Monday, October 03, 2005

Stupid Secular Tricks

I was walking around the campus today and I saw a flyer sponsored by a campus group whose name was similar to the Campus Crusade for Christ, and this flyer had some you-cut-it-out little business cards for people to paste to the inside cover of their physics books. The business cards said something to the effect that "Gravitation is only a theory, not a fact."

It seems to me [unless I'm sorely mistaken] that we have a secular group mocking Campus Crusade for Christ, and, in particular, mocking those who question the entire Darwinistic framework through which anthropological, biological, genetic, etc data is filtered. According to the author of the flyer, those who question Darwinism as a whole [or various conclusions of Darwinism] are no better than those who question the existence of gravity, which questioning is absurd. Therefore, one is led to the conclusion that those who question Darwinism are basically absurd in this matter.

Unfortunately, the author of this flyer, if he's being serious [and not trying merely to be funny] doesn't seem to fare any better than the hypothetical antagonist constructed, for the author of the flyer misses the key difference between the question of the existence of gravitation and the question of whether Darwinism is true. This difference is that the existence of gravitation doesn't require the extensive and overarching, not to mention plastic and unfalsifiable, metaphysical assumptions as does Darwinism. A Buddhist, Satanist, atheist, Reformed Catholic, Romanist, Orthodox, New Ager, Scientologist, Randian, Heaven's Gate member [and so on] knows not to jump off the top of a tall building because we've all seen things go splat and make a rather disgusting mess when they hit the ground. Before I even heard of metaphysics, I had a fear of heights --- not the heights themselves, but of what would happen were I to fall from such a height! The splat! is something we have all empirically observed over and over again.

This is not the case with Darwinism. We are told that Darwinism "makes science possible," "gives a working framework for science," "is only doubted by dishonest people," etc, and these are some of the more mellow claims I've heard. Yet, in having read various pro-Darwin textbooks and polemics, I don't see any sort of overwhelming evidence for the Darwinist scenario. I see some things that have explanatory value if the Darwinist framework is true, but these various items would also have explanatory value in other frameworks as well. Instead, the main argument for Darwinism is the social pressure exhibited by the modern adherents of scientism; it is not wise to publicly challenge Darwinism if one wants a career in academics, because in today's academy, questioning Darwinism is viewed as questioning reason itself.

Simply put, we've observed gravitation, we haven't observed Darwinism. We are left to infer Darwinism from what is a collection of data that [I contend] is self-selected according to the Darwinistic framework.

Now, given that the person who composed this flyer implying that Christians somehow view gravitation with disdain is himself not able to see the elementary difference between his attempted unflattering comparison of gravitation with Darwinism, we shouldn't be too hard on him. He's probably just parroting what he's heard and emulating the attitude of condescending know-it-all-ism that many academics exhibit despite not being able to justify their conclusions or frameworks in a strong fashion. [Ditto: pomo's, victim studies professors, p.c. studies professors, Marxists, socialists, etc.] [Note: this paragraph is harsh on my part if the flyer was merely intending to be funny and not funny and condemnatory.]

It wouldn't surprise me if the person who composed the flyer is probably in a self-congratulatory mode about his general cleverness: I've really stuck it to those anti-science Biblethumpers! Alas, as is often the case with secular thinking, what is considered a winning argument is in reality nothing more than grandstanding and posturing in lieu of cogent reasoning and evidence, which posturing is [to us] a not-very-implicit admission that one doesn't have much of a case to begin with.

[EDIT: Made some minor adjustments, fixed grammar, and clarified. Also, I've seen some other flyers by this group that seem intended as humorous. Perhaps my assumptions about this group are too strong --- maybe they're just trying to be funny. But, it sure struck a nerve in me, whether rightly or wrongly. People can decide if this is a PP over-reaction!]


Blogger c.t. said...

I'm not saying this with any kind of sarcasm at all (I feel for some reason I should state that), but you should actually print out this post and tack it up on the same boards or wherever you saw the 'anti-gravity' material. It's actually a powerful rejoinder -- the argument and words themselves, but also the shock of the out-of-placeness of the word count compared to the usual propaganda one finds like you describe.

(Of course then someone will trace the writing to this blog post and the hunt will then be on to find the author of this blog. Next up, F.I.R.E. and you have a relationship...)

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:09:00 PM  
Blogger Charlie said...

Ditto to what c.t. suggested.

Once I went to an web site filled with atheist (although not technically an atheist site). Once I simply tried to *explain the position* of us theists, I was attacked by a pompous atheist who acted (although he didnt know who I am) as if I didnt possess any education at all. He proceeded to try to show me how educated he himself was, by going on about how many books he had read. He was completely unable to give any cogent reply to my arguments; it was just an incessant stream of ad hominem attacks. Eventually I just left the board.

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:27:00 PM  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

PP, you should see if you can have this published in your campus newspaper....a pearl of wisdom from one of the faculty.

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:28:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Charlie --- somewhere, popular culture got the idea that religious people weren't educated. This myth is a very powerful and pervasive one, obviously.

Students used to be shocked when they saw a cross in my office. How could a prof actually believe all that silly religion biz? It blows the mind. We're supposed to be educated moderns who have shed the superstitious fears of less enlightened ages!

At the same time, there are some darned good atheists out there, but the good atheists spend their time reading and doing real things as compared to working out their frustrations and psychological complexes at message boards. [The same thing, I suppose, could also apply to Christians too.]

I personally have dealt with philosophy at its highest level [as well as mathematics and statistics], publishing in those areas, so I'm not the least bit intimidated that some big-name scholar disagrees. It boils down to argumentation, not the name, and most definitely not what the popular majority claims is the consensus.

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:41:00 PM  
Blogger Pedantic Protestant said...

Yes, c.t., I don't want to have to put the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in my rolodex!

My popping off is limited to this microscopic slice of the blogosphere. As the description states: we bravely fight from the cushioned comfort of the desk chair!

Monday, October 03, 2005 6:43:00 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

Charlie -

It sounds like you somehow found the discussion forums at communio sanctorum. Those guys aren't atheists ...

Thursday, October 06, 2005 11:15:00 AM  
Blogger Shamgar said...

Something else to consider, it is a very popular argument amongst some parts of christianity to say that Evolution isn't valid because it's only a theory. Because they misunderstand what science mans when they call it a "theory".

I believe the flyers are really making fun of this argument, not necessarily trying to equate evolution and gravity.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger Shamgar said...

Something else to consider, it is a very popular argument amongst some parts of christianity to say that Evolution isn't valid because it's only a theory. Because they misunderstand what science mans when they call it a "theory".

I believe the flyers are really making fun of this argument, not necessarily trying to equate evolution and gravity.

Sunday, October 09, 2005 12:00:00 PM  

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