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Friday, November 14, 2014

Rick Santelli, Space Week, the creation/evolution standoff and boogeymen

This morning, 11/14/2014, approximately 8:30 am EST, I had CNBC on, and financial commentator Rick Santelli, speaking on the recent drop in oil prices and its effect on oil traders, said, roughly (as it was verbal, and a one time only broadcast, I wrote it down from memory as best as I could immediately), this: When highly educated people have any boogymen at all, avoid everything that comes out of their mouth, for the most part. About a week ago, my 8 year old grandson brought home from school his weekly report, which was poorer than normal. As an incentive to better work, he couldn't watch cartoons for the next week. There are other channels he is allowed to watch, one of which is Science Channel. In coordination with the attempted landing of a vehicle on a comet, they have been holding Space Week. This featured a number of programs on the end of the universe. I expect the normal bias to the scientific status quo on such programs, which they have assuredly delivered. I could not help but notice the number of times one of their guest astrophysicists used the word "perhaps" or another word indicating theory, possibility, and not fact. From logic class in college, one thing I remember is that if one has a group of connected if/then statements, and one is invalid, the whole argument if invalid. These people are much brighter than I am, (and were even before my brain started declining a few years ago), and probably know this (although, being natural science majors, they may have never had to actually study logic), but the problem is that they treat the intellectual Christian position as a boogeyman, to use Santelli's term, above. In the programs I saw, they once brought up the 1840's Bishop Usher position of the earth being 6000 years old. That is an easy dismissal of Christian thought, although, since I was never a part of an organizational church of the fundamentalist flavor, I have never known a highly educated person who held that position, except for one person who was an accountant and was going around giving a presentation on that view, done at a level at appeared directed to middle school students. I saw this on a college campus; I threw him a difficult question and he sidestepped it. The students sat there and said nothing, possibly in kindness to the person who arranged for his presentation. Of course, the opposite goes also. I remember seeing a TV program upholding the 6000 year "theory" which had a person who called himself a pastor speaking. In it, he (I don't remember his name), in somewhat addressing the difficult scientific questions concerning his thesis, said that he was a pastor, not a scientist. Then why don't you get a scientist who is a Christian? Unspoken answer: he doesn't have any, that there is another point of view, and the Christians who have training in the natural sciences are all over there. When I heard Santelli say that sentence above, it suddenly occur that both groups avoid the difficult questions like boogeymen, in part because the explanation goes over the head of almost all of us. To keep repeating in isn't, depending on the side, either scientific or apologetic teaching, it's public relations. At this point, its marketing almost in the same ilk as the Chevy commercial of about 20 years ago which featured cars at night in time lapse photography going around a freeway interchange, looking like a bunch of comet tails, and ending with an overweight woman dancing by a Chevy, i.e. no facts in the commercial except for stating the brand name. Scientists are in a sense scared of their inability to persuade a large portion of the population of their position, and the short earth creation folks the same. If I was thinking politically, I could have taken off in that direction with almost every national leader who has ever held power, but, as the political saying goes, all politics is local, and, therefore, eventually passing to another passing point.

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