Monday, May 28, 2007

Creationist Math: 1% = "Many"

One of the weasel phrases creationists like to toss out is "many", as in "many scientists doubt evolution", and "science has been wrong many times in the past". This is a very deceptive semantic trick. "Many", in such circumstances, should be a percentage, because that's what matters. If you hit the target on 100 shots, that's not "many" if you took a million shots, but it is "many" if you took 101. Same with the creationist statements. Sure, creationists might be able to scrounge up a few hundred scientists that doubt evolution, and at first glance that might seem like "many". But when one considers that there are millions of scientists around the world, a few hundred doubters isn't really "many". When you consider that there are over 800 who accept evolution that are named Steve, the creationist claim looks even sillier. It is good to remind IDers/creationists and whatever audience is listening to your debate that:

1) The vast majority of evolution-denying scientists have their credentials in areas of study OTHER THAN those directly relevant to evolution.

2) The vast majority of evolution-denying scientists are Fundamentalists.

Now it is of course true that reality does not hinge on majority opinion. On the other hand, majority opinion is very often a good indicator of reality. When that opinion is restricted to people knowledgeable in the subject, that value goes up further. When that opinion is also in an arena designed (he-he-he) to encourage dissent, where the biggest prizes are given, not to those who follow the group, but to those who strike out boldest, it becomes almost comical to claim that the reason all these people think creationism is a bunch of crap is because of some sort of conspiracy, and downright arrogant to think it is due to some basic error that those outside those areas of study were somehow more able to see than the experts were.

It is far more reasonable to accept that the reason science overwhelming rejects creationism is because it IS crap.

As to the simplistic view of "right" and "wrong" that leads people to say things like "well, science has been wrong before, so how do you know it is wrong now?", I offer this excellent article by Asimov. However wrong science has been in the past, pseudoscience like creationism has always been more wrong.

No comments: