Feb. 5th, 2014

elana: (squishy)
I watched the Bill Nye vs. Ken Ham debate about science versus creationism. So many retorts. I cheered for Bill Nye despite being wildly unsatisfied with his approach. It's useless to debate plausibility when the counterargument can always be "because god" or "because miracle".

They needed to get at the meat — the philosophy of science. Two applied scientists quibbling over the plausibility of a fucking ark will not address the major problems of fundamentalism. Is your explanation useful? What kind of questions does it permit or not permit? What kinds of answers does it restrict? How is your answer superior to a Flying Spaghetti Monster?

The scientific method is self-checking. It is our best tool to combat dogmatism.

Fundamentalism doesn't even allow itself to recognize dogmatism as a problem for knowledge.

As in all things: does it blind us, or does it allow us to see?

There were a lot of things that I wanted Bill Nye to say, but maybe the simplest one is this:

What magic transpired 6000 years ago that planted evidence that exactly resembles the development of a planet for 14 billion years? Who set all that shit up? Why?

If you can't answer that question more elegantly than Occam's Razor can — namely, that things simply are the way they appear — then you are much, much less helpful than the science stuff is. Period. End of debate.

I remember waiting for a plane in Tel Aviv with a girl I'd dug with on an archaeological dig for a couple of weeks. She was a young Earth creationist. It blew my mind that an archaeology student could be a young Earth creationist. This means that she doesn't believe in the Neolithic. Stone tools — the most basic units of archaeology, like archaeology 101 — were a fiction to her. The most important revolutions in all of human culture — stuff like farming, building and living in settlements — that shit all predates the creation of the goddamn planet, to her.

I asked her, "What's more plausible: that every morning, our site supervisors woke up before we did, went to the site, planted a whole bunch of archaeological evidence for the stuff we're digging up, carefully covered it up in a way that would convince experienced archaeologists that the layers were undisturbed, then sneaked back to bed, pretended to wake up with us, went to the site, and acted surprised about everything we dug up? Or — that there is no mysterious conspiracy? No higher power, whether professors or God, tricking us? That everything you have learned about how archaeology works continues to work all the way down?"

Is God a malicious asshole who wants to trick the entire world by planting evidence? Do our amazing, hard-fought and carefully devised human methods work just fine until a certain arbitrary point at which all of our efforts become a lie for his amusement?

I mean, I have to remind you — Bill Nye didn't need to convince Ken Ham that the Earth is 14 billion years old. He just needed to convince him that it was more than 6000. That shit is easy. The evidence is literally everywhere. Pick a place in the world and dig down. I'm serious. You can't escape stratigraphy.

I guess, in the end, it was a waste of time for me to watch the debate. Ken Ham is hopeless. I am smarter than he is. Nothing he said was compelling. And as much as I enjoy Bill Nye, it's just wankery to watch something solely for the side you're cheering for. I wanted to learn something, and I walked away with disappointment. There is nothing credible in the creationist position. There isn't really anything worth debating. I really wanted to find common ground, and I got Ken Ham droning on in quite a terrifyingly hypnotized way about all the different kinds of objects the Bible lists as being created.

As if its credibility is based on thoroughness.

The audience-submitted questions kept trying to challenge Bill Nye. How do you explain consciousness? How do you explain this or that?

And Ken Ham kept saying, "Well we happen to have this book… it has the answers to everything." Consciousness? Entropy? Sure! It's all in there!

I wish Bill Nye had said, "The advantage of science over creationism is that we are willing to admit that we don't know."

That alone gives you license to approach truth — in small, faltering, humble, human steps.

End of debate.
elana: (squishy)
I just got fucked by autofill when filling out an entry for a contest. Rafflecopter was like, "oh, your instagram name is your twitter name minus two characters? I'll just add those characters in there for you, just as you hit return. And then I will provide no way to edit your entry."

Oh well. It was a contest for more makeup which I definitely don't need.

If you're curious, it's xSparkage's giveaway of the new Sigma Born to Be collection.

huge news

Feb. 5th, 2014 11:52 pm
elana: (squishy)
I just asked J-M about some plans for next week and he responded in a clear and simple manner AND wrote back to the person on our behalf to confirm our availability.

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