Monday, June 24, 2013

Hunting for Creationism - Round 10 - Global Catastrophic Model

I'm on the hunt for evidence for Creationism/Intelligent Design (hereby C/ID). Here, I set the ground rules and mission. Here, I have an index of my search.

Continuing on icr.org (they have a bunch of arguments). Today's argument, "Global Catastrophic Model".

Let's dig in.

The Argument

History is not open to scientific testing.
Uh, why not? Is this author under the common misconception that "testable" can only mean "reproduce the events within a literal laboratory"? No, "testable" can be done on non-reproducible events. That's very common in science. There's entire fields of science where that's not a problem.

Take evolution - based on our previous data on how the evolutionary tree unfolded in history, we predicted that we should find a transitional form between sea and land creatures, particularly within a particular geological strata related to a span of time in the past.

If we were to find such a transitional fossil, that will have qualified as a repeatable, testable, falsifiable test of evolutionary theory.

... and guess what? We found one (link to Wiki article on Tiktaalik). Evolution empirically confirmed. Again... and not some tangential point - the transitional forms are core to the theory.

That's an example of testing history.

I'm sorry, but the author is just flat out wrong here... which doesn't surprise me, given that the author of these ICR "evidences for creationism" doesn't appear to have the faintest clue how science works, or what constitutes scientific evidence. Stating a bunch of scientific facts, and then merely unfalsifiably asserting that it demonstrates a creator, without any rhyme or reason, is not scientific.

Alright, next sentence.

Geologists, therefore, interpret the geologic record using their limited understanding of modern geologic processes, typically by comparing the record with slow processes known to occur in historic times.
Yes, that's the first part to "testing" - coming up with a model that'd make predictions, and then we'd find ways to test whether that model held true in the past.

Once we've established that a consistent pattern exists, it's a low evidentiary requirement to establish that it continues to be consistent, going forward or back in time. If it's established enough, and we have several independent lines of evidence that all corroborate one another, the possibility of that conclusion being false approach nil.

However, geologists in the last 30 years have recognized evidence within strata supporting regional, continental, and global catastrophic events that appear to have formed the major portion of the record. Natural disasters and their aftermaths have direct application to interpreting the geologic record. 
Wait, how do we know any of that, if the historical record was untestable? If it's untestable, that means we can't know any of it. It's funny that they're more than willing to use that scientific data when it suits them, but deny that it's even scientific when it doesn't.

Geologists must deliberately and unabashedly discard outdated uniformitarian thinking and adopt, without reservation, a global catastrophic model. 
This statement is just strange.

For those who don't know, this is what "Uniformitarianism" means, courtesy Wikipedia:

Uniformitarianism is the assumption that the same natural laws and processes that operate in the universe now have always operated in the universe in the past and apply everywhere in the universe. It has included the gradualistic concept that "the present is the key to the past" and is functioning at the same rates. Uniformitarianism has been a key principle of geology and virtually all fields of science, but naturalism's modern geologists, while accepting that geology has occurred across deep time, no longer hold to a strict gradualism.
I'm not sure what the ICR author's point is supposed to be. It sounds like geologists are already on this route... so what's the problem.?

Catastrophist patterns of interpretation have thoroughly permeated conventional thinking about the geologic record; geologists are deliberately reevaluating outdated uniformitarian thinking and are increasingly adopting a global catastrophic model.
Okay.

That appears to be the end of the argument. Please note, this was supposed to be an argument for evidence in support of Creationism. The thought patterns of the author appear to have digressed into some random topic, and then just ran out of time to complete the thought... or something.

I uh.. what?

ICR is continuing its habit of not making an argument. I have no idea what the point of this was supposed to be.

The nearest I can figure is that Catastrophic understandings of Earth's history more closely match what's mentioned in Genesis? Sure, as long as one ignores the fact that the same science that reveals Catastrophic model of Earth also contradicts both Genesis stories, left and right.

Is this the "evidence"? Science reveals something that sounds like it's kind of similar to something the Bible says, if you spin/interpret it enough?

This argument may take the cake for the Single Most Lame Argument trophy.

Meta Analysis

There's not much to analyze. If we assume the "sounds like Genesis" angle is correct, even then, they're selectively picking what evidence suits them, while ignoring the preponderance of evidence. 

It's funny, because the evidence they're citing to support a Catastrophic model of the Earth, also establishes that the Earth is much older than they are willing to admit.

That pretty much says it all, about this argument.

This argument is listed under their site as "Evidence from science", and they insist that "History is not open to scientific testing". They seem unaware of the fact that'd render all their "evidence from science" untestable too, wouldn't it? How exactly have they tested it; in particular, in repeatable and falsifiable ways? It's funny that this is apparently only a requirement for non-Magical-Sky-Wizard models of reality.

They made an argument that we're the center of the universe, therefore God. How did they test that, to see whether their interpretation was true?


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