1 of 4
1
Bright Horizon Pictures documentary - “What is Scientific Truth?”
Posted: 02 September 2010 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

Whoops, posted this in the main Religion & Secularism forum, but meant to post up for Michiganders:

Hello, just curious if anyone knows anything about this “documentary”?  Only thing I can find on the web is Bright Horizon’s website.  I missed the screening a couple weeks ago at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor.  I was initially intrigued, assuming it was a secular documentary (the Michigan Theater has always seemed to be a fairly progressive institution), but then found Bright Horizon’s self-description as follows:
“...non-profit Christian film company with the main goal of spreading the Gospel and truth through film.”

Uh-oh.  Since this is seemingly a small-time local effort I’m motivated to do some grass-roots refuting of any foolishness presented as fact.  However, rather than attend the next screening (free @ Novi Christian Community Center on 9/26) I’ll probably just wait to buy a copy (hate to contribute even a little $ to their cause, but well worth it for playback, sharing, & note-taking :-).  In the meantime, I figured I’d do a little research on some of the people featured in the film:

Dr. Richard Adler - Associate Professor of Biology and Microbiology and the Microbiology Concentration Advisor at UMD; with his wife, co-wrote the historical book “Jewish Ann Arbor

Dr. Loring Brace - Anthropologist at UofM; apparently “Darwinian” and anti-Creationist

Bob Dutko - Conservative Christian talk show host in Detroit

Ken Ham - Young-Earth Creationist; president of Answers in Genesis USA, which runs the Creation Museum in Petersburg, KY

Dr. Grady McMurtry - Creationist; apparently questionable credentials

Todd Slisher - VP Science Programs @ the Detroit Science Center

Commentary from Dr. David Menton - “Creationist Anatomist”

Hmmmm, interesting.  Let’s just say I’m not holding my breath in expectation of a factual, reason-based perspective ;-)...

Thanks for any feedback/comments.

winbert

Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 September 2010 08:41 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

FYI, I received the DVD & have watched most of the movie (hope to finish it up tonight) and have four pages of notes.  Wow, what a complete hack-job.  Hard to believe when I first saw that it was playing at the Michigan Theater a last month I figured it would be a legitimate discussion around the philosophy of science.  Turns out it’s a third-rate spectacle of inaccuracy trying to “scientifically prove” young earth creationism big surprise and discredit evolution (at least they didn’t call it “Darwinism” wink ).  Early on the narrator sets the level of credulity required of the audience by asking the rhetorical question “Should science be restricted to the natural?”  DUH!!! confused  

They present the same old tired arguments (which have been debunked a thousand times) and roll out all the usual misleading terminology in a pitiful attempt to make their case: 
- creationism & intelligent design are introduced as “scientific theories” that are “supported by the evidence” 
- they incorrectly conflate the origin of life & evolutionary theory (as well as cosmology) 

McMurtry’s incompetence doesn’t disappoint when he: 
- summarizes evolution as “the simple becomes complex by random chance” and claims this violates the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics  
- states “If the universe was old you wouldn’t have suns still hot, and icy comets still flying around” and that “the universe should be homogeneous if it has always existed” 
- references the “over 200 arguments” that they have for a young earth/solar system/galaxy/universe, including many that have been wonderfully discredited at Infidels.org like:  decay of the earth’s magnetic field, recession rate of the moon, & lumpy rings around planets  
- etc., etc., etc. 

And don’t even get me started on Bob Dutko!!  angry

Unfortunately, comments by Dr. Adler, Dr. Brace, & Mr. Slisher so far have (presumably) been intentionally cut short so as to mis/under-represent their positions.  Clearly their presence is merely a feeble attempt to add credibility to the movie and a false claim to have adequately presented both sides.  I can only imagine how unhappy Adler/Brace/Slisher are with the finished product.  Seems like it might be worthwhile trying to get them involved in refuting the ridiculousness of this “documentary”?  Perhaps Adler/Brace/Slisher would be interested in writing letters to the editor, or even attending the screening in Novi! cheese

Oh, and speaking of fighting creationism, I found this interesting article on Infidels.org.  I love the sound of it, but am not yet convinced smile...

winbert

[ Edited: 21 September 2010 10:30 PM by winbert ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 21 September 2010 01:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2010-09-21

Winbert,

Interesting, I was just forwarded your message by a collegue that saw it. We were approached by an individual who presented a concept for a student documentary piece that originally requested permission to shoot at the Detroit Science Center with various persons persenting a supposedly ‘balanced’ view of both sides of the Evolution vs. Creationism debate. Worried that this could be edited in such a way to misrepresent our views, we only allowed them to tape a brief segment with myself presenting information on the evolution side and not utilize the Science Center as a venue, with the caviat that we approve our piece before any final product was released and with it being removed it if was unacceptible. I’ve never seen the piece, and we were never able to review the segment and I’ve always been suspicious of the outcome. Sounds like its much as we feared, despite assurances.

I might indeed show up at this ‘screening’ and make a statement if the results are not acceptible or if our views are being distorted. We may also issue a cease and desist order to the director/distributor to stop any further distibution.  Thanks for the heads up…

Oh, and if you know where I can get a copy or transcript before Sunday, let me know.

Todd Slisher
Vice President - Visitor Programs and Services
Detroit Science Center
313-577-8400

[ Edited: 21 September 2010 01:10 PM by Tslisher ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 22 September 2010 07:51 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

Todd - so glad you posted up!  I PM’d you that I’d be more than willing to drop off my copy of the DVD to you at the Detroit Science Center one day this week, and included my contact info.

Thanks again!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 27 September 2010 10:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

FYI - I’ve posted up a rambling account of last night’s movie showing in Novi at the Michigan Skeptics forum.

winbert

Profile
 
 
Posted: 28 September 2010 04:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2010-09-28

Hi Everyone,

  I’m the Producer and Director of What is Scientific Truth? and I thought a response seemed appropriate for the various comments made on this forum.  I hope whoever the host is will post this.  But just to set the record strait there was no agreement with anyone who was interviewed for the film for me to show them the film and get their approval prior to release.  I told them the film would be presented with a neutral presentation and evidence and arguments would be presented from both the Creation and Evolution positions.  Now I believe the neutral presentation was largely achieved but keep in mind a neutral presentation doesn’t necessarily mean the film is down the middle.  It just means the narrator doesn’t say this is what you should believe.  But I’ll readily admit there is more time given to presenting the Creation side as opposed to the Evolution side.  Also let’s not be naive anyone who makes a film of this nature is going into it with a strong conviction on one side or the other.  Also as an aside I wanted to say I welcome the debate and I appreciate when it is done in a respectful manner.  If you believe the evidecnce backs up your views than you should be able to get your point across with out hurling a bunch of insults.  Quite frankly all that does is make you argument seem weak.  And I will commend Chris the skeptic I debated Sunday night after the screening of the film for keeping it respectful although he did try to pass himself off as a Christian at first.  But anyway I just wanted to say some words

take care,
Keith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 September 2010 10:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

Mr. Perna,

Welcome to the CFI-Michigan forum, and thank you for your polite & respectful post.  I have a couple comments about your statement that “hurling a bunch of insults” makes “my argument seem weak.”

#1) I agree completely that ad hominem attacks have no place in reasonable discussion, and I don’t believe I made any against you personally.  I merely spoke honestly about the contents of the movie & expressed my opinion about its accuracy/quality (admittedly with a sarcastic tone).  FYI, I (perhaps naively) think of posting on these skeptic/atheist forums as a discussion amongst a group of mostly like-minded friends.  To illustrate my point, please imagine that you had watched a documentary that attempted to provide solid “scientific evidence” for something like:  the earth is flat, the sun revolves around the earth (geocentrism), or that Zeus is personally responsible for every lightning bolt in the history of our planet.  Obviously such a hypothetical movie would require a gross, presumably willful, distortion & misrepresentation of the facts, right?  Now imagine you’re talking about that movie to some of your friends, who by default “know better” because of the outrageousness of the claims.  I suspect that the verbage you’d use in that conversation would not be particularly complimentary or respectful of the film/filmmaker.  Assuming that my hypothetical movie presented information so as to give any one of my outrageous themes a fair shake (or even worse, leaned toward them being the more likely truth) would you consider it to even be possible for the movie to be a “neutral presentation”?  And would you say that the fictitious filmmaker’s overwhelming bias was excusable just because they had “a strong conviction on one side”?

#2) For the record, I haven’t actually made any arguments yet.  In the near future I hope to delve into a point-by-point refutation of the movie’s inaccuracies (which will surely take weeks & many, many posts).

For anyone looking for a truly neutral presentation of the facts on this topic, I highly recommend Eugenie C. Scott’s book “Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction”.  Of course be aware that this book unavoidably leans toward evolution, as any truthful & fair presentation of the scientific evidence is required to do.  This cannot reasonably be considered an unfair bias, any more than a book demonstrating that Zeus isn’t the source of all lightning.

winbert

Profile
 
 
Posted: 30 September 2010 02:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2010-09-28

Winbert,

  concerning your point number one I’ll leave aside your obvious comparison of Creation to a Flat earth belief.  I would expect a bias behind any one making a film on the topic of Science whether the film leans towards Evolution or Creation.  Any person is going to have a reason for making a film on the topic.  If you made a documentary on the topic I’m sure I can reasonably predict it would lean towards Evolution.

  Your point number two kind of makes my point.  Your earlier post is filled with criticisms and generalizations but no actual arguments against what’s presented in the film.  Now I understand in here your mostly preaching to the choir but I find that quite common among Evolutionist.  It seems they have to try to paint their opponent as stupid instead of just standing on the evidence alone.

  You ended you comments by stating that any truthful and fair presentation requires an Evolutionary bias.  That is for you and anyone else going under the assumption that Evolution is both proven and that it’s truth.  I would argue both the evidence and logic disagree with that assumption.  And I’ll gladly debate the evidence with you but perhaps the best approach for now is to discuss which is the more logical based on evidence we agree on.

  How about we start with this: How did all the matter and energy come into existence when the first law of thermodynamics shows that matter and energy can’t come into existence through purely natural means?

Keith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 05 October 2010 08:25 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Jr. Member
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  10
Joined  2010-08-30

Sorry for the delay, but answering these posts will at best be a tertiary hobby for me - lots going on this time of year.  I’ll try to avoid a lengthy argument over semantics, but before answering your “matter & energy” question let me briefly clarify something.  I think we agree that everyone has their own continuum of plausibility.  Obviously we disagree where evolution falls on this spectrum.  But for both of us the flat-earth/geocentrism/Zeus-lightning claims fall toward the unbelievable end.  I was only trying to point out that your comments to friends on these unbelievable topics would likely also just contain “criticisms & generalizations” (e.g., “Yeah, they think the earth is shaped like a coin!  Can you believe that?  What a bunch of kooks!”).  In such a case would you consider yourself “preaching to the choir”, and that your comments are shallow & without substance (as you’ve implied about me & other evolutionists)?

KeithP - 30 September 2010 02:33 PM

How did all the matter and energy come into existence when the first law of thermodynamics shows that matter and energy can’t come into existence through purely natural means?

OK, on to your first question (for now I won’t quibble over your paraphrasing of the first law) which has a pretty straight-forward answer - science does not yet know how all matter & energy came into existence.  However, presuming to know where you’re going with this, let me outline the next steps.  Creationists’ first pitfall here is often the logical fallacy “confusing currently unexplained with unexplainable” (e.g., “god of the gaps”) - just because we can’t currently explain the origin of the universe, does not mean that we will never be able to explain it.  Along those same lines is thinking this current lack of understanding demonstrates the need for a supernatural explanation, which is a great example of the logical fallacy “argument from personal incredulity” (e.g., I can’t explain/understand, therefore… God did it!).  And the final misstep is a series of unsupportable assumptions made about this alleged supernatural explanation, refuted as follows:  1) it doesn’t have to be eternal, 2) it doesn’t have to still exist, 3) it doesn’t have to be personal (e.g. a “god”), and 4) it certainly doesn’t have to be one of the specific gods of any current religion (e.g., the Christian god, Allah, etc., etc.).

There are countless perfect examples of how this series of logical missteps has led to erroneous conclusions previously in human history.  Before understanding the science behind rain, the sun, & fertility, people believed various deities (Rain/Sun/Fertility gods) were the correct explanation.

Based solely on the “science doesn’t yet know” answer, the above clearly shows that the “first law of thermodynamics” argument fails to demonstrate that the Christian god is the creator of the universe.  However, there are also a variety of scientific rebuttals to your question:

1) TalkOrigins.org CF101 - “Formation of the universe from nothing need not violate conservation of energy. The gravitational potential energy of a gravitational field is a negative energy. When all the gravitational potential energy is added to all the other energy in the universe, it might sum to zero.”

2) TalkOrigins.org CE440 - “Some questions are harder to answer than others. But although we do not have a full understanding of the origin of the universe, we are not completely in the dark. We know, for example, that space comes from the expansion of the universe. The total energy of the universe may be zero [see CF101 above]. Cosmologists have hypotheses for the other questions that are consistent with observations (Hawking 2001). For example, it is possible that there is more than one dimension of time, the other dimension being unbounded, so there is no overall origin of time. Another possibility is that the universe is in an eternal cycle without beginning or end. Each big bang might end in a big crunch to start a new cycle (Steinhardt and Turok 2002) or at long intervals, our universe collides with a mirror universe, creating the universe anew (Seife 2002).”

3) TalkOrigins.org Big Bang Origin – references three possible models - chaotic inflation, mirror universe, and cyclic universe.

4) TalkOrigins.org Big Bang First Law:
- “while the laws of thermodynamics apply to the universe today, it is not clear that they necessarily apply to the origin of the universe; we simply do not know.”
- “it is not clear that one can sensibly talk about time “before the Big Bang”. “Time” is an integral part of our universe (hence the G[eneral] R[elativity] term “spacetime”) - so it is not clear how exactly one would characterize the energy before and after the Big Bang in a precise enough way to conclude it was not conserved.”
- “Assuming we have some way to handle notions of time outside of our spacetime, the universe appearing out of nothing would only violate the first law of thermodynamics if the energy beforehand were different from the energy afterwards. Probably all people will agree that “nothingness” should have an energy of zero; so the law is only violated if the energy of the universe is non-zero. But there are indeed good arguments that the energy of the universe should be exactly zero!” (etc., etc.)

5) Scientific American article “The Myth of the Beginning of Time” (April, 2004) – subtitled “String theory suggests that the big bang was not the origin of the universe but simply the outcome of a preexisting state.”  Article begins, “Was the big bang really the beginning of time? Or did the universe exist before then? Such a question seemed almost blasphemous only a decade ago. Most cosmologists insisted that it simply made no sense—that to contemplate a time before the big bang was like asking for directions to a place north of the North Pole. But developments in theoretical physics, especially the rise of string theory, have changed their perspective. The pre-bang universe has become the latest frontier of cosmology.”

[ Edited: 06 October 2010 05:52 AM by winbert ]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 06 October 2010 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2010-10-06

thanks for your post

Profile
 
 
Posted: 07 October 2010 03:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2010-09-28

Actually my comments to friends would contain substance.  I’m not interested in just tearing down Evolutionist or Atheist I’m interested in what’s Truth.  And if scientific evidence is being censored or an argument doesn’t hold any water I want a person to know why.  I’m not saying I won’t point out arrogance if it seems obvious but I want the evidence and arguments to stand on their own.  I don’t feel a need to paint the other side as a bunch of dummies in order to make my point.  But I guess we’ll just need to give this discussion a rest since you’ll have to either take me at my word or leave it.

But onto the Matter and Energy question.  I’ll just state the first law of thermodynamics in it’s simplicity if there’s anyone who’s unaware what it states.  Matter and Energy cannot be created or destroyed.  Now your absolutely right that it doesn’t prove God.  But what we have to ask ourselves is what is most reasonable and logical to believe.  And that’s right I’m refering to Atheism and Evolution as belief systems.  Whenever you’re dealing with the unexplained (I don’t know how to put this delicately) you are choosing to believe something about it.  Now the First law is a law of nature, It’s a law of physics.  It’s been established since no experiment ever has produced something from nothing.  So while you can say it’s just unexplainable at this point in time how everything came into existence you can’t deny that with our current understanding it points to something beyond the natural.  And keep in mind this is only discussion number one out of many of these unexplainable areas.  And I know that the argument goes well you can’t explain it so you’re just inserting God in there.  But the thing is God fits perfectly into these unexplainable areas.

Now let me address your articles from talk origins and elsewhere.  The first one has a couple of problems.  Number one it doesn’t even address matter.  And number two the adding of the energies mentioned adds up to zero leaving the assumption that the energy came from that starting point of zero energy.  I have to ask where is the experiment showing that you can get any energy from the starting point of zero energy.  There is a reason no one has invented a perpetual motion machine.

The second one moves into the realm of science fiction with it’s talk of different dimensions of time and mirror universes.  It talks of the universe perhaps not having a beginning or an end.  Hmmm sounds like a criticism I’ve heard about believing God has no beginning or end.  But if you’re going to believe our universe collides with a mirror universe every few billion years.  You still have to account for where the mirror universe came from.

Number three is a lot of the same as what’s in article two.  You have the science fiction of mirror universes and string theory mentioned.  And with the cyclic universe one it’s basically the same as what’s mentioned in article two as far as the universe ending and being renewed.  Again none of this explains how it got here in the first place.  Even if you have multiple universes and a cycle of a renewing universe it doesn’t address how it all came into existence.

Number four starts off with speculation that the First law may have been different in the past.  Again this brings in the inevitable need to accept that by faith.  It then talks about the Big Bang as though that’s proven.  The Big Bang is not in any way proven.  Then it talks about not knowing what the energy was like before and after the unproven cosmological model of the Big Bang.  Again by faith they are arguing the First law may have been violated.  Then it moves onto the total energy equals zero in the universe argument.  But unless I’m missing something how can one argue the total energy in the universe equals zero when there is so much observable energy in the universe.  And again matter is left out of the discussion as though an argument about a violation of the first law is valid if you only talk of energy.

Last but not least String theory.  As of right now there is no evidence for it, it is science fiction.

I hope to continue our discussion but I would like to put it on hold for a few weeks.  The reason being that I’ve been challenged to a public debate from an Atheist who may very well be reading this blog.  And I don’t want to give him a text book that he can take into the debate.  So you can count on me coming back with another question for you probably sometime in November.

Until then take care,
Keith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 14 October 2010 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6166
Joined  2009-02-26

May I ask if anyone knows the properties and proofs of God?
When arguing against current scientific probing into the origins of the universe as being inconclusive and therefore falling into the realm of science fiction, that mode of reasoning would then also apply to a statement as to the existence of God, which is likewise inconclusive and unprovable and thus akin to metaphysical fiction.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2010 01:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2010-09-28

As I stated before it’s true that I can’t prove God to you.  But the question is what is more reasonable and logical to believe.  Using Scientific Evidence (the first law of Thermodynamics) that is what I’m pointing out.  Is it more reasonable to BELIEVE these other things about the beginning of the universe or that a creator made all the Matter and Energy?

Also as I previously stated this is only topic one out of many scientific areas that point to a Creator/God.  And you can count on me coming back probably sometime in November to continue on with another one of those topics.

Keith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2010 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6166
Joined  2009-02-26
KeithP - 15 October 2010 01:01 PM

As I stated before it’s true that I can’t prove God to you.  But the question is what is more reasonable and logical to believe.  Using Scientific Evidence (the first law of Thermodynamics) that is what I’m pointing out.  Is it more reasonable to BELIEVE these other things about the beginning of the universe or that a creator made all the Matter and Energy?

Also as I previously stated this is only topic one out of many scientific areas that point to a Creator/God.  And you can count on me coming back probably sometime in November to continue on with another one of those topics.

Keith

I should like to see your answer to the question why it is more reasonable and logical to Believe in a God, which has been so hopelessly misrepresented in scripture vs Trust in the Scientific method.

btw. The thermodynamic argument has been presented before on CFI and utterly refuted. (do a search of “thermodynamics”).

Other than that I am looking forward to your next presentation, and in general, I wish you well.

 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
Posted: 15 October 2010 04:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Jr. Member
Rank
Total Posts:  25
Joined  2010-09-28

Write4U

I’m going to refrain from diving into further topics at this point.  Believe me I will gladly go into scripture with you if you want to jump to that.  But that will have to wait a few weeks.  But I will ask you this, is believing in ideas that have no evidence for them (different dimentions of time, parallel universes) trusting in the Scientific Method?

Also I looked around on here reading the various things said about the first Law of Thermodynamics.  I’m not seeing the smoking gun utterly refuted comments.  Perhaps you can point to them.

Likewise I look forward to continued talks with you.

take care,
Keith

Profile
 
 
Posted: 18 October 2010 10:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  6166
Joined  2009-02-26
KeithP - 15 October 2010 04:56 PM

Write4U

I’m going to refrain from diving into further topics at this point.  Believe me I will gladly go into scripture with you if you want to jump to that.  But that will have to wait a few weeks.  But I will ask you this, is believing in ideas that have no evidence for them (different dimentions of time, parallel universes) trusting in the Scientific Method?
Keith

I take exception to the term “believing in ideas” but other than that, yes. These ideas are presented as theoretical science and remain theory (or paradigm) until proven or discarded. No such objective analysis exists in theism. And in many instances, fundamental theists threaten those who would question the “truth” of their theistic claims with hell, damnation and even physical harm (inquisition, terrorism). I have never heard a theoretical scientist threaten another with death for questioning the facts or premise of a given theory.
There is an ocean of difference between the Scientific Method and Theistic Dogma, in the quest for Truth.

[ Edited: 19 October 2010 12:20 AM by Write4U ]
 Signature 

Art is the creation of that which evokes an emotional response, leading to thoughts of the noblest kind.
W4U

Profile
 
 
   
1 of 4
1
 
‹‹ The Starship Enterprise      "Cult" Abuse ››