Ken Ham Couldn’t Pull a Precambrian Rabbit From His Hat

Feb 19, 2014

Written By: Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay

The dust has settled from the much-hyped February 4th debate about creationism and evolution between Bill Nye, “the Science Guy,” and Creation Museum CEO Ken Ham. In our opinion, Ken Ham made the most telling statement of the night.

 

We do not mean, of course, that Ken Ham won the formal debate with Nye. One online poll after another shows a decisive and overwhelming victory for Nye in that regard. Neither did Ham win the debate he thought he was having about creationism and evolution. That debate has been resolved for well over a century. In both of those regards, Ham came out as the clear loser of the exchange to all but those most sympathetic to his point of view.

During the Q&A portion of the debate, an audience member asked what, if anything, would change the speakers’ minds. Ham’s reply: Nothing. “No one is ever going to convince me that the word of God isn’t true.” Bill Nye responded: “We would just need one piece of evidence.” (Evolutionary biologists typically reply, “A Precambrian rabbit.”)

 

In those two responses, we were given a clear window into one of our most important cultural issues. We’re facing enormous challenges in the United States and throughout the world, challenges with dire consequences—like climate change, wealth inequality, and rampant human rights abuses—and while those who side with Team Nye ask us to look clearly at the evidence, Team Ham refuses to change its mind on the basis of any conceivable evidence.

 

The metaphor is too clear and too poignant to pass up. On one side of the stage we had someone explaining reason, adaptability to change, and survival by our efforts; on the other side someone preaching faith, resistance to change, and ill-founded hope in magic. Ken Ham really did say everything that needed to be said. Whether the issue at hand is Ham’s facility talking about creationism, an obstinate Republican caucus in Congress denying the facts of climate change, or the Westboro Baptist Church protesting a military funeral, resistance to following evidence where it leads is the enemy of rational consensus.

 

Beyond creationism or evolution, a vital lesson from this debate should be understanding the consequences of not being able, or not being willing, to change one’s mind in the face of evidence. Ham and others, whether creationists or global warming deniers, hold the beliefs they do precisely because they refuse to revise their beliefs when presented with new data. What was on stage that night was a tragic display of willful ignorance, and with a single sentence, Ham revealed it to the world.

 

The way forward is to help people recognize the virtue of being willing to change their beliefs when presented with new evidence. Without that willingness, discussion is impossible, and all we have are “debates” that entrench the beliefs of those already committed to one side of the issue. The critical component, then, to taking someone’s view seriously is their sincere articulation of what it would take to change their belief. That attitude defines Team Nye, and its rejection defines Team Ham.

 

The indispensable take-away is hope. Nye cheered, “Bring it on!” when confronted with the possibility of new evidence that would force him to rethink his view of the world. Ham’s view completely excludes that possibility, and more than a million viewers saw it exposed. Those on Team Ham, unwilling to follow evidence where it leads, are welcome to their opinions, but it is plainer than ever that we need not take their opinions seriously.

 

About the Authors:

Peter Boghossian, Ed.D.

Portland State University, Philosophy Department

Author A Manual for Creating Atheists

Twitter: @peterboghossian

 

James A. Lindsay, Ph.D.

Author God Doesn’t; We Do: Only Humans Can Solve Human Challenges and Dot, Dot, Dot: Infinity Plus God Equals Folly

Twitter: @GodDoesnt

 

32 comments on “Ken Ham Couldn’t Pull a Precambrian Rabbit From His Hat

  • 1
    Jabberwocky says:

    Some people are just completely closed – I’ve suggested people read ‘The God Delusion’ and they decline citing the reason “that it may challenge their faith” – so I suggest they actually read the bible (as many have not or know little of it beyond the cherry picked verses chosen for them in church) then reconsider.



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  • 2
    Zeuglodon says:

    The article certainly emphasizes the issue of faith’s antagonism to reason well enough, but I think it could do with adding on to that the reasons people turn to using faith in the first place, the most conspicuous being wishful thinking, and an appeal to consequences. They have an investment – financial, emotional, political, or personal – in an idea being true or false. Appealing to faith to justify a belief is a symptom; a symptom of a predetermined interest in buoying up said belief in the first place, especially since people act on beliefs and might also have to re-evaluate themselves – painfully and expensively, in some cases – if their beliefs are wrong. It’s no coincidence that religious claims have a moralistic edge to them, and their arguments have some combination of the appeal to consequences (note the logic of Pascal’s Wager, for example), and the naturalistic (“is implies ought”) and moralistic (“ought implies is”) fallacies.



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  • 3
    SomersetJohn says:

    At least, any creatard who repeats the calumny that Richard Dawkins is afraid to debate them can now be called a liar. Ham has shown the world that such a debate is a complete waste of time precisely because they will never change their mind, at least through the medium of debate. Such debates are therefore an exercise in futility and rational people have better things to spend their time on.



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  • 4
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #2 by Zeuglodon:

    The article certainly emphasizes the issue of faith’s antagonism to reason well enough,

    I have linked this deep-rooted, heavily indoctrinated, faith-dominated, view before, but it does sum up the faith-head contempt for science and reason!

    The “infallible” Pope Pius IX

    “9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.” (Vatican Council I)
    “10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)



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  • 5
    aquilacane says:

    It is not a matter of belief. We do not need to change people’s belief. We need to do away with belief all together. Get rid of it, it means nothing. Who cares for belief? The best you can hope for is to possibly be in possession of the truth, though you may never know it. The best, most tested and tried evidence is nothing more than the current leading argument. And, as in the past, much of what we accept as true will almost surely be proven wrong or partially wrong in the future.



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  • 6
    Joseph Wolsing says:

    In reply to #5 by aquilacane:

    It is not a matter of belief. We do not need to change people’s belief. We need to do away with belief all together. Get rid of it, it means nothing. Who cares for belief? The best you can hope for is to possibly be in possession of the truth, though you may never know it. The best, most tested and…

    So many care a lot for belief. And if (estimated) 95% of all humans have such a belief without evidence it is a serious matter. Expeciall as you can see on people like Ham that they are a 100% resistant to learning new things. He is simulating a learning proces with his so called creationist science which is rubbish to the 30th degree on paper! A lot of work still has to be done!



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  • 7
    Joe Wolsing says:

    In reply to #5 by aquilacane:

    It is not a matter of belief. We do not need to change people’s belief. We need to do away with belief all together. Get rid of it, it means nothing. Who cares for belief? The best you can hope for is to possibly be in possession of the truth, though you may never know it. The best, most tested and…

    So many care a lot for belief. And if (estimated) 95% of all humans have such a belief without evidence it is a serious matter. Expeciall as you can see on people like Ham that they are a 100% resistant to learning new things. He is simulating a learning proces with his so called creationist science which is rubbish to the 30th degree on paper! A lot of work still has to be done!



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  • 8
    scottishgeologist says:

    Its exactly the same as the comments from Kurt Wise :

    “Although there are scientific reasons for accepting a young earth, I am a young age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. As I shared with my professors years ago when I was in college, if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate”

    RD has of course responded to Kurt Wise:

    “Kurt Wise doesn’t need the challenge; he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless… We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference”

    As has been said before, no point in debating these people. Total waste of time.

    SG



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  • 10
    swade.or says:

    I would like to point out an internal inconsistency in Ken Ham’s arguments (one of a great many, I’m sure). He asserts two unfounded claims that for the sake of my point I will pretend are true. (1) God exists and created the universe, and (2) events in the past are unprovable. The first one we’re all familiar with. The second claim is a new twist to me. It requires that god created the universe with starlight from stars billions of light years away to have been created in place near what would otherwise be the end of its journey. Similarly a great many other things must have been created to appear much older than they are.

    If that is the case, then isn’t it also equally feasible that god created all of us just a second ago with a lifetime of false memories intact? 6000 years ago or a second ago should be much the same to an eternal creator. So by application of Mr. Ham’s own points, the bible is just as likely to be divinely-fabricated false evidence as the starlight in transit would be. In other words, the bible is at least as suspect as the evidence of the age of the universe that Mr. Ham denounces. He can’t selectively decide which bits of the past to dismiss out of hand and which to accept regardless of the evidence. He must either accept all past events as possible fabrications or he must forgo his claim that past events are unprovable.

    Just a thought. Thanks for reading.

    Swade



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  • 11
    william.r.james says:

    Certainly Dawkins is not afraid to debate someone like Ham, but I’d really hate to see him do it for several reasons.
    Firstly, why give Ken Ham any illusion of credibility? That’s all Nye did. Well, that and made a few bucks from the farce.
    But also, Nye is accustomed to speaking to children. If Dawkins were to debate Ham, I fear he’s talk over the head of most of the viewers.
    But beyond all that is the concept of sportsmanship. Sure, he could defeat Ken Ham in a debate. I bet he could just as easily defeat Steven Hawking in a boxing match too, but what would either accomplish?
    .



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  • 12
    TimDolores says:

    In reply to #9 by swade.or:

    So by application of Mr. Ham’s own points, the bible is just as likely to be divinely-fabricated false evidence as the starlight in transit would be.

    I agree, and I think probably Mr. Ham would not be bothered by this. The witness of the Holy Spirit tells him that the Bible is God’s word, and that is not threatened by its having been fabricated out of whole cloth just last Thursday.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism



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  • I’m not sure it’s a matter of being unwilling to change one’s mind. People are not born with a view on evolution/climate change/etc. They form one while listening to ‘evidence’ (albeit not necessarily scientific one) from someone they trust. The problem we have is most likely the indoctrination at a very early age of children being taught that religious leaders speak a more definite truth than that of scientists. Kids are taught early on to favor religion over science. I’d like to think that this can be solved easily. By vehemently fighting the teaching of religious doctrine in public school. By ‘indoctrinating’ our non-religious children, as early as possible, to trust science. So that their quest for truth becomes contagious to their less informed classmates…



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  • 14
    Cairsley says:

    In reply to #7 by scottishgeologist:

    … if all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.

    One has to wonder what a creationist like Kurt Wise means by those closely related words ‘truth’ and ‘knowledge’, if evidence has nothing to do with them! This quotation from Kurt Wise is an instance of pure bigotry.



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  • 15
    Alan4discussion says:

    Ken Ham Couldn’t Pull a Precambrian Rabbit From His Hat

    I am not sure why my joke @8 about the likes of Ham “interpreting” the file image of Precambrian Charnia as rabbits’ ears, and my link to the fossil site, should have disappeared.

    In 1957, schoolboy Roger Mason famously found one of the world’s earliest-recorded fossils at Charnwood.

    “The fossils at Charnwood were considered so important because it was the one place in the world where we could definitively say fossils were of Precambrian age,” added Dr Wilby.

    One particular type of the frond-like fossils, like those found at Charnwood, is now known as Charnia, after the forest.



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  • 16
    NearlyNakedApe says:

    In reply to #7 by scottishgeologist:

    RD has of course responded to Kurt Wise:

    “Kurt Wise doesn’t need the challenge; he volunteers that, even if all the evidence in the universe flatly contradicted Scripture, and even if he had reached the point of admitting this to himself, he would still take his stand on Scripture and deny the evidence. This leaves me, as a scientist, speechless… We have it on the authority of a man who may well be creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist that no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, no matter how all-embracing, no matter how devastatingly convincing, can ever make any difference”

    The wording of the next to last sentence “creationism’s most highly qualified and most intelligent scientist” is a poor choice of words IMHO. The subtext implies that creationism is a “serious organization employing qualified scientists”. It implicitly (and quite unwittingly I’m sure) imparts credibility to a belief system that has none.

    Words of praise such as “highly qualified” and “most intelligent” should never have been used in the same sentence as the word “creationism” because of something called the framing effect. Some of that praise will inevitably spill onto creationism itself which is exactly the opposite of the sentence’s intent.

    Creationism does not have any real scientists working for them because there is no such thing as creationist science. Kurt Wise happens to have a formal training in science but since he chose to willfully ignore solid, overwhelming scientific evidence in order to comply to the tales of a bronze age book of lore, he has forfeited the privilege to be called a scientist, PhD or not.



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  • 17
    assumptionist says:

    Citric acid metabolism by bacteria over 40,000 generations and 20 years.
    Everyone, including Ken Ham, can make a good point — Ken said the bacteria in the experiment already had genes to metabolize citric acid. Surely this is another Ken concoction, but bacteria can actually metabolize citric acid without oxygen, though not with oxygen. What I’d previously read implied no previous ability to metabolize citric acid — evidently, over promoted research. Nonetheless, the experimental bacteria did evolve this citric acid ability to work in the presence of oxygen, then multiply that gene to convert more citric acid, and evolve some efficiency.



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  • 18
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #16 by assumptionist:

    Citric acid metabolism by bacteria over 40,000 generations and 20 years.
    Everyone, including Ken Ham, can make a good point — Ken said the bacteria in the experiment already had genes to metabolize citric acid. Surely this is another Ken concoction,

    It is the standard YEC concoction.

    We know that mutations usually accumulate over time before natural selection works on them as opportunities arise.

    YECs – having been thoroughly thrashed when sitting in total denial of genetics, are still in denial of deep time, but have moved to the devious ploy of pretending the variations were pre-existing creations. This moves the argument to a technical level where they can simply contradict scientists, and most of the population -being uneducated in genetics, – will be unable to follow the argument, – so will simply choose what they like to believe according to confirmation biases.

    That is why there were misgivings about the debate, when the agenda is moved on to this sort of issue.

    It is a plausible but fictitious, YEC concocted sales-pitch, V complex scientific evidence which requires education in biology before it can be understood.

    The audience are told by Ham, that they are clever Bible-readers who can judge the issues, and are told the less flattering truth by scientists, that they don’t understand the complexities of the subject.
    The know-it-all-ignorant lap up the flattery, and smugly agree with Ham that they are superior clever people!



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  • 19
    Sheepdog says:

    In reply to #18 by Alan4discussion:

    This moves the argument to a technical level where they can simply contradict scientists, and most of the population -being uneducated in genetics, – will be unable to follow the argument, – so will simply choose what they like to believe according to confirmation biases.

    The audience are told by Ham, that they are clever Bible-readers who can judge the issues, and are told the less flattering truth by scientists, that they don’t understand the complexities of the subject.

    Two points here that may be expanded upon, both of which increase loyalty. The first you touch on, the confirmation bias. No one likes feeling talked down to, and that is how people who do not have an extensive education commonly feel when lectured by others who do. Ham understands this well. His presentations are always friendly and inclusive, a lesson for us all when the frustration of trying to open a closed mind influences how we go about it.

    The next is also something that Ham understands well. If you want loyalty, get some money from people. It does not have to be a lot, a simple entrance fee, an online video sale, anything. We are all subject to this, no one likes to admit they made a bad deal, that the thing you bought on EBay was no good. Once some cash has been parted with, we are far more likely to defend the purchase, despite the nagging feeling that we were had. With this in mind, I would support RDF charging a small subscription fee, maybe for posting privleges. If nothing else, it might keep the worst of the time wasting trolls out.

    Ham is nothing if not a consummately skilled salesman, and in this there is much to be learned from him in how we present a case for reason.

    Finally, from Sun Tzu, “the Art of War,” and probably a little misquoted: ” Prepare your enemies retreat as carefully as planning your own attack.” When dealing with creationist idiocy, show a pathway out. Simply backing people up against a wall of fact will get, predictably, nowhere. I do not think that quoting a text on war is inappropriate here. This is a war, a war for the minds of our children.

    By the way, what is it with the Australian accent? I have one too, and it always amazes me how Americans are fascinated by it.



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  • 20
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #19 by Sheepdog:

    In reply to #18 by Alan4discussion:

    By the way, what is it with the Australian accent? I have one too, and it always amazes me how Americans are fascinated by it.

    Americans ARE fascinated by variations of accents in educated speakers of English.

    When my daughter worked for an American law firm, she was regularly put on front desk reception on Wall Street, where they liked her mixed Northern English and Scottish accent, and thought it enhanced the image of the firm.

    Perhaps it reflects the style over substance of promoting sales.



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  • 21
    Haymaker says:

    I watched it on Youtube, it was the same old story of a YEC putting his fingers in his ears and saying “God did it la la la”.I would love to see a debate between Dr. Phil Mason ( aka Thunderf00t, “Why Do People Laugh At Creationists”). and Ken Ham. When he debated Ray Comfort he turned him into “Banana Custard”, it was obvious there that Comfort , like Ham knows 50% of bugger all about real science.



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  • Its all about facts and that’s why Bill Nye will always win the argument, but to jump on the climate change band wagon to prove a point seems to be a bit of a contradiction because of the incredible amount of conflicting climate facts. But one thing is for certain, climate changes, that’s what it does”. If it didn’t change we would still be tree dwelling primates.California had a 700 year drought which ended around the 1300s so how does anyone conclude that human activity has caused the current climate to change? Here’s my thoughts on it…

    Climate is a combination of cycles.

    For example, there’s an hourly climate cycle, a daily climate cycle, a weekly climate cycle, a monthly climate cycle, a yearly climate cycle, a decadent climate cycle, a millennial climate cycle, a multi-millennial climate cycle, etc. etc.

    So to think that mere computer models can forecast climate changes, let alone provide a strategy to control it, is ludicrous!

    Yet some media commentators continue to sensationalise the issue which adds to the confusion. Even if we stop farting or burning fossil fuels etc, it will still change!

    Science and Media need to explain the reasons for climatic events and associated issues like insect plagues, croc and shark population explosions which are a result of positive climate activity.

    When the climate is hemispherically positive (i.e. flood) the entire food chain from micro organisms to the top predators receive a boost in growth and population.

    When the hemispherical climate is negative (i.e. drought) there is a dormant effect on the food chain.

    Scientist and governments are aware of these facts, however governments tend to spin the facts to suit there current agenders and they continue to ignore the fact that TREES are the main link between earth and atmosphere and there continual removal, particularly in tropical regions, will most likely alter current climate patterns to the detriment of human populations. This will probably result in the migration and divergence of us primates, yet again.

    So i think you should think twice before using unrelated issues to prove a point.



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  • 23
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #22 by zula:

    so how does anyone conclude that human activity has caused the current climate to change?

    Hundreds of thousands of hours of diligent research using modern technologies to gather data. – and the records of multi-billions of tons of human carbon burning.

    Skeptical Science Study Finds 97% Consensus on Human-Caused Global Warming in the Peer-Reviewed Literature – A new survey of over 12,000 peer-reviewed climate science papers by our citizen science team at Skeptical Science has found a 97% consensus among papers taking a position on the cause of global warming in the peer-reviewed literature that humans are responsible.

    ..and it’s not just “anyone”! It’s the vast majority of the worlds expert scientists and scientific bodies!

    Here’s my thoughts on it…

    Climate is a combination of cycles.

    For example, there’s an hourly climate cycle, a daily climate cycle, a weekly climate cycle, a monthly climate cycle, a yearly climate cycle, a decadent climate cycle, a millennial climate cycle, a multi-millennial climate cycle, etc. etc.

    Those cycles are well understood by the astronomers and climatologists who produce scientific papers on the subject.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milankovitch-cycles

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orbital-forcing

    So to think that mere computer models can forecast climate changes, let alone provide a strategy to control it, is ludicrous!

    The use of the word “mere” indicates a lack of study. The models of the astronomy are very precise. The physics of the “greenhouse effect” is undeniable. The fact that humans are adding billions of tons of CO2 to the atmosphere in addition to natural cycles is recorded in global trade statistics.
    The models of Earth climate are more difficult complex and imprecise. However the fact that the Earth is warming and that this more energetic atmosphere is causing erratic climate changes, increases in floods, droughts, more powerful storms and hurricanes, is not in doubt.

    Yet some media commentators continue to sensationalise the issue which adds to the confusion.

    That is due to scientifically illiterate journalists babbling, and the application of the dishonest tobacco strategy by carbon industry vested interests.

    Certainly the denial lobby sensationalises the replacement of obsolete polluting industries with clean technologies as some sort of fictional disaster, while pretending that the real threats are imagined. That is of course based on menatal laziness and personal greed, not science.

    Even if we stop farting or burning fossil fuels etc, it will still change!

    The issue is not “if”, but “how”!

    Increasing storms, floods and droughts, along with rising sea-levels, and loss of irrigation water from melting ice-caps are real and serious problems.

    There are various discussions of climate issues on this RDFS site.

    http://www.www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2014/1/31/-climate-change-sceptics-are-headless-chickens-says-prince-charles?category=Science#

    http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/632627-harness-the-sea-national-geographic-june-2011-tidal-wave-power-generation

    http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/643310-water-cooled-nuclear-power-plants-aren-t-the-only-option

    http://old.www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/642733-why-the-laws-of-physics-make-anthropogenic-climate-change-undeniable



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  • 24
    rocket888 says:

    I wonder just how many of the readers here “believe” that the sciences of climate change is as mature as say, the science of evolution.

    It amazes me that people who brag that just one sliver of evidence could topple the entire theory of evolution (say one of those fossils found in the wrong layer) are so quick to ignore all the evidence of climate change before man was burning fossil fuels. There are big ice ages, the little ice age, the medieval warming and even some recent evidence showing arctic ice coming back in the last few years. Just google “nasa pictures of arctic ice growing back” and see for yourself.

    So, how can anyone be so sure about what’s causing climate change? Even the scientists who claim to be the experts, are mostly going by what they’ve read (or by the output of suspect computer simulations). After all, how many scientists can be expert in all the different areas of science involved in planetary climate change. And outside of Richard Dawkins, how many scientists are also experts in computer programming? And then of course there’s the agendas, and the possible fabrication of data that has come to light. How can anyone be so sure about something that’s become so politicized.

    And speaking of computer models, I know of none on climate that completely simulate cloud formation – let alone even agree with other models. And surely anyone can see with his or her own eyes that cloud cover affects temperature.

    But if anyone is a bit skeptical, they are lumped together with creationists.

    Sounds a lot like old time religion to me.



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  • 25
    theGreatFuzzy says:

    In reply to #19 by Sheepdog:

    In reply to #18 by Alan4discussion:

    The next is also something that Ham understands well. If you want loyalty, get some money from people. It does not have to be a lot, a simple entrance fee, an online video sale, anything. We are all subject to this, no one likes to admit they made a bad deal, that the thing you bought on EBay was no good. Once some cash has been parted with, we are far more likely to defend the purchase, despite the nagging feeling that we were had. With this in mind, I would support RDF charging a small subscription fee, maybe for posting privleges.

    Wouldn’t that just encourage people to take up the bad practice of defending a position because they’ve invested some cash, or effort, in it? The very behaviour we should be discouraging? I think it best not to sink to the level of the other side.



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  • 26
    Lonevoice says:

    In reply to #3 by SomersetJohn:

    At least, any creatard who repeats the calumny that Richard Dawkins is afraid to debate them can now be called a liar. Ham has shown the world that such a debate is a complete waste of time precisely because they will never change their mind. . .

    May I just point out that Dawkins himself has stated on television that even if a 900-foot high Jesus came and said “I exist”, he’s not sure that that would persuade him. Ignoring the fact that Dawkins was using a very silly example of a 900-foot high Jesus, my point is that atheists can be equally ‘obstinate’; and I use the word becasue that is what Ham’s position has been taken as in the above article.

    On the night of the much-hyped debate, Ham made it quite clear that it’s not an argument about the evidence, because we all have the same evidence – so the posts here suggesting that creationards (nice word!) refuse to follow where the evidence leads completely overlooks that he said we all have the same evidence but it’s a debate about world views and the starting points in our presuppositions.



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  • 27
    Lonevoice says:

    In reply to #5 by aquilacane:

    It is not a matter of belief. We do not need to change people’s belief. We need to do away with belief all together. Get rid of it, it means nothing. Who cares for belief? The best you can hope for is to possibly be in possession of the truth, though you may never know it. The best, most tested and…

    Is the the premise of your life?

    What makes you believe that we should get rid of belief? And if we do, how would you know that we had done so?

    Well done for getting 12 Likes, though.



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  • 28
    ashleyhr says:

    Ham responded to part of this article in his blog post for 10 March. He used the article as an excuse to attack Bill Nye once again. Accusing Nye of pretending to be open-minded whilst in reality being closed-minded.
    Weeks after that debate about viable models of origins for a modern scientific era – in which Ham came second.



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  • 29
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #26 by Lonevoice:

    On the night of the much-hyped debate, Ham made it quite clear that it’s not an argument about the evidence, because we all have the same evidence

    Of course we don’t! Some people don’t even have the basic scientific understanding to recognise evidence, let alone build it into a big picture.

    so the posts here suggesting that creationards (nice word!) refuse to follow where the evidence leads completely overlooks that he said we all have the same evidence

    Err no! Those in denial cannot understand evidence because they either won’t look, or reject the fragments or evidence a piece at a time, so cannot build a comprehensible over-view.

    but it’s a debate about world views and the starting points in our presuppositions.

    It is indeed. Scientists rationally follow the evidence using scientific methodology and logical reasoning, creationists build circular arguments built on god-did-it presuppositions.



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  • 30
    Lonevoice says:

    In reply to #29 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #26 by Lonevoice:

    Scientists rationally follow the evidence using scientific methodology and logical reasoning, creationists build circular arguments built on god-did-it presuppositions.

    I don’t deny my presuppositions but you seem to imply that Scientists don’t have any. Is that what you’re saying?

    You call my position circular reasoning, and I would probably have to agree with you. However, that’s not necessarily a flawed position to hold. If God is self-existent and was before all things, it is not unreasonable that I come to a point where I simply accept that. If he is the Greatest Being, then there is nothing greater by which he can be evaluated. It’s just that one comes to the end point of all logical argument because there’s no earlier point you can go to in order to continue proving a case.

    Where circular reasoning is a flawed argument, however, is where human reason is set up as the ultimate standard, basically because we’re all so different in our perceptions, views and values. Therefore, as no one person can claim to have infinite knowledge, using circular reasoning in an argument would be flawed, because there’s no ultimate authority that can be appealed to that would settle the matter once and for all.

    With regard to the evidence that scientists follow, please let me know what evidence there is to show that nothing actually did turn into something without any external causal factor. Presumably, from what you have said at #29, scientists have followed the evidence, step by step, all the way back to a precise event before anything existed to show what actually happened. Or, as the natural trail logically ends there, do they make any suppositions when formulating a theory about what ‘could’ explain the existence of all things? And on what basis has it been decided that all rational explanations of our origins must exclude the possibility of an external creator – except for the presupposition that there isn’t one?

    In my earlier post, I said. . .”it’s not an argument about the evidence, because we all have the same evidence” and you replied;
    “Of course we don’t! Some people don’t even have the basic scientific understanding to recognise evidence, let alone build it into a big picture.”

    I think you may have misunderstood me, so I hope you don’t mind me clarifying: when I referred to “the same evidence” I was meaning the same planet, rock layers, fossils – or anything that is right before our eyes. You have mixed this up with the “interpretation” by linking evidence to people’s understanding; which occurs in the mind not in a rock. By your reckoning, “evidence” seems to be what people ‘understand’, whereas, I’m saying that evidence is the hard facts, and how a given individual interprets what they see is driven by their own understanding and, yes, presuppositions.

    Do you have any presuppositions through which you interpret the hard facts of what you see? And how do you objectively evaluate if your understanding is correct?



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  • 31
    Alan4discussion says:

    In reply to #30 by Lonevoice:

    In reply to #29 by Alan4discussion:

    In reply to #26 by Lonevoice:

    Scientists rationally follow the evidence using scientific methodology and logical reasoning, – creationists build circular arguments built on god-did-it presuppositions.

    I don’t deny my presuppositions but you seem to imply that Scientists don’t have any. Is that what you’re saying?

    As I stated above, scientists start with the evidence, use multiple checks and tests and reject claims demonstrated to be false. They do not start with presuppositions other than understanding that repeat testing reduces personal biases and logic processes evidence to give consistent results. It is a false equivalence to pretend personal presuppositions equate with evidenced science which has worked to eliminate such errors from its work.

    You call my position circular reasoning, and I would probably have to agree with you.

    Circular reasoning simply uncritically, confirms presuppositions complete with flaws, and keeps views devoid of independent objectivity.

    However, that’s not necessarily a flawed position to hold.

    That is certainly an irrational position, and is flawed as far as rational deduction based on objective evidence is concerned. Thinking in circles allows uncritical belief in any preconceived notion!

    If God is self-existent and was before all things, it is not unreasonable that I come to a point where I simply accept that. If he is the Greatest Being, then there is nothing greater by which he can be evaluated. It’s just that one comes to the end point of all logical argument because there’s no earlier point you can go to in order to continue proving a case.

    This is a simple assertion of an unevidenced wildly speculative presupposition, which has no more basis than thousands of other wild speculations. Occam would favour egocentric illusion or delusion in a believer’s brain, as a much simpler explanation of this perception.
    Even where the logical process is technically correct, it proves nothing, if it goes round in circles and is based on presuppositions which are not, or cannot, be confirmed by independent objective repeat observations.

    Where circular reasoning is a flawed argument, however, is where human reason is set up as the ultimate standard, basically because we’re all so different in our perceptions, views and values.

    That is precisely why science uses objective repeat independent testing for its input evidence, thus avoiding using circular reasoning.
    Logical reasoning is a checkable mathematical process which is independent of personal views and values.

    Therefore, as no one person can claim to have infinite knowledge, using circular reasoning in an argument would be flawed,

    Circular reasoning in an argument is always flawed. It has nothing to do with levels of knowledge beyond knowledge of evidenced reasoning.
    It is a fallacy to claim an absence of any, or infinite knowledge, precludes possessing actual knowledge.
    It is also a fallacy to claim someone else’s absence of knowledge in any way supports your own unevidenced claims.
    Each claim stands or falls, on its own supporting evidence, the lack of it, or contra evidence refuting it.
    That is why Ham’s YEC claims fall apart as soon as they are examined by science.

    because there’s no ultimate authority that can be appealed to that would settle the matter once and for all.

    Science uses objective repeat testing by independent science teams, as its ultimate authority. Religions simply claim ultimate authority for their thousands of conflicting gods, without any supporting objective evidence at all.

    With regard to the evidence that scientists follow, please let me know what evidence there is to show that nothing actually did turn into something without any external causal factor.

    Science is quite prepared to say that knowledge has varying degrees of probability (refuted, speculation, hypothesis, theory etc) and is prepared to say:- “Our knowledge to estimated probability, extends this far, and beyond this point, we do not know!”

    As I pointed out earlier, an absence of scientific or individual knowledge of a particular subject, adds nothing to support other views. To have any validity, each view must stand on its own supporting evidence.

    I think you may have misunderstood me, so I hope you don’t mind me clarifying: when I referred to “the same evidence” I was meaning the same planet, rock layers, fossils – or anything that is right before our eyes. You have mixed this up with the “interpretation” by linking evidence to people’s understanding; which occurs in the mind not in a rock.

    We don’t “all have the same evidence”. We only have the potential to acquire the same evidence.
    First of all we can dismiss the preconceived views on nature, of those who have not looked or will not look.
    We can then weight the views and multiple confirmations by those doing resourced expert studies, who have looked in detail, and cross-checked their results when publishing them.

    By your reckoning, “evidence” seems to be what people ‘understand’, whereas, I’m saying that evidence is the hard facts,

    Matching human perceptions as accurately as we can to the underlying “hard facts” of the universe is what science does. Personal understanding comes from studying the science, not introspective circular thinking. There is no evidence that introspective faith in circular thinking produces facts, and much evidence of it failing abysmally, while wallowing in delusion.

    and how a given individual interprets what they see is driven by their own understanding and, yes, presuppositions.

    That is why scientific methodology uses peer-reviewed specialist publications for expert opinion to critically examine, repeat test, identify personal biases and preconceptions, and eliminate mistakes.
    Theistic circular reasoning makes no such attempt at accuracy. That absence of critical testing, is why there is such a conflicting diversity of faith-based beliefs, most of which are full of basic scientific and historical errors.

    Do you have any presuppositions through which you interpret the hard facts of what you see? And how do you objectively evaluate if your understanding is correct?

    Scientific methodology (as explained above) is the best and most consistently reliable system we have to match views to reality. In science, presuppositions are only the hunches about what to start testing. Flawed notions are quickly rejected.
    Circular faith-thinking however, only confirms untested preconceptions complete with all the errors.

    The circular thinking based on presupposition about a god-delusion, unsurprisingly, perfectly matches the original god-delusion in a believer’s brain because of the circularity leading back to the core reference image.
    It does not match the diverse god-delusions in millions of other believers’ brains, or the scientific knowledge gained from objective observations which have been repeatedly cross-checked for matches to features of the physical universe and then communicated between scientists.

    Circular faith-thinking is a process of defending personal preconceptions and childhood misconceptions, – not a system for understanding the workings of life, the planets, the Solar-System, the galaxies or the universe.



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