Why Bill Nye shouldn’t debate Ken Ham

Jan 16, 2014

Scientists should not debate creationists. Period. This may sound harsh but let's start by looking at what sparked this statement. TV personality and science advocate Bill Nye (Bill Nye the Science Guy) has accepted an invitation to debate Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis / The Creation Museum on February 4, 2014 at the Creation Museum in Kentucky.

 

This is a bad idea and here is why.


Debating creationists offer their position credibility

 

When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating. Political ideologies are worth debating, religion as it pertains to things like human well-being and flourishing can be worth debating, because these kinds of ideas claim to offer solutions to problems and they are debating the best way to achieve such problems. Debates about the existence of God can be fun, they are not really that meaningful, but they are a debate about ideas and beliefs and can be worth effort.

 

Creationism vs. evolution however is not worth debating. Why? Simple, there is nothing to debate. Evolution is a scientific fact, backed by mountains of evidence, peer-reviewed papers you could stack to the moon and an incredible scientific community consensus.  Creationism is a debunked mythology that is based solely in faith. It has zero peer-reviewed papers to back up its claims, it has absolutely no scientific consensus and is not even considered science due to the fact it cannot be tested.

 

Why would a scientist debate this? Nye would do more good on his own going on TV and discussing evolution and the importance of scientific education instead of giving Ken Ham any publicity and a public forum with thousands, if not millions of viewers, to spew his dishonesty. Ham is a snake oil salesmen and Nye just offered him up an infomercial to sell his product. Ham can repeat his mantra over and over; “teach the controversy”.

 

Nye is not a biologist

 

I do not know an incredible amount about Bill Nye other than I loved his show. However, a Google search only turned up that Nye has nothing more than a bachelor’s degree in engineering and three honorary doctorate degrees. We fault Christian apologists almost daily for trying to ride their honorary degrees, it would seem only fair we hold Nye to the same standard.

 

So we have Nye, a very smart man with a degree in engineering, not biology, not anthropology, and he does not practice any form of research science. Nye should be credited greatly for his work in education; but as a qualified candidate to defend evolution, especially against the likes of conmen like Ken Ham, he is not.

 

You must fully understand your opponent

 

This is mere speculation but I have no reason to believe that Nye has the firm grasp on creationism that would be needed to go up against the likes of someone like Ham.

 

To win a debate successfully you must understand your opponent's position better than they do, in fact, you should know it well enough that you could debate for them.

 

Creationists have no rules, their dishonesty stops nowhere. Nye will attempt to use proper science and reason to bring down Ham, but Ham will care little for any facts or evidence and will stick to nonsense and will feed on audience ignorance and use terms like "irreducible complexity" to confuse the watchers into thinking he has made a valid point. Key phrases like “half a wing” will fly from his lips as he openly ignores science's amazing understanding of the evolution of things like the eye, or wings. Ham will be relying on faith and pushing the biblical teachings onto the viewers and will attempt to call out anytime science could have been wrong to tear down its credibility.

 

This debate is being held at the Creation Museum itself and this will ensure that the brain-dead creationist zombies come out in droves to support Ham and loudly applaud anytime he manages to string together and coherent sentence, or even more likely shouts that his grandmother was no monkey.

 

I honestly think it would be fantastic to see Nye destroy Ham, but will that do any good? Suddenly a little known figure outside of his circles, Ham will be thrust into the spotlight, reaching impressionable youths around the world, and as great as it would be to see him taken down, the risks of him winning are greater.

 

The American people are not going to dissect Nye’s credentials to accept such a debate and if he goes down, he will take down a lot of hard work in science with him. If the American people, who are already weary of science and already disown the idea of evolution as quickly as possible, see who in their minds is a top scientist lose to a creationist, we will have taken steps backwards in time.

 

The risk versus reward in this scenario is not worth it. Nye is putting a lot at risk and he is not the man to do so.

 

Creationism is a worthless and uneducated position to hold in our modern society and Nye is about to treat it as an equal, debatable “controversy”.

 

Dan Arel is a freelance writer, speaker and secular advocate residing in San Diego, CA. He writes on secular and humanist values on subjects such as secular parenting, church and state separation, education reform and secularism in public policy.  Follow Dan on Twitter @danarel.

Written By: Dan Arel
continue to source article at

750 comments on “Why Bill Nye shouldn’t debate Ken Ham

  • 2
    Sheepdog says:

    Without fully agreeing that this is a bad idea, and without fully disagreeing, from which side did this start? Did Bill Nye challenge Ken Ham to debate, or vice versa? The most egregious error is doing it on Ham’s home turf. The small animal in it’s home territory will usually drive off a larger, and Nye will have ample opportunity to play the home card advantage.

    When RD debated Cardinal Pelman, he wisely did it within the context of a respected and forum moderated television show, with a limited audience, not made up of cherry picked fanatics of either side.

    If Bill Nye can pull this off, my respect for him will increase hugely, but I think he has an up hill struggle. I can see a lot of this sort of thing coming:
    “So, Mr Nye, you are really an engineer. Don’t you know that there are many engineers who believe in intelligent design? Some right here in the audience.”

    If anything, he should have insisted on neutral ground.



    Report abuse

  • 3
    God fearing Atheist says:

    This probably won’t mean much to anyone outside of Ireland and the UK, but I think Dara Ó Briain should be persuaded to debate creationists. Six months of intense training should arm him with a scientifically informed, and audience informing, joke for every possible IDiot one-liner. It would be a riot, and if he loses he is only an “entertainer” (with a degree mathematics and theoretical physics).

    For the reasons above, any serious scientist should not debate creationists. Leave it to the stand up comedians – it begs their skill set.



    Report abuse

  • 4
    Sheepdog says:

    Another point I should have made in mentioning the RD / Cardinal Pelman debate is that Cardinal Pelman, despite his religious beliefs is someone whom I can accept as being an honest man who believes what he says is true.

    Ken Ham on the other hand is a trained crook and hypocrite who is in it for the money. I doubt he believes for a moment the rubbish that he speaks any more than a stand up comedian believes his own jokes. It is a stage act that enriches him hugely.

    Honest people, including Bill Nye, commonly make the mistake that the rest of the world will behave honestly. In this debate he is up against a completely unprincipled charlatan who has no intention of behaving ethically, he never has, why should he start now.



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #4 by aroundtown:

    … For me the most obvious problem is this – Ken Ham is not in this to reach out to non-believers in Jesus & God (one and the same entity supposedly) as the main impetus for his impending debate with Mr. Nye, his intentions in my opinion are to bolster his bonafides with those who are already in the fold.

    Specifically, those sheeple in the fold who he wants to give him money to float the tens of millions of dollars in bonds that are due at the same time. If he can’t float those bonds, the Ark Project sinks.



    Report abuse

  • 6
    ashleyhr says:

    I am a little more optimistic. Why? Because the debate topic is not about the viability or otherwise of evolution. It is ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?’ If Ham attacks evolution Nye can and must remind him that Ham task is to demonstrate that ‘creation’ (presumably Ham YEC’s dogma) is a model at all and, if so, that it is ‘viable’ TODAY ie scientifically viable. How can it be when YECs start with dogma NOT evidence, and they then pick and choose evidence and twist the meaning of evidence (and reject all scientific investigations of and conclusions about the past because, they ask, “were you there” – answer “no, only God was there and Genesis is therefore ‘scientific’)? Thus creationism is dogma and apologetics – and anti-scientific.

    Meanwhile one of the other liars who works for Answers in Genesis (Georgia Purdom) has written as follows on her Facebook page:
    “There have been a lot of articles responding to the upcoming Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate and I thought I would post just one example today. I had to kind of chuckle as I read this because the writer, although for the Nye side, has Nye losing the debate! Of course that’s because he says Ken and, creationists in general, are dishonest. The majority of what I have seen against Ken and AiG are nothing more than ad hom attacks as usual.
    Please, please be praying for this event. That the truth of God’s Word will be boldly proclaimed and many, many hearts will be softened for the Gospel.
    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2014/1/16/why-bill-nye-shouldn-t-debate-ken-ham



    Report abuse

  • 7
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:

    Without fully agreeing that this is a bad idea, and without fully disagreeing, from which side did this start? Did Bill Nye challenge Ken Ham to debate, or vice versa? The most egregious error is doing it on Ham’s home turf. The small animal in it’s home territory will usually drive off a larger, an…

    Sheepdog – the debate challenge came from Ham after Nye politely attacked creationism in a 2012 video. But Ham wanted Nye to debate one or other of Ham’s colleagues who has a PhD. I suspect Nye insisted “no I debate YOU Ken”.



    Report abuse

  • 8
    sagark1985 says:

    In reply to #7 by ashleyhr:

    I am a little more optimistic. Why? Because the debate topic is not about the viability or otherwise of evolution. It is ‘Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?’ If Ham attacks evolution Nye can and must remind him that Ham task is to demonstrate that ‘creation’ (p…

    I read the Facebook page of Georgia (I’m curious about her title of Dr.), and they are twisting this article as a sign of “evolutionists fearing creationists”. How I’d love to see Nye destroy Ham in front of his fellow bible-bangers



    Report abuse

  • 9
    Sheepdog says:

    In reply to #8 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:

    Thanks for that. I am intrigued, and pleased, also to see that the creationists (Georgia Purdom) read this thread as well. Ultimately, human beings have a well developed sense of the absurd, and while reason slowly builds its already large and strong wall, brick by brick, religion, fighting not just reason, but other religions as well, has to do it all on indoctrination and an old book, without there being any new chapters to add since the get go, despite the ultimately unsubstantiated miraculous claims.

    Sooner or later people will just have to stop and think about it, and if it takes this debate to bring the “faithful” here, it has done some good. “Talking snakes?” “Winged horses?” Huh? Speak to a Naval Architect (I am one) about the utter absurdities of Noah’s Ark. It is all just too silly to be taken seriously.

    Even the religious nuts in the US have agreed that the earth is not actually flat, despite its being the prevailing belief at the time their book was compiled. Quite how they still manage to believe that it is 6,000 years old is beyond me. I cannot believe that their leaders actually do believe it.

    There’s lot’s of good eating on them flocks of the faithful!



    Report abuse

  • 10
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #3 by God fearing Atheist:

    This probably won’t mean much to anyone outside of Ireland and the UK, but I think Dara Ó Briain should be persuaded to debate creationists. Six months of intense training should arm him with a scientifically informed, and audience informing, joke for every possible IDiot one-liner.

    I think his standard response to them is:- “Get in the f***ing sack”!

    It would be a riot, and if he loses he is only an “entertainer”

    When he did an astronomy programme which Brian Cox, they took the Mickey out of the astrologers – who then complained to the BBC – without making much of an impression!

    (with a degree mathematics and theoretical physics).

    Dara is at present doing both comedy on “Mock The Week”, the BBC scientific series on astronomy “Star Gazing Live”, and Dara O’ Briain’s Science Club!

    Should YECs be featured on “Mock The Week” I do not think they would enjoy the experience!



    Report abuse

  • 11
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #9 by sagark1985:

    I read the Facebook page of Georgia (I’m curious about her title of Dr.), and they are twisting this article as a sign of “evolutionists fearing creationists”. How I’d love to see Nye destroy Ham in front of his fellow bible-bangers

    There are fundamentalists and YECs who somehow gained science qualifications – frequently in subjects unrelated to biology, but some time they have deliberately enrolled for courses in genetics etc, to gain a badge of scientific respectability for their woo, or to learn the sciency vocabulary to impress, or to aid in cherry-picking and quote-mining real science documents.

    CMI list of scientists alive today who accept the biblical account of creation – http://rationalwiki.org



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #12 by Alan4discussion:

    The best reply to a list of creationist scientists is the Steve Project.

    Despite the list’s restriction to only scientists with names like “Steve”, which in the United States limits the list to roughly 1 percent of the total population. Project Steve is longer and contains many more eminent scientists than any creationist list. In particular, Project Steve contains many more biologists than the creationist lists, with about 51% of the listed Steves being biologists.(Wikipedia)

    National Council for Science Education



    Report abuse

  • 13
    Cairsley says:

    I agree this debate is about making enough money to save Ken Ham’s Ark Project, and I agree that debating against creationists accords them far more dignity than they deserve. I also agree that the venue for the debate should be somewhere neutral and controlled for fair practice. But it is no use declaring now that Bill Nye should not be engaging a creationist in a debate. It would certainly be perceived and presented as a moral victory for Mr Ham if Dr Nye withdrew at this stage. The debate must proceed. Given all that, I think Dr Nye is one of the best-suited of prominent freethinkers for this assignment. Besides the knowledge and intelligence, he has the energetic personality and the sense of humor to dance his own tune on the stage at Creation Museum, to amuse the audience and to state incidentally yet clearly how and why young-earth creationism is false and silly. I hope Dr Nye does not get too serious in this debate, for it really is beneath him. He is likely to do much more good if he treats it as the joke that it is, but in a way that shares the joke with the audience.



    Report abuse

  • 14
    Rairsys says:

    I do not think that Evolution will change the laws of free thinking. In an open public debate the merit of one persuasion over another is irrelevant. Google it. The greater argument will simply have more opportunity to display the superior position.



    Report abuse

  • 15
    froglegs says:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIME GETS STRETCHED ALSO…BIBLE SAYS YHWH IS STRETHING THE HEAVENS” ; T1=T2/(1- (v^2)/c^2) ½;13,700,000,000 x365 = 5000500000000 days;5000500000000 = 6/sqrt 1-.999999999999999999999999999­­99999% velocity of photons (farthest photons);5000500000000 = 6/sqrt .000000000000000000000001;5000­­500000000 = 6/1.19988001199880011998800119­­988e-12; 1/2 a millimeter from the farthest photons YHWH is in all reference frames.
    distance of YHWH from farthest photon inthe estimated size of the universe=46500000000 LY radius; 299792458 m / s x60 x 60 x 24 x 365 x 46500000000=439,622,855,430,19­­2,000,000,000,000 meters;439,622,855,430,192,000­­,000,000,000 meters x .99999999999999999999999999999­­999= 439,622,855,430,191,999,999,99­­9,999.99956 meters distance;439,622,855,430,192,0­­00,000,000,000 – 439,622,855,430,191,999,999,99­­9,999.99956 = .0005 meters difference, YHWH half a millimeter from farthest photons
    space time stretched 1000,000,000,000 times since first matter (something slower than light survived, hence time kicks in), this means time has slowed 1000,000,000,000 times, 5.1 days genesis x 1000,000,000,000/365=13.9 billion years, YHWH looking into the universe would experience 6 days while the universe experiences 13.9 billion years

    respectfully
    let’s start without the math…lets be theoretical
    When you get closer to light speed…time slows down
    When you reach light speed…time stops for you (NASA has an article online saying this..and its well known)
    So if someone were near the farthest photons…travelling near light speed…that persons time would get really really slow depending on their velocity
    we know that relativity is true…we have to reset the time of satellites every day
    gravity stretches space…when space is stretched…time slows down
    the universe is stretching
    a billion light years away is a billion years ago…two billion lights years away is two billion years ago
    all astronomers interpret the stretching of space as the stretching of time
    whether the time is literal 6 days or not has been a long dabate among bible believers
    Schroeder is saying the 6 days is where the Bible says YHWH is at…above the universe…and that since the early universe time was not stretched out it was much faster so the math shows that 6 of our days contain 14 billion years when the universe was not as stretched..all scientist know stretching of space slows time down
    the vedic indians said a day with their deities was hundreds of thousands of years
    the bible has relativity in many places…it says a 1000 years is as a day, and as a watch in the night (about 3 hours); Other passages that were written decades after Christ said this is the last hour (deacades) it would appear that there is relativity in the Bible
    The ENGLISH translations did butcher the HEBREW LANGUAGE of genesis one
    Here is the order in Hebrew…


    darkness on the surface of the deep (black hole, abyss in septuigint)
    light…singular not plural..there is only one light…1000 years ago there were Jews saying the universe began smaller than a grain of mustard
    light separates from darkness as the universe cools to the point that photons are freed
    atmosphere is formed and things start seperating
    land and water on the earth seperate to for sea and land (singular)
    land and seas become plural
    plants are formed from the eretz (earth) eretz can mean dirt, land, nation, or the globe…the oldest fossils we have resemble plantlike structures…some of the ancient jewish theologians said plants were begun this time by their creation was ongoing through the rest of the days
    the atmosphere becomes oxygenated and sun, moon and starlight reaches the earth…shines upon the earth…Genesis stresse two times the sun shined down on the earth…made in hebrew is asah…
    also all the tenses in Gen 1 are imperfect in the hebrew language…
    the Hebrew word for made is…
    asah-to do, fashion, accomplish, make
    (Qal)
    to do, work, make, produce
    to do
    to work
    to deal (with)
    to act, act with effect, effect
    to make
    to make
    to produce
    to prepare
    to make (an offering)
    to attend to, put in order
    to observe, celebrate
    to acquire (property)
    to appoint, ordain, institute
    to bring about
    to use
    to spend, pass
    as you see…asah does NOT necessarily mean “made from scratch” there are many other meanings such as work, deal, act with effect, perpare, attend to, put in order, observe, celebrate, acquire, appoint, ordain, institute, use, spend
    this era is when the atmosphere became oxygenated and is very near the time that the luminosity of the sun began to rise intsead of plummeting
    two times the text says the sun shined upon the earth
    set (nathan)-to give, put, set
    (Qal)
    to give, bestow, grant, permit, ascribe, employ, devote, consecrate, dedicate, pay wages, sell, exchange, lend, commit, entrust, give over, deliver up, yield produce, occasion, produce, requite to, report, mention, utter, stretch out, extend
    to put, set, put on, put upon, set, appoint, assign, designate
    to make, constitute
    here you can see that set can mean a good number of things
    this era…something significant did happen with the sun moon and stars..they became visible on the eart and the suns luminosity began to rise
    another point to prove my point…in Job 38 it places stars before the earth..therefore asah does not mean made from scratch
    another point..look up the dictionaries online…a reflector can be called a light…see for yourself…the dictionaries say it
    if the bulb in a flashlight is gone..is it still not called a light?


    continuing…
    tanniyn- dragon, serpent, sea monster
    dragon or dinosaur
    sea or river monster
    serpent, venomous snake
    as you can see…most of the definitions are reptiles or amphibians
    unfortunately..the KJV translated it as whales becuase they were not aware of these other things
    1000 years ago..there were Jewish theologions that knew this was reptiles
    owph-flying creatures, fowl, insects, birds
    fowl, birds
    winged insects
    unfortunately the KJV translators were not aware of the flying insects and their large sizes…KJV chose birds when the Hebrew intended flying insects


    Also Eve was created from adam
    Create (bara)-to create, shape, form
    (Qal) to shape, fashion, create (always with God as subject)
    of heaven and earth
    of individual man
    of new conditions and circumstances
    of transformations
    as you see…bara can mean to transform…actually Eve was transformed from Adam..YHWH didnt make her from scratch…he used Adams body and DNA
    therefore…YHWH could have made animals from animals
    unfortunately…many christians and atheists are too lazy to open a dictionary…even the websters english says that create can simply mean to change appearance of something


    The English botched the Hebrew…but the Hebrew is actually in harmony with the modern scientific record…if you go by the Hebrew and not the English…as you can see
    the original Hebrew tenses are imperfect meaning ongoing action rather than completed that day
    and 6 days near the outer universe are 14 billion years here…it all depends on your velocity and how much space has been stretched..this is basic physics without the math…so its easier to understand…its in all physics texts
    I counted about 18 things in all in Genesis in the correct order..the permutations are 18! are 1 in 10^15 odds or 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000 odds



    Report abuse

  • I think everybody is selling Bill Nye short. He has access to all the information out there about the pitfalls of debating creationists. I think we need to give him the benefit of the doubt and see what he has up his sleeve. He is one smart cookie and I think he deserves our respect for going into the belly of the beast.



    Report abuse

  • 17
    Sheepdog says:

    In reply to #16 by froglegs:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIME GETS STRETCHED ALSO…BIBLE SAYS YHWH IS STRETHING THE HEA…

    What? ……….. What? Good grief, what weirdly confused pit of silliness spawned this?



    Report abuse

  • 18
    zeerust2000 says:

    In reply to #16 by froglegs:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIME GETS STRETCHED ALSO…BIBLE SAYS YHWH IS STRETHING THE HEA…

    Oh dear



    Report abuse

  • 19
    Fab4John says:

    In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:

    1) Nye MUST do his homework, and learn Ham’s tricks. Nye just needs to hear some quotes from Ham. They’ll never come up with anything new. Should be pretty easy.

    2) I see RDs point of not wanting to give a creationist equal footing, but I DISAGREE on not debating. Remember that there will be people in the audience, and later around the world thru YouTube, who might NEVER have heard a rational , honest, and true rebuttal to the theistic view. How do you think most of us ex-Christians came to the truth? More is more. We should have this debate every day, and pound it into peoples’ skulls until they get it.

    Go get ’em, Bill!

    Ron



    Report abuse

  • 20
    Marktony says:

    Troll. You can find the same BS (word for word) on other web sites discussing the Bill Nye debate.

    In reply to #18 by Sheepdog:

    In reply to #16 by froglegs:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIME GETS STRETCHED ALSO…BIBLE…



    Report abuse

  • The best reason to avoid debate at least in this case is the Creation Museum is selling tickets for this and profiting from it. Why would any scientist (or science advocate) want to do this? Why would they want to lend their opponent any credibility or publicity by putting them on the same platform and an equal speaking time as science.



    Report abuse

  • I saw a similar debate in a college in Orlando a few yrs ago. The I.T. advocate put across simple arguments to try to debunk the evolutionist. It was very difficult for the more complex truth to be understood by the general public that were there. The outcome seemed like a waste of time as there seemed to be no clear winner in the debate,thus ,it didn’t do much to convince either side to perhaps change their views on the subject. I could see a bunch of elderly women sitting together just loving the i.t. guys crap,mainly because his points were simple and they could understand them,and it just strengthened their own denial of evolution.Because,really,at the end of the day,there’s a hell of a lot of stupid,ignorant people out there who at any cost will not budge from that position.Ken Ham will be giving false statistics pooled with shite that the bible ALSO supports and the audience will be more than likely none the wiser because few of them will want to even think about the fact that the bible isn’t the absolute truth. And,right at the end he’ll leave em with that wonderful clanger ,”I have faith”,mixed into a cauldron of spouted verses from genesis,in which the faithful will wet themselves upon hearing.They just love that shit,because it makes that incurious lot feel smart and closer to Zeus.The difficult science will,I’m sure have a hard time standing up to the low level of understanding of anything not biblical,so,Bill,you had better bring some troops along to support you.You could end up being stoned to death on your way out…..or is he tall enough to fly a small plane into?



    Report abuse

  • 23
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #18 by Sheepdog:

    In reply to #16 by froglegs:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIME GETS STRETCHED ALSO…BIBLE SAYS YHWH IS STRETHING THE HEA…

    What? ……….. What? Good grief, what weirdly confused pit of silliness spawned this?

    Translated into English, I think it says:- ” Let’s see you try to explain Relativity to my fellow scientific illiterates, who love pseudo-authority claims, alleged to support their literalist woo”! – It also comically poses as a smart-arse with an in-depth understanding of Einstein, rather than just a clueless plagiarist who does not know garbage from science!



    Report abuse

  • 24
    mikfrmoz says:

    I say step up to the plate bill.Anytime you get people to think, its a good thing. Shure you’ll get indoctrinated window lickers that no amount of persuasion will divert from the nonsense they embrace.You may also spark an imagination or two, perhaps excite some curiosity, evoke some thoughtfull questions in the minds of some young folk and that would make it all worthwhile. FASCINATE them with reality. Make it FUN. Whet some appetites, don’t argue nonsense, EDUCATE.



    Report abuse

  • 25
    Richard Dawkins says:

    I agree that to do this on Ham’s home turf was a mistake, and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere. However, Bill Nye’s decision is taken, and a good rule in life is, “Always start from here, not from some hypothetical point in the past.” Here are a few suggestions for anyone who, for one reason or another, finds him/herself debating one of these idiots:-

    1. Physical scientists (such as Bill Nye) should play to their strengths in physical science and call the wingnut out on the age of fossils, and cosmological evidence on the age of the universe. Radiometric dating of rocks is solid, irrefutable science. The agreement between different isotopes with overlapping time spans is so strong, it is impossible for anyone to wriggle out of the conclusion that the world is billions of years old, not thousands. Astronomical evidence of the expanding universe agrees.

    2. There are of course gaps in the fossil record. In the case of the Turbellaria, a large, flourishing and beautiful group of free-living flatworms, the fossil record is one big gap – there are no fossils – and not even a Young Earth Creationist thinks they were created yesterday. But although there are gaps in the fossil record, it is a very telling fact that not a single fossil has ever been found in the wrong place in the time sequence. To paraphrase JBS Haldane, not a single fossil rabbit has ever been found in the Precambrian.

    3. Even if there were not a single fossil anywhere in the world, the fact of evolution would be established beyond any doubt by the evidence from comparing modern creatures with other modern creatures. Comparative anatomy was highly convincing evidence in Darwin’s time. Today we can add comparative molecular sequences (DNA and proteins) which are even more convincing, by orders of magnitude. Whichever molecule you look at, and whichever bone system etc you look at, the pattern of animal resemblances turns out to be the same branching tree (given normal, expected margins of error). What could that branching tree be but a pedigree, a family tree, a tree of descent with modification?

    4. The pattern of geographical distribution of animals and plants is exactly as it should be, on the assumption that slow, gradual evolution has taken place on slowly drifting (plate tectonics) continents and islands. Archipelagoes such as Galapagos and Hawaii are textbook examples, but the same kind of pattern is seen the world over. Species are distributed exactly where evolutionists would expect them to be (the pattern of distribution is not what you’d expect if they had dispersed from Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat!)

    5. It’s never ideal to argue from authority, but the fact is that the VAST majority of scientists working in relevant fields accept the fact of evolution and the fact that the universe is billions of years old. The mutually corroborating evidence spans zoology, botany, microbiology, bacteriology, genetics, geology, physics, chemistry, astronomy, anthropology, geography . . . the list goes on. As for Ken Ham’s biblical alternative, Genesis is not accepted as literally true by any reputable theologian or ancient historian. And that is hardly surprising when you consider the obscurity of its authorship, and its obvious status as just one of thousands of origin myths from all around the world..

    All these points, and more, can be found in books such as The Greatest Show on Earth and Why Evolution is True.

    Richard



    Report abuse

  • 27
    Jabberwocky says:

    Debating them just seems to give them some credibility – it would be like debating with someone who claims to be a unicorn breeder or believes that the Earth is flat.



    Report abuse

  • 28
    Zeuglodon says:

    Nye, I appreciate that you’re going to debate this guy anyway, but please don’t do this again. You were doing just fine as you were. Debating creationists is just pandering to a public misconception that the issue has any grounds to start a debate, and you can be more productive in your science advocacy than that.



    Report abuse

  • 29
    Klarkster says:

    If this is a paid event, both interlocutors, or perhaps just Ham as it’s on his patch, should pledge the proceeds to an uncontroversial charity. No one wants Ham to profit from his agenda.



    Report abuse

  • 30
    BigPencil says:

    My heart wants to see it, my head tells me that it can only go badly.
    It is, as the aptly put statement goes, like playing chess with a pigeon.

    Those folks are not rational. For a debate to be anything more than entertainment, I think it should at least be rational.

    I have evangelical family relations who are convinced that the Hitch lost every debate he ever had with a cleric.
    No rational person would make that claim. These folks, by their very faith-embracing nature, disregard rational thought whenever it interferes with their ridiculous superstitions.

    That said, there is always a special type of satisfaction that goes along with kicking someone’s ass in their own back yard….in front of their daddy.



    Report abuse

  • 32
    Nunbeliever says:

    In reply to #1 by N_Ellis:

    It’s deeply ironic that Ken Ham denies Evolution because he is very clearly an orang-utan that learnt to speak

    That is deeply insulting to all the orangutans out there…



    Report abuse

  • 33
    Nunbeliever says:

    I don’t think this debate is a good idea for the same reasons many others have pointed out. On the other hand, how much more damage could he do? Studies suggest almost half of the US population are creationists. I mean, if so many people despite all the evidence available and all the support from the scientific community still refuses to accept the theory of evolution then I certainly don’t think one debate will cause any substantial harm or good. These people do not see the world as rational people do. I think the more evidence you give them, many will be even more convinced the devil is the mastermind behind it all trying to seduce them with all these fancy pieces of evidence. I don’t know how to change the minds of such ignorant individuals, but I don’t think giving them evidence will have the desired effect.



    Report abuse

  • 34
    carlos sutter says:

    I agree with the writer’s many points of view, ditto with Richard Dawkins. This scenario reminds me of the wise words I read from Justin@shitmydadsays:
    “Everyone thinks their opinion matters. Don’t argue with a nobody. A farmer doesn’t bother telling a pig his breath smells like shit.”



    Report abuse

  • 35
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Look at what happened during the last Dawkins-Chopra debate. Chopra took advantage of Dawkins’ impeccable politeness and got to talk most of the time. But his silly woo-woo jargon and his unbearably smug, dishonest rhetoric was what tipped the balance. It managed to make Prof. Dawkins look weak and uncertain. It was a draw at best but Chopra got the best of it IMHO.

    People like Chopra and Ham don’t deserve to be debated, they deserve to be hitch-slapped. But since hitch-slapping is no longer physically possible, bitch-slapping becomes the only suitable alternative.

    Therefore I submit that before any reliably accredited scientist accepts to debate any of these clowns, he/she must obtain, as a mandatory prerequisite from the organizers of the debate, that he/she gets to bitch-slap the said clown at will during and after the debate. Otherwise, no deal.



    Report abuse

  • 36
    Billions and Billions says:

    This article makes a convincing case for why scientists shouldn’t debate creationists, and I agree with it. The only possible ace-in-the-hole is that Bill Nye is very good at explaining to the layman, as well as being somewhat of a comedian, and perhaps he could better get through to the creationist crowd by pointing out the silliness of their position through humor.



    Report abuse

  • 37
    Rairsys says:

    In an ultra religious atmosphere one persuasion always resents open dialogue with the another for precisely the same reasons and indignation as stated above. I know because I unfortunately have witnessed it myself. I thought the beauty of science is that the facts have preeminence over our direction–not the other way around??? reply to #26 by Richard Dawkins:*

    I agree that to do this on Ham’s home turf was a mistake, and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere. However, Bill Nye’s decision is taken, and a good rule in life is, “Always…



    Report abuse

  • ” from which side did this start?”

    This evolutionists inability to even understand what he is reading (“Bill Nye (Bill Nye the Science Guy) has accepted an invitation”) doesn’t give a creationist any confidence that the evolutionist has the ability to engage in the first place.
    It is intellectual cowardice that is on display here.
    As well as a myriad of logical and scientific blunders.
    Ham will definitely not question Nye’s training or ability, nor the fact that he is an “engineer”: he will give Nye way more respect than is being given Ham or creationists by evolutionists and atheists here, I trow.

    ( In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:

    Without fully agreeing that this is a bad idea, and without fully disagreeing, from which side did this start? Did Bill Nye challenge Ken Ham to debate, or vice versa? The most egregious error is doing it on Ham’s home turf. The small animal in it’s home territory will usually drive off a larger, an…



    Report abuse

  • Nye’s not being a biologist is not necessarily an issue. If he debates a biologist there may or may not be cause for concern.

    Scientists need to study to be more persuasive. Having watched several scientists debate creationists, I am exasperated by how little scientists prepare. I agree they need to know their opponent’s arguments in advance (a simple task since they repeatedly count on a short list of arguments) and be prepared with cogent counter-arguments.

    In one debate I watched, one scientist was blindsided by his opponent’s false assertion that Richard Dawkins believes aliens created life on Earth. The scientist should have expected that routine creationist mischaracterization of what Dawkins actually once said and readily quoted Dawkins accurately. Instead, that scientist could only express incredulity.

    Scientists have e tendency to be equivocal when in public to the benefit of their opponents. Rarely do I hear a scientist assert that evolution is a fact. If one has qualms about flatly stating evolution is a fact, why not say it is a fact to the same extent that the earth’s orbiting the sun is a fact? (Dawkins is one exception as he has said, if greatly I’m not mistaken, that evolution is about as certain as anything we know.)

    Creationists often misquote or mischaracterize scientists. As an example they have again and again claimed that Stephen Gould did not believe in single, common ancestry. I was once challenged to find one quote where Gould stated belief in it. I couldn’t so I wrote a colleague of Gould’s:

    Dear Dr. xxxxxxxx,

    As you are probably keenly aware, the writings of Stephen Gould are often cherry-picked and mischaracterized by creationists. Often they claim that he did not support single, common ancestry. Whenever I refute that by presenting evidence from which anyone might reasonably infer that he did, it is dismissed as equivocal. For example, I may quote a passage where Gould refers to common ancestry and because the qualifier, single, is not there contained, creationists will claim it disproves he did support the concept. As you may imagine, countering that it is generally understood such references to common ancestry mean single, common ancestry, is haughtily shrugged off.

    I wonder if you would be so kind as to suggest something I could quote from Gould that would put the matter to rest or, alternatively, If you would provide a statement regarding Gould’s position on single, common ancestry that I could quote I would be very grateful.

    The response I received was this:

    Herb:

    the theory of Punctuated equilibria is closely tied in with the process of
    allopatric speciation–the geographic fragmentation of an ancestral
    species that produces new species. These are point origins–an isolated
    population may or may not develop into a full-fledged species.

    Hope this helps.

    xxxxx xxxxxxxx

    Of course, it was no help at all. Such a response is meaningless to a creationist debater who would misconstrue it as proof that Gould disbelieved in single, common ancestry.

    Creationists engineer the credibility they need by any means necessary including unethical ones. Debating them doesn’t inevitably contribute to their status among their followers. I think they should be debated but scientists must study to debate them effectively. Nevertheless, always do no harm!



    Report abuse

  • 40
    Sheepdog says:

    In reply to #24 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #18 by Sheepdog:

    In reply to #16 by froglegs:

    EINSTEIN’S RELATIVITY EQUATION SAYS 13.7 BILLION YEARS HERE ARE 6 DAYS “ABOVE THE UNIVERSE WHERE YHWH IS NEAR

    THE FARTHEST PHOTONS, AND 6 OF OUR DAYS WOULD CONTAIN 14 BILLION YEARS OF THE EARLY UNIVERSE BECAUSE AS THE UNIVERSE STRETCHES TIM…

    Its almost (repeat, almost) a shame that this post was deleted, as apart from giving others who may have missed it a chance to attempt to read it, I was fascinated by his math.

    Here is someone who thinks he can lecture on astro physics but who has never heard of exponential notation. Too weird, but it certainly shows what is out there, sadly.

    Poor Bill Nye, he has my sympathy and respect, if this is the sort of lions den of stupidity that he is walking into.



    Report abuse

  • 41
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #40 by Vorpal:

    Scientists have e tendency to be equivocal when in public to the benefit of their opponents. Rarely do I hear a scientist assert that evolution is a fact.

    Dawkins and other scientists aren’t being equivocal they are just being good scientists and using scientific terms precisely. Evolution is NOT a fact. It IS a theory. Saying we see the Sun in roughly the same place in the sky every morning is a fact. Explaining the position of the Sun by saying the Earth is revolving around the Sun is a theory.

    In the same way the various data that Darwin and countless others have accumulated about how organisms change over time are the facts, the explanation for those facts is the theory of evolution.

    The problem is that people think of theory and think about the dictionary definition rather than the scientific meaning of the term.



    Report abuse

  • 42
    Mr DArcy says:

    I think the idea that Bill Nye will change no-one’s mind is wrong. Don’t forget the majority of Christians worldwide don’t believe in a 6020 year old Earth (and universe). The RCC and the Anglicans for a start. True they have their own weird version of Old Earth Creationism, and God guiding evolution, but they don’t accept the ridiculous 6 day creation idea. The progress of science has forced them to take their accommodationist stances. For example, looking back at the time of the early geologists when Genesis was more or less accepted as fact, good solid Christians like Hutton, Lyell and Buckland, realised by looking at nature and its processes, that the Earth was in fact much older than the date given by Archbishop James Ussher of 23rd October 4004 bc. Being honest they had to give way to reality.

    I don’t see any reason why the force of reality should fail to affect “modern” Christian YECs. After all they want their computers and smart phones to work and they want the best medical care etc. They need the science as much as everyone else. Nor do I think that devout Christians are incapable of change, history shows otherwise.

    I think “Science Man” will change a few minds. I certainly can’t see Ham outsmarting him in debate.



    Report abuse

  • 44
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #26 by Richard Dawkins:

    I agree that to do this on Ham’s home turf was a mistake, and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere. However, Bill Nye’s decision is taken, and a good rule in life is, “Always…

    Jaguars apparently closely related to leopards, but found in South America NOT Africa, and thought to have gradually moved from Asia to North America (when sea levels were lower, something the Bible never hints at) and then to South America. Why would they radiate north east from Ararat when their relatives radiated southwards?

    Although he will need to defend evolution and billions of years, the actual debate title does not require Nye to show that the ‘evolution’ model (in its widest sense) is viable so much as to highlight that Ham cannot show (except by assertion “ie I’m being biblical and the Bible is infallible”) that his version of creation – the claimed refutation of ‘historical’ science known as young earth creationism – is a viable model in a modern scientific era.



    Report abuse

  • 45
    Neodarwinian says:

    I thought Nye had stipulated that Ham needed to pay his expenses to the debate? ( flight and other expenses )

    So, no money, no debate?



    Report abuse

  • 46
    Estimating1 says:

    The relevancy for this conversation is universal in the true sense of the word. Most of the foundation of science was initiated by men and women who recognized the order and testability of creation, because they had a perspective that understood that a creator was needed and that chance could produce this much order. Yes, very relevant indeed. Science must have a open mind, as it is based on reproducibility and order. Current theories have neither and need to be re-evaluated. This is one of the many mechanisms that will facilitate Science and abandon institutionalized evolutionary brainwashing of our youth.



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #42 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #40 by Vorpal:

    Scientists have e tendency to be equivocal when in public to the benefit of their opponents. Rarely do I hear a scientist assert that evolution is a fact.
    Dawkins and other scientists aren’t being equivocal they are just being good scientists and using scientific terms p…

    [[Even if there were not a single fossil anywhere in the world, the fact of evolution would be established beyond any doubt by the evidence from comparing modern creatures with other modern creatures. Comparative anatomy was highly convincing evidence in Darwin’s time. Today we can add comparative molecular sequences (DNA and proteins) which are even more convincing, by orders of magnitude. Whichever molecule you look at, and whichever bone system etc you look at, the pattern of animal resemblances turns out to be the same branching tree (given normal, expected margins of error). What could that branching tree be but a pedigree, a family tree, a tree of descent with modification?]]

    Sorry Red Dog you are wrong…



    Report abuse

  • 48
    Justaguy says:

    I heard a story where a devote Mormon who was once a leader/teacher, but began to question her faith and belief in their prophet. She was quickly kick out and prayed for but basically got thrown out. These kind of things happen not only in religion but even in science. So, the argument made that because science has peer-reviewed papers and so many evolutionary scientist agree, does not make it a fact. Another point I’d like to make, with respect, is that I think that the reason a person who believes in evolution needs to believe that evolution is absolutely factual, is because if I requires any faith, then it puts that person in the same category as believing in religion. I think it’s great that bill nye has the guts to make the case for his side. I’ll be tuning in to hear it. I even think the crowd will be very respectful and not cheer or jeer. I don’t even think evolution needs mountains of peer-reviewed evidence to convince someone. Just answer this. Is the amount of faith required in believing in god the same as believing that inanimate element became primordial soup then became life? Thanks y’all,



    Report abuse

  • 49
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #48 by Fritz:

    In reply to #42 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #40 by Vorpal:

    Scientists have e tendency to be equivocal when in public to the benefit of their opponents. Rarely do I hear a scientist assert that evolution is a fact.
    Dawkins and other scientists aren’t being equivocal they are just being good scientists…

    I assume that quote is from Dawkins? If you want to support your position it helps to mention who you are quoting and where the quote is from.

    And that quote doesn’t contradict anything I said. I’m not disputing that evolution is true, I’m simply making a statement about the difference between a scientific fact and a theory. A fact is a statement of some data and a theory is an interpretation and/or prediction about data. Saying “the fossil record shows that giraffes had shorter necks” is a fact. That giraffes grew longer necks because each generation needed to get to higher branches and they “signalled” their offspring to grow longer necks is a (wrong) theory about why they have long necks. Evolution by natural selection is the right theory.

    I realize that Dawkins himself sometimes just says “its a fact” but if you look into the context of where he says those things he admits that saying evolution is a fact isn’t precise from the standpoint of facts vs. theories but that there is so much confusion about the word “theory” in the general population that he chooses to just avoid the issue by saying evolution is a fact. Which is mostly fine with me. Philosophically I don’t like dumbing things down just for people like you who can’t seem to grasp what is a very essential and very basic scientific concept but I can see why he has to do it given that even people who are his supporters seem incapable of grasping the distinction.



    Report abuse

  • 50
    Marktony says:

    I assume that quote is from Dawkins? If you want to support your position it helps to mention who you are quoting and where the quote is from.

    Fritz was quoting from post 26 above.

    I have heard RD say many times that evolution is a fact. Scientists do seem to use the term fact to refer to an item/measurement of data and also to refer to a scientific explanation (theory) which has been confirmed by observation and prediction and tested so many times that it would be illogical to keep on testing it.

    Here is RD explaining the fact of evolution.

    In reply to #50 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #48 by Fritz:

    In reply to #42 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #40 by Vorpal:

    Scientists have e tendency to be equivocal when in public to the benefit of their opponents. Rarely do I hear a scientist assert that evolution is a fact.
    Dawkins and other scientists aren’t being equivocal they are…



    Report abuse

  • 51
    Dan Arel says:

    In reply to #26 by Richard Dawkins:

    I agree that to do this on Ham’s home turf was a mistake, and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere. However, Bill Nye’s decision is taken, and a good rule in life is, “Always…

    Thank you for the thoughtful reply Mr. Dawkins. I think all the points you make are very valid and I hope Nye is ready to step into that ring and represent science.

    I hope to be proven wrong that this debate is a mistake.



    Report abuse

  • 52
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #51 by Marktony:

    I have heard RD say many times that evolution is a fact. Scientists do seem to use the term fact to refer to an item/measurement of data and also to refer to a scientific explanation (theory) which has been confirmed by observation and prediction and tested so many times that it would be illogical to keep on testing it.

    Red Dog, in his post #42 and 50, has given a neat account of the distinction between ‘fact’ and ‘theory’ in science, but the word ‘fact’ does have other uses in the language, and, as you point out, scientists themselves do sometimes use it to refer to what is, strictly speaking, a theory. Prof. Dawkins’s use of ‘fact’ in this way in some of his public appearances has served the purpose well of conveying the idea that the theory of evolution is so well supported by a vast array of interdisciplinary scientific evidence that one can be as confident of accepting it as having really happened and still being in the process of happening as one is of accepting the data of empirical observation as facts in the conventional scientific sense of the term. Very few scientific theories enjoy that much evidential support!

    On the subject of debating against creationists, I would add to the comments already made that scientists should not be so polite as to avoid taking religionists to task for their lack of evidence. The religionists seem always to succeed in putting the emphasis on the scientists’ need to produce evidence and proofs of their “claims”, knowing full well that the evidence is often not simple enough to state in a sentence or two, and, despite the scientists’ efforts to present well-grounded arguments for their case, they are easily diverted or obstructed by psychologically effective tactics that appeal to the ill-informed audience. I have yet to hear a scientist or freethinking speaker debating against a religionist, challenging him or her to present evidence for his or her claims regarding the Bible. They should not be afraid to call a spade a spade and say before the audience and to the religionist’s face that what he or she is arguing for is mere superstition. Without the Bible these Christian fundamentalists would have nothing to say and might even become sane, rational people.



    Report abuse

  • 53
    ashleyhr says:

    Ken Scam has seen Richard Dawkins’ comments above and has referred to them on his facebook page. As follows:

    “Well it seems even Richard Dawkins has commented on the upcoming debate! A comment that appears to be from him on the Richard Dawkins Foundation website stated:
    “…indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere.”
    Is ‘wingnut’ a term of endearment?
    We will write more about Richard Dawkins comment and the item on the Richard Dawkins Foundation website in a day or so.”

    Thus – at present – Mr Ham does NOT link to this blog so that the comments can easily be read in full (though Georgia Purdom did BEFORE Dawkins himself commented).

    My guess is that ‘wingnut’ was NO term of endearment. But if the cap fits…

    https://www.facebook.com/aigkenham



    Report abuse

  • 54
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #52 by Dan Arel:

    In reply to #26 by Richard Dawkins:

    I agree that to do this on Ham’s home turf was a mistake, and indeed it is almost always a mistake to give wingnuts the oxygen of publicity, and the respectability of being seen on a platform with a real scientist, anywhere. However, Bill Nye’s decision is taken,…

    I’ve just reported that Ham has reacted (but my comment appears at the top not the bottom of the comments). Ham seems rather concerned – about word ‘wingnut’.



    Report abuse

  • 55
    Marktony says:

    I don’t even think evolution needs mountains of peer-reviewed evidence to convince someone. Just answer this. Is the amount of faith required in believing in god the same as believing that inanimate element became primordial soup then became life? Thanks y’all,

    Any answer to that question should have no bearing on the fact of evolution. Having said that, I would say it would certainly require more faith to believe in god than to take seriously the abiogenesis hypothesis.

    In reply to #49 by Justaguy:

    I heard a story where a devote Mormon who was once a leader/teacher, but began to question her faith and belief in their prophet. She was quickly kick out and prayed for but basically got thrown out. These kind of things happen not only in religion but even in science. So, the argument made that…



    Report abuse

  • 56
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    In reply to #42 by Red Dog:

    Evolution is NOT a fact. It IS a theory. . . .

    Hi Red Dog. As MarkTony linked in Comment #51: Here is RD explaining the fact of evolution.

    We have to be careful when truncating descriptions for the sake of brevity, thus changing the specific conceptions of the words, even when we know what we mean when writing the words….

    Evolution is a fact, not an explanatory theory.

    Evolution by Natural Selection is an explanatory theory, not a fact.

    There are several processes contributing to this explanatory theory – the facts of mutation, migration, genetic drift, etc. which require Natural Selection to function & adding up to the complex evidence that we can observe.

    http://animals.about.com/od/evolution/ss/evolution_6.htm

    I see this ‘confusing words’ issue in many places & I urge us to use Evolution & Evolution by N.S. correctly, as they are two different things leading to unnecessary word-play as seen here – as well as both ignorant &/or deliberate misunderstanding by reality deniers who don’t know any better, such as Ken ‘Hamster’ locked into his faith cage blindly running nowhere inside his creationist wheel…. Mac.



    Report abuse

  • 57
    Justaguy says:

    May I then rephrase the question, because I would have no problem agreeing with you that it does require more faith to believe in god then to take any hypothesis seriously. Do you believe that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a fact? If not, then can you give my first question another try? Thanks for the response too, I respect you kindly. In reply to #56 by Marktony:

    I don’t even think evolution needs mountains of peer-reviewed evidence to convince someone. Just answer this. Is the amount of faith required in believing in god the same as believing that inanimate element became primordial soup then became life? Thanks y’all,

    Any answer to that question should ha…



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #59 by aroundtown:

    . Like I said, very long odd’s but let’s leave the door open to the most outlandish of possibilities that it could occur. I would imagine that a great deal of shame and guilt would follow a conversion of this magnitude but the trade off would be worth it.>

    I think you’re right….they would be very long odds indeed! From what I’ve seen of human nature, I’d doubt that he’d come clean even if he had a blinding flash of insight and somehow “got it” mid debate. He has so much invested in continuing the fantasy that I think he’d rather live a lie for the rest of his days, than give an inch.

    I often doubt the sincerity of prominent theists. Something in their expression and turn of phrase leads me to think that they’re just going through the motions for the sake of consistency. Maybe I’m just seeing what I expect to see, who knows?



    Report abuse

  • 59
    zeerust2000 says:

    I think the debate is a bad idea. The format is by nature biased in favour of rhetorical skill and showmanship, rather than content. But engaging with Ham himself is not a bad idea. Much better would be an online exchange, in writing. That way only the ideas and evidence would matter. Creationists love the theatre of a public debate, but it’s a bad way to actually examine facts. Especially where science is involved.



    Report abuse

  • 60
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #57 by CdnMacAtheist:

    In reply to #42 by Red Dog:

    Evolution is NOT a fact. It IS a theory. . . .

    Hi Red Dog. As MarkTony linked in Comment #51: Here is RD explaining the fact of evolution.

    We have to be careful when truncating descriptions for the sake of brevity, thus changing the specific conceptions of the words,…

    “Evolution is a fact, not an explanatory theory.
    Evolution by Natural Selection is an explanatory theory, not a fact. …”

    Thank you, CMA, for pointing this out. Another “of course!” moment for me. Of course evolution is a fact, and evolution by natural selection is the theory. I had not quite appreciated what Prof. Dawkins was saying when I heard him refer to evolution as a fact.



    Report abuse

  • 62
    Zeuglodon says:

    On Coyne’s blog, there’s a considerable point to keep in mind; that this debate is going to be heavily marketed by the creationist side: Bill Nye’s upcoming debate earns $$ for creationist organizations. Not only is Nye contributing to a public confusion merely by turning up (that there’s an actual legitimate scientific controversy here), but he’s inadvertently giving ideologues the means to propagate their misinformation, pushing that confusion further. Unless this is somehow supposed to backfire and turn more of the public away from creationism, it just seems like a waste of time to me.

    Amusingly, the Creation Store at Creation Today allows customers to preorder DVDs of the event “uncensored”; I wonder what’ll happen if Nye steals the show?



    Report abuse

  • I have to agree with the article. This debate will be turned into a sideshow by Ham and his adoring audience at that ‘museum’. Nye’s time is far better spent educating the public on the issue outside of giving any airtime to those who hold fast to an ancient, Near Eastern myth.



    Report abuse

  • 64
    Marktony says:

    May I then rephrase the question, because I would have no problem agreeing with you that it does require more faith to believe in god then to take any hypothesis seriously. Do you believe that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a fact? If not, then can you give my first question another try?

    OK, I’ll try to answer your original question: I don’t much like to use the word faith because it implies believing in something without evidence. I prefer the word confidence.

    In your original question you described the abiogenesis hypothesis for the origin of life as “believing that inanimate element became primordial soup then became life”. Now that we have established that the evolution of self replicating life is a scientific theory and abiogenesis is a hypothesis to explain the origin of the first self replicating forms, what you really seem to be asking is, do I have more confidence in the abiogenesis hypothesis than the god hypothesis – the answer is yes. I’m assuming here that the god hypothesis is that those original basic forms of life (from which all other life evolved) were created by a supernatural being – do you have more confidence (faith if you prefer) in this god hypothesis?

    Some people take literally the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions and their god hypothesis is that a much more sophisticated (evolved) form of life (homo sapiens) was created by a god directly from inanimate elements (dust). You may ask yourself: why is it more difficult to accept the abiogenesis hypothesis for the origin of the basic life forms (that evolved into us) than it is to believe that we were created from dust? The answer is religious faith and no small amount of indoctrination.

    And scientific research day by day gets us closer to understanding how those first replicators may have appeared. You may find this article interesting – it “offers tantalizing clues about how DNA and RNA — which encode the building plans for all earthly life — may have arisen from more primitive information-carrying molecules”.

    Back to the OP, the topic of the debate: “Is creationism a viable model of origins?” Ken Ham is the president of Answers in Genesis. So I would suggest Bill Nye concentrates entirely on the two variants of the genesis myth in the OT, first explaining how they contradict each other and then taking each in turn and analysing them from a science perspective. That would be on about the right level for the expected audience.

    In reply to #58 by Justaguy:

    May I then rephrase the question, because I would have no problem agreeing with you that it does require more faith to believe in god then to take any hypothesis seriously. Do you believe that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a fact? If not, then can you give my first question another try? Thanks for…



    Report abuse

  • 65
    4as4is4 says:

    Nye is not a biologist

    That is the one most important factor. I remember getting aggressively cornered by the problem of the “irreducible complexity” of the bacterial flagellum motor. 32 or whatever components assembled like a watch and otherwise useless.

    Biologists would know well that with 20-odd components, you have a syringe, with fewer yet you have some other useful devide. In other words the complexity is not irreducible. They might even have pictures.

    Non-biologists, however, would be stumped, as I was.



    Report abuse

  • 66
    Barry Desborough says:

    In reply to #70 by 4as4is4:

    Nye is not a biologist

    That is the one most important factor. I remember getting aggressively cornered by the problem of the “irreducible complexity” of the bacterial flagellum motor. 32 or whatever components assembled like a watch and otherwise useless.

    Biologists would know well that with 20-od…

    Nye must remember that the subject is creationism, not science. The onus is on Ham to explain why he thinks cretinism is a “viable model”, and Nye must explain why it is not, slapping Ham down every time he tries to distract from the topic.



    Report abuse

  • 68
    Sue Blue says:

    What a complete waste of Bill Nye’s time. This is just about as bad as interviewing serial killers in prison to get their oh-so-valuable insights on why they’re such sickos. These criminals are all the same – they thrive on attention like flies on shit. Nye should’ve walked away from this dog turd and scraped it off the bottom of his shoe, but…instead he’s just going to help Ham the Scam Man drum up business for his flagging Theocracy Theme Park by acting like the shitty stench of stupidity pervading the area is worth mentioning. What a crying shame.



    Report abuse

  • 69
    colin.donaldson.906 says:

    I agree with the sentiments of this article, 100%. This is a bad idea. Period. By doing this Bill (with the best of intentions) is only going to be lending these creationist numpties the credibility that they crave so much.



    Report abuse

  • 70
    Sue Blue says:

    What a complete waste of Bill Nye’s valuable time. This is as bad as interviewing serial killers in prison to get their oh-so-valuable insights on why they’re such twisted sickos. Conmen and criminals thrive on such attention like flies on shit. Nye should have just scraped Ham off the bottom of his shoe and walked away, but instead he’s going to help Ham drum up funds for his Turd Tabernacle by acting like the stench around it is worth mentioning. What a crying shame.



    Report abuse

  • 71
    paulovatt says:

    This article naively starts feeding the very same flames, as if the writer got lazy half way down and started playing for the other team … How are statements like “If he [Nye] goes down” or “as great as it would be to see [Ham] taken down, the risks of him winning are greater” going to play when quoted on creationist propaganda sites. The risks of Ham winning are what exactly? We know what you mean but why give them these forms of words? Stop conceding to these people that they can win anything, which I think was exactly your point, Dan, until you ruined it. Yes, Bill Nye is a really terrible debater, and some people think William Lane Craig is good at it (he isn’t) but nobody is afraid of losing the debate.
    PS: Don’t you just hate sign-in pages that don’t take you back to the page that made you want to sign in (TES, RDFRS …)



    Report abuse

  • 72
    JohnAdamsAnger says:

    Learned* In reply to #1 by N_Ellis:

    It’s deeply ironic that Ken Ham denies Evolution because he is very clearly an orang-utan that learnt to speak



    Report abuse

  • 73
    mark.burns says:

    I find this deeply ironic:

    “and loudly applaud anytime he manages to string together and coherent sentence…”

    If you are intent on criticizing a person for an inability to create a coherent sentence, your criticism should itself be coherent.



    Report abuse

  • 74
    donna.childersthirkell says:

    I don’t see anyone having a fit when Hitchens used to debate theists. Hitchens had no involvement in science whatsoever. Nye developed shit that went into space. The article just smacks of jealousy.



    Report abuse

  • 75
    Mr DArcy says:

    For those who are interested in the term “wingnut“, my own interpretation would be “nutcase“. No doubt Richard might like to give us his own interpretation, lest Ham thinks Richard admires him !



    Report abuse

  • 76
    Steve_Kap says:

    Ahhh, poo on you… I’d like to see this debate, sounds like fun. And its not too hard to make they creationists look foolish. And if people get fooled by them, that’s there problem. I’d like to hear what he Ham has to say, I find these guys fastinating.



    Report abuse

  • 77
    Mr DArcy says:

    For all those doomsayers out there criticising Nye for debating Ham, there is a precedent from 1860 where Darwin’s new theory was vigorously defended against the prevailing Christian dominant view. Then, as now, the level of the debate was lowered by the holy man referring to humans being descended “from monkeys”. An appeal to revulsion, rather than an appeal to look at the facts. A typical religious tactic, – never let the dog see the rabbit !



    Report abuse

  • 78
    HRTaylor1 says:

    I think the basic premise of the author’s argument is quite sound, however it is interesting that we automatically presuppose that it requires a a long list of post-graduate academic credentials to refute a creationist, yet anyone with an ability to read is qualified to spout the creationist dogma.

    Although I am sure that demographically, the secular and atheist ranks are well represented by highly educated and intelligent people, it does convey a degree of hubris to characterize only the most educated as being the most capable to refute creationism. I think it is a mistake to put evolution and creationism as opposing points of view… creationism is simply fantasy and deserves no forum. Just as it does not take a scientist to refute the existence of Santa Clause, so it is with creationism. I think Mr. Nye is as qualified as any to make that point. He need not have a specific biology background to assert the absurdity of creationism or even intelligent design.



    Report abuse

  • 79
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #80 by Mr DArcy:

    For those who are interested in the term “wingnut”, my own interpretation would be “nutcase”. No doubt Richard might like to give us his interpretation lest Ham thinks Richard admires him !

    Urban dictionary – “wingnut”.

    If Ham thinks it is flattery it is because he hasn’t done his homework.



    Report abuse

  • 80
    Russell W says:

    The biggest problem I see here is there is no shared foundation from which to proceed with a fruitful or even honest debate. Creationism rather disingenuously and selectively uses (abuses?) science to attempt to give a veneer of rationality and respectability to what is ultimately a dogmatically and religiously driven conclusion — and one which, in their view, is non-negotiable and untouchable. It is a way of dealing with the threat they see science puts to their religious cosmology. Realizing they cannot simply dismiss science, they attempt to co-opt it and manipulate it to their purposes. This is the case whether you’re speaking of a young-earth creationist, or if you’re talking about someone who believes in “intelligent design.”

    While evolutionary theory is set on the foundation of evidence and the scientific method, creationist conclusions are set on the foundation of “sacred texts” and interpretations of those texts; on the foundations of religious belief and dogma. Oil and water here.

    Bertrand Russell addressed a similar problem with regard philosophical theologians like Thomas Aquinas in the domain of philosophy. I think some of the same ideas apply to the problem we are seeing here. Here is what Russell said:

    “There is little of the true philosophic spirit in Aquinas. He does not, like the Platonic Socrates, set out to follow wherever the argument may lead. He is not engaged in an inquiry, the result of which it is impossible to know in advance. Before he begins to philosophize, he already knows the truth; it is declared in the Catholic faith. If he can find apparently rational arguments for some parts of the faith, so much the better; if he cannot, he need only fall back on revelation. The finding of arguments for a conclusion given in advance is not philosophy, but special pleading.”

    In the same way, there is little of the true scientific spirit in “creation science.” They likewise do not set out to follow the arguments, the evidences, wherever they may lead. They already have their conclusions locked up; they already know “the truth.” If they can likewise can find (or contrive) apparently rational arguments which might help support their religious conclusions, great, but if not, it doesn’t change their conclusions, nor will they admit to them being changed.

    This is not open and honest inquiry, never mind scientific inquiry.

    If there is a debate to be had here, it is about something much more rudimentary; namely, faith vs. reason.



    Report abuse

  • 81
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #83 by HRTaylor1:

    I think the basic premise of the author’s argument is quite sound, however it is interesting that we automatically presuppose that it requires a a long list of post-graduate academic credentials to refute a creationist, yet anyone with an ability to read is qualified to spout the creationist dogma….

    The catch for those not familiar with creationist tactics, is that creationists often copy questions from creationist” “science cannot answer lists”, on their websites and in their pseudo-science books.

    These are usually misrepresentations of complex topics where a lay audience will not be able to follow the scientific explanation anyway. A creationist audience will then pronounce that the science they cannot understand, is unconvincing, and that the likes of Ham have won the argument by asking questions “science cannot answer”!
    Their audiences are usually sufficiently incompetent at logic to accept the fallacy that if science cannot answer (simplistically enough for scientific illiterates) THEREFORE “god-did-it”!
    It is the well known creationist Gish Gallop.

    yet anyone with an ability to read is qualified to spout the creationist dogma.

    When their scientific illiterates actually have to try to think beyond the creationist “parrot lists” they have been given to assert, they can rapidly be exposed as the ignorant fools they are, by anyone with an understanding of the subjects being discussed.



    Report abuse

  • 82
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #83 by HRTaylor1:

    it is interesting that we automatically presuppose that it requires a a long list of post-graduate academic credentials to refute a creationist, yet anyone with an ability to read is qualified to spout the creationist dogma.

    I don’t presuppose that. On the contrary I think any reasonably intelligent educated person can follow the arguments in books like Climbing Mount Improbable by Dawkins to see through the fallacies of the Creationists. Their arguments aren’t subtle they are usually fairly obvious misunderstandings of science, evolution, physics (e.g., arguments about life “violating entropy”), etc.

    I think someone like Nye is actually probably as good or better than someone with a post graduate degree in biology. The details mostly aren’t even required and will confuse most people that would follow this debate to begin with. What is needed is someone who is good at cutting through BS and just communicating basic science simply and clearly which is where I think Nye is strongest.



    Report abuse

  • 83
    PastorRileyF says:

    “Conman”? Such ad hominem attacks are evidence of not having a valid argument. You may not like it or want to fathom it, but there are a lot of smart people, including those with PhD’s in geology, biology, etc. who hold to creationism. The least you could do is accept that this is their honest view and try to forthrightly counter their arguments, if you can. Impugning their honesty does not reflect well on your side of the debate.

    And, if creation is not science as you are defining it, i. e. empirical science, neither is evolution (understood as the mechanism for the origin of species.) Neither can be observed since we cannot go back and observe origins.



    Report abuse

  • 85
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #89 by PastorRileyF:

    Dr. Dawkins, your presuppositions are showing.

    The article was not written by Richard Dawkins, but rather by Dan Arel. Perhaps your own presuppositions are showing? 😉



    Report abuse

  • 86
    TheHardonCollider says:

    Evolution has been directly observed though. Although I’m not sure why you would make the claim that you can’t have empirical evidence without directly observing an event. Can we not put people in jail without eyewitnesses? If you threw a rock at the ground and it broke I could come by later and using only the available observations tell you how fast the rock was traveling when it collided with the ground, what the rock looked like before it shattered, the angle it impacted the ground at, might even be able to judge the height of the man who threw the rock.



    Report abuse

  • 87
    Marktony says:

    The five propositions below seem to be the most common misconceptions based on a Creationist straw-man version of evolution. If you hear anyone making any of them, chances are excellent that they don’t know enough about the real theory of evolution to make informed opinions about it.

    In reply to #88 by PastorRileyF:

    “Conman”? Such ad hominem attacks are evidence of not having a valid argument. You may not like it or want to fathom it, but there are a lot of smart people, including those with PhD’s in geology, biology, etc. who hold to creationism. The least you could do is accept that this is their honest vi…



    Report abuse

  • 88
    adamkomar says:

    Based on your own system of disqualifying a person to perform an act due to their lack of a degree in the subject matter, your entire argument is invalid since, according to your LinkedIn profile, you don’t have a degree in anything remotely close to debate.

    Or maybe Bill Nye is more qualified than you realize.



    Report abuse

  • 89
    ozzyprv says:

    …side point: what do you mean by “nothing more than an engineering degree”? Ouch, that felt personal (I am an engineer).
    I do not know how good of a debater Nye is, but I do not think that having a biology related degree or having experience in research are requisites to be a good debater.
    I totally agree that by engaging in a debate you implicitly provide some credit to the other party.



    Report abuse

  • 90
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #88 by PastorRileyF:

    And, if creation is not science as you are defining it, i. e. empirical science, neither is evolution (understood as the mechanism for the origin of species.) Neither can be observed since we cannot go back and observe origins.

    I think you are confusing “science” and “technology”. I might claim that if I mix chemical A with chemical B in a flash, it goes fizz, and produces useful chemical C. Ignoring if this same reaction also worked 500 years ago, I only have a “technology”. I can make C whenever I want to**. If I want a “scientific” understanding I need a deeper model of how it happens, and that understanding is independent of time. The reaction worked 500 years ago, as well as 5 billion years ago.

    ** well, provided I convince myself that the reaction is not so time dependent it will work again tomorrow if it worked today



    Report abuse

  • 91
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #88 by PastorRileyF:

    “Conman”? Such ad hominem attacks are evidence of not having a valid argument.

    I don’t agree with much else you said but I do agree with that. The endless name calling is petty, boring, and adds nothing to the conversation. It’s what I would expect on a creation site because name calling and distortion are all that they can rely on but we can do better.

    Besides, the people who think that most religious zealots are con men need to read Robert Trivers book The Folly of Fools. We are predisposed by biology to self deception especially in situations like this where self deception fits in with our way to make a living and our most critical core beliefs. I believe there are some actual con men on the religious right but I think the vast majority are examples of the phenomenon Trivers describes and really believe their own BS.



    Report abuse

  • 92
    arsalan.nazari says:

    I couldn’t disagree with this article more.are we supposed to lock those who by any reason still believe in creationism out? and your argument that A TON OF PEER REVIEWED data is enough is invalid! it’s enough to the educated and those who understand them,not someone who has no idea about it.Bill Nye might not be a biologist,but in response to someone who isn’t in the circle of science empirical data can’t do much.the guy has already decided to ignore it.the only path here is logic, to show the guy through logical reasoning that his idea is idiotic. I think saying something’s NOT WORTH DEBATING is a little like saying screw who ever thinks different than me,and gives the opponent the feeling that you’re in a weak position.this article didn’t make any sense to me honestly…



    Report abuse

  • 93
    Reversatire says:

    This article does more damage than any debate Bill Nye may have with creationists. This article is what gives creationists an idea that not only there is something to debate, but that the evolutionists have a reason to fear – as if such a debate like this can be lost.

    Also, this lack of faith (yes, faith, which in this case is justified) in Bill Nye is astounding, especially from fellow scientists. The attack and belittling of his credentials is also damaging – if fellow scientists don’t have confidence that Bill Nye is up to the task, that just gives Ken Ham all the more momentum. Bill Nye has been on television for years and it’s hard to imagine that this is his first rodeo.

    This article may have a point in that debating creationists gives an impression that there is something to debate, but if the debate was going to be a hard one to pull off for Bill Nye, as this article postulates, it will be even harder after this article does its damage. If I was Bill Nye, I would thank the author and the readers who are applauding it for the vote of confidence.



    Report abuse

  • 94
    Howard Brittain says:

    Where I stand is this – I myself would not waste a moment of my precious life debating with someone who is incapable of debate. And I would advise anyone else not to do likewise.

    However to be honest if Nye has the extraordinary patience and commitment and staying power to persevere through all of the utter nonsense and drivel that will be put forward as ‘pseudo’ argument, then fine. Go ahead. But if he doesn’t have that staying power, he risks being made to look like a loseer because people like Ham, and his retarded followers often equate who lasts the longest, in this kind of irrational stand off, as the winner.



    Report abuse

  • 95
    fuzzylogic says:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to be convincing with rhetoric and he knows the facts and can communicate them clearly and succinctly. He may even put doubts in the minds of one or two creationists. And if he does that it will all be worth it… because no rational person will be convinced by Ham’s nonsense.



    Report abuse

  • 96
    steven.c says:

    I’m just afraid that the person who appears to be the winner will be determined by who wins the applause, regardless of who actually wins the debate.



    Report abuse

  • 97
    Russell W says:

    It would be interesting to know if the advocates of creationism/ID could come up with a “creation scientist” whose positions and arguments were solely and entirely rooted in science, the scientific method, scientific evidence, and who brought no religious stake to their approach to these questions — solely a scientific stake.

    Perhaps there is such a person in their camp but my own experience has been that typically where you find a person adhering to creationism/ID, it is invariably and inextricably tied up with certain flavours of biblical religious beliefs and dogmas.

    At the end of the day, the ‘controversy’ between creationism vs. evolutionary theory doesn’t strike me as a scientific controversy whatever, but rather a religious controversy rooted in certain religions and amongst certain of the religious within those religions.



    Report abuse

  • 98
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #90 by Russell W:

    In reply to #89 by PastorRileyF:

    Dr. Dawkins, your presuppositions are showing.

    The article was not written by Richard Dawkins, but rather by Dan Arel. Perhaps your own presuppositions are showing? 😉

    Thank you. I should have looked at the article more carefully to see who the author was. I must have supposed that Richard Dawkins had written it based on the url. I am new to this site.



    Report abuse

  • 99
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #91 by TheHardonCollider:

    Evolution has been directly observed though. Although I’m not sure why you would make the claim that you can’t have empirical evidence without directly observing an event. Can we not put people in jail without eyewitnesses? If you threw a rock at the ground and it broke I could come by later and usi…

    Not evolution as the origin of species. What has been observed is only very minor adaptations or mutations within a species.

    The definition of empiric observation is that something must be observed and measured. Your two examples are in the category of circumstantial evidence, which empiricism does not deal with. I am in favor of using all kinds of evidence, not limiting it to that which may be directly observed. But most evolutionists claim to be taking an empirical approach.



    Report abuse

  • 100
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #96 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #88 by PastorRileyF:

    “Conman”? Such ad hominem attacks are evidence of not having a valid argument.

    I don’t agree with much else you said but I do agree with that. The endless name calling is petty, boring, and adds nothing to the conversation. It’s what I would expect on a creation s…

    Thank you. And I believe evolutionists are self-deluded out of personal interest. At least this is a better place than each of us accusing the other of being intentionally dishonest.



    Report abuse

  • 101
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #97 by arsalan.nazari:

    I couldn’t disagree with this article more.are we supposed to lock those who by any reason still believe in creationism out? and your argument that A TON OF PEER REVIEWED data is enough is invalid! it’s enough to the educated and those who understand them,not someone who has no idea about it.Bill Ny…

    Precisely. I would add that using logic, the theory of evolution is idiotic.



    Report abuse

  • 102
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #98 by Reversatire:

    This article does more damage than any debate Bill Nye may have with creationists. This article is what gives creationists an idea that not only there is something to debate, but that the evolutionists have a reason to fear – as if such a debate like this can be lost.

    Also, this lack of faith (yes,…

    There you go, evolutionists. Have more faith in the theory of evolution! O ye of little faith…



    Report abuse

  • 103
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #99 by Howard Brittain:

    Where I stand is this – I myself would not waste a moment of my precious life debating with someone who is incapable of debate. And I would advise anyone else not to do likewise.

    However to be honest if Nye has the extraordinary patience and commitment and staying power to persevere through all of…

    You sound very closed-minded to arguments unlike yours. You’re not likely to come to a knowledge of the truth with that kind of attitude.



    Report abuse

  • 104
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #100 by aroundtown:

    In reply to #88 by PastorRileyF:

    “Conman”? Such ad hominem attacks are evidence of not having a valid argument. You may not like it or want to fathom it, but there are a lot of smart people, including those with PhD’s in geology, biology, etc. who hold to creationism. The least you could do is a…

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.



    Report abuse

  • 105
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to be convincing with rhetoric and he knows the facts and can communicate them clearly and succinctly. He may even put doubts in the minds…

    “No rational person would buy Ham’s nonesense.” I would like to challenge you to point out one single irrationality in the creationist perspective, please, if you can.



    Report abuse

  • 106
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #103 by Russell W:

    It would be interesting to know if the advocates of creationism/ID could come up with a “creation scientist” whose positions and arguments were solely and entirely rooted in science, the scientific method, scientific evidence, and who brought no religious stake to their approach to these questions -…

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is no theory of origins which is purely scientific in the empirical sense. Evolutionists come to the table with their own set of prior commitments which drastically color their reading and interpretation of the data just as creationists do. That creationists rely partly on the the Bible’s testimony of creation is not a flaw. It does not make the view less scientific, when it is considered, that the Bible has already been proven to them to be entirely truthful.



    Report abuse

  • 107
    N_Ellis says:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    Exactly which god would that be? There are so many, and they’re all so different from one another. If there is a Creator being such as you suggest, then it is clearly utterly incompetent in that it cannot leave a consistent impression of itself in every person. Occam’s Razor indeed



    Report abuse

  • 108
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #113 by N_Ellis:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    Exactly which god would that be? There are so many, and they’re all so different…

    Now you’re getting into my field of expertise, that is, theology, the mother of sciences. I’d be happy to demonstrate to you how we know that the Triune God of the Bible is the true God. I can only give you a taste of it on this forum. For starters, His creation reflects His nature in that we see much unity and much diversity in the world around us, a reflection of the unity and diversity in the one God in three Persons. For more interaction on this topic, check out my highplainsparson blog: highplainsparson.wordpress.com . I would recommend starting by clicking on the Apologetics topic.



    Report abuse

  • 109
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #107 by PastorRileyF:

    Precisely. I would add that using logic, the theory of evolution is idiotic.

    Now you just got through commenting on the fact that ad hominem’s weren’t helpful or useful (which I agree with) and then you turn around and make this statement. You may not have attacked a person, but simply stating an argument idiotic hardly seems useful, productive or valid. If you want to be so brash, at least give your arguments.



    Report abuse

  • 110
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #115 by Russell W:

    In reply to #107 by PastorRileyF:

    Precisely. I would add that using logic, the theory of evolution is idiotic.

    Now you just got through commenting on the fact that ad hominem’s weren’t helpful or useful (which I agree with) and then you turn around and make this statement. You may not have attacke…

    Well, right off the bat, common genetic mutations lack the positive infusion of new data which would be required for a less complex organism to develop into a more highly complex organism. The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA. In other words, evolution lacks a mechanism which could make it a viable process for the origin of species.



    Report abuse

  • 111
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:
    I would like to challenge you to point out one single irrationality in the creationist perspective, please, if you can.

    The arbitrary cut-off point at which to define a “kind”.

    As far as I am aware creationists acknowledge something they call “micro-evolution” where a “kind” evolves into several closely related species, but that the original “kinds” were created by god.

    Evolution tells us that the whole of life is a branching tree form one original organism (LUCA – last universal common ancestor).

    Using the analogy of a tree, suppose a tree is in a valley and is flooded by a newly constructed dam. At first the tree has one visible “origin” – the truck going into the ground. As the water slowly rises more and more of the trunk disappears under water until the first fork in the trunk is reached, at which point it appears there are two trees sticking out of the water. As the water rises, more and more forks are underwater and eventually the tree appears as a forest of little twigs, each with a few small branches and leaves. This looks like a myriad of “kinds” each showing a little “micro-evolution”, yet we know that if the water was a few inches lower there would be a few less “kinds” and a little more “micro-evolution”, and eventually, as the reservoir was drained, just one “kind” and a lot of “micro-evolution” (i.e. evolution).

    I contend that the arbitrary placement of water level is irrational, and I think creationists know it as they have never given a coherent definition of a “kind” or a coherent definition of the difference between “micro-evolution” and “evolution”.

    I see you ignored my previous comment about the difference between “science” and “technology”. Perhaps you would be good enough to answer this one.



    Report abuse

  • 113
    ashleyhr says:

    The disgusting Answers in Genesis bigots are declaring victory already, before the event has happened. Ken Ham will be talking uncensored ‘science’ apparently. No, I firmly predict he will be talking uncensored pseudo-science. But the ‘official’ DVD of the event will be proclaiming otherwise. I have flagged this on the Bill Nye Facebook page – perhaps he should negotiate the removal of the words ‘uncensored science’ from the DVDs? Or will also Nye have his OWN DVDs of the debate with a DIFFERENT title?http://www.answersingenesis.org/store/product/uncensored-bill-nye-debates-ken-ham/?sku=30-9-472
    https://www.facebook.com/billnye?filter=2



    Report abuse

  • 114
    DanDare says:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they are the most important people in the world

    3) Explain science in a nutshell and the wonder of evolution and how exciting it is. Do a sales job.

    4) Don’t let the creationists own the youTube output.

    I think Bill Nye can do that.



    Report abuse

  • 115
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA.

    Point mutations, insertion, and gene duplication are examples of additions to and/or modifications of pre-existing DNA; chromosomal inversion and chromosomal translocation are examples of straightforward moving DNA fragments around to create new combinations of genes with different effects. Even deletions can alter the way a DNA strand is read and thus how an organism is produced from embryology onwards, making them potentially constructive, as in a frameshift mutation. Finally, combinations of these mutations can work in tandem to create new genetic material (for instance, duplication followed by point mutation or insertion). You have not done even any rudimentary research here, or you would be aware of this.



    Report abuse

  • 116
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is no theory of origins which is purely scientific in the empirical sense. Evolutionists come to the table with their own set of prior commitments which drastically color their reading and interpretation of the data just as creationists do. That creationists rely partly on the the Bible’s testimony of creation is not a flaw. It does not make the view less scientific, when it is considered, that the Bible has already been proven to them to be entirely truthful.

    This is merely a point of definition, but I would suggest — as others have — that ID is one variant on creationism. Creationism admits to various degrees it would seem, but it’s really not pertinent to the points I am raising, so let’s set it aside and agree to disagree on who falls into that definition.

    It’s worth noting that those who believe in evolution are a fairly diverse group. It includes Christians, people of other religions, people of no religion. In that regard, I am not so sure that we can so easily talk about the “prior committments” of those who believe in evolution as those who might not, since they clearly make up a very diverse group of people with different forms of belief as well as non-belief. Whether we can say the same about creationists is an open question, but to date my experience (and a recent PewSitter survey for that matter) would at least suggest otherwise.

    Since we don’t strictly agree on who qualifies as a “creationist” let me simply say that the young-earth creationists rely on a particular -interpretation- of the bible (a literalist interpretation) that is not even universal amongst Christians — and yes, for the record, I do think it constitutes a scientific flaw in their approach if they already have a pre-defined conclusion which they are not willing to alter. I would refer you to my first post in this thread where I make reference to Bertrand Russell on Aquinas.



    Report abuse

  • 117
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #104 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #90 by Russell W:

    In reply to #89 by PastorRileyF:

    Dr. Dawkins, your presuppositions are showing.

    The article was not written by Richard Dawkins, but rather by Dan Arel. Perhaps your own presuppositions are showing? 😉

    Thank you. I should have looked at the article more carefully to…

    Not a problem.



    Report abuse

  • 118
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    Well, right off the bat, common genetic mutations lack the positive infusion of new data which would be required for a less complex organism to develop into a more highly complex organism. The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA. In other words, evolution lacks a mechanism which could make it a viable process for the origin of species.

    1) What Zeuglodon @ 121 wrote.

    2) You wrote “common genetic mutations”. You should acknowledge “uncommon genetic mutations”. Most mutations are either neutral or harmful. Occasionally one is helpful. Organisms with harmful mutations have more chance of dying before breeding that those with none, or neutral mutations, those with helpful mutations more. Hence the harmful mutations get weeded out, and the beneficial one accumulate down the generations. The ratio of beneficial mutations to harmful mutations could be 1:1,000,000 and evolution would still work.



    Report abuse

  • 119
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #106 by PastorRileyF:

    Thank you. And I believe evolutionists are self-deluded out of personal interest…

    But, again, given that evolutionists include every stripe, whether Christians, people of other religions or agnostics/atheists, what -is- that personal interest in your mind? What’s the common thread that unites them?



    Report abuse

  • 120
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to be convincing with rhetoric and he knows the facts and can communicate them clearly and succinctly. He…

    A 6,000 year old Earth and universe is irrational nonsense since vast amounts of scientific and historic evidence – which I expect Nye will present examples of at the debate – disproves this notion.

    I hope you do not get censored, Pastor. Note that Ken Ham censors from his facebook page any science presented there that refutes his pseudo-science (and he has the gall to claim that he is presenting ‘science’ but nasty evolutionists refuse to accept it because they ‘hate’ God so suppress the ‘truth’).



    Report abuse

  • 121
    chieffactotum says:

    Macro-evolution holds new information is added. This is the issue. Creationists agree with mutations insertion, etc.
    In reply to #121 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA.

    Point mutations, insertion), and gene duplication are examples of additions to and/or modifications of pre-existing DNA; chromosomal inversion and chromosomal translocatio…



    Report abuse

  • 122
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #120 by DanDare:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they are the most important people in the world

    3) Explain scienc…

    Dan Dare – the debate is MORE about Ham’s version of creation than about evolution. Or it SHOULD be.



    Report abuse

  • 123
    jaredgreener says:

    The reason this should not be a debate has nothing to do with the validity of either argument, but with the fact that science and religion aren’t even in the same league. It is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science. Religion is not a study of “HOW” the universe was created, but the “WHO” and the “WHY”. I believe in God AND evolution. The truth is, you can ride science as deep down the rabbit hole as you can, and still never get to the bottom of how the universe was created. We can theoretically trace origins back to certain checkpoints, but even then we fall pathetically short of what happened before those checkpoints and why and who was responsible for them.

    This debate shouldn’t happen because there’s nothing to debate. Science attempts to answer a COMPLETELY different question than Religion.



    Report abuse

  • 124
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    Problem is that is not actually a simpler explanation. 😉 The simpler explanation is we invented God to explain things we didn’t understand as well as to enforce group cohesion and identity Human behaviors we see expressed in other areas than just religion.



    Report abuse

  • 125
    Marktony says:

    Number 2 in the list of arguments to avoid at AiG is:

    “Microevolution is true but not macroevolution”

    AiG goes on to say:
    “the important distinction is that we observe changes that do not increase the genetic information in an organism”

    I think Pastorrileyf is probably following the AiG rulebook.

    In reply to #121 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA.

    Point mutations, insertion), and gene duplication are examples of additions to and/or modifications of pre-existing DNA; chromosomal inversion and chromosomal translocatio…



    Report abuse

  • 126
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #127 by chieffactotum:

    Macro-evolution holds new information is added. This is the issue. Creationists agree with mutations insertion, etc.
    In reply to #121 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA.

    Addition of information has been shown experimentally – “This duplication immediately conferred the Cit+ trait by creating a new regulatory module”



    Report abuse

  • 127
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #113 by N_Ellis:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    N_Ellis:

    Exactly which god would that be? There are so many, and they’re all so different from one another. If there is a Creator being such as you suggest, then it is clearly utterly incompetent in that it cannot leave a consistent impression of itself in every person. Occam’s Razor indeed.

    A pertinent point. Those who attempt to make such arguments from science/reason to support theistic belief seem to want to immediately also assume that if they can successfully make that argument, then it naturally supports their particular theology/religion and their particular deity — a huge presupposition and leap of logic to say the least. Why does it support their version of “god” and not say a pantheistic version, or a polytheistic version, or the indifferent deistic version? Or for that matter, why not a competing monotheistic version, or some theory of advanced aliens seeding the planet?

    But I digress.



    Report abuse

  • 128
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #127 by chieffactotum:

    Macro-evolution holds new information is added. This is the issue. Creationists agree with mutations insertion, etc.

    If they agree with the mutations, then assuming they know how genes carry information on how to shape and build bodies, they should already see how new information is added with each mutation, especially with each beneficial mutation. Evolution at any scale depends on genetic recipes – acting primarily through transcription and translation, though it also relies on genes regulating each other – starting and modifying the embryological development which produces an organism of certain specifications. More specifically, evolution at any scale depends on differences in the genetic recipes within an interbreeding population. Think of it as a contest or series of contests between two or more ways to build a body, playing out over multiple bodies over time. When the resulting organisms, due to beneficial mutations, survive and reproduce more effectively per generation than those grown using (slightly but consequentially) different genetic instructions, birth and death rates are biased in favour of them and the information on how it grows into such a form – in the form of the genetic contributions to its specifications – prospers with it.



    Report abuse

  • 129
    chieffactotum says:

    I will wait for something better than wikipaedia!
    However, it would seem you aren’t convinced about new information (or maybe confused about it, as we may not have the same definition for it?)
    By new information I mean genetic material hitherto unknown. That seems to me to be where creationists object.
    The combination of genetic data already existent is different than the hypothesis that new data is introduced, correct?
    In reply to #134 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #127 by chieffactotum:

    Macro-evolution holds new information is added. This is the issue. Creationists agree with mutations insertion, etc.

    If they agree with the mutations, then assuming they know how genes carry information on how to shape and build bodies, they should already see ho…



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor

    It’s interesting that you should find this a simpler explanation as I find it fraught with the unknown and unknowable. Wouldn’t the easier explanation be the one were can observe and find evidence to support? On what would you base these claims? A gut feeling? If what you’re saying is correct, a baby brought up in a household with no indoctrination would still have the knowledge of some sort of god/goddess implanted in its brain. This claim is testable, is it not?



    Report abuse

  • 131
    chieffactotum says:

    Jared: it is a debate on origins, which to say is a debate on axiomatic starting points.
    The evolutionist says nature is a closed system that has always been existent; the creationist says its an open system with a fixed starting point.
    Don’t think Ham, Nye, or you and I are going to resolve it. And a naturalistic and secular worldview and a supernatural theistic worldview might can have a debate, but they can agree on little more than the quality of the buffet.
    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    The reason this should not be a debate has nothing to do with the validity of either argument, but with the fact that science and religion aren’t even in the same league. It is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science. Re…



    Report abuse

  • 132
    Marktony says:

    I think Bill Nye should focus on Ken Ham’s YEC beliefs and how Ken Ham indoctrinates children rather than get drawn into the details of evolutionary theory. The subject for debate is: “Is creationism a viable model of origins?”.

    In reply to #134 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #127 by chieffactotum:

    Macro-evolution holds new information is added. This is the issue. Creationists agree with mutations insertion, etc.

    If they agree with the mutations, then assuming they know how genes carry information on how to shape and build bodies, they should already see ho…



    Report abuse

  • 133
    mark.rosengarten says:

    I have always had the impression that Bill Nye is a little overly impressed with himself. As a science educator and antitheist, I don’t think anything good is going to come out of this ill advised dance. I think this debate will be every bit as cringeworthy as the discussion Prof. Dawkins had with Wendy Wright, which had me wanting to poke sharp sticks in my eyes within ten minutes.



    Report abuse

  • 134
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #135 by chieffactotum:

    I will wait for something better than wikipaedia!

    Better in what way? The articles provide a decent enough overview, as far as I can tell.

    However, it would seem you aren’t convinced about new information

    How exactly did you come to this statement? You posited that creationists agreed with mutations but disagreed about “new information” being created. I explained how new information could come about through mutations. You will hopefully understand that it is confusing, therefore, to be told that I am the one who seems unconvinced by it.

    (or maybe confused about it, as we may not have the same definition for it?) By new information I mean genetic material hitherto unknown. That seems to me to be where creationists object. The combination of genetic data already existent is different than the hypothesis that new data is introduced, correct

    You do know I already pointed out in Comment 121 examples of mutations that add, say, nucleotides, strands of DNA, or even whole chromosomes, right? Primarily duplication and insertion, since adding genetic material is precisely what those processes are.



    Report abuse

  • 135
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #135 by chieffactotum:

    I will wait for something better than wikipaedia!
    However, it would seem you aren’t convinced about new information (or maybe confused about it, as we may not have the same definition for it?)
    By new information I mean genetic material hitherto unknown. That seems to me to be where creationists obje…

    Ok, let me give you a million letter “a”s, a million letter “b”s, etc, plus a million of “,” “.” “?” etc. You have a fixed size bag on about 70 million letters and punctuation marks. I am not going to give you any more “information”. Ever.

    Could you duplicate the entire works of Shakespeare? Could you write your own original novel?

    If you think that is unfair, try a huge bag of the 10,000 copies of each of the 10,000 most common words in English – “the” “a” “bear” etc. How would you get on then?

    Now suppose you has a large bag of millions of strips of paper on which were written short English sentences. How would you get on. Suppose you has some scissors and glue?

    What is different with strips of DNA, and different mutations, gene duplications etc? (And its been observed in the lab. @132)

    Arrangements of data are “information”. Rearrangements are new “information”.



    Report abuse

  • 136
    vincentDV says:

    I wonder why the author of this article values consensus so much. Evolution theory isn’t strong because of consensus, but because there is so much evidence for it and nothing against.

    In the early days of evolution theory, there was strong consensus against it. Respected scientists agreed that it couldn’t be right, history proved them wrong. Consensus is just a silly statistic with little meaning. Consensus happens, but has no value or merits, it’s just there.



    Report abuse

  • 137
    DanDare says:

    In reply to #128 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #120 by DanDare:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they are the most important people i…

    Dan Dare – the debate is MORE about Ham’s version of creation than about evolution. Or it SHOULD be.

    No, politically, it should not. This is not a science debate. Its a presentation in front of a creationist audience. Attack their dogma merely highlights it and strengthens their defense. The strategy is to ignore it and sell them some science. Ken Ham is not stupid. The topic is chosen to focus on his beliefs and allow him to set the terms of the discussion with his audience. If you go after that topic using his rules he can then on sell to people on the fringe of his audience and bring them closer in. Working inside the debate as if it were a debate is to lose.

    Think outside the debate instead. These people don’t understand science. They believe in revelation as reinforced by their leaders. Bill Nye’s actual topic should be “Truth cannot be revealed, it must be discovered”.



    Report abuse

  • 138
    Michael Rohde says:

    Dear PastorRileyF,

    Did you know that in science we work to disprove theories by comparing the risky and specific predictions they yield against observational experiment? Did you know that the ongoing attempt to disprove evolutionary theory on behalf of millions of collaborating and eager scientists over the last 160 years or so has been utterly fruitless?

    You are free to dislike and discount evolution. Your belief that evolution is idiotic, however, is rooted in an equally idiotic understanding of scientific theory.

    Creationism vs. evolution debates begin and end with a proper understanding of scientific theory. Debating beyond this point requires creationists to willfully misunderstand and underestimate scientific theory. Unfortunately for the United States and its public education system, you creationists are adept at this.

    Cheers,

    Michael Rohde, GED

    P.S. Irrational is believing and expecting that your unfalsifiable concepts warrant rational scrutiny or serious consideration.



    Report abuse

  • 139
    CafeNexo says:

    I completely agree with your conclusions, but I object to the language you used at one point. These people are not brain-dead creationist zombies. Deluded, yes, unintelligent, no. Aside from the fact that YE creationists are bound to regard every fact in the light of their scriptures, they can be quite clever. We can look forward to Ham using non sequiturs and misrepresenting data. I don’t know that he is insincere. He may well believe everything he says. After all, it is all backed up by his interpretation of the Bible. That’s all the proof he needs.



    Report abuse

  • 140
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism.

    Not exactly, but it is a derivative of it which tries to hide its connection.

    You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist.

    It’s vaguely possible but very unlikely, – given that ID was invented to try get around the US constitution to incompetently teach Genesis as science in schools. They would have to be pretty ignorant of history as well as science to swallow that without seeing the US biblical connection.

    But there is no theory of origins which is purely scientific in the empirical sense

    This is just asserted nonsensical personal opinion based on ignorance!!! –

    You clearly have no idea about what a scientific theory is – http://www.thefreedictionary.com/scientific+theory!

    Evolutionists come to the table with their own set of prior commitments which drastically color their reading and interpretation of the data just as creationists do.

    Rubbish! Biologists, physicists and cosmologists have mountains of multiple cross-checked data and a wealth of knowledge.

    Biblical literalists and creationists have none!

    That creationists rely partly on the the Bible’s testimony of creation is not a flaw.

    They clearly have no idea about the history of those periods or the mythical origins of the bible. Only the scientific illiterate would regard the Bible as a science text book. The historically illiterate would regard the Bible as a history textbook.

    It does not make the view less scientific,

    You clearly have no idea what constitutes scientific evidence or scientific methodology. ( This sort of bland assertion is ignorance , not evidence) This is a science web-site where you can talk to REAL scientists who DO know what is scientific !

    when it is considered, that the Bible has already been proven to them to be entirely truthful.

    Rubbish! It even contradicts its self – quite apart from being at odds with science and history. You are demonstrating your ignorance of biblical history in such assertions.

    In reply to #107 by PastorRileyF:

    Precisely. I would add that using logic, the theory of evolution is idiotic.

    You demonstrably have no understanding of the theory of evolution, ecology or genetics, and apparently no idea that logic is a rational process of deduction and not simply a badge to stick on to your preconceived notions, assertions and circular arguments.

    The idiocy is all a projection of your own assertive ignorance.

    What you are illustrating here is the Dunning–Kruger effect where those who have so little knowledge of a subject, are so ignorant, that they are unaware of even of their own lack of knowledge, and hence see no gaps in it.

    Evolution has been solidly evidenced science for over a hundred years. It’s just that some slow-learners have not managed to understand even the basic features of it – usually through bigotry, of a lack of study or science education.

    YECs and other pseudo-scientists shout their nonsense, but have nothing of scientific value to say, apart from providing examples of the psychology of unevidenced delusional beliefs, in their efforts to pervert science and logic.

    Evolution is illustrated in the DNA of every living thing on Earth, and has been independently confirmed as fact thousands of times by zoologists, botanists and biologists. The theory of Natural Selection explains how evolution works and has likewise been recorde in thousands of expert studies.



    Report abuse

  • 141
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    Religion is not a study of “HOW” the universe was created, but the “WHO” and the “WHY”.

    The Big Bang Theory is currently the most plausible candidate for theory that comprehensively explains the origins of the known universe, based on astronomical observations and converging lines of evidence. If you’re going to say that the universe was made for a purpose, I would like to know, at least in part, why you seem to know enough about the universe to say that, what that claim is based on, and why it has no bearing on or relevance to a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe, if you don’t mind?



    Report abuse

  • Great article by Dan Arel. I completely agree. Unless Nye has some kind of trick up his sleeve that we don’t know about, this seems like a lose-lose situation, and therefore a bad idea. And it will look great on Ham’s CV, not so good on Nye’s..

    Even if Nye manages to produce the most lucid scientific arguments and concrete evidence, Ham will just employ his usual routine of countering with dishonest, fallacious, and popular remarks to make a political point. Even worse: he will be rewarded for this by the loud cheering of an overwhelmingly creationist live audience, which, in turn, will be broadcast into live streaming video (for free) to a wider internet audience.

    You only have to visit the Answers In Genesis website about the upcoming debate to see how they are already profiting from this publicity: building dedicated websites with pre-order DVD/downloads, and offering free promotional materials to schools and churches for a debate that hasn’t even taken place yet. And they’re not even disguising their true agenda, I quote: “We pray that this debate will honor Christ our Creator and direct many people to the foundations of our faith which are found in the Bible, from the very first verse.”

    Well, I guess one has to make the best out of a difficult situation, and I hope Nye will do his homework on Ham, stick to the debate topic, and eventually succeed in winning over the audience.



    Report abuse

  • 144
    scottburdick says:

    I think it is a good idea because there is no danger that Ham is going to change anyone’s mind to switch from evolution to creationism, but the opposite may be the case for those who are creationists and have never heard even the basics of evolutionary theory. I have convinced many creationist Christians I know personally that evolution is true after going over the basics of dating, geology, fossils, species distribution, and elementary evolutionary theory. Many were rather shocked that they could have gotten through Christian colleges without having ever heard such things at all. Any chance at a view outside the box is a plus, in my view.



    Report abuse

  • 145
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:
    >

    Well, right off the bat, common genetic mutations lack the positive infusion of new data which would be required for a less complex organism to develop into a more highly complex organism. The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not add complex DNA. In other words, evolution lacks a mechanism which could make it a viable process for the origin of species.

    I’m not sure what rubbish web-site you copied this asserted nonsense from, but I would bet you don’t even know the different types of mutation which can occur, or what effect mutant changes can have. I see Zeuglodon has explained some of these to you @121.
    You need to study some biology from some university science departments where people know what they are talking about. – and probably you need to study some basic textbooks first so you can understand what they are talking about.

    You are providing a comedy show here lecturing scientists on your hopeless misunderstandings of science.



    Report abuse

  • 146
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #148 by JP1:

    Great article by Dan Arel. I completely agree. Unless Nye has some kind of trick up his sleeve that we don’t know about, this seems like a lose-lose situation, and therefore a bad idea. And it will look great on Ham’s CV, not so good on Nye’s..

    … And they’re not even disguising their true agenda, I quote: “We pray that this debate will honor Christ our Creator…

    That’s funny because that statement right there is not even sound Christian Trinitarian theology.



    Report abuse

  • 147
    SeeEverySide says:

    Let us also have a debate on the origins of the bible – the times it was written, the sources, the books copied from other books, the books they chose to not include in the current version. That men who heard voices of god who were probably schizophrenic – mental illness has always been with us. The power struggles and conferences where dogma was decided. Quality of translations and how translations were verified – we still hear it quoted in a form of old English “Thou art…” etc. It is, after all, just another book and one worthy of investigation but like other stories and written information, you don’t necessarily have to believe it.



    Report abuse

  • 148
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #138 by Marktony:

    I think Bill Nye should focus on Ken Ham’s YEC beliefs and how Ken Ham indoctrinates children rather than get drawn into the details of evolutionary theory. The subject for debate is: “Is creationism a viable model of origins?”.

    In reply to #134 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #127 by chieffactotum:

    Ma…

    Yes – Ham does indoctrinate kids. He is desperate to show that (a) Genesis despite when it is written is ‘sound’ science and (b) the Bible can and should be used to ‘refute’ real science ie the science of the Science Guy, which starts with the evidence, does not rule things out on a whim because of sacred texts, and does not assume ‘supernatural’ intervention and occasional miracles unless there is any evidence for such.



    Report abuse

  • 149
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #143 by DanDare:

    In reply to #128 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #120 by DanDare:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they…

    Dan Dare
    Have you understood my argument? I was refer to the TITLE of the debate. Ham has to SHOW that creation (his version) is a viable model of origins in a scientific era. If he can’t he loses. Nye does not have to prove evolution, just show that Ham’s creation is not viable scientifically despite Ham’s attempts (I assume) to argue that it is.



    Report abuse

  • 150
    Scaphinotus says:

    I think courtrooms are the best forum for this type of debate. Creationists should also be confronted/debated in school boards and other local forums where they’re trying to infiltrate our schools.



    Report abuse

  • 151
    Rairsys says:

    In a religion there are- 1st beliefs in things or occurrences that are not observed in the present, 2nd there are established laws that are to be accepted without debate, 3rd a condescending ridicule (self righteousness) and indignation toward those of a different persuasion, 4th an ascending hierarchy acknowledged by the faithful, 5th Usually a lack of accountability among the high priests.

    1. For me to believe in something, it must make sense, which in that case is a good thing.
    2. Richard Dawkins and Dan Arel should not expect others who not adhere to their beliefs to accept their laws.
    3. The ridicule expressed by Richard Dawkins and others that believe the same toward those of opposing beliefs, in my opinion, only substantiates the fact that they are religious.
    4. Since I do not believe in Evolution I can only accept Richard Dawkins, Dan Arel, and any other evolutionist on the merit of their argument.
    5. In my opinion it would be a good idea for Richard Dawkins, Dan Arel, and other evolutionists to display their accountability and encourage more events, like the upcoming debate to take place.



    Report abuse

  • 152
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    It is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science.

    Many religious beliefs (such as YEC) are opposed to science. Science does disprove many religious claims, but the vagueness of your generalised statement produces nothing specific to challenge. Neuroscience is well on the way to explaining the basis of religious thoughts and delusions.

    Religion is not a study of “HOW” the universe was created, but the “WHO” and the “WHY”.

    This makes the unsupported assumpltion that there is a “Who” and a “Why?” When following a regression honestly, “why” questions lead back to “how” answers and then eventually to “We do not know beyond this point at present”! Some make the pseudo-explanation, “god-did-it-by-magic” at this point rather than admitting they do not know.

    I believe in God AND evolution.

    So do many Xtians (such as the RCC and the CofE). Some “believe in evolution”, because they have studied scientific evidence, and some think they believe in the science, but they actually believe in the pseudo-scientific theistic evolution because their church dogma now says they should, and some confuse the issues.

    Their belief in gods however, is due to religious or cultural indoctrination which they have uncritically accepted on “faith”. Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.- http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith

    The truth is, you can ride science as deep down the rabbit hole as you can, and still never get to the bottom of how the universe was created.

    This “truth”, is pure asserted guesswork on your part. You don’t know what physicists might discover in the vastness of space/time.

    We can theoretically trace origins back to certain checkpoints, but even then we fall pathetically short of what happened before those checkpoints and why and who was responsible for them.

    Which is where evidence-based science says it does not know, and those using “faith-thinking gapology” make up a magic fairy who was responsible for doing it by unexplained magic, and then they attach whimsical human-centred “why?” objectives as part of a religion.



    Report abuse

  • 153
    crookedshoes says:

    Alan4, i am often baffled by the religious persons simultaneous need to never say “I don’t know” and the subsequent filling of the knowledge gap with “must be god”.

    The stuff I don’t know is all fodder for my lifetime of learning! That’s the “meaning” in my life.

    There HAS to be a “who”? What nonsense. There has to be a “why”? What utter bullshit.

    And, when it comes right down to it, the infinite regress that religious adherence to a god always results in, causes religion to not know a damn thing about a damn thing.

    In reply to #158 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    It is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science.

    Many religious beliefs (such as YEC) are opposed to science. Science does disprove many religious claims, but the vagueness of your ge…



    Report abuse

  • 154
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #118 by johnt16:

    Well argued. Sounds like this Ham bloke is not worth the waste of breath.

    I think the Aussie Ken Ham would enjoy being called a “bloke.”



    Report abuse

  • 155
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #120 by DanDare:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they are the most important people in the world

    3) Explain scienc…

    5) Be mentally prepared to accept it graciously when your best arguments are systematically dismantled by an informed Creationist.

    6) Be blown away by the awe-inspiring wonder of creation that puts man’s puny invention of evolutionary theory to shame.



    Report abuse

  • 156
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is no theory of origins which is purely scientific in the empirical s…

    Intelligent Design need not be linked to Scripture. Many of histories greatest scientists were non-Christians who believed in an Intelligent Designer: Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, etc. Some others were Bible-believing Christian creationists like Johannes Kepler and Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method.



    Report abuse

  • 157
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is no theory of origins which is purely scientific in the empirical s…

    While it’s true that there are theistic evolutionists, they are commonly impressed with the arguments of evolution, and able to live with the inconsistencies this creates in their thinking visa vis the Creator, or else they are pandering for respect from the modern world by expressing belief in evolution while being Christians. (It never works, by the way.) In general, all of mankind is self-interested to deny that there is a God who rewards good and punishes evil, since every person has a guilty conscience from violating what they knew was right many times in their lives. Pretending like the world we live in could exist without this just God helps relieve their rational fear a little through willful self-deception.



    Report abuse

  • 158
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #124 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:

    Well, right off the bat, common genetic mutations lack the positive infusion of new data which would be required for a less complex organism to develop into a more highly complex organism. The mutations we have observed simply deconstruct existing DNA. They do not…

    But has a “beneficial mutation” been observed to add complex data to more simple organisms? Or is it simply a relatively minor change?



    Report abuse

  • 159
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #125 by Russell W:

    In reply to #106 by PastorRileyF:

    Thank you. And I believe evolutionists are self-deluded out of personal interest…

    But, again, given that evolutionists include every stripe, whether Christians, people of other religions or agnostics/atheists, what -is- that personal interest in your mind? What’…

    It’s the fear of a righteous Creator God who has created all things, and who rewards the good, and punishes the evil. This truth is inscribed in nature that surrounds us. People are self-interested to suppress this information because of their evil deeds committed against their own conscience.



    Report abuse

  • 160
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #126 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to be convincing with rhetoric and he knows the facts and can communic…

    You can’t say it’s irrational without first examining the evidence they have that supports their claim. It is more likely that people have a rational reason for believing what they do than that they do not, because human beings are rational creatures. It’s one of those things left over from the image of God our Creator inscribed in us. 🙂



    Report abuse

  • 161
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    The reason this should not be a debate has nothing to do with the validity of either argument, but with the fact that science and religion aren’t even in the same league. It is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science. Re…

    I disagree. The account in Genesis 1 tells us not only Who created, and Why the world was created, but also gives us quite a bit of information as to how He did it. In fact, it is the only eyewitness account of creation that exists, since it is from the Creator Himself.



    Report abuse

  • 162
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #130 by Russell W:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    Problem is that is not actually a simpler explanation. 😉 The simpler explanati…

    That God is true is certainly a simpler answer than the convoluted hypothesis that mankind nearly universally came up with the same useful fiction based on environmental factors, and was willing to even die for adherence to this fiction.



    Report abuse

  • 163
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #133 by Russell W:

    In reply to #113 by NEllis:_

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor.

    N_Ellis:

    Exactly which god would that be? There a…

    We are not doing any such “leap of logic” when we say that the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit revealed in Holy Scriptures is the One True God. This is really not very difficult to substantiate. Why would you assume we were just making a logical leap? Don’t you know there are entire libraries and institutions of higher learning dedicated to this science? The proof is there if you are interested to see it.



    Report abuse

  • 164
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #136 by Nitya:

    In reply to #110 by PastorRileyF:

    Interesting thoughts, but isn’t it a much simpler explanation that most humans believe in God because He implanted a knowledge of Himself in them when He created them? Occam’s razor

    It’s interesting that you should find this a simpler explanation as I find it frau…

    I base the claim on many different kinds of evidence. God is unknowable in the sense that may never entirely understand him, any more than an ant may fully understand a human being. He is infinite and we are finite. But that does not mean that there is not evidence. The entire creation is His handiwork, evidence pointing to Him. Literally everything in this universe proves that there is a God. Also, He has spoken to us in His Son, which is quite credible evidence that He exists.



    Report abuse

  • 165
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #164 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #124 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #116 by PastorRileyF:
    But has a “beneficial mutation” been observed to add complex data to more simple organisms? Or is it simply a relatively minor change?

    Yes. Read the link from #132. A duplication of 2933 base pairs caused new functionality.

    I suppose you will classify it as a “relatively minor change”. That is what evolution does – trillions of tiny changes to genomes over billions of years.

    Read #117 and tell me why you think there is an arbitrary cut-off line?



    Report abuse

  • 166
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #144 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear PastorRileyF,

    Did you know that in science we work to disprove theories by comparing the risky and specific predictions they yield against observational experiment? Did you know that the ongoing attempt to disprove evolutionary theory on behalf of millions of collaborating and eager scientist…

    You should know that Francis Bacon, the father of modern science and inventor of the scientific method, was a creationist. Data requires interpretation, and that means you must come to it with a mental framework for understanding the world around us. We all take presuppositions to the data that we examine. Most evolutionists are naturalistic empiricists, meaning that they believe the only valid evidence is that which may be observed and measured, and that the supernatural is excluded. Only natural processes are admitted as possible explanations. So right off the bat, they are biased to the exclusion of creation, and any other supernatural even which doesn’t fit their presupposed paradigm. The conclusions are predetermined by their presuppositions. The Creationist looking at the same data will come to different conclusions based on the same data. The Creationist perspective may be proven to be true by showing that the naturalistic empiricist evolutionist cannon be consistent in sticking to his stated framework. He has to borrow from a supernaturalist point of view at points in his theory, thereby invalidating his whole paradigm. In contrast, the Creationist framework explains things the way they are and occur quite well.



    Report abuse

  • 167
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #162 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    Intelligent Design need not be linked to Scripture. Many of histories greatest scientists were non-Christians who believed in an Intelligent Designer: Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, etc. Some others were Bible-believing Christian creationists like Johannes Kepler and Francis Bacon, the father of the scientific method.

    Einstein used the word “god” as a metaphor for “nature”. The others died before Darwin was even born.



    Report abuse

  • 168
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #117 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:
    I would like to challenge you to point out one single irrationality in the creationist perspective, please, if you can.

    The arbitrary cut-off point at which to define a “kind”.

    As far as I am aware creationists acknowledge somethin…

    What exactly is irrational about believing that the organisms in the world were created according to “kinds”, as our Creator has told us they were? I fail to see any irrationality in it. You may think that it’s erroneous, but we’re going by evidence that you are not. Error is not the same as irrationality. (Not that I believe we are in error.)



    Report abuse

  • 169
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #173 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #162 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    Intelligent Design need not be linked to Scripture. Many of histories greatest scientists were non-Christians who believed in an Intelligent Designer: Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, etc. Some others w…

    I’m no expert on Einstein, but are you suggesting that he did not believe in an Intelligent Force behind nature? It seems from his quotations that he did.



    Report abuse

  • 170
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #173 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #162 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    Intelligent Design need not be linked to Scripture. Many of histories greatest scientists were non-Christians who believed in an Intelligent Designer: Aristotle, Newton, Einstein, etc. Some others w…

    You seem to be a fan of Darwin. A couple questions. First of all, what about Aristotle’s proofs for the existence of the unmoved mover is changed by Darwin’s theory? (I think Aristotle’s reasoning is deficient in many ways, but I’m curious as to whether you have even taken the time to examine it.)

    Secondly, do you agree with Darwin’s view that some human races are more evolutionarily advanced than others?



    Report abuse

  • 171
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #174 by PastorRileyF:

    What exactly is irrational about believing that the organisms in the world were created according to “kinds”, as our Creator has told us they were? I fail to see any irrationality in it. You may think that it’s erroneous, but we’re going by evidence that you are not. Error is not the same as irrationality. (Not that I believe we are in error.)

    If you want a discussion, can we clear some background:-

    1) Have the original “kinds” evolved into different species since the creation? I.e does the “tree of life look like a forest of twigs, as per my analogy in #117?

    2) Is that evolution through loss of information in the genome, or through gain of information (or maybe neutral reshuffling)?



    Report abuse

  • 172
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #169 by PastorRileyF:

    We are not doing any such “leap of logic” when we say that the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit revealed in Holy Scriptures is the One True God. This is really not very difficult to substantiate. Why would you assume we were just making a logical leap? Don’t you know there are entire libraries and institutions of higher learning dedicated to this science? The proof is there if you are interested to see it.

    Sure I know. I studied theology as well as philosophy.

    At any rate, theology is not a proper science despite what theologians like to say (not unsurprisingly or un-self-servingly) about it being the “queen” of the sciences. 😉

    My own conclusion is that theology belongs in the domain of fiction — which is also where it should be sold in bookstores, alongside other theologies like those of the myths of the Greek gods and the myths of the Celts and the Nordic gods, etc. etc. (but there we’ll simply have to agree to disagree of course, so let’s move on.)

    The leap is plainly evident. Many religious people move from a “First Cause” from a “Designer” or from a “Creator” to the specific assumption that this means their particular theology, their particular deity, -must- be what that points to and therefore demonstrates as true. IF (and it’s a big if) they could establish such a “creator being” (which I by no means accept or think the case) by no means could one automatically or logically make that leap.



    Report abuse

  • 173
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #176 by PastorRileyF:

    You seem to be a fan of Darwin. A couple questions. First of all, what about Aristotle’s proofs for the existence of the unmoved mover is changed by Darwin’s theory? (I think Aristotle’s reasoning is deficient in many ways, but I’m curious as to whether you have even taken the time to examine it.)

    Aristotle’s unmoved mover has nothing to do with Darwin. Aristotle is shot down by quantum mechanics. Aristotle lived before Darwin so we will never know what he would have thought had he read “Origin of Species”.

    Secondly, do you agree with Darwin’s view that some human races are more evolutionarily advanced than others?

    No. Are you trying the logic fallacy that because Darwin was mistaken on some things his main thesis is wrong?



    Report abuse

  • 174
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #170 by PastorRileyF:

    … The entire creation is His handiwork, evidence pointing to Him. Literally everything in this universe proves that there is a God. Also, He has spoken to us in His Son, which is quite credible evidence that He exists.

    Dear Paster Riley, you really do assume too much. We know the universe exists because we cognize it all around us; it is the world we inhabit. How the universe came into being, if it ever did come into being, is something we do not know, but physicists are working on that (e.g. A Universe From Nothing by Lawrence Krauss). It is simply not acceptable in a rational discussion to begin by assuming the existence of something (such as the entity you call God) which you admit is neither known nor knowable. And as though you were unaware of your presumption, you become even more presumptuous by introducing your nonsensical religious superstition into the discussion as though it were worthy of our consideration! You tell us that this unknowable entity, which Ockham’s razor excludes from the discussion, has a son! A bonnie lad indeed! And that this filial representative of the entity excluded from consideration by Ockham’s razor has communicated with us on his nonexistent father’s behalf! What you call credible evidence makes me wonder whether you and I speak the same language.



    Report abuse

  • 175
    apathostic says:

    In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:
    “Another point I should have made in mentioning the RD / Cardinal Pelman debate is that Cardinal Pelman, despite his religious beliefs is someone whom I can accept as being an honest man who believes what he says is true.”

    You mean Cardinal George Pell. He’s the head of the Catholic church in Sydney, Australia, and despite you thinking he’s an honest man who believes what he says, he is actually a dishonest scumbag who has helped pedophiles in his church to wriggle out of prosecution and bullied those children who have come forward with accusations out of laying charges.

    http://www.couriermail.com.au/news/national/cardinal-george-pell-showed-little-empathy-for-victims-inquiry-hears/story-fndo1uez-1226523134833

    http://www.theage.com.au/victoria/the-man-in-the-big-chair-20130526-2n50u.html

    His “performance” on “Q&A” on ABCTV in Australia was nothing short of arrogant, incompetent and ignorant. RD showed admirable restraint by not screaming at him to shut the hell up every time he opened his idiot mouth. Pell’s greatest disappointment? Pell not being voted pope. World’s greatest success? Pell not being voted pope. He’s a politician, and a power-hungry crook. Please don’t accept him as anything other than what he is: everything that has ever been wrong with religion.



    Report abuse

  • 176
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    You should know that Francis Bacon, the father of modern science and inventor of the scientific method, was a creationist.

    If we’re going to talk about logical fallacies (e.g. ad hominems) this would classify as being of the fallacy of the argument from authority. Whether he was or wasn’t is relevant to pointing to either the truth or falsehood of creationism.

    Most evolutionists are naturalistic empiricists, meaning that they believe the only valid evidence is that which may be observed and measured, and that the supernatural is excluded.

    You speak as though you think that evolutionism necessarily is primarily the playground of the atheist despite the fact there are many Christians who are evolutionists, as well as many others who are religious. I’m curious, would you suggest they too exclude the supernatural?

    I’m curious too how you would propose that the metaphysical and supernatural be observed and measured?



    Report abuse

  • 177
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #175 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #173 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #162 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    I’m no expert on Einstein, but are you suggesting that he did not believe in an Intelligent Force behind nature? It seems from his quotations that he did.

    Absolutely. “God does not play dice” == “Nature does not play dice” == “I don’t believe the apparent randomness in quantum mechanics is the correct interpretation”. Even I think “God does not play dice” is more poetic.

    A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as “pretty childish”

    Einstein, as he says in his autobiographical notes, lost his religion at the age of 12, concluding that it was all a lie, and he never looked back. But he never lost his religious feeling about the apparent order of the universe or his intuitive connection with its mystery, which he savored. “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is its comprehensibility,” he once said.

    “If something is in me that can be called religious,” he wrote in another letter, in 1954, “then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as science can reveal it.”

    Source – New York Times



    Report abuse

  • 178
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #181 by Cairsley:

    What you call credible evidence makes me wonder whether you and I speak the same language.

    From my experience, be assured you don’t.



    Report abuse

  • 179
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #184 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #175 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #173 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #162 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    I’m no expert on Einstein, but are you suggesting that he did not believe in an Intelligent Force behind nature? It seems from his quotations that he did….

    These quotations lead me to believe that he recognized Intelligence behind the order of the universe. Note that I mentioned below he was neither a Christian nor a Creationist.



    Report abuse

  • 180
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #183 by Russell W:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    You should know that Francis Bacon, the father of modern science and inventor of the scientific method, was a creationist.

    If we’re going to talk about logical fallacies (e.g. ad hominems) this would classify as being of the fallacy of the argument from authority….

    The only reason someone would be attracted to evolution is that they are looking for a naturalistic explanation. Some theists prefer for some reason to think that God or a god worked entirely through natural processes in the origin of the species, without working above, without, or against those ordinary processes that He has established, as if He were dependent upon them to do His will.



    Report abuse

  • 181
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #181 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #170 by PastorRileyF:

    … The entire creation is His handiwork, evidence pointing to Him. Literally everything in this universe proves that there is a God. Also, He has spoken to us in His Son, which is quite credible evidence that He exists.

    Dear Paster Riley, you really do assume too…

    I wasn’t assuming anything. I was merely referring you to the evidence. It’s everywhere. Certainly more detailed logical arguments can and should be provided beyond my general direction. As for God speaking through His Son, I have the evidence. Would you like to see it? Come over and I’ll show it to you. It’s my copy of Holy Scripture.



    Report abuse

  • 182
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #179 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #176 by PastorRileyF:

    You seem to be a fan of Darwin. A couple questions. First of all, what about Aristotle’s proofs for the existence of the unmoved mover is changed by Darwin’s theory? (I think Aristotle’s reasoning is deficient in many ways, but I’m curious as to whether you have ev…

    So, if you don’t agree with Darwin, why not? He doesn’t have to be right on everything to be right on some things, but it would seem to follow logically from his theories of the origin of species and the survival of the fittest that one or more races of human beings would be superior to others. How would you counter this argument? I think if you are consistent with evolution, you’ll have to agree with it.

    As for myself, I believe what God has said, that he created “of one blood all the nations of the earth.” There is only one human race, created in God’s image, without substantial differentiation that could ever alter that state of equality.



    Report abuse

  • 183
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    Data requires interpretation, and that means you must come to it with a mental framework for understanding the world around us.

    You only need one observation – the universe appears to by systematic. Observe X, Y follows. Observe X ten times. Y follows ten times. If you observe X you can now predict the future. Modern science is just that on steroids.

    Most evolutionists are naturalistic empiricists, meaning that they believe the only valid evidence is that which may be observed and measured, and that the supernatural is excluded.

    If something can’t be observed and measured how do you know it exists? This is really, really important. If someone says “I saw a ghost last night” it means it can be observed and measured, because someone just claimed they observed it!

    Only natural processes are admitted as possible explanations.

    No. Observations are made. Hypotheses are constructed to explain the observations, and then experiments are designed to attempt to falsify the hypothesis. I’m sure electricity and magnetism had about the same status as ghosts 1,000 years ago. There is no a priori classification into natural and super-natural. If it can be observed science can investigate. If it can’t be observed how does anyone know there is anything there?

    So right off the bat, they are biased to the exclusion of creation, and any other supernatural even which doesn’t fit their presupposed paradigm. The conclusions are predetermined by their presuppositions.

    No. As above.

    The Creationist looking at the same data will come to different conclusions based on the same data. The Creationist perspective may be proven to be true by showing that the naturalistic empiricist evolutionist cannon be consistent in sticking to his stated framework.

    That is the fallacy of the excluded middle. Even if evolution is false it does not prove creation is true. There might be other alternatives.

    He has to borrow from a supernaturalist point of view at points in his theory, thereby invalidating his whole paradigm.

    Please explain this “borrowed supernaturalist view”.

    In contrast, the Creationist framework explains things the way they are and occur quite well.

    Like mutant chickens growing teeth? source Please enlighten us as to the creationist explanation for this?



    Report abuse

  • 184
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #178 by Russell W:

    In reply to #169 by PastorRileyF:

    We are not doing any such “leap of logic” when we say that the Triune God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit revealed in Holy Scriptures is the One True God. This is really not very difficult to substantiate. Why would you assume we were just making a logical leap? Don’…

    Such a leap is irrational and silly. We Christians are doing nothing of the sort. We have evidence that our God is the true God.



    Report abuse

  • 185
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is no theory of origins which is pure…

    Whilst it could be argued that the Pastor is spamming this discussion, I believe in free speech (within limits) and hope he does not get censored or banned – like his fellow creationists do to evolutionists all too often when they feel their beliefs are under ‘threat’.



    Report abuse

  • 186
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #177 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #174 by PastorRileyF:

    What exactly is irrational about believing that the organisms in the world were created according to “kinds”, as our Creator has told us they were? I fail to see any irrationality in it. You may think that it’s erroneous, but we’re going by evidence that you are no…

    My view is that the “kinds” of creation are roughly similar to the classification of “genus.” So I ask again, what is irrational in the view that the living organisms on planet earth were created according to kinds by a sovereign Creator?



    Report abuse

  • 187
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #166 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #126 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to be convincing with rhetoric and he k…

    Pastor – I have examined YEC claims against billions of years many many times and they are ridiculous dogma pure and simple. It may be rational to believe the Bible if you are afraid of God (and you would not get billions of years from the Bible genealogies) but whatever the motivation of YECS deciding what to believe and what to reject, the rigid and dogmatic YEC beliefs themselves are TOTAL NONSENSE – as Mr Nye well knows. Complete garbage. And anti-science.



    Report abuse

  • 188
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #170 by PastorRileyF:

    The entire creation is His handiwork, evidence pointing to Him. Literally everything in this universe proves that there is a God. Also, He has spoken to us in His Son, which is quite credible evidence that He exists.

    It’s all nice and good to assert that “literally everything in this universe provers there is a God” but you actually haven’t shown it, argued it, never mind proven it — and there is much which would suggest otherwise. But the burden of proof lay on you, so go right ahead and show us how everything in this universe points to that conclusion.

    As well, you can surely see that saying “he has spoken to us through His Son” is far from credible evidence for the existence of a god. Never mind that it’s another spurious argument from authority as you believe it, it also rests on the presupposition that (a) there is a god in the first place, (b) it is true that this god has a son, and (c) that Jesus is that son. That’s a lot of leaps.

    I’m also curious why you consider Jesus’ testimony more obviously credible and true than any other “prophet”, seer, god, or self-proclaimed godly relative.



    Report abuse

  • 189
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #144 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear PastorRileyF,

    Did you know that in science we work to disprove theories by comparing the risky and specific predictions they yield against observational experiment? Did you know that the ongoing attempt to disprove evolutionary theory on behalf of millions…

    “You should know that Francis Bacon, the father of modern science and inventor of the scientific method, was a creationist.” Well I never. In those days you could just about be a creationist without being a science denier. Unlike in today’s modern scientific era.



    Report abuse

  • 190
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #196 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #144 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear PastorRileyF,

    Did you know that in science we work to disprove theories by comparing the risky and specific predictions they yield against observational experiment? Did you know that the ongoing attempt to disprove evoluti…

    It goes to show that the scientific method was not originally intended to deny the supernatural.



    Report abuse

  • 191
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #191 by PastorRileyF:

    Such a leap is irrational and silly. We Christians are doing nothing of the sort. We have evidence that our God is the true God.

    I agree such a leap is irrational and silly — and I would suggest that is indeed the leap that is being made.

    You keep making assertions, but you provide nothing more than assertions.

    If you have such evidence, you obviously do not need faith. That puts you in a bit of a conundrum with your own scriptures however.

    Let’s keep in mind that simply asserting some is so does not make it so. You believe your God is the true God, that I can accept. That you have “evidence” that your god is the true god, or that even a god exists, that I cannot accept unless you provide this evidence and it stands up the scrutiny.



    Report abuse

  • 192
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #189 by PastorRileyF:

    So, if you don’t agree with Darwin, why not? He doesn’t have to be right on everything to be right on some things, but it would seem to follow logically from his theories of the origin of species and the survival of the fittest that one or more races of human beings would be superior to others. How would you counter this argument? I think if you are consistent with evolution, you’ll have to agree with it.

    Because “race” is only determined by a few dozen genes out of 30,000 ish. The variation over the 30,000 far exceeds the variation in “race” genes. Two random modern Africans will be as far apart in gene space as an African and a European. It is not surprising as the human race went through a bottle-neck about 70,000 years ago when there were probably only about ten thousand humans alive. We look like clones to the rest of animal kingdom.



    Report abuse

  • 193
    ashleyhr says:

    In reply to #197 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #196 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #144 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear PastorRileyF,

    Did you know that in science we work to disprove theories by comparing the risky and specific predictions they yield against observational experiment? Did you know that the ongo…

    It has probably evolved over time.



    Report abuse

  • 194
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #195 by Russell W:

    In reply to #170 by PastorRileyF:

    The entire creation is His handiwork, evidence pointing to Him. Literally everything in this universe proves that there is a God. Also, He has spoken to us in His Son, which is quite credible evidence that He exists.

    It’s all nice and good to assert that “literal…

    Now this is starting to get interesting. As far as how the universe points to God, specifically, there is no need for me to reinvent the wheel where smarter men than I have contributed. I will instead direct you to a brief overview by Dr. Mark Hausam, “Why Christianity Is True.” http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/mark-hausam/why-christianity-is-true/ebook/product-18953167.html

    As far as how Jesus’ testimony to being God’s Son is credible, it was proven by many miracles which were witnessed during his ministry on earth which were chronicled by those who were present, and especially, his resurrection from the dead which he had predicted prior to his death, and had been foretold by the Hebrew prophets centuries before. After he died and rose again he was seen by over 500 witnesses, a claim that Paul of Tarsus published openly, noting that many of the witnesses were still alive when he was writing–an invitation to peer review. In addition the 11 who were with him all testified of seeing him after his resurrection, and sealed the credibility of their testimony with their own blood, 10 of the 11 being executed or murdered for their testimony and the other, John, dying an old man in exile on the island of Patmos. There are many things that could be said as well about his message, as far as its unique grasp of the human condition and a suitable remedy for sin and death that no human could ever imagine if God had not informed us of it.



    Report abuse

  • 195
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #194 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #166 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #126 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #111 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #101 by fuzzylogic:

    I agree. But I would place more confidence in Bill Nye’s abilities. All of the recent appearances he’s made on TV and so forth have been impressive. He knows how to b…

    Error is not the same as irrationality. You may think that the Young Earth Creation view is utter nonesense, but that does not make it an irrational belief. I also think there’s a lot of evidence for a Young Earth that you have not been exposed to, apparently.



    Report abuse

  • 196
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #187 by PastorRileyF:

    The only reason someone would be attracted to evolution is that they are looking for a naturalistic explanation. Some theists prefer for some reason to think that God or a god worked entirely through natural processes in the origin of the species, without working above, without, or against those ordinary processes that He has established, as if He were dependent upon them to do His will.

    Why is it the -only- reason? Couldn’t the reason be also because it is the explanation that actually makes sense and aligns with the evidence? You may not personally believe that is so, but is that not another possible and plausible explanation?

    Regardless, I think you are ceding the point that one can believe in a god, in the supernatural, and also believe in evolution. In that regard, belief in evolution doesn’t -necessarily- have to exclude the supernatural (even though it might for some).



    Report abuse

  • 197
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #193 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #177 by God fearing Atheist:

    My view is that the “kinds” of creation are roughly similar to the classification of “genus.” So I ask again, what is irrational in the view that the living organisms on planet earth were created according to kinds by a sovereign Creator?

    That depends on how you view the existing species arising from the original “kind”/genus. For instance, how did Pan troglodytes and Pan paniscus arise from Pan?

    Comes to my second question (in old post). Do you believe these species are degraded versions of the original Pan, i.e. by all harmful mutations, or were some mutations helpful?



    Report abuse

  • 198
    john.wb says:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    Pretending like the world we live in could exist without this just God helps relieve their rational fear a little through willful self-deception..

    I think you have this backwards. It is Christians who spend their lives in fear – never really sure if they have done enough to satisfy their god, a god who commands them to be good, and who damns those who fall short to eternal hellfire. Scary stuff.

    Have you ever wondered why hell is such a nasty place? God couldn’t have just made it mildy unpleasant, could he? It had to be really, really bad. It’s because fear is a great way to control people. Now – I’ll leave it to you to work out who, over the ages, has been doing the controlling, and why.

    Spend some time here Pastor Riley. You will discover people who see this nonsense for what it is. Some were raised to question things right from the start. Others have overcome a childhood of indoctrination and opened their eyes to a wonderful world of logic and science. We have different opinions about a diversity of subjects, because we do not need to be told how to think, but we all share the common thread of a belief in reason and a rejection of superstition.



    Report abuse

  • 199
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #192 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #122 by Russell W:

    In reply to #112 by PastorRileyF:

    First of all, Intelligent Design is not the same as Creationism. You may find an advocate of Intelligent Design who does not hold to a particular religious faith, but not a creationist. But there is…

    You could comment on my blog and I would not censor you for disagreeing respectfully and making your best and most cogent arguments. I would only censor for rudeness or pedantic repetitiveness. But if you went on our church facebook page, I most likely would censor because it is not my intention to make that page a forum for public debate. Its purpose is to disseminate information to the community. So I understand where publishers like AiG are coming from. There are a lot of people who check their facebook page for updates on sales of materials and events, and they might not have the desire or the time to keep debating you in that format.



    Report abuse

  • 200
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #197 by PastorRileyF:

    It goes to show that the scientific method was not originally intended to deny the supernatural.

    It also wasn’t unintended to do so. The scientific method should lead where the evidence leads. If that were toward a deity, so be it. If not, then not. As it stands…



    Report abuse

  • Talking to the general public about the Theory of Evolution (in the U.S., anyway) is fraught with problems of both language and the general poor level of science education. Bill Nye has been working against the second part his whole career. I have tried to lean about the language part over these years of web debates, and the years of walking with my missionary neighbor. Here are some of the things I have learned:

    We should be much more careful with our language than we are, especially when making general assertions without evidence. There is no use making that accusation of the religious side unless we are willing to hold ourselves to a much higher standard. Here is an example, I don’t tell people Evolution is a fact, even though I consider it a fact. What I do tell people is a fact is that every natural species that is known is consistent with being descended from a common ancestor in an unbroken chain of life reaching back billions of years. In any law court this would be accepted as rising to the level of “beyond reasonable doubt” because of the vast nature of the evidence (especially DNA) and lack of counter examples that should have been found if in error.

    I stress that common descent is the place to start because it was suspected by many before Darwin, and does not depend on Darwin. It can be argued on it’s own standing, and even ID folks like Behe recognize it is true. Even the odd old Earth Creationist (who invokes “metaphor” re Genesis) will sometimes allow common descent as the way the “divine hand” spread life about the world, intentionally changing it through the eons. Getting to common descent it the most directly winnable point, because what we see in the world directly supports it.

    Part two, is showing that Darwin came up with a reasonable explanation for a natural mechanism behind the changes that accumulate generation to generation, ultimately compounding to what the Creationist side calls “macro-evolution.” I tell people that if they want to watch an example of macro out of micro development, they can go watch a video of a single cell turn into a grown frog. Quite a marvel if you watch it at 100x speed, but if you slow it down and look frame by frame, each frame will be virtually identical to the next, just as in the history of evolution, each generation of any species was nearly identical to the last. Thus, we do see Evolution, around us all the time, we just tend to get hung-up in the Sorties Paradox involved (that can also be applied to ring species in lapse of distance rather than time). Richard does a good job of using his “time machine” thought experiment to show that speciation never occurs at any generation, yet is always occurring.

    The “no new information” canard we have to deal with is easily proven bogus by examples of genetic algorithms in computer science that can “evolve” designs and solutions to problems that actually provide us with new information. That, you can show happening as people watch it, but unfortunately if you are starting with folks who have been so undeserved by the educational system that they can’t understand Evolution in the first place, showing something so advanced, may amaze, but not necessarily inform. Spreading the knowledge that this is being used in engineering would help the educators.

    Back to the subject at hand, “Creation Science” fails to withstand Occam’s Razor because it postulates added supernatural actions where none are required. Part of the philosophy of Science is to first seek natural answers to our questions. One of the biggest questions is how far can we get with natural answers? To get that answer, we have to stick to natural explanations for as long as we can, and that is why Science does not consider the supernatural, including Creationism.

    If you watch Ken Ham’s videos, he has one simple message: the Bible has to be true without error or there is no basis for objective morality and civilization will collapse. He has publicly stated that evidence to the contrary does not matter because what is in the Bible is true. As others have written, there really is no point in answering anything he says; Ham is going to preach. Bill Nye is best when simply teaching the truth. I expect he will do that very well.



    Report abuse

  • 202
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #201 by PastorRileyF:

    As far as how Jesus’ testimony to being God’s Son is credible, it was proven by many miracles which were witnessed during his ministry on earth which were chronicled by those who were present, and especially, his resurrection from the dead which he had predicted prior to his death, and had been foretold by the Hebrew prophets centuries before. After he died and rose again he was seen by over 500 witnesses, a claim that Paul of Tarsus published openly, noting that many of the witnesses were still alive when he was writing…

    I can point you to many competing religious texts that most Christians would consider heresy which point to the proof of their partcular deities. Do you accept those testimonies? If not, why not? I can point you to Roman historians like Suetonius who speak to the Jesus-like miracles of corrupt Roman emperors.. should we accept that they are therefore the gods they proclaimed themselves to be? Let’s go a little modern. I’m going to assume for a moment you’re probably a protestant evanglical, and many protestant evangelicals are a bit uncomfortable with Roman Catholics (to say the least), particularly their Mariology. You were speaking of “500” witnesses. Catholics will produce 100’s of thousands of witnesses to their so-called “miracle of the sun” of “Our Lady of Fatima” in Fatima, Portugal, and this in the 20th century around WWI. So, what of it? Is that proof of their doctrines for you?

    We could delve into many other examples of course, from other religious traditions.

    However, this puts aside the whole fact that claiming these are miracles does not necessarily make them miracles, nor evidence for god, nor does it preclude the possibilities they are either superstitious misunderstandings or outright lies. It also puts aside the fact that vague prophecies are easy to fulfill or be made to be seemed to be fulfilled after the fact. Christian theology is also filled with the need to rationalize things like Jesus’ apparent idea that the world was going to end before the last apostle died — but didn’t.

    Since you are pointing me to a text, I would point you to two texts:

    1. Carl Sagan, The Demon Haunted World
    2. Bertrand Russell, Why I am Not a Christian



    Report abuse

  • 203
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #190 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #172 by PastorRileyF:

    Data requires interpretation, and that means you must come to it with a mental framework for understanding the world around us.

    You only need one observation – the universe appears to by systematic. Observe X, Y follows. Observe X ten times. Y follows ten times. I…

    I must apologize in advance because my response is not going to rise to the level of what your thoughts deserve, due to my other priorities and time commitments.
    Data requires interpretation, and that means you must come to it with a mental framework for understanding the world around us.
    “You only need one observation – the universe appears to by systematic. Observe X, Y follows. Observe X ten times. Y follows ten times. If you observe X you can now predict the future. Modern science is just that on steroids.”
    If you’re merely seeing that Y follows X ten times, you’ve not yet interpreted the data. Once you predict that it will follow the 11th time, now your revealing a core belief in the consistency of the universe, an ultimate presuppositional commitment. You could observe it 10T times but in order to predict it would happen again the 10T+1 time, you’d have to presuppose a belief in the law of causation and the unchangability of certain natural laws. That’s the kind of presuppositional framework that I’m talking about.
    Most evolutionists are naturalistic empiricists, meaning that they believe the only valid evidence is that which may be observed and measured, and that the supernatural is excluded.
    “If something can’t be observed and measured how do you know it exists? This is really, really important. If someone says “I saw a ghost last night” it means it can be observed and measured, because someone just claimed they observed it!”
    Supernatural events have been observed, but they cannot be repeated. That’s why they are defined as supernatural. They are not the ordinary way that things work and do not follow the laws of nature. Empiricism rejects any event that cannot be observed in repetition.
    Only natural processes are admitted as possible explanations.
    “No. Observations are made. Hypotheses are constructed to explain the observations, and then experiments are designed to attempt to falsify the hypothesis. I’m sure electricity and magnetism had about the same status as ghosts 1,000 years ago. There is no a priori classification into natural and super-natural. If it can be observed science can investigate. If it can’t be observed how does anyone know there is anything there?”
    Again, mere observation is not enough for the naturalist. He will discard the data unless it can be repeated under close observation.
    So right off the bat, they are biased to the exclusion of creation, and any other supernatural even which doesn’t fit their presupposed paradigm. The conclusions are predetermined by their presuppositions.
    “No. As above.”
    Yes, because anything non-repeatable will be cast off as some kind of error. Note that I’m not criticizing this approach when it comes to empirical science, which has proven to be supremely useful to mankind. I’m only trying to show where its limits lie. It can’t explain everything. As a philosophy naturalism fails, although empirical science has an important role within limits.
    The Creationist looking at the same data will come to different conclusions based on the same data. The Creationist perspective may be proven to be true by showing that the naturalistic empiricist evolutionist cannon be consistent in sticking to his stated framework.
    “That is the fallacy of the excluded middle. Even if evolution is false it does not prove creation is true. There might be other alternatives.”
    That is a logical statement. But in that case we must be prepared to examine the other alternatives as they are presented in the same light. They will all fail as evolution does. But it seems like for the naturalist, as Dawkins said, “Evolution is the only game in town.”
    He has to borrow from a supernaturalist point of view at points in his theory, thereby invalidating his whole paradigm.
    ‘Please explain this “borrowed supernaturalist view”.’
    For example, above, when the naturalist applies a belief in the uniformity of the laws of nature, when he has no rational basis for such a belief provided to him from naturalistic philosophy. When the naturalistic scientist predicts that Y will follow X the 11th time, having only observed it 10 times, he is borrowing in practical terms from the Christian worldview which states that there is a God who rules the universe consistently. There is nothing in his own stated philosophy which supports this confidence.
    In contrast, the Creationist framework explains things the way they are and occur quite well.
    “Like mutant chickens growing teeth? source Please enlighten us as to the creationist explanation for this?”

    Sure, the Bible gives an explanation for the destructive mutation of genes. It’s due to the sin of the human race. Because of human beings’s sin, nature has been subjected to deformation. Romans 8:22

    Now this is getting really fun!



    Report abuse

  • 204
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #203 by Russell W:

    In reply to #187 by PastorRileyF:

    The only reason someone would be attracted to evolution is that they are looking for a naturalistic explanation. Some theists prefer for some reason to think that God or a god worked entirely through natural processes in the origin of the species, without working a…

    Sure, I suppose there are people who prefer evolution to explain the origin of species, and they do believe in a god as well. I would not dispute that. Either they are not being very consistent in their thinking, or for some reason they prefer a naturalistic explanation of creation while believing there is a god who got it all started, so to speak.



    Report abuse

  • 205
    Justaguy says:

    In reply to #69 by Marktony:

    May I then rephrase the question, because I would have no problem agreeing with you that it does require more faith to believe in god then to take any hypothesis seriously. Do you believe that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a fact? If not, then can you give my first question another try?

    OK, I’ll tr…

    My friend, You asked me if I had more confidence in believing that a god created life or that it happened it’s own. My answer is no. Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from. I think this bothers evolutionist because it puts them in the same camp as a religion. In your last response you said-“You may ask yourself: why is it more difficult to accept the abiogenesis hypothesis for the origin of the basic life forms (that evolved into us) than it is to believe that we were created from dust? The answer is religious faith and no small amount of indoctrination.” If we are fair my friend, then it is easy to say that the origins of life and evolution there after, requires faith. But then you would also have to agree that that would require- no small amount of indoctrination. By the way, I do think it’s kind of cheap to swap out faith for confidence. The words are similar but a whole new argument can be started and I’d rather not do that my friend. But the desire for you to not want to use the word faith, is kind of my point. Where the believer can be mock because they cling to their religious text or ways, so does the evolutionist cling to their peer-reviewed papers or ways. Have I been fair? I respect our discussion and would like to know if I’m missing something. Thanks



    Report abuse

  • 206
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #205 by john.wb:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    Pretending like the world we live in could exist without this just God helps relieve their rational fear a little through willful self-deception..

    I think you have this backwards. It is Christians who spend their lives in fear – never really sure if they have done…

    On the contrary, many Christians experience peace with God and a full assurance of God’s grace and pardon, while in this life. There is a filial love which overcomes fear. I think that most true Christians experience this. And let me tell you, it is a joy, a foretaste of heaven.



    Report abuse

  • 207
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #207 by Russell W:

    In reply to #197 by PastorRileyF:

    It goes to show that the scientific method was not originally intended to deny the supernatural.

    It also wasn’t unintended to do so. The scientific method should lead where the evidence leads. If that were toward a deity, so be it. If not, then not. As it stands…..

    You misunderstand. The scientific method was not intended to explain everything, to provide all knowledge, or to be the only source of truth. It is very useful in its place but there are much higher forms of knowledge. The scientific method may point to God but it cannot actually prove or disprove him. That’s because it is limited to the ordinary processes of the natural world, and has nothing to do with the supernatural. But be assured there are higher forms of evidence.



    Report abuse

  • 208
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #210 by PastorRileyF:

    When the naturalistic scientist predicts that Y will follow X the 11th time, having only observed it 10 times, he is borrowing in practical terms from the Christian worldview which states that there is a God who rules the universe consistently. There is nothing in his own stated philosophy which supports this confidence.

    Occam’s razor can be used on “there is a God who rules the universe consistently” to reduce it to “it has been observed that under certain circumstances the universe behaves consistently”. The second statement is induction from observation, with no god necessary.
    Inserting god is for you to prove.

    Your statement “there is a God who rules the universe consistently” now contradicts your argument that the supernatural is defined as events that happen just once and therefore can’t be subject to science. So does god rule consistently or not?

    Going back to my original question about kinds turning into species, I assume your answer is that it is all degradation. In which case how do you explain the duplication of 2933 base pairs (#171)?



    Report abuse

  • 209
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #209 by Russell W:

    In reply to #201 by PastorRileyF:

    As far as how Jesus’ testimony to being God’s Son is credible, it was proven by many miracles which were witnessed during his ministry on earth which were chronicled by those who were present, and especially, his resurrection from the dead which he had predicted pr…

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Other religious texts and saviors do not stand up to scrutiny. Nor do they provide the needed remedy corresponding to the human condition. But, hey, bring it on!

    Vague prophecies? How about names and dates? Study Isaiah and Daniel.

    One does not willingly die for a lie, let alone Ten. And, as far as Jesus prophecy that the Son of Man would come in power, you misunderstand it. He did. It is not referring to his return, which is still to come. It is a reference to Daniel 7:13 about his session as King on the throne and the right hand of the Father in heaven and the establishment of his kingdom on earth, which is recorded in Acts.



    Report abuse

  • 210
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #198 by Russell W:

    In reply to #191 by PastorRileyF:

    Such a leap is irrational and silly. We Christians are doing nothing of the sort. We have evidence that our God is the true God.

    I agree such a leap is irrational and silly — and I would suggest that is indeed the leap that is being made.

    You keep making asserti…

    There is much, much more evidence than I can provide in this forum. Did you see the link I posted? Here’s an overview of some evidence by Dr. Mark Hausam: http://www.lulu.com/us/en/shop/mark-hausam/why-christianity-is-true/ebook/product-18953167.html

    If you’d like to come over and chat, I’d be happy to go through much evidence with you.

    [Last sentence removed by moderator: links to or plugs for users’ blogs not permitted on this site.]



    Report abuse

  • 211
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #199 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #189 by PastorRileyF:

    So, if you don’t agree with Darwin, why not? He doesn’t have to be right on everything to be right on some things, but it would seem to follow logically from his theories of the origin of species and the survival of the fittest that one or more races of human being…

    OK, so in that case, you would expect to see differentiation of classes on some other basis, eventually, making some humans superior to others, would you not? (Disclaimer: I believe all human beings will be equally bearers of God’s image as long as the world remains.)



    Report abuse

  • 212
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #214 by PastorRileyF:

    You misunderstand. The scientific method was not intended to explain everything, to provide all knowledge, or to be the only source of truth. It is very useful in its place but there are much higher forms of knowledge. […] But be assured there are higher forms of evidence.

    Should I take those assurances of higher forms of evidence on faith? 😉

    I actually spent a good deal of my life within theological and ecclesiastical circles. I was never bitter, nor did I leave those circles in a bitter way, but I am well aware of the intellectual gymnastics that go on, so I do know of what things you speak.

    But here again we get into the great divide that exists, this time in the area of epistemology.



    Report abuse

  • 213
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #215 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #210 by PastorRileyF:

    When the naturalistic scientist predicts that Y will follow X the 11th time, having only observed it 10 times, he is borrowing in practical terms from the Christian worldview which states that there is a God who rules the universe consistently. There is nothing in…

    I’ll have to look into that one, thanks. As far as God ruling the universe, he ordinarily uses natural means. But he is not bound to them by necessity. Sometimes he overrides them, so to speak. That’s what makes the supernatural extraordinary. Your conclusion based on your (I think faulty) application of Occam’s razor is simply to say less than I have said, to leave important philosophical questions unanswered, which may be known. This is a good illustration that strict empiricism, if applied to all of human knowledge, stunts human knowledge, and becomes the enemy of true science. If that’s all you’ve got, you can’t prove to me that Y will follow X the 11th time, no matter how many times this has been tried before. You’re borrowing selectively from the Christian worldview, whereas I’m giving you the whole statement.



    Report abuse

  • 214
    jaredgreener says:

    Like I said, different questions altogether – but all important questions. Also, we are not talking about the start of the universe, but the start of the earth – we will never know HOW the universe started because it has existed eternally.

    In reply to #149 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear jaredgreener,

    Until we know HOW the universe started, we should not assume a WHO or a WHY.

    Cheers,

    Michael Rohde, GED



    Report abuse

  • 215
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #221 by jaredgreener:

    Like I said, different questions altogether – but all important questions. Also, we are not talking about the start of the universe, but the start of the earth – we will never know HOW the universe started because it has existed eternally.

    In reply to #149 by Michael Rohde:

    Dear jaredgreener,

    Unt…

    Now THAT is a faith statement if I ever saw one.



    Report abuse

  • 216
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #210 by PastorRileyF:

    Because I also have things to do …

    If you believe micro-evolution adds information, then genuses can be combined into families an evolutionary tree just like species can be combines into genuese, and so on back. Assuming the genus was the unit of creation is arbitrary and therefore irrational.

    If you think it was all down hill from the genus at creation, then you are ignoring the evidence (2933 base pairs) and evolving multi-drug resistant bacteria.

    If find it peculiar that you think hen’s teeth are a destructive mutation. If you thought cancer was a destructive mutation I would understand, but one species creating the teeth of another species in all their intricate detail? The overall effect of the mutation might be fatal, but the specific effect of growing perfect dinosaur teeth could at least be called “rebel art”.



    Report abuse

  • 217
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #219 by Russell W:

    In reply to #214 by PastorRileyF:

    You misunderstand. The scientific method was not intended to explain everything, to provide all knowledge, or to be the only source of truth. It is very useful in its place but there are much higher forms of knowledge. […] But be assured there are higher forms o…

    The human mind was made to rise so much higher than just manipulating molecules and seeing what happens. We all know this intuitively. You can’t possibly believe that the natural sciences present the only form of evidence for everything, or the only source of the knowledge of truth.



    Report abuse

  • 218
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #188 by PastorRileyF:

    I wasn’t assuming anything. I was merely referring you to the evidence. It’s everywhere. Certainly more detailed logical arguments can and should be provided beyond my general direction. As for God speaking through His Son, I have the evidence. Would you like to see it? Come over and I’ll show it to you. It’s my copy of Holy Scripture.

    Hello again, Pastor Riley. Your evidence for God and his son and so on is the Bible? How is the Bible evidence for God, let alone his having done anything? I am already quite familiar with the Bible and know what Christians believe concerning it; although they do not agree entirely among themselves about this, they are generally agreed that the Bible conveys the thoughts and intentions of the unique supreme being (God) in which they believe. But, apart from the fact that generations of Christians have over the centuries been promoting the Bible as the incontrovertible word of this supreme being, what makes you think that it provides any evidence for the truth of Christian beliefs? The Bible is in this case part of the Christian belief-system itself, all of which is an elaborate, age-old and all-too-well-established superstition and is therefore useless as evidence in support of Christian beliefs – the Bible (as divine word, etc.) is itself Christian belief held without benefit of evidence. The only real use the diverse collection of ancient writings that is the Bible has for us is as evidence on how people thought and lived in the ancient Middle East and Mediterranean. These ancient writings, which you call Holy Scripture, should be left to linguists, historians, archaeologists and so on, who know how to assess and interpret such materials.



    Report abuse

  • 219
    jaredgreener says:

    I didn’t say that religion has no bearing to science, just that the two shouldn’t be pitted against each other when they aren’t in opposition to each other. I believe the earth (not universe which has existed eternally) was created for a purpose because we have been told it was. Religion also is based on a model of organized and testable knowledge. If you live by God’s principles you will know they are valid because they bring light, truth, and happiness.

    God’s principles are designed in their very nature to lead to the happiness and progression of men. Education and learning are godly principles which have led me closer to God.

    In reply to #147 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #129 by jaredgreener:

    Religion is not a study of “HOW” the universe was created, but the “WHO” and the “WHY”.

    The Big Bang Theory is currently the most plausible candidate for theory that comprehensively explains the origins of the known universe, based on astronomical observations and…



    Report abuse

  • 220
    jaredgreener says:

    Origins of what? The bible speaks of the creation of this earth, not the universe. While there are some extreme and uneducated creationists who believe in a fixed starting point of the universe, the truth is that the universe has always existed. And you’re right: Ham, Nye, and the entire population of scientists will never resolve this question – the difference is that religion isn’t trying to answer the question of an origin that doesn’t exist – its purpose is to bring happiness, knowledge, and progression to mankind.

    In reply to #137 by chieffactotum:

    Jared: it is a debate on origins, which to say is a debate on axiomatic starting points.
    The evolutionist says nature is a closed system that has always been existent; the creationist says its an open system with a fixed starting point.
    Don’t think Ham, Nye, or you and I are going to resolve it. And…



    Report abuse

  • 221
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #218 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #199 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #189 by PastorRileyF:

    OK, so in that case, you would expect to see differentiation of classes on some other basis, eventually, making some humans superior to others, would you not? (Disclaimer: I believe all human beings will be equally bearers of God’s image as long as the world remains.)

    I would not expect to see differentiation of classes unless the human population got split – for instance a colony on Mars. Global travel and social mobility is blending us more than we have blended historically.

    If humans split into Earthlings and Martians the Earthlings would be superior at living on Earth, and the Martians at living on Mars. The same as humans are superior to chimps at a writing, but chimps are superior at climbing.



    Report abuse

  • 222
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #225 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #188 by PastorRileyF:

    I wasn’t assuming anything. I was merely referring you to the evidence. It’s everywhere. Certainly more detailed logical arguments can and should be provided beyond my general direction. As for God speaking through His Son, I have the evidence. Would you like to se…

    Linguists, historians, etc.–that’s why those who teach the Bible need to be a little bit of all of the above! 🙂 The Bible contains convincing internal evidence of divine authorship. Here is a brief overview of the types of evidence found in it: http://highplainsparson.wordpress.com/2012/03/29/the-bible-proven-to-be-gods-word-by-its-own-evidence/



    Report abuse

  • 223
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #227 by jaredgreener:

    Origins of what? The bible speaks of the creation of this earth, not the universe. While there are some extreme and uneducated creationists who believe in a fixed starting point of the universe, the truth is that the universe has always existed. And you’re right: Ham, Nye, and the entire population…

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “heavens and earth” are Hebrew idiom for the universe. “In the beginning” means before time began.



    Report abuse

  • 224
    jaredgreener says:

    If religion is causing you to intellectually regress than your religion is wrong. God encourages and promotes science, learning, and growing in intelligence. I know very little in the scheme of it all, but that doesn’t change what I do know. I find it hard to believe that anyone could believe there is no ‘Why’ to their life. The purpose of life is to have joy. Do you not seek for joy in your life?

    In reply to #159 by crookedshoes:

    Alan4, i am often baffled by the religious persons simultaneous need to never say “I don’t know” and the subsequent filling of the knowledge gap with “must be god”.

    The stuff I don’t know is all fodder for my lifetime of learning! That’s the “meaning” in my life.

    There HAS to be a “who”? What no…



    Report abuse

  • 225
    chieffactotum says:

    Jared, to attribute eternality to matter is to give it an attribute of deity. Which is just the position of evolution: some form of matter has always existed.
    What you have evidenced is only confusion.
    In reply to #230 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #227 by jaredgreener:

    Origins of what? The bible speaks of the creation of this earth, not the universe. While there are some extreme and uneducated creationists who believe in a fixed starting point of the universe, the truth is that the universe has always existed. And you’re right: H…



    Report abuse

  • 226
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #215 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #210 by PastorRileyF:

    When the naturalistic scientist predicts that Y will follow X the 11th time, having only observed it 10 times, he is borrowing in practical terms from the Christian worldview which states that there is a God who rules the universe consistently. There is nothing in…

    One more thing, I am taking into account God’s own testimony that He does in fact govern the universe and his laws as evidence. You seem to be discarding this testimony. As a result, you remain in ignorance on this particular matter and on many other things. I wish that you and others would receive his testimony, so that your knowledge would increase.



    Report abuse

  • 227
    jaredgreener says:

    Matter has existed eternally and science backs that up. When God ‘created’ the earth he did so from existing matter. We also know from science that the universe tends towards entropy – God is the great organizer of matter into elements of joy and beauty.

    In reply to #232 by chieffactotum:

    Jared, to attribute eternality to matter is to give it an attribute of deity. Which is just the position of evolution: some form of matter has always existed.
    What you have evidenced is only confusion.
    In reply to #230 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #227 by jaredgreener:

    Origins of what? The bible s…



    Report abuse

  • 228
    mark.alsip.7 says:

    A rather arrogantly written op-ed from a site whose writers I normally agree with 99% of the time. My objections, with the author’s statements in quotes:

    “When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating.”. No, sorry — When you accept a debate, you are accepting that an idea is worth defending.

    “Creation vs evolution is not worth debating” is the viewpoint shared by many scientists. Unfortunately, not everyone in the world is a scientist and this is a topic of great interest. The non-scientists are winning, and the elitist attitudes of upper-echelon scientists who refuse to debate are getting us nowhere.

    “Nye is not a biologist”. Who appointed biologists as the guardians of scientific knowledge? Creationism is an attack on ALL of science and although I welcome the contributions Dawkins has made in debunking creationism, I am just as qualified as a computer scientist/mathematician (with a solid additional university curriculum in physics, chemistry, and biology) to defend science against Ham, who has a degree only in applied science, as Nye, who does have a college science degree. Further, I have a degree from a Kentucky college, and suffer on a daily basis the ridicule heaped on my state’s education system because this museum is here.

    “We fault Christian apologists almost daily for trying to ride their honorary degrees, it would seem only fair we hold Nye to the same standard.” Nye does NOT hold an honorary degree. Neither do I. I believe I could defeat Ham easily as I have studied him for years. Contrary to what the author of this op-ed believes, Nye has ALSO studied the tired creationist mantra and IMHO is more than capable of winning this debate.

    “Key phrases like “half a wing will fly from his lips”… And perhaps if the author got off his educational high horse he could effectively debate this nonsense.

    “Nye is putting a lot at risk and he is not the man to do so.” Again, I don’t know who nominated the author judge of who is and who isn’t qualified to make the kind of decision, but I know that despite his innumerable contributions, Dawkins has failed to reach people for the very same perceived arrogance. I think Nye is EXACTLY the kind of man to take on this debate.



    Report abuse

  • 229
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #229 by PastorRileyF:

    … The Bible contains convincing internal evidence of divine authorship. …

    Thank you, Pastor Riley, for the link to what appears to be your own webpage. Unfortunately, what is needed to establish the truth of any Christian belief is something that exists independently of anyone’s perceptions of it and is not part of the Christian belief-system. We do not wish to be guilty of that most embarrassing of logical fallacies, begging the question, after all. The “convincing internal evidence” you offer is worthless for two basic reasons: 1. it involves merely the cherrypicking of passages that support the idea of divine authorship – one can find passages in the Bible to support anything; and 2. the existence of the god whom you suppose to have been the author of the Bible has yet to be established. All you are offering is to prove your superstition by appealing to superstition. Where, I ask, is any evidence, real evidence, independent of the Bible (which is part of the superstitious belief-system you are promoting), in support of Christian beliefs?



    Report abuse

  • 230
    john.wb says:

    In reply to #213 by PastorRileyF:

    There is a filial love which overcomes fear. I think that most true Christians experience this

    Lots of people besides Christians experience this kind of filial love. North Koreans for instance.



    Report abuse

  • 231
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #236 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #229 by PastorRileyF:

    … The Bible contains convincing internal evidence of divine authorship. …

    Thank you, Pastor Riley, for the link to what appears to be your own webpage. Unfortunately, what is needed to establish the truth of any Christian belief is something that exists indepe…

    If the Bible is from God, that proves his existence, does it not? It is evident from your comment that you didn’t read my post, where I pointed to categories of objective evidence discernible in the text of Scripture. That’s fine, I’m not saying you have to read it. But then why comment on it at all?



    Report abuse

  • 232
    PastorRileyF says:

    In reply to #235 by mark.alsip.7:

    A rather arrogantly written op-ed from a site whose writers I normally agree with 99% of the time. My objections, with the author’s statements in quotes:

    “When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating.”. No, sorry — When you accept a debate, you are accepting that…

    I think this has the potential to be a great debate, as both participants are skilled, motivated, passionate, and knowledgeable.



    Report abuse

  • 233
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #220 by PastorRileyF:

    I’ll have to look into that one, thanks. As far as God ruling the universe, he ordinarily uses natural means. But he is not bound to them by necessity. Sometimes he overrides them, so to speak. That’s what makes the supernatural extraordinary.

    How do you know he overrides them? You have defined a super-natural event as a one-off. If you claim to believe everyone who has an unusual story to tell, I’ll introduce you at a Nigeria prince who will pay you a shed load on money to move a few million dollars. So how do you know when god did something, or when someone was lying or dillusional? If the event was a one-off, but mundane, like a driver who recently survived uninjured after his car was cut in half when it hit a road sign, how do you tell a rare event from an intervention?
    How do you tell the difference between a random pattern of tea leaves, and a message not to take the bus because it will crash?

    Why is god overriding his own rules anyway? If he is trying to talk, he might consider some clarity in the transmission. One-off, unrepeated events is the opposite of clarity. In previous posts you have claimed repeated miracles by Jesus, and multiple witnesses. That seems like repeatability. You can’t have it both ways.

    Your conclusion based on your (I think faulty) application of Occam’s razor is simply to say less than I have said,

    My application of Occam’s razor is correct – do not multiply entities unnecessarily. I only need to induce systematicity in the universe to bootstrap scientific model building of the universe.

    to leave important philosophical questions unanswered, which may be known.

    I consider those unanswered questions unimportant. I assume your “known” is god as the prime mover? I think that is question begging.

    This is a good illustration that strict empiricism, if applied to all of human knowledge, stunts human knowledge, and becomes the enemy of true science.

    How does it stunt human knowledge? Why is it the enemy of true science?

    If that’s all you’ve got, you can’t prove to me that Y will follow X the 11th time, no matter how many times this has been tried before.

    That is why I wrote “on steroids”. I was only writing about the initial induction that suggests the universe is systematic. From a systematic universe science has create models. Those models have far more power than the original weak statistical inference. For instance the design of the Boeing 777 on computer system. They knew how it would fly before it was built.

    You’re borrowing selectively from the Christian worldview, whereas I’m giving you the whole statement.

    I think the observation of a systematic universe goes back further than Christianity. I assume you are referring to God as the prime mover as the “whole statement”. The only thing we observe is a systematic universe. How do you know a god is behind it?

    We agree the universe is systematic, and agree on science as far as 777s are concerned. However, you see a god behind it. But consider weak radio transmissions where in order to transmit a message the ratio of signal to noise had to be high enough. You are claiming a signal, a god, that you can see behind the noise of one-off supernatural events. Random stuff can happen. People can be mistaken. People can lie. So how do you get the signal, when you are saying yourself it is all noise – one-off events?



    Report abuse

  • 234
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #233 by PastorRileyF:

    In reply to #215 by God fearing Atheist:

    One more thing, I am taking into account God’s own testimony that He does in fact govern the universe and his laws as evidence. You seem to be discarding this testimony. As a result, you remain in ignorance on this particular matter and on many other things. I wish that you and others would receive his testimony, so that your knowledge would increase.

    How did you get that testimony? I assume you read it in that book, that was provable written by many different authors over many generations. You might say they were each inspired by god. It comes back to the signal to noise ratio in my #240 post? If Obama wanted to tell the world something he would go on TV. The words might be subtle, but the TV picture wouldn’t be. It would be obvious it was him. So why is the prime mover transmitting on the one-off supernatural channel, below the listening sensitivity of science? At that kind of whisper how do you know if the poor buggers listening to him even heard him correctly?



    Report abuse

  • 235
    steven.c says:

    It’s funny how PastorRileyF is doing exactly what this article warns that creationist will argue about. The arguments are so bad that it’s almost like he’s an atheist pretending to be a creationist and saying things so unbelievable and hilarious as to discredit any true believer in genesis.



    Report abuse

  • 236
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #229 by PastorRileyF:

    Linguists, historians, etc.–that’s why those who teach the Bible need to be a little bit of all of the above! 🙂 The Bible contains convincing internal evidence of divine authorship. Here is a brief overview of the types of evidence found in it: [blog link removed by moderator]

    Oh come off it, a tutorial in quantum mechanics, the blueprint of a computer and an 11th commandment “Thou shalt wash thy hands after using the loo because of bacterial contamination” would at least be an indication that one of the scribes had talked to a rather smart alien.

    The book was written be a succession of scribes between 1,000 BC and 300 AD. No god necessary or evident. Its a cruel fairy story that shows no knowledge of anything except a barbaric, ancient, Middle East.



    Report abuse

  • 237
    Justaguy says:

    I agree. I love that the more popular bill nye has the guts to debate Ham, whom I’ve never heard of. I accidentally stumbled upon hearing about this debate from YouTube. I wish more famous scientist would do it. The cowardice shown from team evolution is wrong. We get this in political debate too, right? In the not so widely cover elections like senator or governor elections, the one who’s in power often chickens out of a fair fight. What’s up with that?
    In reply to #235 by mark.alsip.7:

    A rather arrogantly written op-ed from a site whose writers I normally agree with 99% of the time. My objections, with the author’s statements in quotes:

    “When you accept a debate, you are accepting there is something worth debating.”. No, sorry — When you accept a debate, you are accepting that…



    Report abuse

  • 238
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #238 by PastorRileyF:

    If the Bible is from God, that proves his existence, does it not? …

    If the stork delivers the baby, that proves its existence, does it not? We see the baby; we see the book entitled “Holy Bible”; but where is the stork or the author? You will need to do better than this, Pastor Riley. In fact there is no evidence for the Christian beliefs about God and Christ and so on, and the sooner you realize this, the sooner you may start talking sense. All you are offering us is superstition.

    Contrary to your assumption, I read the webpage you referred me to and, finding nothing there that fulfilled your promise of evidence, I did not see fit to comment on it. Listed below are the headings for the opinions that you express there.

    1. The simple majesty and sublimity of the Bible is unmatched in merely human literature.
    2. The Bible is free from error and taint of evil.
    3. Every part of the Bible penned by dozens of authors over a period greater than 2400 years reveals the same God, the same human condition, and the same plan of salvation.
    4. The whole Bible glorifies God and humbles man in ways that no other literature does. This is not the way people choose to write. It is a mark of its divine authorship.
    5. The Bible alone describes the true condition of man, and prescribes a remedy suitable to him.
    6. Those who believe the Holy Scriptures find comfort and support to faith unmatched by any other book.

    These unargued, groundless opinions about the Bible do not merit further comment, but I put them here for others to see what you consider to be evidence. In any case, as I have mentioned before, the Bible is useless as evidence for Christian belief, because it is itself part of the Christian belief-system that requires the corroboration of evidence. What is needed, Pastor Riley, is real, independent evidence for Christian beliefs, if these are to be able to be taken seriously.



    Report abuse

  • 239
    Justaguy says:

    My friend, I do not think it helps your side to say that the bible shows no knowledge of anything except a barbaric, ancient, Middle East. One does not need to believe in the bible in order to say that there are pearls of wisdom in there.
    In reply to #243 by God fearing Atheist:

    In reply to #229 by PastorRileyF:

    Linguists, historians, etc.–that’s why those who teach the Bible need to be a little bit of all of the above! 🙂 The Bible contains convincing internal evidence of divine authorship. Here is a brief overview of the types of evidence found in it: http://highplainsp



    Report abuse

  • 240
    chieffactotum says:

    By substitution we see the ludicrous:
    “the Origin of the Species is useless as evidence for evolutionary belief, because it is itself part of the evolutionary belief-system that requires the corroboration of evidence. What is needed, Cairsley, is real, independent evidence for evolutionary beliefs, if these are to be able to be taken seriously.”
    Evolutionists, if taken at their logical face-value, would be extinct.
    In reply to #245 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #238 by PastorRileyF:

    If the Bible is from God, that proves his existence, does it not? …

    If the stork delivers the baby, that proves its existence, does it not? We see the baby; we see the book entitled “Holy Bible”; but where is the stork or the author? You will need to do better t…



    Report abuse

  • 241
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #247 by chieffactotum:

    By substitution we see the ludicrous:
    “the Origin of the Species is useless as evidence for evolutionary belief, because it is itself part of the evolutionary belief-system that requires the corroboration of evidence. What is needed, Cairsley, is real, independent evidence for evolutionary beliefs,…

    Hello, Chieffactotum. You have it back to front. Whereas Christians base their beliefs on what they find in the Bible and on how they choose to interpret it, scientists (in this case evolutionary biologists) base the books they write about the subject on the vast array of data they have amassed and puzzled over in order to find a comprehensive way of understanding them. This was how Charles Darwin proceeded, gathering information from his many observations, including his famous voyage on the HMS Beagle, prior to writing On the Origin of Species. It is generally the case that Christian fundamentalists proceed in the opposite manner to that followed by rational people, who begin with evidence and work from there.



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #246 by Justaguy:

    . One does not need to believe in the bible in order to say that there are pearls of wisdom in there.

    It would be more surprising if there was not the odd pearl of wisdom in amongst the abundance of primitive barbarism. I’m fairly confident in assuming that you have not actually read the bible in its entirety ( as opposed to cherry picked quotations ). A large number of members here have read the bible from the beginning to the end. I suggest you get cracking, before making pronouncements about the nature of its contents.



    Report abuse

  • 243
    Justaguy says:

    Do you then think that there are more “acts of barbarism” than are pearls of wisdom? What are the so many barbaric things that you don’t like?
    In reply to #249 by Nitya:

    In reply to #246 by Justaguy:

    . One does not need to believe in the bible in order to say that there are pearls of wisdom in there.

    It would be more surprising if there was not the odd pearl of wisdom in amongst the abundance of primitive barbarism. I’m fairly confident in assuming that you have n…



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #250 by Justaguy:

    Do you then think that there are more “acts of barbarism” than are pearls of wisdom? What are the so many barbaric things that you don’t like? >

    Without doubt! Deuteronomy 22 is a good place to start. Actually I suggest you start reading from the beginning and just plough right through without skipping anything. It’s quite clear, no need for interpretation, ( though I personally think that the advice to the groom about having the village folk stone his wife to death is the most odious, but to each his own).



    Report abuse

  • 245
    Sheepdog says:

    In reply to #182 by apathostic:

    In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:
    “Another point I should have made in mentioning the RD / Cardinal Pelman debate is that Cardinal Pelman, despite his religious beliefs is someone whom I can accept as being an honest man who believes what he says is true.”

    You mean Cardinal George Pell. He’s the head of…

    Yes, I did of course mean Cardinal George Pell, where “Pelman” came from I have no idea. My apologies. Nor am I trying to defend the indefensible RCC. Pell has his share of the typical calumnies of the church to answer, as you point out. My point is simply that he believes what he says to be true, an honesty that I have extreme difficulty in crediting to corporate evangelists.

    “Honesty,” in response to your point I agree may be too generous a word considering the baggage that it may seem to excuse.

    I also agree that RD’s patience in debating is saintly by comparison to his opposition who sooner or later, usually sooner, put their hands over their ears and shout louder and louder as if repetition and volume will trump evidence and logic.



    Report abuse

  • 246
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #226 by jaredgreener:

    I didn’t say that religion has no bearing to science, just that the two shouldn’t be pitted against each other when they aren’t in opposition to each other.

    They have mutually incompatible ways of arriving at truth statements, with no rational justification for switching between the two methods at any given point. So long as religions try to say anything about the real world – and history establishes that they do a lot of this – then they are in opposition, especially but not exclusively when what religions say contradict what has been discovered through science.

    I believe the earth (not universe which has existed eternally)

    You are aware of what the Big Bang Theory entails, right?

    was created for a purpose because we have been told it was.

    So you accept the principle that being told something is the case automatically proves that it is. This isn’t good enough. If a Buddhist told you that the universe is just a world of suffering which we escape only by doing nice things, would you switch to their cosmology in a flash? My point is that you’ll have to come up with a better standard than what you’ve currently provided because it fails to rule out mutually contradictory cases. I could tell you that the Earth just formed naturally without any kind of purpose whatsoever, and if you didn’t believe me, you’d break the very rule you established was your basis for believing something. Surely, you have better reasons than “because someone said so”, in any case? And if you say that that someone was “God”, then how do you know that?

    Religion also is based on a model of organized and testable knowledge.

    Religion is a set of beliefs based on such poor forms of argument as tradition, revelation, authority, and belief in the absence or even in spite of evidence a.k.a. faith. It’s a pre-packaged system of narratives and unexplored claims that relies more on appeals to moral superiority, appeals to the consequences of belief, and generally faulty logic to support itself. The few beliefs that are testable most likely weren’t arrived at by actually testing them. The few reasons that you have given fall right into this problem, as I’ll explain below.

    If you live by God’s principles

    Right off the bat, here’s an example of a non-testable claim. How do you know they are “God’s” principles as opposed to a human’s? Did you or some others run a series of tests to determine whether such a thing as a god exists, or even if anything similar exists? And which principles, in any case? The ones outlined in some forms of Judaism, or Islam? The principles espoused by the Bahai’i Faith? Whatever pops up in your head?

    you will know they are valid because they bring light, truth, and happiness.

    I didn’t ask whether living by a set of principles makes you happy, which is utterly missing the point. Thinking that Africa is just as safe a place to live in as Europe would make me happy, but that doesn’t make it true. I asked how you know the universe (or, if you insist on switching, Earth) was made for a purpose. If you’re saying that you know the reason after following some principles (which is how I currently interpret your comment that you found “light” and “truth”), then I suggest you actually explain what that reason is, since at present, you’re coming across as somewhat evasive.

    You claimed in Comment 129 that “science and religion aren’t even in the same league.” I agree, but for completely different reasons: if you want facts and theories that are checked against reality, must be non-contradictory, that can be used as the basis for making predictions and ways to successfully manipulate the world around us in the form of, say, technology, and that could be reversed by some future observation, thus taking into account future surprises, then science is in the top league when it comes to verification.

    You also claimed that “it is incredibly narrow-minded to assume that science will disprove religion or that religion exists in opposition to science”. No narrow-minded assumption need be involved: every scientific field contains examples of scientific claims that once disproved ones held for religious reasons, and religious people’s historical contributions to science depended largely upon the science not contradicting established religious beliefs.

    The issue isn’t that science has disproved religious claims; it’s that it’s pointed out why religious methods for making claims are flawed. While science has nothing to say about daily routines and practical choices like how one lives one’s life, so long as the rationale for living such a life rests on making claims that rest on flimsy arguments and substandard epistemological methods, then religion, insofar as it does this, is in opposition to science.

    Now, I would like an answer to the question I posed in Comment 147, please.



    Report abuse

  • 247
    dan.weeks.16 says:

    In reply to #26 by Richard Dawkins:
    Thank you, Richard, for taking the time to offer this very valuable advice. Your list is clear and concise, and I think it would be most useful to anyone who wishes to confront those who elevate faith-based ideology as equal to scientific reason. I’ll be passing it along to my friends and loved ones who often face this kind of proselytizing.



    Report abuse

  • 248
    Blasphemyman says:

    The fact that Ken Hambrain is regarded by some as credible would make him an hilarious subject of television satire.
    It’s time for such humour!



    Report abuse

  • 249
    Justaguy says:

    Twice now you have suggested I should read the bible and that you are smarter. I am ok with you being smarter than me. Are you using Deuteronomy 22 to show that the chapter has more barbarism than wisdom? You said the most odious example was a groom following advice and getting village folk to stone her. I don’t find that in there. I’m guessing you’d agree with the first part of that chapter, verses 1-12, and not agree with some of the law giving after. I’d like to point out that the chapter says that the punishment giving out are first to be discussed and evidence giving before the elders. I would like to think of that as kind of a court. Not barbarism. You may disagree with some of the chapters views on morality, marriage, and punishment. There are several scenarios in the second part of the chapter. Which are the ones you don’t like? Thank you
    In reply to #251 by Nitya:

    In reply to #250 by Justaguy:

    Do you then think that there are more “acts of barbarism” than are pearls of wisdom? What are the so many barbaric things that you don’t like? >

    Without doubt! Deuteronomy 22 is a good place to start. Actually I suggest you start reading from the beginning and just pl…



    Report abuse

  • 250
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #202 by PastorRileyF:

    Error is not the same as irrationality.

    When dealing with Young Earth claims, there is so much of both that it can be difficult to separate the made-up vacuous nonsense from the fallacious thinking!

    You may think that the Young Earth Creation view is utter nonesense, but that does not make it an irrational belief.

    I could be a “castles in the air” self consistent unevidenced nonsense, but once it tries to establish a connection with the material world, the irrational mental contortions become very obvious to anyone with an understanding of astronomy, cosmology, physics, geology, or biology. However, the failure to understand and to deny any of the the evidence from all these subjects usually implies a lack of of capability to reason logically, – just as consistent wrong answers indicate a lack of arithmetical skills.

    I also think there’s a lot of evidence for a Young Earth that you have not been exposed to, apparently.

    You are just making this up as you go along. Most of us have seem large quantities of YEC pseudo-evidence which is claimed to contradict science, and are well aware of the absence of scientific skills in those self-deluders who make such claims, or just copy the incompetent assertions of people posting rubbish on YEC websites. – People whose knowledge of astronomy is so poor, that they don’t even know that the universe is billions of years older than the Earth.

    They know nothing of nuclear physics, but try to lecture others on the processes in stars and in the Big-Bang, on the basis of reading some English language translation of the Bible – that misinterpreted, mistranslated and constantly “reinterpreted” book of Canaanite mythology.

    The YEC arguments essentially boil down to, “I really, really, really, want to believe in the magic-fairy-myths I was taught in childhood by people I trusted, so I will contradict any evidence which proves these stories wrong – and then call these assertions “evidence” and “reasoning”!



    Report abuse

  • 251
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #230 by PastorRileyF:

    “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” “heavens and earth” are Hebrew idiom for the universe. “In the beginning” means before time began.

    Ah! “The geocentric celestial spheres, with angels dancing on clouds” astronomical hypothesis! – Which was debunked by Copernicus! – You seem to have several centuries of catching up to do on your science homework! The nature of formation of the Solar-System and the Earth is well known to science – and bears no resemblance to the Genesis story.

    In reply to #161 by PastorRileyF:

    5) Be mentally prepared to accept it graciously when your best arguments are systematically dismantled by an informed Creationist.

    You seem to be confusing disbelief by the ignorant with logical deconstruction and refutation of an argument.
    It rarely takes me more than a few posts to totally debunk YEC attempts at scientific claims. – Frequently simply by posting photographs of evolutionary features and intermediate stages, they claim “do not exist” based only on their denial of science and asserted ignorance!

    6) Be blown away by the awe-inspiring wonder of creation that puts man’s puny invention of evolutionary theory to shame.

    The wonders of the Universe are indeed awesome. It’s such a pity for creationists that they keep their heads so firmly embedded in bronze-age superstition that they fail to understand many of them, and fail to study most of them.

    It is then comical to those of us who live in well educated countries, that they pose as “experts” on subjects where they repeatedly demonstrate their profound ignorance and near total absence of understanding!



    Report abuse

  • 252
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #212 by Justaguy:

    Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from. I think this bothers evolutionist because it puts them in the same camp as a religion.

    You’re confusing two different issues. Pointing out that certainty is impossible is one thing, but that has nothing to do with the question of confidence one can put in evidence, and it fails to take into account that faith works independently of evidence whereas confidence does not. In the absence of knowledge, the next best thing is to build knowledge from the bottom-up, and to do that one can’t just invent ideas but must compile a case, compare the facts with what one knows, iron out the logical flaws, test what would have to be true in order for the idea to work, then try to disprove the idea with the tests, look out for contradictions, acknowledge limitations, see if it fits with what others know, and keep an eye out (and/or ask others to keep an eye out) for any flaws that may creep into the investigation. Filling in the blanks is not only tentative, but relies on extensive corroboration of the filled-in portions that buttresses a framework (that itself is subject to scrutiny, criticism, and review) that would explain what to expect in the blanks.

    For instance, abiogenesis is not based on ignorance, but on an extensive knowledge of biochemistry and some forms of earth science that strengthen the case for it, and could be disproven if, for instance, aliens were discovered and provided evidence that they seeded us (the panspermia theory). “God-did-it” is based on ignorance because it relies on people being unable to disprove it directly, and relies on “knowledge” (e.g. God exists) that itself is suspect, that is based on poor arguments, and that also relies on people being unable to disprove it directly.

    To compare this with a belief held in the absence of evidence, (or even in defiance of the evidence), simply because we can’t travel back in time and watch the process happen is like saying a hard-working student is just as bad as a failure of a student and a truant because none of them got full marks. Faith is lazy and focuses on ignorance – your very basis for lumping confidence in with it is based on the mere existence of ignorance – but confidence takes hard work and focuses on evidence and knowledge, ideally while being aware of its own limits (else you get overconfidence).

    In conclusion, there is a huge difference between faith and confidence, even if you acknowledge that neither of them provide absolute, irrefutable truth. Claiming that they’re interchangeable because of what neither of them can do (fill in a blank spot absolutely, perfectly, and beyond any possible doubt) ignores this difference, and could be interpreted as a deliberate ploy to obscure said difference.



    Report abuse

  • 253
    CdnMacAtheist says:

    First, I’m pleased to see Professor Dawkins here again stating the facts of scientific rationality so well in Comment #26 – thank you sir…. 😎

    Second, it’s good to see some of our newer Members putting their cases so well in this thread – thank you folks…. 😎

    Third, I see that there are at least 3 religiously-driven Posters who have joined this discussion in the past 2 days & so have little concept of who they are up against – RDFRS Members who span the range from lifetime non-theists (like me) to those who were religious but have grown out of those mindsets through questions, study, education & enlightenment – so they know their religion, scripture, dogmas & the evolved indoctrination techniques of faith slavery all too well.

    RDFRS Members also span the continuum from those of minimal formal education (like me) to highly qualified scientists who actually do the research & discover the facts that have accumulated into our firmly based understanding of reality as we know it so far.

    There are also many Members who (like me) have spent 50+ years researching & studying the rapidly expanding facts, evidence & peer-reviewed theories of what reality actually consists of, who deeply understand what the scientific method is, who comprehend what rationality, logic, consistency, statistics, mathematics, technology, machinery, engineering, facts, evidence, hypotheses, processes & theories actually are & what they mean, while using as few fallacies, biases, projections & distortions of truth as possible to avoid faith through revelation or authority or to believe in things without evidence, thereby converging on a rapidly assembling overall picture of what we actually know & how we got to those awesome discoveries.

    I am still amazed that these new Posters come onto this site – as many have in the past – thinking we are unaware of & unprepared for the indoctrinated, ignorant, misunderstood, distorted, illogical, contradictory & historically unsupported assertions they Gish Gallop out in a slew of posts.

    Normally some of these Posts would have been Moderated for Preaching, but I’m ok with them staying here so we can dismantle their delusions for the benefit of others who are lurking, if not for the edification of these my-god-did-it babblers. These unfortunates don’t understand that truth doesn’t arise from ego-stroking, wishful-thinking, or the level of comfort afforded by the premises they have been commanded by their dictator to believe under threats of eternal punishment or everlasting bliss after death.

    I’m fascinated by & amused at their mental processes & methodologies in coming up with their assertions, plus the logical gymnastics employed in defending them, so I’m hoping this thread lasts a while longer before they go off in a huff – or get ‘too busy’ to continue – due to the lack of agreement, submissions to their Truth or conversions they procure through their proselytizing.

    I could easily have been far more insulting & derisive to these poorly educated, massively ignorant, mind dulled, skyfairy infected, delusional faith heads, but I’ll wait to see how far they go before I get annoyed at their stinky crap…. 😎 Mac.



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #256 by Justaguy:

    Twice now you have suggested I should read the bible and that you are smarter. I am ok with you being smarter than me. Are you using Deuteronomy 22 to show that the chapter has more barbarism than wisdom? You said the most odious example was a groom following advice and getting village folk to st..

    No, I didn’t imply that I was smarter, just that I’ve read more. I’m pleased that you checked the reference though I’ll admit that I possibly have the wrong chapter. It doesn’t matter as it’s in there somewhere, look for yourself at the surrounding verses. The reference isn’t a ‘one-off’ it’s just the one that bothers me the most ( being a woman and all). The bible is full of barbaric, practices that would have you in jail if you tried them out today.



    Report abuse

  • 255
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #242 by steven.c:

    It’s funny how PastorRileyF is doing exactly what this article warns that creationist will argue about. The arguments are so bad that it’s almost like he’s an atheist pretending to be a creationist and saying things so unbelievable and hilarious as to discredit any true believer in genesis.

    .. and using so many words without the least trace of material evidence, logical reasoning, or any useful information in the content! There is great ironical comedy in the claim that science is “dismantled by an informed Creationist” – given the profound ignorance that is required required to believe that “Answers In Genesis” provides creationists with any competent information on anything!

    ” The Bible is troooo because the bible says it is trooo, and god exists because believers say god wrote the bible and said it is troo, and all other gods are wring because the bible said so”, – with their fallacious circular arguments revolving around their preconceptions, – wearing asserted “creationist logic badges”!

    It is a, “I will sit in denial and refuse to look at, or attempt to understand the scientific evidence”, posture! – and then claim that the expressed personal ignorance proves something which is utterly debunked by mountains of evidence. (It does – but that is psychology!) The world knowledge of the fundamentalist tunnel-vision “one version of the book wonders”!

    They do know that “The bible” is true!….. …. That is:-

    The Hebrew Bible (Tora)

    The Septuagint (Greek translation)

    The New Testament (Paul’s letters)

    Latin Vulgate Translation, (Commissioned by pope)

    Alcuin Bible, (Charlemagne)

    Paris Bible,

    Wycliffe Bible ( First English translation 1382)

    (1408 RC archbishop forbids English translations)

    Gutenburg Bible,

    Dutch scholar Erasmus translation ( Latin and Greek)

    Luther Bible,

    William Tyndale English translation 1526 (which leads to his execution),

    (Henry VIII takes over CofE from RC),

    Coverrdale Bible 1535,

    Matthew Bible 1537,

    Great Bible 1539,

    Geneva Bible 1560 (Published in English in Switzerland),

    Douai-Rheims Bible,

    King James Bible 1611,

    New English Bible.

    These repeatedly translated, mistranslated, regularly reinterpreted, and contradictory works are all pronounced to be THE UNERRING TROOOFF! Usually by people who have never heard of them (or the Gnostic or Coptic Gospels) – and never read them!
    Still that’s fundamentalism!!



    Report abuse

  • 256
    ryckpen says:

    I am surprised at all the comments against Bill Nye engaging Ken Ham. I see both sides gaining from this endeavor. Of course Ken Ham will gain finances desperately needed to continue with his muse-eum. Bill Nye will gain a field of fertile minds in which to plant the seeds of doubt. Bill Nye’s focus has always been about children learning science. YEC have children. These children will be exposed to new and amazing truths that I assume they lack in their day to day lives. Bill Nye is the science guy who through his show influenced millions of children. All that is needed through this debate is a few of the seeds that Bill Nye plants to take root and grow for Bill Nye to be the hands down winner of this debate. I say GO BILL GO!!!!



    Report abuse

  • 257
    Justaguy says:

    We’ll then, maybe we can both enjoy verse 25, cause I kind of do. I think we would agree that the Torah is be pretty harsh when it comes to the punishment of sins. I also think it’s unfair when critics of the bible try to focus only on what is harsh and miss some of what has absolutely help human civilization. Like the courts, and eye for an eye. In those days is was two eyes for and eye. Judaism deserves some credit, and the New Testament with its focus on grace and not judging ties it all together. It ain’t right to say the bible is barbaric, and some of the most wildly unbelievable stories, like the book of Jonah, are misunderstood because they are dismissed as fairy tales.( the kid had an anger problem, and couldn’t wait to see god destroy a city) One does not have to believe in the bible in order to say there a pearls of wisdom in there. You know my lady, I’m beginning to like you

    In reply to #261 by Nitya:

    In reply to #256 by Justaguy:

    Twice now you have suggested I should read the bible and that you are smarter. I am ok with you being smarter than me. Are you using Deuteronomy 22 to show that the chapter has more barbarism than wisdom? You said the most odious example was a groom following advice…



    Report abuse

  • 258
    aldous says:

    Deuteronomy has many examples of Judeo-Islamic values. For example, the ‘crime’ is for a woman not to be a virgin on her wedding night and the punishment is death by stoning.

    20 If, however, the charge is true and no proof of the young woman’s virginity can be found, 21 she shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death. Deuteronomy 22 New International Version (NIV)



    Report abuse

  • 259
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #212 byJustaguy:

    Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from.

    This has been clearly explained @259 by Zeuglodon, but perhaps a simple example will help.

    The theory of gravity shows that nature neither knows no cares if those who may or may not “believe in gravity” step off cliffs or high buildings. I have confidence that on Earth they will fall at a predetermined range of speeds according to the laws of motion and gravity according to their altitude and the air resistance at the time. This is evidence based science which can be tested if questioned.

    Faith is simply an uncritically accepted belief in something people have been told or have read. http://www.thefreedictionary.com/faith – Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.

    There are numerous documented examples of people using “faith” in place of carrying out empirical scientific tests and checks.

    The documents are called “Accident Investigation Reports”!



    Report abuse

  • 260
    Blaine says:

    I’m sorry, but you’ve overlooked a key component to this issue, and have thus, I believe, completely missed the point. This debate is taking place at the Creation Museum. I don’t know who invited whom, but taking the venue as an indicator of the audience to attend, Ken Ham doesn’t really stand to reach anyone new. The people who will be in attendance will already have their minds made up, almost universally–except for the kids.

    See, there will be kids present, because that’s exactly who the Creation Museum markets itself to. Those kids may not be as convinced of the version of history their parents are trying to force them into believing, and for many of them, particularly the home-schooled, Bill Nye’s arguments onstage may be the first voice of scientific reason they’re presented with. So Nye may be taking advantage of an opportunity to rescue children from the maw of religious indoctrination, and I’d say that is a very noble cause.

    As for Nye’s qualifications based on education, I don’t think that is fair. He started his public career as someone trying to educate kids, and indeed those early programs were largely focused on the sorts of physical science that his engineering degree would seem to well-equip him for. But that made him a celebrity, which is what has led to people caring about his opinions on other matters. And because he is an intelligent, scientifically-minded individual, when questions turned to evolution, he gave a sensible answer. And I’m sure that it’s because of his celebrity that he has been offered a platform at the Creation Museum. I haven’t been through Kentucky lately, but based on their obnoxious billboards all over Louisville that seem to change regularly, I’m sure they’re taking full advantage of Nye’s notoriety to drum up business. So, to bring this back to my point, can you really fault Bill Nye for taking advantage of this opportunity which was uniquely his? Biology degree or no, he has the right message, and a chance to get it to the people who need to hear it.



    Report abuse

  • 261
    Justaguy says:

    In reply to #266 by Alan4discussion:
    We’ll I’m confused. Have I said something illogical in #212? That discussion came about basically from this type of question. One I think is rhetorical, but maybe I’m wrong. Is the amount of faith required to believe in a god creating life the same as believing inanimate element became life?

    In reply to #212 byJustaguy:

    Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from.

    This has b…



    Report abuse

  • 262
    Marktony says:

    My friend, You asked me if I had more confidence in believing that a god created life or that it happened it’s own. My answer is no. Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right.

    In one sense the word faith is often used interchangeably with the word confidence and means the same thing, ie. confidence (faith) in a belief or event based on a body of knowledge which is itself based on evidence. But it is also used in another sense – to believe something without evidence (apart from perhaps revelation) and in that sense (the sense in which you use it) it is relied upon when confronted with evidence or arguments about the natural world (eg. evolution) which would undermine religious views.
    Your faith allows you to hold beliefs which go against scientific theories developed over centuries. Those theories were developed to explain the facts of the natural world, and only get to be called scientific theories if they work. You are able to replace those theories with your own religious beliefs only because you have separated those religious beliefs from reality.

    The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from. I think this bothers evolutionist because it puts them in the same camp as a religion.

    Assuming you are using the term faith in the first sense I mentioned above, I don’t think this would bother many ‘evolutionists’. Even though a standard model of abiogenesis explaining the origins of life has not yet been developed, I have enough faith (confidence) in the scientific method (based on evidence and predictions) to believe that the scientific explanation for the origin of life will continue to develop and more closely explain the facts. Obviously this in no way puts me in the same camp as those who have used religious faith (second sense) to maintain a belief without evidence and despite the evidence against.

    If we are fair my friend, then it is easy to say that the origins of life and evolution there after, requires faith. But then you would also have to agree that that would require- no small amount of indoctrination.

    A suggested re-wording my friend: A knowledge of science, unhindered by religious indoctrination, leads to confidence (faith) that the theory of evolution by natural selection is the best explanation for the fact of evolution.

    By the way, I do think it’s kind of cheap to swap out faith for confidence.

    No, it is cheap to pretend that religious faith is the same as confidence based on evidence.

    Where the believer can be mock because they cling to their religious text or ways, so does the evolutionist cling to their peer-reviewed papers or ways.

    Exactly, the ‘evolutionist’ clings to reality.

    In reply to #212 by Justaguy:

    In reply to #69 by Marktony:

    May I then rephrase the question, because I would have no problem agreeing with you that it does require more faith to believe in god then to take any hypothesis seriously. Do you believe that the abiogenesis hypothesis is a fact? If not, then can you give my first ques…



    Report abuse

  • 263
    DanDare says:

    In reply to #155 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #143 by DanDare:

    In reply to #128 by ashleyhr:

    In reply to #120 by DanDare:

    How to win a debate with a creationist about evolution

    1) Understand that you are playing to the creationists audience not a secular or reasoned one

    2) Completely ignore anything the creationist says and speak to the audience as if they…

    Dan Dare Have you understood my argument? I was refer to the TITLE of the debate. Ham has to SHOW that creation (his version) is a viable model of origins in a scientific era. If he can’t he loses. Nye does not have to prove evolution, just show that Ham’s creation is not viable scientifically despite Ham’s attempts (I assume) to argue that it is.

    I understood you very clearly. You say:

    Ham has to SHOW that creation (his version) is a viable model of origins in a scientific era. If he can’t he loses.

    Why do you think this? In whose mind do you think he loses? Your mind or mine? Certainly he does. In his audiences minds? Not even close. You are expecting that they will judge if the premise has been answered. I believe they will not care. They don’t think that way and you are making a mistake in believing they do. Its the old story of playing chess with a pigeon. The pigeon knocks over the pieces, craps on the board and flies to its friends who all agree that she won.

    You have not understood my argument. This is not a debate, it is a political rally that will be recorded and disseminated. If Bill Nye plays the debate game then Ken Ham succeeds in his political goals.



    Report abuse

  • 264
    Marktony says:

    It might be helpful to repeat the actual question:

    Some people take literally the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions and their god hypothesis is that a much more sophisticated (evolved) form of life (homo sapiens) was created by a god directly from inanimate elements (dust). You may ask yourself: why is it more difficult to accept the abiogenesis hypothesis for the origin of the basic life forms (that evolved into us) than it is to believe that we were created from dust? The answer is religious faith and no small amount of indoctrination.

    In reply to #268 by Justaguy:

    In reply to #266 by Alan4discussion:
    We’ll I’m confused. Have I said something illogical in #212? That discussion came about basically from this type of question. One I think is rhetorical, but maybe I’m wrong. Is the amount of faith required to believe in a god creating life the same as believi…



    Report abuse

  • 265
    DanDare says:

    In reply to #267 by Blaine:

    I’m sorry, but you’ve overlooked a key component to this issue, and have thus, I believe, completely missed the point. This debate is taking place at the Creation Museum. I don’t know who invited whom, but taking the venue as an indicator of the audience to attend, Ken Ham doesn’t really stand to…

    Blaine,

    Ken will make money from the debate. He will also control the roduction of the DVD and use it to gather converts. Its not just the people there.

    The people who are there may include some that are not yet fully brain washed. Bill may get them and save the day, but its more likely Ken will get them to the detriment of all.



    Report abuse

  • 266
    Justaguy says:

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith. What’s troubling to me is that everything you’ve said negatively about faith is the same as your faith in the origins of life. Aliens? Really, a theory. With respect, once you are logically fair about your faith in evolutionary science, you won’t have such a hard time admitting you belong to a religion with just as much dogma and indoctrination as other world religion. My friend don’t hate me.

    In reply to #259 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #212 by Justaguy:

    Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from. I think th…



    Report abuse

  • 267
    nicstroud says:

    I’m pretty certain that Ken Ham knows that most of his rhetoric is bullshit and doesn’t care. It’s his personal cash cow and he is milking it for all it’s worth. That is another reason Bill Nye shouldn’t debate him. I agree with all the reasons above but Ham gets more than undeserved publicity, he gets undeserved money which he can use to further spread his bullshit propaganda.



    Report abuse

  • 268
    ryckpen says:

    Dan,
    I really believe their are no winners or losers in any debate. I have seen many you tube videos of debates between creationist and those on the science side. You can find links to these from both sides each claiming victory. I think you are underestimating the human mind. There are a lot of converted evangelicals who are now vocal atheists. It all starts with a seed of doubt. Bill Nye is a children’s entertainer who has planted that seed in millions of children’s minds. (mine included) I think that this is an opportunity to plant doubt not only in children’s minds but maybe a few adults who are starting to have second thoughts about the bible and the preachers they hear spouting the same old rhetoric. Bill Nye is a “nice” guy who can get the point across without the preconceived label of militant. I think he is the perfect person to do this.

    In reply to #272 by DanDare:

    In reply to #267 by Blaine:

    I’m sorry, but you’ve overlooked a key component to this issue, and have thus, I believe, completely missed the point. This debate is taking place at the Creation Museum. I don’t know who invited whom, but taking the venue as an indicator of the audience to attend, Ken…



    Report abuse

  • 269
    Justaguy says:

    Ok, I got to admit. This kind of discussion, is freaking addicting. I have to get sleep so I won’t be back for a while. I’ve had discussion with a few a y’all, and it’s been great. I will return.

    The kind of faith I am talking about is the kind that says one believes as if it is factual, even though it is not.

    Has science proven how inanimate elements became life?

    In reply to #271 by Marktony:

    It might be helpful to repeat the actual question:

    Some people take literally the creation myth of the Abrahamic religions and their god hypothesis is that a much more sophisticated (evolved) form of life (homo sapiens) was created by a god directly from inanimate elements (dust). You may ask yours…



    Report abuse

  • 270
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #268 by Justaguy:

    In reply to #212 byJustaguy:

    Whether we use the word faith or confidence, too me it’s the same about. Exactly equal amounts because we can simply not know with 100% certainty that either side is right. The origins of life is a mystery that requires faith in believing where it came from.

    In reply to #266 by Alan4discussion:
    We’ll I’m confused. Have I said something illogical in #212? That discussion came about basically from this type of question. One I think is rhetorical, but maybe I’m wrong.

    There is a great deal rhetorical semantics in “faith” arguments because they assume gods and then assume actions of gods. ( With multiple conflicting versions of the creation myths, with each group of believers usually claiming theirs is exclusively correct).

    Scientific explanations are based on observations measurements and multiple independent checking, with fellow expert scientists looking for errors which need correction.

    It is clearly false and illogical to claim equal standing for these differing view-points arrived at by different methods of thought with a 100% red herring. God-claims have roughly 0% evidence and considerable counter evidence. Science has substantial levels of evidence to justify its confidence which are indicated in the classification of its claims.

    Is the amount of faith required to believe in a god creating life the same as believing inanimate element became life?

    First you would need to prove the existence of a god, then ascertain which of the thousands of gods (List of deities) is the correct one (or ones – Hindus have thousands of them) with the capabilities to carry out the various tasks claimed by its followers.

    The science of abiogenesis, while not yet fully providing an explanation of how life began on Earth, certainly gives very clear indications of how life could have begun on Earth. The alternative god-claim is basically gapology – the insertion of “God-did-it-by-magic” as a pseudo-explanation for areas which are not yet decisively resolved by scientific investigations.

    Abiogenesis is of course independent of the evolutionary theory of how life evolved from a single-celled organism into the diverse range of present day life. It is also separated by billions of years from the Big-Bang, and millions of years away from physical evolution of the elements in stars,or the formation of the Solar-System and the Earth. – This science is denied by YECs who use 17th-century Ussher Chronology for their comically incompetent dating.

    As explained @259 by Zeuglodon, levels of justifiable confidence vary, and in science they designated by the name of the claim – speculation, hypothesis, theory, or law. “Faith claims” have no such probability rating, as they are based on chosen beliefs of individuals instead of testable “falsifiable” evidence.



    Report abuse

  • 271
    Marktony says:

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith.

    Suggested correction: “it is obvious to me that the religious explanation for the origins of life requires faith”

    What’s troubling to me is that everything you’ve said negatively about faith is the same as your faith in the origins of life. Aliens? Really, a theory.

    You imply there that Zeuglodon is arguing that aliens are responsible for the origins of life, when a read of his post shows otherwise. You see, that is the sort of tactic you have to rely on when you base your beliefs on faith. Because you find it difficult to argue with the evidence, you resort to misrepresenting the other case,

    With respect, once you are logically fair about your faith in evolutionary science, you won’t have such a hard time admitting you belong to a religion with just as much dogma and indoctrination as other world religion.

    This is why you don’t want to focus on faith vs confidence. Zeuglodon’s confidence in evolutionary science is based on it’s ability to explain the evidence and facts, unlike your religious faith which is based on your trust in scripture and revelation. You can’t accept the scientific explanation because you would see that as diminishing your trust in god.

    Saying that science is a religion is another common tactic of those that don’t see the difference between faith and confidence. You are just trying to drag science down to the level of religious faith by implying that they both have equal explanatory power, which clearly they don’t.

    In reply to #273 by Justaguy:

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith. What’s troubling to me is that everything you’ve said negatively about faith is the same as your faith in the origins of life. Aliens? Really, a theory. With respect, once you are logically…



    Report abuse

  • 272
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #273 by Justaguy:

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith.

    What you are doing is what religious people have been doing for centuries. Finding a question that science can’t answer yet and claiming it is unsolvable by science and somehow explained by faith or religion. First of all faith doesn’t really explain anything. In reality “faith” is just a word we use to shout forget about reason and adopt explanations that explain nothing in reality.

    We don’t currently know how matter originally became life. It’s a very interesting question and there is a lot of fascinating work being done on the topic. There are some questions I think may be unsolvable but the origin of life never seemed like one to me. We just need to give scientists more time to develop the correct theory. Of course there is no guarantee they will find an answer, you could be right there at least, it is quite possible within the scientific method that some questions can never be completely answered.

    That is what is really going on here, your whole notion of what constitutes truth is flawed. You are used to thinking truth comes from one divinely inspired book and that book has all the answers if you interpret it correctly. In reality those are no answers at all. Just rationalizations that as Colbert says feel “truthy” and give people the illusion of knowledge without the hard work and uncertainty that actual knowledge requires.



    Report abuse

  • 273
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #276 by Justaguy:

    Ok, I got to admit. This kind of discussion, is freaking addicting. I have to get sleep so I won’t be back for a while. I’ve had discussion with a few a y’all, and it’s been great. I will return.

    The kind of faith I am talking about is the kind that says one believes as if it is factual, even though it is not.

    To have an intelligent discussion it is necessary to to avoid shifting the meaning of words or wilfully misunderstanding explanations.

    It can be very difficult for those uneducated in science to understand scientific evidence.

    Many scientific reports are written by teams of people who have PhDs or who are professors.

    Most creationists who dispute science, are not educated in science up to school textbook level, so are totally unaware of many of the scientific measuring techniques which are commonly used and which are very reliable. They therefore sit in incredulous denial and simply refuse to believe the scientific evidence because they cannot understand it, – but fail to grasp that facts are facts, regardless of who understands them. (see gravity @266) They are also dishonestly fed fake refutations, by faith motivated, scientific illiterates like Ham, who have no idea what they are talking about but make efforts to mislead the gullible.

    Rockets to not stop flying because most of the population does not understand rocket-science. Nor does the age of the Earth change because the uneducated cannot do the mathematics, don’t understand the physics, and some refuse to believe the calculations.

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith.

    Would that be “obvious” because you have studied ALL the scientific biochemistry abiogenesis models of how it can happen, or because you have studied none of them and have chosen to assert your “faith-incredulity”?



    Report abuse

  • 274
    Marktony says:

    Red Dog, is the average american perfectly aware of the sort of views held by Ken Ham and AiG members and what proportion of the audience for this debate do you think will have such beliefs?

    In reply to #279 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #273 by Justaguy:

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence. It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith.

    What you are doing is what religious people have been doing for centuries. Finding a question that science can’t answer yet and claiming it is unsolvable by s…



    Report abuse

  • 275
    chieffactotum says:

    I have the flue and am a bit foggy but in regard to some comments by Zeuglodon:

    Like our short discussion on “information” it is obvious that your definitions are an issue with the creationists.
    An erroneous or not agreed upon definition will always affect an argument/discussion.
    By asserting “faith works independently of evidence” it is apparent (to me) that the word you should be using is mysticism. Since the root meaning of faith is belief, your statement “Faith is lazy and focuses on ignorance” is false to the consistent creationist with a coherent system because belief is attached to propositions, and truth is a quality of propositions, not based on empirical observations, but logical deduction(s). Faith, at least in the Greek, always means “belief.” pistis, pisteuo, pisteuein, or something like that.
    For instance, if you or a creationist looks at a stick in the water, it appears bent, but neither of you will believe it is. Why? Because deductions are the result of syllogistic reasoning, not scientific observation or experimentation. To a creationist science is the servant of logic, not vice versa. Another way to put it: logic is a sine qua non of science. I don’t think either camp will disagree with that, unless they are misologists, which is more of a problem in Christianity than in Secularism, methinks.
    No doubt, mysticism is a characteristic of some creationists and christians, but your dismissal of them all as deluded is unwarranted, unscientific, and contrary to the evidence.
    Most christian apologists (to my experience) are reasonable, rational, logical, and polite. Like evolutionists, they vary in knowledge and expertise, but there is never a reason to insult each other, which happens too often, methinks as well…

    Can we agree that the debate on origins isn’t about science, per se, but about axioms?
    The axiom of the evolutionist is “Nature is all there is.”, or “There can be nothing outside of that which is material” or a variant of these thoughts and their implications.
    The axiom of the creationist is “Not All is nature” or some variant, as in saying “In the beginning God”, etc.
    So, the differences are between naturalistic and theistic.
    Hence, your statement, ” ‘God-did-it’ is based on ignorance because it relies on people being unable to disprove it directly, and relies on “knowledge” (e.g. God exists) that itself is suspect, that is based on poor arguments, and that also relies on people being unable to disprove it directly” is to the consistent creationist a nonsense statement because God is not provable by the scientific method, or by another means.
    If you will: HE is the Axiom. That is, to the creationist.
    I have little hope the two sides will ever talk reasonably together because the axiomatic starting points are so at odds, but for my part the recognition of these differences helps me better understand the reason for the divide.



    Report abuse

  • 276
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #273 by Justaguy:

    (Please note: Yes, I know this is a long post. I have something of a tendency to go into “essay” mode every now and again when I want to make my point. You don’t have to read all of it – and quite frankly, I’m not blaming you if you don’t – but just be aware of two things: one, if your next post contains points that are dealt with here, I’m simply redirecting you to the relevant bit in this comment; two, if you use the length of this post as somehow supporting your argument and/or in an ad hominem – which is a well-known logical fallacy on this site, just so you’re aware – I’m going to ignore it because following a known fallacy won’t help your case.)

    I’m not going to focus on faith vs. confidence.

    Yet, you keep talking about faith and assuming that confidence and faith are interchangeable, with barely an acknowledgement that we discussed the distinction. You might give your audience a little credit that they might notice the discrepancy before saying one thing and then doing another.

    It is obvious to me that the origins of life requires faith.

    Actually, no. They require a form of agnosticism: just admitting one “does not know” and remaining non-committal to a certain degree. Surprising as it may seem, someone like Richard Dawkins is both agnostic and atheistic, and he explains why in his book.

    If you want to take a stab at figuring out how life most likely got started, then you investigate it like investigating a crime scene no one witnessed: gather clues, match them up with other clues, be willing to revise your estimate as you proceed with the investigation, and build a case that narrows down the list of suspects – in this case one hypothesis against, say, a null hypothesis or a rival. In fact, even if there were witnesses, you have to gauge their reliability and how likely it is that their testimony deviates from what actually happened, especially in this day and age when we know about cognitive biases. You can’t just throw anybody in jail and claim justice has been done because you have “faith” that this guy did it. You try what techniques and principles you can to isolate truths and rule out non-truths.

    What’s troubling to me is that everything you’ve said negatively about faith is the same as your faith in the origins of life.

    Are you accusing the hard-working student of flunking again? While I’m not saying I’m the most thorough of investigators, there are others you’ll come across who are less restricted and more well-informed than I am. Before you meet them, I might as well clear something up:

    By your consistent refusal to treat confidence based on reason and evidence as different from believing what the heck you feel like, I’m beginning to suspect you don’t appreciate what reason and evidence actually entails. I have no faith in the origins of life because I neither claim to know nor accept that any theory can totally dissuade a skeptical account, apart from the banal that life had an origin, and even that’s up for skeptical grabs if, say, our astronomy discovered that the universe and life had no discernible beginning.

    To iterate: I am confident, tentatively so, that the abiogenesis hypothesis is on the right track, given what we already understand about life, chemistry, and so on, but that confidence is conditional on what is discovered, known, and thought about reality, what exists, and making sure our concepts about reality are as dependent on what we actually find in reality as possible. In other words, it’s based on evidence and reasoning about said evidence.

    If you think doing this is “faith”, then assuming you can make that claim coherent, by all means tell me where it is arbitrary, circular and detached from reality, and/or stuck with the problem of infinite regress. However, it is not fixed in place and refusing to budge, as you are implying, which it would be if it was a faith that needed no evidence and scorned any.

    Aliens? Really, a theory.

    It was an example of a rival idea that could “outweigh” the existing one depending on a future surprise, like new evidence appearing as science progresses. If there is a problem with that, I would rather you stated what it was.

    With respect, once you are logically fair about your faith in evolutionary science,

    Again, I don’t have “faith” in evolutionary science. While I’m tolerant of speculation and philosophical enquiry, if only because you never know when and where the next bit of knowledge might come from, at the end of the day, it’s not knowledge. It’s not even tentative scientific theory, or valid hypothesis. Thus I have no interest in faith, which to me is at best speculation taken too seriously and at worst little more than the glorification and occasionally outright moralization of ignorance, and I certainly hope I don’t have any, (though odds are I’m only human, as they say).

    Still, I’m aware at least in part of my and science’s epistemological limits, thank you very much, and I focus on what seems to best explain what I know and am aware of, for now, pending future updates that will come about because someone discovered something or weighed the evidence without reference to whatever I thought at the time, all whilst being accepting of the fact that knowledge is not guaranteed. It’s a serious investigation or investigations that are in various states of strength and weakness, which could be reopened at any time and which are update-able. It’s not an excuse to slap whatever made-up idea you want in the gaps.

    That – what I’ve just described to you – is the key difference between confidence and faith, which I’ve tried to explain to you and which you seem, again, not to appreciate, either through innocent misunderstanding or deliberate evasiveness. You can’t say you’re not going to focus on faith vs. confidence and then keep talking about it like you’ve already had that discussion, especially when you simply accuse me of having faith into the bargain. In fact, how interested are you in having a discussion?

    you won’t have such a hard time admitting you belong to a religion with just as much dogma and indoctrination as other world religion.

    Unsurprisingly, I’m not instantly convinced of the “error of my ways” by the brilliance of your psychological “insight”, but I’m afraid it was, if it was a substantial point at all, a subtle point. You’ll have to describe to me what religion I am apparently following that I don’t know about, since as far as I’m aware, I’m non-religious. I wasn’t aware that to be tentatively convinced, partially for practical reasons, that evolutionary theory is the best explanation for life thus far due to a mass of publicly available evidence which could be disproven by future evidence, was exactly like thinking evolution is an absolute truth imposed by an unquestionable authority as being incontrovertibly true. I think I might also take the opportunity to refer you to the Tu Quoque fallacy, since your accusation has elements of it.

    My friend don’t hate me.

    Lastly, this instruction is relevant for what reason? I disagree with what you are saying. I don’t hate you for it. There’s no call to make presumptive judgements about my temperament, thank you very much.



    Report abuse

  • 277
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    While it’s true that there are theistic evolutionists, they are commonly impressed with the arguments of evolution, and able to live with the inconsistencies this creates in their thinking visa vis the Creator, or else they are pandering for respect from the modern world by expressing belief in evolution while being Christians. (It never works, by the way.) In general, all of mankind is self-interested to deny that there is a God who rewards good and punishes evil, since every person has a guilty conscience from violating what they knew was right many times in their lives. Pretending like the world we live in could exist without this just God helps relieve their rational fear a little through willful self-deception.

    “…able to live with the inconsistencies this creates in their thinking vis a vis the Creator..” I think we’ve just hit one of the crux points I have made in this thread.

    In speaking this way about the problems/inconsistencies you see evolution as posing for “the Creator” it certainly begs the question of whether you believe theological/religious opinions are the first in the order of things and should be the standard of judgement by which we measure what is “true” — including what is scientifically true.

    Certainly for many dogmatic religionists this is the case. Some people opposed heliocentrism for the very same reasons; because in their view, it went contrary to their scriptures and their religious cosmology. There are various places they feel and are told, “they cannot go.” You cannot think this, etc. etc. It’s a serious issue and problem. What’s telling though is that few will often admit to this outside of their particular religious clan, or they will at least try to obscure it, probably because they know it is not really intellectual valid nor respectable.

    This is why I say at the end of the day, this is not really a scientific controversy; it is actually a religious controversy.

    As for self-deception, everyone is capable of it, however, I’ve seen a lot of it in believers who pull out this idea of “god” because it serves them feeling special or privileged, or because they like the idea of having some father/big brother looking out for them, or because it becomes an easy catch all to rationalize their own behaviours and actions which they can justify in the name of “god” or because they cannot handle the idea of death. While I wouldn’t limit self-deception to the religious, the entire religious enterprise is a project of willful self-deception in my estimation — especially in 2014.



    Report abuse

  • 278
    jaredgreener says:

    Thank you for your comments, here are my two cents on your beliefs.

    They have mutually incompatible ways of arriving at truth statements

    Religion has the same method of arriving at truth as science – hypothesis, research, and experimentation. Christ teaches that ‘if any man will do my will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether I speak of God or myself.” Those principles which lead to greater light, truth, and happiness are accepted as truth, while those that lead to confusion, misery, and suffering can be refuted. Religions who preach otherwise are not true religion. The key is to find true religion – which necessitates PRACTICING religion.

    I didn’t ask whether living by a set of principles makes you happy, which is utterly missing the point. Thinking that Africa is just as safe a place to live in as Europe would make me happy, but that doesn’t make it true.

    Happiness is the entire purpose of life – and I ONLY care about that which will lead me and those around me to greater happiness. I think some people may be confused on what brings happiness. Apparently you think that believing a war-torn country is safe would in some delusional world make you happy. You should move to Africa and see if believing that really makes you happy. Sounds like a good religious experiment. I hypothesize that afterwards you will no longer say that merely believing Africa is a safe place will make you happy…

    I asked how you know the universe (or, if you insist on switching, Earth) was made for a purpose. If you’re saying that you know the reason after following some principles (which is how I currently interpret your comment that you found “light” and “truth”), then I suggest you actually explain what that reason is, since at present, you’re coming across as somewhat evasive.

    I have learned through experimentation that treating others with respect and cooperation leads to greater happiness and elevates individuals, society, and even our understanding of science. When people work together we accomplish much more than we would alone. I have learned through experience that love is the greatest of all the attributes of godliness. If we become rich and successful, it means nothing if we don’t love others or have others who love us. I have learned that hard work, honesty, integrity, and morality are imperative to joy, peace, and self respect. I have come to appreciate, through trial and error, that science and learning elevates my life and brings me happiness. These are all Godly principles which evidence to me that there is a purpose to life – happiness.

    Right off the bat, here’s an example of a non-testable claim. How do you know they are “God’s” principles as opposed to a human’s? Did you or some others run a series of tests to determine whether such a thing as a god exists, or even if anything similar exists? And which principles, in any case? The ones outlined in some forms of Judaism, or Islam? The principles espoused by the Bahai’i Faith? Whatever pops up in your head?

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is my religion – and I have definitely run a lifetime of tests to validate their principles. I am not loyal to a specific set of guidelines, but to a search for truth, peace, and happiness. It just so happens that so far I have never been disappointed by the doctrines taught in the LDS faith. You should try it sometime and see how it feels – whether it improves your life or not.

    The single greatest motivation in the history of mankind is a search for happiness. People try to find happiness in different ways, sometimes successfully and other times not. We can learn from these successes and failures just as surely as we can from scientific experiments.

    So again, science and religion are answers to two completely different questions. Science is just a piece of the puzzle which religion solves. The purpose and end result of TRUE religion is happiness. The end result of science is to help us understand the workings and beauty of the universe so that we can manipulate our surroundings to help us be happier. The two do not disagree. Sometimes the interpretation of religion leads people to make inferences about science, but this is not the purpose, intent, or use of the gospel. The bible doesn’t attempt to explain HOW god did anything, but WHY.

    In reply to #253 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #226 by jaredgreener:

    I didn’t say that religion has no bearing to science, just that the two shouldn’t be pitted against each other when they aren’t in opposition to each other.

    They have mutually incompatible ways of arriving at truth statements, with no rational justification for sw…



    Report abuse

  • 279
    QuestioningKat says:

    I disagree. The account in Genesis 1 tells us not only Who created, and Why the world was created, but also gives us quite a bit of information as to how He did it.

    firmament – Can we all agree that this idea is incorrect?



    Report abuse

  • 280
    chieffactotum says:

    It is not only the religious who deal with questions of metaphysics in regards to being comforted at the prospect of death, or with the thought there is a Providence at work:

    http://www.city-journal.org/html/17_4_oh_to_be.html

    In reply to #284 by Russell W:

    In reply to #163 by PastorRileyF:

    While it’s true that there are theistic evolutionists, they are commonly impressed with the arguments of evolution, and able to live with the inconsistencies this creates in their thinking visa vis the Creator, or else they are pandering for respect from the modern…



    Report abuse

  • 281
    Red Dog says:

    In reply to #281 by Marktony:

    Red Dog, is the average american perfectly aware of the sort of views held by Ken Ham and AiG members and what proportion of the audience for this debate do you think will have such beliefs?

    to be honest I haven’t been following this very closely so your guess is probably as good as mine. I think most Americans know that Ham and his followers are fools. However, given that the debate is at the creation museum the audience probably will be stacked in his favor.

    I actually agree with both Dawkins and Nye here, although that seems like a contradiction I don’t think it is. Dawkins is correct that even giving these people the credibility of sharing a stage with him is giving them too much. It’s pretending that there is a serious scientific debate worth having when there isn’t. But Nye is right that for the average person it can be useful to point out the obvious flaws in the creationist arguments.

    I actually think precisely because he is a general science advocate as opposed to an expert in biology Nye is the perfect person to have the debate. You don’t need to understand what an extended phenotype is to understand the obvious flaws in the logic of the creationists.



    Report abuse

  • 282
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #165 by PastorRileyF:

    It’s the fear of a righteous Creator God who has created all things, and who rewards the good, and punishes the evil. This truth is inscribed in nature that surrounds us. People are self-interested to suppress this information because of their evil deeds committed against their own conscience.

    I personally find it very telling that religions often rely on this dual-fold approach of promises of rewards/benefits for adherence, or the use of fear by threats of punishments for lack of adherence.

    This might manifest itself in terms of “afterlife” like heaven vs. hell, in other religions it could manifest itself with the idea of being rewarded or punished in this life, in religions that believe in reincarnation it comes out in ideas like being reincarnated as something really good or really bad in “the next life”, etc. Both sides of the coin are used to manipulate adherence; if the promised rewards aren’t enough then perhaps the threats and the fear-mongering will keep you in line.

    Religious communities often also use this technique socially to enforce group cohesion. Those who adhere and follow are rewarded; those who step outside the bounds of what that group considers acceptable might be shunned in some way, either outright, through shaming, or simply be exclusion from the broader social group.

    Of course, this practice is not exclusively used by religion, which is also telling I think, particularly if one is considering the human origins of religion. This very same practice is also used by parents with their children with regard to “Santa Claus.” Be good and you’ll get presents; be bad and you’ll get punished by Santa with no toys or coal in your stocking. Sometimes just fear is used to promote/prevent certain actions, such as fables that if one masturbates, they will become blind. Sometimes this fear tactic is used to curb behaviours deemed socially unacceptable by way of other forms of superstition; so for example, that it is “bad luck” to open an umbrella in the house.

    At any rate, if one wants to talk about fear, it is certainly one of the cornerstones of religion.

    I, myself, live in no fear of such a being, anymore than I live in fear of Santa Claus, Thor, the god Mars or monsters like Grendel, because none of them exist and I see no solid evidence whatever for their existence. Likewise, I live in no fear of death because death likely simply brings the same void I experienced prior to my conception and birth.



    Report abuse

  • 283
    Russell W says:

    In reply to #216 by PastorRileyF:

    You are comparing apples and oranges. Other religious texts and saviors do not stand up to scrutiny. Nor do they provide the needed remedy corresponding to the human condition. But, hey, bring it on!
    Vague prophecies? How about names and dates? Study Isaiah and Daniel.

    One does not willingly die for a lie, let alone Ten. And, as far as Jesus prophecy that the Son of Man would come in power, you misunderstand it. He did. It is not referring to his return, which is still to come. It is a reference to Daniel 7:13 about his session as King on the throne and the right hand of the Father in heaven and the establishment of his kingdom on earth, which is recorded in Acts.

    “Other religious texts and saviors do not stand up to scrutiny.”

    You might be surprised to learn that the adherents of those religions might disagree and hold just as passionately as you do that their particular beliefs/deities/texts have been tested, verified vindicated. (I say this with tongue firmly in cheek of course.) Such claims are to be expected, but unless they can be definitely tested and substantiated, none of them — including your assertions about your religion — are particularly relevant as far as they go. The assertions are typically extremely arbitrary and subjective.

    Having studied Christian theology, I am not only aware of the breadth of interpretations and differences of opinion that cross that religion from the liberal through conservative spectrum, I’m also aware of how theologians have had to wrack their brains in intellectual gymnastics to try to reconcile contradictions, inaccuracies, etc. (And they often weren’t terribly successful.)

    “One does not willing die for a lie.”

    I would point you back to your own comments about humanity’s capability for wilfull self-deception.



    Report abuse

  • 284
    God fearing Atheist says:

    As this discussion has gone all over the place, I would just like to point to this talk by Sean Carroll

    Thanks to Ken Wilson, Peter Higgs and all those people at the LHC, we now know that if an interventionist god exists then the intervention must be by using particles we are already familiar with. There are no additional spook/super-natural forces we have not characterised yet.

    If there is an afterlife an “angel” visits the dying person and does a brain scan. The “angel”, scanner and scan are detectable by current science. If Cartesian dualism is true then there must be a “wi-fi link” between the brain and the soul; again, that is detectable. The alternative is Ken Wilson is wrong. Either way it is a scientific argument. Theists either need to 1) detect the scan, 2) detect the wi-fi link, or 3) find the hole in Ken Wilson’s work (for which he got a Nobel), or 4) admit there is no afterlife.

    This logic applies to every other miracle or super-natural event, including god authoring the bible. I gave the afterlife version first because it is the most predictable “miracle” that is guaranteed to happen once for every human, and can be predicted to within a few days for some who are terminally ill.

    The only other god is a deity who lit the blue touch paper of the big bang and then buggered off. If there is no intervention at all, there is no moral guidance, no known “will of the creator”, no reward, no punishment, no heaven, no hell, no afterlife. We are on our own. The deity is irrelevant to human affairs.

    After the “god particle” (actually “that god damn particle”) was found theism became a scientific hypothesis because of the closure in quantum field theory. Theists now need to produce the scientific evidence of intervention, collect a Nobel for proving QFT wrong, or admit theism is fiction.

    This applies to the “miracle” of abiogenesis as well.

    Some current thoughts on scientific abiogenesis are here



    Report abuse

  • 285
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #285 by jaredgreener:

    Religion has the same method of arriving at truth as science – hypothesis, research, and experimentation.

    No it doesn’t! Religions use “faith”. It they used research and experimentation they would refute many of their own claims.

    Christ teaches that ‘if any man will do my will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether I speak of God or myself.”

    You would need to go back and do some of the research you claim. All the evidence is that stories about Jesus were made up years after supposed events or cherry picked from conflicting scraps of mythology. There is not even any archaeological evidence that such a person existed- although the name was common enough and the whole area was over-run with wandering Jewish preachers at that time.

    Those principles which lead to greater light, truth, and happiness are accepted as truth, while those that lead to confusion, misery, and suffering can be refuted.

    Accepted by whom??? I see you agree with yourself!! – This is pure unevidenced assertion, so where is the testable hypothesis you claim to be presenting?

    Religions who preach otherwise are not true religion.

    Ah the TRRRRrrroo religion fallacy! No True Scotsman

    The key is to find true religion – which necessitates PRACTICING religion.

    Yeah! Right! We and all the religions of the World, can be included in the fallaciously circular definition of ” true religion” if we all join in with your views!

    Religion has the same method of arriving at truth as science – hypothesis, research, and experimentation.

    … In the eyes of people who have no clue about the differences between scientific falsifiable methodology, and uncritically believing whatever you like!

    The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is my religion – and I have definitely run a lifetime of tests to validate their principles. I am not loyal to a specific set of guidelines, but to a search for truth, peace, and happiness. It just so happens that so far I have never been disappointed by the doctrines taught in the LDS faith. You should try it sometime and see how it feels – whether it improves your life or not.

    Some of us are well informed on that organisation. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Some posters are ex-members. It is well versed in having gullible members believing in stuff which is simply made up!



    Report abuse

  • 286
    Marktony says:

    I had similar thoughts. Since the subject for debate is “Is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific world?”, I thought Nye should concentrate on Ken Ham’s YEC views in order to demonstrate to the wider audience how foolish those views appeared compared to basic science. I just wondered how much of a ‘revelation’ that would be to the US public.

    Basically, I think he should take the Dawkins Magic of Reality approach but concentrate exclusively on the christian fundamentalist creation myths and their corresponding scientific explanations. Perhaps also with some presentation of Ken Ham’s contribution to the education (indoctrination) of children.

    In reply to #288 by Red Dog:

    In reply to #281 by Marktony:

    Red Dog, is the average american perfectly aware of the sort of views held by Ken Ham and AiG members and what proportion of the audience for this debate do you think will have such beliefs?

    to be honest I haven’t been following this very closely so your guess is prob…



    Report abuse

  • 287
    jaredgreener says:

    What is your understanding of the principle of faith? It sounds like you may be confused on what faith is or what its purpose in life is.

    In reply to #292 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #285 by jaredgreener:

    Religion has the same method of arriving at truth as science – hypothesis, research, and experimentation.

    No it doesn’t! Religions use “faith”. It they used research and experimentation they would refute many of their own claims.

    Christ teaches that ‘if any man…



    Report abuse

  • 288
    Zeuglodon says:

    In reply to #282 by chieffactotum:

    I’ve just had a long post, so I’m focusing on what seem to me to be your main points.

    Like our short discussion on “information” it is obvious that your definitions are an issue with the creationists. An erroneous or not agreed upon definition will always affect an argument/discussion.

    Until you actually make an attempt to pay attention to what I’ve said in detail, I can’t tell if you have a genuine grievance or if you’re just ignoring what I’m saying by invoking semantics. Information is about something, and in the case of genes, it’s about how to build a body in embryology onwards because its contribution to making organisms, and thus to their survival and reproduction, lawfully connects it. A gene pool becomes a database on how to build successfully surviving and reproducing bodies. I don’t know what the issue is, but you could help by pinpointing it.

    By asserting “faith works independently of evidence” it is apparent (to me) that the word you should be using is mysticism.

    Faith is subjective confidence or trust in a person, thing, deity, or in the doctrines or teachings of a religion, or view (e.g. having strong political faith) without empirical evidence. Thus, it works independently of evidence. There’s no need to create semantic ambiguities. Tweaking the words doesn’t change what I originally meant, and still mean.

    For instance, if you or a creationist looks at a stick in the water, it appears bent, but neither of you will believe it is. Why? Because deductions

    This is a bait-and-switch. Everyday deduction – which is generally just figuring out something – is not the same as logical deduction – which is “a process of reasoning that moves from the general to the specific, in which a conclusion follows necessarily from the premises presented, so that the conclusion cannot be false if the premises are true” (see Wiktionary). That presumes that you already know everything you need to. They’re not synonyms. In any case, they’d be able to test it, and would probably have learned from prior experience.

    are the result of syllogistic reasoning, not scientific observation or experimentation.

    A note on the “stick is bent in the water” argument: that relies on empiricism. You recognize that, if you were to try and grab the bent bit, the stick would actually be somewhere else. That’s because it depends on the premises being true: if they are not, then the argument is unsound.

    To a creationist science is the servant of logic, not vice versa. Another way to put it: logic is a sine qua non of science. I don’t think either camp will disagree with that, unless they are misologists, which is more of a problem in Christianity than in Secularism, methinks.

    Your “logic is primary” argument ignores the fact that logical arguments rely on premises that have been confirmed as true, and when you notice that, it becomes apparent that your argument for creationists putting logic first is a way to ignore the need to get evidence for the premises they’re using in their logic:

    …false to the consistent creationist with a coherent system

    Hence, your statement, ” ‘God-did-it’ is based on ignorance because it relies on people being unable to disprove it directly, and relies on “knowledge” (e.g. God exists) that itself is suspect, that is based on poor arguments, and that also relies on people being unable to disprove it directly” is to the consistent creationist a nonsense statement

    Quite frankly, it doesn’t matter how internally consistent or “logical” a theory is: you need a standard to indicate whether it’s actually true or not, most conspicuously evidence. And one of the problems with creationism is that it is not consistent with what we know, and the methods used to get to the conclusion of creationism are not consistent either. Also, I’ve dismissed nobody as deluded; I’ve said, at most, that they’re incorrect because of reasons X, Y, and Z (such as flaws in their arguments).

    …because belief is attached to propositions, and truth is a quality of propositions, not based on empirical observations, but logical deduction(s).

    Incorrect: you can’t determine the truth of something if you don’t look for it in reality. Whether something is true or not can’t be decided just by sitting in an armchair, and that’s the problem with your statement here. If you can’t confirm that your premises are true or not, then it calls into question your entire argument. In the end, you’re making claims independently of evidence. Call it mysticism or faith, but either way you’ve talked yourself into admitting the flaws in this position.

    Your dismissal of them all as deluded is unwarranted, unscientific, and contrary to the evidence.

    Firstly, why would someone who spent most of the comment arguing in favour of consistency and logic unattached to empirical observations – which is effectively dismissing evidence as a non-issue – now be taking issue at a lack of evidence? Secondly, this isn’t a dismissal. You included, I’ve yet to meet a creationist or someone arguing in their stead who gave a strong case for creationism. I think that would count as warranted, scientific, and based on evidence; though I maintain I never claimed they were “deluded” so much as just incorrect.

    Most christian apologists (to my experience) are reasonable, rational, logical, and polite.

    An apologist is not the same thing as their argument. I’ve met some perfectly polite and otherwise intelligent people, but that doesn’t stop them from producing faulty arguments.

    If you will: HE is the Axiom. That is, to the creationist.

    The creationist is claiming that a deity of some sort played a role in creating life. It doesn’t matter if they take it as axiomatic or rather meaninglessly redefining the deity as an axiom; either way, this is still making stuff up, only this time hiding it through a word salad.

    Lastly, I don’t agree with the claim that the debate on origins is about axioms. It’s about science, evidence from reality, and creationists having neither on their side but invoking the supernatural when they can’t even show that it exists, much less could have had a role to play, except by invoking ignorance. There is no typical evolutionist such that one has an axiom, as others have already pointed out that there are religious people convinced in or who believe in evolutionary theory, and in any case the notion that science is a priori committed to naturalism is incorrect because it makes no commitment to whether a hypothesis is naturalistic or not, but whether it is realistic and can be tested or investigated. Even if it was true, that doesn’t strengthen the creationist argument. You’ve still got a long way to go to demonstrate what at least some creationists claim – that the supernatural exists, much less that it played a role – is not simply empty speculation.

    In reply to #285 by jaredgreener:

    Thank you for your comments, here are my two cents on your beliefs.

    Thank you for sharing that with us.

    I’ll be brief: I’m not practising anything until I’ve got something resembling a strong reason for it. I wasn’t asking about the benefits of following certain rules; I was asking about what made you think the universe was designed for a purpose. If you meant to imply that happiness was the cosmic purpose as opposed to a purpose you have decided to commit yourself to, then I’m afraid I don’t understand the connection. I’ve worked at a job in the UK, but I don’t see how to get from there to thinking that the universe was created by someone for a purpose, much less that that purpose involved me working in the UK. I was expecting evidence for the someone, the creation process, and for ascertaining what that someone’s purpose was from them.

    Lastly, if you’re not interested in the truth but just want to be happy, then that’s fine. That’s up to you. That in mind – and I apologize if I seem rude – please make sure you recognize the difference between believing something that makes you happy and that belief actually being true.



    Report abuse

  • 289
    Arkrid Sandwich says:

    I think before any two people can have a worthwhile debate it is essential to establish that each is at least capable of changing his mind based on new evidence or new explanations as scientists do all the time. So we start by asking Ken Ham “What evidence would it take to make you change your mind about God, creationism, and your belief that the earth is only 6000 years old?” The answer to that I am quite sure would be that there is nothing anyone could say that could shake his faith in any way whatsoever. From that point on any further debate is a waste of time.

    Now I don’t believe in any of the thousands of gods that humans have invented over the millennia for the simple reason there is not a shred of evidence to support their existence other than in the minds of their inventors. However if I were to wake up one morning to find in the news that Mount Everest had been moved overnight to the Sahara and there was a huge glowing sign in the sky saying “Hi Folks. God here. How d’ya like them apples eh?” I would be forced to change my mind to concede that there exists, if not perhaps a true god until we see more evidence, at least a super powerful alien entity that we had been unaware of until now. I’m sure Bill Nye would concede the same.

    But debating someone who does not use or value evidence, whose mind is so closed that it cannot be altered by any means and who either cannot understand logic and cause and effect or who chooses not to apply them because to do so would be fatal to his position is an exercise in futility. I applaud Bill’s courage in stepping into the lion’s den but cannot quite understand why he wants to do so.



    Report abuse

  • In reply to #285 by jaredgreener:

    The key is to find true religion – which necessitates PRACTICING religion.

    The key to find true X does not necessitate PRACTICING X, as the following false statements show:

    The key is to find true athletic excellence – which necessitates PRACTICING athletic excellence.
    The key is to find true copyright infringement – which necessitates PRACTICING copyright infringement.
    The key is to find true discrimination – which necessitates PRACTICING discrimination.



    Report abuse

  • 291
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #247 by chieffactotum:

    By substitution we see the ludicrous: “the Origin of the Species is useless as evidence for evolutionary belief, because it is itself part of the evolutionary belief-system that requires the corroboration of evidence”.

    What is needed, Cairsley, is real, independent evidence for evolutionary beliefs, if these are to be able to be taken seriously.

    This looks like Psychological projection

    Are you seriously suggesting that biologists, bacteriologists, and geneticists have produced no confirming evidence of evolution in the thousands of peer-reviewed reports which have been written in the last 150 years since Darwin???

    In reply to #245 by Cairsley:

    In reply to #238 by PastorRileyF:

    If the Bible is from God, that proves his existence, does it not? ..

    That was Cairsley’s point, – that the Bible is lacking independent confirmation from independent sources, such as Roman historians and archaeology, while evolution has thousands of scientific confirmations of its processes.



    Report abuse

  • 292
    God fearing Atheist says:

    In reply to #296 by Arkrid Sandwich:

    I think before any two people can have a worthwhile debate it is essential to establish that each is at least capable of changing his mind based on new evidence or new explanations as scientists do all the time. So we start by asking Ken Ham “What evidence would it take to make you change your mind…

    Well yes, but you are leaving out the audience, which, since the internet and YouTube, might be vast. Even if Ham and Nye are unshiftable, I assume both are hoping to shift the fence sitters in the audience to their side.



    Report abuse

  • 293
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #294 by jaredgreener:

    What is your understanding of the principle of faith?

    “Faith” is belief without evidence as I linked earlier @226. It does not have a principle beyond uncritically accepting whatever views are presented by “faith-leaders” (ancient and modern), whose views are also not based on objectively testable evidence, but are nevertheless trusted by followers – Hence the huge conflicting diversity of religions and denominations or sects of religions with numerous erroneous views.
    Zeuglodon likewise gives a clear linked defintion of “faith” @295.

    It sounds like you may be confused on what faith is or what its purpose in life is.

    The purpose of life is whatever each of us wants to make of it. Some of us think out our philosophy for ourselves. Some are spoon-fed their life’s objectives by indoctrination into a particular culture and form emotional attachments to these views once these are embedded in the god-spots of their brains. They are often unaware that they have been led into choosing these, but have in fact done so – just like everyone else. Some underlying aspects seem to be self-protective instinctive evolved survival features.

    Based on a previously published study that indicated spiritual transcendence is associated with decreased right parietal lobe functioning, MU researchers replicated their findings. In addition, the researchers determined that other aspects of spiritual functioning are related to increased activity in the frontal lobe.

    “We have found a neuropsychological basis for spirituality, but it’s not isolated to one specific area of the brain,” said Brick Johnstone, professor of health psychology in the School of Health Professions. “Spirituality is a much more dynamic concept that uses many parts of the brain. Certain parts of the brain play more predominant roles, but they all work together to facilitate individuals’ spiritual experiences.”

    The universe is vast and has no intrinsic “purpose of life”. This is merely a human egocentric, geocentric, delusion, which is perpetuated by various religions, as away of flattering and manipulating their followers with feelings of self importance.

    In reply to #285 by jaredgreener:

    Religion has the same method of arriving at truth as science – hypothesis, research, and experimentation.

    No it doesn’t! Religions use “faith”. If they used research and experimentation they would refute many of their own claims.

    You don’t seem to have any correction or explanation for the strange parity claim in your earlier assertion which I challenged here when it erroneously equates scientific methodology with unevidenced faith belief.



    Report abuse

  • 294
    chieffactotum says:

    All I have attempted is to point out differences, not defend them.
    The definition of faith you linked is deficient, because it does not capture reality.
    Reality consists of two things: the objective (what is outside of us) and the subjective (what is particular to the individual).
    By defining “faith” as you have, you [in my opinion unwittingly and at least be inference] deny that there is such a thing as an objective standard (which actually appears to be true for Science as well as Religion, as evidenced by disagreement even among those here who claim to be experts).
    “Faith” defined as belief is able to have both an objective and subjective application without changing its meaning. It is a better definition.
    Again, your definition of new information and that of the creationist differed. That is all I was referring to. But, since you care not to accept the definitions of others, or modify your own for understanding, aren’t you also guilty of maintaining your own superstitions?
    If you would like to reply a last time I will lurk, but otherwise I am done here.
    Everybody has their heels dug in here, so I will keep with a healthier dialogue elsewhere. Perhaps my attempt to offer a more positive perspective is untimely, at best. I am sickened by the war of words, and hope the Nye/Ham debate will mark a return to civility between creationists and evolutionists.

    In reply to #295 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #282 by chieffactotum:

    I’ve just had a long post, so I’m focusing on what seem to me to be your main points.

    Like our short discussion on “information” it is obvious that your definitions are an issue with the creationists. An erroneous or not agreed upon definition will always affect…



    Report abuse

  • 295
    Alan4discussion says:

    Here is an example of how “faith-thinking” can be involved in political muddled-brain views of representaives who somehow got themselves elected in the UK!

    UKIP suspends councillor who blamed flooding on gay marriage – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-25802437
    >

    Councillor David Silvester from Henley-on-Thames defected from the Conservatives to the UK Independence Party

    UKIP has suspended an Oxfordshire councillor after he blamed recent flooding on the government’s decision to legalise gay marriage.

    In a letter to his local paper, David Silvester said he had warned the PM the legislation would result in “disaster”.

    He said David Cameron had acted “arrogantly against the Gospel”.

    UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was entitled to his “strong Baptist view of the world”, but had defied a request not to do further media interviews.

    You will note that he was suspended not for being incapable of rational thought, but for being an embarrassment to his party.

    “It is his fault that large swathes of the nation have been afflicted by storms and floods.”

    He went on to say that no man, however powerful “can mess with Almighty God with impunity and get away with it”.

    The science of meteorology has other explanations for the flooding, which are accepted by the more rational scientifically literate Christians in the UK.

    The Rev Colin Coward, from Anglican group Changing Attitude, said: “I don’t know where David worships, but clearly it’s in a sect, a church which is not mainstream in its Christian practice and teaching.

    “It’s just prejudice that he is justifying on the grounds of his particular brand of Christianity.”

    That’s the thing about “faith-thinking” – it can be used to arrive at opposite conclusions to the same question, because of its failure to use scientific evidence-based reasoning !



    Report abuse

  • 296
    chieffactotum says:

    In reply to #298 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #247 by chieffactotum:

    By substitution we see the ludicrous: “the Origin of the Species is useless as evidence for evolutionary belief, because it is itself part of the evolutionary belief-system that requires the corroboration of evidence”.

    What is needed, Cairsley, is real, independe…

    And you missed my point completely.
    To argue that the Bible is eliminated from any self-attestation is equivalent to claiming no evolutionary works may be adduced to support evolution.
    Both sides accuse the other of circular reasoning. Of blind faith for accepting either the evolutionary or the biblical presuppositions and/or axioms.
    The creationist generally hides his belief that he thinks the evolutionist blinded by sin and “the god of this world”; the evolutionist [less so] hides his belief that the creationist is deluded.
    The evolutionist cannot tolerate the thought of a biblical, rational and reasonable faith that is not blind; that is belief, and trust and loyalty, for what logically are sound reasons.
    The creationist isn’t just after getting evolutionists to consider his biblical presuppositions as an alternative way of looking at the evidence, or as the basis of cosmology. What offends the evolutionists on the one side and the creationists on the other is the shared and basic axiom: OUR framework is the only one that provides the foundation for science, voluntary will, logic and morality.
    The battle will go on: my question is, How do we engage without hatred and rancor?
    To suggest, as this article does, that creationism be ignored and silenced is simple cowardice.
    If the belief system of evolution is true, by its own principles it will prevail. So, the only reason to silence opponents can only be fear.



    Report abuse

  • 297
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #301 by chieffactotum:

    By defining “faith” as you have, you [in my opinion unwittingly and at least be inference] deny that there is such a thing as an objective standard

    This disputing of a dictionary definition is semantic shuffling nonsense and a Non sequitur! Science clearly has “objective standards” which are quite distinct from “faith” and this sort of backwards thinking.

    (which actually appears to be true for Science as well as Religion, as evidenced by disagreement even among those here who claim to be experts).

    You have just trotted out the false equivalence again.

    as evidenced by disagreement even among those here who claim to be experts).

    Scientific experts resolve differences by independent objective testing. Religious differences are just bandied around as semantic contortions, asserted to defend subjective assumptions.

    “Faith” defined as belief is able to have both an objective and subjective application without changing its meaning.

    What a load of asserted rubbish!!! “Faith” by its very nature and definition, is information accepted without critical objectivity. Shifting the meaning of words makes no difference to the absence of supporting evidence in “faith” decision making.

    I hope you are not going to try to tell us that these semantic contortions and self-contradictions are “reasoning”!



    Report abuse

  • 299
    chieffactotum says:

    I wasn’t defining faith, I was explaining that for its definition to be valid it must be more than subjective!
    By whose [subjective] definition is it asserted rubbish? Yours!
    “Faith” ….is information accepted without critical objectivity.” Such a stupid statement is not a definition.
    Not according to the [objective] OED!
    http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/faith
    Your subjective definition eliminates your having to engage. You lack of reasonableness is evident. Shame on you.
    Faith can have an agreed upon meaning by two reasonable people at odds, but not with you. That makes you unreasonable and irrational, which accusation you hurl at the creationists?
    What happened to intellectual rigor?
    If you cannot accept the etymologycal or dictionary definitions, and cannot clearly formulate a definition of your own, you aren’t making this worth the time.

    In reply to #304 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #301 by chieffactotum:

    By defining “faith” as you have, you [in my opinion unwittingly and at least be inference] deny that there is such a thing as an objective standard

    This disputing of a dictionary definition is semantic shuffling nonsense and a Non sequitur! Science clearly has…



    Report abuse

  • 300
    Justaguy says:

    Dang, I only asked you to not hate me, because I was trying to stay light hearted and not offend you, or others that might read my post.

    How many people do you think are going to read your manifesto. It is too long, If we can’t agree that you don’t have faith, then fine. My point has been given. You have not excepted. You are agnostic on the origin of life. I can respect that. You are probably agnostic on a few things, formation of the universe, our solar system, our moon. Are you agnostic on evolution? Or is it a fact?
    In reply to #283 by Zeuglodon:

    In reply to #273 by Justaguy:

    (Please note: Yes, I know this is a long post. I have something of a tendency to go into “essay” mode every now and again when I want to make my point. You don’t have to read all of it – and quite frankly, I’m not blaming you if you don’t – but just be aware of two thi…



    Report abuse

  • 301
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #303 by chieffactotum:

    Both sides accuse the other of circular reasoning. Of blind faith for accepting either the evolutionary or the biblical presuppositions and/or axioms.

    The point you are missing is that YECs like Ham are utterly incompetent at history, astronomy and biology. Scientists are not in the least impressed by their dishonest clueless claims or fallacious thinking. Science works on hard evidence, hard won evidence and competent reasoning.

    You persist with the false equivalence as if science and creationism were equivalent viewpoints. They are not. Science is a description of how things work in the real world and in the real universe. Creationism is whimsical thinking, which simply does not stand up to the test of reality. Science does not do fudge! Things work in the real world or they don’t.

    The creationist isn’t just after getting evolutionists to consider his biblical presuppositions as an alternative way of looking at the evidence,

    There are no “other” functional ways of looking at evidence. There are effective ways which produce accurate results which can be confirmed, and flawed methods which regularly fail. Biblical presuppositions have very little to do with evolution and are irrelevant to scientific study.

    They have a great deal to do with flawed methods of trying to twist the study of history, on the basis of wish-thinking.

    or as the basis of cosmology.

    Cosmology is physics which stands on its own merits.

    What offends the evolutionists on the one side and the creationists on the other is the shared and basic axiom: OUR framework is the only one that provides the foundation for science, voluntary will, logic and morality.

    This is just another false equivalence. It is no use trying to play fudgist moderate in the middle, if you do not understand the subject matter. In the real world there are right answers and wrong answers, regardless of if some people want to play at being offended by right answers. .

    Scientific methodology is the best and most reliable method of matching our mental images to the physical reality. Subjective “faith” wish-thinking has consistently failed objective testing. It produces illusions and delusions which only provide errors.

    Morality is a separate philosophical issue, but science enables informed judgements on outcomes to be made.

    The battle will go on: my question is, How do we engage without hatred and rancor?

    There is no “hatred or rancor” toward the ignorant and scientifically uneducated from scientists, but there will be exposure by competent scientists of dishonest pseudo-science or incompetent claims, regardless of the sources. That is how scientific integrity works.

    To suggest, as this article does, that creationism be ignored and silenced is simple cowardice.

    This is nonsense. There is a political problem in the USA because of the large numbers of bigoted uneducated creationists (especially YECs), In the more scientifically educated parts of the world YECs are just laughed at and dismissed for what they are – posturing ignoramuses.

    If the belief system of evolution is true, by its own principles it will prevail.

    It has prevailed throughout the scientifically educated world. It is not a “belief system”. It is massively evidenced science – the basis of biology which drives huge sections of the the world’s economies, medicine, and food production.

    So, the only reason to silence opponents can only be fear.

    You don’t let the village idiots into an aircraft workshop or hospital operating theatre to test out their pet inventions , or invite flat-Earthists to lecture on space techno