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Sunday, September 23, 2012

On the Reasoning Ability of Most Creationists

Here's an excellent example of the difference between a scientific way of knowing and the other kind. Follow this link to the full story. I'm told that reddit user jerfoo wrote the story and took the photos.

I've often admired the jigsaw puzzle analogy to understanding the evidence for evolution. It's as though we have a picture of evolution that's missing but a few pieces yet the creationists steadfastly refuse to see the image and insist that we concentrate on the missing pieces.

[Hat Tip: Bad Astronomy]


  1. If we assume that that duck is sneaky and it's invisible and/or indistingushable from the water and trees, we may safely conclude that it is a duck.


  2. Not to get into a credit fight, I recall advancing that exact analogy on about 20 years ago. In the grand puzzle of earth history, honest science is matching up the pieces as best it can, while Creationists are insisting they have the box lid.

    1. Yes, I remember it from All I know it that it wasn't me who first came up with the idea.

      If it was you, congratulations. (sda)

  3. You may already be aware, but PZ finally posted his take on the ENCODE stuff:

  4. Problem is you don't have just a few pieces missing. And many of those pieces you think fit are because IMO you(pl) have shaved the pieces, even if so innocuously and unwittingly. So what you have is a workable image, not a true image.

    Alas, with NS acting on RM, you will always have (at best) just a workable image.

    I suspect though, that this is all you are really after; a workable image.

    1. We're not so much after an image that works but an image that doesn't fail. Putting the pieces together the way creationists say they should go fails over and over.Putting them together for this "truth" that any religion I've ever come across fails (generally slightly less so than young earth creationism, but a failure nonetheless,) or they were so vague about truth that you can't tell what it has to do with putting the puzzle together in the first place.

      Here's the thing about scientists/researchers though- when one of them shaves a puzzle piece there's a whole group of scientists down his throat about it; we love to argue and research is a competitive effort.

      When's the last time you've recognized that a prophet or preacher you accept ever shaved any of the pieces?

  5. I suspect though, that this is all you are really after; a workable image.

    Haha. Yes indeed...and what exactly are you after, pray tell. The truth? And how will you know when you have achieved it? Oh dont answer, its clear it was delivered unto you...and it was no trouble at all to get it.

    1. Shawn misunderstands.

      You know when your car is on its last legs when you find you are getting less and less mileage to the gallon.

      Repairs can only extend the life of the car so long.

      Inevitably, you have to think about a new car.

      that's what ENCODE is about. Shopping for a new car.

      'bout time.

    2. 'bout time.

      About time?

      What, are we measuring time from the scientific discovery that DNA is the molecule of inheritance or from the act of genesis, engineered by that strangely ignorant creator of the universe?

      I have a car for sale by the way. Runs well.

  6. If you have the box lid you have it.
    its up to someone else to prove it doesn't match the pieces.
    Creationists say and demonstrate it does match and the criticisms fail.
    The light is turned off in the room for the critics.
    Anyways its not about pieces fitting.
    It does seem to the future explanation for why evolution was so sticky in staying around will be it matched a lot of hunches and desires of what evolutionists wan=ted to find.

    Impressions things fit or don't must bow before a standard of investigation called the scientific method if it wants to say the conclusions from evolution are based on science.

    Fitting together is not science but a hypothetical frame.
    No way around if evolution is not true it couldn't possible have evidence backing it up.
    so does it have this evidence and further is the claims for evidence actually scientific claims.

    It is very difficult to do science on past gone events and processes.

    one of the big errors , as i see it, was the idea that fossils counted for biological evidence for biological processes.
    this thinking shows a error of understand subject evidence.
    It just is a line of reasoning that a creationist can easily put another line of reasoning too.
    Yet both are unrelated to biological study.
    It's something else.
    A strange flaw of logic by people who know logic students and professors.

    1. What the fuck are you trying to say with this ungrammatical word salad?

      If you cannot construct a cogent thought, it's no wonder that you show no understanding of the science underlying evolution.

      I'd suggest that you get yourself a copy of White & Strunk's THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE and develop a means to communicate your point of view clearly and succinctly.

    2. Those special cases where we get some soft tissue preserved in otherwise fossilized remains, have given us enough genetic material to do some cross confirmation about fossils going back quite a ways. Further back we don't have that but do you have any good (and perhaps more clearly put to word,) reasons to think that it abruptly changes past that point?

      No. Skeletons remain one of many informative methods of discerning biological features.

  7. The ignorant are almost always the most confident. Its a funny quirk of psychology. Also a pain in the ass.

  8. Steve [presumably Steve P(?)] accuses scientists of fraud:

    "Problem is you don't have just a few pieces missing. And many of those pieces you think fit are because IMO you(pl) have shaved the pieces..."

    Steve accuses all those paleontologists of FAKING their many transitional fossils, eh? And all those geneticists of FAKING their genetic comparisons of humans etc. in the tree of life? Waah.

    We don't have the same facts, but different points of view. We have different facts.

    When scientists pile up a huge amount of evidence for evolution, Steve cries "Fraud!"

    1. I hope you had a good rest after that tantrum on PT.

      Headaches will do that to you.

      Notice how you left out " even if so innocuously and unwittingly" which should signal to the perceptive reader that I am not implying outright fraud but perhaps scientists not even noticing their own confirmation biases.

      Guess I shouldn't expect an honest transcription of my comments now should I?

      Anyway, feel free to misrepresent.

    2. You're accusing me of misrepresenting your innuendo and insinuations? When you accuse the world's scientists of fraud, an accusation without evidence.

      Hmm, perhaps you could grow a ballsack and stop using insinuation and innuendo like a weaselly pussy.

    3. Ok Steve, point us at some actual cases of this bias that makes things like the aforementioned transitional fossils fake.

    4. Yes, Steve, it's easy to prove bias exists. Just quote a statement, and show it doesn't match the evidence.

      But you don't do that. You insinuate and use innuendo.

      You skip the "proof of bias" part, skip the "proof of inaccuracy" part. Go straight to the psychoanalysis, asking WHY there exists a bias that you haven't even proven exists.

      C. S. Lewis called that Bulverism.

  9. I don't think it's an accurate picture of creationism.

    The creo-bunny is too nice.

    Also, the box should be crudely and poorly drawn, obviously the fabrication of hoaxers.

    The creo-bunny should be saying, "Box, box, box! If you do not agree with me, you are enemies of the box, out to destroy the box! If you don't believe, the box will punish you, punish you! Box, box and box!"

  10. actually i think the jigsaw story could be improved as well. One can see water in the emerging puzzle picture...a creationist would point out that ducks are always found by water and that if you think water appearing in image is just something that happened totally by chance then you are crazy. Im sure someone would calculate that the chances of water appearing in image if there is no duck would be less than 0.000000000578%.