Stop Redefining Gravity! May 13, 2011

Stop Redefining Gravity!

It takes a special kind of conservative Christian to try and use science to justify their beliefs when they’ve done so much to ruin science education… but that’s what Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink is doing in the video below.

According to them, “redefining marriage” makes as much sense as “redefining gravity.”

How many holes can you poke in the video?

I’ll start you off: They define gravity as going “down only” when gravity is an attraction between two masses that doesn’t go in just one direction. (We tend to think of it as down only because Earth is just so huge compared to us.)

Also, the definition of gravity has changed over time. Just ask Albert Einstein.

(Thanks to Alan for the link)

"The way republican politics are going these days, that means the winner is worse than ..."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."
"It would have been more convincing if he used then rather than than."

It’s Moving Day for the Friendly ..."

Browse Our Archives

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • abadidea

    I was raised on Focus on the Family propaganda. They are a hate group, pure and simple, against almost any human rights you care to name. I posted this same thing on the video but I suspect it will never see the light of day. Funny how these people ALWAYS have moderation?

    Dear Focus on the Family: I grew up listening to your insipid “morality” plays, and I am proud to say that I am now a bisexual, well-educated female atheist with a healthy emotional outlook – unlike back when I was trapped in your death cult. F*CK YOU GUYS. I’m happy and content, and I get happier when I know that you’d HATE that!

  • Larry Meredith

    Wow… that is just so F’d up that my mind is jumbled to try and make sense out of it…

    Errr… I don’t even know where to start. are they saying homosexuality is just as scientifically unjustified as gravity pushing things away rather than pulling them in?

    I love that they created a scenario where everyone in society becomes so delusional that basic scientific principals become controversial. THE IRONY… IT HURTS.

  • fiddler

    They are nothing more than a bigoted, moronic collection of people with inferiority complexes. The next time one of them has an original thought that promotes knowledge or societal well-being will be the first time.

  • Greg

    Sorry, no can do…it made my head hurt just watching it, it’s got more holes than a sieve.

    And I can’t help but see the dropping of the stone at the end as a thinly veiled threat based on all the things the bible says people should be stoned to death for.

  • cat

    Another one: no one is really afraid that gravity will stop working/fall apart if some people “misunderstand” it. Gravity is also not a legal institution. The law changes the meaning of words and defines them in bizarre and/or idiosyncratic ways all of the time (think you know what “passion” or “reasonable” means-think again). I was forced to read an entire case about the meaning of the word “chicken” in my contracts class, fyi. Natural language is also inexact, meaning that as a practical matter we often do have more than one meaning for the same word, and often judge the meaning at hand by context clues. Unlike formal philosophical or mathematical definitions, the colloquial definitions of words are often vague and do often differ slightly within a language between cultural subgroups and regions. Also, the complete irony fail on the issue of science and accurate eduction from a religious group is worth noting.

  • WingedBeast

    The video presents a natural response to giving too much into this alternate gravity. But, the video doesn’tpush home the analogy by presenting anything of the sort with regards to gay marriage.

    Then again, they never have. They’ve never drawn the actual line between gay marriage andy… anything else. They haven’t even put forth a prediction of any concrete results.

    The English Major in me says “The Analogy is incomplete.”

  • geralyn mott

    what weak, faulty logic – actually no logic at all. and a piss-poor analogy! 😀

  • abadidea

    Also, I posted the video to reddit if anyone wants to give it some more bad publicity!

    My goal is to get the green portion of the like/dislike bar to smaller than one pixel. It’s personal.

  • The analogy between this video and gay marriage is not there, but it does a very accurate representation of something else…

    The parallels to creationists and ID are so strong its hard to believe its unintentional.

    You know what would be hilarious? Record an introduction saying: “And now, Stewart Sheppard from FotF showing us what the fundamentalist outlook on evolution looks like to science-minded people”

  • Casey

    This video made me think of the Intelligent Design debate, but it sounds like they are on the side of evolution.

    Maybe not the type of reaction they were going for.

  • NotYou007

    I thought gravity was only a theory.

  • Steve

    At least they acknowledge that gravity is a fact and aren’t proponents of Intelligent Falling:

  • Iason Ouabache

    This video isn’t even wrong.

  • I tried to comment on the Youtube page, but they moderate all of my comments. Thanks for sharing the stupidity Hemant.

    by the way, your question is a trick question. The entire thing is just wrong.

  • bigjohn756

    You don’t suppose that they photo-shopped that plane all by themselves, do you? Oh, well, it is at least as good as the rest of the vid; very sloppy.

  • Do they bother to listen to themselves talk? This is a completely ignorant video, and anyone who believes it should realize that the people who made it must look down on their own audience if they use such horrible arguments.

  • Dan

    Wow.. I… Umm…

    Okay, that part about the plane? Or the car? Umm… That doesn’t have… I want to explain, but it’s just so damned wrong, I am at a loss for words.

    I need a drink.

  • mihoda

    No one has made a Schlafly joke yet.

  • stellaluna

    that’s a bitchin car though!

  • derek

    The main issue with their analogy is that it relies on a scientifically backed concept to attack the gay rights cause. However, if they were actually interested in defending real science they would support gay rights as biological sciences have proven that homosexuality is a natural occurrence and perfectly fine.

  • Richard P.

    Do they bother to listen to themselves talk?

    The scary thing is they sat in a room with a bunch of people, thought it was great, and then agreed to release it. It’s not that they didn’t listen to themselves, it’s that it made sense to them. This just drips stupid.

    I know we don’t hunt them down and shoot them because, stupid people have a right to live too. One of the failings of evolving beyond natural selection.

  • Peter Mahoney

    I think Focus on the Family has a valid analogy, but I would take it to one logical step further:

    Redefining gravity means that gravity between my wife and I is no longer valid. Thus, real gravity no longer works for my wife and I if some minority group redefines the word. Thus, we should get divorced and abandon our kids and float off the planet and out into space.

  • People spend time making that video and we wasted time watching it and then writing about it.

  • GJHess890812

    Of course, all comments to this video on youtube must be approved first. Wouldn’t want someone smarter than these people to expose how stupid they sound.

  • Rich Wilson

    So, what, they’re saying that claiming “Homosexuality is a sin” is like saying “Gravity goes up”? Saying it doesn’t make it so?

  • “No one has made a Schlafly joke yet.”

    Phyllis did.

  • Chad

    I left a comment on the video and disliked it. Maybe it was a waste of my time, but I would have wasted it anyways!

    “Nice try. Your displayed knowledge of gravity needs a little work–the analogy you’re trying to build backfires under any scrutiny. Down is a relative term. Down for Boise is a rather different direction in Sydney, since gravity doesn’t pull in the same direction everywhere; it simply describes the mutual attraction of physical objects. The same scientific inquiry you’re relying upon to reinforce a correct understanding of gravity has also defeated your opinion on the issue you’re hinting at.”

  • George

    I haven’t heard of any kids who were bullied, were kicked out of their homes, or contemplated suicide because gravity affected them differently than other people and their parents insisted that they were doing it on purpose.

    They act like they were just standing around minding their own business when all of a sudden people started calling them “bullies.” Well when you treat who I am, and the people I love, like another hot-button issue you can step on in order to pander to your demographic, then yes, you are a bully. When you insist, against all evidence both scientific and empirical, that being gay is a “choice,” and that I’ll go hetero the minute I hear I’m going to hell, then yes, you are a bully. And when you make videos asserting that no relationship I have can ever be as legitimate as Rush Limbaugh’s third marriage, then you’re being a bully right now.

    He can’t even see it, that’s how wrapped up in white hetero privilege he is.

  • Richard Wade

    This is a coy Appeal to Nature. In comparing this to the issue of marriage, they’re implying not so subtly that gravity is as natural (obvious and good) as male-female marriage. They smugly and arrogantly try to claim that their definition of marriage is as constant, basic and irrefutable as one of the four fundamental forces of the universe.

    Hardly, Padre. Marriage is an invention of people. It has been “redefined” again and again, to fit the demands of the natural and cultural environment. Yours is just the latest and the local version.

    This video will appeal very strongly to people who don’t think very deeply, but who really want to feel superior to people who do think deeply.

  • LawnBoy

    A: “Hey, you know that social construct that varies from state to state, country to country, culture to culture, and religion to religion? The one that has changed vastly over the centuries, including a major change 40 years ago?”
    B: “Yeah, what of it?”
    A: “Well, people want to change it again. How do we stop it?”
    B: “Hmmm… Let’s imply an equivalence with a foundational property of the universe!”
    A: “Yeah, that’s great! There’s nothing misleading about that!”

  • Rob

    The idea behind the video is called “natural law theory”. It’s nonsense, but does have defenders in the academy.

  • Shoop

    really? did marriage draw molecules closer together to, over billions of years, form the sun? the planets? Does marriage keep people from flying off the surface of Earth and into the vacuum of space? No, marriage has been around (the way we define it) I would GUESS 2000 years at most. Absolutely an overly dramatic and inane argument that has zero merit.

  • Michael

    Actually, gravity does go in all directions. It’s relative to the position of any objects with mass.

  • Richard Wade

    Isaac Newton, who coined the term gravity, said “What goes up, must come down.” So let us enjoy watching the beautiful arching trajectory of Focus on the Family.

  • “The idea behind the video is called “natural law theory”. It’s nonsense, but does have defenders in the academy.”

    Feser is certainly an idiot, but Natural Law isn’t nonsense. The version Feser promotes is a puerile corruption developed by Thomas Aquinas as a means of integrating Christianity with Greek philosophy. In order to escape the reality that nature itself can provide a solid grounding for morality (Aristotle’s idea), Aquinas had to introduce “Divine Law” and subjugate natural law to it. So much for “Nature”…

    Aristotelian natural law holds that the nature of an existent provides a grounding for determining what is right and proper for that existent. That is not to say only its biological nature, but its metaphysical nature as well. There’s nothing in that conception of natural law that provides any support to the bigoted nonsense in this video.

  • My YouTube comment that won’t be approved:

    1) Gravity has been redefined several times as we encountered new situations that the original theories didn’t explain.
    2) Gravity is not just “down” anyway.
    3) Marriage is a man-made legal definition, not a natural law.

  • Robert L.

    Holy crap. These people have come to teach abstinence at my school before. In Singapore, a country where secular government and religious tolerance is the NORM. Ugh. I still remember everybody inserting “not” between “worth” and “the” on the sticker, then pasting it openly on their bags.

  • Mihangel apYrs

    they see the term “laws of gravity” and think that Congress made them.

  • unless they think the earth is flat, they have surely forgot that in say… south Australia gravity does flow in the opposite direction. Hell, even here in Sweden the gravitational direction is severely slanted compared to where in north America they made the video.

    I’m now waiting for the south australian freethinkers to do hijack this campaign and show that for them, gravity goes up! 😉

    And it’s more than ironic that the scenario these christians paint so gloriously is so fitting to what they actually want to be taught. Truth is truth no matter what they believe. Yup, but the video makers have no idea what the truth actually is.

  • wow. beyond stupid

  • Ulrich

    Considering how much the “definition” of marriage has already changed over the course of history, this is indeed beyond stupid.

  • mongoose

    Is it just me, or is this actually a better argument against intelligent design? Redefining evolution by passing laws to allow equal time, etc…

  • Steve

    We all like to THINK that “saying it doesn’t make it so”. The problem is that for a lot of people, who don’t think, these people have made a REAL argument. And, the more times you tell a lie, the more people think it is the truth; to paraphrase Goebbles… The creatures who made up this video know this and they (cynically) don’t give a shit.As long as they can keep the FAITHFUL in line, they are happy.
    As another commenter said, I need a drink. I also wish I could pray for the to go to Hell – where they surely pray I will end up.

  • Ape Toast

    I do agree with the one implicit(albeit) unintentional implication; we should not teach bad science,ergo creationism, in school.

  • Gravity goes in all directions. The larger the mass, the stronger the force.

    F = G (m1*m2)/(r^2)

    F is the force between the masses,
    G is the gravitational constant (6.67*10^-11 Nm^2/kg^2),
    m1 is the first mass,
    m2 is the second mass, and
    r is the distance between the masses.

  • Forming such loose analogies between a controversial proposition and a settled fact is ripe for all sorts of mischief. You could make similar arguments for any bigoted position including racism, sexism, or the true word of god. You could even use this rhetorical device for the opposite of any bigoted position. The rhetorical device is meaningless except as a way to bolster attitudes among people that already believe the stance taken. It is indeed frustrating when the settled fact used in the analogy was itself obtained by carefully applying the scientific method (with no misuse of these types of mischievous rhetorical devices).

  • Keljopy

    You can comment on their post of this on facebook (you have to like them, but can immediately unlike them), but it just makes them feel good about themselves and they respond like a child sticking their fingers in their ears, so you might not want to bother.

    Their response to criticism: Stuart writes: @Gemma and @Kelly. Welcome to the conversation. Since I’m confident you know that every analogy breaks down at some point, and that you also know the nuances of celestial mechanics is a rabbit trail, let me me just offer this: Thanks for the implicit compliment that our little videos are effective enough that you felt compelled to offer the view from your side. We’re always open to hearing from you.

  • Alex

    This is about the creation/evolution “controversy”, right? I totally agree: pushing creationist nonsense on public schools is just downright unacceptable.

    Oh, marriage, you say? Since when did marriage become a natural law?

    ETA: mongoose beat me to it.

  • JLA

    So what they are saying is that a physical attraction would remain even if you passed a law against it. Doesn’t that imply the opposite of what they are trying to say here?

    States may pass Defense of Marriage acts, but homosexuality remains …

  • wow… it’s just like apples to apples. i’m pretty sure god hates apple on apple or something like that

  • lucek


  • Ham Nox

    I’m surprised no one has mentioned how they got the analogy completely backwards:

    What does marriage mean? The becoming of a family? A lifelong commitment to be there through thick and thin, for better or for worse? A sexual contract? A child-rearing agreement?

    Gay marriages can and do exist in almost every sense of the word except the enforced ‘one man and one woman’ definition, for obvious reasons. There most definitely exist people who, whether by choice or by nature, it hardly matters, form intimate relationships and sometimes families with other persons of the same gender. Any redefinition of marriage everyone’s harping about has ALREADY HAPPENED. All that’s missing is state recognition and approval of this fact.

    And then we have people who don’t like the sound of that, and would prefer that we redefine gravity to specifically exclude any force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun.

  • JM

    lol. Yup, gravity doesn’t have direction, only attraction. It also CAN be warped. The space around a planet is curved due to the mass of the planet in which it sits. As Enstein illustrated, this is why planets orbit in an elipse rather than a perfect circle. And of course Einsteins E=mc^2 means that energy could be converted to mass, which has gravity, and back to energy again, which does not have gravity. So in reality gravity isn’t a concrete entity (always up, always present), but a fluid attribute that can increase, decrease or disappear completely.

error: Content is protected !!