Monday, June 24, 2013

The baseball analogy - just because you aren't perfect doesn't mean further evaluation cannot be made.

   In a post from last year, I used an analogy of a broken clock being correct twice a day versus a working clock never being correct in regards to Ken Ham's silly comment that, "Evolutionary scientists have changed 'common knowledge' multiple times over the past century, yet the Bible has not changed." This really should not give the Bible any credibility, but it does in Ham's Bizarro-World where up is down and left is right.

   A similar argument I see used against science is that it occasionally gets things wrong, just like {name of field of study or occupation*} occasionally gets things wrong! An analogy I think can be applied to this argument is that of a hitter's batting average (in the sport of baseball...but this argument could be applied to other sports, such as a quarterback's completion percentage (American football) or a basketball player's shot or free throw percentage...basically anything that uses a percentage is best). Would anyone honestly claim that a batter that hits .350 is equal** to a batter that hits .150 all because both occasionally miss hitting the ball now and then? I would seriously hope not!

   Now, to be fully honest, science gets things wrong a lot. This is because science has a process for filtering out incorrect ideas. I don't know of any other system that has such a filter. This is what really makes science effective; it's not really about the percentages. The point, though, is how stupid it is to even bring up such points in the first place since the percentages are never even evaluated. Arguments like this are little but simple-minded dismissals of science.

* This can be many things...astrologists, clinical therapists...even faith healers or prayer could be inserted in here. Basically, this can be about anything that does not clearly use the scientific method. (I know, "clearly" is a very vague qualifier, but I must leave this quite vague because I have seen this argument so broadly used.)

** Well...OK, sometimes batters with worse batting averages are considered better if they hit a lot of home runs when they do hit the ball versus someone who hits often but typically only hits singles. This is essentially known as "slugging percentage." For the sake of argument, let's assume all else is equal.

   Actually, I've had this post sitting in draft for quite some time. I realized this was still in draft when I heard about people defending "psychic" Sylvia Brown, in regards to her claim that Amanda Berry was dead, because "everyone makes mistakes. Even doctors, lawyers … Psychics." Yeah...because everyone is harping on Brown for not being 100% correct! (sarcasm)

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