Hey, GOP Candidates! Want to Reject Science Without Looking Like a Troglodyte?

Hey, GOP Candidates! Want to Reject Science Without Looking Like a Troglodyte? December 30, 2015

Scientific consensusI’ve written before about the scientific consensus, arguing that we laymen are in no position to reject the scientific consensus and dismantling popular conservative arguments that encourage us to do exactly that.

The Discovery Institute, that fearless citadel in the battle against evolution, throws chum on the waters of thoughtful discourse with its article, “To Have a View on the Darwin Debate, Do You Need a PhD in Evolutionary Science?

Let me abstract this post by answering that question: you’re welcome to have a view, but if that view rejects the overwhelming consensus in favor of evolution then yes, you need a PhD. And to correct the title, there is no “debate” over evolution—at least not within biology, the only place where such a debate would be relevant.

The article begins with a tweeted exchange between Kevin Williamson (correspondent for the National Review) and David Klinghoffer (senior fellow at the Discovery Institute).

Kevin Williamson: Evolution, like similarly specialized fields, is not really subject to casual opinion.

David Klinghoffer: And that is why our politician, or anyone, if he’s more than a casual thinker, gives it the needed study

Kevin Williamson: ‘The needed study’ = graduate-level work in evolutionary science.

The author of the unattributed article disagrees.

Just as you don’t need a graduate degree in meteorology to understand why tornados will never turn rubble into houses and cars, you don’t need “graduate-level work in evolutionary science” to understand that unintelligent forces alone cannot cause civilizations to arise on barren planets, and for the very same reasons.

I agree that any process analogous to a tornado won’t drive an organism to change, adapt, and improve as happens on earth. But that’s not evolution. A tornado is just random, while evolution has random elements plus selection to pick the organisms that best fit their environments. (Why is this elementary error so common within Creationism/Intelligent Design proponents? Do they have no interest in understanding what they’re rejecting?)

The author moves from not-a-biologist David Klinghoffer as an authority to not-a-biologist Jay Homnick. Homnick is a commentator, humorist, and deputy editor of The American Spectator. His homey logic neatly punctures the evolution balloon:

Once you allow the intellect to consider that an elaborate organism with trillions of microscopic interactive components can be an accident … you have essentially lost your mind.

That’s some tough love, folks. A not-a-biologist has used the Argument from Incredulity to cut the Gordian Knot to give us the painful truth. “That’s just crazy talk! It don’t make sense to me, so it can’t be true!”

Homnick apparently thinks that the process of evolution is nothing but accident. It’s not. (That demand for graduate-level education in biology for those who would draw conclusions about evolution is sounding better all the time.)

Back to the article:

Jay Homnick is not a scientist, but unlike Kevin Williamson, he understands that you don’t need a scientific background to realize something is terribly wrong with the scientific “consensus” on evolution.

Do you hear what you’re saying? You’re justifying someone deliberately rejecting the consensus and drawing his own conclusion about biology—someone who doesn’t understand biology!

You may need a PhD before people will listen to you as an authority, but you emphatically don’t need one to draw the correct conclusion for yourself.

But if you aren’t qualified to do the first, how are you qualified to do the second? You admit you’re not an authority, but then you grant yourself the ability to “draw the correct conclusion”? The author seems to be saying that to convince others you’ll need credentials, but your own opinion isn’t that important, so what the heck? Discard those experts and pick your own conclusion.

I bet the author wants a Kim Davis world where government employees use their own religious beliefs as the final guide to their official actions, and candidates for public office reject any unpleasant scientific consensus and substitute their own conclusion.

Often it seems it doesn’t matter how much evidence you present to these people, or how clearly you present it. They’ll just keep saying, “All our elite scientists reject ID, who am I to question elite scientists?”

No, the question is: “Who am I to question those people who understand the evidence, since I don’t?” Sometimes a little humility is appropriate.

Meanwhile, as the evidence piles up, those same scientists keep repeating, “Intelligent design is not science, intelligent design is not science.”

Aha—so you are in favor of following the consensus after all! If the evidence is piling up to create a sea change within evolution, then let’s just give it a few more years and then follow that consensus. That the author doesn’t express it this way shows how little he thinks of this new “evidence.”

Maybe someday in the future, after a poll shows that most of our elite scientists have finally accepted the obvious, folks like Kevin Williamson will say, “Wow, imagine that … believing that the survival of the fittest was enough to generate human brains and human consciousness. I guess that was a pretty stupid idea after all.”

Wow, imagine that … the ideas at the frontier of science don’t always conform to common sense.

People say they love truth,

but in reality they want to believe
that which they love is true.
— Robert J. Ringer

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  • The Eh’theist

    Just as you don’t need a graduate degree in meteorology to understand why tornados will never turn rubble into houses and cars

    You may not need a graduate degree, but you do need some specialized education if you are going to give any sort of intelligent answer to the question of ‘why’. “Because they don’t” or “Because it isn’t the will of the Creator” might cut it for the DI, but to actually take into account the physical forces that result in one set of outcomes rather than another takes knowledge and understanding. The fact that the writer for the DI can be so dismissive of these things shows why they’re not even trying to prove any of their ‘theories’.

    • If you gave a million dollars to a Creationist institute, they’d spend it on spreading their conclusions. But if you gave it to a biology lab, they’d do research and try to learn new things.

      • MNb

        Tsssk. Such unjustice! Didn’t you know that the brilliant IDiot Ann Gauger, who totally has a BS and a PhD and hence according to your norms is qualified to overturn Evolution Theory, is working her sorry ass off to collect all the relevant empirical data?

        “Ann Gauger, who is best known for the clandestine nature of what she does and where she does it. She’s a “a senior research scientist” at the Discoveroids’ Biologic Institute. Ann’s work is so sensitive that the interior of her lab must never be seen by outsiders.”

        https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2015/11/13/ann-gauger-the-mechanism-of-intelligent-design/

        https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2014/06/29/ann-gauger-a-big-surprise-is-coming/

        “Her research has been published in Nature, Development, and the Journal of Biological Chemistry.”

        http://www.biologicinstitute.org/people

        That’s cutting edge research, BobS, cutting edge research! Revolutionary! Paradigma shifting! It’s just a bit unfortunate that said paradigma seems to be unwilling to move even a tiny bit due to all those fascist communist Darwinist athiest evilutionists.
        So never dare to write again that IDiots only spend their money on spreading their conclusions, even if that’s a highly noble enterprise! You don’t want to censure the Truth, do you?

        • I’m aware of the Biologic Institute but hadn’t seen that article. Sounds like getting a tour isn’t going to happen.

        • MNb

          Of course not! They can’t have you ruining Ann Gauger’s precious work.

        • It’s like a souffle–you can’t peek at it until it’s done.

        • tsig

          Like a souffle it’s mostly hot air.

        • I looked them up. Turns out that I’ve driven past their place many times but never knew.

          Intrigued by that quote that they’re secretive, I’ve asked for a tour.

  • MNb

    “Just as you don’t need …..”
    Shall we consult someone on graduate level?

    http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF002_1.html

    I would need a graduate to think up something like this myself, but I don’t need one to understand these simple answers.

    “can be an accident”

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-misconceptions.html

    Nr. 4. Same as with the previous point.

    That’s why I partly disagree with you. I can see for myself that they are IDiots and, backed by people with graduates, tell why.

    • It’s the overturning of the consensus that I object to. Reject the scientific consensus if you’ve got a doctorate in the relevant field, but the rest of us don’t have much ground to stand on when we do the same.

      • Greg G.

        Did Darwin have a doctorate in the relevant field?

        • I doubt that a doctorate in biology existed in the 1820s when he went to college.

          “Doctorate” was shorthand for “terminal degree.” Also, amateurs have more chance to meaningfully contribute when the field is young, as was the case with Darwin. That opportunity is less today.

        • Greg G.

          Darwin was born 212 years ago. 212 years before that, I think it still possible for a person to know all of human understanding of science. Then Isaac Newton came along and screwed that up.

        • Compuholic

          While you are certainly right that it was much easier to be universally educated in those times you also need to remember that at that time it was also much harder to obtain knowledge.

          Just think of that: Every time you had a question about something you needed to go to the library, hope that the library contained the right book for that and that it was properly indexed so you could look up your questions. A very tedious process.

          Nowadays you simply go online, type a few words into a search engine and you can pretty much scan the entire knowledge of the world in a fraction of a second. And the results are even automatically rated by importance.

        • Greg G.

          Yes, the quality of one’s library was important. Many from history who stand out today had good libraries and rubbed shoulders with other scholars. They could pose a question to their friends to get some possible sources of information.

        • Right, but let’s not forget that the internet isn’t always reliable.

        • RichardSRussell

          I think that he and Alfred Russel Wallace got together and agreed to endorse each other’s findings and conclusions. At the time, they were the only 2 people in the world qualified to pass such judgments.

  • Rolf Boettger

    Well, you have to concede their point at least a little, the one about the PhD and coming to conclusions. I don’t have an advanced degree in Theology, and yet I came to the conclusion that God (very probably) does not exist…

    • Scientific fields are different than theology. Within theology, they can’t even agree on the name(s) of the gods.

      • Rolf Boettger

        Apologies; I sometimes forget that you can’t see the tongue in my cheek when I’m commenting. I was trying to poke a little fun -clumsily, it appears – at the notion of “advanced” degrees in theology…

        • That’s clearer!

          Nevertheless, I’m concerned about the charge of hypocrisy. In this instance, though, I think we’re good.

      • Kodie

        There wouldn’t be a problem with that if they would concede that it’s fiction, the analysis of which is a legitimate area of study, and though its worth in society as a whole is debatable, it is interesting enough to many people that it wouldn’t be a total waste of a life.

        • Good point. Some researchers spend their lives focusing on just ancient Greek literature or Cervantes or Picasso. Nothing wrong with that. If they said that Don Quixote was history, however, that would be a problem.

      • RichardSRussell

        I think it was Richard Dawkins who said that theology shouldn’t be considered an academic discipline at all.

        • But it’s the Queen of the Sciences!

        • RichardSRussell

          I think you meant Drag Queen of the Sciences — and just as authentic!

        • “Theology–Drag Queen of the Sciences”

          I’ll add that to my list of potential subjects.

  • LadyOfBooks

    The real picture of the Intelligent Designer.

  • St Louis Mom

    I would love to see them take this same approach to some other scientific field, like say, medical care. I’m thinking they’d rather be treated by trained doctors than by some group consensus of folks without medical training!

    • Or flying a plane–they’re pretty good at letting the experts have there say in this field as well.

  • RichardSRussell

    Here’s how common sense is unreliable. To a very good first-order approximation, the world is flat. To anyone standing on its surface, it is solid and immovable, and the Sun does go around it. To paraphrase the creationists, any fool can see that this is true; who knows why those crazy scientists think otherwise? Maybe someday they’ll come to their senses.

    Meanwhile, I can’t let any mention of the badly misnamed Discovery Institute go by without pointing out that they have never, ever, in their entire existence, discovered a single scientific fact. No research, no results, no respect. All they do is publish unsubstantiated propaganda.

    • MNb

      “To a very good first-order approximation, the world is flat.”
      Every time I ride my bike to the school where I teach and calculate how long it takes me I assume the world is flat indeed.

      “they have never, ever,discovered a single scientific fact.”
      It’s worse. Their top 10 at the end of this year is all about evolution, not about IDiocy. Their mere existence parasitizes on the work of scientists who totally accept Evolution Theory.

    • the badly misnamed Discovery Institute

      Maybe they’re owned by the same group that owns the “History” Channel.

      No research, no results, no respect.

      They crow about their researchers’ publications. Unfortunately, none of those argue for Creationism.

    • Steven Watson

      Please. You are six miles to sea. What do you observe from the deck? What do you observe from atop the mast? You are half way up a mountain, what do you observe? You are atop the mountain, what do you observe? There is no anatomical difference between you and your ancestor one hundred generations removed, neither is there is there a difference in intelligence. If it is pretty feckin’ obvious now, it was pretty feckin’ obvious then.

      • RichardSRussell

        What you observe is that things in the distance are harder to see, because they’re farther away. Do you observe curvature? No. Looks flat, just like the surface of the sea right beneath you. Why imagine that it’s not flat off into the indefinite distance? As a matter of historical fact, hardly anybody did so and would’ve laffed at you for suggesting otherwise. And if you would’ve taken the next step and suggested that the Earth goes around the Sun instead of vice versa, they might’ve burned you alive, because it was so blatantly obvious that you were wrong and probably inspired by Satan.

        • Steven Watson

          You stand on the deck 3-4 miles off New York, you will not see Liberty for she is below the horizon. climb the mast and she will be revealed. The same would happen with the Colossus of Rhodes c.200BC or the Pharos of Alexandria c.500AD. As for heliocentrism; see Aristarchus of Samos third century BC. I really am flummoxed; you can accept the counter-intuitions of quantum physics but deny Hellenistic science and the knowledge of nearly everybody who has gone down to the sea in ships?

        • RichardSRussell

          Your math is off. The Statue of Liberty is 305 feet tall. Check out this link to see how far out to sea you’d have to be before it disappeared from view. (Hint: far enuf out that you’d readily chalk it up to atmospheric hazing and simple perspective shrinkage.)

          You speak of the “knowledge of nearly everybody who has gone down to the sea in ships” and conveniently ignore the fact that, until the Copernican Revolution, almost all such people themselves believed the Earth was flat, regardless of what we moderns think should have been the plain evidence of their own eyes. Why was that? Because to them it was intuitive. Everyone knows that water runs downhill. If the world gets lower the farther away you go, why doesn’t all the water run there? Why does some of it stay here, on the high spot? Yes, of course there’s an easy answer to that question, and we know now what it is. But if it would’ve been as obvious as you seem to think it is, they would’ve known it then, too, and there’s abundant evidence that they didn’t.

        • There was a cult in the 1800s (?) who believed that we’re living on the inside of a hollow earth. They even did experiments to prove it.

          Sure, they were wrong, but the point is that they convinced themselves otherwise. I agree with you that a spherical earth wasn’t obvious centuries ago, and “the earth is flat” is a good approximation.

        • Steven Watson

          The US admiral Richard Byrd is alleged to have flown into the hollow earth at both poles in 1947 and 1956. Himmler is supposed to have sent expeditions to search for the hollow earth and the Nazis are supposed to have retreated there after WW2. NASA photos taken by an ESSA-7 satellite on 23/11/1968 of the cloud free poles are also supposed to show this. This is all nonsense of course but human beings supposedly cannot tolerate too much reality.

        • This is from a year ago:

          “When Pope Francis recently sought to comfort a distraught boy whose dog had died, the pontiff took the sort of pastoral approach he is famous for — telling the youngster not to worry, that he would one day see his pet in heaven.

          “Paradise is open to all of God’s creatures,” Francis said reassuringly.

          It was a sparkling moment on a rainy November day, and the setting in St. Peter’s Square only burnished Francis’ reputation as a kindly “people’s pope.” The story naturally lit up social media, became instant promotional material for vegetarians and animal rights groups, and on Friday (Dec. 12) even made it to the front page of The New York Times.

          There’s only one problem: None of it ever happened.”

          Legend can happen surprisingly quickly.

        • MNb

          With defective brains like ours it’s way too much asked to look for truth. Weeding out incorrect stuff is hard enough. Then we can only assume that what remains is correct.

      • Greg G.

        I grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians. We couldn’t see beyond the next hill a half mile away. If we climbed to the top of a hill, we could see the top of the next hill or the one beyond that, then only in late fall or wintertime. We could see a few miles upstream and downstream on the river but not outside the valley.

        Besides, who is going to believe fishermen’s tales or those crazy enough to climb mountains?

        But the Greeks understood the world was round and, IIRC, that lunar eclipses were the shadow of a round Earth on the moon, as well as determining the circumference of the planet to an accuracy comparable to their ability to measure substantial distances.

        • Steven Watson

          Apart from fine folk music, one of the few things I know about Appalachia is it has or had a substantial coal industry. I should think substantial air pollution almost inevitable. Way back when visibility would have been a damn sight better even than it is now.

          Who would have been up that mast? The keen-eyed, young and long-sighted. Poor, short-sight is something of a byproduct of near universal literacy and much more looking at things up close I would think. Reflect just how much more the ancients were able to describe and map of the night sky.

          Finally; where does Satan take Jesus to tempt him with the kingdoms of the earth laid out before him? Better yet what would you see as you ascended one of the numerous ziggurats littering the Plain of Shinar? Who and what would you most likely be if you were doing that ascending? I may be naive; but I do not buy that all our ancestors were ignorant rubes.

        • Greg G.

          They have never had much industry in the Appalachians. The coal was mainly sent to the Pittsburgh area with the steel mills. My grandmother was from there and said that sometimes they couldn’t see more than 25 feet from the house to the sidewalk. Now there are coal-fired electric generating plants along the Ohio River where they only have to unload barges of coal. The power is uploaded to the grid.

          Even Isaac Newton had some ill-informed ideas. He stood on the shoulders of giants who were intelligent but couldn’t see as far as Newton.

        • Steven Watson

          Okay. I was mistaken. Apologies. Retracted. It appears I am the ignorant rube. LOL!! G’night

        • I do not buy that all our ancestors were ignorant rubes.

          Maybe you meant “stupid rubes”? I agree that they were as inherently smart as us. But in a time before modern science, they were quite ignorant. No one can fault them for that, but they simply had no opportunity to know the science we know.

        • Steven Watson

          No Bob, I did not mean “stupid rubes”; this side of the pond stupid means not inherently as smart as us. You say yourself “before modern science, they were quite ignorant” so I think you’ve got a bit confused. But what we are talking about doesn’t need science, only common sense observation. If they did not have that; they would not have had the science. Science is predicated on observation after all. and they had the science. QED.

          http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/8979#more-8979

          “In actual fact the sphericity of the earth was not only scientifically known by the time of Aristotle (at the dawn of the 4th century B.C.), but had been empirically proved by scientific means in the centuries before him (Aristotle records at least six correct scientific proofs of the earth’s sphericity). We don’t know when exactly the idea was first proffered, or first proved, but it was likely first being toyed with or demonstrated by Thales in the 7th century B.C. and certainly by other Greek astronomers not long after. That the earth was a flat disk was still assumed by Hecetaeus in the 5th century, but possibly the then-growing astronomical discoveries to the contrary were not standard knowledge yet. They were by the end of that century. Not only did they know it was a sphere, but two centuries before the Christian era, Eratosthenes empirically determined the diameter of the earth (accurate to within a 10% measure). Note that (a) none of these facts are in the Bible and (b) none of them required miraculous communications with gods or aliens.”

          I have seen the radio telescope at Jodrell Bank from the Derbyshire hills twenty miles away, my eyes ain’t great and some days I won’t see it for haze. But it can be seen. If you were approaching Rhodes from the see there is no way you would have not seen the Colossos rise head first from the horizon or the tops of the islands for that matter. Science has damn all to do with it. David Senesac’s page is saying exactly what I am saying. So my maths is off. Ain’t nowt wrong with the principle

          Oh, lookee; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flat_Earth. everyone in olden times thought the earth was flat — apart from everyone that didn’t. But if you want to believe your own crap knock yourselves out. Not aiming that at Bob or Greg G by the way.

          John Paul 2nd famously apologised for his predecessors treatment of Galileo. What is ignored is that the Church apologetic was not that they were against heliocentrism per se but they wanted it demonstrated mathematically. Galileo wasn’t up to it or was too frightened to think straight. The recovered Archimedes Palimpsest shows the ancients had been mathematically on a par at least with Newton and Leibnitz in the third century BC.

          There exist plenty of medieval sea charts known as portalanos. There is a cottage industry attributing the originals of these to ancient astronauts or a high civilisation from 10,000BC buried under the Antarctic ice. It is the simpler hypothesis the the knowledge arose in antiquity and was never lost. Fighting one form of ignorance while promoting just so stories that peddle another is not terribly sane.

        • everyone in olden times thought the earth was flat — apart from everyone that didn’t

          It’s hard to argue with that. But that Eratosthenes knew the diameter of the earth doesn’t mean that everyone after that point in history knew it.

          I’m coming into this conversation in the middle. Is your point that scholars in Europe in the Middle Ages knew the earth was spherical? Or that everyone did?

        • Steven Watson

          Somewhere in-between. As this particular conversation and and a significant proportion of comments on your blog overall demonstrate, reason does not come easily to a significant proportion of the population even in an era with a supposed surfeit of education. I think it obvious to any seaman at any time that the sea and thus the world is not flat.

          That is not to say that gives rise on it’s own to the Earth being a sphere but such can be inferred from not being able to heap water; projecting your voyage forward; the behaviour of water overflowing a bowl (Coanda Effect); observing the Sun, Moon and eclipses; etc. Some will have come to those conclusions on their own steam; many more will have had it passed on by colleagues and shipmasters.

          As I wrote; the existence of the charts betrays the knowledge of their making. Columbus didn’t just sail off into the wild blue on a whim; he knew the Earth was round. Fishermen out of Bristol had probably been fishing off the Grand Banks, Newfoundland for at least a century before. I think we can say it was fairly common knowledge no one ever fell off the edge of the world.

          Folk go along to get along; If you are in Riyadh, sure you will be nodding when booze and whores are proscribed by your iman. Arrive in London and what do you know? They are all bonking and boozing for Mo.

          The knowledge was probably not relevant to the majority; I wouldn’t be surprised if it probably didn’t occur to to the majority one way or the other; but I certainly think a non-negligible proportion of the population were aware and not just of the elite, educated or scholarly.

  • Aram

    I recently got into a ‘debate’ with a Christian friend about evolution. He kept coming back to ‘how can something come from nothing?’ to which I kept repeating we don’t yet know the answer to where life began but evolution doesn’t deal with that, to which he came back to ‘but how can something come from nothing? Evolution must be false.’ This want on for a frustrating long time until I realized he literally could not separate the two concepts. Some people said evolution also includes the Big Bang, and that was it. He was on repeat. It didn’t matter what I said. I gave up and no doubt he thought he ‘won’ the ‘debate’, probably still spinning around in smug circles.

    • RichardSRussell

      During the course of your conversation, something came from nothing probably a million times inside his very own body, as pair production (and immediate remerger) of positrons and electrons occurred causelessly at the quantum level. Of course, this has nothing whatever to do with evolution, but at least provided an answer to the question he kept asking.

      • Aram

        I’ll remember that for next time 🙂

    • Creationists love to imagine that the word “evolution” is quite tricky and that they are OK with some kinds (star evolution, say) but not with others.

      • Aram

        Yeah, exactly. My friend was totally fine with accepting ‘adaptation’ of a species (I’m thinking the 40-year study of finches makes this much harder to deny) but drew the line on species changing from one to another. I explained that small changes add up to big changes over a long enough timeline, creating new species. To which he replied,
        ‘So given enough time you say life can come from nothing!’
        ‘No, I didn’t say that…’
        And around and around we went.

        • If you continue this discussion, you might just say that abiogenesis is off the table until you can get some closure on the evolution question first. Sounds like he’s using that as a way to cloud the issue.

          What’s remarkable about most Creationists is that they accept both random mutation and natural selection … they just don’t think that that can cause speciation. The mechanism that allows change (but constrains things so that there’s not too much change) they don’t explain.

        • Aram

          It’s a mental emotional block of some sort. Anyway, I’m done with debating creationists, this friend being the last hold-out only because I’ve known him for so long. The thing was he was doing the whole AiG thing where he acts like he’s trying to back his view up ‘scientifically’. But upon showing him the attached video showing people in different belief systems experiencing the exact same feelings of euphoria about it, I asked him how that can be and he showed his hand by saying the non-Christian believers were being deceived by Satan. The curtain fell and that was it for me. No more debates.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJMSU8Qj6Go

        • “The best way of finding truth is simply to the origin of all truth and ask.”

          In other words, just assume what you want and go from there.

    • Steven Watson

      Lawrence Krauss, A Universe from Nothing; Stephen Hawking, The
      Grand Design; Victor Stenger, God: The Failed Hypothesis, pp. 132-33, with extensive support in The Fallacy of Fine Tuning and The
      Comprehensible Cosmos. These are all from Richard Carrier’s blog article “Ex Nihilo Onus Merdae Fit”; which goes beyond even them. That would be three unarguably top drawer scientists and a philosopher/historian of science rigourously arguing universes from nothing; indeed the necessity of universes from nothing. A gap for god is gone four times over; five including the quantum creation/annihilation model referenced by RichardSRussel. Possibly there are more but one Black Swan is all that is necessary.

      • Aram

        I’m not entirely sure what your point is. Try putting your thoughts in a cohesive order.

        • MNb

          He tells you how to debate your christian friend – hence perhaps thinks you can’t do it on your own.

        • Aram

          Thanks MNb. As usual I can’t tell if you’re verarschen me or not. But thanks anyway.

        • Steven Watson

          Sorry, I am pointing you at resources that might help answer your friends question ‘but how can something come from nothing?’ A Black Swan is an event, positive or negative, that is deemed improbable yet causes massive consequences. In this case we have several arguments and evidences demonstrating something from nothing. I certainly don’t think you can’t do it on your own and I hope I have explained myself a little better this time. If not; that is entirely my fault. Bye now.

        • Aram

          Fair enough. But since establishing the utterly simple guideline as to what evolution actually entails was impossible, I’m fairly certain going off on hypothetical ‘something from nothing’ arguments would prove just a wee tad beyond my friend’s current intellectual capabilities. Thanks anyway. Have a good one.

        • MNb

          In this particular case I’m not sure myself ….

    • Sam

      I’m surprised you didn’t point out that he wants us to believe that his God either created himself or came from nothing. I would have shut him down with that as soon as he opened his mouth.

      • Aram

        You obviously haven’t debated many religious people. They go with God being above space and time and that’s the end of it. This logic you speak of fails to shut any true believer down.

        • Sam

          It does in my experience. When I point out to them that they contradict their first statement or that they are admitting that God may have been created by a much older, presumably more powerful supernatural being they shut up. The trick is to persist.

        • Aram

          My experience says otherwise, but good on ya if this actually works in your neck of the woods.

        • Sam

          Perhaps your neck of the woods is more fanatical than mine.

        • Aram

          Stick around this page and engage with the Christians that come around sometimes. I look forward to you easily and succinctly deconverting them. Till then.

        • Sam

          LOL

  • Sam

    To perform surgery, do I need to be a surgeon?

    • I wonder if Christians ever want to go into the cockpit of a plane to critique the pilots’ flying technique.

      • Rick

        Not in my experience. But I have had a lawyer try to tell me I wasn’t doing the job to his satisfaction.

        • Wow–that’s pretty cocky.

        • Greg G.

          You should be glad he didn’t bill you for his opinion.

    • Greg G.

      If you do surgery, then you are a surgeon. If you do surgery a second time, you are an experienced surgeon. If you go to medical school and study surgical procedures and do surgery, you are a trained surgeon.

      None of that would necessarily make you a competent surgeon. Those are the kind I prefer.