Saturday, March 31, 2007

Tomorrow on the TV show: BAD creationist arguments

Well, it appears that tomorrow is the annual episode where the first half hour is preempted by Mormons. So it's going to be extra short. You should tune in anyway at 5:00; we will start taking calls as early as possible, but if there aren't enough calls then I'll do my topic on easy evolution stuff.

In my February episode, I started what I intended to be a series on evolution. The February episode was about the reasons why evolution and atheism are so often linked. This episode will be mostly about incredibly lame anti-evolution arguments, many of them advanced by young earthers, that are even discredited by the saner creationists.

First I'll be covering the generic "argument from incredulity" that is the cornerstone of many anti-evolution arguments. We'll talk about evolution being only a theory, and being a theory of chance, Then I'll briefly go over the motivation behind young earth beliefs, and some other arguments such as Lord Kelvin's mistaken estimate of the age of the universe, the moon dust argument, and probably the Paluxy dinosaur tracks. If there's time, I'll wrap up by talking a little about the overall problem with the creationist approach, where they mistakenly believe that a solidly established scientific theory can be instantly dismissed with a single "magic bullet" argument.

If I don't have time to do all this, the subject may continue into next month; I'm in no big hurry. Otherwise, next month Matt suggests that I temporarily turn away from creationism and go after the positive evidence in favor of evolution. This is assuming that I have time to appear, since I have to study for spring final next month. In any event, after that episode I'll do one on intelligent design, likely recapping my review of Darwin's Black Box and either my experiences at the Texas school board hearings or a recap of the Dover trial, which I know Matt has followed a lot.

If you have any additional suggestions regarding tomorrow's show, leave it in comments.


  1. This is a bit off topic, but since I'm predicting that Dan Marvin will end up in this comment thread as well (at some point), I'd like to ask him a question that I ask of all theists.

    My apologies if this has been addressed, but there were a shitload of comments to sift through in regards to Dan.

    "Dan, how does your god speak to you?"

    Please, if you can, don't use Bible verses or traditional apologetics; the answer I've heard most, "God speaks to people in different ways," doesn't quite cut the proverbial mustard.

    I'd like to know, precisely and specifically, how you know that your god is speaking directly to you and in what manner he/she/it facillitates this communication.

  2. Damn Mormons.

  3. You might already be planning on covering it in the age of the universe segment, but the fact that fossil dating is NOT CIRCULAR is a good one. YECs often argue stratigraphy with "they were found in one order, so are always assumed to be of those ages" that was really just William Smith, not understanding any research since then. It's powerful to realize that all independent dating methods converge on the same answers.

  4. Um, just as a point to consider, are there actually any good creationist arguments? I seem to be completely unaware of these.

  5. No really good ones, but some are worse than others. For instance, Behe's irreducible complexity and Dembski's specified complexity are probably in the top tier because of the high level of pseudo-scientific bafflegab. But the young earth arguments are often so bad that they are ridiculed by other creationists. That's the distinction I meant to make.

  6. To expand on the previous comment ("dead air"), is there anywhere to get a copy of this week's show? The podcast was blank (as I'm sure you know, since it's been removed), and there's nothing on Google video. Is it lost to those of us who couldn't see it live?

  7. Technical problems; they are working on it but I don't really know any more.

  8. I was going to ask the same question, but it seems to be answered. I'll keep an eye on the archive page.

    "Bafflegab". An immense word. I shall use it as often as possible at work tomorrow!

  9. This may be a dead thread, but just fyi, in respose to the Rev's query: How does god speak to Dan.

    Dan has stated that he doesn't hear clear voices, and he described one communication as "an epiphany." I would say, based on Dan's past comments he's claiming some sort of emotional/mental manipulation that would best be called vague "guidance."


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