A couple days back I passed a link on to Orac regarding the International Alchemy Conference to be held in Vegas this coming October. Now he’s gone and devoted his Friday Dose of Woo to it, so wander on over and take a read.
Bob Henderson is an 80 year old retired electrical engineer who thinks “Albert Einstein was a dunce.” So convinced is he of this that he has written a third book on the subject: Einstein and The-Emperor’s-New-Clothes Syndrome: The Exposé of a Charlatan. Notes the AZ Republic:
Henderson was, and is, qualified to be asking these questions because his work was science. He says he graduated second in his class from the University of Arizona in 1950 with a degree in electrical engineering. He then worked for RCA in New Jersey before returning home to work at Motorola. Some of his work was in the guided-missile division. And yes, that technically makes him a rocket scientist.
Eh, no, he’s not qualified. He is an engineer, not a scientist, and being an engineer does not necessarily provide any expertise in relativity. The reporter falls into a common trap – because Henderson’s “work was science,” Henderson can comment on all scientific ideas. This is obviously not the case.
“When I was younger, it was repeated and written everywhere that only three people understood (Einstein’s) theories … I always thought science was supposed to clarify things, so that didn’t make much sense to me… I said to myself this is the greatest intellect in the world, I need to understand him. I believed that because everybody did… I started reading everything I could by him and about him and every one of them was double talk. It began to occur to me that this is all gobbledygook… His theory was so lacking in common sense. It became clear to me that Einstein was a dunce.” (emphasis mine)
What has “common sense” got to do with science? “Common sense” tells us that the Sun goes round the Earth, that the Earth is flat, and that it is not hurtling through space at a god-awful speed. The fact is, Einstein’s theories have been vindicated by experiment and observation. Yes, his ideas go against “common sense.” Get over it.
It all sounds very … familiar, doesn’t it? Evolutionary theory has been suffering the same idiotic attacks for a long time now. As Andrew Odell points out in a letter in today’s Republic:
[T]he rightness or wrongness of a scientific theory depends on how well it agrees with observations of nature, not on whether or not Henderson can understand it… Many people make this same mistake in trying to discredit biological evolution. Just because you can’t understand it, it isn’t necessarily wrong. It is also possible that the dunce is on the other side of the book.
Wilkins had hit a good one here: the Evolution Crackpot Index. Rumor has it that the denizens of Uncommon Descent, ISCID and suchlike score in the high thousands.
Anybody who is willing and able to upgrade the look, feel, and functionality of this site (Uncommon Descent) to match that of the Dawkins site will receive three of my books autographed. What a deal. Think it over.
Dembski breathlessly announces the latest front in the ID war on science – they’ve been unable to convince any relevent scientists, so they go straight to the children:
The Darwinists have had your young people long enough to shape, subvert, and corrupt. Send them to www.overwhelmingevidence.com and mobilize this sleeping giant! The old guard is not going to change. The hope of the future lies with our youth. The new … site is modeled on Xanga and Myspace and aimed at concentrating the power of youth to throw off the indoctrination that is being shoved down their throats by groups like the NCSE and enforced by inept judicial rulings like those of Judge Jones (note the image of Jones on the splash page). The NCSE, the ACLU, Jones, etc. have effectively disenfranchised our young people when it comes to the teaching of biological origins. Today’s high school and college students are going to need to reclaim their own freedom. (source)
The domain name is, by the way, owned by Dembski.
Remember when Phillip E. Johnson said that the movement’s goal was to convince scientists at that they would not be targeting the culture at large? The late 90′s seem like so long ago.
Arizona has unfortunately been a hot-bed for Young Earth Creationism (YEC). Some of the smaller church-affiliated schools here teach YEC, and there are a number of groups that run creationist tours to the Grand Canyon. Up north, the Creation Research Society maintains the Van Andel Creation Research Center north of Chino Valley. And in Phoenix, we have Walt Brown’s Center for Scientific Creationism. For these alone, I’d have to apologize to the world on behalf on Arizona.
I recently stumbled across the Lost World Musuem which is apparently opening in Phoenix NY this Fall. The Musuem’s mission is to
“present the greatest evidence ever assembled which validates the creation account found in the book of Genesis.
We will explore past archeological finds and perhaps offer an alternative explanation as we present: the Giants of the pre-flood world, the remnants of ancient technology, the existence of Noah’s Ark, evidence for a worldwide flood, anomalous fossils and out of place artifacts.”
The Musuem is run by John Adolphi, a New Yorker who runs BibleLandStudios.com and has been attempting to buy all kinds of weird stuff (including holoprosenchephalic kittens) in an attempt to discredit evolution. Looks like I have a new field-trip for my Origins, Evolution & Creation class!
Edit: Jim Lippard pointed out that the Muesum is not in Phoenix AZ but is in Phoenix NY.
Over at the Panda’s Thumb, Nick highlights the following quote from Wiker and Witt’s, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature:
Strange though it may seem to neo-Darwinists, Darwin’s assumption that the terms species and variety are merely given for convenience’s sake is part of a larger materialist and reductionist program that undercuts the natural foundation of counting and distorts the natural origin of mathematics. To put it more bluntly, in assuming that “species” are not real, Darwinism and the larger reductionist program burn away the original ties that bound the meaning of mathematics to the world and instead leave it stranded on a solipsistic island of the human imagination.
Damn straight, it’s strange. It’s beyond strange. It’s frankly dumb, dumb, dumb.
So bent are these two Fellows of the Discovery Institute on pinning everything on evil Darwinian naturalism, that they see Darwinism as part of a plot to strip meaning from mathematics. As for “Darwin’s assumption,” I suggest that Wiker (a philosopher) and Witt (an English Lit PhD, for jeez sake) actually get out and study some species and varieties, before they blather on about what Darwin had to say about them.
Jonathan Wells is at it again. Erstwhile “developmental biologist,” he has taken time off ”working on a book criticizing the over-emphasis on genes in biology and medicine” to present a Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, one that is approved of by Ann Coulter, who sees Wells as “an expert of Darwinism and intelligent design”. To be fair, this is probably true – Wells is an expert in the same way that Coulter is an expert on science and history.
In any case, over at the Thumb, the crew have begun to put together a chapter by chapter response to Wells’ dreck. As Reed Cartwright notes, “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, is not only politically incorrect but incorrect in most other ways as well: scientifically, logically, historically, legally, academically, and morally.”
This is …. strange. Apparently there are individuals out there that deny the germ theory of disease. Tara encountered this in one of her comment threads:
[F]orget the germ theory nonsense and become a real scientist. … Evidence is all around and you have as much evidence as I do. The sole difference between you and me is that you are still blindfolded by a century of dogmatic thinking and are not able to see the evidence.
You can do what you want with your special laboratory mice, but whan it comes to it nobody has ever proven that germs cause disease and a century of war on microbes has had no results and, to cite a professor of the Villejuif hospital “up to today medicine doesn’t know the cause of any disease”.
As Tara herself points out, there is a spooky parallelism in rhetoric to anti-evolutionism here. Strange.