Friday, January 31, 2014

#897: Bill Lucas & the "Common Sense" Scientists

Bill Lucas is a fundie who runs the website “Common Sense Science”, which is not about science, but about Lucas rejecting science that conflicts with “common sense”, where “common sense” is, of course, equivalent to what Lucas – being a religious fundamentalist – thinks support his positions. Relativity, for instance, has to go. As they say “[a]t the end of the 20th century, (Thomas) Barnes, (David L.) Bergman, [Glen C. Collins, and] Lucas […] began to build on the older classical work [...] Working outside the mainstream physics establishment, their common goal was to correct what they perceived as deficiencies in modern physics by reapplying what they deemed to be sound scientific methods […] By striving to maintain the principles of reality, causality and unity throughout their work, they hoped to bring ‘common sense’ back to the field of physics.” In other words, replace the scientific method with their own intuitions – which is sort of missing a rather important point.

So what are they up to? “Common Sense Science is a body of theory regarding matter and forces that describes the physical world using geometric models, absolute time and Galilean space […] The foundational principles of CSS theory are based upon the law of cause and effect and the assertion that the universe and all natural phenomena are fundamentally electrical in character. These principles have led to the derivation of a universal force law that applies on all scales ranging from the sub-atomic to the cosmic domain and to the development of physical models for elementary particles, nuclei, atoms and molecules. Although the new models are novel and in many ways strikingly different from the standard model of elementary particles, they have an inherent simplicity and physical form that appeals to common sense.” It doesn’t fit with reality, of course, but the premise of their work is precisely that when common sense and reality come into conflict, reality must go.

After all, Lucas et al. claim to have Jesus on their side – rummaging through the website you won’t find any evidence for anything, but instead repeated assertions that their model is compatible with Judeo-Christian beliefs. Nor does it add up mathematically, but of course: the number one problem with new scientific theories is that “[p]hysical models of matter were replaced with mathematical equations”. In other words, math is bad since it is not commonsensical, and it fails to be commonsensical because it doesn’t give Lucas et al. the results they need to maintain their Biblically based theories. Crackpottery rarely comes more thoroughly cracked than that.

In their page on “Atomism and Quantum Mechanics”, they launch a diatribe against Lucretius, claiming that all of modern physics is derived from the idea of atomism as proposed by Lucretius, and that Lucretius proposed atomism not as an explanation for how things work, but as a way of freeing mankind from the bonds of religion. “Lucretius, not Darwin, has been the principal spokesman for evolution during the last two millennia,” and the relevance just strikes you purely intuitively and commonsensically.

Instead, they propose their own model of the atom, on which Lucas has given a number of presentation (including at universities, as sponsored by Campus Bible Fellowships): “The presentation in is the form of a PowerPoint using many pictures to explain the new theory of gravity that supports a Biblical view of creation.” Who needs evidence when you’ve got a PowerPoint with many pictures? Lucas also has a presentation on “Expanding Earth: Evidence For Biblical Creation”.

Their links page is given over exclusively to such important, cutting-edge scientific organizations as Answers in Genesis, the Institute for Creation Research, the Creation Research Society, and so on.

Diagnosis: As shining and brilliant example of delusional crackpottery as you are likely to find, and as so often the insanity is attributed to Jesus. The Common Sense Scientists are, however, at present rather old and feeble, and probably rather harmless.

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