“there are no loyalty oaths in science”

In the Irish Times the DUP’s Mervyn Storey, Chairman of the Assembly’s Education Committee, expounds on his personal belief that young-Earth creationism should be taught in school science classes as an alternative theory to evolution. This is old ground by now, but it’s worth pointing out again that his argument ignores the 150 years of scientific scrutiny which the theory of evolution has been subjected to, and survived, whilst elevating the 17th Century Archbishop Ussher’s tally of the number of begots in Genesis to the status of a scientific theory. Gavin Conant, Assistant Professor of Animal Sciences at the University of Missouri-Columbia, rebuts Mervyn Storey’s argument in the same article.

Storey seems to believe that students must choose between their faith and a scientific education. Now, it is true that scientists take a range of positions on whether faith is compatible with a scientific world view. But even those who emphatically refuse any rapprochement with religion do not ask for a renunciation of belief as the price of studying biology: there are no loyalty oaths in science.

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  • ggn

    If Mr Storey is so concerned of Christian values one would expect him to desist from naming himself after a most notorious practioner of witch craft and pre-Christian paganism.

  • caoimhin

    Albert Einstein believed in God. He said that his work was to understand the bueaty of creation and bring him closer to god.

    All science is factual. It can only lead us closer to the meaning of life. Why do people choose not to believe facts. Especially those that God lay before us?

  • Dec

    From the article:

    The central, core belief of naturalistic evolution is that somewhere in the universe at some time in the far distant past, non-living matter of itself, with no outside influence or mind to guide it, gave rise to living creatures.

    Actually, that Abiogenesis you’re referring to, Mervyn.
    However his overall theme, that all scientific theory relating to the creation of life and the universe is error-strewn bunkum whereas the existence of a bearded sky-fairy with a home chemistry set is demonstrable fact, always amuses me.

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Sorry but Einstein said:

    “It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”

    At best he was a deist. So his god set up the rules and then went on a really long holiday. I don’t think this is the same God Mervyn worships.

    Of course there is no god but if you want to shanghai Einstein to the creationist cause at least get it right.

    So does this mean we will all have to spend pages arguing about Dawkins being a professor not being a professor all over again?

  • Duncan Shipley Dalton

    Interesting that this is described as Mervyn “expounds on his personal belief”. So it is not DUP policy then? So which DUP representative does not share this view? When did they state that?

    Interesting to know how far this one is shared in the DUP after Robbo’s confession that he agree’s with his wife about homosexuality.

  • Driftwood

    This deluded nutter is chair of the education committee.And his level of education is…..

  • fin

    there is also an arguement over pii, which according to the bible is exactly 3. However I thought there were more important things to worry about at the moment.

    Hard to believe this is the party of choice for the majority of people in NI. Actually its hard to believe anyone would vote for these nutters.

    I wonder if there is a period of renegoatiation in the near future would the DUP use the teaching of creationism as a concession in return for P&J;.

  • michael

    ‘Hard to believe this is the party of choice for the majority of people in NI’

    It isn’t, they received a 30.1% share in the 2007 assembly election, 33.7% in the 2005 Westminster election and 29.6% in the district council elections.

    That’s no majority!

    Newho, Mervyn needs to go back to basics. An evening class in metaphysics and epistemology might steer him along a more, how shall i say it … rational path.

    Where’s Sam Hanna, BTW? Usually he/she’d be all over this!

  • Neil

    So does this mean we will all have to spend pages arguing about Dawkins being a professor not being a professor all over again?

    Lol, yes, and what has he achieved? It amuses me the geniuses that hang around this site. To whom a fellowship at Oxford is a pitiful diversion when compared to spouting shite on Slugger.

    However his overall theme, that all scientific theory relating to the creation of life and the universe is error-strewn bunkum whereas the existence of a bearded sky-fairy with a home chemistry set is demonstrable fact, always amuses me.

    Also lol, well put.

  • Big Maggie

    Here we go again. I blame the Americans for most of this. First they came with their imbecile Creationism. When that was rejected by the saner in the USA they burnished it and called it Intelligent Design. Same shit, different era. But I suppose it appeals to those among us who comfort themselves with fairytales. I do get angry when they indoctrinate children with this tosh, having just read Jeanette Winterson’s memoir ‘Oranges are not the only fruit’.

  • Greenflag

    ‘whilst elevating the 17th Century Archbishop Ussher’s tally of the number of begots in Genesis to the status of a scientific theory.’

    No matter how much ‘elevation’ of Archbishop Ussher’s ‘tally’ the number of ‘begots’ in Genesis will always be vastly outnumbered by the tally of ‘bigots’ in the DUP:(

    ‘there are no loyalty oaths in science.’

    But there are in politics and that’s why Storey gets elected despite his ‘science ‘ IQ being the equivalent of his shoe size 🙁

    Ditto for Mrs Robinson and the rest of the Palinesque tongue babblers of ignorance and superstition that seem to plague the more than just the nutty fringe of unionism and loyalism in Northern Ireland.

    Could these people not be ‘exported ‘ to Alaska or Alabama or Iran or some other haven for the wackos of rapture and end times ?:(

  • London Booksellers

    Ussher was wrong.
    It was on August 23 4004 BC that the Earth was created.

  • Big Maggie

    Ussher was wrong.

    Well what did you expect from a man who couldn’t spell his own surname?

  • 1goat

    I’m partly drawn to voting DUP, from time to time, for a variety of reasons which are not needed here.

    But I can’t. I can’t. I can’t. And I probably never will. The only reason is because they all still seem to be running around thinking that thunder and lightening is the scary wrath of god.
    The examples I could cite are, of course, legion, but a complete cretin such as Iris Robinson is one of the finer examples.

    I bet I’m not alone too.

  • Big Maggie

    1goat

    a complete cretin such as Iris Robinson

    Actually the scary part is that she’s quite intelligent. If cretins (look up the origin of the word, it’s fun and ironic) were pushing this sort of bullshit nobody would pay a blind bit of notice.

  • fin

    ‘Hard to believe this is the party of choice for the majority of people in NI’

    It isn’t, they received a 30.1% share in the 2007 assembly election, 33.7% in the 2005 Westminster election and 29.6% in the district council elections.

    That’s no majority!

    Hi Michael, apols, can we agree on majority of unionists

  • Neil

    whereas the existence of a bearded sky-fairy with a home chemistry set is demonstrable fact

    No, God is definitely a woman. No beard, no sky fairy, and no chemistry set.

    An emasculted Jesus was sent to an emasculated Jewish people, and you still think that God is a man?

    See my latest book on my website.

  • William Shakspar

    Neither could

  • Big Maggie

    William

    Did you know that Shake Spear actually meant Wave Willy as in Wagstaff?

  • deirdre nelson

    Ref: all those asking if everyone in the DUP supports Mervyn’s views on creationism.
    The answer is NO, I don’t. At best I’m a deist at worst I’m downright agnostic some days.
    I believe Mervyn is perfectly entitiled to his views, I happen to disagree with him but I get narked that everyone assumes all in the DUP agree with creationism. Maybe I’ve put my head rather too far over the parapet on this one but it’s kinda one of those conscience things. I also think that one is allowed to be scientifically inclined but still believe in God/Allah/Shiva who ever. I had abrilliant science teacher who very happily taught evolution but was able to reconcile it with her religious beliefs. Maybe she was just more mature and rational trhan some of the rest of us;-)

  • 1goat

    You’re right of course, Big Maggie. I think I just like the word cretin. It might be better if I said she is cretinous when it comes to superstition.

    But yes, she is certainly otherwise sharp. She had some potential which she will, due to her infantile behaviour, never fulfill. We can be thankful, I suppose, that the mask slipped so soon.

  • Big Maggie

    1goat

    I’m glad you agree. I get so weary of people saying that politicians are stupid. George Bush comes in for so much of this type of abuse. He and Iris Robinson are anything but stupid of course but we like to belittle those we dislike. And yes we can be thankful that Iris’s mask slipped before she could do real damage.

    Deirdre

    I’m glad to hear that about the DUP!

  • Caoimhín83

    Of course there is no god but if you want to shanghai Einstein to the creationist cause at least get it right.

    “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

    Einstein

    My first statement never suggested that Einstein believed in a Judeo-Christian God.

    “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man.”
    Einstein

    If you read my first statement again you will see my argument against Christian beliefs and atheism.

  • fin

    deirdre, would you say you were a majority or minority within the DUP, it does appear to be a very fundamentalist party considering attitudes towards catholism, the pope, homosexuals, the age of the giants causeway, sport on sunday, etc etc

  • Llamedos

    In the land of the blind the one eyed man is God.What I want to know is what happens to all the Agnostics,Atheists, Muslims,Hindhu’s,Jews,etc.etc.if only Free Presbyterians and say the Jehovahs witnesses have b een allowed to buy seats for the trip. Our mill trip used to go to Blackpool for its bracing air and all the amusements,pubs and fish’n chips rounding it off with a visit the Blackpool Tower Circus complete with Dolphins and performing Sea Lions and then they were taken home and decanted from the mill buses. They all had a life in which they could flower and develop as they choose. Mervyn Storey should visit the former industrial West Riding and they might teach him that defying scientific gravity is a pointless exercise. I would seriously ask him to explain and give all of us a logical and scientific argument to explain virgin birth. Why does he not elope with a bunch of Irises and give our heads peace or are we going to get the old chestnut that the Creator did not have a 24 hour clock and no annual season; and he is in charge of our childrens education committee how would we produce Doctors of Medicine, Scientists,Enginneers of all diciplines,Chemists et al educating them in the dark ages.

  • NP

    B.Maggie

    “Did you know that Shake Spear actually meant Wave Willy as in Wagstaff?”

    So where did Nicholas Breakspear fit in to this ?

  • The Earwig

    I am not sure of the educational background statistics of the politicians in NI/RoI but it is obvious to me it does not include a significant % of scientists. There are votes in being philistine, anti-enlightenment and anti-greenlobby. You can easily describe intellectuals as boffins, lunatic fringe, radicals etc without having to engage in a reasonable debate.

    Why do fundamentists want to change our education system and force religious views (a matter of faith) over a scientific one (a matter of reason not faith or belief)?

    It scares me.

  • The Earwig

    I am not sure of the educational background statistics of the politicians in NI/RoI but it is obvious to me it does not include a significant % of scientists. You can easily describe intellectuals as boffins, lunatic fringe, radicals etc without having to engage in a reasonable debate.

    Why do fundamentists want to change our education system and force religious views (a matter of faith) over a scientific one (a matter of reason not faith or belief)?

    It scares me.

  • cynic

    I believe that man has evolved from the apes but every time I see a speech by one of these creationists I tend to think “….but not far enough yet”

  • Peter

    1goat,

    I’ve said this on threads akin to this one before, but I for one can’t vote for the DUP any longer.

    The rationale for my change of heart was probably more to do with my feelings as regards nationalism (in the general sense, not Irish) but was utterly reinforced by the anti-intellectual, religious nonsense sprouted by DUP reps over the last year.

    On a side note… ‘I thank the Lord’ for sites such as slugger. Otherwise I might think Northern Ireland is choc-a-bloc with socially backward idiots.

  • Steve

    peter

    Naw they all immigrated to Canada

  • Dave

    “No, God is definitely a woman. No beard, no sky fairy, and no chemistry set.

    An emasculted Jesus was sent to an emasculated Jewish people, and you still think that God is a man?

    See my latest book on my website.” – John O’Connell

    G-d couldn’t possibly be a woman. Have you ever seen a woman try to assemble an IKEA chest of drawers? After seven days, two trips to casualty, and somehow managing to burst a water main with the hammer, she ends up with something resembling a wardrobe. A woman couldn’t possibly build a universe in seven days. It would take her seven years just to decide on the colour scheme.

  • Big Maggie tells us:

    [i]”Here we go again. I blame the Americans for most of this. First they came with their imbecile Creationism. When that was rejected by the saner in the USA they burnished it and called it Intelligent Design.”[/i]

    Sorry, Maggie, but don’t blame us Americans. The Intelligent Design argument was posted by St. Thomas Aquinas back in the 13th century and I think, but am not certain, that the argument was original with him. In his major work, the [i]Summa Theologica[/i] St. Thomas presented five arguments to prove the existence of God. The other four are, basically IIRC, variations of the “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” variety. The fifth is the argument from Intelligent Design which I personally find the most compelling.
    Some Americans might have found it recently, but the argument itself has been around for a long time.

  • abucs

    I have no objection to teaching science in the religion class, especially the Christian religion class as that’s where the foundations of our western science has it’s roots.

    I don’t think it makes sense though to teach a restricted narrow version of Christianity in the science class.

    Or the cooking class.

    Or the Physical education class…….

    Science is the study and classification of the material. It cannot say anything about what is not material or outside our time and space.

    That is more a philosophical question which can only speculate as to whether what we see materially is logically consistant as an all encompassing view of reality or alternatively, if it is logically inconsistant we what we observe.

    This question is not in the capabilities of science, but science has a big role in giving us much of our evidence to decide philosophically what the answer is more likely to be.

    So creationism has no place in the science class IMHO, just in the same manner that atheistic materialism has no place in the science class.

  • Sam Graham

    Here we go again…..

    We have the ususal rent a mob with their paralysing intellect sneering at anyone who cannot buy into their faith-based worldview of evolution. We are “anti-science” and “anti-intellectual” according to them.

    I am no DUP supporter but someone like Nigel Dodds with a Double First in Law from Cambridge is not some fool from the back streets. Likewise, Prof Norman Nevins of QUB the ardent Creationist and Geneticist.

    Education decisions are taken ultimately by politicians so Storey is elected an entitled to his say. Science has not proven evolution just natural selection within species. Simply repeating ad nauseam that 150 years of science has proven it does not make it true. It may even be true that the majority of scientists today believe in evolution but the uncomfortable fact remains that a significant minority dissent. None of this surprises me as Britain is an atheist country so I would expect or scientists to largely embrace that prevailing philosophy. That needs to be taught to our students – indeed, to neglect to do so is betraying them scientifically!

  • If schools have to give time to creationism while trying to teach science, how about churches providing time for a hearing from science rather than all the bullshit from the Bible?

  • 1goat

    bob,
    don’t you know that everything is the americans’s fault these days? on utv the other week, some ludicrious free magazine boss – ie: expert on everything – said that everyone knows ‘america is the most racist country in the world.’ absolute nonsense. i lived in the usa for a long time, right in the mid west heart, and it was the most welcoming, funny and wide-awake-alive place i have ever been. first western nation to put a black man in power too, by the looks of it.

    sam,
    first of all a double first from cambridge means very little. it especially doesn’t mean your point of view is worth any more than that of anyone elses. dodds is a lawyer. their point of view changes to suit the client’s needs. the client in nigel’s case is the dup electorate. in the private, quiet secrecy of the evening, his personal view on superstition – for which there is not a shred of proof in all its existance – may be a little different than that of the agreed script.

  • Peter

    It amuses me no end how creationist Christians have taken to postmodernist relativism as their last stand on this issue (probably without realising it). It is the fuzziest of positions to try and proclaim the ‘certainty’ of the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.

  • Peter

    It amuses me no end how creationist Christians have taken to postmodernist relativism as their last stand on this issue (probably without realising it). It is the fuzziest of positions to try and proclaim the ‘certainty’ of the existence of the Judeo-Christian God.

  • Driftwood

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PYGMIES_+_DWARFS_arguments

    Storey does at least have Sarah Palin to fall back on, so to speak, in his favour. The Pharyngular science blog on her recent statement on fruit fly research is a good one.

  • pauljames

    Lets see Mervyn, if we change one word in your opener it reads a lot better.

    ” What kind of people do we want our schools to turn out? Sounds like an easy question – doesn’t it? Suppose I suggested we should produce people with inquiring minds, who probe and question, who examine all the evidence and facts – who refuse to be indoctrinated into the dominant RELIGIOUS view of the day?”

    Spontaneous generation = Evolution, come on, not even dear old Sam Hanna/Graham would try to float a straw man of that magnitude!

  • deirdre nelson

    Big maggie, Ta for that:-)

    Fin, Don’t know if I’m a majority or minority view. Suspect the latter but you’d maybe be surprised that it’s not a small a minority as you might think

  • Greagoir O’ Frainclin

    Good to see that there are rational folk out there!

    This thread is hilarious,…all the contributions are gas!

  • Big Maggie

    LOL, I turn my back for a moment and this thread has grown exponentially. Quel surprise. Me, I take Prof Dawkins’s view that one shouldn’t argue with creationists. To do so is to elevate their BS to the level of real science and thus to dignify it. You’ll lose anyhow because when they’re up against the ropes they’ll hit you with their ultimate answer to everything: we don’t know because we can’t know the mind of God.

    Sam Graham

    I am no DUP supporter but someone like Nigel Dodds with a Double First in Law from Cambridge is not some fool from the back streets. Likewise, Prof Norman Nevins of QUB the ardent Creationist and Geneticist.

    Agree with you there. I said it on another thread (or maybe this one) that just because one dislikes a certain politician shouldn’t mean he’s a fool. Those two men are bright.

  • Driftwood
  • Qwerty

    I am not sure of the educational background statistics of the politicians in NI/RoI but it is obvious to me it does not include a significant % of scientists. There are votes in being philistine, anti-enlightenment and anti-greenlobby. You can easily describe intellectuals as boffins, lunatic fringe, radicals etc without having to engage in a reasonable debate.

    The green lobby are mostly religious wackos using science to promote their own moral purity / ascetic / end of the world / guilt based beliefs that in structure, if not content, are little different from those of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Nothing new for religions to base themselves on “science” rather than the Bible, take Raelians or Scientology for example. They are largely irrational (see e.g. Bjørn Lomborg for an untypically rational exception). The scary thing is that they have even more power and influence over government than fundamentalist Christians, certainly outside America anyway.

    Penn and Teller’s Bullshit! about environmentalism.
    http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=8917946