A lot of people have their religions, and they can keep them. The classic darwinian, relativity-based, abstract Scientific Humanism is mine. There are things I accept on faith. Basically, they come down to this: Any piece of science that I don't know how it works, I can find out. And I can prove. Someone defined physics as "the stuff that works even if you don't believe in it. " It's true. I don't remember the details, but someone convinced a bunch of Indians [oops. . .Unslaughtered Native Americans] that they were bulletproof once. Bullets still worked fine.
I don't know how penicillin works, exactly. I know a little more than most people- how a TV works, why nothing can get colder than absolute zero, even a little about why the sky is blue. I guess this makes me a priest of the religion. But, snake handling and faith healings aside, I've seen some of the miracles of Scientific Humanism. I've put my hands on the side of a container with boiling water in it, and it was cold. (vacuum pumps and Boyle's law.) I've laid down on a bed of nails, had a big stump put on my chest, and had someone hit it with a sledgehammer. I've seen the blue glow from a nuclear reactor.
My problem with all the various things- paganism, mysticism, New Age healing, etc.- that I've run into is that nobody has ever demonstrated them TO ME. I can't say it's all BS. All I can say, by scientific theory, is that I've never seen it. If it requires faith to see it, it's probably not real. Rainbows don't require faith. Neither does nuclear power.
James Randi thinks it's all BS. And he's got a million dollars waiting foranyone who can prove he's wrong.
Creation science [sic] is one of the things that makes me angriest. It's the teaching of ignorance and stupidity. The fact that the ignorant and stupid are religious and sincere doesn't make them any less guilty. I actually read a book, start to finish, called "The Collapse of Evolution." There aren't a lot of things that make me really, deeply, angry but that book was one of them. It is an insult to the intelligence. It places every anti- evolutionary theory ever devised next to each other, regardless of the contradictions between them. It is full of poor logic and outright lies. I was sitting alone, reading this, playing "Creationist Jeopardy."
'There are no missing links between vertebrates and invertebrates.'
"What is a shark?" *
'[If evolution was still going on] We would expect to see "fishibians". . .'
"What is a mudskipper?"
'Many evolutionists argue amongst themselves. . .'
"What is the scientific method?"
It's the worst book I've ever seen. I would be embarassed to be a creationist if this was the best they could do. There was, amongst the garbage, ONE possible argument that could have stood up to discussion. Regrettably, it was swamped in the miserable stupidity of the rest of the book. I suspect that very few creationists actually read.
In case you're wondering, the argument is that God can create things which seem to be much older than they actually are. In the miracle of the loaves and fishes, the fishes created were full-grown and not, for instance, 10-minute-old fish eggs. Hence, the creation of an Earth with billion-year-old rocks, dinosaur fossils, oil, erosion, the Grand Canyon, and many million years of backstory, in the year 6004 BC on a Monday.
Sure. Send money.
* Doyce Dees, bio teacher, wrote to correct me: Sharks are descended from bony fish; they are not an intermediate link between vertebrates and invertebrates. "A link between vertebrates and invertebrates would be something like acorn worms, tunicates (sea squirts), and amphioxis."
What he said.
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