Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Falling For It
Well, after the Wells gob-smackingly stupid argument, let's reprise an older example that has long been a favorite of mine. The following is the frontispiece for Chapter Five of Henry M. Morris' book, The Troubled Waters of Evolution (1974). The Chapter is entitled "Can Water Run Uphill?"
That's right, Morris, who was a hydraulic engineer, told his target audience that "the most certain laws of nature state that the real processes of nature do not make things go uphill" and illustrates that claim with the metaphor of water not being able to run uphill and a picture of a waterfall.
The Chapter itself is the familiar blather, replete with goal posts flying all over the place. For example, he admits that, in an open system, things can go uphill but, totally ignoring that he just said that the "most certain" law doesn't allow that, he goes on to claim that there are additional requirements for "growth." But he never goes back to correct that mistaken metaphor or point out the fact that water flows uphill every day.
The question is what is more depressing, the cynical contempt that people like Morris and Wells have for their target audience, so that they feel no need to make their arguments even remotely cogent, or the fact that, for large numbers of Americans, they are absolutely right.