Sunday, February 21, 2016

When Rationalization is the Only Tool in Your Toolbox, What Do You Do? You Rationalize!

Many, many years ago I read a small cartoon that struck me not funny, but something all too real.  I don't remember the source, it could have been anything from the New Yorker to Mad Magazine, but I remember the cartoon well.  It was the clearest example of racism I had ever heard and one I took a lesson from.  I wish I had the image, but while it left a lasting impression, the original source apparently did not.  I tried a web search, but my parameters are too wide.  Well anyway, it went something like this:

 A man was sitting in his easy chair watching a baseball game.  It was the bottom of the ninth, two outs, based loaded, and his team was down.  Visually he was pretty much an Archie Bunker type.  In fact you could easily picture Archie Bunker doing exactly this. 

The announcer names the next batter, an African-American player and the man is livid.  He goes on to proclaim the game to be over and how the next batter is a choker and can't handle the pressure of playing baseball all because of his race. . . you can easily picture this little bout of verbal diarrhea.

On the first swing of the bat the baseball the player hits it out of the park and wins the game.

The man now proclaims that the man was super-strong from all those years in the jungle.
Actually I paraphrased it a great deal, but I hope you get the gist.  You can probably well imagine the actual words used, so there is no need to repeat them verbatim.  The lesson I learned was that no matter what really happens, a racist goes into any situation prejudiced toward a certain result.  If the outcome is in line with his prejudices, he uses it as reinforcement.  If the actual results are contrary to his prejudices, he is going to find a way to rationalize the results to support his beliefs.

So as I was spending a small part of my weekend going through some news feeds I saw a great many articles about the discovery of Gravitational Waves.  It is very exciting news and also confirms a prediction Einstein made a century ago.  Here is a video from one of the many items I found in my news feeds on the subject.
Needless to say this is an incredible achievement!  But . . . me being me, I had to wonder if any of the Creationist organizations were going to say anything about it.  I haven't seen anything from ICR on it yet, but little kennie ham's Answers in Genesis and the Discovery Institute just had to start their spin.  Here are some quotes, and the links if you want to read their whole posts.

First up a few 'thoughts' from AiG (What Does the Detection of Gravity Waves Mean for the Creation Model?):
"What does this mean to the creation model? Not much. Some creationists may wonder about the distance, but we already know about many objects even farther away. Creationists are well aware of the light-travel-time problem, and we have proposed several solutions. By the way, the big bang has its own light-travel-time problem, the horizon problem."
 "This first direct confirmation of gravitational waves is just another example of how far out and cool God’s creation can be."
AiG pretty much dismisses the whole thing, they do try and remind true believers that the distances spoken of with the discovery isn't something they should consider to be real.  Their 'scientists' have postulate a rather creative 'problem' so they can dismiss the actual evidence.

Next the DI weighs in (What Should We Make of Gravity-Wave Detection?):
"In other words, the universe began to exist, and there is no physical explanation in cosmology or physics for why this happened. "
"The only causal option left is an immaterial transcendent personal agent of immense power and wisdom."
While AiG tried to dismiss the discovery as irrelevant, the DI tries to use it as justification for their mythical designer . . . you know the Christian God they never want to 'officially' recognize.  Simply put, if there is no physical explanation, there must be a supernatural one.  I see this as nothing but a re-statement of the God-In-The-Gaps argument.  Even if it were true that there is no physical explanation, that doesn't mean there will never be one, only that we may not have one right now.  The reason I worded it this way is because I really don't feel the need to dig into the research and see if the DI is telling the truth, about there being no physical explanation.  As you know, I don't trust anything the DI says -- and that's based on their history.

Now do you see the connection to my opening story.  No matter what actually happens in science, be it the discovery of new planets, new fossils, gravitational waves, whatever . . ., Creationists will find a way to use it to further rationalize their own beliefs. 

But really there is no surprises here.  Science will keep on moving forward and pretty much ignore the efforts of folks like these to drag down science in order to shore up their belief systems.

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