Thursday, May 14, 2020

The Ultimate In Uniformitarianism

I remember one time sitting in on an evening seminar run by a Creationist where the speaker fervently tried to prove Creationist science by attacking heathen...I mean, secular science.

[News flash - there is no Christian science and there is no secular science - there is just science. If what you claim can be tested and verified, adequately explains reality and has predictive power, it will be accepted, regardless of the position it supports or the religion of the person who discovered it]

Anyway, the speaker used a slide in his presentation which he claimed proved a worldwide flood was because of the presence of coal in regional Victoria. There was a brief explanation about how the Noachian flood did some kind of terraforming, which then started a process that gave way to mass formation of coal (paraphrased, probably badly, and I apologise beforehand if I got it wrong - happy to be corrected).

I don't remember the whole spiel the speaker gave, but one thing struck me - the claim of the formation of coal as proof of the Noachian flood is actually proof against it.

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Creationists hate uniformitarianism. OK, so do my fingers when I have to type blog posts on the topic, but Creationists can't stand it.

So just what is uniformitarianism? Basically, it's the scientific philosophy that the "present is the key to the past" which was originally quoted by William Whewell, and when applied in the sciences of geology, it's the idea that the same processes and cycles that affect the Earth in the present day can be studied to determine the conditions of the earth in the past - thus, by observing current phenomena and interpreting data, we can get a very good idea of what happened eons ago.


This is poison for Creationists because, using heretical science...sorry, I meant science, we can demonstrate that the earth is billions of years old. This goes directly against the Literalist narrative that God made the entire universe, not just the earth, in six literal days.
And so it goes that if Creationists can destroy uniformitarianism, then they think God wins by default, hence their enormous efforts in what I will frankly call scientific misinformation.


Unfortunately for Creationists, Uniformitarianism has much more explanatory and predictive power than 'the-flood-did-it', no matter how many trips to the Grand Canyon they take.

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But let me turn this around and allow me to liberally reinterpret the word uniformitarianism for a second.

To me, the Noachian flood is the ultimate in a uniform worldwide process. According to the Literalist Creation belief, the whole world was underwater for a year after 40 days of constant rain (which roughly calculates to an average of 9.2cm of rain per hour every hour), so by that logic, we then have to assume that the same hydraulic and geologic forces were at play the world over in the one year time span.

So what should we see if the world was indeed covered in kilometres upon kilometres of water?

Firstly, we should see Grand Canyons everywhere! If the Grand Canyon was indeed caused by a catastrophic flood, then a worldwide catastrophic flood should have made Grand Canyons the world over.
Under the uniformity that the Noachian flood determines, there is no logical reason why the Grand Canyon is somehow the largest. Every canyon created by the Noachian flood should be the roughly the same shape, size, width, height, depths and be composed of exactly the same materials in exactly the same places - because exactly the same forces were involved.

However, this is not what we see. We see canyons, yes, but they're vastly different, not only in topography, but also geology.



Secondly, if there was a worldwide flood that was powerful enough to fracture and carve out the dense rock of the Grand Canyon, we should then expect to see everywhere in the world be pretty much exactly the same height above sea level.

The hydraulic forces of the Noachian flood were apparently able to smash out enough rock to make a 5'000 square kilometre formation in under a year, and according to some Creationists, the Grand Canyon was formed in minutes - however if that were the case, the whole Grand Canyon should have been flattened - there's no logical reason why some rock somehow managed to stand, some rock wasn't, and why some segments of the Canyon are shaped in curves, such as Horseshoe Bend.

If we extrapolate this to consider the whole world, then assuming that the hydraulic forces involved in the creation of the Grand Canyon were also involved in equal measures the world over (and I don't see any logical reason not to assume this, unless God determined that some parts of the world deserve to be more hydraulically fractured than others), we should see 5000-square kilometre rock formations on every continent, maybe even every country and even every state, to the point that the entire world has clearly undergone large-scale topographic hydraulic fracturing.

We should also see no mountains, as well as the entire disappearance of natural rock formations - because if the Grand Canyon was carved out by a uniform worldwide blast of water, then everywhere was.

And if everywhere was, there should be very little difference in topography between countries.

But again, we do not see this. As an example, just down the road (almost literally) from where I live are The 12 Apostles, a formation of limestone stacks that sit just off the coast of Victoria which makes for a popular tourist attraction.

The fact that a number of the 'apostles' have collapsed over the years is a testament to the fact that water can indeed erode stone and rock - but again, if there was enough water to smash out the Grand Canyon 4000 years ago, then how come the limestone of The 12 Apostles has to be left to natural forces to erode - The 12 Apostles should not exist in the first place.

Also, if the whole world underwent catastrophic hydraulic fracturing, not only should we see a topographically-flat world, but we should see mountains be created at the rate of metres per day.

Mount Everest is 8848 metres tall. It has been 4000 years since the Noachian flood. By that maths, Everest has been growing at an average linear rate of over 2 metres per year. Which is strange, because no-one seems to have noticed the rapid growth.

Or, if the rate of growth wasn't linear, there must have been a time after the flood when the growth of the mountain peak slowed to a crawl, but only after the growth rate started off on an exponential basis - imagine, Mt. Everest raising up at tens, if not hundreds, of metres per year, with not one person noting the sudden growth rate.

Thirdly, we should see a homogenisation of both topographical features and of biodiversity all around the world. Everywhere in the world should look roughly the same, and have the same flora and fauna. 

Remember, the entire world was covered in water, and we know from floods and tsunamis that large volumes of water have the capacity to do large amount of flattening of local topography.

On top of that, according to the Bible, all the remaining animals of the world existed in one place, so we would expect a slow migration outwards from the ark's landing place.
But again, we do not see this. Every country has unique flora and fauna - there are no native kangaroos in Japan. There are no native lions in Australia. 

Also, every country has unique topographical features - the white cliffs of Dover are only in England. Australia has desert rock formations such as Uluru and the Devil's Marbles. The only place in Australia that seemingly has limestone stacks (which is what The 12 Apostles are) is in south-western Victoria.

Under the hypothesis that a hyperdestructive worldwide flood caused by rainfall of 9 cm per hour for days on end that had enough hydraulic force to carve out the Grand Canyon, there should be no more rocks - especially erodible ones. 

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Unfortunately, while Creationists rally against Uniformitarianism, there are two things to realise:

1. Uniformitarianism is a useful tool in the field of geology because it has a lot of explanatory power. In fact, it is the basis of the science of geology.

2. The ultimate in uniform processes, a worldwide flood that covered every single mountain in the world above the highest peak, has left very un-uniform results, as is if it never happened at all.

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Think about it...


Regards,

Damien (quiterationaldad@gmail.com)

Saturday, May 9, 2020

They Are Not The Same

Do I really need to say it? I shouldn't, but then again, if people were able to be convinced by facts and logic, we wouldn't have flat-earthers, anti-vaxxers or neo-Nazi's, so I suppose I'll have to.

Creationism is not science.

Thankfully, while the majority of my Christian friends accept that the Bible is not meant to be a science book (though they will crow when a headline comes out that seemingly indicates that the Bible got something right), there is a rabble-rousing minority that have lost the argument so bad that it invites riducule, and that rabble-rousing minority are called by a variety of names: Intelligent Design Proponents, Science Skeptics, Biblical Literalists, whatever, but their collective beliefs all come under the umbrella terms Creationist and Creationism.

It's not that I want to dismiss Creationists out of hand - I try to listen to both sides of the argument to try be as intellectually honest as I reasonably can be, and as well as evaluate points directly contrasted against each other. But after considering their points and their modus operandi, I have no choice, but to dismiss them.
You see, if you're anything like me you will have spent too much time on YouTube, and one of the things I do in my YouTube time is listen to the comparative arguments between Creationists and atheists - I do this because I want to give myself reasonable room to see if I am wrong, and to see if Creationism can explain reality better than non-Creationist explanations.

After some time thinking, I've come to a few conclusions that I believe sum up the Creationist side of the argument, to the point that it exposes their fatal flaws:

1. Creationism is not a tool to gain knowledge. 

Creationism is not a tool for finding out more about the natural world - it is an assumptive stance that railroads you to a predetermined conclusion based on one particular interpretation of one particular religion's scripture.


Unlike science, Creationism is not open to new and contradictory information. It is not self-correcting. It considers it cannot be wrong in any way (because it already has the answers, you see!). It has no predictive capabilities. And because it can't explain the mechanisms of the natural world, it is useless.

No Creationist has ever said "because the universe is 6000 years old, we know where to find oil reserves!"

No Creationist has ever said "because Noah and his family survived a year with a boatload of animals, this is how we should engineer cargo ships to hold up to 23'000 TEU's!".

No Creationist has ever said "because God created all the animals after their kinds, this is how we should prevent outbreaks of preventable diseases!".


2. Science isn't a worldview or a belief system.

One of the common tactics of Creationists is to say that the way science is practised is merely because of a worldview (they especially do this when science shows the Bible is wrong about something). They do this to try make the argument about a comparison of belief systems instead of what we can demonstrate about the natural world, as if the point at hand was about something comparable like chocolate vs vanilla ice-cream. 


Then because Creationism loses every single scientific argument it finds itself in, Creationists then shift the argument to that of worldviews. And at this stage they will then state that atheists are immoral because atheism is inherently evil, and any science that shows the Bible is wrong has a foundation of evil and immorality - the well has been successfully poisoned.

But science isn't a worldview. Science is two things - one, it is a methodology for finding out facts, and two, it is a collective body of knowledge that the methodology has verified that can be used to find out more about what is being studied (be it rocks, outer space, the genome, etc).

Creationism, however, is a worldview. It is a worldview that informs how data is interpreted, up to the point that it explicitly rejects anything that tells them they're wrong. Furthermore, Creationists proudly state for all the world to see that if a scientific or historical discovery can prove the Bible wrong, they don't want to know about it.

3. The comparative goals.

The goal of science is that we understand more about the world around us, which in turn informs the decisions we make, how we treat people and what technology we produce to make our lives more productive and safe.

However, the goal of Creationism is to either appease a deity, or to make you think that the deity is happy because that deity psychically read your thoughts and he liked what he saw because you glorified him. This is why the number one place Creationists talk at is churches, hardly ever in university science faculties (and even when they do, their own universities present disclaimers! Michael Behe, anyone?).

They are not the same!

4. What would happen if every scientist was a Creationist instead?

If everyone who studied nature did so through a Biblically-Literal, Six-Day Creationist mindset where the Bible is the ultimate truth on any and every topic, we would see the following:

First, we wouldn't even know that other planets existed, let alone know that there are literally billions of them. The Bible simply does not mention anything other than the sun, the moon and 'the stars' which are woven in to the fabric of the night sky as if they're as close as the moon is.

Gamma rays? Asteroids? Gravity? Black holes? Nup. They don't exist in the Bible.

Second, treatment for mental health and neurological issues would consist either of exorcisms, or intense one-on-one shepherding, because in the Bible, mental health issues are caused either by demons or by the sinful nature, and are cured by expelling either.

And this one I can attest to personally - no-one in any church could tell me I had anxiety disorder, but they did tell me that I was under the control of a spirit of rebellion. Numerous times.

Third, because electricity doesn't exist in the Bible, there would be no computers, no refridgeration, no life-support systems, no automated external defribilators. Nothing that has improved our life in the last 200 years.

In Creationism, if you have a heart attack, all you're getting is a group of faith healers.

5. The contribution of Creationists.

When Creationists have contributed to science, it can only be considered coincidental at best. History has shown us that people can come to the right conclusion for the wrong reasons - take the ancient Hebrew aversion to consuming swine, for example. Does God hate pigs, or was the ban on pork a blunt tool to avoid trichinosis?

So when someone like Isaac Newton or Blaise Pascal claim they did what they did because he saw a divine order to things, if Creationists are correct in asserting or implying that theology is indeed an important part of science, this should mean that no atheist should be able to make world-changing discoveries.

Nobel prize laureates such as Curie (all three of them), Niels Bohr, and Einstein - all confirmed atheists - should be enough data to defeat the Creationist argument.

So when both an atheist and a Christian study nature and they both make new discoveries, what does that mean? It means that the study of nature doesn't care about your religious beliefs. 

6. Creationists have ridden the coat-tails of science.

It is hilarious to think of the paradox that Creationists find themselves in.

Creationists will happily accept the findings of every field of science that has made their life healthier, safer and more productive, such as that of medical science (I've never met a Creationist who never went to hospital), electrical science (every Creationist I know has used a computer or turned on a power point), engineering (every Creationist lives, works and worships in a building of some sort) and even chemistry (I'm sure even Creationists have applied sunburn lotion, painted a house or washed their hair at some point in their lives).

But when it comes to the fields of science that unequivocally say that a literal interpretation of the Bible is completely incompatible with reality, then all of a sudden, the excuses come out:

That science was produced by an atheist who hated God!

University science faculties are corrupt professors who are full of pride and refuse to listen to alternate opinions!

Were you there? I have the word of someone who was!

That is NOT a God-of-the-gaps fallacy, and I'm offended by what you said.

I'm open to the evidence, but I'm yet to see any evidence for evolution!

Atheism has contributed nothing to science!


If these people weren't trying to get in to classrooms and textbooks, it would be hilarious.

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Long story short - I don't feel bad for dismissing Creationist arguments.

A Creationist explanation for a particular natural phenomenon has always been trumped by a naturalistic one.

When a Creationist quotes a scientist who seemingly makes a contradictory finding, it is almost always a quote-mine.

But most of all, the data we have collected has already been looked at and studied as objectively as possible, and there was no god and no God anywhere in it.

Bottom line: science and Creationism are not the same.

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Stay safe, keep warm, and if you can, stay home to prevent the spread.

Regards,

Damien (quiterationaldad@gmail.com)

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