessary to label anyone who disagrees with you "a dumbass fuck?" It's hardly a compelling persuasive argument... or are we still in high school?

Crap post.
posted by Galvatron at 2:40 PM on May 22, 2005


Why can it necessarily not be shown that the laws of physics have changed in the past, and who would be unwilling to accept that fact if they were shown incontrovertible evidence?

Not to play devil's advocate or anything, but there has been some revelation to those things we hold dear.

At least we (probably) accept it, and see what more we can learn from it, and fit it into our current model, rather than proclaiming "DOgma" and washing our hands of the problem.

Actually, I've read several reports where mathmatical, and scientific "Constants" have found themselves lacking.

But science is not done yet, nor will it ever be.
Religion tries to be "done" all the time.
posted by Balisong at 2:42 PM on May 22, 2005


adamchik:

That's why we also have uranium-235 and potassium-40 dating.

(Just adding the info. I couldn't care less what this thread is really about anymore.)
posted by Mikey-San at 2:49 PM on May 22, 2005


Sorry...
Didn't know who I was linking... It was the first found Here..
posted by Balisong at 2:50 PM on May 22, 2005


Soon to be "GeologyFilter" ....

thatwhichfalls kindly note that the approach of radiometric dating has at its root some significant possibly problematic assumptions as well:

(1) the radioactive element decays at a constant rate
(2) the rock crystal being analyzed is not contaminated by infusion of excess end product
(3) the rock crystal contained no end product when it was formed
(4) leaching of the parent element out of the rock sample did not occur

Carbon-14 once was widely accepted, and came and went, and so probably will other approaches. Rather than debating the sensitivity of newer spectrometers, K-Ar, etc., the point is simply that various methods of dating incorporate so many assumptions that accepting them, in the end, requires faith.

"Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.”
~ Albert Einstein
posted by Adamchik at 2:58 PM on May 22, 2005


I put it to you that the desire to prove something requires a standard of proof, and the best we can hope for is the old chestnut "beyond a reasonable doubt". The scientific method can't prove anything, absolutely, to everyone's satisfaction.

I think you missed the point entirely. A commentator above asked what assumptions does the scientific method require. I gave a list of five underlying assumptions that cannot be proven or disproven by the scientific method. There is no experiment you can possibly design to prove that the world is real, that it is run by rules, and that these rules are knowable. If you accept science then you have to accept these underlying axioms on faith.

Personally, I believe in them. But I believe in them for philosophical reasons, not scientific reasons. Anybody who believes in science as the exclusive means of understanding the world must take those premises on faith.

The point is that "science" does take things on faith. It just doesn't state them as explicitly.

Also, I don't see why #5 is in that list at all. Why can it necessarily not be shown that the laws of physics have changed in the past, and who would be unwilling to accept that fact if they were shown incontrovertible evidence?

If the rules of the game can change at whim then that renders science meaningless. If gravity had a different effect at the time of the Big Bang because of some other force then that can be explained by science and is legit. However, if sometimes gravity works one way and sometimes it works another for reasons extrinsic to science (ie, divine intervention) then that violates the core assumption of reproducability.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:03 PM on May 22, 2005


Albert Einstin also once said "Got does not roll dice."

But through the study of quantim physics through Neils Bohr, he basically proved that "God" DOES roll the dice, in a way that we can't see the result, all the time.. Down to inter-atomic relations.
posted by Balisong at 3:04 PM on May 22, 2005


Pretty_Generic, by calling me "a dumbass fuck" for being religious, without even bothering to know why I persistently question the assumptions of creationists (and I do, for the record), you completely undercut any positive outcome that might come from your argument. Not to mention the fact that you represent the very, very worst of what MeFi is. Truly. Absolutely. At the moment, it pains me more to be part of this community with you than it does to be part of the Christian community with closed-minded creationists.
posted by ChrisTN at 3:06 PM on May 22, 2005


Carbon-14 once was widely accepted, and came and went, and so probably will other approaches. Rather than debating the sensitivity of newer spectrometers, K-Ar, etc., the point is simply that various methods of dating incorporate so many assumptions that accepting them, in the end, requires faith.

This is the place where your argument self-destructs. If people accept dating methods 'on faith,' then why are dating methods constantly critiqued and replaced with newer, better ones? Nobody accepts these methods on faith: scientists are constantly inspecting them and working to improve them.

The thing about science is that--as Thomas Kuhn said--while it will never know the whole truth, it will get "less wrong" over time. Scientists accept that perfect knowledge is impossible. The position is not one of faith, it's one of humility. There is very little equivalence between religious faith and scientific thinking. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, and other work in the history of science, does a much better job interrogating the conceptual foundations of the method than the simple assertion that, because someone does not know something perfectly, they are therefore operating 'on faith.' There is a large gray area between knowledge and ignorance and it has nothing to do with 'faith.'
posted by josh at 3:07 PM on May 22, 2005


Imagine how much more fun it would be for us smug atheists to yammer smugly about how stupid religion is and how dumb believers are ...there!

Now, that would be something different. Please post pictures in MeTa!

Museums ought to be about truth, not blind faith.
posted by josh
Museums teach lies.
posted by Balisong

josh, meet Balisong. He has a more advanced sense of skepticism/realism than you do. Isn't it pretty to think that you could walk into a museum and know that everything you were going to see was the real, truly true truth? Alas, it cannot be!

That... doesn't... compute.

OK, let me spell it out for you. I think this is a crap post, nothing but another excuse for a religion-bashing circle jerk, this time using some backwoods museum as a pretext. You respond by asking me if I think the museum is "above reproach." I respond by asking why a museum should have to be "above reproach" (is anything human?). You misunderstand, or pretend to misunderstand. My point, in case it's genuinely the former, is that the reproachability of the museum is irrelevant to the fact that this is a crap post. You still have not answered my question about "how this is postworthy except as an excuse to vent about religion, and also how the 'discussion' here is any different from that in the other 4,999 such threads." Or perhaps you're admitting, ex silentio, that you consider any excuse to bash religion a fine MeFi post?
posted by languagehat at 3:12 PM on May 22, 2005


posted by Adamchik: There is a lot of discussion on its usefulness, but most scientists actually believe that carbon dating is only useful for objects less than 50,000 years old.

That's still enough to disprove literal creationism by a factor of 10. The specious arguments that any single piece of the puzzle may have flaws, so the whole creationist causus is based on an argumentative teqnique that requires isolating a particular aspect of science, and poking holes in that one thing. ("Carbon dating might not be exact--therefore the theory of evolution is undeniably false!") Sure, there's holes in the genetic theory of evolution. Sure carbon dating is not exact to the week and day. Sure, the fossil record is incomplete. Things "get lost" over a couple billion years, and putting the puzzle together is by nature a piecemeal process. But they can't take on the science as a whole, because taken all together, what we know about the creation of sedimentary rocks, the mutation of species, plate tectonics, the whole thing is really pretty overwhelming.

I still would like to see the creationist who can put forth a viable timeline that allows for the deposition, solidification and subsequent uplift that put the limestone at the peak of Mt. Everest in 5000 years.
posted by Devils Rancher at 3:16 PM on May 22, 2005


"Carbon-14 once was widely accepted, and came and went" - Adamchik

Has anyone told the archaeologists about C14 being dismissed? They are going to be pissed.

As for your other objections:
1 I've already stated my opinion of.
2 through 4 are dealt with by using isochron methods - these involve measuring the amount of a different isotope of the daughter element and provide a kind of consistency check on the result. Isochron methods are not suitable for K-Ar or C14 dating so these methods are generally regarded as less credible unless backed up by other evidence.

"..various methods of dating incorporate so many assumptions that accepting them, in the end, requires faith."
Yes, and your point is?
Everything we do requires an exercise of faith, whether it be having faith that gravity will not have switched its polarity when we get out of bed to having faith that the world will still be habitable by human beings when our children are grown.
To point this out doesn't cause those of us who have faith in the scientific method to suddenly go "I See! Science is actually exactly the same thing as religion!". It just makes us scowl and retreat to our godless underground laboratories where we carry on making the world less magical by trying to understand it.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:18 PM on May 22, 2005


I still would like to see the creationist who can put forth a viable timeline that allows for the deposition, solidification and subsequent uplift that put the limestone at the peak of Mt. Everest in 5000 years.

God put it there when He made the rest of the mountain.

Look, rational arguments and finding logical fallacies aren't going to work. There's only one way to effectively deal with hateful Christian fundamentalists and creationists, and this goes for both secularists and Christians of a more sensible bent. You need to accuse them, publicly and directly, of being in league with Satan. Tell them you know exactly what they're doing, that they're twisting the teachings of Christ our Savior to serve their own evil, Hell-spawned agendas of confusion, hatred and destruction, and that God will strike them down with great vengeance and anger, along with their demonic masters, on the Day of Judgment. Shout this loud enough, and watch them run like scared puppies.
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:32 PM on May 22, 2005


Explain to me how this is postworthy except as an excuse to vent about religion

Because fifteen years ago you would not have seen this sort of thing.

The world is spinning backwards, I tell you. I guess I always thought the Dark Ages would have occured in an instant, but I should have known it would take many years for the descent to complete.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:35 PM on May 22, 2005


because someone does not know something perfectly, they are therefore operating 'on faith.' There is a large gray area between knowledge and ignorance and it has nothing to do with 'faith.'

There are reasons to believe that science has taken some background assumptions on faith, even if "science" does accept new evidence better than "religion." Getting one thing wrong does not make science wrong as a discipline, that's all within the scientific method. However, the very nature of the inquiry requires taking things on faith.

See above. There is no experiment that can be conducted within the scientific method to prove that the world is real, to prove that it is run by a fixed set of rules, that these rules don't change over time, etc.

Albert Einstin also once said "Got does not roll dice"

Albert Einstein also once said: "To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame..." (source)

In other words, Einstein himself admits that it is a matter of faith to believe that the laws of the universe are comprehensible to science.

To be clear, I believe in science. But to do so I openly accept that I have to take some things on faith.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 3:47 PM on May 22, 2005


languagehat, what makes you think this is a "backwoods museum"? You're just avoiding the issue. If this were a backwoods museum nobody would care. The problem is, this is a multi-million dollar operation that is peddling a set of beliefs shared by a significant percentage of the USA. You don't think it's significant that so many people are so completely disconnected from reality?

thedevildancedlightly, sorry, but your "5 axioms of science" are complete nonsense. #1 is a nonsense statement. It doesn't even parse. The use of the word "real" in a metaphysical sense already undermines the rational impetus of your "proof." #2 is just wrong. Humans may pursue science as a means of knowing because they believe the world is knowable but the belief is in no way required for the scientific method to work. #3 and #4 are also nonsense statements, laughably so. The idea of "laws" governing the world is fairy-tale stuff, not the realm of science. #5 is more metaphysical nonsense but it's also wrong. Locality isn't an issue for the scientific method--at all. (BTW, the reason scientists assume non-locality during hypothesis construction is because there's overwhelming evidence for it--every scientific experiment ever conducted supports it!)

Your use of the word "faith" is very dishonest. Do you have "faith" that the sun will come up tommorow? Do you have "faith" that when you close your eyes the world is still there? Do you have faith that you are the same "self" you were yesterday? These are absurd statements. If you extend the word "faith" to cover action based on any "unproven" statement then all acts are acts of faith. As the link clearly demonstrates, faith isn't something you believe without knowing the truth--it's something you believe in spite of the truth. Science is not based on faith. And believe it or not, there is a whole philisophy of science that focuses just on demonstrating the philisophical boundaries of science.
posted by nixerman at 4:06 PM on May 22, 2005


Whoa, Adamchik, you really don't know much about how people go about getting radiometric ages, eh?

On preview, your 4 "big problems" have mostly been dealt with. Using multiple decay schemes for single samples, getting independent ages from different methods to agree for a variety of samples over geological time, knowledge of fundamental physics including atomic decay, diffusion and crystal chemisty, geochronologists adopt exceedingly sophisticated techniques to get precise and accurate ages. You know, that's why its interesting.


But, look, the antiquity of the Earth was known long before we knew anything about radioactivity. Comparisons of sedimentation rates with measured thicknesses of sediment make it pretty clear that 10000 years isn't going to get you anywhere. (And that's not to mention multiple places where there is a record of sediments laid down, heated and deformed, brought to the surface, eroded, overlain by another 5 - 10 km of sediment, then deformed, bevelled and overlain again). Even Lord Kelvin, who got geologists' knickers tied up in knots with his calculation of the age of the earth based on conductive cooling, realised that 10000 years wouldn't wash.

There is only one escape to the view that the Earth is old, and that is that God created the world "with the appearance of age". An omnipotent (but, you have to admit, pretty mischievious) creator could create a planet with sediments, deformed rocks, fossils recording the rise, change and demise of entire taxa and set all the radioactive clocks just right so that any serious look at Nature leads the observer to infer great antiquity. He could have done it ten thousand years ago (though I believe the proper number is 6000 and change). Of course, He could have just as easily done it yesterday. I mean, faced with an Omnipotent dude who's really into covering His tracks, there's not much you can do.

That line of argument is fine for when your passing a bong around in high school. Science is rewarding as well as highly successful because it explicitly does not deal in unfalsifiable, ad hoc arguments.
posted by bumpkin at 4:09 PM on May 22, 2005


In the fight for truth, there are casualties. Sadly, not-being-called-a-dumbass-fuck-itude is one of them.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:13 PM on May 22, 2005


You still have not answered my question

I thought I did that immediately after you asked it.
/checks
Yes, that's right.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:19 PM on May 22, 2005


Dinosaurs and God
posted by sellout at 4:24 PM on May 22, 2005


Albert Einstin also once said "Got does not roll dice."

Erm, he said "God does not play dice with the universe" in response to the early research of quantum mechanics. Quantum mechanics (well, its relation to the Heisengburg Unceretainty Principle) never sat well with Einstein philosophically, and he went to his deathbed refusing to accept it for that reason.
posted by schroedinger at 4:28 PM on May 22, 2005


That's right folks - Einstein got things wrong. That's why we have peer review. 2Maccabees never got peer review.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:30 PM on May 22, 2005


I think you're making a semantic mistake, thedevildancedlightly. The sort of assumptions which the scientific ideology you're describing makes are qualitatively different from the faith involved in the belief in God.

1 - The world is real.

1. There is no assumption required to hold that the world is real; it is evident that it is so. The term comes from a Latin word which refers to things, or materiality itself. The world is the definitional backbone of reality. That issue, as you've defined it, is incoherent simply because it's tautologically true that the world is real. One may argue that the world is illusory, but unless there's an elaborate explanation, that contention would seem basely nonsensical.

2 - The real world is knowable and comprehensible.

2. This is sophism. One needn't assume knowability to know anything.

3 - There are laws that govern the real world.

3. This is not an assumption, but rather a theoretical position based on overwhelming evidence (although I think, again, there's a semantic problem, as this type of "law" is merely an observed pattern in which no deviation has been found). If there were evidence to the contrary, I'm sure this position would be revised.

4 - Those laws are knowable and comprehensible.

4. Again, this is not an assumption or evidence of faith so much as a product of the scientific investigation of things. This is observably the case.

5 - Those laws don't [radically] change according to place or time, since the early stages of the big bang.

5. I don't think you understand how the prevailing scientific ideology actually functions. This is not an assumption that any reputable scientist would make. They observe the world; if they observe something that seemed anomalous but persisted, current conceptions of universal function would be revised accordingly. Only a fool or a charlatan (of the scientific persuation) would neglect to ensure that their understanding of the world was in accord with its observed behaviours.

on preview: nixerman responded well.
posted by clockzero at 4:33 PM on May 22, 2005


Where I jumped into the thread was to say that the "literal" reading of 7 days of creation is part of a tragedy of translation, and a sad tradition of oversimplification. This attitude towards the Jewish bible has caused no end of violence, insanity, and waste, and it is not even remotely correct. (The irony continues with incidents like the Ten Commandments, of which, the Sabbath, for example, is forbidden for non-Jews to observe in a Jewish way, but exploring those ironies is for another time).

In trying to save MeFi'ers the roughly 7.5 years that it takes to complete the commentary (if you do one full page a day, about 45-60 minutes/page), I cited (probably) the most influential Jewish scientist and thinker, Rambam. He basically said, "this creation story in Bereishis [Genesis] is NOT supposed to be taken literally."

The "religion" that many people are talking about is one that does not accept science or any scientific influence on its rules. This is not Judaism, but other faiths, so care should be exercised to not tar everyone with the same brush. Judaism has often had scientists and physicians as its leading scholars, and as such encourages debate and inquiry. How to apply nearly every situation from a legal point of view is also on the table.

Again, to quote Rambam, in his Moreh Nevuchim (3:14): "Do not ask me to reconcile everything that they (the sages) stated about astronomy with the actual reality, for the science of those days was deficient, and they did not speak out of traditions from the prophets regarding these matters."

In generally reading MetaFilter as being so zealously anti-religious, I think great progress has been made here when those in favor of scientific dating methods say that the issues have "mostly been dealt with." It is also great progress to hear that believing in the scientific method is also faith.
posted by Adamchik at 4:46 PM on May 22, 2005


It's not the "Jewish bible"--it's the Torah, or Old Testament. Only people who don't like Jews call it that.
posted by amberglow at 4:52 PM on May 22, 2005


Come on amberglow, that's not fair.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:52 PM on May 22, 2005


the science of those days was deficient, and they did not speak out of traditions from the prophets regarding these matters

So Rambam is saying that they got things wrong, due to a lack of scientific education and the all-pervailing power of enforcing traditional superstitions? I agree! Next, Rambam will try to use our modern and less-deficient science to analyse which parts of the Bible are likely to be wrong. Stay tuned.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 4:59 PM on May 22, 2005


It's not the "Jewish bible"--it's the Torah, or Old Testament. Only people who don't like Jews call it that.

Most Jewish authorities that I know would take offense at "Old Testament" more so than to "Jewish Bible." "Torah" is just one section of it. "Hebrew Bible" is the preferred term among those rabbis and professors I know.
posted by ChrisTN at 5:02 PM on May 22, 2005


Reminds me of a joke:

What's the difference between a gorilla and Jerry Falwell?

One is a big, stupid sonofabitch, and the other likes bananas.

I would recommend http://landoverbaptist.org/
posted by mikedavid at 5:09 PM on May 22, 2005


Obviously there are many stupid people. There are also many Christians.
posted by underer at 5:22 PM on May 22, 2005


All religious dogma should stay in the church, synagog, mosque or whatever building they came from. In the context of contemporary society, Religion has no place in government, schools or in this case, museums. It throws a spanner in what should be impartial and responsible judgements and decisions which affect millions upon millions of people.

Groundlessly revisionist science and government is foolhardy and will only cloud our advancement as a species.

So until you freaks evolve, stay out of my god-damned museum.
posted by JGreyNemo at 5:24 PM on May 22, 2005


Christianity would be a lot "better" if they ditched the O.T. completely. Half of Matthew is just making up stuff to fulfill O.T. prophecies and/or gin up things that look like prophecy fulfillment, and the other half contradicts the other 3 gospels, so it should probably go too.

Actually, Christians should just focus on recodensing the texts into whatever that Q thing was supposed to be and go on that.

The problem is that the O.T. provides a wonderfully varied sourcetext to tease anything you want out of it, but as that very conservative Christian state senator from Michigan (can't remember his name, anybody know?) said a couple of years back, we shouldn't be taking the stuff that only is judgemental on others (gayness, etc) while leaving out OT teachings on things like divorce.

oh, btw, metafilter is a lot better if you just skip over tddl's posts.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:30 PM on May 22, 2005


So until you freaks evolve, stay out of my god-damned museum.

This is not your god-damned museum. If Pretty_Generic really cared about "the fight for truth," he would have taken five minutes to google up the Museum of Earth History and noticed that it is housed on the grounds of the Great Passion Play. It's not like these people are deceiving anyone--it's going to be obvious what viewpoint is being represented before you ever get near the front door.

Again: crap post.
posted by Galvatron at 5:35 PM on May 22, 2005


Heywood Mogroot--

The problem is that the O.T. provides a wonderfully varied sourcetext to tease anything you want out of it,

How is this so? I don't mean to derail just for its own sake, but I'm curious. Most of what you call the Old Testament is actually pretty specific and idiosyncratic, e.g. Mosaic law, genealogy, etc.
posted by clockzero at 5:38 PM on May 22, 2005


Gallup surveys have shown that about 45 per cent of [US] Americans believe the Earth was created by God within the past 10,000 years.

How embarassing.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:45 PM on May 22, 2005


It's not like these people are deceiving anyone--it's going to be obvious what viewpoint is being represented before you ever get near the front door.

These people are deceiving everyone who walks in the door.

They are promoting bald-faced lies as truth.

I find that pretty damn offensive.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:47 PM on May 22, 2005


Rusty Iron

This isn't about consumer choice. This is about how we grasp the nature of reality. It's kind of a big deal that a huge portion of the American population has decided to ignore fact and reason, and instead accept the literal meaning of a book (Genisis) that was writen by a guy (Moses) who claimed God dicated it to him.

Personallly I think people who believe this are worthy of our smug comments. If not them, then who?


This is the heart of the issue. Evolutionism rejects biblical authority. Creationism accepts biblical authority.

For those of you struggling with the notion that evolution is simply a theory... please check out this piece in Scientific American:

http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5B-1D07-8E49809EC588EEDF


15 Answers to SciAm Nonsense

Adamchik

Where I jumped into the thread was to say that the "literal" reading of 7 days of creation is part of a tragedy of translation, and a sad tradition of oversimplification. This attitude towards the Jewish bible has caused no end of violence, insanity, and waste, and it is not even remotely correct.

Probably, so far as I know, there is no professor of Hebrew or Old Testament at any world-class university who does not believe that the writer(s) of Genesis 1-11 intended to convey to their readers the ideas that (a) creation took place in a series of six days which were the same as the days of 24 hours we now experience; . . . Or, to put it negatively, the apologetic arguments which suppose the "days" of creation to be long eras of time, the figures of years not to be chronological, and the flood to be a merely local Mesopotamian flood, are not taken seriously by any such professors, as far as I know. ~ James Barr Regius Professor of Hebrew at Oxford University in England
posted by bevets at 5:49 PM on May 22, 2005


The only place this museum should be is next to the Flintstones ride at Universal Studios.

On preview: Hooray, it's bevets!
posted by Pretty_Generic at 5:52 PM on May 22, 2005


tddl, regardless of whatever metaphysical questions may be involved or implied — the scientific method works in the real world. Wank away about defining "works" or "real" or "world" or "or." But if you seriously want to dispute the validity of science, then I assume you'd refuse penicillin because its existence and provenance haven't been proved to your satisfaction.
posted by vetiver at 5:54 PM on May 22, 2005


bevets--

So, are you suggesting that the expertise of modern scholars surpasses, in some essential way, the wisdom of ancient Talmudic scholars? How would you substantiate such a claim?
posted by clockzero at 6:00 PM on May 22, 2005


I think all successful, or to repeat myself, evangelizing, religions need texts to teach from; if they feel they need more, they just make 'em up.

But to answer your question, the Judge Moore thing with the ten commandments; Reconstructionist Christians are pushing the incorrect position that the U.S. socio-legal system is of Judeo-Christian origin, and they want to put the bible, or more accurately, whatever they themselves can construe from it, "back" into everyone's daily life, reclaiming the public square from secular materialism.

This attack on evolution is part of that message.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:01 PM on May 22, 2005


Anyone know anything about this?

If true, it scares the crap out of me.
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:02 PM on May 22, 2005


From the article: According to the text of the bill, the proposed Constitution Restoration Act of 2005 would remove the Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over “any matter to the extent that relief is sought against an entity of Federal, State, or local government, or against an officer or agent of Federal, State, or local government (whether or not acting in official or personal capacity), concerning that entity’s, officer’s, or agent’s acknowledgment of God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government.”
posted by leftcoastbob at 6:04 PM on May 22, 2005


vetiver: tddl made a good-faith effort, more or less, to point out that "science" does not exist without externalities. Of course, that items in the list he presented were not "bizarre assumptions of pure faith" as the earlier Christian apologist asserted, but hey, with tddl one takes what one can get.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:06 PM on May 22, 2005


vetiver

regardless of whatever metaphysical questions may be involved or implied — the scientific method works in the real world. Wank away about defining "works" or "real" or "world" or "or." But if you seriously want to dispute the validity of science, then I assume you'd refuse penicillin because its existence and provenance haven't been proved to your satisfaction.

The question of origins is a question of History (whatever happened only happened once) not science.

Please explain how the scientific method applys. i.e. observe, predict, experiment, repeat -- how do we repeat ANCIENT (pre human) history? Here's a helpful suggestion repeat the transition from reptile to bird in a lab (that would be fascinating!) After you have repeated this transition, explain why your lab experiment proves that this is EXACTLY how it happened historically.
posted by bevets at 6:09 PM on May 22, 2005


leftcoast: that's the usual whackjob crap that the Christianists are trying to get passed. They day that gets through Congress is the day I start planning my bugout to a more viable country.

Of course, the Christianists have been trying to use the Schiavo affair as a wedge attack on "activist judges" and painting God-fearing Christian judges, those that the Dems and other satanists oppose, as what this country needs right now.

Complicating matters is that a VERY large part of the electorate prefers to have their candidates profess a faith, preferably Christian (though of course sects are welcome, cf. Harry Reid). I guess the theory is since politicians have so much power only the fear of Divine Judgement will keep them honest. Tom DeLay is sure not bearing that out, alas.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:12 PM on May 22, 2005


somebody needs to learn the difference between deduction and induction...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:14 PM on May 22, 2005


Who summoned Bevets?
posted by schroedinger at 6:18 PM on May 22, 2005


as JGreyNemo and fff have pointed out, religious feelings and beliefs aside, this stuff has no place being put forward in public educational institutions as fact and truth. Now maybe this particular "museum" is in a theme park and doesn't really count, but it actually concerns me a whole hell of a lot less than the insidious creeping of this stuff into the public schools. How do you think we get to a point where 43% of the public believe that all science is a ruse and all scientists are fools. They are playing fucked up power games with our children. We must take this very seriously and put a stop to it now.
posted by dorcas at 6:35 PM on May 22, 2005


Sorry Schro. I did. I needed to inject a little reason into this thread!

Really though - this post was an excuse to bash and back-pat, I'm afraid, though I am of the mind of most of the bashers. This is some retarded museum, and there are more like it, and more will be founded, and who gives a good god DAMN what these idiots want to believe. I don't!

Unfortunately I think this is just something we're going to have to weather through; history will look back and say, "In the early 2000s, there was a brief period of Evangelical Christian activism, a backlash against the rapidly changing world, but this passed after a few years, during which scientists and agnostics bided (bade?) their time and emerged at the end stronger than ever."
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:38 PM on May 22, 2005


and who gives a good god DAMN what these idiots want to believe. I don't!

What worries me is that, historically, these idiots tend to give a hell of a lot of damn about what OTHERS believe.
posted by c13 at 6:44 PM on May 22, 2005


Ah so.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 6:57 PM on May 22, 2005


On the science-requiring-faith angle, people seem to have taken a really bizarre way of looking at it.

I'd say that the big difference in terms of "faith" between people who really follow scientific method and religious is that if you had researched a scientific topic earnestly and honestly,

even if it challenged ANY principle existent in science,

people interested in deducing through reason would take notice, and as long as you actually did your work correctly and it stood up under review, they would make an effort to incorporate it into the "view" of the world. (This is simplistic, but compare it to religion). If you said, "The laws that govern this universe are not constant, they can be changed based on ____," and you presented good research to back this up, most people wouldn't take it personally, it wouldn't be an attack on them or their way of life, it would be an opportunity to know more about the world, and, well, basically just to know more. Even philosophy is a science and obeys these rules. The axioms you listed above are rules of philosophy and they would be changed if good research in philosophy demanded it.

If you try this with the religious community it just doesn't work. There are rules and faith there that make it highly resistant to change and it isn't based on the same principles. If you went into a church with a well researched and theologically sound argument that "something really really blasphemous happened," it wouldn't be considered logically and without bias, it wouldn't be judged on its intellectual merits. Personally, I don't mind religion, but I understand why others do.

I understand that this thread looks like a big opportunity to dump on the Creationists, but that museum is a travesty.

About the silent majority thing, they may exist, but I think there are two big distinctions to make. Christians who really think that because of their faith they are fit to lead, and need to gain power to inflict their beliefs on others, aren't very Christian by most definitions that I've heard. As far as I understand good theology Pride is much more offensive than gay buttsex, and the instinct that makes one think themselves better than their fellow human being is the source of more suffering than anything else in the world. The ones who think their faith is under attack are deluded and that is bad, but the ones that think they really need to take over are dangerous charlatans worshiping some god that only exists in their own mind. I don't think the "silent majority" is ever going to come out of the Christian movement and stop it, because they are not the ones who are in any way involved in the real campaigning for religion in government, the only part they play is to be manipulated by Abortion and "Family Values" issues in the voting booth.

I don't think that the answer is to reach out to them except to make it absolutely clear to them that they can live and worship any way they want, and raise their children to do the same, but that they will not be allowed to mess with the freedoms of everybody else. Democrats need break themselves of the anti-religious labeling, and that is the real thing that religion-bashing is bad for, it just helps the Republicans stick us with it even more.

If there was a way to explain that it is fine to think that abortion is tragic, as long as you don't use the law to force people to remain pregnant, that nobody wants to take away your freedom to protest abortion, only a halt to actual harassment and violence, and unconstitutional measures to stop it, I really think it would ease the consciences of those people.

(And I'm just guessing, but really religious people might have shared with me an experience where they heard or read someone saying something profound about the human condition, something that was deeply touching and very "true" in a religious sense. Has that ever ever happened to anybody when the person was saying or writing anything along the lines of "God hates fags?" Because I haven't gotten that memo yet and I don't understand where it is coming from).
posted by SomeOneElse at 7:03 PM on May 22, 2005


Spread these links around--a roundup of Fundamentalist Anonymous-type things.
posted by amberglow at 7:19 PM on May 22, 2005


From the quote that tddl posted, he left the last part of the sentence off (by mistake, I'm sure):

"...religion without science is blind."
posted by ltracey at 7:22 PM on May 22, 2005


Let's remember -- you can put a sign on an outhouse calling it a "museum", and no one will really be able to stop you.

There is no standard for what constitutes a museum (at least not in the USA), or what must be in it. So, the idea of a "natural history museum" based on creationism need surprise no one. Of course if I were a Christianist I would be concerned that such a "museum" would be little more but a monument to the pride and arrogance of its founder, but whatever.

Whom does this hurt? Off the top of my head I would think "the children who'll get taken to this thing and end up believing what's said there hook line and sinker", but since neither I nor anyone I care about will ever be part of this group I must conclude that I really don't care. On the contrary, it's pretty clear that my children, who will be brought up with sound views of life, earth and the universe, will be at a considerable advantage when placed in competition with those kids in life's little contests.
posted by clevershark at 7:44 PM on May 22, 2005


Another scary thing: the Arkansas State Parks website has a page promoting this place.
posted by Creosote at 8:00 PM on May 22, 2005


make it absolutely clear to them that they can live and worship any way they want, and raise their children to do the same, but that they will not be allowed to mess with the freedoms of everybody else

yes. Yes, yes, yes.

Whom does this hurt?

Us all. Starting with the war to indoctrinate your child to their way of thinking. Starting with the teaching of outrageous lies like [spit] "Intelligent Design." That is downright harmful to us, the majority of people who separate politics from religion, and religion from science.

It is harmful to our society and will lead to the outright destruction of our society, if not our very world. And worse, that is what they want.

This can not be allowed to continue.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:09 PM on May 22, 2005


See? Posting this kind of thing only attracts bevets. The obvious solution is to not post this kind of thing. Or ban bevets. But I'm going with the first choice
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 8:11 PM on May 22, 2005


Heywood Mogroot

somebody needs to learn the difference between deduction and induction...

Somebody needs to learn the difference between substantive comments and vague suggestions...

c13

What worries me is that, historically, these idiots tend to give a hell of a lot of damn about what OTHERS believe.

Like passing off mythology as science education? Wouldnt it be neat if students found out there is more than one possibility for the history of life?

clevershark

Let's remember -- you can put a sign on an outhouse calling it a "museum", and no one will really be able to stop you.

There is no standard for what constitutes a museum (at least not in the USA), or what must be in it. So, the idea of a "natural history museum" based on evolutionism need surprise no one. Of course if I were an evolutionist I would be concerned that such a "museum" would be little more but a monument to the pride and arrogance of its founders, but whatever.

Whom does this hurt? Off the top of my head I would think "the children who'll get taken to this thing and end up believing what's said there hook line and sinker", but since neither I nor anyone I care about will ever be part of this group I must conclude that I really don't care. On the contrary, it's pretty clear that my children, who will be brought up with sound views of life, earth and the universe, will be at a considerable advantage when placed in competition with those kids in life's little contests.
posted by bevets at 8:11 PM on May 22, 2005


What's the beef with bevets? As I read it, he said that Genesis is obviously to be read as really meaning six days where it says six days. That's so obviously insane that it lends very good support for the sheer lunacy of the museum advertising itself as a place to learn something. Isn't that what we're mostly all saying?
posted by five fresh fish at 8:17 PM on May 22, 2005


Indeed, see his last post. Although I'm a little unsure why he's using clevershark's words instead of his own, but whatever. Bevets is obviously in complete agreement with us. Give the guy a break, take him at his word one of these days.
posted by five fresh fish at 8:21 PM on May 22, 2005


bevets -- you're free to believe whatever you want.

Wouldnt it be neat if students found out there is more than one possibility for the history of life?

Seeing that you, MeFi and Fark's strictest creationist doctrinaire, actually wrote this just made my irony detector explode.
posted by clevershark at 8:22 PM on May 22, 2005


five fresh fish writes "Although I'm a little unsure why he's using clevershark's words instead of his own"

Meh. He changed my "creationist" to "evolutionist" in the second paragraph.
posted by clevershark at 8:24 PM on May 22, 2005


Bevets; Wouldnt it be neat if students found out there is more than one possibility for the history of life?

I suppose you would be fine in churches being required to teach that Darwinistic evolution is just as possible a theory, and that everything that the preacher just told you MIGHT be bullshit.
posted by Balisong at 8:41 PM on May 22, 2005


Gallup surveys have shown that about 45 per cent of Americans believe the Earth was created by God within the past 10,000 years.

And some of you really believe that we can have intelligent and reasonable political and societal discourse in this country?

Still wondering how GWB won that election?
posted by Ynoxas at 9:07 PM on May 22, 2005


Wouldnt it be neat if students found out there is more than one possibility for the history of life?

Of course there is more than one possibility--life could have sprang from my friend's dog's butt, life could have sprang from a tea-cozy, life could be the consequence of electricity and goo, etc. ad. nauseum.

What a useless statement.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 9:07 PM on May 22, 2005


bevets:

Like passing off mythology as science education?


This is what irony is, in case anyone is unclear on the concept.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 9:07 PM on May 22, 2005


Well done, Mr. Generic, superb trolling. Even managed to summon bevets.
posted by mlis at 9:10 PM on May 22, 2005


What's endearing about bevets is his inability to see that it is only he who believes in the "single possibility for the history of life."
posted by clevershark at 9:15 PM on May 22, 2005


tddl made a good-faith effort, more or less, to point out that "science" does not exist without externalities.

I'm going to take this comment as a strange backhanded complient.

the scientific method works in the real world. Wank away about defining "works" or "real" or "world" or "or." But if you seriously want to dispute the validity of science, then I assume you'd refuse penicillin because its existence and provenance haven't been proved to your satisfaction.

1 - The form of logic and experimentation that the scientific method is based on may well give good "results" without being valid. Or the premises may be independently true. The point is that you have to accept certain premises about the world for it to make sense. The fact that penicillian works is not proof that science is the only means through which to understand the universe. Just because something gives good results doesn't mean that it's logically valid. For a long time the "the earth is the center of the universe" model gave great results.


Accepting that the world is "real" and that we're not brains-in-buckets or dreaming (a la DesCartes) is something most people do automatically, but it's just as fundamental as accepting or denying that there is a God who made the universe. Try arguing with a Christian that there is no God. They'll say "duh, there is a God, we just can't prove it." Your response to "the world is real" is "duh, the world is real, we just can't prove it."

2 - I don't dispute the validity of science. I accept that the premises I listed above are true, but there is no way to prove or disprove them within science, just as there is no way to prove or disprove the existence of a God. My reasons to believe that the world is real are grounded in philosophy. Philosophy is not science. "I think therefore I am" is not science. You can argue that the philosophy is valid (I think it is), but you can never use the scientific method to prove or disprove the existance of the universe. It's something you have to take on faith when you're wearing your scientist hat.

3 - Creation "science" also works well in the "real" world - they have yet to come up with a situation that they don't have an explanation for. Just saying that "science" is automatically right does not make you a scientist.

I don't think you understand how the prevailing scientific ideology actually functions. This is not an assumption that any reputable scientist would make. They observe the world; if they observe something that seemed anomalous but persisted, current conceptions of universal function would be revised accordingly. Only a fool or a charlatan (of the scientific persuation) would neglect to ensure that their understanding of the world was in accord with its observed behaviours.

The point is not that our UNDERSTANDING of the laws change - that's science. I fully agree that scientists change their perceptions to match observations (see, eg, the shift from earth-centered to sun-centered orbital mechanics). The point is that there is no way to know if the laws THEMSELVES change. If today gravity works according to a certain rule, and 1000 years from now it works according to a different rule (ie, the exact same experiment will produce different results) and there is no scientific explanation for why there is a change (no outside forces, nothing like that) then science has a huge problem. The only explanation of a constant like G changing (not physicists being wrong about its value, but rather the underlying constant chaging) would be either that physics is not valid as a discipline, or divine intervention. Either way "science" is no longer valid since experiments would not be reproducable.

So far there is no evidence of this, but it's the type of thing that you can't disprove within science.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:16 PM on May 22, 2005


thedevildancedlightly has won my admiration for his thoughtful points on this subject, and i submit his name be removed from the "idiot list" and instead embossed on the "right , but your missing the point" list.

i agree with you completely by the way, when you point out that science must be taken on faith. but whats at stake here as you know is a honest working version of reality vs. one that will never seek to know reality further.

that is the problem, and no amount of slicing this argument will change that problem. the IDers (that sounds funny said out loud) are not even capable of being as honest as you are asking us , and the scientific community to be. further more, the results of their "science " will be (unlike modern accepted science) fruitless.
posted by nola at 9:21 PM on May 22, 2005


BlackLeotardFront nailed it.

Look, differential fitness works whether you believe in it or not. If you teach your children to accept authority over reason, dogma over evidence, and the expanded-clannish tendency to hate anyone who doesn't flash the right hand signs, chances are they're not going to play well in an environment placing ever stronger demands on education, reasoning ability, and collaboration, further decreasing their socioeconomic status and passing down their acquired disadvantage.*

School districts that succeed in teaching Genesis over the implicit and explicit precedent precluding state control of religion and vice versa will very quickly find their decision irrelevant; either concerned parents will teach the evidence-based view of biology themselves, thereby depriving the fundamentalist horde of the conversion it is hoping for -- non-Catholic families have been doing this sort of thing for years in cities with high non-sectarian private education costs and poor public school systems, picking up a pretty good education subsidized by the Vatican -- or the non-sectarian private school market will absorb the children of those concerned; since these children as a group (that is, children of parents who care about education) generally do better than median on the standardized testing said public school districts derive state and federal funding from, their removal will have a net negative impact on the district's financial position. Funding cuts tend to have a corrective impact on the public sector.

On topic, as long as this museum isn't taking federal funding, which I'm guessing even under Dubya it's not, they're not getting any money from me unless I decide to go there, which I'm guessing I'm not, so more power to them.
posted by Vetinari at 9:26 PM on May 22, 2005


p.s. you know this so stop living up to your real name sake which is "thedevil'sadvocate" and get real.
posted by nola at 9:28 PM on May 22, 2005


for real , i'm acknowledging your lengthy posts. we get it ,you have read a book or two and you're nobody's fool . but really do you need to continue to tilt at windmills, at long last.

seeing you in action here makes sense of your other posts. . .jeez!
posted by nola at 9:33 PM on May 22, 2005


(* -> yes, this disadvantage is nullified if fundamentalist Christians comprise their own closed economy, transacting only with each other, which may well be the case in isolated rural areas across the United States currently, and could be developing in strongly "red" urban and suburban areas in the former Confederacy and the Great Plains, with the obvious exception of the fact that most of the goods being so traded in the latter case are actually of East Asian origin. But the phenomenon holds across the nation at large.)
posted by Vetinari at 9:37 PM on May 22, 2005


i agree with you completely by the way, when you point out that science must be taken on faith. but whats at stake here as you know is a honest working version of reality vs. one that will never seek to know reality further.

Thank you for being open to argument. I don't hope to convince people, just make it clear that there is intelligent reasoning on other positions. And, yes, the nick is related to devil's advocacy intentionally. I think that "devilsadvocate" was taken already when I signed up and I didn't want to overlap by making it something close.

The reason I'm defending this one is the smug attidude of "christians are dumb fucks" (I wish that were an exaggeration) because they take things on faith. I disagree with creationism, and there are plenty of dumb fucks in the world, but the smug attitude kills me.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 9:56 PM on May 22, 2005


"Origins" as history? Sorry, bevets, there is no way that the question of the origin of the human species will ever be resolved as a matter of human history--unless, as you clearly intend, the King James Version be taken as literally true, and hence "historical." We will never find the Australopithecine Diaries--"I began to speak today. . .a lion was biting off my foot. . . ."; or even an Adamic counterpart-- "God gave me a functional brain yesterday, and I decided to become an evangelical Christian. . ." Only natural science might suggest--indirectly, of course--an answer to the "origins" question that is not fundamentally unverifiable. It is more likely than not, however, that the entire question of the origin of human life will remain irreducibly moot in the absence of reliable witnesses.

I was struck while reading an NYT description of the new dino exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History: creationists desperately need to expunge the concept of "natural" from "natural history" and "natural science" in order to make a place for a supernatural explanation that fits their belief system. The whole notion of natural science rests on the bedrock that humans can successfully explain the workings of the world only by reference to physical, measurable phenomena. Theology offers an easy explanation for anything, dependent only on the credulity of the believer, because no real world constraints ever need to be accepted in order to craft the explanation.

The need to elevate "God said it, I believe it, and that settles it" to a scientific principle is the impetus behind the recent Kansas debacle. I'm sorry, I agree with The Generic One that anyone who thinks there were dinosaurs on Noah's Ark is living in a self-congratulatory fantasy world.
posted by rdone at 10:01 PM on May 22, 2005


My reasons to believe that the world is real are grounded in philosophy. Philosophy is not science

Tell that to a philosopher. For quite some time, philosophy has been based on the scientific method. How the hell do you think they develop and test philosophies?

Philosophy isn't just "Hey, I had an interesting though!" It's the rigorous examination of existence.

Look up "Phenomenology." And Edward Casey, while you're at it.
posted by Jon-o at 10:11 PM on May 22, 2005


Sorry if that came off sounding harsh, TDDL. I was really enjoying this thread until I had to slog through bevet's posts. I'm trying desperately to retract my spikes.
posted by Jon-o at 10:19 PM on May 22, 2005


Accepting that the world is "real" and that we're not brains-in-buckets or dreaming (a la DesCartes) is something most people do automatically, but it's just as fundamental as accepting or denying that there is a God who made the universe. Try arguing with a Christian that there is no God. They'll say "duh, there is a God, we just can't prove it." Your response to "the world is real" is "duh, the world is real, we just can't prove it."

Dude, get someone to drop a brick on your head, that should clear up any doubts.

3 - Creation "science" also works well in the "real" world - they have yet to come up with a situation that they don't have an explanation for. Just saying that "science" is automatically right does not make you a scientist.

Science does not just provide explanations, it also makes predictions. We can use these predictions to get the results we want. That's the whole point of an experiment. And we assume that a particular hypothesis is "right" based on the data obtained during the experiment, we compare the experimental results with what we would expect ASSUMING the hypothesis is correct. The ONLY time "faith" or assumptions come into play is BEFORE the experiment. And if the hypothesis does not explain the experimental results, it gets discarded, regardless how beautiful or elegant it is, or how much it explains a particular phenomenon.
Also, unlike "creation science", we use new information to change our existing theories, not the other way around.
For example, had we not found the remains of extinct species or the amazing similarity in genetic sequence and protein structure, or even anatomy between these long extinct species and ourselves, we would indeed have a pretty hard time saying that evolutionary theory has any merit. As things stand, predictions made by evolutionary theory are confirmed every time.
On the other hand, creationists predict nothing, all they do is try to explain away new discoveries using the two thousand year old book that talks about shit that has not been actually observed by anyone. Ever. And the explanations are becoming more and more ludicrous as time goes by.
posted by c13 at 10:20 PM on May 22, 2005


Additionally, it's not the place of science (physical science, that is) to prove that we exist. Nor is it "faith" or "assumption" to observe, examine, or depend on existence. We're all living in a world that consists of objective observable phenomena. Whether our existence is a hallucinated convention or not, physical science examines it.

Questions of objective perception are left to the science of philosophy, specifically Existentialism and Phenomenology.
posted by Jon-o at 10:27 PM on May 22, 2005


Again, from the link that I posted previously, this is what scientific method really is:

I. The scientific method has four steps

1. Observation and description of a phenomenon or group of phenomena.

2. Formulation of an hypothesis to explain the phenomena.

3. Use of the hypothesis to predict the existence of other phenomena, or to predict quantitatively the results of new observations.

4. Performance of experimental tests of the predictions by several independent experimenters and properly performed experiments.

If the experiments bear out the hypothesis it may come to be regarded as a theory or law of nature (more on the concepts of hypothesis, model, theory and law below). If the experiments do not bear out the hypothesis, it must be rejected or modified. What is key in the description of the scientific method just given is the predictive power (the ability to get more out of the theory than you put in; see Barrow, 1991) of the hypothesis or theory, as tested by experiment. It is often said in science that theories can never be proved, only disproved. There is always the possibility that a new observation or a new experiment will conflict with a long-standing theory.

I hate to restate it, but it is obvious that it really needs repeating. Four steps, ALL of the steps are necessary.
posted by c13 at 10:43 PM on May 22, 2005


And with that I'm off to bed.
posted by c13 at 10:43 PM on May 22, 2005


The reason I'm defending this one is the smug attitude of "christians are dumb fucks"

right i know , i do the very same thing, but as one OC person to another , give it up.

you can defend anything if you try , and often it makes no sense.

can you really think this is worthy of your defense. i'll answer it for you , no its not.

fight the good fight friend .
posted by nola at 10:57 PM on May 22, 2005


Before we get too far away from it, now is the time to really re-state the problem:

Christianity and Religion as a whole are NOT NOT NOT the problems.

Questioning the veracity of science is NOT NOT NOT the problem. Science does that to itself just fine.

The problem is that we're entering into an era during which it seems to be acceptable for obviously NON SCIENTIFIC processes and activities can be masqueraded to an unknowing public as real science. (By the way, some of you may have participated in our previous discussion of Creationism as a patently unscientific endeavor here.)

If anyone's up for the discussion, I'd like to propose that the problem is not religious or political in nature. It's not a power-grasp by fundamentalists (although that could be a facet of it). Rather, it's ECONOMIC. Spiritual people have become a consumer demographic. Is having a Creationist Natural History Museum the same as opening a Wallmart in a lower-middle class area? Isn't it "supply and demand?"
posted by Jon-o at 10:59 PM on May 22, 2005



bob dylan : George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
"You can't open your mind, boys
To every conceivable point of view."
They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway Five
Judge says to the High Sheriff,
"I want him dead or alive
Either one, I don't care."
High Water everywhere

posted by nola at 11:11 PM on May 22, 2005


thedevildancedlightly, you're so far off I don't even know where to start. But please, in the future, before you go off spouting metaphysical nonsense statements like "the world is real" and "faith in science"--that don't actually mean anything--please take a moment to reconsider. Being the devil's advocate is no justification for spouting nonsense. You can do better. I won't even address your (non)points.

rdone, I think you're essentially right. The people who built this museum aren't interested in history or accuracy or any of the basic goals you'd associate with a museum. At it's core, this is a PR move.What people are missing is that by building a museum that is so blatantly against the principles you'd normally associate with a museum these people want to undermine the very notion of a museum. (And people who claim no museum is ever truly "accurate" are just avoiding the point. We assume no museum can ever paint the whole picture. This is why museums exist within a critical framework in which scholars can subject the museum's efforts to research and analysis. Some might say this is what makes a museum a museum.) Today we have museums that aren't museums, wars that aren't wars, news that isn't news, and journalists that aren't journalists. Following this trend, it's clear that it's only a matter of time until we end up with a democracy that isn't a democracy.
posted by nixerman at 11:12 PM on May 22, 2005


But please, in the future, before you go off spouting metaphysical nonsense statements like "the world is real" and "faith in science"--that don't actually mean anything--please take a moment to reconsider

So you're telling me that the question of whether we are in fact living in a real world, a question that has been pondered from Descartes to The Matrix, is not an important or meaningful question? I think the answer is "yes, the world is real", but there are far greater minds than you or I that have struggled with it.

Try some "nonsense" on for size: Meditations on First Philosphy by Rene Descartes

The point is not that the world is real or unreal, or that it is goverened by fixed laws or not, but as Jon-o astutely observed science is not able to answer those questions and they are fundamental to the foundations of science.

philosophy has been based on the scientific method

I appreciate the link. My philosophy training was based more on classical philosophy (think the "dead greek men" school), so I was not as familiar with the scientific-based schools of philosophy and I was basing my perceptions more on the formal logic reasoning of the classic philosophers.

That said, I think there are some pretty easy criticisms of phenomenology's base assumptions, but let's leave that for another day.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 11:23 PM on May 22, 2005


thedevildancedlightly, read Kant. He pretty much shut the door on Descartes (with lots of help from Hume). Today very few professional philosophers will defend Descarte's theory and mechanism of being. (There are always a few hold-outs because philosophers are a stubborn bunch.) Ultimately, trying to attribute the quality of "real" to manifest existence is metaphysical handwaving that doesn't even parse under close analysis. And a little tip a kind old man once you gave me: before you go questioning the "reality" of the world you should first question the "reality of your self. That should give the rest of us some time to devise a plan B it does turn out that the world isn't real.
posted by nixerman at 11:31 PM on May 22, 2005


mmmm.... I didn't say science can't answer those questions. I said that they leave those questions up to a different group of scientists. Biologists aren't stepping on the toes of string-theorists. They're after different things. It's not an issue of ability. I'd venture to say that it's pragmatism. Whether the objective world is real or not doesn't make a difference to physical scientists. They're still deciphering the observable physical phenomena.


Also, for as much as they gave us, I wouldn't put too much faith in the "old dead greek guy" school of philosophy when it comes to examining notions of reality. Remember, Platonic philosophy's theory of realism says that there's some ideal, perfect example of reality that exists outside of our immediate experience and our world is a mere reflection of it (see Plato's Phaedrus. I'd quote it but it's such a thin book that it's lost itself on my shelves somewhere.)
posted by Jon-o at 11:59 PM on May 22, 2005


thedevildancedlightly:- I really think faith is the wrong word to describe what you are talking about. To me it is a religous word- I cant find a definition that doesnt mention religion. Its just an argument relegious people often use to try and equate relegion with science. Just saying thats why "sciency" people may get a bit defensive.

I basically think what your trying to say is that scientists assume that mathematics(the absolute heart of all sciences) is consistantly true- That 1+1 = 2 always and cant just equal 3 or something else. Science assumes that the unexplainable or illogical will never happen and that even if we cant see it, there is an explanation with mathematics at its heart.
I think this is basically what those five rules are saying.

This is the 1 and only assumption that science makes- and I think its best described as an assumption. Not a leap of faith.
posted by phyle at 12:01 AM on May 23, 2005


It's times like these that I wish the thread system was less linear and more like a tree. I wish we could have branched this topic off of the original thread and pursued it without side-tracking the Creationism conversation. Both of these discussions are really interesting but I think we'll have to save the "assumptions of science" tangent for some other time or email each other the rest of it for the sake of the original thread.
posted by Jon-o at 12:09 AM on May 23, 2005


Just another note on devildancelightly's list of science's 'leaps of faith', - It doesn't even matter whether or not those are reasonable assumptions to make, although I feel that they are. Those 'leaps of faith' are irrelevant to science. The scientific process can tell you all that is concretely knowable, and only all that is concretely knowable. If all 5 assumptions are wrong, well, science wouldn't be able to tell us much. But it could still tell us more than anything else. If the world isn't real, well, at least science would tell us about this illusion, which is more than can be said for any other mode of investigation. No matter how batshit crazy your hypothetical universe is, science remains the best method for acquiring what knowledge you can, even if that knowledge is very limited.


Incidentally, the ID crowd does make predictions and they are well worth pondering. Their testable predictions come not from any of their 'original thought' but from their claim that evolution is wrong. In the same way, the claim gravity does not exist makes testable predictions- we'd all fly into space. Consider what it would mean for the rest of the world if the process of natural selection couldn't occur, because there are fact possible conditions in which evolution would not occur. They're laughably far from reality, and for ID to be right we'd have to be living with at least one of those conditions. For instance, if no traits were heritable evolution could not occur. Or, if every individual had equal reproductive success (same number of kids, spaced exactly the same) , natural selection would be put on hold. There are a couple more, but I'm too tired to list them properly. The ID crowd usually makes me sad, what with all their rationality hating, but at least they're good for a laugh or two.
posted by spooman at 12:26 AM on May 23, 2005


In the spirit of not continuing the derail, last quick thoguhts:

Sorry to jon-o for misquoting you about science as a whole versus some subsets of science.

As for Descartes, my point isn't that he's right or wrong, but that it's an issue that reasonably intelligent people have debated. Kant and Hume both have their own problems, which we can save for another thread. The point is that "reality" is not taken completly for granted.

the ID crowd does make predictions and they are well worth pondering... if the process of natural selection couldn't occur... if no traits were heritable evolution could not occur.

There are definitely parts of the ID crowd that don't believe in natural selection, evolution, etc. In that case, your criticisms are entirely correct.

However, there are parts of the ID crowd that recognize what is going on today as evolution, natural selection, inhererted traits, etc. The only difference is that instead of life spontaneiously forming from the primordial soup, God put life on earth X years ago (where X is from 2000 to 200 million years depending on who you ask) and set things going. Species still live, die, differentiate, go extinct, and all the rest of the evolution. The difference in prediction between that part of the ID crowd and the evolution crowd is zero. There might be some divergence in a few thousand years about whether macro-evolution takes place, but the micro-evolution observable during our lifetime is entirely consistent with some groups of ID believers.

The real test for that group of ID is explaining the fossil record, as has been harped on above. They're perfectly happy to admit that micro-evolution is happening now, but insist that God started it all off by putting life in something resembling a modern form on Earth. The fossil record seems to be a fatal flaw, but that's a very different problem than failing to predict.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 12:56 AM on May 23, 2005


the derail is much better than the original post, Yeah philosophy of science!

The scientific method is overrated, basically it was created as a way to teach 6th graders a good skeptical and empirical method of thinking. Scientists don't really follow the steps in any set order. Science is simply the systematic empirical description of the world as opposed to religion which is a made either a up description of the world or a divinely inspired one depending on where you stand.

Prediction is overrated as a tool for gaining knowledge in science. Sure it provides the most exciting moments and is definitely necessary, like when the observation that light bends around the sun confirmed relativity (special or general? I always forget.) But the bulk of science is done by repeated systematic description of natural phenomena.

Take evolution: It starts out as a rather radical theory based mainly on comparative physiology. Then the fossil record solely grows larger adding evidence to support evolution. At the same time independent advances in geology more accurately date the earth as being much older than previously thought, making the case for evolution even stronger. Then out of nowhere comes mendelian (sp?) genetics which basically prove Lamarck wrong and fits in nicely with darwin. And finally Watson and Crick discover DNA which is the perfect carry for traits from one generation to another, while at the same time allowing for variation and mutation necessary for evolution to occur.

Evolution doesn't really need to predict much more, it's already got a massive pile of facts that support it. IDer's and creationist's are so annoying to deal with because they simply ignore the facts. IDer's are the worst with their sham concept of "irreducible complexity" that is impossible to prove because once you show that one mechanism isn't irreducible, they simply jump to another one. Not to mention that the ignore the question of what the intelligent designer is. It's an intellectually dishonest and dangerous movement.
posted by afu at 2:27 AM on May 23, 2005 [1 favorite]


afu: While science describes the world, I get the feeling religion tries to explain the world (as opposed to describing it). I think it's an important difference, because you could be a complete fundy and still believe in evolution - for that person it would just boil down to description vs. explanation. I don't think they're mutually exclusive.
posted by newscouch at 3:24 AM on May 23, 2005


newscouch: restating that, science addresses the "how?" and religion takes a shot at the "why?".

humans, being on average idiots, will find the "how?" insufficent and thus be susceptible to those who say they have the answers to the "why?" questions.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 4:16 AM on May 23, 2005


spooman

No matter how batshit crazy your hypothetical universe is, science remains the best method for acquiring what knowledge you can, even if that knowledge is very limited.

S ience is not competent to determine Origins. Science is based on observation. It is pretty useful for describing material phenomena in the present, but Origins goes beyond observation. We can not observe pre historic events. We may speculate, and our speculations may impress our peers who can not know any better, but these speculations have little merit.

Suppose you want to find out the first words George W Bush ever spoke. You have 2 resouces: 1)a team of top surgeons who will use the latest technology to probe GWB and then develop theories about the most likely word he first spoke 2)Barbara Bush. If the theories the surgeons come up with disagree with Barbara Bush’s account, who would you pay closer attention to?
posted by bevets at 4:52 AM on May 23, 2005


...So far in 2005, the issue of evolution has sparked at least 21 instances of controversy on the local and/or state level in at least 18 states, according to the National Center for Science Education, an Oakland-based non-profit organization that defends the teaching of evolution in public schools. Although such controversies have occurred regularly over the years, some attribute the recent wave to the success of conservatives in 2004 elections.
At the national level, one attempt to diminish the prominence of evolution in public school curricula and introduce alternative views came in the form of a proposed amendment to the No Child Left Behind Act. Sponsored by Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.), the amendment suggested that evolution is in question among scientists and recommended that a "full range of scientific views" be taught. But it was cut from the bill. ...

posted by amberglow at 5:10 AM on May 23, 2005


but these [scientific] speculations have little merit.

What can one say? Even insults are pointless now. Just gotta let the poster's statements sit on the page in their glory, I guess.

Arguing with the poster plays into his derail game, I guess. The real story is amberglow's post immediately above.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:20 AM on May 23, 2005


Bevets is obviously in complete agreement with us.

And that's what matters! Not whether somebody is making any sense, or is in fact batshit insane, but whether he agrees with us!

Conversely, thedevildanceslightly, who makes perfectly intelligent points in a civil fashion, gets shouted down by a lot of the yahoos here because he doesn't join in the lynch mob. "Whassa matta, boy, you a little too fond of these here ree-ligious people? You a God-lover mebbe? Toss him into that there mew-zee-um and set the whole shebang on fire, boys!"
posted by languagehat at 5:56 AM on May 23, 2005


Suppose you want to find out the first words George W Bush ever spoke. You have 2 resouces: 1)a team of top surgeons who will use the latest technology to probe GWB and then develop theories about the most likely word he first spoke 2)Barbara Bush. If the theories the surgeons come up with disagree with Barbara Bush’s account, who would you pay closer attention to?

Actually Bevets, given the fallibility and frailty of human thought and memory in old people versus the argument that a sufficuciently advanced technology could "read" that person's first words and had been successfully tested and peer-reviewed I think it's fairly obvious which side most people* would fall on.

*not lunatics.
posted by longbaugh at 5:56 AM on May 23, 2005


I think that whole thing about taking bevets seriously was an attempt at sarcasm, languagehat. As far as religious persecution, you people need to get a handle on that Jesus complex of yours. Relax.
posted by c13 at 6:02 AM on May 23, 2005


Oh look! I can raise semantic objections! Look how smart and wily I am. Wily I say! I have you now!

Absurd.

And shame on the rest of you for allowing it and indulging it.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:16 AM on May 23, 2005


Science is not competent to determine Origins. Science is based on observation. It is pretty useful for describing material phenomena in the present, but Origins goes beyond observation. We can not observe pre historic events. We may speculate, and our speculations may impress our peers who can not know any better, but these speculations have little merit.

Suppose you want to find out the first words George W Bush ever spoke. You have 2 resouces: 1)a team of top surgeons who will use the latest technology to probe GWB and then develop theories about the most likely word he first spoke 2)Barbara Bush. If the theories the surgeons come up with disagree with Barbara Bush’s account, who would you pay closer attention to?


longbaugh

Actually Bevets, given the fallibility and frailty of human thought and memory in old people versus the argument that a sufficuciently advanced technology could "read" that person's first words and had been successfully tested and peer-reviewed I think it's fairly obvious which side most people* would fall on.

Suppose the peer reviewed mind reading machine determined that your son's first word was 'cornucopia' but you distinctly recall the first word was 'ma ma', would you defer to scientific opinion or would you hold out for your frail memory?
posted by bevets at 6:20 AM on May 23, 2005


Do you distinctly remember the Origins, bevets?
posted by c13 at 6:27 AM on May 23, 2005


I don't remember the first word my son said bevets so that means I would have to go with the proven technology. If my (fallible) memory said otherwise I would still go with the proven technology. It is far more likely that I remembered wrongly. Such is the human mind.

btw - It was far more likely to be archaeopteryx or something of that ilk.
posted by longbaugh at 6:31 AM on May 23, 2005


who makes perfectly intelligent points in a civil fashion

civil yes, intelligent no. His 5 points above were not the "bizarre assumptions on pure faith"of science that were asked for.

Let's look at some of tddl's "intelligent" points:

The point is that "science" does take things on faith

Idiocy.

Einstein himself admits blah blah blah

Appeal to authority fallacy.

I'm defending this one is the smug attitude of "christians are dumb fucks"

Anybody pushing YEC or ID Creationism counter to common understanding of paleontology and geophysics is indeed a "dumb fuck", equivalent people to arguing that the earth is flat. Christianity suffers from a high percentage of people fallen into this mind rot, but other religions also have their victims.

The difference in prediction between that part of the ID crowd and the evolution crowd is zero. There might be some divergence in a few thousand years about whether macro-evolution takes place, but the micro-evolution observable during our lifetime is entirely consistent with some groups of ID believers.

This, of course, was incorrect. Evoluton's model is one of common descent and predicts DNA correlations depending on degree of divergence from a common ancestor.

I see a lot of words from tddl, but no intelligence here.

If IDers want to water-down their argument to state to conform to scientific understanding of common descent and the origins of life on this planet (but eg. argue a weak miracle-maker working to direct evolution's advances) this would not be a "dumb fuck" position to take. But I would note the museum of this fpp does not make this argument.

Again, this bears repeating:

Gallup surveys have shown that about 45 per cent of Americans believe the Earth was created by God within the past 10,000 years

tddl, in defending these dumbasses and their dumbass arguments becomes a dumbass himself.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:39 AM on May 23, 2005


(addendum to the point that it's not just Christianity)

"Icons of Evolution", a critical hit-piece on neo-darwinism, was authored by a moonie.

The publisher of this book is Regnery Press. Here is an unedited list of some other Regnery books from amazon:

Men In Black: How the Supreme Court Is Destroying America
by Mark R. Levin

The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History
by Thomas E. Woods Jr.

Winning The Future: A 21st Century Contract with America
by Newt Gingrich

Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry
by John E. O'Neill, Jerome R. Corsi

Jesus in Beijing: How Christianity Is Transforming China and Changing
the Global Balance of Power
by David Aikman

Persecution: How Liberals Are Waging War Against Christianity
by David Limbaugh

Bias: A CBS Insider Exposes How the Media Distort the News
by Bernard Goldberg

Shut Up and Sing: How Elites from Hollywood, Politics, and the UN are
Subverting America
by Laura Ingraham

War Stories: Operation Iraqi Freedom (with DVD)
by Oliver North


See a pattern here?
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 6:45 AM on May 23, 2005


bevet, oh bevet...

T-Rex's discussion with God in Paradise:
T: Dad, I can't really chew the grass with these teeth you gave me...
G: Try smoking it, you idiotic beast!

There's so much bull said in this thread, I don't know where to start. Let me state, just for the record, that once you mix science with religion, all you can expect is a huge headache. They simply should not be parts of the same discussion; not anymore.
posted by acrobat at 7:12 AM on May 23, 2005


Man, I haven't seen bevets around since the last evolution thread.
posted by graventy at 7:22 AM on May 23, 2005


Just as a note: There's no shortage of dubious museums.

Then, onto the brief responses:
Jon o- Existentialism is not possitivism and phenomonology does not conduct itself as science (see: Husserl). You're thinking of Popper.
Languagehat- I understand your ire, but I think that it's pretty well misplaced on this one, at least this far downthread.
tddl- You've fallen to solipsism, and Decarte's "Cogito ergo sum" is based on two different senses of being (action and existence). This is where existentialism is handy, as it concerns itself with the philosophy of being. Unfortunately, in English we only have one word for "to be," but when you can see them as Sein und Dasein, it makes parsing them a little easier.
Further, if it chafes you to think of abstract definitional axioms (one plus one equals two because two is defined as one plus one), think of your first postulate ("The world is real") as a fairly reliable hypothesis, one that has held up despite a nearly infinite amount of testing, and one that is now being concurrently tested by over 6 billion subjects.
posted by klangklangston at 7:30 AM on May 23, 2005


languagehat, saying that tddl has been "shouted down" in this thread is a lie. Reviewing this thread, it's quite clear that each of tddl's "points" have been thoroughly addressed and dismissed in a civil manner. I put the word 'points' in quotation marks because it's quite clear that (1) tddl doesn't actually believe anything he's saying (2) he isn't prepared to critically examine any of his points--I mean come on, saying "science assumes the world is real" is just shameful (3) tddl isn't interested in understanding or enlightening anything or anyone--he's arguing for the childish reason of wanting to address other's "smugness." And your perceived anti-religion bias is largely imaginary. Any educated religious person of the smallest integrity would respond to news of this museum just as vehemently just as many in this thread have done. So, at this point, I imagine you're just trolling and have nothing further to add.

And yes, this argument will occur again in the future. It will probably happen again and again without end. Each and every time an institution devotes itself to deception and steadfastly avoids critical debate, I imagine that others, who value honesty and truth and reasoned analysis, will call them out on it loudly and repeatedly. And this is a great thing. To conclude, Voltaire said it best: Ecrasons l'infâme!.
posted by nixerman at 7:33 AM on May 23, 2005


"Suppose the peer reviewed mind reading machine determined that your son's first word was 'cornucopia' but you distinctly recall the first word was 'ma ma', would you defer to scientific opinion or would you hold out for your frail memory?
posted by bevets at 6:20 AM PST on May 23 [!]"

Remember that some of the greatest advances in science have come from people willing to trust the insane sounding things their science tells them- look at how odd quantum mechanics is, or relativity even. Hell, Lorentz actually figured out a lot of the equations describing relativistic motion and time pre-Einstien. But he didn't take the step of actually thinking they actually meant something, which was a key part of Einsteins accomplishments.

So if good, rigorous science said W's first word was cornucopia, I'd believe it. Of course, they'd have to use methods that weren't goddamn stupid as either of Bevet's options.
posted by spooman at 7:49 AM on May 23, 2005


PS- sorry for feeding the troll, all
posted by spooman at 7:50 AM on May 23, 2005


For some reason, bevets distinctly reminds me of some random woman I saw on cable TV last month arguing that Michael Jackson was innocent.

The logic went something like this: (a) he's a Jehovah's Witness, and (b) no Jehovah's Witness would ever use the phrase "Jesus Juice" because (c) its blasphemous. Therefore, (d) all the charges are false and (e) all the accusers against him are vile, deceitful liars. Especially (f) cancer-boy. (g) Fuck cancer-boy.

Just thought I share.
posted by iron chef morimoto at 8:13 AM on May 23, 2005


have been thoroughly addressed and dismissed
Wow!, as the thread is about control and keeps the theme rolling.
So it is wrong expressing your thoughts by opening a museum?

Also, the museum is pepsi blu, because their message is sold by jumping on the dinosaur bandwagon.
I had a previous employer that profited enormously by tapping into the dinosaur market. When the plan was reveled, it was noted that the dinosaurs market was just opening up and have a very long future in it. The company went so far as hiring paleontologists who could be watched while working on the fossils.
posted by thomcatspike at 8:31 AM on May 23, 2005


It's times like these that I wish the thread system was less linear and more like a tree. I wish we could have branched this topic off of the original thread and pursued it without side-tracking the Creationism conversation.

Suggestion: find some good links, create a new FPP, move the conversation.
Bevets is obviously in complete agreement with us.
And that's what matters! Not whether somebody is making any sense, or is in fact batshit insane, but whether he agrees with us!


It's what matters if people are jumping up and down on his neck for disagreeing, based solely on his username, when in actual fact his words indicate that he is agreeing.

And WTF is with you these days? Every time a religious subject comes up, you start shrieking about how awful the discussion is. If you don't like it, go read some other thread. Sheesh.

Anybody pushing YEC or ID Creationism counter to common understanding of paleontology and geophysics is indeed a "dumb fuck", equivalent people to arguing that the earth is flat.

Fersure. No more playing nice with the religionists. Keep it in the churches, and keep it the fuck away from my government and my kids. Believe whatever the hell you want, but don't you dare force it on me and mine.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:28 AM on May 23, 2005


An editorial in today's Kentucky Post calling for a debate between the Answers in Genesis museum founder and representatives of the scientific community. He makes a good point:

He knows the story of Genesis well, but has no formal education regarding evolution. Can he make an intelligent decision regarding his beliefs on the origins of humans without understanding the basic principles of the only explanation offered by science?
posted by tizzie at 10:45 AM on May 23, 2005


Any educated religious person of the smallest integrity would respond to news of this museum just as vehemently just as many in this thread have done.

Unless you are God how can you know that? Why would you be “vehemently” to free business practices? Unless I missed the musuem being funded by the State.
keep it the fuck away from my government and my kids
So your library should not stock the bible or any other religious material? Closer to home, your neighbors cannot have religious books on the shelves of their home libraries?

I know that is not what you mean.

How can this thread support the posted quote's freedom but not the museum's freedom (only if privately owned).
Please don't say eduacation value as my class desk was in a school room, not the museums of Arkansas.
posted by thomcatspike at 11:05 AM on May 23, 2005


Adamchik: "Time and space are created dimensions, that were created after the original creation ex nihilio." (bold italics mine)

I know 'ex nihilio' is a highly capable argument grout, but how do you explain time being created 'after' anything? Was there a temporary, time-like dimension that had many of the same qualities of time, such as sequentiality, but that existed only for bootstrapping Time? What happened to this BIOS-like timelike dimension? Does it still exist as an underlying layer of Time, or was it overwritten completely when Time started up? If dimensions can be started and presumably stopped, what's the motivation and the mechanism? Most importantly, do you have any reason to believe any of this besides the scribblings of people that barely understood that they had internal organs?
posted by felix at 11:18 AM on May 23, 2005


Languagehat- I understand your ire, but I think that it's pretty well misplaced on this one, at least this far downthread.

Yeah, you're right, I should have bowed out after the first comment or two, but the self-righteous assholery in these threads gets my dander up.

And WTF is with you these days? Every time a religious subject comes up, you start shrieking about how awful the discussion is. If you don't like it, go read some other thread. Sheesh.


Sorry, pal, I don't like smug groupthink even in the service of ideas I agree with. If you don't like it, skip my comments. Sheesh. And if you'll notice, I had an entirely different reaction to nanojath's Puritanism thread. If the discussion's civil, I don't shriek about it. Whodathunkit?
posted by languagehat at 11:30 AM on May 23, 2005


wow this is still going?

. . .hehe . . . i agree, we should stop arguing about this. after all , the question is , should we speak out against people dressing up like doctors if they are in fact not.

i, for one say let them dress up, make their own private hospital, or as they like to call it "godspitle" and get to cutting on good christians near and far. oh wait funny thing is , when its time to cut on people these folks take modern science very seriously.

so i guess its ok to let them make shit up out of thin air , because at the end of the day , they won't have the balls to really use their "science" for anything , that matters.
so
just let them have it, they just want to slap jesus on every object they can find , this is no surprise, let them.

stop ringing your hands and just let them smear insanity on everything in site.
posted by nola at 11:46 AM on May 23, 2005


by the way i will be calling my self a priest from now on .
and wearing vestments. i will take your confession now, if you like, i also do baptisms, weddings, and funerals.
posted by nola at 11:48 AM on May 23, 2005


A bit of levity on the subject.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:22 PM on May 23, 2005


Let's test creationism and scientific method.

First, shit in one hand. That is a scientifically valid phenenomon that can be tested and verified.

Second, make a wish to your Creator in the other hand. Let me know if you have any observable results.

Now, which is the shits, scientific method or creationism?
posted by nofundy at 12:59 PM on May 23, 2005


First, shit in one hand.

I don't know what you do in the nofundy lair, but remind me to never touch anything there.

That said, your "experiment" misses the point entirely.
posted by thedevildancedlightly at 2:09 PM on May 23, 2005


Let's test creationism and scientific method.
I just see the scientific method being "shit" because science defines it.
I'm disappointed my small investigation about the museum is right so far regarding the place being privately owned. Which is more disappointing looking at the thread's read: you cannot have free thoughts or business practices, unless you think like me.

PG you do realize this museum is privately owned, you can google it to find the museum’s Internet site. So being privately owned this is not the State's thinking thus the freedom here. You don’t support controlled thinking?

I'd say a better argument is the museum’s ethical responsibility the place teaches. Though your choice for the post's quoted opinion pancakes that discussion through its name-calling which iirc you have posted before.
posted by thomcatspike at 3:44 PM on May 23, 2005


thomcat: groups are indeed free to push their lies; nobody's calling for censorship, boycotts, etc.

We in opposition are just detailing the sociopolitical forces behind these evil fucks.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 5:29 PM on May 23, 2005


apropos of nothing really
posted by CunningLinguist at 12:09 PM on May 24, 2005


We in opposition are just detailing the sociopolitical forces behind these evil fucks.
Then this thread's opposition equals the evil f's thus making it more evil. From the article, them being attacked was behind the museum's creation.
posted by thomcatspike at 12:23 PM on May 24, 2005


What if they took all the money they spent building that museum and, you know, used it to help people or something?
posted by kindall at 12:27 PM on May 24, 2005


Don't be silly kindall - that would be something Jesus might do...
posted by longbaugh at 12:42 PM on May 24, 2005


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