Here’s a paraphrase of a recent comment from Bill Nye, the science guy:
“The atomic number of oxygen is not 43. It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.”
This is not a controversial statement. This is not an anti-religion statement.
It is simply an undeniable fact that the atomic number of oxygen is not 43.
When undeniable facts “conflict with your beliefs,” then you have only two options. You can, as Nye said, “question your beliefs,” to see if they can be reconciled with the undeniable facts. Or you can reject the facts, shut your eyes and your ears to the world, and cling white-knuckled to beliefs that you’ve already seen are false, fortifying them with whatever urban legends and outright fabrications you find useful.
No one, anywhere, can defend the proposition that the atomic number of oxygen is 43. It’s just a ridiculous claim. It’s simply wrong — demonstrably wrong.
It’s as demonstrably, ridiculously wrong as the claim that the Earth is only 6,000 or 10,000 years old. And that, actually, was what Bill Nye really said:
The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old. It’s not. And if that conflicts with your beliefs, I strongly feel you should question your beliefs.
Nye is correct. His statement is not controversial, nor is it even slightly anti-religion.
What is anti-religion is promoting a demonstrably false gospel that elevates fabrications and rejects reality.
The Earth is not 6,000 or 10,000 years old. The claim that it is cannot be defended. At all.
It’s not just a scientifically indefensible claim, it’s a morally indefensible claim. Young-earth creationism is simply immoral.
Not all sins are stupid and not all stupidity is sinful, but young-earth creationism is both.
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• Is this soda tasty? Irrelevant! Is the ad for this soda funny? Irrelevant!
Can we pretend to be outraged by it to score points for our tribe? This is all that matters!
(James McGrath remixes the ad, delightfully.)
• Curiosity captures a nifty photo of Phobos transiting the sun.
The Laputian astronomers may have discovered the moons of Mars more than 150 years before the rest of us did, but centuries after Gulliver’s visit, the Laputians still don’t have a space program capable of landing a “nuclear-powered one-ton mobile chem lab” on another planet. So there.
• Killer whales need their moms, just like humans.
Fully 81 per cent of natural health products made from animals correctly matched their commercial label. The rest contained everything from cheaper alternatives to fragments of protected species. One product labelled as tiger shark fins actually contained a catfish species.
Wasn’t this the plot of The Freshman?
• Hemant Mehta notes that the proposed “Creation Science Hall of Fame” has failed to include a single woman in its list of inductees. I nominate Marie Curie. Without her pioneering discoveries about radioactivity, creation scientists a century later wouldn’t be able to pretend that radiocarbon dating doesn’t work.
Ken Ham is, of course, among the inaugural class of “Creation Science Hall of Fame” inductees. That makes sense, because Ken Ham is to science everything that Ty Cobb was to sportsmanship.
• Oh, and Ken Ham really doesn’t like feathers.