“The Solipsism of Science” – A Reply

November 9, 2012 in Religion, Science

DISCLAIMER: This post might contain foul language and will most definitely contain anti-religious sentiments. Reader discretion is advised. You have been warned. You know where the “Back” button is… If not, read on, and enjoy… if you must.

Tyronehster has made quite a few contributions to the MyNews24 platform, the vast majority of which advocates a pro-religious/anti-science view. The man is certainly no fool, though sometimes I have to wonder which parts are really his, and which not… I once pointed out to him that a post he submitted was mainly a word-for-word copy of an email that had been doing the rounds a year or two earlier. To this he replied that he never claimed that the writing was his. Yet, nowhere in the article did he give any reference or credit to the original author, nor did he use quotation marks anywhere other than where the original author used them. He also inserted some of his own comments in such a fashion as to make them indistinguishable from the original author’s, and omitted several quotations from the original. Though it is true that Tyronester never claimed to be the author, it is quite clear that he had no problem with the fact that the vast majority of those that read the piece would be left with exactly that impression. And the fact that he seems to think it is perfectly fine to do things this way makes me question both his integrity, and his reasoning. That being said, his latest contribution was quite an interesting, if somewhat boring read. I have my doubts about the authorship, but until evidence to the contrary turns up I will give Tyronester the benefit of the doubt, and assume him to be its sole author.

Tyronester’s post is interesting because it contains several strange assertions and inferences that, on the face of it, might seem valid. But once we delve into the specifics many of them are revealed to be little more than baseless assumptions, ridiculous comparisons, and questionable conclusions. I will not reproduce the entire piece here, because it is simply too long, but I will quote the relevant part where it is practical to do so.

Tyronester states that “Like so many so-called sciences, Eugenics was widely accepted for many years.” Though the fact that it was widely accepted is true, there is a bit of an issue with calling it a “so-called science”. For one, Eugenics as a scientific theory is completely valid. We’ve been doing the same with animals for millennia. This is why we have cows, race-horses, sheep, and just about every domesticated animal on the planet. But the Eugenics Tyronester is focusing on here is not the science, it’s the Social Movement.

A little further on Tyronester states exactly that: “…ensuring ‘survival of the fittest’” (emphasis mine). But again, he confuses “theory” with practice: “We now know the theory to be fatally flawed, and I say fatally for a reason, as it was not only criminally wrong, but ultimately led to the death of millions.“.

Clearly, theoretically, it is possible to guide the evolutionary path of homo sapiens, but that does not imply that doing so, by means of policy and/or violence, is in any way morally defensible, or even practical. Tyronester was clearly trying to make use of the age-old creationist tactic of trying to shift the blame for the abuse of the findings of science on to the shoulders of scientists and science itself instead of the sociopolitical, socioeconomic and religious driving forces that led to its implementation and abuse. He completely ignores the fact that Eugenics was most popular in the US, which still is one of the most religious countries in the west. He states towards the end of the piece that “It was said that, if Jesus were alive, He would have supported this effort. Anyone who objected, was shouted down and called reactionary and blind to reality.“. Yet gives it little weight in his conclusions. He cites abuses of minorities, the poor, and the weak and infirm, quoting statistics left right and center, but never, NOT EVEN ONCE, admits that religion based bigotry in the forms of racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, and socioeconomical bigotry in the form of classism, were the major driving forces behind the sickening business that followed  No, Tyronester prefers to lob all the blame on Charles Darwin for merely making observations of nature and then positing a theory as to the processes involved in affecting the rather obvious change that takes place within it. This is, and will always be Creationism’s first line of attack: Nazis? – Blame Darwin. Communism? – Blame Darwin. Eugenics? – Blame Darwin. God is a myth? – Blame Darwin… As if Darwin himself “created” all of these problems on purpose and all by himself.

Well here’s a little lesson in logic for all the silly little Creator-Loving fuck-witts out there: Portraying Darwin as a bad person DOES NOT render his findings invalid. Sir Isaac Newton was equally known for the fact that he was an egocentric asshole of the highest order, but that does not render Newtonian Physics or Calculus useless. And I can’t help but be tired of hearing the old “Science created ‘insert atrocity here’ ” argument. Science doesn’t create, it investigates. People who want ‘insert atrocity here’ and want to use ‘insert atrocity here’, created  ‘insert atrocity here’. And more often than not, they do so because of religious or political ideals, not because Darwin or any other scientist told them to, and generally against the advice of scientists who understand the potential uses of the things made possible by science. You can’t blame scientists for discovering something that has been true for all eternity for the actions of unscrupulous people who then go and abuse that knowledge. It’s silly and stupid. The kind of logic only a child would use.

Pretty well hidden in the piece was also this snide little gem:”Whenever people on this forum say that ID is not science, and was proven as such by the US Supreme Court, I laugh, because they have passed so many absurd laws that they are often laughable. This case, however, was anything but.” Talk about comparing apples and pears. Anyway, if Tyronester wants a comparison, we might as well give him one.

First off, Tyronester attempts to discredit all fields of science by lambasting only one of them, and that only on its practical applications,  because the theory behind it is as sound as you can get. No, he tries to take the “moral high-road”, and blames the discoverers of truth for the actions of the bigots who apply that knowledge to their own selfish ends. What makes it worse is that when Eugenics as a theoretical science, and ID, as a theoretical science, are compared, ID fails miserably in both evidence and method. Here’s how:

Method: Eugenics – Based on observations made in the fields of Genetics, Animal Husbandry, Paleontology, Archaeology  and Evolutionary Biology. Intelligent Design – Based on the unverifiable, impossible to prove, and normally religiously based  assumption that everything must have been “designed” because it looks “designed” (…And the Bible says it was, so it must be true.)

Evidence: Eugenics – Experimentally tested based on theoretical predictions made in the fields of Genetics and Evolutionary Biology. Confirmed by studies in the fields of Sociology, Industrial Psychology, Neurology and Archaeology. Intelligent  Design – makes no predictions because it is based on a premise that is impossible to prove, and can therefore not be tested. The only usable evidence ever proffered is inconsistencies or errors in opposing theories (Using the moronic logic of “You must be wrong, therefore I must be right.”)… And, of course, scripture… ‘Nuf said…

So go ahead Tyronester. Have a chuckle. As long as you remind yourself that a Christian Judge, who believes ID, could not in good conscience allow ID to be taught as a science because it simply fails at the most basic requirements for being labeled a science. Homeopathy has more “Science” in it than ID will ever have… Clearly ID belongs in a category that is beyond just pathetic. But hey, If you want to cal lit “science”, go ahead. I can’t stop you from choosing to be ignorant. I can only point out that you are

But of course, the gist of what Tyronester really wanted to say only appears right at the end of the post: “Now call me close-minded if you will, but another pseudo-science is currently enjoying the support of the majority of scientists, with naysayers almost guaranteed zero employability, regardless of their qualifications.

Can guess which one it is?

There are two supposed “pseudo-sciences” that spring immediately to mind: The Big Bang Theory, and Evolutionary Theory. Clearly Tyronester is heavily opposed to both, and his reasons for being opposed to them seems to have very little to do with the veracity of the observations that support the findings of these two fields of study. No, Tyronester doesn’t like them because they somehow fly in the face of what he wants to be true. And what he wants to be true is the world view portrayed in his holy book. Not anyone else’s mind you… only the one he decided to follow, and this is where our world-views diverge dramatically.

Science, as a tool, is constantly evolving. Disproved hypotheses are discarded, newer, better techniques adopted, new technologies developed, and the pool of scientists working in the various fields constantly added to. It is a tool that self regulates through a peer review system, openly shares its information, and welcomes investigation and debate. It is not afraid to admit it is wrong, and learns from its mistakes. And most importantly of all, it encourages skepticism.

Religion, on the other hand, hasn’t changed much in the last couple of centuries… and the work it’s based on hasn’t changed in at least the last millennium… It doesn’t discard scripture that proves to be inaccurate. Instead it “reads between the lines” and finds various “interpretations” to explain away the disparity. All while claiming that it is “perfect” and “truth”, amid a flood of poor translations and interpretations so vague they can be used as justification for just about anything. (You’d think that something that’s supposedly “perfect” would at least be “perfectly understandable”) Not to mention that it openly admonishes its adherents NOT to question faith.

That is the major difference between our two world views. If a god shows up, I can change my position, same as I do every time new evidence emerges that changes my view on something I previously held to be true. Tyronester’s not that lucky though. If a god does show  up, and it happens to be Vishnu, and not Yahweh,  Tyrone still can’t/won’t change his mind. This is because I investigate life by assuming nothing is true until proven, and then forming my opinions around the information and evidence I can gather. Tyronester starts with “First there is God” and then has no choice but to make his observations of the world fit in with that premise or face severe cognitive dissonance. This is why some facts and questions just get flat-out ignored by the likes of Dumbwin, Sharkster, Bohmer and Tyronester. It’s not that they simply don’t know the answer (which is easy enough to say). It’s because merely contemplating it would require them to disregard the premise of God, even if just for a second, and they find this uncomfortable to the point of being completely incapable of doing so.

But hey, That’s just my opinion…

Now go away and do something useful.


2 responses to “The Solipsism of Science” – A Reply

  1. Interesting post. I do disagree on one matter in particular, and that is that religion is static. It is all but static! It is in fact ever changing. But the debates over sciences and religion is a bit pointless in my view.

    While I can completeley understand critisism lodged at particular interpretations of God, for example the Catholic interpretation, the Protestant interpretation, Judaism etc, I am convinced that many scientists also rely heavily on faith in interpreting data.

    This rings true especially concerning ideas surrounding the origin of the universe and life. What we believe is much more often the product personal choice than anything else.

    • Thank you Barend. I have to ask though: In what way does religion evolve other than merely reinterpreting scripture?

      Personally I don’t find the debates about science and religion pointless. If these debates are not had then religion would simply keep creeping into education and the public sphere until the churches once again dictate what THEY think we should be allowed to know/learn/read/believe.

      And I disagree about scientists. Accepting observable and testable hypotheses does not require faith. All it requires is understanding. Emotions might run high on certain topics, but the self correcting nature of science makes the level of arrogance you’re implying impossible to maintain. People are welcome to their personal opinions and choices, but not to their own facts. Those theories you disparage might not be conclusively proven, but the physics and chemistry that make them possible, if not probable, are irrefutable. You’re free to choose not to believe something, but that hardly makes it untrue.

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