Saturday, August 27, 2011

Are all Creationists Caricatures of Creationists?

I can't explain why this is popular on Memeorandum right now, but Bryan Fischer's caricature proof of creationism is too funny to be missed.

I admit that I was a little baffled while reading the article. The first paragraph reads as a fairly straight introduction to Fischer's interest in evolution and the timeliness of the satire article. The second paragraph appears to tip into tongue-in-cheek derision:
Perry’s [rejection of evolution] will help him, not hurt him, with the electorate. Even after almost a century of brainwashing and indoctrination in the government re-education camps called “schools,” only 19 percent of the general public believes that life developed without any assistance or direction from a Creator. That number drops to just eight percent among Republicans. That eight percent can happily throw their vote away on Mr. Huntsman, which will quadruple his total.
The first hint that the article is serious is the misrepresentation of the Theory of Evolution. The spiel is based around a jingoistic belief that evolution is anti-religous. You certainly don't need to reject a story of divine intervention into biological history to understand the process by which genetic frequencies change in species' populations over time.

Fischer follows his absurdist conflation of atheism and science with an appropriately sophomoric attempt at post modernist anti-empiricism.
Before we even start, we ought to notice that, if evolution is true, there would be no way to know it. Because evolution teaches that everything that exists is the product of the random collision of atoms, this logically includes the thoughts I am thinking about evolution. But if my thoughts are the product of the random collision of atoms, there is no reason to think that any of them are true — they just are. No one "random collision of atoms" can be said to be truer than another, any more than one randomly generated Rorschach ink blot can be said to be more correct than another.
That's a serious problem. It's exactly the problem that empiricism attempts to solve. By attempting to make predictions and refining those predictions based on experiments, the scientific method uses feedback from the physical world to verify or dismiss individual thoughts. That's how working theories are made. The alternative--Fischer's alternative in fact--relies purely on mental gymnastics to arrive at a truth value.

I suspect that Bryan Fischer means that the universe applies no normative value to the two thoughts, but that is very different from a truth value (ranging from true to false). Those truth values are only meaningful if there is some meaningful feedback from the universe. Again, empiricism the exercise of designing experiments to collect this feedback. Fischer rejects this process out-of-hand. His approach leads people into a barren desert so he can complain about a lack of water.

It would be convenient to leave aside dismissal of both physics and neuroscience (wrongly labeled here as 'evolution'), but that's precisely his argument. Fischer thinks it's necessary to reject any scientific discovery that overlaps with evolution. Ironic, because the rest of his self-parody relies on very badly misinterpreting basic assumptions that scientists make.

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