Thursday, November 8, 2012

Liberals and the mortal danger of creationism

Noah Berlatsky has a fine essay Liberal Creationist Idiocy.

Excerpt:

Right-wing heartland Republicans may believe in it, but it's the left that truly loves creationism. Political outrage is fine, but everyone has to acknowledge at least to some small extent that sentient humans can differ on how often we should drop bombs on Afghanistan or when and whether women should have access to abortion. But creationism? That's an argument about facts, not morals. It's the ultimate proof that all those Red State yahoos are not just cruel, heartless bastards, but are congenitally, intentionally and hopelessly stupid. If the right lives to accuse their enemies of immorality, the left lives to accuse theirs of idiocy—and nothing screams "idiot" like looking at a Tyrannosaurus and trying to figure out how it could’ve fit on the ark.
Liberal attacks on creationists have, therefore, a unique note of barely restrained glee and purified contempt. Katha Pollitt's recent essay in The Nation is an apt example of the genre. Riffing off a recent poll showing that 46 percent of Americans are Creationists, she vaults enthusiastically to the conclusion that almost half of her fellow citizens are actively and dangerously mentally ill...
Obviously, if you don't have a degree from an elite institution, you must be a fool. Certainly, you shouldn't dare question the scientists. After all, the best research suggests that only 10 to 20 percent of them have been involved in or witnessed research fraud. What's not to trust?
However, I don't think you have to be a fool to believe [in creationism]. Really, all you have to be is human. Humans, of whatever creed or politics, believe lots of things that have no particular scientific basis. Some people believe in ghosts. Some people—even some left-wing people—believe vaccines cause autism. Some people, again, some of them left-wingers, believe John F. Kennedy's assassination was part of a vast conspiracy. Some people believe that Kennedy was a good President. Some people believe that economists can forecast the economy...
All of these beliefs have more practical negative consequences than a belief in creationism. In fact, the only real effect of creationism, as far as I can see, is to interfere with the teaching of evolution in some secondary schools. And given how lousy U.S. high schools are, this is probably a boon for science....
Pollitt mentions the possibility that people just say that they are creationists for cultural reasons, rather than because they've studied, or even thought about, the science. But she doesn't mention her own cultural interests or predilections. She claims she's pointing out the dangers of the ideology, but it's not like her article includes any scientific evidence that creationism is damaging. All she's really got is theory, innuendo, and a few pitiful quotes from troubled scientists who mumble that disbelief in the scientific method is "very troubling."...
I wish my fellow citizens would vote for single-payer healthcare; I wish they'd get rid of right-to-work laws; I wish they'd embrace legal marijuana and stop supporting wars. But creationism? I'm sorry, but if we woke up tomorrow and everyone suddenly believed in evolution, the world wouldn't be one jot better than it is today—except maybe we'd be spared the self-congratulatory liberal concern-trolling on the subject.

I'm not a creationist, in the sense of a young-earth creationist. I believe that the earth is 5 billion years old, and that life has evolved. I believe God created everything in the universe and holds everything in existence at each moment. My take on evolution is Thomist, rather than Paleyean or Ken Ham-ean.

But my creationist friends are right about the most important thing, the central thing: God created the heavens and earth, and we are His creatures.

Creationists are the smartest people I know. I think they're wrong about the age of the earth, but they're right about nearly everything else. They're right about God's existence, His sovereignty, His grace, and His love. They're right about the big things. They are also the backbone of our country-- the salt of the earth-- and it is their wisdom, industry and decency that has made American a great country and the world leader in science.

That's a 'paradox' that atheists avoid like the plague. America leads the world in science, with no real rivals, and we are the most creationist Western nation. Evolutionary education in our schools is and has always been sketchy at best, in part because of parental and educator resistance and in part because Darwinists aren't a particularly bright crowd and partly because the material cannot be taught rigorously when it is taught as dogma, as it is now.

And yet without good education in evolution our schools turn out the best biologists and scientists and doctors in the world.

Atheists and liberals despise creationists not because creationists pose any threat to science or to our civilization. Atheists and liberals despise creationists because atheists and liberals are elitist anti-Christian bigots, and regularly scheduled two-minute hates aimed at their Christian neighbors keeps them in good standing in their social and professional circles in which disparagement of Christianity is currency and lubricant. 

40 comments:

  1. Creationists are the smartest people I know.

    Says the man who thinks Dick Morris is a canny political analyst.

    ReplyDelete
  2. My take on evolution is Thomist, rather than Paleyean or Ken Ham-ean.

    Fascinating. What did Aquinas write about evolution?


    God created the heavens and earth, and we are His creatures.

    What makes you think your god is male? What use does he have for a penis wherever it is he hangs out?


    atheists and liberals are elitist anti-Christian bigots

    Plenty of liberals are Christians. How can they be anti-Christian bigots?


    ReplyDelete
  3. Michael,

    I know that I'm going to regret this, but what is the Thomistic take on evolution again? Besides your usual gobbledegook.

    I can't imagine how God maintains the existence of everything in the Universe. Including the virtual particles within neutrons and protons, which flash into and out of existence in Planck time and account for most of the mass of protons and neutrons (the three quarks account for only 2% of their mass). The Large Hadron Collider, when it smashes two beams of protons together, is mainly interested in the collision fragments between the virtual particles, because they have most of the mass and energy, and as a result give the most interesting products.

    America might have had the best science, but it's not assured that it will continue to do so. America has no space program. It could have had a superior version of the Large Hadron Collider, but spent a billion dollars digging the hole for it, and then spent another billion dollars filling it in again, to the disappointment of a lot of towns in Texas.

    And to the disappointment of the brightest physicists and mathematicians America was then producing, who were snapped up as Quants in investment banks to develop toxic financial derivatives. One of the causes of the GFC in 2008, requiring a trillion dollar taxpayer bailout of the banks.

    But canceling the Desertton saved the taxpayers billions, so they must be pleased.

    If America is strong in science, it's despite its creationism, not because of it. OK - name one creationist scientist who has accomplished anything significant in science.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "If America is strong in science, it's despite its creationism, not because of it. OK - name one creationist scientist who has accomplished anything significant in science."

      Raymond Damadian

      - LE

      Delete
    2. Raymond Damadian

      Except that he hasn't actually been credited with accomplishing anything. He's just whined that he should be.

      Delete
    3. Copernicus, Kepler, Lavosier, Faraday, Pasteur, Mendel, Maxwell, Lemaitre, Collins.

      All great scientists of the scientific revolution were creationists. It has only been the past century in which appreciable numbers of non-creationist scientists have worked.

      Delete
  4. Atheists and liberals despise creationists because atheists and liberals are elitist anti-Christian bigots, and regularly scheduled two-minute hates aimed at their Christian neighbors keeps them in good standing in their social and professional circles in which disparagement of Christianity is currency and lubricant.

    Waah! They don't wespect my weligious beweifs! Waah!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I am a creationist and I think the whole YEC thing is a silly straw man debate by people who have extremely primitive views on the nature of time-space.
    I find it remarkable that anyone feels the need to 'prove' this position one way or the other.
    I will try to reduce my thoughts on this to an extremely simple expression here.
    Let's assume for a moment that the universe was either a)created by God or b)simply burst forth into being from nothingness. This universe would include ALL time as well as ALL space. If time and space are expanding, that means both the future and the past are expanding with it. Do/Can human beings perceive this, if it is so? Short answer: We have NO idea.
    If it is fairly stable then it stands to reason, once again, that time appeared with it. Time is mutable. Heck, even humans can warp time with simple things like velocity, light, and magnetism.
    So the question of 'when' seems a bit silly. 'When' did time come into being? If the universe is what we think it is, the 'when' could be in our future or at the end or loop nexus of time (if it curves in on itself).
    The past may be unfolding, just as the future is. Or the past maybe unfolding FROM the future.
    So 5 billion or 5 thousand makes no difference.
    'Evolution' do not disprove or prove anything any more than the future possibility of interstellar travel does. A kind of justification or validation of the 'end result'.
    So where does that leave evolution and creationism?
    Right back where they started.
    My two pennies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This universe would include ALL time as well as ALL space. If time and space are expanding, that means both the future and the past are expanding with it.

      This burst of gobbledegook tells everyone that you don't even understand the most rudimentary basics of cosmology.

      Delete
    2. Anon,

      Your snide and completely evasive response tells me you're an intellectually dishonest hack.
      'Everyone'? Oh no! Now I can't hang with the smart kids.
      Give me a break!

      This is so typical of you, Anon.
      Once your out of the field of expertise (mental masturbation and the study of academic echo chambers?)- you're lost.
      So... you resort to childish attempts at insults and feeble attempts to ostracise from your worthless tiny clique.
      Pathetic.

      Get a life. Get an argument.

      Delete
    3. Your snide and completely evasive response tells me you're an intellectually dishonest hack.

      Well, given that you are opining on cosmology without even the most basic understanding of the subject, the fact that you don't understand the response isn't surprising.

      here's a clue: saying stupid bullshit like "If time and space are expanding, that means both the future and the past are expanding with it." indicates to anyone who does understand the subject that you don't have the slightest clue what you are talking about. Here's a hint: the past isn't expanding. Time isn't expanding either.

      Delete
    4. Other Anon- I think I had to suffer through metaphysical arguments like his when I went to a few particularly bad parties in college.

      'Like, do our memories even exist before we remember them? You can't prove it's not, man!'

      Ah, metaphysics. Proponents are answerable to no one, their navel gazing is verified by nothing, it is the quantum analogue for people who are too lazy to even pretend to bluff their way through a conversation about quantum.

      Delete
    5. First post, long time reader.
      I think these anonymous chumps are actually one person, probably someone who already has a tag.
      Some sort of nerd school kid who thinks they know everything. Like for example the nature of time? I mean WTH?
      Could the admin maybe ban these idiots. They never have a point and always attack the posters.
      Go ahead and attack me now, Anon.

      Rex,
      You got me thinking, man. You do all the time.
      Thanks. Crazy stuff, but thanks.
      Keep responding and just ignore these fanboys.
      I'd like to read more about your ideas on time, if that's okay?

      Delete
    6. I second that comment
      I actually know rex. Like in the real world
      If these pukes had any idea what he does and who he works for they would send him a resume, not flame his posts. Losers.
      rock on Rex my crazy smart Canadian friend.
      These tools are just showing the true colors
      ignore them

      Delete
    7. Some sort of nerd school kid who thinks they know everything. Like for example the nature of time?

      In cosmology, time is not simply some random thing. It is understood, and factored into the equations. The past isn't "expanding", which is a stupidly moronic thing to say. Time isn't "expanding".

      If we didn't understand time at least this much, then Einstein's general and special theories of relativity would not work. And yet they do. And they have been confirmed by experiment several times. This is not just random conjecture.

      Go ahead and attack me now, Anon.

      The fact that you interpret basic cosmology as "an attack" tells me much about you.

      Delete
    8. If these pukes had any idea what he does and who he works for they would send him a resume, not flame his posts.

      Who cares what he does? When it comes to science he's a complete ignoramus who doesn't even understand the basics of the topics he tries to discuss.

      Delete
    9. AUTEC, (nice nic btw - do I know you?)
      Thanks for the kind words.
      Don't be shy, comment more often!
      If you would like to read more about these ideas, I would suggest researching 'space-time' and even (I know some of this will sound nuts :P) a look into 'time dilation', quantum gravity, , 'time travel' or 'warping space-time'. I know, I know... but these are the areas of research you will find the most interesting and appealing public data. A lot of it is purely speculative, but much of it has a solid foundation in maths.
      If you're handle is any indication, you may not have to look far for some of those resources.
      If, on the other hand, you're interested on my ideas about the relation of space-time to teleology or creationism - look for a post on my own blog (The Daily Faustian) in the near future with all sorts of refs and links. The thing is, I don't want to flood Dr Egnor's blog with my own interests.

      Anyway I should note: These are not really my own ideas, but rather open ended conclusions based on the work of very famous physicists, project engineers & scientists, as well as my own personal experiences.

      I don't claim to be correct, or know all the answers (or even any of them), but I do enjoy discussing them with people of an open mindset.
      Again, cheers for the support.


      USMC,
      I recognized the style immediately, Gunny.
      You may be right about these people and you are right that they are not worth responding to.

      You rock on yourself, Sgt.
      We have to get together again soon. I may be at the AFB next month, if you can get up that way or we can meet halfway?
      This time YOU lot buy!
      Great to see you on here. I told you it was 'the deep shit' :P
      Stay safe down there, and God bless you and yours.

      BTW we are not taking on new contracts right now, so save the CV's people.

      Delete
    10. Rex,
      We have met, but we are not familiar. We have mutual friends.
      I'll fill you in on the details privately.
      I am an agnostic, and would enjoy discussing these things with you at length if that is okay with you.
      I guess what I mean is I am not looking to be converted. But I would be grateful to talk about this kind of thing with someone like yourself.
      I will email you, if that's cool.
      I would rather not put up with all the distractions of a forum like this one or yours.

      Delete
  6. Troy,
    [Fascinating. What did Aquinas write about evolution?]
    TA wrote about the validity of scientific study, and it's importance. You really should check his stuff out. It could open that mind of yours.

    [What makes you think your god is male? What use does he have for a penis wherever it is he hangs out?]
    It has nothing to do with genitalia. 'He' is a term that indicates potency. 'Mother nature' and the 'God the father'.
    The mother indicates the inactive or dormant cosmos, and the Father is the potency by which life is brought into being.

    [Plenty of liberals are Christians. How can they be anti-Christian bigots?]
    Obviously I cannot answer this one, as it is Mike opinion. But I can say, for my own part, that such creatures are rare in my experience and that most people who call themselves atheists are actually ANTI theists (ie largely bigots), and most people who call themselves 'liberal' are actually a collective of various progressive and globalist views (ie elitists).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TA wrote about the validity of scientific study, and it's importance.

      Which isn't an answer to Troy's question at all. Nice dodge. But that's the theist dance: dodge, weave, evade, dissemble, lie.

      Delete
    2. TA wrote about the validity of scientific study, and it's importance. You really should check his stuff out. It could open that mind of yours.

      But did he have anything to say about evolution? What does it mean to have a Thomist view of evolution, as Egnor claimed to have?

      TA probably was a very smart man, who might have been an outstanding scientist or philosopher, had he lived today. His medieval 'model' of the world is completely outdated. Most importantly, his model wasn't mathematical and therefore almost entirely useless.

      Also, he was as asshole, who favored execution of heretics.

      The mother indicates the inactive or dormant cosmos, and the Father is the potency by which life is brought into being.

      And that kind of language doesn't have a misogynist ring to you?

      Delete
    3. [But did he have anything to say about evolution? What does it mean to have a Thomist view of evolution, as Egnor claimed to have?]

      Thomist view on evolution is that theories like evolution deserve a good look. That they are worth examining and studying the theological implications thereof.

      [And that kind of language doesn't have a misogynist ring to you?]
      No. Not at all. It is an accurate description of nature. Male potency and female fertility. It has no reflection on intellect or ability to reason. It simply illustrates an idea that is central to theism, deism, and even some variants of paganism.

      Delete
    4. The Thomist view of evolution is Aristotelian in outline: changes in nature, including changes in populations of organisms, have four causes (material, efficient, formal and final), and the changes (evolution) is caused by immanent causality-- causes inherent to the organisms themselves, which tend to a goal, which is final causation.

      Thomistic evolution is teleological change in populations.

      There is some debate among Thomists about the transmutation of species and the fixity of essences (ie species).

      Delete
    5. Michael,

      And the mechanism of Thomistic evolution?

      All you're doing is providing more gibberish. There are no goals in biology, just survival. Just as there are no intermediate species on a direct line to a favored target species.

      How do you recognize 'goals' in evolution? Is it increasing complexity or more complete perfection? Often evolution results in decreased complexity (as in many parasites) or loss of perfection, as in the many species that have degraded senses, including humans (who have lost about half of the olfactory receptor proteins) and whales (who have lost all of them).

      You're arguing an extremely silly tautology; evolution has goals. Whatever species exists has achieved the goals. It's even more moronic than your stupid summary of evolutionary biology as 'survivors survive'.

      I don't hate creationists (and you're definitely one too - you think the Universe was deliberately created, so that makes you a creationist, even if you don't appear to have the slightest idea how it was done). But I do like to laugh at the ones who should be intelligent and educated enough to realize that they are arguing for pure piffle, as you do with your Thomistic evolution.

      Delete
    6. Mike,
      Once again you have answered in an eloquent and balanced manner.
      Always a pleasure to read your responses to the angry mob of nihilists.
      Like a breath of fresh air.
      Cheers.

      Delete
    7. Mike,
      A question: What do you personally think the final causation of mankind will entail? Specifically, I suppose I am asking with regards to the brain and it's relation to mind.
      Also, what kind of time frame would you attach to such a transmutation (if that is the correct term)?
      I ask this because I would be fascinated to hear a neurosurgeon's ideas on this subject.

      Delete
    8. The Thomist view of evolution is Aristotelian in outline: changes in nature, including changes in populations of organisms, have four causes (material, efficient, formal and final), and the changes (evolution) is caused by immanent causality-- causes inherent to the organisms themselves, which tend to a goal, which is final causation.

      Wonderful, but if you can't translate all that into mathematical models that can be used to make some actual predictions or to fit to some actual data, it's just useless crap. Unlike current evolutionary models that can do that job.

      Delete
  7. And yet without good education in evolution our schools turn out the best biologists and scientists and doctors in the world.

    I'm sure Cyril had the same attitude when his followers burned the Library of Alexandria to the ground. As did al-Mansur Ibn and Abi Amir when they destroyed the Library of al-Hakam. As did Sultan Mamud when he ordered the destruction of the Library of Rayy.

    Exactly what is the condition of learning and science in the Islamic world now? Pretending that peddling the kind of ignorance you tout won't have any negative consequences is simply idiotic.

    ReplyDelete
  8. "And yet without good education in evolution our schools turn out the best biologists and scientists and doctors in the world."

    The best scientists we turn out are the ones who did manage to get a good science education, including evolution, in our schools.

    And I hate to break it to you, but one of the main reasons we still lead in science is because we are importing more and more scientists from other countries with better education systems.

    http://www.prb.org/Articles/2011/usforeignbornstem.aspx

    Boo

    ReplyDelete
  9. "Creationists are the smartest people I know."

    HAHAHAHAHAHA HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Wait, you were serious?

    ReplyDelete
  10. If I were you, Mr Egnor, I'd just disable anonymous comments. These anonymice have nothing to say, their only purpose is to demonstrate the truth of your last paragraph, and we already know that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anti-Christian bigot anonymous commentNovember 8, 2012 at 2:41 PM

      Nope, that's just your own persecution complex.

      And seriously, we are talking about creationists. CREATIONISTS. Insane people who deny reality because they don't like it. Why should we take them seriously?

      Delete
  11. I guess Ilion has a different definition of "truth" than the rest of us. Ilion's "truth" means "any ridiculous statement without evidence that makes me feel good".

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'll be honest, the level of discourse here on this blog (from both sides) is pretty embarrassing and one of the reasons I don't register a username.

    First Time Caller (Calling Again)

    PS: I'm also not, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymous, Anonymouse, Anonymous, Anonymous or Anonymous. You can't be certain that some of these anonymous types aren't Dr Egnor himself, Bach, Crusader, Pepe, Ilion, etc and they're not just having a good laugh at anyone else's expense. I think you're just being unnecessarily suspicious and easily wounded in the aftermath of the election.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. FTC,
      You register the name with google. You can use it on all blogger blogs, and it will give those of us interested in communicating with you a reference to work with. It is really is worth your while if you want to comment on any of these blogs. You log in the same way (or even in) Gmail.

      I'll be honest, too. I skip 90% of the posts labelled anonymous and will make my best effort to push that to 100%.

      Delete
    2. CrusadeRex,

      Thank you for the advice, but I really do have a limited number of blogs that I read and I hardly comment on any of them (including this one) because I float in and out of them week to week, so I'm not sure it's worthwhile just as a means of letting everyone know I'm me. I don't think one's identity is really all that important so long as the message they've included is reasonable. Just in the same way particular registered users tend to simply let personal prejudice flow freely if another commentator belongs to the wrong camp.

      First Time Caller (Calling Again)

      Delete
    3. FTC,
      Fair enough.
      I will look for you signature below the text.

      Delete
  13. Here in TN, they have taken steps though new legislation to allow creationism back into the classroom. This law turns the clock back nearly 100 years here in the seemingly unprogressive South and is simply embarrassing. There is no argument against the Theory of Evolution other than that of religious doctrine. The Monkey Law only opens the door for fanatic Christianity to creep its way back into our classrooms. You can see my visual response as a Tennessean to this absurd law on my artist’s blog at http://dregstudiosart.blogspot.com/2012/04/pulpit-in-classroom-biblical-agenda-in.html with some evolutionary art and a little bit of simple logic.

    ReplyDelete