Why Slow and Steady Wins the Race in Social Media

A lot of the times, new business pop up and their owners are so excited about this new venture that they think they need to see quick growth on social media. This mindset may lead them to make some rash decisions such as buying followers or spending too much on ads. And it may look impressive to investors to have gained over 1,000 followers in under a month, but savvy investors know there's more to it than that. And the day-to-day consumer probably won't even pay attention.

Let's get this out of the way right at the front: Do not buy followers. No one knows for sure, but it's estimated that about 15% of social media accounts are bots. That's 15% of about 3 billion. So, if you had every bot on Twitter following you, it would bring your follower count up to about 450 million. Sounds impressive, right? It does right up until you realize that bots aren't buying your products or telling any real people about you. You could make the case that the high number of foll…

Ok, I Give Up - Creationism is Not Science

It took a very long time to get it through my thick skull, but I've finally come to the conclusion that despite all the evidence interpretation, all the battles of logic, all the scientific concurrence, the theory that God created the universe does not follow the scientific method and is, therefore, not science. Creationism can't even get past the first step of the scientific method - which is Observation. The plain and simple truth is that we did not see the origin of the universe, therefore there is no amount of Observation that can be done.

But if this is true, then we cannot hold to evolution as a hard and fast truth of origin. We have not observed the first billion years of Earth, therefore we can be no more sure of whether we came from primordial ooze than from divine command. What we have observed, however, is that certain species look similar, species can evolve into different breeds and the fossil record shows that this trend has been true since the Beginning. These observations are strong evidence for evolution, but nonetheless circumstantial. You cannot chart the course of generation after generation of a single family for millions of years through the fossil record. You cannot reasonably claim that because one thing looks like another one is invariably derivative of the other. These are the things which keep evolution in the Theory camp.

Yet for some reason creationism can't even make it there - to the Theory camp. To scientists it always looms outside the realm of possibility. Why? Because it's magic. Oh, call it what you must, a miracle, a divine command, but a scientist will eventually set you straight. It's magic. A fictional mechanism that has no grounds in science or reality. Though I suppose it would be magic to the ancient Assyrians to see words and pictures pop up on a bright box like your monitor. I suppose it would be magic to the Aztecs to watch moving pictures on a giant tapestry. What do you think the ancient peoples would have thought of video games?

Here's the point: if there's anything that science fiction should have taught us by now it's that anything that seems like magic now can eventually be explained by science. Eventually.

Where am I going with this? I started off by saying creationism isn't science. I stand by that. Can creationism be explained by science? Absolutely! Eventually. You see, science is nothing to put your faith in. The best scientists will tell you that science is ever-changing. The moment you think you've got something pinned down, another theory pops up somewhere else to challenge you. It seems that with every Law that is established there is someone who was proven wrong. If anything is evolving in this universe, it's science and our understanding of the universe. A scientist will gleefully tell you that there are some things we just don't know right now and that there are some things we may even be incapable of knowing (at our current state of evolution, of course . . .). What they shy away from is saying that that thing which we don't know could ever possibly be the mechanism of Creation. Why?

It's our fault. We have spoiled Creation Science for them. Darwin said "Hey! Look at this!" and our knee-jerk reaction was to condemn him to hell as a heretic. People expounded on his theory and our knee-jerk reaction was to call them liars. Other people proved it to us and our knee-jerk reaction was to formulate our own science. Why can't our knees just leave well enough alone?!? I hereby declare conservative fundamentalist Christians the knee of the body of Christ. Whenever a dissenting viewpoint is expressed they are the first to cry "Why, that's an outrage!!" The fact that they are outraged makes the well-meaning dissenter outraged. Now there are two groups of outraged people who are fighting to get people on their side. Before you know it the world is polarized over an issue and nothing is solved.

Scientists like to claim the calm, rational side of the argument, but believe me when I say there are some who would no sooner present their facts than smack us in the face. That's not a generalization for all scientists - I know that the vast majority of them are great despite their strong opinion against creationism. But let's be honest. Seriously. Look deep inside yourself, scientists. If you were proven wrong, would you really be able to accept it? Is your staunch hold on our origin a matter of science or a matter of ego and deep faith in science? You know that science is ever-changing. You know that however small the possibility is that we may come to an understanding of the mechanics of intelligent design, the possibility still exists. I am so sorry that my creationist brothers and sisters have spoiled it for you, but you can't actually believe that if those who represent truth come at you with faulty arguments truth must no longer be truth. I know you're more rational than that. Don't give up on intelligent design just because the people who support it are annoying and ignorant. Remember that you may once have been annoying and ignorant, too. That doesn't mean the facts you memorized in school are automatically wrong. It just means that unless you really studied them, there's no way you can give a rational explanation for them.

Creationism is not science - I'll give you that one if you really want it. I can understand where you're coming from with that. But please, whatever you do, don't completely write it off on account of us. And if your rationality means anything to you, don't write it off because of some convincing circumstantial evidence to the contrary. I'm sure you know that the worst thing you can do as a scientist is limit your view of the universe. Well keep the door open for God. Our feet hurt from trying to keep it open.

"I am open to the possibility, but it just doesn't make sense," you might answer. Well, black holes don't make sense. The Bermuda triangle doesn't make sense. Quantum theory doesn't make sense. And I bet it's extremely difficult for you to imagine a fourth dimension - if not that, then a fifth! If it's sense you need, there are a variety of Creation Science resources out there that do a wonderful job of "making sense" of intelligent design. I'm sure you might retort saying they make baseless claims with no grounds in real science, but consider this: Star Trek made many baseless claims with grounds in science fiction and it's now coming to light that maybe many of the things they theorized could actually be possible (except the transporter, of course . . . or is it?). Besides - all you're looking for is sense, not proof.

To sum up, I'm no longer going to argue with anyone about the existence of God and his creation of the universe using "science." When you realize that science is never 100% sure of itself, it's irrational. There's nothing saying that science won't eventually evolve to the point where we understand Creationism and the mechanics behind intelligent design. Only a few hundred years ago we believed the earth was flat, mental illness was demonic possession and the moon was unreachable. If Creationism is real, then it must be incredibly sophisticated and totally beyond our current understanding of science, but not necessarily our future understanding of science. Therefore it is not in opposition to science, merely ahead of current science. Now, give me a philosophical argument any day.



P.S. - I realize that this is a very flammable topic, so I'm going to try and snuff out the flames right now. We're not going to get anywhere by atheists screaming about why theists are stupid or theists bellowing about atheists being fools. That's why in the comment section I will only allow calm, intelligent discourse. If you have a philosophical argument to present, please email it to me and I will post a later entry addressing these topics. Please reserve this comment section to comments about science vs. intelligent design.

Comments

  1. "But if this is true, then we cannot hold to evolution as a hard and fast truth of origin."

    Of course not, evolution is about change, not origins.

    Creationism simply claims god did it. It is not science not so much because it is not based on observation but because it is not falsifiable nor does it explain anything, i.e., make predictons, that can be tested. Without that it begs the question who or what created god?

    Abiogenesis is a sceintific explanation for the origins of life, it is falsifiable and some of it's predictions have been tested by Miller long ago and by others more recently. Big Bang is an explanation for the origins of the universe, it too is falsifiable and predictive.

    Both may be wrong. That's part of science, too, both theories are the closest approximation to understanding the universe and life that we currently have. Creationism fails there, too, for it cannot be an approximation, it must be absolute truth, or so some personally believe.

    Now given that man it flawed and incabable of understanding the full complexities of the universe and life, I think it certainly arguable that science and its approximations to the truth are rational and creationism based as it is on faith is irrational, though you can certainly build a lot of rational argument on that Achille's Heal, witness Augustine and Aquinas for two ready examples. But the foundation of creationism is faith, not reason.

    Your friendly atheist :-)

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  2. That's a very good point, but I think you're missing something very important:

    Those who believe in creationism are working off of a six-thousand year old tradition of the belief in God and for at least half of that time it is reported that God was visually and audibly identifiable by several witnesses. Maybe we are putting "faith" in these accounts, but I don't think it's any more faith than a scientist would put into those things which he researches. I think the "reason" you're looking for in Creationism would then be a deep study of anthropology and man's continual return to the idea that is "God." But then, that gets into philosophical arguments. The point is that if it can reasonably be argued that there is a God (or a higher, all-powerful being in general), then it can also be reasonably deduced that this being created the universe.

    Also, I'm sorry, but my deep Creationist upbringing forced me include "Big Bang" and "Abiogenesis" in "evolution." In the creationist world it's really evolution vs. creation where evolution = all non-God scientific theories.

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  3. One more thing - I think Creationism can eventually be falsifiable once we can agree that there are no more dimensions in which to search for God. As it is now, there are so many more dimensions than the three we see. I think it's perfectly reasonable to look for God in a higher dimension. Once we are advanced enough to have searched all these dimensions and still don't find God, then Creationism will have a big problem on its hands.

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  4. Steve, science does not put faith in personal testimony, no two of which say the same thing--I'm not denigrating personal belief, but it's not science. The point being corraboration is another important aspect of a theory being science: Findings must be repeatable.

    The creationist world may lump Big Bang and Abiogenesis into Evolutionary Theory but that is a misrepresentation that clouds rather than clarifies discussion. Now if you say the real argument is religion vs science, then I can agree.

    The multiple dimensions of String Theory still refer to what is natural phenomena and not supernatural gods. If you think creationism falsifiable, give some example statements that would falsify it as a theory.

    Setting as a falsifiable requirement an endless search is applying the logic of induction. Hume showed induction unjustified and Popper rejected it as a demarcation of science from superstition. It's just another gap argument.

    Once again, your friendly atheist :)

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  5. All good points, but I still think you're missing something. If creationism is real, then what we're saying is that not only can it eventually be verified by science, but it was started by an intelligent being. Now, if it was started by an intelligent being then you can no more claim to know how it happened (aside from seeing it) then you can claim to know how an anvil got in the middle of the road. You can speculate, of course, but the only real way you're going to get verifiable proof is to find the person who put it there and ask him if and how he did it. This has the opportunity of both verifying and falsifying Creationism because if you find God and he says yes, he did it, then you have verified while if you find him and he says no or if you can't find him, then you have falsified. Everything in the universe has shown to have a finite ending, so it is, therefore, not an "endless" search, just a very long one. You can't rule out the search for God until you have covered the entire Universe.

    I think you're missing something about personal testimonies, too. All of them say generally the same thing: "I was lost, I figured out what to do, I did it, now I'm fulfilled." These findings are repeated time and time again by each person who decides to take that leap of faith and after generation after generation of people doing the exact same thing, repeating it over and over, I think you can safely assume that this particular finding is repeatable.

    Also, you mention the real argument being religion vs. science. "Religion" is an entirely different issue unto itself. Religion, being defined as a set of beliefs that a person follows, can be applied to belief in God, belief in aliens or even belief in science. The issue here is that if there really is a God and if he really did create the Universe, then science should eventually corroborate. That has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not you should follow his commandments or read his holy book or even pray to him.

    See, you're falling into a common trap, and that is to reject a theory based on the community from which it comes. It's very easy and understandable to fall into that trap. The community is, doubtless, a faith-based community in that people sign up by trusting that God can save them from destruction, but the theory of Creationism, in order to be understood logically, must be separated from that community and its religious rules and looked at objectively. This is also true of the statement "String Theory . . . refer[s] to what is natural phenomena and not supernatural gods." To understand Creationism you must separate it from its religious roots and understand that if it is true then "gods" are not "supernatural" or, as I said in the article, "magic." If Creationism is true, then God exists on a higher plain of existence that can eventually be tested and observed. Perhaps not with our current understanding or our current tools, but eventually.

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  6. "Everything in the universe has shown to have a finite ending, so it is, therefore, not an "endless" search, just a very long one."

    No, science doesn't know this. From the Big Bang all we know is the universe is expanding. Some theories say it will eventually reach and end point and contract into another Big Bang, endlessly, others that it will forever expand.

    "You can't rule out the search for God until you have covered the entire Universe."

    Nor would I. Each should search for truth the best he knows how. But it ain't science.


    "I think you're missing something about personal testimonies, too. All of them say generally the same thing: 'I was lost, I figured out what to do, I did it, now I'm fulfilled.'"

    And all are about as general as that statement. Ask each for details and each testimony diverges. Ask each for explanation and each diverges. Testimony is not repeatable because he who testifies cannot explain how to repeat it. Nor is it distinguishable from hallucination.


    "The issue here is that if there really is a God and if he really did create the Universe, then science should eventually corroborate."

    The God would not be God and science will have disproved God because science concerns itself only with natural phenomena, not the supernatural. If God is natural, then by Occam's Razor, God is an unnecesary assumption.


    "To understand Creationism you must separate it from its religious roots and understand that if it is true then 'gods' are not 'supernatural'...."

    Ah, but Creationism is a religious belief. And, again, showing god natural disproves supernatural God as an unnecessary assumption. IOW, if you find God in the laws of nature, nature's god, so to speak, and remove god you still have the laws of nature.

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  7. Well, good - from your comments I'm confident that you understand the point of the article - which is that Creationism is not science. Of course that is only the first point of the article. The second point of the article is that science is not something we can trust to give us anything of value beyond mechanical understanding. It is always changing and always unsure of itself. People may be sure in science, but if science were a sentient being it would probably tell those people to back off a little because he doesn't completely know what he's talking about yet.

    I understand your arguments and I concede that perhaps God cannot be in nature, but the fact that science is so limited that it can never give us purpose and so changeable that it can never give us a standard truth is proof enough for me that it is nothing to hang my hat on. So science only concerns itself with nature; ok, well, what if we find out beyond a shadow of doubt that there is something beyond nature? What are you to do? Science has limited itself to nature. It can go no further. You can try and apply your scientific method to it, but who's to say it will work?

    For me, the measurable, repeatable tests of faith in God has been the fact that there has never been a generation in all of history that did not have a large group of people who believe in God or some form of the supernatural. Truth, like the plant in a deeply buried seed, always finds its way to the top. If this is true, the "lie" of God should have been buried long ago.

    I hope you understand that I agree with you that Creationism is not science - use whatever reason for this that you choose. But science is not and will never be enough to explain the fullness of human existence or its origin. You can make a lot of very creative and very believable theories using science, but you can never answer "What was before that?" Incidentally, you can make a lot of very creative and very believable theories using science to back-up Creationism, too. Does that make them true science? No. It just shows you exactly how unsure science can be.

    Do you want proof that God exists? He has given it to you and you don't believe it. You've made the choice we're all called on to make. You have faith and you believe in science. As for me, I cannot hold on to the limitations of science. I am convinced through a study of history and anthropology that there must be something beyond.

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