Coleoptera cont’d.

"I'm not sure, but he seems to be inordinately fond of beetles."

— J.B.S. Haldane, when asked what the study of science taught him about "the creator"

In reference to Haldane's remark, this Australian ministry posts the following joke, which it credits to Ken Cox, about Adam naming the animals in Eden:

GOD: And here's the next species, one I'm particularly proud of …

ADAM: Beetle.

GOD: Excellent. Now here's another …

ADAM: Beetle.

GOD: No, you just named the last one "beetle." This one is quite different — look at the pattern on the wing cases, and the shape of the antennae …

ADAM: Beetle.

GOD: Well, OK, though they certainly look different to Me. Now, the next species is —

ADAM: Beetle.

One reason I believe Haldane's comment is excellent theology is his choice of the word "fond." That connotes both intimate familiarity and delight.

Fondness is exactly what God seems to be expressing in the final act of the book of Job. This ancient play begins as a dialogue between poor Job and four of his friends on the subject of human suffering. In the final act, God enters the scene and something unexpected happens. Instead of settling the debate and explaining the meaning of suffering, God launches an extended monologue about his fondness for creation, rhapsodizing about everything from ostriches to Orion.

Here's the bit on ostriches:

The wings of the ostrich flap joyfully, but they cannot compare with the pinions and feathers of the stork.
She lays her eggs on the ground and lets them warm in the sand, unmindful that a foot may crush them, that some wild animal may trample them.
She treats her young harshly, as if they were not hers; she cares not that her labor was in vain, for God did not endow her with wisdom or give her a share of good sense.
Yet when she spreads her feathers to run, she laughs at horse and rider.

God, as described in the Bible, is not always easy to understand, but this much is clear: God loves the way ostriches run.

The author of Job is perhaps a bit too harsh — ostriches are not completely "unmindful" as they watch over their eggs — but that's not the main point here. God is basically saying, "OK, how about those ostriches? I mean, brains aren't really their forte — but have you seen them run? Man can they run! It's something to see."

I like this portrait of God very much.

This highlights one particularly strange feature of so many of the "scientific creationists." Despite calling themselves "creationists," they seem to take little delight in creation itself. We can imagine another dialogue along the lines of the joke above:

GOD: How about those ostriches?

CREATIONIST: You made them on the fifth day, 6,000 years ago. Genesis 1:20, "And God said … let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky."

GOD: Yeah, well, they don't so much fly as run. They're flightless birds — ratites — kind of a fascinating evolutionary cul de sac, you know. But you've got to see these things run …

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  • J. Michael Matkin

    I think that this is such a good point, and puts a finger on what really bothers me about creationism. Regardless of what opinion you take on the science itself, creationists do seem to be interested in act of creation principally as a means of arguing against a particular philosophy, materialism, rather than taking joy in the wonder of God’s imagination (of which we are such an integral part). It becomes a tool for polemic rather than a motivation for praise.

  • cjmr’s husband

    For yet another take on the beetles, see Terry Pratchett’s Last Continent.

  • Lila

    I have a similar beef with many of the Wiccans I’ve met. Although they profess a worshipful relationship with nature, they tend to be “city people” with little contact with, or interest in, nature. They have little notion about the local wildlife, or about ecology or biology in general. They are environmentalists in the broad political sense, but don’t seem to delight in the intricacy and mystery of the web of life–which, given their beliefs, seems rather a shame.
    This mindset led to an extremely comical incident involving dancing “skyclad” in a field where cows had recently been pastured, without due regard to what the cows might have left underfoot….

  • Sharaloth

    Now, I really like Slacktivist, and have been reading most of the posts here for the past several months while managing to keep my big mouth shut, but . . . the book of JOB? Is there some way you’re reading a different book of Job than I am? Now I admit that I’m no theologian, and that my studies into this piece of biblical writing are far from all-encompassing, but it seems to me that when God decides to talk to a confused but still loyal Job he doesn’t express fondness at all, but more a sentiment I like to express as: “I’m God and you’re not, so sit down and shut up.” which then progresses to “I am way more awesome than you. How much more awesome than you am I? I’m THIS MUCH more awesome.”
    It’s all the ‘can you do this, Job? Nope. Alright, where you there for that? Nope.’ It tends to obscure any expression of fondness behind all the arrogance and viciousness.

  • Lila

    Nobody said God was fond of **Job**–it’s the ostrich and the Leviathan and like that he seems to have a soft spot for. (Horses come in for a good bit too.)
    As for the relationship between God and Job, I think you’ve expressed it admirably well, Sharaloth.

  • Haukur Þorgeirsson

    The sad thing is that there aren’t any ostriches in the Middle-East anymore. They were hunted to extinction in the 19th century.
    BTW – I love your Left Behind series, including the minute travel details :)

  • Katherine

    but in the end it’s not Job He seems truly angry at, it’s the three friends who tell Job that he mustn’t question God and his misfortune must be deserved.

  • simon

    The Onion has a particularly good story that Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory. But I think you’ve put your finger on something important when you say that Creationists don’t seem to enjoy the creation.

  • Mr. Bill

    This reminds me of something that I noticed about the astrologically inclined: they never seem interested in looking up at the night sky….

  • JRoth

    I’ve always loved the Haldane line (I’m rather fond of Beatles myself), and I love that joke. I also really like your characterization of God’s fondness for Creation in Job. But reflecting on it this morning, it occurred to me:
    Job is wrong, isn’t it? I mean, as you point out, ostriches are not, in fact, unmindful of their eggs. But right there in the Bible, God says they are. So what do Fundamentalists make of this? I know there are other, better-known examples of Biblical errancy (apparently the sun never sets on Jericho either), but for a literal-minded Fundy, what can they do when the Bible simply states a readily-observable fact wrong? Would they claim that Bible-era ostriches were unmindful, but they’ve since evolved? Do they insist that there are measurement errors that mislead scientists into believing that ostriches are mindful?
    Come to think of it (and I did as I read a Noah book to my daughter this morning, animals crammed in), how do literalists handle the staggering biomass that Genesis squeezes into 50 by 300 cubits?

  • cjmr’s husband

    Of *course* creationists enjoy the Creation! Just ask them! They enjoy killing fish, killing deer, killing ducks…

  • Nick Kiddle

    I’m an atheist of the “insufficient evidence” variety, but I find your take on the Bible and religion in general both fascinating and, at times like these, moving. I may not believe in God, but people like you keep the faith in me alive that there is more to religion than people who think God created their brain and now wishes them to keep it in pristine, unused condition.
    I also love your LB stuff.

  • Lila

    Though I’m not a defender of the Bible’s scientific accuracy, I feel compelled to point out that many FEMALE ostriches are indeed unmindful of their eggs. The male constructs the nest and attempts to attract a female. She lays eggs and the two of them guard and incubate the eggs. However, several additional females often add their eggs to the nest but do not contribute to their care. This is probably the behavior mentioned in Job.
    OT, but can I just bring up my pet Noah’s Ark peeves? (1) artists are really bad about showing two male ostriches (males are black and white; females are grayish) and (2)artist’s depictions typically show only two of each animal (instead of 14 of each clean animal).

  • Cathy

    how do literalists handle the staggering biomass that Genesis squeezes into 50 by 300 cubits?
    The answer to “How did Noah get all those animals into the Ark?” is usually
    “Noah didn’t, God did, it was a miracle.” For that matter, anything that doesn’t make sense can be written off as a miracle.

  • Pho

    Lila I can do one better than that. My 3-year-old recently picked (randomly) “My First Bible Board Book” at the library. The pages of “The Animals of the Ark” depict, among others — a kangaroo. (Of course the counting section includes, I am not making this up, the plagues of Egypt — five frogs, ten locusts, etc. Thankfully we weren’t counting boils.)
    I have long thought that the story of Noah holds untapped possiblities for refuting the claims of biblical literalists. How did marsupials find their way to Australia? Komodo dragons to Java? Lemurs to Madagascar? As overwhelmingly as biogeography supports evolution theory, it even more overwhelmingly refutes the story of the flood.

  • cm

    I, too, like this portrait of God. I also cannot believe in a God who does not dance. I’m just having a few problems with the whole church thing right now. ::sigh::

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    See, the thing about dancing skyclad in a field is, cow patties wash off the foot much easier than off the shoe… Of course, there’s crap in cow crap that you don’t want in contact with your bare foot, but I digress.
    The Boulder Pagan community likes to do things like full moon hikes and nature walks to try to counteract our lazy, ignorant urban tendencies. But here’s the thing about full moon hikes. Off-trail shortcuts? Not smart. Especially if the shortcut takes you through someone’s cattle field. The cow patties aren’t the only danger to n00b hikers. I mean, there’s the cows.
    “Moo! We’re trying to sleep! Go away! Moo!”

  • cjmr’s husband

    Proving that none of the Pagans are from the country: you didn’t tip the cows.

  • bob

    Adam: This place is cool, what is it called?
    God: The Grand Canyon.
    Adam: That’s the best name you could come up with? How did you make it?
    God: A giant garden hose with the nozzle set to “stream”
    Adam What’s a nozzle?
    God: Dummy, you have one.
    Adam: Oh? How long this canyon thing take to make?
    God: A couple of minutes.
    Adam: Unbelievable. It looks like it took a million years at least.
    God: That’s why it’s a joke.
    Adam: Well, how would anyone know it’s a joke?
    God: I added fossils.
    Adam: What are fossils?

  • Ali

    I love this version of God, with the beetles. I have a huge fondness for octopi, they are such interesting and incredible creatures. The octopus is found all over the world, in all kinds of oceans and at all depths, they are different sizes and can mimic various things. Plus there’s incredible footage on National Geographic of an octopus v shark — octopus wins. I hold on to the idea of God being really into His creations and even nudging them a bit, the nudging being evolution. Not everyone agrees with me.
    Also -cm regarding Dancing and God — I’ve started going to a presbyterian church and one of the hymns I found in the hymnal (but haven’t sung yet) is The Lord of the Dance (not the Irish dude). The lyrics can be found Here however, it plays the hymn when you click on the page. I’m trying to get over my own church issues.

  • Manteo

    “Proving that none of the Pagans are from the country: you didn’t tip the cows.”
    How much are you supposed to tip a cow? (Proving that I’m from NYC).
    Anyway, just wanted to express agreement with the sentiment that Fred’s extraordinarily thoughtful, inspired theological writings are a joy to read, even for us atheists (or vaguely spiritualists, or whatever). Faith, ultimately, is a way of explaining the universe – as is science. And both faith and science are best experienced in the boundless wonder that comes when one gives the universe any serious thought. Those whose “faith” is empty of such wonder seem, to me, not to really be expressing faith at all.

  • Bob Davis

    Longtime reader, first time commenter. I think Scientific Creationism is a theory one can sink your teeth into, just like the other thousands of alternate theories of evolution too. There are thousands of others, too, you know. Some are more mindful of the creation than others; like the theory that the animals are evolving as fast as they can to be in position to counteract the impacts of humans on the environment. Hurry, guys, let’s go…

  • Mark

    Bob: What _is_ “scientific creationism”, as a theory? That is, what predictions does it make?
    What evidence would you expect to find if it were true?
    How would you go about testing it?

  • MobiusKlein

    What evidence to look for to find Scientific Creationism?
    1) Laboratory with Alien bones buried in Cambrian era rocks. (or other time periods)
    2) Genetic relics of means used to propagated genetic changes. (How did the Aliens create Bonobos from Ur-Chimp stock? Some retro-virus that spliced in the different genes? Bound to leave some sort of marker that careful mutation analysis could find.)
    Good luck finding these!

  • Backword Dave

    This may be a stupid point: but aren’t ostriches a problem for Creationists? Because God didn’t explicitly make any flightless birds in Genesis. So if ostriches and penguins and kiwis don’t fly, are they still birds to a Creationist? or have I missed something?

  • Bob Davis

    Fred was referring to the “scientific creationists” in the original post, I was using that as a good example of one of the thousands of good theories out there that help all of us fill in the blanks left by Darwinian theory. I mean, not that I know what blanks “scientific creationisism” fills or anything, but there are other theories too, and I’ve begun collecting them at a new website, More Evolution Theories. MobiusKlein has some good examples of how the “scientific creationists” have a good theory going – if only they can find these items, they’re really set there. I hope to find the ur-chimp myself someday. Wouldn’t that be a trip.

  • chimera

    Vis-a-vis how Noah fit all the animals in the ark, an explanation to satisfy the scientific-minded: quantum superposition! (OK, maybe God had to help him a bit, since he didn’t really have time to build an accelerator and all, but…)

  • Ray

    The solution to Noah’s ark I’ve heard is that Noah took two (or 14) of each _kind_ of animal into the Ark, and there was some evolution (or devolution, according to some) since then. This also explains the observed instances of evolution, and the variety of the fossil record – we’ve seen evolution within ‘kinds’, but those kinds were created by the big G. So its not a bad explanation, as completely moronic explanations go.

  • Nicole J. LeBoeuf-Little

    What, you have to be devoid of conscience as regards the beasts of the field in order to be from the country? Tipping cows is mean.
    …Not to mention well-nigh impossible when they’re all lying down.

  • cjmr

    OT, but can I just bring up my pet Noah’s Ark peeves? (1) artists are really bad about showing two male ostriches (males are black and white; females are grayish) and (2)artist’s depictions typically show only two of each animal (instead of 14 of each clean animal).
    And very, very occasionally you’ll get one with two male lions. Come on guys! How hard can it be to get that right???

  • cjmr

    how do literalists handle the staggering biomass that Genesis squeezes into 50 by 300 cubits?
    Here is the answer to that question as given in The Awesome Book of Bible Facts by Sandy Silverthorne. (A book I would never have bought given the opportunity to look at it before I ordered it.)
    The Bible says that every kind of animal was on the ark. There were members of the cat family, the dog family, the horse family. But not every member of the family had to go.
    FWIW, the illustration for this page has a male and a female lion, two male ostriches, a whole family of rabbits (“I had to keep telling the rabbits, ‘Only two, only two!'”), and, for some reason, penguins. No pandas, though. I do have one Noah’s Ark book with pandas.

  • cjmr’s husband

    The Ark was Dimensionally Transcendental.
    No, that was the TARDIS.
    No, on Doctor Who the animals in the Ark in Space were stored as frozen embryos.

  • none

    How much are you supposed to tip a cow? (Proving that I’m from NYC).
    About 20°.

  • pepperjackcandy

    how do literalists handle the staggering biomass that Genesis squeezes into 50 by 300 cubits?
    Maybe the cubit in question was the distance along the forearm of God, and thus the ark is the entire universe.
    Which would make an interesting science fiction story, now that I think of it.
    artist’s depictions typically show only two of each animal (instead of 14 of each clean animal).
    The first 12 clean animals are already on the ark, and the artist is only drawing the final two.

  • Bob Davis

    What’s wrong with depicting two male lions?

  • Lila

    Nothing, unless they’re supposed to be responsible for the future supply of baby lions.

  • Bob Davis

    Given that up to 14 of each species were brought on board the ark (so the comments above say) then I think two male lions would be a very good thing for helping to provide for a future supply of baby lions. And if it were only two male lions to go with, say, 12 female lions, so much the better for the lesbian female lions to be left alone in peace.

  • cjmr’s husband

    Lions aren’t “clean”, so only two get to go on the trip. In any case, two males to twelve females is a normal ratio for a pride…
    Interesting, though, that very few species show a genetic “crash” four thousand years ago. Only one I know of is the cheetah; the timing is right, but the genetics show that there was more than a single breeding pair.

  • Stu

    Fred (can I call you Fred?), I’m an atheist of the normal variety, but I was raised as a Lutheran, and I admire and respect your faith; if it wasn’t for that minor “faith” thing, I would believe much as you did, and I think your love and admiration for God’s creation is much more effective and admirable than a thousand evangelicals. You not only have a connection with reality, but a love for it as well.
    This is all to say, keep on keeping on. Acts like this can bring more people to God than any condemnation or elaboration of the rules.
    I have an insane love for Job myself. It’s the book that most seems to deal with suffering and pain and faith, and almost seems out of place in the Bible in it’s treatment of what it means to actually believe in something. But I’m partially influenced by Macleish’s “J.B.” so I might be biased.

  • kipwatson

    Your site is at times pretty good (I came to it via a 2003 post that came up in Google that included some lines from Twelfth Night – I enjoyed that post very much).
    But for a Christian you make a lot of rather spiteful comments about Born Again Christians. In my opinion, you (and many of your commentors) seem to be having trouble with the ‘humility’ thing – and the ‘not judging’ thing, too.
    I’m assuming you’re a Catholic (I’m only guessing based on the dozen or so posts I read). For the record, I go to a Pentecostal church and I have enormous respect and affection for the Catholic Church (Bach, Mozart, JPII, Don Camillo – what’s not to love?). I’ve always felt that while we have many differences, they’re all rather trivial, and as far as the big moral issues go, we’re on the same side. I had hoped so, anyway.
    Intelligent Design may not be very sophisticated science, but personally I think it’s on the right track. And as a philosophy I certainly think it’s a much better candidate for the adjective ‘true’ than the obnoxious and obtuse materialism that seems to be the philosophy of so many Darwinists, Nietzschians, Communists and far too many scientists…
    Rather than expending so much effort on taking cheap shots at good-hearted people, I think your obvious intellect would be better exercised in confronting some of the real enemies out there.
    I mean, whose side are you guys really on?

  • none

    Um…Bach was a Lutheran.

  • MobiusKlein

    I have trouble deciding which Science is ‘true’ liking or disliking the consquences of the science. I may dislike gravity if I’m falling, but the truth doesn’t give a ***t.
    Here’s another thought to ponder – Intelligent Design may be just as full obtuse materialism as Evolution. Aliens came to Earth, tinkered with the genteics for Billions of years, with no care for God, god, or the sanctity of life. ID is not good theology when it’s dressed up as science.

  • Kip Watson

    (OK, fine, JS Bach was a Lutheran – my other comments stand.)
    ID is a great philosophy. It gives young Christians and others ammunition against the unfounded attacks on their faith that they’re going to encounter, particularly in their vulnerable high school years. Like any philosophy it’s unprovable, but vast swathes of current scientific speculation are also unproven or unprovable, including the ‘unintelligent’ mechanisms that are assumed to occupy key (grey) areas of the modern theory of evolution.
    Militant atheists are a real force in the world, and a very dangerous one. The absolutist, crude and materialistic version of evolutionism they preach is more simplistic than the most literal creationist, without the saving grace of leading the recipient toward a higher truth. Teaching the philosophy of ID might also have some real benefits. It would remove a big obstacle between many young people, especially those on the margins without a Christian family or community, and the truth of Jesus and the wonderful miracles of the Holy Spirit. Conversely, it removes an obstacle that stops many Christians, with their ethics and idealism, from undertaking a career in science – something I suggest science needs very much.
    Honestly, knowing a reasonable amount science, I also find ID slightly simplistic. Nevertheless I still believe something rather similar – that a divine intelligence exists throughout all of creation and that life is an expression of this. But the difference is in my opinion academic. I share the same basic philosophy with the ID proponents: that God is real and life is meaningful. The idea that life is some meaningless random accident is both unsupported by science, and more importantly, completely contradicts the evidence of our own lives and the intuition of our deepest thinkers.

  • Josh

    First of all, kudos to Mr. Clark for his interesting site. I appreciate the forum for civil discussion of these issues. Secondly, on behalf of the militant atheists, who the hell is Kip Watson talking about? In my experience people ascribing to militant atheism are almost non-existent. I suppose there are militants who happen to be atheists and there have been e.g. communist regimes that have tried to enforce state atheism but it seems to me this is much more an issue of eradicating rivals to the state than a zealous devotion to atheist philosophy. At any rate they are hardly a rampant and dangerous force in the world today. Most atheists are content to ask for a secular government and to hope that eventually people will come around to their side as it might prevent some recurring problems. Even among the most outspoken, militant seems an innaccurate description to me. While Mr. Clark and many readers of this site are no doubt deeply committed to their beliefs and ready to defend them I don’t regard them as militant, nor do I fear them so long as they are content to leave me and mine be. The atheists I know are by and large intelligent, highly ethical people with their allotted share of human foibles. It also puzzles me how one can worry about the vulnerable high school years when said vulnerability is implicitly just the cessation of inculcation and isolation during the surely more “vulnerable” formative years.
    As far as the philosophy of ID: If by philosophy Kip means a belief in God and a God-given meaning to life, I disagree with that philosophy but that is tangential to the ID debate. ID is specifically an attempt to cram this admittedly unprovable faith into science, which requires testability. Science necessarily looks for a “materialistic” explanation and it has had great success in doing so. It does not by itself preclude “meaning” and “purpose”, it simply does not address them, they is the realm of philosophy. Hence science has with great success explained, e.g., why things fall with a materialistic view. If you want things to fall and gravitate with a purpose that is your business but it is not science as it tends to destroy predictive ability.

  • Josh

    Follow up to my previous post. (I tend to have too many thoughts running through my head when I write.) The characterization of materialistic evolution as crude and absolutist is undeserved. Evolution via natural selection is simple but not crude, it is in fact elegant. Once one grasps the concept one sees that it is not only possible but that it can’t help but happen in such a system as life. God would actually have to intervene to prevent it from happening, this is the beauty of the idea. The only question that can be is whether or not it occurs sufficiently fast to account for all life on earth.
    Neither is it absolutist, it is simply posited as a sufficient explanation. As I said before, not all explanations are scientifically viable, but nothing in science forbids anything but evolution via natural selection. Nothing else has as yet any evidence, hence natural selection is taken as sufficient. To go back to gravity (a standard of the pro-evolution crowd,) relativistic gravity doesn’t forbid the action of other forces, nor of a deeper(scientific) explanation of itself, but we only include these things as neccessary.

  • Merlin Missy

    ID is a great philosophy.
    Thank you. ID is a philosophy. Not a science. It belongs in discussions of philosophy along with all the other questions of “why are we here” and not lumped in with scientific theories which have vast amounts of data to support them.
    Conversely, it removes an obstacle that stops many Christians, with their ethics and idealism, from undertaking a career in science – something I suggest science needs very much.
    ‘Cause you know, the rest of us scientists are free of ethics and idealism. Honestly, since I started my career, the only scientists I’ve known who weren’t Christian have been myself and my husband. So I don’t think there’s as big a crisis of conscience as you’re implying among the scientific community as a whole. What’s more, attempting to pretend ID is valid science as a means of drawing in more people to science fields who might otherwise have given those fields a pass is only going to result in lowering the bar overall. Scientists learn to mesh their beliefs with the ever-evolving world of scientific theories, or they learn to separate them. My husband, for example, believes that the world began when a giant cow started licking a primordial ice block. Yet, he watches the Discovery Channel with our kids and he doesn’t demand our local school board change its science curriculum so that our children will see their beliefs given equal weight to evolution. (And if he did, he knows I’d yell at him, and my wrath is greater than the PTA’s by a long shot.)
    Science shouldn’t have to change to accommodate what (some) people want to believe. That’s not science, it’s superstition.
    Also, Fred was an Evangelical Christian last I checked (someone correct me?).
    ETA: Or, what Josh said. :)

  • Kip Watson

    I like the civil tone of most of the comments this web site, so I’ll do my best to maintain it myself.
    I’m not suggesting all scientists lack ethics. Far from it. Science is a field that attracts the idealistic, truth seekers and the civic minded generally. I have no doubt that that describes you too. But having said that, in recent years one could hardly turn round without tripping over some attempted scientific con-job (usually involving a medical or environmental doomsday scenario). I stopped buying both New Scientist and Scientific American because I got tired of wading through the politics. On that basis I say science generally has an increasing problem upholding a suitably high standard of ethics.
    The widely held view that the political ends justifies the means is poison to science. And it’s true that where the ID proponents have erred is that by pushing to redress the imbalances that are so glaring to so many of us, there has been an unfortunate ‘fight fire with fire’ approach. I agree that it is wrong to present philosophy as science. The fact that atheistic materialists do it constantly is no reason for Christians to do likewise. I don’t think this means ID should not be taught in schools, but it should be taught frankly as a philosophical context within which scientific knowledge can be understood. And – very importantly – materialism should also be presented as a philosophy, not as an assumed fact.
    Furthermore, science educationalists should be more open about how much of what is taught as fact is really speculation. Huge amounts of what is taught now as established fact will in the future be superseded by future discoveries and speculations. For example, within the theory of evolution, the origin of life etc. there are many mechanisms that are extremely speculative, and that are probably impossible to test for the foreseeable future. It’s wrong to suggest otherwise (to be fair, career scientists understand this and in most cases the problem has more to do with communication than deliberate dishonesty.)
    I would be delighted to find a school that both had a good science programme and incorporated some ID philosophy. My kids are only young now, but we are saving now for precisely that. In fact, you shouldn’t worry about your kids being forced to learn ID. In my opinion these classes will be so popular that many will be turned away.
    Perhaps in the USA (the world’s most Christianised nation) things are different, but here in Australia a view has become fashionable that holding Christian beliefs should preclude a person from holding public office, and indeed that Christians must quarantine their deepest beliefs from many areas of public life. It only takes a moment’s honest refection to see what a horrible suggestion this is. The hostility to Christian (and conservative) ideas within schools is also quite appalling over here – even with children as young as six or seven. So I stand by the characterisation of the danger of militant atheism. I don’t suggest that term applies to you, but that’s rather beside the point. Not every Japanese was a Kamikaze divebomer, but Japan made war on us all the same.
    Maybe you live in a utopian community where the breakdown of the traditional family and traditional morality generally has not led to astronomical increases in crime and all the social ills and their attendant miseries, or perhaps you believe there are convoluted scientific explanations to explain them all. But I’m a simple soul, and I see nothing but harm from the increased Godlessness of recent generations.

  • Ray

    “The widely held view that the political ends justifies the means is poison to science.”
    But that’s your whole argument for ID! It might be crap science, but it might bring people closer to God – the end justifies the means.
    “Huge amounts of what is taught now as established fact will in the future be superseded by future discoveries and speculations”
    The problem with ID is that its an attempt to stop those further discoveries.
    Scientist: This is a very interesting mechanism, which explains how…
    ID: No, God did it
    Scientist: There are two ways this could have happened, and with a little investigation we can…
    ID: No need, the answer is “God did it”
    Scientist: We’re not quite sure how this thing happened. One hypothesis which might prove useful could be confirmed if we look for…
    ID: Why bother? God did it. God did this. God did that. That thing over there? God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.God did it.
    “I would be delighted to find a school that both had a good science programme and incorporated some ID philosophy. ”
    I’d love to see those exams.
    Sample answers:
    Q1: God did it.
    Q2: God did it.
    Q3: God did it.
    Q4: God did it.
    Q5: God did it.
    “here in Australia a view has become fashionable that holding Christian beliefs should preclude a person from holding public office”
    Evidence? Not evidence that public oficials should obey the law even if it contradicts their Christian beliefs, or evidence that people don’t think you should make laws by looking up what the Bible says, but evidence for your assertion – the fashionable view is that Christians should not be allowed hold public office. Opinion polls would be good, editorials in national newspapers would be something. (“God did it” doesn’t work here either.)

  • eriol

    Kip Watson,
    You say that you want to be civil like everyone else on this blog, but you are not reasonable. You argue from your pre-suppistions, not from what is true. I continually make a fool of myself on this blog, but I know at the very least I ought to listen to what other people are saying, cause they understand these issuses, while I am confused. If you stopped to listen you would have to amidt either confusion or ignorance (if not both).
    Back to Noah and his ark.
    A Noachian (is that right?)flood is possible, all it requires is a good size asteroid to land in the ocean, then even Mt. Everest. But oddly enough Creationists always reject this idea outright. Far too simialr to the idea that an asteroid crashed into the earth and killed all the dinosaurs.
    Answers in Genesis, one of the biggest Creationist organzations wishes Noah’s flood would stop being treated as a bedtime story, complete with pictures of smiling teddy bears and a happy Noah (who isn’t lamenting the deaths of his AA buddies) on boat that wouldn’t carry a couple of mice. So even the die-hard Creationists hate the way the flood is often told! So is there anybody who likes cute picture books about Noah?

  • eriol

    Admit, not amidt.