Did Bill Nye Hurt Science?

238

It happened. Bill Nye faced off against Ken Ham to discuss evolution versus creation. Though this had been strongly advised against, it carried on as planned. Of course, it should have because the fallout of pulling out a debate would have been worse than the debate itself.


So what happened during the debate? Did it hurt evolution? Not at all. Nye presented a powerful and strong case for why the theory of evolution is the best explanation for the diversity of life on this planet. He presented understandable slides that show geological evidence for the age of the earth and explained how species diverged over billions of years.

 

Ham however presented one piece of evidence all night, the Bible. This was mistake number one seeing as how the Bible is a claim, not evidence. Ham also attempted to present two types of sciences, historical and observational. He also attempted to redefine the definition of evolution, claiming secular scientists hijacked the word. This presented a strong weakness in his case for creation because his case cannot be made using words already defined dictionaries around the world and without splitting science in two and creating his own fields of science.

 

All science is observational. Of course I cannot go back in time and observe with my own eyes as Lucy (Australopithecus afarensis) walked the earth and watch as each newborn slowly diverged into another species over millions of generation, but I can look at fossil records and DNA to put together a predictable and testable hypothesis, one that has been tested, and tells us how this happened. I can also use that same method to recreate this in the lab with fruit flies, plants, and many other species. I can observe how this works. Creationism cannot offer the same.

 

Ham’s own argument would set every murderer and rapist free who did not have an eye witness account, because all the evidence against them is useless because you were not there to see it. Ham missed this glaring obvious misstep in his argument.

 

Nye was easily able to break down Ham’s claims about the great flood and Noah’s ark, using such great evidence and observations that Ham had no ground left to stand on other than claiming he still had faith such a boat could exist, and then turned to the creationist handbook to discuss “kinds”, the very unscientific term used to describe species while avoiding any evolution. Ham offered up a beautiful fairy tale of there being “kinds” on the ark, not species, as we know them today. One has to wonder if creationist like Ham simply makes up creation stories on the fly.

 

What Ham did get however was close to one million people listening to him proselytize them about the Bible and his faith. This is what most people feared would come from this debate. It was a mistake to allow him this opportunity to ignite a fire under the creationist’s movement. This platform offered them legitimacy as a worldview worth debating.

 

Just look around Facebook and Twitter and you, predictably, will find creationists rejoicing in Ham’s victory. A fictitious victory yes, but the creationists now feel energized, they truly believe their argument won out and they will now take this fight further. They will use Ham to the fullest to market creation as a viable worldview in courts and in school board meetings around the globe.

 

Nye walked all over Ham. This was obvious. Ham deflected any question put to him to supply predictable hypotheses from the Bible. Nye also was unafraid to say, “we don’t know” and be proud of it. If science didn’t have an answer, he was honest and that helped win him the debate. Ham had an answer for everything, the Bible. Nye could not answer how matter came into existence, Ham could. Ham was wrong, and offered no evidence. He simply said God did it and moved on, again using nothing more than a claim as empirical evidence.

 

What really lost this whole debate for Ham was the question, “what would change your mind?”

 

Nye listed all the things that would change his mind, and it all revolved around evidence, and not far-fetched stuff. Honest scientific evidence that would unravel the timeline, and Nye would change his mind. Ham’s answer was in short, “nothing.”

 

How can you have an honest worldview and claim to care about evidence when nothing can change your mind? This showed that Ham was not interested in the truth at all. He cared about one thing and one thing only, his opinion. Ham shined here as the charlatan that he is.

 

So the aftermath, was this debate a mistake? Yes. Regardless of how well Nye did, and he did better than many predicted he would, Ham still got airtime. Ham still stood in front of more people than he can normally grab on his own and espoused his gospel and Ham still ignited his base. There is very little doubt donations will be pouring into Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum over the coming weeks and months.

 

Let’s not end on that note though. Nye presented a great case. The evidence was on his side and he answered questions with confidence and honesty. He understood the arguments that Ham came prepared with and was able to combat every creation claim put in front of him. For that, Nye deserves to be commended.

 

And maybe, just maybe, a handful of kids around the world were inspired by Nye and his presentation and will look at the world a little differently and question the beliefs that are being jammed down their throats. Maybe a child being raised in a creationist environment can watch this debate and become the next great scientist of their generation.

 

Dan Arel is a freelance writer, speaker and secular advocate residing in San Diego, CA. He writes on secular and humanist values on subjects such as secular parenting, church and state separation, education reform and secularism in public policy.  Follow Dan on Twitter @danarel.

Written By: Dan Arel
continue to source article at

238 COMMENTS

  1. The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Creationists rejoicing.”

    • In reply to #1 by Sheepdog:

      The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Creationists rejoicing.”

      Ah! – But that is not the story Hammy will put around for his gullibles!
      He does not “do” inconvenient facts or evidence!

      It’s a bit like 97% consensus of climate scientists. The 92% are just not TRRRrrrrooooooo YECy Xtians!

      • In reply to #16 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #1 by Sheepdog:

        The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Cr…

        The devoted Ham followers are not in play and were not Nye’s target audience: millions of less heavily indoctrinated believers who have heard about the evils of evolution but are curious nonetheless will watch this on YouTube over the next few months and will be inspired to learn more about evoution.

    • In reply to #1 by Sheepdog:

      The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Creationists rejoicing.”

      You don’t happen to have the URL for that in your history…either they removed it and moved on or I’m just missing it somehow….??

      • In reply to #28 by mickelodian:

        In reply to #1 by Sheepdog:

        The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Cr…

        I went looking for it again, and I could not find it either. It was in a section titled “News Briefs” in the main website, and the poll, with a voting switch was at the bottom of the article. Sorry I cannot be more help.

    • In reply to #1 by Sheepdog:

      The straw poll on “Christian Today” News briefs, hardly an atheist publication, as of 0945 AEST puts Nye at 92% “winning” and Ham at 8 %. These are obviously straw poll results, and time zones etc. will have a bearing on responses, but they are hardly consistent with “Creationists rejoicing.”

      a christian is not necessarily a creationist.

      • In reply to #55 by SavageTomas:

        a christian is not necessarily a creationist.

        Very true, in fact, globally, the vast majority of christians are not. This epidemic of silliness seems confined largely to the US, where I suspect it’s principal practitioners see it more a road to riches than a genuinely sustainable world view. I also suspect that many christians regard the YEC’s as a serious threat, by virtue of the absurdity of their beliefs, to the ultimate societal acceptance of religion in general.

      • In reply to #55 by SavageTomas:

        a christian is not necessarily a creationist.

        Well not a Young Earth Creationist anyway.

        Some Christians who have posted here have said that they find Young Earth fundamentalists an embarrassment to their Christianity. The present day church of England and the Roman Catholic Church are certainly not Young Earth.

  2. Clearly Nye won the debate because one could ride a coach and horses through Ken Ham’s arguments. Nye was not particularly impressive though, and he even made a few basic errors himself, which rather put his title, “The Science Man”, in question. Fred Hoyle did coin the phrase, “The Big Bang”, but he opposed the idea as he was a proponent of the Steady State model. That’s a pretty big error, akin to saying that Einstein was a firm supporter of quantum uncertainty.

    • In reply to #2 by MarkJordan61:

      Fred Hoyle did coin the phrase, “The Big Bang”, but he opposed the idea as he was a proponent of the Steady State model. That’s a pretty big error

      The way it came out, as he hurried through the point, suggests that he simply mis-read his script. I expect he made quite a few minor errors and would slap himself on the head and say, ‘Drat !’ if they were pointed out. I noticed, for example, the odd-looking name ‘Quétele’ go up on the screen during his presentation. Checking Wiki, it turns out that this is Adolphe Quetelet (also spelled Quételet) Missing out the final ‘t’ is a minor mistake. Nye’s presentation was also garbled in places, overfull of information and could have been have been better constructed. Still, it was a powerful effort, both in terms of content and the way he put it across, reflecting his superior media skills and ability to communicate with the general public.

  3. I noticed the YT stream had well over 500K viewers at one point. If they followed the general population, and I have no reason to think that they did, that would mean lots of Christians saw it, and that is good.

  4. The creationists may be energized, as you say, but I would say that many pro-science folks are energized as well, my self included. Keep in mind, the viewers had to listen to Ken Ham sermonize, but they had to hear Bill Nye’s reason as well. Even though creationism and science are not equals, Bill Nye’s participation in the debate may be the only way some people ever hear the “other side” without it being filtered through creationist authorities.

  5. Nye rather left himself open to egg on face for relying so heavily on such questionable evidence as ancient trees (particularly the Swedish one which is an inferred collection of clones) and ice layers. Though counting rings or layers is conceptually clear and immediately accessible to the interested listener – which is why I think he overwhelmingly ‘won’ – but the devil is in the detail. As I understand the state of the science it gets so hard to find clear unambiguous data beyond a few hundred years because the distinctions are so squashed , or one has to construct a time line from multiple partial sources, that the evidence is too open to the ‘confirmation bias’ of the observer.
    Even more potentially fatal would be the finding of a “rabbit in the Cambrian”. Nye was so emphatic that out of sequence did not exist- repeating and emphasizing this as if it was a crutail plank of evolution – that it risks falsifying the whole of evolution if a single out of place fossil is found. I note that Ham on his website refers to “conifer pollen in the Precambrian”. I understand there have been many such finds.
    Anyway I do wish that Nye had been more candid about the problem of observer bias in science (which is what I take as the thrust of Ham,s argument). And I wish that the authority of the bible was less thumped by Ham . He did well to show that good and useful science could be done by creationists like the MRI man but he rather let Nye off the hook by not pointing to the distortions to science and knowledge that ideologues of any stripe , religious or secular, can impose . I,m thinking of the crusades and inquisition vs Stalin and eugenics tyrants.
    So refreshing anyway to at least have such a burning topic (million(s) of viewers brought out of the closet!
    Best regards, Frank

    • In reply to #6 by frank!:

      Nye was so emphatic that out of sequence did not exist- repeating and emphasizing this as if it was a crutail plank of evolution – that it risks falsifying the whole of evolution if a single out of place fossil is found.

      Why does this bother you? Nye gave an example lacking in creationism: falsification.

      Mike

  6. @OP “So the aftermath, was this debate a mistake? Yes. Regardless of how well Nye did, and he did better than many predicted he would, Ham still got airtime. Ham still stood in front of more people than he can normally grab on his own and espoused his gospel and Ham still ignited his base.”

    • Respectfully I say: Nonsense. Not only that, but garden variety nonsense.
    • The base that was “ignited,” as is true of most bases, periodically “ignites,” cools, “ignites,” etc, ad nauseum. The fluctuations come about due to meaningful occurrences that irritate, statements by either side, portrait-bearing tortillas, the flapping of butterfly wings…
    • Anyone that was primed for ignition by Ham will be no more in play in the long term than they would have been otherwise. The only negative is that the hardest core has now seen another approach to set synthetic and silly barriers against. And even this can’t be blamed on Nye… the upper echelons spend virtually ALL their time combing every possible nook and cranny of media for a new target to attack. And they always will. The only cure for that is to put everyone and everything that bears down (even lightly) from the side of science in an enormous lead box. Until suffocation ensues.
    • What Bill Nye believed was that non-engagement is silly. What he MAY have believed is that certain forms of engagement are silly, a view with which I agree. Less importantly, what I believe is that some people are more suited to effective engagement than others.
    • One thing he did accomplish by the nature of his approach, persona, and unique brand of openness (which was altogether original and previously unseen by me in any form) was, at least in the science-oriented and/or atheist communities, some small but meaningful change in the understanding of how these things can be effectively approached (some of this is in evidence on Pharyngula, excuse my saying).
    • If the criteria for engagement include “the enemy didn’t notice” and “it caused all clergy, everywhere to abdicate,” then I think we’ve prototyped the previously mentioned lead box, abandoned the misled, and declared ourselves as befuddled as the ideologies we strain against.
  7. “kinds”, the very unscientific term used to describe species while avoiding any evolution. Ham offered up a beautiful fairy tale of there being “kinds” on the ark, not species, as we know them today. One has to wonder if creationist like Ham simply makes up creation stories on the fly.

    Yes this kind thing is ridiculous. So we accept evolution through natural selection but impose an invisible barrier to stop it shifting the genes from its kind. Please Ken, explain to me the mechanism by which an set of genes know they should stop evolving?

  8. Such debates are always a mistake. Because one cannot win against the universal argument: god. “God did it this way.”, “God meant it to be this way.”, “It appears this way because God makes us think so.” Smack’erwidadick, smack’erwidadick.

    I don’t understand, nevertheless, why Nye was not “attacking” with the same arguments Ham used.

    “Were you there?” As in: were you there all those billions of years ago when Earth started forming?
    Was he (Ham) there when the bible was being written? Was he there when god told, whoever it was that he told, to write (and what to write in) the bible? Was he there when those scribes transcribed it countless times, making sure that they did it accurately? Was he there when translators did the translating making sure that they translated accurately? Was he there when Noah allegedly built the ark? Was he there when all those “kinds” of animals boarded the ark? Was he there when god told the “lower” creatures” not to swim up the layers among “higher” creatures during the settling of the flood? He wasn’t? Then he should shut the fsck up!

    If god created everything, did he(it?) create him(it)self? If that’s so, out of what did the creation happen? Who/what innitiated it? If not, who/what created it/him? That never came up during the discussion.

  9. I disagree, and think an interpretation of this debate as a positive thing for Hamm is a misguided devotion to the maxim that “all publicity is good publicity.” Hamm is such low-hanging fruit. If these are the kinds of leaders the creationist/intelligent design community wants to put forward, I have no doubt the movement will die an quiet, uncharismatic death.

  10. So the aftermath, was this debate a mistake? Yes. Regardless of how well Nye did, and he did better than many predicted he would, Ham still got airtime. Ham still stood in front of more people than he can normally grab on his own and espoused his gospel and Ham still ignited his base.

    I disagree. People tuned in didn’t hear any new bible stories or revelations and I strongly doubt any fence-sitters were swayed by Ham’s “arguments”.

    Creationism is a very real and a very widespread belief and it needs to be adressed and countered when possible. Ignoring it will not accomplish anything.

    Nye deserves praise for his willingness to reach out to those mislead by ignorant ideas, and honestly I find it a bit short-sighted to refuse to debate creationists on principle. Nye did a great job and maybe some people could learn a thing or two from him regarding presentation and how to keep your cool when facts are being misrepresented.

    Well done, Nye, and thanks for joining the fight.

  11. My guess is that you will see a strong backlash from moderate Christians against Ham. They are normally quiet with regard to such fundamentalists, but I doubt they will appreciate Ham becoming the poster-boy for Christian views and this will force them to add their voice to the debate, which can only be good for reason and the battle against Creationist’s attempts to subvert science education. By giving Ham the publicity he craves, it will expose him as the fraud he is.

    • In reply to #18 by raymelcornelius:

      @scottburdick, This has already begun in a small way. Pat Robertson spoke out against Hamm’s appearance in the debate, saying it would cause just the kind of damage you predict.
      That is funny . Every time Robertson says something it is usualy idiotic,mean spirited and nasty so his criticism of Hamm is hypocritical but par for the course

  12. I was personally disappointed that Nye didn’t jump on Ham’s admission that he’s a ‘top down’ scientist, seeking only to validate his religious preconceptions. I would love to have heard Nye line up a fictitious panel of non-christian creationists (i.e. Hindus, Zoroastrians, Sikhs, Bhuddists, Scientologists…) and how they could all take Ham’s ‘scientific’ approach and arrive at very different explanations (e.g. the reason there is no observable evidence of the lotus plant that grew from Vishnu’s navel is because…). I think putting Ham’s view and methods alongside equivalent versions from different cultures – and demonstrating how any creation myth can be misrepresented in this way – would have been a useful consciousness-raiser. Furthermore, it would have highlighted the need for the impartial, ‘bottom-up’, scientist to remain distracted by the creationist noise, and make sense of the evidence in its entirety – wherever that leads them. Of course Bobby Henderson’s “The Gospel of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” illustrates this point perfectly.

  13. Some fossilized questions for a deeper debate, for instance: is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will past human beings and the rest of living beings become something different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a flesh brain and its limited words, axioms and dogmas? Does the whole of life fit inside a bone box? Indeed, will science add indefinitely without understanding completely, is there an infinite pool of knowledge and ignorance waiting for us? Otherwise, will religions use the word God forever and ever, as if it were a death thing, a repetitive thing that is part of human discussions? And, in order to speak about God, are they using his limited brain or do they use unknown instruments? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in http://goo.gl/rfVqw6 Just another suggestion in order to freethink for a while

  14. I was a little concerned about the debate, but Bill Nye over-fulfilled all of my expectations.We couldn’t be happier with anyone else but Bill Nye. People like Ham tend to kill the nerve of everyone discussing them. It needed someone as polite and equipped with the right stance like Bill Neye! Creationists will always manage to step into th light of the public. if only through school boards. They have to be debated, as long as the last person has understood that it is nonsense what they claim. So there is not really a chance not to debate the Ken Hams of the world. Mr. Nye answered all the possible questions with what is the most important thing – real honesty. Well done Mr. Nye!

  15. I was a little concerned about the debate, but Bill Nye over-fulfilled all of my expectations.We couldn’t be happier with anyone else but Bill Nye. People like Ham tend to kill the nerve of everyone discussing them. It needed someone as polite and equipped with the right stance like Bill Neye! Creationists will always manage to step into th light of the public. if only through school boards. They have to be debated, as long as the last person has understood that it is nonsense what they claim. So there is not really a chance not to debate the Ken Hams of the world. Mr. Nye answered all the possible questions with what is the most important thing – real honesty. Well done Mr. Nye!

    • In reply to #22 by pan.cogito:

      I think covering this sideshow only encourages stupidity on all sides.

      There is actually an authentic dialogue between science and religion instead of the Nye-Ham spam:

      http://cosmostheinlost.com/2013/09/30/top-10-list-turned-supernova-science-religion/

      @link – Don’t let yourself be sandwiched between Ken Ham and Bill Nye. Their debate was a circus sideshow rather than a real debate about where the dialogue between science and religion stands.

      It seems you have decided to try to match Ham’s stupidity on your link which is a flea on the Nye-Ham debate – It has reviews of books featuring a postmodernist take on cosmology, “New Proofs for the Existence of God”, supposedly backed by physics, and another rejecting “fundamentalist anti-evolutionism” along with “anti-Christian scientism” .

      It sounds like a whole load of postmodernist, accomodationist pseudo science, with the odd pope-quote thrown in!

  16. Dear Dan Arel,

    I have always held a mild level of skepticism towards Richard Dawkins’ policy of denying creationists the “oxygen of respectability” granted by sharing a public debate platform with them in the context of scientific merit. The results of this debate have increased my skepticism to a point where I think the policy is a mistake in that it’s no longer applicable.

    If the Christian Today poll placing Bill Nye at 92% victorious is accurate (i.e. involves no foul play) and accounts for a substantial number of Christian voters, then I think it’s safe to assume we have a critical mass of support for evolution such that granting these Christian fundamentalists the oxygen of their craved airtime will result in their choking on it.

    I think Bill Nye’s wisest and most effective tactic in this debate was passionately and patriotically calling out to people in the audience that they’re needed to help solve problems and innovate, all for the sake of the US economy and its competitive edge in the global markets. This was the equivalent of a call to war, one fought with ideas as opposed to artillery. Americans have historically met such calls with ferocious response and steadfast dedication. And I suspect Bill Nye’s appeal to patriotism in the name of science will be met with similar reactions, at least to some measurable extent.

    When I stood back and looked at the debate contenders, I witnessed a stark contrast:

    I saw, on one side, a man who was excited about science, a man who described scientific ideas, processes, and findings with crystal clear and concise language. His information was fresh and lively insofar as it was educational and thought-provoking. On the other side, I saw a man drably reading from an ancient, translated book that’s news to no one.

    When Ken Ham responded to the challenge of accounting for billions of stars in light of a young universe, he slid into a sermon-like deliverance and clumsily described God as infinite no less than 3 or 4 times in a single sentence, only to end by claiming the stars solely as God’s means to impress His Glory upon us. He essentially read, nearly verbatim, from a book that can’t hope to offer new insight or new inspiration from a public stage.

    I’m skeptical of the authenticity of this message, but consider the following Tweet concerning a comment by a young girl in response to watching the event:

    “It’s not fair because the stupid guy gets to use his imagination and Bill Nye has to use facts.”

    If a child is capable of making this key observation, then I submit we are entirely wrong in that these debates will necessarily do more harm than good. This isn’t to say such debates shouldn’t be handled with extreme care, caution, and even respect.

    I urge respect because, at the end of the day, these Christian fundamentalists are people who harbor emotions, hopes, dreams, and desires as we all do. Forgiving some obvious and laughable exceptions, they’re clever. And they’re passionate about their literal interpretations of scripture and the reality-clashing ideas they derive from them.

    This is precisely why Bill Nye’s strategy of including them as necessary participants on the frontier of discovery was so well-placed and well-received, as I believe it was.

    Your first article expressed impending doom at the prospect of Bill Nye debating Ken Ham on creationism’s scientific viability. I was inclined to agree with it.

    Your second article, written after Bill Nye’s defying landslide victory, still clings to the now-questionable expectation that Ken Ham’s airtime was a service to his organization and its followers. Yet all indications, as far as I can see, are revealing this airtime to have been a profound disservice to AIG and its constituents.

    The entire challenge of roping Christian fundamentalists back into reality is predicated on the practically impossible mission of inviting human minds to admit they’re wrong about deeply held beliefs.

    But what’s the point if we can’t do this ourselves?

    I think it’s time we reevaluate our strategy for solving the evolution problem here in the US.

    To be certain, the other side is reevaluating their own strategy in the wake of this defeat.

    Unless we engage them head on, they’ll be a thorn in our side for years to come.

    Cheers,

    Michael Rohde, GED

    P.S. Can we please have Neil deGrasse Tyson up next? His jokes won’t fall flat.

  17. Mr. Ham say that god inspired the writers of the bible to send forth his truth – truth that conflicts with what we observe around us.
    How can you rule out Bill Nye as not speaking for god – right now, in the modern world, when his story is in perfect harmony with the observable universe?

  18. Like many other commenters, I believe that Bill Nye did an excellent job – I did notice that the real debate was not on creationism, but on whether we can know anything at all. Ham said we can only know and trust God’s Word. Nye said we can learn nature’s rules by asking nature. Only one of these is science.

  19. A goldon opportunnity was missed and we should take this into account the next time. There will be a next time bacause scientsts are peple, they have ego’s they need money to live…and eventually someone will give in to pressure and debate one of these loons again…

    So heres the opportunnity….

    The next time its announced that a debate will take place those of us lucky enough to retain training in specific fields should be stationed online in very large numbers (tens of thousands minimum) and every creationist that winds up online debating well meaning ut untrained people should be interjected with….

    Before hand a simple introduction should be circulated and a webpage to confirm the credentials of the interjector…. and that persons job is to confirm the validity of the science supporting whatever field of study the creationist is uneducated about. The tone unadvesarial and educational and armed with every tool in the box to demonstrate to the creationist where they are going wrong. Specific priorities are the ID’rs and the moderates and the ‘I don’t know which is right’ folks becasue if we leave the ‘evolution is just a thery’ and ‘moneys don’t give birth to dogs’ folks out there the agressive anti-theists will do what they do best which is to insult them into the ground with sarcasm and comedy to the applause of the crowd….

    Had we done that this time then of the millions of creationists going wild on the internet every one of them would be intercepted in mid argument with “Hi, my name is Dr. [Insert Name] and I’m currently lecturing at [insert uni] / Studing this very subject at [insert reseach facility]…. I can help you understand this phenomena and I’ll try hardf to ensure I put everything in terms you will understand. My RDFS confirmation number is http://www.website/confirmation/ and you can confirm I’m an authority by entering the code $%RTRFC into that page. How can I help you?

    If we had 10k folks that signed up for that we’d now have after one day 200k or more creationists that would have actaully been given accurate information by aqualified professional…and you can bet they would tell their friends… they are in awe of science and the fact that Ham had to go over the paltry few creationists that are notable (probably close to the entire list) to try make it look like its 50:50 would be obliterated overnight.

    We missed that opportunnity and science is at war…. we need to mobilise and actaully take this battle to the enemy and remove their main waeponry….their audience.

  20. I’m really getting sick of this ‘never debate creationist’ stuff. No only because I disagree with it, not only does it make scientist look afraid, snotty arrogant, but it smacks of the totalitarian impulse ‘ we know who should speak and who they should speak to’. Are we to have an orthodoxy, and declare others as heretics?

    Bill whipped the floor with this guy. But Hamm has a right to speak and I have a right to hear him! Who are you to decide who desires oxygen? WWHD?

  21. I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

    I felt neither man ‘won’ as such, but I put this largely down to the time constraints making it impossible for Nye or Ham to provide detailed responses to specific challenges that each posed to the other. I’m sure that both men would have said more if time had allowed. If there had been a vote at the end to select a winner, I’m not convinced that would have settled the matter, either, as I understand that the majority of tickets were snapped up by Ham’s supporters as soon as they became available, although I don’t know the figures. There was no rigging with ticket allocation, however.

    Those of you who recognise my name will understand that Ham said many things I agree with and, of course, Nye said many things other commentators on this discussion would agree with.

    I would add that Ham does not make stories up on the fly, as this OP so dismissively puts it. All he said is consistent with articles on his website and with the Bible, neither of which were made up on the spot on Tuesday evening.

    I also find it ironic that the OP is proud that Nye said he didn’t know answers to a couple of the questions, but when referring to Ham’s answers, Dan Arel asserts that Ham is wrong. Logically, if Nye doesn’t know the answer to a given question, how can you dismiss the answer that someone else provides? Unless, your worldview (that Ham correctly explained) means that you will not accept any response from a creationist?

    Nye’s reference to one ship that sank as being evidence that Noah could not have built the ark is based on an evolutionary assumption that early man did not have the requisite knowledge or technology. Disbelieve the biblical account if you wish, but Nye’s example was not a good one. If I recall, Ham did respond by saying how the ark could have been constructed to avoid the hull twisting.

    With regards to the idea in the OP of ‘kinds’ being an unscientific term to define the various life forms, I will point out that just because we don’t use this term today, it doesn’t mean that it’s not an accurate description of the different types of creatures. A horse is a horse, and it’s not like a bird or a fish. You can’t deny that. Therefore, the term ‘kind’ may not be how we define creatures today (and I call them ‘creatures’ deliberately!), it clearly highlights the differences between this type of animal an that type of animal. (I realise I’m using the equally unsceintific term ‘type’, but I defy anyone to say they don’t know what I mean!)

    There is a book out there that gives answers to these matters . . . .

    Have a great day.

    • In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

      Therefore, the term ‘kind’ may not be how we define creatures today (and I call them ‘creatures’ deliberately!), it clearly highlights the differences between this type of animal an that type of animal. (I realise I’m using the equally unsceintific term ‘type’, but I defy anyone to say they don’t know what I mean!)

      Unless you mean species, I have no clue what “kind” is supposed to describe in your terminology. Btw, what’s the difference between an animal and a creature according to you?

      • In reply to #32 by DHudson:

        In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:
        Unless you mean species, I have no clue what “kind” is supposed to describe. . .

        The term ‘kind’ is not teh same as species. You have different species, but they are clearly of the same kind. For example, take Gulls. There are different species of Gull, but they are clearly the same kind of creature.

        Regarding my interjection that I refer to animals as creatures, it is merely an etymological distinction. My peferred use of the word creature clearly relates their having been created. (I suppose one could say that an animal is animated)

        • In reply to #37 by Lonevoice:

          The term ‘kind’ is not teh same as species. You have different species, but they are clearly of the same kind. For example, take Gulls. There are different species of Gull, but they are clearly the same kind of creature.

          Then I have no clue what you mean by kind, and I find it far from obvious what it is you are trying to describe by using that word.

          Regarding my interjection that I refer to animals as creatures, it is merely an etymological distinction. My peferred use of the word creature clearly relates their having been created. (I suppose one could say that an animal is animated)

          Isn’t everything created according to you?

          • In reply to #38 by DHudson:

            In reply to #37 by Lonevoice:
            Then I have no clue what you mean by kind, and I find it far from obvious what it is you are trying to describe by using that word. Isn’t everything created according to you?

            ‘Kinds’ approximate to the Family level in the classification scale. All horse kinds are clearly kinds of horse (including Zebras) and are obviously not sheep; all dog kinds are kinds of dogs (including domestic dogs, foxes and wolves) and are all evidently not cats.

            With regard to everything being created? Yes. By referring to animals as creatures, I made no distinction between things that were created and things that were not.

          • In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            ‘Kinds’ approximate to the Family level in the classification scale. All horse kinds are clearly kinds of horse (including Zebras) and are obviously not sheep; all dog kinds are kinds of dogs (including domestic dogs, foxes and wolves) and are all evidently not cats.

            Ah , I see. Well, that wasn’t obvious to me at least, and I’m tempted to ask how you approximate your kinds?

            With regard to everything being created? Yes. By referring to animals as creatures, I made no distinction between things that were created and things that were not.

            You referred to animals as being animated ( whatever you meant by that ) hence the question. But I fear we’re heading into somewhat arbitrary definition territory, so goodspeed.;-)

          • In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #38 by DHudson:

            In reply to #37 by Lonevoice:
            Then I have no clue what you mean by kind, and I find it far from obvious what it is you are trying to describe by using that word. Isn’t everything created according to you?

            ‘Kinds’ approximate to the Family level in the classification sca…

            How about an exact definition of “kind” rather than a approximate one? If you want to fight the “creation is science” corner you should be able to supply a scientific definition of “kind”. I would like to know what experiments you would perform if presented with two different animals to decide if they were the same or different “kinds”. Saying a horse and zebra are the clearly the same, but horses and sheep are not, means that you have some criteria. Do these criteria make tuna and dolphins the same “kind”? How about Thylacines and dogs?

          • In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            Saying a horse and zebra are the clearly the same, but horses and sheep are not, means that you have some criteria.

            Umm. Am I missing something here? Can you not tell the difference between a horse and a sheep without someone performing experiments on them?

            Anyway, it is obvious by just looking that any creature reproduces after its ‘kind’. While Nye said on Tuesday that creationists can’t make predictions because they deny evolution, I’m going to venture to make a prediction now: A sheep will never give birth to a horse.

            You think I’m being absurd? Remember that it’s the creationist view that sees these creatures as separate from each other, because that’s what happens in the observable world. It’s a statement of belief that all creatures had a common ancestor, and hence the lines become blurred.

          • In reply to #48 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            Saying a horse and zebra are the clearly the same, but horses and sheep are not, means that you have some criteria.

            Umm. Am I missing something here? Can you not tell the difference between a horse and a sheep without someone p…

            An experiment could be pulling 100 random people off the street and asking them if two animals are the same “kind” or not. How many have to say “same” to define them as the same “kind” – 90, 80, 60 …? So, is a tuna and a dolphin the same “kind”. What about Thylacines and dogs?

            Evolution also predicts a sheep will never give birth to a horse, so that prediction can’t differentiate between creation and evolution. If you don’t understand that you don’t understand evolution even at a very basic level.

          • In reply to #49 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #48 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            Saying a horse and zebra are the clearly the same, but horses and sheep are not, means that you have some criteria.

            Umm. Am I missing something here? Can you not tell the difference between a hors…

            Please don’t do your survey of 100 here in the US. I know these people………

          • In reply to #48 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            Saying a horse and zebra are the clearly the same, but horses and sheep are not, means that you have some criteria.

            Horse aren’t sharks or coconuts either but that is hardly a system of classification.

            You think I’m being absurd?

            Of course you are being absurd – The whole system of classification is based on how closely species are related.

            ie. HOW RECENTLY THEY SHARED A COMMON ANCESTOR.

            Remember that it’s the creationist view that sees these creatures as separate from each other,

            Only if you study them in creationist fairy tale books, rather than in the real world.

            because that’s what happens in the observable world.

            No it isn’t! That is only the sloppy observation of those who do no more than give the odd unthinking glance or those who contrive contorted nonsense to meet their biblical agendas. The real world has biologists studying real animals , not mythologists studying fairy tales.

            It’s a statement of belief that all creatures had a common ancestor, and hence the lines become blurred.

            The common ancestors are proved by genetics beyond doubt. Only those in science-denial and the ignorant say otherwise.

            Of course the lines are blurred. That’s how we get species, subspecies, forms, stud-books, bloodlines, and hybrids, – because evolution is an on-going process.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equidae

            Classifying the relationships of genera and species of horses is NOT the simplistic telling a horse from a sheep!

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equus-%28genus%29

          • In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:
            (In reply to #45 by Lonevoice)

            Do these criteria make tuna and dolphins the same “kind”? How about Thylacines and dogs?

            How about birds and bats? Leviticus sayeth:

            11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls ; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

            11:14 And the vulture, and the kite after his kind;

            11:15 Every raven after his kind;

            11:16 And the owl, and the night hawk, and the cuckow, and the hawk after his kind,

            11:17 And the little owl, and the cormorant, and the great owl,

            11:18 And the swan, and the pelican, and the gier eagle,

            11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind, and the lapwing, and the bat.

            Steve

          • In reply to #143 by Agrajag:

            In reply to #47 by God fearing Atheist:
            (In reply to #45 by Lonevoice)

            Do these criteria make tuna and dolphins the same “kind”? How about Thylacines and dogs?

            How about birds and bats? Leviticus sayeth:

            11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls ; they shall not…

            Kinda makes a mockery of Ham’s ‘kinds’.

          • “All horse kinds are clearly kinds of horse (including Zebras)”

            Er clearly not as Horses have 64 or 66 chromosomes whereas Zebras have 32, 44 or 46 and can only interbreed with great difficulty and rarely produce fertile offspring. If you think that horse and zebras are the same ‘kind’ just because they look similar, then are humans (46 chromosomes) the same ‘kind’ as Chimps/apes/gorillas (48), I guess you would say not.

            This is the where the difficulty lies in not clearly defining the word ‘kind’. When the definition is so vague you could call humans and mice the same ‘mammal kind’. The creationist use of the word ‘kind’ is so vague and simplistic it is a confusing and thus useless term.

            In reply to #45 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #38 by DHudson:

            In reply to #37 by Lonevoice:
            Then I have no clue what you mean by kind, and I find it far from obvious what it is you are trying to describe by using that word. Isn’t everything created according to you?

            ‘Kinds’ approximate to the Family level in the classification sca…

        • In reply to #37 by Lonevoice:

          In reply to #32 by DHudson:

          In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:
          Unless you mean species, I have no clue what “kind” is supposed to describe. . .

          The term ‘kind’ is not teh same as species. You have different species, but they are clearly of the same kind. For example, take Gulls. There are different spe…

          But you agree that the wolf ‘kind’ has become the Doberman, Chihuahua, bulldog ‘kind’? That is one ‘kind’ becoming another ‘kind’….in other words……evolution.

          • *In reply to #132 by adey5:

            But you agree that the wolf ‘kind’ has become the Doberman, Chihuahua, bulldog ‘kind’? That is one ‘kind’ becoming another ‘kind’….in other words……evolution.

            I think the YECs position is that a pair of wolves were taken on the ark and from these the current range of canines developed through a process of change. If they did not adopt this position it would be difficult to explain away the Russian experiment in which the silver fox developed dog-like characteristics after a progression of generations in which offspring were selected for their tame response to their human handlers. It all becomes very laboured when evidence is manipulated to fit in with their conclusions.

          • I hear you, but the gist of my message was that in a discussion with a YEC (who do accept that dogs are descendants of wolves) that this is an example of one ‘kind’ (wolf) turning into another ‘kind’ (Chihuahua). Since their definition of ‘kind’ is so vague, it can be applied in this case and refutes their own claim that one ‘kind’ cannot turn into another ‘kind’. Surely a creationist would not call a Pekinese the same ‘kind” as a wolf.

            In reply to #136 by Nitya:

            *In reply to #132 by adey5:

            But you agree that the wolf ‘kind’ has become the Doberman, Chihuahua, bulldog ‘kind’? That is one ‘kind’ becoming another ‘kind’….in other words……evolution.

            I think the YECs position is that a pair of wolves were taken on the ark and from these the current range…

    • In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:
      >

      Nye’s reference to one ship that sank as being evidence that Noah could not have built the ark is based on an evolutionary assumption that early man did not have the requisite knowledge or technology. Disbelieve the biblical account if you wish, but Nye’s example was not a good one. If I recall, Ham did respond by saying how the ark could have been constructed to avoid the hull twisting.

      http://beforeitsnews.com/prophecy/2014/01/controversial-3700-year-old-sumerian-clay-tablet-discovered-claims-noahs-ark-was-round-video-and-pics-2458292.html

      Of course if you believe the historical account (above) supported by archaeological evidence, it did not have a hull to twist and the flood was a local event!

      With regards to the idea in the OP of ‘kinds’ being an unscientific term to define the various life forms, I will point out that just because we don’t use this term today, it doesn’t mean that it’s not an accurate description of the different types of creatures.

      Nobody used the term to pretend it was a scientific classification before YEC fiction invented the notion.

      A horse is a horse, and it’s not like a bird or a fish. You can’t deny that. Therefore, the term ‘kind’ may not be how we define creatures today (and I call them ‘creatures’ deliberately!), it clearly highlights the differences between this type of animal an that type of animal. (I realise I’m using the equally unsceintific term ‘type’, but I defy anyone to say they don’t know what I mean!)

      There were already competent classifications in place before this YEC nonsense was fairly recently invented by elaborating on the OT myth.

      It can be seen to be incompetent and simplistic in the extreme, when compared with the modern and with the older systems of classification which pre-dated it.

      http://iczn.org/

      International Code of Zoological Nomenclature

      • In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:
        Nobody used the term to pretend it was a scientific classification before YEC fiction invented the notion

        The use of the word ‘kind’ is not a recent YEC notion: it is the word used in the Bible itself. I agree that recent YECs have presented this as a term of classification, but I would say again that it need not be dismissed simply because we use differently terminology.

        On the round ark issue, there are plenty of flaws with the account, and I would point you to Ken Ham’s website for their take on this, as there’s more detail than I can remember to post here. Surely a round ark would be so unstable as to make all the passengers sick in the tumult of the churning oceans.

        The bottom line, for me, however, is that a local flood is unlikely to ever be deep enough to cover the mountains and if it wasn’t global, then the whole purpose of the story (to rescue all the kinds of creatures) would be negated, as they could simply go somewhere else to escape the deluge. The fact that there are flood accounts/legends in many many cultures around the world suggests that there was such an event and the various versions of it are merely signs of cultural embellishment. There is no reason to conclude from this, however, that the biblical account is necessarily borrowed from these stories. It could be the other way around.

        Have a good day

        • In reply to #39 by Lonevoice:

          In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

          There is no reason to conclude from this, however, that the biblical account is necessarily borrowed from these stories. It could be the other way around.

          The Sumerian tablet being about a thousand years older, could be seen by some as evidence of the order of copying.

          As far as the round boat goes, – it was a scaled up version of round boats which were in regular use at that time.

          The bottom line, for me, however, is that a local flood is unlikely to ever be deep enough to cover the mountains

          There isn’t that much water on the planet! The water-cycle recycles water from oceans to rain and back down rivers to oceans.
          The inability to do science or arithmetic is a requirement for YEC belief in global floods and young planets.

          and if it wasn’t global, then the whole purpose of the story (to rescue all the kinds of creatures) would be negated, as they could simply go somewhere else to escape the deluge.

          Which is why there are diverse species all over the planet which have nothing to do with Gilgamesh, or Sumerian kings saving a few livestock from their farms.

          The fact that there are flood accounts/legends in many many cultures around the world suggests that there was such an event and the various versions of it are merely signs of cultural embellishment.

          There have been, and still are extensive local floods and tsunamis, which are big enough for some tribe or community to think THEIR whole world has been flooded.

          The sea-levels rose at the end of the last ice age and flooded coastal areas all over the world, so it is no surprise that there are lots of local stories of lost lands.

          http://worldoceanreview.com/en/wor-1/coasts/sea-level-rise/

          Since the end of the last ice age to the present day, sea level has risen by around 125 metres. This has natural as well as man-made causes. However, the human-induced greenhouse effect is intensifying this process. Its main effects are thermal expansion of water and melting of glaciers. This could result in the sea level rising by a further 5 metres within just 300 years.

        • In reply to #39 by Lonevoice:

          In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

          The use of the word ‘kind’ is not a recent YEC notion: it is the word used in the Bible itself. I agree that recent YECs have presented this as a term of classification, but I would say again that it need not be dismissed simply because we use differently terminology.

          The problem is, that once anyone gets past the sort of classification (horse, cow, sheep etc) in a kiddies colouring book, it is utterly nonsensical!

          • In reply to #51 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #39 by Lonevoice:

            Of course the lines are blurred. That’s how we get species, subspecies, forms, stud-books, bloodlines, and hybrids, – because evolution is an on-going process.

            This is an area Ham touched on in the debate: the term ‘evolution’. Creationists do not deny change, speciation, variation, adaptation etc. However, this mysterious ‘kind’ that I’ve been talking about is a barrier to one creature turning into another (for want of a better, more precise) expression, and therefore, to Darwinian evolution being the best explanation of the variety of life on earth. That’s all.

            Anyway. . . back to my colouring book!

            Regards,

          • In reply to #52 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #51 by Alan4discussion:

            This is an area Ham touched on in the debate: the term ‘evolution’. Creationists do not deny change, speciation, variation, adaptation etc.

            Of course they do. It’s just that their thinking is too disjointed to recognise it. Speciation IS one organism turning into a new related one. A sub-species is an organism which is part way to becoming a separate species. There are examples all over the planet. It’s just that creationists either don’t study them, or fit their “faith-blinkers” over their eyes before they look.

            They think that a “species” is a singular form. It is an interbreeding gene pool which is gradually changing as anyone who has done field biology should know.

            However, this mysterious ‘kind’ that I’ve been talking about is a barrier to one creature turning into another (for want of a better, more precise) expression, and therefore, to Darwinian evolution being the best explanation of the variety of life on earth.

            No such barrier exists. It is YEC mythology. With bacteria scientists can watch it happening in the lab.

            A genera is a group of species descended from a common ancestor.

        • In reply to #39 by Lonevoice:

          In reply to #34 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #31 by Lonevoice: Nobody used the term to pretend it was a scientific classification before YEC fiction invented the notion.

          The use of the word ‘kind’ is not a recent YEC notion: it is the word used in the Bible itself. I agree that recent YECs have presented this as a term of classification, but I would say again that it need not be dismissed simply because we use differently terminology.

          You really should study evidenced history, rather than the characteristic YEC make-up-what-feels-good-to-you (1941 – 2003) , “faith-thinking”!
          Scientific terminology has underlying meaning mapping reality.
          It is not just like the superficial YEC vague invented semantics or bronze-age beliefs, that do not work in practice – introduced as a pathetic dysfunctional rival to scientific cladistics and taxonomy from 1941 onwards – with increasing use of pseudo-science jargon to impress the uneducated.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baraminology
          >

          The word “baramin” was coined in 1941 by Frank Marsh. Marsh never clearly defined the word and used it interchangeably in his writings with the word “kind”, in reference to the phrase “after its kind” found repeatedly in Genesis.[1] Marsh’s interpretation of Genesis was that each kind or baramin had been directly created by God and that only members of the same kind could reproduce, with their offspring also being members of the same kind.[1]

          Marsh also originated “discontinuity systematics”, the idea that there are boundaries between different animals that cannot be crossed with the consequence that there would be discontinuities in the history of life and limits to common ancestry.[9]

          In 1990, Kurt Wise introduced baraminology as an adaptation of discontinuity systematics, particularly the concurrent work of Walter ReMine, that was more in keeping with young Earth creationism. Wise advocated using the Bible as a source of systematic data.[1] Barminology and its associated concepts have been criticised by scientists and creationists for lacking formal structure. Consequently, in 2003 Wise and other creationists proposed a refined baraminconcept in the hope of developing a broader creationist model of biology.[1]

          Alan Gishlick, reviewing the work of baraminologists in 2006, found it to be surprisingly rigorous and internally consistent but concluded that the methods did not work.

          An elaborate “castle in the air” of ill-defined delusional Biblical whimsicality.

    • In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

      I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

      Hi Lonevoice

      I liked your comment above for the way it was written. I too thought Ham did quite well and it is a mistake to think creationism will be blown away by a puff of rationalist thought. Answers in Genesis is quite comprehensive and well thought out and coherent. But, and it is a big but, atheists like me, plus most people working in paleontology, archeology, cosmology … you know the list, will say the whole creationist account is built on sand. To make it work, you have to be happy with the Jewish god story and that the Bible, as edited and translated through several thousand years is to be trusted as god’s word. Not, incidentally, as god being poetic, but god being factual.

      Then you have to start fitting in the evidence to back-up Genesis and Noah’s Ark and so on. I’ve picked up on Ham’s talk of “kinds” that went into the Ark. I like the story very much and can see how people could be taken up by it. According to Answer in Genesis, these kinds – ie 2 x cat kind, 2 x dog kind, 2 x horse kind – are all now extinct and what we see around us today are the evolved children of these originals. What that suggests to me is that there were no lions or tigers or leopards or domestic cats around in Noah’s day because there was presumably just one “cat-kind”. If this is true of all animal kind, how can we imagine how life was back 4000 years ago? Imagine a world where there is just one bird kind? What could it look like – how many of them did you have to kill to make a meal? If there was just one horse kind – how big was it? Could you ride it into battle or was it just good for entertaining the children?

      Maybe when the world was created god put all these same original kinds into the Garden of Eden and they evolved to produce all the cat variety, then Noah was able to take any two of the cat-kind, and after the flood, they all evolved again over the next 4000 years. Well, it’s not too convincing to me to say the least.

      Anyway, if you are a creationist, or a bible literalist but believe Genesis and Noah were metaphorical, please come back to defend your corner. I’d certainly be interested to hear a bit more from you.

      PS You may be able to answer my other question on the Flood. If this was god’s way to purge the earth of sin, why do we still have sin?

      • In reply to #36 by GPWC:

        In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

        I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

        Hi Lonevoice

        I liked your comment above for the way it was written. I too thought Ham did quite well and it is a mistake to think creationism will be blown away by a puff of rationalist thought. Answers in G…

        Thank you. I’m afraid I don’t have all the answers at my fingertips, so I would recommend you take a further look at the AIG article regarding the kinds. They will explain it far better than I can. I personally do not know – or pretend to know – whether there were varieties of cats (lions etc) that you have asked about. What I do know, however, is that creatures reproduce after their kinds and no different “kinds” come from any other kind. The example I gave in my previous post referred to sheep not giving rise to horses.

        As each generation reproduces, we all know that genetic information is passed on. As an example, let’s take the size of a dog and its mate. The next generation will have only the genetic information from those parents and will, in turn, pass on their own genes to their children, and so on. Therefore, there is actually less genetic information in the later generations, so all of the subsequent generations will have strong similarities to the earlier individuals in that genetic line. However, as populations separate and diverge, they do not retain all of the genetic information from all of their ancestors. So, taking the example of dogs, you end up with large dogs and small dogs. They look quite different from each other, but they are still dogs. There is something doggy about a dog that is instantly recognisable, even with the vast array of breeds/species that we have today. And they certainly could not be mistaken for a cat. Dog breeders use this knowledge to breed in or breed out certain desirable/undesirable traits.

        However, going back a few generations, there must have been enough genetic information in the DNA of the earlier individuals to be able to speciate (if that’s the right word) as the gene pool separates and generations diverge into different breeds/species. So where did ‘enough’ information come from for all these different dogs to come about? Well, I would say from the hand of a Creator. Others say it evolved, or, more accurately, they don’t know. We know DNA is information that gives instructions to each cell on how it should behave. We also know that information comes from an intelligent source. Yes, I accept that some may say that the Cs and Gs and Ts and As of the DNA string are just chemicals that evolved. However, they are not just chemicals: they combine in a certain order so as to produce a very complex communication system that tells cells how to build themselves. And that’s, as they say, pretty cool! Furthermore, since genetic information is reducing with each successive generation, things could not have evolved from slime to more complex genetic structures, as more information would be required for this to happen not less.

        On the matter of why there is still sin in the world if the flood of Noah’s times was sent to destroy sin, the account in the Book of Genesis suggests that there was a particular reason why God saw the sin of that day as so bad as to warrant such drastic action. It says that every thought in the hearts of men was only evil all the time. That might be hyperbole, or it might be literal. I personally suspect the latter, as sending a global flood wouldn’t be fair if sin wasn’t really that bad. That was for a particular time in a particular situation. However, Noah and his family were deemed ‘righteous’ in God’s sight and so he was commissioned to build the ark to save mankind and the animals. Now, given that the other part of Genesis that people on this site don’t accept, Adam and Eve and their disobedience to one command, the biblical line of thought teaches that all descendants of Adam have the resultant sin as an inherent part of their having come from his line. As Noah was from this line, he too had that sin-nature in him also. As we are therefore descendants of Noah, we too have this Adamic sin-nature in us, and the Bible then deals with this problem by saying that his son, Jesus, died in our place to pay the ultimate penalty for that so we could be acquitted if we have faith and trust in him. I’m sure people here will leap on me for saying this, but I hope I’ve managed to communicate something of the logic behind the message of the Bible. So the flood did not get rid of sin, as such, but it did bring a halt to the wickedness of that day. I hope this is clear, and your question was a theological one so I’ve tried to answer as best I can.

        Best regards,

        • In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

          Furthermore, since genetic information is reducing with each successive generation, things could not have evolved from slime to more complex genetic structures, as more information would be required for this to happen not less.

          It’s really not hard to find this kind of information. This took me four minutes

          How Does Evolution Cause the Increases in Genetic Information Required to go from Single-Celled Life to Complex Animals?

          This is accomplished through a process called Gene Duplication, which is believed to play a major role in Evolution. Because of a mistake during meiosis, an organism may end up with two copies of the same gene. After this happens, the usual mechanisms of point mutation and natural selection can evolve one of the copies into coding for something completely new, while retaining the original gene. To test how quickly gene duplication can occur, an experiment was performed on yeast in 1998. After only 450 generations, it was discovered that the “hexose transport” genes had duplicated several times.

          You really need to ask yourself “Why have scientists never considered this blindingly obvious criticism of evolution by natural selection”. A lot of scientists have thought very hard about this kind of stuff. They may be wrong. But they won’t be wrong in such a trivial way as this.

          Michael

        • In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

          What I do know, however, is that creatures reproduce after their kinds and no different “kinds” come from any other kind. The example I gave in my previous post referred to sheep not giving rise to horses.

          Nobody has said that sheep turned into horses or vice-a-versa. And Ken Hamm trumpeting that this did not happen does not mean that anyone ever really said it did. It is a classic straw man.

          But, using your own logic, we can maybe help a bit further in reducing the population on the ark, if we go back some steps further than sheep kind and horse kind and start thinking about Protungulatum kind (he was a little guy with teeth adapted a little for grinding,) and we can consider HIS kind, we no longer have to worry about sheep, horses or any of the other artiodactyla, or the perrissodactyla (odd and even toed ungulates, the groups which also include deer, pigs, cows etc)

          We can also leave out Hyraxes, Elephants, Rhinocerouses, (I can only imagine Noah’s relief at finding this out) Manatees, Aardvarks, and believe it or not, even whales. Whales after all must have presented Noah with a serious problem.

          Because, using your definition, these are all Protungulatum Kind, with as clear a genetic history of descent, albeit longer, than the wolf and the poodle.

          There, now, is that not helpful.

        • In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

          What I do know, however, is that creatures reproduce after their kinds and no different “kinds” come from any other kind.

          Hello Lonevoice. Before getting into your misunderstandings of biology following, I’ll just ask this: Explain how ‘you know’ this?

          The example I gave in my previous post referred to sheep not giving rise to horses.

          This shows a huge lack of comprehension of how natural selection works, just like people who say that humans don’t come from apes – no biologist says that, but they do have common ancestors that looked superficially a bit like apes. There is a basic difference between direct & common ancestors that you should learn about before making grade school level errors….

          As each generation reproduces, we all know that genetic information is passed on. As an example, let’s take the size of a dog and its mate. The next generation will have only the genetic information from those parents and will, in turn, pass on their own genes to their children, and so on. Therefore, there is actually less genetic information in the later generations, so all of the subsequent generations will have strong similarities to the earlier individuals in that genetic line.

          Please explain how “there is actually less genetic information in the later generations”? If I take 2 decks of cards, shuffle them, then split them in two & combine one half deck from each side, how did the information reduce?

          However, as populations separate and diverge, they do not retain all of the genetic information from all of their ancestors.

          Each individual organism contains a unique sampling of the gene pool spread among all living members of that species.

          So, taking the example of dogs, you end up with large dogs and small dogs. They look quite different from each other, but they are still dogs. There is something doggy about a dog that is instantly recognisable, even with the vast array of breeds/species that we have today.

          Dogs all belong to the same species, since they are biologically – if not mechanically – able to interbreed.

          And they certainly could not be mistaken for a cat.

          That’s a deep misundertanding of evolution, since you have to go back 55 million years to get to the common ancestor of dogs & cats….

          http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2535216/A-cross-panther-squirrel-55-million-year-old-fossil-reveals-shared-ancestor-cats-dogs.html

          However, going back a few generations, there must have been enough genetic information in the DNA of the earlier individuals to be able to speciate (if that’s the right word) as the gene pool separates and generations diverge into different breeds/species.

          Much confusion here, since individuals don’t speciate, gene pools do, over long periods of time, normally because of some uncrossable geographic separation of groups of the same species. The group that became separated into an unfamiliar environment typically undergoes more genetic evolution due to increased pressures from new circumstances.

          So where did ‘enough’ information come from for all these different dogs to come about?

          By human-directed selective breeding of dogd with different DNA alleles already present in the gene pool of the canine species….

          Well, I would say from the hand of a Creator. Others say it evolved, or, more accurately, they don’t know.

          You may say that there was a ‘creator’, but then you’re claiming to know something that you don’t know. There is so much data, evidence, processes & theory already available that evolution is considered a scientific FACT. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory

          We know DNA is information that gives instructions to each cell on how it should behave. We also know that information comes from an intelligent source.

          Please show your evidence that any biological information comes from any intelligent source? That’s claiming to know things nobody knows, or can prove with scientific evidence, or a process with a viable explanatory theory….

          Yes, I accept that some may say that the Cs, Gs,Ts & As of the DNA string are just chemicals that evolved. However, they are not just chemicals: they combine in a certain order so as to produce a very complex communication system that tells cells how to build themselves. And that’s, as they say, pretty cool! Furthermore, since genetic information is reducing with each successive generation, things could not have evolved from slime to more complex genetic structures, as more information would be required for this to happen not less.

          This is a very clear case of denial from personal incredulity due to ignorance – & believing creationist assertions that are not in any way connected with reality.

          The rest of your Post is just proselytising from your Wholly Babble, which has no standing here on a site reserved for Reason & Science, so I’m not going to stoop to criticising all the unsupportable nonsense contained in your unpalatable word salad…. Ptoowweeee.

          On the matter of why there is still sin in the world if the flood of Noah’s times was sent to destroy sin the account in the Book of Genesis suggests . . . .

          blah, blah, blah…. Mac.

        • In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

          In reply to #36 by GPWC:

          In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

          I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

          Hi again Lonevoice,

          Thanks for replying. As others have already answered your comment, I won’t take it any further, but just wanted to say, if nothing else, congratulations for keeping going so long in the face of overwhelming numbers. Hope you haven’t found the comments too harsh.

          I do want to suggest you watch this 3 minute video which comes from a new thread just posted on this site. Just look at the scenery and the mountains and the rocks and tell me they are just 6,000 (or whatever) years old.

          Geoff

          • In reply to #167 by GPWC:

            In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

            In reply to #36 by GPWC:

            In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

            watch this 3 minute video

            Will do. Thanks

    • In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

      I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

      I felt neither man ‘won’ as such, but I put this largely down to the time constraints making it impossible for Nye or Ham to provide detailed responses to specific challenges that each posed to the other. I’m sure that both men would have…

      Actually, a horse, a bird and a fish do have quite a bit in common. Wonder why that is the case….

    • In reply to #31 by Lonevoice:

      I watched the debate live – it started at midnight UK time.

      I felt neither man ‘won’ as such, but I put this largely down to the time constraints making it impossible for Nye or Ham to provide detailed responses to specific challenges that each posed to the other. I’m sure that both men would have…

      There is no logical problem with admitting that one does not know the answer to a problem and then rejecting the answer of another. If the problem is difficult enough, its likely that they’ll be numerous wrong answers put forward, all of which would need to be rejected. If we work at it, maybe we’ll come up with the right answer eventually; or at least the best answer that fits the available data. Ham argues, very simply, that his over-arching worldview is correct and, given that, all solutions must be consistent with it. This is to elevate confirmation bias to a scientific principle which it is assuredly not! A scientific theory must always be provisional as it is always open to refutation and, it is clear, understanding right now is incomplete.

    • In reply to #35 by Sheepdog:

      Ham did respond by saying how the ark could have been constructed to avoid the hull twisting

      Could you do me a favour and elaborate just how this was to be done? Thanks.

      What I want to know is how did that much wood get cut, processed and dried then transported to the build area? How did one person build that big of a boat? How did they know the “flood” was worldwide? And finally what did they do with all the poop? These are important questions,…..obviously.

      • In reply to #198 by alf1200:

        In reply to #35 by Sheepdog:

        Ham did respond by saying how the ark could have been constructed to avoid the hull twisting

        Could you do me a favour and elaborate just how this was to be done? Thanks.

        What I want to know is how did that much wood get cut, processed and dried then transported to the…

        While I get it that you are being ironic, it is worth answering, if only to illustrate the absurdities involved.
        For a start, it was “special” wood, gopher wood, that does not exist any more, that presumably and conveniently grew in quarter sawn and dried planks. Probably “gopher” is a mistranslation of a Hebrew word for Cypress, which still does exist, although not growing so conveniently. In all fairness to Noah, it is actually very good boatbuilding timber.

        Cutting, transporting (without camels, refer other topics,) milling and drying that volume of timber is a monumental tasks without power tools. Also, how was it paid for? Did Noah leave trail of bad debts, knowing the flood would wipe the slate clean. “The first turn of the screw pays all debts” is a mantra still heard in the marine industry, along with “No Cash, no splash.” It does not speak well of god’s business ethics.

        God also apparently told Noah to use pitch to caulk the ark “Within and Without.” A really bad idea, on the inside anyway, there is no point caulking the inside of a seam, just the outside is all that does any good, and it would have turned the whole thing into an appalling fire trap. Next, and some xtain may correct me on this, but I cannot find any reference to bulkheads in God’s not too detailed instructions. This almost guarantees in a wooden ship appalling wracking strains. Noah would have spent most of his time pumping, as the seams opened with the working of the ship. Could it have survived 400 days? It would have been touch and go even with no requirement for propulsion.

        These are just the first of many marine engineering errors associated with the ark, that length does not permit to be detailed. There is a paper in there for some first year naval architecture student wanting to waste his time.

        But, the big question, is why, when you look at what God apparently wanted to achieve, why a flood? It is not hard to come up with better, and much safer ways of doing what he/she wanted. There are so many things that can go wrong with a ship even now, shades of the Costa Concordia, that staking the whole thing on an enormous and amateur built boat, with all the obvious problems seems like a solution of last resort, and downright bloody reckless.

        • In reply to #203 by Sheepdog:

          Really enjoyed your comment.

          But now the question is, given that god had to go to all that trouble making things grow just right, instructing Noah in all the finer details of boat building etc, wouldn’t he have been better off providing the boat already made. And frankly, it makes the story easier to believe. But, of course, back in the old days, though gods could cause plagues, floods and burning bushes, they weren’t much more than humans plus or maybe humans triple plus with immortality thrown in. It took a long while for monotheism to build up their god’s superpowers to encompass everything – omnipotent and omniscient.

  22. One thing I feel everyone in the secular/skeptic community is overlooking is the fact that this debate was covered by all the respectable news agencies. I have seen positive reviews from NBC, CBS, CNN etc. etc. Bill Nye brought our message to the masses in grand style. He also showed the world what an ignoramus Ken Ham and his like truly are. This could and would not have happened if the debate had been between Ken and almost any of the excellent debaters in the secular/skeptic communities. Thank You Bill Nye for your passion for science and your awesome delivery of the message. Way to Go “Science Guy”

  23. I teach in a school in Malaysia. 3 students independently asked me if I had seen this debate. I had not heard of Bill Nye before, or the other guy. Those students were deeply moved in favour of science. Malaysia is a moderate Islamic country. Don’t underestimate the global reach of this debate.

    • In reply to #41 by TerryW:

      I teach in a school in Malaysia. 3 students independently asked me if I had seen this debate. I had not heard of Bill Nye before, or the other guy. Those students were deeply moved in favour of science. Malaysia is a moderate Islamic country. Don’t underestimate the global reach of this debate.

      I have worked in the Philippines, an hysterically catholic country. During my time there I employed a young Philippino high school science teacher once a week to help me learn the language. While his unshakeable catholic faith was a basic part of his life, he was in no confusion about evolution, he considered Darwin to be a genius, and in conversation assured me that this was also the view of his friends, his colleagues, his students, his priest, and even, after a visit from this luminary, his bishop.

      As in the last post, it is a peculiarly (not exclusively, there are “arks” in Holland) American phenonoma.

    • In reply to #41 by TerryW:

      I teach in a school in Malaysia. 3 students independently asked me if I had seen this debate. I had not heard of Bill Nye before, or the other guy. Those students were deeply moved in favour of science. Malaysia is a moderate Islamic country. Don’t underestimate the global reach of this debate.

      Fascinating. A friend of mine who teaches in an independent religious school (also in Asia) had a similar experience. Some of her students had also watched the debate. There is something about Bill Nye that really connects with kids. They seemed really excited by some of the ideas Nye was talking about. She said that one of the boys told her Ham was “boring” just like being in Church, what he really wanted to know was “more about the rocks”.

      On that basis alone the debate is successful. If Nye can get kids excited about science and trying to understanding the world we live in, then he needs to be given more opportunities to communicate with them. I think from a kid’s perspective the debate looks like on one side a boring old man with a story they have heard ad nauseous, and on the other side a lively guy with a twinkle in his eye and a world full of opportunities to learn and explore. Nye telling his audience that we don’t know a lot of things yet but we are out there looking for answers, and you could be part of this exciting endeavour presents a future of possibility. Ham’s world view is a closed system; there is nothing new to do. It was all over thousands of years ago. That is a depressing future of treading water. If you are a kid, who has the more exciting message?

  24. I have a lot of sympathy for the “Don’t give the crackpots credibility” argument.
    I’m not belittling him, but because Nye is a TV presenter and not a professional academic I don’t think his participation lends the same credibility of there being a ‘real’ debate in the same was if others waded in.

    The fact is lots of people really haven’t had these arguments rehearsed in front of them and really do believe the crackpot nonsense.
    The whole Creationism Vs Evolution ‘debate’ is a false dichotomy and poor way to think but that’s how the argument is embedded in some people’s minds and there are ‘safe’ ways of working it through without harming the causes of reason.

    There are several reasons why Prof. Dawkins should stay well out of these debates not least because he’s both a professional academic and populariser and can’t really unpick those roles.

  25. Even as a staunch atheist I could see how Ham’s arguments could be appealing explanations to someone more on the fence; the only way this could debate could have been held without giving Ham the opportunity to proselytise to 1M people would be if he went up against someone fully qualified to debate these topics, such as Dawkins himself (unlikely to happen) or Hitchens (definitely unlikely to happen).

    Even I found gaping holes in Ham’s arguments which I could have formulated counter-arguments to on the fly, but I found Nye to be too apologetic. You need someone to find those flaws, poke their finger in and really jiggle around. Make it obvious to the audience that you are ripping the other person a new one through rhetoric.

  26. I have to say I think Nye did quite badly…and disappointingly so. Ham, with great visuals, clearly outlined his absurd beliefs and drove home the idea that it’s all just about interpretation. Nye could have done so much more. He was not very eloquent and went off-topic a number of times in a debate that should have been easy. His continued use of America’s place as leader of the world was also annoying for me as a non-American and irrelevant (and what do I care about the Seahawks?). The polls might suggest Nye as winner – and of course he would be – but it was a poor performance and really shouldn’t have taken place. Also…now, after registering for updates on debatelive, I’m getting AIG spam. :-(

  27. Well, thanks to “Lonevoice,” I get it all now. From what he tells me, and politely expressed, thank you, in the face of the enormous mass of overwhelming evidence, the YEC world view now accepts evolution as the driver behind the present distribution of species on the planet. This after all is what his cat “kind” and dog “kind” that came into the ark and subsequently evolved into their present forms is all about. It is acceptance of the “common ancestor” of the various genera. Well done, who said these were closed minds.

    This solves a lot of problems, drops by a huge factor the number of animals actually required, and can answer at least some of the ship design issues. It also gets, or should, the pesky Darwinians off the backs of the beatifically smiling and financially supportive YEC devotees.

    Now it means all that needs to be changed, temporarily, is the speed of light, the rate of geological sedimentation, the rate of radioactive decay of a lot of isotopes, and the way trees grow. And we need to come up with a a lot more water than there actually is. Also, we need an explanation as to why these common ancestors all seem not, in the fossil record to have appeared at the same time. Of course, got it, change space and time as well. That will fix the so called big bang too. And by waving “the book” in the air, you can ignore the remaining problems and remove the need for any evidence at all.

    Too easy mate, as we say in Oz.

  28. And, more importantly, every one of the millions of people who watched the debate or will watch it in the future will hear – maybe for the first time – about the simple but irrefutable reasons why scientists know evolution is true.

  29. Do YECs accept evolution?

    No AND yes … Remember Ham,s “orchard”? He had the twigs and branches just like classic Darwin – but note he did not accept that natural selection had been scientifically established as being able to bridge beyond certain gene pool boundaries.
    Note that he is not alone in this, evolutionists like Gould (?) and prof . Richardson(?)* of the British Museum could not bring themselves to declare that all the branches could be connected up. The Prof left gaps in his “tree of life” display and others , noticing long periods of stasis with seemingly sudden ‘jumps’ came up with the “hopeful monster theory”
    Evolution doesn,t seem as cut and dried as some would assert. One could excuse then Ham pointing this out.
    Honestly , isn,t that the real point of having the debate – not to pander to the faithful, but air and clarify the iSSUES.

    NB.*may need to recheck names.

    • In reply to #64 by frank!:

      Do YECs accept evolution?

      No AND yes … Remember Ham,s “orchard”? He had the twigs and branches just like classic Darwin – but note he did not accept that natural selection had been scientifically established as being able to bridge beyond certain gene pool boundaries.

      Ham has more recently been employing dishonest stooges who have some science credentials to PRETEND TO understand genetics. Their line is to pretend that mutations cannot add information to genomes and that all variability comes from loss of information due to damage. This is totally wrong but follows the ID principle of moving the discussion into complex issues which the public do not understand. This allows him to lie and contradict established science in the knowledge that the genetic details cannot be explained to a lay audience in the time available.

      Note that he is not alone in this, evolutionists like Gould (?) and prof . Richardson(?)* of the British Museum could not bring themselves to declare that all the branches could be connected up.

      YECs regularly quote-mine and misrepresent scientists to add credibility to their rubbish.

      The Prof left gaps in his “tree of life” display and others ,

      There are millions of life forms on earth, with new ones still being discovered. Nobody claims all evolutionary lines have been mapped. That does not mean that the ones which have been mapped do not prove the point that evolution and natural selection work. (You do not have to observe every object which has ever fallen, to understand gravity works)

      noticing long periods of stasis with seemingly sudden ‘jumps’ came up with the “hopeful monster theory” Evolution doesn,t seem as cut and dried as some would assert.

      This is YEC nonsense. Nobody claims evolution proceeds at a uniform pace. Of course there are periods of rapid adaptations after major climatic or habitat changes, with steady periods when conditions are stable.

      One could excuse then Ham pointing this out. Honestly ,

      Except it was not honest. It was contrived deception based on strawmanning and misrepresenting evolutionary theory, along with demonstrating an ignorance of ecology.

      isn,t that the real point of having the debate – not to pander to the faithful, but air and clarify the iSSUES.

      These issues were clarified long ago, as honest researchers can easily find out. There is nothing to be learned about science (apart from the psychology), from studying misinformation from charlatans. Scientific information is peer-reviewed by experts, to weed out incompetent and dishonest claims and to correct errors in honest ones -
      Which is why Ham’s bunch, cannot get any of their nonsense published in reputable scientific journals.

    • In reply to #64 by frank!:

      Do YECs accept evolution? No AND yes … Remember Ham’s “orchard”? He had the twigs and branches just like classic Darwin – but note he did not accept that natural selection had been scientifically established as being able to bridge beyond certain gene pool boundaries. Note that he is not alone in this, evolutionists like (Prof Stephen J) Gould (who is the Prof Richardson you referred to?) could not bring themselves to declare that all the branches could be connected up.

      Hi Frank. Can you clarify what Gould said that undermines the fact that he was in full support of Evolution by Natural Selection? He had ideas about the speed of speciation which he called Punctuated Equilibrium, which have been clearly shown not to change the fact that evolution produced new species, just the speed that branching occurred on the Tree of Life.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated_equilibrium

      Note: Look at the ‘tree’ shapes in the picture at the top right, then read the sections headed Saltationism & Criticism on this page for some scientific enlightenment…. Mac.

      • In reply to #81 by CdnMacAtheist:

        Hi Frank. Can you clarify what Gould said that undermines the fact that he was in full support of Evolution by Natural Selection? He had ideas about the speed of speciation which he called Punctuated Equilibrium, which have been clearly shown not to change the fact that evolution produced new species, just the speed that branching occurred on the Tree of Life.

        As is well known, creationists like Ham cherry-pick, misquote, and misrepresent biologists and paleotologists.

        Far from being “sudden changes” in one generation, the “rapid speciation” is over extensive periods of time.

        The misquoting simply illustrates the inability of YECs to understand geological time-scales or the disingenuous cherry-picking and quote-mining.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Punctuated-equilibrium – Although there exist some debate over how long the punctuations last, supporters of punctuated equilibrium generally place the figure between 50,000 and 100,000 years.

        Gould stated, “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms. Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.

        The cause of the misconceptions of the rank and file creationists and the ignorant preachers, is that they accept dishonest rubbish on the basis of their confirmation biases instead of looking at reputable sources for themselves.

        It is of course comical, that those who believe the Earth is 6,000 years old, think 50,000+ years is a “small” sudden change!

      • *In reply to #81 by CdnMacAt

        hi Mac,

        (still learning how to comment and reply)
        1st about Dawkins’ “I don’t know – nobody knows” quote. it occurs around page 410 of ‘The Greatest Show ….’ which seemed to me to (in a well written, marvellous way) set out the case for natural selection. however I was looking for something more – given that creationists seem to accept N S (albeit perhaps in a different form or mechanism). the crucial point of contention seems to be whether the observed processes / mechanisms / whatever , of Natural Selection, can be extrapolated / extended in operation to jump the gaps between the “Kinds or Baramin” ( whatever they are, or how you define them, is not the point as I see it – this is an attempt to recognise that we have solid empirical scientific evidence for N S up to a certain level – beyond that it has to be extended by deduction / modelling / analogy. as I understand the real state of affairs amongst scientists (as distinct from the tub-thumping of diehard proponents on one side or the other) there IS genuine room for debate because the evidence is still open to interpretation.

        I note that Dawkins has resorted to speculation “that aliens did it” to cover some difficulties. (if not explicated at the end of “Greatest Show ” , there are youtube interviews where he has used the alien postulate)

        Dawkins in “Climbing Mt. Improbable” seems to recognise the problem – as I read it he seems to be saying that the mountain presents grassy slopes with easy paths , interspersed by unclimbable cliffs. He asserts, without rigorous convincing data, that round the BACK of the mountain (i.e. out of the purview of scientific validation?) there are grassy slopes with easy paths that allow one to circumvent the improbable bits ……
        would it not help in the debate to actually deal with the situation. throwing up defensive / offensive barriers around one’s chosen position is not helpful. I think that is what I found most disappointing with both Nye and Ham.

        {Gould stated, “Since we proposed punctuated equilibria to explain trends, it is infuriating to be quoted again and again by creationists—whether through design or stupidity, I do not know—as admitting that the fossil record includes no transitional forms.
        Transitional forms are generally lacking at the species level, but they are abundant between larger groups.}

        ok – I can see that Gould remains committed to evolution. I still think it fair to suggest that he and Eldridge (spelling?) were trying to grapple with something real. might it not be possible to be a little charitable to the creationists – at least those with demonstrated credible scientific achievements – who, like the Darwinians, are struggling to formulate interpretations and models to fit sketchy and limited data?

        hope this goes some way towards elucidating your questions about my comment

        best regards,
        frank

        • In reply to #87 by frank!:

          I understand the real state of affairs amongst scientists (as distinct from the tub-thumping of diehard proponents on one side or the other)

          This is a false equivalence! There are plenty of tub-thumping YECS trying to sell elaborations on fanciful mythology.

          The scientists have mountains of evidence.

          there IS genuine room for debate because the evidence is still open to interpretation.

          No it isn’t in regard to IF Natural Selection happens. That was settled long ago.

          Natural selection has been observed in laboratory experiments with bacteria. (E. coli long-term evolution experiment) The only “interpretation” is in the details of HOW N.S. happens to individual species and in individual populations, in the context of their environments. This is the science of ecology which is being, and has been, documented by thousands of field biologists all over the world.

          The problem for creationists is that they foolishly trust concocted disinformation from people like Ham – which is quite different from concocted disinformation from William Lane Craig , Eric Hovind, or from other creationists. That is because there is no reason why one load of made-up nonsense, should resemble an independently concocted different load of made-up nonsense.

          Once objective scientific testing is done away with, any whimsicality can be uncritically swallowed!

          Have a look at my links @71 to see how those filled with the preconceptions of biblical literalism can fool themselves into believing anything!

          (still learning how to comment and reply)

          You should put a > at the start of quotes and leave a double line-space at the end of them. Then look at the preview in the yellow panel below to see the effect.

          • In reply to #89 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #87 by frank!:

            Gee! I am finding it hard to keep up with all the discussion …… but two points:

            1. I don’t find references to ‘flat earth proponents’ at all relevant. I understand there are no PhDs who seriously espouse that – but there are apparently many scientists all the way up to Nobel prize level who are comfortable with the YEC position – and Ham trotted out a couple of them.

            2. http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j17_3/j17_3_119-127.pdf

            (hope this link works) this is an example of the sort of thing that I think makes bland assertions that ‘ there are trees from before the flood’ unsafe.
            I am quite prepared to suspend judgement until further evidence arises and the matter more firmly clarified. I gather there is a similar scientific debate over ice layers. I was a bit uncomfortable when Nye trotted out these arguments “trees” and “ice layers” knowing they might easily be found unsound – but in the debate I think he got away with it because Ham didn’t respond scientifically.

          • In reply to #93 by frank!:

            In reply to #89 by Alan4discussion:

            I don’t find references to ‘flat earth proponents’ at all relevant.

            Many of their beliefs were founded on very similar Biblical Literalism with very similar circular thinking from preconceptions from Bible quotes.

            I understand there are no PhDs who seriously espouse that -

            There are one or two who have PhDs in irrelevant subjects, or who somehow ticked the right boxes to get some scientific credentials. The point is that NONE of them can get anything purporting to support Young Earth published in reputable science journals because it is nonsense with no credibility, and can be recognised as such by any competent scientists.

            but there are apparently many scientists all the way up to Nobel prize level who are comfortable with the YEC position – and Ham trotted out a couple of them.

            There is no significant percentage of scientists who would regard Young Earth as anything other than laughable.

            Nobody ever got a Nobel prize for presenting anything claiming a young Earth. It is refuted by thousands of fully evidenced scientific works in a multitude of subjects.

            http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j173/j173_119-127.pdf

            You link did not work, but Creation.com. has no standing in the world of science. It’s claims are a mixture of the comically incompetent and the dishonest.

            (hope this link works) this is an example of the sort of thing that I think makes bland assertions that ‘ there are trees from before the flood’ unsafe.

            Science is not refuted because some liar says so! The trees have been measured by dendrology and carbon dating. The vacuous “bland assertions” are all Hammy!

            I am quite prepared to suspend judgement until further evidence arises and the matter more firmly clarified. I gather there is a similar scientific debate over ice layers. I was a bit uncomfortable when Nye trotted out these arguments “trees” and “ice layers” knowing they might easily be found unsound

            No scientists who have looked at the evidence think the ice cores or the dendrology is unsound. It’s just Hammy’s clowns making stuff up to con the gullible uneducated. Spouting lies is so much easier than science teams doing years of diligent painstaking research.

            • but in the debate I think he got away with it because Ham didn’t respond scientifically.

            Ham couldn’t “respond scientifically” to save his life! He just lies about anything which debunks or contradicts Genesis!

            That’s why main-stream science ignores him. He will make up simple or elaborate rubbish about anything which contradicts his preconceptions in Genesis.

            Research scientists and professional journals are not even going to waste their time on him. He just contradicts evidenced science and has nothing of use to contribute to the subject.

          • Nobody ever got a Nobel prize for presenting anything claiming a young Earth.

            Exactly. If Newton was around today he undoubtedly would have got more than one award for his contributions to Physics but none for his contributions to Creationism, Alchemy or Occultism.

            In reply to #95 by Alan4discussion:

            In reply to #93 by frank!:

            In reply to #89 by Alan4discussion:

            I don’t find references to ‘flat earth proponents’ at all relevant.

            Many of their beliefs were founded on very similar Biblical Literalism with very similar circular thinking from preconceptions from Bible quotes.

            I understand there…

          • In reply to #99 by Marktony:

            Nobody ever got a Nobel prize for presenting anything claiming a young Earth.

            Exactly. If Newton was around today he undoubtedly would have got more than one award for his contributions to Physics but none for his contributions to Creationism, Alchemy or Occultism.

            It must be part of the gullibility test for creationists, to see if they can be persuaded that someone MIGHT get a Nobel prize for “young Earth” (or Flat Earth?).

            Frank @93 – Nye trotted out these arguments “trees” and “ice layers” knowing they might easily be found unsound – but in the debate I think he got away with it because Ham didn’t respond scientifically.

            This is the classic -“this lie is so big and blatant, that the gullible will swallow it whole”!

            Yeh! – Nye knew that maybe the dendrologists couldn’t count tree rings, and the 100,000 years of Greenland ice core data and 400 kyr of Vostok ice core data could easily be found to be unsound!!!! – Because Hammy’s scientific illiterates said so!

            Funny thing that in over 20 years and ten years respectively – of scientific scrutiny, numerous scientists have found them to provide invaluable accurate data and cross check with each other and other historical records.

          • In reply to #93 by frank!:

            this is an example of the sort of thing that I think makes bland assertions that ‘ there are trees from before the flood’ unsafe.

            Frank, there is an unbroken yearly history of the age of wood by tree ring daisy chained dates going back 11,500 years, so there is absolutely no doubt that there were trees before your hypothetical ‘biblical flood’…. Mac.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology Note section: Sampling and dating…. 8-)

        • In reply to #87 by frank!:

          *In reply to #81 by CdnMacAtheist. 1st about Dawkins’ “I don’t know – nobody knows” quote. it occurs around page 410 of ‘The Greatest Show ….’

          Hi Frank. Can you be more specific about the locaton & context of this ‘quote’, since I can’t find it?

          . . . the crucial point of contention seems to be whether the observed processes / mechanisms / whatever , of Natural Selection, can be extrapolated / extended in operation to jump the gaps between the “Kinds or Baramin” . .

          The only ‘gaps’ are those between the fantasy & reality areas in the brains of creationists, who are indoctrinated to believe bullshit despite all the evidence. ‘Kinds or Baramin’ are not scientific descriptions of anything, since ALL the fossil, biological & genetic FACTS used to construct the explanatory Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection do so without those faith-based religious words.

          I note that Dawkins has resorted to speculation “that aliens did it” to cover some difficulties. (if not explicated at the end of “Greatest Show “, there are youtube interviews where he has used the alien postulate)

          RD isn’t ‘resorting to speculation’, but pointing out that there is a logical possibility that there are aliens, in fact far more of a (tiny but increasing) probability than there is of anything supernatural or any creator gods.

          Dawkins in “Climbing Mt. Improbable” seems to recognise the problem – as I read it he seems to be saying that the mountain presents grassy slopes with easy paths, interspersed by unclimbable cliffs. He asserts, without rigorous convincing data, that round the BACK of the mountain (i.e. out of the purview of scientific validation?) there are grassy slopes with easy paths that allow one to circumvent the improbable bits.

          This assertion is a clear misunderstanding – perhaps a confabulation – of the actual words RD used to describe Mt Improbable. That’s the basic problem when folk read or hear things filtered through their religious presuppositions.

          Mount Improbable is an unleapable smooth sheer cliff (any form of creationism), whereas on the other side is the very long & gentle slope of natural selection that is the only way to reach the peak – in full view of all rational evidence-based observers – whether scientists or not.

          ok – I can see that Gould remains committed to evolution. I still think it fair to suggest that he and Eldridge were trying to grapple with something real.

          The only thing that was being discussed was whether the Tree of Life is (at very fine magnifications) smooth or ratcheting, which leaves no room at all for my-god-did-it-by-magic….

          Might it not be possible to be a little charitable to the creationists – at least those with demonstrated credible scientific achievements – who, like the Darwinians, are struggling to formulate interpretations and models to fit sketchy and limited data?

          As A4D has pointed out, being charitable to fake scientists, or those whose qualifications aren’t relevant, or those who claim to do science while filtering their work through religious delusions & faith-based presuppostions, is not something I or other freethinkers will lower ourselves to.

          There is no upside to entertaining crazy folk who attempt to make their unsupported, pixie-dusted god revelations into facts by lying, distorting, inventing, threatening, pleading or confecting unpalatable word salads full of irrational nonsense.

          As for the ‘struggling to formulate interpretations & models to fit sketchy & limited data?’ bit you assert, then firstly, you don’t appreciate how much Humans actually know these days about this subject, and secondly, you should think critically about YECist & OECist claims which have NO models, IMPOSSIBLE ideas & ZERO data to be assessed…. Mac.

  30. How can you have an honest worldview and claim to care about evidence when nothing can change your mind? This showed that Ham was not interested in the truth at all. He cared about one thing and one thing only, his opinion. Ham shined here as the charlatan that he is.

    Science follows the evidence where it leads and requires that people adapt their beliefs to be in accord with the evidence. The creationist viewpoint is the product of a belief in the Bible. Ken Ham’s religion REQUIRES him to believe what the Bible says no matter what. Therefore, any scientific data/evidence that comes his way has to square with this biblical belief. This is leading the evidence where you want it to go and is the exact opposite of the way real science works.

    Ergo, creationism is not science and cannot be a viable model of anything scientific.

    That debate could have been wrapped up in about 5 minutes.

  31. You also have to take into account that among the group of new people that Ken Ham was able to expose his ideas to, a large portion of them will see him clearly as a quack. The donations coming to him might very well increase, but the ridicule will as well.

  32. In reply to Alan,
    I admit that I struggle with biology – but can you point me to a cogent discussion that answers and demolishes those ‘biblical castles in the air’? My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of that particular creationist argument (that natural selection can transcend the boundary of the kind – or whatever you want to callit ) because they acknowledge the paucity of good evidence …..
    Even Dawkins admits toward the end of the book he wrote to lay out the evidence for evolution, that he didn,t know – nobody knew.
    In such circumstances caution and charity – certainly restraint , are indicated.

    In good faith,
    Frank

    • In reply to #69 by frank!:

      In reply to Alan,
      I admit that I struggle with biology – but can you point me to a cogent discussion that answers and demolishes those ‘biblical castles in the air’? My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of that particular creationist argument (that natural selection can transcend the boundary of the kind)

      That is just fiction made up by YECs. There are no reputable scientific bodies or publications which would support that view, or give any credibility to “KINDS” as a classification.

      It is nonsense which contradicts thousands of solidly evidenced scientific studies, and the internationally agreed consensus.

      It is just the usual “WE have made up some lies based on our understanding of Bible stories, – Let’s see scientists try to refute them”!
      The scientific bodies are not even going to waste their time on this silliness. It has no credibility and no relevance to scientific work.

      The supposed “authorities” you mention, are Ham’s pet muppets, who publish their own drivel in their own YEC publications, – which real scientists and scientific bodies laugh at!

      You could add this link to the zoology ones linked @34 below.

      International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants

      These are the world-wide classifications recognised by all scientific bodies and scientific publications, which recognise the ancestry and relationships between families, genera, species etc. They are updated when new discoveries are made.

      YECs have never had ANY evidence – credible to scientists, to present. – They keep pretending, and telling the public that their pseudo-science, based on preconceived biblical circular thinking (and not the scientific methodology of building on objective evidence ) is science, but it simply isn’t.

      I put links to the expert bodies @34. There is no comparison between the scientific classification of millions of species and the pathetic dysfunctional classification “KINDS” (see @68) invented by modern YECs. That YEC system is totally useless to any biologist, or anyone using books which do not have pictures for colouring with crayons!

    • In reply to #69 by frank!:

      My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of that particular creationist argument

      The dishonest posturing as “authorities”, is a common ploy of fringe fanatics, when conning people who do not know who the expert “authorities” on specialist subjects are.

      These fundamentalist people have also posed as “authorities”, but are still not going to be included in this event!

    • In reply to #69 by frank!:

      My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of that particular creationist argument (that natural selection can transcend the boundary of the kind – or whatever you want to call it) because they acknowledge the paucity of good evidence ….. Even Dawkins admits toward the end of the book he wrote to lay out the evidence for evolution, that he didn’t know – nobody knew.”

      Hi Frank.

      I have all of Prof RD’s 14 books & I have read them all several times over many years.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Dawkins_bibliography

      Please cite when, where & what he said that makes you claim that, because it simply isn’t true…. Mac.

    • In reply to #69 by frank!:

      In reply to Alan,
      I admit that I struggle with biology – but can you point me to a cogent discussion that answers and demolishes those ‘biblical castles in the air’? My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of that particular creationist…

      The YEC rubbish about “kinds” invokes this weird concept of species crossing some invisible boundary to become another kind.

      Look at cats and dogs, why would you call them different “kinds”? They have a four legged common ancestor but the two species are now quite different. These two species have a common ancestor species with rats. Where is the invisible barrier? The “kinds” appear as variations of an ancestral group and then diverge to become completely separate. There is no scientific doubt about this, its observed in the field and in the lab.

      • In reply to #185 by DanDare:

        In reply to #69 by frank!:

        In reply to Alan,
        I admit that I struggle with biology – but can you point me to a cogent discussion that answers and demolishes those ‘biblical castles in the air’? My understanding is that some authorities in the field are uncomfortable with such a casual dismissal of…

        We are talking about a lack of understanding of “scientific authorities”, and lack of recognition of liars posing as “some authorities”!

        “Kinds”, is based on a psychological need to believe all animal life on Earth is descended from the mythical animal collection on Noah’s Ark.

        So the second key question for Frank (who says he is an atheist), “Do you believe that Noah’s Ark was the source of all present world-wide animal life?” – If not, all the other YEC contrived nonsense is irrelevant!

  33. “Nye was easily able to break down Ham’s claims about the great flood and Noah’s ark, using such great evidence and observations that Ham had no ground left to stand on”

    Isn’t that the whole point of a flood?

  34. I’m currently downloading the YT film so as yet have no opinion on who won. But I do think that Mr Arel is quite wrong in this article. He somewhat exaggerates the power of the “podium” to confer energy and oxygen only to one side of the argument. Yet when the BBC allowed Nick Griffiths onto Question Time it was terminal for the BNP. In any case, this “podium” is up for grabs for any twit with a digital camera and internet access. There they can rant for hours without anybody to interrupt them or make them seem foolish. Rather quarrels in the open than a silent retreat into respective foxholes for fear of “the people” hearing what the other side has to (feebly) offer.

    Besides, I like this genre of Fundy versus Scientist videos. It’s fun.

  35. Watching the Nye/Ham “debate” was entertaining, reassuring and disquieting, all at the same time. It reminded me of a dream I had many years ago:

    “I was walking down the path of my life when God walked up beside me and said, ‘I am the Lord thy God, and I do not exist. Thou shalt not believe in me.’ I was shocked, so I turned to Sigmund Freud, who was walking alongside of God, and I asked him, ‘Since you know man’s mind, is God telling me the truth, or is this just my imagination?’ Freud smiled, said he did not know, and then asked me what did I think about what God said. Rather disturbed, I began to awaken, but not before I yelled at Mr. Freud, ‘You’re not very funny!’, while God rolled on the floor, laughing His almighty butt off.”

    No one needs to be told what to think, but some people may need help with how they think.

    Mr. Nye is an honest and passionate man who seemed to have the interests of his fellow man in mind as he spoke, and he did a great job of showing it. Mr. Ham is a liar and a thief who obviously had his own selfish interests in mind as he spoke, and he did a great job of showing that. (And, no Mr. Ham, your likeable Aussie accent isn’t enough to hide your forked tongue.) I was pleased that my adult-aged kids found Mr. Ham to be preposterously deceitful and unworthy of sharing a stage with Mr. Nye.

    Thus, I disagree, humbly but happily, with the thesis of this article and its predecessor. This “debate”, as it was handled by Mr. Nye, definitely should have taken place. I say, bring on the sanitizing light of public display and expose these frauds for what they are. Knowledge brings power to the struggle against the tyranny of ignorance.

  36. In reply to NUMBER 36 by GPWC. If the Flood was God’s way to purge the earth of sin, why do we still have sin? : According to scripture this question is absurd. There is no place in the Bible where it says God sent the flood because of sin.

    • In reply to #76 by Bob Springsteen:

      In reply to NUMBER 36 by GPWC:

      If the Flood was God’s way to purge the earth of sin, why do we still have sin?

      According to scripture this question is absurd. There is no place in the Bible where it says God sent the flood because of sin.

      “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination and intention of all human thinking was only evil continually.

      “And the Lord regretted that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved at heart.

      “So the Lord said, I will destroy, blot out, and wipe away mankind, whom I have created from the face of the ground—not only man, [but] the beasts and the creeping things and the birds of the air—for it grieves Me and makes Me regretful that I have made them.”

      Wickedness = Sin

      • In reply to #77 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #76 by Bob Springsteen:

        In reply to NUMBER 36 by GPWC:

        Hi Katy,

        Thanks for helping me out on this one.

        Sin/Wickedness … Wickedness/Sin – I didn’t know there was such a good angels dancing on pinheads discussion to be had on this one. Maybe we should call a conference to clarify … how about the Maldives?

  37. In reply to NUMBER 77 by Katy Cordeth: Evil = Sin : Hi Katy. I agree with you when you point out that according to scripture God destroyed the world by flood in Noah’s day because of evil (Genesis 6:5-8), but if Evil = Sin, why didn’t God kill Noah and seven members of his family? The Bible teaches that Noah and his family were sinners (Romans 3:23). Although God promised to never send another flood, he did so saying “even though every inclination of man’s heart is evil from childhood (Genesis 8:21). If Evil = Sin, then God would have to kill himself because the Book of Isaiah informs us that it is God who creates evil (Isaiah 45:7). Even though I’m an atheist, I love the theology of Karl Barth.

  38. I think Bill Nye did help science. The problem with many creationists is that they live in insulated circles. They never hear anything from circles outside their own. Bill Nye stepped inside the creationist circle and provided them reason and evidence for evolution. Sure many will reject the evidence outright, but not all.

  39. I’ve just watched the first episode of “The Rise of Animals”. This is a wonderful, new David Attenborough production giving a clear explanation of the evolutionary development of animals, complete with fossil evidence, graphs and representations of extinct species and examples of their living descendants. I think all YECs should be tied to their chairs and forced to watch. Bill Nye did his best but I don’t think anyone could watch this program and not be convinced of the absurdity of the account presented by Ken Ham.

    • Could we keep them tied up a bit longer, so they could watch First Life as a prelude.

      In reply to #82 by Nitya:

      I’ve just watched the first episode of “The Rise of Animals”. This is a wonderful, new David Attenborough production giving a clear explanation of the evolutionary development of animals, complete with fossil evidence, graphs and representations of extinct species and examples of their living descen…

      • It might confuse some though, as Attenborough points out that the day was only about 6hrs long when the first single cell life forms appeared.

        In reply to #85 by Marktony:

        Could we keep them tied up a bit longer, so they could watch First Life as a prelude.

        In reply to #82 by Nitya:

        I’ve just watched the first episode of “The Rise of Animals”. This is a wonderful, new David Attenborough production giving a clear explanation of the evolutionary development of animals…

      • In reply to #85 by Marktony:

        Could we keep them tied up a bit longer, so they could watch First Life as a prelude.

        I’d rather like their eyelids taped back as well to stop them closing their eyes, but I guess that’s just getting nasty. These Attenborough programs are so good! Perhaps they should be screened in schools and viewing should be compulsory even for non- biology students. What a contrast with the faux science programs mentioned in another thread.

        • but I guess that’s just getting nasty.

          I think it’s obvious we are just kidding. BUT, I can imagine Ken Ham’s next newsletter:

          “Atheists at RDFRS call for children to be tied to chairs and forced to watch Darwinist propaganda with their eyes taped open.”

          In reply to #94 by Nitya:

          In reply to #85 by Marktony:

          Could we keep them tied up a bit longer, so they could watch First Life as a prelude.

          I’d rather like their eyelids taped back as well to stop them closing their eyes, but I guess that’s just getting nasty. These Attenborough programs are so good! Perhaps they should b…

          • In reply to #96 by Marktony:

            Ha ha! It doesn’t pay to give them an opening for complaint.

            Have you seen the program ( either last night or in the past)? I would image those in the UK would have seen it already but I’m not sure about the US or Canada.

            If you haven’t seen the show yet, take note of the extensive diagrams used to show the variety of species. I couldn’t help but compare them to the pathetic little drawings used by Ham when he was demonstrating his theory of ‘kinds’.

          • Yes, it was on last year in the UK and I have it (and First Life) on video.

            In reply to #97 by Nitya:

            In reply to #96 by Marktony:

            Ha ha! It doesn’t pay to give them an opening for complaint.

            Have you seen the program ( either last night or in the past)? I would image those in the UK would have seen it already but I’m not sure about the US or Canada.

            If you haven’t seen the show yet, take note of…

  40. Re: ‘ . . He also attempted to redefine the definition of evolution, claiming secular scientists hijacked the word. This presented a strong weakness in his case for creation because his case cannot be made using words already defined dictionaries around the world and without splitting science in two and creating his own fields of science . . ’

    Hmm…. Which dictionaries, I wonder? Have you ever looked up ‘evolution’ in a historical dictionary? It won’t do to highjack the word by asserting that all the non-Darwinian meanings of the word are obsolete when debating the issue with an anti-Darwinian. It has a long and varied history as the full entry in the OED shows, all the way back to classical latin, when it meant ‘unrolling a scroll’.

    Much better to distinguish clearly between ‘evolution’ in sense 10 below: ‘Progression from simple to complex forms, conceived as a universal principle of development’ and Darwin’s Big Idea, the mechanism that drives it, Natural Selection (sense 8.b) – which he came to by studying the Artificial Selection of pigeons, etc.. Some of the antis will deny evolution altogether and cling to the idea that species are immutable: they need to be sent out to do study natural history in the field for as many years as are needed to get them to change their minds. Others will accept the change but deny the mechanism: they must be challenged to explain what we observe by some other mechanism

    ‘evolution, n. Etym: classical Latin ēvolūtiōn-, ēvolūtiō action of unrolling a scroll (Cicero) . . process by which, according to the theory of preformation, the embryo or germ is developed or expanded from a pre-existing form (1745 . . )

    . . III. The process of development.
    5. Biol. a. The process by which living organisms or their parts develop from a rudimentary to a mature or complete state. Now rare.
    This sense originates as an extended use of sense 3, but early authors differed as to whether the process of ‘evolution’ involved the origination of parts in a predetermined order or their expansion from pre-existing rudiments. See P. J. Bowler in Jrnl. Hist. Ideas (1975) 36 95–114.
    b. spec. The process by which, according to the theory of preformation, the embryo or germ is developed or expanded from a pre-existing form, rather than originating in the act of fertilization. Cf. preformation n. 2. Now hist. and rare.

    1. a. The action or process of developing in detail what is implicit in an idea or principle; the development of an argument, design, etc.

    2. a. A process of gradual change occurring in a system, institution, subject, artefact, product, etc.,
      esp. from a simpler to a more complex or advanced state. Also: a gradual and natural development as opposed to a sudden or instigated change (often in contrast with revolution).

      1. a. Biol. The transformation of animals, plants, and other living organisms into different forms by the accumulation of changes over successive generations; . . The application of the theory of evolution to the natural world was regarded as one of the principal discoveries of 19th-cent. science. The idea of organic evolution had been proposed by some ancient Greek thinkers but was long rejected in Europe as contrary to the literal interpretation of the Bible.

    In the early 19th cent., Lamarck (see Lamarckian adj. and n.) proposed a theory that organisms became transformed by their efforts to respond to the demands of their environment. Lyell’s demonstration that geological deposits were the cumulative product of slow processes over vast ages helped Darwin towards a theory of gradual evolution over a long period by the natural selection of those varieties of an organism slightly better adapted to the environment and hence more likely to produce descendants. Combined with the later discoveries of the cellular and molecular basis of genetics, Darwin’s theory of evolution has, with some modification, become the dominant unifying concept of modern biology.

    Darwin does not use the term evolution in the first edition of On the Origin of Species (1859), perhaps because of its association with the notion of preordained design (cf. senses 3 and 5), though evolved appears once (as the last word in the book). However, the word soon became established in this context . .
    . . 1854 Notices Proc. Royal Inst. Great Brit. 1 429 The earnest desire..to discover a law or scheme in arrangements of Nature, has given origin to many speculations… Hence have arisen the hypothesis of an evolution of all organized types, during the course of time, from one rudimentary prototype; that of the succession of distinctly originating forms of animals and vegetables in order of the progression within their respective series; [etc.].
    . . 1873 C. Darwin Origin of Species (ed. 6) vii. 201 At the present day almost all naturalists admit evolution under some form.
    . . 1976 R. Dawkins Selfish Gene iii. 48 Evolution is the process by which some genes become more numerous and others less numerous in the gene pool . .

    b. theory of evolution n. (in general) the proposition that all living organisms have undergone a process of alteration and diversification from simple primordial forms during the earth’s history; (in particular) a scientific theory proposing a mechanism for this process, now esp. that based on Darwin’s theory of the natural selection of genetically inherited and adaptive variation (cf. neo-Darwinism n.).
    1858 H. Spencer Ess. 1st Ser. ix. 389 Those who cavalierly reject the Theory of Evolution, as not adequately supported by facts, seem quite to forget that their own theory is supported by no facts at all
    . . 1999 T. S. Kemp Fossils & Evol. iii. 26 The theory of evolution that is subscribed to by most biologists is the outcome of the well-known synthesis between Darwinian natural selection and Mendelian genetics . .

    1. Progression from simple to complex forms, conceived as a universal principle of development, either in the natural world or in human societies and cultures . . According to the speculative metaphysical theory of Herbert Spencer, which greatly influenced both technical and popular use of the word in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, all changes in the universe, whether material or psychical, were seen as phenomena either of Evolution or of the reverse process of Dissolution (cf. quot. 1875), with senses 5a, 8, 7a, 9 representing special instances of this generalized process.
      . . 1885 E. Clodd Myths & Dreams ii. i. 144 Evolution is advance from the simple to the complex.
      . . 2001 Re: Logic of Cosmic Consciousness in alt.consciousness (Usenet newsgroup) 5 Dec., Evolution is a cosmic force that reveals the potential that lies in the universe.’
  41. Finally seen it and I congratulate Bill on maintaining his cool at never managing to heft the debate over that absurd boulder of “Observational” v “Historical” science that Ham bunged in the way. A bit like trying to play a piano with the lid locked shut over the keyboard.
    That said, I do wish Bill had actually absorbed and addressed some of the specific things Ham also threw out. Like that he was measuring the age of meteorites, not the Earth. (Response – we are dating the materially traumatic events of the meteorite stopping. For which an Earth needed to be there.) Or the challenge that logic had to be created. (Show me then a possible universe in which pi is not 3.14… and yet the circles still join up, a possible universe in which 2 creatures necessarily consume half the resources of 1.) I do wish that, instead of making evidence groupings he had cited a few specifics. Thus, instead of there are cultures older than 4,000 years, he actually delivered slides and facts about say the Egyptians, Druids, mesoAmericans. There might even be generational analysis of, say, ancient Chinese clans that use precisely Bishop Usher’s methods but showing the world to be older. Not enough mention of the Ice Age, of the curious fact that fossils have turned to STONE. How can it be explained that animal remains that are 5,999 years old remain bone but all of these ones are now stone?

    Totally separate point. Anybody know about this Australian basalt with 4,000 year old wood in it? It is true? Any info welcomed.

    • In reply to #90 by 4as4is4:

      Totally separate point. Anybody know about this Australian basalt with 4,000 year old wood in it? It is true? Any info welcomed.

      Nope! But I know about trees which are over 4,000 years old and still alive – with growth-rings giving the dendrochronologists a climate record for that part of the world!

      http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/great-basin-bristlecone-pine-growth-rate-tree-line/

      One for the Ages: Bristlecone Pines Break 4,650-Year Growth Record

      The research focused on Great Basin bristlecone pines (Pinus longaeva), which grow in six western U.S. states and are among the longest-lived organisms on Earth. Some pines reach ages of up to 5,000 years, which gave the study authors an opportunity to put together a record going back nearly as far that compares bristlecone growth rates at various altitudes.

      • In reply to #91 by Alan4discussion:

        But I know about trees which are over 4,000 years old and still alive – with growth-rings giving the dendrochronologists a climate record for that part of the world!

        Hey Alan.

        Since tree rings show climate variations in recognisable series, by daisy chaining them they have yearly records going back 11,500 years – which kind of screws the ~6000 year old ‘creation’ claim, plus no evidence of a year long flood anywhere.

        Gee, this science stuff is cool – it shows observable historical evidence, just as if we were there…. 8-) Mac.

        • In reply to #101 by CdnMacAtheist:

          Gee, this science stuff is cool – it shows observable historical evidence, just as if we were there….

          I wonder how this YEC mindset plays out with other subjects like say…. history! It must prove to be a stumbling block when discussing ancient Egypt ( was the Sphinx underwater?) or the history of the first Australians. Their students must have to make accommodations left, right and centre. No wonder they want to infiltrate the school system.

          PS linguistics would be problematic as well….of course he has his Tower of Babel story for that.

      • Nope! But I know about trees which are over 4,000 years old and still alive – with growth-rings giving the dendrochronologists a climate rec…

        Thanks for the reply. Bill N showed photos of a 9,000 year older in Norway, and if you find (is easy and very hghly recommended) the Radiolab download calld Oops, you’ll hear the sad tale of dendrologist Don Curry who, when a drill bit came off in a tree he was coring, ended up killing what is defined as the oldest living organism, a bristlecone called Methuselah weighing in at 4,884 years.

        I return to this thing that Ken Ham brought up, the 4bn yr basalt with 4th yr wood. Is it true? I really want an answer, and if the scientific community declares its eagerness to be overturned by the pre-Camrian rabbit, then let’s learn about this supposedly counterfactual thing that KH has heard about.

        • In reply to #116 by 4as4is4:

          I return to this thing that Ken Ham brought up, the 4bn yr basalt with 4th yr wood. Is it true? I really want an answer,

          It is obviously made up rubbish. Ham cannot count thousands past 10 when he runs out of fingers for the digital calculations, let alone do astronomy or planetary science.
          He disputes and does not understand radiometric dating, so would have no idea of the age of the “basalt” and probably could not identify types of rocks or date them anyway.
          If it exists, they probably found some wood in a larva flow of a modern volcano.

          Oldest dated rocks – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oldest-dated-rocks

          The oldest dated rocks on Earth, as an aggregate of minerals that have not been subsequently melted or disaggregated by erosion, are from the Hadean Eon. Such rocks are exposed on the surface in very few places.[a]

          Some of the oldest surface rock can be found in the Canadian Shield, Australia, Africa and in other more specific places around the world. The ages of these felsic rocks are generally between 2.5 and 3.8 billion years. The approximate ages have a margin of error of millions of years. In 1999, the oldest known rock on Earth was dated to 4.031 ± 0.003 billion years, and is part of the Acasta Gneiss of the Slave craton in northwestern Canada.

          Some Chinese YECs found “wood” from Noah’s Ark on MT Ararat, but it turned out to be a rock formation.

          The atmosphere of Earth could not and did not, support trees 4billon years ago , even if any had existed – which they did not.

          It’s just more of “Look at this crap I have made up! – let’s see you try to refute it!” – It’s rubbish which was refuted before it was written and is not worth discussing.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline-of-evolution#Basic-timeline

          The formation and evolution of the Solar System is estimated to have begun 4.55 to 4.56 billion years ago with the gravitational collapse of a small part of a giant molecular cloud. Most of the collapsing mass collected in the centre, forming the Sun, while the rest flattened into a protoplanetary disk out of which the planets, moons, asteroids, and other small Solar System bodies formed. – http://astroclock2010.wordpress.com/cosmic-timeline-17/

        • In reply to #116 by 4as4is4:

          Google is your friend – Answers in Genesis

          The AiG team took 4 months to get to the mine by which time the site of the discovery had been destroyed. No “skeptic” geological team was invited, which means any riposte has to be based on what AiG claim to have found. Evidence of any flaws in the methodology has now been erased (along with AiGs own rebuttal web page replying to “sceptics”).

          • In reply to #119 by God fearing Atheist:

            In reply to #116 by 4as4is4:

            Google is your friend – Answers in Genesis

            Good find! – there is also the stick found embedded in Sydney sandstone ….

            … However, more generally, this surely would not be a difficult exercise to explore … There must be lots of ancient lava flows over ground with sticks on it ….. And how about a skeptical team revisiting the orig site?

            Come to think of it, now that we have Dino flesh and blood and unfossilised smelly T. Rex bones perhaps one could ask “what evidence would change your mind”

            Actually I have begun to wonder – I initially assumed that thousands (if not millions) of people from all over the world were likely following this – but there seem to be fewer than half a dozen participating . Are the stats available as to how many actually read a post?

          • In reply to #123 by frank!:

            Are the stats available as to how many actually read a post?>

            I suspect many more read the post than actually comment or ‘like’ a remark. I read almost every argument for and against evolution in the hope that some of it ‘sticks’ and I can call on examples if the occasion crops up. I try to memorise pithy phrases to add to my armoury of good replies. Sometimes I go to the trouble of recording wording that really strikes my fancy. It’s a pity that I don’t have these real life discussions as often as I did when I was younger. I would have been a lot better equipped to refute ridiculous claims.

          • In reply to #123 by frank!:

            Good find! – there is also the stick found embedded in Sydney sandstone

            Since I grew up in the area, and know the Hawksebury area well, this claim interested me. Maybe doing a little of the research you might have done yourself, I googled this without success. If you can give me a link, other than the one coming, I would be grateful.

            There is all sorts of stuff about the Triassic (200-250 Ma) sandstone 6 kilometers thick under Sydney, but nothing about sticks. Apparently it is the result of river sedimentation of ground up rocks from 600 Ma washing down from what is now Western New South Wales.

            Finally I found it, guess where? Why on the AiG site of course. My first thought was that KH might explain how a flood of 40 days duration can deposit 6 kilometers of sandstone, remarkably more than is claimed for the flood elsewhere, but I guess he is still working on that.

            What he does say is that the rock is 200 Ma old, and the stick is 30K years old, by carbon dating, a technique that he has otherwise expressed grave concerns over, therefore, the rock cannot be that old. Then apparently he realizes that neither of these numbers equals 6,000, his dedicated “When god did it” number. So he then, by some mental gymnastics that I honestly could not follow, in a couple of sentences at the end a longish and quite erudite sounding page of waffle and occasionally correct geology, declares that both numbers really equal 6,000, and therefore it is all consistent with “the flood.”

            Finally, and I said I was familiar with the area, tree roots penetrating layers of sandstone, splitting the laminations open, and developing into woody tree parts penetrating into the rock can be readily viewed in the Hawksebury sandstones, even now. And, they look just like the picture in AiG. Fossilized examples are less common, but do not surprise me.
            Frank, I am starting to take your un-researched and erroneous statements with a grain of salt, and I might suggest you do your homework in other places than AiG,

          • In reply to #123 by frank!:

            Come to think of it, now that we have Dino flesh and blood and unfossilised smelly T. Rex bones perhaps one could ask “what evidence would change your mind”

            Well, I have to agree, that would do it. That really is a “Rabbit fossil in the Burgess shale scenario.”

            But, is this what you are talking about, from the BBC “Walking with dinosaurs, and certainly not T.Rex, and certainly not a rabbit: “Scientists believe they have found unfossilized dinosaur protein from the bones of embryonic animals that died at least 190 million years ago.” Fascinating, and goes to show that Ham’s claim that nothing could survive unfossilised that long is spurious. It also becomes irrelevant when we find out a bit more.

            And, actually it is not the bone in question, which is just what I found along the way, but this is: http://evolutionwiki.org/wiki/Unfossilized_dinosaur_bones.

            And, unlike the AiG on the same thing, it points out the lack of qualified examination, the finders were a dentist, and outdoors outfitter and a geologist with a qualification from a creationist “university,” and enthusiastic YEC adherents, all.

            The AiG site is predictably, gushingly all over it, and about how science had better rethink its ideas about the world’s age, and misses all of the information in the link above, which includes a lot of practical information about what was, and what was not found.

            Sorry, still no rabbit.

            And Frank, this is the third time I have had to hold your nose to the grindstone of accuracy, the first being the “Nobel prize winning creationist inventor of the MRI machine.” We all make mistakes, but you are making them way too predictably to be taken seriously.

  42. First submission to this glorious site: I didn’t see/hear the debate but I am aware of Mr. Ham. Firstly, the only people he is likely to bring on board are those who are already ‘like minds’. Secondly, as has been said before when the BBC wanted to include the BNP in debates: the more these people are aired the more people will see through their guff and nonsense. The answer to all creationist arguments is ‘where is the evidence?’ This is the most important point that has to be impressed upon ‘don’t knows’.

    • In reply to #92 by dg53:

      I am aware of Mr. Ham. Firstly, the only people he is likely to bring on board are those who are already ‘like minds’.

      To use an old quote: “When Darwin published his theory – those who had minds to change – changed them”!

  43. Hi Mac, (i really should be getting on with something else – but I snatched some time over lunch to skim the ice layer (GRIP?) and tree ring references …. )

    I am not a dendrochrol……st, nor ice specialist – so I await further scientific debate and analysis to see how it all pans out. I allow there are some robust bits of argy-bargy happening – particularly in the creationist / darwinist stoush.

    Another thing, perhaps sparked by the astronomer guy ham produced who said (rather bravely, I thought) “there is nothing in the field of astronomy that contradicts a 6000yo universe”. Now I am sure that that is NOT what he was trying to say! (he even repeated it). then I remembered that cosmologists, including (the late?) Prof. Carmelli (sp?) – not a creationist – are looking at the properties of a possible BOUNDED universe. I gather that , fed into Einstein,s equations , all sorts of weird time warping is possible. I,m not going to jump to any confusions on this one – but don,t we live in exciting times?!?

    fondly, frank

    • In reply to #104 by frank!:

      I am not a dendrochronologist, nor ice specialist – so I await further scientific debate and analysis to see how it all pans out….

      Hi Frank.

      There is no debate about whether tree rings or ice cores work within specified tolerances, which in these cases are as accurate as you can get since the tolerance is 1 year over many 1000’s!!!

      Tree ring data & daisy chaining is also used to confirm the accuracy of carbon dating, which has a half-life of 5730 yrs so it’s very suitable for cross-checking – thoroughly destroying any claims by faithists that carbon dating isn’t reliable (unless it’s used outside it’s known application area).

      As is well known here (you’ve been a Member since 2009, so you should know too) I’m not a scientist like A4D & a bunch of other RDFers, just a non-theist freethinker not afraid to read & study what the experts do & explain – without wearing blinkers or filters forced into my brain by god viruses & religion mafias…. Mac.

      • In reply to #106 by CdnMacAtheist:

        In reply to #104 by frank!:

        I am not a dendrochronologist, nor ice specialist – so I await further scientific debate and analysis to see how it all pans out….

        Hi Frank.

        There is no debate about whether tree rings or ice cores work within specified tolerances, which in these cases are as accurate…

        Telling the age of a tree from counting tree-rings from each season’s growth, is not rocket science – My kids could do it before they were ten years old.

        Disputing this is just the usual dishonest doubt-mongering and fake “authority” posing, of Hammy’s clowns – in trying to rubbish honest scientific work because of their “Bible-head-delusion” problem.

        The ice cores tell the record of temperatures, years of greater or lesser snowfall, changes is the atmospheres in trapped air bubbles, droughts and sand/dust storms, volcanic ash from major eruptions, and even atmospheric lead pollution from Roman smelters.

        Hammy’s clowns don’t use the scientific method or do any real science, but just make up contradictions (plausible to the uneducated, but laughable to scientists) of anything which refutes Genesis,

        There are of course tens of thousands of works of science which refute Genesis, so the lists of idiot contradictions at AIG are ever expanding – along with the fraudulent claims that they are supported by any significant number of practising scientists. As I pointed out earlier, Young Earth is intellectually equivalent to Flat Earth.

  44. Golly Mac – I think you,re putting it a bit strong aren,t you?

    Are you completely discounting the scientific contributions and cred of , say, the leader of the team that developed the MRI machine? (can,t think of any less woo science than that!) ….. Incidentally that team scored a couple of Nobel prizes (for which reasons no doubt, he was Ham,s leading poster-boy.)

    Beyond all this, I was actually thinking of the papers and scientists referenced by both of us in the above discussion. (though due to bandwidth constraints (my wife saying “you,re not at it again are you!” – no, really dial-up speed limitation – I have been unable to see ‘First Life’ – but I will …..

    Are we not all big boys here? Can,t we concede that science is not all cut and dried simplicity. That as we delve deeper into the fundamental mysteries we are alltooften confronted by baffling mysteries. I don,t have (I hope!) a problem with setting uncomfortable data in the spotlight for further examination. Somebody once said ‘if you,re not living on qthe edge yr taking up too much room! ‘

    Now I can,t point to other takes on ice layers (though is there a hint that they repeatedly categorize the data into three periods 0 to 4000yrs (!) , 10,000 to 40,,000 to 100,000 , and 100,000+. (maybe off beam here – only what caught my eye skimming at lunch).

    But I came across the bristlecone pine article a while ago and considered it carefully. Probably up to the reader as to what they make of it — but it struck me that , right or wrong, its points would have to be addressed before judgement one way or the other , could be made. Anything less would not be in the tradition of scientific rigor.

    It was the principles stated in the preamble of this forum that got me in in the first place – that , and the association with the name and reputation of RD himself.

    cordially, frank

    • In reply to #107 by frank!:

      Golly Mac – I think you,re putting it a bit strong aren,t you?

      Are you completely discounting the scientific contributions and cred of , say, the leader of the team that developed the MRI machine? (can,t think of any less woo science than that!) ….. Incidentally that team scored a couple of Nobel…

      Ummm, actually not quite. The YEC member of that team was NOT given a Nobel, although possibly he should have. There was quite a controversy at the time. The Nobel award for the MRI was very belated. Damadian did say that the reason he was not given the Nobel was his YEC belif.

      This may or may not have been the case, and he was given various other prestigious awards, but not the Nobel.

      Wiki has more detail, my memory went only as far as “That’s not quite right.” Hardly an odd suspicion when dealing with Hams utterings.

    • Now I can,t point to other takes on ice layers (though is there a hint that they repeatedly categorize the data into three periods 0 to 4000yrs (!) , 10,000 to 40,,000 to 100,000 , and 100,000+.

      But where are are the transitional fossils? Sorry, I mean where are the transitional ice cores?

      In reply to #107 by frank!:

      Golly Mac – I think you,re putting it a bit strong aren,t you?

      Are you completely discounting the scientific contributions and cred of , say, the leader of the team that developed the MRI machine? (can,t think of any less woo science than that!) ….. Incidentally that team scored a couple of Nobel…

    • In reply to #107 by frank!:

      Are we not all big boys here? Can,t we concede that science is not all cut and dried simplicity.

      Some things are heavily evidenced. Others are not! Being able to tell the difference is what separates an expert opinion from a silly guess.

      That as we delve deeper into the fundamental mysteries we are all too often confronted by baffling mysteries.

      There are unanswered mysteries, but the existence of those, does not make long refuted nonsense valid, or undermine solid evidence which has been reconfirmed thousands of times. If people refuse to believe in gravity, that does not stop them falling off buildings!

      (Oh dear – we don’t fully understand fusion drive rocket engines – so bicycles don’t work! – standard Ham-style creationist “reasoning”.)

      I don,t have (I hope!) a problem with setting uncomfortable data in the spotlight for further examination.

      There is further examination at frontiers, and there is the problem those those who don’t know because they have never looked, or choose to look away from things they do not want to believe because they are made to feel uncomfortable by them.

      The two should not be confused – especially not wilfully!

      However I was hoping for something more than finches beaks waxing and waning, moths light and dark, bacteria, well, still bacteria. (you would have to admit that stuff would not impress anyone who accepted natural selection)

      Why?? That is natural selection working and being observed working. The bacteria and finches were separating into new species under different selection pressures from different habitats.

      The ignorance of the diversity of life and the divergent nature of species over time, is not an argument supporting any credible view. .

      Now it pulled me up short finally coming at the end of the book where he had claimed up the front that, though he had written a lot of evolution in his previous books, he had never set out the evidence for it

      I think you are confusing evolution with abiogenesis.

      The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis – Dr. Jack Szostak – 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

      The evidence for evolution from the Last universal ancestor onwards is solid, and has been explained many times by Richard.

      Abiogenesis is still being investigated. It has considerable evidence of how it CAN happen, but not yet conclusive evidence of how it DID happen.

    • In reply to #107 by frank!:

      Golly Mac – I think you’re putting it a bit strong aren’t you?

      I think I’m just being clear about the facts of the situation, from a freethinkers point of view, from one who gives no unearned or undeserved respect to faith-driven delusions which have ‘created’ so many problems for humanity over 1000’s of years by high-jacking our natural propensities for superstitious behaviors….

      Are you completely discounting the scientific contributions & cred of, say, the leader of the team that developed the MRI machine? (can’t think of any less woo science than that!)

      Yes, because the inventor’s beliefs in supernatural claims have no relevance to his application of mechanical principles to construct a piece of fancy medical technology.

      I was the author of a 275 page report on the topography of a ‘fret’ mark (the size of the head of a 1/2″ nail) while I was a Metrologist at AECL’s R&D Laboratory in 1992. The accuracy of the measuring equipment was 1/100th of a micron & the results would appear unbelievable to a layperson at that time – but no ‘fairy dust’ was necessary to make good mechanical measurements, conclusions or decisions based on mundane physics.

      http://www.aecl.ca/en/home/default.aspx

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fretting_wear

      Are we not all big boys here? Can’t we concede that science is not all cut & dried simplicity?

      I think when it comes to ‘cut & dried simplicity’ that the faithists have a lock on that mindset…. 8-)

      That as we delve deeper into the fundamental mysteries we are all too often confronted by baffling mysteries.

      For which the scientific method is the only known way to get actual results from real research, which can improve our understanding of reality & refine or sometimes overturn our previous theories – try that with faith-based presuppositions….

      I don’t have (I hope!) a problem with setting uncomfortable data in the spotlight for further examination.

      I don’t have a problem with setting up my-god-did-it-by-magic claims (no data available) for further examination….

      Now I can’t point to other takes on ice layers (though is there a hint that they repeatedly categorize the data into three periods: 0 to 4000yrs, 10,000 to 100,000, & 100,000+. . .

      This observation doesn’t in any way undermine the viability or accuracy of the results….

      But I came across the bristlecone pine article a while ago & considered it carefully. Probably up to the reader as to what they make of it – but it struck me that, right or wrong, its points would have to be addressed before judgement one way or the other could be made. Anything less would not be in the tradition of scientific rigor.

      This cherry-picking of one example doesn’t undermine the method or the overall results – especially the daisy-chaining methodology which has been confirmed many times in other research….

      It was the principles stated in the preamble of this forum that got me in in the first place – that & the association with the name & reputation of RD himself. Cordially, Frank.

      Which is why when Commentators make claims, assertions or give opinions, they are expected to defend them with viable data or peer-reviewed research that can support their Posts.

      Offering religious or creationist assertions, or appeals to belief (or belief in belief) just doesn’t cut it here where RDFRS Members have not only relevant qualifications & experience with the scientific method, but also know most religious memeplexes & holy texts better than any faithists who have ventured onto this site in ~8 years…. Mac.

  45. Oops, sorry Mac – you asked me a number of things – starting with that Dawkins admission ‘I don,t know ….. Nobody does’.

    Now it pulled me up short finally coming at the end of the book where he had claimed up the front that, though he had written a lot of evolution in his previous books, he had never set out the evidence for it (something to that effect ,I think). So he intended in THIS one to rectify things. I had been waiting in eager anticipation all through. It was great reading. I was surprised! So much interesting stuff – the guy knew things.

    However I was hoping for something more than finches beaks waxing and waning, moths light and dark, bacteria, well, still bacteria. (you would have to admit that stuff would not impress anyone who accepted natural selection – which clearly some creationists (if not most?) do. So clearly ther has to be an issue of divergence that can be addressed by the evidence. I was at least expecting it by the end – but it flashed to me that he was coming out and saying ‘actually, we don,t know – we can,t know’

    Now I maybe doing him an injustice, but that is the message that I picked up. I can picture it now – towards the bottom of the LH page, in the bottom third. Page 417 sticks in my mind, but I can,t check now because it was a borrowed book (I shall have to reborrow or buy it). I would say try

    SCRATCH THAT, – page 416

    “This is a book about evidence, and WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE bearing upon ……………. the start of evolution …”

    Sorry again – miXed my quotes – but not my reaction. I have trained as an engineer. I am a nuts and bolts man. I want ,nay NEED the evidence! To be certain of something ALL the causual links must be in place, whole and unbroken – right back to and including the original anchoring postulate.

    Cheers, frank

    (now I MUST get my own copy and give his book back!!!)

  46. What I enjoyed the most about this debate was how Nye in a way used Ham as an example of how the creationists mind worked, by asking “What would change your mind?”, and sort of saying that if nothing would change his mind, then what was the point of the debate? Even if Ham wants to use science to support his worldview, he simply can’t, because if he rejects evidence that clearly contradicts his view, this would automatically mean it’s not science anymore.

  47. “Telling the age of a tree from counting tree-rings from each season’s growth, is not rocket science – My kids could do it before they were ten years old.”

    Dear Alan,

    That is indeed the common perception of the average lay person – however, for an insight into the realities in the field, have a dekko (I,m aussie) @:

    http://creation.com/evidence-for-multiple-ring-growth-per-year-in-bristlecone-pines

    (beware – “creationist germs”! – but I believe you are a big boy, a practicing scientist – so you should be able to hold your nose long enough to get the drift …. )

    problems such as missing or multiple annual rings, let alone the practicalities of rigorously and accurately establishing a Daisy Chain chronology would require this to be extensively researched. all due respect to your 10yo – but I suspect that there will be many tearing their hair out over the rigors and uncertaintities of this sort of field work

    best regards,

    frank

    • In reply to #114 by frank!:

      “Telling the age of a tree from counting tree-rings from each season’s growth, is not rocket science – My kids could do it before they were ten years old.”

      Dear Alan,

      That is indeed the common perception of the average lay person – however, for an insight into the realities in the field, have a dekko (I,m aussie) @: http://creation.com/evidence-for-multiple-ring-growth-per-year-in-bristlecone-pines

      REALITIES??? From HAM!!! That’s a good one! I love the way his rank amateurs call the work of professional scientists, “perception of the average lay person”!

      problems such as missing or multiple annual rings, let alone the practicalities of rigorously and accurately establishing a Daisy Chain chronology would require this to be extensively researched. all due respect to your 10yo – but I suspect that there will be many tearing their hair out over the rigors and uncertaintities of this sort of field work.

      Ah! those fictitious uncertainties that are so regularly trotted out by those whose personal uncertainties are based on their own ignorance!

      Biologists and dendrochronologists with decades of research work, “could not possibly know the growth patterns of the trees they study or the climates they are mapping” !!! After all Ham’s muppets took an hour or two to make it up , so that MUST be correct!! -

      And you wonder why professional scientists expose them as the incompetent charlatans which they are!

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dendrochronology

      Dendrochronology (from δένδρον, dendron, “tree limb”; χρόνος, khronos, “time”; and -λογία, -logia) or tree-ring dating, is the scientific method of dating based on the analysis of patterns of tree rings, also known as growth rings. Dendrochronology can date the time at which tree rings were formed, in many types of wood, to the exact calendar year. This has three main areas of application: paleoecology, where it is used to determine certain aspects of past ecologies (most prominently climate); archaeology and the history of art and architecture, where it is used to date old panel paintings on wood, buildings, etc.; and radiocarbon dating, where it is used to calibrate radiocarbon ages (see below).

      In some areas of the world, it is possible to date wood back a few thousand years, or even many thousands. Currently, the maximum for fully anchored chronologies is a little over 11,000 years from present.

      Your problem is that you keep trying to learn science from dishonest pseudo-scientists who have absolutely no interest in presenting honest evidence! Until you use reputable competent sources, you will understand nothing of astronomy, geology, or biology.

      Nobody doing scientific research work uses Ham as a source of information. He is a well known deluded liar! with zero competence, who is only interested in his belief in a literal Genesis.

      The vast majority of Christians (CofE and RCC etc) regard him as an embarrassment to Christianity.

      The {Catholic} Church has deferred to scientists on matters such as the age of the earth and the authenticity of the fossil record. Papal pronouncements, along with commentaries by cardinals, have accepted the findings of scientists

    • In reply to #114 by frank!:

      Problems such as missing or multiple annual rings, let alone the practicalities of rigorously and accurately establishing a Daisy Chain chronology would require this to be extensively researched.

      Hi Frank. Can you explain how you can get ‘missing or multiple annual rings’ in trees that are or were living? Do you imagine that scientists doing tree rings don’t take multiple samples to cross-check their research, especially if there is an anomaly in their counting? They also cross-check (bar code style) sequences across multiple samples to get consistency over long periods, not just within one tree.

      The clarity of tree ring sequences is well researched & relatively easy to follow, using multiple samples taken from different locations to cross-check for consistency, so that daisy-chaining of either tree rings or ice cores is actually the most accurate method of dating we have discovered – within their known application areas.

      all due respect to your 10yo – but I suspect that there will be many tearing their hair out over the rigors and uncertaintities of this sort of field work.

      That’s why laypersons don’t do this kind of work, since they don’t understand or follow the scientific method. Folk who ‘tear their hair out’ are those who haven’t done the work or studied the research, but impose their ‘personal incredulity from ignorance’ onto peer-reviewed conclusions carefully gleened from actual facts & evidence using known processes.

      Show us any supernatural conclusion based on any biblical extraordinary claim that follows that process – sorry, that doesn’t exist anywhere. Just because there are some historical mundane facts in ‘the’ bible doesn’t make any of the my-god-did-it-by-magic claims more true, logical, non-contradictory or plausible – that’s a problem for ‘believers’ to deal with, we here in the real world don’t have those issues, plus we have vastly more important things to ponder & accomplish during our only wonderful, awesome, albeit short, life…. Mac.

  48. One thing someone should ask creationists is, regardless of how many scientists “support” creationism, is how much research have any of them done proving any of the creationist ideas? Has anyone ever done a single scientific experiment to determine whether their understanding of the Bible is correct or not? Unless someone can imagine a suitable experiment to determine whether an idea is correct or not, and then do it…it’s not science.

    Blatantly stating ones ideas and then arguing about them is not science, its just rhetoric.

    • In reply to #117 by beavertail:

      One thing someone should ask creationists is, regardless of how many scientists “support” creationism, is how much research have any of them done proving any of the creationist ideas? Has anyone ever done a single scientific experiment to determine whether their understanding of the Bible is correct…

      how is this for a doozy?

      Dr. Russell Humphries (google him) , was wondering about the earth’s decaying magnetic field trying to make sense of all the data. there were certain anomalies and speculation about the magnetic fields of planets and moons in our solar system.

      so, starting with the hypothesis that the bible seemed to suggest everything started as water he thought ok, what if the earth (or moon, or say, Neptune) was created by god as a ball of water at some stage …… (it gets better!) so being created by a perfect god, he (she/it -whatever) would probably make sure that all the magnetic moments lined up perfectly .

      so then, taking that as the starting field for planet earth 6000 yrs ago (cos that’s what the bible says innit?) he found it reconciled with the current data on the decaying field of our planet. brilliant! – or not???

      strikes me as an example the most outrageous load of “creationist woo” one could conceive and I find it provocative but NOT convincing … but there is a sting in the tail……

      he then worked out, using similar logic, the expected fields for the other planets and moons – at least some of which we had no data on, and some like Neptune should have NO field according to the standard model.

      so now we have a creationist PREDICTION of a scientifically measurable property!

      last I heard, Neptune came in on target and Mercury was still being examined and not all the readings were in – but looked to be in the ball park.

      now, guys (and dolls for the pedant who pulled me up last time) please don,t dump on me! I am only reporting. I am not even going to do the research on this one cos I haven’t the time (spousal imperative!). I suggest you start @ the creationist sites to find it – then have at it where you like. I hope someone does so and reports back here because I ,for one, would like to know!

      with all best wishes,

      frank

      • In reply to #158 by frank!:

        how is this for a doozy?

        Dr. Russell Humphries (google him) , was wondering about the earth’s decaying magnetic field trying to make sense of all the data. there were certain anomalies and speculation about the magnetic fields of planets and moons in our solar system.

        Well – You have proved your ability to pick out the ramblings of real YEC dozies while failing to make any checks on their drivel!

        David Russell Humphreys is an American physicist and creationist. He has offered a Young Earth Creationist cosmological model to deal with the distant starlight problem.

        You have managed to find an incompetent maverick creationist physicist who has no idea about planetary magnetic fields, or is just being dishonest!

        The earth’s magnetic field has reversed approximately 170 times over the last 100 million years. The intensity of the magnetic field has been decreasing over time since it has been measured and some scientists expect that at the current rate of decline, there may be another magnetic reversal in approximately 2000 years. http://geography.about.com/od/physicalgeography/a/magnetic.htm

        strikes me as an example the most outrageous load of “creationist woo” one could conceive and I find it provocative but NOT convincing … but there is a sting in the tail……

        You were right the first time – it IS a load of creationist woo!

        he then worked out, using similar logic, the expected fields for the other planets and moons – at least some of which we had no data on, and some like Neptune should have NO field according to the standard model.

        This is wrong! (It must have been YEC “circular logic”!) They are planets which he knows the GULLIBLE HAVE NO DATA ON, and won’t bother to look for any. Another case of “retrospective prediction”?

        some like Neptune should have NO field according to the standard model. – so now we have a creationist PREDICTION of a scientifically measurable property!

        OK – You have proved he has no understanding, and has invented an imagined strawman “standard model” of planetary magnetic fields. so he can pretend he has proved it wrong! -

        YOU really do love collecting wrong information to prop up silly YEC beliefs with incompetent YEC assertions. .

        Quirk may explain odd magnetism of Neptune, Uranus -http://www.news.harvard.edu/gazette/2004/03.11/06-planets.html

        The abnormal magnetic fields of Uranus and Neptune – whose magnetic poles lie near their equators – may be a side effect of stable planetary cores that hinder convection. Harvard University scientists report in the March 11 issue of the journal Nature that they’ve used a computer model, similar to those used in weather forecasting, to establish a possible link between the two planets’ strange magnetic fields and their internal composition.

        “The discovery that Uranus’ and Neptune’s magnetic poles are so different than the geological poles around which the planets rotate destroyed the paradigm set by Earth, Jupiter, and Saturn,” says Jeremy Bloxham, professor of geophysics and Harvard College Professor. “Although various explanations for Uranus’ and Neptune’s unusual magnetic fields have been proposed, their cause has remained unexplained.”

        Scientists have been intrigued by Uranus’ and Neptune’s quirky magnetic fields ever since the two planets were first visited by NASA’s Voyager II spacecraft in the 1980s. Some have suggested that the unorthodox magnetism could result from sluggish core convection caused by partially frozen cores, or that perhaps the faraway bodies were in the process of reversing their magnetic poles, as has happened occasionally on Earth and other planets.

        “Since planetary magnetic fields are generated by complex fluid motions in electrically conducting regions of the planets, a process known as dynamo action, they are intricately linked to the structure and evolution of planetary interiors,” write Bloxham and co-author Sabine Stanley, a graduate student in Harvard’s Department of Earth and Planetary Science. “Determining why Uranus and Neptune have different field morphologies is not only critical for studying these planets’ interiors, but is essential for understanding the dynamics of magnetic field generation in all planets.”

        “Neptune should have NO field according” is just a rubbish assertion to confuse the ignorant about a scientifically complex subject. (IDiot Gapology 1.01)

        last I heard, Neptune came in on target and Mercury was still being examined and not all the readings were in – but looked to be in the ball park.

        You really must stop making a fool of yourself, listening to these scientific illiterates and dishonest posers, and START TO use reputable sources of information! There is no limit to the volume of rubbish they can keep making up!

      • In reply to #158 by frank!:

        I am not even going to do the research on this one cos I haven’t the time (spousal imperative!). I suggest you start @ the creationist sites to find it – then have at it where you like. I hope someone does so and reports back here because I ,for one, would like to know!

        Wrong place to start! Science starts with the evidence from reputable research (@160), not the confused created garbage designed to mislead the uninformed.

        So, having dumped the one-time-physicist, pseudo-expert you quoted, let’s keep it simple.

        Stellar and planetary magnetic fields, are generated by the interactions of the churning fluid interiors, powered by gravity and axial rotation. They vary with the internal stratification of elements, temperatures, and convection, as well as the angle of axial rotation.

        http://www.physics.org/article-questions.asp?id=64 – This flow of liquid iron generates electric currents, which in turn produce magnetic fields. Charged metals passing through these fields go on to create electric currents of their own, and so the cycle continues. This self-sustaining loop is known as the geodynamo. – The spiralling caused by the Coriolis force means that separate magnetic fields created are roughly aligned in the same direction, their combined effect adding up to produce one vast magnetic field engulfing the planet.

        Planets/moons which have cooled and set solid, don’t have an interior churning fluid magnetic “engine” generating a field inside them any more.

        • In reply to #161 by Alan4discussion:

          Hey Alan, all that weird stuff with those big techie words about ‘planetary magnetic fields’ sounds awfully sciencey, eh.
          You sound like of of them evolutionismistic scientician fellas.

          Way over my head, that ‘churning fluid interiors’ story. Sounds like me after a night out downing a few pints at the local boozer with me mates..!!

          Can’t you keep it simple, like maybe it was some super-duper deity dude who just, you know, ‘created’ it by sprinkling some magic dust into my brain???

          Why should I take your word for it that it’s, like, real stuff that people did, not just those Satan’s Lies which are part of the Faithless Reality Conspiracy that my Senior Faith Manager warned me about when I was making another donation down at the local Godly Power Generation Station…. Mac. 8-)

          • In reply to #162 by CdnMacAtheist:

            Way over my head, that ‘churning fluid interiors’ story. Sounds like me after a night out downing a few pints at the local boozer with me mates..!!

            Now, now!.Don’t be nasty! ;-)

  49. Bill could have shut him down more easily with a few simple questions. “How do you know this version of your bible is the literal word of god? By your own ‘logic’ you weren’t there when it was written/re-written/translated/transcribed/edited so you have no direct knowledge. Science, on the other hand, goes by what we know from past experience and shows how the data came to form and prove the hypothesis but also invites others to question that knowledge. Without using circular logic (the bible is because it says it is), how can you prove anything in the bible is credible and not just another mythology, like Zeus/Odin/Jupiter and their pantheons? “

    • In reply to #121 by AlexNWA:

      Bill could have shut him down more easily with a few simple questions. “How do you know this version of your bible is the literal word of god? By your own ‘logic’ you weren’t there when it was written/re-written/translated/transcribed/edited so you have no direct knowledge.

      Ah! “THE Bible”!

  50. I just can’t see this debate as a mistake because it gave Ham airtime. I see it more as Nye giving Ham a rope so everyone could see him hang himself. Any creationist would of course think Ham won, but any person on the fence could obviously the flaws in the creationist argument and I think that was the point.

  51. Re ‘faithist, liar, etc. etc.’ – point made once per discussion fair enough, repeated without further elucidation risks it being dismissed as mere dogma or abuse, in any case, not comfortable for the casual ‘naive’ reader.

    Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference that shows, simply and precisely, how these (proposed?) non-seasonal anomalies are detected and allowed for (if present).

    As noted , tree ring counting , unlike radiometric dating , doesn,t require a higher degree and esoteric technologies – or does it?

    BTW. did my link to that bristleconepine research paper work?

    rgds, frank

    • Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference that shows, simply and precisely, how these (proposed?) non-seasonal anomalies are detected and allowed for (if present).

      Marker Years

      In reply to #129 by frank!:

      Re ‘faithist, liar, etc. etc.’ – point made once per discussion fair enough, repeated without further elucidation risks it being dismissed as mere dogma or abuse, in any case, not comfortable for the casual ‘naive’ reader.

      Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference that sh…

      • In reply to #130 by Marktony:

        Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference that shows, simply and precisely, how these (proposed?) non-seasonal anomalies are detected and allowed for (if present).

        Marker Years

        Ha! – thanks, Marktony

        Supplementary question: Is the PRIMARY data accessible to other research teams so that the original research can be checked / validated by a fresh set of eyes?. This would help overcome observer bias etc.

        rgds, frank

        • Is the PRIMARY data accessible to other research teams so that the original research can be checked / validated by a fresh set of eyes?.

          International Tree-Ring Data Bank

          In reply to #135 by frank!:

          In reply to #130 by Marktony:

          Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference that shows, simply and precisely, how these (proposed?) non-seasonal anomalies are detected and allowed for (if present).

          Marker Years

          Ha! – thanks, Marktony

          Supplementary question: Is the PRIMA…

          • In reply to #144 by Marktony:

            Is the PRIMARY data accessible to other research teams so that the original research can be checked / validated by a fresh set of eyes?.

            International Tree-Ring Data Bank

            In reply to #135 by frank!:

            In reply to #130 by Marktony:

            Now, re missing / multiple tree rings , can anyone cite a reference…

            Brilliant! – now I shall retire to my hobbit hole and review the evidence ….

            Thanks Marktony

            Frank

    • In reply to #129 by frank!:

      Re ‘faithist, liar, etc. etc.’ – point made once per discussion fair enough, repeated without further elucidation risks it being dismissed as mere dogma or abuse, in any case, not comfortable for the casual ‘naive’ reader.

      Frank, those faithist, YECist, IDiot, faith-head, god-infected, deluded, mythtaken, liars, etc. descriptors are rationally accurate assessments of the mindsets displayed by those spouting their unsupported claims.

      If you think these are ‘dogmatic’ then you should go tell the ‘believers’ that they should stop calling us Darwinists, Dawkinsians, evilutionists, nihilists, satanists, immoral, hell-bound, evil, etc, etc.

      If you think these descriptors are ‘abusive’, then what do you call the methods & indoctrination that have been the hallmark of religion memeplexes for 1000’s of years – the mind-dulling god viruses, the threats of hellfire, the ostracisation, torture & killing of millions, the unearned respect, the forced income, the temporal power of religious mafias, the infiltration of societies, governments & laws of most states, the criminal mental & physical abuses of innocent children or gullible adults, etc, etc.

      Don’t talk to me about dogma & abuse, or being uncomfortable as a bystander, since I’ve had more than my share of the evils of religion, even though I’ve always been a non-theist…. Mac.

  52. After his first initial introduction, Ken Ham flopped. After being hit with a tsunami of scientific evidence from Nye he flustered and floundered and had to resort to the bible.

    He offered NO extra biblical evidence or mechanism that could prove his claim that the earth is young. As all creationism debaters do, they look for gaps, mysteries or anomalies in our knowledge, and don’t provide evidence FOR their case. Like a political party who complains all day long about the government but has no manifesto of its own.

    Ken Ham looked like a rabbit caught in headlights and seemed increasingly worried his ‘model’ was starting to look more and more unconvincing to the audience in the room and internetland. The way Nye just stared at him the whole time like an eagle really put the pressure on him to come up with something solid……which Ham probably did…..in his undies lol

  53. In reply to #112 by frank!:

    Oops, sorry Mac – you asked me a number of things – starting with that Dawkins admission ‘I don’t know ….. Nobody does’.

    Hi Frank. RD’s book is about the overwhelming evidence for the FACT of evolution, which has nothing to do with the start of life (abiogenesis), which this quotation is clearly referring to when taken in context….

    (TGSOE) page 416. “This is a book about evidence, and WE HAVE NO EVIDENCE bearing upon the start of evolution” Sorry again – mixed my quotes – but not my reaction. I trained as an engineer. I am a nuts & bolts man. I want, nay NEED the evidence! To be certain of something ALL the causual links must be in place, whole & unbroken – right back to & including the original anchoring postulate.

    The original anchoring postulate in evolution is replication & inheritance with variation, without which evolution cannot proceed. This is after life initially developed due to replication alone – which is a separate question that is a lot closer to being explained in the 21st century due to better methods & technology.

    The FACT of evolution, explained by the THEORY of evolution by natural selection, is as sound as gravity or heliocentrism, with zero evidence that it did not happen, with most of the puzzle filled in to the point where the theory can only be refined, but not overturned, especially by ‘special pleading’ by religious YECists & IDiots who don’t have any foundation in fact for their mythtaken beliefs.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_pleading

    Please don’t make the very basic mistake folk make by conflating abiogenesis & evolution, causing much confusion in understanding & in discussions, along with the reasonable assumption that you don’t know what you’re talking about regarding the foundation of biology…. Mac.

    • In reply to #133 by CdnMacAtheist:

      In reply to frank

      Hi Frank. RD’s book is about the overwhelming evidence for the FACT of evolution, which has nothing to do with the start of life (abiogenesis),

      hang on! – Mac surely for satisfactory fulfillment we have to nail this one! If we don,t have the evidence then at best we are agnostic- and at worst concede goddidit. As atheists we cannot let the supernatural a foot in the door – PARTICularly the FRONT door?

      And incidentally re ‘gravity’ and even ‘flat earth ‘ aren,t these a whole different kettle of fish? I mean if only one side keeps dragging extraneous issues out , don,t they risk being saddled with them? I return to the unaligned (but interested and questioning – even sceptical) visitor. Don,t we risk – if we protest excessively or inappropriately – their wondering just who are the gravity deniers or flat earthers?

      fraternally, frank

      • In reply to #137 by frank!:
        In reply to #133 by CdnMacAtheist: Hi Frank. RD’s book is about the overwhelming evidence for the FACT of evolution, which has nothing to do with the start of life (abiogenesis),

        Hang on! – Mac, surely for satisfactory fulfillment we have to nail this one!

        Frank, what point are you trying to make here? The FACT of evolution?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_fact_and_theory

        Or is that abiogenesis is a separate area from evolution?

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution

        If we don’t have the evidence then at best we are agnostic- and at worst concede goddidit.

        There is a vast amount of evidence for evolution, which is why it can be scientifically described as a FACT.

        As atheists we cannot let the supernatural a foot in the door – Particularly the FRONT door?

        In science, the supernatural isn’t necessary to describe any part of reality, so it’s just irrelevant & nothing to do with atheism. Science is a method to discover evidence & form explanations about reality. Atheism is a conclusion about the non-existance of deities due to lack of any evidence.

        And incidentally re ‘gravity’ & even ‘flat earth ‘ aren’t these a whole different kettle of fish? I mean if only one side keeps dragging extraneous issues out, don’t they risk being saddled with them?

        There is no downside to accepting that gravity exists, while there is no upside to believing that the Earth is flat….

        I return to the unaligned (but interested & questioning – even sceptical) visitor. Don’t we risk – if we protest excessively or inappropriately – their wondering just who are the gravity deniers or flat earthers? Fraternally, Frank.

        Sorry Frank, I don’t get the point of this bit?

        There is more evidence for evolution than there is for gravity, and try defying gravity!

        There is no evidence except for ancient biblical claims for a ‘flat earth’!

        There are biblically-driven ‘geocentrists’ whose beliefs deny gravity & other bits of physics – minor things like mass, light speed & relativity! …. 8-) Mac.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wyRJZbNmC7U

  54. Hang on! – Mac, surely for satisfactory fulfillment we have to nail this one!

    There MUST be doubts about measuring techniques!!! Genesis MUST BE Tttrrrrroooo!

    The Earth MUST be Young! – so these measurements MUST be wrong and none of these thousands scientists can know how to measure this sciency stuff that YECs won’t learn! .

    The preconceptions are overwhelming. The incredulity and filter blinkers, just won’t allow the scientific evidence to be admitted as correct.

    The BaBBBLe is Trrrooo. The Preachers the Hammies and the bronze age scribes said so, – So there!!

    It must be right whatever the measurements in thousands of different studies show.

    YECs just can’t or won’t understand debunking of their myths! It’s obvious! -

    Hammies crew are so brilliant that a couple of hours making up contradictions based on circular preconceptions, can easily refute decades of scientific research by thousands of scientists! – According to Hammy!!!

    wondering just who are the gravity deniers or flat earthers? Fraternally, Frank.

    Those astronomers and physicists keep demonstrating by physics and maths, that the Solar System and the Earth were formed by GRAVITY over billions of years, but YECs “KNOW” it wasn’t gravity! God-did-it-by-magic 6,000years ago – so gravity MUST be wrong!! Those physicists MUST be using the wrong “FAITH”!

    As was explained on my link, many of the flat Earthers quoted a literal Genesis as the basis for flat Earth claims.

    Those suffering from cognitive dissonance, have a singular talent for failing to understand objective evidence or rational connections – and usually don’t even bother to learn the language of science. _ Some “barmyologists” make up their own pseudo language!

    I think that’s nailed it!

  55. hi Mac,
    well I must admit that metaphysics is not a big interest of mine. I don’t get much involved in atheism / faith discussions – but I believe I’ve spotted an intriguing asymmetry about the Creation / Darwin dichotomy ….

    consider the ‘costs’ of changing one’s mind – Nye nailed Ham with that ….”what would it take to change your mind?” – but I think it is a fair question for everybody. Ham foundered over his absolutely committed interpretation of scriptures – however I don’t think that is true for most believers. generally they’d reason that god could do it any way he liked ; 16 billion years, 6 “days”, even 6 nanoseconds, doesn’t matter, they’ll find out in heaven. ok? so they figure whatever the scientists finally come up with, no big deal – just involves some tinkering with the way the scriptures are interpreted. they still have their personal saviour, someone up there who cares that they can pray to etc.

    but can a Darwinist get out of it so comfortably? what if Ham had asked Nye, “what would change for you if (I KNOW it’s a big if!) all the geologists re-analysed the data and pronounced that “The planet, to all intents and purposes, can be considered as less than 10,000 earth years old” (yeah, ok, – just bear with me for a sec – I’m trying to get at something …..)

    what I’m trying to focus on is the consequent effect, of such a situation, upon the person’s intellectual frame of reference . I’ve suggested that a creationist (god believer) could assimilate a Darwinian universe without catastrophic challenge to his personal belief system.

    but what about a Darwinist (in RD’s terms, an “intellectually fulfilled atheist”) ? – without deep time, can we have evolution?. isn’t it the only game – is there any other option except the unacceptable “goddidit”?

    man! what cerebral ructions!

    perhaps this is a factor in how these forums present – the few creationist sites that I visit have a generally calm, reasonable and rational tone. coming from some of the Darwinist rants (c’mon tis only a generalisation!) one can only wonder at their non-abrasiveness. well, perhaps this is the factor at play – the stakes are not equal. the subconscious angst is just not there for the believer compared to the potential threat to the disbeliever.

    what do you think? am I on to something?

    frank

    • In reply to #140 by frank!:

      well I must admit that metaphysics is not a big interest of mine. I don’t get much involved in atheism / faith discussions – but I believe I’ve spotted an intriguing asymmetry about the Creation / Darwin dichotomy ….

      consider the ‘costs’ of changing one’s mind – Nye nailed Ham with that…

      Scientists KNOW that evolutionary biology and physics work because they use them in their work and understand the mechanisms – just like engineers KNOW that Newtonian mechanics works in the workshop – and likewise will be utterly unimpressed with some made-up nonsense from some gullible muppet who says they don’t work because he has (mis)read his Bible!

      Literalist believers have their indoctrinated expectation of “eternal life in heaven, or escape from Hell”, threatened by any loss of belief,

      Atheists have no such problem, as most are confident that death is final, and such places are just fairy-tales made-up to manipulate children.

      Scientists just try to objectively follow the evidence rationally to conclusions, as far as possible, with the facilities they have available. – and then have it checked in peer-review by fellow specialists.

      Ham of course has his living from his fake-dinosaur “museum” sales money to consider.

      I spent years working on science, before i ever heard of Ham and his nonsense! – It is largely a problem of failing American education, but attempts are being made to export the ignorance!

      Creation / Darwin dichotomy ….

      It simply does not exist in the world of science. YEC is comedy.

      I’ve suggested that a creationist (god believer) could assimilate a Darwinian universe without catastrophic challenge to his personal belief system.

      Vast numbers of them have (RCC, CofE, etc.)!
      The fudge of Theistic evolution includes most of the real science + a bit of god-did-it!

  56. These comments appear to be slanted…lets dismiss the topic and put aside core beliefs and let’s discuss the art of debate. Bill Is not the man who you want representing science in that forum. He doesn’t speak we’ll, he became visibly frustrated, he said ‘that’s unreasonable’ or ‘unacceptable’ over 20 times. Apologetics is not his gifting…there is students at Oxford and Cambridge who would eat h alive. You have to understand debate is more than I believe something it’s the presentation of that material that convinces or persuades. Just because you believe what Bill is saying doesn’t mean he did a great job… You don’t to be a Seahawks fan to be able to see they were the better team Super Bowl night…as far as debate period Bill is awful.

  57. Although I don’t believe that Nye in any way ‘hurt science’, the debate itself lends some sort of credibility to creationist dogma. I’m much more in the Dawkins / Harris / Hutchins camp – ignore them because they have nothing to offer.

    • In reply to #148 by progressforall:

      Although I don’t believe that Nye in any way ‘hurt science’, the debate itself lends some sort of credibility to creationist dogma. I’m much more in the Dawkins / Harris / Hutchins camp – ignore them because they have nothing to offer.

      No they have nothing to offer, but they have the capacity to do a lot of damage, especially to young and impressionable minds, which to me is why no opportunity to expose their woo should go unanswered. Even if some battles between a debater less skilled than a snake oil salesman, which I do not believe this was, apart from KH being a snake oil salesman, may temporarily slow the progress of acceptance of reality, hiding behind our mountain of evidence while the woo merchants peddle their crap unopposed, will not help either.

  58. It’s spectacular what religious folks will call a win.

    I don’t think he really did any damage. Ham didn’t convince anyone of Creationism.

    Add credibility, I don’t believe it. Congressmen stand up in public and say they believe this stuff.

    Fire up his base, maybe.

    The problem is that ignoring these people simply is not enough. It is not going to go away all on its own! We have to challenge these people. There’s no other way.

  59. With thanks to “Mr Darcy” post # 5 in the “RDF quoted…” thread. The credentials of Ken Ham’s “expert scientists” keep getting called into question, but this one is so glaring, and so obviously dishonest that it deserves to be brought to light in this thread as well, just to make sure it is not neglected.

    The point has been made that if Ken Ham honestly believes what he preaches, it is difficult to call him personally dishonest, and that is a valid point.

    Consider this in the light of Dr. Andrew A Snelling. Dr. Snelling’s credentials are impeccable, a BSc and a Doctorate in geology, both from very legitimate Australian universities, absolutely no woo involved at all.

    Dr. Snelling however is a staunch YEC, and a resource of vast use to Ken Ham in support of his absurdities, especially the so called “scientific evidence” that the earth (and everything else) is 6,000 years old.

    Now the fun begins, there is also a Dr. Andrew A Snelling, with exactly the same qualifications, and who even has the same postal address, who writes serious, peer reviewed, and definitive papers on geological subjects, particularly the geology of Uranium deposits in Northern Australia. In this research Dr. Snelling has no problem with ascribing the age of the rock formations he discusses, correctly, in terms of millions of years.

    So what is going on here? Do we have a respectable scientist whose name and credentials are being hijacked and a lot of rubbish published using his name? By a lodger in the basement perhaps? Or do we have a somewhat schizophrenic scientist whose alter ego amuses itself by writing rubbish? Or do we have a simply dishonest scientist who writes deliberate falsehood for a reason known only to himself, and Ken Ham.

    In any way, it is difficult to accept that Ham is unaware of the doppel-ganger nature of his “expert,” and it is hardly supportive of any claim on his part to personal honesty.

    The website, for those interested, I certainly was: is noanswersingenesis.com.au.

  60. re #117 and #158 etc

    “….. has invented an imagined strawman “standard model” of planetary magnetic fields. so he can pretend he has proved it wrong!”

    Yeh I was rather hoping that someone had the time and energy to do the legwork and see if there was any credible statement made (ie. about Neptune,s field or lack thereof – and other claims …) before Humphries made his claims . I am an engineer not a research scientist so I am hoping someone with experience can track done some legitimate ammunition that legitimizes or otherwise his claim to have made a valid PREDICTION.

    I am a curious coot and I like to get to the bottom of things ….

    rgds,

    frank

    • In reply to #166 by frank!:

      re #117 and #158 etc

      “….. has invented an imagined strawman “standard model” of planetary magnetic fields. so he can pretend he has proved it wrong!”

      First of all the ‘Standard Model’ is the best theory science has for describing the nature of the universe, matter (stuff) and forces. The Standard Model of quantum mechanics has NO direct connection with planetary magnetic fields, any more than a ‘standard model of cake baking’, or ‘standard model of imagining’. Both of which also rely on electromagnetism. This is yet another bogus use of a scientific expression, coughed up by creationists because they think it makes them sound smart. It doesn’t, it simply exposes their stupidity.

      Just to get this straight, whatever the physical processes at work on Neptune, and throughout the universe, they are not described by religious dinosaurs like Ken Spam and his ilk. The idea that incomplete knowledge implies no knowledge and that superstitious claptrap is then needed to explain something, is stupidity of the highest order. Creationism answers nothing, and harping on about it changes nothing. Just inventing an ‘ISM’ is meaningless, it has ZERO purpose.

      ‘Voyager detected auroras, similar to the northern and southern lights on Earth, in Neptune’s atmosphere. The auroras on Earth occur when energetic particles strike the atmosphere as they spiral down the magnetic field lines. But because of Neptune’s complex magnetic field, the auroras are extremely complicated processes that occur over wide regions of the planet, not just near the planet’s magnetic poles. The auroral power on Neptune is weak, estimated at about 50 million watts, compared to 100 billion watts on Earth’.

      http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov/science/neptune_magnetic.html

      • In reply to #169 by keyplayer88:

        In reply to #166 by frank!:

        re #117 and #158 etc

        “….. has invented an imagined strawman “standard model” of planetary magnetic fields. so he can pretend he has proved it wrong!”

        ‘Voyager detected auroras, similar to the northern and southern lights on Earth, in Neptune’s atmosphere. The auroras on Earth occur when energetic particles strike the atmosphere as they spiral down the magnetic field lines. But because of Neptune’s complex magnetic field, the auroras are extremely complicated processes that occur over wide regions of the planet, not just near the planet’s magnetic poles.

        It’s just as well those “dumb mainstream scientists” at NASA, had a Hammy cretinist to predict magnetic fields existed in the Solar-System and on the outer planets. – Otherwise they how would they ever have thought to steer around Jupiter’s radiation belts, or put Magnetometers on space probes!!!! -

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spacecraft-magnetometer

        The first spacecraft-borne magnetometer was placed on the Sputnik 3 spacecraft in 1958 and the most detailed magnetic observations of the Earth have been performed by the Magsat[1] and Ørsted satellites. Magnetometers were taken to the Moon during the later Apollo missions. Many instruments have been used to measure the strength and direction of magnetic field lines around Earth and the solar system.

        The most sensitive magnetometer instruments are mounted on long booms, deployed away from the craft (e.g., the Voyagers, Cassini).

  61. Somehow I doubt Ken Ham reached anyone new with his so-called argument. Anyone coming into that debate already believing it wouldn’t accept it more, but they might accept it less (or reject it outright). I doubt there would be any real fence sitters here, but among them, I really don’t see them being convinced by Ken Ham, and if they were, could probably be convinced of any bullshit (and thus are irrelevant to any discourse). What I see is that Bill Nye might actually reach someone, or at least give many people with fundamentalists beliefs room for doubt. It could also be argued that ignoring a debate would give them legitimacy as well ( the “fear” argument…and you know they’d claim victory then too), and that engaging in a debate only serves to discredit them further by allowing them to show, publicly, that they are fools.

    • In reply to #173 by frank!:

      Re #117 etc. etc.

      bIt disappointed that no one has come forward to answer the question posed

      ever hopeful …

      It has been answered. No creationists use scientific methodology for YEC claims, but often lie and pretend they do – and anything which is not based on scientific methodology is not science. Some creationists have some scientific credentials from other work they have done but do not use real science in trying to prop up YEC claims. They are a tiny proportion (a tiny fraction of 1%) of people with scientific qualifications.

      @166 – I am a curious coot and I like to get to the bottom of things ….

      While you churn out a cascade of questions about creationists’ incompetent and silly claims,, your lack of response to scientific answers is disappointing. You show no interest in learning from the information we have given you.

      As an engineer, I thought you might be interested in the mechanisms of planetary electro-magnetism you questioned, once it had been explained, that some creationist pseudo-scientist had produced a strawman claim equivalent to having “predicted the invention of the wheel when no “mainstream” engineers knew about it” – hence “god”????

      As I said earlier, ALL YEC claims are comically incompetent or just dishonest. They would have to overturn ALL of modern science to prove the Earth is young.. (They do keep contradicting science, but that just makes them look silly!)

      ever hopeful …

      You really are going to have to look stuff up for yourself and follow up on links.

      Nobody can spoon feed you with the whole of modern science in an internet discussion.

      • In reply to #175 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #173 by frank!:

        Re #117 etc. etc.

        bIt disappointed that no one has come forward to answer the question posed

        ever hopeful …

        It has been answered. No creationists use scientific methodology for YEC claims, but often lie and pretend they do – and anything which is not based on sci…

        Me too, Frank!, three answered enquiries that I have no idea if you have even bothered to read. Three strikes, mate, and you’re out. You might take a lesson from “lonevoice,” who at least takes part in a two way discussion.

  62. No, he didn’ t hurt science. It’s a skeptics job to engage nonsense. I find the idea that debating creationists gives them credit , therefore we should not do it, a little weird. That would invalidate the entire skeptic enterprise.

    • In reply to #176 by frank!:

      hmmm …
      Can we come back to the relevant question please?

      Which was??????

      Frank – http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation-articles/2014/2/10/question-of-the-week-what-religion-did-you-deconvert-from-what-is-your-story#comment-box-60 – I believe my family religious outlook as much as anything else decided me to become an atheist

      I find a problem with someone whose comments are those of an atheist on the other thread, but seems to have a fixation on YEC nonsense here, together with a lack of interest in following up on definitive scientific answers?

      Re #117 etc. etc. – bIt disappointed that no one has come forward to answer the question posed

      Re #117 etc. etc. which you quoted:-

      @117 – One thing someone should ask creationists is, regardless of how many scientists “support” creationism, is how much research have any of them done proving any of the creationist ideas? Has anyone ever done a single scientific experiment to determine whether their understanding of the Bible is correct or not? Unless someone can imagine a suitable experiment to determine whether an idea is correct or not, and then do it…it’s not science.

      Blatantly stating ones ideas and then arguing about them is not science, its just rhetoric.

      Which question are you saying is unanswered? I suggest you re-read 117 and 175 before answering.

    • In reply to #176 by frank!:

      determine whether their understanding of the Bible is correct or not

      Their understanding?

      Good BBC program called the Bible Hunters, about the earliest Christian manuscripts being contradictory and therefore unreliable. Throwing into doubt the resurrection itself, as if it wasn’t already. The gospel of St Mark in early manuscripts finishes saying that 3 women saw an angel near Jesus’s tomb but were afraid to say anything about this to anyone. How was the Bible able to record something that it says was kept a secret? It makes NO mention of a risen or resurrected Jesus.

      Later manuscripts then embellish this story with Jesus appearing risen to his disciples only appearing in these later versions, seemingly to provide a ‘happy ending’. Embellishments added hundreds of years after the fact

      Without that, what you got?

      • In reply to #220 by ashleyhr:

        In reply to #176 by curiouscoot:

        hmmm …

        With respect, I suggest the question that was NOT posed has been answered. Can we come back to the relevant question please?

        If I am thinking about the right question, might this help (delayed response as I’ve only just come across this post-debate blog)…

        Thanks for that link – most interesting!
        I have emailed a followup question to the effect “does that apply to all the (surely multitudinous) cases of part fossilized organic material in old rock?”.

        frank

        • In reply to #221 by curiouscoot:

          Hi Frank!

          I was wondering if you have read comments 214 and 216.

          Let’s see if Frank can give a straight answer to the straight questions @210?

          I was wondering if you have answers to my questions, which go to the root causes of the disinformation you are being given from AIG.

          You will see @216, they have various deceptions to present creationist nonsense as science. You will also see at the last link on 216, that there is almost a limitless list of the pseudo-science nonsense they make up. Once that AIG etc source is recognised, their track record of producing dishonest and incompetent garbage should be enough to avoid wasting time on contrived pseudo-science rubbish.

          So if you would answer my questions on your position on Adam and Eve and on Noah’s flood, we could then look at the “core data” on which AIG and ham’s stooges base their numerous claims.

          If I am thinking about the right question, might this help (delayed response as I’ve only just come across this post-debate blog)? http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/45-thousand-year-old-fossil-wood.html

          The link simply shows that as I said earlier, Ham’s stooges just do sloppy incompetent science which they dishonestly claim casts doubt on well proven methods and hide their hidden YEC agendas in technical matters which the public at large cannot understand. The only thing proved by their claim, is that they failed to recognise the contamination of their sample, and did not want to understand modern methods of analysis. Tenth-rate scientists can become stars at AIG if they are prepared to sell Ham’s YEC nonsense.

          If you want real science on the age of the Earth, look at this discussion:- http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2014/2/24/crystal-is-oldest-scrap-of-earth-crust#

    • In reply to #178 by groo:

      Err, so what frank wants anyway?

      Gish Gallop Allert?

      http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Gish_Gallop

      no

      but for me this has become a test to see if this forum can live up to the promise of the principles and aim of it’s establishment.

      clearly I have as good an understanding of things as most here and I find some of the directions unduly patronizing – (though some like the tree ring / ice layer database is an indication of the kind of resource I plan to delve into further to see if there genuinely are the uncertainties that the YECs are relying upon – but all that is for another time when I have the leisure to follow it up ….)

      In furthering a debate it is not valid to misrepresent the question .

      see #166

      I believe that I have given enough indication as to what the basic question / point of contention might be (albeit my wording may be unclear). I invite others to , before launching into a possibly irrelevant response , check they are addressing the issue.

      my position is that I believe that a testable proposition was made. Let’s get on with that and stop beating around the bush

      cordially,

      frank

      • In reply to #180 by frank!:
        >

        my position is that I believe that a testable proposition was made.

        Then it is up to you to present it in clear terms, with a link to or direct quote from the original text.

        Let’s get on with that and stop beating around the bush

        It is not anyone else’s job to trawl the internet looking for some vague reference to nonsense some YEC clown has made up.

        You are the one beating about the bush. If you have a testable proposition which has not already been refuted here – present it.

        clearly I have as good an understanding of things as most here and I find some of the directions unduly patronizing – (though some like the tree ring / ice layer database is an indication of the kind of resource I plan to delve into further to see if there genuinely are the uncertainties that the YECs are relying upon – but all that is for another time when I have the leisure to follow it up ….)

        If you have not looked into it yet, you clearly don’t have a good understanding. Anyone who cannot see the inadequacy of YECs’ contradicting world leading science by presenting no credible evidence, clearly does not have an understanding of the subject.
        You do not appear to have read the links, and have made no relevant comments on any of the details on them.
        You will learn nothing by pretending to understand matters you have not studied, and without a knowledge of the subject, would be in no position to form a valid opinion on what is honest evidence.

        YEC pseudo-science is VERY easy to understand. “God-did-it-just-like-it-says-in-Genesis” and anything which refutes this will be contradicted by contrived YECery! They will lie about their rubbish being science, and will describe it as “true-science” or “real science” but in reality it does not use scientific evidence or logic and and is only fake-science.

        Putting it bluntly – anyone who thinks the Earth is only 6,000 years old, is pig-ignorant of physics, geology, astronomy, and biology, and probably can’t do mathematical measurements or use technical measuring techniques either.

        You have to ask yourself if you really believe USSHER CHRONOLOGY adding up the ages of Biblical characters is a scientific way of measuring the age of the Earth which refutes all of modern science?

        Do you believe this or don’t you? – That is the relevant question.

  63. In reply to #178 by groo:

    Err, so what frank wants anyway?

    May I do a small rewrite from Leviticus? I won’t be the first, by a long chalk:

    11:13 And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the trolls ; they shall not be debated, they are an abomination: the gish gallop, and the straw man, and the true scotsman.

    Thanks also to post 143, et sub.

  64. Frank:

    no
    but for me this has become a test to see if this forum can live up to the promise of the principles and aim of it’s establishment.
    clearly I have as good an understanding of things as most here and I find some of the directions unduly patronizing – (though some like the tree ring / ice layer database is an indication of the kind of resource I plan to delve into further to see if there genuinely are the uncertainties that the YECs are relying upon – but all that is for another time when I have the leisure to follow it up ….)
    In furthering a debate it is not valid to misrepresent the question .
    see #166
    I believe that I have given enough indication as to what the basic question / point of contention might be (albeit my wording may be unclear). I invite others to , before launching into a possibly irrelevant response , check they are addressing the issue.
    my position is that I believe that a testable proposition was made. Let’s get on with that and stop beating around the bush

    OK. Well, none of my business. I don’t take all this too seriously.
    I mostly lurk around.

  65. Hey Lonevoice & Frank, are you going to answer my direct questions in the following Posts?

    CMA comment #157 In reply to #150 by Lonevoice:

    CMA comment #138 In reply to #137 by frank!:

    I think the questions were pretty clear & if you post opinions, claims & assertions, you should respond to criticism of them by other Members trying to discuss the issues brought up through critical thinking via, you know, Reason & Science…. Mac.

  66. hi all,

    as a disambiguation I have changed my username to “curiouscoot” (formerly frank!)

    now I came as a result of watching the Nye / Ham debate and wanted further info on some of the claims. Marktony has kindly furnished me with a relevant lead on tree ring and ice layer dating methods and , as time permits, will follow it up.

    as a secondary issue I became concerned by some claims made against the YEC people (particularly by some commentators here who came across as being a “bit over the top” – but perhaps that’s the internet …) for being “unscientific” (or pseudoscientific if that’s a word?) and, as Nye claimed, unable to make predictions.

    so, following up on beavertail’s comment, and bearing in mind Nye’s reference to the issue of scientific predictions, I remembered a paper(?) by (PhD and practicing (at least formerly?) scientist Russ Humphreys) wherein he made predictions about the magnetic fields of Neptune, Uranus and Mercury. as I understand it, these predictions were outside / contrary to the generally accepted likely values predicted by mainstream scientists. Humphrey’s model was explicitly based on a YEC scenario (planets possibly originating as water having the magnetic moments of the molecules aligned thus providing the original field after which the water became rock etc. and the magnetic field energy declined to present day levels ……… ,

    a sufficiently wacky (!?) scenario, I suggest, incorporating all the significant elements to test whether “Creation Scientists” can (i) do “proper science” and (ii) make “testable predictions” – ( and (iii) thereby validate the starting assumptions?)

    so the Question? – how about – “where is the evidence / data / reasoning / rationale to confirm / deny (i) &or (ii) &or (iii) ?”

    note: I consider myself your average questioning layman and I take partisan sites (& cites!) for what they are worth, (and note inter alia that in view of the proliferation of wiki sites, they are less a usable overview of all current endeavour – but more likely hijacked by those who need to “get a life!” – so only a possibly limited and unreliable resource. I value primary data / research but , as a layman have not yet discovered how to fully access such – or even if it is possible.

    as I explained earlier I have limited bandwidth to devote to this so cannot hope to address all the other issues (baramins, Noah’s ark, abiogenesis, the bible, atheism, etc) raised.

    until next sunday …

    cordially,

    frank

    • In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      so the Question? – how about – “where is the evidence / data / reasoning / rationale to confirm / deny (i) &or (ii) &or (iii) ?”

      Why would you believe the onus is on anyone other than you to provide this?

    • In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      a sufficiently wacky (!?) scenario, I suggest, incorporating all the significant elements to test whether “Creation Scientists” can (i) do >”proper science” and (ii) make “testable predictions” – ( and (iii) thereby validate the starting assumptions?)

      so the Question? – how about – “where is the evidence / data / reasoning / rationale to confirm / deny (i) &or (ii) &or (iii) ?”

      Hello, Curiouscoot.

      I know of no scientists who validate to any extent the hypothesis known as young-earth creationism by doing proper science in such relevant fields as cosmology, geology and biology, making testable predictions and having these proved correct by test results and also having the same tests repeated and confirmed by scientific peers and so on in the usual scientific manner.

      Unlike scientific hypotheses, which are formed to suggest falsifiable and testable ways of explaining observations not yet understood, young-earth creationism has arisen from an irrational insistence on reading selected passages of the Bible (in particular Genesis 1-11) in the strictly literal sense. Clearly this has nothing to do with science. Your request for evidence and reasoning to confirm or deny that young-earth creationists arrive at their worldview by scientific methods is therefore entirely fatuous.

    • In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      hi all,

      as a disambiguation I have changed my username to “curiouscoot” (formerly frank!)

      I remembered a paper(?) by (PhD and practicing (at least formerly?) scientist Russ Humphreys) wherein he made predictions about the magnetic fields of Neptune, Uranus and Mercury. as I understand it, these predictions were outside / contrary to the generally accepted likely values predicted by mainstream scientists.

      First of all this is not a peer-reviewed scientific paper from any reputable university study or scientific publication. It is nonsense from some YEC mag or website.

      Humphrey’s model was explicitly based on a YEC scenario (planets possibly originating as water having the magnetic moments of the molecules aligned thus providing the original field after which the water became rock etc.

      This is nonsensical gobble-de-gook as anyone with a basic understanding of science would know. Water cannot “become rock”, and the magnetic fields of planets are generated as I described in earlier posts. Either you are misquoting it or, it was just the usual clueless YECery.

      and the magnetic field energy declined to present day levels ……… ,

      No they haven’t. I provided a link which explained how they increased, decreased an flipped, on a cyclical system.

      a sufficiently wacky (!?) scenario, I suggest, incorporating all the significant elements to test whether “Creation Scientists” can (i) do “proper science” and (ii) make “testable predictions” – ( and (iii) thereby validate the starting assumptions?)

      Total nonsense!

      so the Question? – how about – “where is the evidence / data / reasoning / rationale to confirm / deny (i) &or (ii) &or (iii) ?”

      Research scientists don’t waste time arguing about wildly incompetent claims. This is immediately recognisable as ludicrous by anyone who has the slightest idea about planetary magnetic fields, atoms, molecules etc.

      I value primary data / research but , as a layman have not yet discovered how to fully access such – or even if it is possible.

      You have already demonstrated a total inability to address the basic information given on this thread and have asked no relevant questions to increase your understanding of the subjects. The refutations have been presented. Either you did not read them, or you cannot understand them.

      I asked you two key questions about the basis for YEC claims.

      You stated on this site that you are an atheist, so once again I ask. -

      @187 – ** “Do you believe that Noah’s Ark was the source of all present world-wide animal life after a GLOBAL FLOOD?”** -

      and:-

      @181 – You have to ask yourself if you really believe USSHER CHRONOLOGY adding up the ages of Biblical characters is a scientific way of measuring the age of the Earth which refutes all of modern science?

      Do you believe this or don’t you? – That is the relevant question, because that is the basis of ALL YEC claims about the Earth and the Universe. .

      If you don’t believe this Bible mythology is fact, all the other YEC contrived nonsense is irrelevant to you!

      Until you answer these questions, you are wasting everyone’s time.

    • In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      I consider myself your average questioning layman

      As a layman you define yourself as unqualified in such esoteric matters, so your questions are ill formed and lack credibility. Like a drunk in a cockpit insisting the plane might crash because the pilots plunger thingy looks wobbly. Or a dog barking at Stephen Hawking, a pat on the head is all you deserve.

      “where is the evidence / data / reasoning / rationale to confirm / deny (i) &or (ii) &or (iii) ?”

      Your job, off you go. And when you found something let the Nobel Prize people know.

      ‘Water becomes rock’.

      I rest my case.

      You obviously crave attention, The Silly Person Formally Known As frank

      • In reply to #193 by keyplayer88:

        ‘Water becomes rock’.

        I rest my case.

        I thought that too when “source data” was requested, for a person struggling with understanding periodic elemental chemistry, to personally “evaluate” the scientific work on the isotope analysis of ice-core data!

        Like a drunk in a cockpit insisting the plane might crash because the pilots plunger thingy looks wobbly.

        Your analogy looks like a good analysis.

        Anyway, let’s see what Frank’s take is on the YEC “source data” from Ussher Chronology and Ark global animal restocking?

        • In reply to #194 by Alan4discussion:

          In reply to #193 by keyplayer88:

          ‘Water becomes rock’.

          I rest my case.

          I thought that too when “source data” was requested, for a person struggling with understanding periodic elemental chemistry, to personally “evaluate” the scientific work on the isotope analysis of ice-core data!

          Hi Alan, yes frank confuses asking lots of silly questions with

          ‘addressing these issues’.

          his comment

          ‘these predictions were outside / contrary to the generally accepted likely values predicted by mainstream scientists’

          ‘contrary to mainstream science’ with no evidence offered, has no credibility.

          What is implied here? Creationist mathematics used to calculate Neptune’s magnetic field is better than normal maths, or was it that god revealed the internal workings of Neptune to Mr Humphreys so he could use standard maths to calculate its magnetic field. Maybe Mr H. flew around Neptune with his trusty compass before any space probe did. Or did he just happen to do the job properly as a scientist while ignoring any creationist ‘baggage’ he might at other times drag around with him. Or did frank make it up. The mind boggles.

          Can someone remind me where the bit about magnetic fields is in the babble.

    • Marktony has kindly furnished me with a relevant lead on tree ring and ice layer dating methods and , as time permits, will follow it up.

      You are welcome.

      In an earlier post you appear to describe yourself as an atheist, however much of what you have posted suggests to me (and it seems others) that you are at least sympathetic to the ideas of YECs. In your new guise as curiouscoot, would you still refer to yourself as an atheist? Or perhaps you didn’t mean to include yourself in the “we atheists” of post 137?

      I remembered a paper(?) by (PhD and practicing (at least formerly?) scientist Russ Humphreys) wherein he made predictions about the magnetic fields of Neptune, Uranus and Mercury.

      Some quick googling suggests Humphreys is just another YEC desperately trying to justify his beliefs by making unscientific speculations such as massive time dilation the further away you travel from earth, which of course is at the centre of the universe. Where did you come across this paper? You said you value primary research / data, but has this paper been peer reviewed and published in any science journals?

      Given your limited bandwidth, I suggest that you concentrate on the basics and read up on the evidence for an old earth. In addition to that distant starlight there is:

      tree ring and ice core data, ancient coral reefs, sediment layers in glacial lakes, continental drift, radiometric decay …..

      You are unwise to be so dismissive of online resources such as Wikipedia. While the content is not as controlled as science journals, errors are quickly fixed and the articles provide useful references. Here is their page on Russell Humphreys.

      In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      hi all,

      as a disambiguation I have changed my username to “curiouscoot” (formerly frank!)

      now I came as a result of watching the Nye / Ham debate and wanted further info on some of the claims. Marktony has kindly furnished me with a relevant lead on tree ring and ice layer dating methods and , a…

    • In reply to #189 by curiouscoot:

      as a disambiguation I have changed my username to “curiouscoot” (formerly frank!)

      Young Earth Creationism is an infinite can of worms, once you think you got control of one worm, another worm wriggles out.

      Apart from the not insignificant problem of the universality of the speed of light in a vacuum in all time frames, your presuming that photons had different properties in the recent past implies that they will change again in the near future and are changing continually even now. Hardly a perfect creation is it when the physical properties of the universe continually wobble about. It also suggests that all standard model particles and their wave functions are subject to similar ongoing change. This would suggest a universe in biblical times having profoundly different properties to one we currently see. Not just the weather but reality itself.You will need to get on to that one frank

      Then there is the Hubble space telescope, which sees millions of galaxies in its deep field images. Looking at a tiny but highly magnified area of the sky shows more and more galaxies appearing smaller and smaller at greater and greater distances. Just like things normally get smaller with distance. You need to get on to that one too frank.

      Then there is red shift, due to an expanding universe. you need to address that too frank.

      Looks like you have a lot of work to do if you are going to address these anomalies that keep arising in your creation ‘story’..

  67. Did Bill Nye Hurt Science?

    No not per say however what he did do was strengthen the creationist fixation in their axion fundamentalist mind sets that is why they all walk away thinking that they won, they won as soon as the date for the debate was announced. You got to understand that the book they read tells them they get extra rewards in heaven for blindly believing.

    There is no point debating somebody who openly declares that nothing can change his believes or his convictions all he wants is a podium to stand on and declare it to the rest of his own crowd. Further more they never use any evidence to support their claims, they keep referring to what the bible says, go round and round in circles with the same questions stated differently and propose God as the answer to questions unanswered, “God of the Gaps”. They use big words, impressive philosophical points of view that sway people with no critical thinking skills and forever move the goal post further and further away.

    There is no point debating these fanatics.

  68. Very good article in my point of view! As a translator for the German section
    http://de.richarddawkins.netI
    I collected some other footage of the aftermath:

    Online video of the 2.5 hours debate:

    My special suggestion:
    Famous journalist Peter Hadfield aka potholer54,
    famour for his anti creationist series and his climate change series on youtube:
    Ken Ham-Bill Nye debate: Just one point, Ken…

    Bill Nye Embarrasses Ken Ham Even More on CNN Following Debate (VIDEO)
    http://www.forwardprogressives.com/bill-nye-vs-ken-ham-round-2-nye-embarrasses-ham-even-cnn-following-debate/

    Bill Nye’s Debate Victory Lap on Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell

    How Bill Nye Won the Debate
    NCSE: The National Center for Science Education
    http://ncse.com/blog/2014/02/how-bill-nye-won-debate-0015369

    Bill Nye’s Creationism Debate Not a Total Disaster, Scientists Say
    http://www.livescience.com/43127-nye-creationism-debate-response.html
    WATCH: Bill Nye Takes On Creationist Ken Ham

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/05/bill-nye-ken-ham-debate_n_4728117.html

    Quote of Neil deGrasse Tyson:
    “This really happened: Religious Right stalwart Pat Robertson said to Creationist Ken Ham: “Let’s be real, let’s not make a joke of ourselves.”
    Um…”
    http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/02/05/pat-robertson-implores-creationist-ken-ham-to-shut-up-lets-not-make-a-joke-of-ourselves/#.UvKAJCumgZw.facebook

    A critical review:
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/02/05/the-bill-nye-ken-ham-debate-was-a-nightmare-for-science.html

    Christians(!) who criticized Ken Ham:
    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/how-ken-ham-just-carried-the-entire-jesus-movement-backwards/

    Christian Today Poll Says Bill Nye Won Debate With Ken Ham
    http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/christian-today-poll-says-bill-nye-won-debate-with-ken-ham/

    http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/bill-nye-proved-richard-dawkins-foundation-wrong/
    http://guardianlv.com/2014/02/bill-nye-ken-ham-debate-in-depth-recap-synopsis-and-who-won/

    TheYoungTurks: Bill Nye Ken Ham Debate Summed Up In Two Very Telling Answers
    http://www.youtube.com

  69. I sometimes enjoy engaging in debate when religious fanatics in their arrogant zeal come to my home. Usually they go away when I tell them I am an atheist, but some try to convince me to believe their infantile superstitious drivel. When I do argue with them I expect that nothing I say will impinge on their blind faith, and, having heard all their nonsense before, I know they can say nothing to change the knowledge I have attained over the years. Nye’s debate probably had the same effect – rational people will continue to be rational, and the irresponsible “let god do it” shallow thinkers will only feel more smug about their narcissistic martyrdom. Will the next debate be over flat vs. round earth?

  70. I think your article misses Nye’s point for doing the debate, and what he really accomplished. Of course committed creationists aren’t going to change their mind. Ham probably will receive additional money because of the debate. But Nye’s argument wasn’t about religion vs. science. It was about Ken Ham’s religion vs. science. Nye’s message was about the importance of science. He wasn’t even trying to tear down religion. He took pains to point out that lots of religious people believe in the conclusions of science. He was only arguing against Ken Ham’s flavor of religion.

    Nye did better than any other secular/atheistic debater vs. theist than I have ever seen before, in my opinion. In what other debate have you ever heard the creationist say, “If I was to answer all the points that you brought up, the moderator would think I was going on for millions of years. So I can only deal with some of them.” O_o Every other secularist debater that I have heard comment on debates have said the same thing, but about the creationist.

    Having thrown down his arguments, he then avoided getting sucked down Ham’s rabbit hole; Ham’s own spool of bogus evidence. Nye could have spent the whole debate trying to pick apart Ham’s garbage, but he stuck to his message. And his message is something that can play well in many conservative circles: “Science is about the economy. Science is about jobs. It’s not about religion.”

    He also managed to remain civil and calm from start to finish, even when disagreeing. In his post-debate interview (next day), Ham tried to do the usual William Lane Craig style personal tear-down of his opponent, saying that he thought Nye was uncivil at points, the debate video clearly demonstrates how bogus that is. That’s important, since theists in America often view atheists as aggressive, argumentative dicks.

    I think Nye did brilliantly. He stuck to his point about the importance of science, provided some solid examples without getting lost in any of them, and did so while remaining civil throughout. I think, or at least hope, that his approach will take root in scientific vs. religious debates. I think I see evidence already that he has shifted the focus of the debates.

    The common atheist lament is, “Believe what you want, stupid as it is, but keep it out of the science class!” Nye focused on the importance of science.

  71. I watched that debate and Although I laud Bills effort I wonder why bother. Reason will not faze a a believer . All the evidence that anyone could present can not dent that belief .Ken sounded like a very stupid person but he had an answer to all points with plenty of rational to back it up No matter what was said “There is an answer in this book”
    When that preacher was bitten on the lip by the rattle snake and refused the anti venom I know he went down expecting that his faith would protect him . There is nothing that can budge that delusional mindset, sorry faith

  72. Well folks,

    Since no one took up my challenge (at #189) to validate one of the wilder claims often made here, perhaps we can expect some restraint and respect in future from some commentors.

    With best wishes,

    frank!

    • In reply to #208 by curiouscoot:

      Well folks,

      Since no one took up my challenge (at #189) to validate one of the wilder claims often made here, perhaps we can expect some restraint and respect in future from some commentors.

      With best wishes,

      frank!

      Sorry you still don’t get it Frank! -
      Stick around and read some of the science threads on this site and you could learn in time.

      perhaps we can expect some restraint and respect in future from some commentors.

      Let me assure you that no respect will be given to dishonest and incompetent YEC pseudo-science, – just as no respect will be given to assertions of Flat-Earthism!

    • In reply to #208 by curiouscoot:

      Well folks,

      So, – Still no answers to the basic questions you have been asked!

      As a self professed atheist, Do you believe that the animals of the world all came from Noah’s Ark? and do you believe Ussher Chronolgy adding up ages of Biblical characters refutes modern science??

      @187 – “Do you believe that Noah’s Ark was the source of all present world-wide animal life after a GLOBAL FLOOD?” -

      and:-

      @181 – You have to ask yourself if you really believe USSHER CHRONOLOGY adding up the ages of Biblical characters is a scientific way of measuring the age of the Earth which refutes all of modern science?

      Do you believe this or don’t you? – That is the relevant question, because that is the basis of ALL YEC claims about the Earth and the Universe. .

      If you don’t believe this Bible mythology is fact, all the other YEC contrived nonsense is irrelevant to you!

      @ (http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation-articles/2014/2/5/did-bill-nye-hurt-science#comment-box-192Until you answer these questions, you are wasting everyone’s time.

    • In reply to #208 by curiouscoot:

      Well folks,

      Since no one took up my challenge (at #189) to validate one of the wilder claims often made here, perhaps we can expect some restraint and respect in future from some commentors.

      Commenter not commentor. Hard to take seriously someone that can’t spell.

      I refer you to my comment #197 about specific anomalies in your reasoning. SPECIFIC ANOMALIES, that is answers. I assume that your repeating your questions means that you have no interest in correcting your delusions.

      As already explained, countless times, to the ROM brigade, truth is derived from answering sensible questions, not in fending off fatuous arguments deriving from a poor education, superstition, and delusion. The blind cannot see, the deaf do not hear, they have no choice, your blindness and deafness are self inflicted. Is this your form of self flagellation?

      With best wishes,

      frank!

      Up yours,
      Kp!

  73. The Starlight Problem

    Starlight creates serious difficulties for young Earth creationists, since our ability to see stars that are billions of light years distant from Earth is incompatible with the belief that the universe was created as described by a literal reading of Genesis. This is commonly known as the starlight problem, and Humphreys attempted to explain this through the introduction of White hole cosmology. The speed of light is a universal constant that cannot be altered without affecting other constants, likely creating a very different universe to the one we know.

    Confirmation of my original comment #197.

    Because of this, a way must be found to explain why we are seeing light that has taken billions of years to arrive here. Humphreys attempts to explain this by postulating the Earth being created within a black hole, with the associated gravity induced time dilation effects, effectively having Earth’s time running at a different rate to the rest of the universe.

    In other words, conclude the Earth is 6000 years old then try to make reality fit this dogma. This is as unscientific as it is possible to be. Fix the result then FIX the science.

  74. Russell Humphreys’s paper on the magnetic fields of planets includes the following extracts.

    Scriptural evidence that God originally created the Earth as a sphere of pure water. One of the Scriptures is the last part of 2 Peter 3:5 (NASB): “. . . and the earth was formed out of water and by water.” Shortly after that, God must have transformed much of the water into other matter, such as iron, silicon, minerals, and rock.

    I know of no explicit Scripture which says that God created the heavenly bodies in the same way He did the Earth. But there is a hint, perhaps. The Hebrew word translated “heavens” in Genesis 1 consists of two other Hebrew words which mean “there, waters.”5 Let us assume that God created the Sun, Moon, and planets as water, which He then transformed.

    There, waters!? ‘Perhaps’ is probably the best way to describe it.

    This pretty much sums it up, the babble is right so everything else must contort itself in order to accommodate it. His document, submitted to the ‘Creation Research Society’, just crowbars religious dogma into conventional science, by interchanging scientific terms with religious ones. Hey presto,……. garbage. A 2014 McLaren with a stone cathedral bolted on.

    He evidently has no idea that a large body of water, when heated sufficiently will evaporate, or that when put under pressure water doesn’t turn to rock. If he gets anything right I would put it down to pure luck.

    Does he have an agenda or is he really this dumb?

    • In reply to #213 by keyplayer88:

      Russell Humphreys’s paper on the magnetic fields of planets includes the following extracts.

      Scriptural evidence that God originally created the Earth as a sphere of pure water. One of the Scriptures is the last part of 2 Peter 3:5 (NASB): “. . . and the earth was formed out of water and by water.”…

      A clueless prostitution of scientific qualifications as a badge of false authority! !!!

      Does he have an agenda or is he really this dumb?

      Anyone has to be that dumb to get their junk published in that AIG subsidiary the ‘Creation Research Society’, with its pseudo-peer reviewed – pseudo-journal, reviewed exclusively by YEC pseudo-scientists!

      I did provide clear scientific answers and links about Russell Humphries@160 and about planetary magnetic fields @161 but anyone wanting answers would have to bother to read them!

      I also provided the full linked outline of the formation of the solar-System and its planets @118 explained at a level which can be understood by children!!!!!!

      God must have transformed much of the water into other matter, such as iron, silicon, minerals, and rock.

      Abracadabra!! -” Water Planet change on my command to “rock and metals”!!!!” – Definitely Nooooo magic fizzzsicks!!!

      Do we really have to ask if this is science????????????????? or just extrapolated biblical garbage especially designed to con the uneducated gullible?

      Let’s see if Frank can give a straight answer to the straight questions @210?

      • In reply to #214 by Alan4discussion:

        In reply to #213 by keyplayer88:

        Doubtful.

        Thinking about it, in about 150 or so generations of humans (6000yrs) all the nations of the world developed, white northern Europeans, black Africans, Australian Aborigines, Chinese, Japanese, indigenous peoples of the Americas.
        Remarkable human variation (evolution) in so few generations.

        I was going to say I wonder what frank thinks, but I don’t really

    • In reply to #213 by keyplayer88:

      Russell Humphreys’s paper on the magnetic fields of planets includes the following extracts.

      His document, submitted to the ‘Creation Research Society’, just crowbars religious dogma into conventional science, by interchanging scientific terms with religious ones. Hey presto,……. garbage.

      Creation Research Society – From Wikipedia

      Creation Research Society – Rational Wiki

      Research Center in Arizona, where they claim to “develop and test a creation model.” The CRS also publishes a journal, the Creation Research Society Quarterly, which it claims is peer reviewed.

      Naturally the “peers” reviewing this pseudo-science journal, are exclusively pseudo-science creationists – NOT scientists using scientific methodology, although some may have scientific qualifications.

      Institute for Creation Research – From Wikipedia,

      Creation science-From Wikipedia,

      This is why when someone turns up with a load of pseudoscientific crap, we need their sources disclosed at an early stage. Frank’s approach of: “I heard it somewhere”, just invites time wasting, as does a challenge to “refute” their comical claim to have “developed and tested a creation model.”

      Frank @209 – Since no one took up my challenge (at #189) to validate one of the wilder claims often made here, perhaps we can expect some restraint and respect in future from some commentors.

      No quote or link, and a smug – others have not dug up and refuted this laughable garbage I have found!

      This illustrates the mischief making these charlatans cause the gullible and cause others having to deal with the gullible!

      While there is no reason to try to refute all the unevidenced crap creationists have made up, you may find this list useful in future discussions, when the regular drivel pops up.

      Index to Creationist Claims – http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/list.html

  75. In reply to #216 by Alan4discussion:

    Thanks for the info.

    I do wonder what gain there is in talking to a religious plank like frank, who comes in here simply to shit stir. He’s not going to acknowledge any legitimate questions put to him I’m sure, but there is something cathartic about slapping down his ignorant creationist comments.

  76. I’m a bit late to the party (not unusual for me…) but this past weekend while walking my beagle, I was listening to “The Skeptic’s Guide to the Universe” and they were discussing same topic and realized I had something to contribute to this “good move” vs. “bad move” discussion.

    I was raised as a conservative, evangelical Christian, and unsurprisingly, was exposed to the claims of young-earth creationists (YEC’s)–in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s YEC’s were the vast majority of “creationists”–and, of course, I was also subjected to pressure to buy into such ideas. What led to the unraveling of my “faith” was my interest in science. During the years I was in elementary school, I was one of those that would lay outside on a clear summers’ night on a sleeping with Dad’s binoculars, a flashlight, and books about the stars and be entranced for hours. Just as I started 7th grade (grades 7-9 were then called “junior high school”) several things of particular relevance happened. First was the release of the original “Star Wars.” Second was that a local TV station began airing episodes of the original “Star Trek” in the late afternoon. Third was my discovery that my school’s library had all of James Blish’s short-story adaptations of all 79 episodes of the original “Star Trek.” My reaction to these discoveries was something along the lines of “Wow! Space with stories too!”

    I was soon devouring whatever science fiction, and non-fiction science, I could find. I read a lot of Isaac Asimov’s non-fiction science writing (I did not appreciate his mostly “cerebral” science fiction until much later). My parents had the World Book Encyclopedia and I read as much of the “Science Year” updates as I could. It was in one of those World Book Science Year volumes that I first came across Gerard K. O’Neill’s vision of humanity’s future in space, as well as the existence of quarks. By my 8th grade year, my reading speed and comprehension were literally “off the charts” of the standardized tests of the era. There was a moment, I can remember to this day, that, in retrospect, encapsulated Hitch’s contention that “religion poisons everything”. I was walking from the garage to the house having just returned from church one beautiful Sunday morning, and I asked myself how old I would be in the momentous year, 2001 (cue Strauss’ “Also sprach Zarathustra”). Doing the mental math, I quickly determined that I would be 36 years old at that point and immediately after thinking, “Gee, I’ll be old,” I thought that “well, the ‘Rapture’ would have certainly happened well before that time, so I won’t be around…nobody would be around.” Looking back, I can imagine few things that would be a more life-sucking ideology than that.

    I grew up believing what “trusted“ adults had told me about the world and I fully expected that, as I went out into the wider world, what I had been told would be corroborated by specific evidence “on the ground.” If “godless scientists” said that radiometric dating indicated that the solar system was 4.6 billion years old, they were obviously wrong. However, I also knew that we had a sufficiently good grasp of nuclear physics that we could build bombs that reliably went “boom!” and power plants that could provide power to submarines and cities alike. There had to be a rational resolution to the question of how scientists could be so wrong about radiometric dating, and yet know enough to build bombs that reliably went BOOM! and reactors that (thus far) do not.

    I can very much see my younger self being in the audience (either physically or virtually) the evening of the Nye vs. Ham “debate.” Thinking back to that period in my life, I had questions about the apparent contradictions in the arguments put forth by YEC’s, but I had “faith” that not only was the Bible “true,” but that there were good evidence and good arguments, even if I was then unaware of them, to back it up “out there” in the world. I would have been delighted to see someone of Ham’s “caliber” in the YEC community speak on the subject and skillfully point out, specifically, where this atheistic, self-titled “Science Guy” was wrong and eagerly anticipated much schadenfreude as Ham revealed Nye’s position to be vacuous and muddled. Though they were certainly the minority of the audience that night, I find it highly improbable that there were no young people then present whose personal story and state of mind would have been similar to mine all those years ago. As I was back then, I would have been outraged and disturbed when Ham admitted that there was no evidence that could ever change his belief in young earth creationism. I would have felt betrayed and lied to, and I can say that with some conviction because that was exactly how I felt when I actually came to realize how empty and vacuous the things I had been taught to believe were “true”–were false.

    In “The Authoritarians,” Dr. Bob Altemeyer notes that many former believers, which he and his collaborators describe as “amazing apostates,” took all those sermons and injunctions against bearing “false witness” seriously and applied those high standards of veracity and self-constancy to beliefs they were assured were “true.”(reference 1, p.130–31) The very existence of a “Converts Corner” (it may not be called that anymore, but the letters are there) on this website speaks to the fact that there are individuals who, as I once was, are vulnerable to being shown that the emperor really is naked. However, some posters here apparently do not think it worth the effort to reach those that are as I once was. Even YAHWEH, as Dr. Dawkins has pointed out so eloquently, being one of the most despicable characters in all of fiction (I will forgo listing all of the admirably alliterative adjectives RD used), was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for the sake of 10 “righteous” people.(reference 2) I suspect there were at least that number of people between the in-person and online audience that night that felt let down, and embarrassed by, Ham’s declaration that nothing would change their mind. I am saddened that Mr. Arel, and other posters, do not feel we few are (or were) worth Bill Nye’s efforts. Being less merciful than YAHWEH? Talk about low-hanging fruit!

    1. Altemeyer, B. The Authoritarians. (2006). at
    2. ‘Bible Gateway Passage: Genesis 18:30-33 – New International Version’. Bible Gateway. at accessed on: 25 Feb. 2014
  77. Alan
    You probably won’t believe it, but AiG are ALREADY trying to rubbish that 2014 Valley paper about the zircon. I have flagged what they are up to at Don Prothero’s blog but also – as it is highly relevant in the context – at this blog by Christian geologist (Christian not biblical creationist) Jon Baker: http://questioninganswersingenesis.blogspot.co.uk/2014/02/on-age-of-earth-more-than-just.html
    I’ll also flag THIS comment at that other RDFRS thread you link to. I’m not currently in a position to rubbish the AiG response other than to say that it moans constantly about scientists making ‘assumptions’.
    Ashley

    • In reply to #223 by ashleyhr:

      Alan
      You probably won’t believe it, but AiG are ALREADY trying to rubbish that 2014 Valley paper about the zircon. I have flagged what they are up to at Don Prothero’s blog but also – as it is highly relevant in the context – at this blog by Christian geologist (Christian not biblical creationist)

      That’s par for the course at AIG. Any science which refutes their YEC garbage, will have misleading and dishonest crap invented to cast doubt on the findings. The AIG comments will be rubbish but they will be made to sound “sciencey” enough to con the ignorant. If past history is anything to go by, there will also be so many things wrong with their claims that it will take pages of text to point out all the deceptions and ignorant errors!

  78. Ham’s buffoonish arguments always works on the believing audience and apparently there has been a jump in donations to his circus tent (aka The Creation Museum) since the debate. While I salute Nye’s efforts, it is much better to let silently die the vine that is Ham’s theologically loaded view of history rather than stir up new fertilizer to allow renewed growth.

  79. Ham’s buffoonish arguments always works on the believing audience and apparently there has been a jump in donations to his circus tent (aka The Creation Museum) since the debate. While I salute Nye’s efforts, it is much better to let silently die the vine that is Ham’s theologically loaded view of history rather than stir up new fertilizer to allow renewed growth.

  80. @DEWDDS : Yes I read that too. Astonishing isn’t it? Apparently he will probably rake in enough money to build that abominable ark too. By the way, when you said fertiliser did you mean organic fertiliser aka bullshit?

  81. The author neglects to mention that COWARDS like Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, etc refuse to debate or discuss the best Creationists out there (e.g. Dr Grady McMurtry, Jonathan Sarfatti, etc); ironic when they spend a heck of a lot of time putting down Creationism & explaining why Evolution is true. Now Dawkins lame & absolutely laughable excuse is, he doesn’t do as as it would lend credence to their views = you can observe him on Youtube recently with Wendy Wright from U.S. discussing Evolution vs Creationism for over an hour!!! Using Google translator I discovered Dawkins lame excuses really meant = ”Sure I will debate some such as Wendy Wright but the best Creationists such as Grady McMurtry, Jonathan Sarfatti, etc – no chance I refuse & never will! I am a terrible debater resorting to childish immature remarks and attacks designed to antagonise my opposition (e.g. ”reminded me of the Nuremberg Rallies” after attending a Christian service & many other similar gems!), I lose my temper easily in discussion or debate & start to blink rapidly & go red in the face. You really think I am foolish enough to try debate or discuss with Grady McMurtry, Jonathan Sarfatti, etc who would wipe the floor with me, of course I am not that foolish!”. Double checked with another translator online sevice and that is 100% accurate. Had Ken Ham wiped the floor with with Bill Nye, Dawkins would have said ”yeh well I knew that would happen, a real top notch scientist like me would have dealt with him easy but I’m not going to because……(see above ^).

    • In reply to #228 by LionHall5:

      The author neglects to mention that COWARDS like Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, etc refuse to debate or discuss the best Creationists out there (e.g. Dr Grady McMurtry, Jonathan Sarfatti, etc); ironic when they spend a heck of a lot of time putting down Creationism & explaining why Evolution is true….

      Thanks for the laugh. You should have used more caps and exclaimation marks though.

  82. IMHO, scientists should never engage in these sorts of debates. Science and religion are not in the same category. Such debates if anything give an associative credibility to religion.

    Instead, at best, have a christian creationist debate a native american indian creationist. Have a duel of myths. The Roman gods versus the Viking gods. Why not?

    But don’t argue science with fantasy. It’s neither necessary nor productive. Just ignore the religious; it will burn them up more than anything.

  83. Dear Alan,

    IIRC Popper established that a critical requirement of science is that of being able to FALSIFY propositions.

    now , again, I AM NOT WHO YOU ASSUME I AM!

    from your other posts I take it to be that you are an intelligent and knowledgeable fellow, and you clearly invest a lot of time and energy in this forum.

    you now need to go and research ALL the Franks who use this forum and figure out which one I am (hint try “curiouscoot”).

    you then may consider if your comments and attitude have been appropriate – because I rather think I may be due an apology.

    for the record, I am NOT an atheist – though I did once investigate it – as I have tried quite a number of other worldviews, (I did once here use the term “we atheists” – meant loosely , colloquially, fraternally, in the context of recognising the logical position of someone acceding to a particular point IIRC re Abiogenesis which you seemed to have argued was not a direct logical foundational necessity for the Atheist cosmology ….

    nor, for the purposes of this forum discussion, am I what you seem to view as a YEC person.

    You may think of me as Agnostic – I don’t pretend to know everything – and what I do “know” I am prepared to modify or discard in the light of evidence.

    in my posts here I have sought a NPOV (you are fond of a Wikipedia so should recognise the term and intent) . unless you expect slavishly blind acceptance of an extreme Fundamentalist Darwinist Dogma from all who participate on this forum I suggest you take a deep breath and see honest questions for what they are – an opening for explicating and elucidating a cogent and relevant point of view based on a logical and verifiable chain of data (or something like that – I am clearly not a Philosopher of Science ….. but you should get my drift) . again from your other posts I notice that , to a point, you do reply constructively – but there seems to be a tipping point …..

    I think that is enough for now. I have tried to limit this to a single simple point and I look for the outcome where this forum is less abrasive to a tender newbie – and particularly does not become a “bear trap ” for the unwary. perhaps I am old school – but I look for and value tolerance and charity in discussions. slapdowns are not friendly when performed upon an open and very public stage ….

    I really do hope that I have not overstepped the mark here. I have no wish to cause any offence – should I have inadvertently – I apologise and retract.

    with very best wishes,

    frank

    • In reply to #233 by curiouscoot:
      >

      IIRC Popper established that a critical requirement of science is that of being able to FALSIFY propositions.

      I am well aware of Popper, which is why I have repeatedly asked you to state your position on:- @181 – Do you believe that the animals of the world all came from Noah’s Ark? and do you believe Ussher Chronolgy adding up ages of Biblical characters, refutes modern science of the age of the Earth?? @192 – Until you answer these questions, you are wasting everyone’s time.

      These two issues are the basis of the creationist claims about the age of the Earth. When these are rejected, all their other elaborated claims fall like a pack of cards.

      now , again, I AM NOT WHO YOU ASSUME I AM!

      I did not “assume”. I asked a straight question, and for once got an answer.

      for the record, I am NOT an atheist – though I did once investigate it – as I have tried quite a number of other worldviews, (I did once here use the term “we atheists” – meant loosely , colloquially,

      The confusion was of your own making, and was not clarified when it was raised with you earlier.

      nor, for the purposes of this forum discussion, am I what you seem to view as a YEC person.

      You may not be, but you have certainly taken on a whole load of disreputable YEC arguments and assertions.

      You may think of me as Agnostic – I don’t pretend to know everything – and what I do “know” I am prepared to modify or discard in the light of evidence.

      I would like to think you would, – but there is no sign of you doing so, when presented with the high quality evidence linked here, – or of you following up to improve your understanding.
      For example you have made no attempt to ask follow-up questions or investigate links on the historical Ussher Chronology which is the ridiculous and long refuted YEC basis for claiming to dispute modern science on the age of the Earth.
      Your argument seems to be:- “I am too ignorant to understand the science links, so YEC drivel must be credible!”
      It is a characteristic method of preserving YEC ignorance, to refuse to look at evidence or think about key questions!

      you now need to go and research ALL the Franks who use this forum and figure out which one I am (hint try “curiouscoot”).

      I do not need to go very far on this discussion:- @189 as a disambiguation I have changed my username to “curiouscoot” (formerly frank!). Was there some point to this comment beyond creating side-tracking confusion about who you are?

      in my posts here I have sought a NPOV (you are fond of a Wikipedia so should recognise the term and intent) . unless you expect slavishly blind acceptance of an extreme Fundamentalist Darwinist Dogma from all who participate on this forum

      The term ” Fundamentalist Darwinist Dogma”, demonstrates a gross ignorance of science. The FACT of evolution is as strongly established as the FACT of gravity as ALL the world’s leading biologists will tell you. Only the bigoted and incompetent dispute this.

      I suggest you take a deep breath and see honest questions for what they are -

      I have as sufficient understanding of science and YECery to recognise stock YEC DISHONEST questions for what they are!

      an opening for explicating and elucidating a cogent and relevant point of view based on a logical and verifiable chain of data

      No they aren’t! They are deluded, contrived, deception, which will con the ignorant, and be laughed at by competent scientists. Why do you persist in making these silly assertions?

      (or something like that – I am clearly not a Philosopher of Science ….. but you should get my drift) .

      Your “drift” is that of a scientifically illiterate fudgist who seeks a middle position between science and ignorance. – rather like my example in earlier discussions, of a “saucer-shape-Earthist” – who in total ignorance of the science, produces a compromise between global astronomy and flat-Earthism.
      This produces a view of a saucer shaped Earth. Asking for an apology from the geographers and astronomers who laugh at his assertions just compounds the silliness!

      Science does not do compromising fudge with false ignorant claims.
      As you quoted (but failed to understand), it uses Popper falsification, and once nonsensical claims have been proved false on test, they are rejected.

      You persist in getting it backwards. Popper requires creationists to produce evidence for their young Earth claims, and they not only do not have any have any, but there is such a mountain of scientific evidence refuting their claims, and establishing a very old Earth, that they could not possibly have any!
      To believe in a Young Earth, requires incompetent rejection of all modern Astronomy, physics, palaeontology, history, biology, geology, and all Popper-based scientific methodology!

      As I pointed out as recently as 232 – even the Vatican rejects Ham’s claims.

      @232 – Many educated theists accept most of the science which is rejected by Ham and Co. by compartmentalising their thinking to avoid the inevitable conflicts.

      So the issue is:- ARE YOU GOING TO ANSWER THE KEY QUESTION ON YEC CLAIMS, or are you just going to keep repeating their silly assertions and keep on ducking the real issues?

    • In reply to #233 by curiouscoot:

      I’ll keep it simple:-

      You may think of me as Agnostic – I don’t pretend to know everything -

      It is quite clear that you are making wild judgements on subjects where you know nothing – and have made no effort to learn! Fence-sitting ignorance is no substitute for study, nor is it a basis for making judgements about facts or expertise.

      in my posts here I have sought a NPOV (you are fond of a Wikipedia so should recognise the term and intent)

      You need to learn the difference between a “neutral point of view” and an “ignorant point of view”.

      When a mathematician tells you 2 + 2 = 4 and an innumerate tells you 2 + 2 = 9,

      a compromise claim that 2 + 2 = 6½ is not a neutral position. It is an ignorant wrong answer derived by using a flawed method!

      As I explained earlier, evidenced proven science and observed facts, do not do fudged compromise with flawed methodology, pig-ignorance, or wilful deception!
      There are correct answers to questions and there are wrong answers to questions.

      While guessing may give a 50:50 chance from 2 choices, fence-sitting fudged compromise answers from a viewpoint of ignorance, will never match the correct answers to scientific or mathematical questions. Adding a flawed component to a correct one will always produce a flawed answer.

  84. 1stly wondering what happened to comment #228? – doesn’t show at my end ….

    In reply to #222 by Alan4discussion:

    I was attracted to this forum on the premise that the core principles were “Reason, Science, and Rationality”.

    I acknowledge the partisan bent of advocating for Atheism.

    I do not consider my personal belief system relevant to the forum so do not choose to mention it.

    Now my initial concern was with Nye’s strong dependence on the evidence of tree rings and ice layers so I sought clarification. some helpful links were provided from which I understand that no tree has been cut or cored such that a 10 y.o. could count more than 6,000 rings. from the brief study I was able to make I understand that , to establish a chronology >6000yrs. requires an “assembly” of multiple trees, and / or other considerations which possibly makes the result equivocal.

    thus I still am not satisfied one way or the other on this question. I retain an open mind as to what the data reveals.

    I further understand that the situation is possibly similarly cloudy with regard to ice layers ……..

    as to comments #216, #214, #210 etc
    I have made the point that non-atheists can (and do!) hold a variety of views on noah’s ark, adam & eve, abiogenesis, and so on. they are able to ( relatively comfortably?) adjust their position in the light of their understanding of the scientific evidence – or other considerations …. the point is that there is , for them , still room for their god to reign over something – their heart, their “soul” – whatever, a ” separate magisterium” I think Gould called it.

    on the other hand , to be “intellectually unconflicted” an atheist needs Deep Time and Darwinist Evolution (including abiogenesis).

    To allow any scientific evidence to the contrary would require them to discard their worldview / personal belief system / religion. they have nowhere else to go – no wriggle room – its the only game in town …

    I submit this issue of personal angst explains why some become so het up , childish, and irrational at times.

    anyway, thanks for the forum – I have gained some use, and much cogitation energy from it.

    Cordially,

    frank!

  85. In reply to #231 by curiouscoot:

    1stly wondering what happened to comment #228? – doesn’t show at my end ….

    This site requires the presentation of rationally argued science based debate. Irrational comments which are are simply insults are removed by the moderators.

    In reply to #222 by Alan4discussion:

    I was attracted to this forum on the premise that the core principles were “Reason, Science, and Rationality”.

    I find it disappointing, that after so much evidence and detailed explanation has been presented, you still don’t get the basics of science or make an effort to follow reasoned discussion.

    I acknowledge the partisan bent of advocating for Atheism.

    This is a reverse projection of the partisan anti-science and pseudo-science advocating of fundamentalism.

    I do not consider my personal belief system relevant to the forum so do not choose to mention it.

    You already mentioned it in claiming to be an atheist on another thread, but seem to persistently argue as a fundamentalist creationist. Perhaps you SHOULD clarify your position with straightforward honest answers, rather than evading the issues.

    **@210 – So, – Still no answers to the basic questions you have been asked! **

    **As a self professed atheist, Do you believe that the animals of the world all came from Noah’s Ark? and do you believe Ussher Chronolgy adding up ages of Biblical characters refutes modern science?? **

    These questions about “Creationist evidence” are absolutely fundamental to your position of challenging the scientific view of the age of the Earth.

    Now my initial concern was with Nye’s strong dependence on the evidence of tree rings and ice layers so I sought clarification. some helpful links were provided from which I understand that no tree has been cut or cored such that a 10 y.o. could count more than 6,000 rings. from the brief study I was able to make I understand that , to establish a chronology >6000yrs. requires an “assembly” of multiple trees, and / or other considerations which possibly makes the result equivocal.

    thus I still am not satisfied one way or the other on this question. I retain an open mind as to what the data reveals.

    Or putting it concisely, you have no idea about the science and have been confused by deceptive YEC writings, to which you cling for some reason.

    I further understand that the situation is possibly similarly cloudy with regard to ice layers ……..

    It should be absolutely clear from the links that isn’t! You clearly have no idea about ice-cores or sea-bed cores, so are open to incompetent but plausible YEC deceptions.
    Your personal lack of understanding, in no way casts doubt on the well proven scientific work of world leading scientists.

    as to comments #216, #214, #210 etc

    @214 – Let’s see if Frank can give a straight answer to the straight questions @210?

    I have made the point that non-atheists can (and do!) hold a variety of views on noah’s ark, adam & eve, abiogenesis, and so on. they are able to ( relatively comfortably?) adjust their position in the light of their understanding of the scientific evidence – or other considerations …. the point is that there is , for them , still room for their god to reign over something – their heart, their “soul” – whatever, a ” separate magisterium” I think Gould called it.

    Many educated theists accept most of the science which is rejected by Ham and Co. by compartmentalising their thinking to avoid the inevitable conflicts.

    on the other hand , to be “intellectually unconflicted” an atheist needs Deep Time and Darwinist Evolution (including abiogenesis).

    Oh! Dear!!! You still don’t read and understand links! Deep Time, Evolution and abiogenesis are not even slightly exclusive to atheism! They are basic science and accepted by atheist and theist scientists alike as I pointed out and linked @142. It is ONLY rejected by fundamentalist scientific illiterates and faith-head charlatans who reject scientific methodology – (usually while pretending to be scientists)!

    To allow any scientific evidence to the contrary would require them to discard their worldview / personal belief system / religion. they have nowhere else to go – no wriggle room – its the only game in town …

    There is NO evidence for a young Earth and there are vast quantities of evidence for a multi-billion year old Earth!
    As a demonstrably scientific illiterate who shows no understanding of very clear links, why do you keep asserting that there is evidence just because some dishonest YECs say so???
    You are once again getting it backwards by projecting YEC ignorant bigotry on to scientists. Honest science IS the only game in town based on reality!

    I submit this issue of personal angst explains why some become so het up , childish, and irrational at times.

    I have already explained psychological projection to you earlier, and have patiently explained that scientists expose frauds like Ham who dishonestly claim to be presenting science to gullible people who are too uneducated to recognise the fraudulent nature of YEC claims. It is indeed very childish and irrational to refuse to answer the key questions and ramble on burbling ignorance!

    It is undoubtedly irritating, when you simply keep repeating that you reject overwhelming scientific evidence because you are too ignorant to understand it, while making no effort to learn from the links provided.

    So I will ask one more time about the key “evidence” on which YEC claims are based: -

    @181 – Do you believe that the animals of the world all came from Noah’s Ark? and do you believe Ussher Chronolgy adding up ages of Biblical characters refutes modern science of the age of the Earth?? @192 – Until you answer these questions, you are wasting everyone’s time.

    If you are unable or unwilling to give a straight and reasoned answer, there is no basis for taking your comments seriously.
    In view of your persistent assertions, I would also have to ask if you are really a YEC posing as an atheist, while falsely claiming to be evaluating science (which you clearly do not understand)!

Leave a Reply