Field of Science

A fool's bet

A creationist kinesiologist named Mastropaolo  is getting his 15 minutes of fame by publically challenging “evolutionists” to bet $10,000 with him that they can’t disprove Genesis, and a hand picked superior court judge gets to decide.  This is almost criminally stupid.  His challenge is based on the false premise that an either-or dichotomy exists, i.e.,  if not evolution, then Genesis.  But if not evolution, why not Valhalla or the Dream time?   Now there’s a reason that we don’t take our scientific findings to court; judges don’t know squat about science and are no better than anyone else at deciding what data means or why it is critical.  The whole legal concept of evidence is quite different from evidence in science.  Might as well challenge this guy to prove that the Norse gods don’t exist, especially on next Thors’day.   Now of course the whole purpose of this exercise is so he can crow about how no one took him up on his challenge, a result that clearly demonstrates the vacuity of science.   Alfred Russel Wallace, the British naturalist that independently thought of the idea of natural selection, got sucked into a similar challenge to prove that the surface of the Earth wasn’t flat.  Wallace had a clever idea.  He knew of a straight canal with series of bridges in a row.  He affixed a stick to each bridge the exact same height above the level surface of the water.  Then backing off one more bridge, Wallace set up a telescope, and voila, the top of each successively further stick was slightly lower than the previous showing that the surface of the "flat" canal was curved by a measurable amount.  Independent witnesses concluded that Wallace had demonstrated that the surface of the Earth was not flat, but the challenger claimed he could see nothing in the telescope and wouldn’t pay up.  And similar blind justice is just what our kinesiologist wants as well; nothing you can say or demonstrate scientifically will disprove anything about Genesis.  And who cares? The bet is  just setting up a straw man so it can be knocked down.  Science has pretty high standards of evidence, and you don’t get to ignore any of it.  If you don’t like an explanation, you must propose a different one that accounts for everything.  This is too tough a game for Mastropaolo, so he wants a different playing field, one that isn’t used in science because rigging the game is the only way he will play, and this tells you all you need to know about him.   

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