Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Which I Take on a Long Commitment

Once again I come late to the party, and if you want to be well versed in this subject you might have to read all the backstory. And, to paraphrase Colin Meloy, as I tell this sorry tale / in harrowing detail / its hollowness will haunt you. Sorry about that.

Here we go. First, a little history, courtesy of Mark Chu-Carroll at Good Math, Bad Math. Sal Cordova used to blog over at the ID mecca Uncommon Descent.

Not too long after that, Sal made a fairly big deal about the fact that he was returning to grad school, and had to stop blogging at UD because the dastardly darwinists would damage his academic prospects if he continued. He played the standard creationist-martyr role, poor guy, persecuted by all the horrible non-believers. Naturally, it didn't last long. He's got his own blog now, called "Young Cosmos", where he writes his usually pathetic quote-mining, plus what he calls "Advanced creation science".
Enough history. Sal wrote a post entitled "Fundamental Theorems of Intelligent Design". He proceeds to not tell the reader what these theorems are. What a letdown. He does post a few equations, however. ...or, he sort of does. I'll show you.

This is the first equation. Looks really pretty, doesn't it? Do you want to know what it means? Me too! Sal doesn't tell us diddly about what this equation means, save that it was "derived by the renowned physicists John Barrow a (sic) Frank Tipler from Schrodinger’s equation of quantum mechanics." Wow. That's sexy.

We have less information about the second equation. Sal provides a reference, saying it's on page 25 of a PDF he links. Well, there are several not-numbered equations on page 25 of that PDF with very little explanation.

The reader is left wondering what this means. Sal won't leave you hanging, though! He says, "The exploration of these fundamental theorems will take a year’s worth of blogging. They make feasible the theory of ID, and a theory of ID leads to the possiblity of theories of special creation, which make possible theories of a young cosmos."

Sal posted a second article, "Fourier Transform and Schrodinger’s Equation part I", which starts with
Various theories of Intelligent Design and Advanced Creation Science depend heavily on Schrodinger’s equation of Quantum Mechanics [as I pointed out in Fundamental Theorems of ID].

Thus it makes sense to cover a little bit about Schrodinger’s equation over several threads and hopefully after some lenghty derivations, I can connect basic physics to theories of ID and Advanced Creation Science.. To my surprise, I discovered there is a relationship of Schrodinger’s equation in physics to the Fourier Transform of math and Electrical Engineering.
I hope Sal isn't reading anything of significance into this. A lot of fields study waves, which are governed by second-order differential equations. If the solutions to these equations are periodic, Fourier series (and their associated transforms) are a great way to go. They simplify a second-order differential equation into a simple quadratic equation. So most kinds of wave motion can be made simpler by Fourier series. There is certainly nothing of cosmic significance to this, it just means Fourier came up with a great tool that a lot of people use.

A few bloggers picked up on this story, including Blake Stacey of Science After Sunclipse, Tyler DiPietro, and the aforementioned Mark Chu-Carroll. Then PZ Myers at Pharyngula passed on the links, which is where I found it all. Like I said, late to the party.

Sal's put up one more post since then, "Schrodinger vs. Darwin". As pathetic as the other two articles have been, this one takes the cake. The thesis is, in a nutshell, "Schrodinger is a real scientist and Darwin isn't because Schrodinger could do math and Darwin couldn't!" I'm not kidding.

Several ad hominems and non sequiturs follow.
Ironically the Darwinists are whining that the US is falling behind in math and engineering education and that if we don’t teach more Darwinism, the country will fail. Acually, it is apparent from Darwin’s own writings we should not follow in Darwin’s footsteps if we wish the USA to excell (sic) in math and engineering.
The nation will advance in science and engineering if more students understand the Schrodinger’s work than that of the math-challenged puppy beater, Charles Darwin…..
Wow. I'm pretty sure no one wants kids to learn evolution to be better at math. I was thinking maybe it would be about biology. Biology, as a science, doesn't always involve math. It doesn't necessarily have to. Living things are incredibly complex, so simple math can't always fit their behavior. A science doesn't have to be as mathematical as physics to make testable predictions that hold up under evidence. Biology does, ID doesn't. The end.

And as to the puppy-beating, PZ has something to say about that.

I plan to stick with this sideshow series Sal is posting. Someone has to. Hopefully he'll eventually write something that needs a physicist to take apart, rather than the collections of fallacies and quote-mines we've seen so far. And, to be completely fair, he may actually say something of scientific worth. I'll present you the evidence as it comes.

UPDATE: More ad hominems from Sal's new post. He can't get over the fact that Darwin once said he was bad at algebra.

Also, Blake Stacey has another example from last June of Sal attributing evidence for ID to his misunderstanding of physics.


adam said...

i like this phrase "math-challenged puppy beater"

also, you're links don't work for me

Flavin said...

Which links don't work? I clicked through them all and they worked for me.

adam said...

they are working now

Blake Stacey said...

Tyler has more on Cordova's more recent blitherings, here.