Censorship of a Textbook to remove Evolution

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My father, M.E. Ensminger, known to generations of agriculture students as “Doc E,” wrote more than 30 books, mostly in the field of livestock science.  In the late 1970s I was working for a class action litigation unit inside of New Jersey state government when he asked me about a situation involving his rights as an author.  His book, Horses and Horsemanship, was under consideration by the Texas textbook adoption committee, which at that time selected books to be used in high school and public higher education classes in the state. Once a textbook was selected, it had to be the primary textbook for any class taught on the subject. 

The book got the approval of the committee with one condition.  A short chapter on the evolution of horses had to be deleted.  The publisher was okay with this, since adoption by the committee would mean thousands in sales every year for the multi-year period the adoption would be in effect.  The publisher would take out the offending chapter, reset the table of contents, and delete the index reference to evolution.  (They would not repaginate because, in a pre-word processing era, that would involve too many expenses in adjusting the index and internal cross-references.)

My father refused to allow the special edition.  He was, however, willing to allow the teacher’s manual to exclude mention of evolution or the chapter, because (1) the manual was to be written by someone else,  and (2) he regarded teachers’ manuals as something for teachers “too lazy to read the textbook they’re teaching from,” in his words. 

After some additional lobbying by the publisher, the committee accepted the book provided the teacher’s manual made no mention of evolution.  Royalties from Texas were substantial for many years. 

I have to emphasize that my father did not see this as a dispute between science and religion.  In fact, he saw it as a dispute between religion and religion.  He found no conflict between evolution and his deeply held religious beliefs.  He was offended that the adoption committee was trying to modify a book he had spent two years writing, and which had already gone through several revisions and editions and was considered by many to be the best book on equine agricultural science ever written, in order to push its religious perspective above his.

I don’t know if it’s true but my father (who died in 1998) believed that he had the only agricultural textbook ever adopted by Texas with a favorable reference to evolution.  

 

John Ensminger is a lawyer who recently published a book on police and military dogs and maintains a blog dealing with canine legal and historical issues at doglawreporter.blogspot.com

Written By: John Ensminger
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73 COMMENTS

  1. I have great difficulty in understanding how anyone involved in teaching the facts of nature (science) to children cannot teach evolution, or rather just pretend that it is not real, it appears to be similar to teaching children that there is no moon. Evolution is all around us, it is happening. The evidence is overwhelming, observable and obvious. This is not “theoretical”, evolution is just a plain fact. Get used to the idea Texas, oh and while we are at it, there is no Father Chirstmas either.

  2. To me , it is a very sad and self-delusional position in which some teachers and educational institutions put themselves in. Evolution is a fact, do we know 100% how it all happened? Of course not, but it is the best explanation we have for the natural world and the order we see therein. To shut oneself out from the truth is actually quite heartbreaking.

    Some people are content with not knowing or ignoring the facts about our world and our universe; often blind religiosity incubates in people the idea that we should not explore or learn because god did it, therefore  it is not right to delve into his mysteries. I’ve met many people like this.

    “What in thy scale is the lowest of Humanity? Is it not he in whom there is no longing to know?”

    -Alfred Galpin

  3. It’s a sad day when grown adults reject observable facts in lieu of the illogical, irrational and astronomically improbable. It’s even sadder when these people are in a position to teach young minds.

  4. What I find more interesting is that Ensminger’s father framed it as a religion-religion conflict, saying that evolution did not conflict with his beliefs, rather than framing it as a science-religion conflict. I am now wondering what precisely those beliefs are, and in what sense they do not conflict with the science of evolution.

    I’d wager it will be a case of him believing non-contradictory facts rather than that his religious beliefs were justified by the scientific thinking that vindicated evolution. But I can’t say without knowing more. I don’t want to make unproven assumptions, which is why I am curious.

    Kudos to him for sticking to his guns, though, I’ll give him that. He wasn’t going against easy odds.

  5. Before Darwin, even the most skeptical thinkers were of a creationist mindset. The world was not explainable in any other way. Even in the Enlightenment, when great minds were unfettered to an extent unseen since ancient Greece, a Creator seemed self evident. Describing that Creator was the full time job of  just about all the world’s religions. When Charles Darwin proved convincingly that evolution of life happened gradually, by natural selection, it exposed these creation beliefs as fiction. This is why Fundamentalists (and many others) refuse to accept evolution. It’s as simple as that.

  6. I have been interested in science my whole life (My area of expertise is Information Security) and I have been told many things from teachers and textbooks but I have never seen any of the information reference any of the findings that are mentioned at youngearth.com or youngearth.org site.  I have five children and not once have I ever read even one scientific finding that potentially contradicted  “standard convention”.  Of most recent note is that junk DNA potentially is not Junk.

    As a believer in YHWH, I can tell you with certainty that most Christians avoid age of the earth issues.

    So my question is why are these findings not scientific enough to be considered for rational debate? 

    Who determines whether Nautiloids are sufficient reasons to doubt the status quo of the age of Grand Canyon.
    How can we determine if soft tissue from dinosaurs is actually from dinosaurs, or is this all unnecessary because you can simply ignore it if it doesn’t fit your model?

    I believe an honest debate or discussion must include your opponents point of view and not merely dismiss it because of presuppositions.

    textbooks and teachers should do the same

  7. iamhvnbndru
    As a believer in YHWH, I can tell you with certainty that most Christians avoid age of the earth issues.

    Not in my experience.  The ones who have any scientific understanding of astronomy, geology or biology can discuss the science.  Why would they avoid scientific facts?

    I have been interested in science my whole life……

    So my question is why are these findings not scientific enough to be considered for rational debate?

    If you have looked at the science, you should be aware of radiometric dating and the fact that YECs have produced no credible evidence whatever for their (confused multiplicity of conflicting) claims.

    Who determines whether Nautiloids are sufficient reasons to doubt the status quo of the age of Grand Canyon.

    You seem to have been taking information from YEC rubbish.  There are multiple sources from numerous university studies on issues like the ages of the various rock strata in the Grand Canyon.

    How
    can we determine if soft tissue from dinosaurs is actually from dinosaurs, or is this all unnecessary because you can simply ignore it if it doesn’t fit your model?

    To the best of my knowledge there is no preserved  “soft tissue from Dinosaurs” – unless you include modern birds which are the remaining avian dinosaurs which survived the mass extinction. There are fossils of dinosaur soft tissues.

    I believe an honest debate or discussion must include your opponents point of view and not merely dismiss it because of presuppositions.

    Presuppositions have nothing to do with it. 
    A multiplicity of sources of scientific evidence are the reason why “YEC nonsense”, like “Flat Earth nonsense” is dismissed by those knowledgeable on these subjects.  Scientists critically examine numerous scientific studies on the basis of presented evidence.

    textbooks and teachers should do the same

    Properly written textbooks are based on peer-reviewed scientific studies in scientific journals which have presented evidence. This has been repeatedly tested and checked by competent specialists before being more widely accepted.

    If I am having a discussion with space scientists on the formation of the Solar System from its accretion disk and the different ages and positions of the various planets, -  bringing a village-idiot into the discussion to shout, “It all happened by magic 6,000 years ago!” is not going to contribute to anyone’s knowledge of the astronomy or the evolution of planetary structures.

    The YECs who have come to this site to argue have generally been too scientifically illiterate to even understand basic school science textbooks. Usually their misquoting or cherry-picking of science reports simply reflects their inability to understand what they read. The stuff they call “evidence” is either out of context or just made-up – but they can show a few colourful pictures for those who are at the “comic-book” level of reading.

    The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 10 to the 9th years ± 1%).[1][2][3] This age is based on evidence from radiometric age dating of meteorite material and is consistent with the ages of the oldest-known terrestrial and lunar samples. Following the scientific revolution and the development of radiometric age dating, measurements of lead in uranium-rich minerals showed that some were in excess of a billion years old – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  8. Creationists have a much bigger problem than just rejecting evolution. To be consistent, they have to reject most of modern science e.g.

    * DNA contains a clock that tells us the earth is billions of years old, not 4000.

    * DNA defines a family tree completely at odds with the bible.

    * Modern science treats mental problems by correcting chemical imbalances and killing of pathogens. The bible says they are caused by demons.

    * Carbon 14 dating tells us the earth is billions of years old, not 4000.

    * Geology that examines silt strata laid down each year tell us the earth is billions of years old, not 4000. This same geology is used to find oil.

    * Ice cores tell us the earth is billions of years old, not 4000. We have a record of temperature and atmospheric content going way back.

    * We are seeing light/microwave radiation that originated 13 billion years ago from the distant parts of the universe. If the universe were only 4000 years old, we could see objects at most 4000 light-years distant. The sky would be almost black.

    * The bible conflicts with chemistry, computer science, pharamceuticals, quantum mechanics, astronomy, physics, mathematics (it claims π is precisely 3 ).

    * Creationists claim global warming must be a hoax because Jehovah is going to destroy the earth any day now, and they are sure he would not let us humans jump the gun.

    What is a creationist to do?

    * Claim all this science is a lie, a giant conspiracy, even when the science, e.g. examining strata can be verified by a child.

    * Claim that the science works, but that the god Jehovah created earth to simulate being 4 billion years old, and the universe 13.6 billion, even though they have no evidence of this, and even though it takes quite some cheek to claim the god Jehovah cheated and lied like this, going to incredible effort, for no apparent reason to deceive us. If it is a deception, it is so good, clearly that is what Jehovah wants us to believe. How dare we believe otherwise?

    * Refuse to think about the inconsistency.

    * Consider the possibility, that the bible, written by anonymous people completely ignorant of science, might have got it wrong as did all other primitive peoples speculating at the time.

  9.   roedygreen,
    * Carbon 14 dating tells us the earth is billions of years old, not 4000.

    Carbon 14 with a half life of 5,730 years will certainly debunk a 4,000 or 6,000 year claim, but for billions of years, there are isotopes with much longer half-lives, which are also not being renewed by atmospheric processes as is the case with carbon-14.

    (eg potassium-40  half life – 1.26 billion years)
    (U-235 is 713 million years) – http://www.sciencecourseware.o

    BTW: Sorry to be picky, but ice-cores go back , many thousands of years, but not billions. ( Vostok ice core data 160,000 years of  ice core data from Vostok Station).

  10. Well Richard, I agree with you on this. The only reason that they didn’t want to teach evolution to kids is because their insidious mind control techniques will not take hold.

    Plus any other belief other than their own is an affront to their belief. This is the sickness that afflicts the world today.

  11.  
    I am the creationist of choice at least in this moment.

    Alan, and friends… B@twitter-26201549:disqus
    )

    I meant to say that they Christians avoid discussions in relationship to scripture.  There are those that debate the matter and I have enjoyed mo0derating such debates. But it is more rare than is desirable.

    I am fortunate to be aware of various radiometric dating methods and their principles.  I’m a halo fan myself.  It is my understanding that Carbon 14 is being found in places it ought not be.  Blame the measurements or the measurer, either way there are reasons that predetermined amounts of daughter isotopes equals N years is suspect and it is presuppositional (Bones of Contention).    I am sure you have heard about pets that pass away are dated for fun and all sorts of bizarre dates are measured and hidden and forgotten. 

    Before either of us witnessed the effects of Mt St Helens WE would have always thought that gradual erosion was sufficient to dig a lil o canyon. How long would you have predicted the recovery before the grand eruption that landed soot all over my car in Colorado? Be honest. 50 yrs?  500yrs?  5000yrs?  You would have never said 10. Why?

    Why do you ignore the Nautiloids?  We can talk about your accepted studies of the Grand Canyon but I’ll bet you never even heard of Nautiloids until recently.  If you did you certainly would have had something to say.

    Soft Tissue from a Dinosaur Fossil. If fossilization equals mineralization, then once you eliminate the minerals from a fossil you should have what left behind?  Answer: nothing.  For forty years of my life I was told  you get nothing. Now that more than nothing has been found I believe that the evidence is sufficient to question that dinosaurs perhaps are not 65 million+ years old.  You call it rubbish, yet I am willing to believe that your predefined views prevent any close and critical analysis.   Take the challenge.  I am interested. 

    Can y0u say biofilm?  Reminds me of Junk DNA and vestigial organs… 

    Start with explaining why common birds (fossilized) are found right next to dinos.  Or to state it in a different way…  Is there any evidence of modern animals being found next to ancient dinos? 

     How many findings would it take before you would be willing to withhold judgement until the evidence and subsequent papers are peer reviewed?  http://kgov.s3.amazonaws.com/b

    By the way thank you for the compliment. I enjoy being scientifically incompetent. It pays the bills, as I am the lead architect for the largest information security investigations in the UK.  Sometimes I really do wonder why are there so many bells and whistles? It is so bright and noisy in here.

    I am also a Young Earth Creationist and while you are laughing, you might want to consider looking at wikipedia.  Take it from someone who knows YEC, the page is a joke, poorly written, poorly researched and all around incompetent, so if you take “THEIR” word for what YEC is no wonder you see nothing but incompetence.  Check the facts ma’am.

    Although I do not read comics, I very much enjoyed the Last Airbender. All 50+ episodes.

    iamhvnbndru

  12. The problem YECs have is that they only read simplistic YEC material and claim (correctly in some locations which are backwaters of ignorance) that most Xtians agree with them.  Most scientifically educucated Xtians do not.

      I meant to say that they Christians avoid discussions in relationship to scripture.  There are those that debate the matter and I have
    enjoyed mo0derating such debates. But it is more rare than is desirable.

    Any reasoned debate would discuss Bishop Usher’s calculations and why the formula (clever and methodical for 15C) was flawed – The Bible is not a history book.

    I am fortunate to be aware of various radiometric dating methods and their principles.  I’m a halo fan myself.  It is my understanding that Carbon 14 is being found in places it ought not be.  Blame the measurements or the measurer, either way there are reasons that predetermined amounts of daughter isotopes equals N years is suspect and it is presuppositional 

    I linked  the formula for calculating half lives here http://richarddawkins.net/foun… – If it was not correct nuclear power-stations would not work.  Multiple cross-checking other isotopes gives more reliable ages for the Earth as do astronomical techniques.  Carbon14 is for more dating recent archaeology.

    It is my understanding that Carbon 14 is being found in places it ought not be. 

    There is nowhere on Earth ” C14 should not be”, as it being renewed by atmospheric processes.  Very old carbon could be devoid of it unless contaminated.  This sort of nonsense is made up and bandied around by clueless people whose claims fail as soon as they are asked for evidence.

    Before either of us witnessed the effects of Mt St Helens WE would have always thought that gradual erosion was sufficient to dig a lil o canyon.

    The MT St Helens eruption actually filled in a valley and created a larger lake.  It demolished part of the volcanic cone , but did not “create a canyon”.  In terms of Earth’s volcanic record it was a relatively small explosion. apart from the blast going sideways it was nothing unusual.

    How long would you have predicted the recovery before the grand eruption that landed soot all over my car in Colorado? Be honest. 50 yrs?  500yrs?  5000yrs?  You would have never said 10. Why?

    There were two cold summers in the northern hemisphere, with effects then tailing off.   Your numbers are just whimsy.  Vocanologists and geologists have been monitoring these sort of effects for many years, both directly and indirectly.
    I take it that what you describe as “soot” was volcanic ash – a different chemical composition.

  13.  
    iamhvnbndru
    Why do you ignore the Nautiloids?  We can talk about your accepted
    studies of the Grand Canyon but I’ll bet you never even heard of
    Nautiloids until recently.  If you did you certainly would have had
    something to say.

    I’m a biologist and space scientist.  Why would I not have heard of  marine Cephalopods (Mollusks) -  present or extinct.  (see linked image below)
    The Grand Canyon is sedimentary rock deposited on ancient sea-beds and the uplifted by geological forces, while the river cut into it.  The canyon is relatively young, being carved within just
    the last 6 million years.,

    http://www.nature.nps.gov/geol… -  Grand Canyon National Park  is one of the best places in the world to gain a sense
    of geologic, or “deep,” time
    because the canyon exposes a great swath of geologic history. Rocks
    exposed in Grand Canyon are truly ancient, ranging from 1840 million
    years old (m.y.), or 1.84 billion years old (b.y.), to 270 m.y.

    Its rocks date much earlier.

    Soft Tissue from a Dinosaur Fossil. If fossilization equals
    mineralization, then once you eliminate the minerals from a fossil you
    should have what left behind?  Answer: nothing.  For forty years of my
    life I was told  you get nothing. Now that more than nothing has been
    found I believe that the evidence is sufficient to question that
    dinosaurs perhaps are not 65 million+ years old. 

    Science up-dates knowledge and techniques, so new discoveries are made.  Some mineralisation shows amazingly fine detail which modern techniques study.  (If you eliminate ink and pages from books you also have nothing – perhaps that’s how YEC studies are carried out?)

    Many Dinosaurs went extinct during the
    Cretaceous–Paleogene extinction event – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… – but reptiles had been evolved on Earth around 320 to 310 million years ago.

    You call it rubbish,
    yet I am willing to believe that your predefined views prevent any close
    and critical analysis.  

    My views are based on years of critically examining evidence and verified scientific published material which cross-check across a whole range of subject areas.  There are thousands of such published reports on verified research.  For YEC nonsense to have credibility it would have to refute ALL of these!

    Take the challenge.  I am interested. 

    Can y0u say biofilm?  Reminds me of Junk DNA and vestigial organs… 

      Scientists have better things to do than constantly refute nonsense made up and circulated by incredulous science duffers.

    “Junk DNA” is not  “junk” some of it is neutral in its effects, some regulates other genes.  I would not even try to explain genetics to someone who does not know silicate ash from carbon.  You need to learn some biology and read some books.  It is not possible to explain complex university studies to people who cannot or will not understand basic school science.

    Start with explaining why common birds (fossilized) are found right next to dinos. 

    Modern birds evolved from Theropod dinosaurs as we discussed as an  earlier RDnet topic. – http://old.richarddawkins.net/

    Or to state it in a different way…   Is there any evidence of modern animals being found next to ancient dinos? 

    There is no evidence of modern species living alongside ancient extinct species.  There are however creatures which are “living fossils” whose body structure has not changed much for a very long time.

    By the way thank you for the compliment. I enjoy being scientifically
    incompetent. It pays the bills, as I am the lead architect for the largest information security investigations in the UK. 

    It is quite easy to be competent in some specialism and abysmally ignorant of other subject areas, particularly if time has been concentrated on specialist studies to the exclusion of a wider education.

    I am also a Young Earth Creationist and while you are laughing, you might want to consider looking at wikipedia.  Take it from someone who knows YEC, the page is a joke, poorly written, poorly researched and all
    around incompetent, so if you take “THEIR” word for what YEC is no wonder you see nothing but incompetence.  Check the facts ma’am.

    I see nothing but incompetence because I have studied biology, geology and astronomy.  The levels of YEC incompetence are comical!
    While I sometimes quote Wiki, because of their concise easily understood explanations, my information comes from better verified sources.

    Although I do not read comics,

    As I recall you linked to a YEC website with animal pictures accompanied  simplistic comical claims!
    A place woefully ignorant of the thousands of confirmed scientific studies they would have to refute (in nuclear physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences, geology, palaeontology, biology, genetics, etc)  to have any credibility!

      How many findings would it take before you would be willing to withhold judgement until the evidence and subsequent papers are peer reviewed?

    Why should I ignore thousands of successfully peer-reviewed scientific studies while waiting for the next published YEC nonsense to be shredded by subject specialists?
    (- assuming they can get a gullible editor to publish them in the first place, or pass off  a YEC publication as a scientific journal.)

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  14.   iamhvnbndru -  I am also a Young Earth Creationist and while you are laughing, you might want to consider looking at wikipedia.  Take it from someone who knows YEC, the page is a joke, poorly written, poorly researched and all around incompetent, so if you take “THEIR” word for what YEC is no wonder you see nothing but incompetence. 

    Having looked at Wikipedia their account appears to be precise, well referenced and accurate:-  as I commented on this other discussion:  http://richarddawkins.net/news

    Check the facts ma’am.

    Facts about the Earth, and YEC pseudo-science, checked and found to be correct , by 68 national and international science academies or a scientific consensus .  – Just another YEC unevidenced nonsensical claim, – incompetently laughing at,  and disparaging accurate information!

  15.   iamhvnbndru -  Why do you ignore the Nautiloids?  We can talk about your accepted studies of the Grand Canyon but I’ll bet you never even heard of Nautiloids until recently.  If you did you certainly would have had something to say.

    If I really need to state the obvious:- 
    Nautiloid fossils have been found in sedimentary rocks laid down in ancient sea-beds.

    The modern Nautilus, [pictured on my earlier comment and below] ( like ALL modern species which exist – because their ancestors survived mass  extinctions,) shares common features with them, and like some  modern species, bears a resemblance to its ancestors.

    Am I supposed to be impressed that some creationists have discovered shellfish fossils exist and made up silly stories about them ? ? ?

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  16. From kgov.com

    Many of these nautiloids are larger than your arm, with fossils of tens of millions of these creatures that were buried in an extremely rapid event that killed them all, thus forming yet another important layer of the canyon’s walls. Along with many other dead creatures in this one particular limestone layer, 15% of these nautiloids were killed and then fossilized standing on their heads. Yes, vertically. They were caught in such an intense and rapid catastrophic flow that gravity was not able to cause all of their dead carcasses to fall over on their sides. As is true of many of the world’s mass fossil graveyards, this massive nautiloid deposition provides indisputable proof of the extremely rapid formation of a significant layer of limestone near the bottom of the canyon, a layer like the others we’ve been told about, that allegedly formed at the bottom of a calm and placid sea with slow and gradual sedimentation. But a million nautiloids standing on their heads would beg to differ. Anyone should be able to agree that this is what is considered hard evidence of rapid stratification.

    So the existence ov vertical standing nautiloids are reason to doubt the millions of years formation you are so fond of.

  17. iamhvnbndru
    From kgov.com

    Many of these nautiloids are larger than your arm, with fossils of tens of millions of these creatures that were buried in an extremely rapid event that killed them all, thus forming yet another important
    layer of the canyon’s walls. Along with many other dead creatures in this one particular limestone layer, 15% of these nautiloids were killed and then fossilized standing on their heads. Yes, vertically.

    If you had any idea what you were talking about you would not be quoting from these ignoramus websites.

    If you look at the Nautilus pictures attached to my earlier posts, you may notice that Nautilus floats in an upright position from buoyancy chambers in its shell. 

    Given that limestone is formed from marine shells and skeletons, it is no surprise that some dead or dying Nautilus settled to the bottom floating in their normal upright position, or that limestone is composed of dead marine organisms.

    I thought you were supposed to have data investigation skills!

    But a million nautiloids standing on their heads would beg to differ.
    Anyone should be able to agree that this is what is considered hard evidence of rapid stratification.

    So the existence ov vertical standing nautiloids are reason to doubt the millions of years formation you are so fond of.

    As an attempt at producing scientific evidence and reasoning, this is comical!  

    Even if some local catastrophe or global mass extinction, had killed many Nautilus in an isolated strata, it would have no bearing of the masses of data on the other rock layers, or  the age of the Earth!

  18.   iamhvnbndru

    Many of these nautiloids are larger than your arm, with fossils of tens of millions of these creatures that were buried in an extremely rapid event that killed them all, thus forming yet another important layer of the canyon’s walls.

    Err no!  A diversity of Nautiloid fossils spans 500 million years: – Sea-bed deposition, apart from very occasional local events is not rapid.

    Along with many other dead creatures in this one particular limestone layer, 15% of these nautiloids were killed and then fossilized standing on their heads. Yes, vertically. They were caught in such an intense and rapid catastrophic flow that gravity was not able to cause all of their dead carcasses to fall over on their sides.

    Gravity holds stabilised floating objects (such as submarines  and some types of Nautiloid shells) upright.  {School-level physics}
    Your desperate need  to believe in global flood-myths and a young Earth is comically manifesting its self!

    As is true of many of the world’s mass fossil graveyards, this massive nautiloid deposition provides indisputable proof of the extremely rapid formation of a significant layer of limestone near the bottom of the canyon,

    Buried in LIMESTONE!!!!!!! “indisputable proof” !!!! – Truly comical asserted nonsense!!!!

    You really have absolutely no idea of the time-scale of  the biological and chemical processes which form limestone, or the conclusive, investigative methods, which identify these processes in the composition of particular rock strata!

    a layer like the others we’ve been told about, that allegedly formed at the bottom of a calm and placid sea with slow and gradual sedimentation.

    That is how limestone formed in the past, and still forms today. 
    You really should not keep making a fool of yourself quoting clueless science (in this case biology and geology) duffers as expert sources!

    You keep presenting whole strings of unsupported assertions about disjointed scraps of information, and simply move on to new silly claims from science duffers when I refute them.
     After I refute them you have nothing more to say,  and no evidence to present (as in the subjects covered in the quoted comment below).  

    Alan4discussion  http://richarddawkins.net/foun…  
    As I recall you linked to a YEC website with animal pictures accompanied  simplistic comical claims!

    A place woefully ignorant of the thousands of confirmed scientific studies they would have to refute (in nuclear physics, astrophysics, planetary sciences, geology, palaeontology, biology, genetics, etc)  to have any credibility!

    You mentioned peer-review earlier!  http://richarddawkins.net/foun…  – Do you know what peer-reviewed evidence is?

    Where  is your evidence?

    As I said in an earlier post, it is my experience that asserted YEC claims simply illustrate the scientific illiteracy and ignorance of those making them.

    Your links seem to be illustrating this!

  19. I suppose about the best thing that can be said for Christian YECs is that they stick to what is written in their holy book. Yes Jonah lived in a great fish for 3 days and survived. Yes God stopped the sun for 24 hours so that Joshua could continue with his slaughter of the Amorites. Yes God made the universe in 6 days. Yes Cain married his sister. Yes Noah’s flood really happened. These and many other ridiculous claims are backed up by the evidence that it is written in the Bible! Other supporting evidence? They don’t need any! Whilst the YEC in this current discussion has sniped unsucessfully at modern geology and paeleontology, (thanks Alan, you have more patience than I do!), s/he has produced not one iota of evidence for the God s/he believes in! Not one little tiny crumb of evidence!

    Yet this same YEC has the brazen gall to know better than the experts!

    It reminds of that question that Sir Paul Nurse put to Delingpole of the Daily Telegraph, (climate change sceptic):

    “If you were diagnosed with cancer, would you accept the concensus of scientific medical opinion, or would you accept the minority view?”

  20.   Mr DArcy -  Whilst the YEC in this current discussion has sniped unsucessfully at modern geology and paeleontology, (thanks Alan, you have more patience than I do!), s/he has produced not one iota of evidence for the God s/he believes in! Not one little tiny crumb of evidence!

    Unless you count YEC  “evidence & logic”:

    Unpunctured Nautilus shells (like submarines) float, ballast weight down, and buoyancy chambers up, when they settle on the sea floor!   THEREFORE – Noah’s Flood and the Earth is young!

    (If you are prepared to believe limestone is formed by god pouring a bucket of cement over the sea-bed sediments, rather than limestone forming slowly, from corals, shells, plankton and a slow snow of Forams which can be identified and dated by species in the rock :- 

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/F
     … .. .. . . . . ., as well as for the purposes of oil exploration, advanced deep-sea drilling techniques have been bringing up sediment cores bearing Foraminifera fossils by the millions. The effectively unlimited supply of these fossil tests and the relatively high-precision age-control models available for cores has produced an exceptionally high-quality planktonic Foraminifera fossil record dating back to the mid-Jurassic, and presents an unparalleled record for scientists testing and documenting the evolutionary process. The exceptional quality of the fossil record has allowed an impressively detailed picture of species inter-relationships to be developed on the basis of fossils, in many cases subsequently validated independently through molecular genetic studies on extant specimens.

  21. You do have alot to say and I would like to thank you for giving me your thoughts on the nautiloids.

    Seems to me if you saw a submarine fossilized vertically that the conclusion to be drawn would not be slow processes at all. Trees that get petrified standing vertically also would not represent millions of years of petrification. I really do not understand your position, so as you rightly stated perhaps I should focus on my area of expertise…information.

    We all owe a great deal of gratitude to a guy named Bob. In fact every time you press a key on your keyboard you are interacting with technology and information that you had nothing to do with. We are implicit in our acceptance of the fact that behind every keystroke there is a number which corresponds to binary. Ask yourself what number is the letter “a”. Most people I speak to on this subject never accurately predict the correct decimal. Why? In some sense the value that is used or designed by Bob is arbitrary. It doesn’t really matter what number is used as long as we all agree with him.

    You will never meet Bob, but you can know with certainty that he exists. The encoding/decoding process is necessary and must always be repeatable and with a minimal amount of errors otherwise this and many other messages would
    be without “information”.

  22. I too am an expert in Information Security.

    Information Security is a series of information management techniques designed to ensure data is available only to authorised persons and their proxies (e.g. Computer programs) in a timely and accessible way.  Information Security techniques make best use of available tools – including technology.

    The words science and technology can, and often are, used interchangeably. But, the goal of science is the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake while the goal of technology is to create devices, and processes, that solve problems and improve human life.

    Simply put, technology is the practical application of science.

    It is therefore not possible to say that expertise in Information Security makes us equivalent to Scientists.

    To understand Science requires additional, parallel, study.

    Peace.

  23. Thank you for your words about nautiloids. I still do not quite understand how a submarine at rest in a vertical position could become fossilized any more than a vertical resting tree petrified across multiple strat without it being accomplished swiftly so I will focus on what I do know.

    Information.

    Imagine being given the task of designing a keyboard. I am sure you have heard of the inefficiencies of QWERTY. Before we even consider any sort of optimizing behavior you should know that every letter is represented digitally or via binary. So if you were going to determine what the letter “a” was going to be as a decimal, what would you use?

    The answer to the question should reveal a lot about what you know and think about information.

    Would you be surprised to find out that the letter “a” is represented by the decimal 65 which is 10000001 in binary? You may have considered 0,1,11 or…. but to date no one has own their own chosen 65, except for a guy named Bob. In fact our ability to use this website requires our implicit agreement that Bob exists. It is actually quite arbitrary although thoughtful that a equals 65 but as long as we agree then our words can be written using this keyboard or yours.

    So although you have never met Bob, will never meet Bob, you can know without full knowledge that Bob literally exists just because we can write even this very message.

    Although the value is arbitrary as long as we have agreement then it is not necessary to know anything about him. So while a equals 65, the meaning or the use of “a” cannot be ascertained by the digital representation.

    So without Googling is it reasonable to believe in Bob?

    By the way this is really only a foundational question. Most are not foolish enough to doubt his existence but once confronted with additional considerations atheists will forget all about him.

  24. Richard, over here in America, 60 percent of our highly-trained U.S. Medical Doctors (not paleontologists, cosmologists, etc., but trained in applied science, in the biological life sciences), say they believe that God was involved in the origin of life, and that’s according to a survey run by evolutionists at a prestigious institute (see Denver radio’s http://KGOV.com/MDs ) Likewise, as reported in the journal Science, 60% of U.S. public school biology teachers, the same percent, do not endorse Darwinism. :)

  25.   iamhvnbndru
    Thank you for your words about nautiloids. I still do not quite understand how a submarine at rest in a vertical position could become fossilized.
     

    Wrecks of submarines which sink while horizontal are often embedded in soft sediments on the seabed in an upright position.  Any with partial buoyancy would certainly do so.  That is the basic physics of floatation.  Many sunken ships (especially in fairly shallow water) are found lying in their normal upright position on the sea-bed buried in sand or silt.  Sometimes the wooden ships  are sealed in anaerobic conditions which preserve them, or they could simply leave an imprint in the sediments which later hardened into rock.

      Seems to me if you saw a submarine fossilized vertically that the conclusion to be drawn would not be slow processes at all.

    A submarine in soft sea-floor sediments would just sit there unless there was a current strong enough to move it.  It would probably become encrusted with marine organisms, but to be buried under thousands of feet of stratified sediments, it would take geological time.

    Mollusc shells unlike submarines or wood, do not rust or rot, as they are made of a similar material to the limestone or the lime binding the  sandstone which buries them.  In seabed sediments, some Nautiliods would simply sit in an upright position, (sometimes partially supported by any gas in their buoyancy chambers) as sediments slowly rain down around them for as long as it takes to bury them and build up strata on top of them. 

    Sea shells are one of the easiest animal structures to become fossilised, especially in limestone) as they are already made of stone.  (Limestone is largely formed from fossil shells sinking from above.)

    any more than a vertical resting tree petrified across multiple strata without it being accomplished swiftly

    Unlike shells, wood rots away quickly and trees fall over because they are on land without supporting floatation. 
    Where trees are in water, they do not float upright.  Petrified forests, are usually engulfed by sand dunes or landslides, with the wood replaced by rock from dissolved minerals after it has rotted away leaving what is essentially a hollow mould or a mineralised structure.

    Imagine being given the task of designing a keyboard. I am sure you have heard of the heard of the inefficiencies of QWERTY.

    Designing keyboards or IT programmes has nothing to do with fossils.  You are really stretching forced analogies because of your anthropomorphic thinking.

  26.   Bob Enyart
    Richard, over here in America, 60 percent of our highly-trained U.S. Medical Doctors (not paleontologists, cosmologists, etc., but trained in applied science, in the biological life sciences), say they believe that God was involved in the origin of life, and that’s according to a survey run by evolutionists at a prestigious institute (see Denver radio’s http://KGOV.com/MDs )

    It is possible to compartmentalise thinking, and relatively easy for “Old Earth Creationists” such as Roman Catholics, to believe in “theistic evolution”. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T…  

    This would not impair their functioning as medical technicians too greatly, but a lack of understanding of evolutionary processes, would be a serious handicap to anyone doing medical research.
    Any doctor or nurse who did not understand the evolution of treatment resistant pathogens, would be a serious danger to patients.

    Likewise, as reported in the journal Science, 60% of U.S. public school biology teachers, the same percent, do not endorse Darwinism. :)

    The incompetence of biology teaching and employment of poorly educated staff in some US states is well known. 
    They are the laughing stock of the science academies and universities of the developed world. 
    Evolution is a core part of biology, in the same way that gravity is a core part of astronomy and engineering.

  27. I think some clarification of issues would help here.

    “Old Earth”  creationists, who believe the god of their choice kicked off the Big-Bang and maybe fiddled with the evolution of our Universe which followed, can accept scientific understanding of the working of nature, but may try to insert their particular theology into it, in places.

    Young Earth Creationism, by its definition, seeks to deny the evolutionary development of the Universe, galaxies, stars planets, geology and biological evolution.

    In order to hold such beliefs, it is necessary to be profoundly ignorant of the scientific knowledge of these subjects – Knowledge which has usually been experimentally tested and cross-checked multiple times by scrutinising sceptical specialist scientists.  This peer-review process eliminates any blatant errors at once, and keeps information under review.

    The YEC rank amateurs, then look at the subject, notice that the evidence refutes their YEC beliefs and decide it must be “proved” wrong. 

    They then comically set about claiming:  “scientists cannot measure”, “equipment does not work”, “scientific laws and formuli are wrong”, “natural processes must be redefined to fit silly time-scales”  etc., -  generally illustrating their total lack of understanding of natural history and scientific methods in general.

    This simply illustrates their lack of understanding and deep desire to fit the facts to their preconceptions.

    In this example:-

      iamhvnbndru
    Thank you for your words about nautiloids. I still do not quite understand how a submarine at rest in a vertical position could become fossilized any more than a vertical resting tree petrified across multiple strata without it being accomplished swiftly

    . . . . . . .the process of fossilisation is being confused with the process of rock formation.  The problem is you do not understand the different processes of fossilisation in different circumstances or the geological processes of rock formation.

    Sea shells, unless they are in abrasive conditions (such as exposed to wave action on a sea-shore) or in corrosive conditions where they dissolve, are already “fossilised rock”.  Submarines and ships usually need a few years to become encrusted or buried where they are protected from rot or rust.  (These are LOCAL processes)  Many are not protected and they are destroyed.

    Fossil Dinosaur footprints for example form quickly.  They are trodden into mud or clay which dries and is covered with sand which is blown or washed over them.  What is slow, is the following build up of layers of sediment over them, protecting them for millions of years.  There are only a few circumstances where this happens.  It has to be somewhere where sediment is building up to form rock naturally.

    Most Dinosaur foot prints in mud are washed away next time the river rises or the tide comes in!

    Many fossils are destroyed by the normal geological processes of erosion, and the recycling of the tectonic plates of the Earth’s crust.

    For understanding, these need study, both of the processes and of the methods used to investigate them.  This involves text-books and reading scientific articles and studies.

    The formation of stars, Solar Systems, planets and galaxies from gas-clouds and “star-dust” is a very long process with a lot of detail to understand.

    “Abracadabra universe/Earth”, is so much simpler, but explains nothing!

    Noah’s “global flood” is a joke, but geologists have mapped out a whole range of extensive LOCAL floods big enough to impress bronze age peoples: -  Including ones around present day Iraq and the Black Sea basin.

    They have also mapped out global changes in land-masses, sea-floors, and sea-levels over thousands and millions of years.
    Science is now moving on to the study of other planets and moons.

  28.  The creationist contortions of science denial, usually miss the point, with claims which are both comically incompetent and totally irrelevant.

    I can refute the Noah Flood-myth in one sentence;

    “THERE IS NOT ENOUGH WATER ON THE EARTH TO CAUSE A GLOBAL FLOOD COVERING ALL THE MOUNTAINS.” (measured and calculated)

    I can explain it in a second sentence:-

    It is copied from the earlier story of  Gilgamesh.

    http://www.historywiz.com/floo

    http://www.historywiz.com/gilg

  29.  “Would you be surprised to find out that the letter “a” is represented by the decimal 65″

    Yes I would be surprised, since the leter “a” is actually represented (in common computer code) by the decimal 97.  Decimal 65 represents the letter “A”.  So much for Information Security!

  30.   eight2thebar
    Yes I would be surprised, since the letter “a” is actually represented
    (in common computer code) by the decimal 97.  Decimal 65 represents the
    letter “A”.  So much for Information Security!

    Another ½ baked “blind you with science” try-on, “therefore gaps in someone’s knowledge ≡ proof of ID & YEC”!

    ►♥ ♦ ♣ ♠ ◄   Like the initial “Nautiliods”, I try to ignore the obfuscating irrelevant diversions, such as suggesting  I have not heard of codes!

  31. First let me say that I owe this group an apology for not checking my words as I can see that this is not a place to ignore the jot or the tittle.  I blame myself for being sloppy and I blame the DISQUS engine combined with android that I use while traveling.   Am I really the first person to think that the Product Manager for DISQUS ought to be fired…  I suppose you get what you pay for. 

    ———–

    Interestingly enough even in mistakes truth can be revealed.  We have Bob to thank for assuring that we know that “A” is 65 and “a” is 97.  Will you admit that without Bob there could have been a Fred that would have placed lower case prior to upper case and in this one variation “A” would have been 97 and “a” would have been 65?  The point being that it is completely arbitrary.  Yet with “Bob” and our implicit agreement we can communicate.

    As long as there is agreement this technology works. And we can write A or a and know with certainty that a diacritic won’t arbitrarily appear.

    And even when things go a bit akrawd or bcokren, since agreement comes from outside of the code and not from the code itself, we can still effectively communicate. Why because the agreement is not in the code, it is outside the code.

    I would like to suggest that a new thread/discussion begin solely on information science.  For some reason this area seems completely ignored on this site. 

    And as for the age of things, I believe that a discussion on information science will reveal that information cannot be improved upon without an external force.  And that mutation is not a sufficient method for increasing complexity even if you have a trillion years to operate.  Since a trillion years is not sufficient then obviously it had to take less. How much less?  http://www.nsf.gov/news/fronti

    Life to exist must be sufficiently sophisticated and I do not believe that anything that is called living is simple, so if life began 3.8 Billion years ago, how complex was pre-life at 4 Billion years?  It seems to me that if life is found to be too much older than 4 Billion years that panspermia is the only way to resolve the time and complexity problem (as an evolutionist). And just as the “god of the gaps”, any ole alien will do.

    I am very thankful for the Bob’s in my life….

    Bob Rocks!
    http://kgov.com/bel/20120120

    Bob ASCII
    http://www.bobbemer.com/ASCII….

  32. Texas, that’s where the Monkey Trial took place.  They never have got over that one!  Censorship is a Crime against the right to Think as far as I am concerned.  But Christians are not the only people who want to Censor us.   I joined YouTube a few weeks ago and was horrified when for putting a simple comment on a site that had posted Mr. Dawkins reading out hate e-mails he received from Christians, I was given a mouth full of abuse by the site’s owner and banned.  And when I looked he or he had removed multiple comments from users. 

    Then I looked at other sites and noticed there is a disturbing trend developing in Atheism which could be seen as the desire to Censor anyone who does not agree with every thing they say.  That is just as bad as any Fundamentalist Christian Group which will not listen to others unless they agree with their version of the Bible.

    Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Teach  is a Supreme Right no matter how much we do not always feel comfortable with it.  But is swings both ways.

  33. Ikki Piggy

    Then I looked at other sites and noticed there is a disturbing trend developing in Atheism which could be seen as the desire to Censor anyone who does not agree with every thing they say.  That is just as bad as any Fundamentalist Christian Group which will not listen to others unless they agree with their version of the Bible.

    I can’t speak for other sites , but there is no censorship of politely presented ideas here. False claims will nevertheless be challenged.

    Freedom of Speech and Freedom to Teach  is a Supreme Right no matter how much we do not always feel comfortable with it. 

    Freedom of speech is much abused in the US where it has become a liars’, fraudsters’, and con-man’s charter.

    There should be no freedom to dishonestly misrepresent scientific facts in public education, so there is no freedom to teach made up “facts” and lie to children in civilised societies.

    But is swings both ways.

    All opinions are NOT equal.  The rantings of ignoramuses are not on a par with well evidenced expert scientific or historical opinion. 
    Educational materials should be honestly and competently verified, before being presented to children.

  34.  

      iamhvnbndru

    I would like to suggest that a new thread/discussion begin solely on information science. 

    You would have to go to this linked “discussions page”, read the FAQ section,  and suggest it as a topic for a new discussion. 
    Off topic posts are likely to be deleted from other threads, if they are irrelevant to OP topics.

    http://richarddawkins.net/disc

  35. >Yet this same YEC has the brazen gall to know better than the experts!

    The saddest part is that this person thinks they are quoting experts.  There is a profound need for scientific literacy in our schools, for critical thinking tools and for an understanding of scientific methodology from a very early age. 

    What is controversial about suggesting that we refer to evidence and that we agree on an approach to the evidence that leads us as closely as possible to our best assessment of the truth?

    If those ideas were dominant, only the tiniest sub-group of our species would buy into the obviously ignorant ramblings of snake-oil salesmen. 

    As it is, most cultures generally subvert and/or fail to develop those ideals, leaving truth to people who don’t really care what’s true as long as they *feel* like they know what’s true.  And those people will choose the “truth” that is most advantageous to their own agenda.

    We desperately need science.  Everywhere.  We need its honesty, its humility and its effectiveness to reach every child.

  36. But keep in mind that the meaning of “critical thinking” is variable and relativistic. Certain YEC acquaintances of mine are great promoters of critical thinking, but what they mean by the term is “thinking that agrees with Genesis.” I tend to think it means “uses brain to examine facts and bases conclusions on best available evidence.”  When a creationist complains that kids aren’t being taught critical thinking, most often he’s really complaining that they are. It’s a bit like the Cobb County School Board a few years back saying students should look at evolution with “open minds,” when they actually meant they should look at evolution with closed minds and only open them if they’re reading Genesis (or that silly Panda book).

  37. JTMcDaniel
    But keep in mind that the meaning of “critical thinking” is variable and relativistic. Certain YEC acquaintances of mine are great promoters of
    critical thinking, but what they mean by the term is “thinking that agrees with Genesis.” I tend to think it means “uses brain to examine facts and bases conclusions on best available evidence.”  When a creationist complains that kids aren’t being taught critical thinking, most often he’s really complaining that they are.

    You have summed this up nicely, but rather then this wording:-

     

    Certain YEC acquaintances of mine are great promoters of critical thinking, but what they mean by the term is “thinking that agrees with Genesis.”

    I would have put it as:

    Certain YEC acquaintances of mine are claim to be great promoters of  “critical thinking”, but what they mean by the term is “thinking that criticises anything which disagrees with Genesis.”

  38. late to this (my subs request response was routed to my junk mail …)  so this is in the nature of a test post.
    note i was attracted by the terms and conditions which seemed to confirm the highest  standards

    may i make the observation that YECs do in fact affirm Natural Selection and all its processes and properties as established in mainstream science – with the caveat that the evidence of its operation beyond the gene pool of the “Kind” in doubtful or absent. 

    it seems to me that this last is the real sticking point between Evolutionists and Anti-Es.

    with respect, fwiw,

    frank

  39. frank!

    may i make the observation that YECs do in fact affirm Natural Selection and all its processes and properties as established in mainstream science

    Not the ones who have come here to argue!

    with the caveat that the evidence of its operation beyond the gene pool of the “Kind” in doubtful or absent.

    YEC “Kinds” are the pseudo science of Noah’s Ark mythical biology, which does not exist in the real world! it is in conflict with verified “mainstream science”.

    it seems to me that this last is the real sticking point between Evolutionists and Anti-Es.

    YECs only have their stuck point!  Stuck in ignorant denial of science and facts! 

    Science is about testing and truth to establish reliable scientific evidence based knowledge. 
    YEC nonsense is just irrelevant fantasy based on mythology, wishful thinking, and ignorance.

  40. Ultimately though religion is threatened by science in that it is slowly supplanting it. The Christian Right in the US in particular is not taking this lying down and is fighting to slow it down as a result (every year in the US, non-religious, atheists and agnostics grow in numbers). Evolution may seem like a silly place to start for many of us who are on the side of science and things we can actually see rather than ‘feel’ or believe in, but it goes to the heart of divine creation. With that said, it’s also an issue of progression versus regression and what’s more why some people think it’s important to censor or withhold information. Now Christians have learned to use some wily tactics including inserting what is clearly religion in the form of ‘creationism’ and using the argument that it is an alternative ‘scientific’ view when it isn’t obviously. To many a layperson though this may appear fair whereas to those of us used to the separation of science and religion (however incongruous that may seem) this would appear ludicrous. Also to consider is that this will be a much slower ‘conflict’ than some of us would have imagined. Somehow technology to many of us seemed to indicate intrinsic modernity. This is not really the case it seems, at least here in the US where the Evangelical movement has kept itself alive through numerous revivalist movements going back to the 19th century. Add to this progressive politicians worried they might alienate religious voters as they take non-religious voters for granted (who are we going to support God crazy Republicans?) and a scientific community that sometimes comes off as above such petty conflicts and we have a field dominated by religious fanaticism. Other problem is most Americans are probably more or less uninterested in the debate at all or mildly favor one view or the other. Still I would contend that given the demographics, the non-religious category will continue to grow and the conflict will become more intense and likely go to insane lengths with public dollars drifting into Christian schools (bad enough churches and other religious institutions are tax exempt).

  41. I personally find it most disturbing that we live in a time when so much more information is available than at any other time in history, but so many waste it on learning nothing.

    More to the point that there are those who would devote their whole lives to learning nothing as opposed to understanding how things work in reality before making judgments on why something is what it is. Children are born into the particular religion of their family with no inclination towards any one of them. They are at birth incapable of making such a decision. They are going to be raised in an environment where a specific faith is like to be practiced as a result. Many will attend a church for that faith and other related activities. 

    So why is there a need for these theistic musing to be reflected anywhere in the public square?

    Schools are designed to give children an education capable of informing them about the world around them, our understanding of it, and how that understanding pertains to the life they will lead when they are done with schooling. It is for the essentials of the careers they will have and the ability they will have to gather information, make observations and make informed opinions.

    It is not an exercise in how much unproven theistic rhetoric I can incorporate because someone’s family likes it. That is not what an education is for. You have schools your kids can go to for that very purpose once they’ve had a proper education. More importantly the child has the opportunity to make the decision as to what they do with their education once they’ve finished with school. But every child deserves an equal chance.

    Many faiths indeed do not push such ideas in this format, and indeed the ones that do have a great number of people that go through their daily lives content with their own observations on their faith and aren’t pushing it on everyone else. 

    Embrace whatever ridiculous ideas on the world you wish to, theists. But do not insist that other people must accept them as well. Do not try to sneak it into the classrooms under dubious names and bogus theories.

    Hmm, this turned from an observation into a rant. Wasn’t my intention, sorry.

  42.  

    Re;
    Alan4discussion
    09/20/2012 12:57 PM

    “”Frank! 

    may i make the observation that YECs do in fact affirm Natural Selection and all its processes and properties as established in mainstream science
    Not the ones who have come here to argue!””

    Ok, I am new here as I say.  I was referring to folks like the ones over at creation.com and others like them who publish their magazines and technical journals laying out their position and reasoning.

    I do think it important that the debate does need to cover all the ground- not just the easy victories!  I suppose there are plenty of young earth creationists not well informed and they make cheap fodder.  To win the hearts and minds of the more discerning observers  who come to this forum requires that the tougher nuts are also cracked (to coin a phrase )

    Respectfully,

    Frank

  43. frank!
    Welcome Frank.

    You are may right about some that particular bunch, but there are nearly as many creationist viewpoints and versions of their claims, as there are creationists. 
    Furthermore they keep updating and revamping their claims as old ones get refuted and ridiculed.

    I just stick to the science.

    Many creationists claim to “believe” in evolution or natural selection, but on closer examination they usually have some unscientific fudged , mixed up version of their own which contradicts the scientific evidence.
    Such as the RCC’s “Theistic Evolution”: -  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C

    Scientific evidence and observed facts, are not subject to compromise to accommodate fanciful views or ancient myths, so this stuff is just pseudoscience.

    … who publish their magazines and technical journals laying out their position and reasoning.

    It is a big stretch of credibility to call ANY of the stuff from Creation Ministries “Technical Journals”. They are just pseudoscience magazines – Usually full of lies and made up nonsense they call “evidence”. YEC “reasoning” usually, is also unrelated to “logical reasoning”.

    Profound ignorance of Astronomy, geology and biology is a prerequisite for YEC belief.

    BTW  You may find this link helpful in presenting quotes in your posts:- http://richarddawkins.net/disc

  44. A commenter to my note questioned how my father could both believe in evolution and remain religious (Zeuglodon, August 26).  It is a fair question but I have been uncertain whether it is appropriate for me to respond given that my father’s perspectives on religion and mine diverged when at age 15 I announced I was an atheist.

    Still, a few things can be said.  

    In college my father read Aristotle’s Metaphysics and occasionally referred to the “unmoved mover” as a description of god.  What the unmoved mover set in motion produced natural existence. That existence is subject to scientific analysis, and does not need to conform to the beliefs of any religious system.  Those aspects of his belief that were moral were tempered by his concepts of right, fairness, justice, etc., but were not a means of undermining scientific advancement, in fact had nothing to do with it.  I believe this summarizes his thoughts from those occasional periods where we were able to engage in rational discussion. 

    On a trip my father took to speak to German agricultural scientists after the Second World War, a distant relative who was studying theology at Tübingen gave him a copy of Rudolf Bultmann’s Die Geschichte der Synoptischen Tradition (The History of the Synoptic Tradition). My father was fascinated by Bultmann’s deconstruction of the first three gospels of the New Testament into oral traditions.  He tried to discuss the book with his minister at the time, a Presbyterian, but told me decades later, “It was worse than if I had tried to make him believe in evolution.” I suppose this demonstrates that regardless of the field, he did not fear to follow sound scholarship wherever it might take him. 

    My father lived to see the move towards creationism in education and was convinced that China, where science was not hampered by such idiocy and which he visited many times, would eventually surpass us. “There will only be engineers left if we can’t let science lead us where it may.”

  45. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading this stream and have been left with a renewed optomism and hope that forward thinking men and women of science will continue to accend and expand the boundries of knowledge and understanding for the benifit of mankind. The YEC’s on the other hand, much like their obssesion with “Nauteloids” will be forever STUCK in their aniquated book and will never strive to learn more and use their human attributes of inquisitiveness and exporation.
    Thankfully in the UK we endevour to educate our children with a broad spectrum of scientific understanding. Religion is and should be helped to deminish. 

  46. Hi all,
    I don,t know if this discussion is still current tho I have just enjoyed another thread on the rise of “quick complexity” that seemed long running …..

    However I want to flag a seemingly quirky assymetery in the creationist / evolution positions …..

    Scientists who affirm their religious affiliations can be found in both camps – creationist and evolutionist.
    However there appear to be NO atheistic scientists who espouse the creationist position.

    The usual explanation that questions the creds. of the scientists does not seem valid since, for example, Nobel Laureates are found in BOTH camps.

    Is there more to this science / religion aspect?

  47.  
    frank!

    However I want to flag a seemingly quirky assymetery in the creationist / evolution positions …..

    Scientists who affirm their religious affiliations can be found in both camps – creationist and evolutionist.

    It is possible for theist scientists to compartmentalise their thinking to separate their religion or cherry-pick bit of both which fit their world view. 
    There are very few scientists in the YEC camp. Ignorance or science and denial of science are qualifications to join this group!

    In the vast majority of cases evolution or cosmology deniers have scientific qualifications in unrelated subjects, so they a profoundly ignorant of the relevant information.  (Eg. – As a biologist, I have little regard for engineers or linguists spouting ignorance about biology or geology.)

    However there appear to be NO atheistic scientists who espouse the creationist position.

    Atheists do not subscribe to “god-did-it-by-magic” as scientific explanations. 

    The usual explanation that questions the creds. of the scientists does not seem valid since, for example, Nobel Laureates are found in BOTH camps.

     

    You will not find Nobel Laureates IN RELEVANT SCIENTIFIC SUBJECTS in the creationist camp! 
    Those who are, are faith-motivated people, speaking on subjects outside their specialist expertise, where their ignorance is only too evident. 
    Creationists web-sites do quote-mine, misquote, and lie about many issues and many people, in seeking “badges of authority” for their made-up pseudoscience nonsense.

    Is there more to this science / religion aspect?

    Science is the best method we have to investigate the truth of claims, but covers a whole range of specialist subjects.

    “Religion” is a term covering a multitude of views and beliefs.

    Young Earth Creationists are a very small ignorant minority who deny the well evidenced  sciences of biology, geology, astronomy, and cosmology and post made-up rubbish on the internet.  
    Most of them would fail school level science in educated countries, although some may have qualifications in other subjects. 
    No reputable scientific journals will knowingly publish their pseudoscience and on the rare occasions when some faked stuff has slipped past a careless editor, it has been torn to shreds and fully refuted by specialist readers (peers) in the following editions.

    Old Earth Creationists come in many forms, with a vast range of theistic fudge (from very little to much) in their views of science.  Many accept most of scientific findings, and profess to understand science, but fudge the bits which conflict with their religious views.

    Atheist scientists have no such handicap!

    There is no evolution/ creationist controversy in science; -  only in the popular media, ignoramus web-sites, and in the politics of backward areas.
    The scientific validity of the theory of evolution was settled over a hundred years ago.

  48. Yes Alan – tho the nub of the point that occurred to me related to the inherent difficulty that a committed card-carrying dyed-to-the-core atheist would have being accepted on any jury if there were to be a court trial of creationism. Since only materialistic mechanisms are allowed as valid and such require deep time in any of the evolutionary models proposed it would require the Atheist to accept the possibility of a supernatural creator before they could accept the validity of any scientific results which would appear to corroborate the creationist position – no matter how compelling the evidence.

    Those who are comfortable with any degree or form of a “creator” do not have their personal worldview threatened by any revelations from either side , and so might be seen as being more able to evaluate the evidence on it’s merits.

    It was just this peculiarly human factor and it’s implications that has been exercising my mind lately.

    Regards,

    Frank

  49. frank!
    Yes Alan – tho the nub of the point that occurred to me related to the inherent difficulty that a committed card-carrying dyed-to-the-core atheist would have being accepted on any jury if there were to be a court trial of creationism. 

    I’m not sure of the position in the US, but in UK law anyone can AFFIRM  they will tell the truth or act properly as an alternative to swearing on a bible. –

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…   –   In law, an affirmation is a solemn declaration allowed to those who conscientiously object to taking an oath.
    An affirmation has exactly the same legal effect as an oath, but is usually taken to avoid the religious implications of an oath. In some jurisdictions, it may only be given if such a reason is provided.

    Since only materialistic mechanisms are allowed as valid and such require deep time in any of the evolutionary models proposed it would require the Atheist to accept the possibility of a supernatural creator before they could accept the validity of any scientific results which would appear to corroborate the creationist position

    Evolution is a question of science rather than atheism.  There is no such thing as “creationist science”.  There is only objectively testable science.

    – no matter how compelling the evidence.

    There is no “compelling evidence” supporting creationism – actually no objective evidence at all – nor any for gods for that matter.  It is just wishful thinking in the minds of the faithful.

    Those who are comfortable with any degree or form of a “creator” do not have their personal worldview threatened by any revelations from either side ,

    This would only be so if they lived in an isolated fantasy world of ignorance! Ignorace of our dependency on scientific understanding.  Science has identified many hard facts, which will not go away because of wishful thinking.

    If scientists and engineers, stop using scientific methods of testing, and take decisions on “faith” without evidence, useless medicines fail to cure diseases,  chemical plants blow up, aircraft crash, bridges and buildings fall down,  and support systems regularly fail (as happens on a regular basis in backward third-world countries where corrupt or incompetent politicians take decisions independently of scientific advice.)

    and so might be seen as being more able to evaluate the evidence on it’s merits.

     

    Belief or non-belief in deities should have nothing to do with competently evaluating biological and palaeontological scientific research. 

    It is an issue of scientific competence.  It cannot be decided by any ignorant Tom, Dick, or Harry reading stuff made up by ignoramuses and choosing what they fancy believing! 
    They need expertise in understanding scientific methods of investigating and calculating to evaluate scientific reports. This is provided in the “peer-review” process used by scientific journals.

    We are talking about the genetics of every living organism on the planet.  The evidence of evolution is confirmed in every competent university study published in scientific journals. -  Thousands of them, for over a hundred years. 
    There is no SCIENTIFIC controversy,  just shouting from the ignorant challenging thousands of the world’s leading experts!

  50. I will deal with this separately to avoid long posts.

     
    frank
    Since only materialistic mechanisms are allowed as valid and such require deep time in any of the evolutionary models proposed it would require the Atheist to accept the possibility of a supernatural creator before they could accept the validity of any scientific results which would appear to corroborate the creationist position – no matter how compelling the evidence.

    You seem to be suggesting that a knowledge of evolution, would prejudice a member of a jury, and indeed expert knowledge does cause the rejection of ludicrous ignorant assertions.  A bit like honest citizens being “prejudiced” against bank robbers just going about their normal business and resenting “persecution” by the police.

    I will change a few words to make it clearer:-

    Since only materialistic mechanisms are allowed as valid and such require deep time in any of the PLANETARY models proposed, it would require the ASTRONOMER to accept the possibility of a CREATED FLAT EARTH before they could accept the validity of any scientific results which would appear to corroborate the FLAT-EARTHIST  position – no matter how compelling the evidence.

    As I have previously pointed out, the claim that “compelling creationist evidence of scientific results”  exists, is simply an oft repeated lie. 
    No credible creationist evidence against evolution has ever been presented. 
    All that is presented is the incredulity of the uneducated ignorant and scientifically illiterate, making fools of themselves and making fools of others, who are being conned and misled by them. 

    Their claimed “scientific evidence” has been examined by expert scientists and found to be grossly and laughably incompetent, so not even fit for publication in reputable journals, as these do not publish the rantings of idiots or incompetents alongside the results of expert studies.

    Honest teachers and schools, should be teaching competent proven science, and scientific methods  in science lessons. 

    Mythology is literature and fiction.

  51. Hmmm. Well I must admit being not entirely satisfied with my first paragraph – but I still see a valid observation related to the issue of “deep time”
    If Evolution allows an atheist to be ,intellectually fulfilled, and since Evolution requires deep time
    Then should credible evidence emerge that deep time is untenable, the atheist would be intellectually unsettled. (to coin a phrase)
    I am suggesting that , for the atheist, their worldview could tend to prejudice their scientific objectivity.

    The theist,s world view on the other hand, is not so critically threatened since it is not dependent upon the validity or not of deep time.

    I am suggesting that as fallible human beings – by our very nature – we might be less than totally objective in evaluating evidence that impacts critically upon our own personal worldview.

  52. frank! Hmmm.
    Well I must admit being not entirely satisfied with my first paragraph – but I still see a valid observation related to the issue of  “deep time” 

    You seem to be under the mistaken impression that understanding ” deep time”, is controversial!  All our space technologies and nuclear industries work on the basis of being able to calculate time.

    The best current estimate of the age of the universe is 13.75 ± 0.11 billion years (4.339 ± 0.035  ×10^17 seconds) – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A…. 

    The age of the Earth is 4.54 ± 0.05 billion years (4.54 × 10^9 years ± 1%). 
    - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A

    If Evolution allows an atheist to be , intellectually fulfilled, and since Evolution requires deep time

    The scientific evidence of geology, Stellar physics, planetology and evolution, has nothing to do with emotional feelings.  The emotional blockages to evidenced rational thought are muddled creationist thinking.

    Then should credible evidence emerge that deep time is untenable, the atheist would be intellectually unsettled. (to coin a phrase)

    You seem to love suggesting there may be some credible evidence that will refute tens of thousands of repeatedly tested university scientific studies in numerous different sciences!  (Geology, Astronomy, Cosmology, Biology, Genetics, Physics)
    This is a creationist fantasy! 
    Young Earth, like Flat Earth, is a laughably incompetent and ignorant view, which has zero chance of ever being proven. 
    That does not mean that the deluded ignorant will stop preaching it in backward places.

    I am suggesting that , for the atheist, their worldview could tend to prejudice their scientific objectivity.

    That simply does not work, and basically gets it backwards. 
    Knowledge of SCIENCE enhances the atheist view, in so far as  science provides evidence which debunks the numerous claims of numerous religions.

    The theist’s world view on the other hand, is not so critically threatened since it is not dependent upon the validity or not of deep time.

    Any theist who rejects astronomical or geological time, is simply denying massively evidenced science in favour of their own mistaken preconceptions, so science will undoubtedly threaten their mistaken world view.  

    YECs simply pretend that scientific equipment does not work, and that scientists cannot measure.  -
    Its a bit like a kid who cannot count to ten, claiming airline navigators don’t know the distance from London to New York!

    As my links show, they could look in textbooks or encyclopaedias and learn some basic science and acquire knowledge of our Earth and Solar System, but many won’t! 

    I am suggesting that as fallible human beings – by our very nature – we might be less than totally objective in evaluating evidence that impacts critically upon our own personal worldview.

    This is very evident in people who rely on “personal revelations” or uncritical acceptance of religious dogma.

    The scientific methods (though less than perfect), give us the best way of establishing and repeatedly testing objective truths about the Universe. 
    It is simple reason, that something which has been tested thousands of times by experts, is more reliable than some notion which popped into someone’s head and was then preached to others.

    (You might like to think about this next time you use an electrical device, take some medicine, or cross a bridge!)

    Many scientific laws (Such as those of Newton) have been confirmed to very high levels of mathematical accuracy.  They are not matters of individual personal opinion!

    Those who build their world-view on tested science acquire a deep understanding of nature.

    Those who don’t, fill their heads with all sorts of unreliable nonsense.

  53. Hi Alan,
    Well I am wondering if this means that you do take my basic point that atheists are truly dependent upon a certain scientific model of the universe being true and that “religious” people would be more easily able to accommodate alternate models.
    Note, for the purpose of this exercise I am not concerned with the strength of any particular scientific model. It doesn’t,t matter to me which is true or untrue – I was merely piqued by the possibility of an “asymmetry” in any debate.

    To my mind I think that an independent uncommitted observer might notice that one (or both!) side(s) may have a personal bias that could skew their objectivity.

    I can see eg. That evidence for an old earth is catastrophic for those who want to read the bible in an ordinary face value manner – though evidently not fatal to their whole understanding – They seem to be able to rationalize that whatever part god plays just took a bit longer. The religious do seem to have a lot of wriggle room in their theologies.

    On the other hand, can an atheist be as sanguine? Would an atheist have to “suspend their (dis)belief” before being able even to consider the question fairly? Or is there some way their “theology” could be adjusted to cope with the implications?

    Regards,

    Frank

  54. frank!
    Well I am wondering if this means that you do take my basic point that atheists are truly dependent upon a certain scientific model of the universe being true and that “religious” people would be more easily
    able to accommodate alternate models. 

    There is no consensus on world view or world history among atheists or the world’s religions. – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L

    Note, for the purpose of this exercise I am not concerned with the strength of any particular scientific model. It doesn’t,t matter to me which is true or untrue – I was merely piqued by the possibility of an “asymmetry” in any debate.

    Science and scientists do care about what is true.  Applied misunderstandings cause disasters which kill people.
    There is certainly an asymmetry in the debate! 
    Evolution is backed by thousands of peer-reviewed scientific studies and ALL the relevant scientific bodies in the World, while YEC is backed by ignorant assertions promoted by a few rich evangelists and NO scientific bodies whatever!

    To my mind I think that an independent uncommitted observer might notice that one (or both!) side(s) may have a personal bias that could skew their objectivity.

     

    To be an  “uncommitted observer” it would be necessary to be utterly ignorant of science.  (It would be like being “an uncommitted observer” in a Flat-Earth debate.  ie someone who did not know if the Earth is flat or not – and had no idea how to check information on this!)

    This is why YECs take their silly claims to the uneducated.  Anyone with detailed understanding will laugh at them!

    Even the Roman Catholic Church now accepts most aspects of evolution, (provided they can insert a few bits of  “god fiddled with it” and slot in “souls”!) - 

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C… –
    Pope Pius XII confirmed that there is no intrinsic conflict between Christianity and the theory of evolution, provided that Christians believed that the individual soul is a direct creation by God and not the product of purely material forces.[1] Today, the Church’s unofficial position is an example of theistic evolution, also known as evolutionary creation,[2] stating that faith and scientific findings regarding human evolution are not in conflict,

    BTW:  I am  a biologist and space-scientist who has a very good knowledge of planetary age and formation, as well as the development of life on Earth (-past and present).

  55. I can see eg. That evidence for an old earth is catastrophic for those
    who want to read the bible in an ordinary face value manner –

    Reading the bible literally as a history book, not only indicates a profound ignorance of history of that period  in general, but also an ignorance of the origins of the biblical texts.

      though
    evidently not fatal to their whole understanding – They seem to be able to rationalize that whatever part god plays just took a bit longer. The religious do seem to have a lot of wriggle room in their theologies.

    Many do not study or even read the bible at all. They just listen to preachers who have also not read or studied the history, and choose what they like to believe. That is why there are thousands of different Christian sects and denominations.

    This is being discussed here:  The Historical Jesus

    http://richarddawkins.net/disc

    On the other hand, can an atheist be as sanguine? Would an atheist have to “suspend their (dis)belief” before being able even to consider the question fairly? Or is there some way their “theology” could be adjusted to cope with the implications?

    Atheists do not have a “theology” they have a lack of belief in gods – and usually get on happily with their lives without them.  There is no evidence for the existence of gods – just a multitude of diverse contradictory stories and myths.

  56. Dear Alan,
    At this stage I confess to a sense of disappointment in that I don,t sense that what I thought was an important insight can be explored here.
    I did think that the rules of the forum were admirable and inviting but on reflection I can see that, this being a partisan site espousing a particular viewpoint, that would be the overriding focus here.

    I am not sure now where might be an appropriate venue – I suppose I could try an anti evolutionist site with the same question and see what their response is. If they seem overridingly concerned to prove their case rather than consider the implications of their personal worldview constraining their conclusions then I guess I am no further ahead.
    Ah well life goes on anyway!

    With best regards,

    Frank

    Ps. If I do find a venue I guess I should, as a matter of courtesy and closure, let you in on it too. I will try to keep you posted.

  57. frank!
    Dear Alan, I did think that the rules of the forum were admirable and inviting but on reflection I can see that, this being a partisan site espousing a particular viewpoint, that would be the overriding focus here.

    The rules of this site do not censor anyone for a particular viewpoint, provided that they are polite, present a reasoned case and cite evidence to support their views.   Simply preaching is not allowed.  The site promotes rational debate, science and education.

    At this stage I confess to a sense of disappointment in that I don,t sense that what I thought was an important insight can be explored here.

    If you are looking for some fudged compromise between well evidenced science and fundamental biblical literalism that is not possible.  Science does not fudge facts. It seeks to establish and confirm accurate information. 

      If they seem overridingly concerned to prove their case rather than consider the implications of their personal worldview constraining their conclusions then I guess I am no further ahead.

    You have presented no evidence for a young Earth or how biblical literalism would improve life.

    I have often critically examined my “world-view” and discussed it with others, so what you perceive as “constrained conclusions” are simply conclusions which have been thought through and tested previously.
    These arguments may be new to you, but I and others here have critically looked at them on many previous occasions.  Their implications for communities, of different views, are also regularly discussed on this site.

    As I explained earlier “scientific theories”  like gravity and evolution, are not matters of personal opinion.  They are matters of evidence and expert opinion based on repeatedly passing objective multiple tests.

    As a scientist, I am hardly likely to reject the whole subjects of astronomy, geology, palaeontology  and genetics, (as evidenced and explained by the universities of the world), to accommodate Young Earth wishful thinking , – which I have seen on many occasions, failing science at school-boy level while comically posing as experts! 

    The Earth and Solar system evolved (and still is evolving) from a proto-planetary disk, while all Earth life evolved (and still is evolving) from an common ancestor (LUCA – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L… ) over billions of years. 

    As I said earlier, the reference information is available for anyone who wants to educate themselves. 

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wi

  58. Another scientific field which debunks the Bible is Egyptology (history/archaeology).

    Egyptologists have translated the entire history of ancient Egypt (a country we know existed, it says so in the Bible), and found:i)    it started before The Great Flood (based on dates provided by religious ‘scholars’),ii)  continued to exist after the flood,iii) makes no mention of flooding beyond the normal seasonal inundations of the River Nile,
    iv) worshipped ‘gods’ other than Jehovah.

    How the Egyptian pantheon came to be venerated is another thing which is never explained by Christian/Jewish/Muslim scholars.   If everyone is descended from Noah – or for that matter, Adam – and had therefore had undeniable demonstrations of divine power, how did worship of ‘false deities’ even begin (in any part of the world)?   The mere existence of other ‘deities’ is proof that the Bible/Torah/Quran cannot be true.

    However, ignoring inconvenient evidence (or any evidence) is what religious extremists do, it’s their defining characteristic.

    “If you could reason with religious people, there would be no religious people”
    Gregory House

    Scientists on the other hand love ‘inconvenient evidence’ because it helps them formulate better theories.

  59. Not at all sure what the point of your post is.   Just because it is information doesn’t mean it is true.   Information can be accurate or inaccurate, and even inaccurately transmitted information can still be information.

    “You will never meet Bob, but you can know with certainty that he exists.”

    That’s information, but it in no way proves “Bob’s” existence.   I have no idea who the precise person you are referring to is and therefore I cannot know he exists, nor would I make the assumption he does without verification.

    “If you are good Father Christmas will bring you presents”

    That’s information too (and inaccurate), but many millions of children believe it to be true because it it is told them by respected authority figures.   When children grow up however, they gain the judgemental abilities to know it is untrue.   YECs, however either don’t have these judgemental skills or don’t bother to use them

  60. hellosnackbar
    Where did all the flood water that floated Noah’s ark come from and where did it go to thereafter?

    Wherever it went, the plesiosaurs went with it! (allegedly)

    There are various YEC explanations based on the general YEC inability to calculate topography, mass, volumes, -  or similar sciency stuff!

    Isn’t it obvious from YEC science ?  God just pulled out the plug and it all went down the drain!
     

  61. In the industrialized world, most theists believe in evolution. Most people who believe  in evolution are theists.

    A weird, radical fringe of Xians has done atheism a favor by attaching a widely accepted, scientific truth to the cause.

  62. When we learnt evolution in biology, last year, an entire lesson (an hour) was devoted to a debate on whether evolution is ‘just’ a theory or has more merit than that and should be taught in schools.

    The team against evolution gave up after twenty minutes.

  63. Ironically, the diehard conservatives of this state have wanted (and still do) to secede from the nation.
    The same state that sets the stage for most of the public school textbooks in the country!!!

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