Of course I'm liberal, I believe in liberty.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Not Science

Here's more evidence that the religious right is turning away from science in all forms. not just evolution. Physics professor Chad Orzel, the author of Uncertain Principles, reads a "science" article in Children's Ministries Magazine:
...it mentioned that the public sparring over evolution and creationism was causing many Christians to turn away from science entirely, and that this was a Bad Thing. Which sounded pretty reasonable, so I kept going.

...And then I looked at the "experiments." The scare quotes are there for a reason....

One of the ones that sticks in my mind (I'd link to the article, but it's subscribers-only) was a classic surface tension demo, where you float two small objects on the surface of a glass of water, and then dip a toothpick with a trace of soap on it into the water (the soap changes the surface tension of the water, and the objects will fly to the sides-- it works really well with a sprinkling of pepper).

The problem started with the presentation, which suggested identifying one object as God, the other as the child, and the soap as sin. When sin is introduced, it pushes people away from God. OK, fine. I mean, it's dorky as hell, but whatever floats your boat.

But they don't explain the trick. The words "surface tension" do not appear anywhere in the article. There's nothing at all about what makes the two objects separate on an actual, rather than a symbolic level.

It's even more maddening with their version of the egg-in-the-bottle trick (which is meant to show that with God, nothing is impossible), which includes the explicit instruction to ask the child "Why do you think that happened?" and then doesn't provide the answer.

This isn't science, it's stage magic. I mean, sure, God could force the egg through the neck of the bottle, but He didn't, save in a very Deist sort of sense.
Have we actually gotten to the point that any attempt to explain natural phenomena as the result of natural causes and not the direct result of the supernatural is considered anti-Christian?

(Via Kevin again.)