Class Warfare Blog

July 16, 2012

Belief—Required or Earned?

Filed under: Religion,Science — Steve Ruis @ 8:19 pm
Tags: , ,

Creationists are much in the news . . . again. This time it is Louisiana Governor Jindal who is pushing a multi-million dollar school voucher program that would allow students to attend fundamentalist schools which brag that they teach “creation theory” also called “intelligent design theory” and mock teaching evolution. Sheesh, as if Louisiana didn’t already have enough education problems.

The Creationist cant goes like this: evolution is “just” a theory and the secular mainstream pushes this theory as a method of undermining the word of god. Students learn that trying to oppose this scientific juggernaut will keep them from jobs, so they just keep quiet. Scientists don’t oppose these theories because they will lose their positions, their grants, or both. In other words it is just a big conspiracy by the atheistic scientific establishment.

Shockingly there are people who believe such tripe.

 “What they are missing is the belief of scientists is earned, not required.” 

The “tells” creationists provide is their loaded language, phrases like evolution is “just a theory” as if they are ready to step off of a cliff because gravity is “just a theory.” Their argument is that they have a theory, too, and why not tell students about both and let them choose the one they thought best. The problem is that the creationists do not have a theory. They have a great deal of anti-Darwinian rhetoric and then a suggestion that, gee, doesn’t the universe, well, . . . look like it has been created? (Hint—like in the Bible, Dummy!)

They also say things like scientist’s knowledge is “based as much on belief” as is that of Christians or other religionists.” That actually is true, but not in the way they think. What they are missing is the belief of scientists is earned, not required. Join any religion and they will tell you what to believe . . . if you want to be a true believer. Possibly not astonishingly Christianity is split up into over 20,000 sects because they do not agree exactly on what to believe.

As for scientists, consider the case of Peter Higgs. In the mid-1960’s Professor Higgs was one of several physicists developing a rather strange model of the universe. Actually they were trying to fix a problem with a quite successful theory call The Standard Model which was a description of all matter at the atomic level. Higgs first paper was published but when he wrote a second paper, on the core of his contribution (now called the Higgs mechanism), it was rejected (the editors of Physics Letters judged it “of no obvious relevance to physics”). In fact Higgs received no little ridicule regarding his contribution. Fast forward almost 50 years and just recently an experiment was done that seems to have confirmed Professor Higg’s theory quite nicely, thank you. He was gratified that his vindication came when he was still alive.

The point being is that Professor Higg’s theory earned the belief that people have had in it and have now. Scientists don’t have to believe anything; they are allowed to make up their own minds about, well, everything. In Higg’s case, the mathematical consequences came to be recognized and finally physical proof came. Proof, by the way, that had less than a 1% chance of being wrong. Scientific belief cannot be required; it has to be earned.

People who use phrases like “just a theory” are trying to delude you. Creationists are intellectual charlatans. Politicians like Jindal are worse: pandering jackals trying to trade false belief for political power.

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