Creationist (heh) Astronomy (HAHAHAHAHAhahahaha)

By Phil Plait | May 22, 2009 6:00 am

If it weren’t so freaking irritating, I’d laugh over the video called "Our Created Solar System" presented at a website called Creation Astronomy. As you might expect, it’s purporting to have evidence that the Universe isn’t 13.7 billion years old, but is instead some integrally-multiple number of begats old.

Creationist astronomy
Now with 100% fewer facts!!!

I watched the Jupiter video until all I could hear was a loud buzzing sound punctuated by the word "evolution". Last I recall, evolution was the change in allele frequency over time… Jupiter has chromosomes? Are creationists that confused?

Well, certainly many are, but why ascribe to ignorance what can be ascribed to misdirection? The creator of the video obviously uses the word evolution over and over again because it’s a buzzword likely to sway people predisposed against science to agree with the bizarre version of reality he espouses, even though he must know that evolution has nothing to do with astronomy.

Hmmm. Bear false witness much?

The nonsense pouring forth from those videos would carve the Grand Canyon in just days*. It would be interesting to debunk the garbage presented point by point– in the sense that it would be interesting to slowly push a red-hot knitting needle into my ear — but there’s no need. Debunking that video is like trying to cure chicken pox one scab at a time. It’s all "god of the gaps" nonsense, "science can’t explain this or that", with them always and forever forgetting the one word that changes everything:

"Yet".

Tip o’ the dew shield to PZ.




*See what I did there?

Comments (161)

  1. T_U_T

    what about the jupiter ? It is really spinning impossibly fast ?
    There are stars spinning so fast that they almost tear themselves apart. How did this guy come even close to declaring that collapse of an already rotating hydrogen cloud can not produce fast spinning objects ?

  2. “even though he must know that evolution has nothing to do with astronomy”

    Of course it does! Since the earth was created in 4004 BC, then everything you know about astronomy must be wrong. The Bible is the ultimate textbook for biology, astronomy, geology, and every other -ology there is. There can be no doubt!

    Right?

  3. Maybe we should make a slick ‘educational’ video of how God created parasites or radioactivity or swine flu.

  4. jb

    mmmm..
    me thinks they hit their band width limit..I can’t get to it..
    And I was up for some Comedy…
    jb

  5. @jb

    Me, too. Now, the sorry part of this is that people may see the following:

    Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
    Apache/2.2.11 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.11 OpenSSL/0.9.8i DAV/2 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 Server at http://www.creationastronomy.com Port 80

    and think that it’s really popular and there’s something to it. Certainly the people behind it will be ecstatic at all the traffic their getting.

  6. Timkatt

    Way to go people, thanks for crashing the site. Now I can’t get my daily quota of creationist rubbish.

  7. would carve the Grand Canyon in just days

    That’s disingenuous of you, Phil. Everyone knows it took the Flood months to carve out the Grand Canyon, not days. That’s totally reasonable.

  8. Rob Glover

    I wonder if they have had any orders from the Texas state board of education?

  9. Shawn_JG

    This does raise an interesting question about the expected size of target audiences (as in they didn’t expect the size of their audience). Has Phil and/or PZ gotten powerful enough to blast sites’ bandwidth in a single post? That’s pretty cool in my book!

  10. Blogger

    Just remember…not all religious people believe this.

  11. Fred Magyar

    We live in a Universe of breathtaking size and grandeur-but where did it come from?

    Secular astronomers tell us it formed without a Creator about 14 billion years ago. The Bible tells us it was created by God only thousands of years ago. Which model does the evidence support?

    I was going to say it’s turtles all the way down…BUT!

    Oldest Turtle Found; May Crack Shell-Evolution Mystery
    Brian Handwerk for
    National Geographic News
    November 26, 2008

    Fossils of the oldest known turtles, unearthed in southwestern China, may help answer an evolutionary enigma—how did the turtle get its shell?

    The 220-million-year-old animals did not have full shells, or carapaces, on their backs, researchers found.

    So I propose that the Universe supported by turtles has to be less than 200 million years old and we need a new creation myth.

    Umm, I know the universe was magically puffed into existence by a giant cheese bunny after it created the first fully shelled turtles to support the rest of the universe! You don’t believe me, ask Stephen Hawking…

    For Hawking, the turtle story is one of two accounts of the nature of the universe; he asserts that the turtle theory is patently ridiculous, but admits that his own theories may be just as ridiculous. “Only time will tell,” he concludes. source Wikipedia

    So get ready to teach the controversy…3, 2, 1…

  12. Vernon Balbert

    I saw this on Pharyngula and my brain threatened to explode when I finally gave up watching it. I will say that I was hoping that you would have been able to deal with the stupidity so that I could figure out where the heck he got his information and what science has to say about his sources. But alas, it was too much to hope for because you’re right, it is so mind-numbingly stupid that such a hope was mere fantasy at best. I suppose I could do my own research, but when I went to the site this morning all I got was:

    Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.

    I feel like I’m trying to count the licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

  13. Michelle

    aaah, I was wondering when that thing would get to your ears.

    I don’t wanna watch these videos. I don’t think my friday brain can gobble up that much creationist nonsense.

  14. Based on some conversations I’ve had with creationists, “evolution” does not refer to the biological principle of evolution, but the general idea that the universe is very old and developed via gradual changes with the odd catastrophic event.

    Their sloppy use of language has the intent of confusing the issue (or, if one wants to be charitable, they’re confused and their use of language reflects it). Everything they say and do is generally about clouding matters- because if their ideas are examined in detail in the full light of day, there is clearly no merit to them.

  15. MadScientist

    PZ was promoting that video rather than DFTS. Perhaps you should take that toenail clipping collection and send them to PZ; I don’t think Geo has earned them.

    By the way BA, don’t forget that the creationists explain absolutely nothing and never will, so it’s rather funny that they should claim that science can’t explain things.

  16. Phil, you did this on purpose (Bandwidth Limit Exceeded), right?! Ok I know better, but I wish you did, cuz it’s just hilarious…

  17. Here’s a video on Youtube that I think is probably the same one. It’s a seminar by Jason Lisle: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Rh4NkGKTBk. The “evolution” stuff starts roughly halfway through.

  18. Ricky

    Bandwidth exceeded.

    I can’t view the site, but it sounds like a scam. Most scams make absurd claims as a strategy to attract week minds. This gives them more mileage with less risk of complications, plus partial blame can always be attributed to the fools that fall for such obvious scams.

  19. After watching that video, I can see how his arguments would appeal to the average Joe that knows nothing about astronomy. It all sounds very convincing. And, lending weight to his arguments, here’s his academic credentials (at least, according to the blurb on the YouTube video):

    Dr. [Jason] Lisle graduated summa cum laude from Ohio Wesleyan University where he double-majored in physics and astronomy, and minored in mathematics. He did graduate work at the University of Colorado where he earned a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Astrophysics.

  20. Hey Phil,

    I just wanted to share with you some research with you and other fine BA bloggees. I wrapped this up this week. It’s kind of long and I hope you don’t mind. My next project is proving that Dark Matter is actually a lighter hue than expected.

    ————————-

    Does God Exist?

    Consider the following. Although it does not conclusively prove God one way or the other, the evidence points toward a god not only being unnecessary but if he does indeed exist he has no affect.

    Indeed, it has been shown that microverses within our own universe are routinely spontaneously created, can thrive for billions of years and can be spontaneously destroyed leaving behind no evidence that they ever existed.

    It would be arrogant to assume or believe that our own universe is the alphaverse. This interesting topic, however, must be revisited at another time.

    Researchers at Cornell using telemetrized brain wave activity scans have discovered a shared metaphysical experience manifests in several species including all primates tested, reptiles and marsupials. Very interesting is a crude, yet accurate three dimensional map of the universe as it would have appeared approximately three billion years ago when life is generally believed to have first appeared on Earth.

    This suggests that all life not only has a shared ancestor but that ancestor had vastly superior knowledge of the universe. Did they pass this knowledge along? If so, we have not found it but one theory suggests that a gene common to all life has this knowledge encoded and we have yet to recognize it. Other commonly recurring images include nuns, sheep and fuscia chiffon yet there is nothing to suggest the existence of a deity.

    In 2002, Anthro-apologist (one whom expresses regret for our descendency from lesser primates) Dr. Gordon Freeman discovered that centuries old Daedric temples, located in what is now the region of Nova Prospekt near Black Mesa, somehow contained anti-gravitational forces such that the maximum array bounds index could never exceed 14-16 billion x 364.9 x 24 x 60 x 60 x 1000 Dark Particle Soufflé Horizons as measured in milliseconds since Universal Midnight (Big Bang event or whatever).

    This was recently confirmed by the CERN Laboratories Particle Inhibitor. Even the most spiritual/theological can not disagree with this finding while the Vatican expectedly has declined to publicly issue their stance on the finding. Islam has declared a Jihad on CERN but Buddhists seem to be ok with it which is pretty much what everyone expected.

    Other research initially indicates that entanglement microscopy retrogrades to a zenith of quantonian quantum time-space quantinium quantities. Luminescent monography provides a minimum truth ratio greater than or equal to the desiccant contained by Dr. Scholl’s well accepted static charge credit.

    The nano-quasar singularity, of course, must always equal the universal relativity object population. The veracity of these claims has not been disputed as of yet but is expected to increase as more information becomes void.

    This is obviously the source of the conundrum created by the infamous Newtonian Planes discrepancy which requires an unconfirmed mass of atomic mechanics observed during Planetary Elliptical Obituaries that equal approximately 0.032 Galilean pesos – an unacceptably large error tolerance. A push from the scientific community to convert to metric time measurement devices would make these type studies more universally compatible.

    Most disagreement among scientists is when studying these problems at the atomic level. The four known types of atoms, positive, negative, neutral and apathetic must be considered individually and in groups as to their viability and appropriateness and willingness to be included in various research.

    Many scientists discard negatively charged atoms because there is evidence these atoms actively work to cause research to fail. Other scientists believe that these negative atoms counter-balance positively charged atoms that bias studies toward success.

    For many years scientists believed neutral and apathetic atoms (those having an indifferently charged nucleus) have no affect on a study but there was no research to verify this assumption.

    New research has shown that when an apathetic atom is introduced into a population consisting of roughly equal numbers of positive and negative atoms, the positive atoms tend to become apathetic while the negative atoms remain negative which skews the entire research toward failure. Or the initial hypothesis was all messed up.

    Scientists are presently working to resolve this problem so that other science built from the results may be considered valid.

    Meanwhile protoplasmic endoscopy forensics research by doctors at the Blessed Sister Virgin Gertrude Geriatric and Endoplasm Medical Research facility have been able to account for nearly 87% of the discrepancy which has been a great boon to all related fields of study. As the facility is owned by the Roman Catholic church it seems safe to assume that Catholics would accept the results even if those results conflict with current dogma.

    Yet Xanaxiphibian social stressor isotopes driven by xenophobian xerography gradually over a period of millions of years as primordial soup advanced to Tourette’s goulash. This was famously accidentally reproduced when Eli Whitney failed to create his gin still.

    The May 1956 Popular Mechanics confirmed the results of this experiment and is now well-accepted as the driving force behind the evolution of Platypi, Clannfears and PipBoys. At least two next-gen particle degenerators are being designed to study this problem further. General Electric, Pratt & Whitney, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s Douglas, Boeing, John Deere and others are jointly developing one of these projects. The other is being developed by North Korea and is expected to be of more political consequence than of practical use.

    While gruesome Nazi experiments conducted in Ravenholm from 1942 to 1945 are considered horrific and inhumane by any standard, recently declassified documents have confirmed reprogenetics and resulting ebonics in protorobotic as well as genetically engineered HC’s which has shaken the scientific community to its very core. The Brotherhood of Steel is taking a leading role in resolving many of the issues and expect to publish their findings in 2010.

    Speaking of cores, NASAs highly successful dark matter collection probe is slated to return to Earth in 2014 and is expected to provide data that can determine the age of our universe to a number ten thousand times more accurate than our current estimate using the Stephey Factor measured in units of KIP.

    As you probably know, this accuracy is a result of matter collection where the delta V divided by the escape velocity of the Molecule of the Covenant inside the Milky Way’s constant velocity joint immediately before achieving the speed of light (measured in a vacuum using Hoover’s Equation) is at its greatest prior to becoming a gamma particle having properties inappropriate to the experiment.

    Rigorous peer review has been unable to disprove any of the above even though trace quantities of tiberium can profoundly skew the resulting hypothesis to a truth index below accepted norms.

    One conclusion that can be easily drawn is that it is easy to live and thrive without God, yet if science were to be taken away all hell would break loose.

    No matter what format in which you are reading this, it would not be possible without science.

  21. Calli Arcale

    I was going to say it’s turtles all the way down…BUT!

    Well, it’ s not turtles all the way down. The turtle doesn’t stand on anything. *Everyone* knows the turtle *swims* — unless, of course, you’re one of those crazy Omnian Fundamentalists who think the world is spherical.

    ;-)

  22. If you make an oragami diamond (diamonoid?) and blow into one end while sealing the other you get the shape of the earth (except you have to make the turtle from another piece of paper).

  23. NDDave

    Don’t worry Phil, AndromedasWake on YouTube has already debunked this nut, point by point.

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=B8772329EDAE7DC3

  24. @ Ricky:

    Right you are. This isn’t about science, it’s about money – making tons and tons of money selling crap to lazy ignoramuses who want all the answers without having to do any intellectual work of their own. Witness the success of Scientology™ or just about any church in the U.S.

    Let the idiots waste all the money they want. The only protest you’ll see from me is when the same knuckleheads try to introduce this nonsense into school curricula.

  25. I think we can safely substitute the use of “evolution” for something closer to what the narrative is really getting at. Try this revision on for size:

    “The evil model says that Jupiter cannot be spinning as fast as it does, and yet it is. How does evil explain this? Evil simply can’t. Today, a growing number of top-notch scienticians agree that the evil model is hopelessly flawed.”

    Perhaps this is a sign (no, not THAT kind of sign) — perhaps it is a sign that we ought to abandon the word “evolution” in favour of something we can take real ownership of again. Language and power, people, language and power.

    Any suggestions?

    Yours,
    Cheeseburger Brown

  26. How about, “Intelligent Genetic Transition”?

  27. I saw a link to this in a comment here (I think the post about Texas), and went for a quick look. However, given that Hulu has already turned by brain into a thick goo, I couldn’t that the chance of cerebral matter oozing out my ears, so I skipped watching it.

    Vernon Balbert:

    I feel like I’m trying to count the licks it takes to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop.

    Fortunately, I have a 9-year-old daughter with enough patience to figure out how many licks it takes to remove the entire pop, leaving just the Tootsie Roll center… 2,051.

  28. OmegaBaby

    Sorry to disappoint Phil, but the site is probably down because it was linked to by Richard Dawkin’s website yesterday….
    http://richarddawkins.net/article,3873,n,n

    They even get in a dig on Phil…
    “Hah, I knew it had to happen. Phil Plait is now obsolete — he hasn’t been keeping up with Creation Astronomy! “

  29. @ Ken B.

    Ah, but did your daughter account for the saliva variable? Dry mouth vs. wet? Total immersion vs. external extrusion?

    If I were her, I’d demand funding for more experimentation.

  30. addicited to Bad

    “Maybe we should make a slick ‘educational’ video of how God created parasites or radioactivity or swine flu.”

    I was told in school that “God” created bad things like that to test us and get rid of evil people who don’t believe in him and won’t be saved.

    OOOOOOOOO! Big, bad boogy man sees you!!!!!!

    (Don’t mind that last. I’m on sudafed for a sinus infection…must be swine flu)

  31. Borea

    Error 509: Bandwidth Limit Exceeded

    As us nerd say: “lol, pwnd.”

  32. Antonio

    Oh my. I really want to see this now… lol.

  33. More importantly…

    all the traffic they’ve received, mostly from atheists and people grounded in reality I expect, has now either shut down their site or will cost them money… Bandwidth exceeded means they have to pay for more or be cut off.

    Woot!

    PS: thanks for allowing comment editing!

  34. OmegaBaby

    Ignore what Spike Psoriasis has to say. Our universe descended with modification from an ancestral universe.

  35. WeirdFish

    “Just remember…not all religious people believe this.”

    Unfortunately, too many do, and they’re the ones in front of the cameras and behind the microphones. And publish books.

  36. Is it Jason Paul Lisle? ADS brings up a dozen publications, mostly about solar supergranulation – which was also the topic of his PhD thesis in 2004. Since then he seems to basically have stopped publishing astronomical papers.

  37. Matt T

    It would be interesting to debunk the garbage presented point by point– in the sense that it would be interesting to slowly push a red-hot knitting needle into my ear — but there’s no need.

    As it happens, the debunking has already (mostly) been done by “Andromeda’s Wake” on YouTube. (You can search, you will find, I will avoid enforced moderation.)

    And don’t think that there’s no need to debunk. I think there’s always a benefit, no matter how asinine the claims — I learned some interesting astronomy from Andromeda’s Wake’s videos (for which the creationist drivelings provided a useful jumping-off point). IOW, even though you won’t sway the lunatics, the thoughtful non-specialists in the world would appreciate the expertise you’d bring and the information you’d provide. (That’s why we’re here at your blog, after all…)

  38. The only problem creationists find wrong with evolution is that it doesn’t involve God making it happen.

    There are plenty of christians, however, who support the idea that God merely started the universe, and everything came after that. It’s nice to converge the two, but some philosophical conundrums arise when you really think about it.

    Personally, as a christian, I just choose to ignore the issue and believe in God in the present, because the past is mostly irrelevant, in some ways. I let scientists be inspired by evolution to keep searching and experimenting and creating new technology; that’s what all the cynicalism towards god in science is good for. I got over the religon v science debate a looong time ago.

  39. Fred Magyar

    “Just remember…not all religious people believe this.”

    Perhaps not “THIS” but with a little practice…

    “I can’t believe that!” said Alice.

    “Can’t you?” the queen said in a pitying tone. “Try again, draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.”

    Alice laughed. “There’s no use trying,” she said. “One can’t believe impossible things.”

    “I dare say you haven’t had much practice,” said the queen. “When I was your age, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”

  40. zer0

    Give me a P! Give me an O! Give me an E!

  41. Flying sardines

    The BA :

    … he must know that evolution has nothing to do with astronomy

    Oh I dunno, stellar evolution and galactic evolution , not to mention the evolution of the cosmos since the Big Bang seem pretty significant to me! ;-)

    Hey why should biological evolution hog all the fun? ;-)

    ***
    Creationist astronomy?

    What does that say? Lemme guess :

    “Heck aren’t them stars up there still attached to some sorta crystalline sphere thingummy? Don’t that big ole Sun go round this here lil’ Earth no more? ;-)

    Phases of Venus? What phases of Venus ? Spots on our “flawless” sun and craters on the flawless Moon. Guud lawd naw! Them telescopes be just the Debbills work y’know!

    Moons of Jupiter? Dere ain’t no moons of Jupiy-tar that’s just one of dem Sc–un-tiffic theory thingys. Photos by space probes y’say wha .. now?

    Sorry if its not in the Buy-bull it can’t be so. Gawd forbid we learn anything post Jebus time!

    No no, don’t tell me , don’t show me la-la-lahhhhhhhhh ….. ”

    (Hey Zero hows that? ;-) )

    ***

    Funny thing is I thought we’d all moved on post Galileo – & I mean the Renaissance astronomer not the Jupiter space probe. Can these guys be for real? :roll:

  42. > Perhaps this is a sign (no, not THAT kind of sign) — perhaps it is a
    > sign that we ought to abandon the word “evolution” in favour of
    > something we can take real ownership of again.

    No. Linguistic retreat and retrenching is a loss. Sometimes its worth it for the greater picture of the overall war, but I see more benefit fighting to keep the word mean what it means, and not what woobars want it to mean.

  43. GregB

    As Sam Harris says: “We must remember that the Bible was written by people for whom the emerging technology was the wheelbarrow”.

    Here we are thousands of years later, and some people still believe these old superstitions. I am stunned at how people can’t understand or won’t let themselves understand that every single time we’ve learned anything about how the universe works the answer has always been : “Not God”.

  44. @Liz D
    There are plenty of christians, however, who support the idea that God merely started the universe, and everything came after that.
    I think they can’t really be christians then. They’re probably better described as deists. Christians, by definition, believe in Christ which denotes an interventionist god and not a clock-winder-upper.

  45. Sarah

    Mmmppprt! “The nonsense pouring forth from those videos would carve the Grand Canyon in just days*. ” genuinely made me spit my coffee! Hilarious.

    I saw this on PZ’s blog, but was unable to watch more than 5 minutes at a time. The mind-numbing rejection in repetition of “evolutionist” as applied to (apparently) ALL OF SCIENCE was stunning. I wonder if this is a Landover Baptist satire… can anyone really be this clueless?

    “And no one is sure, but Jupiter’s great red spot may have existed since Jupiter was created!”

  46. CathyRJ

    Matt T @ 33 mentions the Andromeda’s Wake videos – and they are great at debunking the CrAP as they call it (Creationist Astronomy Propaganda). The opening ‘warning’ on the video sets the tone nicely.
    The depressing thing about the CrAP peddlers though, is that they keep repeating the same nonsense, despite having had it demonstrably debunked.

  47. Larry

    but is instead some integrally-multiple number of begats old.

    This is why I keep coming back!

    I love ya’, man!

  48. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Ultimately creationism is the spawn of fractal error. Sometimes they make it explicit, is all.

    But in this case I guess we will keep wondering if it is a Poe.

    not all religious people believe this

    Somehow that doesn’t strike me as an argument for religion in this context. The ability to believe in just about anything at will, except the facts of course, is the very problem.

    Our universe descended with modification from an ancestral universe.

    As someone (Smolin) has actually suggested such a theory (and AFAIU got it debunked due to lack of plausible mechanism), it isn’t quite as funny as it could have been. Nice try though.

  49. ccpetersen

    One wonders how this dingwad passed his orals and got his PhD? I’m ashamed of my alma mater for passing this dimwit into the general population. Our tax dollars paid for his “edumacation.”

  50. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Well, it’ s not turtles all the way down. The turtle doesn’t stand on anything. *Everyone* knows the turtle *swims* — unless, of course, you’re one of those crazy Omnian Fundamentalists who think the world is spherical.

    There are also Dividians that believe that the turtles invert halfway down an infinite ladder of them. No need for spherical symmetry or something other than turtles, just defining infinite divisions. “How many turtles can share the tip of a pin?” :-)

  51. PhilB

    I swear PZ has found something worse than waterboarding. After 5 min of the Jupiter video I was ready to confess to just about anything.

    /Stupidboarding?

  52. Elmar_M

    Wow, if this guys credentials are true… all I can say is: Wow!
    I mean, it has to be realy, really damn easy to get a degree from that university, if someone like that can get a degree, PHD actually and then summa cum laude. I am amazed!
    He either is a lier, or his dady payed a lot of money…
    If I was decan of that university, I would take back the degree.

  53. Jess Tauber

    Stupid Humans- Hardly ANY imagination whatsoever- your gods eat, breathe, have sex, exhibit human emotions. Maybe an animal head here or there- Star Trek heads have more creativity behind them! Evolution of religions shows grounding in the natural world everywhere, with only grudging movement away here and there, taking thousands of years. We Space Aliens have had billions of years for our religion to develop, and once we let go of all the naturalistic stuff, we realized that there wasn’t anything left.

    Our God of Nothing created Everything! Now THAT’S omnipotence!

  54. Jason

    Clearly Jupiter was intelligently designed because it fits perfectly into my hand and is delicious. /obscure?

  55. Clare

    I just have to ask -why- you’d waste a perfectly good knitting needle in tormenting yourself…I use those to make lovely things to cover evolved hands and feet!

  56. Smail

    Wow, that’s the worst slideshow of 25 year old NASA images ever! Also, remember that the PhD is Jason Lisle, the fellow in the video from comment #17. The guy in the OP is Spike Psarris, who “was previously an engineer in the United States’ military space program”. According to them internets he has a BS in Electrical Engineering and has done “graduate work in physics.” So, you know, he’s totally an expert.

  57. Professor Cosmoquack

    Ziltoid! Ziltoid!! chun chun chun chunchunchun. :)

    To the proper mind, a video like this is silly, yet still has a bit of function. If you watch the clips, or the whole dvd for that matter, the man in it might say something you dont agree with but would need more information/knowledge on to show why you dont agree. So you then go do some research, learn something, and apply it to an argument or just store it in that wonderful vault that is your brain. I dont want children watching this, unless they are also taught to question everything. I heard a brilliant skeptic say that no skeptic is a true skeptic if he/she is not skeptical of the rest of the skeptics. I also heard Philly say something like this too… erp… read him say something like this. Good man, Good man.

    NOW!!! Goto Yahoo and look at some of the questions that people have answered… ie: “You only see one face of the moon based on where you live, if you never move you always see that face where else where they will see another face.” answer to a question concerning why the moon always has the same face toward us (the person asking did not agree this is possible because he/she didnt understand what was going on with the moon/earth system and its gravitational “partnering”)

    THESE PEOPLE NEED OUR HELP! Take some of the energy you use preaching to the choir, and teach someone something!

    (By no means do I mean for you to stop posting here though, I love reading your comments and I think Captain Plait might slap me a little)

    -Professor Cosmoquack

  58. Liz D said:

    I let scientists be inspired by evolution to keep searching and experimenting and creating new technology; that’s what all the cynicalism towards god in science is good for.

    So, a scientist’s inspiration to search for, and find, answers based on the evidence around her is empowered by “cynicalism” toward god?

    You’re going to have to explain that one, Liz.

  59. Peter Henderson

    Last I recall, evolution was the change in allele frequency over time… Jupiter has chromosomes? Are creationists that confused?

    Don’t forget about stellar evolution. i.e.stars are born from collapsing dust clouds, nuclear fusion begins and they enter the main sequence stage. Evenuallly they collapse and end up as white dwarfs, neutron stars, or black holes depending on their initial mass. This is in effect stellar evolution, something which YECs deny.

  60. Professor Cosmoquack

    @Peter H.

    To me it seems stellar evolution would be more along the lines of saying newer generations of stars have evolved into more complex bodies due to the prior generations of stars creating exotic elements that were not present when the parent stars formed, only in their death can they pass these new traits/elements onto future stars.

    Thats sort of like sharing genes with future generations, though its not really surivival of the fittest to promote longevity/survival of a species… so perhaps its still not a proper term?

    As for this video/dvd, he uses the term to attack evolutionists which as Phil said, has nothing to do with astronomy. Its called Origin of Species for a reason. :)

    -Professor Cosmoquack

  61. Daniel J. Andrews

    Matt T: Thanks for the Andromeda link.

    Folks, you rightly deride religious people for commenting on things of science they do not understand and twisting facts to suit their biases yet many feel they can do the exact same thing when they talk about religion. Just as it is painfully obvious to us biologists that young earth creationists (YEC) are ignorant of biology and evolution, it is equally as obvious to people with a bit of philosophy/religious philosophy background that many commenters are equally ignorant of what they’re talking about when it comes to religion.

    This blog is pretty good and I only saw one comment here (maybe more by time of posting) that was really rather silly, but PZ’s blog seems to attract the really ignorant who aren’t even aware that they’re ignorant. They mistake ignorant opinion for skeptical thinking. Maybe because PZ has done his share of foot-in-mouth when he ventures from his area of expertise (as has Dawkins).

    Phil, by contrast, is much better at distinguishing between his knowledgeable opinions and his uninformed opinions, and that trait seems to be reflected in many of the people who comment here (makes reading the comments here more enjoyable and I don’t need to be pulling out my remaining hairs at “the stupid, it burns” which is what happens on the now rare occasions I read comments people post in PZ’s blog).

    It is painful to watch fellow atheists and agnostics make errors that are as laughable and ridiculous as any the YEC make. We’re supposed to be ones with the skeptical logical thinking brains, so we tell ourselves, but every time we open our mouths about religion it seems we are just voicing our own prejudices and speaking from ignorance rather than speaking from knowledge.

    Just as we have lists of YEC mistakes about science so do creationists and other religious people have lists of atheist mistakes and errors about (a) religion. These errors are (easily) refuted to show how “intellectually dishonest and blind” us atheists are. We help discredit ourselves as surely as creationists discredit themselves.

    We are as guilty of bearing false witness (to paraphrase Phil who was paraphrasing an older source :) ) as these young earth/universe creationist people are. Suppose that is called fighting fire with fire, but it is counterproductive and only serves to make us look like ignorant fools who’d rather maintain our own uninformed opinion than do a bit of research and study to learn what we are talking about which may possibly force us to change *gasp* a long held cherished opinion (gee, that will sound familiar to anyone who’s been over on talkorigins debating with creationists).

    Summing up, we are all human and the factors that drive YEC to come across as abysmally ignorant and jaw-droppingly blind at times are the same factors at play in us that allow us to be just as abysmal albeit in a different realm of knowledge. That ignorance is easier for us to remedy though as we have far less invested in our beliefs about religion in general than someone who has modeled their life and actions upon a religion in particular.

    As for this video, if it isn’t a spoof then I suspect this guy may be doing it just for money/infamy???? Is it possible to have his background and still really believe this? It would be like a PhD in biology/evolution still believing in a 6-day creation.

    [Incidentally, my ‘opinion’ :) on what makes me a bit more qualified than the average person to comment about religion and science is my educational background: In addition to my MSc and undergrad science degrees, I also have a 4-year Bachelor of Theology with heavy emphasis on comparative religions, histories of religious philosophies, and detailed study of Judiasm (and precursors) and the religions that sprang/evolved from Judiasm (oops, used the “evolved” word). And I’m still not done in terms of continuing education].

  62. actuator

    The problem is that every individual is trapped inside his/her/its (aliens may lack gender?) own head. (Oops alien brains may not be in their heads.) At any rate data is constantly received and stored in our minds. Intelligient, educated adult receivers will make an effort to validate questionable data. Myths are, for the most part, data that some individuals choose to believe without a sound basis for doing so. I think this demonstrates a lack of intellect, and as Ron White says, “You can’t fix stupid.” Clinging to a myth for which there is not one iota of physical evidence to support does seem to be on the dumb side.

  63. Aleksandar

    My brain hurts just by trying to understand why that guy keeps relabeling astronomy and planetology as “evolution”.

  64. @ Daniel J. Andrews:

    A thoughtful comment. I would add one thought: religion, in all its forms, remains for the most part a taboo subject of debate, unlike science. Nobody minds challenging one’s scientific theories with other scientific theories. You may argue about the evidence, and even feel disappointed if someone else’s theory ends up better supported than your own, but there is no social pressure to avoid the debate. The same cannot be said for religion, which for whatever reason has its own set of rules, apparently, set up so that the devoutly religious do not get “offended” when tenets of their beliefs are questioned. Until religion can be discussed with the same lack of artificial barriers as most any other subject, there will continue to be a clash at the most fundamental level of debate…quite apart from the innumerable nitpicky microdebates about this bit of theology vs. that bit of theology.

    @ actuator:

    Myths are, for the most part, data that some individuals choose to believe without a sound basis for doing so.

    I don’t think that’s quite right. Myths are frequently deliberate constructions to explain a phenomena or circumstances that would otherwise be inexplicable. Remember, the myths at the core of today’s major religions were all constructed long before “science” as a process was available. Gods, spirits, supernatural forces – these were just as likely first causes as any other possibility.

    Of course, if you are referring to those who take these myths literally today, well, that of course is a whole different thing. “Dumb” as a label doesn’t go far enough, in that case.

  65. @ Aleksander:

    My brain hurts just by trying to understand why that guy keeps relabeling astronomy and planetology as “evolution”.

    It’s easy. NASA images can be used royalty-free. The clown would have had to pay for images of crocoducks and bananas and what-not.

    It’s all about money.

  66. Siguy

    Phil, I think you killed their website’s bandwidth.

    But hopefully that will mean the creationists find your blog and perhaps learn something (if that’s even possible for them.)

  67. Zar

    Daniel J. Andrews:

    Why do you assume atheists are ignorant? Because they disagree with you? Believe it or not, many (if not most) atheists do come from a religious background, just like believers do. Some used to be ministers!

  68. Matt T:

    I like Andromeda’s Wake’s “Creation Astronomy Propaganda Debunked” name — “CrAP Debunked”.

  69. The Other Ian

    Just as we have lists of YEC mistakes about science so do creationists and other religious people have lists of atheist mistakes and errors about (a) religion. These errors are (easily) refuted to show how “intellectually dishonest and blind” us atheists are. We help discredit ourselves as surely as creationists discredit themselves.

    Please, enlighten us by presenting us with one of these lists, that we might stop making the ignorant claims you detest. I tried googling for it, but all I turned up were lists of misconceptions about atheism; articles dedicated to refuting some particular “misconception” about some particular religion based heavily on the author’s personal interpretation of scripture; and a forum with a bunch of users whining about the perceived misconception that all Christians are hypocritical and judgmental, a misconception that I’m sorry to report I don’t harbor. I assume you’re referring to something more educational than that.

  70. As a former Evangelical Christian now agnostic, I need to clarify one point. The bible, while full of silliness, does not make the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. That was something proposed by a Bishop Ussher, an Anglican Bishop in the 17th Century. (Incidentally Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton also believed in a young Earth, Kepler and Newton both thought the Earth was created about 4,000 BC.)

    What Ussher did, was add up all of the dates oof the ages of people in the genealogies in the bible, and came up with the number that the Earth was created in 4,004 BC. BUT, nowhere does the Bible state that the Earth was created then. In fact, when the Bible states so and so begat so and so, it could be skipping a number of generations. This date is merely the way that some people have read something that actually is not there.

    BA said:
    Jupiter has chromosomes?

    Ah, this confirms my suspicion that Jupiter, is, in fact, a giant floating Gonad in space :)

    @Zar:
    I am one of those people that used to be a minister! When I stepped away from the church, I actually read the Bible as a piece of literature, and I was not impressed with what I read! I think that Jesus taught some good things, and some of his teachings are probably a good way to live our lives… Loving our neighbours, helping the poor and less fortunate, not judging others because of who they are, and so on…. Overall, though, I was less than impressed with this God that is supposedly an all powerful all knowing deity who apparently loves us, but will fry us if we disobey him.

  71. @t3knomanser,

    Everything they say and do is generally about clouding matters

    That’s exactly what I was thinking. First they set up Evolution as “covering” everything from the Big Bang on. Then, they point out that Evolution doesn’t explain this or that about some aspect from the Big Bang until life began. This is true, but only because they are talking about Evolution and not the correct scientific theories that they should reference. With Evolution, now “proven” to have big, gaping holes in it, they conclude that it is fundamentally flawed and can’t possibly be right for the time from just after when life started to now. Thus, Evolution (or their claim of what Evolution is) is knocked down as a theory and their alternative (“God Did It”*) is presented as the only valid alternative.

    * Oops. I’m sorry, I meant “The Intelligent Designer Who May Or May Not Be God Depending On Whether We’re In A US Courtroom Or Not.”

  72. HvP

    Daniel J. Andrews,

    I haven’t studied philosophy, but I am more than passingly familiar with the argumentation (I’m reading David Hume right now). And there is one thing I do know about philosophy. It takes an incredible mass of time to make the smallest point with very little in supporting evidence.

    For example, you gave us nine paragraphs explaining how you think us skeptics often put our foot in our mouth taking about topics we aren’t versed in. Yet you didn’t give a single example of the types of errors you believe we make or offer any other evidence to support your opinion.

    You wrote an “op ed”, which is fine but exemplifies what I believe is the basic problem with philosophy. It seems to encourage the belief that opinion can be debated and supported using legalistic terminology to come to the “correct” interpretation.

    Most of us have some experience with religious arguments and have tried to adapt our lives to respond to them. Some of us reconciled those religious arguments with our more scientific interests and many of us could not. Philosophically or morally I have no problem with either position as long as it was based on one’s studied opinion of the full range of available facts.

    However, if one side uses tactics to outright lie about the evidence and conceal facts that could clarify the issue then it is going to alienate those of us who prefer a more straightforward and honest debate. Guess which side of the debate has been found to be more consistently dishonest?

  73. Siguy:

    Phil, I think you killed the website’s bandwidth.

    Shhh… Someone will sue him and PZ for starting a DDoS attack.

    And, if Poe’s Law really does come into play here, then I think this guy is a genius — making money off the very same people he’s spoofing. I don’t think Landover Baptist makes money from them.

  74. actuator

    Kuhnigget,
    Of course it is understandable that in past times when hearsay was the historical medium and observation was not easily recorded, mythical history and religion arose. It would seem apparent that religion arose to explain natural phenomena beyond human understanding at the time. It also seems apparent that religious and other leaders determined that they could use religion to influence human behavior. Not necessarily always in a good way. Just look at what is called fundamentalism in any religion today. Science has changed things considerably. The greater question for humanity is how can we provide scientific education to enough people so that sound, logical life decisions can be made by most people?

  75. Actually, Ussher’s calculation was based on the idea that God likes round numbers, and that the world was created exactly 4000 years before Christ. (The error in the ancient calculation used to set the calendar was well known by his time.)

    By the way, let’s not forget that “evolution” has always had other meanings than the Lamarck-Darwin hypothesis. It was an existing word applied to the new biological idea. That’s no excuse for Creationists confusing those multiple meanings, but it’s no excuse for anti-Creationists to pretend that they don’t exist, either.

  76. The Other Ian

    And, if Poe’s Law really does come into play here, then I think this guy is a genius — making money off the very same people he’s spoofing. I don’t think Landover Baptist makes money from them.

    If so, it’s no less contemptible than anybody else who intentionally deceives others and profits by it.

  77. @ actuator:

    The greater question for humanity is how can we provide scientific education to enough people so that sound, logical life decisions can be made by most people?

    Yes. Presumably you’d have to start by convincing them (when very young) that “thinking things through” is an incredibly satisfying accomplishment, just as satisfying as building a wall out of blocks, or coloring the wall with crayons, or any other positive human activity.

    Parents have to understand that a child’s brain needs exercise as much as her body.

    Unfortunately, there is a huge anti-intellectualism in this country that continues to discount brain over brawn. Witness the budgets for physical games compared to things such as debate or science fairs.

  78. Those “creation astronomers” aren’t going nearly far enough.

    I have irrefutable Biblical proof that the Earth is square:
    http://www.rogermwilcox.name/square_earth.html

  79. Hahahaha, too funny, the Creationist Astronomy website is down! I hope to God (hehe) that it crashed and they don’t have a backup. Muhaha.

  80. Gary Ansorge

    kuhnigget:Your observation:

    ” Myths are frequently deliberate constructions to explain a phenomena or circumstances that would otherwise be inexplicable”

    may be in error. I have some experience with an emerging mythos, as mentioned by Joseph Campbell in a conversation with Mickey Hart. After observing the Dead audience, Joseph remarked ” You know you (the Dead) are creating a new mythology? I hope you know what you’re doing.”
    To which Mickey replied “So do we Man,,,so do we,,,”.

    Myths grow from observations of weirdness,ie, like the observation that the Dead were never rained out of a performance or that sometimes, one could clearly hear what appeared to be a seventh musician playing with the Band, as in:

    In 1986, Me, commenting to another DeadHead: “How come I keep hearing an extra guitar(seven instruments) playing?”
    He: “Oh, that’s just the Deads invisible seventh player,,,”

    I personally(anecdotal evidence disclaimer) observed, on a half dozen different occasions and venues, rain clouds pass on opposite sides of the venue, dropping H2O(as in cats, dogs and pianos) all over the parking lot, while leaving the open air venue completely dry, until the band finished their encore.

    THIS is the stuff of myth. Note that there was/is no effort on the part of the band members to take credit for these phenomena. It was, as Jerry GArcia once remarked to a question about these weird events, that “sometimes,,,,stuff,,,happens” and “We’re just musicians. The only thing we’re responsible for is the music.”

    As a mythos, that which evolved around the Dead was fun, insightful and generally harmless(and there were those occasions when it felt really, REALLY, good). It also drew upon the combined experiences of every attending audience member,ie, some of it had elements of the Golden Rule, some derived from a hedonistic appreciation of life. All of it was based upon hope for a more humane approach to our human interaction with each other, our environment and life in general. I expect, just so long as no one tries to dogmatize this myth, it will remain fun, life affirming and totally underground. The moment it becomes a secular religion it will lose all claim to any legitimacy( in the sense that it was always a spontaneous occurrence, dependent upon the moment).

    The key point here is that there was no effort on anyones part to create a deliberate construct, a dogmatic interpretation of “what it all means,,,”.

    I sincerely hope it remains that way,,,( he says , while diligently researching the effects of music on the human nervous system,,,”

    GAry 7

  81. Davidlpf

    Before I dig a hole I cannot get out of I have two things to say:
    Shut up Dave.
    Ok Dave.

  82. @ Gary:

    Did you ever think it might have been all that acid? :)

  83. Gary Ansorge

    Other IAN:
    “no less contemptible”

    I note that Scientology is now advertising(seen last night) on the BooB tube,,,

    I guess they’re getting ready to go mainstream,,,

    GAry 7

  84. Gary Ansorge

    kuhnnigget;

    Well DUH!!!
    So, Dude, you were there too???

    GAry 7
    PS: It appears that most(if not all) Mystical/hallucinogenic experiences derive from some kind of psychic stimulation, either from plants, frogs, fungi or deprivation(as in, wandering in the desert for 40 days). It can also occur from performing a repetitive action for days on end. In India, tabla drummers undergo a 30 day sequestration where they play their drums continuously and hallucinate. Some experience more “profound” altered states. I expect we’ve been doing this for tens of millennia. About as long as we’ve had religions,,,

  85. Woof

    Daniel J. Andrews: I have no formal training in the area of invisible thread, yet I’m still quite qualified to point & laugh at the Emperor. Imagine that!

  86. Azam

    This is what happens when I click on Creation Astronomy:
    Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
    The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
    Apache/2.2.11 (Unix) mod_ssl/2.2.11 OpenSSL/0.9.8i DAV/2 mod_auth_passthrough/2.1 mod_bwlimited/1.4 FrontPage/5.0.2.2635 Server at http://www.creationastronomy.com Port 80

    I think you publicized the site enough for all of us to be qualified as co-conspirators in a DOS attack againsts creationists..HAHAHA

  87. Darth Robo

    He’s an engineer.

    Why is it always engineers…

  88. José

    @Daniel J. Andrews
    Just as we have lists of YEC mistakes about science so do creationists and other religious people have lists of atheist mistakes and errors about (a) religion. These errors are (easily) refuted to show how “intellectually dishonest and blind” us atheists are.

    Like others, I’d like some examples, not just assertions made without evidence.

  89. IVAN3MAN

    @ Darth Robo,

    I think that the reason why it is always engineers (and not just creationism, but also “Electric Universe/Plasma Cosmology”) is because of them working in an insufficiently ventilated environment — e.g., carbon monoxide fumes in the case of mechanical engineers, and ozone fumes in the case of electrical engineers — resulting in their brains being starved of essential oxygen and affecting their cognition.

  90. Flying sardines

    18. IVAN3MAN Says: (May 22nd, 2009 at 7:01 am)

    (Awesome photo & line : Creationism – Because desert goat herders living in tents 3000 years ago knew more about the cosmos & biology than modern day scientists.”

    Love it! :-D

    How do you do that?

    87. Woof : (May 22nd, 2009 at 3:07 pm)

    Daniel J. Andrews: I have no formal training in the area of invisible thread, yet I’m still quite qualified to point & laugh at the Emperor. Imagine that!

    Love that zinger too. Spot on. :-)

    Theology must be about the only subject where the topic of study is (arguably? almost certainly?) non-existant. Writing many words or papers or sermons crammed full of nonsense still leaves you with nonsense. Theology is about as valid as field of study as unicorn-ology or invisible pink dragon-ology. It tells us a little about culture , a little about human pyschology and very, very, little about what is actual reality.

    Sorry, but that’s fact.*

    —–

    * As opposed to Phact which is the proper name for the star Alpha Columbae, a blue-white star 268 light years away. See : http://www.astro.illinois.edu/~jkaler/sow/phact.html
    & ‘Collins Guide to Stars & Planets’, Ridpath & Tirion, Page 122, Collins, 2007.

  91. Davidlpf

    @Darth Robo
    Ego.

  92. Noah

    It’s always engineers because building bridges and planets are the same thing. After all, they both have atoms in them so it’s pretty easy to see how building something thousands of times smaller is the same thing. Therefore, engineers built the planets. Have you guys not read or seen The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy?

  93. IVAN3MAN

    #92. Flying Sardines:

    How do you do that?

    Do you mean how do I post the images or how do I create/find them?

  94. Wayne

    I’m not disagreeing, but I wonder why Phil is using such a narrow definition of evolution. Here’s the one from the Cambridge Dictionary:

    evolution (noun) – the way in which living things change and develop over millions of years, or a gradual process of change and development

  95. Splott

    Can’t you work it out, Wayne?

    Here:

    Naive YEC watching video: “Jupiter is a problem for evolution, therefore Darwin was wrong and humans were designed (by God).”

  96. McGig

    Phil has the Hivemind behind him (Or is it Phil behind the Hivemind?) and it’s seemingly invincible bandwidth.

    http://www.creationastronomy.com/ has already exceeded theirs.

    Oh, such a shame. Can’t spread the word.

    All praise the Hivemind!

  97. Andy

    I haven’t seen the video, so I can’t comment on how well produced or argued it is (or isn’t). But it’s rather obvious that Phil has his own biases. For e.g., in recent years a theory has come into play among cosmologists – who are not studying biological life – called “cosmological Darwinism,” the idea that the universe as a whole has evolved – not just the lifeforms within it.

    Plus, evolutionists regularly use the watered-down definition of “change over time” when tossing around the term “evolution.” Obviously the universe has “changed over time,” so by that definition it has certainly “evolved,” no?

    The point is that a term like “evolution” is not always used by evolutionists to refer _only_ to biology. The fact that Phil would seize on that as part of his basis for mocking this video just demonstrates Phil’s own prejudice.

    The raw fact of the matter is that there is no observable fact of nature that “proves” the universe is billions of years old, nor “proves” that all lifeforms evolved from an original common ancestor.

    Andy

  98. @ Andy:

    Sorry, amigette, but you’re wrong on several counts.

    Dr. BA’s only “bias” is toward real science, not b.s.

    Linking the evolution of planets and other cosmological bodies to the evolution of biological life is faulty logic. That is what the idiot in the video does when he basically implies “because planets didn’t evolve, life ‘obviously’ didn’t evolve.”

    “Cosmological Darwinism” is a derogatory term used by creationists who don’t understand the Anthropic Principle. The evolution of the universe has nothing to do with Darwin’s theory of survival of the fittest. Stars don’t “compete” with other stars in order to reproduce. This is just silly creationist b.s.

    It’s pretty damn easy to prove the universe is billions of years old. The red shift of light is pretty well understood, even though stupid creationists would like to imply otherwise. The fact that we can see light that is so far redshifted it’s in the microwave region is pretty conclusive that the universe is not a few thousand years old.

    And lets not even get into the idiocy or your statement that there is no “observable fact of nature” that proves lifeforms evolved from an original common ancestor. (Although for the record, Andy, evolution doesn’t assume a common ancestor, rather a common ancestral species.)

    Please to learn something about the subject you are pontificating on before you open your blowhole.

  99. Grump

    Why strive for knowledge when ignorance is just so darned easy?

  100. Yeah Grump, but it is funny because it is so easy to unignorancify yourself. Read a god damned book. Frack it, read a wiki or two. It ain’t that hard. The wilful ignorance of these people is… sinful.

  101. Keith

    @NDDave, thank you very much for telling us about AndromedasWake’s YouTube page. The videos are excellent, and do indeed debunk these pinheads point by point.

  102. J

    Argh – YECism, ‘God of the Gaps’, AND misuse of language?

    BTW, Dr. Plait, speaking of misuse of words, you used ‘Creationist’ when you meant ‘Young Earth Creationist’. Please respect the Old Earth Creationists in your readership.

  103. J, I think it’s understood when I say creationists I mean YECs.

  104. Young Earth Creationists – okay, I get their silliness. Proposing an argument that not only has no evidence to support it but has gigabytes of evidence against it.

    Old Earth Creationists – um….what was their evidence again? While they might not be egregiously silly, are they any less scientific?

    Doesn’t respect have to be earned? Maybe I’m missing something.

  105. OEC? Goddidit but a long long long… long time ago.

  106. ND

    Our reality and universe is just a lab experiment and what people call God is actually a scientist tinkering with physics of nature. More plausible than most creation myths.

  107. IVAN3MAN

    @ ND,

    That reminds me of the science fiction short story, “Breeds There a Man…?” , by Isaac Asimov.
    Plot summary (Wikipedia):

    Elwood Ralson, a brilliant but psychologically disturbed physicist, becomes convinced that humanity is a kind of genetics experiment being run by an alien intelligence. His behaviour becomes more erratic and suicidal as his thoughts become more entrenched in this idea, and his health fails.

    He claims that the aliens want him to die before he can help produce a defence against atomic weapons, since a defence against atomic weapons would protect humanity against an extinction at the hands of the aliens, and humanity, analogous to bacteria when faced with the advanced technology and power of the aliens, would have developed an immunity against the penicillin that the aliens use to control the experiment.

    Under the care of a psychiatrist, Dr Blaustein, Ralson is able to provide guidance to the scientists carrying out the research. Once the experiment is complete and the defence (a force-field generator) is built and tested, he commits suicide.

    Cool story!

  108. ND

    IVAN3MAN,

    so many things to read so little time :(

  109. kingnor

    ack! my brain, it burns.

  110. Darth Robo

    YEC – Young Earth Creationist – who rejects biological evolution, and often most or all of science in favour of “Goddidit!”

    OEC – Old Earth Creationist – who rejects biological evolution, and sometimes many other fields of science in favour of “Goddidit!”

    Religious person who accepts science (including biological evolution) – Accepts the findings of modern science, but holds the philosophical/theological position that “Goddidit!” Sometimes known as “Theistic evolutionists”.

    It should also be said that most of the latter don’t think of their theological position as scientific. For this reason, I tend not to refer to them as creationists.

  111. Vince Kenny

    What I sent to the webmaster;

    Oh my God. You’ve got to be freaking kidding me. You can’t really believe this stuff. Surely this is a scam? Please, say its a scam. Tell me you aren’t just ignorant. If you can’t, I hate you.

    Sincerely,
    Irate Ape.

  112. Phil, in “The Changing Face of Mars” video you say “even today though, Mars is evolving”.

  113. @ Vince Kenny:

    And the webmaster’s response will be:

    “SEE! Those evil evilutionists are so filled with fear and hate (and evilness), they are trying to suppress The Truth™! Donate to the cause now, so we can defeat their evil plan! Did I mention they are evil? They are evil!”

  114. Craig McQueen, yes, but you can tell obviously I am being metaphorical. The guy in these videos is using it with specific intent.

  115. khms

    116>

    Too many of you seem to forget that (as already said in 77) evolution wasn’t a new word when Darwin wrote his book.

    Compare, for example, the typical use by the military, where it means the changing position of your forces on the battlefield (“evolving the right flank” sort of stuff). Which, incidentally, is a much better explanation for the term “stellar evolution” than metaphorical use or creationist confusion attacks.

    And I’m pretty sure (never ascribe to malice what can easily be explained by stupidity) that a creationist who confuses biological evolution with the other definitions for evolution, is just ignorant of the fact that these don’t all mean the same thing – a confusion shared by many people on the other side of the fence, it seems.

    As for the supposed lists of atheistic mistakes, while I’ve never seen or heard of such a list, they wouldn’t exactly surprise me – I certainly don’t consider myself an expert on religion (being an atheist more interested in science and computers), but I’ve ceartainly winced more than once reading some of the stuff my fellow atheists occasionally spit forth. There’s stupidity enough on this side of the fence, too.

  116. Flying sardines

    95. IVAN3MAN : (May 22nd, 2009 at 10:28 pm)

    #92. Flying Sardines: “How do you do that?”

    Do you mean how do I post the images or how do I create/find them?

    Both actually please!

  117. Flying sardines

    Ironically, an ad at the top of the page /site here says :

    “Mars, the Stars and Planets – Did the universe come from … God?”

    Funny thing is; last time I checked Mars *was* a planet! Why single it out? Unless the IAU
    have just now knocked yet another planet on the head .. ;-)

    Pluto, OTOH , I could sorta understand! ;-)
    (Even though, like many others, I’d still count the dwarfs as being proper planets too.)

    PS. No, I haven’t bothered clicking the link to find out why from whoever the “Cosmic fingerprints” folks are.. I’m guessing some religious, maybe a (yuk) YEC mob .. :roll:

  118. José

    Too many of you seem to forget that (as already said in 77) evolution wasn’t a new word when Darwin wrote his book.

    I don’t think anybody is making this mistake. In the context of astronomy, many creationists use the term evolution to negatively associate mainstream cosmology with biological evolution. Since that’s what they’re doing, I don’t understand why people are trying to defend their silliness with semantics.

  119. SLC

    It is my understanding that Darwin never used the term evolution in, “Origin of Species,” at least in the first edition.

  120. SLC

    Re Michael L

    Incidentally Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton also believed in a young Earth, Kepler and Newton both thought the Earth was created about 4,000 BC.

    Would Mr. Michael care to provide a reference to this claim. It is my understanding that Newton thought that the solar system was very old because of his concern that the actions of each of the planets on the others would cause the system to become unstable over long periods of time. In fact, he opined that ever once in a while, god would have to intervene to preserve that stability. A hundred years later, Laplace proved that the system was stable by computing the interplanetary effects using perturbation theory.

  121. IVAN3MAN

    @ #118. Flying Sardines,

    The easiest way to find images is to Google the keyword subject of your choice plus the keyword “images”.

    Having found the image to post here, you need to incorporate the image source URL — which must have one of these suffixes: .jpg ; .gif ; .png — within this syntax code:

    <img src="exampleURL.com/image.jpg" width="###" alt="image_name_here"/>

    N.B. You must enclose the “exampleURL.com/image.jpg” and “image_name” within double-quotation marks.

    Also, because of the column on the right-hand side, there is a width limit of 600 pixels for images posted here (otherwise, it will overlap), so any image exceeding this needs to be re-sized by specifying the maximum width limit, e.g., width="600"; however, below that right-hand column, you can post images exceeding the 600 pixels limit — as I have done above.

    However, some websites don’t like anyone hot-linking their images (haven’t they heard of “fair use”?), so you may find that they cut the link (bastards!). Therefore, it is better to save the image(s) to your computer’s hard-drive; then upload the image to an image hosting website (you will need an account, which is free) — such as Flickr, Photobucket, ImageShack, etc. — and then source the image from there — an embed URL syntax code will be automatically provided for you, which you can simply copy and paste.

    Finally, you can create your own captioned images at the IcanHasCheezburger.com website. Simply upload images (you will need to register first, but it’s free), caption them accordingly, and then save to your account — an embed image URL syntax code will be automatically provided for you to copy and paste.

  122. Grump

    IVAN3MAN: It’s got nothing to do with “fair use”, actually. Even a site following, say, a Creative Commons licence, might legitimately prevent hot-linking.

    It’s more about bandwidth, especially on smaller sites with low monthly download allowances.

    A hot-link, which will pull the image from the original site’s servers every single time views, say, this blog, will consume far more bandwidth than if you were to say “There’s a great image on site ‘X'” because in the latter case, only those who are specifically interested in the image will look it up.

    And if you re-post the image (with or without accreditation) on a site like Flickr, you won’t be hitting the site at all, much to the relief of the owner.

    Of course, the owner might be blocking hot-linking to force you to go to his site in order to see the ads. We all gotta make a living, Laurence Lessig notwithstanding. :-)

    Regardless of this comment, your technical advice to Flying Sardines is impeccable.

  123. IVAN3MAN

    @ Grump,

    Yeah, you’re probably right about the bandwidth business, but I’ve had a few occasions when shortly after posting an image it is replaced with the web-site’s logo and a terse message stating: “NO HOT LINKING! Please visit www(dot)Spoilsports-R-Us.com”. :|

    Anyway, thanks for the compliment.

  124. Steve

    They say universe 13.7 billion years old. They say we can see to edge of universe 58 billion light years away. Go figure.

  125. Steve

    Or was it 78 billion.

  126. Darth Robo

    @ José

    Bingo.

  127. @ Steve:

    What the frak are you blathering about?

  128. @Steve: I read that “The burst exploded 13.035 billion light-years away.” However, I think I know the source of your confusion. Click my name for an article which may or may not enlighten you.

  129. TheBlackCat

    Incidentally Kepler and Sir Isaac Newton also believed in a young Earth, Kepler and Newton both thought the Earth was created about 4,000 BC.

    Evidence showing conclusively (or as conclusively as something can be) that the world is much older than 10,000 years was not found until the 1800’s. Anyone who lived prior to that time was justified in believing the Earth was young. Newton lived about 300 years ago.

    I am really sick of this argument. It assumes that human knowledge has not changed in centuries, that we have gained absolutely zero new knowledge since Newton or Galileo or some other famous scientist lived centuries ago. Because Hippocrates did not know about germs, does that mean people are justified in rejecting the germ theory of disease today? No, because Hippocrates did not know what we know now. Similarly, Newton did not know what we know about the age of the universe. His opinion was justifiable at that time, based on the evidence that existed then. But it is not justifiable now, based on the massive amount we have learned since then.

    And considering the lack of reply, I call concern troll on Michael L.

  130. Oh, BlackCat, when will you learn?

    Kepler, Newton, et al, are the apostles of the religion of Science! Their words are holy writ! To deny any of their beliefs is to deny their entire body of work, verily, it is to deny the holiness of Science itself!

    Repent, apostate! Before Lord Darwin himself smite thee!

  131. Greg in Austin

    Steve Says:
    May 24th, 2009 at 3:31 pm

    They say universe 13.7 billion years old. They say we can see to edge of universe 58 billion light years away. Go figure.

    Who is “They?”

    Without a source for your information, its probably best to ignore your statement. However, I’ll take a stab at what you are trying to say, if you are trying to say what I think you are trying to say. I’m sure this topic has probably been talked about at great length before (no pun intended)…

    We are in the Milky Way galaxy. Let’s say we look in one direction and see a galaxy that is 13.8 billion light years away. Then, we go to the other side of Earth and look in the complete opposite direction, and see another galaxy 13.8 billion light years away. Logically, that would mean that those two galaxies are physically 27.6 billion light years apart. Does that sound right?

    Now, this brings up a lot of qestions.
    1) Can those two galaxies see each other?
    2) If the universe is expanding, and if they were once closer to each other, could they once see each other, but not now?
    3) Could there be galaxies even further away that we just can’t see yet? Or see anymore?

    hmm…

    8)

  132. Vanessa

    I tried to watch the Jupiter video. I was pleased he got basic facts right at least-like Jupiter is the largest planet. But hearing “evolution” mentioned in every sentence was far too distracting for me. I realize his audience is not exactly Rhodes scholars but using a biological theory in a talk about astronomy gave me a headache.

  133. Flying sardines

    @ IVAN#MAN # 123 :

    Many thanks! Cheers! :-)

  134. On the History Channel program “The Universe: Beyond the Big Bang”, Brian Greene, Professor of Math and Physics at Columbia University, said this:

    “The Big Bang is a theory of cosmic evolution. It tells us how the universe evolved, how it changed from a split second after whatever brought it into existence, and we still don’t know what that is, until today.”

    If evolution has nothing to do with non-chromosome, non-genetics changes, then your argument is with Professor Brian Greene. Of course I understand there is a difference between Big Bang Cosmology and the Solar Nebula Model/Theory – I am writing this simply to point out that even believers in evolution apply that word beyond biology. Since such is the case, why not attack the evolutionists whenever they misuse that word, in your opinion? Why only attack the creationists? If the word is misused, it shouldn’t matter what one believes, should it?

  135. José

    @Brock Lee
    I am writing this simply to point out that even believers in evolution apply that word beyond biology.

    Yes, we know. Phil even uses the word that way. In this case, a creationists idiot is using the term evolution to negatively associate mainstream cosmology with biological evolution. That’s the gripe.

  136. E. O. Wilsion’s idea in Consilience was to link all the physical sciences, philosophies–even religion–with the term “evolution.” I guess this fellow can, too, of astronomy.

  137. CelticMinstrel

    But evolution does have to do with astronomy. Stars and planets evolve too. It’s a different process, true, but the most basic meaning of evolution is “A gradual process of development, formation, or growth”. (from Wiktionary)

    Of course, that doesn’t make this video valid. (I didn’t watch it.)

  138. artem

    To Phil, this is the blogged reply from Spike Psarris to your criticism, where he completely proves
    you are just another great hypocrite. Enjoy the read, everyone should.

    ——————————————————————————————————————-

    Am I a liar for applying the word “evolution” to astronomy?

    Phil Plait, the “Bad Astronomer” who blogs for Discover magazine, says so in a recent post about my Solar System video.

    Quoting Phil:

    “I watched the Jupiter video until all I could hear was a loud buzzing
    sound punctuated by the word “evolution”. Last I recall, evolution was
    the change in allele frequency over time… Jupiter has chromosomes?
    Are creationists that confused?

    “Well, certainly many are, but why ascribe to ignorance what can be
    ascribed to misdirection? The creator of the video obviously uses the
    word evolution over and over again because it’s a buzzword likely to
    sway people predisposed against science to agree with the bizarre
    version of reality he espouses, even though he must know that evolution
    has nothing to do with astronomy.

    “Hmmm. Bear false witness much?”

    Phil is calling me a false witness — a liar — for applying the word “evolution” to astronomy.

    But as an astronomer, surely Phil knows that the word “evolution” is used constantly in astronomy — not to describe biological change, but to describe the naturalistic formation and development of celestial objects.

    Surely Phil knows that countless astrophysics books present models for the “evolution” of stars:

    Evolution of Stars
    and Stellar Populations
    (by Maurizio Salaris
    and Santi Cassisi)
    Physics, Formation
    and Evolution
    of Rotating Stars
    (by André Maeder)
    Stellar Structure
    and Evolution
    (by Rudolf Kippenhahn
    and Alfred Weigert)
    And galaxies:

    The Structure and
    Evolution of Galaxies
    (by Steven Phillipps)
    The Chemical Evolution
    of the Galaxy
    (by F. Matteucci )
    Nucleosynthesis and
    Chemical Evolution
    of Galaxies
    (by Bernard E. J. Pagel)
    And planets:

    Planets and Their Atmos-
    pheres, Volume 33:
    Origins and Evolution
    (by John S. Lewis
    and Ronald G. Prinn)
    A Comparison of the
    Dynamical Evolution of
    Planetary Systems
    (by R. Dvorak and
    S. Ferraz-Mello, Eds.)
    Solar System Evolution:
    A New Perspective
    (by Stuart Ross Taylor)
    In addition, Phil no doubt keeps up with the scientific literature that is full of this usage too. The June issue of the Astronomical Journal alone has 3 papers using “evolution” or “evolved” in their titles.

    In the astronomical literature, the word “evolution” is everywhere.

    So, why does Phil say “evolution has nothing to do with astronomy”?

    Well, when your gun is out of bullets, you have to shoot blanks.

    There’s a debating tactic that’s as old as the ancient Greeks. When your opponent is correct and you can’t refute his arguments, you use an ad hominem attack instead.

    You smear his character. Mock and ridicule him personally. Call him a liar, even when you know he’s correct. Anything to cover up the fact that he’s right.

    In my video, I document the failure of the standard evolutionary model for our Solar System. Among other things, this model predicts that Jupiter can’t exist (but it does), Saturn can’t exist either (ditto), Uranus and Neptune shouldn’t have formed at all (but there they are), Mercury and Ganymede shouldn’t have magnetic fields (even though they do), Titan should have a global ocean of methane and ethane if it were really billions of years old (but it doesn’t)… the list goes on and on.

    But Phil doesn’t address any of that. Instead, the person who once wrote that “Stellar evolution [is] the process by which a star is born, lives out its life, and dies,” calls me a liar by insisting that “Evolution has nothing to do with astronomy… Bear false witness much?”

    Reader, you can decide for yourself if there’s a false witness here — and if so, who it is.

  139. opossum

    The earth was flat until we began faring the oceans, then it became a turtles back, then, when Columbus was about to fall off the edge of the turtle into oblivion, a funny thing happened: the earth mysteriously became spherical and a great land mass rose up from the ocean, the land mass, to be known later as America.

    While, America didn’t even exist until Columbus was within sight, by the time he reached it, it was already teeming with life, including distinct human cultures, which, according to religious teachings, didn’t exist until the near future, yet there they were standing there, ready to greet the tired sailors.

    You may ask: “Where did they come from?”. Well, a mere second after the formation of the continents, two individual human beings, male and female appeared out of thin air and began to multiply rapidly, defying the laws of time and space, almost immediately populating the land with their progeny.

    I know, it sounds a little far-fetched, but how can you explain an entire pagan (non-Israelite, so therefore insignificant) race of people existing without any mention in the definitive resource for all man-kind?

    It had to be a miracle.

  140. Jeff

    @Andy “The point is that a term like “evolution” is not always used by evolutionists to refer _only_ to biology. The fact that Phil would seize on that as part of his basis for mocking this video just demonstrates Phil’s own prejudice.
    The raw fact of the matter is that there is no observable fact of nature that “proves” the universe is billions of years old, nor “proves” that all lifeforms evolved from an original common ancestor”

    Really? At least 3 lines of evidence off the top of my head: radioisotope dating of rocks of all kinds, correlation of fossils with strata around world, known sedimentation rates all converge on 4.5 billion years old for solar system. For universe, rates of nuclear fusion plus state of development in star clusters , Hubble’s red shift law and cosmic background radiation. How can anyone in the 21st century still believe the tripe in this video??

    Phil’s own prejudice? Are you kidding? Do you have any idea how many scientists have debated this stuff since Darwin?

  141. CelticMinstrel

    In my video, I document the failure of the standard evolutionary model for our Solar System. Among other things, this model predicts that Jupiter can’t exist (but it does), Saturn can’t exist either (ditto), Uranus and Neptune shouldn’t have formed at all (but there they are), Mercury and Ganymede shouldn’t have magnetic fields (even though they do), Titan should have a global ocean of methane and ethane if it were really billions of years old (but it doesn’t)… the list goes on and on.

    Uh, what? Wow. Where on earth did they get this from? First, “standard evolutionary model” typically refers to the model building on Darwin’s work, though the “for our Solar System” part may be enough of a qualifier to indicate that that’s not the topic under discussion. But predicting the planets shouldn’t exist? I’m quite certain that that must be false. If a model predicted the planets shouldn’t exist, it would be discarded, and therefore would not be the “standard” model. Right?

    Oh, and:

    The point is that a term like “evolution” is not always used by evolutionists to refer _only_ to biology.

    What gives you this absurd idea? If by “evolutionists” you refer to scientists who study evolution of life, you’d be wrong. But also, I don’t think there exists a group called “evolutionists”.

    The raw fact of the matter is that there is no observable fact of nature that “proves” the universe is billions of years old, nor “proves” that all lifeforms evolved from an original common ancestor”

    Jeff covers this well, but I want to add something: what do you consider an “observable fact of nature”? Surely something that can be measured with some kind of instrument is an “observable fact of nature”? Or do you only consider things that can be seen with your own eyes, heard with your own ears, etc, directly, to be “observable facts of nature”? I’d say that’s absurd.

  142. It seems you only post material that follows the party line. After reading all the exotic insights above I can understand why. You all need to stop the childish anti-creationist ranting and raving and grow up. What place does all this childish dribble have in a magazine that supposedly is about science. I can only wonder who you readers are, and whether the magazine is still taken seriously.

  143. CelticMinstrel

    Yeah, you really need to stop all the childish creationist ranting and raving, and grow up. Yes, in fact that’s an excellent idea! Why didn’t I think of it before?

    Simply put, creationism or intelligent design will never be a scientific theory. If you were not blinded by God, you would surely see that.

    So if Discover magazine were to include that childish dribble of creationism in a way that implied it to be science, I would probably cancel my subscription. It’s not science, it never will be science, and it’s not possible for it to be science.

  144. Greg in Austin

    @John,

    I can understand your confusion. But this is not Discover Magazine’s blog. It’s Phil’s blog.

    8)

  145. JohnX

    To Phil’s original blog posting: I actually used to know Spike Psarris (the DVD’s host). I have definitely found some holes in his presentation, but would you be willing to indulge us in two or three specific complaints about scientific accuracy? Just want to get started in making sure I have my bases covered.

    I’m sorry, I know it can be painful. But frankly, the origins controversy has had far too much of both sides (yes, even the “free-thinkers”) talking past each other and dropping bumper stickers and catchphrases rather than arguments. I’m weary both of “evolution is just a theory” AND “this is a god-of-the-gaps argument” when specifics aren’t provided. Could you please please please brighten my day, just a little? :)

  146. Mike Wagner

    John,
    I’m not sure you’ve noticed, but the evangelical creationists have a huge disinformation movement going on. They not only try to pollute the internet with inaccurate claims and outright falsehoods, they are pushing it into the school system and politics.
    Open verbal opposition is practically required. Search engines don’t find truth, they find data density. When the density of the garbage hits critical mass on a subject, it is no longer “easy” to find accurate information. When I say easy here, I mean it in relative terms. I know how to get the most out of Google, but the 11 year old in Peoria who just wants to know where birds came from probably doesn’t. If the top 10 search hits tell them evolution is a lie and it’s all Jesus and dancing unicorns, we stand to lose what could be a great contributor to knowledge – a young mind.
    It’s especially relevant when someone who purports to have the credentials and education spews this intellectual pollution out in the guise of science. Phil is certainly within his rights in my mind. (And it’s his blog. He can also talk about dancing unicorns on Pluto if he wants. I hear they’re in season now.)

  147. Geoff

    I’m not siding with the creator of the video, but he did clearly state in the first video that when he used the word “Evolution” he was talking about planetary evolution, not biological evolution. I’m just saying…

    My whole issue with what I saw is that, even though science doesn’t know the answers to all the questions and conundrums he proposes, and it may not fit with the current model… the beauty of science is that it’s ideas can be molded to better fit the outcome of experiments and observations. We may not know the answers now, but I can guarantee that we will.

  148. K-man

    “Naked Bunny with a Whip Says:
    May 22nd, 2009 at 6:28 am

    would carve the Grand Canyon in just days

    That’s disingenuous of you, Phil. Everyone knows it took the Flood months to carve out the Grand Canyon, not days. That’s totally reasonable.”

    Not going to lie, probably one of the stupidest things i have ever read. are you 5, or just brain dead? Judging by flow and deterioration of the cliff by volume of water per second, archeologists believe it took the colorado river more than 6 million years to carve THE WORLDS LARGEST CANYON! wow. please just give up in life.
    peace

  149. Na

    Evidently K-man, you are not familiar with either sarcasm nor Naked Bunny’s POV on the matter.

  150. Mark

    Read more Hovind.
    The universe was created in a BigBang, then chemical evolution happened, stellar evolution, planetary evolution and lastly biological evolution. Probably cars and toasters also evolved over time. You need to stay up to date with the latest in Creation science ;) Thats because evolution just means ‘change over time’ and is mostly religion and not science.

    The Grand Canyon was both laid down during the Noahic flood , and then carved from the deposited sediment a bit later. Apparently the sediment blocked the path for water to drain , and some big lake formed when the flood receded. The lake then broke through and carved the canyon.

  151. Calypsis4

    I am an ex-evolutionist and I agree with Spike Psarris on astronomy. Evolution simply doesn’t have the facts to support any kind of theory of old age for the universe. Psarris work on the solar system is superb and the stupid answers supposedly ‘refuting’ him are just that: stupid.

  152. mcfunthomas

    Whenever I read atheists writing about Xtian God I find their statements as if of morons with IQ < 50. They laugh at creationists n say creationists know little about science (some realy does, I admit). Yet, a significant number of atheists (though not only them) show the same (or lower) level of knowledge when commenting about the Bible, Xtianity and alike… they're just stupid ignorants.

  153. TJ He

    Liars abound in this debate; but it’s not the creationist who is lying. Check out the creationist’s response at http://www.creationastronomy.com/evolution-has-nothing-to-do-with-astronomy/

    As to Phil Plait, you are a liar. The proof is your own words abuot stellar evolution at http://www.badastronomy.com/bad/movies/superman_returns_review.html and your own words above (BTW, these are your words on your blog page, correctly quoted).

    Hypocrite evolutionist loser. Time to change, Phil Plait.

  154. DavidM

    This whole post regarding Spike Psarris’ material is purely ad hominem. It’s nothing more than a childish rant. And yet ironically, it sent loads of traffic to the criticized site. Now, years later, it continues to.

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