Bible science

If you’re a fan of mangled philosophy and patent falsehoods, you really must read the Biblical view of science. It’s crazily disconnected from anything close to describing how science actually works.

What then is the Biblical view of science? Science enables us to fulfill the mandate of Genesis 1:28: “Then God blessed them [Adam and Eve], and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply; fill the Earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the Earth.’ ” Science gives us directions for doing things, or “operating,” in this world. It does not explain how the laws of nature work, nor does it accurately define or describe things. Science does not discover truth; it is a method for dominating and utilizing nature; it is merely a practical discipline that helps us live in God’s universe and subdue it.

What follows are a set of explanations that contain a kernel of truth, based on scientists’ own recognition of difficulties in science, but they’re all turned up to 11. The problem of induction becomes the fallacy of induction, for instance, and he asserts that science can never give true statements. The unreliability of observation becomes a suggestion that one should never trust observations. There’s a blanket statement that all scientific laws are based on fallacious arguments. Reasonable reservations taken from poorly understood philosophy of science articles become absolutist declarations, all with the intent of showing science to be completely bogus.

Basically, the author has taken valid concerns about the degree of certainty we can have about the world around us and amplified them into absolute rejections of scientific knowledge. It’s a caricature gone so far overboard that it has become a completely dishonest representation of that which it seeks to describe—there is no vestige of science visible in this concatenation of foolishness.

Well, you might wonder, if science is all wrong, if it’s just a tool for increasing crop yields and building tanks, if we’re not even supposed to believe the evidence of the world around us, how are we supposed to obtain knowledge?

Did you even have to ask?

Science has its place in a Christian philosophy, an important place. But science is never to be seen as a means of learning truth. Truth is found in the Scriptures alone; the Bible has a monopoly on truth. It is God’s Word that must be believed, not the experiments of men. As Robbins has said: “Science is false, and must always be false. Scripture is true and must always be true. The issue is as clear, and as simple, as that.”

Ah, yes. We must replace the uncertainties and difficulties of science with the Absolute Truth of an old and confusing book jobbed together by committees of priests…and questioning it is not allowed! It’s always true! Always, always, always!

Be afraid. There are millions of Americans who believe that, who would like to see that open, skeptical, continually tested model of scientific endeavor replaced with the complete certainty of their interpretation of the Bible. There are millions more who think we shouldn’t argue with these lies, because it annoys moderate Christians.

No guts, no glory

Matt Yglesias comments on one of Amy Sullivan’s usual complaints about “secular liberal intolerance” in the most cynical, hypocritical way possible:

Now Amy’s right. It would be useful, for the purposes of electoral politics, for liberals in the media to avoid expressing the view that the belief — adhered to by millions of Americans — that failure to accept Jesus Christ as your personal savior will result in eternal damnation is daft. On the other hand, the evangelical view of this matter is, in fact, completely absurd.

What prompted this was Sullivan getting her back up because a writer called Pat Robertson insane for believing that the Jews were going to burn in hell—to Sullivan, that’s not insane, that’s just an ordinary article of faith for millions of Christians, and not to be questioned. And she’s right?

Look, this is a simple issue. Doing a little dance and trying to pretend you don’t believe what you believe because you think it’s good tactics, especially when you readily admit that you are doing some political maneuvering, is stupid. What’s far better is to simply be what you are: be sincere and honest and go ahead and state your mind. No one is fooled by the act.

Sweet Jesus, Pat Robertson is insane. Wouldn’t the whole country be immensely better off if crazy grandpas like Robertson were left to just putter about in their gardens instead of peddling voting blocs and being sucked up to by people who ought to know better? The only way we’re going to get to that much-desired situation is if more people speak up against lunacy. And I count moderates who accommodate insanity, like Amy Sullivan, as part of the problem.

(via Atrios. Am I damned for citing one A-lister citing another A-lister?)

Creationist hijinks in the news

After a week long hiatus, the Hovind trial continues in Florida. This week, we learn about the virtues of Christian charity.

Hovind, a tax protester, makes a substantial amount of money. But he believes he and his employees work for God, are paid by God and, therefore, aren’t subject to taxation.

Schneider testified this morning that Jo Hovind requested financial help for her bills from Baptist Health Care, claiming that she had no income.

Schneider also said the Hovinds wrote checks to their children from their Christian Science Evangelism account. They also withdrew money from that account for cashier’s checks.

On one day, a $9,000 check was withdrawn for their son, Eric. That same day, another $9,000 check was withdrawn for Eric’s wife, Tanya.

So they’re raking in hundreds of thousands of dollars each year, they just bunny-hop down to the bank and withdraw sub-$10,000 chunks of cash at will, and they have to beg Baptist Health Care for financial assistance? There must be a few poor Baptists somewhere who are struggling to meet their medical bills who are outraged about that.

Meanwhile, we can’t forget that other infamous creationist, Ken Ham. He isn’t in financial trouble (far from it; I suspect he’s doing research on squeezing camels through needle eyes right now), but he’s facing another, somewhat less critical problem to his fleecing-the-rubes operation: Lucy is coming to town.

Associated Press news reports announcing Lucy’s visit state as fact that the fossilized remains are between three and four million years old and that “debate” still rages about how close an ancestor to man Lucy would be. But Ken Ham, president of the biblical creationist group Answers in Genesis, says those reports are only the beginning of Lucy’s anti-creationism tour.

“When I see that they’re bringing the most famous of the supposed ‘human ancestor’ fossils to America, and they’re going to feature it across America, I can see this is a big push for evolution,” Ham observes.

Oh, no! How dare those wicked evilutionists confont Americans with <oooh!> EVIDENCE <gasp>!! I can see how he’d be unhappy that our museums would be confronting creationist lies with the actual data—showing the evidence is making a “big push for evolution”.

Awww, Mike S. Adams noticed me!

Mike Adams latest column is all about his UMM visit…although, actually, it’s more of a whine about me.

Dr. P.Z. Myer did, in fact, make my talk Thursday night and something very strange happened: He, too, experienced a sudden and dramatic change in his level of courage during the course of the speech.

During the question and answer session, Professor Myer simply leaned against a door post with his arms crossed and said nothing. He just stared at me blankly and stood motionless in the same place where he was standing for the last twenty minutes of the speech. During the “Q & A”, I looked directly at him and asked “Are there any other questions?”

He looked directly at me? How was I supposed to tell? He is correct that there was a big crowd there, and a spillover into the hallway. I arrived late, and there were 3 or 4 people in front of me before the entrance…as they trickled away at the end, I worked my way farther forward. I only got as far as the door by the halfway point in the Q&A.

I’d be flattered that he noticed my presence if he weren’t such a pathetic gomer.

More important than what the video will show is what it will not show. Specifically, there will be no image of Dr. Myer mustering the courage to ask a question of Dr. Adams. Instead, he simply cowered away, and then ran back to his home computer in order to blog a fictitious account of a wonderful event &mdash; probably while sitting in his pajamas.

But it is a shame that Dr. Myer lacked the courage to ask me a single question. I certainly had a couple to ask of him. And I’ll bet the audience would have liked to hear him explain how an evolutionist who deems the universe to be accidental can be so full of moral superiority. Or perhaps how the accidental moralist can be an atheist and yet so angry at God.

It takes courage for a man to admit that he is sometimes afraid. But that courage is not a gift of random mutation. It is a gift from a God who loves even the most hardened atheist.

“Cowered away”? Or stood (apparently, prominently) at the door listening?

It wasn’t a lack of courage, I have to say. I have a personal policy at these sorts of talks of always giving the students first crack at speakers, no matter whether I approve of them or not. I’ve been at events where a professor and a speaker get into a little dialog at the end, and entertaining as it might be, it’s not as instructive as getting the students involved. While the students were readily raising their hands, even if they were college Republicans, I wasn’t going to interrupt. And the questions were still coming fast when the organizer peremptorily ended the session.

Since he had questions for me, I suppose he could have asked them directly, since he seems to have noticed me there; I think he’d reply rightly that he wouldn’t do that as long as he was getting questions from his audience. In this column, he could have replied to my complaints about the unlikelihood of his stories—a guy who claims he converted to being a far right wing Republican because of his revulsion at the unprincipled abuses of their immense power by feminists has some explainin’ to do—but whining that I didn’t ask a question at his talk is mighty feeble stuff.

And speaking of courage—complaining on the web about a criticism while not giving a link and misspelling the critic’s name, let alone neglecting to address any of the points, is at best discourteous, and more likely a reluctance to let his happy audience of cheerleaders actually see the substance of the complaints.

But here’s a deal. Since Dr. Mike S. Adams is such an avid proponent of seeing alternative points of view expressed on college campuses, and since he has so much clout at the UNC as a beloved professor, he can always get one of the campus organizations there to invite me out to his university (I expect the same honorarium he got here, of course) to give a talk on evolution and creationism, and then he can ask me his questions. I’ll even make sure to keep a seat in the front row open for him.

His readers apparently are smart enough to figure out my email address despite Adams’ coy misdirection. I’ve got lots of messages calling me a “liberal pussy” this morning—why are they calling me that which Mike S. Adams fears the most?