Science: A Graven Image

by Glenn Fairman8/27/16

How ironic that Science – a supposed neutral methodology — has taken on the status of an authoritative graven image, with all the dogmatic accoutrements that accompany a religious system. Nothing illustrates this more than its stance on Naturalistic Macro-Evolution and on Climate Change.

As for the former, the Neo-Darwinian model never had the intrinsic explanatory power to be so much as a working hypothesis, even before its detractors began making mincemeat of its assumptions by holding its manifold contradictions and threadbare evidence to the antiseptic light of day. Yet, it permeates modernity’s worldview and is as resistant to the call for reconsideration or reformation as any 16th-century cleric. If the edifice is now crumbling, it is due to the fact that all idols contrary to truth, like Dagon in the Philistine temple, come to fall on their faces.

As for the latter, it is no longer an article of contention that those who drive the global warming agenda have made common cause with political forces, and those entities are hell-bent on maximizing their own climate of fear as they aggregate power for their own ends.darwin-coin-2009 Having perfected the technique of using a thin veneer of altruism as a fig leaf to cover their nakedness, the Left have become what they once claimed to despise: a monolithic authority impervious to reason. And it is for this reason alone that they have wrangled science into a state of harlotry, using influence, money, and promotion as the methodology by which their new quasi-science will approach the remaking of the world. Those who have whored out a tool of inquiry, in the service of justifying their agenda, revealed their true hand when threats of prosecution, as well as the demolition of professional reputations of the heretical, were laid on the table. Apparently, little has changed from when Galileo was forced to mutter under his breath, “Yet, it moves.”

That the Leftist/Globalist agenda cannot long stand is a testament to the unreflective passion of an ulcerated vision that believes, by the sheer force of its rhetoric, that men will come to see spherical objects as squares.


Glenn Fairman writes from Highland, Ca.
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27 Responses to Science: A Graven Image

  1. Timothy Lane says:

    My own view of both Darwinism and global warming aka climate change is that both have some element of truth — but not as much as their acolytes proclaim. Darwinism is very good in explaining micro-evolution. It might even explain macro-evolution, but the problem is that its concepts there are unprovable. Similarly, carbon dioxide is indeed a greenhouse gas and contributes to the warming of the planet — but its effect is mitigated by the law of diminishing returns, so the effects will never match the alarmist hype.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Darwinism is very good in explaining micro-evolution.

      Actually, Timothy, I would say that Neo-Darwinism is at least consistent with micro evolution. To be fair, I don’t think it explains it. I say that in the context that the ability to change with mutations and to offer variation is already built into the system.

      The true blindness and deafness of Neo-Darwinism stems from this fact. They just assume that taking blind shots at something is how it all works. Poke here and you get red butterfly wings. Poke there and you get yellow butterfly wings.

      But it’s somewhat analogous to your computer keyboard. Poke there and you get a lowercase “c” appearing on your computer screen. Poke there and you get a lowercase “a” appearing on the screen. To say that merely poking on the keyboard is the explanation for how those letters got there is to miss the enormous pre-programmed system (both hardware and software) that is built specifically to enable this behavior.

      It’s this system that allows for variation (and allows for some genetic mutations to be of some use, but most are, of course, harmful or neutral). It’s this system that needs to be explained. Frankly, neither Intelligent Design nor Neo-Darwinism does that. Intelligent Design is just too non-specific and broad to be of much use other than starting arguments with Darwin Dogmatists or to sell books and videos. Design might be true, but even if we were to all agree on that, we’ve answered very little.

      Who designed? How? Where there programming tools or languages used? (I’m guessing “Of course.” And I’m guessing that it might one day be possible to reverse engineer some of the methods.)

      But what we see in the fossil record isn’t so much “Intelligent Design” but “Haphazard Design.” And I don’t mean that the designs are perfect. Much like David Berlinski, I think the argument can be made that life forms are damn near perfect. Look at the humming bird, for example. Of course, anything made of matter will degrade, so nothing lasts forever. But in their prime, are they not perfect in their own way?

      But why are there only single-celled organism for billions of years? Why then the Cambrian Explosion? Did the designer finally refine his software tools or were the single-celled organisms either laying the groundwork for further life (such as creating an oxygen atmosphere) or doing remarkable things we have no idea of?

      Why the mass extinctions? If the designer has the power to populate this planet (and perhaps even create it), why let random comets and astroids spoil his garden? So much about the fossil record certainly doesn’t look like a coherent plan and certain does, in the broad sense, look like random evolution.

      All of these types of questions and observations seem to be either verboten (for both sides) or just not marketable. It’s arguable, for example, the Intelligent Design books are a cottage industry aimed precisely at religious people looking for confirmation of their faith. None of the above (to me) obvious observations are included in any of the books I’ve read. It’s very “soft” philosophy, at best, combined with (of course) some very astute criticism of Neo-Darwinism. which isn’t hard because Neo-Darwinism as a theory is a train wreck.

  2. Glenn Fairman says:

    On the AT comments section, I was criticized again for using words that were deemed too difficult and for being too wordy in this short piece. Do any of you agree? Personally, I would never offer a critique on a piece that revealed my ignorance in spades……

    • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

      The AT audience is a slice of the “above-average” educated electorate of this country. Therefore, many are able to understand words of two or less syllables. The less educated electorate have trouble with one syllable words, particularly when more than four words are strung together to make a sentence.

      You have sinned by using too many three and four syllable words in extended sentences containing punctuation. Tsk, tsk.

      I thought this was one of your more straightforward pieces.

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Let’s do a formal (or at least armchair) analysis of the incomprehensible big words that Mr. Fairman has had the audacity to use. And I’ll pick out ones that I think are at least marginally uncommon (to the “thinking” crowd, at least):

        1) methodology
        2) authoritative
        3) accoutrements (I never can spell that word without help of auto-correct)
        4) naturalistic
        5) intrinsic
        6) explanatory
        7) aggregate
        8) nakedness (no…I’m sure most understood that word…but buck-nakedness might have been a reach)
        9) monolithic
        10) impervious
        11) heretical
        12) unreflective (sort of ironic to appear on the list…as perhaps could the word “ironic”)

        Granted, I’ve often said that Glenn needs to unpack his thoughts a little and provide a breadcrumb trail to his insights rather than just leaping off the edge. I believe this is likely the problem people are having. And long sentences can be a test of anyone’s comprehension abilities.

        Let me act like a dick and re-write a couple sentences in Braduese. It’s not nearly as elegant or picturesque, but you can follow the crumbs:

        Before: That the leftist-globalist agenda cannot long stand is a testament to the unreflective passion of an ulcerated vision that believes, by the sheer force of its rhetoric, that men will come to see spherical objects as squares.

        After Stupid is a stupid does. (Fast forward to the routine at 1:12). [Non sequitur is also in the dictionary.]

        • Timothy Lane says:

          You might want to check out Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”, which (among many other things) translates an easily understandable passage from Ecclesiastes (King James Version) to modern jargon.

          I had no trouble with any of the listed words, of course. I suspect your problem with “accoutrements” is that it can be either “re” or “er”, though I would use the former.

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            That and “hors d’oeuvre.” Never get that word right. Now, if Glenn could just translate this bit:

            “The hors d’oeuvre of our halcyon years are a disjointed parsimonious interpretation of laxativally diminuative and sanctimonious demagoguery, with mustard sauce.”

        • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

          Brad,

          I am not sure I understood you correctly. When you mentioned “marginally uncommon”, did you mean the following words fell into that category?

          1) methodology
          2) authoritative
          3) accoutrements (I never can spell that word without help of auto-correct)
          4) naturalistic
          5) intrinsic
          6) explanatory
          7) aggregate
          8) nakedness (no…I’m sure most understood that word…but buck-nakedness might have been a reach)
          9) monolithic
          10) impervious
          11) heretical
          12) unreflective (sort of ironic to appear on the list…as perhaps could the word “ironic”)

          I don’t see a word in the list which a well-read high school senior would not understand. Even an adult of average intelligence with some interest in reading should know these words. But how many average adults have interest in reading, these days?

          One of the first books I bought when I started studying German was;

          “Grundwortschatz Deutsch”
          Essential German
          Aleman fundamental

          published by the Ernst Klett Verlag in Stuttgart.

          It gave the definitions of some 2000 words as well as the meanings of about 3000 idiomatic phrases. In the introduction of the book was written the following, which made a strong impression on me that has stayed with me for over 40 years.

          From research into the frequency of word-usage we know the following facts: more than 80% of the vocabulary of all normal texts is included in the first 1000 words of a language; a further 8-10% in the second 1000; approximately 4% in the third 1000, a further 2% in the fourth and likewise another 2% in the fifth. Thus, the first 4000 words comprise on average 95% of the vocabulary of all normal texts and dialogues, the second 4000 about 2-3%, and all other words not more than 1 to 2%.

          So maybe we are just wasting our time trying to be literate and informed. (In case anyone didn’t get it, I am being sarcastic.)

          • Timothy Lane says:

            I suspect that they’re counting all the inflections and conjugations of a word (which makes a big difference in German) as one entry. Otherwise, even in English, you’d only need a few hundred root words (especially verbs). One of my high school French readers was based on starting with a few hundred words and gradually adding new ones in the readings. This sometimes required a degree of rewriting the original sources.

            • Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

              I believe the 2000 word rule pretty much covers most modern languages.

              As I recall, in order to read a newspaper in Japan, one had to understand something like 1800 characters. Of course, besides Kanji (Chinese based characters) Japanese also uses Katakana and Hiragana (phonetic alphabets) so the 2000 number would seem to hold true.

              I believe the 2000 number holds true in China as well. The modern Chinese script is simplified thus easier to read and write. If I remember correctly, the old top mandarins had to possess a vocabulary of around 20,000 characters. (Maybe more)

          • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

            Thank goodness that Glenn doesn’t write in German. I understand them Krauts can come up with some bodacious compound words.

          • Glenn Fairman says:

            fantastic……..thanks…..

          • Rosalys says:

            “I don’t see a word in the list which a well-read high school senior would not understand.”

            The operative words here being, “a well-read high school senior.” How many of them are there? Granted, there are some, but I believe today’s average high school graduate has not been given anywhere near the education he would have received even just sixty years ago!

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Glenn’s words are a jumping-off point for discussion. His blog post was not a treatise but a general observation on the dogmatism that infects science — the realm that is supposed to be about free thinking if any realm should be.

      How disappointing then to get a Barbie-like reaction of “Math is hard.” Perhaps they should change the site name to American Complainer. I guess you might have been referring to the midget who said:

      This guy, Fairman, in my opinion, is a windbag. I’ve tried to read several of his blogs but it seems to me that he writes with a dictionary close at hand. I don’t usually take notice of who has written a blog until the end of the story.It has gotten to the point where after reading the first paragraph of a blog I know who wrote it and stop reading.

      And for the dim-witted response of the week, how about this one:

      Life is a chemical process which in its simplest terms is a molecule acting as its own catalyst recreates itself. A very rare molecule indeed but could easily have occurred without divine help.

      This person has learned the art of saying nothing while sounding as if he’s saying something.

      Let me elaborate. To call life a function of chemistry is like reading a book by Winston Churchill and saying it is nothing more than the function of lithography.

      And a very rare molecule might indeed arise without divine help. But life as we know it isn’t the product of one molecule. (I suspect Mr. Smarty Pants believes in the vapid RNA World model of the origin of life.) It takes about a minimum of 300. And, Mr. Smarty Pants, no one knows that life “in its simplest terms” is just one molecule. Oh, Neo-Darwinian theory probably requires is…or at least a purely materialist theory does. Mr. Smarty Pants is well-versed in giving a narrative and just-so stories in place of facts and logic.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      Good thing for them Bill Buckley isn’t around anymore. Your vocabulary is much easier than his.

    • Rosalys says:

      Sometimes Glenn, your work reads like nineteenth century writing. Funny thing, the average nineteenth century man or woman seemed to have no trouble reading what was put before them, but your average twenty and twenty-first century man is another story. They must be spoon fed everything.

      I hear the same nonsense about the King James Bible. Its style is a bit archaic, and may take some getting used to, but its language is beautiful and worth the time invested. Also it is English, not some foreign tongue, and is not impossible to understand.

      Please, don’t dumb down your writing to the literary equivalent of Gerber Baby Food. Granted, I am not so highly educated that I don’t sometimes read with a book or article in one hand, and a dictionary in the other (figuratively so, because I confess, much of my word searching is done on the computer.) The looking up of words is part of the educational process, and so I continue my education.

      Keep it up, Mr. Fairman! Your style is beautiful!

      • Timothy Lane says:

        I remember back in the early 60s when I got my first introduction to alternate translations of the Bible. I was given several versions of John 3:1 6 and asked which was easiest to understand. Naturally I liked the KJV, but this raised the question: Did I merely like it better, or was it actually easier to understand?

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        I quite agree, Rosalys.

        But I won’t come down too hard on those who have trouble with Glenn’s writing. I am one of those. But unlike some, I don’t shoot the messenger. I just try harder.

        It’s not that Glenn is writing some type of postmodern gobbledygook as some contend. If you take the time you will understand what he is writing. You might not agree, but you will understand.

        I think Glenn’s writing is like a sign on the freeway that says “If you want a good meal, take a right at the next exit, turn left at the big red barn, follow Main St. to the second stoplight, and then you’ll come to a sign that reads “Fairman’s Truck Stop, home of the world-famous five-egg omelette’”.

        When speeding down the highway at 65 mph or higher, about all you have time to comprehend is a sign that says “Eat at Joe’s.” That’s why highway signs are succinct. There is no time to comprehend anything longer.

        And that describes our culture. People have become habituated to going 65 mph down the cultural highway. Many do not know how to deal with anything more complex than “Eat at Joe’s.” To do so, they would have to slow down. But some don’t want to so they just shoot the messenger.

  3. Glenn Fairman says:

    I really don’t care if people disagree with my thesis or not. But that’s not the point. I am not an academic…….I was a sewer worker for 30 years. Have people gotten out of the habit of stretching themselves and want to remain comfortable in a state of mediocrity?

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      You stretch me and I haven’t been shy about commenting on your windbagness when it happens. I like concise writing that gets to the point. And that’s one thing you do well. You don’t play this stupid game that so many writers do as if they are a magician using the magician-babe assistants to wave their arms (and other parts) and hop around the stage for a few minutes to try to make the magician’s trick seem more compelling than it is.

      Many writers do that verbally, especially at AT. It’s rare when someone actually lets you know what they are writing about in the first or second paragraph. Instead, you get the magician’s assistants dancing around and you *might* learn what the author’s point is by the time you get to the middle of his or her article.

      Don’t do that. Anyone. For the love of God, if you don’t have a point, then wait until you do and then write about it. And should you use a big word that makes me go to the dictionary, well….any definition for me is a close as a right-click on a word. I can manage.

  4. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    Here’s a choice comment from AT:

    Get a grip, pal. Evolution is science, “creationism” is not even good fiction. . . . Darwin was a serious individual. You’re a clown, not even a funny one.

    This seems to be a first-level comment, so the “pal” and “clown” he is referring to may be Glenn the Greater.

    “Creationism” is meant to be dismissive, and almost always used as a pejorative (to associate the idea of design with snake handlers and those who believe the earth is 6500 years old). Still, despite the great handling of the distinctions by John Lennox in his various books, I’m okay with the term “Creationism.” At the end of the day, that’s what we’re talking about, the conscious planning and creating of life as opposed to random processes that purport to do the same.

    I’ll grant anyone that proving design is a tough one. I’m not really sure where the science of intelligent design can go. But it is indeed a science (a historical science). To paraphrase Stephen Meyer, a historical science is about supposing that the processes we see acting today are the best explanations for things that have happened in the past, even if we are not around to witness these events. Period.

    Granted, I think the science of intelligent design could be very limited. But we’ll see. Right now intelligent design is mostly just a critique of Neo-Darwinism and makes few affirmative statements. Meyer has a few predictions in his book (falsifiable ideas, that is) regarding intelligent design. And that’s a good start. But it’s a thin start so far on a subject that is thin all around.

    Still, it’s certainly not as thin as Neo-Darwinism that offers no chance of explaining life beyond micro evolution. And Darwin was a serious individual (probably a bit too serious). But if all you have is measuring the personality traits of your leading advocates, you haven’t got much. The one thing Darwin Dogmatists cannot do is point to one paper or experiment that shows how any significant biological feature was created via their theory (or any other theory). All they have is a narrative and a bunch of just-so stories.

    And, frankly again, intelligent design doesn’t have much more. They may, in fact, be right. But I’ve yet to see anyone really delve into the implications of the theory and try to match some kind of story or narrative to what we see in life and in the fossil record. Certainly if the market for I.D. books is the devoutly religious, it’s probably better to just leave God Almighty a fuzzy image of the perfect designer.

  5. Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

    A guy (gal? some gender?) at AT named “938MeV” said something astute (and concise as well):

    Darwin was plausible until the advent of molecular biology. At that poinr it began to have to rely on miracles.

    Or dogma and just-so stories.

    Basically this is the gist of Michael Behe’s excellent Darwin’s Black Box. Before we could see any of the details of the cell, all that it was thought to be was some amorphous “protoplasm,” a word that Darwin’s bulldog, Thomas Huxley, reinvigorated into the mental sphere of science.

    It’s easier to conceive of a bowl full of Jell-o morphing from a slug to a cow than it is for a lawnmower to morph to a Honda Civic. In the case of the latter mechanical objects, they are made of specific, well-engineered parts that interrelate (many of which, dare I say, are part of irreducibly complex systems).

    The invention of better resolving microscopes and such removed that black box of the amorphous “protoplasm” — a land still inhabited by the likes of Richard Dawkins who explains so credibly (for pre-black-box times) how a single light-sensitive cell can gradually morph into the human eye. But once you see how complex vision is (a thing not yet fully understood), the idea of gradually morphing to it is absolutely nonsense. This is how David Berlinski describes that very thing in Uncommon Dissent:

    Evolutionary thought is suffused in general with an unwholesome glow. “The belief that an organ so perfect as the eye,” Darwin wrote, “could have been formed by natural selection is enough to stagger anyone.” It is. The problem is obvious. “What good,” Stephen Jay Gould asked dramatically, “is 5 percent of an eye?” He termed this question “excellent.”

    The question, retorted the Oxford professor Richard Dawkins, the most prominent representative of ultra-Darwinians, “is not excellent at all”: “Vision that is 5 percent as good as yours or mine is very much worth having in comparison with no vision at all. And 6 percent is better than 5, 7 percent better than 6, and so on up the gradual, continuous series.”

    But Dawkins, replied Phillip Johnson in turn, had carelessly assumed that 5 percent of an eye would see 5 percent as well as an eye, and that is an assumption for which there is little evidence. (A professor of law at the University of California at Berkeley, Johnson has a gift for appealing to the evidence when his opponents invoke theory, and vice versa.)

    Having been conducted for more than a century, exchanges of this sort may continue for centuries more; but the debate is an exercise in irrelevance. What is at work in sight is a visual system, one that involves not only the anatomical structures of the eye and forebrain, but the remarkably detailed and poorly understood algorithms required to make these structures work. “When we examine the visual mechanism closely,” Karen K. de Valois remarked recently in Science, “although we understand much about its component parts, we fail to fathom the ways in which they fit together to produce the whole of our complex visual perception.”

    These facts suggest a chastening reformulation of Gould’s “excellent” question, one adapted to reality: could a system we do not completely understand be constructed by means of a process we cannot completely specify?

  6. Kung Fu Zu Kung Fu Zu says:

    Frankly, I wonder how much direct influence Darwinism actually has in the culture wars. Yes, many people parrot the trope, “evolution is science”, but how many actually have any idea of what the theory of evolution actually states?

    I think while “evolution” has been used as a cudgel against religion, it is not the real threat. The threat comes from those fundamentalist atheists such as I wrote about three years back. For whatever reason, these people hate the idea of religion and would lie cheat and steal to damage religion, particularly Christianity. I suspect the source of this hate comes mainly from two springs, 1) disappointment that God did not personally intervene to alleviate pain in their lives, 2) those who have monstrous egos and brook no restraint of their actions.

    • Timothy Lane says:

      I think this has come up here before. Undoubtedly most of the people who mock skeptics of Darwinism or CAGW have no idea of the actual science (including the flaws in those theories).

      • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

        Indeed. The Left is, after all, thinking-by-proxy. The thinking is done for them. It’s a human trait, so I’m not saying that those on the right are immune to it. But for the Left, pre-packaged thought-bubbles are the norm.

    • Brad Nelson Brad Nelson says:

      Frankly, I wonder how much direct influence Darwinism actually has in the culture wars. Yes, many people parrot the trope, “evolution is science”, but how many actually have any idea of what the theory of evolution actually states?

      Actually, the last adversarial discussion I had on the subject, the person taking the Neo-Darwinist position thought “Neo-Darwinist” was some made-up pejorative by snake-handling Creationists.

      The answer therefore is that many have little idea about the theory. And this makes sense, for as I’ve noted, Darwinism is simply a grand conceit, a temple built by the atheists to their self-satisfied sense of superiority. Data? Who needs data? They have their stories, their myths, their icons of evolution. But they have not one paper or experiment showing a new species (or even a new biological feature) being created, outside of rare examples of the malaria bug developing resistance via a two-mutation jump — a jump that is just marginally managed because there are a bazillion of these little creatures and they reproduce so fast. That puts the two-mutation jump within the bounds of probability. Given what it takes to create even this small feature shows just how improbable mutations are as a way of creating things.

      The religious are just as baffled regarding evolution, if you ask me, many of them opting for “theistic evolution” which is just another hodgepodge of ill-considered ideas — basically yet another example of Christians caving to the Left. Those who actually study biology have no need of Neo-Darwinism. It adds absolutely nothing to their research although they’ll often put a rhetorical evolutionary gloss over parts of their study, if only to remain orthodox. But as many have written, those who study living systems gain far more from thinking of life as a designed and integrated system.

      No doubt what you say about what propels atheists has some truth in it. But I also view it as just a lack of civility, objectivity, and integrity. If the god damn Neo-Darwinists can demonstrate tomorrow how the eye evolved, I’ll be wildly appreciative. A major breakthrough in our understanding would have thus occurred. We can then sort through the metaphysical implications. But wouldn’t you want to know such a thing if that is how it happened?

      Today people have gotten used to being bums, pansies, and ideological flakes. They will not subordinate themselves to the facts. They have no integrity, only a drive for the ascendency of their ideology. And that is something Christians need to be cautious of as well. That doesn’t mean they have to be meek, mild, and ideologically neutered (as they have done such a great job of doing these past decades). It means if they actually believe in God, they have to understand that God is not contradicted via the workings of nature. And in the case of life, I think most are on pretty safe ground in believing that no natural process will ever be shown to lead to the creation and variation of life. But if it does, then accept it.

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