Science Fiction: January 2008 Archives

January 21, 2008

More staff cuts at the Arkham Asylum

Publishing a story about religious pseudoscience in Russia seems to be bait for loons, for lurking in the spam trap was a comment plugging a religious book. I'm not going to give spammers publicity, so identifying details have been removed.

THE NEW DISCIPLINE!

Things will never be the same in academia after this.

There is a new discipline on the scene: physical science, the old science of cause and effect.

Against the backdrop of a nation embroiled in debate and legal battles over whether creationism or evolution, or both, should be taught in the classroom, [Redacted] proclaims a

DAY OF VICTORY!

[Redacted], a series of seven textbooks designed for the public schools, represents the ultimate marriage between an in-depth knowledge of biblical phenomena and natural and physical sciences. As a result, the several volumes have accomplished that which, heretofore, was deemed impossible: to level the playing field between those who desire a return to physical science in the classroom and those who embrace the theory of evolution. [Redacted] turns the tide by providing an authoritative and en- lightening scientific explanation of natural phenomena which will ultimately replace the unprofitable Darwinian view.

The backbone of Darwinism is not biological evolution per se, but electronic interpretation, the tenet that all physical, chemical, and biological processes result from a change in the electron structure of the atom which, in turn, may be deciphered through the orderly application of mathematics, as outlined in quantum mechanics. A few of the supporting theories are: degrading stars, neutron stars, black holes, extraterrestrial water, antimatter, the absolute dating systems, and the big bang, the explosion of a singularity infinitely smaller than the dot of an �i� from which space, time, and the massive stellar bodies supposedly sprang into being.

The philosophy rejects any divine intervention. Therefore, let the philosophy of Darwinism be judged on these specifics: electron interpretation and quantum mechanics. Conversely, the view that God is both responsible for and rules all the phenomena of the universe will stand or fall when the facts are applied. The view will not hinge on faith alone, but will be tested by the weightier principle of verifiable truths � the new discipline.

[Redacted] is not only better at explaining natural phenomena, but also may be verified through testing. As a result, the material in the several volumes will not violate the so-called constitutional separation of church and state. Physical science, the old science of cause and effect, will have a long-term sustainability, replacing irresponsible doctrines based on whim. Teachers and students will rejoice in the simplicity of earthly phenomena when entertained by the new discipline. You will not want to miss the adventure of a lifetime that awaits you in Volume 1 of [Redacted].

All those question marks are because the author, whose name is on the comment, has managed to write a series of books without being able to read, and so copied and pasted his comment straight from Microsnot Turd.

If you really want to know more, I'm sure Googling on some of the choice phrases here will prove productive. I dread to think what will happen in comments to the same story over at Newsvine.

Barking Russian ID article.

Russia: The Soviet Union was never that fond of Darwinian evolution, preferring the Lamarkian model, most notable for the idea that acquired characteristics could be passed on. Not a lot has changed since then, although the excessive influence of the church means that deliberate pseudoscience is preferred these days. If you need an article to demonstrate the sheer silliness of "Intelligent Design", the Pravda can help. Even though the article has been translated by someone who does not have English as their first language, I don't think it can be misunderstood. It's first argument is that, as we can build machines to build other machines, we must have been designed. Really.

Imagine finding a planet where robots are programmed so that they can make other robots just like themselves from raw materials.

Now, imagine an alien scientist visitor coming to the planet and, after many years of studying these robots, the alien scientist visitor comes to the conclusion that since science can explain how these robots work, operate, function, and reproduce there's no reason to believe that there was an ultimate intelligent designer behind them.

The analogy above certainly is not perfect but it is sufficient to reveal the fallacious thinking of those who attack intelligent design behind life and the universe.

It's five pages long, and your brain will hurt before you've finished the first. He again asserts that, because we understand genetics enough to tinker with it, we must have been the result of such tinkering ourselves.

Think about it! If humans must use intelligence to perform genetic engineering, to meaningfully manipulate the genetic code, then what does that say about the origin of the genetic code itself!

Yet then comes up with a refutation of his own argument -- humans haven't created life from scratch:

Contrary to popular belief, scientists have never created life in the laboratory. What scientists have done is genetically alter or engineer already existing forms of life, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life. However, they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matte

So, if I follow the author's previous logic, this means that as we can't do it, then neither could some other being. Ah, no, apparently this means the opposite of all the earlier assertions and our inability to intelligently design an organism is now evidence against evolution.

The rest of it is strip-mined from creationist propaganda, with clichés about tornados in scrapyards making 747s and all the other bollocks with which you will be familiar if you read Pharyngula. One more example:

How, for example, were animals breathing, eating, and reproducing if their respiratory, digestive, and reproductive organs were still incomplete and evolving? How were species fighting off possibly life-threatening germs if their immune system hadn't fully evolved yet?

Like most creationists, the author deliberately does not mention God and tried to pretend that what he thinks is purely scientific in origin. Pity the extended byline gives away his motives and lack of any genuine qualifications:

The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, is an experienced Christian writer. Mr. Ranganathan has his B.A. with academic concentrations in Bible and Biology from Bob Jones University.

Meanwhile, Tasmanian Devils appear to be evolving resistance to the cancer that's been killing them off (via Red Wolf).

Understanding intelligent designPravda, 21st January 2008.

January 15, 2008

Bruce the Astronaut

Australia: There's a great big red mountain in the middle of Australia. The indigenous people there regard it as sacred and would rather we called it Uluru, but most of us know it as Ayers Rock. But, the site is Special to some other people too, according to Pravda, and they believe a rather unusual story is told by the rock art in the area:

The UFO Area website says the astronauts are represented in rock paintings in Central Australia.

Once upon a time, in a distant past, a huge red 'egg' had difficulties to safely reach the ground and crashed, the story reads, under a picture of Uluru. Out of the 'egg' emerged white-skinned beings, followed by their children, it says. The adults had problems adapting to the Earth's atmosphere and died. The children managed to survive. Later they painted drawings of the adults in honour of their parents.

The article to which Pravda refers is almost certainly Ancient Astronauts of Uluru at UFOArea. That has since been followed up by another article, Strange Ancient Structures In The Australian Desert: Natural Rocks Or Artificial Structures? Both are available only to members of the site, which costs money, alas. If the articles are plugging a book, that's a bit of a failure really.

Aliens land in Australia to create humansPravda, 14th January 2008.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Science Fiction category from January 2008.

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