Thursday, January 20, 2011

Is This Serious ?

I saw a comment at Red Maria's traducing the saintly Sir Peter Vardy, philanthropic provider of half-decent education in the North-East. He's just nailed leftie paper Tribune after they accused his schools of teaching creationism (whatever that is - presumably the ridiculous idea that God said, 'let there be light', and there was light. Everyone knows that there wasn't anything at all, and then suddenly up popped a whole hot expanding universe - from nowhere, and with no reason. Makes far more sense).

The comment was "Money talks. ****s."

Who is this ignorant swearblogger, I thought. What's his blog like ? Lordy.

"Emergence

As dogma becomes exposed through increased communication, ideas begin to form from the emerging cognitive dissonance. These ideas are presented as rationalisations within the context and under the regulation of the existing memetic monopoly (as cause-and-effect demands). As knowledge advances and more of the unknown becomes known (diluting the power of the mythological other), these sporadic rationalisations become untenable and cognitive dissonance spreads with more veracity for it, eventually leading to a paradigm shift in political governance and identity creation."
And it's all like that. Page after page of cultural studies drivel, where occasional tiny grains of meaning glitter for a brief instant before submerging again under the turgid flow of his sentences. He's far more readable in two-word sentence mode - understanding is instant.

You do wonder if he's a student of John Hutnyk's. Or is the entire blog an elaborate hoax - a sort of Sokal of the blogosphere ?

23 comments:

Peter Risdon said...

I agree with your main point, of course. The dig at the big bang is a bit off-beam, though.

You might, as a Christian, if you're not a young-Earth creationist, say that the early state of the universe looks like the moment of creation to you. Fair enough. But the alternative, scientific, account does not say the universe came from nowhere and with no reason. It says "this is what we've found so far from the physical evidence".

Maybe it did come from somewhere - a recent paper suggested that the microwave background shows indications of the multiverse, for example.

It's just that the scientific method doesn't accept revealed explanations - any revealed explanations, not just the Christian one, the backs of turtles are out too. If there were any evidence for creation, in the religious sense, then it would be scientifically accepted. There isn't, yet.

I expect you'd also reject all but one of the revealed stories about the origins of the universe.

As to a reason, this might be similar, as Douglas Adams put it, to a puddle thinking the hole it fits in must have been made specially for it, since it fits so well, and then wondering what the reason for that was, what greater purpose it serves.

In other words, this was a straw man: you attributed to the atheist view ideas it does not have, then suggested those ideas are silly.

Larry said...

"...creationism (whatever that is..."

Wow. Trumpet your ignorance, why don't you.

Clue: the dispute was about teaching evolution in biology lessons.

Peter Risdon said...

Larry, I know about the controversy around Vardy, but not enough to get involved (I've seen conflicting claims about what is actually taught in science lessons). So I wasn't. I was commenting on the parenthetical aside in the OP.

Obviously, I'd say that revealed "truth" has no place in science lessons, even if in disguise, like Intelligent Design.

Laban said...

That was just a passing thwack, Peter. I've been interested in astronomy as a lay person (though one who studied physics) for 40-odd years, and I've not noticed any real explanation, or even attempt at same, as to how what we see now came from literally nothing. Got any links ?

(the funny thing is that people like Larry, blowing off about evolution, tend to run a mile from scientists who actually deal with it - because the science is sometimes uncomfortable, and they believe that description = prescription)

David said...

Laban, by 'Creationist' and Vardy's schools we usually mean Young-Earth Creationists who believe the entire universe was created within the last 10,000 years. The old Head of Science at one of Vardy's schools, for eample, wrote:

Note every occasion when an evolutionary/old-earth paradigm (millions or billions of years) is explicitly mentioned or implied by a text-book, examination question or visitor and courteously point out the fallibility of the statement and, wherever possible, give the alternative (always better) Biblical explanation of the same data.

There are better ways of defending good education that to sound equivocal over such nonsense.

Evolution, btw, doesn't address the question of the origin of life, still less the origin of the Universe. It's careless to confuse the them.

Peter Risdon said...

Laban, I've seen a number of explanations offered - the sum total of mass and energy in the universe is zero, or every black hole spawns a new universe, and so on. But this is deeply unscientific, in my view. There aren't enough data. That sort of speculation might well be something some scientists do, but it's recreational rather than the scientific method.

Science doesn't offer complete explanations, that's not what it's for. It's the discipline that deals with the information and knowledge we actually have, however incomplete that might be. Where there aren't enough data, science can't comment.

This might be the main divide: between those who can't understand how anyone could want to make stuff up to fill in the gaps, and those who can't understand how anyone could be content with the few pieces of the jigsaw we have.

There isn't an explanation of anything where there are insufficient data, and that isn't a problem for science, it's a strength.

Gareth said...

you take the mikey but it all made sense to me.

BenSix said...

Here's something I've wondered about hereditarians, Laban: if there's a God - assuming you believe/suspect there is one - who gave us free will so we could choose to embrace or reject him, why would he set people off on an unequal footing?

Luke Skywalker said...

Here's something I've wondered about hereditarians, Laban: if there's a God - assuming you believe/suspect there is one - who gave us free will so we could choose to embrace or reject him, why would he set people off on an unequal footing?

I have no idea how Laban would answer this. But I think that if he were a Deist, he could believe in God, and also believe that God really isn't all that interested in the day to day trivia of human existence.

Its the sort of viewpoint I am comfortable with.

Arjuna can fight battles and kill his enemies and still be a righteous and Godly man.

I tend to think that atheists either lack imagination or have had some sort of bad experience or are terrified of the possibility that they might be wrong.

They certainly make a lot of noise.

I don't often talk about these things and it probably shows.

May the force be with you.

BenSix said...

Their lack of faith disturbs you?

Laban said...

People may (or may not) have started on an equal footing, Ben. We don't know, and as any Muslim would tell you, it would be blasphemous to ask what He was thinking at the time. I suspect there were always differences. Cain and Abel certainly didn't think alike.

But we can be sure that

a) there are differences now

b) these will be accentuated as some people have babies and others don't (this particularly applies to males - see Roy Baumeister). For example, way back when, things like strength, speed and good vision were probably as important to staying alive (and therefore being able to reproduce) as intelligence was. I doubt geeks prospered in prehistoric times.

Doesn't alter the moral duty to treat people alike in the big things - like not killing them for who they are. On the other hand people's differences get treated differently in many ways. Someone with learning difficulties might go to a special school - some very bright kid might go to Oxbridge. I don't think equality implies equal treatment in EVERYTHING. To each according to their needs, up to a point (and defining that point is more politics than religion).

Revolution Harry said...

Strangely, the more I've looked into the theory of evolution the more I've found it wanting in many areas. For anyone interested in an alternative viewpoint to that of evolution can I suggest Walter Veith's series of lectures on the subject.

You can read about him here.

http://genesisconflict.com/about-Walter-Veith.html

And watch the videos here.

http://genesisconflict.com/genesis-confict-videos.html

Here's another series of videos which consist of an interview with David Berlinski discussing his issues with evolution.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ec8lpcA5hls&feature=player_embedded

What surprised me was how the theory of evolution is so often presented as undisputed fact when it seeks there are clearly many unresolved issues.

I could give you my reasons why this is so but I'm a 'conspiracy theorist' so clearly delusional.

Revolution Harry said...

Seeks? Seems.

Luke Skywalker said...

Their lack of faith disturbs you?

No.

Not at all.

My wife is a vegetarian. I am not. We have been married for over twenty years. Often, when I tell people this, they will say "ooooh, I bet you argue about that a lot". To which I truthfully reply "no. Never." I respect her opinion, and she respects my...fondness for eating the flesh of animals.

Which brings me back to our atheist friends.

The fact that they have to scream and shout and have their silly shouty bus campaigns, I think tells me something about them.

Any salesmen will tell you that desperation doesn't sell.

People who are comfortable about their opinions and beliefs don't tend to feel the need to ram down everyone else's throats.

Revolution Harry said...

Just found another video I recently watched. This looks at flaws in the theory of evolution regarding astronomy.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4831774883276355641#

Eddie Willers said...

Feh!
Aristotle had it right, way back when...

"Existence exists"

It has always existed and will always continue to exist.

Brian said...

@Luke Skywalker:
"Which brings me back to our atheist friends.

The fact that they have to scream and shout and have their silly shouty bus campaigns, I think tells me something about them."

And Evangelism and the Alpha Course for example are closely guarded secrets among a persecuted faith community? Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses aren't backwards in coming forward either.
Perhaps because atheists and humanistists lack regular radio and television slots on the BBC to put across their opinions other media are used. You don't mind people having an alternative point of view do you? Oh silly me, that's why there are faith-based schools.

Laban said...

"atheists and humanistists lack regular radio and television slots on the BBC"

Other than the bits around and in between Thought for the Day and the Daily Service ?

Laban said...

Peter : "As to a reason, this might be similar, as Douglas Adams put it, to a puddle thinking the hole it fits in must have been made specially for it, since it fits so well, and then wondering what the reason for that was, what greater purpose it serves."

From Fred Hoyle's sci-fi novel The Black Cloud :

"There was a derisive laugh from Alexandrov.

“Bloody argument,” he asserted.

“What d'you mean ‘bloody argument’?”

“Invent bloody argument, like this. Golfer hits ball. Ball lands on tuft of grass — so. Probability ball landed on tuft very small, very very small. Million other tufts for ball to land on. Probability very small, very very very small. So golfer did not hit ball, ball deliberately guided on tuft. Is bloody argument. Yes?"

Brian said...

"Other than the bits around and in between Thought for the Day and the Daily Service ?"

Silly me, it seems I'm under the mistaken belief that I live in England and not the Republic of Gilead.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps because atheists and humanistists lack regular radio and television slots on the BBC to put across their opinions other media are used.

Eh?

Sorry, which BBC is this?

Anonymous said...

"Eh?

Sorry, which BBC is this?"

Simply lumping everything you disagree in with atheism and humanism again are you? Do you also believe there really no morality without religion?
Songs of Praise, Sunday Worship, Sunday, Beyond Belief, Prayer for the Day have what atheist or humanist equivalents? It's like claiming that everything except Woman's Hour is for men.

Ryan said...

And God said let there be light - and there was light,

While Stephen Hawking said "The first thing that happened after the universe came into being was a massive burst of photons that dissappeared over the event horizon".

Spot the difference?

If you can see one I can't. The evidence (such as it is) suggests that the biblical allegory of the creation is pretty close to what actually happened. Only the Jews knew this 5000 yrs before any real evidence was found.