Monday, January 01, 2007

More of my conversation

Here is my latest email to Bob, who has completely lost his faith, about his insistence that the world is rejecting religion and is turning to scientific rationalism entirely because the Bible is bologna. I disagreed with him:

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I've been thinking more about your reply, and there are more problems with it than your non-answering of my last questions.

You say that your prediction will come true. I say it will not, even if not for the reason that the Temple is rebuilt: The days that people worship science are gone. Nobody can "prove" anything to anybody anymore, because everybody knows that scientists find what they are being paid to find, or are ideologically predisposed to find, or what their universities tell them to find if they want their doctorate, and so on. We are well-into the post-enlightenment era - science has lost its hegemony on thought. That is a trend of philosophy and sociology, not religion, and its beginnings are well documented. People may not turn toward the established mainline religions, but they will not turn toward science or scientific rationalism, because that has proved to be a mist in the wind. I actually wrote piece on that a few years ago. I'll post it for you here:

{begin article}
There is an interesting article on Yahoo Health news today about the relationship between cola and obesity (soda=pop for people who don't speak Yankee). I have posted an excerpt here, not so much because I believe cola is a serious cause of obesity in children (because I do), but because of the remark near the end by the last researcher. See if you can find the one I mean:

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...As for soda being linked to poor eating patterns, "you don't know which is cause and which is effect," Drewnowski said.
People who consume lots of fresh-squeezed juice, vegetables and fruits are fundamentally not the same as those who subsist on colas and bologna sandwiches, he contends.
"There is a difference: The first group is rich," Drewnowski said. He thinks government subsidies of fruits and vegetables would be better public policy than taxing a cheap source of calories.
He also disputes the claim that soda calories are not satisfying. He did a study in which 32 men and women were given either colas or fat-free Raspberry Newtons before lunch on four separate occasions.
"There was absolutely no difference in satiety" as measured by how much they ate or how hungry they said they were, he said.
That research was paid for by industry, a factor that can affect study outcomes, said Kelly Brownell, a psychologist and food policy researcher at Yale University and a vocal advocate for curbs on soda and fast food.
When you look at studies according to who footed the bill, "the literature parts like Moses parting the ocean," he said, referring to the biblical parting of the Red Sea.
Does the evidence add up to a conviction of soda?
One of the nation's leading epidemiologists who has no firm stake in the debate, the American Cancer Society's Dr. Michael Thun, thinks it does.
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Did you see it? To paraphrase...
When you look at [scientific] studies according to who footed the bill, the literature parts like Moses parting the Red Sea.
Here is the one real issue that separates the people on all sorts of issues in the modern world: the fact that scientists pretend to be completely impartial and unbiased - but they aren't.
This is why no one trusts scientists anymore. This is why science has lost credibility as the final arbiter of what is real and what is not in the world, not to mention what is True and what is not.
The darwinist priesthood vs. the intelligent designers, the nutritionists vs. the junk food industry, the environmentalists vs. the manufacturing/industrial world, the teachers unions vs. anyone with common sense, and so on. Every group has their scientists who "do" their studies and "find" what they are paid to find or predisposed ideologically to find. And they present this garbage as "fact" (and claim that their scientists are better then the other side's scientists), and then wonder why the controversies don't go away, since in their own imaginations they have "solved" the issue. Meanwhile, the other side publishes its own studies,which contradict the first studies, and the mudslinging goes on and on and on.
The public, of course, has reached the point where their patience is expired. Scientists have cried wolf when products weren't dangerous, claimed things were safe that were deadly, censored research and researchers who dared to question the entrenched status quo, claimed they were on the brink of solving problems that didn't get solved, pretended to understand processes and interactions that they turned out not to understand at all, and in general set themselves up as gods whose word should not be questioned.

They appear to have forgotten that "pride goeth before a fall."

And the fall of science is an embarrassing problem for them. They claim people are uneducated and ignorant for clinging to their religious beliefs, unconventional philosophies, alternative remedies and non-conformist ideas of history, politics, and everything else. But people, for the most part, know they are not stupid. They know that they have followed the issues that interest them, and been burned by believing scientists. They trusted science, but science let them down. No, not just let them down - sometimes science even screwed them.

So here we are, in the post-modern, post-science era, and scientists can't figure out how we got here. Guess what, class? Too bad they won't admit they did it to themselves. Otherwise, there might, possibly, be some sort of reform implimented that would rescue science from being classified in the same category as Tarot cards and astrology. (Apologies to all astrologers and Tarot card readers out there.) But that's the point of this, isn't it? Those guys have as much, if not more, integrity in the minds of the average person than the scientists do.

Now, here is the part where I'm supposed to say how sad that is. But I'm not going to, because it's not sad. It was ridiculous for science to claim they had the answers to everything in the first place. Empericism is nice, but claiming that there is nothing beyond empericism simply doesn't match with the personal experience and knowledge of millions and millions of people. And simply stating that these experiences by ordinary people aren't valid, aren't real, or have no meaning just makes science look stupid. Which is why people now think science is stupid, not valid, not real, and not meaningful. Science is arrogant, therefore it is not taken seriously. By pretending to be holier-than-thou science has proved itself incapable of objectivity. And until objectivity and impartiality is restored to science, it cannot recover its reputation. What is actually unfortunate is that this will never happen.

{End of Article}

Carbon dating is based on a very simple premise: that the decay rate of carbon is stable and does not fluctuate. However, this is only a premise. To determine that for a fact, you would have to observe a sample of carbon for thousands of years. The fact is, it could very well present as a hyperbolic curve, not a straight line (With the high end at the beginning of the graph, and the more level part near the end, where we are.) In fact, there is evidence for this. Remember Mt. St. Helens in 1980? They were developing their latest carbon-dating equipment and decided to test in on the brand-spanking-new rocks formed by the explosion. And you know what? Those brand-new, only a few weeks old samples, tested to be millions of years old, even when everybody there KNEW they were only a few weeks old. There was an article about it, which I cut out and is here somewhere in some unpacked box somewhere, no doubt. You might even still be able to find it on the net, but I doubt it. The fact is, despite the suppression of evidenced by the scientific community, the carbon dating process is not a fact.

And speaking of suppression of data - surely you are aware that there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of scientists: micro-biologists, organic chemists, etc., and yes, even antropologists, archaeologists, and paleontologists who were once towing the party line and have now turned away from evolution for two main reasons - one, the fossil record does not show natural selection, and two, irreducible complexity. IC, by the way, is the criteria by which Darwin himself said his theory would fail. The Darwin high priesthood has an inquisition that would make Torquemada proud, as the poor editor of Smithsonian found out just a couple of years ago, when he accidentally published a perfectly good peer-reviewed article about something or another that could sort of maybe a little bit look like it might be evidence in favor of intelligent design. Or do you not remember that tar-and-feathering?

Your faith is science is just that - faith. I have seen it said by some scientists that it takes MORE faith to believe in evolution than it does to believe in a creator. What you call anachronisms [in the Bible] are just the pronouncements of scientists who weren't there and who have an ideological ax to grind, in most cases, or are basing their assumptions on flawed procedures or a misunderstanding of what the Bible actually says.

Surely you know that even the book of Joshua admits that he did not drive out or kill all the inhabitants, and that they were so intermingled with cana'anite society that the book of judges and all the prophets state plainly that you couldn't even tell them from the pagan society around them! Why do you think they were continually punished in the first place? It was because they did NOT stick to Judaic worship alone, they did NOT obey Torah, and they DID intermarry and speak pagan language and use pagan writing - it even says that in Ezra AFTER they came back from exile the first time. Why shouldn't the archeology show nothing but pagan culture in Israel - the Israelites WERE in fact part of the pagan culture, except for some short-lived reforms once in a lifetime or so. What would you expect the archaeologists to find? The only thing in dispute is the dates, and those are made by methods which cannot be shown to be accurate anytime within the next 5,000 years.

Anyway, this is getting long, but you get the point. I don't believe you have given up worship - you have just changed your worship from Torah to Politically Correct Science. There's plenty of science out there that disagrees with your science. But of course, to you, they're just more liars and nuts, aren't they?

Shalom!

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