23 January, 2011

Some Thoughts on Subduction, Science, and Denialists

What I was supposed to be doing today: cleaning house, working on research.

What I did: got sucked into a series of posts having fun at the expense of Expanding Earthers, who are just as pathetic as IDiots.

It all started with this tweet, which led to me reading three posts on subduction and the Cascadia subduction zone by Brian Romans, including comments.  The comments taught me that Expanding Earthers like to engage in all the usual IDiocy, namely quote mining, misinterpreting science, refusing to answer direct questions, refusing to provide any actual evidence and/or explain how their inane ideas fit the data, and when backed into a corner, move the goalposts, frantically start making shit up and/or resort to personal attacks before running away in a snit.  And let's not forget the ALL CAPS arguments.  For some reason, these people think ALL CAPS makes their contentions IRREFUTABLE.  Pathetic.

From there, I went on to a post that demolishes Expanding Earther dumbfuckery with one word: gravity

Now.  I'd like to make some observations for any passing Expanding Earthers:

1.  If you want to overturn existing scientific paradigms, you must present the data and evidence to do so.  No, I'm sorry - you're not going to understand that.  Let me try to put it in a format you can understand:

If you want scientists to take your Expanding Earth idea seriously, YOU must PRESENT DATA AND EVIDENCE in PEER-REVIEWED PUBLICATIONS.  It is YOUR JOB to PROVIDE EVIDENCE, because you are trying to overturn a body of scientific work that has already proven itself over and over and over and over and over again. 

Let's pretend for a moment that this is a jello wrestling match.  The current theory of plate tectonics has so much evidence and so much data backing it that, if evidence and data were jello, scientists would be able to bury you to a depth of roughly ten billion feet with it.  You, on the other hand, are holding an empty jello packet and trying to say you won.  It's just sad.

2.  For all those who like to play maverick and pretend there is some huge conspiracy preventing your EE bullshit from being taken seriously, you might want to consider how quickly scientists accepted plate tectonics when other scientists presented evidence proving it and supplied a mechanism showing how it would be possible. 

In fact, the plate tectonics revolution seems to be one of the most beautiful examples of how science works: first came the germ of an idea (continental drift), which wasn't accepted until a lot of hard work got done.  Scientists went out and did science.  Evidence piled up.  The idea got tweaked and modified into a theory (plate tectonics).  The theory turned out to explain a whole lot of disparate data that couldn't be explained before.  The underlying mechanism was found.  And before you knew it, viva la revolucion! 

All of this happened because the early plate tectonics folks actually went out and did science.  They didn't sit around sniveling that scientists wouldn't listen to them.  They didn't mine some quotes and call it a day.  They worked their asses off, knowing their ideas would live or die based on their results, that they had to present the evidence, that they had to do the science, that they might be wrong and had to be damned sure they were right before they could expect respect. 

3.  Ask yourself what's more likely: that the entire scientific establishment, from chemists to physicists to geologists to biologists to every other form of -ist, together with all of their journals, conferences, organizations, and so forth, are conspiring to conceal "the truth" you think is out there, or that you're a deluded nitwit?  Apply Occam's Razor.  And if you slice it on the "Everybody's conspiring!" side, please pin a badge to your chest that says "Certified Crank" so the rest of us don't have to waste our time with you.

Now if you'll excuse me, I must get on with finding other ways to entertain myself, such as wondering if there are any Shrinking Earthers out there so that we can set up a cage match between them and the Expanders.  No jello wrestling, alas, as neither of them have got any jello.  Still, it'd be quite the sight to see.

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