Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre: “The National Trust fully supports the scientific explanation for the creation of the stones 60 million years ago”

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Which is fine, but misses the point.  The National Trust continues to try to defend its decision to give in to the lobbying of the Caleb Foundation and include young-Earth creationist beliefs in the Giants’ Causeway Interpretive Centre[Are they after the crank pound? - Ed]  Maybe… and maybe not.

Yesterday’s NT press office blog carried this quote

A National Trust spokesperson said: “The interpretation in the visitor centre showcases the science of how the stones were formed, the history of this special place and the stories of local characters.

“We reflect, in a small part of the exhibition, that the Causeway played a role in the historic debate about the formation of the earth, and that for some people this debate continues today. [added emphasis]

“The National Trust fully supports the scientific explanation for the creation of the stones 60 million years ago.”

And the BBC report included comments by the Causeway project director, Graham Thompson.

Speaking on BBC Radio Ulster Graham Thompson, Causeway project director said: “Over the past five or six years we have had a thorough appraisal at what should be contained in the Causeway visitors centre, we have a huge range of exhibits, audio tours, films and how the Causeway itself links into history.

“Central to everything is how the Causeway was formed and the National Trust position is that we believe and accept the mainstream scientific idea that the Causeway was formed by volcanic eruption 60 million years ago.

“In the scientific and formation elements we base everything on fact.

“It’s a fact today that there is still a series of debate surrounding the formation of the Causeway but the exhibit is about that debate of as opposed to how the Causeway was formed. [corrected quote - see Graham Thompson's comment here]

We have a respectful position which allows people to have debate.” [added emphasis]

That line has been modified in an update today on the NT press office blog.

Lastly there is the ‘debating characters’ exhibit, which sparked the discussion. This exhibit consists of five different audio samples triggered by buttons. It is designed to give a flavour of the historical debates there have been over the Causeway’s formation – starting with arguments between Sir Thomas Molyneux and a mystery correspondent (probably George Ashe) over whether the columns were fossil or mineral. The next clip sets out a flavour of the argument between Vulcanists and Neptunists. The next clip details how James Hutton’s work opened the way for definitive proof of an ancient earth. The fourth clip mentions a theory published in the 1800s that the Causeway was fossilised bamboo. Then the final clip states that Young Earth Creationists exist who wish to continue the debate today, as they believe the earth is only 6000 years old. [added emphasis]

That gets closer to identifying the problem here for the National Trust.  As I pointed out yesterday, in response to this quote from a National Trust spokesperson in the original UTV report

The trust said that the exhibit gives recognition to the fact that, for creationists, the debate about the age of the Earth is still ongoing.

A statement read: “The Giants’ Causeway has always prompted debate about how it was formed and how old it is.

“One of the exhibits in the Giants’ Causeway Visitors’ Centre interpretation tells the story of the part the Giants’ Causeway played in the debate about how the Earth’s rocks were formed and the age of the Earth.

“This is an interactive audio exhibition in which visitors can hear some of the different debates from historical characters.

In this exhibition we also acknowledge that for some people, this debate continues today and we reflect and respect the fact that creationists today have a different perspective on the age of the Earth from that of mainstream science.” [added emphasis]

“The problem with this is that the only “debate” taking place [over the age of the Earth] is inside the heads of young-Earth creationists.”

And, despite the new NT press office line, the offending section of the exhibition [scroll down] is titled, “The Debate continues today”

The Debate continues today

Like many natural phenomena around the world, the Giant’s Causeway has raised questions and prompted debate about how it was formed.

This debate has ebbed and flowed since the discovery of the Causeway to science and, historically, the Causeway became part of a global debate about how the earth’s rocks were formed.

This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science.

Young Earth Creationists believe that the earth was created some 6000 years ago.  This is based on a specific interpretation of the Bible and in particular the account of creation in the book of Genesis.

Some people around the world, and specifically here in Northern Ireland, share this perspective. 

Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant’s Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.

To repeat myself,

Young-Earth creationists are not part of any scientific debate, mainstream or otherwise, about “how the earth’s rocks were formed”.

And it’s not the Giants’ Causeway prompting “awe and wonder” that’s behind the young-Earth creationists lobbying campaign and interest in the Interpretive Centre.

It was the opportunity to promote their supernaturalist nonsense.  And the National Trust have just handed them a free platform on which to do so.

Martha Gill at the New Statesman blog identified the tactic in play

The strategy employed by the Caleb Foundation here appears to be one pioneered by the Discovery Institute in the US, [called] “teaching the controversy“. By insisting that the views of an incredibly small minority (of both the general population, and indeed Christians) are included in discussions of the subject, the ploy aims to create the impression that an issue is not settled. [added emphasis]

In the meantime, the geologists are getting organised.

And Dr Andrew Kerr, Reader in Petrology and Director of Admissions, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences, Cardiff University, who had pointed out the Geoscientist article in 2008, emailed Slugger yesterday.

Needless to say I am appalled by the news that this minority of a minority have succeeded in getting their claptrap even cursorily mentioned in the new Causeway visitor centre.

I have found out that the British Geological Survey HQ were asked to make representations to the NT against the inclusion of this nonsense, most probably by the Geol Survey of NI. But obviously they were ignored.

Who paid for the new visitor centre? was it entirely the NT or was there public money involved as well?

[Added: From the NT press office blog. "The Giant’s Causeway visitor experience cost £18.5million. Of this funding package, the National Trust provided £6.25m, the Department of Enterprise Trade & Investment, through the Northern Ireland Tourist Board, awarded £9.25 million of which £6.125 million has been provided by the European Regional Development Fund under the European Sustainable Competitiveness Programme for Northern Ireland with the Heritage Lottery Fund allocating £3million."]

The most concerning thing is that it is an organisation like the National Trust have given into pressure from the lunatic fringe, and their scientifically illiterate political supporters.

I have alerted the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geol Soc of London to this as well as the Mineralogical Society of GB and Ireland (of which I am the PRO) suggesting that both send a strongly worded letter concern to the NT.

The president of the Mineralogical Society is also on the Committee of Heads of University Geosciences Departments
http://www.chugd.ac.uk/
and I have suggested to him that they might also like to express their concern.

Words really do fail me at this point.

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  • Mister_Joe

    Forgetting the stones for a moment, I am in awe of the hole that the N.T. has dug for itself and which they continue to enlarge each day.

  • NOT NOW JOHN

    Perhaps the decision by the DETI to fund a project promoting such nonsense is something on which a judicial review is sought on the grounds of irrationality …. i.e. “so outrageous in its defiance of logic or of accepted moral standards that no sensible person who had applied his mind to the question could have arrived at it”!

  • sonofstrongbow

    The frenzied hyperbole spewing forth like molton magma from some in the scientific community and those on the liberal left plays straight into the hands of the Christian lunatic fringe.

    Perspective has been totally comprised, never mind principles with the right-on brigade demanding censorship in the same way as the most radical ayatollah.

    Rapid Dawkinsesque ranters do atheism a massive disservice as they allow fundamentalists such as the Caleb Foundation (never heard of them before now so ‘thanks’ Slugger) to appear calm and reasonable.

    As I mentioned before I’ll expect a campaign mounted by the intelligentsia to rename the Giant’s Causeway; can’t be having any mythic big folks’ propaganda paid for by the public purse. Or perhaps the Goliath bit in the Bible was the literal truth?

  • Mister_Joe

    NOT NOW JOHN,

    Bad idea. For starters, I doubt if any Judge would want to get embroiled in a religious debate. Besides, the extremist Christians would welcome intervenor status and I think they have had enough publicity already.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “to appear calm and reasonable”

    sonofstrongbow, this molehills into mountains yarn is up there with the loaves and fishes one.

    Not picking on you but just stating that I’m disappointed that ‘lunatic’ and its variants are polluting the conversation. Why are folks with health issues being casually used as weapons of abuse? Is this not at least as inappropriate as hate speech?

  • http://www.e-consultation.org/ davenewman

    There is a problem with education, if schoolchildren visiting the Giant’s Causeway get confused by fiction, and then fail their exams. We are not talking about stories to amuse American tourists, but a serious interpretive centre.

  • wild turkey

    “We are not talking about stories to amuse American tourists, but a serious interpretive centre.”

    davenewman,does the word dinosaurs come to mind?

  • Jack2

    Members interests Arlen Foster:

    Unremunerated Interests

    Family membership, National Trust with effect from 7th November 2011. (Registered 29 November 2011)
    ————–
    Why would an MLA have to register that? As far as I can see she is the only one to have registered that membership. Do they have to declare Xtravision cards too? Weird.

  • Evolve

    Re “Teaching the controversy” I saw this amusing graphic on another forum.

    http://www.joeydevilla.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/teach_the_controversy_t-shirt_designs.jpg

  • Dec

    ‘Perhaps the decision by the DETI to fund a project promoting such nonsense is something on which a judicial review is sought on the grounds of irrationality ‘

    Some might suggest that the DETI’s funding was dependent on the inclusion of this nonsense.

  • Dec

    There’s been another ‘debate’ on talkback, 43 mins in:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01kf6zl/Talkback_06_07_2012/

  • claudius

    Just to expand on daves points. Would kids doing geography/geology exams now be able to say that the earth is only 6 thousand years old if they proved it by biblical study?

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks dec

  • JR

    At least we are not Israel, try to find a history of Israel that is archaeologically rather than Biblical y based. It has a major problem with biblical legend being presented as historical fact.

  • wee buns

    I put this in the other thread by mistake – fascinating to see the muscle of this tactic in play (never heard of it before Pete -teaching the controversy/irreducible complexity etc) especially in the light of other (non religious & genuinely scientific) work which could never even hope to get such recognition. I’m thinking of Elaine Morgan’s Aquatic Ape hypothesis – ok not directly related to the Causeway except by virtue of a coastal location, but so much more deserving of a mention in terms of an extremely comprehensive theory.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquatic_ape_hypothesis

  • Graham Thompson

    For obvious reasons I am not engaging in this debate at the moment here. However, I want to clarify one thing. The quote from me on the BBC website referring to the earlier GMU interview is wrong. Check by referring to the BBC Iplayer clip at about 1:11 INTO THE PROGRAMME where I am being interviewed by Mark Carruthers.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b01kf5vt/Good_Morning_Ulster_05_07_2012/

    The quote is heavily edited and the final sentence is taken out of context.

    Much more importantly the sentence that reads as follows:

    “It’s a fact today that there is still a series of debate surrounding the formation of the Causeway but the exhibit is about that debate of how the Causeway was formed.”

    should read:

    “It’s a fact today that there is still a series of debates surrounding the formation of the Causeway but the exhibit is about that debate AS OPPOSED TO how the Causeway was formed.

    I have contacted the BBC asking the relevant web article to be amended.

  • wee buns

    So aside from misleading for example, children, it has the power to skew valuable debate within the ‘scientific’ community, which is slow to change it’s ideas anyway.

  • sdelaneys

    Dec. Loved it when Dawkins said “..I apologise, you are not a nut-case, you are ignorant.

  • carl marks

    Perhaps some perspective may help here.
    The Exhibit in question is one of about 6 altogether covering an area smaller than a desk, showing the weird notions that people have come up with in their attempts to explain the causeway, It includes among others one claiming that the columns are fossilised sea creatures and another claiming it is fossilised giant bamboo.
    The Finn yarn gets treated more seriously;
    AS for the rest of the exhibits, the Science is excellent, well presented and informative.
    The local history is both interesting and relevant.
    If I was a creationist I wouldn’t regard this as any sort of victory.

  • wee buns

    carl marks – nice to hear that it is contained within a context.

  • Mister_Joe

    If I was a creationist I wouldn’t regard this as any sort of victory.

    Well why are they presenting it as such a success?

  • carl marks

    Mister_Joe
    “Well why are they presenting it as such a success?”

    I really don’t know, but don’t forget that these people believe some very weird stuff, nd are not noted for a firm grasp of reality.

  • Pete Baker

    “The Exhibit in question is one of about 6 altogether covering an area smaller than a desk, showing the weird notions that people have come up with in their attempts to explain the causeway..”

    Missing the point, carl.

    Namely,

    “The Debate continues today”

    Specifically,

    “This debate continues today for some people, who have an understanding of the formation of the earth which is different from that of current mainstream science.”

    And that

    “Young Earth Creationists continue to debate questions about the age of the earth. As we have seen from the past, and understand today, perhaps the Giant’s Causeway will continue to prompt awe and wonder, and arouse debate and challenging questions for as long as visitors come to see it.”

    Perhaps you don’t recognise the impact of “The strategy employed by the Caleb Foundation here appears to be one pioneered by the Discovery Institute in the US, [called] “teaching the controversy“. By insisting that the views of an incredibly small minority (of both the general population, and indeed Christians) are included in discussions of the subject, the ploy aims to create the impression that an issue is not settled.”

    Some perspective is indeed needed.

  • carl marks

    Jack2
    I understand exactly what you mean, Having just read Dawkins amazing book “ the god delusion” I am well aware of the stupidity of letting these people away with claiming that the nonsense they peddle is either fact or science, but this does neither don’t take my word for it come and see it for yourself.

  • Mister_Joe

    “There’s nowt so queer as folk”

  • carl marks

    Pete Baker.
    Pete Just seen your post.
    I’m well aware of all the things you mention and also concerned about them, believe me we are on the same side on this and as I said to Jack this exhibit is really put them in with the weird and wonderful where they belong.

  • Pete Baker

    “this exhibit is really put them in with the weird and wonderful where they belong.”

    No it doesn’t, carl.

    We have the offending text.

    “The Debate continues today”

  • carl marks

    Pete Baker
    Come and see it please,
    The quote you make should be seen in the context it is made in.
    Have a day out visit the centre and you will see what I mean.

  • pauluk

    It’s hilarious to see the resident atheists on Slugger getting their knickers in such a twist!

  • Pete Baker

    Carl

    “The quote you make should be seen in the context it is made in.”

    We have the entire text of that particular section of the exhibit.

    “The Debate continues today”

  • Backbencher

    It is rather amusing to observe the hissy fit thrown by the evolutionists on this site. If the creationist view is as ridiculous as you suggest, then everyone will see it as far fetch –will they not? Why are you so worried?
    Maybe deep down you’re not as convinced as you would like to be, maybe you have that nagging doubt
    -how can something be created from nothing (without God)
    -how can the complexity we see around us happen by chance
    -how could life ever have started (scientists can’t even create it in a lab, never mind happen of its own accord)

    Maybe you’re up in arms because you know that the creationist view is not as ridiculous as you make out.

  • carl marks

    Pete Baker
    Pete as atheists we must look at the evidence, unlike the creationists or indeed anybody who bases their worldview on “faith” we base our worldview on the facts.
    So I put this challenge to you, go see the exhibit and if you truly believe that it could in any way cause anyone ( who is not already a creationist) to either believe or even consider believing the Earth is 6000 years old, then I will apologise and review my opinion.

  • Backbencher

    carl marks
    You state ‘as atheists we must look at the evidence’
    I am happy with that – what is the best evidence that the Causeway (or any other part of the earth) is millions of years old?

  • carl marks

    Backbencher
    im away of to bed. goggle it look under Science.
    Nite

  • http://nicentreright.wordpress.com/ Seymour Major

    Yesterday, on another thread, I said that creationists should not be allowed to sit on a jury. The comment was subsequently removed. I apologise for any offence caused.

    Perhaps I may expand the thinking behind that comment by partially answering Backbencher’s question. One of the methods of dating a rock is through radiometric age dating. It works by measuring the rate of decay of elements with unstable isotopes. Now a creationist might dismiss radiometric age dating as a science with no credibility, as they are entitled to do.

    Genetic Science has now proven, through the examination of DNA samples, that men and chimpanzees have a common genetic makeup of 98%+. DNA studies have also demonstrated that chimpanzees and humans had a common ancestor living 5 million years ago. Now a creationist (particularly the 6,000 year type) might again dismiss DNA science as bunkum.

    But science, including DNA science, is often used to prove the guilt or innocence of a person accused of a crime. In a murder case, for example, the presence of a person’s DNA might be the only proof that identifies a person’s presence at a crime scene. A creationist, of that ilk stated above, would have a propensity to dismiss such evidence.

  • Mister_Joe

    Seymour Major,
    Interesting thought. i don’t know how it works over there but here, If DNA evidence is to be presented, I think that jurors would be questioned as to whether or not they accept the science before being accepted as a suitable juror. At least, that would be the norm in the USA.

  • abucs

    As a Christian i am proud that it was a Catholic monk who is known as the Father of Modern Genetics and who gave us its first three laws.

    Today though we live in a pluralist society, so any attempt to weed out groups who do not agree with his scientific field is an arrogant and totalitarian mis-use of the state.

    The truth has a way of coming out in the end. Excluding people from the legal process does not help.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The Debate continues today”

    Well, it’s been running for a few days on Slugger; perhaps, by tomorrow the flood will have abated ..

  • Greenflag

    @ PB ,

    ‘By insisting that the views of an incredibly small minority (of both the general population, and indeed Christians) are included in discussions of the subject, the ploy aims to create the impression that an issue is not settled.”’

    True. This kind of ploy /strategy was used quite successfully by the ‘tobacco ‘ for decades in their struggle to prevent their product from being seen /pariahed as a killer . They used every trick in the book of pseudo science , lying and blatant abuse and misuse of statistics as well as availing of the financial resources of the tobacco industry to’prove’ their product was not addictive etc etc.

    They still do so although with much more freedom to pursue their ‘profits’ in places like China and India and Brazil , Russia etc where consumers are more easily hooked and governments less concerned .

    The ‘lead ‘ industry is another good example where a similar ploy was used to keep people from the truth of how toxic lead could be when inhaled via car exhaust fumes in urban areas.

    The Caleb Foundation may be a harmless group of whackos which is their right but there is NO DEBATE on the timeline of the creation of the Giants Causeway plus or minus 500,000 years in 60 million . There is also NO DEBATE on the fact that the Earth revolves around the Sun and there is NO DEBATE on the fact that Archbishop Ussher is dead some several centuries and is not a present day member of the Caleb Foundation. On the other hand ?

  • Greenflag

    oops
    should read ‘tobacco industry’ above line 4

  • Pete Baker

    Graham Thompson

    Thanks for commenting to correct the BBC quote, I’ll amend appropriately.

    However, the corrected quote has the same problem.

    Young-Earth creationists are not part of any scientific debate, mainstream or otherwise, about “how the earth’s rocks were formed”.

    And the only “debate” taking place today over the age of the Earth is inside the heads of young-Earth creationists.

  • Nardac

    Answers to Backbencher 7 July 12.44 am

    -how can something be created from nothing (without God)?

    How can something be created out of nothing *with* god? Don’t just say ‘god did it’, tell us *how*. We really want to know. I’ve read the book of Genesis and it doesn’t say how god did it, it just says he did it. If you know how he did, you really owe it to the rest of humanity to share the knowledge. There are literally tens of creationists here in Northern Ireland waiting for your answer.

    -how can the complexity we see around us happen by chance

    You’re making the mistake of omitting the stages of the process. Complexity couldn’t and did not happen all at once by chance, it’s the end result of a gradual process that took place over millions of years. One simple thing gives rise to anther simple thing, gives rise to another simple thing, repeat millions of times and you’ll eventually get something complex. Your question seems to imply that you understand evolution as a process whereby complex things are produced instantaneously, but that seems much closer to creationism than evolution.

    -how could life ever have started (scientists can’t even create it in a lab, never mind happen of its own accord)

    We don’t know. But if you don’t know maybe you should admit you don’t know and try to find out the answer. That’s how people found out about the origin of species and the formation of the earth. Now we know. Your chosen alternative to finding out is to say you already know because it was revealed to you – that’s fine if you’re into it but you won’t convince people who don’t share your faith.

  • Backbencher

    Seymour Major

    Thank you for attempting to address the scientific nature of this issue rather that pour out vitriol on those that disagree with the evolutionary view point (as most others have done).

    Radiometric Dating
    Using radiometric dating to determine the age of a rock depends on a number of colossal assumptions –

    1. The rate of decay has not changed over millions of years
    The rate of decay has only been observed and measured over a short time scale – to extrapolate this back over millions of years is a huge assumption. If a school child was doing an experiment and used data sets so close together and extrapolated it so far back they would probably be failed.

    2.The original quantity of the mother and daughter isotope is known before the aging process starts.
    There is no way that the exact amount of the daughter element which was present when the rock solidified can be verified, hence a huge assumption or guess is made. This obviously has a significant bearing on the result.

    3.The sample has not experienced any leaching in or out during its existence (millions of years if you believe in an old earth)
    In scientific terms ‘a closed system’. Another huge assumption (given the amount of water we have). It is accepted by evolutionists that heat and water can critically alter the original material.

    These three assumptions make radiometric dating highly subjective and uncertain.

    Things to do today – I’ll address your other points later

  • Backbencher

    Nardac
    Thank you for your reply –some real debate is breaking out here (be careful you may annoy some others who thought the issue was settled)

    -how can something be created from nothing
    From my point of view, something Supernatural (outside of time and space) created the universe therefore it is perfectly reasonable to state ‘God did it’, the exact mechanism I don’t know. But you are the one with the problem because you deny the existence of anything outside of time or space therefore you need to explain how something can be created from nothing.

    -how can the complexity we see around us happen by chance
    Your suggestion that it happened in small steps has little if any supporting evidence, and many problems– where are all the intermediate fossils? Who could something complex arrive when the intermediate steps have no benefit without the fully functioning complex organism? e.g. the eye. The small steps approach is wishful thinking and reveals the real reason why evolutionists think the earth is old –their belief system collapses without it, hence they are unwilling to countenance or explore the idea of a young earth.

    -how could life ever have started
    In best scientific speak – I stick with my view (God give life) until you can provide a better explanation.

    I note you say that people have found out about the formation of the earth –did some evolutionist discover how something was created from nothing?

  • Dec

    Backbencher

    Why bother pretending you know what you’re talking about and just link directly to the website where you get this nonsense, Earthage.org?

    Scientific responses to this garbage can be found here and here.

  • Dec

    ‘where are all the intermediate fossils?’

    Such as Archeopteryx, Microraptor, Tiktaalik?

    ‘In best scientific speak – I stick with my view (God give life) until you can provide a better explanation.’

    How about this?

  • Mister_Joe

    I wrote a letter a few days ago to the national N.T. expressing my disgust and disappointment and asking if they could reverse the decision. Today they wrote back thanking me for my letter and said that they have passed on the letter to the appropriate department for consideration and that, if a reply is needed (I did ask a question) I would likely get it in a few days.
    I wonder if the relevant department is the N.I. Branch.

  • Backbencher

    Dec

    Yes there are many websites dealing with the problems with dating assumptions (you didn’t think I made it up myself, did you) – the three assumptions and their limitations are well documented.

    The failings of radiometric dating are admitted by many experts in that field of science (at least those with an open mind).

    I note you didn’t address the second two assumptions, I await your response.

    With regard to intermediate fossils – are three disputed examples all there is to support your position? If your theory is correct the earth should be littered by millions of intermediate fossils, indeed there should be more intermediate fossils than ‘normal’ ones. The lack of intermediate fossils is highlighted by the fanfare that surrounds the discovery of what someone has deemed an intermediate fossil, usually to be disproved (by other evolutionists) within a short space of time.

    You present the ‘big bang’ as the answer to the creating of life. Even the most ardent evolutionist does not claim the big bang created life – they usually claim it happened millions of years later. Nevertheless your linked article begins with the line the ‘Universe was once in an extremely hot and dense state’ –I ask, where did this extremely hot and dense state come from?

    Maybe the Big Bang you are thinking about was God’s act of creation.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Maybe the Big Bang you are thinking about was God’s act of creation.’

    So maybe God’s creation of Snowball Earth some 600 million years ago and the several almost complete exterminations of all life on land and in the ocean in the Permian and Cretaceous periods as well as several other minor scale mass extinctions of life was just God having a bad day or indulging in a little sorry a lot of creative destruction ?

    Have you ever asked yourself why you have an appendix and where does it come from and why people bite their tongues and why you share 60% of your DNA with a banana and a mere 98% with a chimpanzee ?

    All life is one and originates from the same source .Whether that source was on the Earth or somewhere else we don’t yet know but they are working on it. On the other even your own ‘earthly ‘ body is 90% made up of elements formed early in the universe shortly after the big bang . However about 10% of the heavier trace elements which every human being has were formed originally several billion years after the big bang and could only be formed by the intense heat created by super nova explosions .

    When you die your ‘atoms’ will again be recycled into the earth or air and your heavier elements will find themselves new homes i.e bodies or plants or animals to live on in.

    In the name of the Father and the Son and into the hole you will go and thats it mate . Life is not a dress rehearsal . The or should I say this universe did very well without you for the past 13 billion or so years and will continue to do well without you for the next 13 billion years . Human life is only exceptional in that we are consciously aware or some of us are of the world beyond our immediate environment .

    Go and read Mr Charles Darwin and stop believing in fairy tales . You are an adult now right ?

  • carl marks

    Backbencher
    With bated breath i await your proof that the earth is not millions of years old.
    by the way “I BELIEVE” is not proof, the Bishop of Usher calculations are not proof (after all he proved in the same calculation that the world was going to end a few years ago).
    and also be informed that many of the posters on this site are educated people and what is passed as proof by most creationists will not hold water here unless supported by real evidence.

  • Greenflag

    Time to educate and lighten up .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDYba0m6ztE

    And the appendix conundrum

  • Dec

    ‘I note you didn’t address the second two assumptions, I await your response’

    The links provided deal with the first two, I just couldn’t be arsed googling the third point.

    I was going to reply to your remarks about fossils (ie the specific conditions that are required for fossils to be created), but it’s utterly pointless isn’t it? You and your kind eschew hard scientific evidence, despite clearly not understanding it, and then utter pronouncements such as:

    ‘From my point of view, something Supernatural (outside of time and space) created the universe…the exact mechanism I don’t know.’

    Back to the playground with you.

  • Mister_Joe

    When you die your ‘atoms’ will again be recycled into the earth or air and your heavier elements will find themselves new homes i.e bodies or plants or animals to live on in.

    When I first started shedding the religious dogma drummed into me as a child, I initially fretted about the lack of life after death. But as I learned more things about atoms etc it was the above realization that comforted me. I will exist somewhere after death.

  • Dec

    Mark Twain summed it up for me;

    “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it.”

  • Nardac

    Answers to Backbencher 7 July 2.32 pm

    “It is perfectly reasonable to state ‘God did it’, the exact mechanism I don’t know. But you are the one with the problem because you deny the existence of anything outside of time or space therefore you need to explain how something can be created from nothing.”

    Bit of a misuse of the word ‘reasonable’ there. Your view is not based on reason but faith, so it’s hardly reason-able. No reason or reasoning is required to reach that view; you just need to assent to a revelation. It’s perfectly *acceptable* to have your own views on the subject but you shouldn’t present them as a viable alternative to those produced through the exercise of reason.

    “Your suggestion that it happened in small steps has little if any supporting evidence, and many problems– where are all the intermediate fossils?”

    Your suggestion that ‘god gave life’ has no supporting evidence. If you base your beliefs on evidence, some (actually a lot in this case) is better than none. If you base your beliefs on faith, evidence isn’t required, but why then go on and reject an explanation for which the evidence is compelling but not 100% complete? This looks like a double standard to me.

    There are intermediate fossils as Dec points out, so the answer to your question is: some of them are in the ground, others have been dug up and put in labs and museums. I don’t know where all of them are, but there are plenty of them about. You don’t need to look at the fossil record for what you’re calling ‘intermediates’ – for example most mammals are viviparous and most reptiles are oviparous. But the echidna and the platypus are mammals that lay eggs.

    “Who could something complex arrive when the intermediate steps have no benefit without the fully functioning complex organism? e.g. the eye.”

    An ‘intermediate’ eye, which allowed some perception of movement would be less useful than one which allowed full perception of colour and movement. But it would still be useful as a way to detect predators. Even a few light-sensitive cells, far from a fully functioning eye, give an indication of when a predator is getting near. Many human beings have limited eyesight but they don’t tear out their eyes because they consider them to be ‘intermediate’ organs of no benefit. An ‘intermediate’ wing which could be flapped a bit to help break your fall from a tree wouldn’t be as useful as one that would enable full flight. But it could be the difference between life and death. Again there are examples of this in the world around you. Chickens have been bred by humans to be not very good at flying. Nonetheless their limited flight provides some defence against predators – not great but better than nothing. So I don’t really accept that ‘all or nothing’ line of argument. Another point I don’t accept is that every part of an organism has to be useful. You have a vestigial tail and (I presume) an appendix, which Greenflag alludes to; what’s the use or benefit of these?

    In best scientific speak – I stick with my view (God give life) until you can provide a better explanation.

    Having a ‘view’ on things is not scientific – in science you need to make an informed decision based on evidence. You neither have nor need evidence to inform your decision to believe because it’s based on your faith. On the subject of belief, I personally don’t believe that you will change your mind when ‘better’ explanations are provided. Explanations that are ‘better’ in that they are informed by evidence have been provided to a number of the questions you ask but you reject them because they don’t accord with your beliefs. You are in my opinion applying a very high requirement of proof to anything that challenges your faith and a zero requirement of proof to anything that confirms it. No one is questioning your entitlement to do so, but most of us would have a problem with your calling this way of thinking ‘scientific’ or the suggestion that it competes with science.

    you say that people have found out about the formation of the earth –did some evolutionist discover how something was created from nothing?

    I don’t really see how ‘something from nothing’ relates to the Earth. Even you might concede that the earth was formed out of pre-existing matter: it wasn’t formed out of nothing; it was (and still is) composed of lots of different things. ‘Evolutionists’ are biologists – the age of the earth wasn’t determined by them but by geologists. The ‘something from nothing’, by which I think you mean the initial formation of the universe, is something that cosmologists (different from geologists and again from ‘evolutionists’) are currently working on. They may come up with a complete answer based on evidence one day but if you’re around then you’ll reject it because you prefer your beliefs. Fair enough, we’re all entitled to our views.

  • Backbencher

    Nardac

    Evolution teaches
    -The universe was created by a ‘big bang’
    -Don’t know what caused it
    -Don’t know how it happened
    -Don’t know where the matter that made it came from
    ……and you think my position is unreasonable. The bottom line is evolution is as much a position of faith as creationism.

    With regard the intermediate fossils, there is no ‘compelling evidence’ and there are not ‘plenty of them about’ as you suggest. Millions of fossils are dug up every year, yet few are ever claimed as intermediate fossils, the very few that are, generally get rejected after some analysis (by fellow evolutionists) or in some cases exposed as frauds. Given the vast numbers of fossils dug up each year surely there should be abundant examples of intermediate forms, even the ardent evolutionists quietly acknowledge this is a massive problem.

    Your comment ‘An ‘intermediate’ eye, which allowed some perception of movement would be less useful than one which allowed full perception of colour and movement. But it would still be useful as a way to detect predators’ I don’t disagree with. But a faulty eye or less than perfect eye is not the issue. The point is that all the various parts of the eye system have to evolve/happen together before it will have any functionality however limited. You mention a ‘few light sensitive cells’ as if they just popped into existence – they are amasingly complex in their own right. But just lets assume they did miraculously appear, for them to have any benefit they would have needed a whole array of other functioning mechanisms e.g. nervous system connecting to the brain.

    With regard the appendix, I suggest you check out the latest medical thinking – your evolutionary colleagues acknowledge its importance to the immune system.

    If I have read it correctly, the premise of your reply is that my position is based on ignoring the facts whilst yours is based on the facts. The real issue is not the facts themselves but how the facts are interpreted.

  • Alias

    “When you die your ‘atoms’ will again be recycled into the earth or air and your heavier elements will find themselves new homes i.e bodies or plants or animals to live on in. ”

    Let’s hope Dawkins is ‘recycled’ as a creationist. I don’t mind what I am recycled as just as long as it’s not a heathen protestant…

  • pauluk

    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Even the Smithsonian in Washington has recognised the high quality of the Creation Museum by using one of its exhibits.

    Atheists in Northern Ireland are so narrow-minded! ;-)

  • Rapunsell

    Nardac
    Evolution teaches
    -The universe was created by a ‘big bang’
    -Don’t know what caused it
    -Don’t know how it happened
    -Don’t know where the matter that made it came from
    ……and you think my position is unreasonable. The bottom line is evolution is as much a position of faith as creationism.

    Your position is absolutely unreasonable in that evolution teaches nothing about the origins and history of the universe. It is the theory of the history of the evolution of life on earth.

  • abucs

    Physicist Stephen Barr talks about science and religion and why the Earth is not 6000 years old.

    http://www.catholic.com/radio/shows/religion-vs-science-7196

    http://www.catholic.com/radio/calendar/2012-06

  • Greenflag

    @Alias ,

    ‘I don’t mind what I am recycled as just as long as it’s not a heathen protestant’

    How about as a practicing RC i.e an as yet imperfect one? or perhaps as the toenail of a Shiite living on the edge of the Gobi desert in which case you could call yourself a Gobishiiter with an advanced degree of verisimilitude ?

    Mr Dawkins may irk some but Jehovah’s Witnesses , Seventy Day Adventurers , Hell fire bating Jesuits , Wahabbi Islamists not to mention shining teeth born again celebrity evangelists .Worse still Alias you might be returned as an an Ultra Orthodox anti Zionist Haredi Israeli Jew and father 7.6 children on average and get to go to yeshiva school until you are 50 ;) .

    Alas neither you nor I will have any say in how we are ‘recycled ‘ .

    On the subject of ‘faith ‘ and beliefs I’m reminded of when the Catholic Queen of Belgium visited Warsaw when Poland was under communist rule . On Sunday the party functionary designated to accompany her goes with her at her request to Mass.

    The Queen asks him ‘Are you a Catholic ?’

    Embarrassed the functionary replied ‘ Believing but not practising’

    ‘But of course ‘ says the Queen ‘ ‘After all you are a Communist’

    ‘Practising ‘ he protests. ‘but not believing’

  • Greenflag

    @ backwardsbencher,

    ‘The real issue is not the facts themselves but how the facts are interpreted.’

    The real issue is the facts and the fact is that evolution is not theory but fact . Much has been discovered in the biological sciences since Darwin’s time and evolution is simply the history of life on earth since the first unicelled life twitched into existence some 3.5 billion years ago.

    As you are committed to misinterpreting the scientific facts for your own ‘faith ‘ ends it’s clear that trying to debate with you re evolution is probably as productive as teaching algebra to a blind and deaf baboon .

    Keep a look out for the invisible man now cause he loves you and needs your money

  • Dec

    ‘Your position is absolutely unreasonable in that evolution teaches nothing about the origins and history of the universe’

    You’re confusing Evolution with Cosmogony. Quelle surprise.

  • Mister_Joe

    Who created “god”.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    Nice piece in the S Times by Newt about Calebf and the DUP exploiting the NT’s naivety. Worrying how easily it was done.

    Perhaps more worrying is the piece by Marie Woolf, Whitehall editor, which suggests that the way laws are made is to be reformed to allow members of the public to suggest changes to bills going through Parliament. A new public reading stage will allow anybody to recommend changes to draft laws on a line by line basis. apparently it is aimed at balancing the interests of lobbyists.

    Sounds good but it opens the door to the likes of the Fable Foundation , creates debate where there is none and slow.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    Careless finger leads to premature posting, still the gist is there.

  • Greenflag

    Who created “god”.

    Man of course which is why the archtypical all powerful God or Gods tended to be powerful male figures who should not be disobeyed or else !

    There is no evidence that pre Sapiens hominoids held any religious beliefs . There is no indication that any other creature other than man believes in any Creator -Supreme or otherwise .

    The idea of an afterlife probably developed once human beings reached a level of cognitive capacity whereby they could use and understand symbols and communicate by means of a spoken language . They understood ‘death ‘ and knew that once the life force had departed from their people that they were gone . But they saw them again in dreams and presumably some in nightmares and that would have with the shaman’s magic mushrooms given rise to the imagined existence of the ‘other world’ .

    And from this arose the earlier priesthoods , shamans , priests , spiritual guides , gurus , and eventually rabbis , popes , ministers and white smiley toothed modern day heaven magicians who ply their wares in the God market.

    They were all and some still are trying to understand themselves , humanity and the world as best they could . In time they became powers and could impose social and political control as we see in the rise of Christianity and Islam .

    Religions have contributed much to man’s social and intellectual development as well as to art and the sciences throughout the ages . They have been ‘progressive’ at times and ‘reactionary’ i.e against change and progress at other times . The craziest of them have indulged in religious genocide and the best of them have given mankind some of it’s greatest people .

    I can’t prove there is a God or that there is no God . It’s up to each individual to ask themselves and either to have faith or not to have faith .

  • Mister_Joe

    Thanks Greenflag for that considered reply. I like the first 3 words.

  • Greenflag

    Mister Joe ,

    The alternative first three words could in answer to the question have been instead

    ‘Woman of course’ But that would have raised the question as to who made Woman which would prompt a Mark Twain like response such as ‘Some damn fool who could’nt leave well enough alone ‘ On the other hand without the weemen shure none of us would be here at all at all and on that thoughtful note I look forward to my God Sol rising once again tomorrow .which is of course just an illusion engendered by the Earth’s rotation .

  • Mister_Joe

    hehehehe

  • DT123

    “I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it”.

    Mark Twain.

    A fine point,well made.

  • Backbencher

    Rapunsell (& Dec)

    ‘Your position is absolutely unreasonable in that evolution teaches nothing about the origins and history of the universe. It is the theory of the history of the evolution of life on earth’

    Fair enough, but a little pedantic, the term evolution is on many occasions used as an overarching term to cover the contrary view to creationism.

    Nevertheless, how about addressing the issue

  • Backbencher

    Greenflag

    ‘the fact is that evolution is not theory but fact’

    The facts are the facts, and your interpretation of the facts is only a theory called evolution.

    ‘the first unicelled life twitched into existence some 3.5 billion years ago’

    If you are so confident this is a fact can you provide me some details of how exactly life twitched into existence.

    O, about the ‘blind and deaf baboon’ in your book that must be your cousin a few times removed.

  • Nardac

    Answers to Backbencher 8 July 1.01am

    “Evolution teaches
    -The universe was created by a ‘big bang’”

    As other contributors point out, evolution is a body of knowledge about the development of life, not the origins of the universe. What you are saying here doesn’t make sense. It would be equally meaningful for me to say that “Christianity teaches about the crucifixion of Buddha and his ascent to Valhalla on the back of the Virgin Mary.”

    “-Don’t know what caused it
    -Don’t know how it happened
    -Don’t know where the matter that made it came from
    ……and you think my position is unreasonable. The bottom line is evolution is as much a position of faith as creationism.”

    Certainly there are things cosmologists don’t know, but they would have some insight into each of the questions you raise. You choose to ignore the provisional answers they’ve come up with to date and you will ignore any final answer they go on to produce because it conflicts with your faith. Because you’ve reached that position without recourse to your powers of reason, it’s neither a reasonable position nor an unreasonable one. It’s simply an irrational position.

    “Given the vast numbers of fossils dug up each year surely there should be abundant examples of intermediate forms, even the ardent evolutionists quietly acknowledge this is a massive problem.”

    Ardent evolutionists loudly acknowledge that if convincing evidence were produced to contradict the knowledge they’ve built up to date, they would stop being evolutionists. But no amount of evidence will make you change your beliefs because they aren’t based on, or responsive to, evidence.

    “You mention a ‘few light sensitive cells’ as if they just popped into existence […] But lets assume they did miraculously appear…”

    Let’s not. You assume the universe miraculously appeared, and most of us would have a problem with that.

    “…for them to have any benefit they would have needed a whole array of other functioning mechanisms e.g. nervous system connecting to the brain”

    Plants derive benefit from their light-sensitive cells. They don’t have brains.

    “With regard the appendix, I suggest you check out the latest medical thinking – your evolutionary colleagues acknowledge its importance to the immune system.”

    I do too. The usefulness of the appendix does not undo its vestigiality. Now will you check out your coccyx and wisdom teeth? Remember not to check in your brain first.

    “If I have read it correctly, the premise of your reply is that my position is based on ignoring the facts whilst yours is based on the facts. The real issue is not the facts themselves but how the facts are interpreted.”

    My premise, as I stated earlier, is that you apply two different standards. If a line of thinking conflicts with your faith, you reject it, regardless of how much evidence has been accumulated in its favour. If a proposition conforms with your faith, you accept it in the absence of evidence. So the real issue for me is consistency.

  • tomthumbuk

    What’s all the arguing about?
    Why don’t they just ask the Pope and he’ll let you know the answer right away?
    After all, he is infallible.

  • Gerry Lvs castro

    The National Trust have created a dangerous precedent.

    If it’s OK to give every minority notion an equal platform, surely the planetarium should have a Scientology display suggesting that Xenu populated the earth through thetans?

    Perhaps Bushmills distillery could include a display on the views of Muslims, Mormons and Free P’s on alcohol?

    Or Belfast Zoo could give everyone a booklet explaining how Buddhists believe that the animals on display are reincarnations of our ancestors.

    Where does this kind of thing stop?

  • Backbencher

    Nardac

    ‘cosmologists don’t know, but they would have some insight into each of the questions you raise’

    Wrong – they have no idea

    You blindly accept that someone somewhere will have some insight – and you call others irrational!!!

    Fossils
    Please address the issues of the serious lack of intermediate fossils when there should be millions of these things – you keep dodging this

    The eye and light sensitive cells
    I think you missed the point on this. Light sensitive cells on plants do not enable the plant to see. Are you suggested that plants are going to evolve eyes?

    ‘You assume the universe miraculously appeared, and most of us would have a problem with that’

    So how did it appear then?

    Vestigial structures
    In years gone by dozens of structures/organs were listed as being vestigial organs, over the decades this list has been reduced one by one, as modern advancements in science has unearthed their full purpose. There are very few left on the list.

    With regard to ‘consistency’ I have a world view which none of the facts/evidence contradicts.

  • Mac

    I suppose there’s one of two explanations Backbencher.

    A. That scientist’s including but not limited to, chemists, biologists, geologists, geographers, physicists, archaeologists, geneticists and so on have for centuries now been involved in a gigantic conspiracy of lies to undermine your beliefs with the sort of discipline that would make Julian Assange weep and Hilary Clinton jealous.

    or
    B. The dogma you subscribe to that has only existed for about two thousand of the 14 or so billion years the universe has been around. (Not enough decimal points in my calculator to print that one out sorry) Has a minority of members currently engaged in a futile campaign to co-opt the entire uncaring universe into it’s mythology.

    I know which one my money is on :)

  • tuatha

    I think that it was Samuel Clemens who wrote “faith is believing something you know ain’t true“.

  • Mister_Joe

    Plants derive benefit from their light-sensitive cells. They don’t have brains.

    Nardac,

    I’ve been giving a lot of thought about that over a few years now. They don’t have “brains” as we understand animals brains but I’m convinced that they have intelligence. Distributed brains?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “If it’s OK to give every minority notion an equal platform”

    Gerry Lvs castro, the NT hasn’t given the YEC an equal platform – though you might well think that from the reams of verbiage spewed out by their superheated ‘words fail me’ opponents. Never was the phrase ‘calm down dears’ more appropriate :)

  • Backbencher

    Mac

    You forgot Option C

    Most (but not all), chemists, biologists, geologists, geographers, physicists, archaeologists, geneticists interpret the facts in line with the dominant world view of their time. The dominant world view changes from time to time and how the facts are interpreted follows thereafter.

    This has always been the case and is to be expected – people gravitate to what benefits them financially, maintains or enhances their status or furthers their careers.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Nardac,

    You are aware that you’re fighting the Black Knight? Just because backbencher refuses to admit defeat doesn’t mean that you haven’t won.

  • Dec

    ‘Fossils
    Please address the issues of the serious lack of intermediate fossils when there should be millions of these things – you keep dodging this’

    Just to explain (again) backbencher, fossilisation is an extremely rare process:

    •Fossilization itself is not a particularly common event. It requires conditions that preserve the fossil before it becomes scavenged or decayed. Such conditions are common only in a very few habitats, such as river deltas, peat bogs, and tar pits. Organisms that do not live in or near these habitats will be preserved only rarely.

    •Many types of animals are fragile and do not preserve well.

    •Many species have small ranges. Their chance of fossilization will be proportionally small.

    Other processes destroy fossils. Erosion (and/or lack of deposition in the first place) often destroys hundreds of millions of years or more of the geological record, so the geological record at any place usually has long gaps. Fossils can also be destroyed by heat or pressure when buried deep underground.
    As rare as fossils are, fossil discovery is still rarer. For the most part, scientists find only fossils that have been exposed by erosion, and only if the exposure is recent enough that the fossils themselves do not erode.

  • Greenflag

    “faith is believing something you know ain’t true“.

    Mark Twain

    ‘It’s not what you don’t know that hurts you it’s what you know that ain’t so ‘

    Will Rogers .

  • Mac

    Nope Backbencher, it’s still B. Science is based on methodology not world views. Nuclear physicists don’t take archeologists feelings into concern when publishing their results.

    Funny you should mention people trying to maintain things which benefit them financially :)

  • Nardac

    Answers to Backbencher 9 July 1.34 am

    “‘cosmologists don’t know, but they would have some insight into each of the questions you raise’
    “Wrong – they have no idea”

    It’s not true to say they have no idea, they have lots of ideas. You will find some of these contained in, to give a very small selection, Steven Weinberg, The First Three minutes; Martin Rees, Just Six Numbers; Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time. If you can get back to me having read these three books, that’d be great. As I said at the beginning of this conversation, I read the book of genesis and wasn’t convinced. So now it’s your turn to hit the books. If you say “I can’t/won’t read these books because xyz” then the conversation is over.

    “You blindly accept that someone somewhere will have some insight – and you call others irrational!!!”

    I’m not saying they will have some insight one day, I’m saying they have acquired considerable insight to date. I don’t blindly accept that these insights will be produced in the future, they are there already for me to read. I invite you to do the same. Neither am I calling anyone irrational. I’m referring to your position on the origins of the universe. You believe that it happened through a process that defies rational explanation. That’s irrational. You may well be a perfectly rational person in all other respects, I’ve no idea.

    “Please address the issues of the serious lack of intermediate fossils when there should be millions of these things – you keep dodging this.”

    Here’s a demonstration relating to one species. Is it really true that you’ll change your views if and when you have ‘intermediate’ fossils for all of the species that are living or have ever lived? For that to be possible so much of the earth would have to be given over to fossil-bearing rock that the planet would probably be incapable of supporting life. You can certainly identify gaps in the fossil record but that’s because the fossil record wasn’t put there intentionally to provide convincing and irrefutable proof of evolutionary thought. The reverse is also true: pointing to a few gaps doesn’t provide convincing and irrefutable contradiction of evolutionary thought; it just shows up a few gaps.

    “I think you missed the point on this. Light sensitive cells on plants do not enable the plant to see. Are you suggested that plants are going to evolve eyes?”
    No I’m not “suggested” that. You couldn’t see why light-sensitive cells would have benefit other than as part of an eye. I gave you an example of an eyeless organism which derived benefit from its light-sensitive cells.

    “So how did it [the universe] appear then?”

    Read the 3 books I suggested and get back to me. I agree that just saying the three words “the big bang” over and over again is no more a rational explanation that saying “god did it” over and over again. So read them.

    “In years gone by dozens of structures/organs were listed as being vestigial organs, over the decades this list has been reduced one by one, as modern advancements in science has unearthed their full purpose. There are very few left on the list.”

    You are asserting that a structure is either exquisitely functional or useless and vestigial. It’s the same all or nothing approach you take with ‘intermediate’ fossils. But many aspects of human physiology are very useful without being optimal, and their suboptimality can be traced to the possibility that they might have been optimal at an earlier stage and in another physiological configuration – for example the human upper respiratory system is very useful but not optimally configured for walking upright.

    “With regard to ‘consistency’ I have a world view which none of the facts/evidence contradicts.”

    I’m with you there – evidence can’t contradict your view because it does not admit or respond to evidence. Whether it’s a ‘world view’ is another question…

    PS Andrew : I know this is getting tedious, sorry. Mister Joe: interesting idea…

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Nardac,

    I mainly wanted an excuse to post Monty Python snippets…

    But less flippantly, there is a more general point to be made: what does a rational person do when his opponents do not respond to reason? Ignore them? Suppress them? Or ridicule them?

  • Nardac

    No excuse needed Andrew :)

    In answer to your question: ‘Suppress them’ – no I’d be opposed to censorship. Ridicule them? Yeah, but you risk coming across as supercilious – for all his intelligence Richard Dawkins can sometimes come across as stuck-up. Ignore them? Not in this case. The creationist lobby have got very smart and very organized and as Wallace Thompson gleefully notes, they are getting results here in NI. People who don’t accept creationist views need to get smarter and more organized.

  • http://andrewg.wordpress.com Andrew Gallagher

    Nardac,

    So what would “smart and organised” involve then?

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “what does a rational person do when his opponents do not respond to reason?”

    Andrew, they sometimes find a quiet smile very disconcerting!

  • Backbencher

    Dec

    Regarding Fossils, I don’t disagree with much of what you say about the difficulties associated with fossilization or the difficulty in preserving them but that is not the issue.

    The point is – billions of animals have lived on the earth, a small percentage of these have been fossilised and a percentage of these have been dug up. The number dug up still runs into the millions (a small percentage of the billions that have lived). Of all those dug up there is no conclusive examples of an intermediate fossil. Given that intermediate forms should be more common than the ‘normal’ ones (I’m assuming you believe it took many steps to jump from one kind to another) then where are all the intermediate fossils?

    I’ll put it another way – considering all the fossils dug up, what percentage are considered to be intermediate? How can you explain this figure being zero (or next to zero if you accept the few disputed ones) when it should be far in excess of 50%?

  • Backbencher

    Mac

    You fail to differentiate between Historical science and Operational/experimental science (plenty of internet sites check it out!!!)

    Operational/experimental science is based on methodology

    Historical science tends to be based on world view

    Not sure what your reference to finance is getting at – most people in the creation field have suffered financially because of their view

  • Backbencher

    Andrew Gallagher

    Admit defeat – whats that all about

    The interesting thing is that with all the school room teaching about evolution, the numbers who do not accept it are considerable. Ever ask yourself, why?

    Maybe common sense teaches that thinks do not get more complex by chance

  • Mister_Joe

    OK, BB, define “considerable”. Besides which, we are not dealing with a popularity contest.

  • Backbencher

    Nardac

    Obviously I can’t read the three books tonight, so could you be so kind as to give me a quick synopsis, in an attempt to be concise we’ll keep it to the question I asked previously.

    Where did the matter that made the universe come from?

    ‘intermediate’ fossils
    From your point of view I hope there are better examples than the supposed whale evolution. See attached links
    http://creation.com/not-at-all-like-a-whale
    http://creation.com/refuting-evolution-chapter-5-whale-evolution
    http://siriusknotts.wordpress.com/2011/01/17/does-whale-evolution-hold-water/
    You mention ‘a few gaps’ – reality is – it is all gaps with no intermediate forms

    The eye and light sensitive cells
    Not wanting to be rude, but can I suggest you go back and read the posts relating to this. The issue was less than perfect sight. Light sensitive cells on plants and sight are totally unrelated. Putting it a different way, how could the eye have evolved?

    Vestigial organs
    ‘But many aspects of human physiology are very useful without being optimal’
    You make these sweeping statements as if they were fact – time and advancement in science has proved that statement carries little weight.

    Finally
    ‘evidence can’t contradict your view because it does not admit or respond to evidence. Whether it’s a ‘world view’ is another question’

    I respond to evidence, I don’t respond to your interpretation of the evidence. It is certainly a world view, how many adhere to it is an interesting question.

  • Mac

    Backbencher, when you were a kid, did you read all those wonderful illustrated books on dinosaurs and prehistorical animals libraries and schools stocked?
    Did you skip over the sections on the evolution of horses feet? Too boring?
    Or too busy drawing howdahs on the back of triceratops, full of bronze age semites off to smash the pyramids of their neighbours for not bending their knee to the one true sky god?

  • Reader

    Andrew Gallagher: So what would “smart and organised” involve then?
    Be prepared:
    http://www.pandasthumb.org/
    especially
    http://pandasthumb.org/links.html

  • Backbencher

    Mister Joe

    I agree totally, it is not about numbers.

    I use the word ‘considerable’ to emphasise that Creationist views are not the fringe view that some would have us believe.

  • Mac

    Backbencher, I worked with a girl who does volunteer work for the Creation Ministries office in Belfast.
    About two years ago, as we were all going to lunch in her car, I picked up and flicked through one of the pamphlets she had in the pouch in the rear of the driver seat.

    The title was.
    How to argue with an Evolutionist.

    Not why evolution is wrong, but how to argue.
    The basic jist of the booklet was to encourage the reader to throw out a number of points (most of which you have regurgitated here) in order to stymie discussion and in general how to perform acts of intellectual dishonesty. The booklet offered nothing beyond obfuscation and passive agression.

    Read it by any chance?