Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More On The Gunner Argument

Here's a good chunk of an exchange over evolution I had with my old college buddy Gunner. My comments are in blue italics. His are red bold.


Me: Second, a scientific theory is never accepted as useful unless it has predictive power and explains already collected evidence. Does the Bible have true predictive power? Can you read it and tell me where to find a specific kind of fossil that will have specific kinds of features?

Gunner: Yes, the bible is a tremendous Archeological source. It will tell you where to find cities, how people lived, and it is well over 98% accurate in doing so. That is more than enough to convict a person in a trial using DNA.

Me: It's an archeological source, but not a hard science source. Here are several things that the Bible gets wrong scientifically:

{Snip. No need to see the entire list. Just check the link below.}

And these are just in Genesis. And they're not everything in Genesis that's scientifically wrong. I won't bother to list more. Check out this link for the total list: http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/science/long.html


What else can I say to get my point across?

Here's more:

Gunner: Yes, if you follow the Wall between Church and State philosophy. They are just like evolution in the classroom, Nichie (Spelling) or Foucaults philosophy in the classroom or anything else that can be offensive to a persons religious sensibilities. That is why the actual Supreme Court decision is stupid.

Me: But evolution isn't a philosophy. It's a model of the world that's been arrived by the scientific method. Now, the scientific method has been shaped by philosophy, but only insomuch as it says that if it's supernatural, it's not science, because we can't study it. That's the point of science, to study the natural world and figure out how it works. And evolution is just one theory among many that have been created to do just that.

It always amazes me that Fundievangelicals like to say that evolution is only a theory, but never point out that gravity is only a theory. Scientifically, they are equivalent in accuracy. Evolution is not philosophy. Evolution is a reasonably accurate way of looking at how we got here. And it works. We have seen evolution occur, in the real world. We know it happens to animals. We are animals. Why is it so hard to accept that it happens to us?

Because you believe the world is only 6000 years old? If you believe that, it only shows your ignorance. There is evidence in every old lake in the world that disproves that. The speed of light disproves the young earth creationist position. Radio isotope dating. Measurements of meteor impact frequency on the moon. Lake varves. Genetic drift in humans and other biochemical markers. Heck, until the late 1970s or so, there was a tree on a mountain in California that was older than the biblical Flood. How did it survive? If you can't even get the Flood date right, then how can you say the world is a given age?

You can't. But science has plenty of evidence, from multiple lines of independent research, that bear out the age of the universe. And they all agree. The same can be said for the age of the earth, and the age of the human race. One of the most damning bits of evidence is that we can measure genetic bottlenecks in species, and we are accurate 99.9% of the time. If the Bible is accurate, then every living species in the world should have a genetic bottleneck approximately 4500 years ago. And yet they don't.

Can you explain that? Just that one challenge to young earth creationism. Explain why every living species in the world doesn't have a genetic bottleneck that's 4500 years old. I bet you can't.

I know he's not going to respond in any reasonable kind of way. Once a person goes fundy, it's really hard to deprogram them. And if he's being completely truthful, he's actually been this way for longer than I've known him, and for four years of Dungeons & Dragons, drinking, and late-night philosophizing, it just never came up.

Mind-boggling, isn't it?

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"Loyalty to petrified opinion never broke a chain or freed a human soul..." -- Mark Twain

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Fire does not wait for the sun to be hot,

Nor the wind for the moon, to be cool.

-- the Zenrin Kushu