Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Yet Another YEC Starlight "Solution": But he can’t be serious! Oh yes he is!

 PZ Myers and his followers;  always eager to bite YEC butt

I see that another Young Earth Creationist has braved the piranha infested pond of PZ Myers blog and has even had the honour of being snapped at by the King Piranha himself. But this scientifically illiterate YEC, brushing aside all the technical expertise (if such it can be called) thrown at the starlight problem by the likes of say Answers in Genesis, breezily advances his own idiosyncratic “solution” to this problem. Quoting from Myers blog this is his take on the matter:  

I’m willing to be proven wrong on this, but I don’t believe that starlight is something that actually physically travels to earth, in order for us to see it. I think that light is emitted from an energy source, and if the amount of energy released as light is enough, the object will be bright enough for our eyes to see it from earth. I don’t buy when someone argues that starlight has been traveling for billions of years to get here. Feel free to prove me wrong by proving the current understanding of light travel, but no one else so far has been able to address this without just throwing more theoretical BS at it
….. I don’t use it (that is, Variable Speed of Light theory - ed) personally, but I’d imagine that you can get an approximate distance, using the speed of light as measured in a vacuum. The constancy of the speed of light is really the secondary problem though. The main problem I have is with the “transit” part. If your ideas about light travel are true, you should be able to catch some of these photons from a distant star of your choosing, and ship them to me with a note telling me which star they’re from. Once I open the container, those photons jump into my eyes, and I see your star, I will come on to Pharyngula AND DDO, publicly admit my ignorance on light travel, and issue an apology, as well as reimburse you for any shipping costs.
Any takers, or are you guys just going to grumble about how ignorant the challenge is and make excuses for why it’s not possible to meet the challenge?? That seems to be the MO here for many of you, or the few of you and your puppet accounts, whichever the case may be.

But wait a minute; is this guy for real? Is he just a troll stirring Myers' piranha pond in order to work up a feeding frenzy for his amusement?  Who knows: The state of fundamentalist creationism looks so suspiciously like some kind of April fool’s send up that it’s difficult to tell. But parody or not, either way it’s a sign of fundamentalism’s intellectual bankruptcy; their “serious” solutions are farcical enough to make them indistinguishable from parody…. and vice versa. But actually I think this YEC is the real deal; any good parodist is probably too intelligent to be able to sink down to the level of replicating such incoherence.

For this YEC it’s just common sense that anything travelling to the eye could be captured in a box and exhibited. The idea that a photograph of a distant star sent to him in the post is a record of captured energy from the star is far too subtle for him. To him we see objects simply because they are “bright enough” and it has nothing to do with signalling. He is still under the cognitive delusion that blinds him to the fact that the world only makes sense because we proactively interpret the signals it sends us. We see the world through very active cognitive centres; these centres work so well and the world beyond is so rational that we are delivered the sensation of a rationality that resides entirely beyond us, out there, signals or no signals;. In short our cognitive processing is so seamless in its connection with the rest of creation that we feel we are directly witnessing what is out there. It is no surprise then that this particular fundamentalist looks as though he thinks that his perception of the stars is direct and has no need of signals. He cannot see round his cognitive interface; he cannot see that interface, instead he sees through it.

Religious fundamentalists seem to have an across-the-board cognitive immaturity which means they are blind to both the cosmos’s rationality and to the highly complex processes in our minds which proactively appropriate that rationality* from the signals it sends us. But as far as this latest YEC is concerned one may as well try and instruct a five year old in the theory of radiation.  No surprise then that Myers’ readers simply find selves reduced to snapping as the only way of teaching numskulls like this a lesson.

This YEC has complete contempt for the story of science as the cumulative effort of many scientists who have collectively constructed the theoretical edifice of science bit by bit. To this man it’s all just so much “Bullsh*t” and is completely trumped by his native "common sense". He is typical of the North American frontiersman ethos, where a self-reliant can-do attitude leads to the scorning of the communal efforts represented by public domain science. To such obsessively practical and individually minded people any attempt to cooperate communally smacks of Marxist collectivism. To them well governed communities look more like conspiracies and high theory is written off as bunk. But amongst Biblical literalists an attitude of contempt for public domain science is not just for the unsophisticated: YEC astronomer John Byl also holds the collective effort embodied in current cosmological theory in contempt.  

Sometimes I wonder if these unknowing and merry clowns have been sent to perform in front of cynical straight man PZ Myers in order to provoke his vicious line in biting commentary and give us some cutting edge comedy. In fact I have confess that when Myers reacts to the latest excesses of fundamentalists, it's some of the best comedy I've seen!

Relevant links on Myers blog:
Other relevant links

* The poor grasp that Biblical literalists have of the fact that the Bible must be proactively interpreted in order to be understood seems to be part of the same cognitive malady.


Addendum 09/05/14Here is some more text from PZ Myers client “clown”. I suspect that many less scientifically illiterate YECs would be embarrassed by this incoherent clap-trap:

Like I told the people on DDO that I was discussing this with, if you’re going to honestly try to understand my position, you have to let go of certain assumptions that you currently have because the ideas are not going to be in perfect harmony. I’m challenging some things, about the current understanding, that are taken as axiomatic but are actually just assumptions.
First off, you have to understand that starlight doesn’t physically “travel” here, or “arrive” here, from distant stars. I think it’s nonsense that light left an object billions of years ago and “traveled” all this way across the universe, to bombard our eyeballs with little packets of energy which are believed to be physical things that don’t have a rest mass (huh?). I don’t buy that we’re “looking back in time” and seeing objects as they existed millions of years ago. Such a theory requires you to believe that you can still see light from an object that may not have existed for millions of years, which is absurd. The universe doesn’t have to be so counter-intuitive.
When you look into the night sky and see a star, you are viewing it in real time, as it exists that night, which requires that vision actually play a role in “viewing” something. Most people that discuss this issue seem to believe that it’s all physics, photons, and they view space as a big cosmo-discotheque. They seem to forget about the eye, brain, and complex neurology that also plays a very big role.
It doesn’t matter if there is an infinite number of photons, from an infinite number of stars that are coming at you from all directions and arriving at the same time, you are still only going to see the stars that are within your field of vision. Even if photons coming from stars directly behind you could pass you by, do a U-turn, and come back toward you, you still won’t see those stars. Those photons won’t do you a bit of good because the stars are outside your field of vision. The obvious question then is, if photons and light travel control what we’re able to see in space, why does our field of vision exist?? 

When I first heard the idea that we see things because something travels to our eye from the object I must have only just got beyond a single figure age.  I remember it now; it was a very radical thought which explained so much and yet which cut across my immediate intuition about objects: As I have mentioned above our world is so rational and are minds so constructed to tune into that rationality that the objects one beholds are very convincingly portrayed as “out there and over there”. That this out-there-ness is actually “conjured” by the mind by way of interpretation of the signals it receives is remarkable:  Something arriving at my eye, which if rightly interpreted, so successively conveys information about its source that I “see” the source and not the destination. The mind works other similar “appropriate illusions”; for example sound always sounds as if it is a property of the object it emanates from and not an activity of my ears. Also meaning, particularly of language, seems to be a property of the language itself and nothing to do with the slick interpretations of the signs worked up by mental processes.

My guess is that Myers client fundamentalist is still bound to this childish “illusion” of believing himself to have some kind of direct apprehension of the object he beholds. Although other fundamentalist may be embarrassed by this fellows performance, I would argue that he typifies a common fundamentalist fallacy; namely the tendency to conceive the Bible as literally the “Word of God” rather than understanding it as a signal that triggers meaning without which no “Word of God” could exist. The Word of God, like intelligence, sentience and rationality is a distributed rather than located phenomenon.

Addendum 10/5/14:  PZ Myers' intellectually immature fundamentalist has continued to frustrate Myers and his readers attempts to teach him a thing or two; not that I think they are bothering any more: They've long since picked their jaws up from the floor and are now reduced to just laughing. And I'm still wondering if he's a clever troll. See: http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2014/05/09/the-font-of-creationist-idiocy-continues-to-gush/

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