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Richard Dawkins's Avatar Jump to comment 89 by Richard Dawkins

Do you know that over 99.9% of all claims in science has been wrong?

When you read something like that, you don't even need to investigate it. You KNOW it has been simply made up (Christian apologists are so used to swallowing stuff that has been simply made up, it's not surprising if they think nothing of making up new stuff whenever it suits them). The third decimal place is specified, which seems to suggest a very precise statistical survey of some kind. But what survey could conceivably be made of "all claims in science"? How would you decide what constituted a "claim in science"? Something published in a peer-reviewed journal? Something said in a pub by somebody who called himself a scientist?

If you really believed that only 0.1% of scientific claims were correct, you would never trust a plane to fly, never trust a ship to float, never have a vaccination or take an antibiotic, never trust a telescope or a microscope or a doctor. When somebody makes a stupid remark like this, the best you can say is that they have probably picked up a smattering of the history of science, say a couple of erroneous theories like phlogiston or ptolemaic epicycles, and somehow distorted that into "99.9%".

The statement was made by the same Christian apologist who claimed, and failed to produce evidence, that I called the bible "filthy literature". I now think it is not worth responding to him by name (why give him the satisfaction?) But it is perhaps instructive to call attention in general to ways in which you can tell, from internal evidence alone, that a claim is not to be taken seriously. In particular, note the bogus appeal to accuracy of that third decimal place.

Richard

Sun, 20 May 2012 14:05:28 UTC | #942439