Creationist: Why Am I Always Wrong?

Too funny.

You gotta appreciate this guy‘s honesty in a forum on the Answers in Genesis (Creationist) website.

He asks a question that deserves a proper, honest answer.

But this is AiG, so he’s not going to get one.

HELP!

It is distressing to me when I buy Creationist materials, learn something, post it in a forum, only to be told, what I have been told is not true.

Here is an example of someone “correcting” a statement made by a Creationist in a forum, saying that mutations DO add beneficial information to an organism. He refers to a specific experiment I have no knowledge of.:

“We have observed mutation adding information to a genome. We have observed mutation adding useful information to a genome. A clonal culture of bacteria was grown over 1000 generations, and monitored throughout. It turns out, the bacteria’s DNA mutated, and the variation was then acted upon by natural selection. Even though the bacteria started out as clonal (no variation), it developed variation in its phenotype, and then responded to natural selection.”

My son wrote a paper using information from Mike Riddle, yet his geology teacher said it was full of “inaccuracies.” I was very embarrassed.

Need help refuting.

—D.K., U.S.

The response from Dr. Georgia Purdom is a lot of what-you’d-expect babble:

So, then, whose ideas about the past (historical science) are truth? God’s Word/God’s Truth or human reasoning/man’s truth? It appears that you have taken what scientists who do not believe in God or the authority of the Bible believe as truth rather than what scientists who do believe in God and the authority of the Bible see as truth.

Ylooshi takes apart the rest of her response much more thoroughly.

If only these well-intentioned people would go to the science experts from the beginning instead of relying on the ignorant wannabes.

(via Breaking Spells)


[tags]atheist, atheism, Ken Ham[/tags]

  • http://cranialyperossification.com GDad

    Wow. I’m just astounded that people can be so unable to get past their preconceptions.

  • Danielle

    It Sounds like this guy has started to put two and two together and realizes a lot of what he believes is BS. Hopefullly he can follow these thoughts to their natural conclusion … unfortunately I have no real hope that he will.

  • TheDeadEye

    Apparently Dr. Georgia Purdom thinks 2 + 2 = God.

  • I like tea

    I think the worst part is his son who wrote a geology paper with a creationist slant. I’ve seen this before, and my friend, a philosophy grad student who teaches a freshman-level course, sees it even more. Do these people think they’re going to convince their professor? “All these years, I believed all that stuff I learned to get my geology PhD, but this 19-year-old kid has helped me see the light!”

  • http://foo.ca/wp Richard

    I was under the impression that the default position that the apologists took when defending the Bible’s inaccuracies was to say that it was inspired by God, but written by man.

    So, rather than comparing Man’s word to God’s word, we’re comparing Man’s word to Man’s word.

  • Ted

    Can somebody speak to the “new information” portion of the AiG response? I have a feeling re-arranged and mutated genese DO constitute new information, and classification otherwise is semantic parrying- still I’d like someone to clarify.

    Thanks

    EDIT: Read point 5 off of of Ylooshi’s post. :)

  • Richard Wade

    Some people in D.K’s position can recognize that they are continuously being fed incorrect information. I think it is much harder for them to realize and admit to themselves that the people who are feeding them are impostors, pretending to be “scientific,” deliberately and consciously making stuff up, omitting large parts of information or using obviously twisted logic.

    Confusion is uncomfortable but feeling betrayed is painful so they just refuse to look at the deceitfulness of their sources.

  • http://www.talkrational.org RBH

    I know Purdom — she used to teach at a Christian college near where I live. She has swallowed the post-modernist Kool Aid now being served up by AIG’s apologists so deeply that she now no longer has any connection with reality. She seriously believes (I’ve heard her assert it) that the only thing that determines how one interprets evidence is one’s presuppositions, and a Bible-believing Christian has no choice but to filter all data through literalist lenses: data cannot contradict scripture. And she’s got a forking Ph.D. in molecular genetics!

  • http://tungtide.wordpress.com Tungtide

    I initially thought that there was a hopeful part to D.K. and his take on mutation and natural selection. Upon further inspection and more careful reading I realized that he did not actually research the topic in any way. Instead he is simply looking for a way to refute sound, repeatable science.

    Maybe there’s still hope for the son. If he’s taking geology classes and learning that biblical answers aren’t going to cut it, he might just make the leap over to the rational side of things.

  • Darryl

    I realized that he did not actually research the topic in any way. Instead he is simply looking for a way to refute sound, repeatable science.

    Tungtide is correct about D.K. But, letters like this are encouraging: they show that believers in this kind of thing are troubled and struggling and bumping up against opposition, and they spur scientists to develop rebuttals in layman’s language. I also think there may be a long-term benefit to religion from this. I may be that all of this back-and-forth will produce a popular synthetic philosophy that will reconcile God and Evolution, and all of science, in the minds of believers. We know that this has already been done by individuals and even some denominations, but it is possible for it to become the prevailing view among those believers that cling to their holy books.

  • http://splendidelles.wordpress.com/ Lucia

    This just mystifies me. How is it that they can’t take that small step of logic from all of the creationist “evidence” they’ve ever presented being wrong to creationism being wrong, and make a gigantic leap of logic from the fine-tuning argument to the fine-tuner being the Judeo-Christian god? Isn’t it just as likely for the fine-tuner to have been Xenu?

  • http://tungtide.wordpress.com Tungtide

    I’ll agree with Darryl that letters like this are encouraging. Whether D.K. is trying to refute science or whether he becomes curious enough to actually look into the fields, knowledge is the first step in becoming free from religion.

    they show that believers in this kind of thing are troubled and struggling and bumping up against opposition, and they spur scientists to develop rebuttals in layman’s language

    And, as Darryl says, it is the responsibility of the scientists to communicate to laymen in a manner that doesn’t come across as pretentious. There are many reasons that young students are turned away from science classes, and one of those is an inability to teach and communicate well. While trying to avoid the “hook ‘em young” mentality, proper science education, well communicated, will do more than almost any other route.

  • Jennifer M

    I don’t think I quite follow what you mean about coming aross as pretentious but what I do want to say that I don’t think we can say that all creationist evidence is wrong. There are a lot of scientists that disagree with the bible but do agree with creationism. There is a great source that talks about this: http://www.whatthebleep.com.

    I do agree that Dr Purdom’s response was somewhat biased.

  • cipher

    Do these people think they’re going to convince their professor? “All these years, I believed all that stuff I learned to get my geology PhD, but this 19-year-old kid has helped me see the light!”

    They’re college kids, from Christian homes, often confronting new ideas for the first time. Either they do believe they’re going to convert the professor, or they’re trying desperately to hold onto belief in the face of contradictory evidence.

    And she’s got a forking Ph.D. in molecular genetics!

    I’ve felt increasingly over the past few years that legitimate (i.e., not Christian) colleges and universities simply should not be awarding degrees to fundamentalists. It cheapens them, and creates scenarios like this one.

    It also validates something about which I’ve been complaining for years. There’s a growing evangelical presence at Ivy League and other top-tier universities. I don’t think that conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists should be there. A fundie is taking away a space from a kid who perhaps didn’t test quite as well, but would be more capable of availing him/herself of the menu of offerings, and, I think, of making (what I would consider to be) a contribution to society afterward. The fundie kid is (especially in the science classes) merely parroting back what the professor wants to hear in order to get a passing grade, get the diploma and walk into a high-paying job in a world that he/she views as depraved, fallen and corrupt. It’s highly disingenuous, and I feel very strongly that it ought not to be allowed.

  • Darryl

    It also validates something about which I’ve been complaining for years. There’s a growing evangelical presence at Ivy League and other top-tier universities. I don’t think that conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists should be there.

    I can’t cross that stream. Firstly, exposure to academia is the only hope for some of those folks, so you don’t want to deny them that. Secondly, if they can do the math, they deserve the opportunity. I prefer to let life after a formal education show them what they lack. If they snap out of it, great, if not, c’est la vie.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    There are a lot of scientists that disagree with the bible but do agree with creationism. There is a great source that talks about this: http://www.whatthebleep.com.

    I am compelled to point out that What the Bleep is filled with quantum pseudoscience. I wasn’t aware it had anything to do with Creationism, but if it did, that would be another mark down for Creationism.

  • cipher

    Firstly, exposure to academia is the only hope for some of those folks, so you don’t want to deny them that. Secondly, if they can do the math, they deserve the opportunity.

    There should be an exit strategy, but I don’t think they should be taking spaces away from kids who have a more comprehensive world view, but who may not test as well. (Because I think standardized tests are bullshit, anyway.)

    Darryl, just to show you what a hard-ass I’ve become, I think that if someone gets a PhD in science, then becomes a fundie – the university should revoke the degree. I am not joking.

  • I like tea

    I’ve felt increasingly over the past few years that legitimate (i.e., not Christian) colleges and universities simply should not be awarding degrees to fundamentalists.

    I don’t like fundies any more than anyone here, but I can’t get behind the idea denying things like education to somebody because of his opinions. And whether or not he’ll make a contribution to society isn’t really for anyone else to judge. For starters, because in the US, people pay for their own college education, so they’re not really leeching off society. Second, it’s just too arbitrary – I’m an English major, and some people think I’ll never make any real contribution to society as a result!

  • cipher

    I’m an English major, and some people think I’ll never make any real contribution to society as a result!

    If you don’t believe that the world is 6,000 years old, that humans kept dinosaurs as pets and that everyone who disagree with you is going to burn in hell – you are already making a contribution!

    And I’m not denying them – they have the Christian schools, like Jerry Falwell, Oral Roberts, Pat Robertson. There are the large state schools in the South and Midwest, where there are already so many of them that they’ve become virtual Christian universities. There are the small Christian “liberal arts” colleges, like Patrick Henry (the poor man must be spinning in his grave). Let them go to those.

    I live in Boston. I think I mentioned this here recently – there are something on the order of fifteen evangelical organizations on the MIT campus. MIT! This absolutely slays me. These kids are being groomed to be the finest scientific minds we can produce. If someone were to walk into a room and say to them, “Guess what, kids? Relativity, quantum mechanics – the whole of 20th century physics – it’s all wrong! Turns out Newton was right all along!” They’d say, “Wait a minute – if you’re going to come in here with an allegation like that , you’d better have some hard evidence!” But, someone tells them, “Two thousand years ago, God became a Jewish carpenter and let the Romans nail him to a tree so now he doesn’t have to be mad at us and roast us alive for all eternity” and they just say, “Okay”. Makes me crazy.

  • Jennifer M

    Miller said, “I am compelled to point out that What the Bleep is filled with quantum pseudoscience.”

    Miller, what quantum pseudoscience are you talking about? Could you give an example?

  • I like tea

    It is ridiculous, cipher, but public colleges can’t deny somebody just because of their religious opinions. If we suddenly allow them to start doing so, how many would start banning atheists? Freedom means allowing idiots to be idiots is all I’m saying. It’s worth the cost.

  • cipher

    The atheists can have the spaces that open up at the Ivy League schools!

  • http://foo.ca/wp Richard

    Jennifer M.

    What the Bleep do we know was a production of the cult corporation of Ramtha. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramtha

    http://www.beliefnet.com/story/154/story_15452_1.html

    It’s trendy to use “Quantum Mechanics” in new age literature and videos, to try to explain what would otherwise be called magical thinking; they’re trying to make it sound like science…

    …the very definition of pseudoscience.

    Here’s a tip on how to recognize pseudoscience renderings of quantum physics; be suspicious if you can understand it, and doubly so if there’s no math involved.

  • Jennifer M

    Ramtha is an entity channeled by the medium JZ Knight. The film does feature her but it also features 12 scientists with very impressive credentials. I would at least listen to what they have to say.

    By the way, have you ever been to a medium? Why don’t you try going to one yourself. Make sure she/he’s a medium (not just a psychic). And well-respected. Ask her to tell you something no one else could know. This way you can get the evidence first hand and just decide for yourself.

  • Darryl

    Cipher, I think you’re being too hard. If it wasn’t for education I might still be a fundy. Even PhDs can loose their way–it doesn’t invalidate what they’ve achieved. Take the Jeffersonian approach and let the free play of reason weed out the idiots. Don’t forget, anyone with a PhD who teaches or publishes is subject to the review of their peers and if they’re tenured, post-tenure review. Unlike the Humanities and stupid things like Marxist slants on sociology, if an scientist starts going whacky the scientific community has ways of quickly and thoroughly marking them.

  • http://uncyclopedia.org/wiki/User:Modusoperandi Modusoperandi

    Lucia “Isn’t it just as likely for the fine-tuner to have been Xenu?”
    Clearly not.
    Firstly: Xenu is purported to have existed 75,000,000 ago, far too long for our 6,000 year old universe.
    Secondly: Xenu brought billions of people to Earth, but in 4004BC there were only two people. Before that, there were none.
    Ergo, Xenu is fictitious.

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go to the ER to have my tongue removed from my cheek.

  • http://foo.ca/wp Richard

    “Ramtha is an entity channeled by the medium JZ Knight”

    No, Ramtha is a funny voice that JZ Knight uses to impart pithy sayings on suckers.

  • Jennifer M

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Richard. Now, make your appointment with a medium please.

  • Karen

    The film does feature her but it also features 12 scientists with very impressive credentials. I would at least listen to what they have to say.

    If I recall correctly, one or more of those scientists later stated that they were interviewed on false pretenses and/or quoted out of context. They repudiated their involvement with that quack as fast as they could once they realized what dreck the movie was.

    And why would anyone waste money on a medium?

  • http://foo.ca/wp Richard

    I’m sorry you feel that way, Richard. Now, make your appointment with a medium please.

    Just what I need; a cold reading.

  • Jennifer M

    Karen, which one? What did they say? I welcome rebuttals. Just let me know what happened.

    And the medium. It’s really up to you. I would want to go because if she were to tell me something no one could know – that would be evidence that life continues after death…so I wouldn’t have to worry about dying. Well worth the money to me.

  • Richard Wade

    Jennifer M,

    And the medium. It’s really up to you. I would want to go because if she were to tell me something no one could know – that would be evidence that life continues after death…so I wouldn’t have to worry about dying. Well worth the money to me.

    Why are you urging other people to do this? Have you done this?

  • Jennifer M

    Yes, I have.

  • cipher

    Jennifer,

    I used to be friendly with a woman who owned a New Age bookstore. Through her, I met numerous psychics, channelers, astrologers, energy healers, etc. I never met one who was able to give me information that was either accurate or helpful (or alleviate any physical illness). I don’t think that most of them are dishonest (although some are, but I find them easier to spot); my experience has been that the majority are tragically self-deluded. Even if there is a “higher reality”, and even if humans do possess some latent potential for accessing it – my repeated experience has been that people who claim to be so gifted, aren’t.

    If you’re looking to assuage your fear of death, Ian Stevenson was a careful researcher who left behind a body of work suggestive of reincarnation. Don’t go to mediums (or is it media?). They’re full of crap.

  • cipher

    Cipher, I think you’re being too hard. If it wasn’t for education I might still be a fundy. Even PhDs can loose their way–it doesn’t invalidate what they’ve achieved.

    Darryl, I’m tongue in cheek about a lot of this – except for the part about PhD’s being revoked. I am completely serious about that. Advocate creationism, lose your credentials.

    I realize that we can’t actually have a quota system for fundies – but I think their attendance at top level schools should be strongly discouraged. As I said, they have Liberty U, Ole Miss and Patrick Henry – let them go to those. If they’re interested in being educated, they can do it there. If they’re just interested in getting a diploma, then they aren’t taking spaces away from kids who, in my opinion, deserve it more and are better “qualified”.

    Take the Jeffersonian approach and let the free play of reason weed out the idiots. Don’t forget, anyone with a PhD who teaches or publishes is subject to the review of their peers and if they’re tenured, post-tenure review. Unlike the Humanities and stupid things like Marxist slants on sociology, if an scientist starts going whacky the scientific community has ways of quickly and thoroughly marking them.

    The problem is that it isn’t working. Even with the “safeguards” in place, the right wing Christian wackjobs are gaining ground steadily. Dover didn’t really change anything; they just keep finding new and insidious ways to reinvent themselves and to insert themselves into the educational system. They’ve already infiltrated the government to such an extent that even eight years of a Democratic administration may not be enough to get rid of them.

    I am 51 years old. I have been watching things move inexorably in this direction since I was a small child. It was during the Reagan years (which most of you don’t even remember) that everything really began to change dramatically for the worse. It became fashionable to be greedy and stupid. Then, Gingrich came along, flooded the House with young Republicans and bumped it up a few notches (it didn’t take them long to turn on him and force him out – for not being reactionary enough! – yet he still doesn’t get it). Now, we have an imbecile in the White House, whose strings are being manipulated by a man who may very possibly be evil incarnate. The Bible is being taught as science, and we’re billions of dollars in debt from defending ourselves against the “terrorist onslaught”. Not to mention the cost in human suffering. And conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists have made this possible every step of the way. I’m vehemently opposed to empowering them any further.

    Oh, yeah – and the sky is falling!

    As I type this, I’m listening to PBS’ Religion & Ethics Newsweekly. There’s a segment on about Ave Maria University, a fundamentalist Catholic school that is expanding into an actual township. The Stepford kids who go there are droning on about how their education is being grounded in “the TRUTH™”.

    I said the other day that I’m an old-fashioned liberal; I’m only tolerant when it’s for the Left. I said it to be funny – but I wasn’t really joking.

  • Jennifer M

    OK, Cipher, maybe we should read Ian Stevenson. I’m certainly not against reincarnation. I support that too.

  • Jen

    By the way, have you ever been to a medium? Why don’t you try going to one yourself. Make sure she/he’s a medium (not just a psychic). And well-respected. Ask her to tell you something no one else could know. This way you can get the evidence first hand and just decide for yourself.

    My grandmother died recently. My aunt, who changes religion like other people change their socks, went to a medium right afterwards. We gathered for the funeral, and my aunt told me what the medium says.

    A bit of background: my aunt is in her 50s, my grandfather was involved in WWII.

    The medium, who was a friend of a friend, told my aunt that my grandfather had seen his best friend blown up. Now, as far as we know, this didn’t happen, because my grandfather did not see combat. Where, then, would his best friend have blown up? It is not hard to believe that a woman in her 50s had a father in WWII. The medium also told her that my grandfather had “anger issues”- again, that is true, but not exactly a stretch, given his generation. When my aunt agreed, the medium went on to say that my grandfather was bipolar. He (the medium) said that my grandparents were appearing to him in their “preferred bodies” which was during their engagement, which had to be pre-40s. Yes, again, they were engaged prior to the war, but that is not exactly something he couldn’t have guessed. He also told my aunt that my grandmother’s death was instant- also true.

    There was nothing from the reading that he couldn’t have guessed based on my aunt’s age. I also don’t know what he might have gotten wrong- she isn’t going to tell the skeptic what was flat-out wrong from the reading, if she even remembers. And my aunt has a vivid set of facial expressions, so while she may claim it would be hard to do a cold reading on her, it would not- her facial expressions would easily give away how hot or cold he was to the truth.

    My aunt believed the guy. I look at it this way: my family now believes that my grandfather was a bipolar man who lied about going to combat. We will never know, because he is dead. Eventually, this will filter into the family history even though we have no way to test this or fact-check it. I think that is a shame, because it is going to eclipse actual facts about him.

    My aunt paid this guy to destroy our memories.

  • I like tea

    I would want to go because if she were to tell me something no one could know – that would be evidence that life continues after death

    No it wouldn’t.

  • Jennifer M

    I like tea: Well, it would be for me.

    Jen: I’m very sorry to hear about that. I brought up the medium topic because my weblink contained one. Then it was discredited. I’m only advocating that people do their research before tossing mine out as quantum pseudoscience. Your aunt’s medium experience does sound like a shame.

  • Karen

    Jennifer M., there are a ton of websites and blog posts that debunk the ridiculous pseudo-science in that movie. I can’t include the links here because my post doesn’t show up if I do, but google “What the Bleep” and “debunking” and you’ll get a ton of information that you should read.

    For instance, Salon.com did an interview with David Albert, the Columbia physics prof in the movie. Here’s what he said:

    I was edited in such a way as to completely suppress my actual views about the matters the movie discusses. I am, indeed, profoundly unsympathetic to attempts at linking quantum mechanics with consciousness. Moreover, I explained all that, at great length, on camera, to the producers of the film … Had I known that I would have been so radically misrepresented in the movie, I would certainly not have agreed to be filmed.

  • Jennifer M

    Karen,

    In order to have a truly authentic film they need to have at least one scientist that doesn’t agree with views of the film-makers. Otherwise the information would be biased. Notice Albert is complaining about the misrepresentation of his views, not his facts.

  • Darryl

    I am 51 years old. I have been watching things move inexorably in this direction since I was a small child. It was during the Reagan years (which most of you don’t even remember) that everything really began to change dramatically for the worse. It became fashionable to be greedy and stupid. Then, Gingrich came along, flooded the House with young Republicans and bumped it up a few notches (it didn’t take them long to turn on him and force him out – for not being reactionary enough! – yet he still doesn’t get it). Now, we have an imbecile in the White House, whose strings are being manipulated by a man who may very possibly be evil incarnate. The Bible is being taught as science, and we’re billions of dollars in debt from defending ourselves against the “terrorist onslaught”. Not to mention the cost in human suffering. And conservative evangelicals and fundamentalists have made this possible every step of the way. I’m vehemently opposed to empowering them any further.

    Brother Cipher, I sympathize, but I would also point out two things: first, change for the better sometimes takes a while, and second, notice how the Republican brand has been aviled. We may be seeing a shift in the country that could undo a lot of wrongs and perhaps reverse the trends. “Keep hope alive!”

  • Richard Wade

    Cipher, I agree with your description of the political and social atmosphere of the recent years, but your assertion that PhD’s who advocate creationism should lose their doctorates is exactly the thought police state that the “right wing wackos” would love to have. You just seem to think that if you were the police chief things would be so much better. But with that kind of power to dictate what are the right and what are the wrong thoughts and opinions to have, where would you stop?

    Sorry, I wouldn’t want to live in your version of America any more than I would want to live in the Dominionists’ version.

  • cipher

    A biologist who adopts a belief in creationism displays wanton disregard, if not contempt, for the most fundamental principles of science. I’d have no problem in taking away his PhD. I’m sure Liberty U would offer him another one.

    I’m in favor of drawing a sharp line of distinction between those who would foster humanity’s progress and those who insist upon clinging to our childhood, and doing it in a particularly vicious manner – very likely destroying us in the process. We’re in deep trouble after a mere three decades of giving them even partial reign. Where would I stop? Where will they stop?

    I was only half serious about everything else I said the other day. This, I stand by.

  • Jennifer M

    Oh, Cipher! Lets chill! This forum has been going on way too long.

  • Freddy Franklin

    As I said, they have Liberty U, Ole Miss and Patrick Henry

    Don’t forget they have Harvard, Princeton and Yale, too. These were all founded as “fundie” schools. I suppose according to cipher the founding fundies are no longer welcome there. God forbid they take the schools back, eh?

    The only thing worse than the intellectual elite are those who THINK they are the intellectual elite. Smoke, fury and empty-headed drivel.


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