Creationism is dangerous: HBO documentary Questioning Darwin shows how fundamentalism imprisons the mind.

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Intellectual freedom is one of humanity’s greatest gifts—and biggest burdens. Our ability to ask questions, to test ideas, to doubt is what separates us from our fellow animals. But doubt can be as terrifying as it is liberating. And it’s the terror of doubt that fosters the toxic, life-negating cult of creationism.

That fear is on full display throughout HBO’s new documentary Questioning Darwin, which features a series of intimate interviews with biblical fundamentalists. Creationism, the documentary reveals, isn’t a harmless,compartmentalized fantasy. It’s a suffocating, oppressive worldview through which believers must interpret reality—and its primary target is children. For creationists, intellectual inquiry is a sin, and anyone who dares to doubt the wisdom of their doctrine invites eternal damnation. That’s the perverse brilliance of creationism, the key to its self-perpetuation: First it locks kids in the dungeon of ignorance and dogmatic fundamentalism. Then it throws away the key.

And that dungeon is much darker than most Americans realize. The creationists interviewed in Questioning Darwin—including their abominable doyen, Ken Ham, a wily businessman who is already fundraising off his ill-conceived recent debate with Bill Nye—returned again and again to the same depressing subjects. Death, suffering, pain, sorrow, disease: These, creationists inform us, are what await any skeptic, anyone who questions the word of God. 

Written By: Mark Joseph Stern
continue to source article at slate.com

47 COMMENTS

  1. What a deeply depressing article. Trying to reason people out of a position they never reasoned themselves into just seems like a hopeless job. That we live in a world with global sized challenges, while those in charge spend time worrying about talking snakes, imaginary offenses, and turning fairy tales into a well-accepted version of reality, makes me wonder what comes next. To quote Mrs. Lovejoy “what about the children”.

  2. Beautiful, though somewhat slushy picture. I doubt, however, that Eve would have discovered Vogue and the little black dress. Wearing it in a lilly pond would not be a good idea – designer originals do not come cheap.

  3. The answer, to creationists, is simple: There is no love, no humanity, in a world with evolution. Humans must have been designed by God; if we weren’t, then we’re mere animals, lacking in morality and dignity

    Ignorance, blind refusal to be informed-

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01s6mf9

    Many animals do indeed have characteristics previously considered exclusively ‘human’ as shown in the BBC series.
    Including a sense of fairness and empathy with others’ misfortunes.

  4. From the article “For creationists, intellectual inquiry is a sin”, I have first hand knowledge of that. My sister in law id a full press young earth creationist whose only source of reference is the bible, preferably the oldest versions possible. To that end she has even taken up learning ancient greek to better understand the bible. Last Christmas she proudly proclaimed she was on her fourth reading of the bible in that year!

    This little tidbit is followed up ( by sister in law and her ilk) with the popular opinion held by creationists that all scientists are evil because they don’t have faith. In order to maintain familial harmony, we agree to disagree. jcw

    • Know the feeling:) I have creationists to the left, creationists to the right, creationists everywhere.Evolutionists are looked upon as wicked,cruel individuals who probably wouldn’t be averse to eating babies for breakfast. In reply to #6 by kaiserkriss:

      From the article “For creationists, intellectual inquiry is a sin”, I have first hand knowledge of that. My sister in law id a full press young earth creationist whose only source of reference is the bible, preferably the oldest versions possible. To that end she has even taken up learning ancient g…

    • In reply to #6 by kaiserkriss:

      This little tidbit is followed up ( by sister in law and her ilk) with the popular opinion held by creationists that all scientists are evil because they don’t have faith. In order to maintain familial harmony, we agree to disagree. jcw

      I sympathize with you. I am in a similar situation. My older brother is into conspiracy theories and my sister and brother-in-law are into alternative medicine and astrology. Being the youngest in my family makes it even more difficult because I have no “respectability” status. They have no regard for my opinion and no respect for freedom of expression (they think it only applies to people who say the things they want to hear). And they have zero interest in science and inquiry.

      Whenever the conversation steers onto those subjects and that they feel that I’m about to win the argument, I am quietly but firmly instructed to “change the subject” and “stop being so argumentative”. They say things like “you absolutely have to have the last word don’t you?”…. Ironically I never do.

      • In reply to #13 by NearlyNakedApe:
        >

        Whenever the conversation steers onto those subjects and that they feel that I’m about to win the argument, I am quietly but firmly
        instructed to “change the subject” and “stop being so argumentative”. They say things like “you absolutely have to have the last word
        don’t you?”…. Ironically I never do.

        You should write it. Not in a short note, but a detailed article, showing not only the science mater. Include also the personal and out of reason attacks you suffer. No complains, no reprovals. Just the arguments, exposing facts and methods to the end. They’ll read it, sooner or later, and won’t make any cutting comments in order to avoid your conclusions.

    • In reply to #7 by Aztek:

      It’s funny that beside this article there is one with the headline “Yes, It’s Stupid To Be a Creationist. But It’s Harmless.” Great job, Slate.

      Slate often runs opinion pieces from different sides and often challenges the liberal readership. That’s one reason I like Slate.

  5. I bear a HUGE responsibility because Ken Ham originated in my country.

    Please, please please, believe me, not many people in Australia believe what Ken Ham says. Indeed, hardly anyone here has even heard of Ken Ham! I only know of him because I see USA websites. He has zero profile in Australia. Australians are not so easily taken in by charlatans, whereas Americans LOVE them! The more deceptive, the more lies they tell, the more ridiculous promises they make, the more cash that Americans donate! Benny Hinn, Joyce Meyer, Billy Graham, Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, I’m sure there are thousands more.

    What a load of suckers!

    • In reply to #10 by ArloNo:

      I bear a HUGE responsibility because Ken Ham originated in my country.

      Please, please please, believe me, not many people in Australia believe what Ken Ham says. Indeed, hardly anyone here has even heard of Ken Ham! I only know of him because I see USA websites. He has zero profile in Australia. Au…

      Oh, ArloNo, don’t think for a second that just because Ken Ham originates from beautiful Australia, that reflects badly on the country and its people like yourself. You don’t bear any responsibility for his delusions any more than I bear responsibility for the dangerous nuts in the Westboro Baptist Church protesting the funerals of soldiers. They did it all on their own.
      I’m glad he has zero profile in his home country as you claim. In the US he appeals to the lowest common denominator of ignorant rubes who have been sold on an idea since before they were able to form their own opinion on the matter. He is selling wish-fulfillment in his museum and asserting its factual validity, which is easy in a country like ours that likes to cover and over-cover things in the media because without something to fill the 24 hour news cycle the media would crumble. Ham appeals to the media’s tendency these days to thrust two things together as ‘two sides’ of a ‘debate.’ When someone as high profile as Bill Nye comes in as an advocate for science education and wants to debate a loon like Ham, the media eats it up. Nye knew that, so even though ‘debating’ Ham was a waste of effort on his part, he was smarter than everyone by exposing what Ham really does when he presents religion as reality.

  6. “…its primary target is children.”

    Chilling.

    However, I feel a little uneasy about using the pronoun ‘it’, and considering cults as entities in themselves, since they are made up of their constituent parts, namely, people.

    And so the difficult situation arises in which against my better judgement I find myself having to criticize the individual whose ignorance, idleness and credulousness allows them to fall into this quick fix quagmire.

    But perhaps I shouldn’t beat myself up too much, because nowadays such stupidity is inexcusable,
    and it will probably always hold that a fool and money are soon parted.

    But it’s the children who count, and it seems to me that that generational link must be broken if this modern day curse of the mind is to be eradicated.

    • However, I feel a little uneasy about using the pronoun ‘it’, and considering cults as entities in themselves, since they are made up of their constituent parts, namely, people.

      Don’t refuse. A “whole” is usually more than its parts. You can oppose an argument against another argument, one people in front of another one. Maybe one day you can sum up two or three ideas in such a convincent way, and make your contrincant change his mind. But after that, there is a supra-human organism supporting the idea. “It” only lives for that idea. We need to fight it the same way. There must be an entity, stronger than people, to force Truth (in a scientific sense) be recognized by the “devil” of ignorance -which is a sarcastic view of “God Spell”-
      In the other side, I feel we are caught in a drama: Science is not a set of solid ideas, but a moving and “evolutioning” collection. We can never consider that a theory is immovable, and thus, we are inclined to consider any other point of view. That can be a problem when fighting.

  7. Reply to eejit (comment 2): * I doubt, however, that Eve would have discovered Vogue and the little black dress. *

    And I wonder who trimmed his beard and ‘stache so neatly using the technology of 4004 BC. Had to be real skilled with sharpened clam shells.

  8. I was naive too. Perhaps back then those that didn’t just kept it to themselves for some reason.
    Grew up with Baptists, Penticostals, Catholics, and Anglicans and they didn’t seem to have any issues with evolution, but back then the attittude was to keep one’s religious views out of the public square.

  9. God wrote the bible – FACT.
    God can make a perfect crepe any time it wants – FACT.
    God can juggle knives and shit semolina pudding to keep the kids happy – FACT.
    God won’t ever borrow your tools and then leave them to rust out in his back yard – FACT.

    Everything else is hearsay. Or heresy. I’m not sure which.

  10. ” Australians are not so easily taken in by charlatans, whereas Americans LOVE them!” – Doesn’t Australia also give tax-exempt status to the scientologists? Not that it’s a question of one religion versus another, they’re all money-spinning murder machines. Of course, I’m not saying that scientology is a MSMM or charlatan (you never know which litigious cults have lawyers reading)

  11. I agree that the dogmatism of creationism can be dangerous, especially when it wants to prevent children from hearing all sides. But it seems that there are some on the evolutionist side that are just as dogmatic, wanting to prevent children from hearing the creationist side. I believe in pure and total free inquiry. To me, there seems to be some truth on both sides of this issue. The evidence does point to evolution playing a role in the lifeforms that currently exist. But there is a severe lack of scientific evidence to show that inanimate matter can become living without some type of intelligence guiding it. No, I don’t believe in any of the world’s religion’s gods. To me, they can easily be debunked. But that doesn’t preclude there being some unknown intelligent force that exists and that directed the formation of life from non-life. Sure, we don’t know much about this force, but neither do we know much about dark matter even though the evidence suggests it exists.

    • In reply to #19 by rcf:

      I agree that the dogmatism of creationism can be dangerous, especially when it wants to prevent children from hearing all sides. But it seems that there are some on the evolutionist side that are just as dogmatic, wanting to prevent children from hearing the creationist side.

      I think a lot of the criticism of Bill Nye — e.g.. that recent piece on Salon that was reposted here — have been completely misguided and contrary to the spirit of critical thinking that people say they support. In that sense I agree with you, the idea that the rational thing to do is to just shut off debate is ridiculous. You don’t respond to misinformation by just refusing to acknowledge it. I’m kind of disappointed that Dawkins hasn’t commented on this because I think people such as the Salon writer were misinterpreting Dawkins’ position. I agree it’s wrong for someone like Dawkins to debate someone like Ham. Doing so validates the idea that there is some controversy in the science of biology and we need one of the leading biologists to present one side of the argument. There isn’t and we don’t. But that doesn’t mean we just stop talking about it either. Just as you don’t need to be a climate scientists to refute the lies about climate change you don’t need to be a biologist to refute the lies about evolution and not only is it acceptable for a general science person like Nye to take on that task but we should support him when he does, not take cheap shots at him.

      To me, there seems to be some truth on both sides of this issue.

      Then you are ignorant of the science of biology. It’s that simple. There is no controversy. You may as well say that you want to hear both sides of the debate on the nature of the universe: the heliocentric and geocentric views. Evolution is as well supported as the heliocentric model of the solar system. Throw out evolution and you essentially have to throw out all of modern biology. People who don’t accept evolution shouldn’t accept many modern medicines, they shouldn’t believe DNA evidence at trials, etc. It’s just that there isn’t a whole industry devoted to spreading propaganda about heliocentrism as their is for evolution.

      • In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

        Thanks, Red Dog. I think you misread my post. I said that evolution DID play a role in life as we know it. What I question is the origin of life itself from inanimate raw materials by pure chance.

        As for Dawkins and Ham debating, I have mixes emotions about that one. I think it depends on the topic. It would seem kind of silly, for instance, to debate the age of the Earth. There are so many lines of evidence supporting a multi-billion year old Earth, that it would indeed be like debating heliocentrism vs geocentrism. However, if they were to debate less settled issues, such as the origin of life, I would like to hear it.

        • In reply to #21 by rcf:

          Thanks, Red Dog. I think you misread my post. I said that evolution DID play a role in life as we know it. What I question is the origin of life itself from inanimate raw materials by pure chance

          Which supports my contention that you don’t understand even the most basic ideas behind evolution and the modern science of biology. Evolution has nothing to do with the origin of life. They are two completely different questions.

          Evolution answers the question of how life on Earth came to be in it’s present form, with humans, ants, microbes, etc. The origin of life is a very different question, how did the most basic simple form of biochemical life first originate? Science has a very well understood, theory to answer the first question in the form of evolution. It’s probably not an exaggeration to say that no competing theory of any kind is better supported with data and confirmed testable hypotheses than evolution.

          The question you raise is a totally different one and that isn’t nearly as well understood yet. But it has nothing to do with evolution. I suppose that is too strong, obviously they are related, if we got an answer to one that contradicted the other that would be an indication that at least one of the answers needs some more work but we aren’t even close to having a well formed answer to the origin of life question.

          Again to use an analogy it would be as if we were arguing over whether the Earth or the Sun was the center of the solar system and you said “but I question where all that Dark Matter is supposed to be” well sure you do so does everyone because it’s an open question but we know the Sun is still the center of the solar system regardless of where the dark matter turns out to be and we know that evolution happened regardless of what we eventually learn about the origin of life.

          One more thing, saying “by pure chance” is another indication you don’t understand the basic science. The first thing you would learn if you took an intro to evolution class is that things don’t happen by “pure chance”. What happens is that natural selection influences random mutation to give the appearance of design. Dawkins has some excellent examples of this, the difference say between generating a line from Hamlet by “pure chance” (it will take forever) or by a form of selection (it happens surprisingly quickly), in his case not natural because he writes a computer program to simulate it but it’s the same idea. Read The Blind Watch Maker but read the Selfish Gene or even better Coyne’s book Why Evolution is True first.

          • In reply to #23 by Red Dog:

            Which supports my contention that you don’t understand even the most basic ide…

            Again, you need to read my posts more carefully. I did not say I question evolution occurring by pure chance. It doesn’t. I said I question inanimate material becoming life by pure chance. Natural selection does not occur with inanimate material. And I indeed understand that the origin of life is a separate issue from evolution. I never said they were the same.

          • In reply to #27 by rcf:

            Red Dog was criticizing your “ID of the gaps” stance and your “teach the controversy” stance. You can’t attribute intelligence to abiogenesis because you can’t imagine it or can’t understand it. And you can’t weight two opposing subjects equally when there is only evidence for one.

          • In reply to #27 by rcf:

            In reply to #23 by Red Dog:

            Which supports my contention that you don’t understand even the most basic ide…

            Again, you need to read my posts more carefully. I did not say I question evolution occurring by pure chance. It doesn’t. I said I question inanimate material becoming life by pure chance….

            You need to learn more about science and scientific method.

            Lets look at the formation of a stream near the base of a hill.

            1) It rains, where the raindrops fall is unpredictable but they fall somewhat evenly over the face of the hill

            2) The raindrops roll down hill. There is no unpredictability about this, only about which path they may take or obstacles they may encounter on the way down

            3) While traveling the raindrops pick up some eroded soil, creating paths that subsequent drops will follow when they encounter them.

            4) Channels form, collecting raindrops into a group that flows down the channel, making it wider and deeper and you get a stream. Where the stream forms is uncertain but that it forms is not.

            The same can be said for the formation of life from non-life. The Miller-Urey experiment demonstrated how easily organic chemistry can form. If you study the chemistry of auto-catalysis, or the mathematics as suggested by Stuart Kaufman you can see how easily replicators can form and be destroyed. If you study the work of Dr Seth Shostak you can see there are well tested mechanisms for those replicators forming inside simple vesicles, little fat bubbles, where their presence can begin a simple form of competition between replicator carrying cells. At that point you have evolution and actual life, reproduction and metabolism, emerges. It doesn’t appear to be very low probability at all.

          • In reply to #41 by DanDare:

            I understand the scientific method. I have a masters degree in chemical engineering. And I totally understand the theory of gradual changes leading to big changes. But I still find the probability of life coming from non-life by random processes to be extremely low. Yet when we look at the world, it appears that life is inevitable. It’s found everywhere, even in the extreme pressure of the ocean floor. But we still don’t know what conditions and materials were necessary for advanced life forms to emerge from inorganic material.

            I will say that the biggest thing the random process theory has in its favor is billions of light-years of matter/energy filled space and billions of years of time.

        • In reply to #21 by rcf:

          In reply to #20 by Red Dog:
          As for Dawkins and Ham debating, I have mixes emotions about that one. I think it depends on the topic. It would seem kind of silly, for instance, to debate the age of the Earth. There are so many lines of evidence supporting a multi-billion year old Earth, that it would indeed be like debating heliocentrism vs geocentrism. However, if they were to debate less settled issues, such as the origin of life, I would like to hear it.

          What could Ham have to say that could possibly be of interest on the origin of life topic? His answer is “God did it”. There are no empirical tests that flow from that. There are no other implications for other theories. “God did it” isn’t a theory it’s a way to stop asking questions and just say you are happy with not knowing and you’ll pretend you do know by saying “God did it”.

          There is a long history of “God did it” answers. Before Newton that was the answer to why the heavens moved the way they do. Before evolution it was the answer to how did life on Earth come to be in it’s current form. Before people like John Locke and Thomas Jefferson “God Did it” was considered the only acceptable answer to “where does the authority of a state to govern it’s people come from?” It just happens that the ultimate origin of life question is one that we haven’t figured out yet so it’s one of the few that people can still cling to a “God did it” answer.

          And why in the world would you ever listen to someone who clearly doesn’t understand science such as Ham? Look at his ridiculous arguments about “irreducible complexity”. He clearly doesn’t understand the most basic ideas from biology and he has no interest in learning them as he continues to spread misinformation so why would you care what he says on any scientific topic or any topic at all for that matter?

        • In reply to #21 by rcf:

          As for Dawkins and Ham debating, I have mixes emotions about that one. I think it depends on the topic. It would seem kind of silly, for instance, to debate the age of the Earth. There are so many lines of evidence supporting a multi-billion year old Earth, that it would indeed be like debating heliocentrism vs geocentrism. However, if they were to debate less settled issues, such as the origin of life, I would like to hear it.

          Surely you don’t think Ham has anything of value to say about “the origins of life”!
          (Genesis is true so god-did-it-by-magic)
          YECs regularly comically illustrate their cluelessness by claiming that Pasteur refuted abiogenesis!

          Even the Roman Catholic Church accepts evolution from a single common ancestor, even if they do claim that god-did-it!

          If anyone was to debate the origins of life, it should be the 20+ geneticists who have produced self replicating molecules or protocells.

          This has been CONFIRMED in Dr. Jack Szostak’s LAB. 2009 Nobel Laurette in medicine for his work on telomerase. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

          This video summarizes one of the best leading models. Yes there are others. Science may never know exactly how life DID start, but we will know many ways how life COULD start. Don’t be fooled by creationist arguments as even a minimal understanding of biology and chemistry is enough to realize they have no clue what they are talking about.

          Long odds of chance events really pale into insignificance, when we consider reactions throughout the areas of the oceans of the entire planet for millions of years. (Can you imagine the combinations of dice floating on the entire planetary oceans, being churned around for half a billion years?)

          @31 – If you think about all the lucky steps that would have to occur along the path from inanimate material to a human being, it seems the odds are vanishingly small.

          Life did exist as single cells and viruses for about the first 2 billion years of life’s history, so complex multi-celled life forms were not exactly a rush job for evolution.

          Timeline of evolutionary history of life – Wikipedia

          @31 – That would be much more satisfactory than our current understanding of nature.

          Satisfactory to whom?

          • In reply to #32 by Alan4discussion:

            Ham may not have anything interesting to say, but I’m sure Dawkins would. Never underestimate what can happen in such a debate. When I met Dan Barker several years ago, I asked him why he debated Christians on the issue of God’s existence. He said that one reason was you never know when someone on the fence will jump on over to your side. He then related a story about a debate he had at a church. One questioning member of the church became convinced that Dan was right and deconverted. So, you never know what can come from such debates regardless of the merits of the opposing position.

          • In reply to #36 by rcf:

            In reply to #32 by Alan4discussion:

            Ham may not have anything interesting to say, but I’m sure Dawkins would. Never underestimate what can happen in such a debate.

            Ham would have a great deal to say but it is not possible to have a rational discussion with someone as dishonest as Ham who just makes stuff up as he goes along. RD may well have much of value to say but he could do that much better in a lecture, or in a debate with someone who has academic integrity.

  12. “You can a child out of the church, but you can never take the church out of the child” this is what church leaders and creationists rely on. Kids thT are raised in church and Sunday school never get over it. I got into trouble in grade one (’68) for not saying the lord’s prayer, I got into fights when I told catholic friends that evolution is real. It’s sad but true, if they get you as a kid most will never escape the oppressive grip of the creation fairy tale. eg I have a “formerly” catholic friend who hasn’t been to church in 30 yrs, describes himself as a “catholic in recovery”!

  13. Whilst science is yet to fully agree on a firm origin of life concept, I find it hard to accept people who seem to think it impossible or improbable for life to start from inanimate objects. ( * rcf ). The world without biology can hardly be described as inanimate. On a chemical level the ‘world’ is incredibly busy, constantly changing, constantly reacting, bonding, forming compounds, changing due to other non biological influences such as sunlight, heat, exposure to base elements and compounds in volcanic activity. Other physical factors also are omnipresent, such as gravity, surface tensions, magnetism, dilution, evaporation etc etc. Is it so improbably then that some elements/molecules found themselves established by a ‘skin’ or surround of a flexible compound and possibly formed into nano-strings or into nanomotors that gave them movement and thus .formed. into colonies or concentrations of molecular gloop that began to rely on the presence of some parts of the gloop to remain stable. Those that remained continued to evolve. After all we are all but chemicals and atoms anyway. If you can accept this as a possibility you have an origin, and you don’t then have to find an explanation of where the designer intelligence or deity came from either.

    • In reply to #30 by Brookie:

      Whilst science is yet to fully agree on a firm origin of life concept, I find it hard to accept people who seem to think it impossible or improbable for life to start from inanimate objects. ( * rcf ). The world without biology can hardly be described as inanimate. On a chemical level the ‘world’ is…

      To clarify, I don’t believe it impossible,only improbable. But I do understand that some people win the lottery. I was using the term inanimate to refer to non-living material, not non-active material. In other words, non-self-replicating. If you think about all the lucky steps that would have to occur along the path from inanimate material to a human being, it seems the odds are vanishingly small. Perhaps one day we will find that laws of nature make it nearly impossible for advanced life NOT to form under certain conditions. That would be much more satisfactory than our current understanding of nature.

      • In reply to rcf:

        I don’t understand why the improbability is a problem or unsatisfying. If one takes into consideration the vast number of stars and then the large number of planets in the visible universe, even vanishingly small improbable events can still happen. Perhaps more than a handful of times if considering the huge numbers. We could just be one of those happy accidents. It was incredibly improbable that I would end up alive at all. This isn’t such a pretty thought, but what if my parents didn’t have sex the month she released the egg that became me. Or if a different sperm fertilized that egg. The odds of the specific gene combination that made me is slim. It still happened and I don’t find the improbability unsatisfying. I feel incredibly lucky that this combination happened and I get to exist. Why can’t life on the planet just be an incidence like this? It doesn’t make life less meaningful or less satisfying. Also, lots of incredibly low probability events happen every day, people are terrible at assessing the probability of large numbers. There was an article about it in the most recent issue of “Scientific American.”

        • In reply to #34 by Selene0001:

          In reply to rcf:

          I don’t understand why the improbability is a problem or unsatisfying. If one takes into consideration the vast number of stars and then the large number of planets in the visible universe, even vanishingly small improbable events can still happen. Perhaps more than a handful of…

          It’s only unsatisfying in a scientific sense. In general, scientists are wary of any theories where the perceived probability of it happening are extremely small. They are much more satisfied with theories that are mostly probable or even certain based on known laws of nature. Theories that predict things with very low probability usually require much more study before becoming accepted.

  14. Just finished watching the hour-long program on HBO. The Creationists get a lot of screen time to present their positions, and they are presented in a manner which clearly and accurately transmits those positions… all of which is good, I think.

    Unsurprisingly, the Creationists proceed to repeat the same vacuous nonsense, as always, offering the audience some classic renditions of age-old hits, such as:

    • “God said/did it; I believe it.”
    • “Moral decay, collapse, chaos, gaycannibalbeasiality.”
    • “Darwin is the anti-christ.” …and one of my personal all-time favorites…
    • “God is omnipotent, and suffering & death are caused by human sin.”

    When the Loonies aren’t on the screen, we get a fairly engaging account of Darwin’s 5-year voyage on the Beagle, and the evolution of his thinking during that time… the impact upon Darwin of the death of his eldest daughter, Annie, aged 10… publication of OtOoS; and some of the subsequent and current cultural battles (in the US) regarding the teaching of evolution.

    All in all… not much new, but well put together and certainly worth an hour of your time.

    WARNING: This programs contains graphic scenes of indoctrination and psychological abuse of children and young adults.

  15. I read a lovely comment on another forum about The Bill Nye / Ken Ham debate. I have actually forgotten the name of the forum that I happened to stumble upon but I just loved the remark : “Trying to debate with a creationist is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon”.

  16. It seems that a number of you believe that the theory of God (or some intelligent power) creating the Universe, or creating life, or creating species, etc. precludes any scientific investigation. But the laws of physics, as we currently know them, precludes something coming from absolutely nothing. So, it would seem that there are two choices: the Universe is self-existent and somehow can overcome the limitations of the second law of thermodynamics or some unknown intelligent very powerful entity not subject to the second law created it. We cannot change which it is. So, let’s suppose that the reality is that an intelligent force created the Universe, perhaps even started life on the Earth. Is there no scientific experiments that can be conducted to provide evidence for this reality?

    • In reply to #38 by rcf:

      It seems that a number of you believe that the theory of God (or some intelligent power) creating the Universe,

      There is no evidence for gods, but if some alien created the universe, then that could be investigated, and confirmed or proved false. However that would beg the question of the origins of the alien and the matter used in the creation.

      or creating life, or creating species, etc. precludes any scientific investigation.

      The method of creating life would need to be presented, but as earth life arose billions of years after the formation of the univese the claim seems very far fetched and highly improbable.

      But the laws of physics, as we currently know them, precludes something coming from absolutely nothing.

      You would first have to define “nothing” (“Nothing” does not exist anywhere in the universe) and explain why you assert this.

      So, it would seem that there are two choices:

      In science, there are very rarely two choices in complex issues.

      the Universe is self-existent and somehow can overcome the limitations of the second law of thermodynamics

      This is a misunderstanding of the second law of thermodynamics. The second law applies to closed systems, and there is no evidence of if the matter /energy of the big-bang was a closed system or not.

      gravitational systems tend towards non-even distribution of mass and energy. The universe in large scale is importantly a gravitational system, and the second law may therefore not apply to it.

      The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum.

      This statement is the best-known phrasing of the second law. Moreover, owing to the general broadness of the terminology used here, e.g. universe, as well as lack of specific conditions, e.g. open, closed, or isolated, to which this statement applies, many people take this simple statement to mean that the second law of thermodynamics applies virtually to every subject imaginable. This, of course, is not true; this statement is only a simplified version of a more complex description.

      ……

      or some unknown intelligent very powerful entity not subject to the second law created it.

      Why would it need to be intelligent or have creative capabilities? The above link indicates that bunch of energy/matter would be sufficient for the big-bang, where some things are independent of the second law. .

      • In reply to #40 by Alan4discussion:

        I know there is no evidence for gods, that’s why I’m an agnostic. What I am saying is this, “If the reality is that a god created the Universe, is there any scientific experiments that could provide evidence for this truth?”

        As far as the 2nd law. I know that it applies only to closed systems. As far as we currently know, our Universe is a closed system, having a set amount of energy/matter. It’s the same as when the Big Bang occurred, but it’s just spread out a lot more.

        About “nothing”. If nothing that exists is eternal, then everything came from nothing. That means no matter, no energy, no fields, no space, nada. I once was discussing this with a fellow skeptic. He tried to explain how everything could have started from nothing. I asked how. He said it started with zero fields. I said he had already violated his premise. Fields, even if “zero”, is something. Even a potential for something is something. It boggles the mind!

  17. Why are some people so keen to separate us from our “fellow” animals. Jeez, the one thing that separates us from our fellow animals is the number of of ways we have thought of to seprate ourselve from our fellow animals and clothes.

  18. In reply to #19 by rcf:

    “there is a severe lack of scientific evidence to show that inanimate matter can become living”

    Yes, that’s true, and we do not currently have an accepted theory on life’s origin; in my view good chance we never will. But what does that have to do with the fact of Evolution? The Theory of Evolution is not a Theory on the Origin of Life. Evolution does not require nor ask for atheism. Whether life on earth began via natural causes, a space rock, visiting alien, or the hand of god has absolutely no bearing on the observably confirmed facts of Evolution of life on Earth.

  19. In reply to #38 by rcf:

    It seems that a number of you believe that the theory of God…precludes any scientific investigation etc

    Reading more of your posts I think you’re unfairly being criticized as anti-science or rejecting evolution (even my earlier reply to you misread you). You make some valid points. I’m completely non-religious and of course reject any YEC argument as a disturbing embarrassment to mankind’s intellect at this point in human history.

    I am however troubled when considering ultimate origins – either way we bump up against some infinite regression I find unacceptable – whether it be God or an eternal universe – my brain can’t accept either being eternal and infinite, but how can it be any other way? I can’t get my head around either concept. Adding God as the initiator doesn’t help me – still have to deal w/ that infinite regression issue (how did God come into existence, for example).

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