Oooooooooh, Las Vegas, you exhausting city. Not sure which is worse, my headache after a few days in Vegas or the headache I got from reading about Missouri’s new creationism bill.
Although even the Wikipedia entry for scientific theory includes definitions provided by the world’s most prestigious organizations of scientists, the bill’s sponsor Rick Brattin has seen fit to invent his own definition. And it’s a head-scratcher: “‘Scientific theory,’ an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.” The faith or philosophy involved remain unspecified.
mmmMMMmmm…false equivalence. Wouldn’t it be great for creationists if faith that the laws of the universe stopped working so the beliefs of Christians could be true and “faith” in evidence were the same thing?
The implication is that the conclusions of science may be wrong, and so therefore they’re on equal footing with all manner of tall tales.
Brattin also mentions philosophy when he redefines “hypothesis” as “a scientific theory reflecting a minority of scientific opinion which may lack acceptance because it is a new idea, contains faulty logic, lacks supporting data, has significant amounts of conflicting data, or is philosophically unpopular.” The reason for that becomes obvious when he turns to intelligent design, which he defines as a hypothesis. Presumably, he thinks it’s only a hypothesis because it’s philosophically unpopular, since his bill would ensure it ends up in the classrooms.
Ordinarily, one would think that our leaders would take at least a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the subject matter of a bill before submitting one, but not creationists. This man clearly has no clue whatsoever about science, yet wants to decide how it is taught. He doesn’t know what a theory or a hypothesis are. This would be like someone trying to pass a bill dictating how Christianity was taught saying that Jesus isn’t a magic elephant, he’s a six-legged dog. The response from Christians would be “you’re an idiot!” Well, that’s exactly how people with even a cursory understanding of science react to people like Brattin.
Except creationists generally lack the self-awareness to detect that being an idiot is a bad thing, since they usually call it “being faithful” or “taking a stand for the lord.”
(Thanks to John for the link)