Changing Science

Young-earth creationists often adopt the dogmatic stance that they have unchanging truth, and that somehow the advances of science are something to be rejected rather than appreciated. And so, with some inspiration from Alasdair Crawfish on Facebook, I made the above image. Not all instances of failing to change or refusing change are praiseworthy.

  • Keika

    Mobile Young-earth creationists take heed–

    Crossing the double yellow line to bypass the professor’s wisdom, will get you arrested. Well, your intelligence anyway.

  • Levi

    That carriage has pneumatic tires, which are completely unbiblical.

    • Censored

      If you know that, you’ll get this joke:

      Q. If Goshen, Indiana were 90% Amish, what would the other 10% of people have to be?
      A. Van drivers.

      • Gary

        Having been to Amish Acres, I would have guessed the other 10% were tourists.

  • Enopoletus Harding

    Another good picture.

  • Sean Garrigan

    And since no one else is likely to point this out, I’ll just note that it’s really quite ridiculous to suggest that rejecting a certain “scientific” theory is equivalent to claiming that “…the advances of science are something to be rejected rather than appreciated.” But, alas, I’ve given up on hoping for better from JFM.

    • James F. McGrath

      Putting scientific in scare quotes in your comment is like putting “automotive” in scare quotes in discussing the picture. You can claim not to be rejecting science, just as someone who insists their cart is superior can claim not to be rejecting technology. But that doesn’t mean that your depictions of your stance is necessarily accurate.

      • Sean Garrigan

        Nice try at evasion, but whether one puts “science” in scare quotes or not, the fact is that rejecting Darwinism is not tantamount to an assertion that “…the advances of science are something to be rejected rather than appreciated.” That is, quite clearly, ridiculous! You are once again employing the rhetoric of Darwinism to distort the facts to suit your agenda.

        • James F. McGrath

          You seem to have misunderstood me. I was not referring to “Darwinism” (note the scare quotes, used appropriately). I was referring to modern biology, genetics, geology, and astronomy, among others.

          • Sean Garrigan

            You seem to have misunderstood me, I was not trying to assert that you were referring solely to Darwinism. I was pointing out that the rejection of a specific theory, or even two or three specific theories, is not equivolent to an assertion that “….the advances of science are something to be rejected rather than appreciated.” That is a distortion of the facts, and if you had the humility that is appropriate for a Christian you’d simply acknowledge that you could have used better wording, just as I’ve admitted that I could have used better wording when this was pointed out to me.

            • James F. McGrath

              Interesting. How many branches of the natural sciences can one reject before one can legitimately be said to be someone who rejects science, in your opinion?

              • Sean Garrigan

                Just can’t muster up the soupcon of humility that would be needed to admit that you should have stated things differently, hey? I’m sorry, though not surprised, to observe that.

                As I’ve said about 1,000 times, most science, which would include all the ones you mentioned and more, is conducted without respect to evolutionary theory. In fact, most if not all of the scientific advances that have provided measurable benefit to mankind haven’t relied on evolutionary theory at all, and some of the scientists in the relevant fields rejected Darwinism, as far as I recall.

                With the exception science that has “evolution” in the title, i.e. evolutionary biology, most science is practiced without respect to evolutionary theory, and, in fact, wouldn’t be conducted any differently even if the scientists felt that evolutionary theory were incorrect.

                To put it simply, one can reject the use of genetics to support the higgledy-piggledy theory of Que Sara Sara, yet greatly appreciate the real contributions that are made by scientists working in the field. One can reject the use of biology to support the higgledy-piggledy theory of Que Sara Sara, yet greatly appreciate the real contributions that are made by scientists working in the field. Etc, etc, etc.

                If you think otherwise then I would question your scientific literacy.

                • David_Evans

                  The picture we’re discussing is clearly about young-Earth creationism. To believe that, you have to believe that:

                  Astronomers are wrong about the age of the Universe
                  Geologists are wrong about the time taken for strata to form
                  Physicists are wrong about radioactive decay
                  Palaeontologists are wrong about the order of the fossil record

                  and not just wrong, but wrong by many orders of magnitude.

                  You have to believe all that, while accepting that we rely on geology for finding oil and minerals, that we rely on our understanding of radioactivity for building power stations and weapons, that essentially all of our industry depends on physics being accurate down to the tiniest detail…

                  Incidentally, I find your referring to evolution as “higgledy-piggledy theory of Que Sara Sara” about as annoying as some atheists’ referring to the resurrected Christ as a “zombie”. Neither is a helpful addition to the debate.

                  • plectrophenax

                    This discussion reminds me of Dobzhansky’s famous saying, in fact, an essay title, ‘Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution’. Dobzhansky was of course both a biologist and a Christian.

                    There is the further point that anti-evolution views are not scientifically based, so here there is a basic rejection of scientific method.

                  • stuart32

                    Actually, I think higgledy piggledy is quite a good description of a lot of things in biology. Take cell division, for example. When cells divide a centrosome forms in each half of the cell and each centrosome has to pull its complement of chromosomes into its half. The centrosome does this by randomly sending out a vast number of filaments, most of which miss the target. It then uses the filaments to pull the chromosomes into its half of the cell.

                    Although this generally gets the job done it is a haphazard process which is prone to error. There is always the possibility that one of the daughter cells may end up with the wrong number of chromosomes. This is what happens in Down’s Syndrome. An intelligent designer should have done better.

                    • David_Evans

                      Agreed. We are told that the intelligent designer doesn’t want to leave clear evidence of his activities, because that would leave no room for faith, but it’s a high price to pay.

            • Pam

              Depends on why the theory is being rejected. If it’s being rejected despite there being enormous evidence supporting it (hello evolution and the age of the earth) then it is equivalent to a wholesale rejection of the advances of science. When that rejection is happening because of preconceived notions brought to the science (or, more accurately, brought to the distorted lines others tell you about the science) then it is a wholesale rejection of the advances of science and the whole concept of scientific inquiry itself.

              • Sean Garrigan

                I’m afraid you’re mistaken, Pam. There is no logical basis for asserting that someone who rejects a given theory ipso facto rejects all of science. What you are describing is not science, but philosophy, and an extremely disturbing one at that. The day we’re no longer allowed to question this or that scientific theory is the day science itself dies.

                The problem with distortions of the sort that James offered here is precisely that he’s contributing to the very misunderstanding that you have exhibited, and it seems that he does so deliberately.

                • Pam

                  No, I’m critiquing your reasoning for rejecting a given theory. Skepticism is a wonderful and healthy thing, true skepticism revels in examining and questioning the evidence. What you describe in your comments, what Ken Ham et al do in their Creationism, is not true skepticism, it’s not true questioning of scientific theories, because it starts with an answer, not a question. And if you start with an answer, then you aren’t respecting science.

                  You know what makes scientists awesome people? They’re the kid who always asked why, and who continues to ask why as they look at the world as an adult. Science is about questioning, you’re right. But when Ken Ham gets up and says “there is a book” he is explicitly excluding that core questioning that goes into science. He is bluntly saying that he has a very strict framework of how he believes the world is and that everything has to fit into it or it can’t be true. That sort of approach is the antithesis of science.

  • James F. McGrath

    It is worth noting that the cart in the picture, which represents young-earth creationism, is not merely lagging behind technologically. It is also going in the wrong direction on the wrong side of the road. So much symbolism in one picture! :-)

    • Gary

      Plus it has a tendency to poop whenever and wherever it wants to.

  • SpyPlus

    you has best Memes

  • Ian Wragg

    Evolution is not rejected by people because it fails on scientific grounds. The professional Biologists don’t seem to have a problem with it. And that includes Professional Biologists who have a religious/Christian faith. I won’t bore anyone with a list of names.

    I think that the real problem here is that Evolution causes some deep theological problems for conservative believers. Especially those who believe that the Bible is inerrant and contains a scientific account of the “creation” of the universe.