September 23, 2021 | David F. Coppedge

Why Scientists Brag About Things They Cannot Know

Undeserved authority bestowed on scientists allows
some of them to boast of knowledge they don’t have

 

Two things allow scientists to speak confidently beyond their knowledge: (1) the presumptive authority our culture gives to science, and (2) Darwin. Charley (Emma Darwin’s nickname for her husband) set a bad example of imagining things he could never know. He turned speculation into a fine art and imported it into science. Let’s look at some recent examples of speculation run amok in scientific papers and press releases. If our culture ever gets journalists who won’t take bluffing for knowledge, they could shame these scientists out of their careers.

We Asked a NASA Scientist: Do Aliens Exist? (NASA). Get one thing straight at the outset: no extraterrestrial life has ever been discovered. That didn’t stop Dr Lindsay Hays, a NASA “astrobiology expert” from giving her opinions for all the kiddos in school around the world. The corny music in the video matches the scientific depth of her answers. Admitting there is no evidence, she proceeds to commit a nonstop string of logical fallacies. But she gets NASA’s public stage because she is a “scientist.”

  1. Life is here, so it must be out there (non-sequitur).
  2. NASA has sent space missions and landers to Mars. (Irrelevant; that’s intelligent design).
  3. We’ve only started looking. (Come back when you have evidence. Until then, “science” says shut up.)
  4. Enceladus, Europa and Mars might be habitable. Exoplanets around other stars might be, too. (See #4 above.)
  5. The universe is huge; not having life would be an awful waste of space. (Religious argument; not scientific evidence.)

Mushballs inside Uranus and Neptune may solve an atmospheric mystery (New Scientist). Add “mushballs” to your dictionary of erudite scientific terms. If a scientist says the term, reporter Leah Crane is happy to use it without asking how Tristan Guillot (University of Nice, France) knows they even exist. Guillot pretends to know the properties of his mythical objects.

“These particles that can reach a kilogram and can zoom through Jupiter’s clouds are able to transport the ammonia and the water down into the deep reaches of the atmosphere,” said Guillot when he presented the work at a virtual meeting of the Europlanet Science Congress on 16 September. “Thermodynamics tell us that mushball formation should be more efficient in Uranus and Neptune.”

Has Leah ever seen a mushball? No. Has Tristan? No; “we cannot detect them from the ground, said Guillot.” He invented mushballs in his imagination because otherwise his theories cannot account for the low amount of ammonia at Uranus and Neptune. Crane paraphrases his dilemma in either-or fallacy form: “Either Uranus and Neptune formed in some sort of unusual process that included less ammonia in the first place, or something is hiding it.” Will Guillot ever see mushballs in his lifetime? Probably not. But they are useful fictions for his imaginary scenarios of how outer planets should form. Concoct an idea. Give it a name. Mushballs! Problem solved!

Newly discovered two-cell color detection system of lamprey is clue to the evolution of color vision (Phys.org). Fish and higher vertebrates have one cell type for pineal color discrimination. Lampreys have two. OK, so? The remarkable insight into deep understanding of evolution comes without a shred of evidence: “This discovery may provide insight into the evolution of color detection in other animals, including color vision in humans.” The paper in BMC Biology is worse, mentioning the e-word “evolution” 22 times.

In this point of view, it can be speculated that lampreys have “maintained” a two-cell system that works exclusively under limited weak light conditions. In contrast, the one-cell systems in other vertebrates might have evolved from a two-cell system to adjust to a wider range of light intensity, which implies an evolutionary direction of cellular bases distinct from that of color vision in eyes.

Do they know this? Could they ever know it? If they didn’t already believe in evolution, would it make any sense? Absolutely not. The paper uses the word “speculate” 8 times, but there is a key scientific word missing from both the Phys.org article and from the paper: that word is evidence.

Modern snakes evolved from a few survivors of dino-killing asteroid (University of Bath). These evolutionists speculate, as evolutionists are prone to do, about where snakes came from. Most people might think of a dinosaur-killing asteroid as a destructive process, but no! These guys see it as a life-giving force: “this devastating extinction event was a form of ‘creative destruction’ that allowed snakes to diversify into new niches, previously filled by their competitors.” But did they witness this? Do they have evidence? No; it’s Darwin all the way down. Deadly forces actually bring life in Darwin Fantasyland, with its Magic Castle.

Veteran Darwin worshiper Nick Longrich at U Bath (24 Oct 2019) needs a bath to wash the mythology out of his science:

Dr Nick Longrich, from the Milner Centre for Evolution at the University of Bath and the corresponding author, said: “Our research suggests that extinction acted as a form of ‘creative destruction’– by wiping out old species, it allowed survivors to exploit the gaps in the ecosystem, experimenting with new lifestyles and habitats.

“This seems to be a general feature of evolution – it’s the periods immediately after major extinctions where we see evolution at its most wildly experimental and innovative.

Nick and his team of speculators imagine snakes living underground without food till the coast was clear. It doesn’t matter to them that the recovery in their asteroid scenario took tens of thousands of Darwin Years at least. Hey: did anybody witness this? Is this something that a scientist could know? The question answers itself.

Darwin fish are eyeless like cave fish. Charley’s eyes are closed because he didn’t know where he was going either.

 

There was a time when godly preachers commanded the public square. They could stand on the authority of the Word of God, appealing to the innate knowledge of God in every human heart (Romans 1:18-23), and speak truth to the people: truth about a Creator to whom we are all accountable. Those people of the Reformation built a society of work, virtue and liberty guarded by personal responsibility. The Darwin storytellers inherited that world, but have abused it and made it a laughingstock of irresponsible speculation that denies our Creator.

We should have known this was coming. Paul warned 1,957 years ago, “For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.” The mythmakers tend to be persecutors of their critics. Paul turned to his protege Timothy and advised, “As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” (II Timothy 4:3-5).

The mythmakers so rampant today will not last. Unless they repent, they will perish at the last judgment with all those who do commerce with the godless world system (Revelation 18). Till then, God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (John 3:16-18), including those who mock Creation and the Flood (II Peter 3:3-13).

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