Thursday, April 12, 2007

Argumentum ad Ignorantiam

Quid est veritas?

-Pilatus-

As with most of the idiotic assertions of the religious right as to the age of the universe and the origin of species, the argument is that, as science does not offer the kind of proof that Euclidean geometry does, baseless speculation and conjecture and papal authority should be considered the equal of science. The argument is that the preponderance of evidence, no matter how overwhelming, is not proof and a 99.99999% level of confidence must then be considered inferior to faith in a description of the universe that is 100% at odds with observation.

Pope Benedict's new book Creation and Evolution ( not yet available in English) reaffirms that his commitment to specious argument and double-talk is still not in doubt although I'm sure he would argue that I can't prove it. Proof you see, is what purveyors of certainty-without-evidence demand of those who offer probability with evidence and Ratzinger in Robes is close enough to warrant being called an unrepentant liar by insisting that evolution is a dubious matter when compared with ancient legends interpreted by him.

"it is also true that the theory of evolution is not a complete, scientifically proven theory."

says he, knowing full well that proof is for mathematicians and that the evidence for evolution is so vast and overwhelmingly conclusive that the possibility of it's not occurring or having not occurred is arbitrarily close to zero. It is in fact, a very complete scientific theory backed up by massive evidence from many independent sources. He must know that there is absolutely no evidence for any other origin of species. His alternative is not any kind of theory as it does not fit with any observable evidence at all, but contradicts everything we can demonstrate to be true. His reference to "Gaps" is nearly a century out of date and is as dishonest as insisting that the cracks in the sidewalk cast doubt on it's existence and prove it doesn't go anywhere.

Although evolution indeed can directly be observed in it's progress with small creatures, he insists that

"We cannot haul 10,000 generations into the laboratory."

Yes you can and on the level of molecular biology, evolution is well enough understood and demonstrated that the possibility of it's not occurring is, once again, close enough to zero to be able to call it zero. In fact the origin of species by evolution is backed up by as much evidence and more of it than most things Ratzinger would be forced to accept if it didn't interfere with his acquired dementia syndrome and program of intellectual tyranny.

Once again the Church resorts to the kind of pseudo-logic that dares to put a "therefore" behind "I don't know" and use it to dismiss the most powerful of arguments as though proceeding logically toward knowledge from some bogus first principle of ignorance were possible. Once again the Church seeks to assert certainty about things for which there is no evidence whatever and disparage things for which the evidence is endless and hopes you somehow won't be smart enough to laugh.

Frankly I don't care if he thinks there is water holding up the flat earth or that there is a firmament to which stars and planets are fixed or that one can walk into heaven from a mud brick tower in Babylonia as the Bible insists - what he is doing is selling authority based on a view of the world that is so out of touch with the truth that he has to attack the concept of truth itself. What is truth? We don't have to be sure in order to recognize a lie.

2 comments:

Reign of Reason said...

Great rant...

And exactly the problem i have with religion/faith: science provides a method for explaining the data/natural world based on evidence and hypothesis. The process is open to new data and hence self-correcting. It represents the best insights we have based on logical reasoning.

To seek out the smallest of gaps in a theory, then to insert gibberish based on "omniscient certainty" is the height of stupidity. Why otherwise rational people don't see this is amazing.

Bullmoose said...

Evidently reason can be comparmentalized and people apply it to one thing, but then shut down their brains and go into a trance when the man in the robes snaps his fingers.

I don't need much more material to be disgusted with mankind in general.