The NYTimes on science denial

| 134 Comments

Here. An excerpt:

Galileo’s achievement was the end of geocentrism, but it was hardly the end of ignorance and magical thinking. When obstinacy places reason under siege, as it does to this day – when fundamentalism defames biological science in the classroom, or the politics of denial prevent action to deal with a changing climate, it helps to recall our debt to a man who set a different example more than 400 years ago. It took just a wooden tube and some polished lenses, a critical and inquisitive mind, and four points of light that didn’t behave the way they were supposed to.

I’d replace just one word in that: “obstinacy.” It’s not obstinacy that’s the problem. It’s the stultifying religious fundamentalisms, the AIGs and Harun Yahyas of the world, the purveyors of ignorance and irrationality, that are the problem.

Irrationality and ignorance buttressed by religion are formidable foes, but the alternative to fighting them is to acquiesce in the decline of humanity into a fetid swamp of superstition.

134 Comments

If only those four points of light had behaved themselves!

Henry J said:

If only those four points of light had behaved themselves!

Yeah, it’s as if nature has no concern for our preconcieved notions.

Galileo’s achievement was the end of geocentrism,…

Geocentrism isn’t dead.

20% of the US population believe in Geocentrism, 26% of the fundie xians.

We have more Geocentrists at 60 million than Canada has people.

There are still a few Flat Earthers around as well.

raven: Could you back up that claim? Are you counting people who just aren’t sure what they learned in school, i.e. the merely clueless?

But Galileo was a creationist. That shows that real science is on the side of creationism.

At least that’s how current evidence-denial “thinks.”

Glen Davidson

The thing that tickles and outrages me at the same time is the creationists who use the internet and computers and yet have the audacity to deny the very science that makes the internet and computers possible - not to mention cleaner water and more plentiful food and longer lifespans and lower infant mortality rates and all the other benefits of modern science.

But Galileo was a creationist. That shows that real science is on the side of creationism.

At least that’s how current evidence-denial “thinks.”

Glen Davidson

Even Newton was a creationist. And an alchemist. Which proves modern chemistry is all wrong too.

wikipedia Geocentrism:

Morris Berman quotes survey results that show currently some 20% of the U.S. population believe that the sun goes around the Earth (geocentricism) rather than the Earth goes around the sun (heliocentricism), while a further 9% claimed not to know.[40]

and

Creationism and Intelligent Design - Page 268 - Google Books Result books.google.com/books?id=ffgBF2jWM8MC Wikimedia Foundation [5] Modern geocentrists believe that they are the true standard-bearers for an … results that show currently some 20% of the USA population believe that the sun …

The Flat Earthers these days are mostly Moslem cults. Boko Harum, the notorious Nigerian terrorists, are Flat Earthers and also deny the cloud theory of rain.

Are you counting people who just aren’t sure what they learned in school, i.e. the merely clueless?

I’m not counting anyone. These are results from mainstream polls, Gallup etc.. As to how many are clueless and how many are religious fanatics, who knows? That would require further information. It is telling that the percentage is higher at 26% among fundies.

This comment has been moved to The Bathroom Wall.

Byers is now banished to the BW. I’m tired of stupidity.

Richard B. Hoppe said:

Byers is now banished to the BW. I’m tired of stupidity.

Thanks Richard. Robert has never made a coherent point, let alone a valid one. Why he is allowed to continue to vomit his crap on these threads is a mystery.

On the other hand, he is the perfect example of the topic of this thread. There is literally no evidence that will ever convince him. There is no evidence that he will not remain willfully ignorant of. I honestly cannot understand this mentality. History shows the folly of ignoring reality. History confirms the efficacy of empiricism. How can you live in a modern society and deny the very methods by which it was created? How can you be so arrogant and so myopic that you can never admit that you were wrong or change your position based on evidence? It must be a very frightening way to live. Think about it, you could virtually never take any scientific study seriously, at least without being a total hypocrite. But then again, that never seemed to bother Robert either. Apparently there is a large percentage of the population that is almost as bad.

To quote Dawkins once again, “There is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence.”

Galileo’s achievement was not the end of geocentrism since his efforts hardly settled the matter. How could discovering the four moons of Jupiter guarantee that the sun is in the middle? You can’t see geocentrism through a telescope. What you can see, specifically the phases of the planet Venus, which is actually relevant, is consistent with other systems such as that of Galileo’s contemporary, the great astronomer Tycho Brahe. It took the development of a dynamic theory of the solar system to establish heliocentrism by explaining the sun’s physical role. In other words, it took Newton.

No serious historian of science buys the pious version of Galileo’s accomplishment retailed by the Times.

Might as well get the history right.

“Galileo’s achievement was the end of geocentrism.…”

Galileo, the N.Y. Times should know, was a Creationist: he offered all of his discoveries under the assumption of supernatural causation and design. When he lived absolutely no one believed the heavens produced, arranged and organized itself.

Glen called it.

Flint said:

To quote Dawkins once again, “There is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence.”

We completely agree.

Ray Martinez said:

Flint said:

To quote Dawkins once again, “There is no sensible limit to what the human mind is capable of believing, against any amount of contrary evidence.”

We completely agree.

You are an excellent demonstration of that - there is no evidence for a worldwide flood, or the intervention of Magical Sky Pixies, yet you howl and scream that your peculiar ‘interpretations’ of the bible trump reality-based science. And anyone that disagrees with your addle-pated blubberings is (conveniently) in league with Satan.

You flatulate that species are immutable - yet the scientific literature is rife with species that have changed.

You have no real idea of what ‘immutability’ TRULY entails, do you ?

BTW - how’s your ‘book’ coming along ? Still rewriting the dictionary so words mean what you NEED them to mean ? (your idiotic “the prefix ‘a’ means ‘against’ !!!!” gibbertwittery back over on talkorigins was most amusing !!)

DS said:

Richard B. Hoppe said:

Byers is now banished to the BW. I’m tired of stupidity.

Thanks Richard. Robert has never made a coherent point, let alone a valid one. Why he is allowed to continue to vomit his crap on these threads is a mystery.

On the other hand, he is the perfect example of the topic of this thread. There is literally no evidence that will ever convince him. There is no evidence that he will not remain willfully ignorant of. I honestly cannot understand this mentality. History shows the folly of ignoring reality. History confirms the efficacy of empiricism. How can you live in a modern society and deny the very methods by which it was created? How can you be so arrogant and so myopic that you can never admit that you were wrong or change your position based on evidence? It must be a very frightening way to live. Think about it, you could virtually never take any scientific study seriously, at least without being a total hypocrite. But then again, that never seemed to bother Robert either. Apparently there is a large percentage of the population that is almost as bad.

Orwell had the right of it. It’s the Authoritarian mind set. Once you accept that your chosen “Authority” is always right, then nothing else matters. No amount of evidence can possibly matter, because what makes a particular dogma “right” is not “evidence” but “authority”. OTOH, if the “Authority” changes, then the dogma changes to match. The dogma is neither “right” nor “wrong”. The “Authority” is always “right”, always was “right”, and always will be “right”, even if the dogma changes.

For example, just look at the Mormon church. Prior to 1978, the Mormon church discriminated against Blacks. Following the “Revelation on the Priesthood” in 1978, they don’t. The Authority was “right” then, and the Authority is “right” now. The dogma changed, but the Authority is always “right”.

From the Wiki page [emphasis added]:

Hinckley, then church president, told the Los Angeles Times “The 1978 declaration speaks for itself … I don’t see anything further that we need to do”. Church leadership did not issue a repudiation.[114] Church apostle Dallin H. Oaks said: “It’s not the pattern of the Lord to give reasons. We can put reasons to commandments. When we do we’re on our own. Some people put reasons to [the ban] and they turned out to be spectacularly wrong. There is a lesson in that.… The lesson I’ve drawn from that, I decided a long time ago that I had faith in the command and I had no faith in the reasons that had been suggested for it… I’m referring to reasons given by general authorities and reasons elaborated upon [those reasons] by others. The whole set of reasons seemed to me to be unnecessary risk taking… Let’s [not] make the mistake that’s been made in the past, here and in other areas, trying to put reasons to revelation. The reasons turn out to be man-made to a great extent. The revelations are what we sustain as the will of the Lord and that’s where safety lies.”

Reasons? Evidence? We don’t need no stupid “reasons”. We have “faith”. We have the “Authority”, and the “Authority” is always right.

No, I don’t understand such a mind set either, but (ironically) the evidence is pretty clear on the subject.

OTOH, the evidence is pretty clear that “The Lord™” changed his mind because of money (or earthly power, or both). It was important to expand the Mormon church into Latin America and Africa. It was a growth industry. But no one on those continents was going to join a church where only white males were allowed. Viola! “Revelation”. Now there are a million more heads to tithe (literally tithe) to the church than before the “Revelation”.

It really is convenient (and “surprisingly” coincidental) when the “Authority” just happens to ordain exactly what the “Leadership” wants to happen, and just exactly when the “Leadership” needs it to happen.

Just think what could be accomplished in Science by the power of “Revelation”. No more study, no more backbreaking expensive field work, no more stupid intractable simulations or expensive labs. Just pray hard enough, and viola! “Revelation.” The added benefit of “Revelation”? You don’t have to explain anything. No more tedious presentations at boring seminars. No more time consuming journal articles to research and write up. Just self publish a new “Revelation”. Heck, the rubes will even pay you to come and preach your “Revelation”. Just ask Dempski.

Yeah. It sounds pretty appalling to me too.

Scott F said:

Viola!

It’s astonishing how much power the middle of the String Section has in the overall scheme of things.

On the ‘immutability’ of fundamentalist thought I thought a heads up to the wonderful booklet by Gerald Huther (Head of Department of Fundamental Neurobiological Research, the Psychiatric Clinic of Gottingen Germany)is due. The book is called, ‘The Compassionate Brain’ and explains in quite accessable language, why Robert Byers and Ray Martinez, and their ilk, are so profoundly and immutably thick. Written in 2001, and at long last translated in 2006, it explains how the nurture/nature debate to explain behaviour is important but flawed, and how in the 90’s it was discovered that brain cells are indeed NOT ‘hardwired’ in the first years of development. It explains that the most modern research confirms that those people constantly willing to re-assess what they believe to be true, those whom constantly challenge their thinking have the most healthy brains: it also, as an addedd bonus staves off progressively degenerative brain illnesses.

“The most important scientific revolutions all include, as their only common feature, the dethronement of human arrogance from one pedestal after another of previous convictions about our centrality in the cosmos.” Stephen J. Gould

raven said: The Flat Earthers these days are mostly Moslem cults. Boko Harum, the notorious Nigerian terrorists, are Flat Earthers and also deny the cloud theory of rain.

Flat Earth: The History of an Infamous Idea is an interesting read for anyone who wants an overview. One of the points made is that the flat earth movements in the modern, 1st world west have tended to be less serious science denial and more of a ’60s-style “free your mind/challenge your conceptions” movement. IOW, they are social movements that use geocentrism as a symbol of the sort of authority that individuals should question more, they aren’t die-hard geocentrists.

These are results from mainstream polls, Gallup etc.. As to how many are clueless and how many are religious fanatics, who knows? That would require further information. It is telling that the percentage is higher at 26% among fundies.

To put this in perspective, a recent poll asked US respondents their opininon on two acts of Congress: one real (Simpson-Bowles), one completely made up (“Panetta-Burns,” link). 25% of respondents said they either supported or opposed the fake plan. So I don’t think 20% of the populace answering yes on geocentrism means much beyond the obvious: people will often pretend to have a strong opinion on a subject on which they are completely ignorant, just so as not to appear ignorant.

Jim said:

Galileo’s achievement was not the end of geocentrism since his efforts hardly settled the matter. How could discovering the four moons of Jupiter guarantee that the sun is in the middle?

It demontstrated that the church was wrong in asserting that every celestial body orbited the earth. For astronomers, this opened up the way for to consider other hypotheses. But from a wider perspective, it undermined the credibility of the church on matters of (what we’d now call) science.

Okay, so maybe he didn’t single-handedly topple the edifice of geocentrism. But I think it’s fair to say he kicked out the foundation of it.

eric said:

Jim said:

Galileo’s achievement was not the end of geocentrism since his efforts hardly settled the matter. How could discovering the four moons of Jupiter guarantee that the sun is in the middle?

It demontstrated that the church was wrong in asserting that every celestial body orbited the earth. For astronomers, this opened up the way for to consider other hypotheses. But from a wider perspective, it undermined the credibility of the church on matters of (what we’d now call) science.

Okay, so maybe he didn’t single-handedly topple the edifice of geocentrism. But I think it’s fair to say he kicked out the foundation of it.

I’d suggest that part of the geocentric model was that there was a sharp distinction between earthly (that is, sub-lunar) things and heavenly things. For example, earthly things were made of earth, air, fire and water and had an inherent linear motion, while heavenly things were made of a “quintessence” and had an inherent circular motion. Discoveries like sun spots, mountains on the moon, phases of Venus and satellites of Jupiter tended to break down that distinction. After Galileo, what could one point to that made the heavenly bodies behave in a distinctive way and what made the Earth stand still when everything else was in motion?

Scott F said: The “Authority” is always “right”, always was “right”, and always will be “right”, even if the dogma changes.

“We Have Always Been At War With Eastasia” - 1984

eric said:

Jim said:

Galileo’s achievement was not the end of geocentrism since his efforts hardly settled the matter. How could discovering the four moons of Jupiter guarantee that the sun is in the middle?

It demontstrated that the church was wrong in asserting that every celestial body orbited the earth. For astronomers, this opened up the way for to consider other hypotheses. But from a wider perspective, it undermined the credibility of the church on matters of (what we’d now call) science.

Okay, so maybe he didn’t single-handedly topple the edifice of geocentrism. But I think it’s fair to say he kicked out the foundation of it.

The phases of Venus were the observation that really pointed toward heliocentrism. Sure, you could be Tycho Brahe and keep a hybrid, wherein Venus circled the sun along with Mercury, while the sun and everything else (save other planets’ moons) circled the earth.

I don’t think anything that ugly ever appealed to many, however. Anyway, Kepler pretty much exploded that using Brahe’s own data.

Glen Davidson

Those who express dissent from the usual global warming sales-pitch, are often dismissed as “science-deniers”, even if they have the scientific credentials with which to express their doubts.

And of course, like dutiful drooling lapdogs, the libbie media goes right along with the game. As expected.

But not all of them. A few journalists still keep an open mind; they still keep in mind the very checkered history of the global warming gig. Of course, such journalists can count on getting criticized for their brave efforts, but they’re tough enough to keep on going.

One of those journalists is the Kansas City Star’s E. Thomas McClanahan. He dares to remind readers that the global warming religion still has some skewed preachin’s in there. Take a look!

http://www.kansascity.com/2013/01/2[…]happens.html

FL

PS. I’m back.

Sure, you could be Tycho Brahe and keep a hybrid, wherein Venus circled the sun along with Mercury, while the sun and everything else (save other planets’ moons) circled the earth.

Actually, it looks like all of the planets other than earth orbited the sun, while the sun orbited the earth, which was at the center of the universe (or at least very near the center–geocentrists often realized earth couldn’t be exactly in the center), in Brahe’s model. I’m pretty sure that someone (Brahe at some other time–or others) did have just Venus and Mercury orbiting the sun and the other planets orbiting earth, but apparently it wasn’t Brahe’s best known model, anyhow.

That doesn’t matter a whole lot, the phases of Venus worked for heliocentrism, not for geocentrism, and that’s what really matters. But I didn’t want to leave an incorrect history about Brahe’s modeling without improving that information.

Glen Davidson

Tell us, FL, why should global warming skeptics be not be dismissed as “science-deniers” when they refuse to look at any of the numerous evidences for global warming, and when they accuse the scientific community as participating in a massive, liberal conspiracy of evil to destroy Capitalism, AND when what precious little evidence of their own they do provide does not stand up to even light scrutiny?

*cue FL running away*

I don’t know that Spencer is an actual Young Earther. I’ve only seen him write about or sign letters endorsing a vague anti-evolution position and endorsing things like Intelligent Design.

I saw this claim on a blog some time ago but a Google search fails to confirm it. In any case, Spencer is, by his own admission, a creationist. As to whether he is an old earth creationist or a young earth creationist is unclear as I sit here today. So I withdraw the sobriquet YEC until such time as his actual position can be confirmed. By the way, being an IDiot doesn’t automatically make him a old earth creationist. William Dumbski now proclaims himself a YEC and, I believe, so does Jonathan Wells.

ksplawn said:

I don’t know that Spencer is an actual Young Earther. I’ve only seen him write about or sign letters endorsing a vague anti-evolution position and endorsing things like Intelligent Design.

OK, I think FL’s line of “thinking” (I use the word loosely) is clear, so any more comments by him are off to the BW to join Byers’ incoherent nonsense.

FL said:

Unlike you FL, I consult the primary literature

Sure. Just like CEI’s Marlo Lewis Jr. consulted primary literature when he famously dissected Al Gore’s Inconvienent Truth.

http://cei.org/pdf/5820.pdf

But I noticed long time ago that it didn’t make any difference to Global Warmers. It never does.

The NASA-based link kinda bounced off too, I noticed.

FL

I didn’t read Gore’s book doofus.

I don’t care.

Isn’t YEC global warming denial somehow connected with the flood, and the fact they claim there was only one post flood ice age ?

If you can’t discuss global warming without mentioning Al Gore, you might be a science denialist.

Ian Derthal said:

Isn’t YEC global warming denial somehow connected with the flood, and the fact they claim there was only one post flood ice age ?

If they are arguing against global warming because God promised not to cause another flood, they’ve missed the point that He did *not* say that that He’d step in to prevent Men creating a flood all by themselves.

scienceavenger said:

If you can’t discuss global warming without mentioning Al Gore, you might be a science denialist.

Correction: you are a science denier if you derisively refer to Al Gore as a “patron deity” of the global warming movement.

Kevin B said:

Ian Derthal said:

Isn’t YEC global warming denial somehow connected with the flood, and the fact they claim there was only one post flood ice age ?

If they are arguing against global warming because God promised not to cause another flood, they’ve missed the point that He did *not* say that that He’d step in to prevent Men creating a flood all by themselves.

Or was it that they believe that God’s “second great flood” would be one of fire, and not water?

Global warming won’t put mountains (or even highlands) underwater. ;)

Henry J said:

Global warming won’t put mountains (or even highlands) underwater. ;)

Neither will any of the supposed mechanisms put forward to rationalise the original flood.

More on religious “science”… Since the early 1900’s ALL “science” has been taken over by the Technology Culture of the religious Americans, represented by the trade-union-church AAAS. Plain and simple. There has not been any science in the world since then except “religious-American-science”.

On the blissful religious science ignorance…:

USA-World Science Hegemony Is Science Blind

Since the early 2000s I have been posting many articles on science items surveyed and analyzed by me, without religious background-concepts. I have been doing this because I was deeply disturbed by the religiosity of the 1848-founded AAAS trade-union and by the consequent religious background-tint of its extensive “scientific” publications and activities.

On my next birthday I’ll be 88-yrs old. I know that I’m deeply engaged in a Don Quixotic mission-war to extricate-free the USA and world Science from the clutches and consequences of the religious-trade-union-church AAAS, adopted strangely by the majority of scientifically ignorant religious god-trusting Americans and by their most other humanity following flocks…

But I am sincerely confident that only thus it is feasible and possible to embark on a new, rational, Human culture (Scientism) and on new more beneficial and effective technology courses for humanity…

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century) http://universe-life.com/

Gene Ray, is that you?

It takes a change of culture, of the mode of reactions to circumstances, to effect a change of habit. Genetics is the progeny of culture, not vice versa. This applies in ALL fields of human activities, including economy, to ALL personal and social behavioral aspects.

Since the early 1900’s ALL “science” has been taken over by the Technology Culture of the religious Americans, represented by the trade-union-church AAAS. Plain and simple. There has not been any science in the world since then except “religious-American-science”.

On the blissful religious science ignorance…:

USA-World Science Hegemony Is Science Blind

Since the early 2000s I have been posting many articles on science items surveyed and analyzed by me, without religious background-concepts. I have been doing this because I was deeply disturbed by the religiosity of the 1848-founded AAAS trade-union and by the consequent religious background-tint of its extensive “scientific” publications and activities.

On my next birthday I’ll be 88-yrs old. I know that I’m deeply engaged in a Don Quixotic mission-war to extricate-free the USA and world Science from the clutches and consequences of the religious-trade-union-church AAAS, adopted strangely by the majority of scientifically ignorant religious god-trusting Americans and by their most other humanity following flocks…

But I am sincerely confident that only thus it is feasible and possible to embark on a new, rational, Human culture (Scientism) and on new more beneficial and effective technology courses for humanity…

Dov Henis (comments from 22nd century) http://universe-life.com/ Energy-Mass Poles Of The Universe http://universe-life.com/2012/11/14/701/

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