Monday, February 05, 2007

A flood of idiocy

Looks like the folks who keep reason neatly tucked away in a dusty corner of their mind are at it again.

The National Park service, Grand Caynon visitor center, is selling a book purporting that the canyon was formed by Noah's flood and that the structure is only about 4500 years old. Never mind that the canyon exposes layers of rock dated to more than 2 billion years ago.

I really don't care that they sell such a book. What's amazing is that it actually sells... that there is a market for such incredibly bad ideas.

What's truly amazing (i.e. irrational) is that the creationists -- while "standing firm" on the authority of the biblical account of creation -- try to have it both ways. From the oped:

But here's the rub: Wise acknowledges that nothing can convince him that Earth is older than five or six thousand years. Why? Because the Bible is his ultimate authority. "The most important thing," he says, "is that you ought to be able to trust your God and the claims the Bible makes."

Given their rock-solid religious convictions, creationists such as Wise ultimately are not interested in science, in setting aside preconceptions and following trails of observable evidence to logical, testable conclusions.

Why, then, are they bothering with fossils and geology and quasi-scientific exhibitions that purport to prove that the Bible "can be trusted," as the organizers of the Creation Museum phrase it? No doubt, concern for the public credibility of their faith has a lot to do with it. They appear to have accepted that we live in a rational age, one that will not abide propositions that lack objective evidence to back them.

How ironic, then, that by dabbling in science to promote their beliefs, anti-science creationists are more likely eroding the very credibility they aim to bolster.

So, essentially they use bits and pieces of scientific research when it (vaguely) supports their position. As for the consensus of scientific conclusions on the topic -- well, better to go back to the bible than trust those conclusions.

Why are people like this even considered in the public debate? They should be laughed off the stage as idiots. They are no more rational than the man who claims to have been abducted by aliens...


skip sievert said...

Wow,~!! Freaky story. America has sunk to a new low. We are being pasted with bullshit from every direction. Even the Parks Dept.
Hoodoo Voodoo seems to rule large parts of the day. Relgious claptrap has infiltrated popular media to the point of absurdness.
The U.S. used to be a creative place. Obviously both so called sides of Dems and Repubs support disinformation , and molly-coddling this disinformation/misinformation, Special interest groups of Belief System hog-wash.
Lord protect me from your followers.~!~ Ha Ha.
Bush and other dissemblers right and left now have the center stage. When the Congress sang god bless America on the Capitol steps a few years ago , the end-times for the current version of America starting ticking.
Our present society is doomed.

Intellectual Insurgent said...

Personally, I find the alien abductee claims to be far more credible than this mumbo jumbo.

Reign of Reason said...

True. Such claims are at least plausibly consistent with what we know about the universe...

Religion continues to fascinate me: people trust science and technology in their everyday life, but defer to 3000 year old stories when it comforts them.

Anonymous said...

A while back I had a give and take with someone that uses the bible as a history book but wants people to think he is open to new ideas. I really was just trying to understand how someone can believe the Earth is only 5,000 years old and not believe evolution.

towards the end of the discussion he ran out of answers

How do these people get through school? College?

Reign of Reason said...

I have no clue...

Faith, by definition, is belief in things "unseen" ... so how do you decide which "things" you're going to believe in?

Many claim "personal experience" -- some type of mystic feeling. Of course, followers of every religion have these experiences so we're back to where we started.

Reign of Reason said...

ToC - aka anonymous...

I noticed you referenced an exchange with FAR...

Like all who "believe" he starts with the assumption of the truth of the Christian mythos... He forces all "facts" to fit those conclusions: hence the creation (out of whole-cloth) of his alternate explanation of the fossil record.

Otherwise intelligent people that hold such beliefs simply astound me.

Charlie said...

Reign wrote: "Like all who "believe" he starts with the assumption of the truth of the Christian mythos... He forces all "facts" to fit those conclusions: hence the creation (out of whole-cloth) of his alternate explanation of the fossil record."

Truthfully, the same can be said of YOUR beliefs. You start with the assumption that evolution is true and force all your "facts" to fit those conclusions; hence your belief in the myth of the billion year old fossil record.

The truth is that Carbon-14 dating (used to propagate the myth) is a problematic method, rife with errors and inconsistencies.

Since you seem to equate those who believe the Bible with moronic idiots, how do you resolve the fact that Albert Einstein, Pascal, Isaac Newton, Daniel Webster and other great minds ALL believed in God, Jesus and the Holy Bible. Were they all idiots, too? Hardly.

No, the evidence for a young Earth is irrefutable *IF* you don't start out with preconceived notions and then work to make them true. The fossil record is one of the least reliable (see methods of dating the Earth.
BTW, even if the Earth were to be "proven" to be old, that still doesn't negate God or His role as Creator.

Charlie said...

Sorry... forgot to paste this into the last message before posting...

Isaac Newton, English mathematician and scientist, 1642-1727
“We account the scriptures of God to be the most sublime philosophy. I find more sure marks of authenticity in the Bible than in any profane history whatsoever.”

One last question -- How can you brush off the following?

As for putting "faith" in modern universities, after reading stories like this, I put VERY little trust in their ability to teach anyone the truth or offer worthwhile knowledge:

Reign of Reason said...


You do not seem to grasp the difference between (provisional) scientific knowledge and "beleif" based on "revealed truth".

My confidence in evolution isn't based on "belief", but evidence... If contradictory evidence is presented -- if the case is solid, conclusions as to the theories validity must be updated.

Carbon-dating: you are likely referring to "problems" with dating shellfish and other creatures which are known to "recycle" secondary sources of (older) organic materials. This recycling completely explains the apparent "error" of the carbon dating process. Only fundamentalist promulgate the myth of "carbon dating inaccuracies" as a problem with the science: it is not.

Reign of Reason said...

As "great minds" believing in god... what does that have to do with anything?

Aristotle, probably the most brilliant mind of all times, believed in a pantheon of false gods... It's simply an artifact of the time the person lived.

Contrarily, 90+% of the scientists in the NAS are atheists. Einstein did not believe in Jesus but was closer to a deist.

In closing, the record of "revealed truth" based on a holy book has been monotonically receding thru time... Where as scientific knowledge is the sword that has demonstrable increased our knowledge of the world around us. To deny this is to deny the obvious... if you want to use "revealed truth" to plug our holes in knowledge -- or to attack our theories that may not be as strong and demonstrable as other -- you are welcome too. Note however, that the record shows you to be on the losing side of truth...