NOVA tonight

Nova will be airing a 2 hour special titled What Darwin Never Knew. It’s all about evo-devo, the science behind how embryological development is so important to evolution as a whole.

It’s on at 8pm ET/7pm CT on PBS.*

*It saddens me that it’s likely necessary I need to point out what station NOVA is on.

False equivalence and just not getting it

Jeff Gaither is a blathering moron who contradicts himself, doesn’t have an iota of science straight in his head, and has no intelligent offerings for the world.

The truth is the big-bang theory and the theory of evolution are every bit as groundless as the idea of divine creation.

Upon reading this I suspected Gaither would go into that old game of false equivalence that creationists love: “We both have the same facts, just different interpretations!” The problem with that is that “different interpretations” means a lot. For instance, instant creation is a plainly stupid interpretation of any fact(s). Evolution by natural selection, however, is the greatest interpretation of anything since man had such reasoning abilities. But Gaither takes a slightly different approach. Rather than saying we all have different interpretations, he says we all have equally bad interpretations. Still false equivalence.

However, the big-bang theory does not explain a darned thing about the origins of the universe. It claims that originally all the matter in the universe was condensed into a single point. But, so what? Where did the point come from? Where did all the matter come from?

So what? So what? So it offers the framework and logical underpinnings by which physics views everything it does. Just as evolution is essential to a proper understanding of biology or atomic theory is necessary for any chemist to know, the Big Bang is a key piece of any physicist’s knowledge.

Take careful note, though, of Gaither’s point that the Big Bang does not explain the origin of the singularity which started everything.

Many scientific-types like to pretend the big-bang theory is logically superior to the idea of divine creation. But, really, it is less satisfactory, because it offers no explanation, not even a supernatural one, for the origin of things.

Sort of like how the MLB rulebook is not satisfactory. Sure, it explains everything it purports to explain, but does it tell us of the origin of baseball in the first place? And what of the Universe itself? What does Major League Baseball have to say of that? HUH?!

Evolution is another issue on which many rationalistic muckity-mucks like to look down on the spiritually minded. Evolution, as the entire world knows, states life began in the “primordial soup” of early earth, and through natural selection those early cells and amoebas evolved into trees, platypuses and people.

Evolution says no such thing. It states that life evolved from a common ancestor. How that original population of ancestors came to be is a separate question. Thank you, creationist canard #14.

Where did that first cell come from? How did life begin? The answer usually given is, “Uhh, lightning struck the ocean, and that created life.”

Take a moment to let this sink in. It’s silly on its face, but it doesn’t especially add to the stupidity already present – he covered that by already mentioned primordial soup in an inappropriate context. Soaked it in yet? Okay, good. Now read on.

But since when does lightning create life? If a woman goes outside in a thunderstorm and is struck by lightning, does she become pregnant? No, she dies. The function of lightning is to electrocute, not impregnate.

B-b-b-but how is this immense knowledge of electricity satisfying at all?! It doesn’t say ANYTHING of origins!

Science has never been able to answer the question satisfactorily of how life began. Once one accepts life began, evolution is a fine and completely satisfactory theory. But from whence came the first cell?

Haha, hang on a moment. A second ago evolution was the stuff of “muckity-mucks”. Now it’s all fine and actually “completely satisfying“?

The big-bang theory and the theory of evolution are very similar in the way they operate. They begin their explanation immediately after some incomprehensible phenomenon, carry that initial state to the present, and claim to have given the end-all and be-all on a fundamental question.

He just doesn’t get it. The Big Bang starts 13.7 billion years ago. Evolution, as far as Earth is concerned, starts about 3.9 billion years ago. Neither theory purports to explain any more.

If you corner a scientist and ask him where the cosmic point of the big-bang theory came from, or how life originated, he will be forced to admit, “I don’t know.” And if scientists don’t know, all their research and all their great theories are basically nullified.

Oh, wow. I had no idea that hundreds of years of research was invalid. I bet no scientist knew this either. Good thing Jeff Gaither has cleared the whole issue up. Maybe next he can tell MLB that because they cannot explain the origins of bats (bats, trees, marine plant life, bacteria, BUT THEN WHAT, BUG SELIG?!), that all their work is null and void.

Science must admit the universe and life originated in circumstances we cannot explain


and if they cannot explain how the universe came about, then how is their stance in any way superior to religionists who found their creation-doctrine on God?

Empirical evidence which supports everything science and specific theories purport to explain?

True, we cannot understand an eternal, omniscient God; but we can’t understand the Big Bang or evolution, either.

No, no. Jeff Gaither cannot understand any of these things.

The big-bang theory implies that at the moment of creation, the Universe was so dense the current laws of physics had no meaning. I’d like to expand this proposition, and state at the beginning of the universe, the laws of logic had no meaning.

That isn’t an expansion. It’s essentially a repetition of what has already been said. If no law of physics existed, then nothing which is derived from them existed either. There’s no need to say as much – especially when you’re a jackass with little to no understanding of basic scientific concepts.

And how is it that Gaither is willing to reject the Big Bang, but embrace a beginning to the Universe?

Indeed, it is possible to prove this. There could have been no “beginning of time,” since the notion of “beginning” presupposes time.

It presupposes no such thing. The beginning of time marks the moment when the Universe began expanding. Space and time are one. Maybe Gaither is just a big static state guy, I don’t know. He may want to revisit the scientific literature of the past 100 years or so if that’s the case.

But I guess he wants to re-institute “the laws of logic” since he rejects a beginning to the Universe.

But if the universe has always existed, then there must have been infinity of time before I was born, and since infinity of time would take forever, I should never have been born at all.

First of all, the Universe has not always existed, so shut the hell up. Second, shouldn’t Gaither also think “infinity of time” presupposes time in his demented world?

Okay, so a beginning of time must be wrong because Gaither thinks that presupposes time in the first place. He’s wrong, but that’s his position. But an infinite Universe must be wrong because he would never have been born. This is densely stupid.

Since the laws of logic don’t apply to creation, there’s no reason to suppose there is any unique truth about universal origins. The scientists are right, and the creationists are right too. These respective sides need to acknowledge the equal validity of their respective positions and leave each other in peace. There’s no point in arguing about something we can’t understand.

Methinks the lack of understanding is characteristic of only one party here.