Saturday, April 04, 2015

Pity the Poor Beleaguered Creationist

Here's a creationist I had never heard of before: John Gideon Hartnett, an Australian physicist. In a recent blog post, he makes some good points about how science is not a foolproof process, but then goes off the rails entirely.

Hartnett says, "If you say evolution happens, it is disingenuous, because you really mean that natural selection and mutations happen. This is part of operational biological science. But Darwinian goo-to-you evolution does not happen!"

This is misleading in a number of ways. First, that's not what is meant by "evolution happens". Evolution is caused by many different kinds of processes, including sexual selection, genetic drift, founder effects, and others not mentioned by Hartnett. Second, biological evolution is generally understood to include claims like common descent.

By "goo-to-you evolution does not happen", it sounds like Hartnett is claiming that we do not see 3.5 billion years of evolution taking place in 5 minutes. But this, of course, is a ridiculous straw man. We don't see mountains rising 3000 meters today either, but that doesn't mean that the theory of plate tectonics is somehow invalidated. Many aspects of science involve looking at past events that are not always easy to duplicate, and trying to understand how they took place.

Hartnett feels persecuted: "Last year I gave a lecture at my university “8 Reasons Why Evolution is Foolish” and after the event I got all sorts of negative comments coming back through my line manager. Apparently geologists and biologists (read ‘evolutionists’) complained to the Dean of the Faculty of Science, that I was even asking questions, let alone criticizing the science, in areas of biology, geology, cosmology etc., and that it looks bad for the university. It only looks bad because I was questioning their religion of science, not operational, experimental science."

Look, if you can't stand criticism, why are you in science? Criticism, even harsh criticism, is a standard part of the scientific process. Hasn't Hartnett ever attended a science conference? And if you think you're critiquing evolution by bringing up long-debunked arguments like "circular reasoning" is used to date fossils, then you're not doing science, you're just being an idiot. When you say "Information comes from an intelligent mind, not by random processes", you're just demonstrating that you know nothing at all about information theory.

Hartnett shouldn't wonder why he gets no respect for his anti-evolution rants. It's because his arguments are worthless, ignorant, and have been debunked long ago. That's not the behavior of a scientist; it's the behavior of a religious fundamentalist. Big surprise.


Steve Watson said...

Guy's a physicist? Spouting crap like that about cosmology? A freakin' *physicist*?

MNb said...

The guy is funny.

"It has come to a point now that to be called a ‘creationist’ is a big negative, like you are a pseudo-scientist, or follower of astrology, or witch doctors, etc."

Paul said...

You say witch doctor like it's a bad thing.

The whole truth said...

I asked Hartnett some questions that are currently awaiting moderation.

Did you all see Hartnett's other blog?

This one:

The whole truth said...

Hartnett calls himself a cosmologist but also says:

He also denies The Big Bang, which I think is odd since a very common argument by creationists is that The Big Bang is a proof of their chosen 'God' because what begins to exist must have a 'cause' and that the beginning of the universe (The Big Bang) was caused by their chosen 'God'.

Hartnett is a christian YEC and I'm surprised that he didn't include a photograph of himself and jesus riding a saddled triceratops in this article:

After all, since "historical science" is worthless and "observational science" is the only thing that matters, Hartnett must have personally observed and hung out with jesus and dinosaurs and he would surely want to prove that with photos.

I wonder if Hartnett and jesus were generous and shared their trilobite snacks with the carnivorous dinosaurs? Hmm, now that I think about it, they surely must have fed thousands of hungry carnivorous dinosaurs with a single loaf of trilobite bread.

The whole truth said...

Hartnett posted my questions and he responded. Early this morning I submitted a response to his response. As of now it is still awaiting moderation.

The whole truth said...

Well, my response has been posted and Hartnett has responded to my response. :)

Another creationist responded too.

Religion (especially the fundamentalist, literalist, YEC type) really does turn minds into mush. Hartnett's response (and the other guy's response) are so ignorant of reality and science that it's hard for me to believe that they can survive without full time nursemaids.

In Hartnett's response he provides a link to this page of his:

Notice the sketch of the alleged garden of eden. It doesn't depict Hartnett and jesus riding a saddled triceratops but it's still good for some laughs. There's a modern looking elephant (apparently African), a pterosaur, adam and eve caressing a smiling sauropod, flowers, and what appears to be a Paraceratherium munching on a tree fern(?) or seed fern(?) or whatever, (Hey, maybe it's the tree of knowledge of good and evil!). I don't see a talking Titanoboa in the sketch. The garden of eden had a talking snake, didn't it? ;)

Maybe the funniest thing on that page is that Hartnett refers to himself as "one serious scientist".

If I can muster up the energy maybe I'll submit one more comment there tomorrow.

aljones909 said...

Surprise! He just happens to be a nutty YEC christian. He should be sacked for not knowing the very basics of his subject.

Ken Phelps said...

Same as it ever was.

Douglas McClean said...

Someone should ask Hartnett why there is no naturally occurring technetium, if last-thursdayism is going to be his position on radioisotope dating. Does god hate the number 43?