Creationist Wisdom #764: The Ignoramus

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the State Journal-Register of Springfield, Illinois, the state capital. It’s titled What is, and isn’t, science?, and the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Douglas. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The Journal-Register recently reported the rallies (which are praiseworthy) to promote the understanding of science. The rallies beg the question, “What is not science?”

Interesting question. Sit back far enough to avoid the drool splatter, dear reader, as Douglas answers his question:

I argue, for example, the Theory of Evolution isn’t science.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Douglas isn’t alone in that opinion. Ol’ Hambo agrees — see Hambo Says Evolution Is a Religion. But unlike Hambo, Douglas has a specific reason for his opinion. He says:

Step 3 of the scientific method says to form a hypothesis. In Step 4 one conducts an experiment, that must be reproducible, to prove the hypothesis. The hypothesis for the Theory of Evolution states that mankind evolved from lower life forms over millions of years. There’s no way to reproduce millions of years to test this hypothesis, so it cannot be scientifically proven.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Douglas seems never to have learned the Scientific method. A scientific hypothesis must result in testable predictions, which can be tested either by repeatable experiments or by observations. Eclipses are a classic example of predicted observations. So is the observation of the cosmic microwave background. We assume Douglas doesn’t regard astronomy and cosmology to be part of science, because we can’t reproduce the universe.

Then he tells us:

The hypothesis [Hee hee!] for the opposing creation view is found in Genesis 1:1-2:4 of the Bible (and in other scriptures) where it’s stated that God created the universe and all life on Earth in six days. There is likewise no way to reproduce creation by God, so it cannot be scientifically proven.

Well, at least Douglas doesn’t regard creationism as science. He continues:

The creation view is rightly described as a faith because it cannot be proven. Evolution is just as much a faith, because it cannot be proven.

Douglas also imagines that scientific hypotheses are “proven.” In this — as in everything else — he’s wrong. Hypotheses can be verified or supported if their predictions are confirmed. In due course, a well-tested hypothesis will be regarded as a theory, but theories are never proven. They can, however, be dis-proven — see Wikipedia’s list of Superseded scientific theories — but that’s another topic. Let’s read on:

The dogmatic teaching of evolution as science to the exclusion of the creation view in schools is an unconstitutional violation of the separation of church and state: To pass an exam Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and other students are required to deny their faiths and bow to the faith of evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Douglas concludes his letter with some advice to education professionals:

The proper educational approach is to teach both, and to phrase exam questions as “according to evolution, this, and according to creation, that.”

Dougie blew it again. If evolution and creationism are both religious concepts, then neither could be presented in public schools. Unfortunately, many — perhaps most — state legislators are every bit as ignorant as Douglas, and to them his advice seems perfectly reasonable. That means The Controversy will continue.

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

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14 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #764: The Ignoramus

  1. Charles Deetz ;)

    So the same drivel, and we are stuck bringing out the same NCIS counter-argument. Maybe Douglas would like to volunteer as a victim to recreate a murder so the case can be proven to the jury?

  2. I really hate it when people call me Dougie 🙂 However, just to be sure, I have no truck with this particular Douglas!!

  3. The point of a science is not that every consequence can be tested. It is that some consequences can be tested.

    It’s sort of like what a detective does. The detective tries to find out what happened. The detective formulates a theory about the crime. Some of the consequences of that theory cannot be tested, but some can. The suspect, if he did it, had to travel to the scene of the crime, but we might not have any idea how he got there. That does not mean anything, as long as we have evidence that he was there – his fingerprints are there, the surveillance cameras have his picture, there are traces of his DNA, etc.

  4. I just took a look at the responses in the paper to this letter. One brought up an objection to evolution which is new to me: the scientific law of inertia. There was no explanation what that difficulty might be. Does anyone have any idea?

  5. Michael Fugate

    prime mover?

  6. TomS, I can’t think of a way inertia would affect the process of evolution, although as a psychological metaphor it may explain why people are so slow to accept the theory. It’s like when somebody asked me how my wife and I had managed to stay married so long. I answered, “Inertia. A lack of imagination and initiative.”

    Seriously, moving to a different mental position requires energy–not the same kind of energy that changing physical positions does, but maybe more difficult to exert.

  7. Thank you.
    I am so conditioned to make sense of what I hear that I struggle to admit that someone would make a connection between the Prime Mover and Conservation of Momentum and Big Bang and Evolution, but maybe that’s it.

  8. “… the scientific law of inertia. There was no explanation what that difficulty might be. Does anyone have any idea?”

    Your mistake is in assuming that there is a rational interpretation for an irrational statement made by someone who is profoundly and willfully scientifically illiterate. To a willfully scientific illiterate obscurantist, *any* excuse will do, particularly when it sounds “scientifical”. e.g. “how is it there are PYGMIES + DWARFS??” (Google it)

  9. “Tides come in, tides go out, never a miscommunication. You can’t explain that.”

  10. Ross Cameron

    Douglas would be better off proving the bible is the word of god. Where`s the provenance? Where are the autographs? Got any of the authors stat declarations that they are telling the truth?

  11. Scientist

    Ross Cameron. The bible was “inspired” by god, which some take to mean that writers were so filled with fervor for he/she/it that they took ink to parchment, while others believe that he/she/it actually moved the writing hand. Others simply see the bible as scribes’ history of a people justifying their conquests. I guess the signatures were lost through millennia of copying. Or, perhaps no one wanted to take credit for fabrication. Sigh.

  12. Dave Luckett

    2 Timothy:3:16. “All scripture is breathed out by God…”

    An interesting text, since it includes a Greek figure of speech that works the opposite way from the English. We say a revelation is inspired, that is, breathed into the one to whom it is revealed. The Greeks said it was breathed out by the revealer. The text is therefore often translated “inspired by God”, which is almost certainly a correct rendering of the sense.

    But the Greek includes the possibility that although God might have “breathed out” the scripture, it had to be understood and accurately transcribed by fallible humans. Human nature must necessarily introduce error. This text is therefore not even a claim for the infallible inerrancy of scripture. Far less is it a claim that scripture is to be read literally. And this is the nearest the Bible ever comes to making such claims.

    I find it even more interesting that this text certainly antedates much of the New Testament – Paul is almost universally supposed to have been dead by 65 CE, which was before the three later Gospels, Acts and Revelation were written and long, long before a canon (ie, a list of accepted texts) was established. So was Paul prophesying that further texts not yet written and accepted as scripture would also be inspired? That would require that the persons who – much later – established the canon were also divinely inspired, and that they infallibly interpreted that inspiration rightly. Which is odd, since they never made any such claim.

  13. There is the possibility that 2 Timothy was not written by Paul.

    On the other hand, 1 Corinthians 7 has a couple of passages in which Paul explicitly writes that he is expressing his own opinion, not the Lord’s word.

  14. Eric Lipps

    A scientific hypothesis must result in testable predictions, which can be tested either by repeatable experiments or by observations. Eclipses are a classic example of predicted observations. So is the observation of the cosmic microwave background. We assume Douglas doesn’t regard astronomy and cosmology to be part of science, because we can’t reproduce the universe.

    Never mind the universe. We can’t reproduce eclipses; a (creationist-type)skeptic would say that until we can, we haven’t really proven they’re caused by the shadow of another celestial body, no matter how well we can predict them. After all, how do we know something else isn’t causing them?

    If we applied the same logic to history, how could we prove Jesus ever existed? Contemporary evidence is thin on the ground; even the earliest Gospel was written decades after the (estimated) date of the Crucifixion, and there’s actually no reliable birthdate for Christ; as Isaac Asimov once wrote, the scriptural account is hard to square with known history, since among other things there’s no record of any astronomical phenomenon conveniently near the supposed date which would account for the Star of Bethlehem. But creationists would freak out if such reasoning were applied to the Nativity.