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Saturday, 27 June 2015

How Much Do Atheists Know about the Science and Evidence They always Appeal to?

I came across the above video by accident while researching the thorny issue of the origin of life on earth, and at first I wasn't sure who the "village1diot" of the name of this video's YouTube channel was. On the surface, it might have been referring to the Christians who are the intended victims of the hosts of what looks like a call-in TV show called The Atheist Experience, in this and many other videos. But watching them at work makes you seriously wonder whether the "village1diot" appellative doesn't refer to the show hosts themselves. I still haven't clarified that doubt to my satisfaction.

It starts badly and it gets worse.

There is a statement at the beginning about the word "atheist" supposedly deriving from the Greek goddess of wisdom. The latter is Athena, after whom the city of Athens is named. The Parthenon in Athens is named after Athena Parthenos ("Virgin"). All those in the video seem to have confused the similiarity between "atheist" and "Athena". But "atheist" stems from the Greek "atheos", meaning "without God" and composed of the privative alpha ("a") denying or lacking what follows, in this case "theos", or God.

On these premises, the Christian caller is right in spotting a contradicrion between atheism and worshipping a god, albeit female. His statement is welcome with sniggering and mockery by the hosts - one of whom for some unclear reason wears a large cross -, as if his stupidity had just been exposed, and not theirs.

But that's what he's there for, to be ridiculed.

The cross wearer, a declared atheist, then confesses his ignorance about the etymology of the word that expresses what he is. So much for choices supposedly made on a basis of rationality, science and knowledge. The other atheist doesn't seem to be any wiser either. If we consider that they run a TV show called The Atheist Experience and therefore atheism must be their specialist subject, it's particularly serious that they don't even know the derivation of the word and concept.

Then we move on to when the non-cross-wearing presenter claims that the laws of physics "can be proved or at least [pause] shown to be true in most senses." To demonstrate "the law of gravity", he performs a very neat experiment: he just drops his pen, which dutifully falls on the desk.

Pity nobody had told him that classical mechanics, of which Newton's theory of universal gravitation is part, far from being "proved or at least [pause] shown to be true in most senses", is now rejected by modern physics.

It has been superseded, and at best can be accepted only for a special set of circumstances. It has been replaced by Einstein's relativity theory and by quantum mechanics.

It can still have practical applications, but it's not considered by scientists to be "true" or "proved". Flat earth theory is also used while not regarded as true.

When a scientific theory like classical mechanics with his Newtonian universe, which had become the model for all scientific theories and the unshakeable pillar of science, was refuted - debuked, to use the common jargon - by Einstein and the quantum physicists in the early 20th century, it caused a profound crisis in the worlds of science and philosophy.

Such was the faith in science that developed in the 19th century, leading to a philosophy called "scientism", that it was considered impossible that a theory like classical physics could be refuted.

But it was. It should be a lesson that things are not as simple as some people think.

1 comment:

  1. wish i could post link here but on type in
    Intelligent Design -Absolute Proof