Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Lisburn Council and the young-Earthers

Wed 3 October 2007, 11:50pm

More on the Lisburn Council young-Earthers, I’m sorry to say. Will Crawley points to Paul Taylor, a UK representative of Answers in Genesis, which is the US-based organisation behind such wonders as the $27m Creation Museum – as featured in the Guardian and, more recently, on the BBC [and excellently parodied here - Ed]. Mr Taylor claims mis-representation in media reports on the Lisburn Council motion, without references, and, more importantly, details his weekend of apparently well-attended meetings in Lisburn which ended on September 15th with a presentation and brief speech from the Lisburn Mayor, Councillor James Tinsley.

The [Lisburn Council] motion was likely given increased impetus because I had led a Creation Weekend in the city the previous week. My meetings were well attended—on Friday, September 14, 2007, for instance, I spoke to about a thousand people, half of whom were young people. On Saturday, September 15, I was presented with an attractive gift clock by the Mayor of Lisburn, Councillor James Tinsley, who made a brief speech welcoming Answers in Genesis to Lisburn as providers and preachers of biblical truth. (By the way, over the years, Ken Ham, AiG–U.S. president, has conducted several meetings in Northern Ireland which have drawn large crowds, and those seminars have helped create a groundswell of support for the deemphasizing of evolution as “fact” in govenment-run schools in the country.)

Meanwhile here’s a quote from the founder and President of Answers in Genesis – who not coincidentally are also purveyors of resources for teaching Creationism as science – and director of the Creation Museum, Ken Ham

I want to make it VERY clear that we don’t want to be known primarily as ‘young-Earth creationists.’ AiG’s main thrust is NOT ‘young Earth’ as such; our emphasis is on Biblical authority. Believing in a relatively ‘young Earth’ (i.e., only a few thousands of years old, which we accept) is a consequence of accepting the authority of the Word of God as an infallible revelation from our omniscient Creator.

First, select your conclusion..

Have those guidelines been issued here yet?!

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Comments (173)

  1. Sam Hanna @ 11:20 PM:

    Let me desist from dissimulation and take this a stage further. I am seeking to meet you on your own ground, rather than this tiresome exchange of recent “authorities”.

    The King James Bible was a translation of the Hebrew Masoretic text (OT) and the Greek Textus Receptus (NT). However good the transmission, we know that there are numerous small discrepancies between the Dead Sea Scrolls and the other earliest manuscripts. You have assured me that I only need to take note of the Greek text, and eschew the parallel comparisons of Old Syriac, Coptic, Ethiopic etc: fair enough.

    These are, again, described as minor scribal errors. Small as they may be, however, they severely damage any assurance of divinely-inspired perfect transmission (or is that also no longer accepted?)

    Which could bring me back to my earlier point: whether Jesus spoke in Hebrew, Greek or Latin, how can we then trust the absolute authority of the text? Well, perhaps we can skate over that one.

    Now, the NT, as we have it, is less than 2000 years old: we can date it certainly from 382, in a form we know existed in 367. The Pentateuch, though, is much older still.

    Here we need to clarify a point: do you follow the notion that the Torat Moshe is, indeed, the work of a single hand (even Moses himself: which puts us back to the late 14 century BC, perhaps) or do you accept the Documentary Theory, and multiple authorship? Or is there a third proposition?

    Now, the Jehovist (which tells you that, when I followed these things more closely, I was a compilation man) is usually dated around 900BC. Or did I get that wrong?

    Either way leaves us a gap in the historical record, all the way back to Creation (be it 4004 or whenever). That, as you will admit, is further complicated by the difference in the genealogies given in the Septuagint (of about 300BC) and the Vulgate (AD405), indeed the difference is 1436 years. Nor are we helped by the Torah here, because that was significantly revised and codified twice in the Christian era, most importantly at the Council of Jamnia. Can you accept that so much doubt leaves me at a loss to see this as at all “scientific”?

    Do you not, therefore, agree that there is considerable scope for interpretation of the whole corpus? Does that not subvert the integrity of the Bible as an absolutely authoritative source? And does that not reflect adversely on creationist dogma?

    Perhaps you can help the worthy burghers of Lisburn in finding a reliable way through this maze?

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  2. The Doc says:

    We all choose who we believe,I choose to believe God ,who was there at the beginning rather than man ,who was not.Have any of you heard of social Darwinism,a theory of darwin, as an attempt to say that man was evolving at different rates according to their ethnicity,in an effort to justify the enslavement of Africans

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  3. Sam Hanna says:

    Ciaran

    6-7,000 years is more than enough to account for the diversity on earth – I don’t know where in the world you get your info from. There are huge problems in projecting man beyond 6,000 yeara such as why is the world population so small, where are all the kingdoms, settlements, bones to account from beyond that. On of the critical things is that the oldest languages in the world tend to be around 5,000 years old such as Chinese (which I can read and write) which is a very complex language. No atheist has ever come up with a credible reason how, if the man has been on earth for more than 155,000 years, it took man 150,000 years to learn to communicate in written form as the oldest known language is only just over 5,000 years. After all, a two year
    old child can write the alphabet!

    There are numerous explanations among Christians for the old age of the earth based on stellar distances. One is the Gap Theory advocated by Ian Paisley, another is the fact that God made a fully mature earth with a fully mature man and solar system in 6 days according to Genesis 1 so that it has the appearance of age; a final one is that our calculations are built on pre-suppositions that are wrong.

    You can mention dinosaurs all you want as they are no problem to creationists any more than the extinction of the Dodo.

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  4. Sam Hanna says:

    Malcolm

    I don’t believe the Septuagint is inspired, save when it is cited in the New Testament.

    I don’t believe that the Textus Receptus has any scribal errors in it or the Masoretic. This is a complex issue I realise, having studied it, but I believe in the Divine Preservation of the WORDS of God in the extant manuscripts of the Majority Text. That does not equate to the fact that the English is inspired as anyone who is aware of Greek knows that no translation is perfect.

    I believe that Moses wrote the Pentateuch because Christ stated he did and the Bible states he did. One of things you need to understand is that if the Bible is the highest source of revelation to someone like me then I must accept its internal validation of itself. So if Christ said Moses wrote the Pentateuch, that Adam and Eve were literal people that is good enough for me. It is a pre-suppositional commitment as if I don’t have that then I am like a ship in the open sea, like you, without any moral compass or objective truth.

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  5. Pi in the Sky says:

    Today, Lisburn Council. Tomorrow, China. Day after that, Portadown.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/chinese/

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  6. snakebrain says:

    Sam

    I’d be interested to know your views, or arguments of refutation, on certain archaeological evidence that suggests the Earth is considerably older than 5-6000 years. I’d also appreciate it if you could restrain yourself from being abusive.

    In East Africa fragments of, as well as near complete, hominid skeletons have been discovered in a number of locations. These are conventionally held by the majority scientific view to be the remains of our ancestors, and are dated at between 2 and 3.5 million years old. The most well-known of these is Lucy, a female skeleton discovered by Richard Leakey.

    I’m sure you are aware of these discoveries. I wish to go into a little more detail as to how they have been dated, and how their link to modern humans has been established.

    Firstly, the remains themselves cannot usually be dated. It is impossible to apply carbon14 dating to any organic material in excess of 60000 years old. As I’m sure you’re aware, carbon14 dating is the principal technique applied to organic remains, from dendrological samples to human remains.

    In the case of finds that predate that period, the conventional method is to date the matrix with which the find is associated, as well as any accurately datable material from the surrounding matrix. The context, rather than the artefact, is dated. These finds were mostly made in beds of sandstone deposited approximately 2-3.5 million years ago.

    The contexts in which these artefacts have been found have been dated and cross-checked using a range of isotopic and geological dating techniques. Comparison of relative levels of radioactive and non-radioactive isotopes of several key indicator elements, along with a knowledge of the decay rates of the radioactive isotopes of those elements allows an accurate date to be established.

    Where several techniques give ages of in excess of 2 million years for a large number of artefacts, my question to you is simple.

    Can you provide an explanation for the apparent dichotomy between scientifically established principles for aging which utilise sound principles of isotopic dating, and which routinely produce results that unequivocally demonstrate that the source material must have been deposited several million years ago, and your assertion that the Earth is a mere 6000 years old.

    It seems to me that either all the principles of radioactive decay are flawed, or your assertion is. I’d be interested to hear your defence.

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  7. The Doc says:

    As I stated earlier darwins theory was an attempt to show that black people were somehow sub-human and therefore it was perfectly ok to engage in slavery,an attitude which found favour in the English mindset of the time.a mindset that for many years thwarted people like William Wilberforce in his initial attempts to have it abolished.in those days-just like today some people spell God with an l-gold

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  8. The Doc says:

    There is not a single shred of evidence to support evolution and natural selection, indeed if as it has been described a theory(however unprovable)then it should not be taken as fact-infact any other unprovable theory should have equal validity.

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  9. snakebrain says:

    “There is not a single shred of evidence to support evolution and natural selection, indeed if as it has been described a theory(however unprovable)then it should not be taken as fact-infact any other unprovable theory should have equal validity.”

    Sorry buddy, you missed the boat on this one. See Pete’s previous thread on why a “theory” when used as a scientific definition is not the same thing as a tentative “theory”, as used in conversation. It all comes down to Popper and falsifiability.

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  10. snakebrain says:

    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/the-use-of-the-word-theory-can-mislead-those-not-familiar-with-science/

    Just to make it easy for you.

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  11. Sam Hanna says:

    Snakebrain

    Read this article about ID and Darwinism’s falsiability – I attach an extract:

    Calling creationism and ID theory non-scientific because they’re both non-falsifiable is an interesting move, but, contrary to the intentions of anyone who would forward such a position, it ultimately serves to undermine the scientific status of Darwinian evolution.

    Why, after all, do Darwinian evolutionists and creationists/ID theorists debate each other? The answer is obvious. Like (1) and (2), Darwinian evolution and creationism/ID theory are logically incompatible. If Darwinian evolution is true, then creationism/ID theory is false, and vice versa.

    If we have strong evidence for Darwinian evolution, then we have strong evidence against creationism/ID theory. But this means that the degree to which we have evidence for one of these theories is the degree to which we have evidence against the other. And if we have enough evidence to prove Darwinian evolution, then we have enough evidence to refute creationism/ID theory.

    But now consider the claim that creationism/ID theory can’t be falsified. If it’s true, then no conceivable fact or event could count as evidence against creationism/ID theory. But any fact that counts as evidence for Darwinian evolution counts as evidence against creationism/ID theory. Thus, if it’s impossible to falsify creationism/ID theory, it’s impossible to verify Darwinian evolution.

    The claim that creationism/ID theory can’t be falsified is certainly debatable. But within the context of the origins debate — especially as it bears on the teaching of different origins theories in the classroom — the claim that creationism/ID theory can’t be falsified is one creationists/ID theorists might happily concede, because it can only be true if Darwinian evolution can’t be verified. And if Darwinian evolution can’t be verified, in what sense is it scientific? More to the point, if it can’t be verified, why think it’s even true?

    http://www.trueu.org/Academics/NerdsCorner/A000000485.cfm

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  12. Sam Hanna says:

    Snakebrain

    Having a biochemistry degree myself, I am well aware of the limitations and assumptions built into any isotope dating experiments.

    Frankly, I don’t trust anything over a few thousand years.

    It does not ultimately create a problem for Creationists for a numbert of reasons. Genesis 1 shows that the erath was made a mature earth, we have had a global flood that totally transformed the balance of atomic particles in the universe. Your theory works if we accept two principles which are highly suspect – uniformitarianism and assumptions built into your mathmatical equations.

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  13. The Dubliner says:

    Sam Hanna, I suggested on another thread that you acquaint yourself with the Santa Fe Institute and Murray Gell-Man’s work there on self-organising and complex adaptive systems. I’ve tried to Google links for you, but unfortunately very little of Gell-Man’s writings have found their way onto the Internet. Since you are fond of appeals to authority, they don’t come anymore eminent than Murray Gell-Man, regarded as the finest physicist since Einstein. This article provides a good overview of some of the creative ways that science is addressing some of the issues that you are concerned about, e.g. how information can be contained in systems, how simple rules can lead to ever-increasing complexity, how order can emerge, ect. It’s not offered as a direct counterargument to ID – just as something you may be interested in if those questions genuinely occupy you.

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  14. The Doc says:

    snakebrain interesting use of the phrase missed the boat as that is exactly what happenedto all excpt 8 in the time of Noah.You are assuming that because certain things are happening now it must have been always so -prove it -you cant-where are the fossils to prove evolution -there aren’t any.It may suit you to believe it but that doesn’t make it so.natural selection is “survival of the fittest” which flies in the face of evolution.the reason that so many want to believe in it will not make it so ,some will believe it in an attempt to write God out of the country so that that they can continue undermine the Word of God.you only have to compare the erupion at mount st helens all these nlayers were layered in a single day-not dis-similar to other sites that we are told too millions of years.also dna is continually being checked and repaired by rna so if evolution were even possible evolution would have to happen in under 20 minutes.

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  15. snakebrain says:

    Sam

    I’m sorry, but your second point is utter nonsense.

    I’m aware that there are assumptions built into the principles of isotopic dating, as there are in any scientific model, and you’re correct to identify uniformitarianism as a central assumption of many archaeological theories.

    To describe the mathematical assumptions underlying isotopic dating as highly suspect without further explanation is somewhat to avoid the question. To describe uniformitarianism as highly suspect seems, frankly, odd.

    Your point about the Earth being created in a “mature state” is an easy get-out-of-jail-free card that allows you to brush aside a mountain of accumulated knowledge on the basis that God planted the evidence.

    Occam’s razor suggests that the more likely explanation lies with the mountain of evidence.

    Finally, “we have had a global flood that totally transformed the balance of atomic particles in the universe.”

    I don’t know where to start with this one.

    There has never been a single incidence of global flooding. There is no evidence whatsoever in the archaeological record for any such thing, and the physical possibility of such an event stretches the bounds of probability to breaking point.

    Interestingly, there is some evidence for widespread and relatively long-term flooding in the Mesopotamian basin, somewhere between 9 and 6000 BP, precisely in the region where the flood myths that end up in the Bible originate.

    You may be interested to read the Epic of Gilgamesh, which contains the story of the flood, identical in every major detail to the Genesis account, and a man named Utnapishtim who was ordered by the gods to build a boat which would allow him and selected members of his family, along with his livestock, to survive the flood. This story dates to at least 5000 BP, concurrent with a lingering memory of a major traumatic event which has been mythologised by the local population, and which predates the Genesis account by 1000 years.

    Now, even were there to have been a global flood of the kind you describe, its potential for “transforming the balance of atomic particles in the universe” must be severely limited to say the least. The universe is vast, and events that occur on the surface of the planet Earth are extremely localised. Nothing happens here which affects the farthest reaches of the universe.

    Just what you mean by “transforming the balance of atomic particles” I’ll have to guess, but would mention that the law of conservation of mass would make any such changes extremely unlikely. This is one of the fundamental rules that govern the physical behaviour of the universe, and what you seem to be suggesting is that somehow this law was broken at or around the time of a large scale flood.

    Notwithstanding that it would have to have been broken twice, in order first of all to create the huge volume of water necessary to totally submerge the Earth’s surface, and again to remove the excess after the flood, you seem to be now suggesting that in some way it has been broken a third time to allow the principles of radioactivity to be forged.

    I can’t see how you’re going to justify this, except with another catch-all and unjustifiable argument, but I’d be delighted to see how you’ll try.

    Finally, the essential point of my first post was not really the exactitude of isotopic dating, but rather the soundness of the principle on which it is based. Either you accept that the principle is sound, and it is possible to accept that radioactive decay is detectable which must have taken place over periods of time vastly in excess of the 6000 years you propose as the age of the Earth, or you argue an unprovable nonsense of a point which says, basically, that God faked it all to keep us guessing.

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  16. snakebrain says:

    Doc, you’re a joker

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  17. snakebrain says:

    “Snakebrain

    Having a biochemistry degree myself, I am well aware of the limitations and assumptions built into any isotope dating experiments.”

    From some run-down former poly, I assume?

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  18. Devil Eire says:

    It’s like a car crash. I can’t look away.

    Sean

    “anyways the ball of matter in the centre of the universe suddenly expoded and scattered all the matter of the universe out into space, they use the fact that the universe is still expanding as proof of their theory and measure time on the belief that the universe expands a given measurable rate ”

    No. Absolutely not. The Big Bang wasn’t an explosion of matter into some pre-existing space, it was an explosion of spacetime itself. The entire volume of the observable universe occupied a region about a metre across, at 10^-33 s after the Big Bang, and expanded to form the universe we see today. Many independent lines of evidence, notably the exquisite measurements of the cosmic microwave background, have confirmed this essential picture. But there was no ‘outside’ – we are in the universe and although a 3-D object can be embedded in a higher spatial dimension, it does not have to be. The universe is entirely self contained – no edge or boundary has been detected and if we are embedded within a large fourth spatial dimension then we can learn nothing about it. One other thing. Most popular descriptions of the Big Bang describe it as the beginning of space and time. Well yes and no. Some models describe our universe as just one of an infinite number of expanding regions in an eternally existing background spacetime. I quite like that one myself, although it does have some falsifiability issues ;-)

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  19. Fraggle says:

    That familiar picture of background microwave radiation looks just like rippling water, just like a big flood!! See, proof of Noah’s flood. The bible just has to be all true.

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  20. Dawkins says:

    Fraggle,

    Awesome! You’ve obviously been dipping into Capra again :0)

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  21. circles says:

    What with today being World Teacher’s Day (http://www.ei-ie.org/worldteachersday/en/index.php)I think we could maybe try and address one of the most important aspects of this whole discussion. Its a question that I posed to Sam, which he didn’t deem worthy enough to answer it seems (so much for “suffer the little children…” eh Sam), so maybe the Doc would like to answer

    Do you agree that in this discussion of utmost importance is that children are taught how to think for themselves, to question established dogmas and how to analyse evidence. Do you think it is right that science classes no longer teach theories that have become outdated (such as the miasma theory of disease transmission or the idea of a flat-earth centred universe) and where evidence has suggested a more realistic interpetation? If so, why do you think this?

    and what is the difference between this and a young earth?

    By the way Sam, with regard to your comments on Dr Burnell and YOU not regarding her a christian – you really do make me laugh! Whose authority do you have to judge anybody elses belief in jesus christ? You’re ignorance is surpassed only by your arrogance – neither of which I had ever imagined as being “true” christian values.

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  22. nmc says:

    In response to Sam Hanna’s numerous condescending posts, which basically amount to his suggestion that there is wide rangin support I have copied some text from a very informative wiki page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Level_of_support_for_evolution):

    The National Center for Science Education has produced a “light-hearted” petition called “Project Steve” in support of evolution. Only scientists named “Steve” or some variation (such as Stephen, Stephanie, and Stefan) are eligible to sign the petition. It is intended to be a “tongue-in-cheek parody” of the lists of alleged “scientists” supposedly supporting creationist principles that creationist organizations produce.[59][60]

    According to the United States Census, about 1.6% of males and 0.4% of females have a first name that would qualify them to sign the petition. Therefore, about 1% of all people in the United States are called Steve or some name that is close to Steve.

    Therefore, if one can get N scientists named Steve or something similar to endorse the petition, one might expect that roughly 100xN scientists with all kinds of names would endorse the petition. As of September 20, 2007, 830 scientists named Steve had endorsed the petition, suggesting that if all scientists were allowed to endorse the petition, about 83,000 scientists would have signed.[59] This compares with the Discovery Institute’s claim to have over 600 scientists that support intelligent design as of the end of June, 2006.[61][62]

    Creationists strongly dispute the fact that there is overwhelming support for evolution in the science community.[47] One of the first attempts to provide evidence that there were substantial number of scientists who disagreed with evolution was a pamphlet produced by the Institute for Creation Research in 1971 entitled “21 Scientists Who Believe in Creation”[48] This pamphlet has been reprinted several times. Skeptics have claimed that this list of 21 creation supporters is misleading since it includes 3 people with PhD’s in education, 2 in theology, 5 in engineering, 1 in physics, 1 in chemistry, 1 in hydrology, 1 in entomology, 1 in psycholinguistics, 1 in food science technology, 2 in biochemistry, 1 in ecology, 1 in physiology and 1 in geophysics, and therefore most of their backgrounds might not give them much authority in evolutionary biology.[49][50]

    Similarly, chemist John F. Ashton edited a book first published in 1999 with essays from 50 scientists describing why they believed in creationism.[51]. Ann Lamont wrote a book describing 21 famous scientists such as Johannes Kepler, Robert Boyle, Isaac Newton, Carolus Linnaeus, Leonhard Euler, Michael Faraday, Charles Babbage, James Prescott Joule, Louis Pasteur, Kelvin, James Clerk Maxwell, and Wernher von Braun who she claimed believed in biblical literalism.[52] However, many of these scientists lived before much of the evidence against biblical literalism emerged.

    The level of support for creationism among relevant scientists is minimal. Only 700 out of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists gave credence to creationism in 1987,[20] representing about 0.158% of relevant scientists. In 2007 the Discovery Institute reported that it had secured the endorsements of about 600 scientists after several years’ effort.

    The National Science Foundation/Science Resources Statistics Division estimates that in 1999, there were 955,300 biological scientists in the US (about 1/3 of who hold graduate degrees). There were also 152,800 earth scientists in the US as well.[131] If the trends in the NSF statistics continued until 2007, there were even more biological scientists in the US in 2007.

    Therefore, the 600 Darwin Dissenters represent about 0.054% of the roughly 1,108,100 biological and geological scientists that existed in the US in 1999.

    A 2006 UK poll on the “origin and development of life” asked participants to choose between three different perspectives on the origin of life: 22% chose creationism, 17% opted for intelligent design, 48% selected evolution theory and the rest did not know.

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  23. Ian says:

    “The universe is vast, and events that occur on the surface of the planet Earth are extremely localised. Nothing happens here which affects the farthest reaches of the universe.”

    Unless, of course, you still believe that the Earth is the centre of the Universe around which the rest of it revolves. Are the fundies still in denial of Galileian theory as well? Are they also campaigning for science lessons to teach the ‘alternative theory’ that the Sun revolves around the Earth not the other way around??

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  24. Mike says:

    Sam Hanna –

    “As the largest group of Nobel Prize winners were Jewish (20%) I think we can safely assume that believing in ID is not incompatible with being a great mind.”

    Hold on just a minute there. You’re claiming all those who believe in a God as if they’re believers in creationist young-earth mumbo-jumbo.

    Judaism, which after all Christianity borrowed Genesis and all its olderst scriptures from, does not teach that the Gensis account should be taken literally.

    “Frankly, I don’t trust anything over a few thousand years.

    It does not ultimately create a problem for Creationists for a numbert of reasons. Genesis 1 shows that the erath was made a mature earth”

    Herein lies the inherent problem with even trying to debate scientifically with creationists.

    Sam, you’re not even trying to stick to scientific evidence. Instead you go to a thousands-years-old religious text and say “Genesis shows that…”.

    Yours is a religious belief. You start from the conclusion (which you think the Bible “tells” you, literally) and try to patch up “evidence” to back this up – rejecting anything (inlcuding vast chuncks of modern archaeology, palaeontology, geology, genetics, virology, microbiology, astronomy) that would contradict what you think your religious text “tells” you.

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  25. nmc says:

    Hold on just a minute there. You’re claiming all those who believe in a God as if they’re believers in creationist young-earth mumbo-jumbo.

    Good point and one which is touched on in the wikipedia article, which lists a number of churches who agree with evolutionary theory. The article is based around the US evolution/creationism argument, and it states that over 75% of christian churches (in the US) disagree with the ID “theory”.

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  26. Comrade Stalin says:

    Sam:

    “As the largest group of Nobel Prize winners were Jewish (20%) I think we can safely assume that believing in ID is not incompatible with being a great mind.”

    It’s this kind of contribution which tells us all that we need to know about how you conduct your arguments, Sam. You reckon Einstein would have believed in ID ?

    Having a biochemistry degree myself, I am well aware of the limitations and assumptions built into any isotope dating experiments.

    Do tell. Year ? Institution ?

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  27. Sean says:

    Sam likes fake math so lets give him some real math

    There are over 6 billion people on the planet, this is a fact that cannot be denied

    lets assume the worlds population increases exponentially every generation. A feat that is technically impossible but lets humour the man

    so if there is 6 billion people and we square root it that means there has been atleast 77,460 generations since Noah sailed his little boat
    a generation is generally considered to be 20 years sooooo

    77,460 x 20 = 154,920 years since the apocraphyl flood

    So if the world is only 6,000 years old how can it be atleast 154 thousand years since the world was scrubbed clean of the human race?

    the bible is not science its fairy tales made up to explain things that were otherwise unexplainable to the understanding of the day. To accept that it is the literal truth is to declare yourself lobotomized from the inside

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  28. After some 130 postings in this thread, plus the two previous threads, we are no further forward. How surprising is that. (Note the lack of any question mark.)

    Let me be explicit about my position: after many years of reflection, I am even agnostic as to whether I’m agnostic. However, I do see a real need for religious faith, if only as a social prophylaxis. Like that bell in Essex (as I recall), I’m inscribed with: “Success to the Church of England, and NO ENTHUSIASM.”

    Certainly the moral and spiritual belong in the curricular mix: nobody can quibble with inculcating a sense of the numinous. Not to do so frustrates an essential need in the human psyche. Anyone who cannot feel a sense of awe and wonder at Lincoln Cathedral or Newgrange, driving the Millau viaduct or standing under the oculus of the Pantheon is psychologically warped.

    Well, that’s my take.

    And yet:

    The Sam Hannas of this world deny the human in all this. This creature (consider the nuances in that word), made in the image of their God, endowed by judgment and choice, is a puppet of a book. It is stultifying and negativist.

    There are problems with the cosmology and coherence of the biblical text: ignore them. But Moses wrote the account of his own funeral and even changed the name of his God between Genesis I and Genesis II: so what? There are issues with its transmission and accuracy: they don’t exist. Our culture has conveyed key texts (not just the Bible, but Homer and the Bhagavad Vita) from prehistoric times to the present day: that’s marvellous. It’s a tremendous human achievement: no, it’s not.

    Whenever these issues are brought up, the shutters come down like six o’clock in Portadown High Street. It is a denial of the most basic human quality, celebrated by the Adam-and-Eve story, one of the most complex and poignant in our literatures: curiosity.

    On too many occasions when the i.d. merchants have been given a foot in the door, on the ground of “hearing both sides”, they have gone on to supplant, deny and eliminate the evolutionist “alternative”. Only their creationism is allowed. After all, they have to save the rest of us from “error”. It is the narrowness of the mandrassah, not a school that I would recognise.

    And that is why the i.d. approach is inimical to my concept of liberal education. And why it must be resisted, in Lisburn and the world, not on scientific grounds alone, but on grounds of protecting the liberal Western Judaeo-Christian tradition from the ayatollahs.

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  29. If we ever needed evidence that politicians should not be let loose with the authority to collect the bins, let alone edumacation :-) this must be it!

    And for all you young earthers out there, just a quick reminder to hang onto the ground for dear life, as Gravity is currently still ‘just’ a Theory too….

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  30. circles says:

    Sean – I’m really not following your logic there at all. Could you explain why taking the root of 6 billion would somehow give you the number of generations?

    Surely you should be using a population growth rate (which has varied enormously with time) and the equation P1 = P0 (1+i)^n
    Where
    P1 = the present population (around 6 bllion)
    P0 = the original population (around 2)
    i = the population growth rate
    and n = the number of years

    and basically solve this for n.

    Now the problem we have here with this is that for a long, long time there was no real significant increase in the human population – a steady state existed between those being born and those dying. n = 0. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Population_curve.svg)
    So your assumption of an exponential population increase per generation is way off.

    Current population size of absolutely no use in trying to prove the age of the earth. Now perhaps if we discuss the distance to the stars it could be more interesting. For example of something is more than 6000 light years away and we can see it it would sugest that the light has been coming from that point for more than 6000 years – i.e from before god created the universe. Now hoe would i.d. explaing that one?

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  31. nmc says:

    P1 = P0 (1+i)^n

    Must have picked that one up on the old Sociology GCSE there Circles.

    Sorry, couldn’t resist it.

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  32. snakebrain says:

    Sean

    “Sam likes fake math so lets give him some real math

    There are over 6 billion people on the planet, this is a fact that cannot be denied

    lets assume the worlds population increases exponentially every generation. A feat that is technically impossible but lets humour the man

    so if there is 6 billion people and we square root it that means there has been atleast 77,460 generations since Noah sailed his little boat
    a generation is generally considered to be 20 years sooooo

    77,460 x 20 = 154,920 years since the apocraphyl flood

    So if the world is only 6,000 years old how can it be atleast 154 thousand years since the world was scrubbed clean of the human race? ”

    That’s not real math.

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  33. Sean says:

    Circles/Snakebrain

    If you read my post it clearly states that my projected growth is not possible. I was using the greates possible growth factors so that sam hannah couldnt argue that i was under estimating the population growth rates.

    The math is not fake, though it is slightly wrong, it shows quite clearly that the world could not possibly be only 6,000 years old as per the bible but is much much older

    the mistake was on not carrying over so that even with my absurdly fast growth projections the earth would still need to be atleast 1,549,000 years old since the time of Noah not even considering how many more years necesary for 2 to become the 30 or 40 million that were likely on the planet at the time of the mythical flood

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  34. circles says:

    Actually I use that one a lot in work nmc ;-)

    At GCSE I confess to thinking that sociology was for all the dossers and in fact not a real subject – being a young academic snob I avoided it like the plague (that would be that actual black death plague and not one of those biblical ones that kind old god sent to wipe out innocent men, women and children who may have belonged to wrong ethnic group let me add)

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  35. snakebrain says:

    Sean

    You don’t seem to understand the principle of exponential growth. If world population had doubled with every generation, how many generations ago would it have been, say, less than 1/2 million?

    Simple, assuming current population at 6bn, and simply halfing it with each generation, we count backwards and get:

    1, 6bn. 2, 3bn. 3, 1.5 bn 4. 0.75 bn. 5. 375m. 6. 182.5m. 7. 91.25m. 8. 45.625m. 9 ~22.8m. 10. ~11.4m. 11. ~5.7m. 12. ~2.85m. 13. ~1.425m. 14. ~0.7125m. 15. ~0.35m.

    15 x 20 = 300 years.

    That’s simple exponential growth. There’s no need to take a square root of anything. It doesn’t prove your point yet, but you might be able to do something if you come up with some realistic projection for population growth and reverse engineer from there.

    Best of luck..

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  36. Sean says:

    yes snake brain even if i accept yopur calculation you made a more basic mistake i said GENERATIONS not years. and even with your numbers and the laws of diminishing returns the smaller the number gets the more time it takes so even by your calculations to reduce the worlds population to just 350,000 people would still have taken 6,000 years not 300

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  37. Sean says:

    lol sorry snakebrain mis read that i am going to have to quit trying to multi task as i suck at it

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  38. Sam Hanna says:

    Snakebrain

    Thank you for saving me the time to help Sean out with GCSE maths.

    Malcolm

    I don’t know what kind of absurd straw man you are painting but I can guess your motives.

    What Prof Nevins and others have argued for (and I agree) is that the truth is told in this debate over the origins of life. It is patently clear that evolution is a flawed concept and children should not be taught it as the only viable alternative. By all means, teach children how to discuss how evidence should be collected and evaluated.

    Stop building yourself up that somehow you are the defender of freedom of education and logical thinking. You come to this debate with your own pre-conceived ideas and pre-suppositions like all of us. You may be a legend in your own mind but we are not all that gullible. You make wild unsubstantiated claims about the ID advocates such as they only want creationism to be heard. Please post a link to prove this.

    In addition, for hundreds of years our children were taught creationism and it seemed to do them the power of good which kind of undermines you theory that if we teach them that they came from monkeys and must fight to survive they will become beter citizens. Sadly, in our schools today we are teaching children as fact that they came from beasts and they act accordingly.

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  39. snakebrain says:

    Sam

    I do believe you haven’t answered my last post..

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  40. Comrade Stalin says:

    Sam, you’re running away again.

    What Prof Nevins and others have argued for (and I agree) is that the truth is told in this debate over the origins of life.

    But that’s not what you’re arguing, Sam. You’re arguing that your religious beliefs be used as a substitute for a scientific analysis of the matter. I very much doubt that Nevins (whom I’ve never heard of, despite your attestations as to his fame) would go along with you there. I wonder how pleased he is about his name being bandied about in this discussion ?

    It is patently clear that evolution is a flawed concept

    No, evolutionary theory is the best available theory to explain the origins of species on earth at the moment. There isn’t a better one.

    and children should not be taught it as the only viable alternative.

    There aren’t any other viable alternatives. ID and Creationism are religion. Evolutionary theory has observed phenomena as it’s basis.

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  41. Comrade Stalin says:

    You make wild unsubstantiated claims about the ID advocates such as they only want creationism to be heard.

    Sam,

    I’m quite happy for ID and Creationism to be heard, as long as Pastafarianism, SubGenius and Scientology (including OT level 4) are heard alongside. Deal ?

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  42. snakebrain says:

    Are you a Thetan too Comrade? Natch…

    I can’t tell you much more as I’m OT7 and cannot compromise the mission of Xorg the Eternal Destroyer, or whatever…

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  43. Sam Hanna @ 05:01 PM:

    You asked for a link to show the i.d. merchants want exclusive selling rights. For one (and I can provide others, but enough bandwidth has been squandered already) try the Buffalo News of September 13, 1999:

    “Last month the Kansas Board of Education voted six to four to eliminate references to biological evolution and the big bang origin of the universe from its state school syllabus. This action does not prevent teachers from presenting these ideas but, since statewide examinations will not include these topics, the message is clear. All teachers know the classroom inquiry: ‘Will this be on the test?’ ”

    The Buffalo News is on-line at http://www.buffalonews.com/

    I see you approve such a diktat: “It is patently clear that evolution is a flawed concept and children should not be taught it…etc”.

    By the way, I find the term “children” dismissive and contemptuous of young adults reaching school-leaving age.

    Next stop: chain up the playground swings at Saturday dusk, ban music on the basis of the alleged sexual orientation of the performer, save Ulster from sodomy…

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  44. circles says:

    Sam – you have shown your generally distaste for actualy answering direct questions but I’ll try again.

    Do you agree that in this discussion of utmost importance is that children are taught how to think for themselves, to question established dogmas and how to analyse evidence. Do you think it is right that science classes no longer teach theories that have become outdated (such as the miasma theory of disease transmission or the idea of a flat-earth centred universe) and where evidence has suggested a more realistic interpetation? If so, why do you think this?

    and what is the difference between this and the ill-founded young earth?

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  45. ciaran says:

    Several posters have had a discussion about the process by which the Bible came to be written, with particular reference to either its “inerrancy” or its inconsistencies and contradictions. This is vast and pregnant topic that has been the subject of much serious academic research and debate, and not merely by the types of religious “experts” who received their qualifications from “$50 diploma mills”.

    For anyone interested in the subject, I would like to recommend a fascinating book called “Misquoting Jesus” by Bart D. Ehrman. It can be bought on Amazon here-

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Misquoting-Jesus-Story-Behind-Changed/dp/0060859512/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1/026-5593003-3462866?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191607517&sr=8-1

    The book is a supreb introduction to this huge subject. It focuses on the New Testament.
    Professor Ehrman is no flippant religion-basher either. He is the head of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina and is an internationally renowned Biblical scholar. Interestingly, he was once a fundamentalist Christian of the strictest kind, but through his studies of the Bible over a period of 30 years he now holds an agnostic viewpoint. It’s strange how a close and serious study of the Bible can make one cease to believe in that book’s god. Get reading Sam.

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  46. Sam Hanna says:

    So many responses so will try to deal with the main ones.

    Snakebrain

    “There aren’t any other viable alternatives. ID and Creationism are religion. Evolutionary theory has observed phenomena as it’s basis.”

    Evolution has no right to claim this any more than ID or even creationism so stop spinning what is clearly untrue. Evolution has a pre-suppositional framework behind it and evolutionists then try to use the evidence to fit into it. You really need to distinguish in your mind what science really is. Prof Nevins clearly can, and he is a lot smarter than you, so what is your basic problem?

    Ciaran

    Sceptics have been attacking the word of God for 5,0000 years and some of the brightest men of their day have been studying the evidence and embracing it as the rule of faith for their life. Do you really think I am going to be blown away by some doubter in North Carolina?

    Comrade Stalin

    Please get a grip – no leading scientist such as Profs. Nevins, Roberts are advocating flat earth theories etc so such views can be easily removed from the curriculum. I hope that answers “Circles” point also why ID is a viable and useful scientific theory to present alongside evolution in the classroom.

    I personally think evolution is the biggest confidence hoax in history and time will prove this, but I have never stated that children should not be shown its pre-suppositional framework in a classroom as long as it is not presented as fact.

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  47. Sam Hanna says:

    “But that’s not what you’re arguing, Sam. You’re arguing that your religious beliefs be used as a substitute for a scientific analysis of the matter. I very much doubt that Nevins (whom I’ve never heard of, despite your attestations as to his fame) would go along with you there. I wonder how pleased he is about his name being bandied about in this discussion ?”

    You clearly know nothing about science in the UK if you have never heard of Prof Norman Nevins. Have a look at his views then on my stance:

    http://www.shop-secure.biz/productdetails/science.html

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  48. I believe this may qualify as the 150th posting in this thread, so it had better be memorable.

    Ready?

    Why do I feel uncomfortable about such great intellects who know not that “it’s” and “its” are not the same,…

    …and yet are qualified to pontificate about education?

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  49. Comrade Stalin says:

    Sam:

    Please get a grip – no leading scientist such as Profs. Nevins, Roberts are advocating flat earth theories etc so such views can be easily removed from the curriculum.

    I’d suggest a better test. How about ensuring that anything to be taught in schools is published in scientific journals, and is subject to consensus within the scientific community ?

    The idea that things should be taught because they are promoted by people who are “leading” is a dangerous one. True science, which you have time and time again demonstrated your inability to comprehend, attaches no merit to a person’s credentials. The argument stands or falls on it’s own merits alone, and gains acceptance through testability and consensus.

    I hope that answers “Circles” point also why ID is a viable and useful scientific theory to present alongside evolution in the classroom.

    No it doesn’t, because ID isn’t even vaguely scientific. It’s made-up rubbish by people who think that real science is a challenge to their faith, and who therefore feel the need to counter it.

    You clearly know nothing about science in the UK if you have never heard of Prof Norman Nevins.

    I know in your book that knowing the names of UK professors actually counts for something, but for those of us who expect a little more from people other than letters after their name, it doesn’t. Name dropping doesn’t mean anything to me. In fact when I see someone doing it as often as you are, alarm bells tend to go off that people need to bolster their ill-argued facts with qualifications in order to make them seem more significant than they really are. In the real world, you aren’t judged by the number of clever people who agree with you.

    It’s a damn shame that Nevin doesn’t consider his ideas important enough that he should give them to the world without trying to make any money out of them, so I won’t be able to find what they are I’m afraid.

    I repeat my previous point, which you don’t seem to be getting. You seem to be trying to advance your argument by drawing up lists of learned individuals who agree with you. I can tell you that this is not how it works. Intelligent Design is unscientific rubbish. Evolution is a fact which has been observed in the field and which, while imperfect, is the best theory available which explains the observed phenomena. Can’t you get that into your head ?

    By the way, I asked you when and where your biology degree came from. You wouldn’t mind confirming that for me ? If it’s alright with you, I’d like to double check it.

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  50. Comrade Stalin says:

    Are you a Thetan too Comrade? Natch…

    We are all thetans!

    I can’t tell you much more as I’m OT7 and cannot compromise the mission of Xorg the Eternal Destroyer, or whatever…

    Xenu. Get it right!

    Sam thinks that things should be taught in schools if “leading” individuals promote them. Well, Tom Cruise, John Travolta and several other very successful and rich people support and promote Scientology, and attest to the role it played in improving their lives. Why shouldn’t Scientology be taught in schools (for a small compulsory $200,000 fee) ?

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  51. snakebrain says:

    Sam

    Snakebrain

    “There aren’t any other viable alternatives. ID and Creationism are religion. Evolutionary theory has observed phenomena as it’s basis.”

    Evolution has no right to claim this any more than ID or even creationism so stop spinning what is clearly untrue. Evolution has a pre-suppositional framework behind it and evolutionists then try to use the evidence to fit into it. You really need to distinguish in your mind what science really is. Prof Nevins clearly can, and he is a lot smarter than you, so what is your basic problem?

    Well yes, but I didn’t say that. Somebody else did. A little basic fact-checking seems to be your ongoing basic problem…

    Further, you still haven’t addressed the question of whether you accept the fundamental principle of isotopic decay. It’s quite important because I think it provides a uniform time-action relationship over the periods of time we’re discussing and hence removes your central objection to isotopic dating techniques, i.e. that uniformitarianism is an assumption. If you accept that radioactive decay has been phenomenologically consistent over the duration of the decay of a currently active atom, then the Earth simply must be older than 6000 years.

    Or God’s playing silly buggers, and we know he doesn’t approve of that..

    Any further thoughts?

    And please don’t tell me I’m stupid again.

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  52. Turgon says:

    Comrade Stalin,

    I have been trying to stay out of the this debate as I regard it as completely circular and now fundamentally pointless.

    Might I suggest one thing though. I am not directing this against you but in general.

    None of us can be certain of one another’s qualifications nor their relevance. Indeed I do not know exactly who you are in the real world, nor you me. Might we agree to accept that Sam Hanna has a biology degree and indeed snakebrain has a Masters in Archaeology (both things I greatly respect and admire). Some of us may have strings of letters, doctorates etc. after our names. Some of us have very few. If you are suggesting that Sam’s approach of quoting famous clearly clever people like Prof. Nevin is flawed as a reason to believe in creationism (and I largely agree with you on this) then you should probably accept in good faith that he has a biology or biochemistry or whatever degree. Since he quotes a specific module on the philosophy of science from QUB, might I suggest it does not need a doctorate to work out his almer mater. Equally I think describing snakebrains’s degree as from a run down poly is highly inappropriate.

    If people have no qualifications that does not make the stupid, ill educated nor their view irrelevant; and I know you agree with me on this.

    I still feel the whole debate is a bit pointless now but attacking one anothers qualifications is just an even more pointless distraction from the general pointlessness.

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  53. snakebrain says:

    You’re absolutely right Turgon. Qualifications mean precisely zilch.

    I’m reminded of the story that hit the papers a few years ago of the VP of a large multi-national who was discovered, at the time of his application for the VP post, to have utterly fabricated all his academic credentials at the time of his original employment with the company, some 30 years previously. He had however started at the bottom of the company and made it to VP on his own merit. They considered the matter and gave him the promotion.

    I didn’t want to look like I was showboating when I said that about my degree; merely that I do have some relevant knowledge. It was actually a former theological college….

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  54. Turgon says:

    snakebrain,
    I know you and I disagree a lot on this issue but I can assure you that I was not accusing you of showboating at all. In fact your qualifications do have significant relevance to the topic in hand since radio carbon dating is relevant to the age of things which are thousands of years old (is it less relevant when one gets to much older? Not an attack; a genunine question). Your MA/MSc sounds really interesting though I bet it was pretty tedious for you at times near the end with writing up and stuff.

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  55. snakebrain says:

    Tedious does not begin to describe it…

    You’ve been very reasonable Turgon; a model disputant if I may say so, always a pleasure to deal with.

    RC dating is only valid up till about 60000 years ago, because after that the radioactive isotope has completely decayed and is indistinguishable from ordinary background levels. Up till that cut-off point RC is startlingly accurate, often giving results within a 3-5 year range at 1000 years remove.

    This level of hyper-accuracy is actually due to calibration of the RC scale with dendrochronological data (wood samples) which, with a lot of patience and lab time, can be dated to the exact year of growth. The RC scale is then calibrated with the more accurate dendro scale. Astounding stuff. N.B. RC is only viable with organic material, i.e. material that has been alive.

    After the 60k year cut-off for RC there are other isotopic dating techniques which work in precisely the same way. For example, instead of comparing levels of C14 to C12, levels of Uranium 238 (the radioactive isotope) are compared to levels of U235 (non-radioactive), or levels of different radioactive isotopes are compared, for example Uranium-Thorium dating, which is viable over huge periods of time.

    (The reason I was asking Sam about isotopic dating was that if an atom has been decaying at a constant rate for 20000 years, it must prove it’s own existence twenty thousand years previously, and hence the Earth’s existence.)

    Hope that’s satisfied your curiosity for now. Anything else you’re wondering about, feel free to ask.

    Again, always a pleasure.

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  56. Turgon says:

    snakebrain,
    Just one thing before the usual nonsense resumes (or preferably the whole thread quietly becomes extinct). I can understand the living things taking it in bit and the decay but how does the C14 get made? Is it is the atmosphere from the action of sunlight or from rocks and stuff in the earth? I presume it must be “manufactured” in some way or there would be an exponentially decreasing amount of it in the world. No hidden agenda here just curiosity.

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  57. Sam Hanna says:

    Comrade Stalin

    The reason I mention Prof Norman Nevin’s name in the debate is because the majority of people blindly assert here that ID is not science and that evolution is a fact. They also keep implying that anyone who cannot see that is some ignorant fundamentalist obscurantist who hasn’t advanced beyond a primary school education.

    It is an extremely important fact that Prof Nevins, who is widely recognised as the greatest scientist in N.Ireland, and a world specialist in gentics. As I explained his specialisation is in the field of genetic variation which is at the very heart of the “evolutionary engine.” So, if evolution is a “fact” (that many claim here)why on earth is such an acknowledged expert sceptical about the claims that the key mechanism doesn’t even begin to meet the outlandish claims by evolution. Comparing him to you, with respect, is a bit like arguing that someone who knows about windscreen wipers is an equal authority on the performance of a car as a engine builder and mechanic. If the wipers guty is sceptical we may overlook it, but if the engine designer says the engine won’t even start the car then I have to be worried. You state that a person’s credentials are unimportant – they are very important as we obtain the vast majority of our evidence from which to frame this discussion from these men.

    You cannot keep banging on about scientific journals as if that is the test of this argument – I have provided a long list of names of men who are ID advocates who regularly write in scientific journals and who are opposed to evolution.

    You need to understand the difference between your personal preferences and factual realities. You may ignorantly think that evolution is the best explanation, but Prof Nevins is equally able (mosyt here would agree more able) to evaluate the evidence and come to the conclusion that it points to creation. You are never going to persuade anyone by blandly ignoring the facts just because you “think” you are right.

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  58. Sam Hanna says:

    Snakebrain

    Hope your are enjoying your love in with Turgon – like the Chuckle Brothers in Stormont.

    Isotope dating is a rather boring game to talk about and if you simply google you will come up with numerous answers to your conundrum from a Creationist standpoint.

    Three critical assumptions can affect the results during radioisotope dating:

    (1)The initial conditions of the rock sample are accurately known.

    (2)The amount of parent or daughter elements in a sample has not been altered by processes other than radioactive decay.

    (3)The decay rate (or half-life) of the parent isotope has remained constant since the rock was formed.

    Read and enjoy

    http://trueorigin.org/dating.asp

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  59. Dawkins says:

    Malcolm,

    Why do I feel uncomfortable about such great intellects who know not that “it’s” and “its” are not the same,…

    …and yet are qualified to pontificate about education?

    This is Ireland; what did you expect? :0)

    But I’m delighted you posted again because I wished to express my appreciation of your thoughtful and intelligent posts of 12.22 and 18.26 today. Beautiful.

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  60. Sean says:

    Sam
    has anyone besides sam hannah ever heard of profesor Nevin

    And just for the record the fact that one suposed scientist agrees with your wackadoo ideas does not make him or his credentials extremely important. theres a thousand eminently more important scientist who think he is wrong

    you dont provide any facts to back up your arguement except “I believe this….. these people agree with me”

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  61. circles says:

    And what a fitting note to wind up on:

    “You are never going to persuade anyone by blandly ignoring the facts just because you “think” you are right.”

    Thanks for that (hopefully) last word Sam – I think everybody can agree on that.

    Good night, and as Mr Allen used to say, may your god go with you……

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  62. Turgon says:

    Sam Hanna,
    I really do not like disagreeing with you in public, I feel it is letting the side down. I think a lot of what you posted at the start (when we were all a lot younger) was very valid. You proposed a number of valid criticisms of evolution and it is correct there are many. The evolutionists’ answer is; as far as I can see essentailly, more research will sort it out which is, I agree not really that good an answer.

    A long time ago towards the end of thread 1 all that is useful had been said but it just kept on going.

    As an aside I went to some of the creationist stuff in Lisburn / Hillsbourgh (one of Elenwe’s cousins orgainsed it). I have heard all this before and largely agree with many of the propositions they make but have neither time, motivation nor intelligence to get really into it.

    On the issue of Norman Nevin, I know of him and he might once have just about recognised my face. It is Nevin not Nevins incidentally. He is as you state a famous geneticist, researcher and doctor, previously Professor of Genetics and Consultant Physician at the Belfast City Hospital. His work is not really related to evolution. One could easily research the genes involved in spina bifida etc. without getting very interested in evolution. I suspect one could practice medicine at almost any level without getting involved in any way at all in evolution or believe in it. I know a number of doctors who do not believe in evolution.

    It is interesting that this gentleman is a creationist and it shows really clever people believe in creationism but yet again on this basis the walls of the towers of evolution do not at that point come crashing down, let alone those of atheism. With this fact you have not thrown Sauron’s ring into Orodruin and Barad-dur will not now come crashing down (sorry biazzare Tolkien reference).

    I do not feel this whole debate is a very good advert for fundamentalist Christianity, is not critical to the continuance of my (or your) faith and will in no way assist in the salvation of the souls of our fellow debaters.

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  63. Turgon says:

    Sam Hanna,
    “Hope your are enjoying your love in with Turgon”

    The last few posts crossed.

    My only answer to that is “And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you” 1 Thessalonians 3:12.

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  64. ciaran says:

    Sam,

    I am still bemused as to why you feel so certain that Professor Nevin “is widely recognised as the greatest scientist in N.Ireland”. Others have questioned your opinion on this too. It seems to me that you are only saying this because he shares some of your religious opinions.

    I suggested previously that our most famous scientist is actually Jocelyn Bell Burnell. Using Google entries as a guide, I counted the numbers of referencees it gave for each of these persons.

    “Jocelyn Bell Burnell” returned 42,300 entries.

    “Norman Nevin” and “Norman C. Nevin” returned a total of 899 entries.

    I think this is a reasonable guide to the extent of person’s fame or celebrity. No doubt you will not accept this a valid methodology.

    By the way, I think that your refusal to accept that Jocelyn Bell Burnell is a “real” Christian, simply because her religious beliefs are tempered by her scientific observations and not by an adherence to a literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis, is complete nonsense.

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  65. Questor says:

    ciaran @ 11:47 PM:

    Your bemusement would be less had you appreciated that Sam Hanna’s strings were manipulated by http://www.answersingenesis.org/

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  66. The Dubliner says:

    “I still feel the whole debate is a bit pointless now but attacking one anothers qualifications is just an even more pointless distraction from the general pointlessness.” – Turgon

    It sounds like a Beckett play.

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  67. bollix says:

    there are so many counter arguments to creationism, most of them already canvassed here, that it would be pointless to start.

    Yet, I feel compelled to say, from a personal viewpoint, that it is possible both to agree with the theory of evolution and to believe in God.
    Proving evolution doesn’t for me disprove God. Religious belief is a mutable thing in this respect. I will always find God in the unknown and as humanity shrinks the unknown with its scientific advances, I will find still more “unknown” where I place God. This is because it is a belief, not a science – I get to change the goal posts in a most unscientific (and dare I say illogical?) way.

    Bishop of Ussher and ID really are just bunkum.

    Sam Hanna, i do admire your tenacity in repeating your views, but tenacity does not mean correctness.
    As turgon points out, pseudo-science claptrap turns people off religion rather than persuading them off it.

    As a side note, equating religious education with child abuse is tendentious. And mocking someone’s beliefs as being “skypixies and fairy tales” is also a little bit offensive.

    I promise not to read these circular threads ever again.

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  68. Dawkins says:

    Bollix,

    “As a side note, equating religious education with child abuse is tendentious.”

    I guess I’m the guilty one. But don’t you think that it’s religious education that’s tendentious? I mean to say, it’s hardly impartial, is it?

    I do feel strongly about this filling of young heads with untruths at an age when opinions are being formed. It simply isn’t fair. Notions and viewpoints imbibed at, say, 4 or 5 will persist and will be all the harder to dismiss when the child has grown. But I suppose that’s the whole idea isn’t it?

    I’m constantly grateful that my own parents were wise enough not to burden their offspring with religious beliefs. My siblings and I had far less to “unlearn” in later life. I do feel it’s the religious baggage that retards many a life and prevents an individual from achieving true fulfilment.

    But perhaps I’m biased :0)

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  69. snakebrain says:

    Do you know Turgon, I actually couldn’t give you an intelligent answer to that. My gut feeling is that inherent breakdown into component isotopes is a constantly ongoing process, that tends towards a fixed proportionality within any sample. I’ll dig out the books and have a look.

    I liked the Thessalonians quote btw. I’m not remotely religious as you know, but sometimes the Good Book says it well…

    I’ll be a little more contemporary:

    It’s nice to be nice.

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  70. McGrath says:

    Sam:

    “You are never going to persuade anyone by blandly ignoring the facts just because you “think” you are right.”

    Just when everyone though Mr Hanna had reached the bottom, he produced a shovel.

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  71. Sean says:

    And mocking someone’s beliefs as being “skypixies and fairy tales” is also a little bit offensive.

    that would be me

    sorry but the bible is a fairy tale made up of the understandings of the people at the time. every primitive culture has a creationist fable and perhaps evolution will just be the most modern creatonist fable but until some one can explain it better than evolution I will believe

    By the way how come if sam is so certain the bible is the literal word of god and the absolute truth it never mentions Asia, Australia or the Americas

    believe if you must but other than a possible guide book to living a moderately moral life it serves no purpose sonce 1132ad

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  72. Turgon says:

    The Dubliner,
    To have anything I have written compared to Beckett is praise indeed.

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  73. ciaran says:

    This thread seems to have died from exhaustion, and I don’t intend to revive it. I just want to pass on some information that might interest some contributors.

    There was an discussion a few pages back which dealt with population statistics or something – I found it difficult to follow. By an odd co-incidence I was reading another article today and found a link to the US Census website and a document that gives estimates for the World’s population at various times in the past. The dcument can be found here-

    http://www.census.gov/ipc/www/worldhis.html

    I don’t know how it affects the previous discussion, if at all, so I will just let you make of it what you will.

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