Saturday, 2 May 2009

A Flight from Science & Reason

Hello and welcome back. Whilst last week was relatively quiet, I have some snippets of news this week as well as some discussions.

As Volume 11 shows, I have turned a blog post towards the idiocy that is the creationist battle cry “It’s Just a Theory!” This is probably one of the oldest and stupidest arguments that a creationist can claim. If they use it, it indicates that they sincerely do not know what science actually is, or more succinctly, they don’t know what the words scientific theory mean. It is amazing that they don’t consider this in light to other theories. Cell Theory, Germ Theory, Collision Theory, Atomic Theory and the theories of General and Special Relativity. I mean, I could name hundreds of these theories and they will not insist that these are just “theories”. They will insist that there is evidence for them. So why exactly are they called theories? Because theory has a particular meaning in science.

I decided to look at this in more detail during an essay of mine for my course. I had found, in a book I particularly enjoyed, an essay by James Trefil called “Scientific Literacy”. In this, Trefil argues that understanding how science works is more important than facts and figures and considering creationists, I think it is a brilliant point. For those interested, the paper is from a conference called “A Flight from Science & Reason” (see Bibliography).

Another thing I saw this week was again from my friend Gav. He introduced me to Penn & Teller, Bullshit! I’ve put the link on my site, but I absolutely love the way they are able to explain how science works in a way which is great for anyone that has no background in science. The creationist episode which involved a rabbit to demonstrate the lack of democracy in science was particularly well done I think. I highly recommend watching at least a few episodes.

My other post this week I couldn’t resist. I’m sorry but sometimes I truly do wonder whether Ken Ham and co. are seriously trying to fuck with our heads, ala Andy Kaufmann style.

Trefil, J. (1996), Scientific Literacy, In Gross, PR., Levitt, N. & Lewis, MW. (1996), The Flight from Science And Reason, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Volume 775

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