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Gravity or Intelligent Falling??
As I was scrolling through Canvas the other day, I stumbled across an article about a group of Evangelical scientists claiming that gravitational theory is flawed, and they came up with a "better" explanation as to why we are attracted to the earth. For anyone who hasn't read this article yet, I recommend reading the full article before continuing with this post.
Now, when I first read this article, I didn't notice that it was published by The Onion, and I realized that it was satire the following day when I went to send it to a few people I had told about it.
As I told some of my teammates about this article at cross country practice, we laughed at how ridiculous this claim was. The piece that I found particularly laughable was the Biblical evidence used to back up their claim. But once I realized it was satire, I began to wonder: Why write it? I mean, I certainly found it entertaining, and I got a good laugh out of it, but does it actually serve a purpose? Or was it written as mere entertainment for the reader?
Maybe to satirize the use of Biblical evidence by many people when it really isn't applicable to the topic? Possibly to demonstrate how people use Bible passages and verses to strengthen their claim, but they twist Scripture to fit their own narrative and interpreting it how they want rather than by what it actually says.
Or maybe it is to address the growing divide between science and theology? It seems many people refute religion because "they believe in science". And many theologians are skeptical of science because they believe it contradicts God. It seems that the two "sides" are growing further apart in order to preserve the validity of their own beliefs, rather than accepting that, at least maybe, the two sides can work together, or at least tolerate the other's validity rather than constantly trying to refute it.
A couple things lead me to favor the second rationale for this article. One is the Bible verse shown in the picture: "I appeal to you brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought" (NIV, 1 Cor. 1:10). The second is the comment that we shouldn't stop teaching gravity in schools, rather that we need to teach both. Both of these things advocate for a unity of science and religion. They don't try to divide groups or exclude any particular group. So what do you guys think? Sorry for a bit of a long post, but I enjoyed reading, talking, and thinking about this article and would like to hear what you all have to say.
I agree that the piece is a satire about the use of biblical evidence and confirmation bias. This can tie into our "over-analyzing" idea, showing that yes, it is possible to over-analyze. I feel like this can be easy to do with something like the bible because it has so much in there to follow, and different religions seem to pick certain aspects to focus on and others to just ignore. While there is controversy about what is over-analyzing when it comes to the bible, it is clear that evidence provided is quite a stretch such as, "Then, in Job 5:7, we read, 'But mankind is born to trouble, as surely as sparks fly upwards.' If gravity is pulling everything down, why do the sparks fly upwards with great surety? This clearly indicates that a conscious intelligence governs all falling." Not only with the bible, but really anything, people have a habit of using confirmation bias. I think this article is a great example of people with preconceived notions seeing the text the way they want, and fitting it right in with their argument.
My interpretation of this article was that it's a satire of people using religious arguments to refute scientific ideas. Personally, I believe that this article could be satirizing the debate on evolution. I think the article criticizes those who choose religion over science. By choosing something as irrefutable as gravity and disagreeing, shows that the authors don't agree with not trusting science. I also think that part that says gravity and religion be taught together satirizes ways that religion is brought into education. Once again, this can be seen through teaching religion and evolution side by side or including other theories, such as intelligent design. The point that I thought the authors were trying to criticize how religion is brought into things they perceive to be non-religious.
Honestly, it feels kind of weird to read something on that caliber. I for one am all for science and it is something that I am really passionate about. But out of this whole article the phrase "intelligent falling" just doesn't sit right with me. I just can't seem to wrap my head around it. Because from what I can tell they are trying to explain that they know what gravity is and what we thought is wrong. Then why try and change the name? That's really the only thing that bothered me in this entire article. I mostly respect new ideas and often research them further to fully understand their claim and what they are trying to prove. But this idea of "intelligent falling" to me is way to far fetched and its been so long since the theory of gravity has been contended that it just seems odd.
@alechayosh07 The reason for the name "intelligent falling" is to describe the idea of a Higher Power (God) pushing everyone and everything down, rather and a force pulling everyone and everything down. It's a new idea, so it was given a new name. "Intelligent falling" specifically describes the idea that there is thought behind everyone and everything being attracted to Earth, not just a force pulling us down by nature. Also, if the idea of intelligent falling seems far fetched, that's because it is. It's important to note that the article is from The Onion. The article is satire to prove some point other than to advocate for intelligent falling. My question is, what do you think the point of the article is, if it isn't to spread the idea of intelligent falling?
I think that the article like many Onion articles was definitely designed for two purposes the first being entertainment and humor, as anyone who is familiar with The Onion knows that most of their articles are meant to be funny, however the second reason I definitely believe is to satirize something in order to make a statement. I think that in this specific case of the "Intelligent Falling" idea it is most definitely trying to satirize not only the use of religious ideas to try and disprove scientific ones, but I think that this is also making fun of the theory of gravity. In the article it is mentioned how the theory of gravity is taught as fact even though it is not fully understood, and the funny part to me is that this is correct. Even though I would imagine that the writers at The Onion do believe in gravity, they are still making fun of the fact that gravity is accepted as a fact, even though it is not fully understood by scientists, and that the idea of "Intelligent Falling" could be potentially an accurate one just because scientists don't fully understand what attracts us to the earth.
I am quite fond of The Onion myself, I find the articles pretty entertaining. However, I think the point of this article is more than just the humor in it. I think we see a lot of people using the bible to refute a lot of things, especially in science. I believe this might be The Onions attempt to say "leave religion out of science," which I'd have to agree with. The whole thing with religion is about faith, or believing in some that can't really be proven. But with science we have undeniable facts that have been proven over and over again, so to pit something unproven, to something proven, is just ridiculous.
@persephone This is what I thought of at first, that the article was just there to poke fun at religious fanatics, however I then though of the fact that The Onion produces satirical fake news articles, and i believe that there is a purpose to satire beyond making fun of something. in this case I think that purpose is to also show the shortcomings of science. even though the theory of gravity is well documented and widely accepted, by me included, the theory is still a theory, because scientists still aren't 100% sure about what causes gravity, to quote NASA's website, "...We do not know what gravity "is" in any fundamental way - we only know how it behaves.". To summarize I think that this article is just telling people to be questioning of common knowledge, because even though I think the idea of someone constantly pushing me back to the ground is ridiculous, nobody fully understands why we go back down after jumping.
@persephone I'm going to have to disagree with you here. The first thing is that yes, a big part of religion is faith and believing what we may not see or understand, but not everything about religion cannot be proven. Believing in religion isn't choosing faith over facts. Rather, religion allows for both faith in a Higher Power and accepting truths that science has proven. Being able to prove how something works doesn't discount the validity of God. I've heard it said before that just because you can look at a car and show how it works, doesn't mean the person who built the car doesn't exist. You can believe in both the mechanism and the mechanic. I'm not saying that you have to believe in God if you choose not to; that's your prerogative. But I think to label having faith as being ridiculous simply because science can prove how things work is a little arrogant. Notice that, in the article, the scientists didn't ask for the theory of gravity to be banned. Rather, they wanted both theories taught to kids. I know I mentioned this in my original post, but look also to the picture of Burdett explaining the theory (or at least labelled as such, that is obviously not what the picture is actually of). The Bible verse on the slide contains directions to be "perfectly united" and to not have divisions among ourselves. These two things incline me to believe that the article isn't about refuting science or poking fun at religion, but asking for both to coexist. Not advocating that you subscribe to a religion if you don't want to, but to tolerate and recognize that the existence of one doesn't invalidate the possibility of the other.
@Nicole @persephone I can see both of your sides clearly on this piece, which makes me struggle as to what I believe on it. Having a religious background, I can see where Nicole is coming from as how god and the Bible is evidence enough, and it is offensive in a way to debunk that belief as it looks down upon the christian faith, basically calling the Bible inadequate to prove a point. I as well see where Persephone is coming from though, as even though I believe in the Bible and would support this article, I find it troubling to be 100% on the side of a topic without a bit of scientific fact to back it up.
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