Thursday, June 18, 2009

A Creationist By Another Name

The comments to an article on the Freshwater lawsuit included a post by someone who, while not supporting Freshwater and identifying himself (I suspect it was a him) as an atheist, insisted that scientific thought was ideological dogma and that scientists practiced "Copernicanism". I left a comment based on my knowledge of the region and the articles I have read, then addressed the above person's comment, saying something defending scientific method and suggesting that I didn't get the point he was trying to make.

The person responded that I didn't get it because I was blinded by my "ideological righteousness" and questioned whether peer reviewed papers would get published if they were reviewed by right-wing fundamentalists instead of left-wing liberals. Then he said I'd never learn and left a link to a website. This person appeared to have issues, but I checked out the link anyway.

The link was to an article by Richard Ryals about the "anthropic principle". Since some of the phrases were very similar to the above comments I suspect they were the same person. The article is about how there's proof that the anthropic principle is valid and people are refusing to acknowledge the evidence.

As I understand the anthropic principle, the proponents believe that the universe is evolving like life on Earth, that there is a "Goldilocks zone" in the universe that has evolved especially to develop intelligent lifeforms and that the universe was predisposed to create intelligent lifeforms as its inevitable goal.

To me it sounds like creationism without the deity, but instead of a god existing to create people, the universe exists to create people and other equally intelligent life. I might have missed an issue of "Scientific American" but I don't remember hearing about proof of extraterrestrial life or a Goldilocks zone in the universe so currently this is untestable and unobservable which would make belief in it, to quote the commenter, "ideological dogma". Nonetheless, the commenter apparently thinks that the anthropic principal should be part of the eighth grade science curriculum.

I think the most important part of science education is to teach students to use scientific method to think objectively and throw out personal biases. Only those things observable, testable and reproducible should be considered in a science class. Gods and anthropic principals can be added when objective evidence can be presented, until then, they don't belong in a science class.

If insisting on factual evidence as a prerequisite to inclusion in science class and peer reviewed publications identifies me as a left-wing liberal, so be it. I think it's a lot better than believing in 6000 year old planets or predestined aliens.

3 comments:

island said...

The Goldilocks Enigma is an observation that makes predictions that can be falsified. It is not speculation, and the physics indicates that there is a bio-oriented cosmological principle in effect, not god.

The article that I wrote is factual in nature and I'm not at all surprised that you would think that anitcentric ideological dogma is better than religious dogma, but it's not.

Have a nice fantasy...

Richard A. Ryals... aka, "island"

island said...

Are humans a necessary function of the thermodynamic process or just an accidental consequence of it?

The empirical evidence indicates that it is the former, yet you insist in the direct face of the evidence that the latter is the case:

http://www.taipeitimes.com/News/editorials/archives/2004/09/30/2003204990

Who is the religious fanatic?

You are.

island said...

Oh, and I can't wait to tell Eric Schneider, Scott Sampson, Dorion Sagan, and James Kay, (if he weren't dead), that they are "creationists by any other name".

LOL!

And yeah, I have issues because Brandon Carter was right when he put forth the anthropic principle as ...a reaction against conscious and subconscious - anticentrist dogma

Why is it that you can't manage to acknowledge factual historic information that is the entirety of the article?

Unfortunately, there has been a strong and not always subconscious tendency to extend this to a most questionable dogma to the effect that our situation cannot be privileged in any sense.
-Brandon Carter

More historical evidence that... "you will never learn", and you can't even adhere to your own empirical standards.