Sunday, May 24, 2009


Doublethink II.1

Donald James Parker didn't like my pointing out his confusion of science and religion and dropped by to complain. He then disliked my reply to him here so much that he posted another article about it but without the courtesy of a link or even a mention of my name. That's all right ... it won't stop me.

I pointed out "You don't give a damn what the science is, you'll simply make up whatever nonsense is necessary to save your religion."

So what does Parker do but proceed to make up nonsense:

Sir, you're totally wrong. I care about truth both in science and religion. I have no beef against true science. I love science because my God created a magnificent world full of wonders and mini-miracles and gave me the intelligence to understand most of it. I don't make up anything - because I detest falsehood in any form. Besides, I don't need to fabricate any evidence. The onus is on the scientists who would claim that evolution of human beings is a fact to prove it. I don't have to disprove it.

You see science depends on skepticism. Proof must be provided. In the case of evolution, circumstantial evidence and imagination have been given free reign to dictate truth. If that is science, sir, I don't want any part of it. I promise you that I'll shut up when a scientist can create a living cell from scratch. Materialistic scientists won't accept anything that is supernatural. Yet they will accept a supernatural event of life being created from non-life which breaks one of the natural laws that supposedly govern the universe - life only comes from life. The real truth of the matter is that scientists aren't sure about how things really happened.

The first thing he does is make up nonsense about "true science," which he later defines as "real solid science which is not historical (and hysterical) in nature." Science is defined by ... who else? ... scientists and they overwhelmingly agree that common descent and the evolutionary theory that explains it is science. Heck, even the Discovery Institute agrees that it's science. But even if he didn't know that, only a moment's reflection would reveal that his "definition" is bull. Think of all the historic sciences that his standard would exclude ... from criminal forensic investigation to the very archeology Biblical literalists so love to trot out as supposed evidence for their beliefs (except when it contradicts them).

And circumstantial evidence is recognized as valid enough to convict and execute murderers and rapists. The circumstantial evidence for evolution is convincing enough that scientists who study biology have nearly universally accepted it and the ones who don't are overwhelmingly doing so for religious reasons. All Parker is doing is demonstrating that proof beyond any and all reasonable doubt does not translate into proof beyond unreasonable doubt.

He also makes up the nonsense that it is only philosophically materialistic scientists who won't accept the supernatural as a scientific explanation, forgetting the fact that the scientist he was originally complaining about, Ken Miller (among many, many others), is no materialist. They recognize that supernatural explanations cannot be part of science since, by the very nature of such claims, they cannot be scientifically tested.

Then he makes up nonsense about a supposed "law" of nature that is nothing more than the same old ignorance about what "spontaneous generation" was supposed to be and what Redi, Spallanzini and Pasteur demonstrated. So I don't believe for a moment that he'll accept the results when a reasonable pathway to the first life (which would not have been anything so evolved as a cell) is reproduced.

But he's right about one thing: he doesn't want any part of science ... which was my point in the first place.

My other comment he thought unfair was: "Personally, I don't give a damn about what you or Miller believe about any god(s). Stop misrepresenting what science is to innocent children and you can believe any damn-fool nonsense you want." His complaint is:

If origins must be taught, then teach both sides of the issue. Let innocent children have all the facts and let them choose for themselves which is correct. And let me throw this out: if God does exist and you suppress the knowledge of Him and the salvation He offers from those children, you'd potentially be damning those innocent children to eternal life in Hell.

No one is "suppressing" whatever knowledge Parker thinks there is about god(s). He and the other IDeologists are perfectly free to preach their religion in their proper venues under our Constitution: in churches, homes, religious schools and, if they want, on any street corner. What they are not free to do is use other peoples' tax money to teach their religion in public school science classes.

I'll leave it up to Parker's interpretation of his god's wishes to decide if it is right to lie to children about what is and is not science. But, given his ability to claim that the "other side" he wants to teach is science and, at the same time, is "knowledge of Him and the salvation He offers" with a straight face, I suspect his moral sense isn't that developed.

I promise you that I'll shut up when a scientist can create a living cell from scratch.This is an admission that a living cell is not something that looks "designed". It's going to take a lot of work to show how a living cell can be designed, and we can expect when that work is done, it will not be done by applying any principles of creationism/intelligent design. But until that work is done, the creationists should not be appealing to it as an example of something which is "intelligently designed".
I'm so sorry, John that I didn't give you credit for those comments. How about if I make it up to you by posting a link and mentioning your brilliant oratory in the next day or do so the rest of the world can stop by and admire your brilliance? Will that make amends for my previous shortcoming?
Whatever. It was the least of your shortcomings and was no skin off my nose in the first place, as I noted.

No doubt, if you do, it will just give me more fodder for the blog.
Some time back, noted blowhard Bill O'Reilly had a guest on to discuss evolution (well, to the extent that O'Reilly actually discusses anything). O'Reilly's strongest argument came when he informed the guest (I forget who, but he only had a PhD. in biology) what constitutes science:
"There's 24 hours in a day--that's science!"
O'Reilly? I know I haven't been very gentle with Mr. Parker but comapring him to O'Reilly? That's cold, man, cold!
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