Total Drek

Or, the thoughts of several frustrated intellectuals on Sociology, Gaming, Science, Politics, Science Fiction, Religion, and whatever the hell else strikes their fancy. There is absolutely no reason why you should read this blog. None. Seriously. Go hit your back button. It's up in the upper left-hand corner of your browser... it says "Back." Don't say we didn't warn you.

Monday, November 16, 2009

You heard it here first!

This past weekend our good friend the Warbler supplied us with a post that simply has to be read to be believed. As he unfortunately concludes, it's really very difficult to contradict someone who believes that people have different skin colors because god cursed some of us and not others way back in historical time. I mean, okay, it's not necessarily impossible- we could show, for example, that differences in skin pigmentation emerged more than six thousand years ago, but that would only defeat some folks.* So, yeah, pretty damn near impossible to disprove that particular idea.

In any case, in my experience some folks take that "difficult to contradict" thing to mean, "must be correct," but that isn't really the way it works. Difficult to contradict can just mean that the argument is phrased in such a way as to make it immune to falsification. A classic example of this is the no true Scotsman fallacy. In this fallacy, a person makes an assertion along the lines of, "No American would ever engage in torture." Then, as we might expect, someone might respond, "Americans were running the Abu Ghraib prison and they engaged in torture!" To this, our original person responds, "Yes, well, no real American would ever engage in torture!" In effect, the statement is difficult to contradict not because it's right in any meaningful sense, but because we've constructed it in such a way as to make contradiction artificially impossible.

And I was thinking about this recently because Andrew Schlafly, in his usual laughable manner, accidentally agreed with me. See, recently he's been having a truly magnificent argument with an actual physicist about relativity. What makes this argument so awesome is, of course, that Schlafly is getting his ass handed to him on a regular basis. As an ancillary result of all this, Schlafly started a new essay on quantifying order, continuing in the grand tradition of his quantifying open-mindedness clusterfuck. Here too he's been getting his ass kicked rather soundly, but along the way he made a rather startling admission. See, he's claiming that relatively is worshipped almost like a religion, which is bizarre, but then we get to the awesome bits:

Or, in plain language:

I don't want to perpetuate this debate, but I don't want a lack of response to be misinterpreted. Relativity has quasi-religious status for many; they'll defend regardless of what the evidence is, regardless of its absurd inconsistencies, and regardless of its far-fetched assumptions and non-falsifiability. I don't mind relativity, and look forward to reviewing the updated entry. But open-mindedness is not a trait of many relativists, who will demonize anyone who points out its fairly obvious flaws.

One way to evaluate religions, or quasi-religions, is to look at the fruit it bears. What has it helped achieved? In the case of relativity, it has produced nothing. Nil. Zippo. After nearly 100 years and a ton of money. If you find the math in relativity fun, great, but relativity is not going to help anyone. It never has. Pick up a Bible in between some equations.--Andy Schlafly [bolding added]

And this is just too much fun for me to believe: Andrew Schlafly, who often claims that the "Bible is the most logical book [ever] written", has just observed that religion is, in his view, defended regardless of the evidence, packed with absurd inconsistencies, relies on far-fetched assumptions, and is non-falsifiable.

Good lord, for once in my life I actually agree 100% with Andrew f-ing Schlafly.** Be alert for airborne pork.

* As a side note, I'm not sure of the LDS church's stance on a young-Earth, but I'm not hopeful.

** About religion, anyway. When it comes to relativity he doesn't know his ass from a hole in the ground.

As a final side note: am I quote mining? Eh, not really. I know that Schlafly does believe the evidence supports his own faith, and I concede that he so believes quite readily, it's just fun to poke fun.

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