Many thanks to Linda for supplying this transcript!
[0:03] clip from “RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “Listen to what two of the greatest scientific minds in history said about the design in creation: Sir Isaac Newton: “the most beautiful system of the sun, the planets, and comets, could only proceed from the council and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” Albert Einstein—he said, “in view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no god.”
[0:33] Thunderf00t: Aaaah, quote mining; another favorite ploy of the creationist, using partial or misleading quotes from real scientists in the hope that some of their academic credibility will rub off on them. It’s trivial to do. For instance, these are the words of the devoted creationist Kirk Cameron and his partner Ray Comfort:
[0:52] clips from “RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “You guys who believe in god are idiots. You’re small-minded people who are unintelligent. You don’t think.”
“There’s no god.”
“I’d rather go to hell than to believe in a megalomaniac like god.”
[1:08] Thunderf00t: This is the worst kind of deceit; worse in many ways than actually lying in that it is specifically designed to intentionally mislead people by either misquoting people or misrepresenting academic discourse (which is essential to the progression of science) as a weakness of a theory.
[1:25] It is also very noticeable these creationists plead with you to accept their views. In academic circles this would be instantly interpreted as a man with no case to present, which is why he resorts to such snake oil-salesman-style techniques.
[1:40] In academic lectures on research science, it’s taken that any argument presented stands on its merits. The lecturer is expected to present his case clearly, but any attempt to suggest that his arguments should be accepted based on the pleading or scoffing of the lecturer would be instantly greeted with academic skepticism.
[2:00] This sort of thing might fly in the pulpit and in political forums, but it has no place in the academic arena.
[2:11] clip from “RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “You know if a Coca-Cola can was MADE, there must be a maker. When I look at a painting, how can I know there was a painter? Well the painting is absolute, 100 percent scientific proof there was a painter. Well a building is absolute, 100 percent scientific proof there was a builder.”
[2:32] Thunderf00t: Yeaaah, tell it brother! Just like rocks are 100 percent absolute proof of a rock-making god. Just like sunsets is 100 percent absolute scientific proof of a sunset-making factory. Yeah, just like a nearly perfectly spherical Mars is 100 percent absolute proof that there is a Mars-maker. Oh yeah, that’s right. I remember now. The reason we don’t think that sunsets are made by a sunset-making god is because we understand the origin of sunsets. We can still say that god did it. It’s just that that doesn’t advance our understanding of the world any. And it’s a path that leads to an intellectual dead-end.
[3:10] clip from “RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “If it’s designed, there MUST be a designer.”
[3:14] Thunderf00t: This statement is of course tautological. But the question is how can you recognize design? For instance, crystals are among the most ordered objects in the universe. Yet we do not instantly reach for a crystal-making god to try and explain the existence of these highly ordered structures. Again, the reason we do not reach for a god to explain these structures is because we have a perfectly satisfactory naturalistic explanation of the origin of crystals.
[3:41] There is nothing wrong with a tautological statement that designed objects are designed. There’s nothing wrong with the statement that paintings, etc. are designed, simply as they have no plausible naturalistic explanation for their origin. However, there IS a naturalistic explanation for life. It’s called evolution. And before the creationists start coming out with their unfounded tosh about how ‘it’s never been observed’ and so on: it’s more than observed. The principle of evolution is used by the likes of engineers to design aerodynamic bodies—a sort of design without a designer.
[4:16] Indeed, even I myself have written such pieces of code. All you need is reproduction with variation, and environmental attrition and evolution intrinsically follows. This is not just some animation about the front end of an evolutionary algorithm, where the bugs are actually evolving to the environment.
[4:38] Well let’s just highlight the logical flaws of this typical creation argument that ‘designed objects such as paintings, buildings, etc. require a designer. Life looks designed, so it must have a designer’.
[4:51] Let me parody this creationist logic. Let me take a load of pebbles, and see if any of them perfectly fit a shot glass. The answer is no. Indeed I could keep on trying to get pebbles to fit the shot glass in perpetuity and never find one that fits it perfectly. Indeed, I could happily conclude that the only way for a pebble to fit the shot glass perfectly is if it were designed to fit the shot glass.
[5:17] Liquids however fit a shot glass perfectly every time. So, by the creationist’s logic, liquid must be designed to fit the glass. Now the reason this argument is bogus of course, is simply because the two objects being compared have different critical properties. In my case I am comparing deformable matter such as liquids to solids, and drawing the bogus conclusion that liquids must be designed to fit the glass.
[5:45] In the creationist’s case, they are comparing objects that are known to be manufactured, with objects that can evolve—that is, objects that suffer environmental attrition and reproduction with variation—and then drawing the bogus conclusion that life must be designed.
[6:08] clip from “RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “When I look at this building, how do I know there was a builder? You can’t see him, hear him, touch him, taste him, or smell him. I mean, what evidence is there that there was a builder?
[6:18] clip from “Bob the Builder”
[6:27] Thunderf00t: Yeah, that’s right. You know there was a builder because you CAN see him, hear him, touch him, taste him, and smell him—although few builders would allow you to go that far. But even if you couldn’t see him, hear him, touch him, taste him, or smell him, you can watch builders building buildings all the time. And even if you couldn’t do that, you go down to the planning department and get the blueprints for the building and get the date the building was erected on and how it was made.
[6:53] clip from“RRS vs. Kirk Cameron / Ray Comfort Nightline FULL”: “When I look at this building, how do I know there was a builder? You can’t see him, hear him, touch him, taste him, or smell him. I mean, what evidence is there that there was a builder?