Category Archives: Science

Discoveroids: The Corruption of Science

There’s a new post at the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute which demonstrates an astonishing lack of self-awareness: Should We Have Faith in Science?. It’s written by Kirk Durston, whom the Discoveroids introduced in this earlier post by telling us:

Dr. Durston is a scientist, philosopher, and clergyman with a PhD in Biophysics, an MA in Philosophy, a BSc in Mechanical Engineering, and a BSc in Physics.

Oooooooooooh — in addition to all those impressive degrees, Kirk is also a preacher! We shall respectfully refer to him as rev Durston. Here are some excerpts from his new Discoveroid article, with bold font added by us:

Many people today regard 21st-century science as a shining, monolithic spire of truth rising above the landscape of human ignorance and superstition. As a result, I often talk with people who fully apply all their critical thinking skills, and their full Internet-scouring abilities, to see if they can discover a weak link in evidence for the truth of Christian beliefs, but who have a complete, unquestioning faith in science.

Yes, people are always pointing out fallacies in the creationist claims of Discoveroids and others, but they never question the claims of science. It’s so unfair! Then rev Durston says:

Should you have blind faith in what science has become today? This article will be the first of several dealing with the corruption of contemporary science.

Oh joy! We can look forward to a whole series of these things. Let’s read on:

As a scientist, I am increasingly appalled and even shocked at what passes for science. It has become a mix of good science, bad science, creative story-telling, science fiction, scientism (atheism dressed up as science), citation-bias, huge media announcements followed by quiet retractions, massaging the data, exaggeration for funding purposes, and outright fraud all rolled up together. In some disciplines, the problem has become so rampant that the “good science” part is drowning in a mess of everything else.

No doubt rev Durston is referring to evolution, but he never specifically says that. He continues:

The heart of good science is the scientific method. … First, on the basis of a question, observation, or known laws of physics, draft a possible answer, explanation or “hypothesis.” Next, advance a falsifiable prediction on the basis of the hypothesis. Then, experimentally test the prediction. If the prediction is falsified, modify or abandon the hypothesis. If it is verified, the hypothesis is strengthened and lives to see another day.

Has anyone ever seen the Discoveroids applying the scientific method to their claims about a mystical designer — blessed be he! — who fine-tuned the universe and put the “information” into our DNA? We haven’t. Here’s more from rev Durston:

Avoid a double standard in how you apply your critical thinking skills; scientific claims are not above question. When you see a scientific claim, see if there is actually experimental verification of a falsifiable prediction. You might be surprised at how often a falsifiable prediction is not tested or even mentioned.

Excellent advice. A good place to start would be the “theory” of intelligent design, but rev Durston never mentions that. Moving along:

Look for the use of creative stories, or words like “suggests” or “may have” to make up for a lack of substance. Investigate whether evidence that does not support the hypothesis or prediction is being ignored.

One can find a number of such creative stories at the Discoveroids’ blog. Our last excerpt is from the end:

Coming up, I will look at specific types, with examples, of corruption in 21st-century science that are in contrast to good science and the scientific method.

Can anyone guess something that rev Durston won’t include among his examples? Hint: poorly defined terms like “complexity” and “improbability” as evidence of supernatural design.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Rev. David Rives Interviews Jason Lisle

If you have 25 minutes to spare, and you remember the several times we wrote about Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper, then this video is for you.

This is about Jason’s solution to the Distant Starlight problem. The problem — for young-earth creationists — is that the light we see from distant sources required literally billions of years to reach earth, yet the creationist’s universe is only 6,000 years old.

Jason is the the creationist astrophysicist who used to be employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG), but for never-explained reasons he left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at the Institute for Creation Research.

The title of this video is Distant Starlight In A Young Universe. Jason doesn’t show up until shortly after the first three minutes, so to save time you might want to zoom to that point. Then be prepared to be amazed. We’ve never seen Jason speak before, and he’s surprisingly articulate. He gives a good presentation. Rev Rives spends most of the time saying nothing except: “Wow, that’s amazing!”

If the subject interests you, you’ll want to watch this. If not, we’ll certainly understand. We enjoyed it. We’re certainly not convinced by Jason, but the point he’s making isn’t actually wrong. Nevertheless, it’s irrelevant except for young-Earth creationists. It’s difficult to imagine that Jason is devoting his life to creationism.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Update on Extra-Solar Planets

The anguish of creationists must be accelerating as NASA continues to find planetary systems beyond our own, with many of them having planets located in their star’s Goldilocks zone, described by Wikipedia as “the region around a star within which planetary-mass objects with sufficient atmospheric pressure can support liquid water at their surfaces.”

According to creationists, Earth is a uniquely Privileged Planet, so each time NASA announces additional discoveries, the creationists retreat further into their theological fantasies and fanatically deny the reality that science is uniquely able to reveal.

The latest information can be found at the PhysOrg website in this article: NASA discovers Earth-like planet orbiting ‘cousin’ of Sun. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Astronomers hunting for another Earth have found what may be the closest match yet, a potentially rocky planet circling its star at the same distance as the Earth orbits the Sun, NASA said Thursday. Not only is this planet squarely in the Goldilocks zone — where life could exist because it is neither too hot nor too cold to support liquid water — its star looks like an older cousin of our Sun, the US space agency said.

Older cousin? What’s that all about? We’re told:

That means the planet, which is 1,400 light-years away, could offer a glimpse into the Earth’s apocalyptic future, scientists said. Known as Kepler 452b, the planet was detected by the US space agency’s Kepler Space Telescope, which has been hunting for other worlds like ours since 2009. “Kepler 452b is orbiting a close cousin of our Sun, but one that is 1.5 billion years older,” NASA said in a statement.

That would qualify as “older.” Let’s read on:

If the planet is rocky, and scientists believe that it has a better than even chance of being just that, then it could be in the midst of a fearful scenario, as the heat from its dying star evaporates Kepler 452b’s lakes and oceans. “If Kepler 452b is indeed a rocky planet, its location vis-a-vis its star could mean that it is just entering a runaway greenhouse phase of its climate history,” said Doug Caldwell, a Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute scientist working on the Kepler mission.

If that world is dying, its intelligent inhabitants — if there are any — would be looking for a good place to move. Egad — they could be on the way to Earth! Why not? If we can detect their world, they would be able to detect ours. And they’re likely to be far more advanced than we are. Maybe we’re doomed! The news continues:

The Kepler mission launched in 2009 to search for exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system, particularly those about the size of Earth or smaller. “Today, and thousands of discoveries later, astronomers are on the cusp of finding something people have dreamed about for thousands of years — another Earth,” NASA said in a statement. On Thursday, NASA released the latest catalog of exoplanet candidates, adding more than 500 new possible planets to the 4,175 already found by the space-based telescope.

That’s ambiguously worded. We assume it means they’ve spotted over 4,600 extra-solar planets. It wasn’t very long ago when the creationists were saying that there probably weren’t any. Here’s more:

The new catalog includes 12 candidates that are less than twice the diameter of Earth and which are orbiting in the habitable zones of their stars. Of those 12 new candidates, Kepler 452b “is the first to be confirmed as a planet,” NASA said.

The article finishes with a bit of bad news:

The Kepler mission has cost NASA about $600 million, and the US space agency said in 2013 that two of its orientation wheels had lost function, leaving the space telescope beyond repair. But scientists have years to pore over the data it has returned in order to narrow the search for Earth-like worlds.

So there you are. We’ve only just begun to search, and better instruments are on the way. So far it looks like 4,600 extra-solar planets have been discovered, some of which may be habitable. The future looks grim for creationists. And if the inhabitants of Kepler 452b are looking for greener pastures, the future may be grim for all of us. We shall see.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Creation Science: The Springs of the Sea

This is peculiar. Two of the creationists we follow, Rev. David Rives — the cutest rev you’ve ever seen — and the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — have both posted about the same thing.

Rev Rives’ piece is his usual 90-second video at the website of WorldNetDaily: Hydrothermal vents prove Scriptural insight.

The ICR piece is Scientists Describe Job’s ‘Springs of the Sea’, written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him.

Because they’re both talking about the same thing, we’ll deal with the ICR article. It says, with bold font added by us:

In Job 38:16, God asked, “Have you entered the springs of the sea? Or have you walked in search of the depths?”

That’s the same passage Rives gushes about. ICR tells us:

Of course, Job never walked in search of the seafloor’s depths, let alone under the seafloor crust, to explore the springs of the sea. He probably didn’t even know about the springs. Today’s scientists haven’t literally walked the paths these deep waters take either, but they do explore them with deep-sea submersibles and computer models.

And what do today’s scientists find? Let’s read on:

In 2003 Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at the University of California Santa Cruz Andrew Fisher discovered that seawater sinks into the seafloor’s crust then rises through vents many miles away.

Ooooooooooooh — just like it says in the bible! We’ll skip to the end, which tells us the same thing rev Rives says:

When today’s scientists study the processes that power hydrothermal vents and learn about Job’s “springs of the sea,” they inadvertently confirm the accuracy and wisdom that flows throughout this most ancient book.

Wowie — accurate science in the bible! But wait a minute. Here are a few other passages, also from Job 38 (King James version, of course):

4 Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.

5 Who hath laid the measures thereof, if thou knowest? or who hath stretched the line upon it?

6 Whereupon are the foundations thereof fastened? or who laid the corner stone thereof;

17 Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death?

19 Where is the way where light dwelleth? and as for darkness, where is the place thereof,

What do Rives and ICR say about the foundations of the earth, or the gates of death, or the place where light and darkness dwell? For some reason, they don’t discuss those things. In Job 39 we find even more wondrous science:

9 Will the unicorn be willing to serve thee, or abide by thy crib?

There are many more examples like those, but we won’t go hunting for them. We stayed in the book of Job, which rev Rives and ICR are babbling about. If you’re curious, you can find an ark-load here: The Earth Is Flat!, and also here: The Earth Does Not Move!

So we leave you with a great mystery, dear reader. Is the phrase “springs of the sea” mere poetry that is being wildly overblown to assert that the bible is a great source of science? We’ll let you decide.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article