May 8, 2009

Anyone Care to Defend the ICR?

Posted in Creationism tagged , , , at 1:22 pm by Andrew

I don’t see how any honest Christian can read this mendacious quotemine and not come away with the conclusion that ICR “Staff Science Writer” Brian Thomas either:

a) is not aware that a planet can accumulate a ring system after its formation; or

b) is deliberately lying.

Ordinarily, my vote would be for (b), but considering how stupid their staff lawyer is (let alone their Guy In Charge of Making Stuff Go Down the Memory Hole), I can’t rule out (a).

What I can rule out, however, is any chance these guys give one whit about actual science.

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18 Comments »

  1. Ben said,

    Hey, I’ve been wanting to look into the claim often made of “creationist liars” and it seems to me more often than not (or perhaps just as often as any group of human beings) that inordinate bias is more at work than any willful intent to deceive anyone. Evolutionists just don’t seem to be able to fathom the stark raving madness of that sometimes and too often jump at the easy splash title of “lying for Jesus” when it’s probably just not true. Anyway, what I’m getting at, since you say you “ordinarily” go with B, is a request by me for a link to a really good case (or set of cases) that shows definitively that creationists have an inordinate habit of actually lying rather than being self-deceived. Any help?

    Ben

  2. astrostu206265 said,

    I’ll actually be making a blog post about this today. Why? Because he’s using MY RESEARCH to claim that Saturn is young. I’ll give a link when I actually make the post. Now it’s personal …

  3. jackd said,

    Anyone who can subscribe to the ICR’s Foundational Principles has already attained such a state that Morton’s Demon controls virtually everything about their interaction with the outside world. They’re unable to process evidence that contradicts their beliefs, so they glean these bits that (they can imagine) support them. Their regurgitation of the bits comes out as quotemines like the article you cite. It’s sad if you only think of the person doing the writing. But when I consider the folks in the pews and pulpits who buy into it because it’s what they’re told by a Good Christian Scientist, then I get pissed off.

  4. phil said,

    “Evaluating” Christianity by picking on institute for creation research is like “evaluating” atheism by picking on the rational response squad.

    • Keith said,

      Phil,
      Why don’t you suggest a Christian apologist or other serious representative of Christianity that you think would be a better exemplar than the Institute for Creation Research? Then maybe Andrew can do some serious “evaluating” on your favorite champion and you cheer on as he does indeed “engage with the best Christians have to offer.”

      • Keith said,

        Should read: “you can cheer on …”

  5. nal said,

    When it comes to creationist garbage, who’s to say which garbage is best? Is it ICR? AiG? BioLogos? The only answer is to go after all the garbage.

  6. ben “Anyway, what I’m getting at, since you say you “ordinarily” go with B, is a request by me for a link to a really good case (or set of cases) that shows definitively that creationists have an inordinate habit of actually lying rather than being self-deceived. Any help?”
    How about Morris’ That Their Words May Be Used Against Them. An entire book of quotes without context (or out of context), which makes the people saying them appear to be saying something other than they were actually saying (amusingly torn apart in this review of a review on Amazon). He’s using out-of-context quotes as a weapon. If that isn’t mendacious, I don’t know what is.
    If that doesn’t do it for you, any number of blogs on scienceblogs regularly pick apart big “C” Creationism.
    Essentially, Creationists typically learn just enough science to come to the wrong answer, then pick apart that wrong path to the wrong answer with their own biblically centered wrong path to the answer that’s so far off it isn’t even wrong. Then, when they’re corrected, they ignore the corrections and rephrase the original, nasty version of science that only lives in their heads (the one where Darwin had gaymansex with Hitler while the notorious social-Darwinist Stalin used “Darwinism” to justify the gulags and pogroms, and hordes of atheists forced the USA to keep slaves before banning prayer in church and instituted mandatory gay marriages and complementary abortions). For more, see Ray Comfort’s blog. No, I’m not going to link to it.
    I doubt very much that they see themselves as liars. They have big “T” Truth, you see, and God never mentioned evolution in Genesis, and 6,000 years isn’t enough time for it and Man can’t have common descent preceding Adam & Eve (since one came from a rib and the other from dirt). Besides, if Man came from monkeys, then why are there still monkeys?
    Then the next generation takes the last one’s wrongness and repeats it. That’s why you still see cliches like Darwin quotemined and “no transitional fossils”, I think.

    phil ““Evaluating” Christianity by picking on institute for creation research is like “evaluating” atheism by picking on the rational response squad.”
    How many people did the RRS represent? A fraction of a minority. How many YECs are their in the USA? A sizeable minority. Dickwads like Ham/Morris/Gish at al may be idiots, but their opinions are gospel to millions. The “deep” Christian apologists like Plantinga & friends are understood by, like, ten guys, and the other “deep” Christian apologists have muddied up the concept of God to the point that they’d be heretics to most Christians, if most Christians read their bafflegab. Real Christians take Real Christianity literally. If Moses (who literally wrote the Torah) wrote down that God said that He made the universe in six literal days, then that’s what happened. Literally. Real Christians aren’t big on higher criticism.

  7. Wups. The review of the review should link here.

  8. Ben said,

    MO,

    Hey, thanks for responding.

    “Essentially, Creationists typically learn just enough science to come to the wrong answer, then pick apart that wrong path to the wrong answer with their own biblically centered wrong path to the answer that’s so far off it isn’t even wrong.”

    Exactly. By your own definition I wouldn’t call that “lying.” That’s passionate ignorance in action that grabs one quote out of context because “that must be what they really meant.” It’s an extreme form of religiously motivated confirmation bias and probably nothing like a willful intent to deceive. I imagine that’s exactly what I’d get out of that Henry Morris book you linked to. You call people like that liars and obviously you’ve just contributed *further* to their delusion-scape because they know full well they weren’t lying and now they think they know one more thing about you. You call honest people liars when disagreed with. Oopsie. Horrible for “evilutionist” PR. “Creationist Liars: They’re not even Lying.” is much more like it. Even if they are lying, you’ve played right into their hands, because they can just lie again. My message is: Stop calling them liars and just stick with showing why they are mistaken. I wish all the sciences blogs would figure that out.

    Ben

  9. Andrew said,

    Hey, I’m glad we both agree that the ICR is dead wrong, at least. And FWIW, I criticized the Rational Response Squad in point 3 of this post, to name just one example.

  10. When someone says “X” and you point out that what they’re talking about is really “Y”, then they come back and repeat “X”, it’s no longer ignorance. It’s a lie. The first time that Ray Comfort said “X”, he was ignorant. Now, after being repeatedly corrected, when he says “X”, he’s knowingly and willfully lying, whether or not he admits that to himself. That his God is supportive of his position is meaningless. He’s supportive of everybody’s position, even when His support of one person conflicts with his support of another’s (I’ve probably mentioned this before, but theology is the only science where it’s always the other guy whose wrong).

    I don’t call “…people liars when disagreed with”. I point out the error, link to the facts and often link to books that further illuminate the bigger story. If they then repeat their original statement later, they no longer have the excuse of simple ignorance. Misstating, say the ToE or the effectiveness of abstinence-only sex-ed programs, based on ignorance is merely ignorant. Knowing what the ToE is or the conclusions of studies of ab-only and deliberately misstating them is no longer ignorance. It’s lying. One who lies is a liar. When confronted with that, I try to explain it again in a different way. Granted, as a lefty-atheist foreigner, my opinion counts for squat in those circles, but if it quacks like a duck and walks like a duck…

    ps: To the best of my recollection, after correcting and having those corrections ignored I’ve only called one a liar (and that was phrased as “In other words, there’s a yawning chasm between the accusations and the facts and you don’t care which is which”), and that was only after repeatedly having the exact same thing happen on a variety of subjects. He’d also earlier accused others of “Typical illogical emotional reasoning – ignore the data because it is referenced or discussed by your opponents. Refuse to address studies when they contradict your position. Only listen to people who agree with you”, which broke my irony meter so badly that I had to repeat it back to him.
    People are entitled to their beliefs. They are not, however, entitled to their own facts.

    • Ben said,

      MO,

      The solipsism of your objectivity is staggering. haha :p No seriously dude. This isn’t an attack. I struggle not to have your exact same mentality there, but I’m pretty sure I’m wrong. Pointing something out to someone and saying “you got served” is all great fun in your own head even if it is clear as crystal and you are right on the money. The problem is that in all likelihood they didn’t process it rationally enough for us to be able to turn around and be justified in calling them liars. That kind of scenario happens often enough and it’s just implausible that each and every theist (in this case) that walks off still believing in the same argument or interpretation of certain facts or quotes is actually harboring a willful intent to deceive. It should be a lie and if all opponents always understood what we were saying to them, that’d be great. But it is a fallacy of composition (in other words all the components are there as you point out, but the structure is much more like bias and delusion than lie) and an abuse of the term to call them liars from their perspective. You said, “I don’t call ‘…people liars when disagreed with.'” I didn’t say you did. I said that was *their interpretation* and an extremely cheap talking point for them to collectively fester on in their embitterment. So not only are they not corrected, but they have something else to distract them even further away from the real issue. Make sense or no?

      Ben

  11. “The problem is that in all likelihood they didn’t process it rationally enough for us to be able to turn around and be justified in calling them liars.”
    While one can’t be rationally argued out of a position that one didn’t enter rationally, all we can do is try to help them out. After a certain point, however, we have to move on to the low hanging fruit (not the YECs and the presups). As such, I try, and try again, and again, and move on.

    “…and an abuse of the term to call them liars from their perspective.”
    Saying “no transitional fossils” because that’s what Answersingenesis says is ignorance. After being informed of the many transitional fossils, saying “no transitional fossils” is a lie. Calling it something else because of their worldview doesn’t change the facts of the real world.

    “I said that was *their interpretation* and an extremely cheap talking point for them to collectively fester on in their embitterment.”
    So is everything else. 40,000,000 Muslims went apeshit over some comics. Pat Robertson damns Dover for rejecting ID. The very idea that homosexuals are people too ties some of them up in knots. Catholics popped a bulb over PZ’s eucharist protest (completely ignoring the story that lead to it). Try showing your ACLU card at a Republican rally. They want to feel oppressed. Everything that happens is somehow interpreted as a sign that the Rapture is near (or that the Hidden Imam is ready to climb out of that well). These are not rational people (not that I’m rational, but I try).


    We’re more in agreement than we’re in whatever the opposite of that is. All we can do is show them the trail of breadcrumbs.

  12. Ben said,

    I do agree many of them probably want to be offended and this channels directly into their dysfunctional cult think cycles. I’m sure this is unavoidable at times, but it seems to me we might pay attention to the *avoidable* times if we want to be better communicators. That’s all I’m saying.

    Ben


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