Saturday, October 1, 2016

#1726: Barbara Helmkamp

Yet another signatory to the Discovery Institute petition A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism. Barbara Helmkamp has a PhD in theoretical physics from Louisiana State University, but is not a scientist by any stretch of the imagination. Rather, she is teaching physics and chemistry at Credo Academy, a homeschool co-op in Denver.

Helmkamp is a young earth creationist, and has produced some online documents where she argues against “the myth of evolution” aimed at children; after all, creationism is a matter of religious outreach, and doing science or finding and evaluating evidence has nothing to do with it. She also claims that creationism is a much more explanatorily powerful hypothesis than Big Bang or evolution, since God can do anything. Which is not how explanation works.*

Diagnosis: Oh, the stuff the Discovery Institute dredged up for that hilarious list of theirs. Yet Intelligent Design proponents continue to use it. Which doesn’t put them in a particularly good light.

*If you need spoon-feeding: For E to explain p, at least it has to be a prediction of E that p rather than not-p. If God can do anything, then Goddidit cannot even in principle satisfy that constraint (it is equally consistent with p as with not-p); Goddidit can hence not explain anything whatsoever. Similarly: If I wish to know why fire engines are red, I want to know why it is red rather than some other color. Telling me that ‘humans can paint things in all sorts of colors’ is not an explanation for why fire engines are red. (This is not to say that failing this minimum requirement is the only problem with Goddidit offered as an explanation; even if it did satisfy that requirement it would still be the case that it just trades one mystery for another, for instance.)

No comments:

Post a Comment