Fresh thoughts from Hawking, same old dinopoop from the Creationist lobby

Fresh thoughts from Hawking, same old dinopoop from the Creationist lobby September 2, 2010

THERE is no place for God in theories on the creation of the Universe, Professor Stephen Hawking has said.
According to BBC today, Hawking had previously argued belief in a creator was not incompatible with science, but in a new book, he concludes the Big Bang was an inevitable consequence of the laws of physics.
The Grand Design, part serialised in The Times, says there was no need for a god to set the Universe going.
He concludes:

Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something.

In his new book, an extract of which appears in The Times, Britain’s most famous physicist sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton’s belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have sprung out of chaos.
Citing the 1992 discovery of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun, he said:

That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single Sun, the lucky combination of Earth-Sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings.

He adds:

Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing.

Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going.

Meanwhile, Australia’s Sunday Mail reported that primary school students are being taught that man and dinosaurs walked the Earth together – and that there’s fossil evidence to prove it.

Not only did dinosaurs and humans coexist, Jesus actually tamed the critters, if this bizarre tattoo is to be believed. (Click on pic for more wacky Jesus tats.)
Fundamentalist Christians, according to recent studies, are hijacking religious instruction classes despite education experts saying Creationism and attempts to convert children to Christianity have no place in state schools.
Students have been told Noah collected dinosaur eggs to bring on the Ark, and Adam and Eve were not eaten by dinosaurs because they were under a protective spell.
Critics are calling for the RI program to be scrapped after claims emerged Christian lay people are feeding children misinformation. Many of the instructors are from Pentecostal churches.
Education Queensland is aware that Creationism is being taught by some religious instructors, but said parents could opt out. Australian Secular Lobby president Hugh Wilson pinted out, however, that children were ostracised and discriminated against if they were pulled out of the class.
Set Free Christian Church’s Tim McKenzie said when students questioned him why dinosaur fossils carbon dated as earlier than man, he replied that the great flood must have skewed the data.
Queensland Teachers Union President Steve Ryan said teachers were sometimes compelled to supervise the instructors “because of all the fire and brimstone stuff”.
New research shows three in 10 Australians believe dinosaurs and man did exist at the same time. The survey, by the Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies, shows a “worrying” lack of basic scientific principles.
Said FASTS president Dr Cathy Foley:

The results underscore the need for students to be exposed to science and mathematics through a well resourced education system, rather than learning about science through Jurassic Park.

PhD researcher Cathy Byrne found in a NSW-based survey that scripture teachers tended to discourage questioning, emphasised submission to authority and excluded different beliefs. She said 70 percent of scripture teachers thought children should be taught the Bible as historical fact.
A parent of a Year 5 student on the Sunshine Coast said his daughter was ostracised to the library after arguing with her scripture teacher about DNA.

The scripture teacher told the class that all people were descended from Adam and Eve. My daughter rightly pointed out, as I had been teaching her about DNA and science, that ‘wouldn’t they all be inbred’?
The teacher replied that DNA wasn’t invented then.

After the parent complained, the girl spent the rest of the year’s classes in the library.
Hat tip: BarrieJohn (Hawkin) and Brian Jordan (Creationists)

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  • Stonyground

    I think that if I were a science educator, much of my emphasis would be on the connection between science and technology. I would invite classes to imagine what the world would be like should these godidiots actually succeed in raising an entire generation who have no idea how to make stuff work.

  • tony e

    If, as they say, Adam and Eve were the first people and the earth is around 4000yrs old then unless every woman born had gave birth to multiple children, all of which survived infancy and infections, then the numbers cannot add up to the present world population.
    Furthermore if Adam and Eve only had sons, if I remember my bible, then that asks an even more awkward question of who was the motherfucker? And if the inbreeding did not kill them mankind would be horribly deformed in a Wayne Rooney sort of way. Not a nice thought.
    The fact that mankind has evolved into several distinct races, as adaptations to deal better with different climatic and environmental demands, must surely be obvious even to these twats.

  • Har Davids

    We can argue till we’re blue in the face but the god-nuts won’t play. If they don’t have an answer, it’s God’s mysterious doing. It seems that politicians want to create nations, and ultimately a world, of morons, the way they have kids subjected to all this religous bull-shit. Don’t they want progress anymore?

  • barriejohn

    Well, Tony, you have to account for Wayne Rooney somehow!
    Ken Ham always has the answer!!

  • David Anderson

    Where are all these “moderate” christians I keep hearing about? Why don´t they come out of the woodwork and say something about this madness? Where are these so called “sophisticated faithheads” who are supposed to be able to interpret the bible allegorically?
    To that father on the Sunshine Coast. Well done that man, keep on teaching your daughter, teach her to question authotity and ask for the evidence. If she´s banned to the library at least she can read (provided it´s not full of creationist crap). It might be difficult for her to be singled out like this but at least she won´t grow up a dumb-bell like those other poor kids.
    To those people who call themselves “teachers”. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

  • tony e

    The answers-in-genesis site is becoming very popular amongst the ID(iots) fraternity. Like the Alpha course ran a couple of years ago, it just rebrands the same old nonsense.
    My knowledge of the bible is limited, as I prefer non-fiction to read, but if memory serves me right, even their name for god ‘yahweh’ is later changed to ‘jehovah’ so even in their precious genesis they cannot be consistent.

  • barriejohn

    Tony: If you don’t find Ken Ham’s explanation satisfying, then you might prefer this!
    …in the Islamic stories God sent down a Woman from Paradise, a Hoori, for Abel, and a Jinn in the shape of a Woman for Kabul and believe it or not, that’s how they had children.
    And then they married Cousins and then second cousins and third cousins which were Halal ( Allowed ) to them until there were enough people where you couldn’t tell your Cousins from a random stranger.

  • tony e

    Marrying cousins? This is becoming a bit Deliverance!

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  • Russell W

    Of course RI has no place in state schools,unfortunately many(non-religious) parents seem to think that some kind of religious belief is necessary as basis for an ethical system,it isn’t. Teach the children philosophy instead.
    Education Queensland’s policy in regard to ‘opting out’ seems rather disingenuous,I wonder if the organisation has been infiltrated.

  • barriejohn

    You’re right, RusselW. I knew many completely irreligious parents who thought that it was necessary for their chidren to be sent to Sunday School to “learn the difference between right and wrong”. What palpable nonsense, particularly when it is religion that has beeen the cause of so much behaviour that we would consider “wrong” in the world!

  • Pete H

    That tat is awesome.

  • andrea

    It’s astonishing how they can just keep making it up as they go along and still justify teaching it to children! Anything to keep them believing in faries!!

  • Broadsword

    Religion should be kept out of schools or else we may as well all go and live in the Middle East. Anyone who stifles questioning young minds is hardly a teacher. The following passage from Michael Foley’s book, The Age of Absurdity, seems apt in this case:
    “The only alternative to difficult thought is surrendering autonomy to a higher authority. This is the attraction of fundamentalism, which sheds the burden of freedom and eliminates the struggle to establish truth and meaning, much of the trauma of life’s decision-making and all the anxiety of doubt. There is no solution as satisfactory and reassuring as God.”

  • valdemar

    But you’ve gotta love the way these holy chaps all say God is ineffable, unknowable, infinitely mysterious – and always masculine. If one of them – just one – ever referred honestly to their God as an ‘It’, which is what God must logically be, I’d have a wee bit more respect.

  • Broga

    It is so depressing the way these religious clowns command the BBC airwaves. I heard the Chief Rabbi this morning wittering away about believing in god and his loving ways. No mention of the daily slaughter of millions of creatures; the fact that the lion only lives by killing the deer, that bloody wasp that lays its eggs in caterpillers, paralyses them and keeps them alive by eating the juicy non terminal death bits first. Of course, dotty Rowan was there as well.
    And they are now spreading their defensive nonsense in the newspapers. “To say the cosmos started without a creator is self evident nonsense,” says one religous lamebrain.

  • …rather than learning about science through Jurassic Park.

    In my personal experience, the vast majority of people are thick. And while Jurassic Park might appall even the most basic of geneticists, mainstream media is a fundamental means for educating people. Remember, you average construction worker will have be educated by a teacher for 12 years of his life, but by Keeley Hazell and the “Daily Star” for the rest of it.
    Rather than condemning Jurassic Park, a push should be made to ensure that science advisors on production teams promote better science where possible (yay BBT!).

  • cnocspeireag

    Not so much Jurassic Park for these wingnuts. Their science education came from ‘The Flintstones’.

  • Broga

    David McNerney
    I agree with you – reluctantly – most people are thick. This is definitely non PC but it is true. Brains addled by crap television; shite newspapers whose “news” is the latest pop “celebrities” and an aversion to any kind of serious reading or thought. They are vote and religious fodder for all those who offer simple – and wrong – answers to complex issues.

  • barriejohn

    It became self-evident to me years ago that, in the days before we had any sort of social mobility whatsoever in society, a great many labouring people (like my maternal grandmother, for instance) were highly intelligent people who read books and newpapers, and were well abreast of politics, foreign affairs, scientific advances, and so on. In days gone by these people seasoned the working class with their wisdom and knowledge, and guided them in their thinking, especially in public houses and around the fireside in the evenings. (Illiterate people always used to have the latest news from The Thunderer read to them publicly.) Nowadays, with the advance of free education, that seasoning effect has disappeared (and I’m by no means suggesting that social mobility is an undesirable thing), and many of the the “thick” types of whom you speak just mix with others of their own intellect and outlook, and never have their horizons broadened or their curiosity aroused in any way whatsoever. It’s all very well having wonderfully educational programmes on TV, but if the only things that they watch are soap operas and reality shows, then that is not going to have any effect whatsoever.

  • barriejohn

    BTW: Most people are of broadly average intelligence, as they always have been (Cocked-Hat Curve), so other factors must be at play!

  • Marcus

    @ Broga Couldn’t agree more. I was listening to Chris Evans this morning on Radio 2 and he had some other rabbi on who basically just said that Stephen Hawking was wrong and that god definitely exists. No proof, of course. Just passed his personal opinion off as absolute fact.
    Why Evans gets to host his own daily version of Thought For The Day, as usual without any secular representation, is beyond me. I don’t know if he is a christian or he is forced by the BBC to do it. Either way, it’s unforgivable.

  • barriejohn
  • barriejohn

    This article really takes the biscuit, though. Don’t read it whilst drinking coffee or you will end up spraying your computer screen!
    (Many of the comments are spot-on, however.)

  • Broga

    You are both absolutely on target. There was a time when “education” was prized; its acquisition was envied; there were classes in various halls which attracted the workers. Of course, the upper classes had it easy and didn’t appreciate it. Thomas Hardy’s Jude the Obscure gives an excellent sense of the lust for education (a very depressing book)and the fight to get it.
    Now teachers struggle even to control classes and the peasants are fed a diet of pap by the papers and TV. Ask many children today what the want to be and the answer is “famous” or “a pop star”.
    I am an admirer of the Open University. If you get through six hard years to acheive a degree, while doing a job or whatever, you have something going for you. And they accept you, give you a chance, regardless of academic background, age or class.

  • Russell W

    There’s some evidence that the ‘need to believe’ is hardwired in for many people regardless of IQ or education,for instance,some of the ‘God-botherers’ are intelligent highly educated individuals who waste their intellects on various ME superstitions.
    For people like me(and other people who post here)who don’t have the ‘gene for religion’,it all seems nonsense,unfortunately I suspect,we’re in the minority.Some researchers suggest that the question “Why are some humans NOT religious?” is a better hypothesis to test.
    I’m certainly not arguing against a rigorous scientific education at high school,the benefits are obvious.

  • As an atheist, as someone who doesn’t believe in God, Hawking has no place running his mouth on a subject like this. The creation of our Earth is inherently and wholly a religious and theoretically subject, not a scientific one. Only religious people who have dedicated their entire lives to objectively studying the Bible, earning post-graduate degrees in religious studies from Christian Universities are really qualified to speak on the subject of Earth’s creation, and thus far not a single one of the leading Christian researchers in the world have come to the same conclusion as Hawking.

  • Regards Queensland kids being taught creationism in schools and the 3% who have a grasp on scientific literacy. How sad. How can it be that in 2010 (can we get the BC / AD thing sorted? It gives the jeesus myth thing some undeserved credibility) Yeah, 2010 and this twaddle is being served up in supposedly secular state schools. Where have we gone wrong? Why is it apparently legal for this to happen? The state of Queensland is under the control of a Labor government. The Labor party has long been seen as being removed from religious idiocy following the break up of the party into catholic and non catholic sections, remember the DLP? The Democratic Labor Party. This was the catholic faction of the party, who over the years evaportated to become a very small and exclusive club. I recon they’re looking for a back door way to get their insidious message into the heads of our young people who are ill prepared to meet the nonsense with rational thought. Great, set the kiddies up for a life of guilt and death worship. We can do better than that.

  • Garlic

    ‘(can we get the BC / AD thing sorted? It gives the jeesus myth thing some undeserved credibility) ‘
    A lot of academics use ‘CE’ – Christian Era and ‘BCE’ – Before Christian Era. That would probably be more up your street because it gives the date everyone is familiar with, but explicitly states that it is just part of Christians’ religion instead of using the slavish ‘AD’ – Anno Domini, which translates as ‘In the year of our Lord’. This CE / BCE stuff doesn’t seem to have filtered down into everyday conversation yet. Maybe start spreading it around and see what happens.

  • barriejohn

    Garlic: I think you’ll find that CE generally refers to “Common Era”, and BCE to “Before Common Era”!

  • Newspaniard

    Don’t the Australians have the equivalent to OFSTED where standards of education are judged and schools who teach crap are sorted out? Just like the UK… Oh, hang on a minute, aren’t there special “Ofsteds” for different cult schools in the UK too? Sorry, I’d forgotten how even the UK education system is becoming more and more corrupted by religious nuts from the highest levels of our administration.

  • barriejohn

    Newspaniard: I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – just wait until Gove’s nonsensical “free schools” are up and running. There’s going to be no need for religious maniacs to “home school” their offspring, as they will then be able to find state-funded schools that will teach just whatever bollocks they want their chidren to learn, behind closed doors, and no one will be any the wiser!