Sunday, July 1, 2012

Wrong and Wronger

A month ago I wrote about telling off a Nobel laureate (see Wrong). That is a conceit on my part, because I doubt Dr. Josephson will ever read it. Someone read it though, because it sparked a flurry of response from some Answers in Genesis Creationists (yes, I know that is redundant). One in particular, identifying himself only as Bonesiii Dromer, was moved to a truly spectacular display of sanctimonious bombast. After some thought and considerable delay (I was exceptionally busy) I finally posted a response to the nonsense.

--- More after the break ---
To keep this short I'll gives the links and brief comments first, followed by my full text. 
  1. My earlier response, details here.
  2. The flurry of Creationist responses begins here.
  3. poke the AiG folks about "scorn" in science.
  4. Dromer responds, the first of three exceedingly long replies. In honor of his efforts I shall now refer to him as "Droner".
  5. I poke Droner again, flat out calling him wrong.
  6. Droner responds again, this one even longer. I'm pretty sure there were two additional replies, but I don't see them now. It's possible they were removed for violating Nature posting policies.
  7. And my latest reply. (text below)
And finally my full text, which you have seen already if you followed the links above. 

Mr. Dromer, Since the majority of what you write is clearly based on religious belief, I can hardly object; You are entitled to your own beliefs. Therefore I limit my criticism to what might be interpreted in any way as fact. To that point, belief does not entitle Creation science to misstate facts (1) or redefine what science means, nor may lack of understanding be counted as evidence that a theory is wrong (2).
Debates are a good forum for emotional appeal and persuasion, but a poor one for evaluation of objective fact. Scientific debate typically occurs through the moderation of publication and peer review, with successive refinement (and occasional upset) over time. You complain that scientists avoid debate, to which I can only respond that Creation science avoids the facts, and cannot withstand the criticism of peer review.
Creation science and Intelligent Design Creationism do not produce any useful results, which makes debate irrelevant. One does not debate your way to scientific legitimacy, and if you could, there would be nothing to be gained. I might add, there is nothing to be won from such debate that you do not already have.
Dromer writes> "There's many examples, especially tectonics which is why I allude to that so often. You might not be informed on this, but current plate tectonic theory was first proposed based on the global Flood, which would produce exactly what we see today. For this reason, entrenched evolutionary scientists scorned the idea. And yet, even though they scorned it, it turned out to be true."
I do not think that is an accurate representation of historical events (3).
Many theories are scorned and rejected, and this is done with good justification. If I recall correctly, tectonics (then continental drift) was initially rejected because it suggested that continents floated about on a layer of sea mud (and other dubious mechanisms) which geologist (among others) found to be absurd. It wasn't until the discovery of the mid-Atlantic ridge in the 1950's that the mechanism was found and the theory was changed to align with the evidence (3). This was hardly the entrenched idea you claim, nor is the current theory based on global flood in any way. I note that "Runaway Subduction" has also been rejected (4).
You mention global flood no less than 11 times (and tectonics only 6). Perhaps you could explain how the global flood hypothesis contributes to useful results in any field of science or engineering.
References:
So as not to infringe on copyright policies, am I not giving direct links to some sources, but a little bit of Googling should find them quickly:
(1) "How American fundamentalist schools are using Nessie to disprove evolution" by Rachel Loxton, found at www.heraldscotland.com on 06/29/2012
(2) "Missing the Wrist", by Carl Zimmer, found at blogs.discovermagazine.com/loom on 06/29/2012
(3) Plate Tectonics: The Rocky History of an Idea
(4) see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_geology#Runaway_subduction
Still here? There is a second response:
Since the following appeal was directed to me, I have taken a moment to respond:
Dromer writes> "Think about it. Look in the mirror, and listen to your conscience, sir. If you are at all a believer in God, pray about it and seek his guidance."
When I look into my mirror, it persistently tells me I am a few pounds overweight. Despite my strongest objections it is very close-minded on this subject. I really think the mirror is wrong, and on that basis I shall refuse to consider any alternative hypothesis that suggests I am overweight, even those whispered to me by my friends.
Not all that disagree with you are atheists. My conscience tells me the promotion of pseudo-scientific quackery in the name of God does nothing but belittle faith and degrade a more important message. In that respect, Mr. Dromer, I am guided to be your mirror.
And now I think I'm done with Mr. Droner. It would be amusing if he responded again though. Maybe I'll check for replies again next month.