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Author Topic:   Creationism Road Trip
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Message 406 of 409 (681078)
11-22-2012 11:01 AM

Science and evidence and cognitive dissonance -- summary of my posts
In the interest of providing a summary of my position/s, I am only going to address (a) the OP and (b) my own posts. This will be a little long.
The OP presented a video of YEC creationists being subjected to evidence contrary to their beliefs.
Cognitive dissonance theory says that there are several ways that the dissonance created by such experiences can be resolved in the minds of the people involve. Anger, attacking the messenger, and even more steadfast belief in their positions, especially when reinforced by talking to others of similar beliefs. These all occurred.
We could have predicted that the road trip would end the way it did using cognitive dissonance theory. Likewise we could predict similar behavior from any YEC creationists that respond. This also occurred.
Unfortunately the video suffered from two related problems: first it had to be edited down to the length allowed for broadcasting (and thus a lot of relevant material needed to be excluded, and the information covered in the raw footage is even more limited to but a cursory look at the vast amount of evidence); second it had to be made entertaining.
The actual evidence is much more pervasive than could possibly be covered by such a short film, and the learning of what the evidence means would need to take significantly longer than allowed by the road-trip format.
In Message 69 I entered the discussion to discuss the issue of the age of the earth:
Ah, then you will be able to explain the correlations:
Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1
The task is not just to explain how each system is wrong in it's evidence and conclusions for time that has elapsed, but the correlations between the different methods: why they get the same results.
This request went unanswered. One reaction predictable by cognitive dissonance is that contrary information may be ignored in the hope that it will go away.
Sadly, empirical objective evidence does not go away or change because someone wishes this to happen.
My position on the evidence showing that the earth is indeed old, older than any YEC model can explain, was reinforced with Message 98 in response to Coyote's post on 14C dating of a skeleton:
I would add that this is well within the range where the accuracy of the radiocarbon dating has been validated by dendrochronology -- the counting of annual tree rings -- which has itself been validated to be within 0.5% accuracy, as detailed in Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1 - see Message 4.
Ignoring contrary evidence does not make it go away.
In Message 108 I raised the issue of cognitive dissonance, not to insult any participants, but to show how this psychological phenomonon affects the way people respond to dissonant information, and how to better understand those responses.
This is how she resolves the conflict, by just rejecting any conflicting information.
This of course means that her statements about having an explanation that is as good or better than science is merely an admission of confirmation bias, cherry picking what fits her beliefs, rejecting what doesn't.
Message 99: Sorry, I DO respect you scientists a great deal -- when you stick to the work of science, ...
... even with RAZD's dendrochronology and his whole list of supposed proofs, which I've seen him post many times here, I reject it as science. ...
Classic example of cognitive dissonance (for those just joining us the thread in question is Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1, a thread about the correlations between dating methods that no creationist has been able to answer since it was first posted in 03-14-2004 ... ).
There is no break in the data that would allow for a world wide flood during the time covered by these chronologies.
Faith cannot explain this information, so she rejects it instead and pretends (fools herself?) that it isn't science and thus isn't valid information.
This is one of the ways that people resolve cognitive dissonance in their beliefs.
This was reinforced in Message 137 (along with reference to 14C Calibration and Correlations):
Another thing to point out is what the margins of error from the various known causes, including those that Faith raises, are tested and included in the margins of error in each of the techniques for the dates derived.
ie - the measured, tested, evaluated, confirmed error in tree ring counting is 0.5% over an 8,000 year sample: there are sources of error, but they don't add up to a significant effect on the accuracy of dendrochronology.
When we combine the known errors of dendrochronology, 14C production (jags) variation, and the 14C/12C measurement errors, it results in the possible error for this method.
This error is insufficient to convert the ages covered by dendrochrology -- the tree ring chronology is continuous and unbroken for over 12,460 years before the present day -- to fit within a 6000 year young earth scenario.
Similarly, all of Faiths objections fall inside the possible errors of date measurements, but don't add up to enough change to results to fit.
The exponential decay of 14C is validated by the dendrochronologies, it occurred in the past as it does today.
Curiously, the corrected ages from calibration of the 14C method result in older dates than the uncalibrated calculation. This makes 14C a worse problem for YEC creationists to explain.
Rejecting contrary evidence does not make it go away.
Faith, like most YEC creationists did not participate in discussions of the evidence for an old earth, such as are presented in Age Correlations and An Old Earth, Version 2 No 1
In Message 218 I first asked Faith for documentation from the bible for her assertions:
This is one part of YEC thinking that I have a lot of trouble with:
[qs]From all the bazillions of tons of loose sediments carried in the Flood waters that had been scoured off the land mass in the early stages of the Flood.[/s]
Why do you say this? Why does this flood cause this massive amount of scouring in the early stages? All I see is reference to rain, which causes some erosion, but not whole mountains in one whack.
Do you have a specific biblical reference that specifically says that this occurs?
It seems that YEC creationists have this propensity to ascribe incredible extrapolations and imagination to what could be simply rising water, including processes that are not observed to occur anywhere on earth (water pressure causing sediment to turn into rock, fossils formed instantly by water pressure, etc).
This is repeated in Message 235
Do you have a source for your use of the term "torrents"? -- there is a lot of variation in how much water rains down in any given storm.
Again can you provide documentation that any mudslides occurred, or are you including pure supposition\imagination rather than anything specifically included in the bible?
Again, I am unaware of any documented damage from such a source in the bible -- can you provide some?
Why should we assume that there was any significant erosion when there is -- apparently -- no documentation of any erosion occurring?
Can you provide a biblical reference to erosion occurring at all?
And this was addressed again in Message 253:
As far as I can see, nothing that I posted in Message 235 contradicts the bible, rather it is asking for specific claims you have made to be actually supported by the bible: (Message 235 repeated)
Curiously, I ask these questions for clarity, noting that you have also said:
... Too bad, creationists today come up with just as unbiblical stuff.
So you really need to establish what is actually biblical stuff, and then allow that anything NOT specifically mentioned must be "unbiblical stuff"
So can you answer my questions above?
This is particularly telling, as Faith railed against early Christian amateur geologists that determined that the evidence did not show the occurrence of a world wide flood being "unbiblical stuff" when what she does is not supported by the bible in any reference that she could have provided when asked.
The fallacy of pride in one's own opinions. Sadly, opinion is spectacularly incapable of altering evidence.
In Message 270 we moved from the issue of supporting various assertions to the issue of terminology and the proper use of terms:
Again, water is known for dissolving some materials (soluble things), such as limestone deposits. There are instances known where enough is dissolved that the surface of the land collapses, however this is not a mudslide, but a collapsed roof of a cave where the limestone has been dissolved out to the point of structural failure of the covering rock layers.
Of course, you also now have the problem of first forming the limestone and then depositing stuff over it and then dissolving it, with these processes specifically detailed in the bible.
Sadly, it appears that "a geologically short lifetime" is still significantly longer than the duration of the flood.
Do you have a biblical reference for the dissolving of "stuff" causing mudslides or structural failure?
Again, I want to be sure that you are not posting "unbiblical stuff" ...
This was also addressed in Message 377 and Message 391 along with reference to Definitions, Daffynitions, Delusions, Logic and Critical Thinking..
In Message 306 I moved on to discussing alternative scenarios based on what we actually see in the world around us to ascribe those effects to the purported world wide flood:
To cause erosion and "breaking up the land" you need energy in the water == turbulence.
The point I'm making is the concept of the whole flood being gentle with the water rising from the oceans as a not-out-of-the-ordinary rain falls is not contradicting the bible as far as I can see, but it does not cause any significant effect on the land masses -- similar to what we see in modern floods.
If you mean eroding instead of dissolving then yes, it is likely that there would be some erosion of existing soils into streams and lakes, similar to what we see today. We can also see that a duration of only 40 days of rain in one storm would likely contribute less erosion than has been observed via the numerous rainstorms over the last couple thousand years of known history.
Curiously , no mountain has been seen to have been eroded into the see in thousands of years of recorded history, in spite of the accumulated duration of rain on some of those mountains exceeding 40 days by orders of magnitude.
What I know - now - is that you do not have any biblical references for the different aspects you attribute to flood waters, rather that they are based on your imagination.
The reason that you find my comments "silly" is due to cognitive dissonance.
If you cannot show that it contradicts the bible AND if you cannot show that it contradicts what is known to occur by science and observation, then dismissing it as "silly" is just your attempt to deal with information that is counter to your beliefs.
So we come back, predictably, to the issue of cognitive dissonance and the rejection of contrary evidence. Curiously, this behavior extends to adamant misuse of "dissolve" when presented with terms that better describe actual processes for what she imagines occurred. Faith again insists that her usage is valid in Message 398:
I refer you back to the definition I already supplied from a standard English Dictionary. There is absolutely nothing unusual about my use of the term "dissolve" despite your strained attempt to discredit me. I'm using STANDARD DiCTIONARY-VALIDATED ENGLISH, ORDINARY ENGLISH.
Note that Dissolve Definition & Meaning |
dissolve [dih-zolv] Show IPA verb dissolved, dissolving, noun
verb (used with object)
1. to make a solution of, as by mixing with a liquid; pass into solution: to dissolve salt in water.
2. to melt; liquefy: to dissolve sugar into syrup.
3. to undo (a tie or bond); break up (a connection, union, etc.).
4. to break up (an assembly or organization); dismiss; disperse.
5. Government . to order the termination of (a parliament or other legislative body).
The FIRST definition shows the most common usage, and only definition 3 can be stretched to meet her usage (water doesn't melt thingsand 4&5 apply to groups of people).
Here was an opportunity to learn and expand one's understanding of the way things work, and it was rejected.
In science words are used with specific meanings to convey precise information and promote understanding. In a debate clarity of meaning is important to concise arguments. If the posts discussing the term and trying to understand the meaning behind the misuse were deleted the whole thread would be shorter and more concise.
There was substantial appeal to the evidence for the Grand Canyon supporting the YEC creationist model of effects from a world wide flood. There was equally substantial refusal to look at details that contradict this model:
Message 388: ... But the thinking about the Grand Canyon, while I love playing with it myself and coming up with my own ideas about it, is pretty much what other creationists also think, including GEOLOGISTS. So I'd say it's pretty well worked out except for the details. ...
Amusingly, it is the contrary details that invalidate such "arm-chair geology" speculation.
To address some of these pernicious details I have proposed a new thread Age of Grand Canyon and Cave Speleothems .
Edited by RAZD, : updated last link to promoted thread

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Member (Idle past 2192 days)
Posts: 6117
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Message 407 of 409 (681081)
11-22-2012 11:51 AM

My summary can be taken from my two signature lines.
Both are extremely appropriate to this thread.

Religious belief does not constitute scientific evidence, nor does it convey scientific knowledge.
Belief gets in the way of learning--Robert A. Heinlein

Posts: 7801
From: Manchester, UK
Joined: 05-01-2005

Message 408 of 409 (681103)
11-22-2012 2:42 PM

The summary
I can't summarize my points, as I've made none in this thread. I feel like a bit of a cheat.
The 'Conspiracy Road Trip' show is a fun format where laymen that hold conspiracy theories are exposed to evidence that contradicts their views.
In the 7/7 episode they had the theorists walk the same route, catch the same trains as the bombers, as there was a conspiracy theory that they couldn't have done it. They watched a guy use household products to create explosives and then use those explosives to blow the roof off a bus: some theories claimed it wasn't possible and it must have been military grade.
The Creationism episode was not as good as that episode. It was interesting to see the group dynamic, but I don't feel as if they really did much to resolve the matter. I think the best bit was probably ordering the skull fossil copies section. I'd like to see more of that kind of thing. Taking them to Grand Canyon as discussed by others, seems to have been handled pretty poorly.
I didn't really like the Jerry Coyne bit either (about 15 minutes in). Poor editing, maybe? We seem to skip from bit to bit, and nobody is seen making a coherent argument except for a bit about ship's of a certain size being infeasible. Then after some tears and patronising comments, we cut to Jerry saying 'I've already given you so much evidence'. Had he? What evidence are we talking about? And why is Jerry Coyne brought on to discuss boats? Surely we should be hearing about bottlenecks and biogeography or something. Maybe he talked about those things, I think he probably did. But we don't get to see it - the editors seem to have focussed on the bickering and ignored the discussion.
He did say some interesting things about creationism and rejection of evolution later, out of earshot of the creationists.

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Message 409 of 409 (681109)
11-22-2012 3:43 PM

My Summary
Faith, by her own admission is highly prejudiced in favour of the Flood - to the point where her mind is closed to the possibility that it could be wrong. The possibility that her theological masters could be wrong is unacceptable to her. She insists that geologists must be as bad as her but she never offers any real evidence (and somehow seems upset that we don't automatically agree - even though her accusation is implausible and obviously self-serving).
But if geologist's views are suspect because of assumed prejudice, why doesn't Faith admit that her own assessment of her own arguments is suspect for her own admitted prejudice ? Faith might say that her prejudices are right,- but so would anyone who was equally prejudiced. Her prejudice blinds her to the possibility that she is blinded by prejudice.
It's all very easy for Faith to think she's refuted mainstream geology when she doesn't understand what it says or why. But her lack of knowledge means that her prejudice must play a major part in her assessment, so why should anyone else believe it ? And why should she even expect anyone else to believe it ? Or think that debate is "futile" if they don't ?

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