Dethinking The Unpossible
    By Patrick Lockerby | October 14th 2011 11:56 AM | 29 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    Retired engineer, 60+ years young. Computer builder and programmer. Linguist specialising in language acquisition and computational linguistics....

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    Dethinking The Unpossible

    A closed mind is totally incapable of being shown real world facts.  Lead a person with a closed mind step by step through a very logical process; show them a simple experiment in actual progress; show them what every kid learns in science class: what happens?  The closed mind, having seen proof that a thing is real, must employ a strange chain of illogic to show that the proof was not merely impossible but unpossible.  A thing which has just been shown to be possible can only be shown to be unpossible by a reverse logic in which thoughts themselves are shown to be unpossible.  It takes a special thinking process to deconstruct a scientific proof and replace it with diametrically opposed dogma.

    The science: plants produce oxygen

    Joseph Priestley discovered that a candle or a mouse would be snuffed out in a closed volume of air.  He called the resulting air 'dephlogisticated air'.  In 1778, Jan Ingenhousz showed that a plant in sunlight could regenerate 'dephlogisticated air'.  It is now generally known that plants absorb CO2 and water and evolve oxygen as a waste product.  A widely performed school science experiment uses Canadian Pond Weed, or Elodea, to show oxygen being evolved.  The science is so widely accessible that it is now taken as a common-sense fact.

    The unscience: plants are not necessary for generating oxygen

    Rather than accept the reality of harmful human influences on our own environment, an 'researcher' wants us to believe that plants are not necessary for generating oxygen.  The unlogic is exemplary.  Crazy wrong, but nevertheless exemplary.

    It seems that a Hebrew scholar, Dr. Steven Boyd, has determined that the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to 2:3 is narrative.  No arguments there, but it is unthinkable to some biblical literalists that the Bible might not be 100% literal truth, so the author concludes that if the passages are poetry then they merely illustrate a spiritual truth, but if they are narrative then they describe real events and real people.  We must dethink that Alice in Wonderland or any other work of fiction is a narrative: it is unpossible that such books describe real events and real people.

    Birds can't fly without air, so there was air on day 5, and when the animals were made the air must have been breathable - so it contained oxygen.

    "Aside from all the other reasons for which God may have created plants, the Bible specifically states that He made them for human and animal food, and this is largely being ignored by global warming advocates. ... Since all animals and mankind were vegetarians originally, plants were created as a reliable and sustainable source of food."

    "God established enough oxygen in the original atmosphere to sustain life throughout the duration of the earth. This highlights the fact that plants are not necessary for generating oxygen."

    But, hang on: further down the page the author itemizes the points made, and item 2 in 'post flood' says:
    "Growing plants and shelled animals removed CO2 from the environment and added O2"

    But then again, in 'Why there is no reason for alarm', the author states:
    "Plants were created as food for humans and animals. They are not necessary for storing carbon or for generating O2."

    So there we have it: an example of how to dethink the unpossible and prove to your readers that:
    "The contention that man’s activities are causing global warming, as described in the media and by its advocates, is a myth. There is no reason either biblically or scientifically to fear the exaggerated and misguided claims of catastrophe as a result of increasing levels of man-made carbon dioxide ..."

    How long would a 'just right', a Goldilocks amount of oxygen last until all animal life died out?  How much oxygen have all the animals - including humans - used since Sunday, October 23, 4004 BC ?  How come we are still here?  How long have we got left?  Why do dethinkers of the unpossible contradict themselves so much?


    I was raised in the Christian tradition and have some fairly strong religious views.  I also have some strong views about cherry-picking.  In my view, deliberately cherry-picks the Bible to support political arguments about education and taxation.  That offends my spiritual side, but when they try to claim that their biblical cherry-picking is science, then that offends also my logical side.  I hope I may be excused for seeing red.


    While I cannot accept Ussher's answer on the date of creation, he did work with what he had and used logic. In the absence of competing theories or other clues, I cannot be scornful of his attempt.. I had run into 4004 BC before, but had not realised the preciseness of the calculation or even that it was Ussher that had done it. "A Short History of the Earth" referred to spring or autumn.

    I could be scornful of those who still cling to a 4004BC creation date, because now there is overwhelming evidence of a much earlier start to the universe. But to seek to overturn so many fields of science on a selective interpretation of the Bible I am flummoxed. To believe in a creator and then believe in such a short sighted one is religiously offensive as well.

    While I cannot accept Ussher's answer on the date of creation, he did work with what he had and used logic. In the absence of competing theories or other clues, I cannot be scornful of his attempt.

    I'll go along with that.  A logical mind can only work with available data.

    To believe in a creator and then believe in such a short sighted one is religiously offensive as well.
    Hence my comment about seeing red.
    Gerhard Adam
    Since all animals and mankind were vegetarians originally, plants were created as a reliable and sustainable source of food."
    What kind of a creator creates a carnivore and then makes them live on plants?  Since there is no mention of any transition from vegetarian to carnivore, then one can only presume that they were created in this peculiar manner, or that they evolved. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    What kind of a creator creates a carnivore and then makes them live on plants?
    The sort that makes the world look billions of years old for a perfectly rational reason: so that his few followers - who are of course the only ones who know the TRUTH - can laugh scornfully at the millions of scientists who are stupid enough to believe the evidence of their own eyes.
    Correction: It makes it look billions of years old to the fuddy-duddy scientists but only 6000 years old to His chosen few.  Now *that* really does take some doing. 
    Human Patrick,

    The Hedgehogatollah refers to Creation Scientists in general, and Answers in Genesis in particular, as the Ulema-at-Takwin (علماء التكوين), Ulema being religious scholars and Safr-at-Takwin the Book of Genesis. 

    Indeed, he finds them very vexatious, but cannot direct all his prickliness against them because of the Mujahidin-at-Tatawwur (مجاهدين التطور), Mujahidin you will know and Nadhriyat-at-Tatawwur being the Theory of Evolution. This category includes humans such as P.Z.Myers and Richard Dawkins.

    A sort of Hitler-and-Stalin situation, and very frustrating.
    Ah, yes!  The misprisioner's dilemma.
    What a load of crap!

    Glad you agree about the crazy article I linked to.  :-)

    I hope you don’t mind me skirting the main subject of this post, as I find the whole matter very taxing.  I do not have a long enough pole to deal with the output of AiG.

    You do, though, mention Alice in Wonderland, which brings to mind that great logician Charles Dodgson.  I feel a blog coming on, which I may post in the next few days.

    However, I hope you appreciate the irony of the following.  This lunchtime on telly, I saw Johnny Ball being interviewed at the Cheltenham Festival.  His Wikipedia biography states:
    He rejects the notion of man-made climate change, arguing that carbon dioxide has been unfairly victimised in the debate.
    However, he is certainly not one of those who follow the Delingplodocus, and he says that the press picked up on, and has blown totally out of proportion, remarks he made at the Nine Lessons and Carols for Godless People, where he was using the University of East Anglia incident for poking a dig at UCL.

    Still, while deploring the activities of those you mention in your main article, I do think theologically (although not confusing it with my scientific thought), and it does seem that the God who raised up the Assyrians and Babylonians to chastise the Children of Israel might be having a chuckle at using something from that festival to discipline a nation that thinks the Life of Brian is the pinnacle of humour.
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Robert: I hope that you are getting your energy back.  As a lifelong fan of the reverend logician I look forward to your article.  As for skirting the topic: you are always welcome, so skirt away!

    Johnny Ball:  a man who only turns up in discussions about AGW where the topic turns to Brits who haven't a clue about real climate science.

    As to theology, I'm with Dave Allen, who famously said something on the lines of: "If God doesn't have a sense of humor then I'm in trouble."  But seriously, I think that the sort of people who want me to sit down with them, absorb their cherry-picks of the Bible and go away brainwashed really just don't get what the Bible is for.  It isn't the 'weapon of first resort' for winning science debates, that's for sure.  Nor is it the proselytizer's handbook.  It's a great read, though.

    I try to keep all aspects of theology out of my blog, but there are limits.  The idea that some Christians are being led by shills and politicians to believe crazy ideas rather than experimentally verifiable science just makes me see red.
    Birds can't fly without air, so there was air on day 5,
    Blasphemy! We know all animals were vegetarians, so birds at that point did not need to escape into the (then still non-existent) air. You think you are so smart - but the day you will burn in hell, and burn you will for this, you will regret, mark my words.
    I dunno but is seems to me that once the mind tuns to the supernatural its a little late to be worried about logic. You are either in eternal retreat from any objective claim ever made in the name of religion or you draw a line and start defending something as indefensible as talking snakes and magic fruit.

    The firmament[atmosphere] was made on day 2,in the middle of the waters and divided the waters above[cloud ]from the waters below[seas].

    Gerhard Adam
    What's your basis for these claims?  Are you simply interpreting them according to your views, because there's certainly no biblical or religious reason for your explanation.

    In conformity with these ideas, the writer of Genesis 1:14-20 represents God as setting the stars in the firmament of heaven, and the fowls are located beneath it, i.e. in the air as distinct from the firmament.

    According to the first opinion, an order of the elements must be supposed different from that given by Aristotle, that is to say, that the waters surrounding the earth are of a dense consistency, and those around the firmament of a rarer consistency, in proportion to the respective density of the earth and of the heaven.

    Augustine wrote that too much learning had been expended on the nature of the firmament.[17] "We may understand this name as given to indicate not it is motionless but that it is solid." he wrote.[17] Saint Basil argued for a fluid firmament.[17] According to St. Thomas Aquinas, the firmament had a "solid nature" and stood above a "region of fire, wherein all vapor must be consumed."
    Mundus vult decipi
    Collins national dictionary------firmament------the region of the air.Biblical[av version]Gen.ch2 v6"but there went up a mist from the earth that watered the whole face of the ground"There can't have been any wind or this could not happen,it would have blown it away.There is no mention of rain here either.No wind meant no difference in temperature across the whole earth since any difference in temperature would have produced wind.This could only happen if the earth was insulated from hot or cold extreems and the only thing that could do this is cloud.Gen.8-10"gathering together of the waters [under the firmament]called he seas".What other waters above the firmament above the seas could it be but cloud?It explains also the reason why god put the man and woman he had made in a garden and not let them just wander about.since there was no wind they would need an immediate environment that exactly matched their physical needs i.e.breathed with them,fed them ,watered them and provided the perfect temperature and humidity,so much so that they didn't feel their bodies ie nakedness.

    Gerhard Adam
    Dress it up how you like, but I gave you the links from the Catholic church and some of the catholic thinkers of the past.  The point is that your conclusions are being drawn by your modern knowledge and not the information that was actually presented in the Bible.  They were quite clear on their reasons for not considering the firmament the atmosphere, so take it up with them.
    Mundus vult decipi
    Well,i suppose if we are going to pull rank here and not knowledge or reason then the catholic church was also at the time making conclusions from their[at the time] modern knowledge,so we should go back to the people who wrote the bible in the first place,the jews,but their genealogies have been mixed up with the gentiles since most {one exception Luke]of the early christians were jews and believed that there was no difference between jew and gentiles and so would have encouraged inter-marriage the rest of the jews were lost in the dispersion after christ's death.So maybe we should consult with the one who [according to the bible,inspired and dictated it and according to the bible,invented science and it's laws,which have been there all the time,scientists have simply discovered them.If you go out into your garden and then go to Bente Lilya Bye's blogg on "hard science saves lives" she very kindly encouraged me to do a kind of blogg within a blogg with my comment on "in the garden".This will show you the purpose of the clouds,where they went to and how by climate change we will get them back.It will also show you about {to get to the point of Patrick's blogg] the circles that Patrick's talking about and why they are so relevant to understanding an overall view of science today.

    Gerhard Adam
    You're missing the point.  People love to quote the Bible and claim that it provides all kinds of information and yet when you look at the various interpretations you find that they are all invariably wrong.  It is modern science that provides the explanation and then people retrofit it back into the Bible.

    If the information the Bible provided as relevant in any way regarding science, then the early readers of it, should have also seen that information in that way also.  In other words, the Bible's explanation should be self-evident and not require modern knowledge to interpret.  If not, then the Bible is irrelevant to the discussion, so don't bring it up.
    Mundus vult decipi
    I came to this site to "keep my manners in" and just talk about science since that is what i felt the format was.However i soon found that others were being allowed to quote the bible either reverently or denigratingly here and so felt free to join in.You and others here have started quoting the bible i have simply followed.I can understand you being disillusioned by interpretations of the Bible because I am too.Thats why I felt I should ignore them all as second hand and read what the Bible itself actually says without any preconceived ideas about it ,as a scientific book dictated and inspired by the one who invented science,a kind of manufacturers handbook to help us fix our lives and our environment instead of being backyard ,trial and error types like someone trying to fix their car without the car manufacturers handbook.In other words quite the opposite of what you are saying,lets view our modern scientific knowledge in the light of the manufacturers handbook and we will be able to make a better job of it with far less costly mistakes.Charles Darwin's Law of evolutionary Process is explained there,but the over simplistic creationists and the atheistic,bash the bible evolution is god people cant see it.I didn't know what people were talking about here when intelligent design was mentioned until a couple of nights ago when i watched a documentary called "intelligent design on trial" about a court case in America between evolution and I.D. and the first thing the spokesman for evolution said under oath was that evolution was a process.He knew that it was only a theory if he called it a source of life but under oath he had no doubt it was a process,there is too much circumstantial evidence to support it.The insult that the creationists feel about us evolving from apes does not seem to bother them when thinking about us coming from the "dust of the ground",a far more lowly source,and their problem with time,[ a day is a rising and setting of the sun] is unbiblical since in genesis a day was an evening and a morning which is a "hard days night" ie a period of work. 2Pet.ch3v8 confirms this,"one day is with the Lord as a thousand years,and a thousand years as one day".If this court case goes on I can see more separation in education and more home schooling and church schools.If everyone found this way of coming together on this ,acceptance by the general scientific community of Darwins Law of evolutionary process then this could be taught by believers and unbelievers without it going against their beliefs and avoid confusion in our childrens minds.My proof of the existence of a god who is a spirit of love is by the universal witness that its not what we do or say its the way that we do or say it i.e. the spirit is seen as the real.

    Gerhard Adam
    No one is disputing your ability to quote the Bible.  The point has been one of interpretation.  While you may be frustrated at the liberties taken by those that would stretch those boundaries, they nevertheless represent the biggest obstacle to scientific dialogues.

    I don't have a quarrel with people's religious beliefs, but as I've stated elsewhere, it's an entirely different matter if they want to use that belief to establish scientific definitions and/or principles.

    While I can appreciate your point about ID and evolution, in my view, this is little more than religion still attempting to wield political power by attempting to insert itself in issues for which they [the religious followers] want to claim authority.  It is that process that I challenge. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    Anyone interested in the religious politics behind ID should look at the BCSE website
    Yep.  As I have recounted numerous times, in talking with Genie Scott of the NCSE here in the US she has noted that their earliest allies were other religious people concerned that schools involved in teaching creationism (and later, ID) would force them to spend their Saturdays and Sundays undoing a sectarian viewpoint taught Monday through Friday.
    Here in Australia and England,our head of state is the Queen who is "defender of the faith"NOT the enforcer of it.I don't know how she can be head of the Church of England too though,i would think she would have a conflict of interests there.When Jesus was tempted of satan in the wilderness,he was tempted to fall down and worship him{satan]and all the kingdoms of the world would be His.Jesus did not contradict satan but declined to work out His faith by power and might but chose to do it by the spirit of love.Unfortunately in the U.S.A.your constitution says" in God do we trust "which goes against this faith of christ.and leaves the way open to enforce christianity by law..This is the spirit of Antichrist {not an individual} mentioned in 1johnch4v3which uses the law in an unlawfull way1Tim1v6-10 and actually frustrates the work of this christian spirit of love in society Galatiansch2v21"if righteousness comes by the law Christ is dead in vain".Paul the Apostle who sat at the feet of Gamaliel Actsch2v3 talked of "oppositions of science falsely so called",there ought not to be ,in my mind, any opposition between the two.and i've always found,like mending ones car,the manufacturers handbook and personal experience in science go hand in hand.

    Thanks Derek for the link,this is a great movement.Anyone interested in the forces opposing these financial"kingdoms of the world"religious dictatorships established by T.V evangelists should try Christian Witness Ministries web site.

    Again steering clear of the big issue, but concentrating merely on the matter of plants and oxygen, I would like to pose a question.  The answer will probably have to wait for the Day of Judgement, but even so:

    Is Ken Ham really convinced of his own arguments?
    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Is Ken Ham really convinced of his own arguments?

    I doubt it, Robert.

    Considering the bottom line of the cited article, it is entirely probable that Ken Ham is simply trying to find a biblical excuse for rampant and uncaring greed in the guise of industry and stewardship.

    In the concluding paragraph the author says:

    There is no viable justification either biblically or scientifically for limiting the generation of CO2 or restricting logging of forests. In view of the great benefit of CO2 it is absolutely unnecessary to consider spending billions of dollars to restrict something that is extremely good for mankind and the earth.

    [my emphasis]
    And thus these pseudo-believers would have mammon end the argument!
    Mammon end the argument? I don't think so with this guy Rod J.Martin.In his"Dominion Mandate"he cherry picks Gen.ch1v28 and talks about subdue but not the replenish's that circle again and he's only got the gimme half of the circle.I think youv'e hit the nail on the head Patrick about his motives.

    "again steering clear of the big issue" Yes Robert,I think we should,but before we do,see the link ,our solar system has 12 planetary objects orbiting a solar nucleus and as far as we know is the only solar system in the universe from which life has evolved.Going now to your working world of intro physics/mathermatics ,there is one atomic "solar "system which is the only system in the periodic table from which life has evolved,yes,{what this article is all about really}Carbon ,and the carbon atom has 12 planetary like particles at it's nucleus with a solar like cloud orbiting it.i.e. inside out and upside down to the astro one.But what is the symbiotic relationship between the two?All atoms when they are heated externally by the sun either directly or indirectly[as carbon fuel] absorb the energy and emit particles of matter which are drawn in by the sun's gravity into it's core where they are burnt and converted back to energy again[e=mc2] thus completing the circle with "law of conservation of energy"on one side and "law of conservation of matter" on the other.But where is the spiritual reality in this material picture?You know in the manufacturers hand book that Jesus was the spiritual centre of a fellowship of 12 planetary disciples and radiated love to them all and they in turn gave back love and worship as Peter said"Lord you know all things,you know that I love blows your mind.There was one special planetary disciple though {the beloved disciple],is there one special planet in our solar system then,or one special particle at the centre of the carbon atom?