Saturday, January 25, 2014

They Offer Nothing But Lies, 5

The falsehoods are coming fast and furious at the creationist site, Uncommon Descent. Somebody (other than me) should try to catalogue them all.

Here are just two that caught my eye recently:

- Rob Sheldon claims that "The problem, as physicists will only tell you behind a closed and locked door, is that life violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics." This is false in two different ways: first, there is simply no evidence that any biological process violates the 2nd law -- it is one of the hoariest and least believable of all creationist claims. Second, there is no reluctance to consider thermodynamics in biology, as Sheldon implies; there are many books and papers that discuss it in detail. I don't know a single reputable physicist who believes that the 2nd law contradicts evolution, but the "closed and locked door" nonsense feeds the usual "theist victimization" scenario. Sheldon cannot cite any papers in the peer-reviewed physics literature that make his case; creationists like Granville Sewell publish their nonsense in creationist vanity journals.

- V. J. Torley (who is not a scientist and who does not, as far as I can tell, have any advanced scientific training) makes the claim that "if a student of biology or psychology at a secular American college were to voice the same sentiments now (I’m thinking especially of the statements made by Dr. King on the inability of matter to account for the human mind), that student would probably be given a failing grade and not allowed to graduate." Torley has simply no idea what takes place in biology or psychology courses at American universities; that's what allows him to construct this bizarre persecution fantasy.

I guarantee you that if a student of biology or psychology were to claim "there is something in man that cannot be calculated in materialistic terms", no one would pay any attention at all. (Maybe a few might roll their eyes.) There are literally thousands of Christian students in biology and psychology at American universities who hold this and other far less supported beliefs (e.g., transubstantiation, virgin birth, etc.) and nobody gives a damn. The idea that such a "student would probably be given a failing grade and not allowed to graduate" is completely without merit, but fits well with the "theist victimization" scenario I already mentioned.

Creationists have nothing to offer but lies.

P. S. A prediction: creationists will dredge up a single example of a student, probably an extremely poor student and/or offensive proselytizer, who was suspended from some university for another reason, and claim it was because the student denied evolution. They then will use this as justification for Torley's claim.


colnago80 said...

Of course, Sheldon can't name a single one of these "closeted" creationists. This is what is referred to as making s*it up.

MNb said...

"to catalogue them all"
Is this what you're looking for?

John Stockwell said...

In terms of real science, the richness of biological systems is owing to the fact that biology is a non equilibrium thermodynamical system.

John Pieret said...

life violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics

Life? Not merely evolution? So, if he thinks god(s) sustain all life all the time against the 2nd law, all he has to do is stop eating and await the result.

Sam Harris said...

Some years ago, I encountered a fellow on a creationist forum who claimed to have been "persecuted" by Columbia University because of his creationist beliefs. As time wore on, however, we find that his mere 'creationist beliefs' actually consisted of:

Constant classroom interruptions; demands that his instructor, Ralph Holloway, provide him with the class email list so he could email them anti-evolution information; complaints made to the dean and president when Holloway would not give him the class email list; complaints from dozens of students about his behavior; and the coup de grace - upon having financial aid difficulties, he referred to the financial aid director as a 'nasty Jewess'.

But sure, he was kicked out solely because he was a creationist.

Every time in my experience that I have looked beyond these bland claims of persecution I have found similar antics afoot.

Jeff is right - these people have nothing but lies.