Breaking a butterfly on the wheel, part II

Part I refers, in which I take PZ to task for getting too carried away over some harmless minor piece of hydrodynamics. PZ didn’t show up in the comment thread for his post after I criticised him there, which I took as an implicit admission of error, and was all ready to forget it. But no, PZ bites back:

I have been chastised by William Connolley; he thinks I was too “strident” in condemning that lousy paper about Moses parting the sea with a fortuitous wind. I disagree, obviously. It was a bad paper, and I gave the reasons why it was so awful: it was poorly justified, it was not addressing an even remotely significant question, and the logic of the work and the conclusions was lacking. Connolley also doesn’t seem to understand why it is objectionable and serves an ideological purpose for the creationists. Yes, as I pointed out, finding natural causes makes miracles irrelevant, but that logic doesn’t matter. The point of this paper was very simple: to allow creationists to make the claim that science supports the truth of the Bible.

There isn’t a great deal of point in repeating myself, so be sure you’ve read part I, so, on to the new stuff, such as it is:

1. As several people have pointed out in the comments over at PZ, there is a disconnect in how this issue is seen between the USA and… well, the rest of the wrold. Only they seem to have a sufficient mass of influential nutty ID / Creationist folk to have to care about. The rest of us don’t have to, and consequently don’t. So perhaps PZ is right to say that (from a we-are-wacky-USA perpsective), that I don’t care enough about Creationism. But it would be nice to see, in return, some realisation from him that the USA isn’t the whole world.

2. That was quite enough compromise for one post, don’t you think? Right! Onwards. Point 2 is that PZ purports to care about this paper because it is bad science. And he advances a number of reasons why this paper fails that test: stuff like one of the results of researching a topic should be the discovery of genuine problems that warrant deeper analysis. A science paper is a story, and it always begins with a good question. But actually, none of that is the real problem. There are any number of science papers that fail this test: that cover trivial problems, that repeat existing literature, that don’t do deeper analysis; and PZ cares about none of them enough to blog. Heavens, by those standards papers that are primarily about observations would be doomed. The reason PZ dislikes the paper is the religion he sees in it. I think it would have been better (clearer, more honest) to simply say that, and drop the mask of condeming it as bad science because (oh no, not again) the modelling part is unexceptionable.

I could go on, but I said much of it on the comments at PZ, so won’t repeat:

* General comments, including a snark at the (generally) hostile comment atmosphere there rather reminiscent of WUWT
* PZ reply, partially misunderstanding me, to which I reply
* comments that the editor is taking lots of flack, and suggests that had the paper been clear that this was all hypothetical, all would have been well. I point out the obvious similarities to Copernicus and Galileo but no-one gets the point.

It is possible to have a reasoned discussion of the merits or otherwise of this paper, and Sigmund and I have had such a discussion, in the comments on my part I. He is something of a voice of reason over at PZ too. But the “regulars” there give him (and me) short shrift.

Amusingly, I now know a little how Curry feels. Not that makes her right, you understand.