Join 3,557 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Flat-Earthers? No. Fixed-Earthers.
February 16, 2007 8:33 AM   Subscribe

Rep. Ben Bridges (R-Cleveland, GA) is in trouble. A recent memo from his office -- one circulated this week by Warren Chisum, a ranking member of the Texas state legislature -- has caught the attention of the Anti-Defamation League. They are not pleased. And they're not alone. Why? Because in his memo, Rep. Bridges -- sponsor of a perennial anti-evolution education bill in the Georgia State House -- claims that "so-called ’secular evolution science’ is the Big Bang, 15-billion-year, alternate ‘creation scenario’ of the Pharisee Religion." And that's not all. It would appear that Rep. Bridges is getting his information (and templates for his legislation) from www.fixedearth.com -- a website dedicated not only to the removal of pro-evolution education from schools, but to the idea that "[t]he Earth is not rotating...nor is it going around the sun." Because you see, it's all part of the Copernican Deception, a massive conspiracy propagated by Christian Zionists, NASA and ... Madonna?
posted by grabbingsand (116 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
What?
posted by delmoi at 8:36 AM on February 16, 2007


It's about time someone came out and said it, and then were mocked and humiliated, as they should be.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:39 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, I'm sure this is one ignorant apple. It doesn't mean the Republican Party is anti-science, that's for darn sure!
posted by DU at 8:40 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


this is fucking awesome.
posted by chunking express at 8:40 AM on February 16, 2007


This is one of the things where, as a seasoned pro-evolution advocate, you start spouting things like, "Next thing you know, they'll say the Earth is flat and all other celestial bodies rotate about it!", thinking there can't possibly be anyone like that—maybe in one of those other countries, but certainly not in the US—whatever its flaws, not the US—but then on a lark one day you're googling around and there it is. Though you'd prefer to think it were badly-handled parody you uncover nest after subtree of links to badly-formatted documents full of spelling errors, jarring uses of bold, italic, and differently-sized typefaces, and a striking vocabulary of neologisms, many of them ending in the morpheme -ism. And your heart sinks; "No parodist I know," you admit, "could possibly be invested enough to do all this."
posted by adoarns at 8:41 AM on February 16, 2007 [8 favorites]


Isn't this the new movie that Sacha Baron Cohen is doing? Get ready for "The Copernican Deception: Cultural Learnings for Make Benefit Glorious State of Georgia" to come out this summer.
posted by billysumday at 8:43 AM on February 16, 2007 [7 favorites]


I think fixedearth.com is one of those Alternate Reality Games. And its solution is Timecube.
posted by Pastabagel at 8:44 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Bridge's website is awesome. 33% of the images aren't broken!
posted by mr_roboto at 8:45 AM on February 16, 2007


To play devil's advocate, it's certainly possible to create a reference frame in which the Earth is, in fact, fixed and everything else moves (and this is how a lot of astronomy was done before Kepler, iirc), and it is no less valid than any other, if you are willing to pervert your math to make it work.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:45 AM on February 16, 2007


Oh, I was looking at this one, not the one linked above
posted by mr_roboto at 8:46 AM on February 16, 2007


it is no less valid than any other, if you are willing to pervert your math to make it work.

Except that all of our models of gravity stop working. The Copernican model made Newtonian gravity possible; General Relativity has been tested based on a heliocentric model.

That's a lot to lose, and I'd say it makes the geocentric model considerably less valid.
posted by mr_roboto at 8:48 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Except that all of our models of gravity stop working.

You're onto something there. Think of all the oil we'd save by being able to fly. Quick, we need to pass a law or something!
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow. High-grade silliness. Thanks.
posted by koeselitz at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2007


I am willing to pervert anything to hold on to the idea that I am the center of the universe.
posted by Mister_A at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2007


it is no less valid than any other, if you are willing to pervert your math to make it work

Doesn't that "pervert your math" part kinda make it less valid, automatically?
posted by aramaic at 8:52 AM on February 16, 2007


Holy shit.

Is there some kind of race to find the most idiotic thing you can believe in?

Because I think the fixed earth guys are in the lead, if there is.
posted by papercake at 8:53 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I don't know about you, but I'm voting for the first representative who runs on a TimeCube platform.
posted by b1tr0t at 8:55 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Doesn't that "pervert your math" part kinda make it less valid, automatically?

Not as such. There may well be applications (though I can't possibly think of any) where you would want to construct such a thing.

It's like if you were walking towards the back of a bus that is moving forward. An outside observer would say you are moving in the direction of the bus, whereas you would say you were moving in the opposite direction. Different frames of reference give different math.

On the other hand, I forgot about the gravity of the situation, which makes it a non-inertial reference frame and requires severe perversion, so maybe.
posted by TypographicalError at 8:58 AM on February 16, 2007


Apparently fixedeart.com also thinks that attractive web design is apostasy, also. (Really, is there a "bonehead template" out there somewhere? Every conspiracy site looks like this.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:59 AM on February 16, 2007


I assume this guy enjoys a comfortable margin and is not likely to be kicked out of office anytime soon?
posted by Artw at 8:59 AM on February 16, 2007


That pesky Madonna. I KNEW she was up to something.
posted by unSane at 9:00 AM on February 16, 2007



Is there some kind of race to find the most idiotic thing you can believe in?

Because I think the fixed earth guys are in the lead, if there is.


I dunno. The idea that the sun is actually a giant ball of perpetually flaming gas floating in the air millions of miles away is pretty silly too.
posted by tkolar at 9:01 AM on February 16, 2007


TypographicalError's sort of right, but following that logic leads to all frames being equal, and therefore rather destroys geocentric views.

As the bad astronomer points out.

You can argue it is no less valid, but only when you admit it is no more valid.
posted by edd at 9:02 AM on February 16, 2007


A particularly fantastic assumption necessary to accommodating the precise Solar Eclipse Phenomena in the Helio Model involves the bold reversal of the Moon’s observed direction of travel. Acceptance of this occult slight of hand from the Arcane Math Department of Mystic U. has no basis in reality, of course. Rather, it must be coupled with prior acceptance of the other assumptions of a rotating Earth orbiting a stationary Sun. No moon reversal means no accurate eclipse forecasts and no accurate eclipse forecasts means no heliocentricity model.

Man. Man. This is how you do crazy with style.
posted by COBRA! at 9:02 AM on February 16, 2007


When I have a band, it will be called NASA & the Evolution Circus.

Thanks, crazy non-rotating-earthers!
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 9:03 AM on February 16, 2007


I dunno. The idea that the sun is actually a giant ball of perpetually flaming gas floating in the air millions of miles away is pretty silly too.
posted by tkolar


Related, not quite as crazy, and raises some questions for this uninformed casual solar observer on the nature of the Sun.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:03 AM on February 16, 2007


Its stunning that this appears to be in earnest. It's disturbingly strong evidence of one of Sam Harris' arguments, that a large part of the US population is deeply, willfully ignorant of matters that have been considered settled by happier, smarter socities for a long time.
posted by Dr. Boom at 9:03 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


oops, here's the link I meant to embed.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:04 AM on February 16, 2007


Well, geocentrism is no more valid, except God says so. QED.
posted by TypographicalError at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2007


We are educated stupid!
posted by Foosnark at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2007


And I think this link needs posting.
via Pharyngula
posted by edd at 9:05 AM on February 16, 2007


And I think this link needs posting.

Damn, now somebody's gotta shoot Chisum.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:07 AM on February 16, 2007


I dunno...Bridges might be onto something here. I mean, how can a system of natural selection predicated on the survival of the fittest, carried out over billions of years - and billions upon billlions of individual organisms - have an end result of a life form as stupid as Ben Bridges? Surely genes as intellectually deficient as his would have been weeded out of the gene pool if evolution were actually taking place?

I rest my case.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:08 AM on February 16, 2007 [4 favorites]


Servants of Cthulhu with the help of Saturday Morning Cartoons will attack to destroy the Fixed Earth Society...I'm spending 1 megabuck. Anyone going to stop me?
posted by Loser at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


"Its time for the truth."
posted by sfts2 at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2007


Here's what I don't understand. The flat earth page seems to have been written by someone who is not *entirely* stupid. And yet as this page shows they seem to not grasp at all what the nature of evidence is.

(The pix shown could demonstrate equally well that the universe rotates around the earth, or that the earth spins on its axis. They're evidence only of relative circular motion between the earth and the stars around a polar axis).

How is it possible to miss that?
posted by unSane at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2007


"shoot Chisum" sounds kinda dirty, BTW.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 9:09 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


The Card Cheat: You have to back up a few steps. Evolution enabled the brains that devised the medical technology that helped infants who in previous eras would've died soon after birth survive. So, you have two movements. The first being the general push of biological evolution, and the second being man's own involution and development. If humans could be sensitive enough to the first movement, then the second movement could be more in harmony with it and not aid the survival of the unfit.

(yes I know you were joking but it was a flash of mediocre insight that I decided to share)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:12 AM on February 16, 2007


You know what's completely ludicrous about the flat earthers.... you can prove the Earth is round in your backyard, by recruiting a friend a few hundred miles away, calling him on a cell phone, and comparing measurements of shadows on a vertical stick.

But that's the old and busted way. The new hotness is Google Earth.

I mean.... get real. If you look at Google Earth, and zoom in on your house, it will be exactly correct. It's photographs, fer chrissake. I can see my actual house. And no matter where I look, in every single place I've been, it's correct. And if I zoom out, it's round.

They couldn't POSSIBLY get it right in all those different places if the Earth weren't round. You can measure the distance between two places on Google Earth and then manually go drive them yourself and prove that they're right.

It amazes me that anyone could maintain that kind of website when absolute disproof is a free download away.
posted by Malor at 9:13 AM on February 16, 2007


I'm actually really glad that the boiling water of American cultural identity is being poured into the anthills of both science AND religion, forcing people's beliefs to scramble up to the surface where they can mix, collide, and ultimately grow.

Because scientists, god love 'em (har), have just as much work to do on themselves, they have their own lives and dreams to reconcile against what they are told is a universe full of chaos and empty space. You could say that the reason that science and religion are so at odds in our world is that they are the opposite poles of one actual philosophical concept. Nothing short of a great upheaval or new shift in consciousness will ever get these Siamese twins on speaking terms again, and in the meantime unfortunately the everyday human is pushed and pulled all over the map by legislation, trends, and hazards that result from this scrap.

Humans discovered science. We also discovered religion. Post-discovery, equal heaps of pure invention, ignorance, and political intervention have been poured into each. Can we arguably say with a straight face that either serve the best interests of modern civilization? I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
posted by hermitosis at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2007


What's amazing to me is that the memo is being condemned as anti-Semitic, not because it's bugfuck crazy!!
posted by jpburns at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2007


It's all about the rotating frame, TypographicalError.

The further one would be away from Earth, with the Earth fixed and not rotating, an item 1 ly from Earth would be moving in a circle over 6 ly in circumference in 1 day, a quarter of a light year an hour, or about 1500 times the speed of light. And Alpha Centauri is 4.3 light years away -- parallax tells us that much, even if you assume the Earth is fixed, and the universe "wobbles" around us semiannually.
posted by chimaera at 9:14 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


That sounds like fancy east coast secularist talk, Burhanistan. A pitchfork and torch-equipped mob has been dispatched to your place of residence.
posted by The Card Cheat at 9:16 AM on February 16, 2007


The Republicans are just afraid that the traditionally Democratic Jewish vote will shift to the GOP and reduce the prospects of rapture.
posted by Krrrlson at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


So what if special relativity doesn't hold? Nobody was using it anyways.

Okay, so maybe switching to a fixed Earth frame is more trouble than it's worth. But it's possible! And anyone who doesn't use such a thing in their calculations will burn in hellfire, so...
posted by TypographicalError at 9:18 AM on February 16, 2007


I hate to be a downer, but I think this really is a testament to the laziness of legislators than to the crazy ideas they hold.

I'd be willing to wager that the State representatives are being quite honest in their mealy-mouthed defenses: they looked at the cover memo, saw that it trashes the teaching of evolution in schools, and rubber-stamped it without looking at the website and realising that it espouses a radical new anti-rotationalist theory.

The memo was on paper. The links are long and unwieldy, full of %20s and whatnot. Did a 96-year-old state rep from Georgia pull out his MacBook and painstakingly retype the URLs to investigate?

If there's one thing guys like this know, it's what will fly in their districts. Anti-scientific zealotry? Sure. That the earth doesn't turn? Somehow I doubt it.
posted by bicyclefish at 9:20 AM on February 16, 2007


Malor, the guys we're laughing at are FIXED earthers, not FLAT earthers.
posted by dazed_one at 9:20 AM on February 16, 2007


I'd like to start a Texas secession movement. Who's with me?

(Either that or start a band called The Texan Secession, I'm not sure which)
posted by eyeballkid at 9:21 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Loser - I've got 5 Megabucks on the Society of Assassins and the Orbital Mind Control Lasers. Back off or there will be trouble.
posted by Irontom at 9:21 AM on February 16, 2007


(And that's coming from a devout Muslim, no less. BTW I've yet to meet another Muslim who didn't believe in evolution as God's plan to pursue perfection within the confines of a physical and limitary universe, or some such verbiage)
posted by Burhanistan at 9:22 AM on February 16, 2007


Servants of Cthulhu with the help of Saturday Morning Cartoons will attack to destroy the Fixed Earth Society...I'm spending 1 megabuck. Anyone going to stop me?

Don't worry, Loser. I got it, anyway.
posted by gurple at 9:22 AM on February 16, 2007


Can we arguably say with a straight face that either serve the best interests of modern civilization?

huh? are you arguing that, since there are two viewpoints that seem to fundamentally disagree, we should throw them both out with the bathwater? I think that would be ignoring the real puppet-masters in this boxing match - namely, politics (AKA the nature of some men to seek power wherever they can get it, even if it warps everything around them, sort of like how spacetime is warped around planets or stars). And don't forget the Great Promoters, AKA the 24-hour media culture, who never tire of sqeaking and squacking whenever someone steps into the ring.
posted by muddgirl at 9:24 AM on February 16, 2007


Here's what I don't get: some crazy state rep circulates this batshitinsane memo and the ADL wants an apology? This is a perfect setup for him to issue a non-apology apology like "I'm terribly sorry that my Jewish friends are upset about this memo. I certainly didn't intend to hurt their feelings." Why can't they demand that, oh I don't know, he resign or something?
posted by googly at 9:26 AM on February 16, 2007


...of matters that have been considered settled by happier, smarter socities for a long time.

Smarter, certainly. Happier I'm not so sure of.
posted by tkolar at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2007


Oh, and I forgot this. BANG!
posted by sfts2 at 9:28 AM on February 16, 2007


Hall doesn't agree. He said he wrote it and got Bridges' approval to send it out. "I gave him a copy of it months ago,” Hall, who is a retired high school teacher told the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

Emphasis mine. Also great sadness, that's mine, too.
posted by gurple at 9:29 AM on February 16, 2007


....[more] a testament to the laziness of legislators than to the crazy ideas they hold. ...the State representatives...saw that it trashes the teaching of evolution in schools, and rubber-stamped it...

Sounds like a classic case of "both" to me.
posted by DU at 9:33 AM on February 16, 2007


This fixed earth theory is ridiculous. Obviously the world is a hollow sphere and we live on its inner surface.
posted by gubo at 9:36 AM on February 16, 2007


great sadness, that's mine, too.

Yeah, it says something about my cynicism with government that I find the idea of a high school teacher holding these concepts much, much more disturbing than the idea of them being promulgated by a state legislator.
posted by nanojath at 9:38 AM on February 16, 2007


"'Exobiologist' Carl Sagan and his sycophant cyberpunk dopehead compatriots." Indeed.
posted by taliaferro at 9:39 AM on February 16, 2007


Haha stupids, the sun is carried on the back of a great turtle.
posted by Mister_A at 9:43 AM on February 16, 2007


Actually what I believe is that two warring factions of "modern" thought are scrambling so rigorously to distance themselves from each other that they wind up alienating or otherwise leaving behind the very civiliaztion they presume to belong to and advance.

Are you saying that they seem to fundamentally disagree in the same way that Christians say evolution is just a "theory"? I totally agree with you that media and politics have a vested interest in the status quo, in confusion and corruption as both an end and a means. The problem in my eyes is that when the camps of both "Science" and "Religion" attempt to correct or debate this confusion and corruption, the routes generally available to them are *drumroll*: politics and the media.

So yes, basically I am arguing that the baby, the bathwater, and all attendant squeaky toys should be tossed. At which point, humans can draw anew from whatever territory between those two poles is left, or else discover a new way. I'm no apocalypse fetishist, but the sooner our world faces a major upheaval that cannot be reconciled or rebounded from, the better. There are truths available to mankind, but we are very, very capable of creating circumstances that could prevent us from ever learning them.
posted by hermitosis at 9:44 AM on February 16, 2007


I'm confused. The letter is anti-Semitic because it credits the Pharisees with coming up with the Big Bang theory two thousand years ago? Sounds anti-Gentile to me.
posted by Nahum Tate at 9:45 AM on February 16, 2007


As far as stream-of-consciousness religious screeds go, I really prefer the writings of Dr. Bronner to those of the Fixed Earth people.
posted by PhatLobley at 9:48 AM on February 16, 2007


How can somebody encapsulate so much wrong in one memo? A miracle of brevity.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:48 AM on February 16, 2007


When doing a lot of geophysics, atmospheric physics, and ocean physics one tends to work in the reference frame of the rotating earth, treating a position on the surface as fixed. Of course, you need to include a few ugly terms to take the noninertertial reference frame into account. It perverts the math only as much as you have a bunch of cross products that I personally don't care much for.
posted by Schismatic at 9:49 AM on February 16, 2007


Let's just shoot these dumb motherfuckers into space, so they can witness the earth revolving around the sun for themselves before their skulls explode.
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 9:50 AM on February 16, 2007


We all know it's really the fault of those pesky Sadducees; the Pharisees aren't to blame...right? Right?
posted by pax digita at 9:53 AM on February 16, 2007


Malor, it is fixed-earth, not flat-earth, that is being discussed here. Google Earth doesn't tell you anything about rotation.
posted by unSane at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2007


So yes, basically I am arguing that the baby, the bathwater, and all attendant squeaky toys should be tossed.

We should get rid of science because religious people are idiots and exploit the media to distort politics lolwhat
posted by DU at 9:54 AM on February 16, 2007


So yes, basically I am arguing that the baby, the bathwater, and all attendant squeaky toys should be tossed. At which point, humans can draw anew from whatever territory between those two poles is left, or else discover a new way.

in the meantime, results from the recent football game between the postmodernists and the solipsists will be announced just as soon as we determine if there is such a thing as a football game and whether it really was played

moving on, we now have new historical footage of egyptian pharoahs flying around the pyramids with bird suits and, as a special treat, a tape recorded meeting of the bavarian illuminanti held last year

remember our motto ... "if you can create it, you can call it real"
posted by pyramid termite at 9:58 AM on February 16, 2007


This is one of the things where, as a seasoned pro-evolution advocate, you start spouting things like, "Next thing you know, they'll say the Earth is flat and all other celestial bodies rotate about it!", thinking there can't possibly be anyone like that—maybe in one of those other countries, but certainly not in the US—whatever its flaws, not the US—

and one day we'll find ourselves in the voting booth, coloring in the little circle for the corrupt, fundie, bigoted politician who happens to believe that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Lesser of two evils indeed.

I'm actually having a much more difficult time believing in evolution these days. America seems fully committed to regressing beyond the Middle Ages. Maybe because we never had one of our own.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:00 AM on February 16, 2007


We all know it's really the fault of those pesky Sadducees; the Pharisees aren't to blame...right? Right?

it's the zealots ... hell, i've even heard people on metafilter complain about them
posted by pyramid termite at 10:01 AM on February 16, 2007


It's the goddam Judean Peoples' Front!
posted by Mister_A at 10:04 AM on February 16, 2007


Splitter!
posted by rtha at 10:06 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Copernican science is just an effort, steeped in sacrilege, to hide the Truth from your eyes. The earth is merely a spherical gear beneath my feet which drives a clockwork universe for everybody else to enjoy. With each step I advance the motion of cosmos, the sun around the earth and the planets in retrograde motion. The earth and universe is a little over 38 years old and didn't exist before me, nor will it exist after me. The Devil has placed false memories in those who think they're older than myself and false histories to mislead everybody else.

Now somebody fetch me a pitcher of beer, I'm thirsty.
posted by substrate at 10:07 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


We can't get rid of science, but we can exhale a collective sigh of relief when science is no longer used as an excuse to injure society in the guise of dehumanizing technology, and when the deciding factor on which scientific developments are worth exploring or debating doesn't come directly from government or corporate interests and get presented to us in the media coliseum-style.

You know, if that ever happens.
posted by hermitosis at 10:09 AM on February 16, 2007


when the deciding factor on which scientific developments are worth exploring or debating doesn't come directly from government or corporate interests and get presented to us in the media coliseum-style.

"in this corner, ladies and gentlemen, we have the particle accelerator crushers with swords and whips ... in the other corner, the cure for cancer arsonists with their arsenal of bottle rockets and flare guns ... which will get next year's funding? ... it's a battle to the death to decide!!"
posted by pyramid termite at 10:14 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I love starting my day with a dose of batshitinsane Zionist conspiracy:

Once the origin of this devilish hatred of Truth and fairness is identified, no strain on anyone’s part will be required to understand why the Talmud-based Pharisaic Establishment of Jesus’ day had to kill Him (on the mistaken assumption that this would eliminate Him and His teachings). Nor will it be hard for anyone to see why the Jews have had such a turbulent history. Their Rabbi-controlled, Talmud-based spiritual leadership has caused virtually all of the problems the Jews have experienced throughout that history.
posted by jokeefe at 10:19 AM on February 16, 2007


/vent

I know this has little to do with the actual topic of the thread, but I needed to vent. I'm filling in at my home church as the high school director for a little while before I start med school. Having a degree in Biology and a basic understanding of logic and science, I tend to believe...you know, the earth revolves around the sun, the earth's pretty old, natural selection makes sense, etc. My brother, who's in seminary, as a joke has been signing me up for creation science websites and organizations and then we talk about how ridiculous they are (my favorite was cartoon of a dinosaur pulling a cart of wood for a man).

Well I happened to mention this to the pastor, who immediately was shocked I don't get into creation science (my response as to why not ...."well, I like science"). I proceeded to argue with the staff for a short while, and apparently my degree could very well be all lies, I'm foolish to believe the earth is older than 6,000 years old, and my faith could very well crumble at point. Moral of the story, as hard as it is, you can't argue with people who base faith on science, and ridiculous science at that. They usually have little knowledge of both, and nothing will ever change that.

/end vent
posted by sicem07 at 10:19 AM on February 16, 2007


Nahum Tate -

I'm confused. The letter is anti-Semitic because it credits the Pharisees with coming up with the Big Bang theory two thousand years ago? Sounds anti-Gentile to me.

The Pharisees were Jewish, not gentile.
posted by MythMaker at 10:22 AM on February 16, 2007


...you can't argue with people who base faith on science...

They don't think they are basing faith on science. They think that the origin of life is a faith question, not a scientific one. Of course they are wrong--*everything* can be put to a scientific test. The real question is, why are you persisting in not putting the question of the existence of God to the same test?

To expand a little: In their mind, there is a line dividing the world of questions into "science can answer this" and "science cannot answer this". They've put their line way off to one side. You've got the same line, but biology happens to be on the correct side. My question is: Why have the line at all?
posted by DU at 10:29 AM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


You could say that the reason that science and religion are so at odds in our world is that they are the opposite poles of one actual philosophical concept.

Well.. sort of... in the same sense that immunology and booger eating are at the opposite poles of the concept of hygiene.
posted by fleetmouse at 10:36 AM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Wow. I go away to lunch and come back to 80+ comments. Awesome.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:39 AM on February 16, 2007


Humans discovered science. We also discovered religion.

No, religion was invented. Many times. That's why there are a hundred different religions and but one science. You can believe whatever you want but if do the same experiment in the same way that someone else has, you will get the same result that they did.
posted by octothorpe at 10:43 AM on February 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


Fixed Earth! DILUTE!! DILUTE!!
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:44 AM on February 16, 2007


...

...

Well, then.
posted by flibbertigibbet at 10:48 AM on February 16, 2007


The Pharisees were Jewish, not gentile.

Nahum Tate
means that if the Pharisees came up with the Big Bang, then they were dozens of hundreds of years ahead of the Gentiles, therefore superior and ironically not Anti-Semitic as it would initially appear.
posted by yeti at 10:49 AM on February 16, 2007


Are you saying that they seem to fundamentally disagree in the same way that Christians say evolution is just a "theory"?

I'll speak more plainly. I do not believe that scientific knowledge-making and religious knowledge-making are mutually exclusive, unlike fundamentalist pundits from both sides of the board (whom I would not call honest scientists or honest religious leaders).

and when the deciding factor on which scientific developments are worth exploring or debating doesn't come directly from government or corporate interests and get presented to us in the media coliseum-style.

I don't think this implication is entirely true. Scientists themselves hold a lot of sway over what is studied, at least in the US. Note that there isn't a single credible scientific institution attempting to prove that creation science is valid. Note that Behe (who introduced us to the joys of irreducible complexity) is still not taught in freshman biology courses. Note that no one believes the moon is made of green cheese. If you're implying that science is a business, then yes, that's true. Everything is a business, which is the joy of capitalism. That's why it's necessary to find good businessmen who will get the money to follow the science, so that the science can follow the money.
posted by muddgirl at 10:54 AM on February 16, 2007


Kent Brockman -- "I've said it before and I'll say it again: Democracy simply doesn't work."

Episode: "Bart's Comet" (2/5/95)
posted by bonecrusher at 12:40 PM on February 16, 2007


I find the psychology behind people like Mr. Hall (the fixed earth guy) fascinating. He apparently has a deep desire to believe that the world has been deceived and that he is in sole possession of the authentic Truth. This thought pattern is resonant with gnostic ideas of hidden knowledge and revelation. There's also an element of self-loathing; a desire to aggrandize oneself in the face of a failure to achieve any measure of greatness in the eyes of the world. "The world does not see my genius, so the world must be wrong!"

Anyway, I'm guessing the guy's a grade-A asshole, and not any fun at parties.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:41 PM on February 16, 2007


Servants of Cthulhu with the help of Saturday Morning Cartoons will attack to destroy the Fixed Earth Society...I'm spending 1 megabuck. Anyone going to stop me?

Don't worry, Loser. I got it, anyway.


Don't forget you can get an extra bonus to destroy if you flip an alignment the right way with your orbital mind control lasers.
posted by juv3nal at 12:51 PM on February 16, 2007


It's the goddam Judean Peoples' Front!

Fuck off! We're the People's Front of Judea!
posted by kirkaracha at 12:54 PM on February 16, 2007


One of these days, I'm going to earn vast amounts of wealth by offering a correspondence course, "CSS For Paranoiacs". It'll be a two-week affair, in which I show students the marvelous ways in which they can apply site-wide templates to have, say, "Kabalists (Cabalists)" show up in the same angry red bold font every time, while also properly formatting their angry missives and link dumps to other, similarly delusional tinfoil hatters.

I thoroughly enjoyed the part about all technology in the last 20 years being part of a vast, NASA-led conspiracy to infiltrate telescope manufacturing processes to dupe us all into believing that the universe is billions of light years across, rather than the half-light-day he meticulously calculates from Scripture. That's the kind of mathematical acumen you just don't see from your garden-variety nutcase.
posted by Mayor West at 1:03 PM on February 16, 2007


I shall choose to believe that neither Texas or Georgia exists, and then neither representative will exist, thus this silly thing will all go away.

If I think hard enough, it will happen!

Maybe I can make a silly, busted website using FrontPage to get my ideas across to the masses as well. Maybe if all of us start believing that neither Texas or Georgia exists...
posted by rand at 1:07 PM on February 16, 2007


I'm very disappointed in you guys.

If there's one thing we know, no matter how hateful, ignorant, insane, and even depraved a rightwinger's action, it is very poor form to mock them -- it's something only a shrill person would do.

Instead, those who hold different beliefs are to be engaged -- remember, engaged -- because you don't want them to feel attacked or, even worse, dumb. First rule: never challenge other people's comfort zones, ever -- never attack their sense of self worth. Grind grind grind grind remember?

Bad, bad boys. So, let's recap:

The Rapture? Stem cells are just like a beautiful baby? Gays must be rightfully discriminated against because four thousand years ago THE LORD hisself may have told so to some mythical nomadic sheep herder in the Middle East? Iraq? The earth stands serenely at the center of the universe no matter how hard the rest of the universe tries to subdue her to the universe's physical laws?

It must all be accepted with a serene smile. Never mock or attack this people. Don't grind your axes here, maintain a healthy, respectful discussion.
posted by matteo at 2:37 PM on February 16, 2007


Who pissed in your coffee?
posted by mr_roboto at 2:39 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Galileo did.
posted by matteo at 2:43 PM on February 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


they've got it wrong--the universe revolves around America.
posted by Kifer85 at 2:44 PM on February 16, 2007


matteo: cry baby cry
posted by Snyder at 2:56 PM on February 16, 2007


I like this quote:

"Wrong! The only fact in that concept is that the satellite is always overhead. We know this is a fact—a scientific truth--because we can see it."

If being visible is part of proof of scientific fact, then how do they end up believing in invisible superheroes who live in outer space?
posted by mmrtnt at 3:30 PM on February 16, 2007


Ah yes, mmrtnt highlights a great point. Many of these believers espouse a form of scientific method Western scientists discarded hundreds of years ago. Namely, observe the world around you, and then make hypothesis. Alternately, make hypothesis (perhaps based on a religious text), and then observe how everything around you fits your hypothesis perfectly! Really, it's a very tranquil kind of science. No messy testing! No chance of being wrong! We don't have to prove it, we can see it.
posted by muddgirl at 3:36 PM on February 16, 2007


Representative Bridges won his most recent election with one hundred percent of the vote.

I hasten to add: I kid you not.
posted by Flunkie at 3:56 PM on February 16, 2007


"it's something only a shrill person would do"

Don't be shrill to the Vril?
posted by ryoshu at 3:56 PM on February 16, 2007


Flunkie writes "Representative Bridges won his most recent election with one hundred percent of the vote."

He probably ran unopposed. Not very unusual for a minor race in the middle of nowhere.
posted by mr_roboto at 4:12 PM on February 16, 2007


TypographicalError

I always thought that the problem with the geocentric description of the motion of celestial bodies is that it doesn't admit prediction of how a new body would behave; that it is all ad hockery to explain the relative motion of planets (IIRC, they have to inhabit separate spheres rotating at different speeds). Perhaps you are talking about a more sophisticated version, wherein all other celestial bodies behave normally, with things rotating and orbiting around other things, but only the earth is a fixed frame of reference. But even this has problems when one starts to get into relativistically important dimensions and time frames.

So my impression is that, no, there is no interchangeability with just a different mathematics between the current model and a geocentric model of the heavens. One can describe motions of the current situation, but would be hard pressed to create a model that would continue to explain the relative motions as the relationships between planetary bodies changed.
posted by Mental Wimp at 4:14 PM on February 16, 2007


Indeed, muddgirl.

This excellent graphic is making its way around the internet today.
posted by mmrtnt at 5:53 PM on February 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


mmrtnt: that should be on a t-shirt.
posted by papakwanz at 6:33 PM on February 16, 2007


substrate

Tour de force.

You should set up a website that state and federal congressional staffers can mine for memos.
posted by mmrtnt at 6:48 PM on February 16, 2007


I dunno. The idea that the sun is actually a giant ball of perpetually flaming gas floating in the air millions of miles away is pretty silly too.
Of course it is; it is actually a temporarily-thermonuclear ball of plasma and gas moving through the near-vacuum of space millions of miles away.

Makes much more sense.
posted by adoarns at 6:50 PM on February 16, 2007


Mayor West

...a correspondence course, "CSS For Paranoiacs".

Interesting, but I think it will be a non-starter. Your basic website-hackin', bible-thumpin' and/or gun-totin', paranoiac probably will not accept the evolution of HTML beyond v1.1

(You made me laugh out loud)
posted by mmrtnt at 7:03 PM on February 16, 2007


This thread's award for incise brevity:

bugfuck crazy

ha!
posted by mmrtnt at 7:07 PM on February 16, 2007


Except that all of our models of gravity stop working.

No problem! As the page explaining that geosynchronous satellites aren't really in "orbit" explains, they also don't believe in the "weak and overworked concept" of gravity.

I'm voting for the first representative who runs on a TimeCube platform.

This wouldn't be the first time a US Senator has reminded me of the TimeCube guy.
posted by sfenders at 8:07 PM on February 16, 2007


from edd's link:

Mr. Chisum said all he thought he was doing was "a Good Samaritan" deed for a fellow legislator.

"If that's a sin, well, shoot me."


Road to hell, good intentions, blah blah.

BTW, so is the Bible anti-Semitic? Are christians who feel that Pharisees were evil (are there still Pharisees?) anti-Semites as well? Just out of curiosity.

Isn't the Bible just about the only place where most have ever heard of a Pharisee? And aren't they portrayed pretty badly there? And doesn't the bad connotation implied from the memo come directly and solely from the depiction from said holy book, that Pharisees and their beliefs are evil, or are there other popular accounts of the evil and insidious Pharisee?

Am I missing the point completely somehow? I'm not seeing how this is a big deal, beyond the stupidity of the beliefs of some of our elected representatives. Some guy says that science is an extension of ancient enemies of his god. How is this any different than any anti-evo bullshit these freaks are desperately holding onto? Why would anyone spare this anything but derision? Now this load of shit has wings.
posted by dozo at 9:41 PM on February 16, 2007


Upon further research into the nature of Pharisees, I have come to realize that modern Jews apparently are Pharisees, or descendants of them, so I guess I can see more of why they would be offended.

I am still curious as to whether Jews think that christians are haters because their religion describes the beating, denigration and general scorn heaped upon these Jewish antecedents?
posted by dozo at 11:15 PM on February 16, 2007


dozo, most modern Jews don't know who the Pharisees were, and even fewer have read the new testament.
posted by bingo at 8:15 AM on February 18, 2007


« Older Cheating at the Daytona 500....  |  Random Friday! pictures, c... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments