Europe is only 6000 years old!

By Phil Plait | February 10, 2008 2:14 pm

Great. It’s bad enough we have creationists screwing up our kids’ minds here in the U.S. Now they’re going global:

Europeans have long viewed the conflict between evolutionists and creationists as primarily an American phenomenon, but it has recently jumped the Atlantic Ocean with skirmishes in Italy, Germany, Poland and, notably, Britain, where Darwin was born and where he published his 1859 classic.

The money quote is this one:

“Evolution is a lie, and it’s being taught in schools as fact, and it’s leading our kids in the wrong direction,” said [cabbie James] McLean, chatting outside the chapel. “But now people like Ken Ham are tearing evolution to pieces.”

Heh. Heh heh. Hahaha! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Ken Ham couldn’t tear a wet kleenex to pieces. At least, not without lying about it first. Ham is the leader of Answers in Genesis, an organization for whom the Ninth Commandment, apparently, is optional. I was just perusing their site, and it’s incredible how many errors they make about science, some of which strain the brain to assume they aren’t intentional… but that’s for a later post.

Anyway, the news in Europe isn’t all bad:

Darwin’s defenders are fighting back. In October, the 47-nation Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, condemned all attempts to bring creationism into Europe’s schools.

2009 marks the 150th anniversary of Darwin writing The Origin of Species, and there will be lots of celebrations and other festivities. I wouldn’t be surprised if the groups like the Disco ‘tute, AiG and others plan some sort of counter-thrust against it. Well, they have that right, just as I have the right to call ‘em like I see ‘em. And if I see the threat in Europe becoming serious, well then, we’ll just have to double our efforts in exposing people like Ham for what they are.

Comments (74)

  1. Michael Lonergan

    Silly BA, the EARTH is 6,000 years old!

  2. Tom L

    After years of hearing “you crazy Americans,” the brief moment of schadenfreude was quickly replaced with a longer lasting feeling of panic.

  3. Wow, why can’t you guys refuse them passports…

  4. Peter

    Great post !
    A few hours ago i was reading comments in “When crazy meets crazy: Phelps vs. Huckabee” post, and the last post had a link to just this story and i thought it would be great if The BA would write about it.
    And of course he did

  5. Michelle

    Nowhere is safe from idiots. Idiots are… well, a worldwide human business.

  6. Sili

    Isn’t the ninth commandment the one about covetting your neighbours wife?

    Anyway – a cabbie?! Hardly the epitome of intellectual curiousity and avantgarde thinking.

    Also “Italy, Germany [and] Poland”?

    Poland has been going ever backwards after the fall of the wall. There’s been an disgusting catholic backlash. And the wondertwins in power are actively encouraging this. They even advocate a return to capital punishment, which they obviously cant’ enact without getting kicked from the EU.

    Italy? Catholicism again. And Berlusconi-ism too. Still I have hope for Prodi. The country seems to be getting more secular, so I doubt these people will ever be anything but fringe.

    Germany? That does surprise me, but presumably it’s become part of the North/South Prot/Cath divide. Or perhaps an Ossie/Wessie thing.

    But this is of course nothing but an espousal of all my prejudices. (Research? Bah!)

  7. Gareth (bujin)

    We’ve got these idiots in the UK trying to sneak ID into the curriculum:

    http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/

    Thankfully, the government have stood firm for the time being, but they keep trying, and they seem to have a big budget from somewhere…

  8. bassmanpete

    We have creationists here in Australia too. I haven’t heard of any attempts by them to have creationism taught in schools but I do know a couple of creationism believing families (and have heard of several more) who home school their kids.

  9. Michael Amato

    Religion has done more to hold back human progress than any other single thing. Imagine how backwards we would be if we listened to creationists.

  10. bassmanpete: My apologies for what I’m about to suggest, but I strongly feel it is the best solution for the future of science….

    Britain once used to send its convicts to Australia (something which I’m sure the aborigines greatly appreciated). I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia. There they can set up their own society based on the Bible, and spend their days imposing their belief systems on one another instead of the rest of us.

    Heck, maybe they can make Mike Huckabee their President.

  11. PLEASE take your lunatics back to the colonies. We sent them there for a reason!

  12. Jeffersonian

    “an organization for whom the Ninth Commandment, apparently, is optional”

    Which 9th commandment, Phil? Take your pick:

    Traditional Catholic:
    Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife

    Traditional Jewish:
    Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor

    KJV:
    (Which Moses etches on tables of stone in Exodus 34)
    The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

    The 9th commandment as repeated in Leviticus (KJV):

    Ye Shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind.

  13. Sili: “Anyway – a cabbie?! Hardly the epitome of intellectual curiousity and avantgarde thinking.”

    Irregardless of the specific circumstances in this case, this kind of elitism is quite unnecessary. I once came across a brilliant Ph.D. candidate in mathematics driving a cab for extra money. He kept a notebook in the cab with him and worked on his thesis in between fares.

  14. Thomas Siefert

    bassmanpete: My apologies for what I’m about to suggest, but I strongly feel it is the best solution for the future of science….

    Britain once used to send its convicts to Australia (something which I’m sure the aborigines greatly appreciated). I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia. There they can set up their own society based on the Bible, and spend their days imposing their belief systems on one another instead of the rest of us.

    Heck, maybe they can make Mike Huckabee their President.

    Eehh… You got that all wrong. The creationists were encouraged to immigrate to North America in days of old, if anyone should be sent to Australia it should be rational people. They would be welcomed with open arms. Of course this is all very egotistical from my side, I just want BA to move there so I can go to his book signings without travelling too far.

  15. LarrySDonald

    Growing up we were taught religion in school, including most major creation stories. Ironically, relgious groups pushed constantly for it’s removal while atheists generally thought it wasn’t a bad idea – it is a subject that will come up in life after all and displaying a vast array of various beliefs if anything makes all of them look rather arbitrary. Religious groups were of course positive to their own teachings being shown, but much less enthusiastic about being shown against the backdrop of all other beliefs and felt the most reasonable thing was to simply not teach it – they’d take care of that (consicously not mentioning other religions) outside of public education.

    As kids we looked at it mostly as one of the more memorization-heavy subjects a bit like Geography (What’s the capial of Iceland? How do hindus believe the universe got created? That sort of vibe). I doubt the rise in Europe is as dire as it’s made out to be, but it has certainly started to mobilize counter groups. Being in majority or close to it has made them somewhat lax (if no one much is pushing creationism it’s easier to say “Yeah ok.. You’re wrong but I guess good luck with that (make spinning point toward head)”) but far from not there, so I’m not exactly shaking but it’s always good to start countering early rather then late in the game.

  16. DrFlimmer

    Funny that I read about this on an “american” site first. Never heard that they spread out so far ;) But I am confident that Europe isn’t such a good home for that folks than the US seems to be!
    Well, the very first time I heard that they were coming was at my university (I’m studying physics!). They went into our cafeteria (asking students of science, how stupid are they?) and were handing out some papers you could fill out, asking about religion and what you believe and at the very end we found out that they were creationists…. well, we had a lot of fun with the piece of paper. I guess some of us wrote about the “flying spaghetti monster”
    And now they are trying to scare everyone across Europe? I should not be so sure, but, as I said, I am very confident that they won’t have much attention!

  17. Heh. These guys should form a non-profit group to spread the word that evolution is a lie. They could call it “Dumbasses Without Borders”.

  18. sean hogge

    “Irregardless of the specific circumstances in this case, this kind of elitism is quite unnecessary. I once came across a brilliant Ph.D. candidate in mathematics driving a cab for extra money. He kept a notebook in the cab with him and worked on his thesis in between fares.”

    So judge people by what they say, not what they do as a profession.

    Should that be “irregardless” of specific circumstances, too?

  19. A) Remember that neither the chapter numbers nor the verse numbers are part of the original Bible. In fact, they’re quite recent. So the exact points where the “Ten Commandments” divide is simply a question of tradition. In this, as in many other cases, Roman Catholicism follows the tradition that was common among Jews at the time that Christianity began, while Protestantism follows the modern Jewish opinion.

    B) 2009 is also the bicentennial of the publication of “Philosophie zoologique, ou Exposition des considérations relatives à l’histoire naturelle des animaux”, by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck.

  20. bigjohn756

    Irregardless is NOT A PROPER WORD!!! Look in any dictionary. From the Merriam-Webster online dictionary — “…Its reputation has not risen over the years, and it is still a long way from general acceptance. Use regardless instead.” Listen to Grammar Girl at http://grammar.quickanddirtytips.com/

    Why add unnecessary syllables? It sounds like preventive and preventative. Just stick in a few extra sylalables where you want.

  21. Crux Australis

    I propose all creationists be sent to Ceres. There they can adapt and evolve to their new environment. Those who refuse to evolve will die. Oh wait, that’s all of them.

  22. Mike J.

    Watching this house of cards (that you call evolution) fall is quite amusing…

    It’s like those firestorms in SoCal.. i’d say you have this one about 1% contained, and the santa ana winds are getting ready to kick in.

    You’re going to need an army of atheists to keep enforcing the status quo when it comes to enforcing your belief system on everyone else phil.

    The catholics have the “black pope” as the person who pulls the strings behind the scenes, maybe the skeptic community needs the “black astronomer”….

  23. DexX

    > I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia.

    GAH!!! We have enough crazies of our own, thank you! :)

    Google Stephen Fielding and Family First some time. I know you Americans are used to having right-wing religious crazies in your houses of government, but my fellow Aussies tend to vote for, you know, sane people. We have many active religious communities over here, but most of us are smart enough to recognise that religion is for church and not for politics (though out recently-ousted PM John Howard was trying to Americanise our politics and culture more and more with overt religious displays, race-baiting, and Islamophobia).

    Actually, a fun bit of trivia that explains why Australia is, not to put too fine a point on it, f–king brilliant: when the British were shipping people over to Australia, they were trying to create a viable colony, not simply disposing of convicts. Generally, Australia didn’t get the murderous scum and irredeemable crooks. No, we got all the white collar criminals – bank managers caught embezzling, architects sprung in dodgy property deals, and so on. The bulk of them were freed pretty much as soon as they arived and given a plot of land to farm, plus we got many thousands of free settlers, also given free land by the Crown.

    So yeah, a large portion of our initial population was from convicts, but they were only convicts of the very highest quality. We’ve also had so much immigration since then that very few Aussies can trace their ancestry back to a convict boat. My great great grandfather was a Spanish free-settler from the 1840s, for example.

    Sorry for the rant, but the old “Australia is a nation of criminals” thing bugs me a little.

  24. jeff

    I’m willing to compromise with them: I’ll agree that the earth may have been 6000 years old at one time.

  25. Radwaste

    The most depressing thing about this is that those who profess to bring you peace and enlightenment find no difficulty in LYING. They don’t even realize that they jeopardize every syllable of their favorite stories in passing just ONE lie.

  26. Shane

    Hey DexX, according to Ancestry.com as many as 22% of us Aussies have a convict heritage. Other fun facts (also from ancestry.com):
    - 165,000 transported in total (in the same period there were about 187,000 free settlers)
    - 1 in 6 were women
    - many were illiterate
    - most were sentenced for crimes of poverty
    - the youngest convict was 9, the oldest 68

    One of my ancestors was a prostitute for example.
    I had a disagreement with a taxi driver once and he started calling me a bloody convict and that all Australians were descended from convicts as if there was something wrong with that.

    So the convict “stain” is true for many of us. Be proud. Could be worse, your nation could’ve been founded by a bunch of puritans god forbid. ;-)

  27. Regarding the Disco Institute, John C. West has been putting out the Anti-Darwinist/Materialist all ready in preparation for the 150th anniversary. He has this book and program called Darwin Day in America.

  28. Celtic_Evolution

    Ahh, yes… the requisite “Mike J.” contrarian post that seems to be required in any discussion of evolution here. No facts, no point, just an endless mountain of unintentional humor.

    Thanks for yet another gem of wisdom, sir… keep up the good work. Seriously… what fun would it be here without you to needlessly stir up the pot every now and again?

  29. LC

    Shane 6:58pm

    Australia got the convited criminals, and the Americians got the puritians. And and the Americians have grumbled ever since how Australia got the better deal – at least our criminals were honest. (‘It’s a fair cop guv’ as opposed to ‘the devil made me do it’) ;)

    As for exporting the cretinists here – sorry. I’m afraid we have been exporting them to the US for some time now under a ‘no returns/no refunds’ policy. Sort of like we did with the cast of ‘Neighbours’ and the Brits.

  30. Andy Mak

    No matter how many times I hear stories like this I am always astounded and amazed. (for all the wrong reasons)

    I still don’t understand HOW people come to believe such tripe.

    Is the world doomed!!!!!!!

  31. Ragutis

    michel, considering that in his field of work Phil studies objects billions of years old and that he has a heartfelt desire to educate and illuminate the public, I’d say it’s understandable, even imperative that he counter and expose the ludicrous postulations and dishonest tactics of creationists and their cousins in the Intelligent Design crowd.

    Now grow up and watch your mouth or just keep it to yourself.

  32. autumn

    What does the age of the Earth have to do with astronomy?
    Really?

    I can kind of see how some would whine that the word astronomy in the name of the blog should mean fewer political posts, but whining that the age of a celestial body, and the implied age of the universe itself has nothing to do with astronomy. . .the idiocy has trancended into brilliance, crossed the river Lethe and emerged anew as a phoenix of transubstantiated ignorance, a beacon of unintelligence gathering flotillas of the uninformed onto the shoals of utter illiteracy.

  33. Cameron

    Lugosi:
    I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia.

    Crux Australis:
    I propose all creationists be sent to Ceres.

    I live in Australia, not too far from a small town called Ceres. What did I ever do to you?

    LC:
    As for exporting the cretinists here – sorry. I’m afraid we have been exporting them to the US for some time now under a ‘no returns/no refunds’ policy. Sort of like we did with the cast of ‘Neighbours’ and the Brits.

    Heh, Ken Ham is Australian. I think we won that one.

  34. Quiet Desperation

    I did predict this, by the way.

    The shining bright QD train of truth keeps on rolling through the dark night of ideology. :-)

  35. Mark S.

    I’m currently reading Stephen Baxter’s “Ages in Chaos: James Hutton and the Discovery of Deep Time”. It’s about the guy who determined that the Earth is much, much older than the 6000 years spelled out in Bishop Ussher’s infamous chronology.

    The funny thing is, he determined this well before Darwin’s theory of evolution came out. And he was religious. And European.

  36. StuartVO

    Mark S: Keep your dirty “facts” out of this! Actual evidence, as well as any trace of rational thought, are simply not part of the Fundamentalist mindset.

    Ragutis: “Michel” is a troll. Think of trolls as a pimple. While you will be sorely tempted to take action, the best solution is to simply ignore it, and it will go away.

    autumn</b?: Are you a troll too, or are you really that stupid? If you’re trying to be funny, try harder, or go away.

  37. StuartVO

    Aaargh! I just made a stupid mistake while rebuking autumn‘s stupidity.

    autumn, you should now point at me and go “Ha! Ha!”.

  38. Falyne

    Uhhh, Stuart, I think you may have misread autumn’s comment, too. She’s mocking michel’s question, and quite poetically, in my estimation.

  39. Nigel Depledge

    Mike J. said:
    “Watching this house of cards (that you call evolution) fall is quite amusing…

    “It’s like those firestorms in SoCal.. i’d say you have this one about 1% contained, and the santa ana winds are getting ready to kick in.

    “You’re going to need an army of atheists to keep enforcing the status quo when it comes to enforcing your belief system on everyone else phil.”

    Hey, guess what, Mike? You’re wrong. As usual.

    Evolutionary science is stronger than it has ever been.

    Evolution is accepted as good science (and the underlying principle of biology) by all memer states of the EU, in terms of publicly-funded education.

    The only worrying thing is that a very vocal minority could, through disinterest or apathy of the majority, acquire enough influence to screw up publicly-funded science education.

    No-one needs an “army of atheists” to enforce the status quo. Reality is what enforces the status quo. However, the status quo in Europe is significantly more rational than the status quo in the US.

    The status quo in the US needs to be changed, not enforced. Stop stigmatising atheism as a valid choice. Make the science curriculum the province of scientists and science teachers, and prevent the religious fundies from interfering with giving US citizens the good science education that is their right.

  40. bassmanpete

    I had a disagreement with a taxi driver once and he started calling me a bloody convict and that all Australians were descended from convicts as if there was something wrong with that.

    When someone claims blood ties with the aristocracy you can always shoot them down in flames by saying “That just means that your ancestors were bigger crooks than mine were.” :)

    I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia.

    I don’t have a problem with that as long as we can drop them in the middle of the Gibson Desert with no food or water. Then we can see if their god will answer their prayers, provide manna from heaven, & lead them out of the wilderness.

  41. Roman

    Here in Spain, a local branch of the PSSI organized a tour of seminars called “What Darwin ignored”, After the first couple of seminars, they came under so thick fire that the rest of the rest were suspended. In Spain is very recent the recall of the Catholic Church ruling the society so is very easy to mobilize society against anything. In fact, in this case everybody was very happy because evolution is a high ground easy to defend.

    In my view we overeact a little because the pathetism of the president of the local branch of RSSI ranting in empty uniiversities’ Aula Magnae against the fundamentalism of evolutionary scientifics who have manage to forbid his seminar once the invitations were printed perhaps has dragged some people to his side because Spanish people love victims. In fact they were treated as negacionists of the Holocaust and this president received lots of personal atacks. He is an ophtalmology doctor and his patients were (retorically) asked in prime time in TV if they can trust a person whose believing are anti-scientific.

    IMO it would be good to let them deploy before starting the fire since ti would be more murderous and destructive for him. We have nonthing to hide and our weapons are polished for 150 years of debate. My favourite book is “Eclipse of Darwinism” from Bowles. I am eager to take the field armed with “Structure of Evolutionary Theory” from Gould that is a MDW against inteligent design crap. Facing these guys in the open is like being in the Turkish side in the Light Cavalry brigade charge in Balaclava (apart form the moral satisfaction of being a soldier of the light in the legendary tradition of Copernicus, Galilei and Darwing himself).

    So I would say to PSSI “Do the pitch and you will see the ball going in a home run to Mars”.

  42. I currently live in an area of the UK where creationism is already actively taught in City Academics – partially privately funded schools where those running it choose the curriculum. When it was recently suggested that another local school be changed into one of these I know there was some outcry from those with half a brain, including a biologist friend who wrote to the education authority to point out the first thing he’d have to lecture in his courses was “if you went to one of these schools you were lied to”.

    More details of other protests here

    and an interesting story of a teacher’s experience in a job interview at one of these places.

  43. Ade

    Did time start running backwards? I keep feeling like we’re de-evolving at the moment :(

  44. Darth Robo

    “Watching this house of cards (that you call evolution) fall is quite amusing…

    It’s like those firestorms in SoCal.. i’d say you have this one about 1% contained, and the santa ana winds are getting ready to kick in.

    You’re going to need an army of atheists to keep enforcing the status quo when it comes to enforcing your belief system on everyone else phil.”

    Oh, Mikey Mikey Mikey…. HOW many times have you claimed this and provided us with NO evidence that evolution is false other than just YOU DON’ LIKES IT. ?

    Tell us again, what PRECISELY does evolution have to do with atheism? How many times have I mentioned here that a person can still be religious and still accept evolution? Many do. And uh, as for this “falling stack of cards”, (snicker, giggle) could you enlighten us a bit more about that? Creationism has not only done NOTHING for the world of science, produced no research, no peer reviewed papers, made no predictions (other than evilushion iz wrong – duh) and not only that, has been in court like twenty times or something since the Scopes trial – and lost EVERY SINGLE ONE!

    Please enlighten us Mikey J, or are you gonna run away (again) to troll another day?

    Gareth:

    “We’ve got these idiots in the UK trying to sneak ID into the curriculum:

    http://www.truthinscience.org.uk/

    Thankfully, the government have stood firm for the time being, but they keep trying, and they seem to have a big budget from somewhere…”

    Those ID packs and DVD’s they sent to all those schools came straight from the DI. As someone once said – “Follow the money…”

  45. StuartVO

    Falyne and autumn: What can I say? I am a bad-tempered, hair-triggered, sarcasm-deficient, humourless curmudgeon. :-(

    My humblest apologies for shooting my mouth off without engaging my brain first. My Monday-morning bad mood should stay on my side of the keyboard, and shouldn’t travel down the intertubes.

    <shame/>

  46. DennyMo

    Michael Amatoon – “Religion has done more to hold back human progress than any other single thing. Imagine how backwards we would be if we listened to creationists.”

    Like invent clocks, preserve historical records, be the primary source of support for medicine, science, and music for a large part of recorded history, etc.? Yeah, those really held back human progress. Argue about the *current* relevancy of religion all you want, but this gross display of ignorance on your part is plain silly.

  47. I’m just glad there’s finally a nice juicy example of non-Americans acting stupid, like ALL PEOPLE often do.

  48. Nihilodei

    Being the odd Australian… actualy we are all odd.. we’re all infused with some jingoistic bad word deleted by The Bad Astronomer factor..

    99.999% of us beer loving, cricket worshipping factualists would reject this Ham character as we would reject his glove wearing superior (yes, its uncomfortable for Ken to have the glove inserted in his most holy of places).

    But if staistics is meaningful in the creationist debate…90.0321% of us think that Cod made chardonnay and people should drink it in revealing tank tops at the most fashonable of serveries.

    Lets get things really straight… we know that Ken does not have any qualifications in evolutionary biology… in fact, he has a base degree in chem and never understood it. I feel sorry for any of his surviving lecturers.

    Praise the Cod that Australians have luminaries like Rex Gilroy. People like him create a shining path that Ham can only grovel at.

    Ps… I just went through all the begats.. I came to 3023 years.. even with Rex’s pre civilisation interference by aliens. that might be 3023+/-0.002765 years to be precise

    PPS any chance of any one making a realy big post on begatting? I am fifty and.. frankly. i may have forgotten the process . this may adjust my error to 0,002761 years to 0.002767 years

    ppps. whee is a reliable Ppe when we need one?

    pppps..i was assuming the current year… thats three snakes and a flower pot in mayan calendar years

  49. Nihilodei

    forgive my new keyboard… that was meant to read as “pope”

    why is it when you buy a new pc you feel like Cod yet you type like a halibut?

    Why is it that Ken Ham holds so much sway amongst those who would actually like Harry Potter to be real, yet…. grows a beard like those who catch halibut

    Dammit… CERN is gonna crank soon.. the 187kg boson will be discovered and

    we have all put on weight and the earth will be 45 seconds old

    I can sure say there wil be 2000 generations of very unsatisfied women

  50. Nihilodei

    To BassManPete

    and to all USAlish… Ken was sprogged from Oz loins…sadly.

    Crikeys.. in the desert with no support? That is unfair to say about any minority no matter how uneducated they really are.

    Souths leagues cub are getting rid of their pokies. I think it would be eminently fair if their evolutionary progress would be advanced at the rate a slot machines chance in hell would give them…

    Yep, throw the ignorants in the desert, give them pokies, let them advance with every winning row. its just sad that the gaming take is about 20% in Oz…

    Damn if i am going to devise a monte carlo model for the aggro twits.. I would guesstimate that between schooners and wins, the creationists should end up as triassic mammal like lizards on the first ladies day.

    Pete, wasnt it sad that Jacky Orszaczky died recently… Bass master till the end! Vale the funk-jazz lord and tutor!

  51. Gary Ansorge

    I wonder how the USA EVER became a free nation, with all the religious extremists that came here to get away from the “repressive” cultures in Europe, or how Europe became so egalitarian, once they had sent their nut cases here,,,
    ,,,gee, maybe it was Gods will,,,ship the nut cases to America and let them duke it out,,,may the best theist win.

    I will note that after the most recent Bill Maher show on HBO, it became apparent that, although he’s a liberal atheist, he’s as much a woo-woo as some of our religious types. Case in point: his BELIEF that antibiotics are “bad” and that all we need to be healthy is to stay away from “chemicals”,,,

    Woo-woo ism is not the exclusive prerogative of religionists.

    Gary 7

  52. Doc

    Doesn’t the Catholic church officially support evolution now? I thought I read that somewhere … [surf, surf] … Unh. Never mind. According to the sites below, the Catholic church “accepts” that evolution may have occured – in a sort of namby-pamby way. Their stance is really a sort of non-stance. Still, it’s a bit better than that of the YEC-ies.

    http://www.catholic.com/library/adam_eve_and_evolution.asp
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_and_the_Roman_Catholic_Church

    Oh, and to Michelle, that was one of the most beautiful snipes I’ve ever read? Is it original? If so, can I steal it?

  53. MKR

    Further proof that idiocy isn’t uniquely American. Idiocy plagues all nations, and comes in many forms. If I were religious, I might say idiocy is the devil. :)

  54. Hoonser

    Am I the only one who thinks it’s ironic that Ken Ham looks remarkably like a monkey? You’d think a man who’s against evolution wouldn’t want to grow such a chimp like beard.

  55. Michael Amato writes:

    [[Religion has done more to hold back human progress than any other single thing.]]

    Measured how?

  56. @ BA:
    One of the things that could explain “how many errors they make about science” is their Statement of Faith. Of which, section (D) 6. says:

    “No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record.”

    It’s really interesting that everyone who is employed there is required to confirm this “Statement” before they can be employed there. When I say everyone, I do mean everyone. Anyone hired from the “researchers” to the food staff personel and security guards, have to provide confirmation.

    I did a post on Statements of Faith a while back, and stumbled on this.

  57. It’ll be interesting to see how this one turns out.

    My feeling is that they will have a harder time than in the US, because religion in Britain (I won’t try to speak for Europe in general) is so much more ghettoised.

    The creationists think that the theory of evolution somehow stops people from being Christians (or conservative, at any rate). They hope to convince secular people of creationism, so that they then accept all the rest of the conservative agenda.

    But I think in reality it’s the other way around: people who are already (fundamentalist) religious are the ones who go on to embrace creationism. So where they will make headway in Britain is in evangelical and fundamentalist churches, who are relatively isolated (compared to the US) and whose growth and decline is independent of their acceptance of creationism.

    In short, they will find it hard to mainstream creationism because their natural constituency is not in the mainstream the way it seems to be in the US.

  58. alex

    ahahhaaahheheehhehe
    wtf
    im from europe nothing from creationists, sorry :( never heard of them
    i dont think it ll work we got different …. hmm mentality
    someone ignore it someone not thats how it works hire in Europe very simple …

  59. Quiet_Desperation

    I wonder how the USA EVER became a free nation, with all the religious extremists that came here to get away from the “repressive” cultures in Europe,

    The Founding Fathers and their Novus Ordo Seclorum

    The latter, BTW, means “New Order of the Ages” and NOT “New World Order as the brain damaged conspiracy loons claim. New World Order would be “novus ordo mundi”.

    Many of the individual state/colony charters *were* religious. A lot of “Christian Nation” proponents use tyhese earlier documents as evidence. This is big error, because it invotes comparisons between the Constitution and these earlier documents, and the difference is striking, and highlights the secularity of the Cosntitution even more.

    Here’s a quote from the Mayflower Compact:

    ”In the name of God, amen. We, whose names are underwritten . . . having undertaken for the glory of God, and advancement of the Christian faith, and the honor of our king and country, a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern Parts of Virginia; do by these presents, solemnly and mutually, in the presence of God and one another, covenant and combine ourselves together into a civil body politick, for our better ordering and preservation, and furtherance of the Ends aforesaid.”

    Now the preamble of the Consatitution:

    ”We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.”

    See the difference? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    The FF were very dilligent in excising anything religious from their document in that environment.

  60. alex

    and i think all that religion **** was gone long time ago in EUROPE
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Inquisition there are still very religious EUROPEAN countries
    so good luck, america ;)

  61. Quiet_Desperation

    Further proof that idiocy isn’t uniquely American.

    Observing the vast drama of all history and the current global state, I’m not sure why this even needs proof.

    Who was the world’s scapegoat and whipping boy before 1776? Or 1787 for the pedants.

    Doesn’t the Catholic church officially support evolution now?

    Catholic != Evangelical

    I’m just glad there’s finally a nice juicy example of non-Americans acting stupid, like ALL PEOPLE often do.</i

    Finally? Do you people live in bunkers or something?

  62. Quiet_Desperation

    Seriously, Phil. Preview mode. Please.

  63. Caleb

    I am a very religious person and I find no threat in scientific advancements (when based on sound theories and observations). In fact, I see many of the advancements in science as a blessing. The fact that we have been able to peer back to almost the beginning of time as we know it in this universe is, to me, a testament of the majesty of God. I know some may disagree, and that’s okay. My main point is that truth should never be threatening to one’s beliefs.

    I see things like the Big Bang theory and evolution as being completely compatible with my beliefs. This does not mean that I feel I can scientifically prove my beliefs nor do I feel it is necessary to do so (faith is required due to “argument from ignorance”). However, faith (both religious and secular) is pointless when it is based on falsities. So, when I find truth I make sure I align myself with it regardless of where that truth came from.

    I’d be much more interested in reading discussions on how people find compatibilities with modern thought and their personal beliefs (again religious or ethically) than I would in reading yet another science vs. religion debate. The science vs. religion debates seem to miss the point, that when truth comes along both should align themselves with it.

  64. “Ken Ham couldn’t tear a wet kleenex to pieces”. Hilarious! Priceless! BA should copyright it!

  65. michael; Feel free to stop reading and commenting at any point. This is Phil Plait’s blog, and as such he gets to pick the topics and post about them, whatever they are.

  66. gia

    We already have schools – *publicly funded schools*- in the UK which teach Creationism. Tony Blair (a Christian who was famously asked by Jeremy Paxman if he an Bush prayed together- Google it :) started these schools called City Academies. They are mainly publicly funded, but also get private money as well. The organisations who put up the private money are able to pretty much control the school – who’s hired, how much they get paid, and what they teach (to a certain extent). The most notorious of these organisations is the Vardy Foundation.

    Now, as students have to pass standardised tests they will, obviously, learn the science they need to learn in order to get good grades, but they are told by their teachers that what they are learning is false.

    This is the downside of living in a country which looks down upon overt religiousness. At least in America politicians there go on and on about being religious so at the very least you’ve got an idea what they might get up to. Here they don’t dare admit it for fear of everything thinking they’re a nutter… and then sneak this kind of thing up on you.

  67. Darth Robo

    “Doesn’t the Catholic church officially support evolution now?”

    It seemed to be going fine, until that idiot pope Benny showed up! :(

    “The science vs. religion debates seem to miss the point, that when truth comes along both should align themselves with it.”

    See, Mikey? Religious person. Normal person. Sane person. Why can’t you be more like Caleb here?

    And while I think on, just what exactly is it that creationism is doing to prove itself correct and creationism wrong? Science? No, it’s concentrating on pushing legislation through courts, through Government, bypassing that and going directly to the schools and mounting PR campaigns. And you never learn. And this is why the scientific community will never ever EVER take you guys seriously.

  68. fj

    @Sili:

    We had a brief creationistic “episode” back in 2006. Some religiously (evangelical?) inclined school started with the “alternative theories” thing in biology classes. When it became more broadly known, most people where not very happy about it. However, the Minister of Education of the State of Hessen backed that approach, which has drawn a lot of criticism from all directions – scientific institutions, newspapers, even the major churches.

    Regarding your Catholic/Protestant and East/West guess: yes, it was in the West, but it wasn’t Catholic (both the school and the Minister are have – different – protestant/evangelical backgrounds). However, I’m not really sure if I should be more afraid of Catholics or Protestant in this regard…

    So currently, it’s rather quiet. However, I have that feeling that it’s not over.

    PS: Sorry for the Trackback in German – I forgot that it would go off automatically and wouldn’t be much help to a English site.

  69. Nigel Depledge

    Caleb said:
    “I am a very religious person and I find no threat in scientific advancements (when based on sound theories and observations). In fact, I see many of the advancements in science as a blessing. The fact that we have been able to peer back to almost the beginning of time as we know it in this universe is, to me, a testament of the majesty of God. I know some may disagree, and that’s okay. My main point is that truth should never be threatening to one’s beliefs.

    “I see things like the Big Bang theory and evolution as being completely compatible with my beliefs. This does not mean that I feel I can scientifically prove my beliefs nor do I feel it is necessary to do so (faith is required due to “argument from ignorance”). However, faith (both religious and secular) is pointless when it is based on falsities. So, when I find truth I make sure I align myself with it regardless of where that truth came from.

    “I’d be much more interested in reading discussions on how people find compatibilities with modern thought and their personal beliefs (again religious or ethically) than I would in reading yet another science vs. religion debate. The science vs. religion debates seem to miss the point, that when truth comes along both should align themselves with it.”

    Hear, hear, Caleb.

    What the debate needs is for more people like you to step forward and tell the fundies that their claims about evolution, and science in general, do more harm than good. They are extremely unlikely to convince agnostics, never mind actual atheists, and all they do is propagate ignorance and confusion.

    Thank you for practising what St Augustine taught.

  70. I know that Creationist organizations have come and gone (or more accurately: have been named and renamed) — but I think AiG is a credible threat. They’ve got money, influence, and a very loud voice. They’ve also refined their methods of deception to a chilling perfection.

    Don’t wait for the “threat in Europe to become serious” because, just like cancer, by the time it’s serious it’s too late. The threat is already serious, and they’re building momentum.

    We can stop them though, but we need to take it seriously. I know in the past the science community has basically shrugged off Creationists as a problem that no one will take seriously, but this time the virus has built up a spiny protein coat and is a little more resilient to our antibodies. Fight it.

    Best way to beat lies is with a bright shining flashlight. Creationists capitalize on the public’s general ignorance of science. The more people we can reach and inform, the more people we can make realize that their stuff is total bunk.

  71. StevoR

    # Lugosion 10 Feb 2008 at 3:19 pm

    “I propose that we round up ALL the creationists in the world and ship them to Australia. There they can set up their own society based on the Bible, and spend their days imposing their belief systems on one another instead of the rest of us. Heck, maybe they can make Mike Huckabee their President.”

    Nah, he’ll be too busy governing _your_ nation at this rate … ;-)

    I second the person who noted that this be okay provided they’re all dropped in the centre of the Gibson Desert without food & water.
    (BTW. I’m an Aussie.)

    I agree too about the otherperson who noted the crims were medium level mostly poor but industrious / clever-ish crooks – the real criminals -murderes ,rapists, etc .. of the time were executed usually by public hanging. (A few lucky aristocrats & ex-Queens got beheaded by axe or sword instead.) A policy – for the unquestionably guilty & seriously nasty offenders – which I would have no problem with us adopting today.
    (Albeit in slightly more refined form.)

    The 18th century equivalent of those annoying people who knock on your doors (or stand shreiking in the streets) to spout their religious beliefs – those were the puritannical one’s who went off to found America – a legacy the USA has clearly yet to recover from ..

    Hmm .. Can’t help thinking how much better the world would be if the ‘Mayflower’ had just sunk on the way over and been lost with all aboard! ;-)

    Clearly we Aussies had the better deal ;-) Plus we managed to gain independence peacefully rather than with all that massive bloodshed and hatred accompanying the US revolution against George III’s rule…

    Darth Robo : “.. just what exactly is it that creationism is doing to prove itself correct and creationism wrong? Science? No, it’s concentrating on pushing legislation through courts, through Government, bypassing that and going directly to the schools and mounting PR campaigns. And you never learn. And this is why the scientific community will never ever EVER take you guys seriously.”

    The Creationists don’t care about the *scientific* community or what we think. I don’t think the scientists are their targets outside of a “They’re witches! Burn them, burn them!” fashion …

    The people who I think the creationists want – who they’re targeting and focusing on are the masses, the general pubklic who don’t know any better and can be fooled into accepting them and their theocratic rule. They want Religion – their interpretation anyhow – taught as the Unquestionable Word with dissenters burnt at the stake & science and scientists gone.

    Its power politics not science that’s the real arena here .. ID-Creationists are disqualified from the arena of science to begin with.

    Of course, they’ll never admit this – they try to borrow “scientific” garb for their Dark Ages Inquisitorial nature – but in their secretive deceptive hearts, at the core of their mindsets, this is really who they _really_ are … Christian taliban no less.

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