Sunday, February 10, 2008

Where does disbelief in Darwin lead?

 
You probably think the answer to the question is obvious. The rejection of science leads to irrational behavior, right?

Of course it's right. DaveScot sets out to prove it over on Uncommon Descent with a posting that has the same title as this one [Where does disbelief in Darwin lead?]. As you read it, remember that the person who is writing the article is a disbeliever in evolution. Let's see where that kind of thinking leads ....
Be that as it may I’m a results oriented guy. Instead of presuming that “poorer” science education leads to poorer scientific output I instead look at what America actually produces in the way of science and engineering. Without question America’s output in science and engineering leads the world. Not just a little but a lot. We don’t steal nuclear technology secrets from China, they steal ours. We don’t use European GPS satellites for navigation, they use ours. The list can go on and on. We put a man on the moon 40 years ago while to this day no one else has. America has almost 3 times the number of Nobel prize winners as the next closest nation. That doesn’t support the notion that disbelief in Darwin is causing any problems. In fact it supports just the opposite. Disbelief in evolution makes a country into a superpower - militarily, economically, and yes even scientifically.

Education in America is working just fine, thank you, judging by the fruits of American science and engineering. Disbelief in Darwinian evolution, if anything, leads to greater technological achievements not lesser. If it isn’t broken, don’t try to fix it.
Well, there you have it. If only those successful scientists, engineers, and Nobel Laureates1 would stop believing in evolution there's no limit to what America could achieve. Just look at how far America has come when it's only the ignorant who disbelieve in evolution!

You know, you simply can't make this stuff up.


1. America is pretty much in the middle of the pack in terms of Nobel Laureates per capita [Nobel Prizes by Country]. It takes a bit of intelligence and simple math to recognize that point.

20 comments :

  1. The technological prowess of the US shouldn’t cause vainglorious patriotic hearts to swell with pride; the U.S. is a populous country of unrivaled wealth, more than other countries it can afford to innovate technologically. Perhaps IDiots believe creationism and wealth are positively related? But either way, if Dave Scott thinks America still leads in technology then he hasn't kept up with the times. In patent filings per million population, for example, the US already trails a few countries--Korea, for instance. Filings per domestic product, per research and development expenditures, so on and so forth, various metrics that can be used to compare countries meaningful report the same results: the US trails many countries, its former lead continues to erode and it is no longer the example for the rest of the world to emulate in science and technology.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Here is Mark Mathis, one of the producers of Ben Stein's upcoming fantasy film, Expelled:

    What we're seeing now is an elitist academic group of folks who are sort of intoxicated with their power. They really aren't accountable to anyone -- you go to a university, you get a PhD, you get tenure, you're really unaccountable, you're in the classic ivory tower syndrome.

    So, in other words, our having all those elitist science types proves that our educational system is doing okay ... as long as students keep away from them.

    DaveScot ... the git that keeps on giving!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hey Larry, aren't you just THRILLED to live just north of such a clever, industrious neighbor?

    Seriously, it sometimes amazes me that my country has accomplished as much as it has when such a large proportion of the population are deluded idiots. Anonymous in comment #1 has probably identified the miracle catalyst: money. It is amazing what a few people can accomplish with a bundle of money.

    ReplyDelete
  4. So I suppose the scientists believing in evolution has led to a mediocrity in Nobel prizes, according to these lights?

    But I think Huckabee is saying that such beliefs in general do not deter scientific progress in some dreadful manner, and I think he means the whole claim of evolution, i.e. that of naturalism.

    There he has a point! Philosophical naturalists did not start the scientific ball rolling. That was up to the Christians, who were curious about finding plan and purpose in the world, because they thought it was there.

    Scientists still look for pattern and formula, oddly enough. 'Tis a Christian idea, a Jewish one, but you're welcome to use it.

    As long as you reference it properly in your papers! :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. lee

    What you say is true enough but there's more to the story. The Protestand Reformation in Europe is what got capitalism rolling. They equated individual economic success with proof of being in God's good graces and because they also eschewed conspicuous consumption they couldn't very well spend their money in conspicuous consumption. What they could do that was ostensibly okay with religious imperatives was reinvest their fortunes into their businesses.

    Science isn't cheap. One of the other commenters made an excellent point about America's wealth being why it is such a prolific producer in science and engineering. But she failed to make the connection between the generation of wealth and the Protestant Work Ethic. Christianity is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Failing to realize that morons like Moran and PZ Myers are out to kill it and in so doing will kill their source of funding. Incredible how such smart people can be so stupid. Idiot savants is the only explanation.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I regularly read UD but must confess that I don't usually even bother to read the ramblings of DaveScot. For a start I believe he doesn't even use his real name (what's up with that?). Secondly he has not actual scientific qualifications or experience. Is this best UD can do for a science spokesperson?

    ReplyDelete
  7. But she failed to make the connection between the generation of wealth and the Protestant Work Ethic. Christianity is the goose that lays the golden eggs.

    Right. Having vast resources, huge tracks of land that only took killing off the aboriginal owners and importing armies of immigrants to do the actual work the "ethic" called for had nothing to do with it. At least you're consistent. Your history and economics is as faulty and illiterate as your science.

    And someone who can't muster the "savant" part shouldn't be throwing that phrase around.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Watch out, John Pieret doesn't actually have to write comments, the words assemble themselves out of fear of the law of the land! [Okay, so I make lousy Chuck Norris jokes. But so does Chuck Norris.]

    But lee and DaveScot provides as much amusement by themselves beyond being resonance chambers for John's wit. First off, they can't find the point in Larry's post anymore than they can find a history book in a library, so we are left without an answer from the creationist scammers. Business as usual, but this time probably because they don't know which point they should avoid.

    Second and more seriously for their historical argument, it is all wrong. "Philosophical naturalists" is a clue that lee doesn't know first thing about what he is claiming to describe. And the rewriting of history to leave out the development of empirical investigation from ancient cultures onwards shows this conclusively.

    Similarly, DaveScot leaves out the ancient development of technology. The Scientific Revolution predates the Industrial Revolution, and capitalism predates both. Its institutionalization in modern societies is a long process however, still ongoing.

    Mercantilism is roughly coexisting with the birth of modern science, but it success depends on the creation of modern nation states. And we all know that the nation state depended on getting rid of the power of the church to replace it with a completely secular rule. In Sweden explicitly so, because the nation founder Gustav Vasa ousted the then church and expropriated its capital for better use.

    Third and adding hurt to shame, modern science had to fight the church influence to come in its own right. Bruno and Galilei aren't forgotten.

    ReplyDelete
  9. > "Philosophical naturalists" is a clue that lee doesn't know first thing about what he is claiming to describe.

    This is what I meant: "Roughly, naturalism is the view that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality."

    > And the rewriting of history to leave out the development of empirical investigation from ancient cultures onwards shows this conclusively.

    I note no evidence. I do note that Bruno and Galileo were Christians, the point is not that all Christians espoused scientific investigation, or that the leaders did, but that it was Christians who by and large, are responsible for starting modern science.

    Especially the notion (my concluding point was somehow skipped) that we expect pattern and elegance in nature.

    ReplyDelete
  10. DaveScot says,

    One of the other commenters made an excellent point about America's wealth being why it is such a prolific producer in science and engineering. But she failed to make the connection between the generation of wealth and the Protestant Work Ethic. Christianity is the goose that lays the golden eggs. Failing to realize that morons like Moran and PZ Myers are out to kill it and in so doing will kill their source of funding. Incredible how such smart people can be so stupid. Idiot savants is the only explanation.

    Your stupidity never ceases to amaze me.

    Not so long ago there was another superpower. The USSR was the first country to put a satellite in orbit and they competed with the USA in many areas of science and technology. Was that because of their Protestant work ethic?

    What about Japan? I've heard rumors that they don't do too badly in technology—which you place a high value on. Is the Japanese success due to the high percentage of Christians?

    It won't be long before China and India (non-Christian) take the lead in science and technology. I assume you'll credit me and PZ for their success?

    Have you ever been to Europe? Did you notice those ancient roads; aqueducts that span large rivers and valleys; and huge coliseums and amphitheaters in the centers of old towns? Those impressive structures are the products of advanced technology from a civilization that existed more than 1500 years ago. A civilization with an impressive work ethic.

    The Roman civilization was destroyed by barbarians from the north. It took those barbarians another one thousand years to re-discover a work ethic. The new "work ethic" was derived from Roman Catholicism. It was re-born in Italy.

    Today, modern barbarians, like you and your IDiot friends, want to repeat the cycle.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Larry

    Look what happened to the USSR. Even though they had technological parity with the U.S. 50 years ago, or maybe even more advanced if we look at who put up the first satellite, they couldn't maintain parity for long. Why not? Because they couldn't match the U.S. in ability to fund military research programs. Why not? Karl Marx vs. Adam Smith. Smith always wins in the long run.

    ReplyDelete
  12. larsson

    Equating mercantilism with capitalism exposes your ignorance of economic theory. Capitalism is the substitution of capital for labor. While capitalism wasn't invented in the 16th century it was John Calvin who made it into a religious imperative in the 16th century.

    The invention of the printing press is what, more than anything else, empowered the Protestant Reformation. Prior to the printing press the bible was an expensive thing to produce that commoners couldn't afford to own and they thus had to rely on authorities in the Catholic church to study and interpret it for them. The Protestant Reformation eschewed the Catholic authorities and basically said "let's all have a copy of the bible and study it together as peers". Thus the great rift in Christianity between Catholicism and Protestant that still persists centuries later. The U.S. was founded more or less by Protestant sects seeking escape from Catholic-based rule by divine right in England. The results are self-evident today.

    ReplyDelete
  13. DaveScot says,

    The U.S. was founded more or less by Protestant sects seeking escape from Catholic-based rule by divine right in England.

    Hmmm ... your history lessons weren't the same as mine.

    Do you mind if I ask you a few questions for clarification?

    When, exactly was the United States of America founded? Before that, who ruled the colonies?

    What percentage of the original immigrants to the colonies were "Protestant sects" and what percentage were Roman Catholic and Church of England?

    When was the last reign of a Catholic monarch in Great Britain? You know, the one from whom the non-Catholics were fleeing?

    When did the concept of divine right of kings cease to have any meaning in Great Britain? Was it around the time that parliament chopped off the head of Charles I in 1649?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Smith always wins in the long run.

    Which is amusing, since, both historically and conceptually, Natural Selection is Smith's "invisible hand" applied to biology.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, that is the first time I have heard of creationists connecting the success of American science with anti-Darwinian bullshit.

    Next time they spend time in hospital and contract a new strain of MRSA lets give them some holy water.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Larry

    The best way to see the extent of Protestant influence on the founding of the United States is to look at how many of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were Protestants and how many were not. I'll let you make an exact count for yourself if you want but just by a quick glance you can see that somewhere close to 90% were Protestants with a few Roman Catholics, Anglicans, and Deists being the exceptions to the rule.

    http://www.usconstitution.net/declarsigndata.html

    Even today self-declared Protestants comprise some 52% of the U.S. population with Roman Catholics making up another 25%. Most of the Roman Catholics arrived long after the founding.

    http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_prac2.htm

    ReplyDelete
  17. I didn't expect to see creationists effectively spouting Max Weber. Maybe there's hope after all...

    But not with poor logic like this: "In fact [US success in science and engineering] supports just the opposite. Disbelief in evolution makes a country into a superpower."

    At most, US success in science and engineering supports the conclusion that a scientist's position on evolution is irrelevant to her science. I see nothing to support the notion that creationism --> good science.

    As well, the guy who wrote that is attempting to elide the fact that biology and its associated disciplines are "science." There's not much good biology or medicine, for example, coming out of creationists.

    Similarly, there's a reason that "Education in America is working just fine, thank you, judging by the fruits of American science and engineering" – and it isn't the one the author wishes to convey. The reason is that real science education is, fortunately, uncluttered with creationist hogwash. Maybe the author should come back in 50 years, after the ICR and all the other Christian schools have gotten accredited and supplanted real universities. Let's see how the US is doing on science then.

    Finally, the title of this guy's post gets my goat, referring to "disbelief in Darwin." Evolution is not a matter of belief, nor is "Darwin." We don't "believe" in evolution, not in the way that believers believe in Christianity or creationism.

    Rather, we conclude that the concepts others have concluded are correct, under the general heading of the Theory of Evolution, are correct. We agree with the reasoning from evidence. We don't "believe" in it.

    So the post should more accurately have been titled, "Where does belief that the entire disciplines of biology, medicine, et al., and all their scientists are wrong in reasoning from vast quantities of evidence lead?"

    ReplyDelete
  18. So the U.S. owes its technological prowess to a bunch of anti-science hillbillies? Just like we owe our medical capabilities to homeopaths and Reikki masters? And our civil engineering accomplishments no doubt to our fung shui practice.
    Keep in mind that the antievolutionists also reject so much of other science; our country excels in spite of, not because of, these deluded people.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Something tells me DaveScot needs to read up on the difference between correlation and causation...

    The signers of the Declaration may have been Protestants or any other religious kind. But people like Jefferson are role models precisely because they managed to separate religion from science, thus actually disconnecting religion from public policy. If anything, the US is a technological superpower in spite of religion, certainly not because of it.

    ReplyDelete
  20. FWIW, catching up on old threads:

    @ lee:


    This is what I meant: "Roughly, naturalism is the view that the scientific method (hypothesize, predict, test, repeat) is the only effective way to investigate reality."


    The point was that a philosophical description isn't applicable. Well into the eighteenth century, science and natural philosophy were not quite synonymous, but only became so later with the direct use of what would become known formally as the scientific method, which was earlier developed during the Middle Ages and early modern period in Europe and the Middle East (see History of scientific method).

    While empirical investigations of the natural world have been described since antiquity (for example, by Aristotle), and scientific methods have been employed since the Middle Ages (for example, by Ibn al-Haytham and Roger Bacon), the dawn of modern science is generally traced back to the early modern period, during what is known as the Scientific Revolution of the 16th and 17th centuries.

    @ DS:


    Equating mercantilism with capitalism exposes your ignorance of economic theory.


    I didn't equate it with later capitalism, I was describing "Its institutionalization" which you can see if you care to read my comment. You are "quote-mining", surprise.

    ReplyDelete