Chronicling the follies of religion and superstition, the virtues of skepticism, and the wonders of the real (natural) universe as revealed by science. Plus other interesting and educational stuff.
"Tell people there’s an invisible man in the sky who created the universe, and the vast majority believe you. Tell them the paint is wet, and they have to touch it to be sure."
“If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”.
“Skeptical scrutiny is the means, in both science and religion, by which deep thoughts can be winnowed from deep nonsense.”
The person who is certain, and who claims divine warrant for his certainty, belongs now to the infancy of our species. It may be a long farewell, but it has begun and, like all farewells, should not be protracted.
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Cosmos w/ Neil deGrasse Tyson
I also made some good points against today’s plenary lecturer, whose whole shpeel was how evolution is a fact cause it’s the best theory blah blah blah..
I cannot imagine any scientifically literate lecturer referring to evolution as “the best theory” because someone who is scientifically literate knows the difference between the common usage of the word and the correct meaning of the term “scientific theory”. Creationist and Intelligent design proponents often like to describe the theory of evolution as just a theory. This relies on equivocating the common usage of the term theory (meaning “idea” or “guess”) with the scientific meaning.
Beginning your post by saying you got some “good points in” against someone followed by the looniest and absolute lamest attempt to poison the well by indicating a profound misunderstanding of the terminology is breathtakingly ignorant.
Evolution is a fact, by the way. It is happening, right now, all over the planet.
Also, it is spelled “spiel”, it is German, and it means “a usually high-flown talk or speech, especially for the purpose of luring people to a movie, a sale, etc.; pitch.”. That is not what a scientific lecture is, and if you are going to use my grandmother’s native language, get it right or don’t use it at all. Understand me?
He argued that the existence of God can actually be tested like a real hypothesis.
As soon as anything can be said to affect the natural world, we can attempt to formulate a testable hypothesis. Absolutely.
Anyone familiar with science knows that a hypothesis has to be falsifiable in order to be testable.
Falsifiability is the ability of a theory—a working framework for explaining and predicting natural phenomena—to be disproved by an experiment or observation. You’d actually have to understand what a scientific theory was before understanding what that means.
- A conjecture or hypothesis is an idea that a researcher believes may be true. The researcher can test this idea using the scientific method.
- A theory is a well substantiated explanation for some aspect of nature; it is different from a hypothesis.
- Scientists constantly investigate even highly supported theories.
- If evidence is found that contradicts a theory, the theory must be discarded or revised.
Well, he claimed that it is falsifiable.
I doubt that very much, because there is no “theory of god” according to science. A simple procedure can be used to determine whether or not a hypothesis or conjecture is scientific and falsifiable. What would be an example of something that, if observed, would contradict the hypothesis? If this question cannot be answered, then the conjecture is not scientific. In addition, a good test of a theory is that it is able to make predictions about some future event. The ability to be tested, and the potential for the theory to be invalided by the experiment, is the essence of falsifiability.
He then said that because Creationists believe in an all-good, omnipotent God, then the proof of evil in the world demonstrates that there is no God. Dude dedicated an entire slide to this.
Creationism is not falsifiable as its proponents base the theory on a human text (the Bible) which provides accounts of creation and other events that cannot be tested by observation or experiment but are instead accepted as infallible truth. This is one of the primary characteristics of pseudoscience. No matter what evidence is presented, there is no way that creationism can be contradicted. Even when evolution in action is observed, creationism always allows for an after-the-fact justification of the inconsistent observation with an argument to authority. Put differently, for any possible observation you can imagine creationism can explain away both that observation and its opposite. Only an observation proving that the god does not exist would undermine the theory, and obviously that is impossible. Since no observation is allowed to contradict creationism and it has no predictive value, it is not science.
I laughingly told him that his theory about monotheism is flawed because the major Abrahamic monotheists (aka 60 percent of the world) don’t believe in God’s goodness transferring to people (two words: free will). I wasn’t trying to argue God’s existence with him. I was just trying to prove that that particular approach that he was using was invalid. Which I did.
No, you didn’t. You did a fabulous job of demonstrating you couldn’t follow a chain of logic, however. People are not the “creator” in creationism. An omnipotent being is and the notion of an omnipotent being is not scientific, as explained above.
He then said that even with free will, the theory is probably testable, but he doesn’t know how to test it yet, although he said there are “probably people who have falsified it.” :p Lol. LAWL. Atheists… *sigh*
Evidence, in the form of a transcript of this lecture, including proof that you, personally, attended or you can leave amidst derisive laughter after being declared a pathetic liar. Which will it be? The concept of the existence of gods is not at this time a theory according to science. Various hypotheses have been presented, and all have been dismissed, and until you religious folk have something new to present - which you do not - your gods are not theories. End of story.
Creationist Ray Comfort complained that Neil deGrasse Tyson had misrepresented the Bible.
The astrophysicist and host of Fox’s “Cosmos” said recently that using the Bible as a scientific source was problematic, because no one had ever scientifically proven a theory based on scripture.
Comfort said last week on his online “Comfort Zone” program that Tyson wasn’t qualified to make that determination because he’s not a theologian.
“You know, the word ‘science,’ it’s kind of a magical word,” Comfort said. “‘I believe in science.’ It just means knowledge, that’s all it means. There’s different areas of science, different areas of knowledge. When you say the Bible is not a science book, you’re saying it’s not a knowledge book? It tells us how God created the Earth!”
Knowledge, of course, is not quite all that defines science, which is characterized by systematic methods of observation in pursuit of new understanding.
But Comfort insisted the Bible was a science book because it described the origins of the universe.
“It gives us the basis for all creation, and it passes the scientific method,” he said. “It’s observable – Genesis – and testable. Evolution is not. You can’t observe something 60 million years old, but you can observe what Genesis says.”
For example, Comfort argued, the Book of Genesis mentions that animals reproduce other animals like themselves, and that can be observed on the fossil record.
“The Bible isn’t written as a science book, but it has scientific facts in it that can be relied upon, unchanging scientific facts,” he said. “It’s God’s word.”
Comfort’s guest, creationist fundraiser Alan Pearson, said Tyson’s comments revealed a flaw in scientific thinking.
“This is a reboot of the PBS series in the ‘70s with Carl Sagan, who said the cosmos is all that ever was and all that ever will be, which is ironic, because that is not a statement that can be proven in fact,” said Pearson, who directs fundraising for Comfort’s ministry. “That is a faith-based statement, if you will. So it’s kind of ironic, this whole thing being rebooted as it is.”
Comfort agreed that Tyson, like Sagan, seems like a nice fellow.
“Horrible statements come from nice guys,” Comfort said. “I mean, he’s just downgraded the word of God as just, you can’t trust it, [but] you can throw yourself blindfolded without reserve into the promises of God. You can trust the Bible. It’s God’s word.”
Fuckin Ray Comfort…