Message 11 of 136 (364496)
11-18-2006 2:03 AM
Creationist Error: An Epistemological Classification
Type 0: Change the scientific method in such a way that evolution cannot claim scientific validity. In order to do this, their redefined scientific method must also exclude most of science.
Example a: Claiming that everything not confirmed by eyewitnesses cannot be scientific.
Example b: Denying that the confirmation of a prediction made by a theory tends to confirm a theory (i.e. denying the whole of the scientific method) as a specific example, much of their rubbish about intermediate forms is based on this form of reality-dodging. See also "microevolution doesn't prove macroevolution".
Example c: Claiming that the gaps in our knowledge invalidates what we do know. E.g, we cannot produce a definitive hominid family tree, ergo we can't say that humans belong in the same clade as apes.
Example d: Complaining about "uniformitarian assumptions".
Example e: Omphalos-type arguments.
Type 1a: Get the theory of evolution wrong.
Example a: Anyone using the words "pure chance".
Example b: Complaining that natural selection doesn't increase genetic diversty. Of course it doesn't. Duh. And that is not what the theory claims.
Example c: Claiming that recapitulation is part of the theory of evolution.
Example d: "The theory of evolution is unfalsifiable ... blash, blah ... survival of the fittest ... blah, blah ... tautology, blah, drivel, blah."
Type 1b: Get the history of evolution wrong.
Example a: I once saw a long and extremely erudite creationist paper proving that animals can't be descended from plants "as evolutionists claim".
Example b: "Evolutionists claim that fish 'conquered the land' and then evolved lungs. But the first fish would have dies because a creature without lungs wouldn't be able to breathe out of water."
Type 2: Fail to deduce the consequences of the theory of evolution.
Example a: "If men are descended from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?"
Example b: "One harmful mutation would cause the exitinction of the species."
Example c: "Living fossils contradict the theory of evolution."
Example d: The stuff about genetics in Of Pandas And People.
Type 3a: Get the facts wrong.
Example a: The belief that the neck of the giraffe displays unique morphological traits.
Example b: The Paluxy footprints.
Example c: "Archaeopteryx has all the anatomical features of a modern bird."
Example d: "No new species have been observed."
Type 3b.i: Point to a handful of errors of fact detected and put right by scientists over the last century and a half, and claim that this is all the support the theory of evolution has. Claim that all of these, whether fraudulent or honest error, were fraudulent attempts to prop of a theory in desperate need of support.
Example a: Piltdown Man.
Example b: Nebraska Man.
Type 3b.ii: Claim that lots of facts undisputed by scientists have been proven fraudulent.
Example a: Their disgusting and libellous ravings about the peppered moth.
Example b: "Heidelberg Man is a fake."
Example c: "Archaeopteryx is a fake."
Example d: "Dinosaur bones are made of papier-mache" --- no, I didn't make that one up.
Type 3b.iii: Attribute to scientists claims of observations which they have not made, nor claimed to have made, and then use real facts to prove that these imaginary claims are wrong.
Example a: "Many times people will imply, if not say outright, that we have a complete fossil record."
To this we may add a number of type 1 and type 2 errors in such subjects as thermodynamics, information theory, et cetera. These may also arguably be regarded as type 2 errors with respect to evolution. Also, there are type 2 errors concerning geology, for example polystrate fossils.
Note that I say "errors" rather than lies. The creationists need to drivel out their endless nauseating paranoid nonsense about "fraud" and "lies" and a "con" because their opponents are educated, informed, and intelligent.
By contrast, creationists are, at best, ignorant of the scientific method, the theory of evolution, and the facts; and, at worst, too stupid to grasp the basic concepts required to attain such knowledge.
Moreover, let me point out that it would only be necessary for the creationists to make one type of error, if it was done deliberately.
For example, if you're willing to change the scientific method (type 0), then it would not be necessary to change the theory of evolution (type 1), because if you can redefine "science" as you choose, then you can show that the actual theory of evolution was "unscientific" according to your new definition: you wouldn't need to make up a new theory of evolution as well.
Or, again, if someone is prepared to deliberately derive false conclusions from the theory of evolution (type 2) then these consequences would be in contradiction with real facts, and it would not be necessary to make type 3a errors.
Or, again, if all the evidence for evolution turned out to be fraudulent (type 3b) then it would not be necessary to make type 0, type 1 or type 2 errors.
Now a deliberate liar, I believe, will try to tell as few lies as he finds necessary to achieve his goal, because this reduces the chances that he will be caught.
But in any case, it is absurd to suppose that anyone would spend their time arguing, for no reward, for a point of view which they knew to be false. If a creationist thought that all his arguments were wrong, he wouldn't be a creationist. If he thought that some creationist arguments were wrong, he'd avoid those because he'd want to win the argument. The same applies to evolution, of course.
Instead, what creationist rubbish bears witness to is an accretion of error. If one creationist is dumb enough to make a mistake about some subject, then another creationist is dumb enough to learn to recite that mistake, without checking whether it's true, or even what it means (how many creationists, do you suppose, could say what the Second Law of Thermodynamics is?)
To quote Kent Hovind: "I may not always be right, but if I am saying it in my seminar then I don't know it to be false."
I have coined a word for people like this. I call them "asincere", where asincere is to insincere as amoral is to immoral.
There is, of course, already an English word for such people. Unfortunately, it is obscene.
To quote the philosopher Harry Frankfurt, slightly bowlderized:
The *********er ignores these demands altogether. He does not reject the authority of the truth, as the liar does, and oppose himself to it. He pays no attention to it at all. By virtue of this, ******** is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.
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