Sunday, January 09, 2011

Vox Day’s latest ignorant attack on science

| »
Theodore “Vox Day” Beale
Vox Day

In which our favorite pompous scientific illiterate, Vox Day, once more demonstrates his critical need for a remedial statistics course or two:

Olegt, a science professor who teaches physics to biology students, wins a Beezle for this prophetic gem which he assures us in no way indicates a blind faith in science:

"Scientific theories that are well established are with us to stay.... No amount of new research will change the age of the Earth from the current value of 4.54 billion years (plus or minus one percent). The age of the Universe won't be adjusted much from 13.7 billion years."
- olegt: 1/8/11 9:25 PM, Those brilliant butterfly collectors

Brave words indeed. I especially enjoyed the way in which the intrepid professor firmly asserted his immovable position with such confidence, then followed it with a fudge factor of 90.8 million years in parentheses.

Psst – someone tell Vox that as big and impressive as 90.8 million years sounds, it’s still, as the evidently superior-educated olegt mentioned, only one percent. Which doesn’t even rise to the level of the statistically significant, regardless of what is being calculated, especially in terms of something as damnably difficult to quantify as the age of the universe and various things in it. If recognizing a mere 1% of leeway as a perfectly acceptable margin of error is what Vox calls possessing a “blind faith in science”, it only makes me more thankful that he does not, as he clearly tries to, act as the arbiter of sense and logic in scientific matters.