Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Einstein Versus Jesus

Do you remember Stephen Colbert's remark that "reality has a well-known liberal bias"? Seems he was right, at least according to Andy "Son-of-Phyllis" Schlafly, and the masterpiece of rational thought that is Conservapedia.

Per TPM, we learn that Schlafly has helped to author a Conservapedia page called "Counter-Examples to Relativity." Its argument is that Einstein's theory of special relativity is unreliable. Among the reasons: "the action-at-a-distance by Jesus, described in John 4:46-54."

Uh-oh. Here it comes, the cage-match smackdown of the century: Einstein versus Jesus. In the octagon. And this time it's personal.

Now, recent cutbacks forced the Egg to trim its Maths department down to the bone -- sorry, all you fans of "Physics & Phaith" -- so we may get this wrong. But we aren't entirely sure that Jesus healing a kid in Capernaum is quite the sort of ftl propagation of information that Einstein was concerned about. Oh, plus, we thought that general relativity resolved the speed-of-light problem with its whole non-Euclidean space-time doohickey.

Truth be told, and contra TPM, we don't actually think that Schlafly's problem with relativity has a whole lot to do with Jesus, who plays a very small role in the entries. We think it has to do with the [imaginary] relationship between relativity and relativism, of the moral and cultural varieties. Hence, the "Counter-Examples" entry begins:
The theory of relativity ... is heavily promoted by liberals who like its encouragement of relativism and its tendency to mislead people in how they view the world.
And the main "Relativity" page says
Some liberal politicians have extrapolated the theory of relativity to metaphorically justify their own political agendas. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama helped publish an article by liberal law professor Laurence Tribe to apply the relativistic concept of "curvature of space" to promote a broad legal right to abortion. As of June 2008, over 170 law review articles have cited this liberal application of the theory of relativity to legal arguments. Applications of the theory of relativity to change morality have also been common.
Ahh. Now we get it. Jesus doesn't like relativity because it leads to abortion. perfectly reasonable ... if you're nuts.

Although, in fairness, enlisting Einstein to defend abortion is as reasonable as using Darwin to defend capitalism, and conservatives did that often enough, back when they still liked Darwin.

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