Creationist (heh) Master of Science (haha) degree (HAHAHAHAHA!)

By Phil Plait | March 20, 2009 1:23 pm

Hemant Mehta, the Friendly Atheist, just wrote about a Texas state Representative who — you might want to sit down, or maybe even lie on the floor as you read this — wants the Institute for Creation Research to be able to grant Master of Science degrees.

OK, I’ll let you comically rub your eyes with your fists for a second, then check that yes, you did indeed read that correctly. The ICR — a wretched hive of scum and villainy — thinks that it’s doing science research (and boy is it not), and it’s not fair that they can’t grant science degrees! Now, this is not really surprising, seeing that the ICR can’t grasp reality with both hands, a vise, and a lifetime supply of crazy glue, but still. It’s funny.

So this poor sap in the State legislature is trying to get a bill passed to exempt the ICR from the ruling that they can’t grant advanced degrees. I’ll add that the bill is more general than that; the original news item claims it’s driven by the ICR, but the bill itself would actually allow any private institution to grant advanced degrees in science, which would bring down even more chaos on the Lone Star State. Unless you think a Masters of Astrology or a PhD in Flat Earth Studies is a good idea.

Given the level of insanity infecting Texas politics right now, I have no idea if this bill will pass or not. The ICR tried to get permission to grant degrees in science in 2008, and was roundly thumped by the state commissioner who told them bluntly that religion isn’t science.

You should have little doubt — just look at their name, for Pete’s sake — that the ICR is not doing science. It’s doing dogma. Nothing will ever convince them the Earth isn’t 6000 years old, and that the Bible isn’t the literal truth. Go ahead and check for yourself by searching their site, if you don’t mind having your irony gland exploding into a thin oily vapor.

I suspect a bill like this doesn’t have much a chance, but then the guy running the State Board of Education is an avowed creationist and thinks abstinence-only education is a grand idea, so there is literally no way of knowing this bill’s fate. Let’s all cross our fingers, throw salt over our shoulders, and rub our lucky rabbit’s feet that it fails. And these methods should work — I have a PhD in Superstionism.

And, just to make sure I get on the ICR’s enemies list:

The stupid, it burns

Comments (270)

  1. They’re happy to foist off religious-based lunacy on the rest of us, but what do you want to bet when these idiots get sick, they don’t mess around with folks who got their degrees from Preacher Bob’s College of Medical Knowledge? Nosirree…uh… bob… they want real doctors fiddlin’ with their innards. Unless it happens to be wimmen’ses innards, and then they think that anybody with a Bible in their hands can tell wimmenses about their health. But I digress.

    Thanks for giving me a mid-afternoon wake-up Phil.

  2. Oh, and lest I forget, that ICR bunch and the churches that support it? They’re probably all tax-exempt… which means that YOU and ME pay for their lunacy in higher taxes.

    this is just a trifecta of burning stupidity.

  3. What in the hell is going on in Texas these days? This is shocking. Kinda makes you wonder what the state is going to look like in ten years. Will you have to show your ID ID (Intelligent Design Identification) card when crossing the state line? Will businesses stipulate you must have a B.Sc. in Creationism to “tow the line”? Unfortunately, although the “BSc standard” has been abused of late, but when the lines start to blur between science and religion, we’re in for a whole world of pain.

  4. Ian

    Oh-oh. I’m about to start a PhD program at a real university in Texas. I hope I haven’t made a terrible mistake.

  5. Brownian

    I’ve suggested that my own MP here in Canada introduce a bill allowing me to award Olympic Gold medals. Anybody want one? No athleticism required….

  6. Brian

    If by some horrible stroke of fate this bill does pass into law, I’m heading down to Texas to found me a new school.

    “Okay that’s one super-large steakburger, one regular-size cheesesteakburger, two orders of fries, a chocolate shake, and a diet Coke. And would you like a Ph.D in Nutrition Science with that?”

  7. Hey, this is a great idea. I now bestow upon myself the degree: PhD in Extremely, Insanely, Ridiculously Young Earth Studies. This field researches how the universe was created as-is 30 seconds ago. ;-) All the evidence is right here in my holy book… or at least it would be but we haven’t written it down yet. After all, the universe is only 30 seconds old! ;-)

    Seriously, though. If they do this then a scientific degree from any real Texas institute of higher learning will instantly drop in value. I feel sorry for the person who possesses a real Masters degree or PhD who will need to tell people “No, really. It’s real. It’s not from the ICR.”

  8. Ruth

    Wow, that website is HILARIOUS. My fav. quotations has to be: “God Caused Love –
    Like gravity and aerodynamics, we cannot scientifically prove the existence of love, yet we know it exists and can observe its effects.”

    … what does that even /mean/!

  9. you’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Texas is Doomed

  10. Max Fagin

    “Nothing will ever convince them the Earth isn’t 6000 years old, and that the Bible is the literal truth.”

    Ummmm, I’m guessing thats supposed to be “… and that the bible ISN’T the literal truth.”

    I think convincing ICR that the bible IS the literal truth would be a rather trivial task…

  11. Todd W.

    @Phil

    Well, if you comment on this gem, you might get on their hit list:

    “Even a child can see stars at night. But who has the power necessary to put them there?

    A small reflection of the power of our Creator is seen in the thousands of stars shine in the night sky. Galaxies are millions of stars packed close together. And billions of galaxies fill the universe. The amount of power displayed in the heavens is overwhelming, if we take the time to look up at night and think about it. This reveals God’s power at the cosmic level.”

    Also, there are some astronomy-related falsities here: http://www.icr.org/article/1842/

  12. Magnus

    If this passes I will be ordering at least 70 PhDs from Texas.

  13. I hope you didn’t mean “Nothing will ever convince them … that the Bible is the literal truth”! I mean they’re convinced of that already…

  14. Evan

    I have a PhD in Superstionism.

    Is that the new catchphrase?

  15. matteus

    Mainstream (i.e. secular, i.e sane) conservatives-in-charge NEED to STOP pandering to these loonies on issues like abortion and science education.
    Or is there even such a thing as a secular conservative other than at the grassroots level? Way to marginalize our (non-religious) political philosophy, guys.

  16. Fabulous. I hope you get the ICR real angry. That way you play their trick on them. Provoke and get attention. They don’t even believe what they say themselves, I’m am absolutely sure. In the name of God!

  17. Jeramyk

    We can’t scientifically prove aerodynamics? Man, I guess I haven’t been doing science in the ~8 years I’ve been in school studying, um, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. huh. They also claim that hummingbirds are an enigma, outside the realm of known (or apparently knowable) physics.

  18. @Magnus, I hear they’re going to have a sale. Buy 70 PhDs get 50 Masters degrees for half price! Now where’d I put that coupon code….

  19. Saw this in my SciAm mail today: http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=creationism-feels-right-but-that-doesnt-make-it-so&sc=DD_20090320

    So basically, it’s back to the same old argument that most humans are not wiling to invest the brainpower to actually understand evolution? ;)

  20. @Jeramyk, Of course “we” can’t prove it. We meaning them of course. They can’t prove it because they refuse to use any tool other than “God Did It.” When you take out actual experimentation, mathematics and all those other “lying”, not literal-bible tools, there’s pretty much no way to prove anything except to rely on the “God Did It” explanation.

    On the bright side, it’d make passing tests in school a whole lot easier.

    Q: What’s the principle that determines how much thrust a hummingbirds wing can generate?

    A. God!

    On the not-so-bright side, I’d like to see them design a plane or any other complicated machinery without the math necessary to prove aerodynamics and other sciences. Mental Note: Do *NOT* fly on ICR Air!

  21. Dave O

    The danger here is that this will be used to prove that creationism is a science, and therefore acceptable to be taught in public schools.

  22. I just want to know one thing: Where can I get a t-shirt with that “the stupid, it burns” image on it? I love that!

  23. Masters of Science Fiction?

    My thesis is on how the Earth is actually 6,021 years old.
    I know this because on the History channel today there was a show on brewing beer and they said we’ve been brewing for 6,000 yrs. Well, since 21 is the legal drinking age it just makes sense that the Earth is 6,021 years old.

  24. John

    Q: What are the 2 types of particles found in the nucleus of an atom?

    A: Angels and Jesus!

  25. Tony^3, I like the way you think. ;)

    As for the aerodynamics bit, I suppose if an ICR’er gets on a plane, they think their Mystical Sky Daddy is flying it?

  26. FREQ_FORCE

    And to think, I could have gotten a PhD in “blaming invisible goblins” all along.

    My thesis would have been a breeze.

  27. Maybe we could compromise and let them grant Master of “Science” degrees instead. i.e. They can grant degrees but the certificates must have quotes around “Science” and preferably an italic font. Abbreviated, it must be written as M“S”. And whenever anyone refers to the degree verbally, they have to use air-quotes and a sarcastic voice.

  28. anon

    Better study up . . .

    Does anyone remember how many angels fit on a pin’s head?

  29. Colby

    I searched their website. My irony gland exploded into a thin oily vapor. Now my keyboard is ruined. Thanks, jerk. :P

  30. Anton P. Nym

    Why are they griping? I say they’re already close to beinga ble to hand out a Masters degree… a Masters of Divinity. (Well, except that I suspect that there’d be just as much hooting derision in academic theological circles, seeing as most such faculties can tell the difference between metaphor and literalism.)

    — Steve

  31. Davidlpf

    One good thing about this is it isn’t Canada.

  32. Todd W.

    @IVAN3MAN

    Yet another lovely illustration.

  33. Hmmmmmmmmm…I am having a Stephen King moment….what is even more scarier?

    Hmmmmmm…would this bill allow Thoughtful House, the Kingdom of Quackdon run by Andrew Wakefield of the world wide vaccine scare, to grant medical degrees????

    Creationists are merely amusing. Sort of like pet gerbils.

    Wakefield is orders of magnitude scarier.

  34. Cheyenne

    Holdren was just confirmed by the Senate. That is some good news for people that like the direction the administration is taking on science.

  35. I can’t not open up a “University” in Texas. Think of the money: Let’s say 100,000,000 creationists at, say, 2-3,000 bucks a pop. I may just have to find me some religion!

  36. I am studying for a degree in Astrophysics. I also believe in God. One of my friends a PhD in chemistry said to me ….I really can’t understand you, you’re an anomaly, you’re getting good grades and I respect your grasp of science – How can you possibly believe in God?

    I’ve seen Him. That’s why. (You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you)

    It’s the plain, simple honest truth. I also have the balls to admit it. If I said I had never witnessed His hand at work it would be a cowardly lie maintained in order to make life easier for myself.

    I have every right to my beliefs, free from persecution and ridicule. If you have a problem with that you’ll be breaking the law.

    You cannot accept what you have not seen, I accept that. You cannot understand what you have no knowledge of, I accept that too.

    I strongly suggest that you keep a very open mind.

  37. Fail.

    And Phil, my irony gland did indeed explode, particularly reading the ICR enemies list O_O

    ” Thus the tenets of evolution have become a matter of faith, … And like other systems of belief, it has its clerics (those invested as scientific authorities), its adherents (e.g., the education system and the media), its mission …”

    Ummm …. ok.

    “By stating that there is no “serious” scientific doubt, Scott neatly eliminates the possibility that non-evolutionary scientists can provide a valid case for their hypotheses or conclusions. ”

    … shades of the “academic freedom” argument the flat-earthers … sorry, I mean creationists, I mean IDers … ok: wackos … are pushing?

    And the absolute greatest:

    dun dun dunnnnnnnnn…

    “web surfers must be wary of “half-truths and hidden assumptions”19 on the sites that they visit.”

    bahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha (I can’t breathe now) ;-)

  38. Cheyenne

    @Sci-Fi Si – Yes you have every right to your own beliefs and people shouldn’t ridicule you for them. But nobody would be breaking the law if they did ridicule you for some reason. They might get their comment deleted if they do it here but that’s about it.

  39. IVAN3MAN

    Thanks, Todd W.!

  40. You could always let the ICR grant these degrees, since really Mr. Plait, do you know ANYONE (in a field that requires scientific rigor) that would hire someone with said degree? It would be essentially be a coupon telling you that the person’s resume is free toilet paper, or kindling.

  41. Patrick

    You could easily obtain all the knowledge required for a master’s in creationism by spending 6,000 years hiding under a rock. Heck, maybe that can be one of the requirements for it.
    -“When you emerge from your subterranean dwelling you will officially be granted a B.S. (and I do mean BS) in subterranean studies along with your “doctorate” in “creationism.”
    Only, you’ll never emerge “muahahahahaha.”
    They’ll believe almost anything if it’s simplified enough for them, so it just might work in getting some of them out of the way (aplogies to anyone who has a job requiring much digging.)

  42. See this banana? It was made by god to fit in my butt… I mean my hand. Proof. I can has degree?

  43. Charles Schmidt

    The problem is Scott that someone would hire them as a teacher then the problem would get larger, it could be that they would cry that they are being discriminated agnist because they were not hired and then court time wasted as well as money.

  44. bill

    Scott – the problem with letting the ICR issue Masters of Science degrees is that it then becomes one more thing that creationists will use to prove that creationism is science.

  45. Jeramyk Says:
    “We can’t scientifically prove aerodynamics? Man, I guess I haven’t been doing science in the ~8 years I’ve been in school studying, um, aerodynamics and fluid mechanics. huh.”

    Actually it has only been within the last decade or so, with the advent of supercomputer simulations, that aerodynamics has become an actual science as compared to a functional technology. During most of the history of powered flight there was no real theoretical understanding of flight that was compatible with the evidence gathered by the trial & error method in wind tunnels. Such trial & error databases, such as NACA wing profile data, were used to design airplanes for most of the 20th century without a scientific understanding of aerodynamics. Fluid mechanics was also in the same shape until computer simulations provided the ability to understand turbulence.

    Knowing gross characteristics without an underlying theoretical basis, even well enough to create useful devices, is not science.

  46. On the one hand, I would hate to see these masters of “science” passing themselves off as science teachers, on the other hand, I would absolutely love to see even one of these “scientists” trying to compete with real scientists in the real world. I mean, come on, that could be some serious entertainment.

    @ sci fi sighhhh:

    I have every right to my beliefs, free from persecution and ridicule. If you have a problem with that you’ll be breaking the law.

    I guess I’m breaking some law (which one, you’ll have to let me know), but could you please tell me what form the Big Guy in the Sky™ took when you saw him? Was he all robey and middle easty, or vaporous and ethereal, or maybe burning bushy? I saw a lot of burning bushes last wildfire season, maybe I saw him, too.

    Snicker. Snort.

  47. ChrisW

    It’s frankly bizarre. I think the majority of us who have any kind of scientific background regard this sort of thing with complete bemusement.

    @SciFi-Sci,

    People can convince themselves of anything they like. The main issue here is that people are trying to pass this off as science – which it obviously never will be, but labeling it as such would clearly be absurd. And nobody should have some kind of legal shield from ridicule. If creationists wish to ridicule me for my basic understanding of cosmology, geology and evolution, I entirely defend their right to do so.

  48. José

    @Sci-Fi Si

    I’ve seen Him. That’s why. (You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you)

    It’s the plain, simple honest truth. I also have the balls to admit it. If I said I had never witnessed His hand at work it would be a cowardly lie maintained in order to make life easier for myself.

    I’ll bite. How exactly did you see God?

  49. Tiffany

    You would think they wouldn’t want to grand any kind of “masters” degree, because God is the only master of anything, right?
    Those hypocrites.

    Still sucks I have to live in Texas, but at least my SBoE representative is already pro-science.

  50. Sci Fi Si, if you think that you are being persecuted in a discussion about Texas creationists wanting to get a Masters of Science in Creationism recognized as a legal degree, then I think you need some reading comprehension skills refresher courses. Not sure why you feel this is all about YOU. Nobody here is slamming YOUR belief in God. You’re free to believe that. I would even defend your right to do so,provided your belief system doesn’t impinge on others’ freedoms or the science you’re studying. How you reconcile your faith with the science you’re studying is up to you, but your research had better be scientifically valid and not based on your faith.

  51. I have every right to my beliefs, free from persecution and ridicule.

    Persecution, yes. Ridicule, no.

    I’m a furry, so I know all about ridicule. It’s not fun, but it’s legal, and I have no right to not be offended. As soon as parties begin demanding that, free speech falls apart.

  52. José

    @Sci-Fi Si
    Also. What did your comment have to do with Phil’s post? The post is about a despicable organization that has nothing to do with science trying to hand out science degrees. It’s not attacking people who believe in God.

  53. Patrick

    @Todd W.

    Why do we still find it necessary to entangle God with these man-made religions?

    What makes these religions legitimate?

    I have never doubted God’s existence. But the fact we take these texts to be the beginning and the end-i.e. God’s word is appalling.

    If one rejects the Bible’s subjective teachings, he isn’t necessarily rejecting the existence of a creator, only the honesty of man-kind.

    No single object in the world has had as much control over the fate of man-kind than this one book. This same book that contradicts itself not only in principal, but has been amended to fit each sect using it. I guess they’re either all right or all wrong.

    Why do we feel the need to put a human face on God?

    Also, the notion that God is infallible and omnipotent is widely accepted. Yet, in the bible, he created an assistant, created a perfect race of beings, and created a perfect earth, all of which have turned bad, according to the teachings contained therein.

    How can perfect things go bad?

    I don’t doubt God’s power, I just doubt he is capable of inadvertantly making mistakes.

    We are who we are because that’s how it played naturally. No supernatural baddie has been corrupting us for “6,000” years. We have been corrupted by a select few, ultra-powerful humans who remain out of focus.

    And their genius was the founding of a broad misuderstanding, which many of us take to be the word of God.

    As if God would recite his word to a man to write down, instead of all of man-kind, if he wanted to convey his message of understanding and cooperation.

    If history tells us anything, it should tell us that human nature is to control surroundings.

    What better way to control surroundings than to mass-publish a mental douche?

    Religion is a business that makes a substantial profit preying on the fear of weak-minded individuals.

    If we are to reach an understanding, it must be built on logic, not mysticism.

    I believe, as many of you do, that a creator can very reasonably be a distant force, manifested all around us. What a wonderous concept.

  54. JAGXIVII

    If you think they are “doing dogma,” then what do you think evolutionists are doing? And don’t tell me they’re doing science, because it takes an equal if not larger amount of faith to believe in evolution rather than creation.

    There is absolutely no reason why these brilliant minds shouldn’t be able to achieve a high level degree in their field. It seems to me that you are condemning this because you don’t believe there is any worth to creationism and that is can’t be applied to the “real world.” In fact, it is equally applicable to the world just as evolution is believed to be. So many evolutionists condemn creationism because they refuse to open their eyes and see the other viewpoint: the exact thing you are criticizing the ICR of doing.

    When you say it probably won’t get past, you are more than likely correct, taking into account the level of liberal bias everywhere these days.

  55. José

    @Naked Bunny with a Whip
    Would you kindly let me know what a furry is so I can ridicule you?

  56. We should let the creationism myth be taught in schools along side the bloody murderous history of Christianity

  57. Thanny

    Vise.

    I’m confident (no, really) that the rest of the Texas legislature won’t let this one pass. If they do, all you Texan university students may as well keep your diplomas in the bathroom, just in case you run out.

  58. Patrick

    I am from Texas and I am neither a scientist, a steer, a queer, a religious person, an atheist, or a creationist.

    Does that make me wrong?

  59. BobG

    For those who understand the Scientific Method of Proof, I pose a simple question: Is evolution a science?

  60. Patrick

    A furry is a person who dresses up like an animal for fun and has sex parties, correct?

  61. Dr Cox

    It is perfectly acceptable if the ICR grants this degree since creation and evolution are not about science but about what religious belief colors your interpretation of the world, including the results of scientific tests. Scientists hate to admit it, but evolution is not even technically a theory because it is a guess at what took place in the past and since that event or a reproduction of the event cannot be directly or indirectly observed it is outside the realm of science. Some scientists assume it is true; some do not. Of course, if evolution is true, then this and other similar discussions are irrelevant because natural selection will kill off all the believers in whichever view makes us weaker and multiply those who believe in the one that makes us stronger. Also, if it is true, then we are all nothing more than bags of chemicals and what we say, do, and believe has all been determined by our evolution (i.e, our brain chemistry and environment, which has also been determined by evolution) and therefore we cannot help what we say, do, or believe. So again, the discussion becomes pointless, and pointlessness is selected against in evolutionary theory as weakness.

  62. sci fi si

    He cameth on me as I was showering before a big exam, He gave me the answers clearly and concisely, and I passed with an a++.

    He also used to cometh on me in my room as a child.

    Debate that.

  63. @Patrick: There are doubtless dozens of furries who do that sort of thing, somewhere. ^^

  64. José

    @Sci-Fi Si
    Lastly, this dialog

    I really can’t understand you, you’re an anomaly, you’re getting good grades and I respect your grasp of science – How can you possibly believe in God?

    doesn’t sound like something an atheist would say. Are you sure you didn’t make it up in an attempt to make a point? There are plenty of scientists that believe in God. You’re not an anomaly. And I don’t think it’s a mystery to most atheists why people believe in God.

  65. Les B. Serious

    There’s only 797 words in Genesis Chap. 1

    That’s less than in this discussion thread – yet it’s supposed to explain the creation of the entire freaking universe?

    I’m perpetually amazed at the capacity of the human mind to shut itself off — effectively (yet metaphorically) sticking its fingers in its ears and screaming “NYAH NYAH – CAN’T HEAR YOU!”

  66. Blinkin the Gremlin

    @Sci Fi Si:

    I’m studying Physics and Computer Engineering at a major university. I too am a Christian. I believe that I have witnessed the work of God around me. But I can also recognize the difference between faith and science. Faith, according to Paul, is the “assurance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” By definition, there can be no scientific basis for faith, else it is not faith. We may have our faith confirmed, and it may build our faith, but our faith cannot be science, and likewise science cannot be built on faith.

    Also, I’m assuming that your assertion that you are free to what you believe, and are free from persecution and ridicule comes from a flawed understanding of the first amendment. All the 1st says in regards to freedom of religion is that the state cannot endorse a religion and also cannot obstruct practice of a religion. It does not say that the validity of that faith can be questioned by private interests, nor does it say anything about the relations of private citizens regarding beliefs.

  67. Al Viro

    Ho-hum… Somehow I suspect that there are far more numerous and profitable donors feeding that one. Diploma mill operators, that is. Create a non-profit front org, declare it affiliated with your scam, don’t ask for state funding and you’ve got yourself a new product to sell – genuine state-recognized PhD by mail order. Note that institution itself doesn’t have to maintain non-profit status according to his bill…

  68. Xavier

    You can still have faith and believe in evolution. Just think of it as intelligently guided evolution.

    God continually changes the shape of the world as God sees fit.

  69. He also used to cometh on me in my room as a child.

    That’s either Poe talk, or…um…Texas is even weirder than I thought.

    As John Fogerty so eloquently put it, Trollin’…trollin’…trollin on Dr. BA’s blog….. Or something like that.

  70. Blinkin the Gremlin

    Crap. I answered the troll. Oh well, my reply stands, the way you are a good scientist and a Christian is to understand the difference between scientific reason and the nature of faith.

  71. Anon2

    Alright,

    I don’t really know what has been going on down at the ICR. I don’t know why Christians continue to think that they can use modern Science to show the Creation is the way things worked out. That being said, the Big Bang and evolution can never be put forth as anything more than a theory, because of the rigors of the scientific method, and the empirical base on which it is built.

    First to Christians, read Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Then read Romans 8:7a, “the sinful mind is hostile to God.” The best one can do is present the argument that some have mentioned already, that is of the intelligent design. I don’t disagree with this idea its the only valid one that has been presented, but Christians have to understand that science will not prove who God is, at best it can point out that there is something greater going on.

    Now to the “Scientific,” the basis for all science is the empirical method, meaning that since something is experienced its true. The whole basis for science is that there is observable phenomenon, which can be repeated again, and again and that measurement can be taken and analyzed. Now, there are a whole set of issues with the thought that experience is true because we experienced of it, but it assumes a basic premise, ordered repeatable. If it were not for this science wouldn’t work, so a system born out of chaos that allows for repeated order seems pretty odd.

    The issues that limit evolution are this, first off if they need to base stuff on actual repeatable experience, they weren’t there to measure the start of the universe. They can theorize, but they can never actually prove it cause they weren’t there. Second, the whole issue of Carbon Dating. They can never be sure what that initial amount of C-14 was. If you want to think about C-14 as a candle that is burning down, they walk in to a dark room and they saw a candle at a certain height, but they have no way of empirical proving the initial height of the candle because they weren’t there to measure it.

    So don’t go thing science is the end all solution

  72. Catherine

    Sci Fi is merely exercising his right to post straw man arguments, then sit back and bask in the attention. Goes hand in hand with IRC policies.

    If this topic weren’t around he’d have to invent one to be “persecuted” about.

    But in any case, I wonder how much dissonant cognizance a person with a Masters in “Science” can handle before having a nervous break down.

    Oh wait, a lot! http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090304160400.htm

    “Compared to non-believers, the religious participants showed significantly less activity in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a portion of the brain that helps modify behavior by signaling when attention and control are needed, usually as a result of some anxiety-producing event like making a mistake. The stronger their religious zeal and the more they believed in God, the less their ACC fired in response to their own errors, and the fewer errors they made”
    [snip]
    “”Obviously, anxiety can be negative because if you have too much, you’re paralyzed with fear,” he says. “However, it also serves a very useful function in that it alerts us when we’re making mistakes. If you don’t experience anxiety when you make an error, what impetus do you have to change or improve your behaviour so you don’t make the same mistakes again and again?””

  73. Catherine

    >>sci fi si Says:
    March 20th, 2009 at 4:15 pm
    He cameth on me as I was showering before a big exam, He gave me the answers clearly and concisely, and I passed with an a++.
    He also used to cometh on me in my room as a child.
    Debate that.

    I puteth forth ye suggestion of a “psychotic break”
    further, I hopeth you lieth.

  74. Creation cannot be considered science because they already had the conclusion before the evidence. You can’t have these idiots handing out degrees to other idiots. Creationists are bogging down the human race.

    Next invention: A gas that seeks and kills stupid people (wouldn’t it be funny if we all died?)

  75. Jim Beaver

    Anyone can hand out degrees in anything. I get dozens of e-mails a week offering me advanced “degrees” based on “life experience” with no classwork required. A degree is only valuble if the institution awarding it is accredited by a recognized accrediting agency. I can’t imagine any “real” accrediting organization ever accepting them. The ICR can pass out all the PhDs the want, unless they are an accredited institution then their degrees are worth no more than the ones you can buy by e-mail (ie: a rather poor grade of toilet paper). If someone hires someone based on such a “degree” and doesn’t bother to check where it was awarded then shame on them. Unfortunately this does happen from time to time and almost always results in a scandle, loss of job for the indivdual with the bogus degree and loss of confidence in the agency that hireh him without checking. So, if the ICR starts handing out degres, laughable as it may be, it’s just one more diploma mill for potential employers to be aware and wary of.

  76. rhea
  77. David F

    As someone who lives in Texas, this just makes me want to vomit. Not EVERYONE in Texas is like this, I promise… just 99.975%

  78. Slowly But Surly

    Just a nit pick on “a wretched hive of scum and villainy.”

    I think it’s more a case that the ICR doesn’t really understand what science is, and do what they do under the impression that’s what other ‘real’ scientists do. Perhaps such bombastic phrases actually reinforces their bad behaviors?

    I prefer Randy Olson’s (Flock of Dodos) criticism that that suggests that IE is an intuitive hypnosis that doesn’t survive scientific review.

  79. Ausie John

    Phew, what a relief this site and these comments are! I just come back from putting in a factory in Ohio, just down the road from the Creation Museum, and quite frankly I was disturbed by the collective lack of science and reasoning from a lot of people I met. I watched deliverance a few years back, but had no idea it was satirical… I am glad to see that true free speach is still alive and well in the US, and that not all Americans believe in this superstitious rot preached by a bunch of hypocritical, sexist, bigoted, paedophilic, hate mongering sycophants, who ironically try to play the science card in order to counter science. Who said imitation is the grandest form of flattery? We have a few candidates for PhD’s in “Godum Physics” here is Aus, but thankfully they are not usually state sponsored. If this is successful, other divine teachings such as sharia law can be introduced; it makes as much sense. I might even emigrate and start up my own university. Guru John has a nice ring.To say evolution is not science based simply shows the speakers ignorance of science. Creationism has one proof: The bible says so. Science means a theory cannot be proved absolutely, just dis-proved. You collect evidence to support a theory, and if evidense arrises to disprove you need a different theory, or to modify the origina one. This is what has happened to evolution. It has been modified and added to to reflect observation. Creationism starts from a absolute truth and tries to find evidence to support it. If it finds no evidence, or if this is proven to be incorrect or fabricated, it dismisses the findings. You can not win an arguament against blind faith.

  80. Rob

    I have signed up for an MSc by research in Quantum Theology. Part time, of course.

  81. Brian

    Why is it that Creationists so often claim to be under attack, yet they are the ones continually trying to shoehorn faith into science?

    Just how often has a scientist gone to a church and aggressively insisted upon lecturing on any scientific subject? When was the last time a scientist insisted that they were the Pastor, Preacher, Cleric, Guru or Priest of the Church of Reason?

    Now, I’m quite aware of Richard Dawkins. I have to say I don’t think he has the right approach.

    I’m also aware of the Christian Scientists. I’m not convinced by them either.

    Back to my original point. Just when was the last time that a scientist insisted upon teaching science in a religion class? Ever hear of a scientist laying claim to some bogus hybrid term, like, oh, the Pope of Proof? The Mullah of the Method? The Medicine Man of Math?

  82. Jeramyk

    @ Jaycubed: I disagree that everything was trial and error and there was no theory behind aero before CFD. People knew that aerofoils worked because they induced circulation. Kutta, Joukowski and the Circulation Theory all lay this out, even including full field solutions. Although the math was difficult to say the least, the theory was all there.

    Finite wing theory was developed around the turn of the century and was layed out well before powered flight.

    Just because our understanding has moved forward with CFD doesn’t mean that there wasn’t anything before, that’s just silly.

  83. I. M. Right

    I want to protest to the teaching of mathematics in schools. I don’t understand calculus, so therefore I know mathematics is all made up. Numbers are just another superstition forced on kids, like the Easter Bunny, Santa Claus and stop signs. Organized mathematics have been the cause of homophobia, sexism, every war and all evil (have you ever seen a war where there weren’t numbers of people fighting other numbers of people? No? Exactly). I’m tired of fundamentalist mathematicians and their beliefs in made up things like “numbers.” I’ve tried arguing with fundies using reason, but they still cling to their crazy beliefs in the esixtance of numbers, just because they read about them in some book says so. If some fundies want to believe that numbers exist, fine. I’ll let them cling to their delusions, but they shouldn’t force them on me.

  84. Al Viro

    @Jim Beaver: read the text he’s trying to modify. It defines, among other things, “fraudulent or substandard degree”. After this change it would become trivial to bypass. Now look at the Texas Penal Code (Sect 32.52). Suddenly the use of diploma mill “product” becomes much safer – what used to be class B misdemeanor becomes perfectly legal. And there’s a lot of state employees for whom a legally recognized degree means automatic bump in wages. It’s not a matter of getting hired; it’s a matter of pay grade for somebody who’s already hired and it’s not something HR *can* refuse to accept.

    So yes, it will matter. It means a lot of extra _rational_ clients for diploma mill operators. Which changes the situation compared to the current “for every spam there’s a sucker somewhere”.

  85. Dan Izzo

    I saw this a few days ago and tried to let Phil know, couldn’t find anyway to though but I figured he’d get to it.

    But seriously what the hell is wrong with Texas.

    Best cartoon I ever saw was a guy (clearly a fundamentalist) standing before St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.

    St. Peter says “Yeah, you believed all the right things. But you forgot the part about not being a jerk about it”

  86. matthew

    You can’t prove evolution either. And please don’t try to use your convoluted “logic” to prove it does exist. If evolution exits then there would be millions of creatures on this planet that would be in the in-between stages of evolution. They don’t exist. There is no evolution…but rather than belabor the point let me share the truth…

    There is no time frame considered in the creation story. None! So ANY reference to time is invalid when discussing the earth’s creation. Scientists have no clue, they only guess at these ages they come up with. There is NO scientific evidence that the earth is 60 billion years old any more than there is proof the earth might only be 6000 years old. NONE!

    The book of Genesis says that God created the heavens and earth. There is NO mention of when. It could have been 500 billion years ago it could have been even further back. There is no evidence from the Bible either that the “Big Bang” didn’t exist. There is a lot of misunderstanding of the concept of the Big Bang…from a singularity to what we have now. It’s not unheard of as the Bible doesn’t tell us everything that happened.

    But we do know the earth is NOT 6000 years old, couldn’t be…

    Between verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis 1 there was a spiritual battle between God and Lucifer. Then verse two, if read correctly from Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew translations says in effect that the earth became formless and empty. This was a result of the spiritual battle. We STILL don’t know when that happened.

    THEN beginning in verse 3 the creation story begins. When did this happen? We still don’t know that either.

    We also know that God had directed Adam and Eve to RE-plenish the earth. Thus there HAD to be other life on the planet before Adam and Eve. We only ponder what that life might have been.

    We can’t know exactly what that life was but it sure wasn’t humankind. Man wasn’t around then and hadn’t been until such time as Genesis begins the record of that event. There were creatures of some sort…dinosaurs most certainly. But even then, most of what the paleontologists tell us is pure supposition. They are making ‘educated’ guesses, nothing more.

    Since the only record we have is from fossils we don’t know what these creatures actually looked like in their entirety, what they ate or anything else for that matter. You can’t read into a fossil record what your vapid brain comes up with anymore than you can read the Bible records and formulate your theories. Or rather…taking your theories and approaching modern science or biblical theology to prove them – which both sides do quite well.

    The problem is that many people of either extreme are just plain nasty to each other. Extremists of any ilk are not interested in another opinion. They already have their opinion and aren’t going to change their minds no matter what.

    In fact, this short ditty is going to cause the angry extremists to spew out the venom as soon as this is read. And notice I didn’t categorize WHO those extremists are: bible thumpers or evolutionists…

  87. Jeramyk,

    Things can be useful even without an understanding of the scientific principles underpinning the thing. For example, people were building & using boats for millennia before there was a scientific explanation of why boats float.

    Aerodynamics failed as a science because the theories advanced to explain it were incorrect; the theories did not explain the data. Yet it was a useful technology.

    A common example of aerodynamics’ failure was the flight of bees. According to traditional aerodynamic theory bees were incapable of flight. Once an understanding of the effects of turbulence became possible due to supercomputer simulations, bees’ flight became understandable & predictable. Prior to this there were only approximations based on trial & error experiments.

    There was theory in aerodynamics but it was demonstrably incorrect in explaining behavior in the real world.

  88. Darth Robo

    @JAGX and “Dr” Cox

    BWA HA HA HA HAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!

    Anon2 (and anyone else who thinks evolution is “only” a theory)

    In science, THEORY is as high as it gets. Theories explain facts. Is the theory of gravity “only” a theory? Answer: Yes. But for some reason, people don’t wanna complain too much about that one.

    Now for all those who think there is a “theory” of creationism (assuming you understand what scientific theories are) can someone finally please tell me what the “scientific theory” of creationism actually IS?

  89. Oh wow, I can’t wait for the fun of the unintended consequences of this!

    No, really, unless the actual intent was to reduce the entire state higher educational system to the status of a Caribbean diploma mill or an unaccredited “bible college” (and knowing the folks in question, that well could have been the intent; I can’t dismiss the possibility, at any rate), did they even think about what utter chaos and mayhem this is going to do?

    Seriously, here’s a short list of the likely consequences if this makes it out of the legislature and it gets signed by the governor:

    a) Texas’ entire higher educational system suddenly finds it has lost accreditation–yes, even the state universities–because the regional and national accreditation boards will (rightfully) see that there is no meaningful way to hold up educational standards and that Texas’ system has essentially turned its universities into de facto diploma mills.

    a1) This has the fun effect of pretty much ensuring that no credits from any state universities in Texas will transfer if the kids want to get out of that morass. (Oops.)

    a2) Most scholarship programs available on a national basis, as well as the Pell Grant and Stafford Loan programs. require that the student in question be attending an accredited college. This literally could force thousands of students dependent on financial aid to drop out. (This isn’t just at the state university level, but would likely include kids going to community colleges and so on.)

    a3) Seeing as the State of Texas’ higher educational system has been reduced to the status of an unaccredited Bible college, this could be just a wee bit problematic for their colleges and universities with NCAA teams. As we’ll see in part (d), this could be problematic for the lawmakers in question. :3

    b) Many, if not most, states require you to have taken courses at an accredited school of law before sitting for the bar. Texas students, of note, will be out of contention (at least for those unlucky enough to be in law school when this passes).

    b1) Practically all states have remarkably similar requirements for things like doctors, teachers, etc. that require professional licensure–and require you to hold a valid degree from an accredited college or university to take the state required tests for professional licensure. Again, Texas graduates will be out of contention. (An example is with Michigan who maintains a list of unaccredited colleges whose educational “doctorates” and “degrees” aren’t accepted for state licensure as a teacher.)

    b2) In the particular case of medicine, Texas graduates will be in exactly the same boat as a graduate from one of those infamous fly-by-night Caribbean “medical schools”–that is, they’ll have to take their entire medical course of study over, again.

    b3) A lot of these “professional licensure requires degree first” requirements are in rather unexpected places–some states require certification from a college before you can become a licensed journeyman electrician or HVAC worker, and–again–it’s required that the training programs are accredited or recognised by the state. A *lot* of these courses tend to be at community colleges.

    c) A number of states legally frown very much upon the use of any purported degree from an unaccredited university or college for purposes of employment. (A short list of such states includes Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Nevada, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Virginia, Washington state, and–ironically–Texas.) Oregon is even kind enough to keep a list of known diploma mills as well as summaries of the laws in states prohibiting the use of unaccredited degrees for employment. (Even the “yellow” states on that list are strict–Indiana prohibits the use of a “doctorate” from an unaccredited school for purposes of employment.) Texas graduates are likely to find themselves unemployable in those states.

    c1) For that matter, a few states (including Oregon and Michigan) maintain a list of so-called “accreditation mills” (think “diploma mill” but for accreditation purposes) and reject any school who is accredited through a known accreditation mill. If this law passes, look for the entire Texas Higher Education Coordination Board to be on these lists of known accreditation mills.

    c2) Not only is employment likely to be barred in states with strong laws against “diploma mill” degrees, but federal employment could be barred, too; a fairly recent GAO report noted a problem with federal employees getting diploma mill “degrees” and as a result there’s been a crackdown (and in fact, diploma mill “degrees” are being increasingly considered a bona fide national security threat). The subject of fraudulent degrees being used for Federal employement has been the subject of Congressional hearings. Texas would likely find itself barred as well.

    c3) Ironically, Texas would likely ban its own graduates from higher level employment–as noted above, at present Texas legally prohibits the use of “degrees” from unaccredited higher education institutions for employment (other than divinity degrees). In fact, presently Texas is one of those states maintaining a list of unaccredited schools in its own state whose degrees cannot legally be used for employment and maintains a larger list of diploma mills whose “degrees” are actually illegal to use in Texas; if the bill is made into law, all 246 accredited colleges and universities in Texas would have to likely be added to the list. This would lead to the interesting situation where Texans, who obtained degrees in their own state, could not legally use those degrees to gain employment and could conceivably even go to jail for doing so.

    d) The culmination of future degrees from Texas being the approximate worth of a Zimbabewan $500 trillion bill (for those not keeping up with the second-worst case of hyperinflation ever reported, Zimbabwean currency even in the ludicrous $500 (short) trillion denominations is so worthless South African public restrooms have actually had to put up advisories about not flushing Zimbabwean currency–yes, TP is literally worth more) and the fact that the major Texas state universities would likely be disqualified from NCAA tournaments on academic grounds could well lead to the first time that the Aggies and the Longhorns have agreed to anything. Even if that “anything” is “running the fools who passed this legislation out of office, if not out of the state of Texas altogether”. (No, seriously, people have four primary religions in Texas–Catholicism, the Southern Baptist faith, Pentecostalism, and Football. You ESPECIALLY do not mess with Football.)

  90. Gregorius

    A three word reminder – ‘freedom of speech’.

    Part of the process of formal study is to develop the skill of critical thinking. I’ve spent 6 years studying in universities and I can tell you not everything they teach you is truth or best practice, even in mainstream courses. If the bill is passed, it will be the responsibility of the students to think about what they are being taught, do their reaearch, and to decide whether it’s factual science.

    It is not the responsibility of the government to do this critical thinking for us. It is not the government’s role to discourage education in what they deem as falsehoods – to do so would be equivalent of book-burning. There already are degrees in theology – but after reading this blog I guess some people would like to abolish those too.

    I could go on a name-calling rant against atheists now … but that would just hurt people’s feelings and make me look immature ;)

    (btw the reply thing has a bug, I can see Ausie John’s email address pre-filled in the Mail field. So don’t post unless you want your email address made public.)

  91. Nick

    Todd W.

    That link you posted makes me cry…

    “With their short 5,700-year half-life, no carbon 14 atoms should exist in any carbon older than 250,000 years.” Then they say, “These constitute very strong evidence that the earth is only thousands, not billions, of years old. ”

    Carbon dating isn’t used for dating things back that far, other forms of radiometric dating are used, like potassium-argon dating method which has a half life of 1.3 billion years.

    Also…

    “According to evolutionists, Stone Age Homo sapiens existed for 190,000 years before beginning to make written records about 4,000 to 5,000 years ago.”

    Except the first written language was in 4,000 BC (around 6,000 years ago), and the first symbolic writing system was in 6,600BC (around 8,600 years ago). Also, in 10,000 BC (12,000 y.a.) societies in south-west Asia were using complex, visuo-symbolic reference systems. We still aren’t talking about basic cave drawings, these are qualified as official writing systems here, unless I am missing something.

  92. kaye

    I would like to see a modern test, in real time, between the two theories. I have yet to see proof of either, and both sides LOVE to point a mocking finger.

  93. @Jaycubed:

    According to traditional aerodynamic theory bees were incapable of flight.

    Uhhhh…correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a standard b.s. line from the anti-science knuckleheads.

    True, there was a time when aerodynamic models did not seem to explain how a bee’s wing generated sufficient lift, but that time was very short. Further study of the bees very quickly led to the understanding that the wing was not an inflexible flat plane, but rather became concave on the downstroke. The models were modified, the math was done…et violá…the bees flew. Science works again.

    Sorry, but this “before computers we couldn’t…” line always gets me. Like the UFO nutters who claim their silly model photos can’t be fakes because “they didn’t have CGI back then.”

    Honestly, how did we ever do anything before these machines….?

  94. José

    @Jaycubed
    A common example of aerodynamics’ failure was the flight of bees. According to traditional aerodynamic theory bees were incapable of flight. Once an understanding of the effects of turbulence became possible due to supercomputer simulations, bees’ flight became understandable & predictable. Prior to this there were only approximations based on trial & error experiments.

    You could say that traditional aerodynamics did not explain bee flight, but what might have been true for the aerodynamics of bees was not true for all aerodynamics. The fundamentals of what keeps an airplane aloft were pretty well understood. Airplanes and bees use entirely different mechanisms to fly. It’s unfair to say that large scale wing aerodynamics wasn’t an actual science because it didn’t understand the aerodynamics of really tiny wings that beat 200 times a second.

    And it’s not even fair to say that studying bee flight wasn’t actual science before the advent of technology that could deciphered it. It would be like saying Niels Bohr wasn’t doing science in the20’s because he didn’t have access to particle accelerators.

  95. Greg

    “I have a PhD in Superstionism.”

    You mean “Superstitionism.” I should know, as I have a PhD in pedantry.

  96. ojrocks

    Can’t you already get a degree in theology? I think that’s what this falls under.

  97. nancy

    okay, i definitely understand most of everyone here’s sentiments, but, i do believe that these people have adapted a certain philosophy of life, i doubt that they are not teaching actual fact. clearly they must have some substance to their courses. mathematical and scientific formulas are clearly stated and everyone understands them, the meaning behind why everything in life works however is not. for these people to even function means that they match all standards on the actual backbone of fact, they simply interpret it differently. a person can be qualified to preform surgery no matter what their personal reasoning for why it works. that part is irrelevant. physicists and chemists preform tasks, take measurements, solve formulas which for the most part are empirical actions. your explanation for why it works does not matter. i would place myself in the agnostic category and as a science student because of this i would further comment that the big bang is a theory! hence they call it the big bang theory. maybe i am slightly liberal but i do believe that people have the right to they’re opinions and beliefs. we should only indoctrinate scientifically sound facts( meaning empirically known). and i am sure they are capable of teaching that in they’re curriculum. so unless they’re teaching that acceleration due to gravity is not 9.8m/s^2 or that the speed of light isn’t roughly 3.0×10^8 m/s there is not much to panic about. science is not a philosophy it is an empirically tired out observation. so what the kids will believe that god created the universe? as long as they can make the proper empirical observations. theists and atheists need to sort out they’re issues in a philosophical arena. and time will tell the truth whatever it is. so unless you personally hold that every thought from your head is sacred and should never be questioned. which would make you somewhat dogmatic. leave the people to they’re beliefs. i’m canadian but im sure its supposed to be a free country down there.

  98. Sir Eccles

    @Jaycubed
    “Actually it has only been within the last decade or so, with the advent of supercomputer simulations, that aerodynamics has become an actual science as compared to a functional technology.”

    I hate to be the one that points out that Navier died in 1836 and Stokes died in 1903, Reynolds died in 1912. So they seem to have done well for themselves since they passed away.

    You can work out the Navier-Stokes stuff by hand and you can understand fluid dynamics and aerodynamics. I can’t because I almost failed fluid dynamics and it was a long time ago.

    All CFD does is automate the calculation of Navier-Stokes over small volumes (just like finite element analysis).

  99. Rules of thumb derived from trial and error is not science.

    Bohr was doing science because he created a theory with testable hypotheses which fit the data known at that time.

  100. Jeramyk

    Well others have talked about it but I think the point we’re making (and you’re missing Jaycubed) is that just because a part of the theory doesn’t match one observed problem doesn’t mean it’s not science. That’s like saying cosmology isn’t science because one can’t explain dark matter and dark energy.

    And the Kutta condition and conformal mapping (for example) aren’t rules of thumb from trial and error. Do you understand what they are? Do you understand that they’re from first principles? That all modeling starts from first principles?

    And most CFD simulations use rules of thumb from trial and error. Those turbulence models, they’re empirical models. True DNS modeling is so computationally intensive you can’t do large or complex geometries anyway.

  101. John

    Unfortunately, this is just perpetuation of an endless debate that can never be resolved. Science is based on observations and facts. Religions are philosophies. There are a lot of different religions and hence a lot of different philosophies. Each philosophy is founded on the belief that it is absolutely correct and that all other philosophies are absolutely wrong, yet they can’t all be right. Science has nothing to do with justifying religious philosophies nor can a religious philosophy be used to justify a scientific fact or disprove one. It is it is up to each philosophy to figure out how to fit the scientific facts to it principles. Unfortunately, many can’t come to grasps with certain scientific facts, so they just try to deny them or try to create their own facts. Religions can be well meaning and good or manipulative and bad. Ultimately, if a person needs a religion to help them through the day then they have the right to believe what they may, but they should not try to confuse and mislead others with a false science. A person does not need a religion to live, but a religion needs members to survive. Follow the money or the motivation behind any religion to truly understand why it attempts to confuse and manipulate people. This is just more subterfuge by bad religions to confuse and manipulate the weak minded. Keep an open mind; question everything; try to understand both points of view and the truth will become evident. Sorry, if everybody was expecting something sarcastic, but I am too philosophical for that.

  102. PeterC

    Gregorius: That’s not a good argument. Claiming that it’s up to the student to sort through a morass of lies, half-truths and delusions in order to encourage “critical thinking” makes it impossible to learn anything. We build, as Isaac Newton said on the shoulders of the giants who came before us. Trying to teach atmospheric science alongside the “fact” that it is, in fact, Toutatis who makes the lightning, alongside the “fact” that it is, in fact, Zeus, alongside the “fact” that it is, actually, the ongoing war between the Reticulans and the Neptunian battle ships makes it hard to give the time appropriate to the scientifically accepted theories we have.

    Freedom of speech has limits, and false advertising is one of them. Selling compressed floor sweepings pills as vitamin tablets or the cure for cancer should not be allowed – the greater good overules the “freedom of speech” issue. In the same way, science classes should teach science. It should not be legally encouraged to teach religion in science class, any more than it should be legally required for a Christian Church to give equal time to teaching electromagnetism.

    For those strongly religious types who are convinced that their particular holy book is the total, complete and literal truth (usually except for all the bits that don’t agree with their prejudices – you try finding a fundamentalist christian who treats god’s exhortations to punish those who wear clothes made of two fabrics as seriously as he does homesexuality) – you have your forum. You have your pulpit, in fact. You have a place to teach your beliefs to those who will listen. Science classes must teach the best known science at the time. Sure, they should also (and, in general, do) teach caveats where uncertainties exist, but if you want your religion taught in science classes, then where does the limit lie? Do we teach Atlantis in history? Do we teach the Internationinal Jewish/Communist/United Nations World Government Conspiracy in geography or politics classes? Do we teach about chemtrails or orbital mind control lasers, or UN weather-control satellites destroying ‘murican crops to force them into labour camps? Do we teach about unicorns in biology? About alien pyramid builders in Egyptiology? This can’t work.

    Finally, science is not a religion. It is not faith based. There is no cosmic truth revealed unto us; there is only the ongoing search for truth. If you have a better theory than evolution to explain the diversity of species, backed by similar or better evidence, then science will embrase that theory. If you can produce verifiable, repeatable evidence of god’s existance, then science will include god. Science does not reject the new, it only rejects the new-without-evidence. Every scientist dreams of being the one who overturns established wisdom. We don’t remember and respect Newton, Bohr, Maxwell, Planck, Einstein and all the others because they re-wrote what was already know or for their commentaries on pre-existing texts, but because they challenged the status quo and evidence – repeatable, experimental, scientific evidence – proved that they were, if not right, then close than what came before.

  103. Darth Robo

    A degree in theology means someone knows a lot about theology. It’s not the same as “creation research” which is basically the art of denying evidence, as it’s not based on research. Nothing scientific, anyway. Therefore it would be false to call it a “Master of Science” degree.

    Calling it a “Master at BSing” degree would be a lot more accurate…

  104. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Turn over a stone, and creationists starts scurrying.

    And don’t tell me they’re doing science

    They are doing science. It isn’t necessary for you to understand it, only to know that biologists are scientists acknowledged by other scientists.

    And if you were really interested in what they are doing, and how, there are plenty of easy accessible resources like the science site Talk Origins. But a ‘degree’ from ICR won’t help.

    You can still have faith and believe in evolution. Just think of it as intelligently guided evolution. God continually changes the shape of the world as God sees fit.

    Hasn’t the word spread yet that it is no longer possible to imagine this?

    The problem for creationists that want their creator to do biological stuff is that evolution is predicted to be contingent. If it is replayed it won’t ‘shape’ itself to give the same traits.

    You don’t even need coevolution to validate that prediction, one population will suffice. That experiment has been done, if not sooner so by Lenski et al in the E. coli long-term evolution experiment (LTEE) last year, and caused quite a furore among at least hardcore creationists.

    When Lenski et al followed a set of populations, contingency appeared:

    In 2008, Lenski and his collaborators reported on a particularly important adaptation that occurred in one of the twelve populations: the bacteria evolved the ability to utilize citrate as a source of energy. Normally, E. coli cannot transport citrate from outside the cell to the cell interior (where it could be incorporated into the citric acid cycle); the lack of citrate transport is considered a defining characteristic of the species.

    Around generation 33,127, the experimenters noticed a dramatically expanded population-size in one of the samples; they found that this population could grow on the excess citrate in the growth medium. They found that the ability to use citrate could spontaneously (although rarely) appear in cultures replicated from earlier frozen samples of that population, from before the citrate mutation appeared, but not in the other 11 populations or in samples before generation 20,000.

    According to the authors of the study, this suggests that the mutation depends on an earlier, perhaps non-adaptive, change—and more generally (following the argument of Stephen Jay Gould) “that historical contingency can have a profound and lasting impact” on the course of evolution. [Wikipedia.]

    Apparently biology is now too well researched to stuff gods in gaps, as earlier gravitation and then other physical and chemical areas became. So apologists for creationism in all guises must look elsewhere in hope for fuzzy scenes to temporarily staff with their fantasies.

    [I hear the bets goes to that it will be neurobiology, which is still in its infancy (well, duh, why else!) – reverting to dualism and claiming that some organisms have ‘a soul’ setting up house in their mind at one time or other – “Invasion of the Body Snatchers”.

    FWIW I predict there is a 10 – 20 year window before they have to retreat yet again, since the ability to image thought processes are rapidly advancing. Many animals are as good or better than humans at most facilities that a mind can do, outside of language, so it will likely be relatively easy to compare related structures and show similarities. (For example I hear that chimps are both better at counting and playing rational markets than overly math challenged and error prone humans, and their brains are similarly organized.)]

  105. This one from Matthew is rich:

    If evolution exits then there would be millions of creatures on this planet that would be in the in-between stages of evolution.

    Please learn something about the topic you are debating. Your statement belies a profound ignorance of evolution and, for that matter, life on this planet.

    Simply put, every creature is an in-between species….between its ancestors and its descendants. Creationists just can’t get out of their heads (possibly because there’s so much room in them) that a “transitional” animal has to be some sort of “tigerduck” or “cowsnake” or some other amalgam.

    The genius of Darwin’s theory of natural selection is that great changes can occur when small changes add up over vast amounts of time.

    Thus the fossil record is nothing but “transitional creatures.”

  106. Sorry, second to last line should have read:

    The genius of Darwin’s theory of natural selection is that it showed how great changes can occur when small changes add up over vast amounts of time.

  107. John

    To matthew, evolution in some degree is a fact, because it has been observed. A complete understanding of evolution for all species on the planet is still just a theory because we are still collecting facts and it is quite complex. Carbon dating does work, because it has been observed to work with items having a known age. Trying to predict the age of the planet or universe is a theory, because we don’t have all the facts. Give the scientists time. Don’t automatically discount things because we are still working on things. I won’t try to change your mind though because it sounds like it is already made up.

  108. steve

    one question,,, who wrote the code for the gene gnome

  109. Mike

    A backwards hillbilly once said,

    “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior Spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble minds. The deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior reasoning Power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible universe, forms my idea of God.”

    Wait that was Albert Einstein. What a dope.

  110. logo1000

    At least that representative is not asking
    for a bailout to this academic program ….
    yet?

    for steveSay who says:
    steve Says:
    March 20th, 2009 at 9:57 pm
    one question,,, who wrote the code for the gene gnome

    My answer: The last evidence I read
    when I was a child is that
    the gene genome was written by an unknown
    entity inside a flaming bush on top a mountain
    where there was only one witness, now dead.

  111. “You cannot reason someone out of something they did not reason themselves into.”

  112. José

    @matthew

    The book of Genesis says that God created the heavens and earth. There is NO mention of when. It could have been 500 billion years ago it could have been even further back.

    Go look at your Bible again. You can somewhat reliably date when when some Biblical events would have had to occur based on real history, such as the conquest of Judea by Nebuchadnezzar II. Then you just follow the genealogies listed in the Bible back to Adam. You end up with around 6000 years.

  113. José

    one question,,, who wrote the code for the gene gnome

    That would be Gene Gene the Dancing Machine. I can’t believe I just thought of that guy.

  114. remsbinggirl

    Their slogan shoud be “IRC: where the degrees are made up and the facts don’t matter”. Alma mater of George Bush by any chance?

  115. Dave...from Texas

    1. I am a Christian.

    2. This is a stupid idea.

    Also, I just want to add that not ALL Christians believe in this 6,000 year old Earth and literal interpretations of Genesis (or the whole Bible.) It sucks that Christians get lumped together with Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, and sometimes even Conservative Republicans! Anyways, I just hope people understand that just because these Conservative Evangelical Fundamentalists (Republicans?) are the loudest voice (and usually not the wisest) in describing a belief in Christ, doesn’t make them right.

  116. José

    @nancy

    for these people to even function means that they match all standards on the actual backbone of fact, they simply interpret it differently.


    The difference is that they don’t interpret the facts scientifically, and we’re talking about science. If I get really good at needlepoint, should that qualify me for an MBA?

    okay, i definitely understand most of everyone here’s sentiments, but, i do believe that these people have adapted a certain philosophy of life, i doubt that they are not teaching actual fact.


    Well I’m sure that they do teach some facts, but simple teaching facts is not science. It’s the intellectually dishonest way they present facts that’s the problem… Oh, and if they don’t like the facts, many creationists won’t hesitate to flat out lie.

  117. Tiffany

    FROM the IRC website about their MS degree:

    * Pursuant to California and Federal law, ICRGS currently offers an M.S. in Science Education, mostly online, to qualified students who are not Texas residents. ICR is currently examining its legal options regarding how it can best serve the educational “gaps” of Texas residents.

    Damn. Damn my Texas residency and my lack of education. Damn my advanced degrees in evolutionary sciences. I must re-locate to fill aforementioned educational gaps. /sarcasm

  118. Tom Parkins

    I noticed something interesting. If you search for “Research” on the ICR website, you only find 22 articles. While if you search for “god” you fine 521 articles. That says a lot about what this organization really cares about.

    Research:
    http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=home&action=submitsearch&f_context_any=any&f_search_type=homepage&f_keyword_any=research

    God:
    http://www.icr.org/index.php?module=home&action=submitsearch&f_context_any=any&f_search_type=homepage&f_keyword_any=god

  119. Dave...from Texas

    I’ve added some short information regarding the Bible and what it means to say when its actually read correctly (in historical context, without searching for a deep relevance to modern times)

    1. Genesis, a metaphorical story of the beginning of AGRICULTURE over nomadic HUNTING & GATHERING. May seem hard to see it, but the foundation is there. The garden (paradise) is inhabited by a man and a woman who live off the earth, eating what grows in the wild and hunting what prowls around. When the apple gets eaten and they are “cast out” they know toil and fatigue from working the dry barren land to grow what little crops they can. Yes, there are some whimsical fairy tale elements thrown in, but we all know it was borrowed from a Sumerian poem the epic of Gilgamesh, right? Well, Google it.

    2. Homosexuality technically should not be seen as a sin. Let me break it down. Leviticus 18:22 states that “a man shall not lie with an another man. This is an abomination before the eyes of God.” To “non-believers” this is proof that Christianity is homophobic, but really the verse has no contextual relevance to Christianity of today. Leviticus, in the Torah, is considered to be a book of Law, to the Jews, basically a few books in the Old Testament that lays the groundwork for a good jew, a bad jew, how a rabbi should act, what’s kosher, etc. What else is an abomination? Eating shellfish, wearing clothes made of two different fabrics (I can’t where my cotton-polyester blend?!) growing two different crops in the same field, going to the alter of God with bad eyesight…the list goes on. The fact is, if homosexuality was a big deal to God, I’m sure Jesus would have mentioned it. (Just want to add that i dont intend to preach with this, but to point out inconsistencies with the church, such as Creation Science)

    3. The book of Revelation is a not a prophecy of doom or a message to wait for the world to end and all the sinners to be tortured on earth, and then be cast into hell, but rather it’s a massage to the Jewish people in the Roman empire under persecution at the time. This is probably the most well known, so i wont go into depth here.

    Like i said, this is coming from a Christian perspective, one who is open minded and doesn’t claim to know the intricacies of life or know how or why we are here. It IS possible to believe in a God, and believe in evolution…the Catholics have been doing it for a while now

  120. BillyBob

    I hate to say this but… if this passes, I’m going to start building a secured bomb shelter styled Library, and start moving books into it.

    The stupidity doesn’t burn me… it terrifies me.

  121. gene gnome
    Is he related to the underpants gnomes?

  122. @Mike
    Ah, the ol’ quotin’ Einstein game. I like this game…
    I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.

  123. MadScientist

    @Ivan3Man: Nice cartoon – where do you find them?

    30 years ago my dad was complaining that it wouldn’t be long before the garbage collector had a PhD. I’m not aware of any garbage collectors with PhDs yet, but the morons from the oxymoronic “Creation Scientist” cult can be the first to have a PhD in generating garbage. What an outright stupid way to try to degrade the thinking professions. Whack them on the head, put on a dunce cap, and let them whine in a corner.

  124. MadScientist

    @Davidlpf: Don’t worry, we’re coming for you next. Wuns we sort out are own kynd, we’ll be bringin’ thu gud noos to yuh unidiotcated Canucks, yule sea.

    @Jose: I see Him all the time in trinket shops. Do you know that song on “Cool Hand Luke” – “Plastic Jesus”? He’s real all right, and he radiates Goodness in the dark; with enough of him I can have a lighted trail to guide me to the potty at night. Now the flying spaghetti monster – he’s definitely not real; I’ve never seen His Noodly Appendage.

  125. This is almost absurd in its implications, but just shows how devious those that wish to subvert the strict meritocracy that is science can be … the backlash to this attempt to merge science with religion should be clear and unambiguous, so as not to be tried again …

  126. C.Parany

    If religion weren’t here then we’d find out that there is a s**tload of excess money to use, on perhaps, fixing the crappy health system, or, better education so that the 65% of American students can find the U.K. on a map. Though i don’t share the same hatred that Americans have been told to fear, AHHH, Socialized Healthcare, Run away! its the communists!!! and AHHHH, A man with a beard that looks slightly ethnic, TERRORIST.
    I do share one fear that few talk about in public, that of people who believe the world is 6000 years old and jesus rode around on dinosaurs, thet freaking make me s**t my pants. geez, i hate to think that the world will be classified into ‘believers’, ‘non-beleiverss’ and ‘believers-who just chose the wrong one’ Oh wait, I AM LIVING IN THAT TIME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  127. Nigel Depledge

    Tony tony tony said:

    Masters of Science Fiction?

    My thesis is on how the Earth is actually 6,021 years old.
    I know this because on the History channel today there was a show on brewing beer and they said we’ve been brewing for 6,000 yrs. Well, since 21 is the legal drinking age it just makes sense that the Earth is 6,021 years old.

    The legal drinking age where I live is 18. So you’re wrong, the Earth is only 6, 018 years old.

  128. Nigel Depledge

    Anon said:

    Better study up . . .

    Does anyone remember how many angels fit on a pin’s head?

    That’s a trick question – it’s either infinity, none or 42.

  129. Peter B

    Dr Cox said: “Scientists hate to admit it, but evolution is not even technically a theory because it is a guess at what took place in the past and since that event or a reproduction of the event cannot be directly or indirectly observed it is outside the realm of science.”

    If this is the case, then police have no place attempting to solve crimes.

    “Some scientists assume it is true; some do not.”

    Given the number of scientists who accept the reality of evolution, why do you think they do so? Could so many people be involved in a conspiracy to ignore evidence?

    “Of course, if evolution is true, then this and other similar discussions are irrelevant because natural selection will kill off all the believers in whichever view makes us weaker and multiply those who believe in the one that makes us stronger.”

    The value of our knowledge of evolution lies in the fact that we can use it to help us – for example to design new drugs which save people’s lives, or to improve crop yields. This is thing about evolution – our knowledge of it has practical uses, it’s not just some anti-religious slogan.

    “Also, if it is true, then we are all nothing more than bags of chemicals and what we say, do, and believe has all been determined by our evolution (i.e, our brain chemistry and environment, which has also been determined by evolution) and therefore we cannot help what we say, do, or believe. So again, the discussion becomes pointless, and pointlessness is selected against in evolutionary theory as weakness.”

    The difference between humans and other organisms is that our intelligence and self-awareness allows us to fight against the “blind, pitiless indifference” (thanks Prof Dawkins) of nature. We have the ability to make conscious choices which change the world we live in for our benefit. We are by no means slaves to our genome.

  130. I’d like to echo Blinkin’scomments about faith and science – simplyu because they bear repeating, and I don’t see or heard similar … anywhere, actually (other than in my own mind) ;-)

    Faith is not science; it cannot – and should not – be. That’s not necessarily saying it’s a lesser thing (note: I’m a faithless bogan, so coming clearly from a certain point of view, but still …), but it *is* a different thing. Science is observations -> explanations, whereas faith “just knows” (as far as the believer is concerned. I have to admit that’s a pretty powerful thing (for better or worse, of course) – and it seems to me that making efforts to “prove” or “justify” one’s belief rather diminishes that faith.

    So yes, I am saying that “creation science” advocates lack real faith in their own beliefs :-p

  131. Peter B

    Matthew said: “You can’t prove evolution either. And please don’t try to use your convoluted “logic” to prove it does exist. If evolution exits then there would be millions of creatures on this planet that would be in the in-between stages of evolution. They don’t exist. There is no evolution…but rather than belabor the point let me share the truth…”

    There’s pretty good evidence of evolution, though. For example, the constant mutation of bacteria is one piece. Or the speciation of fruit flies in Queensland, producing different species of fruit flies which lay their eggs in different orchard plants which were only planted a century ago, all these fruit flies being descended from a common ancestor. I hope this doesn’t count as convoluted logic.

    “There is no time frame considered in the creation story. None! So ANY reference to time is invalid when discussing the earth’s creation. Scientists have no clue, they only guess at these ages they come up with. There is NO scientific evidence that the earth is 60 billion years old any more than there is proof the earth might only be 6000 years old. NONE!”

    Well, yes, there is good evidence about the age of the Earth, from the dating of rocks on both the Earth and the Moon, and from meteorites.

    “The book of Genesis says that God created the heavens and earth. There is NO mention of when. It could have been 500 billion years ago it could have been even further back.”

    Creationists like Answers In Genesis don’t think like that. They’re certainly convinced the Earth is no more than 6000-10000 years old.

    “There is no evidence from the Bible either that the “Big Bang” didn’t exist.”

    That’s pretty poor logic. There’s also no mention from the Bible that evolution doesn’t exist… ;-)

    “Between verse 1 and verse 2 of Genesis 1 there was a spiritual battle between God and Lucifer.”

    Evidence please.

    “Then verse two, if read correctly from Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew translations says in effect that the earth became formless and empty. This was a result of the spiritual battle. We STILL don’t know when that happened.”

    Evidence please.

    “THEN beginning in verse 3 the creation story begins. When did this happen? We still don’t know that either.”

    Again, Answers In Genesis don’t agree with you.

    “We also know that God had directed Adam and Eve to RE-plenish the earth. Thus there HAD to be other life on the planet before Adam and Eve. We only ponder what that life might have been. We can’t know exactly what that life was but it sure wasn’t humankind. Man wasn’t around then and hadn’t been until such time as Genesis begins the record of that event.”

    Evidence please.

    “There were creatures of some sort…dinosaurs most certainly. But even then, most of what the paleontologists tell us is pure supposition. They are making ‘educated’ guesses, nothing more. Since the only record we have is from fossils we don’t know what these creatures actually looked like in their entirety, what they ate or anything else for that matter. You can’t read into a fossil record what your vapid brain comes up with anymore than you can read the Bible records and formulate your theories. Or rather…taking your theories and approaching modern science or biblical theology to prove them – which both sides do quite well.”

    No idea what they ate? Look at a dog’s teeth, and consider its diet. Look at a sheep’s teeth and consider its diet. Do you really think an animal’s teeth give us no idea what it ate?

    “The problem is that many people of either extreme are just plain nasty to each other. Extremists of any ilk are not interested in another opinion. They already have their opinion and aren’t going to change their minds no matter what.”

    Fair enough. But I encourage you to go to the Talk Origins web-site for examples of where creationists have lied and quoted out of context to support their case.

    “In fact, this short ditty is going to cause the angry extremists to spew out the venom as soon as this is read. And notice I didn’t categorize WHO those extremists are: bible thumpers or evolutionists…”

    I hope you don’t consider what I’ve written to be venom. Rather, I hope you’ll read it and answer the questions I’ve asked.

  132. Is that really so different from this?

    First my high school diploma was rendered meaningless, then my bachelor’s degree, now my master’s?

  133. @José Says

    I was 6 years old and had a visit. Pretty amazing stuff. It’s one of those classic vision things, more real than reality if you ask me, but then there loads of documentation about these special events happening to people over the years and it still doesn’t make any difference to some people, so the particulars of my vision are for me, But you can believe me when I say it’s not an event that’s a mundane everyday occurence. I’ve never known anything more truly awesome and I’ve never been happier.

    >re: Lastly, this dialog

    LOL!

    You got me, I think he might have said “I don’t understand you…”

    very funny.

    All the best
    Sci-Fi Si

  134. CoffeeCupContrails

    I for one hope this passes. It’ll push everyone over the edge and really set the stage for a much much bigger showdown. Hopefully, more regular people will realize what’s going on and the scientists, academicians and courts around the country will get involved and set stricter and less ambiguous standards separating science from non-science (religion or metaphysics or nonsense) Its important to separate them – its important to realize that while religions are trying to grant science degrees, that others (astrology) are trying to get their share too.

  135. Mike

    So coming off as a bunch of jerks is how we do it in science now. Typically when I back science, I try to do it with facts and not as an ass. All your doing in that case is alienating any valid point you may have. I am not a fan of the grade level learning system in Texas, it does need an overhaul. Standardized tests need to go away. But the way you people are acting is like a bunch of clowns. Every single state gets their stupid legislation and the majority of the time it doesn’t pass. Texas has a fairly balance legislature Dem – Rep, which is great, neither side gets to ramrod stuff through. As for you idiot’s saying ‘uhoh I’m about to go to Texas for my Ph.D.’. By all means please go to another state. Texas has a great higher learning system. I learned phenomenal amounts of useful information from my University. I am ashamed to call myself a scientist when surrounded by people like you.

  136. My old college roommate, while driving from Los Angeles to Yakima, Washington (ca. 1400 miles, straight shot, no sleep, at approximately hour 22), once saw a giant electric mouse on the side of the road. I was in the passenger seat and saw no such rodent, but he was absolutely convinced he saw it and it was real.

    Ergo, GIANT ELECTRIC MICE CREATED THE UNIVERSE!

    .
    “Well, it’s not a question of wanting to be a mouse…it just sort of happens to you.”

  137. And this other gemstone from Matthew:

    Since the only record we have is from fossils we don’t know what these creatures actually looked like in their entirety, what they ate or anything else for that matter.

    Au contraire, Pierre! Several examples of dino buffets have been found inside other fossils. A simple Google search (try “fossil, meal, inside” for starters) will bring you examples of ancient avians, insects, even a giant mosasaur, each with his or her belly full of a last meal before they joined the choir invisible.

    Once again, Matthew, despite claims to the contrary, knows nothing about the subject he is pretending to understand.

  138. Jeremy

    Hey don’t laugh. I’m working on my Master’s thesis in Phrenological Hypnotism. Just think of the possibilities!

    It kind of sounds like Texas is fast becoming a failed state. Expect a new group of “minutemen” – perhaps they’d be the Seventhousandyearmen?

  139. Jason

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!

  140. Joyce

    They want to avoid the trappings of rational thought while getting a degree for same. It doesn’t make sense at that basic level, does it? Why ask for a credential from the system you hate? It’s just so very confusing.

  141. Grump

    @Mike
    So you think we’re all a bunch of jerks? What a coincidence!

  142. :D State and religion go hand in hand I guess. But can we say the same thing when it comes to science and religion? I guess know. They are well kept apart otherwise this world be in ruins.

  143. Cuper

    This is so sad…Creation research so much crap…and they are serious…

  144. Skeptic Tim

    Jaycubed Says: “Aerodynamics failed as a science because the theories advanced to explain it were incorrect; the theories did not explain the data.”

    That is pure garbage! Ever hear of the Navier-Stokes equations? Of the Bernouilli equation? etc….etc. From Wikipedia “The Navier–Stokes equations, named after Claude-Louis Navier and George Gabriel Stokes, describe the motion of fluid substances, that is substances which can flow. These equations arise from applying Newton’s second law to fluid motion, together with the assumption that the fluid stress is the sum of a diffusing viscous term (proportional to the gradient of velocity), plus a pressure term.

    They are one of the most useful sets of equations because they describe the physics of a large number of phenomena of academic and economic interest. They may be used to model weather, ocean currents, water flow in a pipe, flow around an airfoil (wing), and motion of stars inside a galaxy. As such, these equations in both full and simplified forms, are used in the design of aircraft and cars, the study of blood flow, the design of power stations, the analysis of the effects of pollution, etc. Coupled with Maxwell’s equations they can be used to model and study magnetohydrodynamics.”

    Yes, the partial differential Navier-Stokes equations are often devilishly difficult to solve analytically and very often a susceptible only to numerical solution but that does not mean that the theory of flight is or has been incorrect. The basic elements of the Theory of Flight have been well understood from before the time that I studied it in the early 1960’s using the second edition of Dommash, Sherby and Connolly ‘s text “Airplane Aerodynamics”. (First edition, 1951) amongst other texts.

    The “computer simulations ” you refer to (I have designed and written the code for a number of them) numerically solve the equations of the well understood theory to arrive at the “solutions” of which you speak. These simulations work in a manner analogous to those used to solve the many body gravitational problem in celestial mechanics to simulate various astrophysical problems. The computer simply performs the millions of calculations required to arrive at a numerical solution of the known equations: computers do not work by magic.

    Has there been an improvement in our understanding of fluid dynamics since the 1950’s? Of course: just as there has been an improvement in our understanding of general relativity, quantum mechanics, etc., etc.

  145. Steve Morrison

    For anyone who’s interested, this page explains the origins of the “bee flight is aerodynamically impossible” urban legend.

  146. DoubleEyeDominance

    I’m totally going to print that picture with the turtle-like creationist scientist and I’m going to put it on the front cover of my school folder.

    On a serious note though, this is absolutely absurd. This is like pointing a pistol towards your face, pulling the trigger, and trying to see if a bullet will come out.

    And in the unfortunate event that the worst state in the country allows this to happen, the entire scientific community of the world will shun this institutes research and claims. They will have no rep, and no fortification for their claims.

    So all in all, even if they win, they will fail.

    But yeah, that was a really funny picture, I’m printing it out right now.

  147. Meh

    I do find this whole ‘uhh creationism is bull’ thing funny. I don’t think its viable, but I think evolution is a bit of a joke too. Both are a bit… shit… tbh

    Keep in my mind that in two hundred years, 2009 will be a bit of the dark ages.

    Good luck wallowing internet-toughguys :)

  148. Joel C. Smeckit

    Do you ever wonder, any of you, if you spend too much time on the internet? Sometimes, when I see all the intolerant posts I wonder that. Am I looking for these things? Who knows? Do you even understand what I am talking about? Who knows? I.

    Anyway I’ll probably never find this website again, to be quite honest I just don’t care. I tell you this because I do not want you to have wasted time and/or effort replying to my post.

  149. Greg in Austin

    Mike said,

    “As for you idiot’s saying ‘uhoh I’m about to go to Texas for my Ph.D.’. By all means please go to another state. Texas has a great higher learning system. I learned phenomenal amounts of useful information from my University. I am ashamed to call myself a scientist when surrounded by people like you.”

    Name calling, poor grammar and childish remarks aside, you almost have a point here. Texas does have some great universities. However, if this bill were to pass, that would open the floodgates for non-scientific students to earn scientific degrees, therefore reducing, if not negating, the value of a Master’s Degree in Science.

    And you call yourself a scientist? What is your degree in, what is your field of study, and what have you published?

    8)

  150. kuhnigget Says:
    My old college roommate, while driving from Los Angeles to Yakima, Washington (ca. 1400 miles, straight shot, no sleep, at approximately hour 22), once saw a giant electric mouse on the side of the road. I was in the passenger seat and saw no such rodent, but he was absolutely convinced he saw it and it was real.
    Ergo, GIANT ELECTRIC MICE CREATED THE UNIVERSE!

    Nonononono…. the ‘giant electric mouse’ was actually a pandimensional being checking on the Earth, which was created to discover the Ultimate Question to the Ultimate Answer, which we know is 42.

    J/P=?

  151. IVAN3MAN

    MadScientist:

    Ivan3Man: Nice cartoon – where do you find them?

    Thanks! I find them via Google search, of course. :-)

  152. TheBlackCat

    Carbon dating does work, because it has been observed to work with items having a known age. Trying to predict the age of the planet or universe is a theory, because we don’t have all the facts.

    The dating method used to date the age of the Earth is a lot more reliable than radiocarbon dating. The ones used to date the Earth have a built-in error detection mechanism, if there was something wrong we wouldn’t get any date at all. Carbon 14 dating has to be calibrated against other dating techniques, and it also is only helpful for a fairly limited period of time. That is not to say radiocarbon dating is unreliable, it is very reliable if used properly (which creationists love to not do), just not as reliable as the ones used to date the Earth.

  153. José

    @kuhnigget
    You mean there are people who haven’t seen the giant electric mouse?

  154. Heather

    I’ll join that list with you. Sign me up.

  155. Reynolds

    Best evidence there is no god: Christians

  156. Michael

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

    That’s all. Evolution is a theory, just like gravity is a theory. Creationists get the same couple of standard arguments and use them to death.

  157. Bozo

    Great article. However, it’s “vise”, not “vice”.

  158. SJ

    Ok, the next dark ages here we come..

  159. Robert

    As much as I disagree with creationism taught as fact, it’s also obvious that someone doesn’t know what ‘science’ means in the context of ‘master of science’. That kind of science is anything specialized, and oriented toward application instead of learning for its own sake.

    Given how many people look to you as an exemplar of science, it’s irresponsible for you to be so quick to make claims that are obviously ill-informed. You and so many other vocal anti-creationists make scientists look irrational, ill-informed, over-confident, and ignorant of the limits of your own knowledge. The key to science is self-limitation. Limitation of scope is what makes it so rigorous. Spouting off crap as if you have universal knowledge is not scientific.

    I don’t like the idea of offering MS degrees in creationism either. But there are better reasons for it than you’ve offered.

    So, for science’s sake, straighten up!

  160. IVAN3MAN

    @ Thanny, and Bozo,

    Phil Plait was not incorrect in writing “vice“, when referring to a clamping device, because that’s how it is spelt in the Queen’s English. The U.S. variant is “vise“. So there! :-)

  161. Hunter Giesler

    Hey there.
    I would just like to say,that after reading this article,I very much felt like the man in your picture.
    Not because of what the ICR is doing-I personally am not against it.
    But rather,I feel that way,because you are being so fucking ridiculously one-sided and hypocritical that it’s not even funny.
    This “evidence” can’t “prove” that the Big Bang theory or whatever the other theories are named happened.
    It all takes faith to believe.
    So if they(including me-yeah,go ahead,call me biased,I’ll get a good laugh out of that) want to believe that the bible is truth,and that creation happened rather than evolution,let them.
    Bcause if evolution is so infallible,then you have nothing to worry about,right?
    I believe what I want,you believe what you want,and there’s no problems.
    Unfortunately,that’s not even true right now,because right now you are shoving YOUR evolutionary ideas down my throat in the public school; its so fucking retarded and hypocritical it’s not even funny.I can’t stand you people and your fucking ruined educational systems.
    Flame me.
    I wanna see just how much more one sided you guys really are.

  162. Last I’d heard about this a few months ago, the degree was to be an online degree. In which case I feel we can conclusively say that the degree would be worth the paper it’s printed on.

  163. Abigail

    Of course it’s not science in the modern sense of the word (science traditionally has meant any organized body of knowledge and now it’s used only in reference to the physical sciences); however, are they calling it biology or theology?

    As a theological study it has merit. But the bible isn’t a science book. So, that makes all the difference.

    There never used to be such a hostile dichotomy between the empirical and theological sciences….Pascal, Mendel, Aristotle, Aquinas, and even Darwin was a theologian.

    What I always point out to evolution-phobics is that the process of evolution in itself is amazing and intrinsically ordered, teleological, and well, rather intelligent.

    Thank you.

  164. George

    Phil, I appreciate your comment over on your the Hulu post. Surely, you are free to pick your subjects, but I am free to speculate on your reasoning. I suspected you were avoiding comment on what may be turn out to be a very, very inconvenient truth for strident critics of Creationism like you: These simple minded bible thumpers may turn out to have a far more accurate understanding of the fundamental truth of the human story than you do. To wit, a time of abundance and stability turned quickly to horror and a struggle to survive. Hundreds of religious “myths” tell this same tale. However, they have been universally dismissed by scientists as silly campfire talk and redneck foolishness. All the way back to Lyell and Cuvier science has been obsessed with shutting up and shutting down catastrophism because it too closely conformed with religious belief, and was therefore beneath contempt. But, inexcusably, in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites. Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.

    Phil, not only did you feel a reason to not “say much” — you said nothing. If that is because you are too busy to report evidence of the ET impact story of all time, we must take you at your word. But the next time you rail at religion interfering with science, take a quiet moment to consider how the rednecks and fools had it right(er) this time. PS. I have never read the bible and don’t plan to — so don’t tar me with that brush you’re reaching for.

  165. Jesus H Christ

    Mankind has a nearly 2000 year history of misinterpreting my teachings. I can no longer stand by as you bicker and quibble over nonsense like creation and evolution. I am angry and to demonstrate just how angry I am I will blot out the sun at sunset tonight! It will remain dark for more than 3 hours!

    You have been warned!

  166. David

    People who believe in creation instead of evolution, like the majority of the founding fathers of science couldn’t possibly conduct real science could they? It is out of the question isn’t it?

  167. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    To matthew, evolution in some degree is a fact, because it has been observed. A complete understanding of evolution for all species on the planet is still just a theory because we are still collecting facts and it is quite complex.

    As I noted elsewhere biologists refer to it as “fact, theory and path”. [No links this time because I have difficulties commenting; but google for example T. Ryan Gregory and his blog “Genomicron”.]

    Fact, because evolution is the process of life (“common descent”) and it has been amply observed. (It is probably the most observed process we are studying.)

    Theory, because evolution theory predicts the above observations. (Again, it is probably the most tested theory in science.)

    And path, because evolution is contingent on its history. (See my above comment on Lenski’s research.)

    What I always point out to evolution-phobics is that the process of evolution in itself is amazing and intrinsically ordered, teleological, and well, rather intelligent.

    “Ordered” – depends on what you mean, it is lawful because it is a causal process with causal mechanisms, and we can make a predictive theory describing this. But at the same time it is complex and contingent, and little if anything is known about order in its outcome. Not that I’m a biologist, but the smart bet is probably that there isn’t any.

    “Teleological” – no, it is definitely not working towards any predetermined target. This is verified, see my previous comment on contingency and Lenski’s research.

    “Intelligent” – yes, it is an adaptive process, so it is learning about its environment. And so are its entities, such as viral populations. I would prefer to use “adaptive” and reserve “intellect” for entities that can at least plan ahead, i.e. sufficiently mindful entities.

  168. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    Soory, that first paragraph was a blockquote.

  169. IVAN3MAN

    Bloody hell! That George above has posted that diatribe here as well. So…

    George:

    Phil, I appreciate your comment. Surely, you are free to pick your subjects, but I am free to speculate on your reasoning. […] These simple minded bible thumpers may turn out to have a far more accurate understanding of the fundamental truth of the human story than you do.

    Like I am free to ROFLMAO! :lol:

    […] in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites.

    If you’re referring to the K-T boundary, that occurred 65.5 ± 0.3 million years ago — yes, that long; deal with it!

    Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.
    […] But the next time you rail at religion interfering with science, take a quiet moment to consider how the rednecks and fools had it right(er) this time. [Oh Gordon Bennett! :roll: ] PS. I have never read the bible and don’t plan to — so don’t tar me with that brush you’re reaching for.

    Well, that figures! George, let me help you with that by pointing out a few of the many contradictions in the Bible:

    In Genesis 1:25-27 (Humans were created after the other animals) –

    And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image […]

    However, in Genesis 2:18-19 ((Humans were created before the other animals) —

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.

    WTF?! Furthermore, in Genesis 1:27 (The first man and woman were created simultaneously) —

    So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    However, in Genesis 2:18-22 (The man was created first, then the animals, then the woman from the man’s rib.) —

    And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them […] And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

    Again, WTF?! George, there are lot more contradictions such as those in the Bible. The Old Testament was written not by “God”, but by primitive Hebrew sheep-shaggers, with bad copy-editing! Why, then, do you expect scientists to take such an irrational book seriously?

  170. IVAN3MAN

    @ Torbjörn Larsson, OM,

    I bet you’re “Soory” that you didn’t proofread that last comment of yours? :P

  171. George said:

    To wit, a time of abundance and stability turned quickly to horror and a struggle to survive. Hundreds of religious “myths” tell this same tale. However, they have been universally dismissed by scientists as silly campfire talk and redneck foolishness.

    This is not true. Anthropologists, mythographers, linguists, and others who study ancient societies and their beliefs do not dismiss these tales as silly campfire talk. Rather, they study them for what they are: metaphoric stories created by people who lacked the adequate knowledge to explain the world around them but needed to somehow get a grip on their place within the grand scheme of things. They recognize that people almost universally used tales of gods, monsters, heroes and villains, to sort out all the chaos that seemed to surround them, in order to make it palatable for “mere mortals” such as themselves. And the tales worked. People felt relieved to know that there was an order, that it wasn’t just struggle and suffering running willy nilly all over us.

    There are indeed many common themes in these tales, and that isn’t surprising: ancient societies all over the planet went through the same basic struggles…against the elements, against their enemies, against each other. People are people. Why should their mythologies not be similar? You have to be careful, though, about reading too much into the similarities; there are many differences, too. Many more, in fact.

    And that is why treating myths as literal truth is so nonsensical: why should some be “more true” than others? If Genesis is Truth, why isn’t the Australian aboriginal dream time? Why isn’t their 30,000 year cosmography equally as valid? It can’t be, not if it contradicts literally thousands of other cosmographies that also have to be Truth.

    No offense to any Australian aborigine fundies out there….

  172. Kuhnigget, interesting you mention Aboriginal Dreaming. I wondered if they had a flood myth too. So I looked. Mucho information. Apparently they do with quite distinct regional variations across Australia. Most of the first couple of pages of google hits are from Answers In Genesis and the like… trying to shore up their own myths by using myths from other cultures. The Australian myths are quite different in cause, effect and what “happened” though.

  173. Plutonium being from Pluto

    Unless you think a Masters of Astrology or a PhD in Flat Earth Studies is a good idea.

    Yes! It’d be pretty funny to have either or better yet both of those on my wall!

    Just think of the list of letters & degrees you could have after your name … ;-)

    Mind you some of the courses they already teach at various uni.’s are already *almost* as bad. (Eg. basketweaving, science fiction shows, metaphysics. football, etc … ) :-(

  174. StevoR

    sci fi si said (March 20th, 2009 at 4:15 pm) :

    He cameth on me as I was showering before a big exam, He gave me the answers clearly and concisely, and I passed with an a++.
    He also used to cometh on me in my room as a child. Debate that.

    If that was satire it was a pretty good impression and quite funny albeit a little too hard to tell from the real thing! (Poes’ law?) ;-)

    If it was serious – well you need to seek help! :-(

    Opiecan said (March 20th, 2009 at 4:52 pm) :

    “…Next invention: A gas that seeks and kills stupid people (wouldn’t it be funny if we all died?)”

    Yeah, we’d die laughing! ;-)

    Nigel Depledge said (March 21st, 2009 at 6:09 am) :

    Anon said:

    Better study up . . .

    Does anyone remember how many angels fit on a pin’s head?

    That’s a trick question – it’s either infinity, none or 42.”

    Actually, I believe the answer was given on “Babylon-5″ :

    “As many as want to!”

    As for transitional fossils existing :

    1. Archaeopyterix (half-dinosaur 1/2 bird, my spelling could well be wrong! :-( )

    2. Tiktaalik (ditto on spelling error probable, 1/2 fish with ambhibian characteristics ie. legs.)

    3. Neandertal hominids (& others eg. Homo Ergaster, Hopmo Erectus, Australopitheucus) etc ..

    4. Ambulocietis & Basilosaurus – whales evolving from mammals as sdhown in the “Walking with Dinosaurs” documentary ..

    &

    5. the varied Galapagos finches – currently evolving according to a recent news item I saw the other week.

    All those examples provide quite a bit of transitional fossil evidence to name just a few ..

    BTW. I believe its currently palaentology week – at least it is in Adelaide, South Australia right now! :-)

  175. You people are idiots

    Opiecan said (March 20th, 2009 at 4:52 pm) :

    “…Next invention: A gas that seeks and kills stupid people.”

    Be a lot less liberal Democrats and people like you idiots on this site ruining the country if there was such a gas.

  176. You people are idiots

    Just some quick questions:

    How was the Universe created? The Big Bang? Oh. So where did the material that caused the Big Bang come from? Where did the “spark” that ignited the Big Bang come from?

    There is the flaw in your theory that it all happened by “accident” and not by design. No matter how you answer, the next question will be: And where did THAT come from? Eventually, you will have to answer: I don’t know.

    And God will be there saying: I do.

  177. JM

    @Vishal “State and religion go hand in hand I guess.”

    France certainly has endeavored to keep them separate since 1905… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Separation_of_church_and_state

  178. Peter B

    George said: “All the way back to Lyell and Cuvier science has been obsessed with shutting up and shutting down catastrophism because it too closely conformed with religious belief, and was therefore beneath contempt.”

    What about the theory that humans settled along the old Ice Age shore of the freshwater Black Sea, then watched the sea rise centimetres every day and slowly turn salty, because of overflow from the rising Mediterranean Sea? Many societies could have observed that, and passed the story on to their descendents. It’s certainly not dismissed by scientists, yet is a good example of catastrophism.

    For that matter, the theory of the Moon’s origin is also catastrophist in nature.

    “But, inexcusably, in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites.”

    ‘A black mat covering ET material…’ Sorry, could you explain this in more detail, please? What are you talking about, and where has it been found?

    “Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.”

    Are you saying that scientists rule out catastrophism solely on the grounds that they rule out any theory which would suggest the Bible was correct?

    Wow.

    I thought they, you know, looked at the evidence.

  179. Daffy

    It’s amazing to me that Christians insist the Bible be taken literally. The Old Testament was written by Jews…and if they would bother to consult a rabbi, they would find out that the creation story is regarded as a parable. NOT LITERAL TRUTH!

    It’s pathetic.

  180. To wit, a time of abundance and stability turned quickly to horror and a struggle to survive. Hundreds of religious “myths” tell this same tale.

    Is that surprising? It’s a common storytelling theme because it evokes tension and sympathy in the reader/listener. Sometimes it’s based on real events, to greater or lesser degrees of fidelity. Usually it’s not.

  181. And God will be there saying: I do.

    And where did God come from?

    Oh, right. Special pleading.

    Funny stuff from a guy calling other people stupid.

  182. Okay, I admit: I secretly like feeding trolls! There! I’ve said it!

    Georgie’s gem:

    No matter how you answer, the next question will be: And where did THAT come from? Eventually, you will have to answer: I don’t know.

    What the Naturist Rodent said, plus: Therein lies the biggest difference between a scientist and a religious fundie who takes his mythology as literal Truth. Scientists have no problem saying, “I don’t know.” Of course, they quickly add, “But I’m going to find out!” and then set about to do so.

    Whereas the fundies just toss up their hands and say, “Godidit!” and revel in their ignorance.

  183. baal

    The only difference between religion as practiced today and dancing around a fire with a bone in your nose is cultural context.
    Scientists would love to prove the existence of a higher being, unfortunately given the definition of god as an omnipresent being, that is impossible. The existence of a thing cannot be proven without also demonstrating its absence. Satan, on the other hand, should be verifiable.

  184. @ Shane:

    It’s no wonder many ancient flood myths can be found in mythologies from around the world. Many, if not most, early civilizations (those that developed far enough to generate an oral tradition of mythology, anyway) grew up on flood plains, where water for agriculture was plentiful…and frequently too plentiful. Floods were a common and devastating occurrence. That is also why one of the hallmarks of any developing civilization is the ability to manipulate water, through ditches, dikes, dams, canals and the like. The story of Man is the story of plumbing, as one archaeo-wag put it. Every now and then, nature will toss up a flood of such magnificent proportions that even the best of waterworks can’t stop it. Civilization is, literally for once!, swept away. Such events quickly become the stuff of legends.

    See, this is why the fundies give me such a pain when they talk about “scientists” ignoring the Bible, or whatever. They do no such thing. What they do, however, is study it, along with every other bit of anthropological evidence and see what real information can be gleaned from it. There’s actually a whole lot that can be learned from mythology…just not by taking it literally!

  185. BTW, not to engage in shameless promotion (I am actually very ashamed), but that whole thing Georgie Peorgie said about scientists saying, “I don’t know,” is one of the central themes of my last novel, “The Final Oracle” (click my name for all the goodies) the plot of which is centered around the ancient oracle of Apollo at Delphi. “I don’t know” in that case had to do with how the ancient god “spoke” to the woman who received his oracles. Setting out to answer the question leads to all sorts of fun and mayhem, which is the point of a good yarn, if not science itself!

    I think it’s a fascinating thing to watch what happens when a true scientist takes that “I don’t know” moment and transforms it from a bit of sudden ignorance to a dose of inspiration. “I don’t know” isn’t a sign of defeat, it’s a call to action! For goodness’ sake, “I don’t know” probably inspired more brilliant and earth-shaking scientific discoveries than any other phrase!

    And the fundies think this is a sign of weakness????!!!! To borrow from a great American icon: I pity the fools!

  186. Salaam Shalom Peace

    I stand with Stephen Jay Gould’s concept of non-overlapping magisteria & Galileo Galilei’s statement :

    “Science tells us how the heavens go not how to go to heaven!”

    There is a place for both religion and science and these aspects of life can happily co-exist in most reasonable people’s lives. The problem comes, as often from the extremists on both sides who see everything only in zero/sum /white/black shades.

    I think while religion should be kept out of science class, we should also respect that *science* should keep out of the religious area – atheists (eg. Dawkins) should not mis-use science to deny religion and insult the majority of intelligent people who are both pro-science and pro-religion.

    (Mocking all religious people as creationist fools is a typical unfair and unjustified tactic seen here.)

    Whilst most here are from the science-over-everything side of the divide, you do, I think, need to understand that science often seems to be very arrogantly and dismissively stepping on religions toes claiming to know as one physicist named his book – “the mind of God” searching for the “God particle”, often “playing God” with genetic engineering, cloning and nanotechnology. Science often seems to dismiss ethical concerns with contempt and treat with disdain the views and fears of non-scientists on such issues as “frankenfoods”, genetic engineering, nuclear power, the LHC etc ..

    It would be far better for science to be a bit more humble, to accept that while it can deal with the natural, the supernatural is simply forever outside its realm. That beyond the “how” is the sphere of purpose; of “why”. Moreover, science and followers of the quasi-religion of science-ism need to acknowledge more often that the question of what is correct or what is “right” also means what is moral not just which answer is correct to the umpteenth decimal place – and that just because science can do something doesn’t mean it should.

    Much of modern cosmology strikes me as sheer mathematical onanism and speculation based on nothing even remotely tangible or comprehensible. If, for example, nobody understands quantum physics if science acknowledges it is strange and mysterious – why deny the truth that science can’t answer the deepest mysteries entirely and why claim it alone is the path to understanding everything.

    Can science *really* tell us how the cosmos began? Is it heresy to suggest here that it can’t?

    Can science ever explain God and the knowledge that springs unbidden into our hearts and consciences? Is it crazy to say no way!?

    Is it possible the way we choose tolive our live sshould be guided at leats in major part by a moral code more than a self-serving speculation about selfish genes?

    If something can only be explained in arcane, obscure mathematics that no-one but a bunch of elitist sciento priests can follow – then is that not asking the rest of the planet to take science on faith, pretty much faith and leaving few if any of us the wiser?

    (Speculations about string theory, brane theory, dark matter, and numerous other dimensions existing only in maths for instance, leave me with the feeling of more ego-mad scientists hand-waving and made up nonsense than “yay, Science knows it all!”)

    Dawkins and the athiest extremists here, it seems have real problems with religions and the religious. They do seem to have a hatred of God which is unbalanced, unreasoned and intolerant and to love to insult and abuse those who disagree with their limited perspective. Perhaps this is because of past personal experiences, perhaps because of fanatical devotion to the atheist faith in there being nothing, no God and no Prophets or merely their mundane devotion to their own political ideology or whatever I can’t say. However, I can just ask you all to consider :

    Is it really reasonable that so many good-hearted & clear-thinking people all around the globe are wrong about the existence of a divine, holy, supernatural being or Creator?

    Is there really no place for compromise and humbly admitting science sometimes gets it wrong, cannot always explain it all & just cannot explain everything (eg. emotion, ethics, feeling of holiness) and perhaps there is a place for non-science ideas still. (If not in the classroom then at least in society in general?)

    Can’t religion and science just respect each other’s respective spheres with religion accepting “how the heavens go” and science “How to go to heaven” – and that yes, some things fall outside the realm of science and beyond and above the mere tool that is the scientific method?

    I don’t think it would hurt science or people anywhere to be that little bit humble and respect of the possibility and implications of the probable reality of God.

  187. Poster

    Does the bible say it’s okay to smoke crack?

  188. Abigail

    Torbjorn,

    I would say the “telos” of evolution is Life. Or Survival. Or passing on one’s genes. So in that sense it is definitely ordered toward an end.

    Thank you for your reply; I’m glad I came back to have a look!

  189. TheBlackCat

    These simple minded bible thumpers may turn out to have a far more accurate understanding of the fundamental truth of the human story than you do.

    No, they don’t. Their “understanding” contradicts everything, I mean everything, we know about the universe . Everything we know from every branch of science directly contradicts them. So does ancient history. You would have to essentially throw out the sum total of human knowledge up to this point.

    To wit, a time of abundance and stability turned quickly to horror and a struggle to survive. Hundreds of religious “myths” tell this same tale.

    Of course they do, this sort of event is common in early cultures. In modern society in first-world countries we have an overabundance of crops that allows us to keep things fairly stable. But things were far from stable in early cultures, people were at the mercy of unpredictable and unstable natural events for survival and crises were common and often led to massive reductions in population. They stories they talk about are exaggerated stories of events that were common in their everyday lives, such as floods.

    All the way back to Lyell and Cuvier science has been obsessed with shutting up and shutting down catastrophism because it too closely conformed with religious belief, and was therefore beneath contempt.

    No, scientists did not like catostrophism for the same reason they do not like religion: it was not testable. If there was ever something you didn’t understand, you could just say “here a catastrophe happens” or “here a miracle happens” and no further inquiry is possible. Catastrophes became accepted as soon as we developed specific predictions about what we should see surrounding an ancient catastrophe and test for their occurrence (such as looking at the rate of extinction over time). That is, catastrophes became an accepted part of science when they change from ad-hoc explanations to testable hypothesis, when they went from unscientific to scientific. Goddidit remains an ad-hoc explanation.

    But, inexcusably, in my opinion, that contempt has blinded scientists to some pretty obvious evidence; for instance, a black mat covering ET material and demarcating the time of change at dozens and dozens of archeological sites.

    Do you mean the iridium anomaly at the K-T boundary? That was 65 million years ago, hardly within the biblical time-span, and it is almost universally accepted by scientists that an asteroid hit at that time (although not everyone is convinced it was solely responsible for the accompanying mass-extinction). However, scientists did not just stick an asteroid there for no reason. They accepted that an asteroid hit because it made testable predictions, predictions that turned out to be correct. It was a scientific hypothesis that was later confirmed by repeated tests.

    Recent catastrophe could not be true — because the bible, particularly Genesis, had no historical truth — therefore evidence suggesting it should be ignored or explained away.

    Recent catastrophes of the sort discussed in the bible (such as the flood a few thousand years ago) would leave obvious, unmistakable signs worldwide. It would affect pretty much everything we see. That is ignoring the fact that several ancient cultures continue uninterrupted through the time that the flood supposedly occurred without any sign of being completely wiped out and then repopulated by a handful of people.

    People who believe in creation instead of evolution, like the majority of the founding fathers of science couldn’t possibly conduct real science could they? It is out of the question isn’t it?

    Being a creationist up to about 200 years ago was mostly in line with the scientific evidence available at the time. However, since then we have gained an enormous amount of evidence contradicting the Genesis creation myths (both of them). We have learned a lot since then. For a scientists, beliefs should change to reflect new evidence. The problem with creationists is that they have not changed their opinion as the evidence contradicting their beliefs rolled in, they are still stuck in the mindset they had 200 years ago.

    How was the Universe created? The Big Bang? Oh. So where did the material that caused the Big Bang come from? Where did the “spark” that ignited the Big Bang come from?

    Physicists have come up with several possible reasons for this, but we do not yet have the technology needed to test them. They are actively trying to find the correct answer, though.

    No matter how you answer, the next question will be: And where did THAT come from? Eventually, you will have to answer: I don’t know.

    And immediately after I will say “but there are scientists trying to find that out as we speak”.

    And God will be there saying: I do.

    Where did God come from?

  190. Doug Little

    Wow, this post has bought all the creationist nuts out of the woodwork. The last event of this magnitiude was PZ’s wafer desicration. Bravo Phil, for placing the petri dish in just the right location.

  191. @ salaam, etc.:

    you do, I think, need to understand that science often seems to be very arrogantly and dismissively stepping on religions toes

    And religion has never “arrogantly and dismissively” stepped on the toes of scientists? Please don’t excuse yourself from what is a very human trait.

    Furthermore, you make a common mistake in that you assume religion has a monopoly on morality and is the only means by which we define what is good.

    I’m sorry, but this is patently false. Societies are human inventions. We define what we want to be right and wrong, and we come up with rules and laws to see to it that society is shaped accordingly.

    Sometimes those rules are backed up with mythology, with threats of divine retribution, other times they are backed up with our own all-too-human sense of how it is we’d like to be treated, and backed up with the force of our own mortal institutions. Either way, they are still our own constructs.

    Yes, secular people can do wrong…but so can religious people. Honestly, when’s the last time you sacrificed your enemy before the altar of Yahweh, or any other god? That was divine law in a certain time and place, and by definition the “right” thing to do. Do we still do that today? Do we still stone adulterers, or prostitutes? Do you want to go back to doing that? Is that “right”?

    Our society is our own responsibility, not some ethereal superdaddy’s.

  192. Rev. Rat

    Who was it that tried to introduce a bill making pi 3 instead of 3.14?

  193. Abigail

    Kuhnigget:

    Society is not a human invention, since humans are social animals.

    ps: kuhn, kurt vonnegut? or a combination of the two?

    Shalom,

    I like your post. I agree that it seems hypocritical for atheist materialism to accuse creationists of being out of their field (which they are), when it seems to have no qualms about opining on religion.

    If God can not be empirically disproved then there is no room for assertion about God’s non-existence either. Any attempt by a materialist to make metaphysical claims about transcendent reality is self-refuting according to their own premise that it exists outside the realm of empirical human knowledge.

  194. @ Abigail:

    There is a difference between a “society” of animals and “society” as we humans have built it. We don’t run around in packs, obeying only the law of tooth and claw, respecting our own tribe but no one else’s. (Well, in the ideal…) Instead, we make artificial rules for ourselves based upon the way we want to live. That’s what I meant by society being a human invention.

    And no, nothing so lofty as Kurt Vonnegut, you silly English, kuhnigget.

  195. TheBlackCat

    I like your post. I agree that it seems hypocritical for atheist materialism to accuse creationists of being out of their field (which they are), when it seems to have no qualms about opining on religion.

    If creationists could back up their claims with facts, evidence, and logic then it wouldn’t matter what field they are in. It is only when a creationist makes comments and bases those comments on nothing but his or her own say-so that there is a problem.

    If a scientist comments on religion and backs up his or her claims with facts, evidence, and logic then it doesn’t matter what field he or she might be in. It is only a problem when a scientist makes comments and bases those comments on nothing but his or her own say-so that there is a problem.

    If God can not be empirically disproved then there is no room for assertion about God’s non-existence either. Any attempt by a materialist to make metaphysical claims about transcendent reality is self-refuting according to their own premise that it exists outside the realm of empirical human knowledge.

    The god of the bible is said to have specific properties, and many of those properties are either empirically testable (and fail those tests) and/or are logically inconsistent. If you say God is a sort of deist “unmoved mover”, then no God is not under the domain of science. But anything that interacts with the natural world is testable by science.

  196. Randy T

    I’m growing concerned that the intellectual case against creationism voiced here is more about discrediting the people who believe in Creationism than in a discussion of the technical points. If I were an outside observer I would have to conclude that this article is a character assisination and riduclue piece rather than a scientific article.

    Take a deep breath, imagine this is an objective scientific article, and read the title again. Doesn’t seem to work, does it?

    Anyone care to discuss the scientific facts?

  197. Abigail

    Black cat,

    I can’t imagine what “specific properties” any god could have that would qualify as physical, or verifiable through empirical methods.

    I’m curious, what experiments are you referring to that measured the “specific properties” of the God of the Bible? Can I see these results? This smells a little of pseudo-science, but please explain.

    Also, God can not be a deist; the word you want is deity.

    Kuhnigget,

    The only difference between societies of animals and ours is a rational intellect. Even tribal societies are very complex. But then again, so are anthills.

    How can a rule be “artificial”? It’s either a rule, or it isn’t. By “artificial” do you mean illegitimate or not worthy of obedience?

  198. Abigail

    Randy, you either believe in an Exnihilator of the Universe, or you don’t.

    It isn’t a material question, so there aren’t going to be “scientific facts”.

    The problem isn’t that religious people don’t have logic, evidence, or facts – any fair-minded look at serious religious writings (such as Thomas Aquinas) will clearly show you that they do; the problem is when one discipline pretends to be something that is not.

  199. José

    @Salaam Shalom

    Mocking all religious people as creationist fools is a typical unfair and unjustified tactic seen here.

    I disagree. Most of the mocking is reserved for the anti-science nuts.

    Whilst most here are from the science-over-everything side of the divide, you do, I think, need to understand that science often seems to be very arrogantly and dismissively stepping on religions toes claiming to know as one physicist named his book – “the mind of God” searching for the “God particle”, often “playing God” with genetic engineering, cloning and nanotechnology.

    When a scientist uses “God” to describe something, they’re using it as a metaphor, and it’s usually non-scientists who invoke the term “playing God”.

    Science often seems to dismiss ethical concerns with contempt and treat with disdain the views and fears of non-scientists on such issues as “frankenfoods”, genetic engineering, nuclear power, the LHC etc ..

    They’re sometimes dismissive of people who throw hissy fits while not taking the time to understand what they’re talking about.

    It would be far better for science to be a bit more humble, to accept that while it can deal with the natural, the supernatural is simply forever outside its realm.

    All science says is that there is no evidence for the supernatural.

    just because science can do something doesn’t mean it should.

    Duh.

    why deny the truth that science can’t answer the deepest mysteries entirely and why claim it alone is the path to understanding everything.

    Nobody says that science has all the answers. That’s something made up by someone who doesn’t understand science.

    Can science *really* tell us how the cosmos began?

    Sort of.

    Is it heresy to suggest here that it can’t?

    No.

    Is it possible the way we choose tolive our live sshould be guided at leats in major part by a moral code

    Yes. Duh number two. Morality doesn’t come from science. Nor does it come from religion. It’s part of being human.

    If something can only be explained in arcane, obscure mathematics that no-one but a bunch of elitist sciento priests can follow – then is that not asking the rest of the planet to take science on faith, pretty much faith and leaving few if any of us the wiser?

    I have a shaky grasp of quantum mechanics. There are plenty of sciento-priests (I love that name by the way) who have a better grasp of quantum mechanics than I do. Who cares?

    Dawkins and the athiest extremists here, it seems have real problems with religions and the religious.

    They have a problem with people who try to force their religious views on others.

    They do seem to have a hatred of God which is unbalanced, unreasoned and intolerant and to love to insult and abuse those who disagree with their limited perspective.

    How does the fact that I see no evidence for the existence of God equate to me hating God?

    Is it really reasonable that so many good-hearted & clear-thinking people all around the globe are wrong about the existence of a divine, holy, supernatural being or Creator?

    Yes. Very reasonable.

    Is there really no place for compromise and humbly admitting science sometimes gets it wrong, cannot always explain it all & just cannot explain everything (eg. emotion, ethics, feeling of holiness) and perhaps there is a place for non-science ideas still. (If not in the classroom then at least in society in general?)

    Science readily admits it doesn’t get everything right, but just because science can be wrong or can’t explain something is not evidence of the supernatural.

    Can’t religion and science just respect each other’s respective spheres with religion accepting “how the heavens go” and science “How to go to heaven” – and that yes, some things fall outside the realm of science and beyond and above the mere tool that is the scientific method?

    The whole point of Phil’s post is that religion is trying to butt it’s head into the realm of science. Do you see the evil sciento-priests demanding that churches teach atheism?

  200. José

    @Randy
    I’m growing concerned that the intellectual case against creationism voiced here is more about discrediting the people who believe in Creationism than in a discussion of the technical points.

    I’m not sure I understand what you’re talking about, but OK. What are the technical points you think should be discussed and, more importantly, how do you get a creationist to take their hands off their ears when you give them an answer.

  201. Darth Robo

    Abigail

    >>>”I can’t imagine what “specific properties” any god could have that would qualify as physical, or verifiable through empirical methods.

    I’m curious, what experiments are you referring to that measured the “specific properties” of the God of the Bible? Can I see these results? This smells a little of pseudo-science, but please explain.”

    If one is going to apply the attributes of the God of the Bible to (a) God, the Bible is easily disproved. If one assumes (a) God is “metaphysical” in nature and part of a “transcendent reality” , making it untestable. unobservable, unfalsifiable and unpredictable, then the burden of proof lies with those making claims to it’s existence. Therefore, any claim of (a) “God” anyone makes, I can match it by saying that God is the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Which holds just as much weight and validity as anyone else’s idea of (a) God.

    Of course many atheists and “materialists” may not take my claims of the existence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster seriously. Will you also defend my religion of Pastafarianism against any and all atheists and “materialists” with equal fervour? I hope so.

    May you be blessed by His Noodly Appendage.

    Ramen.

  202. @ Abigail:

    The only difference between societies of animals and ours is a rational intellect. Even tribal societies are very complex. But then again, so are anthills.

    There are many more differences that “rational intellect.” Anthills are complex, but in no way are they as complex as our global civilization. But our disagreement on this issue is not important. What is more important is….

    How can a rule be “artificial”? It’s either a rule, or it isn’t. By “artificial” do you mean illegitimate or not worthy of obedience?

    Eh????!!! The “rules” of our society are almost entirely artificial. We write our laws, we define our institutions, we say what we can and cannot do to each other, where we can go and where we cannot go, what we can and cannot say, whom we can marry, what we can buy, and on and on. These rules were not handed to us by some supernatural force, and they are not set in stone. We change them all the time as our interests change and our perceptions of ourselves evolve.

    The difference between you and I, I suspect, is that you must view “artificial” as somehow meaning lesser, or not worthy. I place no such value on it. It just means “manmade.” And manmade rules for setting up a society do not need supernatural backing to make them valid or “moral.” We define those terms, too, just as we always have throughout out history.

    And just to toss in on another comment:

    ”I can’t imagine what “specific properties” any god could have that would qualify as physical, or verifiable through empirical methods

    This very same question arose in the “ghosts are real” thread a while back. There are any number of godlike properties that would qualify as physical. For example, interacting with the material world. Whether you’re turning someone into a pillar of salt, or hurling thunderbolts at someone, the ability to manipulate matter means there is a physical process going on. That can be measured and tested.

    Have a nice day.

  203. Bein'Silly

    Abigail asked Kuhnigget :

    “ps: kuhn, kurt vonnegut? or a combination of the two?”

    & got the reply :

    “And no, nothing so lofty as Kurt Vonnegut, you silly English, kuhnigget.”

    So that would mean KUHN- nigget then? ;-)

    Actually Abigail, methinks its a Monty Python (British comedy) reference – specifically ‘Monty Python & the Holy Grail’ & the French taunters of King Arthur & the others. Great show!

    Am I right Kuhnigget?

    Incidentally thinking Monty Python – ‘Life of Brian’ has to be my fave comedy ever – & the best & most accurate religious program too! ;-)
    —-

    “Eeee’s not the messiah! Eee’s a very naugh-tay boy!” :-D

  204. Abigail

    Religion and gods are by their very definition metaphysical and transcendent.

    That was how this post began: a science degree in something theological is a little absurd.

    “Whether you’re turning someone into a pillar of salt, or hurling thunderbolts at someone, the ability to manipulate matter means there is a physical process going on. That can be measured and tested.”

    Since valid scientific experiments rely on repeatability, accounts of supernatural events are not able to be tested empirically. Zeus isn’t actually making thunder when you read words on a page of Homer’s Iliad.

  205. Religion and gods are by their very definition metaphysical and transcendent.

    Not according to the Old Testament, New Testament, Baghavad Gita, Koran, or pretty much any other religious tract. When these documents were compiled, the events they described were considered real. They were not taken metaphorically until our own age. And now, the fundamentalists have revived the old customs.

    Abigail, you are trying to view old religions through a modern, new-agey lens. You are also using a standard fundie ploy: god is beyond the world that can be measured, therefore cannot be proven to exist or not to exist. The downside of that approach is that he/she/it/them cannot likewise be defined, therefore brother Darth’s FSM parable.

    However, we are in complete agreement on the rest, as most other regular commenters are too, I’m sure. Religion is not science, despite what the fundies want.

    @ BeinSilly:

    I won’t say whether you are right or wrong, as I am too busy fahrting in your general direction.

  206. Bein'Silly

    @ Kuhnigget : That’ds be a yes then! & your mother smelt of elderberries! You odd person you. ;-)

    This is transfered from the old Tonga thread because it suits this better :

    @ IVAN3MAN :

    “Hmmm… Poe’s Law states: “Without a winking smiley or other blatant display of humor, it is impossible to create a parody of Fundamentalism that SOMEONE won’t mistake for the real thing.”

    Wouldn’t it be ironically funny if there really were NO Creationists / lunatic Fundamentalists after all but only a whole bunch of trolls / Poe posters being ironic and making “pretend” satirical posts? ;-)

    Just think, creationism would just be one big dumb joke .. ;-)

    …Oh wait, it already is! ;-)

    ‘Cept o’course it ain’t very funny. :-(

    —–

    Questioner in crowd to Brian’s mother : “If its not a personal question are you a virgin?”

    Brian’s mother : “NOT a personal question?! “NOT a personal question?! How much much more personal can you get?!”

    Crowd : (looking at each & nodding), “Yeah, she is, … must be … ” ;-)

  207. Asimov Fan

    @ Bein’Silly:

    “Wouldn’t it be ironically funny if there really were NO Creationists / lunatic Fundamentalists after all but only a whole bunch of trolls / Poe posters being ironic and making “pretend” satirical posts? “

    There was a short Sf story I read once (sorry but I can’t remember the title or author) along similar lines where it turns out that the whole crowd calling for the crucification of Jesus in 30 AD turned out to be time-travellers from the future thinking they were merely following an inevitable historical script. ;-)

    Sdaly, while some “fundies” here and elsewhere may be parodists joking and getting people fooled; I’m afraid others are all too serious about what is a silly idea.

    @ Salam Shalom :

    Ultimately I think the religious community needs to speak out more about Creationists and other extreme fundamentalists because they hurt not merely science but mainstream, moderate religion too – just like the Taliban and Al-Quaeda (perhaps undeservedly) give Islam a bad name by association. I’m guessing you are NOT a Creationist but a moderate religionist. Am I right?

    I think Science does not claim to have all the answers & never has and agree with what Jose posted in reply to you. Just because we do not understand say Dark Matter and just because some cosmology is confusing and counter-intuitive does not mean we should automatically throw up our hands in surrender and write off further investigation because the explanation “Must be supernatural.”

    That said, youdo have apoint in that a few scientists seme to get caught up in making religious or semi-religious comments where these are outside their expertise &/or beyond available evidence.

    Mind you when it comes to “creationism versus evolution”; this is not applicable. Scientific evidence from numerous disciplines (astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry etc ..) has conclusively shown that evolution is sciuentific factual law & not guesswork. Any “truth” in the Biblical “genesis” account must lie in the realm of the poetic or metaphorical. There is simply no doubt of that.

  208. Asimov Fan

    Oops. Couple of minor corrections for clarity if I may :

    Ultimately I think the religious community needs to speak out more against Creationists and other extreme fundamentalists because they hurt not merely science but mainstream, moderate religion too.

    &

    Any “truth” in the Biblical “Genesis” account must lie * ONLY * in the realm of the poetic or metaphorical. (& not the factual.)

    Galileo’s quote about “going to heaven vs how the heaven’s go” is nice & one I too agree with. However, remember it *is* a two way thing. Yes, okay sceince should allow religion to be applied in people’s personal lives and ethical beliefs (if they so choose) – but, equally, religion needs to respect the scientists right to study the cosmos and gain (& share) further understanding of the natural world.

    This means science gets taught in science class & NOT religion deceptively masquerading as “scientific fact” when it is really nonsense that gives honest religion a bad name.

  209. nomadz

    Hello,
    We’re a bunch of Dark Lords and we want to open a Star Wars University.
    We provide master degress in Hyperspace Travel, Planet Destruction and Asteroid Dodging. Post-doctorate studies include : The Use of Force in Modern Society, How to make an army of clones, and Restoring Magma Burnt Bodies.
    Please subscribe. If we reach 20 candidates we can have a bill passed, and deliver actual diplomas, under the teachings of Honorary Professor G. Lucas.

  210. TheBlackCat

    I can’t imagine what “specific properties” any god could have that would qualify as physical, or verifiable through empirical methods.

    How about these:

    Matthew 17:20:
    For truly, I say to you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.

    Mark 16:17-18
    And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

    Matthew 7:7:
    Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For every one who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man of you, if his son asks him for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a serpent? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask him!

    John 14:14:
    Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it, that the Father may be glorified in the Son; if you ask anything in my name, I will do it.

    Matthew 18:19:
    Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

    All of these have very specific, testable results that should be immediately obvious and unambiguous.

  211. Rev. I. P. Freeley

    1 CORINTHIANS
    14:34 Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience as also saith the law.
    14:35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.
    14:36 What? came the word of God out from you? or came it unto you only?

    1 TIMOTHY
    2:11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.
    2:12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.
    2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve.
    2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.
    2:15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing.

  212. Nigel Depledge

    Sci-Fi Si said:

    I have every right to my beliefs, free from persecution and ridicule. If you have a problem with that you’ll be breaking the law.

    Well, I agree that you have the right to believe anything you choose.

    I do not agree that irrational beliefs deserve any protection from ridicule.

    Belief in an all-powerful being that can never been seen, heard, touched, tasted or smelt is irrational. It defies evidentiary confirmation. Or, in other words, there is no evidence to which you can point and say: “this proves god exists”. Belief in god is a choice, not a conclusion.

    Pretty much every other field of human endeavour is ridiculed by some people somewhere. Why should your belief be exempt?

  213. Nigel Depledge

    JagXIVII (nice handle, BTW) said:

    If you think they are “doing dogma,” then what do you think evolutionists are doing?

    Some of the best science in the world.

    And don’t tell me they’re doing science, because it takes an equal if not larger amount of faith to believe in evolution rather than creation.

    This is a lie. You, sir, are a liar.

    There is absolutely no reason why these brilliant minds shouldn’t be able to achieve a high level degree in their field.

    You are quite correct. However, their field is the manipulation of the gullible. That is what the ICR does.

    What the ICR quite demonstrably does not do is science. This has been shown dozens of times elsewhere.

    It seems to me that you are condemning this because you don’t believe there is any worth to creationism

    Quite correct. Creationism is demonstrably at odds with reality.

    and that is can’t be applied to the “real world.”

    No. The real world (why the inverted commas, BTW? Do you doubt that the real world exists?) is different from the way creationists tell us it is.

    In fact, it is equally applicable to the world just as evolution is believed to be.

    Another lie.

    So many evolutionists condemn creationism because they refuse to open their eyes and see the other viewpoint: the exact thing you are criticizing the ICR of doing.

    Wrong. Many rational people have read what the creationists publish, and they have found (inter alia):

    Lies;
    Obfuscation;
    Ignorance of contrary evidence;
    Strawman attacks on evolutionary theory;
    Arguments from ignorance;
    Arguments from personal incredulity;
    Dogmatic repetition in the face of evidence to the contrary;
    Dogmatic insistence on biblical inerrancy;
    Mutually exclusive viewpoints (e.g. YEC and OEC are incompatable);
    An absence of reasoned argument.

    Now, why would any reasoning person wish to accept that publication record as something worthy?

    When you say it probably won’t get past, you are more than likely correct, taking into account the level of liberal bias everywhere these days.

    Perhaps you would care to back up this assertion with some evidence? Oh, wait, if you’re a creationist, I guess that means that actual evidence has no meaning for you.

    The behaviour of the creationists – whether ICR, AiG or the DI – should sicken all rational Christians. Lying “for Jesus” is lying nevertheless.

  214. Nigel Depledge

    BobG (being quite transparently disingenuous) said:

    For those who understand the Scientific Method of Proof, I pose a simple question: Is evolution a science?

    First off, your question is wrong.

    There is scientific methodology, but there is no Scientific Method of Proof. Proof, in the absolute sense, is mostly reserved for pure logic, and rarely applies to real-world scenarios (e.g. can you absolutely prove to me that you exist?).

    Science progresses by a mixture of evidence and logical reasoning. It applies Ockham’s razor in the form of an assumption: if a simple explanation can account for all aspects of a phenomenon, then it is reasonable to assume that explanation to be correct until such time as new evidence contradicts it or shows it to be incomplete.

    The process of science is one of deciding between alternatives. Hypotheses are proposed to explain a phenomenon, and these hypotheses are tested by experimentation / further observation. The results of the experiment / observation will indicate which of the two or more explanations is the more correct. However, it is impossible, in principle, to design an experiment to “prove” that one particular explanation is the only possible correct explanation, because there exists (again, in principle) an infinite set of explanations that have not yet been conceived.

    In reality, we can know, with a high degree of confidence, that some explanations are either correct or they are very good approximations to what really occurs. Evolutionary theory is one of these.

    So, to answer your peurile question – yes, evolutionary biology is a science.

  215. Nigel Depledge

    Dr Cox said:

    Scientists hate to admit it, but evolution is not even technically a theory because it is a guess at what took place in the past and since that event or a reproduction of the event cannot be directly or indirectly observed it is outside the realm of science.

    This nonsense betrays a profound ignorance of what the theory of evolution actually states.

    Evolutionary theory describes a set of processes that are occurring now, and have all been observed to occur.

    That biological organisms change over time (i.e. evolution) is proven beyond any doubt. Events that occurred in the past have left evidence that can be examined today. We all experience this all the time. To suggest that past events can not be elucidated from the evidence that exists in the present is infantile.

    Some scientists assume it [I assume you mean evolutionary theory] is true; some do not.

    No. There are no actual scientists who deny that evolutionary theory is correct. Even Michael Behe (the closest thing that exists to a creationist biologist) accepts common descent and that all of the mechanisms described in evolutionary theory occur – he merely doubts that they alone can account for the present diversity we observe in biology.

    Of course, if evolution is true, then this and other similar discussions are irrelevant because natural selection will kill off all the believers in whichever view makes us weaker and multiply those who believe in the one that makes us stronger.

    Nonsense.

    Acceptance of the truth about biology is not a survival skill in a modern society.

    Also, if it is true, then we are all nothing more than bags of chemicals and what we say, do, and believe has all been determined by our evolution (i.e, our brain chemistry and environment, which has also been determined by evolution) and therefore we cannot help what we say, do, or believe.

    Utter garbage.

    Where chance events and complex systems interact, extraordinary new properties can emerge.

    So again, the discussion becomes pointless, and pointlessness is selected against in evolutionary theory as weakness.

    Tell me, are you proud of your ignorance? I can think of no other reason why you would care to parade it around the world like this.

    It is quite apparent that you have not the slightest idea what you are talking about.

  216. Nigel Depledge

    Sci-fi Si said:

    He cameth on me as I was showering before a big exam, He gave me the answers clearly and concisely, and I passed with an a++.

    He also used to cometh on me in my room as a child.

    Debate that.

    No need to.

    Show me the evidence. Otherwise, how am I to tell whether or not you are just making it up?

  217. Nigel Depledge

    Xavier said:

    You can still have faith and believe in evolution. Just think of it as intelligently guided evolution.

    God continually changes the shape of the world as God sees fit.

    But this is weak theology.

    If god is omnipotent and omniscient, then he should have been able to set everything up in the beginning to proceed exactly as it has done with no need for intervention along the way.

    Since there is no evidence of any tinkering in evolution (i.e. what we find is that the biological world looks exactly the way we would expect it to look if it arose purely through the processes that are occurring today), your proposed explanation has holes. However, if god set everything up at the beginning, this is entirely consistent with all the available evidence, and is stronger theologically. (IIRC, this is the official view of the Anglican church.)

  218. Nigel Depledge

    Anon2 said:

    I don’t really know what has been going on down at the ICR. I don’t know why Christians continue to think that they can use modern Science to show the Creation is the way things worked out. That being said, the Big Bang and evolution can never be put forth as anything more than a theory, because of the rigors of the scientific method, and the empirical base on which it is built.

    But in science a theory is a powerful thing. There is no such concept as “only” a theory. Your framing of the debate is wrong, in that it denigrates the role played in science by theories.

    Essentially, any theory that has been confirmed by repeated observations is accepted as truth until such time as any new evidence may indicate the theory to be wrong or incomplete.

    Evolution is a fact. Populations of organisms change over time. Common descent has been proven beyond reasonable doubt. The mechanisms of change described in evolutionary theory have all been observed to occur.

    First to Christians, read Hebrews Chapter 11 verse 3, “By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.” Then read Romans 8:7a, “the sinful mind is hostile to God.” The best one can do is present the argument that some have mentioned already, that is of the intelligent design. I don’t disagree with this idea its the only valid one that has been presented, but Christians have to understand that science will not prove who God is, at best it can point out that there is something greater going on.

    “Intelligent Design”, as propounded by the fellows of the DI, is at best logically flawed. There is no evidence of teleology in evolution, whereas one would expect there to be evidence if goal-oriented design had occurred. The “thory” of ID is, at present, nothing more than “Someone, somewhere designed some parts of the biological world. Somehow.” Everything else that has come out of the DI’s CRC has been arguments from ignorance, arguments from personal incredulity, strawman attacks on evolutionary theory and obfuscation.

    Now to the “Scientific,” the basis for all science is the empirical method, meaning that since something is experienced its true.

    No. It is only observations that have been independently repeated that are accepted as true.

    The whole basis for science is that there is observable phenomenon, which can be repeated again, and again and that measurement can be taken and analyzed. Now, there are a whole set of issues with the thought that experience is true because we experienced of it, but it assumes a basic premise, ordered repeatable.

    No, the basic assumption is that our experience of the world connects to some kind of external reality. And this is an assumption that every sane person makes all the time, every single day of their lives. Are you saying this assumption is unreasonable?

    If it were not for this science wouldn’t work,

    And neither would anything else.

    So, unless you can propose a reliable way of testing this assumption, let’s just move on, shall we?

    so a system born out of chaos that allows for repeated order seems pretty odd.

    This does not logically follow from what you have stated. What does chaos have to do with it?

    Why have you not even attempted to demonstrate that our experience of the world is a “system born out of chaos”?

    The issues that limit evolution are this, first off if they need to base stuff on actual repeatable experience, they weren’t there to measure the start of the universe.

    Irrelevant. And pointless. After all, if your argument is correct, then exactly the same argument demolishes every religious authority too.

    However, science has somethuing that religion does not: evidence. Events that occurred in the past have left evidence that can be examined today. Observations of this evidence are the same for all observers and in all places, and the evidence tells us that evolutionary theory is either completely correct or it is a very close approximation to what actually occurs.

    They can theorize, but they can never actually prove it cause they weren’t there.

    Nonsense. See above.

    Second, the whole issue of Carbon Dating. They can never be sure what that initial amount of C-14 was.

    Yes, we can. Do you actually know any science at all, or are you peeing in the wind?

    Besides, radiocabon dating is not used to measure the age of fossils. There are other radionuclides that are far more appropriate.

    Go to Wikipedia and look up “isochron dating”. It is a method of dating that contains internal checks (i.e. if you get an isochron then your samples are validated, but if you do not then something has occurred that you have not accounted for).

    If you want to think about C-14 as a candle that is burning down, they walk in to a dark room and they saw a candle at a certain height, but they have no way of empirical proving the initial height of the candle because they weren’t there to measure it.

    Well, yes there is, because every radionuclide decays into another element.

    So don’t go thing science is the end all solution

    Well, as I have demonstrated, you do not know of what you blather.

  219. papageno

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Whilst most here are from the science-over-everything side of the divide, you do, I think, need to understand that science often seems to be very arrogantly and dismissively stepping on religions toes claiming to know as one physicist named his book – “the mind of God” searching for the “God particle”, often “playing God” with genetic engineering, cloning and nanotechnology. Science often seems to dismiss ethical concerns with contempt and treat with disdain the views and fears of non-scientists on such issues as “frankenfoods”, genetic engineering, nuclear power, the LHC etc ..

    Have you tried to know real scientists, or are you happy with that Hollywood caricature of a scientist that you just described?

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Much of modern cosmology strikes me as sheer mathematical onanism and speculation based on nothing even remotely tangible or comprehensible.

    Your personal limitations are not the universal standard of human comprehension of the universe.

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Can science *really* tell us how the cosmos began? Is it heresy to suggest here that it can’t?

    Is it heresy for scientists to try?

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Can science ever explain God and the knowledge that springs unbidden into our hearts and consciences? Is it crazy to say no way!?

    Which god and what knowledge?

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Is it possible the way we choose tolive our live sshould be guided at leats in major part by a moral code more than a self-serving speculation about selfish genes?

    Which moral code are you talking about?
    What is stopping a person from choosing to follow a moral code?

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    If something can only be explained in arcane, obscure mathematics that no-one but a bunch of elitist sciento priests can follow – then is that not asking the rest of the planet to take science on faith, pretty much faith and leaving few if any of us the wiser?

    Nobody is stopping you from learning to understand “arcane, obscure mathematics”. If you cannot be bothered to put effort to understand it (effort that a scientist has made), then you are not in a good position to complain.

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Is it really reasonable that so many good-hearted & clear-thinking people all around the globe are wrong about the existence of a divine, holy, supernatural being or Creator?

    The number of people believing in something has no effect on the evidence for it, otherwise we would see Santa Claus at Christmas.

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Is there really no place for compromise and humbly admitting science sometimes gets it wrong, cannot always explain it all & just cannot explain everything (eg. emotion, ethics, feeling of holiness) and perhaps there is a place for non-science ideas still. (If not in the classroom then at least in society in general?)

    Tell that to the creationists that want all children to learn their pet myhtology as a scientific fact.

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    Can’t religion and science just respect each other’s respective spheres with religion accepting “how the heavens go” and science “How to go to heaven” – and that yes, some things fall outside the realm of science and beyond and above the mere tool that is the scientific method?

    Apparently you have not understood that fundamentalists do not respect science or other beliefs.

    Salaam Shalom Peace:
    I don’t think it would hurt science or people anywhere to be that little bit humble and respect of the possibility and implications of the probable reality of God.

    I don’t think it will hurt religion or people anywhere to be that little bit humble and respect of the possibility and implications of the probable non-existence of God.

    Summary: you committed the mistake of assuming that we are against all religions and all religious people. Be a little bit humble and try to understand what we wrote, before putting words in our mouth.

  220. Reverend Freely:

    I hardly think quoting biblical texts written by Paul, he of the notorious misogyny, is apt when trying to describe godlike properties of Jesus/Yahweh. Unless you were just trying to shut someone up.

    Frankly, it is because of Paul that the Christians veered so far away from what probably started out as a pretty darn good philosophy for the masses. Peace, love, non-violence, separation of church and state…pretty good stuff, actually. Too bad the likes of Paul and his “brothers” went and mucked it all up.

  221. Nigel Depledge

    Brian said:

    Just how often has a scientist gone to a church and aggressively insisted upon lecturing on any scientific subject? When was the last time a scientist insisted that they were the Pastor, Preacher, Cleric, Guru or Priest of the Church of Reason?

    I don’t think it has ever happened.

    Now, I’m quite aware of Richard Dawkins. I have to say I don’t think he has the right approach.

    Fair enough – he can be a bit confrontational. However, he does raise an interesting question from time to time, that I have yet to see anyone try to answer:

    Why is knowledge derived from religion treated differently from knowledge derived from other sources?

  222. Nigel Depledge

    Jaycubed said:

    A common example of aerodynamics’ failure was the flight of bees. According to traditional aerodynamic theory bees were incapable of flight. Once an understanding of the effects of turbulence became possible due to supercomputer simulations, bees’ flight became understandable & predictable. Prior to this there were only approximations based on trial & error experiments.

    This is a myth.

    It used to be a common joke among aerodynamics engineers that bumblebees “couldn’t” fly.

    Of course, if you apply the equations for fixed-wing aircraft to a bumblebee, you don’t get enough lift at a typical bumblebee flight speed. However, this was done in the full awarenesss that bumblebees are not fixed-wing aircraft, and that they can fly!

    It was a humorous way of illustrating that you must confirm your initial assumptions before drawing conclusions.

  223. Nigel Depledge

    Gregorius said:

    I’ve spent 6 years studying in universities and I can tell you not everything they teach you is truth or best practice, even in mainstream courses.

    Well, everything that I was taught as an undergrad was either truth or the best extant understanding. Maybe you should back this up with some examples…?

    If the bill is passed, it will be the responsibility of the students to think about what they are being taught, do their reaearch, and to decide whether it’s factual science.

    Which, in most universities these days, exponentially increases the students’ workload. Seriously, knowing students, do you expect that to occur?

    It is not the responsibility of the government to do this critical thinking for us.

    Quite right. The role of government is to fund higher education where appropriate, but not to interfere in the content of the courses. This bill is a case of people trying to effect government interference in higher education.

    It is not the government’s role to discourage education in what they deem as falsehoods – to do so would be equivalent of book-burning.

    What you mention here is the opposite of the purpose of the bill.

    There already are degrees in theology – but after reading this blog I guess some people would like to abolish those too.

    I have no idea why you might think this. Most theologians actually agree with the scientists – that what scientists have discovered is close to a truthful description of the way reality is. IIUC, most theologians consider creationism to be bad theology – man putting limits on the capabilities of god, as well as ignoring St Augustine’s admonition.

  224. Nigel Depledge

    Kaye said:

    I would like to see a modern test, in real time, between the two theories. I have yet to see proof of either, and both sides LOVE to point a mocking finger.

    What test do you propose?

    And to what “two” theories do you refer?

    Also, evolutionary theory has been continually tested for the past 150 years. What about another modern test of it would you consider to be conclusive, given that you seem to be disregarding all of the extant results of testing it?

  225. Nigel Depledge

    Kuhnigget said:

    @Jaycubed:

    According to traditional aerodynamic theory bees were incapable of flight.

    Uhhhh…correct me if I’m wrong, but this is a standard b.s. line from the anti-science knuckleheads.

    True, there was a time when aerodynamic models did not seem to explain how a bee’s wing generated sufficient lift, but that time was very short. Further study of the bees very quickly led to the understanding that the wing was not an inflexible flat plane, but rather became concave on the downstroke. The models were modified, the math was done…et violá…the bees flew. Science works again.

    I see you too have fallen for the propaganda.

    That bumblebees “can’t” fly was only ever meant as a joke.

  226. Nigel Depledge

    @ “nancy” – Without initial capitals at the start of sentences, your text is hard to read.

    Nancy said:

    okay, i definitely understand most of everyone here’s sentiments, but, i do believe that these people have adapted a certain philosophy of life, i doubt that they are not teaching actual fact.

    Perhaps you have not read their propaganda. The ICR is one of the organisations that is trying to pass off one specific style of religious dogma as science. The most likely reason they are doing this is that they see the legitimacy that science has earned, and they want some of that legitimacy. However, they do not wish to earn it (and, indeed, their method of “research” is the antithesis of logical investigation, since they merely seek validation of their predetermined “answer”).

    clearly they must have some substance to their courses.

    Who knows?

    However, if they base their courses on other stuff they have published, it will all be wrong.

    mathematical and scientific formulas are clearly stated and everyone understands them,

    If this is true, please explain to me the derivation of Schrodinger’s equation for a particle’s wave function…?

    the meaning behind why everything in life works however is not.

    Actually, in essence it is easier than stuff like quantum mechanics. One of the amazing things about Darwin’s theory is how simple his core mechanism is.

    for these people to even function means that they match all standards on the actual backbone of fact, they simply interpret it differently.

    Not so. All creationists ignore facts that they dislike, and they often make stuff up that has no basis in fact. Additionally, their “interpretations” of facts that they do accept are always flawed.

    a person can be qualified to preform surgery no matter what their personal reasoning for why it works. that part is irrelevant.

    Well, you are correct in saying that surgery is irrelevant. Your analogy is flawed. Surgery is a skill. Understanding why biologists conclude that evolutionary theory is truthful is not a skill, it requires the application of several skills, combined with sufficient open-mindedness to accept whatever conclusion the evidence points to.

    physicists and chemists preform tasks, take measurements, solve formulas which for the most part are empirical actions. your explanation for why it works does not matter.

    This is plain wrong. Understanding is the most important aspect of the enterprise. Understanding how the world works is the goal of science.

    i would place myself in the agnostic category and as a science student because of this i would further comment that the big bang is a theory! hence they call it the big bang theory.

    Yes, and while it is accepted as a good approximation of what must have occurred, it is known to be incomplete because aspects of BBT do not quite match what we find in reality. But we know that BBT must be a good approximation of reality because it has made successful predictions.

    Evolutionary theory, OTOH, is better than BBT. There is no conflict between reality and the theory. Biologists know that either evolutionary theory is true, or it is a very good approximation to what actually occurs.

    maybe i am slightly liberal but i do believe that people have the right to they’re opinions and beliefs.

    Sure they do. What has this to do with the creationists trying to teach lies as if they were truth?

    we should only indoctrinate scientifically sound facts( meaning empirically known).

    No, we should not.

    We should demonstrate scientifically sound facts and theories.

    and i am sure they are capable of teaching that in they’re curriculum. so unless they’re teaching that acceleration due to gravity is not 9.8m/s^2 or that the speed of light isn’t roughly 3.0×10^8 m/s there is not much to panic about.

    In essence that is exactly what they would teach.

    The ICR claims that there is scientific evidence to support creationism. They are wrong, plain and simple. Worse, they have been shown repeatedly to be wrong but they refuse to recognise their own wrongness and are unable to address the criticisms levelled by scientists at the ICR’s publications. Therefore, what they do is not science.

    To do science, you must engage with the process of science. The ICR refuses to do this. For this and other reasons, they should not be allowed to grant science degrees.

    science is not a philosophy it is an empirically tired out observation. so what the kids will believe that god created the universe? as long as they can make the proper empirical observations.

    Whether or not god created the universe is irrelevant. Many scientists believe this, but it has no bearing. The ICR makes specific claims about how the universe that we observe today came to be, and these claims are at odds with the evidence. I.e. they are wrong.

    theists and atheists need to sort out they’re issues in a philosophical arena. and time will tell the truth whatever it is.

    No, it won’t. The very nature of the Judaeo-Christian god is one that defies proof. Theists, you will find, largely accept the findings of modern science. However, creationists are not theists.

    so unless you personally hold that every thought from your head is sacred and should never be questioned. which would make you somewhat dogmatic. leave the people to they’re beliefs. i’m canadian but im sure its supposed to be a free country down there.

    It is the creationists who claim that their ideas are sacred and beyond question. People are free to believe whatever they choose, but they should not be free to teach students a bunch of lies and call it science. Real science is a systematic and logical process of investigation. What the ICR does is propaganda.

  227. Nigel Depledge

    Dave…from Texas said:

    1. I am a Christian.

    2. This is a stupid idea.

    Also, I just want to add that not ALL Christians believe in this 6,000 year old Earth and literal interpretations of Genesis (or the whole Bible.) It sucks that Christians get lumped together with Fundamentalists and Evangelicals, and sometimes even Conservative Republicans! Anyways, I just hope people understand that just because these Conservative Evangelical Fundamentalists (Republicans?) are the loudest voice (and usually not the wisest) in describing a belief in Christ, doesn’t make them right.

    So, I would have thought that rational, moderate Christians would have the least to gain by allowing the creationist fundies to get their own brand of nonsense taught more widely. Perhaps people like you should lead the pointing and laughing at the irrational claims of the creo fundies…?

  228. Nigel Depledge

    [pedant mode]
    Ivan3man said:

    @ Thanny, and Bozo,

    Phil Plait was not incorrect in writing “vice“, when referring to a clamping device, because that’s how it is spelt in the Queen’s English. The U.S. variant is “vise“. So there!

    Well, Ivan, while you are correct about the British spelling of “vice”, you are wrong about something else. There is no such thing as the “Queen’s English”.

    The term “the King’s English” refers to just one king: James I & VI (and to those of you ignorant of British history: yes, this is just one king). The King’s English to which the phrase refers is that of the King James Bible.
    [/pedant mode]

  229. Nigel Depledge

    David said:

    People who believe in creation instead of evolution, like the majority of the founding fathers of science couldn’t possibly conduct real science could they? It is out of the question isn’t it?

    This is disingenuous.

    The “founding fathers” of science probably did believe what the Bible said. What made them scientists, however, was their acceptance that physical evidence trumps hearsay.

    The biblical creation myth had been in trouble for around 100 – 150 years before Darwin published TOOS, because the Earth seemed to be too old for Genesis to be literally true. The key thing about 20th and 21st century science is that Darwin has already been and had his great insight. To pretend, as the ICR does, that Darwin’s evolutionary theory was wrong is to ignore all of the evidence and is, to be frank, barmy.

    The point isn’t that someone believing in creationism can’t do science, the point is that they don’t do science.

  230. Nigel Depledge

    “You people are idiots” (wow, really amazing online handle, BTW) said:

    Just some quick questions:

    How was the Universe created? The Big Bang? Oh. So where did the material that caused the Big Bang come from? Where did the “spark” that ignited the Big Bang come from?

    There is the flaw in your theory that it all happened by “accident” and not by design. No matter how you answer, the next question will be: And where did THAT come from? Eventually, you will have to answer: I don’t know.

    And God will be there saying: I do.

    OK, let’s test your prediction.

    I don’t know what caused the Big Bang.

    Hello?

    Anyone?

    Bueller?

  231. Nigel Depledge

    Abigail said:

    I would say the “telos” of evolution is Life. Or Survival. Or passing on one’s genes. So in that sense it is definitely ordered toward an end.

    Don’t confuse intent with adaptation. Life is adapted to survive and reproduce because survival and reproduction are the only mechanisms by which traits can be fixed within a population. Teleology, if I have understood the word correctly, implies intent or planning. Evolution is a contingent process. In fact, each generation of a species is best adapted to survive and reproduce in conditions that applied to their parents’ generation.

  232. Nigel Depledge

    Salaam Shalom Peace said:

    I think while religion should be kept out of science class, we should also respect that *science* should keep out of the religious area – atheists (eg. Dawkins) should not mis-use science to deny religion and insult the majority of intelligent people who are both pro-science and pro-religion.

    This is an interesting point.

    Traditionally, deeply-held religious beliefs are protected from both ridicule and inquiry. In fact, in many parts of the USA, having no religion is seen as somehow wrong, even by people who tolerate many different forms of the Judaeo-Christian tradition.

    However, if we permit rational inquiry into religion, where does that take us?

    For instance, if we ask “Why do I believe in god?”, the answer could be variously because my parents taught me thus, my preacher teaches me thus, the Bible teaches me thus, or that I have had some kind of revelation. But how can we be sure that what we are taught is correct? How can we be sure that the revelation was a genuine divine event, and not simply some aberrant nerve impulses wandering about our brain, or a delusion or hallucination? In short, how can we know?

    Pursuing this question using logic brings us to this revelation: we cannot. We cannot ever know for sure that god exists, unless some form of hard evidence were to be forthcoming.

    Therefore, we can conclude that belief in god is irrational. There is no rational basis for supposing that there exists some kind of omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent but non-interventionist being. Human beings can belief some pretty wacky things, but is this any more or less ridiculous than the belief that water has a memory?

    What science has taught us is that we do not need god to explain what we observe about the world around us. We can understand the world around us without any need to invoke something for which there is no corroborative observational evidence.

  233. Nigel Depledge:

    Well, Ivan, while you are correct about the British spelling of “vice”, you are wrong about something else. There is no such thing as the “Queen’s English”.

    *Cough*

    The Chambers 21st Century Dictionary — tinyurl.com/dhl78k

    Queen’s English (when the sovereign is a woman) or King’s English (when the sovereign is a man) noun A term that is used by some, but not by linguists, to designate the standard form of written or spoken Southern British English which they regard as the most correct or acceptable form.


    The Queen’s English Society (click on my name for the link).


    Well, Nigel, you were saying…?

    :cool:

  234. Ian

    C’mon folks, don’t let’s miss the upside of this. Presumably this also means that anyone will be able to award higher degrees in Divinity and Theology. So, we’ll all be able to obtain such degrees and start making AUTHORITATIVE statements about the existence (or otherwise) of God and the thruth (or otherwise) of the Bible. I can hardly wait!!

  235. Peter B

    Good point Ian.

    And then we can start asking that they Teach the Controversy – for example, should we embrace Arianism or Sabellianism? What about Monophysitism or Nestorianism? Much more important than the supposed controversies in evolution!

  236. Nigel Depledge

    Ivan3man said:

    Well, Nigel, you were saying…?

    The Queen’s English society is wrong, of course. Just because some people have no idea where the term comes from doesn’t mean we should all accept the way they misuse it as correct. What next? You’ll be telling me that languages “evolve”! ;-)

    And who is this “Chambers” of whom you speak? Not what I consider to be an authoritative source. Next thing, you’ll start quoting that upstart colonial, Webster.

    So there.

  237. Nigel Depledge

    The Black Cat said:

    Recent catastrophes of the sort discussed in the bible (such as the flood a few thousand years ago) would leave obvious, unmistakable signs worldwide. It would affect pretty much everything we see.

    Yes, most especially if there had ever been a global flood. If there has ever been a global flood, there would still be a global flood.

  238. Nigel Depledge

    Abigail said:

    I like your post. I agree that it seems hypocritical for atheist materialism to accuse creationists of being out of their field (which they are), when it seems to have no qualms about opining on religion.

    And what you will find if you look into this in a bit more detail is that scientists, for the most part, do not comment on religion in any public fora.

    What they do comment on from time to time is the way in which religious fundies are trying to undermine science education in the USA and elsewhere, and on the way in which scientific knowledge or discoveries are egregiously misrepreented or heinously under-represented in the mass media, whereas religion and superstitious nonsense (such as astrology) are frequently taken all too seriously by people or organisations with a responsibility to know better.

  239. Nigel Depledge:

    And who is this “Chambers” of whom you speak? Not what I consider to be an authoritative source. Next thing, you’ll start quoting that upstart colonial, Webster.

    I can do better than that…

    The Oxford English Dictionary
    Queen’s English noun The English language as correctly written and spoken in Britain.


    Click on my name for the link. I suggest that you direct your remonstrations to the “Ask The Experts” link on the right of their web-site page. So there!

  240. @ nigel:

    That bumblebees “can’t” fly was only ever meant as a joke.

    Thanks for the clue. At least I didn’t take the propaganda at face value!

    BTW, I first heard that old tale on a radio broadcast by the infamously idiotic Paul Harvey back in the early 70s. Of course it was reported as…NEWS! (The type joke only works if you’re familiar with Harvey’s delivery.)

  241. Oh, and Nigel, do your fingers hurt from all that typing? Jeebus! :)

  242. @ kuhnigget,

    I’ll wager that Nigel uses “Talk It Type It 2 Ultra” software!

  243. Nigel Depledge

    @ kuhnigget and Ivan3man –
    Fingers seem OK so far.

    As you can probably guess, I only get limited online time, so my posting is sporadic.

    If I were typing that much all day every day, then either I’d develop fingers of steel, or they would be very sore.

  244. Nigel Depledge

    @ Ivan3man re: Queen’s English –

    OK, I concede that one.

  245. Nigel Depledge

    Abigail said:

    The only difference between societies of animals and ours is a rational intellect. Even tribal societies are very complex. But then again, so are anthills.

    I disagree with this.

    Societies of animals are all relatively simple – anthills may give the appearance of complexity, but they are formed from very simple principles.

    Societies of other mammals (e.g. dolphin pods, chimpanzee troupes, or herds of widebeest) all have far simpler sets of behaviours than us.

    No animal society uses a medium of exchange (money), although chimps have been shown to get the concept of barter. However, just because they are able to get the concept does not mean they use it in the wild. After all, they have no need to. No animal society has such deep and complex mores and rules about sexual behaviour. No animal society alters its environment to the extent that we do, although isolated examples can be found of animals that do one or a few of the kind of things that we do (the beaver’s lodge and dam, for instance, or the way in which leafcutter ants farm their food). No animal society makes such complicated tools as we do.

    And no animal society has the capacity to wonder and explore how and why the world is the way it is.

  246. Torbjörn Larsson, OM

    I would say the “telos” of evolution is Life.

    I see.

    But that is only the product of a causal process, ordered in time. (Not by aiming at a specific target, you gave that up.) Ultimately how a clock, an oscillator, repeats itself.

  247. anonymous

    “You should have little doubt — just look at their name, for Pete’s sake — that the ICR is not doing science. It’s doing dogma. Nothing will ever convince them the Earth isn’t 6000 years old, and that the Bible isn’t the literal truth.”

    You should have little doubt — just look at their name, for Heaven’s sake — that the evolutionists are not doing science. It’s doing dogma. Nothing will ever convince them lightning didn’t zap a pool of mud and make life millions of years ago, our ancestors aren’t fish and monkeys (even though fish and monkeys are still here), the Earth isn’t millions of years old, and that the Bible *IS* the literal truth because it makes a whole lot more sense than saying we’re just here by accident.

  248. Darth Robo

    Mistake one – Show lack of understanding of evolution and science in general

    Mistake two – Evolution does not rely on abiogenesis

    Mistake three – monkeys are not our ancestors

    Mistake four – No-one sane thinks the Earth is millions of years old, it’s about 4 and a half BILLION

    Mistake five – The age of the Earth is a separate branch of science from evolution, so are you now taking issue with science as a whole? Well, we know the answer to that is yes, but you’re not interested in science anyway.

    Mistake six – Thinking argument from incredulity is a valid argument

    Mistake seven – Thinking that scientific processes are accidental

    Mistake eight – Thinking that the Bible is LITERALLY true. Just because the Bible says so. and because you don’t understand science.

    And there’s probably more mistakes in there that I didn’t spot. However, this is all off-topic. Since Creationists (like yourself) are not even interested in science in the first place, do you think it’s okay for a Creationist organisation to offer out science degrees for subjects that have nothing to do with science? If so, why?

    If not, don’t bother preaching, I’m not interested.

  249. ed

    I wonder what is the first topic for the course?

    “In the first day.. god created…”

  250. Saranael

    So far no one could prove or disprove god or intelligent creation. But we could prove that it is not only 10,000 years ag.o.

  251. Buddha Lite

    Religions of all sorts have screwed up the world as much as any other structures of power. How much bloodshed has occurred throughout history in the name of religion? How many wars, how much persecution and human suffering at the hands of holy people? And all this horror is the will–or at least under the “omniscient” gaze–of a “perfect,” “omnipotent,” and “benevolent” creator? Children bombed to bits in churches, temples, ashrams, and mosques; entire congregations crushed by tornadoes, earthquakes, landslides, and other natural disasters; clergies that rape countless innocent children and then hide their crimes–these are the faces of religion. Where is God through all of these tragedies? A good father would take a bullet for his children, wouldn’t he? Instead of letting his children be harmed in such disgusting ways? If evil is the work of the devil, and God is impotent to stop the devil, then is He really omnipotent? And all-loving? It’s all absurdity, bona fide absurdity, to think that we little mites crawling on the enormous back of the universe have it all figured out, especially when we rely on mythologies created millennia ago and corrupted numerous times to serve the private agendas of fallible human beings–and so many of us eat that crap up like ice cream, never questioning that it tastes like scat.

  252. T

    @ Sci Fi Si.

    Just one simple question. I thought god hardly showed himself to us, you know, always ruling with an iron fist, from the shadows, or something, unless that person was considered a ‘prophet’. So if he showed up for ya, then when can I expect you to start building an Arc or Parting the Red Sea… Or building some kind of atomic doomsday shelter… And those people in the bible that he showed to, do you really think, with the important tasks given to them, he’d show up for you just to give you the answers to a test… really? I think you need a mental evaluation… a CT scan or something to that extent. And one another note, I want to add that I really HATE it when people think that the bible is true. Doesn’t anyone do their history research? The bible was written by a pagan, first of all, and second, how can it ‘still’ be the truth, given that it ever was, when it’s been revised and rewritten so many times, by human hand? Don’t you think if god created man in his image, there wouldn’t be any rapists, or murderers, or thieves, basically any criminals, I thought god was suppose to be perfect, if we’re in his image, then where did we fly off the perfect track at, perfect usually means that you are perfect. Perfect pertaining to the fact that we would never have deviated from the path of being all goody two-shoes. But we did… which leads me to believe that humans couldn’t have come from god, mind you this is just my own, logical theory.

  253. T

    Do you think god would ever stray from being ‘perfect’? If he is what religion describes him, then no, he wouldn’t and shouldn’t have. Yet, again, somehow we, being made in his image, yadayada, did stray… it makes no sense. It amazes me how easily logic and reason escape the minds of devout religious types.

  254. Engineering Student

    I am a double major engineering student, Biomedical Engineering and Material Science Engineering, and I think a Masters of Science in religious studies is awesome and I commend anyone who has the courage to pursue the degree.

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