The Sinister Tentacles of Young-Earth Creationism

This cartoon from Answers in Genesis, shared on Facebook by Ken Ham and drawn to my attention by a friend, gets things precisely backwards in an important sense.

 

While it is true that what one thinks and considers outside of church will impact what happens inside it, that is neither surprising nor to be avoided.

But when it comes to wrapping someone in tentacles that keep them from seeing and hearing the truth when they encounter it, that is precisely what Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis do!

Any educator will tell you just how resistant students in classes can be if they have been indoctrinated with the falsehoods that Ham and others like him peddle about the Bible and the natural world.

And so I would love for a cartoonist to take the image and reverse it, to get it closer to reality. The tentacles of young-earth creationism reach into classrooms. Sometimes the attempt is made to do that quite directly despite the illegality of doing so. But even when there is no formal mention of young-earth creationism, its tentacles may be firmly wrapped around a student, keeping many (but not all, thankfully) from realizing that they have been lied to, even when they are presented with the overwhelming amount of evidence against the claims with which they have been indoctrinated.

I would also add (since it appears in the cartoon) that the idea of “millions of years” does not interfere with one's Christianity any more than heliocentrism does, unless it has been made a point of dogma, and someone has been told they have to choose between that and the Bible. And so this too is a reason why young-earth creationism deserves to be depicted as a scary monster with tentacles. It tells people that they must choose between conclusions to which evidence overwhelmingly points, and their Christian faith. And then when people choose between the two, young-earth creationists blame science or education rather than themselves. But they are the guilty ones, for having set up the false antithesis to begin with.

 

  • Paul Burnett

    Professional Liars For Jesus(TM) like Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind and their fellow travelers who pimp for the scientific illiteracy of creationism (whether it’s Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism or Intelligent Design Creationism) promote willful ignorance of evolution, biology and all of science because it disagrees with their thousands of years out-of-date mythology. When will Americans realize that this level of ignorance is utterly inappropriate for the 21st century?

    • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

      Ironically, only Kent Hovind is a native born US citizen, and he is in prison for tax fraud. Apparently, his “biblical reasoning” didn’t work so well with the IRS.

      The religious freedom in the US goes far deeper in this country than it does in others, making it impossible to silence liars and fraudsters like these talking heads. It is a constant battle to keep creationism out of the school system. It is the price of freedom that some things take much longer to fix than many people think it should.

      We just need to keep exposing these people as the frauds they are. Eventually, the tide will turn.

      • Mary

        Kent Hovind is another one of those supposedly “persecuted” Christians. This is a petition from a website http://www.freehovind.com

        “President of the United States of America;

        We, the undersigned petitioners, request the complete pardon and release from prison of Kent E. Hovind.

        We believe Hovind to be completely innocent of the alleged crime of “tax evasion”, and furthermore believe Hovind’s 10 year sentence to be patently unjust and based upon an effort to silence his ministry.”

        Another Christian crying wolf???

    • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

      Paul Burnett, what did you create? Tell us how you do it? I know how God does it. He told us. How does Paul Burnett do it? Tell us Mr. Expert? I believe God and I see his Creation all around me. I have not seen any of your creations. Do show us.

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        Either you are deifying Ken Ham who told you how God created, or you are deifying someone else, perhaps an ancient Israelite author. The only way to know how God created is to study the work of God’s hands, and unfortunately doing that honestly is something that young-earth creationists oppose.

        • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

          “The only way to know how God created is to study the work of God’s hands”?

          I know how. God said how. It’s all in the Bible. Why don’t you read it? If you don’t believe God just say it.

          Let me tell you something mt friend. You are like me, you’re not smart enough to understand the mechanics of creation.

          You can gather up every nerd in the world starting at MIT and all work together and all of you couldn’t speak a house fly into existence.
          God is High Tech.

          High Tech to man is sending a man to the moon. Wow that’s so high Tech.

          God can work mightily when you persist in believing Him in spite of discouragements from the human standpoint.

          Thank you James

          • rmwilliamsjr

            as with most YEC the invitation to discuss the scientific issues falls on deaf ears. it’s a shame, Christians of all people should love the facts of God’s Creation as they claim to love the Creator. i find chimp 2p+2q= human 2 a fact that God wishes for me to understand and attribute to His wisdom, it’s a shame that the YEC wants to hide from the truth God hath wrought.

          • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

            The Biblical authors say that the natural world declares the glory of God and makes enough known to human beings that they are without excuse. So why do you reject both testimonies, and add to it the sin of treating the Biblical authors as though they were themselves God?

            • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

              Hey James, I’m into Jesus Christ. If you think the earth is old. Then think that. If you think the Earth is young, then think that.
              I don’t have a problem with you being on the old Earth side.
              I spent the past 20 years more less on the Old side. I think I read every book Hugh Ross put out.
              After much study I have come over to the young earth side.
              I don’t see old or young keeping a man out of Heaven.

              Now the people that are all rabid and going postal about it may have Christian life surrendered to Jesus Christ problem. Now Mr Ham is on the main battle front. He has to be bold and the leaders of old have to be bold.
              But if you have a hate of the old or young folks. You have a big problem. Don’t worry about creation, it’s a done deal.

              Jesus Saves!

          • Nox

            And yet the god of Genesis doesn’t seem to understand some basic things about his creation. The Earth was created (and experiencing alternating periods of light and darkness) three days before the Sun. The Sun, the moon and all the stars are contained inside our atmosphere.

            Almost as if an advanced being didn’t actually write it, and someone just took their own cosmological understanding from 600 BC and just wrote down a story about god making all this stuff with no concern for whether it was true.

    • Mary

      Yes I do believe creationists lie about a lot of things. But I think a great deal of it is self-deception. The fact is that you don’t have to be a scientist to see the most obvious flaws. What many Christians have done when they come across something in the bible that doesn’t make sense is to simply deny its existance. I know this because I used to be that way myself when I was younger.

      The bible depicts a flat earth, with the sun, the moon, the starsand the planets moving around it in a solid firmament. Heaven is a literal physical place above, not in another dimension as we think today. This is evidenced by the story of the Tower of Babel, where God had to stop the construction of the tower because he was afraid that his lowly creatures would overun heaven.

      There are two reactions to this that I have observed with creationists. The first is to acknowlege all of this and become card-carrying members of the flat earth society. The other reaction is more common and more insidious. For these people simply deny the bible says these things in the first place. Apparently all the theologins for thousands of years have misinterpreted the biblical description of the cosmos. Quite frankly, these are the people I find most frustrating to deal with.They claim an inerrant Bible and yet ignore what it says.

      I think for most creationists it is a matter of self-deception. However when self-appointed “experts” jump on the bandwagon and peddle their misinformation to the public, I have to suspect the usual reasons for people to lie. Fame, money, and power. Unfortunately there are a lot of people who seem to think that as long as someone identifies himself as a Christian, that he can be trusted.

      • Kevin S.

        And it’s not just the flat, stationary Earth. There’s also that matter of the firmament. I don’t recall evangelical Christians protesting the space program because the rockets would pierce the firmament and flood us with the “waters above.”

        • Mary

          You have a good point, but I have heard the argument that the water in the firmament no longer existed after the flood. Of course that is a made up solution like all their other ideas.

      • Walter Bernhard

        The simple fact of the matter is that all Christians cherry-pick the bible. Creationists ignore flat earth and geocentric verses (with the exception of a an extremely tiny and insane fringe of flat geocentric young earth creationists), and pretty much all Christians ignore Leviticus 11;9-12, 19:9 and 19:19 when quoting the anti-homosexual verses of 18:22 and 20:13. And they can’t say that Christians are not bound by the old covenant because of Matthew 5;17-20.

  • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

    My kids attend a private school in which creationism is taught. I set them straight at home. For one thing, I tell them “We are Methodists; we worship God. Your school is Baptist; Baptists worship the Bible. There is a difference!”

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I like it! (And I say that as a Baptist! Bibliolatry is less rampant among American Baptists than it is among Southern Baptists).

    • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

      Scientific evidence should be the core issue in scientific controversies like Macro evolution.

      Do a youtube search for “Persuaded by the Evidence” and consider the experience of 6 scientists which where once Evolutionists but became sceptics because of the evidence they saw in their respective fields.

      Mindlessly repeating the mantra that their is “mountains of evidence proving evolution” does not make it so.
      The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!

      The real battle is between good science and Darwinism. When Darwinian/Macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

      The scientific method demands: observation, measurement, repeatability. Darwinian/Macro evolution has none of these, all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation. Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great …. Great grandfather was a self replicating molecule?
      Go to attached link for a 10 min audio interview with Dr Ben Carson.

      He is a world famous neuro surgeon and created much controversy recently when he expressed his rejection of Darwinian evolution.

      I commend the link to you;

      http://intelligentdesign.podomatic.com/entry/2012-06-11T17_15_57-07_00

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        Claiming a global conspiracy, so that all the research in all the peer reviewed journals around the globe are fraudulent, simply doesn’t wash. That you can Google your way to people who think otherwise is beside the point. You could Google your way to Holocaust deniers and Jesus mythicists with the right keywords. So what? Of course people can spin things the other way. The question is, have you examined the claims of those spin doctors with critical eyes?

      • Kevin S.

        Wow, six scientists have found “evidence…in their respective fields” that they think contradicts the theory of evolution. Just out of curiosity, how many of these scientists were biologists? Assuming that a specialist in one field is able to critique another field which he or she doesn’t fully understand can make an ass out of you and me.

      • http://atlantarofters.blogspot.com The Sanity Inspector

        Creationism is something to reprimand children with: “If you don’t learn how to tell the difference between what’s true, and what you wish were true, you will turn into a young earth creationist!”

      • http://www.facebook.com/weisschr Christopher R Weiss

        Yes… Theo, and here is a video doing a deconstruction on the creationist arguments against evolution showing how the logic of crazies like Hovind fall apart:

        http://youtu.be/l-ilMYc5xdQ

        Listen, watch, and learn.

      • rmwilliamsjr

        re:

        Scientific evidence should be the core issue in scientific controversies like Macro evolution.

        i will renew my offer.
        if you really wish to discuss the scientific evidence for the TofE i am more than happy to study the issues along side of you. do not link to some youtube. offer the data in your own words and explain why it supports your position and not an evolutionary one. engage with the evidence, show you understand the theory and it’s supporting structure, show you have actually read some of the books you quote and understand your opponents’ position well enough to outline it. be an honest researcher.

    • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

      Mr. Sanity, what an incredibly stupid thing to say. And by the way, there will be no Baptist or Methodist in Heaven. You will only find Baptist and Methodist on Earth.

  • Godlesspanther

    Ken Ham and AIG are a textbook example of a mind-control cult. The belief system revolves around what Ham says and nothing else. The bizarre projection in which everything Ham accuses others of doing is precisely what he and is cult are doing is very typical of a cult leader.

    Ken Ham is every bit a delusional as Charles Manson. We are not likely to get quite as extreme behavior from the followers, but the level of delusion is about the same.

    • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

      The propagation of Darwinian/Macro evolution as a “fact” is what is mind control.
      For too long the Evolutionists have been harassing and intimidating anyone who questioned the Evolution myth.

      There are many cases where people have been bullied and harassed for no other reason than because they questioned Evolution. (See Expelled – No intelligence allowed, or the Kansas School Board – Evolution hearings for documentation). Questioning/scrutinizing is a key tenant of the scientific method, it should be encouraged not punished.
      In order to make an informed conclusion check out some debates on Evolution and see how it crumbles when scrutinised; just believing the pet answers is poor science. Go to Google Video or YouTube and search for Debates on Evolution. Try this link as a start http://www.fishdontwalk.com/

      • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

        Or better yet, read a book, by an actual scientist, or watch a genuine legitimate documentary about the Dover Intelligent Design trial.

        Just because people assert that those who disagree with them are engaging in “mind control” doesn’t make it true. And it is sad that anyone is gullible enough to think that the entire world’s scientific effort is driven by bullying rather than fruitfulness of research.

      • rmwilliamsjr

        re: n order to make an informed conclusion check out some debates on Evolution and see how it crumbles when scrutinised;

        pick one scientific fact concerning evolution and show how it crumbles.
        i’d suggest chimp 2p+2q=human 2, GLO pseudogene, syncetin as coopted viral gene in placental mammals.

        instead of making these broad philosophic complaints about TOE, deal with just one scientific fact in the field.

      • Kevin S.

        The lies and selective editing of Expelled has been dissected all over the internet for a long time. Referring to that movie as a legitimate source for anything probably doesn’t help your cause in rational corners of the web.

      • Godlesspanther

        So, first of all, you ignore my assessment of Ken Ham’s AIG as a mind-control cult. I can’t say that I blame you in your reluctance to attempt to defend the indefensible.

        You have then made several baseless assertions that are recognizable as the dogma that is produced by the creationist propaganda machine. The fact of the matter is that nobody is ever coerced or threatened into learning science.

        You have made the assumptions that I have never been exposed to creationist propaganda. That is simply not true. I have seen Expelled and, not only have I watched it, I wrote a lengthy review on that particular movie. I have also seen numerous debates — Duane Gish, Ken Ham, Kent Hovind, William Lane Craig, etc.

        I am anything but impressed by creationists. To be frank, I find their blatant dishonesty to be rather repugnant.

        If there is one thing that we can be absolutely sure of — the creationist is always a liar.

        I am not sure if you have or have not read material on evolution that is written by actual scientists — not idiotic propaganda — if you have, then you have clearly made a decision to ally yourself with a pack of liars. I’m sorry about that and I hope that you wake up some day.

        If you are willing to look at some real information — go to Youtube and look up Aron Ra foundational falsehoods of creationism. I know that you worship an imaginary thing that forbids you from actually learning something — but since it’s all make-believe anyway — let’s just say that your invisible friend will forgive you for it this one time.

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:

          If there is one thing that we can be absolutely sure of — the creationist is always a liar.

          I am not sure if you have or have not read material on evolution that is written by actual scientists — not idiotic propaganda — if you have, then you have clearly made a decision to ally yourself with a pack of liars. I’m sorry about that and I hope that you wake up some day.

          end quote

          i hope my last hour or so of research into TT proves your point.
          YECs are liars, they do not read what they quote from. their interest is in propaganda-to cut&paste post everywhere, not intelligent discussions based on the evidence and science.

          • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

            You sound more like a bigot sir.

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              Responding to reasoned argument patiently offered with an accusation of bigotry suggests that you are a troll. I do not need atheists pretending to be Christians behaving badly to try to make them look bad. Interact honestly with other commenters or your comments will not be allowed. I demand honesty and human decency in this blog as a bare minimum.

              • Kaz

                rmwilliamsjr can call all creationists liars — even declaring that he’s “absolutely sure” of this — and that falls within the scope of human decency, but Guest responds by calling him a bigot and that deserves reprimand? I agree that human decency should be a bare minimum, so let’s start by disallowing the sorts of bigoted comments that rmwilliamsjr made.

                • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                  Calling young-earth creationists liars is not bigotry, it is understatement. I am quite sure that rmwilliamsjr will gladly provide as much evidence of the dishonesty of the YEC position as you may require, even though it will probably involve him covering ground that both he and I have covered in blog posts and comments here before.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

                    You are talking baloney.
                    For too long the Evolutionists have been harassing and intimidating anyone who questioned the Evolution myth.

                    There are many cases where people have been bullied and harassed for no other reason than because they questioned Evolution. (See Expelled – No intelligence allowed, or the Kansas School Board – Evolution hearings for documentation). Questioning/scrutinizing is a key tenant of the scientific method, it should be encouraged not punished.

                    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

                      How can you accuse someone else of talking baloney and the cite Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, without any awareness of the irony involved?

                  • Kaz

                    It appears that your lack of objectivity on this question is absolute. BTW, my father is a YEC and he has never lied to promote it.

                • rmwilliamsjr

                  to set the record straight, please read carefully, the words “absolutely sure” appear between “re:” & “end quote” and are in fact part of a quote addressed by Godlesspanther to Theo Tsourdalakis that i am replying to.

                  bigotry at the minimum is a judgement based not on evidence but on a categorical declaration made before/without research and study. i don’t believe anything i’ve said here or anywhere else about YEC has been based either in ignorance or an unthinking, unconcerned, unresearched emotional rush-to-judgement. but is in fact a reflection of many years of study, reading, discussion and careful thought something far different than bigotry.

                  anonymous name calling appears here as a tactic to disrupt conversation about whether YECism is like a octopus in it’s embrace of Christians who because of AiG and it’s ilk refuse to listen to other Christians like Francis Collins in _language of man_ who testify to the wonders of God in biology. i think postings like TT cut&paste and anonymous guest’s name calling are good examples of this octopus in action and reinforce J McGrath’s OP in a strong way.

                  • rmwilliamsjr

                    as a curious coincidence, K.Ham’s blog posting today at AiG http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2013/01/14/princeton-student-lies-about-the-creation-museum/ is a discussion about another blog article about the creation museum where KH accuses the student of lying about the creation museum and having discussed it as if he had actually visited it, when that fact, from the information in the blog, was in doubt. KH seems to know that writing about visiting a place when you haven’t is a lie, just as TT’s use above of another writer’s review of T.Nagel’s book, despite his not reading it, is likewise a lie.

                    we seem to intuitively recognize some things as lies. now why don’t YECists realize that saying the world is 6kyears old despite the overwhelming scientific consensus, is a lie?

                  • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

                    You are grasping at straws, and being decepting. I never claimed to have read Nagels book hence I did not lie (as you assert). You are implying that if you quote someones book, then you must read the book – what utter rubbish.

                    Nagels comments is key in that even he (an atheist) admits that Darwinian/Macro evolution is a dying myth being killed by the scientific evidence.

                    In order to make an informed conclusion check out some debates on Evolution and see how it crumbles when scrutinised; just believing the pet answers is poor science. Go to Google Video or YouTube and search for Debates on Evolution. Try this link as a start http://www.fishdontwalk.com/

                    • rmwilliamsjr

                      re:

                      You are implying that if you quote someones book, then you must read the book – what utter rubbish.

                      end quote

                      but you are not quoting from the book. you cut&pasted the 2 quotes from a review of the book you found at http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/11/26/atheism-evidence-and-pre-commitments/

                      yes, you are implying that you read the book or at least those few pages when you said:

                      quote:

                      Even atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel recognizes that Darwinism is not true. In his book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False ” he said

                      end of quote.

                      you have no idea of what the book actually says(because you have never seen it), you are quoting from another person’s review of that book(for all you know he manufactured the quotes). without giving them credit, implying that you have the book open and are quoting from the book. but you aren’t.

                      that is both deceptive plagiarism and a deliberate lie.

                      you are not studying the issues, you are merely a cut&paste&post bot. you post the same pieces all over the net, with no evidence that you understand or have even have tried to read the literature yourself.

                      this ties into J.McGrath’s latest blog entry about
                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/01/mysteries-do-not-invalidate-knowledge.html

                      and how difficult it is to refute error.

                    • rmwilliamsjr

                      re:

                      Nagels comments is key in that even he (an atheist) admits that Darwinian/Macro evolution is a dying myth being killed by the scientific evidence.

                      how do you know that is what he says? you haven’t read his book.

                      btw
                      i reserved it at my local library and ought to have read it by friday. have you taken any steps to obtain and read it? do you really care what he says? or is this simply quote mining for you? demonstrate your commitment to your own research, read the book and link to your review, i certainly will.

                    • rmwilliamsjr

                      i’m a bit late because of illness, but i started the book today. i wonder if TT even considered reading it?

                • Godlesspanther

                  When I said that, “the creationist is always a liar,” I was referring to the usual gang of idiots that I mentioned. Those who engage in debate using dishonest tactics. They use the same debunked arguments over and over, knowing that they are spreading misinformation.

                  If a person lies repeatedly, after they are given correct information — it’s perfectly fair to call such a person a ‘liar.’

                  This is the case with, for example, Ken Ham. And yes, I did compare Ham to Charles Manson, and I honestly do not think that I am far off with that one. Ham would probably no coerce his followers into actually killing people, he does however, expect that level of obedience.

                  • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

                    Godlesspanther, you are talking utter rubbish.

                    I don’t know Ken Ham but your linkage to Charles Manson is utterly absurd. Evolutionists have spread many more frauds.

                    Consider the Ernst Haeckel deception regarding similarities in embryos’. The fraud was exposed over 100 years ago yet it is still in the text books TODAY. Why are you not shouting about that.

                    For too long the Evolutionists have been harassing and intimidating anyone who questioned the Evolution myth.

                    There are many cases where people have been bullied and harassed for no other reason than because they questioned Evolution. (See Expelled – No intelligence allowed, or the Kansas School Board – Evolution hearings for documentation). Questioning/scrutinizing is a key tenant of the scientific method, it should be encouraged not punished.

                    • Godlesspanther

                      I am going to stand by my comparison of Ken Ham and Charles Manson. The reason that I do is because of some of Ham’s writings. He is claiming that he has an objection to the increase of people leaving the faith that they were raised in. Particularly young people leaving the Christian faith.

                      Ham’s response to this is that he is urging parents to increase the intensity of indoctrination and the degree to which their children are isolated from the larger society. Someone who is starting to think this way and find ways to implement his scheme is indubitably a dangerous man. Ham has has the same level of narcissism and hatred for society that Manson displayed all those years ago.

    • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

      I read that if you hate your brother you’re a murderer. God bless you, Brother Ham and Mr. Manson.

      • Godlesspanther

        No, being angry about the behavior of an individual and committing a murder are certainly not the same, not even close.

  • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

    Your demonizing of Ken Ham and other young earth creationist is a desparate attempt to distract the watching world to the fact that new scientific discoveries and showing more clearly than ever that Darwinian/Evolution is myth being deceminated by propanda.

    I think there is much merrit to what Ken Ham and others are saying.

    Even atheist philosopher Thomas Nagel recognizes that Darwinism is not true. In his book “Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False ” he said

    “.. for a long time I have found the materialist account of how we and our fellow organisms came to exist hard to believe, including the standard version of how the evolutionary process works.

    The more details we learn about the chemical basis of life and the intricacy of the genetic code, the more unbelievable the standard historical account becomes. …

    It is prima facie highly implausible that life as we know it is the result of a sequence of physical accidents together with the mechanism of natural selection. We are expected to abandon this naive response not in favor of a fully worked out physical/chemical explanation but in favor of an alternative that is really a schema for explanation, supported by some examples”

    (pp. 5-6).

    “My skepticism is not based on religious belief, or on a belief in any definite alternative.

    It is just a belief that the available scientific evidence, in spite of the consensus of scientific opinion, does not in this matter rationally require us to subordinate the incredulity of common sense. That is especially true with regard to the origin of life. … I realize that such doubts will strike many people as outrageous, but that is because almost everyone in our secular culture has been browbeaten into regarding the reductive research program as sacrosanct, on the ground that anything else would not be science” (p. 7).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Every viewpoint has someone that can be quoted in its favor. What do you think your quote proves? Why is his atheism in his favor? Why aren’t the Christian and scientific credentials of someone like Francis Collins more important to you?

      • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

        In science opions do not matter; what matters is evidence.
        I assert that the scientific evidence CONDEMNS Darwinian/macro evolution. I am disgusted that we deceive young people by teaching it as a “fact”.

        Consider some questions need answering

        ORIGIN OF LIFE. Why do textbooks claim that the 1953 Miller-Urey experiment shows how life’s building blocks may have formed on the early Earth — when conditions on the early Earth were probably nothing like those used in the experiment, and the origin of life remains a mystery and all he produced was a few amino acids; lightyears away from living organism.

        DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE. Why don’t textbooks discuss the “Cambrian explosion,” in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor — thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?

        HOMOLOGY. Why do textbooks define homology as similarity due to common ancestry, then claim that it is evidence for common ancestry — a circular argument masquerading as scientific evidence?

        VERTEBRATE EMBRYOS. Why do textbooks use drawings of similarities in vertebrate embryos as evidence for their common ancestry — even though biologists have known for over a century that vertebrate embryos are not most similar in their early stages, and the drawings are faked?

        ARCHAEOPTERYX. Why do textbooks portray this fossil as the missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds — even though modern birds are probably not descended from it, and its supposed ancestors do not appear until millions of years after it?

        PEPPERED MOTHS. Why do textbooks use pictures of peppered moths camouflaged on tree trunks as evidence for natural selection — when biologists have known since the 1980s that the moths don’t normally rest on tree trunks, and all the pictures have been staged?

        DARWIN’S FINCHES. Why do textbooks claim that beak changes in Galapagos finches during a severe drought can explain the origin of species by natural selection — even though the changes were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred?

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          You are only showing here what we already knew, TT, namely that you can copy and past misinformation you find around the internet. But can you show me that you know how scientists would respond to the claims you make, and them respond intelligently to what the scientific evidence indicats, and what the scientists who study it actually have to say?

        • rmwilliamsjr

          please be honest, attribute your quotations, those people earned that with their mental effort to produce those words you so easily take.

          http://www.iconsofevolution.com/tools/questions.php3

          simply cut&paste&repost does not show evidence of understanding, but rather it’s opposite, mental laziness. can you even do your own work? for example, explain why chimp 2p+2q=human 2 is not very good evidence for the descent of man from a common ancestor with the chimps?

        • Kevin S.

          I’m not even a biologist, but I can still see holes in a few of those points.

          “DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE. Why don’t textbooks discuss the “Cambrian explosion,” in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor — thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?”

          The Cambrian explosion was an explosion of diversity, not the sudden appearance of life from nothing. There was life before the Cambrian explosion, just fewer phyla, orders, and species. Since there was life around before that period, how do you know those other life forms weren’t the ancestors of the new Cambrian explosion forms. More on this later.

          “HOMOLOGY. Why do textbooks define homology as similarity due to common ancestry, then claim that it is evidence for common ancestry — a circular argument masquerading as scientific evidence?”

          This argument might have been relevant 20 years ago. However, since geneticists have become so good at sequencing DNA, scientists now use similarity of genomes, rather than physical appearance, to figure out which species share common ancestors. In fact, they’ve already redrawn the “tree of life” to reflect his new information. That is, they’ve changed their theory in light of new evidence, that thing you claim “evolutionists” never do.

          Even more interesting, by dismissing homology as an argument for common ancestry, you’ve undercut your own Cambrian explosion argument. The only way you can try to claim that pre-Cambrian lifeforms are not the ancestors of the new forms that arose during the “explosion” is to argue a lack of physical similarity between the two. However, if appearance is not an indicator of relatedness, that argument crumbles.

          “ARCHAEOPTERYX. Why do textbooks portray this fossil as the missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds — even though modern birds are probably not descended from it, and its supposed ancestors do not appear until millions of years after it?”

          I’m not sure of the details of this one, but it sounds like another example of creationists using old mistakes scientists have already corrected, citing them as if they’re still current. Besides, there’s even more compelling evidence that birds are descended from a kind of dinosaurs: the recent discoveries of dinosaur fossils with feather imprints.

          “DARWIN’S FINCHES. Why do textbooks claim that beak changes in Galapagos finches during a severe drought can explain the origin of species by natural selection — even though the changes were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred?”

          This quote displays the worst misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. If the changes were indeed “reversed after the drought ended,” that would actually be evidence in favor of evolution. The idea behind natural selection is that species adapt to their environments. If the environment became wetter, it would make sense for a species to go back to characteristics it had during previous wet periods, since those traits were helpful in those conditions. The idea of “no net evolution” makes the false assumption that evolution must be a linear progression. While all those posters of the evolution of humanity from hominid ancestors up to homo sapiens can give that impression, it’s not really so.

          I look forward to your one word reply dismissing everything I’ve said as “baloney” without any counterargument.

        • Kevin S.

          I’m not even a biologist, but I can still see holes in a few of those points.

          “DARWIN’S TREE OF LIFE. Why don’t textbooks discuss the “Cambrian explosion,” in which all major animal groups appear together in the fossil record fully formed instead of branching from a common ancestor — thus contradicting the evolutionary tree of life?”

          The Cambrian explosion was an explosion of diversity, not the sudden appearance of life from nothing. There was life before the Cambrian explosion, just fewer phyla, orders, and species. Since there was life around before that period, how do you know those other life forms weren’t the ancestors of the new Cambrian explosion forms. More on this later.

          “HOMOLOGY. Why do textbooks define homology as similarity due to common ancestry, then claim that it is evidence for common ancestry — a circular argument masquerading as scientific evidence?”

          This argument might have been relevant 20 years ago. However, since geneticists have become so good at sequencing DNA, scientists now use similarity of genomes, rather than physical appearance, to figure out which species share common ancestors. In fact, they’ve already redrawn the “tree of life” to reflect his new information. That is, they’ve changed their theory in light of new evidence, that thing you claim “evolutionists” never do.

          Even more interesting, by dismissing homology as an argument for common ancestry, you’ve undercut your own Cambrian explosion argument. The only way you can try to claim that pre-Cambrian lifeforms are not the ancestors of the new forms that arose during the “explosion” is to argue a lack of physical similarity between the two. However, if appearance is not an indicator of relatedness, that argument crumbles.

          “ARCHAEOPTERYX. Why do textbooks portray this fossil as the missing link between dinosaurs and modern birds — even though modern birds are probably not descended from it, and its supposed ancestors do not appear until millions of years after it?”

          I’m not sure of the details of this one, but it sounds like another example of creationists using old mistakes scientists have already corrected, citing them as if they’re still current. Besides, there’s even more compelling evidence that birds are descended from a kind of dinosaurs: the recent discoveries of dinosaur fossils with feather imprints.

          “DARWIN’S FINCHES. Why do textbooks claim that beak changes in Galapagos finches during a severe drought can explain the origin of species by natural selection — even though the changes were reversed after the drought ended, and no net evolution occurred?”

          This quote displays the worst misunderstanding of the theory of evolution. If the changes were indeed “reversed after the drought ended,” that would actually be evidence in favor of evolution. The idea behind natural selection is that species adapt to their environments. If the environment became wetter, it would make sense for a species to go back to characteristics it had during previous wet periods, since those traits were helpful in those conditions. The idea of “no net evolution” makes the false assumption that evolution must be a linear progression. While all those posters of the evolution of humanity from hominid ancestors up to homo sapiens can give that impression, it’s not really so.

          I look forward to your one word reply dismissing everything I’ve said as “baloney” without any counterargument.

          • Mary

            Thank you! I wonder if Theo has the guts to respond. That finch example reminds me of what is going on with certain rattlesnake populations. They are losing their rattles because of humans hunting them. The rattles are supposed to warn predators away, but human hunters use the sound to find them. Like you said, evolution is not a linear process and it doesn’t always lead to more complexity either. Species adapt to new conditions. If humans were to stop hunting rattlesnakes we would problably see an increase again of rattlesnakes with rattlers. Somehow the “antis” would probably find a way of claiming that this disproves evolution, when it actually demonstrates the principles quite well.

        • arcseconds

          HOMOLOGY. Why do textbooks define homology as similarity due to common
          ancestry, then claim that it is evidence for common ancestry — a
          circular argument masquerading as scientific evidence?

          Which textbooks are you talking about, exactly? I think the answer to most of your questions is: get a better textbook.

          As you’ve stated it, the case is indeed circular, because homology (nowadays) is defined by common descent, and therefore someone saying “these two species have this homologous structure, and therefore are descended from a common ancestor” is indeed really stating “these two species have descended from a common ancestor (and these structures were derived from the same structure in that ancestor) therefore they were descended from a common ancestor”, which is a tautology.

          But that’s not the argument for common descent. The argument for common descent (one part of it, at least) derives from similarity (not homology), and arguing from similarity to common descent isn’t circular at all.

          It’s true that a biologist uses similarity as evidence for common descent and then explains similarity using common descent.

          That may look circular to you, but this is the nature of any explanation!

          By looking at some phenomena, you come up with an account that covers the phenomena, so the phenomena are used there as evidence, and then once you’re fairly sure of the account, you use that to explain the phenomena.

          What’s your evidence that the butler did it? Well, his fingerprints on the knife, his absence at dinner, the lack of an alibi, and the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime. How do you explain his fingerprints on the knife, his absence at dinner, the lack of an alibi, and the curious incident of the dog in the nighttime? Well, the butler did it!

          I don’t really expect you, Theo, to understand this because you’re more interested in juvenile debating tactics than in science, but hopefully someone else will get something out of it.

    • Kevin S.

      Nagel is a philosopher, not a biologist. How do you know that he even properly understands what “the standard version of how the evolutionary process works” is? Frankly, what I can gather of his arguments from your excerpt sounds like fallacious and already rebutted assertions. Pro tip: Anyone who dismisses a scientific theory because it defies “common sense” isn’t doing either science or philosophy very well. Also, “some examples” of organisms changing through natural selection outnumber the observed examples of deities creating universes (zero).

    • arcseconds

      That’s a truly terrible argument of Nagel’s.

      Since when has ‘the incredulity of common sense’ been a good guide to what’s true? It wasn’t a good guide to truth on any of the following occasions:

      *) geocentrism. Despite ‘appearances’ and the difficulty of conceiving it, the Earth really does move. (There were actually reasonable scientific arguments in favour of geocentrism, as it happens, but ‘I can’t imagine it’ wasn’t one of them.)

      *) 17th-century mechanism. It turns out that despite our (putatitve) inability to imagine any other interaction but pushes and pulls (well, really just pushes) through direct, physical contact doesn’t mean that that’s how things actually interact.

      *) vitalism. It turns out organic molecules are really just the same whether or not they’re created from lifeless matter in a test tube or by organic processes in a living creature.

      *) a young earth. Maybe you don’t believe it, but there’s plenty of evidence, independent of the biological evidence for macroevolution, that shows that the Earth is billions of years old. This despite the fact that people find it difficult to comprehend.

      *) relativity. Despite the fact that it’s much harder to understand, and sounds complete bonkers from a ‘common sense’ perspective, distance and the passage time are not absolute but depend on one’s motion in space.

      *) quantum physics. It turns out physical entities don’t even have properties in a way we can picture. It’s just that at the scales we experience, it’s normally not noticeable.

      On all these occasions, nature turned out to be much more challenging than our ‘common sense’ suggests, even to the point of severely undermining our notion of ’cause’.

      Actually, given the poor showing common sense has had in the past, I’d almost suggest you’re better off going with the least common-sensical option, because it’s more likely to be true.

      I’m quite disappointed in Nagel, actually, because I’ve normally enjoyed what I have read of his. But he’s not a philosopher of science, so he’s kind of out of his area of expertise here. And apparently out of his depth.

    • arcseconds

      Also, note that Nagel believes in macroevolution. He just disagrees with the standard mechanism given for it.

      So he’d appear to be a poor champion for your cause, if you’re intent on denying macroevolution.

      Nagel’s position appears to be that some form of teleology might be true. I actually have some degree of sympathy for this notion, especially when it comes to the origin of life, where quantum effects (which can look kinda teleological) more plausibly have a part to play.

      Also, note that the origin of life is not actually something that’s covered by the neo-Darwinian synthesis account of the development of life, and remains an area for speculation.

      Note also that macroevolution is far better established than the mechanism used to explain it. We could conceivably be wrong about natural selection (see below), but us being wrong about macroevolution would be about as weird as being wrong about, oh, I don’t know, the existence of China.

      It’s good for science if there are people around like Nagel with a hunch about an alternative explanation, because that means alternatives can be worked on and if for some reason we’re wrong about natural selection, we won’t as a community be stuck up a blind alley. But a hunch and a handwave isn’t in itself a scientific theory. Nagel admits he doesn’t have an alternative, and unless he can point to problems other than ‘common sense’, then the most he can demand is that we retain a sliver of scepticism about natural selection and keep an eye out for problems that might inform a teleological theory. I’d probably be suggesting that anyway: we should never be completely and utterly certain of our theories, and it’s just good practice to toy with alternatives once in a while.

      I suspect that there may well be more to the story than natural selection. But natural selection itself is reasonably well confirmed, and in fact seems inevitable given some simple assumptions, all of which are true. So I really don’t think we’re going to abandon it altogether, or even mostly. What’s far more likely to happen is we’ll move to a view which is ‘natural selection enhanced with other factors’. Wholesale abandoning of results in science is pretty rare: it’s far more common for them to be incorporated into a richer view.

    • rmwilliamsjr

      i suspect, like so many YEC i have encountered over the years, that you did NOT actually read T.Nagel’s book, but are quoting from a YEC website. be honest with yourself, did you actually read this book?

      a simple google search reveals that you’re posting this in other places
      http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/user-comments/id/11167878

      that it is a cut and paste job from:
      anyone of several blogs
      http://tinyurl.com/bj74ceg

      why can’t YEC even be honest in their criticism, do their own work and actually read from what they quote?

      • rmwilliamsjr

        TT appears to have lifted the quotes from T.Nagel from

        http://www.billmuehlenberg.com/2012/11/26/atheism-evidence-and-pre-commitments/

        both quotes have the same . … formation.

        to TT. use a spellchecker, misspellings like fake map entries are an excellent way to follow plagiarism, but you would know that if you had ever read one of the important essays in this field.

        http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/molgen/

        • rmwilliamsjr

          while reading the large number of rather redundant postings TT has made over the years online, looking to see if he actually understands either the science he denies or the philosophy of science he misuses, despite not apparently actually reading it himself, i found this interesting post of his:

          quote

          Theo Tsourdalakis
          Friday, September 16, 2011 at 7:03 AM

          This is an excellent article. It makes many valid pertinent and well supported points.For too long we have been deceiving our kids by using tax dollars to teach Darwinian/Macro evolution as a dogma rather than science. Evolutionists typically muddle the waters and confuse the issue by misrepresenting the issue as “Science against religion” – this is bull. The real battle is between science and Darwinian/Macro Evolution.Do a YouTube search on “kansas evolution hearings” to hear real, credible scientists, present powerful arguments which debunk Darwinian/Macro evolution.Dr John Sanford (Geneticists and inventor of the GeneGun) said .” The bottom line is that the primary axiom [of Darwinian/Macro evolution] is categorically false, you can’t create information with misspellings, not even if you use natural selection.”

          end of quote.
          which is simply fascinating because it is his misspelling that is allowing me to follow his plagiarism so easily.

          but the big point reinforces the great octopus idea in the OP, lying, plagiarism, misuse of science, lack of basic understand of ToE, all these things are par for the course in interacting with AiG and its many adherents. truth, understanding, careful research seems to be completely unimportant to them, what matters is the cut and paste everywhere mentality so well illustrated by the latest TT entries here.

          • rmwilliamsjr

            google Dr John Sanford (Geneticists and inventor of the GeneGun)
            geneticist & Gene Gun errors.
            http://tinyurl.com/d5dp6sp
            64 times he has used this phrase

            Dr John Sanford (Geneticists and inventor of the GeneGun) said .
            “The bottom line is that the primary axiom [of Darwinian/Macro evolution] is categorically false, you can’t create information with misspellings, not even if you use natural selection.”

            i’ve gained a lot of information from these two misspellings. TT doesn’t do his own work, nor does he stay around to defend his postings, with anything like creative thought. dozens of the same cut&paste misunderstandings as he posted here. seldom a response from him to anyone’s criticism, never an engagement with either the science or the philosophy of science he complains so often about.

            i guess you can create information from misspellings, i have been for the last hour or so. *grin*

            • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

              The evidence of misspelling and copying in the genome is of course a great example of the evidence for evolution and common ancestry, and so I must say that I appreciate it when a creationist comes here and not only provides evidence of their own dishonesty, but also an opportunity to illustrate the strength of the case for evolution in the process! :-)

              • Kaz

                We can learn a great deal from spelling errors and misquoting sources because one thinks a source supports one’s view. Michael Behe shows how this happened in a way that made ID look pretty good, and a couple opponents not so much, which involves Russell Doolittle and Michael Ruse. Just download the following MP3 and start listening at about minute 29:

                http://www.philvaz.com/BeheCassoneDebate.mp3

                It’s a real eye opener (or should I say “ear opener”). One reason I don’t hold authorities in the sort of ultra-high regard that many people seem to (I refer to this as committing “Ischolartry”) is because they constantly show just how human they are;-)

          • Kevin S.

            Yep. I assume the fact that he’s so busy finding other places to post these copypasted comments is why he never responds when people with critical thinking skills demolish his quotes and assertions.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              i wonder if TT will return here? i would dearly love to see him say:”i am a Christian, i believe in truth telling and in forgiveness. i did not actually read T.Nagel’s book and simply lifted the quotations from someone’s else’s review. i am sorry to have been caught doing this and i plan to use a speel checker and be more careful with my cut&paste postings so i don’t get caught again.”

              • rmwilliamsjr

                he did return.
                he did say that he has not actually read the book.
                furthermore that quoting from a book does not imply you’ve actually read the book in question.
                but it is sufficient to have seen it quoted by someone else,
                then cut&paste those review quotations(without attribution) and often reposting them elsewhere on the net in support of your position. even though, having not read the book, you don’t have any idea of what the author says.

                i’m not sure which is worse, the original deceptive quoting or his defense of it. in any case this is the quality of research i find creationists doing. quote mining, cut&paste&repost, no evidence of actually studying the scientific data at hand.

                which i find sad.

                • rmwilliamsjr

                  i’ve been thinking about this issue and wrote this on my FB page. maybe some here have an opinion.

                  i need some opinions. at http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2013/01/the-sinister-tentacles-of-young-earth-creationism.html

                  a poster quoted 2 passages from a book. i found that he directly quoted from a review of that book. he confessed that he never read the book and that his quotes were not lies because quoting from a book(or in his case a review of the book) makes no implication that the quoter has actually read the book.

                  i used to write reviews when i finished books, several times i wrote that i had not finished the book and gave the reason. i believe that if i reviewed a book i had to read the whole thing, or note that i had not. i’ve quoted books that i had not completely read but read what i thought was enough to understand the main points.

                  what do other people think? is quoting a book you’ve never read a lie? does quoting a book imply you have at least read those quotes from a book and not from someone else’s review of that book?

          • http://www.facebook.com/theo.tsourdalakis Theo Tsourdalakis

            Thanks for sharing my comments. I completely stand by them.
            You are grasping at straws with your silly comments about me lying etc.
            You sound like a dogmatic evolutionist who has swallowed the propaganda hook line and sinker.
            Why don’t you scrutinize the evidence and think out side the box.
            What evidence is there to prove that our great…… great grandfather was a self replicating molecule.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              i’m an avid genealogist, i’ve never found a self replicating molecule in my family tree and i’m back 12 generations in several lineages, perhaps you could be more specific as to which “great…… great grandfather “, i have been stopped by several brickwalls where a self replicating molecule might well be hiding behind.

            • rmwilliamsjr

              re:

              Why don’t you scrutinize the evidence and think out side the box.

              i have, for several decades. i’ve only accepted TofE recently(abt 10 years)after many years of sitting in a biology classroom as a creationist.

            • Kevin S.

              “Why don’t you scrutinize the evidence and think out side the box.”

              Says the man who never engages with responses to his comments, but instead just asserts that they’re “baloney” and “rubbish.”

  • Kaz

    With a little tweaking a cartoon like this could say something new and important. I would take the “sinister tentacles” to represent:

    1) the claim that you can be a Christian and accept the notion that all life on this planet emerged via unguided natural processes. This is so misleading that it borders on deception, because few who offer it take the time to clarify that accepting naturalism actually does result in a Christianity that is quite different from what most Christians believe vis a vis God as creator, the problem of evil, original sin, man as God’s image bearers, etc. Rarely is there mention of just how much of what many people consider fundamental to Christianity would ultimately have to be discarded if one accepts naturalism. You just condescendingly regurgitate the claim as though any moron should be able to discern its veracity, when in reality it is often precisely because of deep, intelligent contemplation and research that some people opt for a different understanding.

    2) the use of Scripture to promote ideas that the writers of Scripture would have rejected (i.e. your recent use of Paul’s writings to promote homosexual marriage), with the ultimate result that the Bible, i.e. the only book we have that tells us about Christ and what being his follower means/involves, becomes a historical artifact of questionable/debatable relevance to the life of the Christian.

  • http://twitter.com/Feth312 Daniel

    Silly me, I just noticed that this is the “Progressive Christian Channel”
    lol………

    I was just thinking, these people are ……….

    Yes, I have by God’s grace, a lot of zeal for Jesus Christ and I believe everything he has said and the Apostles also.

    Corinthians 1:27 NIV
    But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong.

    • Godlesspanther

      These people are………………

      Those who can embrace a theological structure an still think for themselves. Yes.

  • SkipF

    There is a difference between science that is reproducible, and science that is based on the best possible explanation of available evidence.

    In the case of the latter, there is always – always – new evidence. When the new evidence appears, the scientific beliefs change.

    The theory of evolution is always changing as new evidence occurs. Some implicitly assert that it is theoretically impossible that any new evidence will ever appear that will upset the fundamentals of the theory. Maybe they are right. Who knows?

    In the case of science that is reproducible, the new evidence problem does not matter. Whatever we may learn in the future about relativity based on new evidence, Hiroshima will still have been destroyed. You may find new evidence about the efficacy of Neosporin, but as for the cut on my finger, it will remain healed.

    In the realm of evolution, essentially no large-scale experimentation is possible because of the time factor, and events are not in the overall sense reproducible.

    So we have a science that produces no real-world effect other than getting people to believe a conclusion that is based on evidence, even though we all expect there will be new evidence that will to some extent alter that conclusion. But the one conclusion that by dogma we assert will never be altered by new evidence is this, that macroevolution did in fact occur.

    To assert that the existing evidence supports macroevolution is one thing. To deny that any new evidence could ever possibly appear that will contradict that is a matter of faith.

    On the other hand, one cannot deny Hiroshima. Real science has predictive power and is based on events and experimentation that are a matter of record, and based on that can be used to make decisions.

    Evidence-based science results in theories that change in response to new evidence.

    Experimentation-based science results in justifiable changes to our behavior.

    Your theory of evolution is delightful. Exactly how do you expect my behavior to change as a result of your theory?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      I do not know of anyone who claims that no new evidence could overturn evolution. I do know many biologists who could provide a long list of what evidence could overturn it, and why it is therefore significant that, despite much research, no such evidence has been found.

      But the premise of your comment seems like one that you might realize is dubious if explored further. Do you reject the conclusions of forensic scientists because they often must piece together evidence about events that cannot be repeated? What about the conclusions of historians regarding the past?

      I don’t think that we can usefully discuss the relevance of scientific conclusions until it is clear that you have understood what those conclusions are and what they are based on, and whether deductive reasoning can ever be sound.

      • SkipF

        Thanks for the thoughtful response.

        We agree that deductive reasoning is sound, that reconstruction of history often has relevance, and that belief in evolution is based on voluminous serious science.

        Perhaps we could further agree by stipulation that metaphorically, it is 99 to 0, evolution beating creation, with three minutes left in the 4th quarter.

        We also apparently agree that new evidence could overturn evolution!

        Could we agree that it may not be irrational to believe that God may one day part the Red Sea of evidence for evolution to reveal an actual history remarkably consistent with scripture? This is a God who, if the Bible is to be believed, often (like Tim Tebow) does not even start paying attention until the last few minutes of the game, and loves to overturn reasonable and informed human expectations.

        So my question is: What is the practical cost to me of holding out on accepting evolution based on my expectation of forthcoming new evidence? Does this mean I get worse gas mileage or something? My children still get transfusions, etc.

        As best I can tell, the only cost to me (since I am not seeking tenure in a science department) is that I may get ridiculed and held in low esteem by those who appear to be genuinely astute, well-informed, well-meaning, and well-reasoned.

        But getting ridiculed and held in low esteem for joyfully and wholeheartedly believing the unprovable is, I thought, part of the transcendent bliss of being a Christian.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          It could seem that the danger is largely individual or local when one chooses to opt not to accept what the consensus of experts is on a given topic. In the worst case, you’ll be wrong, right? But if enough people do that, then they may also start to demand that the wider society make room for their rejection of mainstream knowledge.

          In some areas denialism may have more of a direct impact than others. What is the consequence of someone denying that there was ever a historical Jesus? Of denying the Holocaust?

          On your last point, I think it is important to note that Hebrews says that faith is the evidence of things not seen – by which it seems to mean things not yet seen and not just or especially the inherently invisible. It does not say that faith allows one to deny the existence of what is seen. And for me, the biggest problem with denialism is that one can use the same tactics to persuade people of very dangerous things as of moderately dangerous ones and ones that have no practical consequences. And so taking evidence, reason, and deduction seriously is important in principle, in my opinion, and is not at odds with faith as I think that should be understood.

          • SkipF

            Irrational denialist I am?

            It is how one stands against the tide, not the fact that one does, that makes one a denialist.

            Apparently I am on the verge of denying the Holocaust. Godwin sure showed up early in our relationship, didn’t he?

            Faith should be supported by evidence, reason, and deduction, well said, but it is based on revelation. You seem to profess that in your own experience.

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:
          Could we agree that it may not be irrational to believe that God may one day part the Red Sea of evidence for evolution to reveal an actual history remarkably consistent with scripture?

          what you will not find:

          the world is not 10k years old.

          there was no adam&eve parents of the whole human race, not 6kya, not 120kya either.

          sin is not transmitted by the male during sex

          you -might- find that God created the first cell

          or that God took a group of chimp like apes and made a group of the first homo species. but probably not.

          given the evidence, to be a YEC is irrational. to be some form of progressive creationist is merely compartmentalized.

          re:
          What is the practical cost to me of holding out on accepting evolution based on my expectation of forthcoming new evidence? Does this mean I get worse gas mileage or something? My children still get transfusions, etc.

          if you want to understand modern biology at all, or to be able to read a decent book on the topic you need to understand TofE. do you have to “believe” it? only if you want to see the beauty and majesty of it as the handwork of a very creative God.

        • Kaz

          One thing that James failed to mention is that the involvement of intelligent causation in relation to life on this planet is ruled out by scientists as a precondition for doing science. That makes the appeal to a “scientific consensus” essentially valueless in the context of this debate, because the scientific consensus is founded upon a pre-commitment to rule out the very thing it’s offered to refute.

          I’ve posted this quote on James’s blog before, but since you may not have seen it, I’ll include it here. Geneticist Richard Lewontin said:

          “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between science and the supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.”

          See: http://www.drjbloom.com/Public

          “All I’ve studied and researched over the past 30 years has only strengthened my belief that nothing makes sense in biology apart belief in an intelligent being who has created us. Those who do not believe in an intelligent being must go to great extents to rationalize that what they see as design is not the product of intelligence.” (Immunologist Donald L. Ewert)

          • rmwilliamsjr

            re:
            involvement of intelligent causation in relation to life on this planet is ruled out by scientists as a precondition for doing science.

            is this true? or are people mistaking methodological for philosophic naturalism?(as i believe RL is doing above) can science be science if it proposes an intelligent designer?

            i like my example of God creating a genetic code specifically for just human beings as a means of literally signing human life.

            the best inference would be something like human life was put here from another advanced civilizations, either their dna or dna they designed. the acknowledgement that human life was radically discontinuous from all other life would demand(imho) such an answer. there can be no common ancestor. now would a proposal of extraterrestrial life be a violation of naturalism? or does it just put off the reckoning to what happened on their planet?

            but it’s all really a mote issue until someone shows methodological naturalism doesn’t work for some specific data/example. btw, life looks like bricklogue evolution nothing like intelligently designed.

          • Kevin S.

            “One thing that James failed to mention is that the involvement of intelligent causation in relation to life on this planet is ruled out by scientists as a precondition for doing science. That makes the appeal to a “scientific consensus” essentially valueless in the context of this debate, because the scientific consensus is founded upon a pre-commitment to rule out the very thing it’s offered to refute.”

            That’s not true. Intelligent Design is “ruled out” of science because of a lack of claims that could be falsified by experiment or observation, not because the idea that some being created the universe is rejected out of hand.

            As for your quotations, it seems like, where Theo T. quoted philosophers who were out of their element discussing philosophy, you’ve quoted scientists who are out of their element discussing philosophy, even the philosophy of science.

            • Kaz

              “That’s not true.”

              Actually it is, and the fact that you don’t realize this tells me that you either haven’t followed the debate as closely as you my think you have, or you haven’t been paying very close attention.

              As just one example, in most if not in every debate I’ve seen that had Michael Shermer as a opponent of ID, he makes the point that an appeal to intelligent causation is an appeal to the supernatural, which, according to him “is not science”.

              The very presupposition of what “is science” forces scientists to organize the relevant data in such a way that intelligent or supernatural causation is ruled out as a precondition. As Lewontin put it, scientists “…are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an
              apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material
              explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive…”

              Yes, “…no matter how counter-intuitive…” and “…in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…” (e.g. Darwinism), scientists must not allow so much as a divine toenail in the door. Thus, to use the scientific consensus in an effort to refute either ID or creationism becomes a sort of circular argument.

              “All I’ve studied and researched over the past 30 years has only strengthened my belief that nothing makes sense in biology apart belief in an intelligent being who has created us. Those who do not believe in an intelligent being must go to great extents to rationalize that what they see as design is not the product of intelligence.” (Donald L. Ewert, Immunologist)

              • Kevin S.

                One scientist doesn’t represent the entirety of the scientific enterprise. If Shermer’s comment is actually as you characterized it, I disagree with him. It is theoretically possible to come up with some intelligence that created life on earth that isn’t supernatural (e.g. aliens). However, until ID proponents can come up with a falsifiable prediction of what the world would look like if life was intelligently designed, it’s not a scientific hypothesis. Appeals to the supernatural are ruled out of science because all such claims involve beings who don’t register to our senses or to any instrument we might use to detect their presence. If there’s no way we can observe these beings, then logical positivism, the school of philosophy behind science, says those beings either a) don’t exist or b) are irrelevant, depending on who you ask. However, non-supernatural “intelligent designers” might leave evidence of their intervention, even though we haven’t found them yet. And ID proponents have yet to come up with a way to empirically test their hypotheses (though last I checked, Michael Behe claimed to have come up with one that he didn’t deign to reveal to the world at large). That is why ID has no place in science classrooms.

                Now, since you seem to love repeating your previous quotes at me as if they prove something, I’ll explain why I find them unpersuasive. Let’s start with Lewontin and his dismay at all those counter-intuitive theories. So what if a theory is counter-intuitive, as long as it stands up to testing? Quantum mechanics says a lot of counter-intuitive things, but it stands up to repeated testing to this day in particle accelerators around the world. This in spite of a lot of scientists (including Einstein!) really wishing it would fail because it conflicted with their prejudices about how the world should work. Similarly, evolution has stood up to testing. We haven’t found any fossilized rabbits in pre-Cambrian rock strata (the famous example mentioned by Richard Dawkins), or any of many other discoveries that would have thrown the whole theory into doubt. If either of these theories had failed when repeatedly tested, scientists would have had to consider the possibility that they were wrong. In the face of evidence, appealing to your intuitions is an inadequate argument and a silly complaint.

                Similarly, Ewert the immunologist seems to confuse his prejudices with iron-clad logical arguments. Making a leap from a certain level of complexity to the existence of an intelligent designer is a huge leap. After all, as PZ Meyers pointed out once, the Nike swoosh logo is really simple, but it was created by one or more professional designers. Meanwhile, really complex things like snowflakes are created by random natural processes.

                • Kevin S.

                  Even better, after googling Michael Shermer and finding his Wikipedia page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Shermer), I see that he’s not even a scientist, but a science writer and “historian of science.” Since he’s not a trained scientist, using him as an autho

                  • Kaz

                    Instead of basing your response on wiki-stupidea, you would have been better served to search his name on Youtube and check out who his debate partners have been. You dismiss him; Dr. Donald R. Prothero was proud to have him as a debate partner against Stephen Meyer and Richard Sternberg:

                    http://www.discovery.org/v/1711

                    In any case, the point isn’t really up for debate, and Shermer accurately presents the commonly accepted view of the scientific community. Methodological naturalism seeks only natural causes for natural phenomena, and rules out the supernatural as a governing precondition for doing science. That means that creation and ID are simply ruled out as a precondition, and so, as I pointed out, using the scientific consensus to refute creationism or ID becomes a circular argument.

                    • Kaz

                      I should point out that the reason ID is ruled out with creationism is because most scientists equate intelligent causation with supernatural causation. I explain this a little more thoroughly here:

                      http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2012/09/young-earth-creationists-dont-believe-that-creation-was-finished-in-six-days.html

                    • rmwilliamsjr

                      re:
                      most scientists equate intelligent causation with supernatural causation

                      is this true? with the panspermia ideas(f hoyle), plus asteroids carrying either life or it’s building blocks, ID as in extraterrestrials does get a scientific hearing. sometimes it reads a bit like a deus ex machina to me. but the willingness to give these ideas a hearing means this vicious refusal to deal with ID simply isn’t true. i believe the problem is not that ID is ruled out a priori but that there simply isn’t any evidence for it.

                    • arcseconds

                      Panspermia/exogenesis doesn’t entail intelligent extraterrestrials, and is really more of a relatively small modification to the standard evolutionary view, rather than an alternative.

                      (and it doesn’t provide an answer of the ultimate origin of life, it just pushes back the question)

                      Although of course exogenesis conducted by extraterreistrials is a conceptual possibility, and It seems that Crick suggested it at one stage, so you’re right with your more general point that mainstream science has some degree of openness to ‘science fiction’ ideas involving intelligent terrestrials.

                    • Kaz

                      It’s been a while since I read Hoyle’s work (Evolution from Space), but, if memory serves, my impression at the time (over 20 years ago now) was that its primary value involved the demonstration that evolutionary math doesn’t add up.

                    • Kevin S.

                      It is a common mistake to equate ID with creationism, especially since the people who most strongly advocate for ID in the classroom are trying to use it as a form of creationism in disguise. However, I will take ID proponents at their word that their “intelligent designer” doesn’t have to be a god. Unfortunately, that change in flavor text isn’t enough to turn it into a scientific hypothesis. That requires a testable prediction.

                      The supernatural is indeed ruled out by science because supernatural explanations are incredibly resistant to such testing. In fact, proponents of the existence of supernatural beings insist that they can’t be detected by any sense or instrument, moving the goalposts as necessary as new reliable instruments are invented. As arcseconds pointed out above, advanced aliens would be material beings whose existence could be detected through empirical testing if we figured out how. The problem, according to every explanation by scientists I’ve ever seen in magazines, or on the internet, or in documentaries, has been that even these forms of ID don’t offer testable predictions. I don’t know, maybe my education in this area is deficient because I haven’t watched any debates.

                    • arcseconds

                      I think there’s a more general problem with ID than simply testability.

                      The problem is that there simply isn’t anywhere to go with it.  It doesn’t just not lead to an empirical test, it doesn’t unify phenomena in an interesting manner, and it doesn’t lead to any possibility of an active research programme.

                      Complex structures are indeed a challenge for evolutionary science, but in a way that’s productive for science.  Faced with an eye or a flagellum, we ask “how could this come about through natural selection?”, and that leads to investigations and theories about how they came about, which themselves create more questions, and maybe some answers, as more evidence is collected and the usual theory-evidence dance is done.

                      e.g.
                      here and here

                      The point is not that these theories are right, but that by assuming flagella evolved through natural selection and the normal genetic molecular biology kind of stuff, we’ve got somewhere to go.

                      If we decide instead that flagella are irreducibly complex and therefore they were designed by who knows what, it seems that we’ve just decided to terminate our investigations.   And that’s antiscientific in a deep sense.

                      (On the other hand, even if we’re pretty sure the flagella are designed — shouldn’t we be doing exactly what we’re doing at the moment, and seeing whether there is any possibility of explanation through natural selection? )

                      Now, ID actually could be productive.  There is some possibility for a line of questioning here, even assuming we have no direct access to the designer(s).  We can ask, for example, what kind of design principles the designer is utilizing?   And if we could get together some principles we think the designer is using, we could start to build a design theory and we could even test it, to see if those principles are being fulfilled in other cases we think are irreducibly complex.

                      I’ve never seen any ID account that asks these kinds of questions, but I don’t really follow this stuff.  Maybe Kaz can point us to some.

                    • Kevin S.

                      “Instead of basing your response on wiki-stupidea, you would have been better served to search his name on Youtube and check out who his debate partners have been.”

                      Who cares who his debate partners have been? Even if reputable scientists think highly enough of him to put him on a debate team, that doesn’t mean that every statement he makes represents the opinion of all scientists everywhere.

                      “In any case, the point isn’t really up for debate…”

                      Unfortunately, you don’t get to decide these things. :-p

                      “…and Shermer accurately presents the commonly accepted view of the scientific community.”

                      Evidence?

                • arcseconds

                  I don’t think logical postivism has had much of a following in philosophy of science for about 50 years, Kevin :]

                  • Kevin S.

                    Ugh. I made the mistake of assuming that all positivism was logical positivism.

          • arcseconds

            I’m with Kevin on this one. Scientists are often not very clued-up about the philosophy of science. Just because you’re really good at something, doesn’t mean you can necessarily explain very well how it is that you’re doing it. To be able to produce a coherent meta-analysis is quite a different skill.

            Lewontin almost has it backwards. Science doesn’t have an a priori commitment to materialism that it will contort itself into knots and break every bone in its body to defend. The commitment that it has to materialism, such that it is, arises from the fact that material explanations have been hugely successful, and ‘spiritualistic’ explanations have not worked out very well at all (e.g. vitalism).

            I say ‘such that it is’ because it’s pretty difficult to give a definition of materialism (beyond a friend of mine’s ‘nah spooky stuff – OK?’) that actually covers what science uses and has used in its explanations. Quantum physics and relativity would never be considered material back in the 17th century.

            In the 17th century, the ‘a priori commitment’ to materialism was to mechanism, where everything was supposed to be explained by literal clockwork: only pushes and pulls were to be accepted. This was blown away by Newton’s theory of universal gravitation, with it’s ‘spooky action at a distance’ and the famous ‘hypotheses non fingo’.

            Quantum physics and relativity were similarly revolutionary.

            So science is pretty mercenary! It’ll leave its metaphysical commitments at the theatre door in order to take up with new ones that offer better explanations.

            So ‘all’ you have to do to overturn today’s materialism is come up with a theory that’s as wildly more successful at explanation as Newton’s was over the earlier mechanistic attempts to explain the motion of the solar system.

            The problem with ID is not that it’s a challenge to materialism (if we’re talking super-aliens here, it’s as materialistic as anything humans do), the problem is that it doesn’t actually give useful scientific explanations.

    • rmwilliamsjr

      re:
      To assert that the existing evidence supports macroevolution is one thing. To deny that any new evidence could ever possibly appear that will contradict that is a matter of faith.

      i’ve always said that God could have signed His work-Adam and humanity by making our genetic code aligning tRNAs, their 3 nucleotide code and the amino acids coded for different from all other life. but He didn’t. that would have shown beyond reasonable doubt that mankind was a separate creation. instead we get chimp 2p+2q=human 2.

      re:
      Real science has predictive power

      the term is fruitfulness. for a really cool example of the predictive power of the TofE see the lecture given by Richard Alexander and naked mole rats. http://ncse.com/rncse/17/4/predictive-power-evolutionary-biology-discovery-eusociality-

      • SkipF

        Thank you, I have just now read the article. Could you answer my concern that it appears to me to be an article about the observable phenomenon of natural selection, not the overarching theory of evolution?

        Also, any reason that God could not sign His work with vestigial telomeres? Do you have any idea what sort of a strange character He is?

        • rmwilliamsjr

          re:
          lso, any reason that God could not sign His work with vestigial telomeres? Do you have any idea what sort of a strange character He is?

          because in doing so He made human chromosome look exactly like it was a fusion event. now to have reversed the direction of those internal vestigial telomeres, that WOULD look more like a signature,

          as far as the character of God is concerned, i have no reason to believe He is a coyote trickster type of being as proposed by many amerindian religions. i personal hold out for a rational God as presented by the Bible.

          • SkipF

            Yes, he is a rational God, but he is also, as my college professor Lucien Goldmann wrote, Le Dieu Cache.

    • Kevin S.

      Since others seem to have taken care of most of your post, I’ll just respond to this

      point:

      “Evidence-based science results in theories that change in response to new evidence.

      Experimentation-based science results in justifiable changes to our behavior.

      Your theory of evolution is delightful. Exactly ehow do you expect my behavior to change as a result of your theory?”

      Where did you get this definition of science? Science’s goal is not to produce changes in people’s behavior, but to get as close as we can to the truth about how the universe works.

      Oh, okay, I might have to address this little gem too:

      “On the other hand, one cannot deny Hiroshima. Real science has predictive power and is based on events and experimentation that are a matter of record, and based on that can be used to make decisions.”

      The measured ages of rocks and the life forms found fossilized in them are also matters of record.

  • LrZ

    Notice an echo here?

    Google: For too long the Evolutionists have been harassing and intimidating anyone who questioned

    This is a copypasta creobot. It’s probably not even reading the replies.

  • Micah

    James,

    Though I certainly appreciate your thoughts on this important issue, and you do make some good points, I also noticed that you committed some fallacies as well. One of those informal fallacies I see above is that which is called the sweeping generalization. After showing some obvious absurdities in the AIG cartoon, you then pronounce ALL of young earth creationism (and by implication all young earth creation scientists) to be absurd in their thinking, also. That’s called a sweeping generalization, and is generally to be avoided. You may not know this, but there are quite a number of highly credentialed scientists (unlike Ham, et al) that ARE vigorously investigating the world around us, and seeking answers to questions. Should these men and women, highly regarded in their respective fields, be dismissed as absurd thinkers void of rational thought on this issue? Surely you don’t mean to say that.

    Again, while I agree that there are some in this debate that come from an absurd perspective, please rethink your idea that the entire concept of young earth creationism is absurd. What these scientists are attempting to do is have vigorous discussions on some unanswered particulars involving evolution and creation. I hope such discussions continue because dissent, whether we agree with it or not, is a healthy thing.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      Having been a young-earth creationist, having investigated the claims made by a variety of young-earth creationists and found them not merely unpersuasive but demonstrably false, having taught on this topic for a number of years and also blogged about it regularly, I stand by my generalization. Feel free to offer counter-evidence if you are so inclined, since you did not do so in your comment. And here is a link to a round-up of some of my older blogging on this topic: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/2008/09/blogging-creationism-the-highlights.html


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