Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Creationist Fail

Creationist Megan Fox is a woman with a mission. That mission is to save the world from liberal scientists who are working to undermine the perfect Creationist paradise that she's sure is out there just waiting for us to abandon all that pesky investigation. Fox's Google skills could apparently use some work, as she apparently has no concept that conservative scientists actually exist. Thus, she figures that objections to Creationism are politically motivated and have nothing to do with facts or evidence.

Fox recently made a video of herself "debunking" Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History in which she did little to convince her critics that she has any idea what she's talking about. No scientist, liberal or conservative, is ever going to argue that "God did it" is the only explanation we'll ever need. That's not because facts have some sort of liberal bias, but rather because supernatural causality is completely beyond the scope of what the scientific method can explore.

In one example, Fox reads the information panel on an exhibit that details what paleontologists know about some of the first animals to make the jump from the water to land. Fox is incredulous.

“It’s not like their fins fell off and they grew feet! That’s what they want you to believe, that their fins fell off and then they grew some feet and started walking on the land. This is the dumbest theory I’ve ever heard in my whole life. It’s not good, it’s really not good. It’s bad. It’s very bad. Do you know how complex feet are?”

Fox then goes on to explain just how complex feet are (very, very complex concludes non-scientist Megan Fox).

But that's one more reason why Fox's hypothesis (note: not "theory") that "God snapped his fingers" is completely awful. It's not an explanation, it's a fairy tale. And, no surprise, her explanation of what the theory of evolution says about how land animals came to be is totally wrong.

Of course, if the theory of evolution stated that fish one day had their fins fall off and then grew some feet and walked on land, then we might conclude that the theory was “very bad.” Fox is right about that. That’s a pretty bad theory. Fortunately, no evolutionary scientist is proposing a “fins fall off, feet grew out of the stubs” model of how animals began walking on land.

Ironically, earlier in the segment Fox almost gets it right when she laughingly suggests that these half-water, half-land creatures resembled alligators. Well actually… yeah, that’s kind of what it was like. Creatures who could live in the shallow waters slowly began adapting over the generations to spending more time outside of the water than in. They probably had feet which had characteristics of fins until the species began settling on the land exclusively.

For that matter, they even managed to find fossils of the "crocoduck."

In another section of the video, we get an idea of what motivates Fox to make these mind-numbingly bad videos: She’s trying to protect her kids from anti-Christian liberalism. Science represents a clear and present danger to the ignorance she would prefer they were raised in. When she reaches the dinosaur bones, Fox starts to get mad that the museum is ruining the mystery by providing information about dinosaurs.

“See I think they should just put these [Dinosaur bones] in here and let [kids] just wonder and exclaim over them.”

Leave out all the pesky facts, forget all the science, just let kids wonder about these fascinating creatures. No answers allowed. Fox prefers a time when people looked at the world around them and just shrugged. It’s like creationism in a nutshell.

Any religion that cannot survive the study of nature is a weak religion indeed. The interpretations of the Bible espoused by Creationists are nowhere near the literal truths that Creationists want them to be. The Ussher chronology, for example, is just plain goofy and easily as forced as any heretical exposition of the text, but according to Answers in Genesis it's the foundation of Christian belief (spoiler alert: it's not).

In my opinion, Christians who believe that science conflicts with their religion don't understand either very well. Simple logistics should make it clear that there's no possible way that everything in the Bible can be literally true, and there's no evidence that the writers ever intended it to be treated as such. Literalism of the sort seen today among Creationists only dates back to the early nineteenth century, and a good case can be made that it was mostly a reactionary backlash against Enlightenment values including scientific inquiry.

That's not spiritual. In some ways it's about as political as you can get.

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