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God and the Universe:

I've often heard Einstein's supposed line expressing skepticism about quantum mechanics: "God doesn't play dice with the universe." I somehow hadn't heard, though, Niels Bohr's supposed response: "Einstein, don't tell God what to do."

It's a funny commentary, I think, on the role of intuitive judgments of plausibility in evaluating scientific theory. Thanks to Damien Sorresso (in the Huffington Post comments) for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Evolution, Creationism, and Godwin's Law:
  2. God and the Universe:
Evolution, Creationism, and Godwin's Law:

Clayton Cramer correctly faults Michael Shermer for writing:

The primary reason we are experiencing this peculiarly American phenomenon of evolution denial (the doppelganger of Holocaust denial)....

Cramer argues that evolution is less well-supported than the Holocaust, but I think there's a deeper error here: The main reason that people dislike Holocaust deniers isn't just that they're factually wrong, methodologically wrong, or even foolish.

Rather, it's that we strongly suspect that the deniers either dislike Jews, or want to make apologies for Nazis. That's not logically necessary -- one can imagine someone denying the Holocaust for perfectly decent reasons, no matter how factually misguided he will be. But it does seem psychologically likely that most people who deny the Holocaust in the face of very powerful contrary evidence are indeed pro-Nazi or anti-Jewish.

Analogizing deniers of evolution with denials of the Holocaust is thus unfair: Not only is there this huge difference here, but it's a difference that goes to the core connotation of the phrase "Holocaust denial" (sympathy for Nazis or anti-Semitism). If you want to suggest that creationists are foolish, that's great -- but analogize them to those who are likewise merely foolish, rather than to those whose folly likely stems from sympathy for evil.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Evolution, Creationism, and Godwin's Law:
  2. God and the Universe: