Thursday, March 23, 2017

If You Don't Know It All, Then You Don't Know Anything . . . Really?

A recent post from the Discovery Institute (DI) repeats a common theme.  It goes something like this, if you don't know something to the absolute 100%, then you really don't know anything at all.  This is a common whine that Creationists like to use every now and then.  They complain that scientific knowledge might change as we learn new things and they, of course, parade that as some sort of weakness.  The reality is that is one of science's strengths, the ability to reformulate ideas and theories as we learn more and more.  As I have said before, Darwin would barely recognize the details of the current Theory of Evolution, although he would recognize how much of his ideas remain and have been expanded upon.  Newton would probably not recognize the current Theory of Gravity, but he would certainly recognize the underpinnings.

Little davey 'klingy' klinghoffer took aim at something else, 'matter' -- as in the stuff that makes up all the other stuff.  His post "Astrophysicist Adam Frank: Materialism’s Fatal Flaw Is…Matter".  You can read it for yourself, but it's mostly a cut and paste from an essay from the astrophysicist.  klingy explains his basic whine with this:

"It seems that, when we’re confronted with theories of origins that dogmatically insist on an active role for matter and material forces alone, a reasonable question before going any further is: Define matter. What is it? If Darwinists can’t answer that one, then I’m not sure by what right they command our agreement to any of the rest of their theory."
First off, 'dogmatic' is a lie.  Science has shown over and over again the evidence supporting matter and material forces play in scientific theories.  It would be dogmatic is such evidence didn't exist, but since it does, a 'dogmatic instistance' does not apply.  Can klingy say the same thing about Intelligent Design?  Care to show any actual evidence?  I didn't think so.  To continue . . .

Before going into the rest of his particular whine, I would like to remind you of something very basic.  Whether you realize it or not, we do not know all there is to know about anything, including the scientific theories explaining such things as the Atom, Gravity, Aerodynamics, Thermodynamics, Germs, Disease . . . but the real question is "So what?"  

Without a complete understanding, at least to the degree folks like klingy and the other Discoveroids seem to want, we have made pretty solid use of these theories.  We fly aircraft, went to the Moon, have cured and treated an incredible number of diseases and prevented even more with our, admittedly, less than perfect understanding of germs and biology.  We create electricity with that limited knowledge of what it is and even command light appear and disappear without fully understanding if it is a particle or a wave.  How are we able to do all this?  It's called science, something klingy and his pals really wish never came into being.  He's apparently more comfortable with a Deity than any understanding, even a partial understanding.

What's most personally annoying is that understanding science doesn't prevent you from believing in one deity or another, but it does get in the way when you try and rationalize your belief.  Think about it, science isn't making any claims against a deity, but what it is doing is showing how the many claims about what a deity did or did not do  . . . claims made by man . . . are crap.  There is very little difference between an ancient Greek citing Apollo when looking at the Sun and klingy making claims for his 'designer', is there?

So in answer to his asinine question, we do not know everything there is to know about matter.  But since when would something like that stop us from using it, exploring about it, and even codifying how it works? We know a great deal about matter, if we didn't, then building anything would be impossible. Look at Materials Science and the incredible materials they have created, everything from quark-gluon plasma to Aerographite, which, if you have never heard of them, are both the most and least dense man-made materials created so far.  I think Aerographite weighs in at 0.2 grams per cubic meter.  For a reference  - steel is 8,000 kilograms per cubic meter and a cubic centimeter of quark-gluon plasma would weigh 40 billion tons -- which is denser than a neutron star, for all you science and science fiction buffs.

Cool stuff, huh?  Not bad for not being able to define something to the satisfaction of the DI.  Now let's look at what I think little klingy is really up to, it's got a bunch of names, but I prefer to call it 'moving the goal posts'.  The DI knows that real scientists are perfectly willing to admit that we do not know everything about any subject, even evolution.  They use this as a tactic frame the conversation in such a way to try and negate the entire subject by moving the goal posts every time we learn something new.  And yet where are those goal posts set for klingy's Intelligent Design and the often mentioned, but never officially identified, intelligent designer?  Think about it.

We don't know everything about any one subject, but we do know a lot -- and we use what we know to do stuff -- like fly airplanes for example.  But when it comes to the DI's Intelligent Design, what do we know?  Not a damn thing!  We don't know, and the DI has never bothered to explain, what ID is, how it works, or even why it's a better explanation than Evolution when discussing Biology.  Now be honest, ID proponents, can you answer any of these questions?  If you can, then you are miles ahead of the ID 'think-tank' called the Discovery Institute!  Little klingy is whining because we do not know 100% of everything about matter, so therefore we cannot use 'matter' or 'material forces' in any explanations about biology.  But . . . you had to see this one coming . . . we know absolutely nothing about ID, how ID works, or even who the 'designer' is, and yet this is a better explanation?  Really?  How is that even possible?

It's possible because klingy and his buds are moving the goal posts.  When a real scientist steps up to the line of scrimmage, he lines up on his opponents goal line and the only allowable play (remember DI is setting the rules in this example) for him is fully 100 yards away, nothing else is allowable -- no first downs, no short yardage gains, not even long yardage -- it's score or nothing.  That's where klingy sets the goal posts for real biologists.  Yet when an ID proponent steps up, he is lined up already in his own end zone, the goal posts are already behind him and without even running a play, he declares 'Score!'

Am I over-exaggerating?  I don't think so.  If you think that, then please list for me all of the scientific advances and achievements that have been done using the DI's Intelligent Design?  I am not talking about their claims that using your brain is the same as ID. I'm not talking about their undefined 'Design Inference Detector'.  I am talking about a valid and verified (by someone not associated with ID and the DI) implementation of Intelligent Design.  Show me or stop helping the DI rationalize themselves as anything other than a ministry!

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