Monday, October 31, 2011

Rubber Stamps Make for Broad Brushes.

There was a Youtube user I always enjoyed, who operated two different channels. The first was called Beautyintheuniverse, where the man went on his roughly-annual road trip across America, visiting state parks and doing interesting things with amateur avionics and astronomy equipment. The other, and the name by which he generally goes by, is Thunderf00t.

Now, I like Thunderf00t. He puts me in a philosophical and intellectual mood, which can be hard to stay in when I'm surrounded with all the usual distractions. His videos are informative, and they're a major part of the reason I decided to re-examine my traditional hatred of the field of biology (which has always been utterly uninteresting to me). One of the prime features of his channel, though, is one I've been having an increasing problem with.

He has a long-running series of videos titled "Why People Laugh at Creationists". The videos themselves have significant merit, in that they highlight the more ridiculous claims of the young-earth creationism movement and shine a little light on common scientific misconceptions. The problem is that a dichotomy is created in the dialogue, admittedly unintentionally, that you cannot believe in things outside the scope of empirical analysis (say, God), without somehow ignoring science and being, either willfully or otherwise, ignorant.

Well, you see, I have a problem with that, because I do believe in God. I don't believe in creationism, young-earth or otherwise. I see gaps in all sorts of theories from abiogenesis to the Big Bang Theory, but the gaps do not invalidate the theory. For example, the exact matter-to-force relationship between mass and gravity is not fully understood in the field of theoretical physics (thus the Large Hadron Collider and the search for the Higgs Boson), but that does not mean that gravity is false.

And that's what bugs me about the videos. Sometimes it sucks to get painted with too-broad a brush. But, if you've got thick skin and a hankering to learn something, I'd still check the videos out. They really are most interesting to watch.

And, if nothing else, the Beautyintheuniverse channel should be syndicated and available over cable 24 hours a day. They are always worth watching.

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