How the Creationist Game Is Played

Would you play poker with someone who insists on his own rules, one of which is: “It doesn’t matter what cards I’m holding. If you don’t have a royal flush, then I win.”

That’s the game we see being played at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog in a new post by David Klinghoffer. It’s titled: Astrophysicist Adam Frank: Materialism’s Fatal Flaw Is…Matter. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Whether explaining consciousness, evolution, or the origin of the cosmos, materialists make a common assumption: that they know what matter is. However, if the underlying stuff of physical reality is itself a mystery, on what kind of foundation do purely physical, natural theories have to build anything?

Before proceeding further into what we know about the nature of matter, let’s pause to consider what the Discoveroids know about their intelligent designer. As we said in Discovery Institute: Intelligent Design Redefined:

The “theory” of Intelligent design tells us that some unknown intelligence (whether it’s a solitary creature or a vast swarm is never addressed), with utterly unknown characteristics (mortal or immortal, sexual or asexual, plant or animal, physical or spiritual), whose home base is unknown, and whose ultimate origin is a mystery (evolved, created, or eternal), arrived on earth somehow (in a flying saucer, or maybe on a comet), at some unspecified time (or several times), and then in some unspecified way (technological or magical), for unspecified reasons (boredom, or maybe cosmic fulfillment), did something (or maybe several things) to influence the genetic characteristics of some (but maybe not all) of the creatures on earth.

That’s what the Discoveroids have. You know what you have. Now that the cards have been dealt, let the game proceed. Klinghoffer says:

In an essay for Aeon, astrophysicist Adam Frank focuses on the mystery of consciousness, not evolution. But the objection would seem to be no less powerful there.

This is the essay he’s talking about: Minding matter — The closer you look, the more the materialist position in physics appears to rest on shaky metaphysical ground. According to Wikipedia, the author, Adam Frank, is:

… a United States physicist, astronomer, and writer. His research focuses on computational astrophysics with an emphasis on star formation and late stages of stellar evolution. His popular writing has focused on issues of science in its cultural context, including issues of science and religion and the role of technology in the human experience of time.

Klinghoffer gives us some quotes from Frank’s essay — about the unresolved questions presented by quantum mechanics:

But behind quantum mechanics’ unequaled calculational precision lie profound, stubbornly persistent questions about what those quantum rules imply about the nature of reality — including our place in it.

Those questions are well-known in the physics community, but perhaps our habit of shutting up has been a little too successful. A century of agnosticism about the true nature of matter hasn’t found its way deeply enough into other fields, where materialism still appears to be the most sensible way of dealing with the world and, most of all, with the mind. Some neuroscientists think that they’re being precise and grounded by holding tightly to materialist credentials. Molecular biologists, geneticists, and many other types of researchers — as well as the nonscientist public — have been similarly drawn to materialism’s seeming finality. But this conviction is out of step with what we physicists know about the material world — or rather, what we don’t know.

After that fuzziness, which always seems to accompany quantum mechanics, Klinghoffer tells us:

In a nutshell, here’s the problem:

[Another quote from Frank:] What exactly is quantum mechanics telling us about the world? What does the wave function describe? What really happens when a measurement occurs? Above all, what is matter?

Klinghoffer is excited. He closes his post with this:

It seems that, when we’re confronted with theories of origins that dogmatically insist on an active role for matter and material forces alone, a reasonable question before going any further is: Define matter. What is it? If Darwinists can’t answer that one, then I’m not sure by what right they command our agreement to any of the rest of their theory.

Now we return to the poker game. You don’t have a royal flush, but the evidence for evolution means you’re sitting there with a full house. Your opponent, Klinghoffer, has a hand full of nothing to support his claims about a magical designer. Who wins?

Klinghoffer wins. Why? Because the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — always wins. Those are the rules the Discoveroids play by.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “How the Creationist Game Is Played

  1. So Klinghoffer’s claim is: If you don’t know everything, then you don’t know anything. Got it.

    Our safest course of action is to strap yourself down in a foetal posture in a dark corner: who knows if gravity might suddenly give out?

  2. Megalonyx, I think you are misunderstanding Klingy’;s position. He’s saying if you don’t know everything, then he knows everything.

  3. Michael Fugate

    What Frank is saying is that those who resort to QM to explain consciousness are wasting their time. It is not going to be found at that level. Klinghoffer is making a category mistake in its original meaning.

  4. Michael, I think you’ve hit the nail on the proverbial head – Frank’s going after Deepak Chopra here, more than anything else.

  5. Sometimes I think I understand creacrap well enough to successfully parody it, but this goes beyond me. Matter can’t be defined, hence materialism has a problem, but creacrap, that proposes a Grand Old Designer (blessed be Him/Her/It) who created that matter hasn’t?

  6. I would begin by asking Klingenheimer to:
    Define matter. What is it? In terms of ID.
    Have they ever ventured into this realm, or is it just their perpetual attack on science and they don’t need to show their hand?

  7. docbill1351

    Matter – the stuff that’s missing from Klankerwanker’s head.

    This might be too technical for old Klunker but the kid’s are on the right track!

  8. Michael Fugate

    QM is not going to explain evolution either – it is largely irrelevant. We don’t need to understand matter at the quantum level to understand evolution.

  9. Mark Germano

    I’m sure that in Klinghoffer’s next post, he’ll detail the results of the Discovery Institute’s most recent experiments at their state-of-the-art particle collider.

  10. David Williams

    If one is a creationist, then one can make up evidence.

  11. Somebody should send this to Klinkleclapper and Ol’Hambo:

    It is always fun to seen them wriggling like an eel in a bucket full of mucus.

  12. The paradox of creationism is that though the creationists are quick at making up stuff – evidence against evolution, expansions on Bible stories – no one has managed to offer an account of the working of life which offers an alternative explanation to the variety of life: what happens, where, why and how, if evolution isn’t involved, that there is the “tree of life”.

  13. Dave Luckett

    This is a combination of two creationist moves. You could call it the terminus two-step, which you dance after an exhausting passage of the macro-micro mambo.

    Step one: Ask about anything that’s poorly understood – consciousness, say, or the underlying nature of matter, or quantum physics, or a theory of everything, whatever. Keep asking until you get to “It’s not known”. You’ll get there, for sure.

    Step two: Say, “See, you don’t know. You don’t know anything. Therefore I win.”

    This is absolutely guaranteed, totally sure-fire. It can’t fail.

  14. As weird as QM is, it is clearly within our ability to study it. We can make remarkably precise predictions based on our studies, which inform our understanding of the larger scale “material” universe.

    Unfortunately for Kling, despite the incredible technology available and the efforts by thousands of researchers, so far no evidence has been found of a supernatural world. The material world, down to the quantum scale, is all we have.

  15. And there is another point to this “proof”. They have an “answer” which is omnipotent, omniscient. God can do anything, so – they would have you think – God can explain anything. As if “God could do this”‘ meant that “God explains this”. When, to the contrary, “God could do without this” means that “God does not explain this”.
    Why would God make a complicated body, when God has no need of complications? (Yeah, I know, we don’t know the ways of the Lord. But isn’t that just backing away from the ways of the Lord furnishing an explanation?)

  16. Ross Cameron

    Off topic, but WTH. Serious question for a creo. If we are made in God`s image (whatever that means), does He have to cut His own toe-nails?

  17. Of course we can explain matter – creationist’s thoughts on any scientific matter don’t matter.

  18. What do creationists know about matter (or anything else)? And why should their opinions matter?

  19. Ceteris Paribus

    Klingyhoofer is simply just trying TOO hard to make an impression in the science world. Calls to mind a classic scene in the movie “The Lonely Guy (1984)”. In which Larry Hubbard (played by Steve Martin) is trying to make time with Brenda, a woman he meets in a bar.

    Just substitute “Klingyhoofer” for Larry, and “Science” for Brenda:

    Larry Hubbard: [Larry meets a woman at a singles bar] Oh, I hate these places. Don’t you? It’s like, most of these guys are just here for one thing. I guess I want to meet someone I can talk to, just get to know. And go to dinners with, and museums, art galleries. I think what I’m looking for is more of a *real* relationship.

    Brenda, Girl in Bar: Oh, that’s great, Larry. But I just came here to get laid.

  20. I don’t care how many things you believe is wrong with evilution! Use your imaginary WAG, show evidence for it, then use it to produce 10% of what evilution gave us thru biology and medicine!?!?! Til then you have nothing!

  21. Klunkerdoopel has devoted his life to attacking science and knowledge.
    What an enduring and creative legacy for the mankind ! Thank you David for your inspirational example! Your courage and character are beyond reproach. And the paychecks ! The paychecks are God’s reward for your faith.

  22. I see they are pushing another creationist book, soon to be released, it’s one of those collections of bulls**t, with names like Luskin and Strobel both mentioned, all the usual IDiots. Although the publishers own page seems to refuse to list them. “over 140 scholars”

    “The Dictionary of Christianity and Science provides, in one volume, entries on over 450 key terms, theories, individuals, movements, and debates at the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary science.

    In addition, because certain topics such as the age of the Earth and the historicity of Adam and Eve provoke disagreement among Christians, the dictionary includes “Counterpoints”-like essays that advocate for the views most commonly held among evangelicals. Representatives of leading perspectives present their arguments vigorously but respectfully in these advocacy essays, allowing readers to compare options and draw their own conclusions. The dictionary is also fully cross-referenced and entries include references and recommendation for further reading.”

  23. Michael Fugate

    I ran across this in response to Karl’s comment:
    An interesting look at religious opposition to evolution.