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Feb 28 2012

Barton Explains Science and Religion

David Barton has decided that all scientists in the world are doing it wrong. You see, they should really just be reading the Bible because any science that is in conflict with the Bible must be wrong, no matter how much it explains or how rigorously it’s tested.

There is science and there is science that is falsely so-called. See, the Bible doesn’t have trouble with science, but it’s talking about beware of the stuff that’s falsely called science. There’s a lot that masquerades in the name of science.

How do you know false science? False science leads you to a certain end. What is that end? That it undermines your faith. So a good definition of science, at least based on the Bible verse, science that undermines faith is false science and science that’s wrongly used it false science.

God’s into science. He created everything. He’s the great botanist, He’s the great zoologist, He’s the great every one of those things. He knows better than anyone else because he made it all. But when science takes you to a position that causes you to doubt your relationship with God, causes you to doubt the Bible … that’s called false science.

Well that’s a convenient way of insulating your religious beliefs from any and all contradiction. It’s convenient and utterly irrational.

28 comments

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  1. 1
    Michael Heath

    Ed’s headline:

    Barton Explains Science and Religion

    If you were seeking guffaws with your headline you got ‘em.

  2. 2
    parasiteboy
    See, the Bible doesn’t have trouble with science

    I call Bullshit!!! (Although this may be factually true since the Bible is a book and thus incapable of having troubles)

  3. 3
    slc1

    This is the position taken by Dr. Kurt Wise, BS in geology, Un . of Chicago, Phd in paleontology, Harvard (thesis adviser, Stephen Jay Gould). As Richard Dawkins puts it,

    Whatever the underlying explanation, this example suggests a fascinating, if pessimistic, conclusion about human psychology. It implies that there is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence. Depending upon how many Kurt Wises are out there, it could mean that we are completely wasting our time arguing the case and presenting the evidence for evolution. We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference.

    Substitute David Barton for Kurt Wise and the comment also applies to him.

  4. 4
    slc1

    Re slc1 @ #3

    Missing link:

    http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/dawkins_21_4.html

  5. 5
    Michael Heath

    As idiotic and denialist as David Barton’s position is, it’s equivalent to the argument made by Albert Mohler, whose considered a leading Christian intellectual within conservative Christianity. Yes, their leading intellectuals are effective morons who deny reality.

  6. 6
    Reginald Selkirk

    God’s into science. He created everything. He’s the great botanist, He’s the great zoologist, He’s the great every one of those things.

    You can find God displaying his massive knowledge of genetics in Genesis chapter 30, where you will learn that you can breed animals with stripes by putting sticks near their watering trough. His mastery of zoology is the focus of Leviticus chapter 11, where you will learn that rabbits chew their cud, bats are a type of fowl, and insects have four legs.

  7. 7
    eric

    Mr. Barton is of course welcome to teach his version of science…in sunday school or some elective class.

    These guys seem to think that demand for the methodolgy and practice will drop if they just relabel it.

    A rose by any other name, David. Go a head and call modern science “false.” Call it devilish. Call it whatever you want: parents and university entrance boards will still want kids to learn this methodology and practice. And parents and university entrance boards will still not care about whether kids learn your bible-related crap on the side, no matter how you rebrand it.

  8. 8
    d cwilson

    Gee, Barton knows as much about science as he does history. Is anyone surprised?

  9. 9
    Bronze Dog

    So, let’s infer Barton’s epistemology:

    “Good Science”:
    1. Assume you are an infallible god.
    2. Because you are infallible, you are capable of absolute certainty.
    2. Make up an answer and be certain of it.
    3. Look for evidence that agrees with your answer, even if you have to squint, tilt your head just right, and file off some inconvenient rough edges. Throw away evidence that outright disagrees with you. You’re infallible. If the universe disagrees with your answer, it’s the universe that’s wrong, because you can’t be wrong.

    “Bad Science”:
    1. Assume that you are fallible.
    2. Hypothesize an answer and a matching null hypothesis.
    3. Look for evidence to falsify either hypothesis. Double-check your results to guard against the likelihood you made a mistake.
    4. Ask the scientific community to attempt to replicate your findings, to further guard against the likelihood you made a mistake.
    5. If your answer is the one that ends up being falsified, take it like a man, admit you were mistaken, and go back to the drawing board with the lessons you’ve learned from the experiments.

  10. 10
    Randomfactor

    insects have four legs.

    And two arms.

  11. 11
    jeevmon

    Eppur si muove.

  12. 12
    D. C. Sessions

    It’s convenient and utterly irrational.

    I disagree, Ed. It’s perfectly rational. It begins with a simple assumption: that nothing which contradicts dogma can be true. Everything else follows rationally.

    Now, being rational doesn’t mean it’s going to do you much good with things like designing computers. Computers depend on semiconductor physics, which in turn depends on a whole lot more physics, much of which contradicts various parts of the Bible. So computers can’t be valid, and Barton is apparently ranting away in a total delusion where things like the so-called “internet” is accessed by so-called “computers.” Well, there’s no way in his world to falsify that conclusion.

    Meanwhile, it’s nice to see that Barton’s dedication to history has gotten back to 1635. I wonder where his fantasies will go next?

  13. 13
    harold

    This is literally just standard post-modern creationism – start with your own preferences, and declare that no evidence can ever change your mind.

    What is deeply disturbing is that a large of US society have adopted this method of thinking on almost every topic. They accept evidence-based reality only in the most concrete situations. They will put gas in their car when the tank is empty, for example. They won’t quite deny that the car can’t run without gas. But they will insist that there is an unlimited supply of fossil fuels, that burning fossil fuels can have no impact on the climate, that someone can magically make the price of their gas arbitrarily low, etc. They’re literally forced by concrete reality to put the gas in the car, but the next level of abstraction – that the gas has to come from somewhere and cost something, and that using it may have unintended effects – they freely deny.

  14. 14
    logicallydeficient

    Didn’t St. Augustine pretty well cover this question of science and religion some time ago?

  15. 15
    timothyyoung

    And of course this point of view becomes much more widely accepted when you can test your claims in the torture chamber and don’t have to bother with the laboratory.

  16. 16
    harold

    I disagree, Ed. It’s perfectly rational. It begins with a simple assumption: that nothing which contradicts dogma can be true. Everything else follows rationally.

    This would probably be true of an internally coherent creationist position. My disagreement, in such a hypothetical case, would be with the starting assumptions.

    In practice, I have never seen an internally coherent set of creationist claims.

  17. 17
    Chiroptera

    God’s into science. He created everything. He’s the great botanist, He’s the great zoologist, He’s the great every one of those things.

    Is he also the great astronomer? ‘Cause if he is, then the sky is a solid dome covering a flat earth. With doors in it that open when it rains.

  18. 18
    Akira MacKenzie

    Somewhere Chris Mooney has a hard-on.

  19. 19
    tommykey

    God’s into science. He created everything. He’s the great botanist, He’s the great zoologist, He’s the great every one of those things

    Cue David Warner from Time Bandits:

    “Slugs! HE created slugs! They can’t speak. They can’t hear. They can’t operate machinery.”

  20. 20
    Ouabache

    Reminds me of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. If at any point reality and the Bible disagree then it is reality that has gotten it wrong.

  21. 21
    abb3w

    Also seems to be much the position that Ken Ham takes, although he has some additional refinements.

  22. 22
    abb3w

    I’d suggest that the rant become marginally more comprehensible (if no more philosophically sound) if the word “false” (and cognates) is replaced by “godforsaken”. That is (and fixing what seems a minor typo):

    There is science and there is science that is godforsakenly so-called. See, the Bible doesn’t have trouble with science, but it’s talking about beware of the stuff that’s godforsakenly called science. There’s a lot that masquerades in the name of science.

    How do you know godforsaken science? Godforsaken science leads you to a certain end. What is that end? That it undermines your faith. So a good definition of science, at least based on the Bible verse, science that undermines faith is godforsaken science and science that’s wrongly used is godforsaken science.

    God’s into science. He created everything. He’s the great botanist, He’s the great zoologist, He’s the great every one of those things. He knows better than anyone else because he made it all. But when science takes you to a position that causes you to doubt your relationship with God, causes you to doubt the Bible … that’s called godforsaken science.

    …and presuming his premises include the implicit supposition that the godforsaken is a subset of the false, it’s somewhat comprehensible. He’s just using the word “false” in one sense that he associates to the word that the infidels hereabouts don’t.

    It’s just an English-to-English translation problem.

  23. 23
    Worldtraveller

    So Barton is just as knowledgeable about science and religion as he is about history?

    Quelle surprise.

  24. 24
    juice

    Pi is exactly 3 then. Stupid scientists have been using the wrong value this whole time. No wonder we don’t have a moon base yet.

  25. 25
    peterh

    “…but [the babble is] talking about beware of the stuff that’s falsely called science. There’s a lot that masquerades in the name of science.”

    Just where does the babble address this issue?

    @#24:

    The fundies will squawk that the babble does not mention Pi (and it doesn’t) whereupon you are “refuted.” But when one points out it most clearly states a circle is exactly 10 cubits in breadth and 30 cubits in circumference, one doesn’t need the Greek alphabet to see it’s talking about Pi. At this point, they generally become quite hostile.

  26. 26
    Aquaria

    The creation account in Genesis is so unbelievably stupid from start to finish that it’s astounding anybody could believe the crap, and anyone who could give it even the slightest credence as “science” is so fucking stupid that they should be locked up for their own protection.

    My personal favorite LOL of the Genesis account is the genocidal sky fairy creating night and day on Day 1 (1:3-5) when there wouldn’t be a sun until Day 4 (1:14-18).

    And people take this seriously?

  27. 27
    juice

    @ 25 –

    Actually the arguments go like this: “It had a rim that was one hand’s breadth and it doesn’t say whether the circumference was the inner or outer circumference.” So the diameter is listed as the outer diameter and the circumference is listed as the inner circumference? Ok, then. If you say so.

    And: “A cubit is not an exact measurement.” And: “It’s just an approximation. It’s the correct value, just to one significant digit.” So the Bible is inaccurate. Got it.

  28. 28
    Dr X

    Barton:

    How do you know false science? False science leads you to a certain end. What is that end? That it undermines your faith.

    Interesting standard, considering how many crackpot fundies, evangelical blowhards and the sexually tormented Catholic hierarchs have undermined people’s faith.

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