Friday, 2 March 2012

If Creationism Is Science, Why Do They Need Tactics?

Creationist debating tactics all boil down to a single two-step strategy. Looking at these gives us a very strong clue both to those at whom they are aimed and the scant regard to honesty and integrity of those who use them.
  1. Attack some obscure aspect of science, usually, but not always, something which impinges directly of their favourite mythical account of creation by a magic man using magic to make it all out of nothing. This can take several forms, including but not limited to:

    • Attacking a ridiculous parody of science.
    • Claiming something which has been explained either hasn't been or can't be explained.
    • Magnifying some obscure aspect about which there is disagreement in the science community and claiming this shows scientists can't agree about anything.
    • Claiming that something science does not yet know proves that this is unknowable and therefore science is flawed and can't answer questions.
    • Pointing to mistakes, revised or discarded earlier theories or even attempted hoaxes which some scientist may have been fooled briefly by, as proof that science gets things wrong. This can include representing mistaken or falsified accounts in the popular press as serious science, even when these have later been corrected.
    • Claiming that withdrawn papers or discarded theories are still part of the body of science and still presented as current theories, even referencing old books and journals as evidence.
    • Presenting an out of context quote from a famous scientist such as Darwin or Einstein and claiming is shows they didn't believe their own theory.
    • Confusing philosophical questions with science and claiming science is flawed because it can't tell you the purpose of your life, what the universe was created for or who made the scientific laws.
    • Lying.
  2. Claim that this destroys the entire body of science and therefore their favourite notions wins by default.

    Thing which will never form part of their strategy are:

    • A falsifiable claim or prediction based on their god-did-it notion.
    • A statement of what they would accept as proof of the science they are attacking.
    • a description of the checkable evidence upon which their notion is based and an explanation of why it can only have the interpretation they ascribe to it.
    • A statement of what they would accept as falsifying it.

Quite clearly this strategy is designed to appeal to those who:

  1. Don't understand science or the subject being attacked and will believe if you can create any degree of uncertainty over any aspect of science, or can show, accurately or not, that science was ever wrong about anything, the whole thing collapses.
  2. Through cultural arrogance, parochial ignorance or a combination of both, will simply assume without question that the locally popular god is the only alternative on offer.
  3. Crave the comfort of certainty and find anything which shakes that certainty uncomfortable and/or frightening and so are disinclined to question basic assumptions or learn anything which might cause them to call those basic assumptions into question.
  4. Are deriving some sort of spurious self-affirmation from the thought that their inherited superstition automatically trumps anything which 'those crazy/elitist propeller-heads in white coats' and/or 'evil conspiracists' are dreaming up.





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