May 28th, 2012
My personal feeling is that religion is incompatible with science, but there have certainly been religious scientists capable of doing good science. People compartmentalize and turn off their critical brains when it comes to certain topics. I don’t see the difference between being critical about astrology and being critical about any supernatural claims. Still, a lot of religious people and religious sympathizers/accomodationists can get behind good science and our scientific perspective on how things work in our universe.
Not so Young Earth Creationists (YECs) who practice “Creation Science” or other religiously motivated nonsense. There is no compartmentalization and no respect for science. Don’t believe me? Let’s look closer.
Case in point: The Astronomy Book by Dr. Jonathan Henry.
Now, I don’t want to spend the $11.67 to buy the book, or even the $0.16 for a used copy (plus hefty shipping and handling), but the study guide is available online for free. Here are some choice quotes, with commentary:
“Satan has attempted to get people to believe in astrology and cosmic evolution, both corruptions of genuine astronomy.”
The term “cosmic evolution” is conventional astronomy that involves the Big Bang, by the way. We’ll get to more quotes clarifying that soon. It is also referred to as the “atheistic perversion” of genuine astronomy.
A discussion question: “4. What are some Bible verses that emphasize that God guides our lives?” Remember, this is The ASTRONOMY Book.
From Chapter 3′s summary:
“God created the universe during the creation week several thousand years ago. The creation week had six days of work and one day of rest. The universe did not begin in a big bang. There was no big bang. The big bang is a myth.”
From Chapter 3′s discussion questions:
1. Why is “cosmic evolution” a false idea?
2. Explain why cosmic evolution is not the same as true biblical creation.
3. Discuss some Bible verses that clearly state that God created the heavens.
7. Why do we know there was not a big bang?
8. What are some Bible verses that state that the creation is finished, and not evolving?
10. Why do evolutionists want to believe the universe is expanding? Is there conclusive evidence that the universe is expanding at all?
Chapter 5 refers to the constellation “the bear.” There are two constellations, Ursa Major and Ursa Minor…we talking big or little here?
“The moon is very unlike the earth and did not evolve from it. Neither did the sun evolve with the rest of the solar system outof a “nebula.” Both the sun and the moon are “young.” None of the planets, not even Mars, is fit for life. Only the earth was created to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18). None of the planets except earth has ever had its own life.”
Absolute statements like these are not science. They’re anti-scientific. If we find life on Mars, or Europa, or someone else, these people will deny it, probably forever. They’ll see it as evidence of a conspiracy to contradict their religion, another atheist perversion by scientists like me. I should add that this chapter makes a big deal out of the sun being powered by gravitational contraction, a process that can let the sun shine for tens of thousands of years, but not the billions required by false cosmic evolution. Ignore the fusion-spawned neutrinos, please. Here’s some discussion questions in support of this:
8. Describe the idea of gravitational collapse for explaining where the sun gets its heat.
9. Why do evolutionists prefer the idea that the sun gets its heat exclusively from nuclear fusion?
10. Compare the evidence that gravitational collapse is happening in the sun, versus the idea that nuclear fusion is responsible for the sun’s heat.
11. What is some scientific evidence that the sun is “young,” not billions of years old?
12. What is the nebular hypothesis? Why is it a false idea?
13. What is some evidence that Mercury and Venus did not evolve, but were created?
14. How is Mars similar to the earth? How is it different?
15. Explain why Mars cannot support life. From the Bible, why would we expect that Mars has never supported life?
16. Why do evolutionists keep searching for evidence that Mars once supported its own life?
17. Why have evolutionists given up on the idea that Jupiter or Saturn could support life?
18. Explain some evidence that Saturn’s moon Titan was created recently, and is not billions of years old.
21. What do the many unique features of all the planets reveal about the character of God?
22. Why do you think evolutionists are uncomfortable with the idea that planets are all unique and different?
This stuff just floors me. This is not science. This is indoctrination, not just science wrapped in a religious worldview, with a smear against conventional scientists (AKA evolutionists) who have reached different, and better supported conclusions, compared to the YECs.
Let me quote the entire chapter 8 summary concerning stars and galaxies:
All stars are unique and different. Stars differ in size, color, temperature and other properties. Black holes are defined in such a way that they can never be observed. Science deals with objects and phenomena that we can observe. Therefore, black holes have never been seen and, strictly speaking, are outside the realm of science. The most distant galaxies are thought to be quasars some 14 billion light-years away. When astronomers view distant objects, they are seeing the object as it was in the past. This is called “look-back time.” There is evidence that light may have traveled more rapidly in the past (at speeds higher than 186,000 miles per second), making it possible for astronomers to see these distant objects in the few thousand years since the creation week. Thus the look-back time for quasars is no more than a few thousand years.
Ugh, where to start. As a scientist who studies black holes, well, ugh. This is the kind of intellectually dishonest compartmentalization I find frustrating. YECs and others want to say that science can’t apply to everything, that there are other ways of knowing. Not reliable ways, in my opinion. We also haven’t seen electrons, neutrinos, or the interior of the Earth, but science has let us learn a lot about them. I guess blind people can’t be scientists. And then the speed of light business…double ugh! YECs start with their “facts” and then try to fit observations to those facts, which is ass backwards. Again, not teaching kids science. Indoctrination. Some choice discussion questions from the chapter:
6. Why do evolutionists believe that black holes must exist?
9. What is look-back time? Explain why look-back time extends only thousands of years into the past, not billions.
10. God did not create exploding stars and other catastrophes. What is a possible reason astronomers can see exploding stars billions of light-years away, yet the universe is not billions of years old?
Chapter 9 sucks as bad:
Stars and galaxies show signs of ancient catastrophes. These catastrophes are a product of sin in the physical creation causing decay and destruction everywhere (Romans 8:20-22). Even the sun today is fairly chaotic and self-destructing. However, God has preserved the sun so that it is more stable than most stars, and capable of giving light and heat to life on earth. Most stars are very unstable. Some stars have exploded, forming supernova remnants. All stars are dying. The evolutionary idea of star birth has never been observed.
My friends who study star formation would be shocked, and the fact is that most stars are in fact very stable for long periods of time.
This stuff just speaks for itself:
CHAPTER 10 — CATASTROPHES IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM
The solar system shows many signs of catastrophes which happened to planets and moons in the past. As with the cosmos at large, sin is ultimately responsible for these catastrophes. Planetary moons seem to have exploded to form planetary rings. Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune all have rings. A planet may have exploded to form the asteroids. This planet would have been between Mars and Jupiter where the main asteroid belt is today. Comets seem to be asteroids which orbit close to the sun, and many meteors seem to be asteroids which have been knocked out of the asteroid belt. Asteroids, comets and meteors have landed on the earth, causing in the past much destruction and loss of life. Perhaps this explains the ancient fear of unpredictable heavenly events. There is no evidence that a massive asteroid or meteor impact killed all the dinosaurs. The flood of Noah killed many of the dinosaurs. Mars once experienced a flood, which scientists acknowledge, while continuing to deny the reality of Noah’s flood on earth.
This is all funny and easy to ridicule, but if you look at the amazon link again, you’ll see that those people who bought this book bought the entire damn series of Creation Science books, probably for their homeschooled kids. It’s not the kids fault, but they’re likely to grow up into people less capable of critical thought who believe crazy things deserving of ridicule. People who try to get evolution removed from public schools and/or their religion inserted as science. These are not people who should be accomodated, or lied to. Their beliefs are falsifiable, and have been falsified. All beliefs are not made equal.
You can’t reason with them, and therefore you can’t be reasonable. Is there a better approach than ridicule for their own words, their own torture of science to fit their unsupported beliefs?
Now, there’s a lot of people who get confused about the difference between respecting the rights of people to believe what they want, and respecting other people’s beliefs. There is an important difference between the two. People believe a lot of crazy shit, and some of that shit they believe is dangerous. We should not respect it. We should respect the right to ridicule in those cases, although I’m open to more constructive approaches. I haven’t found any.
People teach this as “science” to their kids and it ought to upset you.
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