Re: CSA review

Allan Harvey (
Mon, 09 Nov 1998 09:03:38 -0700

Burgy relayed this message from Dave Bergman of "Common Sense Science":

>Also in the 90s, I joined an internet forum called "Science and
>Christianity." This group became incensed with my postings when they had
>no adequate responses, and I became the subject of scorn and was soon told
>my postings were "inappropriate." I left the forum with two convictions:
>(1) I could articulate an adequate defense of the new CSS models and
>positions in physics, and (2) I had more important things to do than serve
>as a whipping boy for the willfully ignorant.

I was and am a member of that forum, and I can attest that Mr. Bergman is
misrepresenting that episode. There were no posts publicly labelling Mr.
Bergman's posts as "inappropriate", though of course I don't know what
might have been said to him privately. The primary characteristic of
this interchange, however, was that Mr. Bergman would only post canned
diatribes, and absolutely refused to interact with questions and
criticisms. We gave him every opportunity to "articulate an adequate
defense," and he did not even attempt to do so.

Here's a post I made to that forum a year or two ago when the subject of
the "Common Sense Science" organization came up again:

>There were some postings by a spokesman (David Bergman) from "Common
Sense Science" on this list about a year ago. From that experience, I
make two points:
>1) They appear to have two fundamental objections to modern physics
(particularly QM and relativity). The first is the apparent "randomness"
in QM, which they feel compromises God's sovereignty (they often quote a
book called _Not a Chance_ by R.C. Sproul, which I keep meaning to read
to see if the normally sound Sproul is being taken out of context or if
he is really in sympathy with CSS in tilting at this windmill). The
second seems to be the fact that much of modern physics does not satisfy
their common sense (they see "contradictions" in things like
wave/particle duality). On that point, one might mention that the
"common sense" of fallen humans should not be considered an infallible
guide to truth.
>2) They are like the ICR in that they seem unwilling or incapable of
listening to scientific criticism. A pattern was established where their
spokesman would post one of their essays on the list. Then several of us
(particularly Earl W., David Bowman, and me) would point out perceived
flaws, ask clarifying questions, ask for evidence, etc. Soon another
diatribe from CSS would appear, making absolutely no contact with the
points brought up in response to the previous one. Trying to have a
discussion with someone who ignores everything said to him is rather
frustrating, so I didn't mind when the posts from CSS stopped coming.

And here's an example of a query/challenge to Bergman that was ignored:
>With regard to quantum mechanics, I would like to see citations to how
"Common Sense Science" can explain at least one of the following facts of
nature that are normally viewed as confirming QM:
>1) The spectrum of the hydrogen atom
>2) The photoelectric effect
>3) The attractive interaction between argon atoms
>4) The results of the Stern-Gerlach experiment
>5) Differences in properties between helium-3 and helium-4
>6) The Bose-Einstein condensation (particularly relevant because it was
*predicted* by quantum mechanics long before it was produced experimentally)
>Next, I'd like to see the objections of Common Sense Science to
relativity. The objections to QM appear to be mainly to the lack of
determinism (or misunderstandings thereof). But relativity (special and
general) is deterministic, so they need some other objection for it. I
suspect that, at its core, the objection will just be "it doesn't seem
sensible to me."
For those who want to see the "Common Sense Science" view of things,
their website is:

| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
| Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
| National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
| 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |