Smarm + Creationist Math = Smath

Which makes this video very, very smathy.

That’s Carl Baugh, by the way, who appears regularly on the Trinity Broadcast Network to teach viewers about creationism. It’s a good program to watch (I do, now and then) if you want to see how flinking bugnuts insane young earth creationists can be.

This particular episode has all the standard tropes. They bring on a guest gomer, and they go on and on about his credentials — this one is a ‘prominent mathematician’ who teaches at a high school and part time at a trade school. They puff him up good; creationists really want the Voice of Authority, which is why so many of them chase after bogus degrees…it’s for the window dressing.

Then they do a lot of mutual backslapping, where they tell each other how skeptical and scientific they are, and in this case, bray about how mathematics is the language of science (which is true) and how they are going to look critically at the actual data using objective mathematics.

Then they “crunch the numbers.” I think that’s creation-speak for “diddle the books.”

All the guy does is plug numbers into the standard formula for compound interest to calculate the expected number of people in populations after a certain period of time. Seriously. I tried it, and got pretty much the same numbers he did. You can play the same game with his Biblical scenario in a little more detail and calculate populations at various times in history: the world population was about 150,000 at the time of Alexander the Great, 600,000 when Jesus was born, 5 billion when I was born. As usually happens with these kinds of bogus calculations, our smath professor needs to use an invalid formula and apply it inappropriately to get numbers that only match at the beginning and end of the time period he is examining, but are so low as to be laughable at the earliest times in his history, and that don’t match up at all over periods where we have good census data.

You might also wonder where he got his growth rate of 0.456%. He made it up. It happens to be the number that, assuming a starting population of 8 4500 years ago, you get a final population of 6.5 billion now.

Leaving death out of his calculations is a tiny omission that makes even that fudged number wrong.

I stand corrected — his growth rate, imaginary as it is, consolidates birth rates minus death rates, so it still works with non-immortals.