Thursday, March 31

Rant

Skeptics 'R'n't Wizbang

I'm busy reabsorbing the blogosphere after a mostly-absence of a month, and in the course of this endeavour, I wandered over to Wizbang. Usual stuff - the unfortunate Terri Schiavo (skip), Bonfire, UN scandal, various little items, and then I ran into this:
Do I have to draw a picture?

Since the Oozer Zealots don't read or think, typing any more, is pointless. Maybe a picture will sum the whole thing up.

manknowledge.jpg

This puzzled me for a moment. Okay, from the labels on the graph, he's talking about evolution, but Oozer Zealots as a term for Creationists is a new one on me.

Then I realised that Oozer Zealots is actually a derogatary term for people accept Evolutionary Theory. Paul - the poster in this instance - is arguing the Creationist point of view.

Well, I went into the comments to see what people had to say about that, and to add my $2 (partly inflation, but mostly because I have a lot to say), only to find that the comments were closed.

Trackbacks weren't closed, though, and Paul receives a well-earned spanking from Pharyngula. Even better, the Commissar offers these two detailed posts, followed by (mostly) informed and rational commentary, explaining where Paul is wrong, why he is wrong, and how we know he is wrong.

Paul does not help his case with this response:

You are an idiot.

And a paranoid idiot at that.

Now I'm a closet bible thumper?

Way to advance an argument.

And that was to the earlier post, before the Commissar got really warmed up.

Back in December, I wrote this:

My aim is to promote Science and Civilisation, and it's a selfish aim. I want the products of Science and Civilisation for myself: Peace and wealth and effective medicine and a comfortable home with air conditioning and a fancy computer and an interesting and productive job. The people who attack Science and Civilisation are trying to deprive me of all that, and I won't allow it.

The Creationists pushing their fraudulent spin on Evolutionary Theory; the Post-Modernists denying the concept of Objective Truth; the Islamists trying to do both at the same time; the historical revisionists; the Psychics; the "Alternative Health Practitioners"; the academics who see their role being not to teach but to brainwash their students into leftist zombiehood; the "free speech" proponents who want to stamp out speech they don't like; Mysticism and Obscurantism; the spammers and scammers and hackers who are doing their level best to destroy the Internet; the nanny-state idiots and the totalitarian hardliners who try to legislate problems out of existence: These and more are what I truly oppose.

Yeah, Paul, I'm talking to you.

The only way you can maintain a Creationist belief system these days - if you are an adult in a developed country - is through deliberate ignorance. Maybe you don't care much about evolution. That's not so bad; not everyone needs to be a biologist. Still, it is probably the single most significant scientific theory ever formulated, and you should care. But if it's not your thing, and you have chosen not to study it, and you've gone into, say, accounting or civil engineering, that's not a problem.

But that doesn't apply to Paul. He's not only chosen to ignore the facts that are at his fingertips, but to spit in the face of the people who are patiently trying to explain the facts to him. He has inflicted ignorance upon himself, and wishes to inflict it upon others.

No.

There are valid questions regarding Evolutionary Theory, but Paul asks none of them, merely repeating the tired old Creationist talking points. You know how you feel when you hear the same old Democrat talking points, refuted countless times, trotted out once again? Well, yeah. Only this is worse. This is Science he's messing with. This isn't just politics, this is real. More even than democracy, this is the bedrock of our civilisation.

Fortunately, in science, what Paul thinks doesn't matter. No working biologist cares one whit what Paul has to say about the matter. No paleontologist is going to lose any sleep over his posts at Wizbang. No geneticist is going to have an upset tummy at lunchtime today.

There's a little saying popular among scientists and engineers: It's so bad, it's not even wrong.* What this means is that what someone has said is so confused that it is neither true nor false, it simply doesn't make sense.

That's where Paul finds himself from the scientific perspective. He is attacking one of the best supported scientific theories we have, from a point of ignorance, with claims long since refuted. Neither Creationism nor it's stepchild Intelligent Design are scientific theories; nor indeed do they have anything to do with science apart from distorting and misreporting scientific findings.

I'm not going to offer a point by point refutation, because it's been done. If you're interested, there is no better place to start than the Talk.Origins Archive. The works of Stephen Jay Gould are also a wonderful and accessible source of information (though he had his disagreements with other biologists on the fine points of evolutionary theory). There is an unending wealth of information on the subject, much of it wonderfully written (and illustrated!), a joy, a delight of learning. All of which Paul has rejected.

In that post in December, I remarked in closing:

So I shouldn't want for subject matter.
And so I shan't, but I hadn't expected it to be coming from my side of the fence.

* Attributed to Wolfgang Pauli

Posted by: Pixy Misa at 06:32 AM | Comments (8) | Add Comment | Trackbacks (Suck)
Post contains 930 words, total size 6 kb.

1 I've almost stopped reading Wizbang because of that... I know the futility of trying to point out facts, I used to lurk on talk.origins.

Posted by: Kathy K at Thursday, March 31 2005 10:05 AM (TXTKm)

2 You said: "Then I realised that Oozer Zealots is actually a derogatary term for people accept Evolutionary Theory. Paul - the poster in this instance - is arguing the Creationist point of view." Both of those are 100% incorrect. I realize that you came in in the middle of the movie but you are 180 degrees out of phase. #1) Oozer Zealots are people who believe that everything we know about evolutionary biology today is 100% correct and there is absolutely no chance we are wrong in any way. They further believe that they should not take the time required to listen to anyone who might think we still have many unanswered questions, they should just attack and call people bible thumpers. (After reading this post, you can see your local mirror for an example of this behavior.) #2) If you had a brain you would notice I specifically argued AGAINST creationism multiple times. Do you even give half a shit about being right? geeze

Posted by: Paul at Thursday, March 31 2005 11:42 AM (zvRKM)

3 I love it. "Paul is wrong" but you have no clue what I said. And you talk about me?

Posted by: Paul at Thursday, March 31 2005 11:44 AM (zvRKM)

4 Paul is a Creationist stalking horse. He repeats all their nonsense. He seems to have numerous admitted Creationist commenters that go right along. "I specifically argued AGAINST creationism multiple times." Deep in comment thread, sure. Never in a headline post. He uses their tactics repeatedly. Paul, if you comment here again, please let us know why why said "no inter-species evolution. NOT ONE documented case?" Then when confronted with a list of HUNDREDS of transitionary fossils, you mis-characterized it as '30 or 40 questionable' fossils? Which ones were questionable? Paul is a liar, a coward, a lazy propagandist, and a serial comment-deleter.

Posted by: The Commissar at Thursday, March 31 2005 02:56 PM (FHWvc)

5 Paul, as the Commissar points out, you made the claim that there are no transitional fossils. This is utterly, hopelessly wrong, as you could find out if you did 30 seconds of research - or even listened to the people trying to explain this to you. It is also one of the most common Creationist talking points. If you're not a creationist, why are you using their methods and their arguments - both completely discredited - against their targets? Why are you acting exactly like a creationist? Oozer Zealots are people who believe that everything we know about evolutionary biology today is 100% correct and there is absolutely no chance we are wrong in any way. And who exactly believes this? You do realise that some biologists disagree with some other biologists on some points of Evolutionary Theory? Yes? Well, the point remains that Evolution happened, and is happening right now. That's Evolution the fact. Evolution the theory is our explanation for how and why and when and where evolution happens, how fast it happens, what it can do. There are questions about Evolutionary Theory. There are no questions about whether Evolution happened (at least, not sensible ones). It did. They further believe that they should not take the time required to listen to anyone who might think we still have many unanswered questions, they should just attack and call people bible thumpers. I said you are arguing the Creationist point of view. You are. I said all your claims are refuted in one handy place, Talk.Origins, and they are. I noted that the Commisar had refuted your claims in detail, and he has. I didn't call you a bible thumper. I didn't even call you a creationist. What I did say, was:Paul - the poster in this instance - is arguing the Creationist point of view.AndThere are valid questions regarding Evolutionary Theory, but Paul asks none of them, merely repeating the tired old Creationist talking points.But what I think really has you ticked off is thisFortunately, in science, what Paul thinks doesn't matter.You are arguing from total ignorance. If you wish to dispute the findings or theory of evolution, you can damn well learn something about it first. Because until you do, what you say doesn't matter. To science, anyway, and to anyone who does know something about the subject. Unlike politics, it's not about opinion, it's about facts. Fact is, you're wrong - at best. Present Evolutionary Theory may not be right about every detail, but it's right.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at Thursday, March 31 2005 05:57 PM (+S1Ft)

6 Paul is just an example of the most disturbing trends in modern argument; to deny that you're making the points that you're trying to make, and that you don't support the position you support. The Soviets had a term for it: Disinformation. Not that Paul is the only case of this, it's very widespread, and is historically represented in numerous cases, though it first made its appearance in religion and continues to flourish there, as well as in pseudo-religious ideologies such as Communism and Fascism. The reason for this is that the more ridiculous or dangerous your argument, the more, and larger, lies and deceits in which it must be cloaked. If you want to control someone, tell them you're liberating them, if you want to steal from everyone, tell them you want to give to everyone. This method has worked for thousands of years, and continues unabated today, with full and enthusiastic support from those with minds too weak to see the truth of the matter, or those with an agenda that is only supported by such methods because to tell the truth would be death. People who have to use lies and deception to further their position are easy to spot though, because they will never, ever, let themselves get drawn into an argument based on pure reason and logic, and will always respond to a reasoned argument with insults and unsopportable "facts" that they make up as they go along, or draw from equally dubious sources. I left the following post on wizbang, I can't wait to see Paul's response, though I think it will most likely get deleted: I don't know about lighting striking ooze and all that, though electro-chemical reactivity is easily proven and well established, but the Big Invisible Man in the Sky theory (read: myth) is a tough one to prove as well, especially considering that religion makes no sincere effort whatsoever to connect beliefs with reality. (I should have also added here that there are literally hundreds of creation myths.) But let's suppose for a minute the creationists are right, that there is a Greater Power that made everything, what then? Did it abandon us or does it choose to limit its control or influence over us? Or, an even more scary proposition, what if it is in control of everything? Of the three scenarios; no involvement, limited involvement, or total contol, the second and last are most disturbing, because given the evidence of the sad state of human affaits, God is a sadistic psychopath who gets off on schadenfreude. If the first is the case, then He's nothing more than a deadbeat parent, so screw Him, amen. By the way, Paul, I dare you to reply without using juvenile insults, though given your previous posts, if you can't insult me, you'll just delete this post and ban me.

Posted by: Improbulus Maximus at Friday, April 01 2005 02:52 PM (0yYS2)

7 P.M. I'm working thru a question, on the origin of life question. Absent evidence, science admits that it does not know. As an unproven, but not disproven, hypothesis, perhaps God did it. Creationists then argue, "You cant explain how life started, but I can, therefore I win." I want to write up a short discussion of the logical fallacy they're employing. Any suggestions?

Posted by: The Commissar at Saturday, April 02 2005 10:32 AM (jNXzj)

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Posted by: ya pidoras at Tuesday, July 25 2006 10:10 AM (NePLc)

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