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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Stupidity vs psychopathy

That is the correct way to describe the argumentum ad absurdum of the religious mind versus the rational mind:
To believe in a supernatural god or universal spirit, people appear to suppress the brain network used for analytical thinking and engage the empathetic network, the scientists say. When thinking analytically about the physical world, people appear to do the opposite.

“When there’s a question of faith, from the analytic point of view, it may seem absurd,” said Tony Jack, who led the research. “But, from what we understand about the brain, the leap of faith to belief in the supernatural amounts to pushing aside the critical/analytical way of thinking to help us achieve greater social and emotional insight.”

Jack is an associate professor of philosophy at Case Western Reserve and research director of the university’s Inamori International Center of Ethics and Excellence, which helped sponsor the research.


"A stream of research in cognitive psychology has shown and claims that people who have faith (i.e., are religious or spiritual) are not as smart as others. They actually might claim they are less intelligent.,” said Richard Boyatzis, distinguished university professor and professor of organizational behavior at Case Western Reserve, and a member of Jack’s team.

“Our studies confirmed that statistical relationship, but at the same time showed that people with faith are more prosocial and empathic,” he said.

In a series of eight experiments, the researchers found the more empathetic the person, the more likely he or she is religious.

That finding offers a new explanation for past research showing women tend to hold more religious or spiritual worldviews than men. The gap may be because women have a stronger tendency toward empathetic concern than men.

Atheists, the researchers found, are most closely aligned with psychopaths—not killers, but the vast majority of psychopaths classified as such due to their lack of empathy for others.
This is yet another piece of scientific evidence in support of my hypothesis that atheism is nothing more than the predictable consequence of being neurologically atypical; that atheism is what might as reasonably be described as social autism.

Which, of course, is just another way of describing a lack of empathy. This makes sense, as I have all the attributes of the average atheist, with one key exception: I am highly empathetic. The short answer to the common question: "how can you believe in God when you are highly intelligent and well-educated" is "Because I am capable of empathizing with my fellow Man."

As will be clear to anyone who has read the Metaphysics bestseller, On the Existence of Gods, atheism is not a rational position justified by reason and evidence. It is, quite to the contrary, an instinctive and emotional reaction to the atheist's inability to identify with and relate to the world around him. This is why most atheists become atheists in their teenage years, and why so few are able to provide any justification for their atheism beyond a highly subjective appeal to their own credulity.

That doesn't mean that atheism is not a legitimate expression of disbelief. It absolutely is, it simply isn't what it purports to be.

However, it also explains the intrinsic distrust that normal individuals harbor for atheists; it is the same distrust they harbor for psychopaths and others who do not "read" normally.

As I once told Sam Harris in an email when I was helping him with the neurology experiment that led to The Moral Landscape, the scientific investigation into belief and unbelief is far more likely to discover things that trouble the atheist perspective considerably more than the religious one.

For example, if we can ever cure psychopathy by instilling empathy into those who lack it, one likely consequence will be the eventual elimination of atheism. And if the suppression of religious belief necessarily means the suppression of empathy, this renders all dreams of a functional post-religious society intrinsically impossible.

In any event, this will provide a useful rhetorical weapon for the theists. The next time an atheist tells you that you are less intelligent because you believe in God, the obvious response is that you are also, unlike the atheist, not a psychopath.

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249 Comments:

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Blogger Rusty Fife March 28, 2016 6:54 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Tom K. wrote:I think it's because engineers don't require ridiculous proofs in order to be convinced.

Most engineers are cook-book users and don't look to the source of the equations they employ.  It's the difference between people who are rule-followers and those who derive those rules from fundamental principles.

A rule-follower can pick up a Bible and go "uh-huh, yeah, just do this and this" and be happy.  Someone trying to derive those rules finds the contradictions in the Bible and won't be happy with it at all.


Nope. It's called intellectual humility. There are people's lives on the line if an engineer gets his recipe wrong. Unlike chefs our mistakes can be written in the skies for miles around and cause permanent deformation of the landscape; making regions uninhabitable for decades. Following the cookbook makes sense. Too many errors like this and you won't have a career.

In addition, elegantly derived equations are only relevant for 1DOF systems. As soon as the problem goes non-linear numerical methods are required.

Engineering is at the intersection of decision and action; there is a very tight feed-back loop.

Blogger Rusty Fife March 28, 2016 7:08 AM  

@201

Pascal's wager is also based on intellectual humility. The agnostic has it; the atheist does not.

Worse, the evangelical atheist lacks the recognition of the consequences to others for his preaching.

For example, let's postulate that <100IQ Christians lead happy productive lives. And atheism leads them to unproductive and unhappy lives. The productive raise productive children and the unproductive raise unproductive ones. The evangelical atheist is therefore responsible for generations of misery for any successful 'conversion' of a less than 100IQ individual.

Let's hope he wagered correctly.

Anonymous Ezekiel Cassandros March 28, 2016 7:37 AM  

S1AL wrote:Is the Moon literally a "lesser light"?
It's bright, it's in the sky, and it's not as bright as the sun, so, yes.
S1AL wrote:Did the land literally produce creatures?
When we say platypuses come from Australia, do we mean the rocks and skill produce them, or is it the Australian government?

Next you should mention that bats aren't birds according the the Linnean taxonomy that didn't exist for a few thousand more years.

Blogger Old Ez March 28, 2016 7:45 AM  

I agree. To believe in the "supernatural god" of Human Equality (PBUH) or the "universal spirit" of Egalitarianism definitely requires suppression of analytical thinking.

Blogger Badger Brigadon March 28, 2016 8:14 AM  

Fortunately, being stupid is no bar from entering the kingdom of heaven. Even a Genesis literalist or trinitarian can get into heaven. Jesus forgives.

Blogger S1AL March 28, 2016 8:20 AM  

@Ezekiel Casdandros -

You couldn't even answer the question without resorting to metaphor. Thank you.

Anonymous Ezekiel Cassandros March 28, 2016 9:36 AM  

S1AL wrote:You couldn't even answer the question without resorting to metaphor. Thank you.
Serves me right for not reading the whole thread; I think we agree on this. Although the bit about "is the moon a light" is still a bit odd - I mean, even us precise modern English speakers don't usually go for nonsense like "the moon isn't a light because it's just a reflector" although I wouldn't put it past Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

Anonymous Mr. Rational March 28, 2016 10:15 AM  

Austin Ballast wrote:Things still go from simple to complex, and that calls for organization and advancement.
Wrong again.  Complexity has arisen, but the "march of progress" you seem to mistake for the theory of evolution has nothing to do with survival of the fittest.  The vast majority of life on earth is and remains single-celled, though the bulk of standing biomass is now land plants (presumably vascular plants, which are multi-cellular).

go back to Vox's question about what the rate of speciation is over time
It's meaningless rhetoric.  Define a "species" of bacterium, when they can exchange DNA between vastly different organisms?  There is no reproductive/genetic isolation there and evolution proceeds at a breakneck pace, changing genomes without even mutating anything.

Yes, a breakneck pace.  I know you're going to say "so why don't they re-evolve humans every hundred years?" and that's because you've got this "march of progress" concept of evolution in your head.  They won't do it because multi-cellular forms down to nematodes and smaller already occupy the niches for multi-cellular life.  What evolution does for bacteria is to evolve more successful bacteria, which means competing for food and resources against other bacteria.  Turning into a less-optimized multi-cellular thing is not a winning strategy, unless e.g. some massive event wipes out all the multi-cellular stuff and opens those niches again.

I am still looking for one example of order coming out of disorder in the real world.
Do you honestly mean to tell me you've never made rock candy?  Orderly crystals condense from random solution.  The entropy of the liquid is lost to the environment as waste heat, obeying the 2LT; ΔS = ΔQ/T.

Austin Ballast wrote:Name one.
Pathological altruism, multiculturalism and White Privilege are three major ones; Islam is an opportunistic infection exploiting their successes.

Rusty Fife wrote:There are people's lives on the line if an engineer gets his recipe wrong. Unlike chefs our mistakes can be written in the skies for miles around and cause permanent deformation of the landscape; making regions uninhabitable for decades. Following the cookbook makes sense.
Cookbooks are sets of shortcuts.  They make sense when you're doing something that's already been done a bunch of times (which most engineering is).  But if you ever venture off into unexplored regions, nothing in your cookbook may be suitable for what you're trying to do.  The fundamental principles always apply, and being able to work them out in new milieus is how the book of recipes gets bigger.

Blogger Rusty Fife March 28, 2016 11:09 AM  

Mr. Rational wrote:Cookbooks are sets of shortcuts.  They make sense when you're doing something that's already been done a bunch of times (which most engineering is).  But if you ever venture off into unexplored regions, nothing in your cookbook may be suitable for what you're trying to do.  The fundamental principles always apply, and being able to work them out in new milieus is how the book of recipes gets bigger.

Martin Hairer can afford the risks associated with not using a cookbook; engineers often can't.

You're original point was, "Most engineers are cook-book users and don't look to the source of the equations they employ." We have looked at the source of equations; it's called engineering school. They are all post-hoc curve fitting with some energy theory thrown in. Engineers spend most of their time making sure that the quality control is up to snuff so that the boundary conditions on the equations are still valid.

Tell Tim Wright, the architect of Burj Al Arab, about using a cookbook for steel design when 100's of people occupy his building every day. Mathematical fundamentals won't help if the correct grade and size of steel isn't delivered.

And back to my point, nutless wonders with no lives on the line can pontificate all about "the source of the equations" because it has no consequence.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 28, 2016 11:29 AM  

Fortunately, being stupid is no bar from entering the kingdom of heaven. Even a Genesis literalist or trinitarian can get into heaven. Jesus forgives.

Project much Badger?

God was the Eyewitness. I will trust His account first and foremost.

Mr. Rational,

Do you honestly mean to tell me you've never made rock candy? Orderly crystals condense from random solution. The entropy of the liquid is lost to the environment as waste heat, obeying the 2LT; ΔS = ΔQ/T.

Rock candy is not self aware nor can it reproduce on its own. It may have a more complex structure, but it lacks the complexity of life. Perhaps you should see if someone took your candy if you feel it moved away.

The rest of your discussion ignores that the whole idea of Evolution is that particles turn into people. That is not logical nor does it follow observable reality. The number of existing single celled organisms is irrelevant, how they proceed to the life we have now is the focus. Your theory requires functional complexity to arise from randomness in a very significant manner. Rock candy won't cut it. Have you been cutting some other kind of powder?

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 11:45 AM  

Neanderserk: Pretty harsh refutations here:
https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/old-earth/gerald-schroeders-new-variation-on-the-day-age-theory-1/


Didn’t we just go over the fact that Ham is a charlatan? There’s a blatant lie in the first paragraph of that first link alone:

He [Schroeder] does not rest this choice of variable “day” lengths on any discernible scientific reasoning, nor does he offer any biblical basis for such a division.

This is false. Schroeder devotes considerable time to explaining both of these things in his book, The Science of God. He devotes at least two chapters to explaining the scientific basis for the variable day lengths as well as the biblical basis.

I guess Ham gets away with such lies, because he assumes his followers won’t bother reading Schroeder and checking these claims for themselves.

Blogger wrf3 March 28, 2016 11:47 AM  

Mr. Rational @177: On the contrary, replacing a faulty religion with a more-correct one (perfection being beyond human abilities) should improve the world.

1. Yogi Berra famously wrote, "If the world were perfect, it wouldn't be". Is this statement true, or false? Why?
2. What would be the qualities of a "more correct" religion? How do you know?
3. Does the universe tell you how to behave? Why, or why not?
4. If the answer to #3 is "yes", how does it tell you to behave?
5. If the answer to #3 is "no", what is your basis for making the world better? Are you using a purely subjective morality?

Blogger doo-wop March 28, 2016 1:14 PM  

I'm an atheist, and admittedly I fall into all the categories you've placed -- my beliefs were hardened during my teenage years, I don't relate well to many people (especially during my childhood), I don't have great social skills. In fact, on an honest and forthright level, I'll just come out and say it: I probably have less empathy for my fellow man than most people. That is not to say that I hate most people, but I frequently am just baffled by the response that other (I would say "most") people have to a given situation. It sometimes prevents me from feeling empathy or sympathy for them when they make bad decisions.

However, I still value individuals, and I consider meeting a new individual to be a new opportunity to meet someone special (not in a romantic sense or anything -- just interesting), because nature harbors many exceptions. I don't consider myself to be "autistic" and I would even say that labeling me with Asperger's would be quite a stretch, but I am definitely an introvert. I guess you could say that it took me longer to learn social skills than others.

The problem with Abrahamic faith is in all 3 major religions, it provides a "life guide" of sorts, an all-encompassing rulebook that tells you pretty much everything about how to act in life except "what to do for a living," although they do certainly limit your choices. This simply isn't healthy, even with the best of intentions. Of course, it's hard to argue against this when the opponent believes their God has infinite wisdom. Even the Greeks, Romans and Norsemen humanized their deities -- the Abrahamic God is an untouchable super-entity.

Religious policy decision-making is unfortunately also frequently spoiled by the believers themselves, because they have the annoying propensity to believe that their faith is indeed the One True Faith. Sorry if I sound condescending here but it's a simple fact: if you're not going to accept the existence (I suppose the left would say "tolerate") of other religions, it's a serious barrier to any kind of peaceful co-existence. Religion is both a hindrance and a help in this regard. Yeah, you're more empathetic... to people who also believe in the same God that you do. Not that creating communities where folks look after each other is bad, but this is another decision we have to make: do we want to tolerate people that don't believe in a "national religion?" It would, after all, make everyone happier on the whole if religion was homogenized. And of course, being an atheist myself, I have a personal interest against such a mandate. I just want to make it clear here, that if you're detecting an anti-Christian undercurrent in my tone -- don't worry. I dislike Judaism and Islam with equal -- actually I'll say it, greater -- fervor. So don't go into this thinking "eh, he's just another anti-Christian leftist." I would actually prefer it if the United States returned to a homogeneous Christian society. Everyone would be happier and it is the mildest of the 3 religions in effect. Like I said, I am an introvert and a loner, so it wouldn't really bother me as long as my fellow countrymen accepted me for not being Christian.

Blogger S1AL March 28, 2016 1:18 PM  

"This simply isn't healthy, even with the best of intentions."

What evidence do you present in support of this?

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 1:34 PM  

@211

"Didn’t we just go over the fact that Ham is a charlatan?"

Yeah, I can read between the lines. Didn't I just get done saying YEC was stupid? I wasn't focused on that portion of the refutation. And I'm certainly not looking for a physics refutation from YECs. Everybody who reads science fiction understands that acceleration = time dilation and thus your hometime honey hits the wall back on Earth pronto. I was more interested in how well the YECs thought Schroeder's days lined up with the literal text.

Like I said, Schroeder's prima facie reasonably viable. I just don't think it's the best model available.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 1:53 PM  

doo-wop: The problem with Abrahamic faith is in all 3 major religions, it provides a "life guide" of sorts, an all-encompassing rulebook that tells you pretty much everything about how to act in life except "what to do for a living," although they do certainly limit your choices.

And secular societies don't tell you pretty much everything about how to act in life and limit your choices? Do you read this blog often enough to realize that progressivism is far more controlling and micromanaging than any religion?

This simply isn't healthy, even with the best of intentions.

This is Freudian nonsense. Not only is there no evidence that restrictions on behavior are bad for you, there is ample evidence that they are good for you. The Bible in particular outlines restrictions that lead to good health and overall contentedness. If this weren't true, then people like Charlie Sheen would be the healthiest and happiest people in the world.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 1:54 PM  

Actually, after sleeping on it and rereading the comparison table, I don't see why the two theories are mutually exclusive. Using a handful of lines to describe BOTH universe formation AND solar system rearrangement would be a pretty nifty feat of compression. I'm not sure the former will fare well against skeptics, but an extra possible interpretation is nothing to turn down. Whatever recombobulations astrophysics may undergo, the asteroid belt will always be a firmament dividing the waters. So I can afford to throw in some more tenuous speculation as well without risking the core text. It's not like either side of the Big Bang debate is within the realm of repeatable science. "LET THERE BE LIGHT!"

Anonymous redsash March 28, 2016 2:06 PM  

A genealogy is given in the Bible from Adam to Jesus. At which individual does metaphor give way to an actual flesh and blood individual? Please take note that when you sign your check today it will be dated 2016 in the year of our Lord.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 2:19 PM  

Can you hear me in the back?

"commits the error of concatenating genealogy dates:"
http://www.genevaninstitute.org/syllabus/unit-two-theology-proper/lesson-5-the-decree-of-creation/primeval-chronology-by-dr-william-henry-green/

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 2:53 PM  

Neanderserk: Like I said, Schroeder's prima facie reasonably viable. I just don't think it's the best model available.

Then what is?

It's not like either side of the Big Bang debate is within the realm of repeatable science.

If you're referring to the science side, you're wrong.

Blogger SirHamster March 28, 2016 3:00 PM  

Stickwick wrote:Neanderserk: Pretty harsh refutations here:

https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/old-earth/gerald-schroeders-new-variation-on-the-day-age-theory-1/


Didn’t we just go over the fact that Ham is a charlatan? There’s a blatant lie in the first paragraph of that first link alone:

He [Schroeder] does not rest this choice of variable “day” lengths on any discernible scientific reasoning, nor does he offer any biblical basis for such a division.

This is false. Schroeder devotes considerable time to explaining both of these things in his book, The Science of God. He devotes at least two chapters to explaining the scientific basis for the variable day lengths as well as the biblical basis.


Stickwick, are you reading the whole article, or skimming until disqualify? (minor nitpick: Your quote is from either the 2nd or 3rd paragraph)

You cited Schroeder's book ... but at the top of the article, AiG introduces the reason the article was written:

"Several months ago, Dr. Gerald Schroeder was a two-time guest on the Zola Levitt TV program. The titles of the programs were: “In the Beginning” and “The Days of Creation.” Because we received a number of inquiries about these programs, AiG obtained and viewed the videos."

If they are responding to the videos, then it's not obvious their not addressing the content of the book is a lie. They may not be aware of it, or it is outside the scope of the article.


I am not familiar with how you and Vox have previously determined that Ken Ham is a charlatan, but I have found AIG to be a useful resource for apologetics and developing my understanding of the relation between faith and science and reason, distinguishing between scientific fact and interpretation, and finding the flaws of the atheistic/materialistic interpretation of scientific facts.

Perhaps AIG under Ken is a rotten and intellectually dishonest organization, but it does not match my impression from reading their work. Do you have a specific article/video from Ken or AIG that exemplifies your case against them?

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 3:24 PM  

@220

"Then what is?"

Sitchin-Nibiru-Ennuma-Elish etc can be reconciled with Genesis, with Genesis being primary, and the former illuminating the obscure in the latter

I'm happy to defer to Stickwick's superior expertise and presumable honesty regarding the physics plausibility of the exponentially shorter "days".

It seems to me that Big Bang theory, age of the universe, age of Earth etc are still in flux. Hell, anthro just shifted 30kya to 40kya. Perhaps Stickwick knows different and physics really does have it locked down. I'm skeptical and can't determine it, so I'll just wait and see. From my perspective, there's a lot of flex in the timelines for both the Genesis Bang theory and the Big Bang chronology, so atheist physics critiques are pot calling the kettle black. With the caveat that I'm assuming Stickwick's credibility insures there's at least a kernel of physics respectability to the days compression bit, without which Genesis Bang falls apart.

I don't trust Schroeder or Sitchin further than I can throw them, but that doesn't mean they haven't stumbled on some important truths.

Ultimately the Genesis 6 days of creation story only needs at least one PLAUSIBLE interpretation to remain in play. The credibility Schwerpunkt for Genesis 1-2 will be fought at Adam/Noah - whether the story can fit within anthro's Great Leap Forward / Behavioral Modernity paradigm. Those events are more recent, and we have multiple forms of evidence - fossils, artifacts and genetics. Thus it will get settled first.

I'd be delighted if Stickwick or some other trustworthy capable Christian laid out the Genesis Bang physics case in layman-accessible terms, and defended it against all comers. Wading through the he-said-she-said of a loosey-goosey Jew vs atheist assholes doesn't seem worthwhile or feasible at my expertise level.

Blogger S1AL March 28, 2016 3:51 PM  

"A genealogy is given in the Bible from Adam to Jesus."

Man, it's too easy. Quick Bible question: how many individuals are known with certainty to be excluded from the genealogy of Jesus? Bonus points: what book of the Bible shows this?

Blogger doo-wop March 28, 2016 4:12 PM  

@216

"And secular societies don't tell you pretty much everything about how to act in life and limit your choices? Do you read this blog often enough to realize that progressivism is far more controlling and micromanaging than any religion?"

Nice strawman.

@214 can read this part too

"This is Freudian nonsense. Not only is there no evidence that restrictions on behavior are bad for you, there is ample evidence that they are good for you. The Bible in particular outlines restrictions that lead to good health and overall contentedness. If this weren't true, then people like Charlie Sheen would be the healthiest and happiest people in the world."

Yeah, if you are one of those Marxists that believes in the blank slate image of humanity. I REALLY hope you're not one of those guys. Christianity is an all-inclusive religion. Enforcing the same set of rules on every single culture on the planet is not a good idea, and that's what the end result of a Christian world would look like. You're conveniently ignoring Christianity's own assertion that it is the One True Faith, and therefore everyone must believe in it.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 4:37 PM  

SirHamster, it’s not skimming until disqualify. I noticed a blunder right away. It doesn't matter if they are critiquing videos, they are critiquing Schroeder's model and saying that he provides no scientific or scriptural basis for it. His first two books detailing the model, one of which was specifically mentioned at the beginning of the first video, were published long before the videos. The author(s) should have done due diligence in at least reading the relevant parts of Schroeder’s books.

In any case, I found the first part of the program on YouTube, and even if we grant that it’s fair to dismiss Schroeder’s model entirely on the basis of a video, the AiG critique is still dishonest.

The claim was, "He does not rest this choice of variable “day” lengths on any discernible scientific reasoning, nor does he offer any biblical basis for such a division."

Starting at 10:22 of Part 1, Schroeder provides several specific scriptural references supporting the scriptural basis for his model.

At 15:30 he again provides a scriptural basis.

Starting at 17:08 he provides the scientific basis, and at 17:50 he specifically states it.

How could they possibly have missed this? Did they actually watch the videos? Russell Humphreys, who is acknowledged as one of the contributors to the article, has a PhD in physics. If he doesn’t understand how the scientific basis Schroeder provided leads to the division of days in his model, then his PhD isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 4:39 PM  

Here is another error. The critique states:

Dr. Schroeder also states that the basic Hebrew root word for “evening” is “chaos” and the basic Hebrew root word for “morning” is “order.” He cites no Hebrew scholar supporting his view, which appears to many scholars to be without foundation.

Untrue. I’ve investigated this claim before, but even just a quick google search shows many sources claiming that the root of erev comes from a family of words that mean mixture, combining, mingling, or disorder, and that, by tradition, this is contrasted with boker, the root word of which means discerning, distinguishing, or order. The metaphorical transition between the disordered evening and the clarity that arrives in the morning is religiously significant in Judaism — it’s why the Passover is at twilight, the transition time between the evening and the morning.

The ridiculous part of this claim is that Schroeder is a Hebrew scholar. Why would the author(s) think that Schroeder, an Orthodox Jewish theologian living in Jerusalem for decades, wouldn’t know his own language and traditions? It’s absurd.

I was able to figure all this out with just a few minutes of research on the Internet. I have looked through some of their objections to big bang theory, and they’re just terrible. Here is an example:

The big bang isn’t testable, repeatable laboratory science. It doesn’t make specific predictions that are confirmed by observation and experimentation.

False, just utterly false. Particle accelerators were built, among other things, specifically to test the initial conditions predicted by big bang theory. Those are the laboratories. The entire universe is a laboratory. Big bang theory makes a multitude of specific predictions, some of which I have personally investigated in my professional work. The most notable prediction is the presence and temperature of the cosmic microwave background, which was, much to the amazement of the entire world, discovered and confirmed in the 1960s. A Nobel prize was awarded for this discovery. I personally measured hydrogen isotope abundances in the early universe, which is very sensitively tuned to the parameters of the big bang model.

The people at AiG are clearly not very scholarly. At best they are sloppy and superficial in their work; at worst they are blatantly dishonest. AiG should not be considered a reliable source for anything.

As for Ham, my opinion of him was formed after watching him interact with Hugh Ross and others. That told me all I needed to know about him.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 4:46 PM  

doo-wop, you're so thoroughly steeped in the failed humanist philosophy you don't even realize it. You're not tall enough for this ride.

Blogger SirHamster March 28, 2016 4:49 PM  

Thanks, Stickwick.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 4:55 PM  

Neanderserk, you have a peculiar way of expressing yourself that makes it difficult to discern what point you're making.

Sitchin-Nibiru-Ennuma-Elish etc can be reconciled with Genesis, with Genesis being primary, and the former illuminating the obscure in the latter

Can you explain briefly what the basis of the model is and what makes it superior to Schroeder?

I'd be delighted if Stickwick or some other trustworthy capable Christian laid out the Genesis Bang physics case in layman-accessible terms, and defended it against all comers. Wading through the he-said-she-said of a loosey-goosey Jew vs atheist assholes doesn't seem worthwhile or feasible at my expertise level.

What the hell is a "loosey-goosey Jew"? Schroeder explains his own model very ably in layman terms in his book, The Science of God. If you can't bear to part with your hard-earned shekels to buy the book, you can probably get the relevant bits from YouTube. I had a slideshow on my website that explained it visually and went into more detail, but Scribd has made it inaccessible without an account.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 4:58 PM  

So what's Schroeder's credibility, in your estimation, Stickwick? Does he throw in a bunch of BS woo or stick to the facts?

And most importantly, is the exponentially shortening day concept sound physics? If it is, then the rest just seems to be a matter of picking the right starting date, and thus Schroeder's theory should have some longevity.

The evening and the morning bit was pretty cool. Depending on your answer I may read his books.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 5:01 PM  

Loosey goosey - Talmud, midrash, reinterpreting the Torah to a thousand deaths. Jew - who is a liar but he that denieth the Christ.

Just want to know ahead of time what the content to garbage ratio is.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 5:02 PM  

What's your website address? I'd like to check out the slide show.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 5:17 PM  

@229

"Can you explain briefly what the basis of the model is and what makes it superior to Schroeder?"

I've been alluding to it. Planet Nibiru is captured by Sol, rips apart planet Tiamat, sets new planets in new orbits, including Earth. Sitchin draws lots of parallels to solar system facts. Matches Genesis firmament and the Tiamat myth. Sitchin may play too loose with the clay tablet text to get it to fit; haven't checked. "Days" could be near-Sol passes by Nibiru. I think the Sitchin-inflected version fits Genesis 1 a bit better and the cultural mythos background much better. The reconciliation is my own work but anyone intelligent can read Sitchin and figure it out.

Re Schroeder: "Literal days" strikes me as a false requirement, given that Adam didn't die on that same day. It's mostly personal judgment and opinion at this point. I've barely mapped one theory and haven't read the other. Like I said, both could be true.

Blogger Rusty Fife March 28, 2016 7:21 PM  

Neanderserk wrote:I'd be delighted if Stickwick or some other trustworthy capable Christian laid out the Genesis Bang physics case in layman-accessible terms, and defended it against all comers. Wading through the he-said-she-said of a loosey-goosey Jew vs atheist assholes doesn't seem worthwhile or feasible at my expertise level

She already did; many moons ago she linked to a power point presentation. Le search from my phone sux.

Blogger Rusty Fife March 28, 2016 7:34 PM  

Neanderserk wrote:Loosey goosey - Talmud, midrash, reinterpreting the Torah to a thousand deaths. Jew - who is a liar but he that denieth the Christ.

Just want to know ahead of time what the content to garbage ratio is.


There wasn't anything in the slide deck except Genesis and basic relativity as I recall.

There was:
- discussion on time vs observer's location
- when it is physically possible for 'time' to begin
- God's point of observation and why
- when th e Genesis account swith ed observation point to Earth
- comparison table on events vs. Days.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 7:39 PM  

Neanderserk: So what's Schroeder's credibility, in your estimation, Stickwick? Does he throw in a bunch of BS woo or stick to the facts?

He is very credible. He’s got a PhD in nuclear physics from MIT and was on the faculty there for a few years before moving to Israel. As far as the physics goes, he sticks to the facts. As far as the scriptural aspect, the only subjective part is the insistence on 24-hour days based on Nahmanides’ inference, and he admits as much. But it’s also what the plain reading of Genesis 1 gives and it's consistent with Exodus.

And most importantly, is the exponentially shortening day concept sound physics? If it is, then the rest just seems to be a matter of picking the right starting date, and thus Schroeder's theory should have some longevity.

Yes. My own research in astrophysics is based on the same physics — if it didn’t work, my research would be meaningless. It does come down to choosing the right moment in cosmic history as the moment when time began, but he makes a very sound argument for his choice. And his point isn’t to show that this is THE interpretation, only to show that the claim that modern science and the Bible are necessarily at odds is false.

Loosey goosey - Talmud, midrash, reinterpreting the Torah to a thousand deaths. Jew - who is a liar but he that denieth the Christ.

Oh, brother. Read this. When you’re done with that, click on the “Six Days” link at the top of the website for the slideshow.

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 7:42 PM  

The Rabbi B in the article I linked to is our very own Rabbi B here at VP.

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 8:48 PM  

"Read this."

That's inapplicable. If I thought that no Jew has anything true to say about the Bible, I wouldn't be interested in Schroeder. If I thought I had to interpret every sentence in Scripture to omni-max context-free literal application, well, I'd probably be a YEC Calvinist?

Schroeder's critics have painted him one way; you've painted him another. Thanks for answering my questions, and I look forward to reading his books.

Paywell effectively blocks the slideshow. I'd rather buy the book. Why not just host it on a free Dropbox shared folder?

Anonymous Stickwick March 28, 2016 9:38 PM  

Neanderserk: That's inapplicable.

You talk out of both sides of your mouth. "Wading through the he-said-she-said of a loosey-goosey Jew vs atheist assholes doesn't seem worthwhile or feasible at my expertise level." "Jew - who is a liar but he that denieth the Christ."

Blogger Russell March 28, 2016 10:09 PM  

Koanic did you change your nick to Neanderserk?

Blogger Neanderserk March 28, 2016 10:49 PM  

@239

It's not my fault reality is granular or that the Bible warns against Jewish fables. I don't want to drive to Chicago in a slow car, but that doesn't mean all cars are slow.

Hence why I asked whether it was the man or the physics you endorsed.

@240 yes.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 29, 2016 11:47 AM  

Stickwick, I would like to ask you some questions about current astronomy theory if you do work in that field.

Send an email here to this account and we can arrange a discussion if you are up for that.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 29, 2016 12:02 PM  

I would also remind everyone to look at things like the Calvinist - Armenian arguments. Lots of mud that goes around there. Ross may be smooth in some debates, but the young/old creation argument is just another one with quite passionate people on both sides. Judging the entire area based on a couple of debate performances can be quite dangerous, even if it seems simple.

AEG has plenty of scientific involvement, as does a similar belief CRI, so one can believe in a young creation with a strong science background.

Being cool in a debate, whatever the topic, doesn't make one accurate.

Believe what you want of course, but realize a great deal of wisdom can be found even from those you disagree with.

A general open question I still have is how we can "know" so much about the universe given so many little current state snapshots. Those are all a fair bit back in time too, if the time estimates are to be believed. You can speculate a lot, but knowing for certainty all the details many claim is a bit tough if you have never watched the process.

It seems like telling me you would know software was developed by looking at 100 pictures of software in a wide range of industries in different states. You might piece it together right, but you could also draw many false conclusions from just a single snapshot into each process.

It is not like we can evolve a sun in front of our own eyes, or watch a planetary system development in real time.

I am convinced I believe correctly, but I am also smart enough to realize others can disagree without being wicked, evil or whatever.

Anonymous Stickwick March 29, 2016 1:42 PM  

Austin Ballast: I would like to ask you some questions about current astronomy theory if you do work in that field.

I do work in that field. Give me an example of the sort of question you have. If it’s suitable for a discussion at my blog, we can discuss it there.

A general open question I still have is how we can "know" so much about the universe given so many little current state snapshots.

That’s a legitimate question.

In the 1920s, Edwin Hubble, after whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named, devised a sequence for classifying galaxy types. The sequence was interpreted by some as a sort of macroevolutionary scheme, showing galaxies that went from “early type” (elliptical galaxies, not much structure) to “late type” (spiral galaxies, highly structured) with time. However, we’re now confident that this is not the case. Since we can’t stare at galaxies for billions of years and see whether or not they morph into different types, we have to rely on other indicators. One important indicator is chemical abundances. Stars manufacture heavier elements and expel them into the interstellar medium when they die, so we know that the amount of heavier elements relative to hydrogen (the lightest element) doesn’t decrease with time. We can thus use chemical abundances to trace the history of individual galaxies and groups of galaxies. Another tool we have is computer modeling of galaxies. While no one should ever take a computer model as gospel, they can be helpful in understanding the physics over long periods of time and ruling out certain scenarios.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 29, 2016 1:52 PM  

I couldn't find any reference to your blog Stickwick. Your name here doesn't link to anything.

I recall seeing it in the past, but I can't find that link and searching Google found a lot of stuff that was almost certainly not you.

I did just find a fairly old blog with your brother, if that was you.

I was thinking of questions on the current state of solar system formation and likely a bunch of other stuff like that.

Your note about how we no longer believe the Hubble ideas illustrates the exact problem I see. We make a huge number of assumptions, such as "stellar nursaries" from mere pictures of areas.

No desire to argue on this as I have too many other things to focus on. I just want someplace (other than these threads, which is usually OT) to ask questions like that. Your blog would work fine if I could find it.

I did spring for the book you noted, though it is overpriced because it is from Simon and Schuster, as they have not caught up with the reality of the digital age.

He seems to put a bit too much credence in modern science, but I am only in the middle of the first chapter.

Science has caused a lot of errors and problems, as has been noted in several posts here. It is far from an ideal source of information the book seems to view it as.

Certainly not a full review though. I don't expect to be swayed by his arguments based on what I have read, but at least I should know them better.

Anonymous Stickwick March 29, 2016 2:35 PM  

My blog is here.

The vast majority of corruption in science these days is in medical research, "climate science," and the social sciences. This is because they are not devoted to the pursuit of wisdom. Instead, they are driven by the pursuit of obscene amounts of money, the lust for power over other people, and/or upholding a Narrative. The physical sciences are not nearly as influenced by these things, and so they are generally just subject to the usual human limitations.

Without a doubt, there are limits to what we can know through science. It's built into the framework of the universe and it's part of our nature as limited beings. But that doesn't mean we can't learn a great deal about God's creation by studying it. In fact, the Bible exhorts us to do so, which is why modern science is a product of the Christian faith.

Blogger Austin Ballast March 29, 2016 3:26 PM  

Science is still extrapolating many details of universe development with a few small photos. Lots to be very skeptical of there.

They also freely change things, putting assertions of their reliability into even more question.

I also see no need for much of the extra information that is claimed, such as millions of years on the earth, etc. Things like fossilization have been shown to occur very quickly, putting the whole dating schemes based on that to great question.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I see far from sufficient evidence to throw my hat in with those who give too much credence to modern science.

Now I have to figure out where to store your blog link so I can find it later....

Anonymous Stickwick March 29, 2016 4:54 PM  

Austin Ballast: Science is still extrapolating many details of universe development with a few small photos. Lots to be very skeptical of there.

This is a gross mischaracterization. It’s not a few small photos, it’s literally millions of images and spectra. The database I work with — the Sloan Digital Sky Survey — contains detailed data for three million galaxies, stars, and quasars covering a third of the entire sky and a span of billions of years of cosmic history. And that's just one repository of astronomical data out of dozens, not to mention the mountains of data collected by space missions such as Kepler and Cassini.

They also freely change things, putting assertions of their reliability into even more question.

What do you mean by “freely change things”?

I also see no need for much of the extra information that is claimed, such as millions of years on the earth, etc. Things like fossilization have been shown to occur very quickly, putting the whole dating schemes based on that to great question.

It’s hundreds of millions and billions of years. Given the preponderance of evidence, it is virtually beyond doubt that the Earth and the universe are extremely old. There is no reliable evidence in favor of a young earth / universe.

Perhaps I am wrong, but I see far from sufficient evidence to throw my hat in with those who give too much credence to modern science.

You see insufficient evidence, because you're not looking. Given that you demonstrably don’t even understand the current state of science, you should not be dismissing it.

Do you not realize that modern science is a direct product of the Christian faith? You have allowed atheists to divorce you from your Christian scientific heritage and claim it in the name of atheism. You should instead be embracing your scientific heritage and rejoicing in it.

Blogger J March 30, 2016 10:26 AM  

@248

Hi Stickwick,
Earlier in this discussion you said that Schroeder's theory manages to preserve the Exodean day-day reasoning (7 days of creation implies human should also follow a 7-day cycle). However, the exact 24-hr day still isn't preserved, since, under the Schrodean interpretation, the verse's reasoning is more like "just as God created the world in 7 [24-hr days from His perspective], so should we live according to a 7 [24-hr days from our perspective]". Do I understand Schroeder correctly and, if I do, would you agree that there is still some change between the meaning of "yom" in the first and second parts of the commandment?

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