Thursday, January 12, 2006

Zillions and Zillions

The lovely and thoughtful Jessica has pointed out on her blog that Creationists* haven't given up in their fight to replace teaching kids to think with training them to NOT think. See my post "ID and Ego" over at Burned Out Paranoid Democrat for my take on the whole thing. And Molly Ivins has a few choice words for the bozos doing the same thing in Texas. Favorite line: One hears evolution dismissed as "just a theory," as though all of science weren't based on theory and eternally subject to new evidence to the contrary. In science, gravity is "just a theory" -- and if you ever drop something and it falls up, they'll reconsider the whole theory for you. That's just how "theoretical" evolution is -- constantly subject to evidence and proof.

This made me think about Carl Sagan.

Sagan, for those who might not know, was an astronomer whose greatest skill was in presenting the wonders of the universe in ways that were appealing to the masses. He was witty, erudite, and quite charming. So charming, in fact, that Johnny Carson had him on the Tonight Show many, many times. During one of those stints on the couch, he and Johnny began talking about Creationism, science, the bible, and Carl's take on all of it.

I cannot find any transcripts or records of the conversation, but this, I believe, is a pretty accurate paraphrasing of what he said: "Over the centuries, astronomers have charted the movements of stars and planets and have come to the conclusion that the earth is but one planet among billions of planets circling billions of stars, and that the universe is billions of years old. Creationists would like you to believe that the universe is only thousands of years old. If we assume that the Creationists are correct, then none of the observations made in astronomy make sense. This would mean that God has deliberately mislead us by making it seem like the universe is billions of years old. Any God that would be that mean, I want no part of."

That, to me, is the heart of the problem. Why would God give us all these tools to discover, and to set up things so that the universe looks one way, but actually create the world in an entirely different way? This is what Creationists would want us to accept.

And I don't accept it. It's way too mean-spirited.

Chili recipe tomorrow. I promise.


*And that's what they are--despite their claims that they are merely 'proponents of an alternative theory.' Don't take my word for's in the decision Judge Jones handed down in Dover PA.


Blogger Notsocranky Yankee said...

The NASA probe Stardust returns on Sunday. It has been collecting samples of comet dust for almost 7 years. The data will be used to further understand comets and the formation of planets. (including time-frame)

How will the creationists refute this data?

Maybe they will see Jesus's face in the comet dust --

2:47 PM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Never doubt the delusional's ability to see what is not there, and to not see what IS there.

I had forgotten about Stardust. That's exciting!


4:02 PM  
Blogger Jessica said...

I love Carl Sagan.

9:37 PM  
Blogger Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Are you telling me I don't come from Adam and Eve?

6:42 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

Sure ya did, Daniel...Adam Hoffman and Eve Gill.


7:29 AM  
Blogger Colleen said...

we had a guy on campus yesterday that was a self proclaimed expert on the bible but mostly just a freak that called me a jezebel because i was wearing pants. he got into a "discussion" with some of my students about creation and it was then that i realized that this discussion with the creationists was something akin to shouting in the wind.

now bring on the chili!

8:48 AM  
Blogger mal said...

we assume divine ommipotence and ominiscence. To me, it is the height of Hubris to assume we understand the mind of God and God's purposes. Denying the evidence in front of them is compounding the creationists sin.

I gave up listening to others telling me what I should believe about an item of pure faith.

For years we have applied probability on a micro level. We have not even begun to apply it on a cosmic level. As Sagan's early comments are expanded, I expect we will have our minds boggled. It should be fun.....if we are willing to look and listen

4:51 PM  

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