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Creationism vs reality


Moontanman
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I happen to be in the US at the moment and lat night stumbled across a religious channel where the preacher was talking to a group about global warming. It was obvious within seconds that he did not believe in it and considered it a con job by evil socialists (or Democrats, as I believe they are called in Texas). At one point he said something to this effect.

 

"So, they say this global warming is bad. That must mean that global cooling is good. Well I don't see it that way. We shouldn't be messing with this."

 

Illogic and hypocrisy wrapped into one. I have high blood pressure issues, so I changed channel at this point.

 

Welcome to the USA. I think we have fast food places now where you can watch televangelists and FOX News as you eat your Illogic Hypocrisy Wrap.

 

Or we will soon.

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The example set by outspoken scientists like Richard Dawkins, Lawrence Krauss, and others only entrenches these views. "Mockery" is played from both sides and the statements of a Richard Dawkins only creates more animosity and throws fuel on the flames. Contrast that to the efforts of someone like Francis Collins, who seeks genuine peace and communicates these concepts in a manner that does not imply hostility.

 

Sometimes scientists are their own worst enemy, especially when atheist scientists allow their atheism to drive the communication of science.

 

 

I don't think Dawkins and Krauss are as anti-religious as most would have one believe. What I have heard and read from them tends to be more of ridiculing the belief of things that are long falsified and patently ridiculous. Not to say that there are not many scientists who mock religion thoroughly, but there are many non-scientists who do the same. It's a given that many scientists go straight toward an argument style that seems like animosity when arguing with Creationists, but it would do the same thing when arguing with someone about homeopathy if they believed homeopathy works (or acupuncture, heliocentric universe, etc.). It seems that way because most people can't separate an attack on an idea and an attack on themselves. When I say that homeopathy is ridiculous someone may automatically assume I am calling them stupid because they believe something that is ridiculous. It's not true that I am saying the person is stupid (belief of these things can come from a wide variety of factors), but the tone will be taken as hostile.

 

As for the atheism driving communication of science, I'm not sure I understand what you mean. If you mean they never talk about supernatural things then that's just what science is, methodological naturalism. If you mean they talk about god in any sense, then they're not talking about science. They may be talking about probability or specific claims made by religion that can be falsified, but that's still not communicating science.

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We've been sound-byte conditioned in the US, by the media, our entertainment and our politics. It's easy to win people over with unthinking snappy phrases like, "If we evolved from monkeys, why do we still have monkeys?"

 

Science isn't like that. Often, the shortest answers leave too much to interpretation, or create more questions. Science needs to patiently explain, where creationism is just easier and tells people what to believe in and how to believe it. Science lays out the evidence and lets everyone decide if the conclusions are valid. Of course, creationists are free to lie about science, where science has no such freedom.

 

If someone has stunted their own critical thinking skills by ignoring reality in favor of a literal interpretation of their religious texts, I think the best way to approach it is to point out the lies. Start by showing that what is being taught about science isn't true. Knock down one lie, show that what's being taught isn't the truth, and hopefully you'll at least show that science has been misrepresented.

 

Keep in mind that you're dealing with people who claim that God created Adam before the birds, animals and trees, AND God created Adam after the birds, animals and trees, simply because the Bible says it both ways. That's some very powerful, mind-dodging rationalization going on there.

Knocking down even one lie can have something of a domino effect if you can get the person to actually listen. I knew a guy on another forum I frequented who was a creationist (the forum was for a game but it had a debate section and evolution came up a lot).

 

He'd grown up being taught a lot of outright lies about science in general and evolution in particular (at school, no less). One of those was that science couldn't find the "missing link" between humans and apes. Well, one day somebody linked him to an image showing a progression of skulls from clearly non-human to clearly human and it blew his mind.

 

A few years on and he's now an atheist because that convinced him to start digging, and he uncovered just how many things that he's been taught were outright lies. He wound up dumping the entire belief system as a result and was still pretty bitter about it last we spoke.

 

So while I don't think that evolution actually represents a set of facts that are incompatible with theism, for people who have had anti-evolution and anti-science teachings bound up in their religious doctrine, it is something of a problem. If they admit that their religious teachers are wrong (or worse, lying) when it comes to evolution, then what else might they be wrong and/or lying about.

 

A religion based on faith requires trust in those who taught it to you. If you find that those individuals are untrustworthy, it undermines the basis of your entire worldview, and not just the one little bit about whether some aspect of science is compatible with the rest of it or not.

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This take on Dawkins is in my experience of the man's writings and a couple of video clips simply wrong. His statements are universally reasonable and sensible, his demeanor calm and polite, and his only contribution to "animosity" is to refuse to go out of his way to grant public deference to charlatans and con artists.

 

The notion that one can avoid the problems animosity and fuel-throwing causes by granting respect to the actual fuel throwers and hostility mongers is ill-informed by experience. In this case it's Creationists have no interest in peace and communication - they want dominion and money. They have no interest in persuasion of others - they want their base sequestered within their propaganda field, and their enemies overpowered.

 

And that is why Francis Collins has essentially no influence on the political base of creationism in the US. His "genuine peace and communication" has found an audience among some people who seek peace and communication, but those people are scientists and intellectual elites and other folks who have a basic grasp of evolutionary theory, are confronted with some consequence for their personal experience of the world, and want to reconcile their childhood inheritance of Christian belief with this scary new thing - a task in which, as Dawkins calmly and accurately observes, they get little or no help from their religious leaders. Collins is preaching to those who want to come back to the choir.

 

And unlike Dawkins, preaching poorly - he does not reason well, when he waxes religious. No one who flinches at the rhetorical spackleover and underlying political ideology of his influence CS Lewis will find Collins persuasive, however peaceful he may appear by keeping his distance from frays - too much odd. Stuff like: He claims to have been atheist into professional adulthood - but a brief review of his writings and speakings by an actual atheist http://www.samharris.org/site/full_text/the-strange-case-of-francis-collins questions that claim, and with support.

 

As a rule of thumb, when the term "both sides" comes around the argument is being shucked. There are exceptions - gun control - but what we have here, as in so many issues corrupting US politics, is a couple of sides arguing while their opposition throws poo and threatens worse.

 

Richard Dawkins has publicly called for people to ridicule and mock religion in all respects and does so himself...I would not call that "polite", "reasonable", or "sensible". Just last week I reread "The Selfish Gene", a book I consider to be on the excellent and a great introduction to a host of historically obscure theories. Even in this book written long before Dawkins stopped being a scientist and became the poster-boy for atheism, there is outright disdain and mockery for religion. If you are a dedicated atheist, I can understand how you might not view these actions as adding to the animosity, but rather simply refusing to "go out of his way to grant public deference to charlatans and con artists." However, it is adding to the animosity. When you stand up before a crowd, mock a belief that has no relevancy to acceptance of evolution and held by a billion people....when you publicly call for ridicule of religious people....you have just closed off their willingness to listen to what you have to say on anything else, no matter how reasonable. I have respect for Richard Dawkins' early works, The Selfish Gene and The Extended Phenotype, but he long ago abandoned any pretense of being a scientist and has since become the equivalent of a religious leader for radical atheism.

 

And granting some respect can get you somewhere. I am not talking about people like Ken Ham, but nobody I think has any expectation of convincing Ken Ham. We are talking about your average creationist. They can be convinced, but not when you start off by mocking God, mocking Christ, mocking everything else they hold dear. I have no idea what you believe, but I suspect that you are not someone who frequents churches. Its surprisingly easy to strike up dialogue and to get people who never have reason to think about evolution anyhow, to think about it and concede on point, but to get there, you first have to show them that you are not a complete dick who is out to evangelize atheism...because thats often what happens. People like Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss, they conflate their atheism with the science and they mix the two in such a way that they cannot be separated. I have seen a lot of average people discuss evolution with creationists, only to turn it also into an attack on religion as well because they don't know how to separate their atheism from the science. They also don't know how to show respect for differing views. I have convinced people, non-scientist Christians, that evolution is fact. I have convinced many more, that even if they do not accept evolution, that there is at least not a necessary conflict between evolution and Christianity....thats big in its own right.

 

The influence of Francis Collins is far more sweeping than you realize, but its also more subtle and quiet. I have seen his books take hold and be talked about in churches. I have seen them mentioned and read by religious leaders. You may not hear about it in the news or on youtube videos, but its there. But then that really speaks to the difference between approaches. Richard Dawkins spends much of his time writing books and actively promoting atheism. He is an evangelical atheist. When was the last time he published a real scientific paper? I've looked, its been decades. He has a base of devoted followers, so he can always remain in the spotlight. Francis Collins is still a working scientist, not to mention head of the NIH. Amazingly enough, the guy actually responds personally to emails. I once emailed him three years ago. His influence is more subtle and that is why he will convince many more people of evolution than Dawkins at the end of the day.

 

I read your hit piece on Francis Collins. Where does it challenge his claim of having been an atheist into professional adulthood? I see nothing there that questions that fact. Or do you not consider being a practicing physician "professional adulthood"? You may not like his reasons for believing in God, so what, you wouldn't like mine either. But you really aren't who Francis Collins is writing to. He is writing to the myraid of Christians out there who do not believe in evolution.

 

The fact of the matter is, that the conflation of "evolution = atheism" a view promoted by individuals like Richard Dawkins does a vast amount of harm towards the acceptance of evolution. When people like Richard Dawkins call for ridicule of the religious...this is a problem.

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The fact of the matter is, that the conflation of "evolution = atheism" a view promoted by individuals like Richard Dawkins does a vast amount of harm towards the acceptance of evolution.

This is a valid point and not one I've really considered before. Critics also erroneously lump all theistic types with the conventional religious doctrines when they may in fact have their own personal unconventional religious view which can accommodate science fully without personal compromise.

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The fact of the matter is, that the conflation of "evolution = atheism" a view promoted by individuals like Richard Dawkins does a vast amount of harm towards the acceptance of evolution. When people like Richard Dawkins call for ridicule of the religious...this is a problem.

 

Ridicule is a perfectly valid means of getting people to take a new look at their stances. The problem here is that unless the ridicule is aimed at a specific ridiculous aspect, the person being ridiculed can easily assume their entire belief system is being ridiculed, and this is where ridicule is harmful, imo. There are aspects of faith (NOT in creationism, however) that science isn't a good tool for.

 

Tell me it's ridiculous to think science hasn't found a "missing link" between humans and proto-humans because of evidence A, B and C. But don't tell me it's ridiculous to believe in God. Science can't back you up on that.

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This is a valid point and not one I've really considered before. Critics also erroneously lump all theistic types with the conventional religious doctrines when they may in fact have their own personal unconventional religious view which can accommodate science fully without personal compromise.

 

I wouldn't even call such views unconventional, not anymore.

 

Ridicule is a perfectly valid means of getting people to take a new look at their stances. The problem here is that unless the ridicule is aimed at a specific ridiculous aspect, the person being ridiculed can easily assume their entire belief system is being ridiculed, and this is where ridicule is harmful, imo. There are aspects of faith (NOT in creationism, however) that science isn't a good tool for.

 

Tell me it's ridiculous to think science hasn't found a "missing link" between humans and proto-humans because of evidence A, B and C. But don't tell me it's ridiculous to believe in God. Science can't back you up on that.

 

I think ridicule serves no real purpose other than to bolster the satisfaction of the side doing the ridicule. Does the ridicule of creationists cause you to ever take a new look at your stance? Have you ever found yourself questioning the validity of evolution because of ridicule? If anything, ridicule invites resentment and entrenchment. If the goal is to generate genuine reconsideration and contemplation, then ridicule is the worst strategy to use.

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I think ridicule serves no real purpose other than to bolster the satisfaction of the side doing the ridicule. Does the ridicule of creationists cause you to ever take a new look at your stance? Have you ever found yourself questioning the validity of evolution because of ridicule? If anything, ridicule invites resentment and entrenchment. If the goal is to generate genuine reconsideration and contemplation, then ridicule is the worst strategy to use.

 

I qualified my statement pretty well, I think. Ridicule works well in many situations to move people from an untenable position they've arrived at intellectually. If they gained that perspective emotionally, ridicule works poorly.

 

If a creationist tells you that all life today stemmed from the 1000-2000 "kinds" of animals mentioned in the Bible, in just 6000 years, pointing out how ridiculous that statement is through simple math is very effective. It's ridiculous to think five or six new species a day have been appearing for the last few millennia to bring us to our current biodiversity.

 

If someone tells you Jesus is their savior, ridicule is completely inappropriate. Decisions arrived at emotionally become further entrenched when ridiculed.

 

IOW, ridicule is a tool, good for certain jobs but certainly not all. I think people revile it because it seems cruel. And to be honest, too many people use it to gain control over others. But the same can be said of knives, you can hurt or you can help by using it, but don't blame the tool.

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I qualified my statement pretty well, I think. Ridicule works well in many situations to move people from an untenable position they've arrived at intellectually. If they gained that perspective emotionally, ridicule works poorly.

 

If a creationist tells you that all life today stemmed from the 1000-2000 "kinds" of animals mentioned in the Bible, in just 6000 years, pointing out how ridiculous that statement is through simple math is very effective. It's ridiculous to think five or six new species a day have been appearing for the last few millennia to bring us to our current biodiversity.

 

If someone tells you Jesus is their savior, ridicule is completely inappropriate. Decisions arrived at emotionally become further entrenched when ridiculed.

 

IOW, ridicule is a tool, good for certain jobs but certainly not all. I think people revile it because it seems cruel. And to be honest, too many people use it to gain control over others. But the same can be said of knives, you can hurt or you can help by using it, but don't blame the tool.

 

You must be using a different definition of "ridicule" then. Pointing out through simple math that such rapid speciation is not possible is what I call an argument and logic. Ridicule is the use of mockery and derision, which will only serve to inflict resentment and anger.

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... Ridicule is the use of mockery and derision, which will only serve to inflict resentment and anger.

Or not. To whit:

 

...My brother, thinking it might turn to account, encouraged me, and put me on composing occasional ballads. One was called "The Lighthouse Tragedy," and contained an account of the drowning of Captain Worthilake with his two daughters. The other was a sailor's song on the taking of taking of Teach (or Blackbeard) the pirate. They were wretched stuff, in the Grub-Street ballad style; and when they were printed he sent me about the town to sell them. The first sold wonderfully, the event being recent, having made a great noise. This flattered my vanity: but my father discouraged me by ridiculing my performances and telling me verse-makers were generally beggars. So I escaped being a poet, most probably a very bad one. ...

source: http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autobiography/page05.htm

 

So to Ben at least, ridicule of himself was helpful. Moreover he employed it in many instances of his writing and no few of those directed toward religion and/or religious tenets. If you wish, I can cite a few examples related to science.

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I qualified my statement pretty well, I think. Ridicule works well in many situations to move people from an untenable position they've arrived at intellectually.

That's ok, but most people are not intellectual so it's not going to be a very effective tool in significantly altering the global or national statistics in favour of a scientifically held viewpoint. It merely serves as possible amusement for some of the scientifically-literate bystanders.

 

source: http://www.ushistory.org/franklin/autobiography/page05.htm

 

So to Ben at least, ridicule of himself was helpful. Moreover he employed it in many instances of his writing and no few of those directed toward religion and/or religious tenets. If you wish, I can cite a few examples related to science.

A perfect example of an intellectual for which such a device would work ...he's not representative of the vast majority of people.

Edited by StringJunky
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Acme, on 20 Feb 2014 - 2:50 PM, said:

 

 

So to Ben at least, ridicule of himself was helpful. Moreover he employed it in many instances of his writing and no few of those directed toward religion and/or religious tenets. If you wish, I can cite a few examples related to science.

That's ok, but most people are not intellectual so it's not going to be a very effective tool in significantly altering the global or national statistics in favour of a scientifically held viewpoint. It merely serves as possible amusement for some of the scientifically-literate bystanders.

 

A perfect example of an intellectual for which such a device would work ...he's not representative of the vast majority of people.

 

Keeping in mind he was a boy at the time, which is of course not say he wasn't an intellectual boy. Nevertheless chadyn make a blanket assertion without equivocation and I meant to counter it in support of Phi for all's qualified assertion. Moreover Ben didn't simply write for intellectuals, he wrote for common people. Some other apt quotes while I find a source for his response when church leaders opposed lightening rods on churches, inspite of bell-ringers suffering a high casualty rate from lightening strikes.

 

Edit: Ooooppssss. Forgot those devices of Ben's.

"Lighthouses are more helpful than churches."

 

"Those things that hurt, instruct."

 

"To follow by faith alone is to follow blindly."

Edited by Acme
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I'm certain you can find exceptions where it has helped, but one can always find exceptions. As a general rule though, its bad to base ones decisions on cherry picked examples. We are talking about the communication of science no? We aren't talking about only trying to convince a young Ben that he is wrong, we are talking about how do we convince a large segment of society that they are wrong. When an individual like Richard Dawkins or Lawrence Krauss speak, they aren't talking only to a "Ben", they are talking to thousands or millions of people. For every "Ben" they convince, they turn away thousands more and give ammo to people like Ken Ham to use. So is it worth convincing one "Ben" at the expense of isolating thousands and doing far more damage to your cause?


I don't know how often many of you regularly engage with Christians, have serious relationships with them in Church and outside. Its very easy in the workplace to maintain neutral relationships where nobody discusses such things. Since I am part of a Christian community, I find that things are very different. Is not an option for me to isolate my friends or family or pastors through ridicule. Quite frankly, their view of evolution is something that rarely arises. However, I can't think of any individual who would be helped intellectually or personally by me ridiculing them. When I was in the military, the environment was very different and you get a feel for when ridicule is an appropriate means of motivation. For the vast majority of Christians, this is not appropriate. In such discussions, I have to spend a lot of time convincing them that evolution does not equal atheism and that scientists are not the enemy. These perceptions...they aren't shaped by people like Ken Ham, many of them have never even heard of Ken Ham. Typically, they are shaped by sound bites from people like Richard Dawkins which are spread across the web as proof that scientists are the enemy.

 

Ridicule = ammunition

Ridicule = isolation

Ridicule has only made the situation so much worse that I can't even emphasize it enough.

Edited by chadn737
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I'm certain you can find exceptions where it has helped, but one can always find exceptions. As a general rule though, its bad to base ones decisions on cherry picked examples. We are talking about the communication of science no? We aren't talking about only trying to convince a young Ben that he is wrong, we are talking about how do we convince a large segment of society that they are wrong. When an individual like Richard Dawkins or Lawrence Krauss speak, they aren't talking only to a "Ben", they are talking to thousands or millions of people. For every "Ben" they convince, they turn away thousands more and give ammo to people like Ken Ham to use. So is it worth convincing one "Ben" at the expense of isolating thousands and doing far more damage to your cause?

As I pointed out, Ben used ridicule quite a lot in his writings and those writings meant for the general populace. The outright rejection of science for creationism or any other religious tenet, folklore, or such other matters that fly in the face of logic and reason is ridiculous and therefore worthy of ridicule. Ridicule is a time honored means of public instruction from Aristophanes to Mark Twain to George Carlin, and ever shall it remain so.

 

While Moontanman might risk losing his friend if he ridiculed her, what kind of friend is she for her treatment of him? None much I say. He may chose to ridicule her or not to her face in deference to the two of them specifically, but in a public forum such as this the ridicule is just and due.

 

Even peace may be purchased at too high a price. ~ Ben Franklin

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OP:

 

When faced with this level of cognitive dissonance, you really just have to join the game.

 

If you're talking about the Big Bang (or Bounce), for example, tell them that their deity of choice may have hit the "start button" on it, but then pour out how all the facts make it make sense where young Earth creationism doesn't, which is true.

Life on Earth could have been sparked by something/someone extraordinary, but all evidence shows it evolved from there. Stuff like that. Be sure to mention radio telescopes and electron microscopes as the source of info, not secret evil scientist meetings.

 

Round Earth theory didn't make sense generations ago because, where was Heaven and Hell, if not for above and below Earth? Widespread acceptance of the truth didn't disprove their beliefs, just changed them to match the facts. Heaven and Hell must be different planes of existence, as opposed to being in the clouds (which are just water vapor) or underground (hot rocks).

 

What I'm saying is, instead of trying to disprove her (or anyone's) beliefs, force/allow them to conform their beliefs to facts given to us by the very nature and existence of our universe. Then sprinkle in real information from there.

 

 

Also, frankly PHD in Christian anything gives you little right to make such wild claims about geomorphology or astrophysics or the like, a background in which would be necessary to do so... but would ultimately dramatically alter the way one views such concepts.

Edited by 4G3NTian
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I'm certain you can find exceptions where it has helped, but one can always find exceptions. As a general rule though, its bad to base ones decisions on cherry picked examples. We are talking about the communication of science no? We aren't talking about only trying to convince a young Ben that he is wrong, we are talking about how do we convince a large segment of society that they are wrong. When an individual like Richard Dawkins or Lawrence Krauss speak, they aren't talking only to a "Ben", they are talking to thousands or millions of people. For every "Ben" they convince, they turn away thousands more and give ammo to people like Ken Ham to use. So is it worth convincing one "Ben" at the expense of isolating thousands and doing far more damage to your cause?

 

I don't know how often many of you regularly engage with Christians, have serious relationships with them in Church and outside. Its very easy in the workplace to maintain neutral relationships where nobody discusses such things. Since I am part of a Christian community, I find that things are very different. Is not an option for me to isolate my friends or family or pastors through ridicule. Quite frankly, their view of evolution is something that rarely arises. However, I can't think of any individual who would be helped intellectually or personally by me ridiculing them. When I was in the military, the environment was very different and you get a feel for when ridicule is an appropriate means of motivation. For the vast majority of Christians, this is not appropriate. In such discussions, I have to spend a lot of time convincing them that evolution does not equal atheism and that scientists are not the enemy. These perceptions...they aren't shaped by people like Ken Ham, many of them have never even heard of Ken Ham. Typically, they are shaped by sound bites from people like Richard Dawkins which are spread across the web as proof that scientists are the enemy.

 

Ridicule = ammunition

Ridicule = isolation

Ridicule has only made the situation so much worse that I can't even emphasize it enough.

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Given the variability we humans exhibit I have no doubt there is more than enough room for spending a lot of time convincing creationists as well ridiculing them. May the farce be with you. :)

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Moontanman,

 

I thought the science guy had the best approach when I heard a sound bite prior the debate, where he was suggesting his strategy and saying he was going to talk about dinasours, figuring there can't be but one or two kids on the planet that don't love dinosaurs. I thought at the time it was a slam dunk and I didn't even watch the debate, nor have I read any of the threads here on the debate, but this one.

 

But if fossils are a conspiracy to your soon to be PHD friend, have her go to the Grand Canyon, and give you an estimate when she returns of how long it would take the Colorado to erode that much rock, and have her give you a run down of the geological history that the layers exposed on the sides reveal, that must have occured BEFORE the grove was carved by the river.

 

If her whole story adds up to only 4000 years, and it is anywhere close to sensible (which it won't be) then I would agree with her, that creation 4000 years ago is remotely possible. But anybody standing on the rim of the grand canyon will "feel" its age and hence the Earth's age, and she will know it's been around for much longer than the creation story in the Bible, and the lineage depicted from Adam to Abraham and Moses and such would allow.

 

Which is true then. Every word of the Bible, or the Grand Canyon? There can be no conspiracy involved if its just her standing at the rim, and grasping what she is looking at.

 

Then perhaps you could ask her if she ever read the book, and whether she agreed with all the male oriented rules, and various proscriptions it laid down.

 

And just for fun ask her which books she figures the Bible should consist of, since the Tora seems to have some books not carried into the old testament that the new testament follows. Ask her perhaps the difference in truthfullness between the books the Council of Trent decided should go in, and which should be left out, and which translations with varying intent and meaning should be the "true" words of God.

 

Or just as well, ask her what the neatest dinosaur was. What was her favorite one?

 

Regards, TAR

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I can't express just how sad it makes me to hear that a person who believes Dinosaur bones are a conspiracy is soon to receive a PhD.

 

I have no choice but to assume (and hope, dear goodness) that her PhD is not in Biology, Geology, or Physics.

 

 

 

In any case, PhDs are relevant to their particular subject, no matter how much Ken Ham and his ilk try to convince everyone. "Oh look! This PhD person published a paper about how evolution doesn't make sense!" until you check, and see that the PhD is in something completely unrelated to Biology, the paper was published online without peer review, and its only valid claims are with badly-written logical fallacies.

 

So yes, she might have a PhD, but she *should* know that this doesn't give her authority on all subjects, and if her PhD didn't teach her how to consider *evidence* rationally and with critical thought (at the very least enough to avoid claiming authority on the subject of evolution at all), then the program she was in is worth diddly squat, and so does her authority.


"What would convince you?"

Bill Nye: "Evidence."

Ken Ham: "Nothing"

 

If a PhD candidate sees no problem with the second answer, her PhD should be stripped off and denied.

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Moontanman,

 

...

But if fossils are a conspiracy to your soon to be PHD friend, have her go to the Grand Canyon, and give you an estimate when she returns of how long it would take the Colorado to erode that much rock, and have her give you a run down of the geological history that the layers exposed on the sides reveal, that must have occured BEFORE the grove was carved by the river.

 

If her whole story adds up to only 4000 years, and it is anywhere close to sensible (which it won't be) then I would agree with her, that creation 4000 years ago is remotely possible. But anybody standing on the rim of the grand canyon will "feel" its age and hence the Earth's age, and she will know it's been around for much longer than the creation story in the Bible, and the lineage depicted from Adam to Abraham and Moses and such would allow.

 

Which is true then. Every word of the Bible, or the Grand Canyon? There can be no conspiracy involved if its just her standing at the rim, and grasping what she is looking at....

Regards, TAR

Hi TAR

 

I'm no Moontanman, but I must reply here. A long time ago and close close nearby I was studying geology as an adjunct to other coursework. While not required, I took some additional classes and one included a 2 week field trip from the Columbia Gorge to the Grand Canyon and back. Along for the trip was a creationist whose sole purpose was to prove accepted geology was a lie. We all hiked to the bottom of the canyon and back and he never let up on arguing with the instructor. Convinced? Hardly. Convinced at Yosemite? Nope. Hiking to top of Mt. Lassen? Not even. Mono Lake? Phhhh. Bryce Canyon? Stupid scientists. Columbia Gorge and Missoula floods? You got to be kidding.

 

I suppose the instructor needed to be patient or lose his job, but more then a few of us dozen other students would have gladly left that SOB young-earther in Death Valley. Not only was his pig-headedness and non-stop arguing a pain to bear, it took away the instructor from those of us who had legitimate questions and topics of discussion.

 

Be nice and don't offend his dear tender feelings? Bullshit. What about my dear tender feelings? I paid for a class in science and that jackass screwed me out of a fair amount of it. Oh that I had known then what I know now.

 

I liked a response from an astronomy prof along about the same time when a girl raised her hand when we were discussing star formation and told the prof what he was saying was against her religion. He said you don't have to believe it, you just have to learn it. As I recall she did neither.

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Hi TAR

 

I'm no Moontanman, but I must reply here. A long time ago and close close nearby I was studying geology as an adjunct to other coursework. While not required, I took some additional classes and one included a 2 week field trip from the Columbia Gorge to the Grand Canyon and back. Along for the trip was a creationist whose sole purpose was to prove accepted geology was a lie. We all hiked to the bottom of the canyon and back and he never let up on arguing with the instructor. Convinced? Hardly. Convinced at Yosemite? Nope. Hiking to top of Mt. Lassen? Not even. Mono Lake? Phhhh. Bryce Canyon? Stupid scientists. Columbia Gorge and Missoula floods? You got to be kidding.

 

I suppose the instructor needed to be patient or lose his job, but more then a few of us dozen other students would have gladly left that SOB young-earther in Death Valley. Not only was his pig-headedness and non-stop arguing a pain to bear, it took away the instructor from those of us who had legitimate questions and topics of discussion.

 

Be nice and don't offend his dear tender feelings? Bullshit. What about my dear tender feelings? I paid for a class in science and that jackass screwed me out of a fair amount of it. Oh that I had known then what I know now.

 

I liked a response from an astronomy prof along about the same time when a girl raised her hand when we were discussing star formation and told the prof what he was saying was against her religion. He said you don't have to believe it, you just have to learn it. As I recall she did neither.

 

 

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. Given the variability we humans exhibit I have no doubt there is more than enough room for spending a lot of time convincing creationists as well ridiculing them. May the farce be with you. :)

 

Go right ahead. Just be aware that you are only reinforcing their stereotypes and opinions. Maybe its because I come from that background. I disagree with them creationists strongly, but I understand how the average Christian feels and acts, so I know how ineffective ridicule and disdain are. I appreciate all the more the individuals I had as professors who did not resort to ridicule, but used instead patience and logic. It is because of their efforts that I accept evolution fully. It is thanks to people who ridiculed me that I actually dug in my heels for a couple of years and refused to accept it entirely.

 

I understand fully the frustration of dealing with obstinate creationists, but regardless of where I am in life, I have seen that patience and calm reason always win out. One thing you quickly realize is that the discussion is not only happening between you and them. You have onlookers. On public forums like these, there may be thousands or more who read and never engage in a conversation. In classrooms and other public settings, there may be dozens listening that never speak out. In public debates, there are millions watching. You may not convince the person you are talking to, but you may convince the silent onlooker. However, if you resort to ridicule, that leaves a negative impression and can that sway opinion in the opposite direction. In many public forums I have had Christians, many creationists, thank me for taking the time to explain concepts and doing so calmly. Meanwhile my opponent goes off the rails and begin calling me everything from liar to an atheist. I never convinced or swayed those individuals, but I did have an influence on those that read, but never engaged. That is a positive development, because if nothing else, there are a dozen more Christians out there who even if they don't believe in evolution personally, they at least no longer see it as a thread or something incompatible.

 

In my opinion, the important thing here is not my feelings, but the impact I have and how I influence people. I see the promotion of science and the acceptance of concepts like evolution as an important task to the education of the public. So regardless of my frustration, my feelings, etc...I am going to use the methods of communication that I know has the greatest positive impact. To those who take issue with this, you honestly are reinforcing stereotypes and making the situation worse.

Edited by chadn737
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Pointing out through simple math that such rapid speciation is not possible is what I call an argument and logic.

 

I know it seems simple and therefore more appealing to someone who obviously studied more religion than science, but you can't seriously be suggesting that God has been creating new creatures after the original creation?! Where does it say THAT in the Bible?! To go from the couple of thousand species recorded in the Bible to the 8.7 million species we have now, He'd have to create half a dozen new creatures a day, every day for the last 6000 years!!! Don't you see how silly that sounds?!

 

 

 

;)

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Go right ahead.

So I shall.

 

Just be aware that you are only reinforcing their stereotypes and opinions.

Opinions are as opinions do.

 

Maybe its because I come from that background.

Do ya think?

 

I disagree with them creationists strongly, but I understand how the average Christian feels and acts, so I know how ineffective ridicule and disdain are.

Do you disagree strongly enough that you go out of your way to broach the issue? Or do you just keep your mouth shut until the issue comes up?

 

I appreciate all the more the individuals I had as professors who did not resort to ridicule, but used instead patience and logic. It is because of their efforts that I accept evolution fully. It is thanks to people who ridiculed me that I actually dug in my heels for a couple of years and refused to accept it entirely.

Nevertheless, you do understand why you were ridiculed, right?

 

I understand fully the frustration of dealing with obstinate creationists, but regardless of where I am in life, I have seen that patience and calm reason always win out.

That may be your experience, but as an argument for universal application it is a strawman.

 

One thing you quickly realize is that the discussion is not only happening between you and them. You have onlookers. On public forums like these, there may be thousands or more who read and never engage in a conversation. In classrooms and other public settings, there may be dozens listening that never speak out. In public debates, there are millions watching. You may not convince the person you are talking to, but you may convince the silent onlooker. However, if you resort to ridicule, that leaves a negative impression and can that sway opinion in the opposite direction.

I am fully aware of my audience. As I have pointed out, ridicule and mockery have a long and honored tradition in human discourse. This is even recognized in copyright law wherein greater leeway to use the works of others is given to lampoonery.

 

In many public forums I have had Christians, many creationists, thank me for taking the time to explain concepts and doing so calmly. Meanwhile my opponent goes off the rails and begin calling me everything from liar to an atheist. I never convinced or swayed those individuals, but I did have an influence on those that read, but never engaged.

How can you possibly know your influence on those who did not engage? That's rhetorical of course as you cannot know.

 

That is a positive development, because if nothing else, there are a dozen more Christians out there who even if they don't believe in evolution personally, they at least no longer see it as a thread or something incompatible.

Well let's party then.

 

In my opinion, the important thing here is not my feelings, but the impact I have and how I influence people. I see the promotion of science and the acceptance of concepts like evolution as an important task to the education of the public. So regardless of my frustration, my feelings, etc...I am going to use the methods of communication that I know has the greatest positive impact. To those who take issue with this, you honestly are reinforcing stereotypes and making the situation worse.

Well, you know what lampooners say about opinions. And if your feelings don't count, why should the feelings of those you defend count?

 

There is a time for everything,

and a season for every activity under the heavens: ~ Ecclesiastes 3

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Acme

The difference between your approach and chadn737 is they are seeking means to engage and hopefully convert the opposition whereas your, albeit standard, approach only serves to ostracize them and maintain the status quo of two divided camps..

Edited by StringJunky
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Acme

The difference between your approach and chadn737 is they are seeking means to engage and hopefully convert the opposition whereas your, albeit standard, approach only serves to ostracize them and maintain the status quo of two divided camps..

You can't possibly know what effect my writing has on 'them', other than 'them' that reply. And isn't your reply ridiculing me when you say "albeit standard"? Of course it is. So who do you mean to convince that my words are 'standard'? Me, or other readers?

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...I would not call that "polite", "reasonable", or "sensible".
And I would not call your take on Dawkins's recommendations reasonable.

 

Just last week I reread "The Selfish Gene", a book I consider to be on the excellent and a great introduction to a host of historically obscure theories. Even in this book written long before Dawkins stopped being a scientist and became the poster-boy for atheism, there is outright disdain and mockery for religion.
Onlyh if you conflate charlatan creationism with religion. Do you?

 

If you are a dedicated atheist, I can understand how you might not view these actions as adding to the animosity, but rather simply refusing to "go out of his way to grant public deference to charlatans and con artists." However, it is adding to the animosity.
I just don't blame Dawkins for an unreasonable and bigoted animosity he does not himself exhibit.

 

When you stand up before a crowd, mock a belief that has no relevancy to acceptance of evolution and held by a billion people....when you publicly call for ridicule of religious people....you have just closed off their willingness to listen to what you have to say on anything else, no matter how reasonable.
I don't see where Dawkins has done that, and I question the reasonableness of that reaction to what he actually writes and says. Try to quote Dawkins mocking anything that in fact has no relevance to acceptance of evolution, for example - what his observations (often taken as mockery, why?) tend to cast in a bad light is as far as I have encountered always something directly relevant to the rejection of evolutionary theory I see around me.

 

 

 

For the vast majority of Christians, this is not appropriate. In such discussions, I have to spend a lot of time convincing them that evolution does not equal atheism and that scientists are not the enemy. These perceptions...they aren't shaped by people like Ken Ham, many of them have never even heard of Ken Ham. Typically, they are shaped by sound bites from people like Richard Dawkins which are spread across the web as proof that scientists are the enemy.
So why do you blame Dawkins for such use of misrepresented sound bites? It is hardly Dawkins's fault that bigoted and hostile and unreasonble people mistake what he says and twist it for pollitical advantage, or that unprincipled charlatans lie about science using misrepresented sound bites from him.

 

And there is no way to avoid such behavior from such people as we find dominating the fundamentalist religious discourse - as noted above, granting respect and deference to con artists and snake oil salesmen just gives them a sequestered arena of victims and a platform to operate from. There's no point in worrying about these guys thinking science is their enemy - they are enemies of science, all by themselves, and trying to get science to buddy up with them will not change them or that.

 

If one's deity is so structured that one must choose between it and evolutionary theory, then that is a fact that needs to be confronted. If it isn't, but one believes it is, then the source of that belief should be identified and labeled clearly. It isn't a sound bite from Richard Dawkins.

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