Creative Challenge #51: The Best Analogy

The long holiday weekend is providing us with literally nothing to blog about. That’s no problem for us. Creationists may be in hibernation, but your Curmudgeon will use this lull in The Controversy between evolution and creationism to once again present a challenge to you, dear reader.

We’ve all been amused watching creationists as they fumble around in their ignorance and attempt to present what they imagine are scientific arguments against evolution and in favor of creationism. Their efforts are always laughable, not only because they don’t understand what they’re talking about, but also because they don’t know how to think logically.

But we’ve never had a good description of them — at least not one that uses respectable language. Oh sure, we jeeringly refer to them as “creation scientists” — and that says a lot — but we need a strong analogy that will be immediately understood — albeit probably not by creationists. The form of today’s challenge is that you must tell us, with reasonable brevity:

What is the best analogy to use when describing someone who imagines that he (or she) has a scientific argument against evolution?

To get you started, here’s the sort of thing we’re looking for: A creationist arguing against evolution is like an E. coli bacterium in your large intestine attempting to describe the Solar System.

You know the rules: You may enter the contest as many times as you wish, but you must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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70 responses to “Creative Challenge #51: The Best Analogy

  1. It would be hard to better, to describe the efforts of Creationists generally, the colourful analogy used to describe the current US administration’s foreign diplomacy, viz.:

    goat rodeo

  2. A creationist arguing against evolution is like a Dutchman explaining an American that the USA has 52 states and why the American flag has only 50 stars. Yes, that’s something I actually have witnessed. For some reason there is a widespread misunderstanding about this issue. Examples (of course in Dutch):

    https://www.wetenschapsforum.nl/index.php/topic/39269-verenigde-staten-50-52/

    “One source talks about 50 states, another about 52. What’s the correct answer?”

    https://www.scholieren.com/werkstuk/1894

    “Up to now the amount of states has risen to 52.”

  3. A creationist arguing against evolution is like an atheist arguing for the correct interpretation of the Holy Bible.

  4. A creationist arguing against evolution is like an American tourist looking for the spot where Hansje Brinker plugged a dike with his finger in the area of Haarlem.

  5. Creationist:Evolution::Don Quixote:Windmills.

  6. Creation science is like trying to put a very large man into a small box. When they find a way to fit his foot into the box, one sees that the arm they just squeezed in has since popped out all the meanwhile pretending the rest of the man doesn’t exist either time.

  7. skmarshall

    Don Henley has a line in a song which could apply in an oblique way Imagine you have just told a creationist “You ARE in fact, kin to a monkey.”
    Henley’s analogy:
    “She looked at me, uncomprehendingly, like a cow at at a passing train”

  8. Perhaps it sounds better in words —
    “A creationist is to evolution as Don Quixote is to windmills.”

  9. Michael Fugate

    A theologian imagining the mind of God?

  10. One of the best illustrations of a creationist is a pigeon trying to play chess https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Pigeon_chess

  11. … like explaining how Princess Leia made the Kessel run in 12 parsecs.

  12. docbill1351

    If the Texas Chainsaw Murderer was a gerbil. Oh, wait …

  13. Like listening to the measles virus explain the cause of autism

  14. Open door: a creationist arguing against evolution is like a flat earther arguing against gravity.

  15. FrankB says: “a creationist arguing against evolution is like a flat earther …”

    That has potential. Flat earthers, astrologers, alchemists, geocentrists, Lysenkoists, etc.

  16. Holding The Line In Florida

    Sometimes oldies but goodies come to mind. Old soldiers might remember this “Fighting for peace in Vietnam is like f&@king for virginity.” I can see a similar application here.

  17. Flat Earthers, etc. have an alternative hypothesis, something which they are defending.
    Anti-evolutionists of whatever type are more like a negative political advertising campaign.

  18. Like an evangelical father telling his young daughter what kind of stork delivers the babies.

  19. A creationist arguing against evolution is like a child who has been on Ritalin since kindergarden and who grew up playing violent video games like , oh I don’t know. “Call of Duty”? Sincerely Oliver North

  20. Teaching a creationist about evolution is a lot like trying to teach a pig to read. Its a waste of time and it annoys the pig.

  21. Mark Germano

    Like a baseball fan criticizing LeBron James because he doesn’t score enough touchdowns.

  22. Mark Germano

    Like a Rolling Stones fan arguing against the importance of the Beatles because The Wall was an overrated film.

  23. Mark Germano

    Like James Inhofe arguing against climate change because it snowed that one time in December.

  24. A creationist on evolution makes about as much sense as a seance for dead pets.

  25. The great mathematician David Hilbert once said about astrology that if you got together many wise people and asked them to come up with the stupidest thing, they could not devise anything as stupid as astrology.
    Hilbert had not heard of creationism.

    What is there so stupid as to argue that the universe is designed for life and that laws of nature must be violated for there to be life? I can’t think of an analogy which does that justice. And there is more of the same. I

  26. Ross Cameron

    Great minds-great concepts. Small minds-creationism.

  27. Robert van Bakel

    A creationist trying to do science is like a closet; far too many hang ups!

  28. Twist:

    A scientist who limits their hypotheses and search for the truth to material phenomena is like a drunk who limits the search for their keys to the area under the lamppost because the light is better there.

    Nikola Tesla: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

  29. Enlighten us, please: what do you mean by ‘the truth’; and what exactly is ‘non-physical phenomena’, and how is it studied?

  30. To specify ChrisS’ question: reveal us your methodology, oh Random. What standards do you use to decide which phenomena are non-physical and which aren’t? How do you decide between two conflicting hypotheses regarding non-physical phenomena?

    Also: where did Tesla say that? See, before 1750 CE pre-modern science has for centuries and centuries postulated that some phenomena are non-physical. One early example is Babylonian astronomy, which assumed that the orbits of clestial bodies expressed the will of the gods. It started nearly 3000 years ago. How much progress have they made exactly per decade?
    Here is your chance to trigger that speedy progress Tesla’s supposed quote claims. You won’t spoil it, will you? Would make you look bad and you certainly wouldn’t want that.
    We are eagerly awaiting for your pearls of wisdom.

  31. In the 20th century there have been studies of parapsychology and psychic phenomena. Some lasting over decades. The experience with faith healing has been disappointing. Intelligent Design has not been able, despite a couple of decades of interest, to generate a positive substantial hypothesis capable of being tested.
    Did Tesla offer any concrete suggestions?

  32. ….crickets and tumbleweed…

  33. Isn’t the term “non-physical phenomena” an oxymoron?

  34. “phenomeon” in the snse of “something which is detected by the senses”, I understand what you are saying. Yet “phychic pehnomenon is a common phrase, used even by sceptics. It seems to be that “geometric phenomenon” is sometimes used.

  35. “Isn’t the term “non-physical phenomena” an oxymoron?”
    As long as Random (or some other dualist) doesn’t answer those questions, yes.

  36. @ChrisS: “Enlighten us, please: what do you mean by ‘the truth’; and what exactly is ‘non-physical phenomena’, and how is it studied?”

    By “truth” in my phrase “[a scientist’s] hypotheses and search for the truth”, I merely meant to employ a catch-all term for the scientific enterprise of discovery — observing objective evidence, forming and testing hypotheses, etc. Upon re-reading, it does verge on soft and squishy philosophical hooha — it was not intended in that manner.

  37. Nicola Tesla:
    “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”

    In Tesla’s day, radio waves would most likely have been considered to be “non-physical phenomena”, in that they had no mass and could neither be felt nor seen. Being the empirical scientist that he was, it is doubtful that he was referring to the spiritual.

  38. An atheist arguing against Creationism is like wilful ignorant exposing what he does not believe.

  39. A creationist arguing against evolution is like a sightless person arguing against the existence of color.

  40. @Otangelo Grasso: To put it kindly, it seems that you are confusing the word “belief” with “knowledge”. They are two different words that do not mean the same thing.

    That’s really besides the point, though. It’s not only atheists who reject creationism — even the pope accepts evolution.

  41. Michael Fugate

    It all depends on what one means by creationism. One could of course have gods make a universe without interfering after the fact. In such a system, life could arise via abiogenesis and diversity via evolution. Theism is not relevant.

  42. @FrankB

    Your first paragraph is better directed to Dr Tesla. However, this lengthier selection might shed some light on Tesla’s perspective and intent:

    “Long ago [man] recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or a tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasha or luminiferous ether, which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or Creative Force, calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena. The primary substance, thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance.

    “Can man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring of all processes in nature? Can he harness her inexhaustible energies to perform all their functions at his bidding? More still – cause them to operate simply by the force of his will?

    “If he could do this, he would have powers almost unlimited and supernatural. At his command, with but a slight effort on his part, old worlds would disappear and new ones of his planning would spring into being. He could fix, solidify and preserve the ethereal shapes of his imagining, the fleeting visions of his dreams. He could express all the creations of his mind on any scale, in forms concrete and imperishable. He could alter the size of this planet, control its seasons, guide it along any path he might choose through the depths of the Universe. He could cause planets to collide and produce his suns and stars, his heat and light. He could originate and develop life in all its infinite forms.

    “To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man’s mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny.” Nikola Tesla, Man’s Greatest Achievement, 1907

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mans-greatest-achievement-nikola-tesla-michael-phillips

    Nikola Tesla: “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence. To understand the true nature of the universe, one must think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

    Research indicates that this quote may be apocryphal — I could find no primary source cited. The second part of the quote has also been attributed to Dr Laura Berman, LCSW, PhD, “a world renowned sex and relationship educator and therapist”.

    https://www.google.com/search?q=Nikola+Tesla:+%E2%80%9CThe+day+science+begins+to+study+non-physical+phenomena,+it+will+make+more+progress+in+one+decade+than+in+all+the+previous+centuries+of+its+existence.%E2%80%9D&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiNvpCn6qvbAhULuFMKHRqwAcoQ7AkIXg#imgdii=mc2rEbRIDSiKvM:&imgrc=0OrMB99b5YYnMM:

  43. @Draken

    Happy, Pappy?

  44. It’s not only atheists who reject creationism — even the pope accepts evolution.//// “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
    (Robert Jastrow)

    Once evolution is canceled out in a origins debate, and gaps of knowledge cannot be tapped with it, things become very clear and obvious.
    The origin of the universe, its physical laws, the origin of stars, planets, galaxies, the chemical elements, the earth, and life, are due to
    1. A creator
    2. Unguided random lucky events by no mechanism at all.
    According to the most generous mathematical criteria, 2 is impossible to unimaginable extremes. By eliminative induction, 1 is most probably true.

    When debating origins, the best way to get clear conclusions is to choose topics with the clearest outcome of which proposition wins.
    In the case of the origin of life, its really basically random unguided events by no mechanism, or design by an intelligent agency.
    ID claims do not require to be tested and falsified to top the naturalistic viewpoint. ( i do not concede that ID can’t be tested, but it’s not necessary )
    By simple reasoning and calculations, we can conclude with absolute certainty, that naturalism has far less a possibility to be true, than intelligent design propositions and conclusions.

    Proponents of Intelligent Design / Creationism are often accused of promoting religion, not science. Even IF that were true ( i disagree, the claim of intelligent design can easily be tested and falsified ), I do not see ANY reason that ID must be scientific to top and have the better explanatory power of origins, than any alternative explanation. Creationism is not about promoting advance in science, but is an inference of origins based on the most cause-adequate explanation, an intelligent agency, in contrast to no agency at all, which is the opposing viewpoint. ID/Creationism does not require to make predictions or elaborate working models that can be tested to top naturalism ( I will explain soon, why ). The case in dispute is not natural models against supernatural ones or religion against science. The dichotomy is a creative intelligent agency against none. No new working models or explanations need to be formulated or invented – neither to explain our origins and even less to provide scientific innovation. The claim that ID taps gaps of knowledge with God is not justified since we know by experience that intelligence can create languages, codes, translation systems, ciphers, information, factories, complex machines and production lines ( cells are self-replicating factories ), while randomness is too unspecific. An atheist can also not invoke that his counterpart, a Theist, is less prepared or educated to debate origins. The case in question can be understood by any average educated person. The issue is not the knowledge of the opposing proponents, but if the evidence is best explained by a creative intelligent agency, or not. I do not see either why a creation model should go through peer review since this is a flawed process, which is done by biased people and based on philosophical naturalism, which excludes the mechanism of intelligence a priori as a possible cause of our origins. Furthermore, the consensus in science is invoked only in situations where the science is not solid enough, besides being an appeal to authority.

    Our choice relies on a simple dichotomy. Either the universe, its laws, and life came to be by random, unguided lucky events, or through the action of an Intelligent designer/creator, which stands for guided, reason based, directed, planned, projected, programmed, information based, goal-constrained, willed causation by a conscient intelligent powerful eternal, non-caused agent.

    Neither Evolution nor physical necessity is a driving force prior DNA replication: The origin of the first cell and life cannot be explained by natural selection (Ann N Y Acad, 2000)

    The argument that chemical reactions in a primordial soup would not act upon pure chance, and that chemistry is not a matter of “random chance and coincidence”, finds its refutation by the fact that the information stored in DNA is not constrained by chemistry. Yockey shows that the rules of any communication system are not derivable from the laws of physics. He continues: “there is nothing in the physicochemical world that remotely resembles reactions being determined by a sequence and codes between sequences.” In other words, nothing in nonliving physics or chemistry obeys symbolic instructions.

    Dembsky: We know from broad and repeated experience that intelligent agents can and do produce information-rich systems: we have positive experience-based knowledge of a cause that is sufficient to generate new instructional/specified complex information, namely, intelligence. Design constitutes an “inference to the best explanation” based on our best available knowledge. It asserts the superior explanatory power of a proposed cause based upon its proven—its known—causal adequacy and based upon a lack of demonstrated efficacy among the competing proposed causes. The problem is that nature has too many options and without design and intelligent guidance couldn’t sort them all out. Natural mechanisms are too unspecific to determine any particular outcome. An intelligent designer is a capable agent, able of planning, with the foresight of the end result, and the requirement of machines and pathways and manufacturing processes for an end goal and useful product.

    The salient thing is that the individual parts and compartments of a biological cell, for example, have no function by their own. If a cell needs to do something, it whips up the right piece of the genome and transcribes it into RNA. The RNA is then translated into a sequence of amino acids, which together make up a protein the DNA coded for. This protein is tagged with a shipping address. This is a marker consisting of several amino acids which tell the rest of the cell where this protein needs to go. There is machinery which acts on these instructions and delivers the protein, which is potentially on the outside of the cell. The delivery instruction is then stripped off and several post-processing steps may be performed, possibly activating the protein – which is good, because you may not want to transport an active protein through places where it should not do work. All this had to be full setup, besides a full working DNA replication mechanism, with at least 30 irreducible protein complexes. The machinery required for all these processes is staggeringly complex. And had to be fully operational when life began. All these processes had to emerge ALL AT ONCE, No stepwise manner is possible. Several theoretical and experimental studies have endeavored to derive the minimal set of genes that are necessary and sufficient to sustain a functioning cell under ideal conditions, that is, in the presence of unlimited amounts of all essential nutrients and in the absence of any adverse factors, including competition. A comparison of the first two completed bacterial genomes, those of the parasites Haemophilus influenzae and Mycoplasma genitalium, produced a version of the minimal gene set consisting of ~250 genes, and about the same number of proteins, which must be interconnected in the right way to form a minimal metabolism network, consisting of 50 enzymes/proteins required to create a metabolic network implemented for the hypothetical minimal cell. These systems are INTERDEPENDENT and IRREDUCIBLE. And it could not be through evolution, since evolution depends on fully working self-replicating cells, in order to function.

    The estimated number of elementary particles in the universe is 10^80. The most rapid events occur at an amazing 10^45 per second. Thirty billion years contains only 10^18 seconds. By totaling those, we find that the maximum elementary particle events in 30 billion years could only be 10^143.

    The simplest known free-living organism, Mycoplasma genitalium, has 470 genes that code for 470 proteins that average 347 amino acids in length. The odds against just one specified protein of that length are 1:10^451.

    Luck/chance/probability could theoretically form the right amino acid chain to form a helicase essential for DNA replication and arrange to find only left-handed amino acids, but it could also select racemic, that is right and left-handed amino acids, and grow and attach them in any polypeptide sequence, most of which have no biological advantage and will not fold in the correct three-dimensional form . Natural mechanisms have no constraints, they could produce any kind of novelty. It’s, however, that kind of freedom that makes it extremely unlikely that mere natural developments provide new specific biologically advantageous arrangements that add to get the first go of life. Nature would have to arrange almost an infinite number of trials and errors until getting a new positive arrangement. Since that would become a highly unlikely event, design is a better explanation. This situation becomes even more accentuated when natural selection is not a possible constrained since evolution depends on replication, which did not exist prior DNA replication.

    It must also be noted, that the alternative to design, namely chance, only expresses the odds or likelihood of an event taking place. Chance isn’t a thing or a mechanism or a physical being or a causal agent. It’s not a directing force. Chance doesn’t make anything happen. It’s only a way to quantify the probability of an event taking place.

    Intelligent agents act frequently with an end goal in mind, constructing functional irreducibly complex multipart-machines, and make exquisitely integrated circuits that require a blueprint to build the object. Furthermore, Computers integrate software/hardware and store high levels of instructional complex coded information. In our experience, systems that either a)require or b)store large amounts of specified instructional complex information such as codes and languages, and which are constructed in an interdependence of hard and software invariably originate from an intelligent source. No exception.

    All these are obvious facts to the unbiased observer, and permits to conclude ID as the most adequate explanation of the case of origins of our existence. There is no requirement to formulate working models, scientific hypotheses or theories. All that is required, is a unbiased mind, and logical reasoning, and simple evaluation of the capacity of the two competing models. Doing so, it should not be too difficult to find the best explanation.

  45. Well ! Grasso.. When the intelligent designer designed the Ebola virus was he having a bad day or was he just being uh, genocidal?

  46. @Tandom: thanks for not answering those questions. I would lie if I said that I were surprised. Now for the quote attributed to Tesla. What you dishonestly omitted the first time is quite revealing.

    “To understand the true nature of the universe, one must think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”
    Tesla’s view is a bit uncommon these days, but it’s exactly the same as RSG’s. So let me adapt his terminology.
    Physical: everything that has invariant mass.
    Non-physical: everything that doesn’t and has energy.
    Spiritual: everything that neither has mass nor energy.

    Tesla was not talking about the spiritual at all. He was fully aware of Einstein’s work, notably E = mc², which connects mass and energy. Something non-physical like a photon does have mass – just not invariant mass. What the quote is about is particle-wave duality. And guess what? His prediction totally came true. Researching particle-wave duality has resulted in astonishing scientific progress, the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki being the more spectacular results.
    Sure I’m happy now. You yourself have skillfully destroyed the meaning of your own silly “A scientist who limits their hypotheses and search for the truth to material phenomena ….”
    Energy, frequence and vibration are material. thanks to mass-energy equivalence. Tesla is not on your side.
    Silly you.

  47. @Otangelo: “Once evolution is canceled out in a origins debate ….”
    BWAHAHAHAH!
    Your very first sentence already is a blooper and a very common one among creacrappers like you. You could as well cancel the SF Warriors out in the Superbowl. That one actually makes more sense. No single evolutionary biologist ever has an origins debate (ie about the origin of life or the Universe) when talking about evolution. Evolution Theory describes – and very accurately so – how comes that there are so many different species of animals and plants on Earth. After this blooper of yours every mentally healthy person already understands that you are not to be taken seriously. And sure enough you proceed with

    “due to
    1. A creator
    2. Unguided random lucky events by no mechanism at all.”
    Dear silly creacrapper, no scientific theory says that the origin of our Universe was a “random lucky event by no mechanism at all.”. On the contrary, every single scientific theory by definition contains some mechanism or another (my favourite these days is quantum fluctuation). Also modern science does not say that it was a random lucky event. So let me for once explain to you what the difference is between random lucky and probabilistic. Let’s take, as usual, the well known example of dice. Dice have six sides. Throwing dice is a random lucky event if and if only every side has the same probability (in case you can’t calculate: that would be 0,16666…..). Probabilism as used by Modern Physics at the other hand allows for all probabilities between 0 and 1.
    No worries if you don’t get this. That’s what you are a creacrapper for.

  48. @Otangelo: “ID as the most adequate explanation”
    Goddiddid explains everything and hence nothing. As Och Will already hints at:
    Perfect design –> hence a Grand Old Designer (blessed be Him/Her/It).
    Imperfect design –> hence a Grand Old Designer.
    Which makes ID untestable hence unscientific.
    Other regulars, if they feel like, may take the opportunity to point out more bloopers of yours. I have no doubt there are many.

  49. Mark Germano

    “ID claims do not require to be tested and falsified to top the naturalistic viewpoint.”

    “There is no requirement to formulate working models, scientific hypotheses or theories.”

    If there’s one thing I already knew about intelligent design, it’s that it doesn’t require anything.

  50. F you, FrankB — I am neither Tesla’s publicist nor advocate, nor ever claimed to be. That’s why I tried to redirect the questions of your first paragraph to him. I did spend several hours researching the initial quote, and presented you with the likeliest fruit of my best efforts.

    If you were truly interested rather than just trolling, you’d do your own research.

    My main investigative thrust was sourcing the quote as you requested in your second paragraph. As I previously — honestly — reported, I was unable to do so, and admitted — again honestly — that it may be apocryphal.

    I also reproduced a fuller version of the initial Tesla quote, of which I was unaware before I performed this recent additional research.

    I did not “dishonestly omit” the second part of the quote “the first time” — it is included in roughly less than 15% of the quote’s citations. Only one of the nine hits on the first page of a Google search for “tesla quote non-physical” leads to the full quote. As I said, I was unaware of it when I initially posted.

    Your snarky sarcasm (which I initially shrugged off), and your reckless accusation of dishonesty indicate to me that you may not be a good faith participant in scholarly discussions.

    So f you, FrankB.

    PS: I agree with you that retiredsciguy probably had it right at 5:40 pm yesterday.

    PPS: “F” = “forget”, o My Discreet Curmudgeon.

    https://www.google.com/search?ei=IGEOW9LhKYbVzgKFhabgBw&q=tesla+quote+non-physical&oq=tesla+quote+non-physical&gs_l=psy-ab.3..0i22i30k1l2.2997561.3006499.0.3010673.24.24.0.0.0.0.214.2399.15j8j1.24.0….0…1c.1.64.psy-ab..0.24.2388…0j35i39k1j0i131k1j0i67k1j0i131i20i264k1j0i131i67k1j0i20i264k1j0i22i10i30k1j0i8i13i30k1.0.5rIHcQQoD1k

  51. Let’s all calm down, gentlemen.

  52. The dread spectre of Duane Gish has come back to haunt us. There’s no way to address every damn thing Grasso posts.

  53. @Random: “My main investigative thrust was sourcing the quote as you requested in your second paragraph.”
    Something I did not criticize, exactly because I understand it when it’s impossible to trace down the source. Even better for you – now that you given the complete version (iso dishonestly omitting the second part, even if on behalf of others) I think it very likely that Tesla indeed could have said it. I already made clear why I think so.

    “So f you, FrankB. ”
    Excellent idea, as long it’s not by you.
    Thanks again for neglecting my main point: that the complete quote destroys your silly parody “A scientist who limits ….”. Of course I am neither surprised that you refuse to address this and rather prefer to become uncivic. Coming from people like you I take such phrases as a compliment. It’s what people like you do when cornered while being uncapable of admitting that they are wrong.

    @SC tries to keep control: “Let’s all calm down, gentlemen.”
    In my case that’s not really possible – I never heated up on this page.

  54. Frank B – you may have never heated up on this page, but my perception is that some of your condescending comments are incendiary.

  55. @FrankB: “Thanks again for neglecting my main point: that the complete quote destroys your silly parody ‘A scientist who limits ….’. Of course I am neither surprised that you refuse to address this and rather prefer to become uncivic.”

    I did not neglect your main point.

    I addressed it in the postscript, and agreed with you.

    It is oversights like this that lend credence to the perception that you do not participate in discussions in good faith — that, and the sarcasm, and the reckless charges of dishonesty (which if I’m not mistaken you have neither apologized for nor even withdrawn — looks to me like you doubled down on it, on what basis I have no idea.)

  56. Please pardon the initial premature launch and subsequent formatting error of my last Comment, which was prematurely launched a second time, hence no proof-reading.

  57. @FrankB

    Btw, my “”silly parody” of Tesla was not a parody at all — it sprang de novo from my own mind, fwiw.

    I added the Tesla quote as an afterthought.

    So attacking Tesla does nothing to address my initial analogy.

    You wanna take another crack at it?

    PS: the only “uncivic” language I have posted here was my euphemism “F”, for which I apologize to you, our Host and all other participants here.

    PPS: Thanks, SC!

  58. OK.

    “to the perception …”
    Shrug. I could not care less how you perceive me.

  59. Okay, guys. Let’s behave ourselves.

  60. Speaks to my point.

  61. Sheesh, Otangelo Grasso! You must think all of us here have nothing better to do with our lives than wade through all of your writings. It would help if you knew your audience. I’ve been reading the Curmudgeon’s blog for ten years now, and would say that most of us here will only be swayed by evidence, not opinion.

    Intelligent Design was created to get around the US Supreme Court ruling banning the teaching of religious creationism in public schools. ID is nothing more (nor less) than a religious belief. ID’s paid backers have been struggling for many, many years now attempting to make it appear that there is evidence supporting ID, all to no avail. Anyone with even a smattering of biological knowledge can see right through all of these attempts by the Discovery Institute. It is obvious from your writing that you are a highly intelligent individual, so it’s hard to understand why you promote ID so vigorously.

    The Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection has nothing to do with explaining the origin of life. It may have been an act of God; science has no way of making that determination. That idea is a belief, not knowledge.

    “Get knowledge, and with all thy getting, get understanding.” Understand that Intelligent Design is at its base a sham “intelligently designed” to fool the Supreme Court. So far it hasn’t been tested that high up yet, but it didn’t fool Federal District Court Judge John Jones III.

  62. telligent Design was created to get around the US Supreme Court ruling banning the teaching of religious creationism in public schools…. ID’s paid backers have been struggling for many, many years now attempting to make it appear that there is evidence supporting ID,
    ID was also created to avoid problems about toics like the age of life, the Earth and the Universe, Noah’s Flood, and other religious differences among creatioists, by being silent about it. ID thus, delerberately, has no positive content. Over the decades of ID, while it struggles to give the impresson that there is evidence for it, it has never adressed the question of what it says. There is, for example, no defintion or description of what “Intelligent Design” means, anyting about who are its agents, when or where it takes place, how or why.

  63. Frank B: (my favourite these days is quantum fluctuation). Virtual particles require a quantum vacuum. What was the cause of the vacuum ?

    http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t1317-virtual-particles-require-a-quantum-vacuum-what-was-the-cause-of-the-vacuum

    Luke Barnes, a non-creationist astrophysicist who is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Sydney Institute for Astronomy, University of Sydney, Australia, is scathing about Krauss and those who argue like him:

    First and foremost, I’m getting really rather sick of cosmologists talking about universes being created out of nothing. Krauss repeatedly talked about universes coming out of nothing, particles coming out of nothing, different types of nothing, nothing being unstable. This is nonsense. The word nothing is often used loosely—I have nothing in my hand, there’s nothing in the fridge etc. But the proper definition of nothing is “not anything”. Nothing is not a type of something, not a kind of thing. It is the absence of anything.

    Physicist and philosopher David Albert

    The fact that particles can pop in and out of existence, over time, as those fields rearrange themselves, is not a whit more mysterious than the fact that fists can pop in and out of existence, over time, as my fingers rearrange themselves. And none of these poppings—if you look at them aright—amount to anything even remotely in the neighborhood of a creation from nothing.—

    Lee Strobel, A case of a creator :
    Quantum theory … holds that a vacuum … is subject to quantum uncertainties. This means that things can materialize out of the vacuum, although they tend to vanish back into it quickly… . Theoretically, anything-a dog, a house, a planet-can pop into existence by means of this quantum quirk, which physicists call a vacuum fluctuation. Probability, however, dictates that pairs of subatomic particles … are by far the most likely creations and that they will last extremely briefly…. The spontaneous, persistent creation of something even as large as a molecule is profoundly unlikely. Nevertheless, in 1973 an assistant professor at Columbia University named Edward Tryon suggested that the entire universe might have come into existence this way…. The whole universe may be, to use [MIT physicist Alan] Guth’s phrase, “a free lunch.”20 I closed the magazine and tossed it on Craig’s desk. “Maybe Tryon was right when he said, `I offer the modest proposal that our universe is simply one of those things which happen from time to time.’ “ Craig was listening intently. “Okay, that’s a good question,” he replied. “These subatomic particles the article talks about are called `virtual particles.’ They are theoretical entities, and it’s not even clear that they actually exist as opposed to being merely theoretical constructs. “However, there’s a much more important point to be made about this. You see, these particles, if they are real, do not come out of anything. The quantum vacuum is not what most people envision when they think of a vacuum-that is, absolutely nothing. On the contrary, it’s a sea of fluctuating energy, an arena of violent activity that has a rich physical structure and can be described by physical laws. These particles are thought to originate by fluctuations of the energy in the vacuum. “So it’s not an example of something coming into being out of nothing, or something coming into being without a cause. The quantum vacuum and the energy locked up in the vacuum are the cause of these particles. And then we have to ask, well, what is the origin of the whole quantum vacuum itself? Where does it come from?” He let that question linger before continuing. “You’ve simply pushed back the issue of creation. Now you’ve got to account for how this very active ocean of fluctuating energy came into being. Do you see what I’m saying? If quantum physical laws operate within the domain described by quantum physics, you can’t legitimately use quantum physics to explain the origin of that domain itself. You need something transcendent that’s beyond that domain in order to explain how the entire domain came into being. Suddenly, we’re back to the origins question.”

    Krauss – a universe from nothing
    http://reasonandscience.catsboard.com/t2594-krauss-a-universe-from-nothing

    Krauss: Indeed, the immediate motivation for writing this book now is a profound discovery about the universe that has driven my own scientific research for most of the past three decades and that has resulted in the startling conclusion that most of the energy in the universe resides in some mysterious, now inexplicable form permeating all of empty space. It is not an understatement to say that this discovery has changed the playing field of modern cosmology. For one thing, this discovery has produced remarkable new support for the idea that our universe arose from precisely nothing.
    Answer: If we define nothing as the absence of anything, then the assertion that the universe arose from precisely nothing is hogwash and pure irrational nonsense. Nothing is the absence of anything and has no properties, not potentiality, it can’t change the state of nothingness. That’s OBVIOUS to any average intelligent mind.

    Krauss: And if inflation indeed is responsible for all the small fluctuations in the density of matter and radiation that would later result in the gravitational collapse of matter into galaxies and stars and planets and people, then it can be truly said that we all are here today because of quantum fluctuations in what is essentially nothing.
    Answer: This is probably the essence or core assertion of the book, and essentialy makes as much sense as a quacking duck :=P .

    http://www.bethinking.org/is-there-a-creator/a-universe-from-someone-against-lawrence-krauss

    In the face of the logically coherent answer supported by the Leibnizian cosmological argument, Krauss would dearly like to change the topic: “what is really useful is not pondering this question…” As a result, he produces a book that’s overwhelmingly devoted to questions besides the one on the front cover. Krauss anti-philosophical prejudice leads him to embrace a verificationalist stance long ago abandoned by philosophers as self-contradictory and to toy with rejecting the ultimate question of origins as meaningless. Despite this, Krauss spends a handful of pages attempting to explain why there is something rather than nothing. The attempt leads him to beg the question against theism, to reject logic in the name of science and to embrace a double standard. This kludge of fallacies convinced Richard Dawkins to put his name to the incoherent assertion that “nothingness is unstable: something was almost bound to spring into existence from it”; which only goes to show just how intellectually unstable the foundations of neo-atheism are.

  64. Michael Fugate

    What caused God – always the thing theists can’t answer.

  65. What was the original topic of this post? I’ve lost track.

  66. @RSG: ” wade through all of your writings”
    Mr. Grasso is far from the only creacrapper who thinks he’s more convincing the more he rambles, forgetting that he will only convince himself. The remedy is simple: only read two paragraphs, say ten sentences at the max. If they contain crap – as they usually do – you can safely assume that the rest only will get worse. Nice that I have a chance to demonstrate how this works.

    @OG: “What was the cause of the vacuum ?”
    OG excellently demonstrates he understands zilch about Modern Physics. Quantum Fluctuations don’t have causes. They are part of a probabilistic theory. As I have explained above that’s not the same as “random, lucky”. Nobody is surprised that it flies way above OG’s intellectual level. That’s why OG can be called a creacrapper.

    “First and foremost, I’m getting really rather sick of cosmologists talking about universes being created out of nothing.”
    And ….. here we have the next blooper! Mr. Ignorant complains that others don’t understand what they talk about!
    Quantum fluctuations are not nothing in the philosophical meaning of the word. In Quantum Field Theory “nothing” means all quantum fields having the value zero. That’s what Krauss talks about. Of course this flies way above your intellectual level as well.
    No need to read any further. It only will get worse. Let’s see of Mr. Grasso is capable of sorting out the key remark:

    Quantum Fluctuations don’t have causes. Hence the question what the cause of the vacuum is a fine example of a category error.

  67. @FrankB

    Getting back to your “main point” — I renounce and rescind my previous conciliatory concurrence (“PS: I agree with you that retiredsciguy probably had it right at 5:40 pm yesterday.”). I was throwing you a bone, which I have since come to regret.

    You state: “Tesla’s view is a bit uncommon these days, but it’s exactly the same as RSG’s. So let me adapt his terminology.

    “Physical: everything that has invariant mass.
    Non-physical: everything that doesn’t and has energy.
    Spiritual: everything that neither has mass nor energy.

    “Tesla was not talking about the spiritual at all. . . . What the quote is about is particle-wave duality. And guess what? His prediction totally came true. Researching particle-wave duality has resulted in astonishing scientific progress, the two nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki being the more spectacular results.”.

    Please re-read the following from Tesla’s “Man’s Greatest Achievement” (link provided above):

    “Long ago [man] recognized that all perceptible matter comes from a primary substance, or a tenuity beyond conception, filling all space, the Akasha or luminiferous ether [= energy], which is acted upon by the life-giving Prana or Creative Force [= spirit], calling into existence, in never ending cycles, all things and phenomena [= matter]. The primary substance [= energy], thrown into infinitesimal whirls of prodigious velocity, becomes gross matter; the force [= spirit] subsiding, the motion ceases and matter disappears, reverting to the primary substance [=energy]. “

    (The full text from which the foregoing was excerpted and annotated appears above as well as at the link.)

    I believe that you are correct that Tesla seems to have been cognizant of mass-energy interconversion, and that he would consider and term energy as “non-physical”.

    However, Tesla also seems to have believed that mass-energy conversion was directed and effectuated by what can only be what you call spiritual.

    Tesla: “Can man control this grandest, most awe-inspiring of all processes in nature [‘the life-giving Prana or Creative Force’ = spirit]? Can he harness her inexhaustible energies to perform all their functions at his bidding? More still – cause them to operate simply by the force of his will?

    “To create and to annihilate material substance, cause it to aggregate in forms according to his desire, would be the supreme manifestation of the power of Man’s mind, his most complete triumph over the physical world, his crowning achievement, which would place him beside his Creator, make him fulfill his Ultimate Destiny.”

    Bottom-line, I disagree with your assertion that “Tesla was not talking about the spiritual at all.”

    He clearly was.

    Here’s the link to “Man’s Greatest Achievement” again. Though I do not agree with Tesla in the least (at least, not as presented here — I am not a dualist, regardless of your own prejudgment of me), imo the complete essay is well worth reading.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/mans-greatest-achievement-nikola-tesla-michael-phillips

  68. Grasso. Holy cow. You are one very confused puppy.

  69. What caused God – always the thing theists can’t answer.
    The question that the anti-eolutionists ignore is: What is your alternative?
    Because the argument of the anti-evolutionist is, at its best: There is something fatally flawed with evolution; but they never show how they are not also subject to the same fatal flaw.
    This is all one need to look for in a ID-creationist rhetoric, when deciding whether to spend time with it. What, who, when, where, why or how – is there a descripton of their ideas, or is it merely negative advertising?

    We have a positive explanation for some of the variety of life. They do not have any explanation for any feature of the world of life, so there no point to go negative against an empty hypothesis.

    “What is the cause of God?” is not a special question. “What is the cause of X?” whatever X is, is not addressed by the anti-evolutionists.

  70. A creationist describing evolution is like a Fijian who has never left home describing snow.
    And the effect may be fractal as
    A creationist describing the full title of On the Origin of Species is like a Fijian describing snow.
    A creationist describing evolutionary theory’s effects on the Big Bang is like…
    A creationist describing evolutionary theory and biogenesis is like…