McCausland avoids the real debate on museum…

I’M not sure what to make of the Culture Minister’s latest blog entry on the Ulster Museum controversy. After waiting patiently for Nelson McCausland to address the merits of Creationism’s place in the museum, it now appears he doesn’t want to talk about the only genuine controversy in his letter to the trustees after all.

This is disappointing, because the Minister freely offered his personal defence of why Ulster-Scots, the Orange Order and other fraternal organisations like the AoH, the Plantation and other matters ought to have their place there.

And – despite his detractors – Nelson has a point. He makes valid arguments, and it’s great to see a politician do this online. For good or for ill, all those things listed above are part of our history and society, and are worthy of some form of public exhibition. Perhaps by witnessing our divided past it can, somehow, contribute to a shared future. Properly contextualised, of course, but not omitted or glossed over. (I might even go further and suggest boosting the Ulster Museum’s feeble ‘Troubles’ section by sticking a Saracen where the dinosaur is, pinning a decommissioned Armalite to the wall and instead of knights in shining armour you could have an RUC riot mannequin.)

However, in 11 entries on the controversy, there hasn’t been a single word blogged by the minister himself in favour of promoting alternative ways of explaining the beginnings of the universe. In the course of the debate, he has merely quoted others and in his final post he concludes:

It is clear that some people want me to enter into a public debate on evolution, creationism and intelligent design and that is something I have no intention of doing. There are well-known scientists who advocate each of these viewpoints and I leave it to them to debate the matter.

That wasn’t exactly worth the wait. Why so coy now? There was certainly a willingness to debate every other aspect of the letter. To now decline to engage on the final matter – the only one worth debating in depth – could be interpreted as a little intellectually dishonest. Or perhaps once the Creationism touchpaper had been lit, the only political option left was to run a mile away from it.

I feel let down with such an unsatisfying conclusion, even if it does make life easier for the Ulster Museum. After all, if the proposer of an argument is not prepared to stand by it, then it can be rejected more easily. (Or, if compromise is to be found, it could be placed in an exhibition in its proper context – alongside other religions or – less charitably – in the myths and legends section.)

The fear that people like myself have, Minister McCausland, is that Creationists – and their fundie Young Earth-believing country cousins – will seek to have faith validated through science by having competing narratives seen as equal. Or in layman’s terms, that we could end up hearing – in our showcase museum – how jurassic dinosaurs walked the earth with humans, or how only a week passed from the Big Bang until a couple ate some dodgy fruit.

Equating faith and science is like comparing apples and oranges. I wouldn’t deny that religious belief is very real to many people, but one exists because of reason and evidence, the other despite them. They have their places, but probably not beside each other in the Ulster Museum.

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  • Jim

    Don’t understand all the fuss about this one…..surely it’s quite simple…God CREATED evolution (and science)!!! And no one has yet scientifically explained to my satisfaction why some species evolved and some others didn’t e.g the old chestnut “why do we still have apes”? If there is an omnipotent God it would be a piece of cake for him/her/it to run two methods of creation alongside each other. Just cos we insist on one or the other may just mean that we are still too stupid to get it….we must have a lot more evolving to do before at least one of us can postulate this in terms meaningful to a significant number of us homo sapiens!!!

  • Big Maggie

    And no one has yet scientifically explained to my satisfaction why some species evolved and some others didn’t e.g the old chestnut “why do we still have apes”?

    Why do we still have fundies? I suggest you read a book on the subject. It’ll teach you that the ape isn’t our descendant but our cousin. You could just as well ask: why do I still have those cousins in America?

    Dawkins has an excellent book out at the mo: The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. If that doesn’t satisfy you I fear nothing will.

  • Cynic

    Perhaps Nelson is a politician and not a believer

  • slappymcgroundout

    “I wouldn’t deny that religious belief is very real to many people, but one exists because of reason and evidence, the other despite them.”

    And you wonder why they loathe you so. Some of us otherwise don’t see any conflict between the two.

    Next, how much is evidence and how much is speculation? Take the matter of sexual reproduction. You hear the lameoids speak to variability and how its all good, yet there are infinitely more asexual bacteria alive on planet earth than there are sexually reproducing creatures. And the asexual bacteria seem to be doing okay (they’ve managed to endure for far longer than more sexually reproducing species than I care to enumerate). Then there’s the matter of cost, as in much useful energy is expended in the creation and storage of egg and sperm, a cost not paid by the asexual reproducers. Then there’s the matter of evolution running the other way, or not at all, meaning, you lose the favorable gene as it isn’t passed via gene recombination (remember, you aren’t passing on an exact copy of yourself, so entirely possible that the gene(s) coding for the purportedly beneficial trait didn’t make it into that sperm that fertilized her egg). And so the true scientist says things like: While there might well be agreement about the importance of the problem of the evolution of sex, there is no consensus about where its solution lies, and, How sex began and why it thrived remain a mystery. But I don’t imagine that we’ll have that in your museum. Instead, we’ll have a “just so” story.

    But if you wish to have your exhibit on evolution, put the same in the section wherein the paramilitary blows up La Mon. Those killed were “unfit”. I put “unfit” in quotes because there is no such thing as “fittest” in evolution. Those that survive are minimally fit, or more correctly, not yet selected against, even if they are the mentally dim down at the care home, who survived while genius you and me were shot up in the PIRA-UVF crossfire while walking home after turning in our respective PhD theses.

    And that’s why we need “religion”. It gives humans purpose. There is no purpose in evolution. It simply is. There is no better end, just those not yet selected against. Their day may come tomorrow. In a word or four, nature simply doesn’t care. And so there’s a need for “religion”. And hardly a surprise that the great faiths are made up of those adhering to the notion of a personal God who does care.

    Lastly, and by the way, some on your side are morons, despite their credentials. For what I mean, consider:

    The problem, however, becomes apparent when people begin to talk with another logic (known as affirming the consequent—modus ponens—a frightful logical error) and speak of selection for one or another characteristic that can be seen on survivors, characteristically regarded by the analyst as essential to the creature’s success in not being selected against.

    Much of what you call reason and evidence is exactly that frightful logical error.

    Almost forgot, but while speaking of logical fallacy, how about Mr. Dawkins? Had a show in your part of the world called, The Root Of All Evil? Ever hear of the logical fallacy of self-contradiction? If Richard claims that religious belief is evil, then he must posit the actual existence of both good and evil. But can he do that if he believes that we have evolved through unguided, undirected natural selection of random mutations? Remember what I said above, nature simply doesn’t care. So he’s a moron too, call him, Mr. Self-Contradiction. And for more of the same from him, and you, simply consider:

    But, Dawkins self-contradiction doesn’t stop there. In The Root of all Evil? he repeated his regular call for people to test their beliefs by using the scientific method. He called upon people only to believe something if there was scientific evidence for it. By scientific evidence he means some form of experiment that enables us to test the belief in some empirical way. Boiled down to its basic form, Dawkins says, ‘only believe something if there is scientific evidence that it is true.’ Unfortunately, yet again Dawkins falls into the fallacy of self-contradiction. When telling us, ‘only to believe something if there is scientific evidence that it is true,’ he is telling us to believe something (that we should only believe something if there is scientific evidence that it is true). Now, we might reasonably ask him to tell us what scientific evidence he can give us for this belief. By his own argument, there should be scientific evidence for the truth of the statement that we should ‘only believe something if there is scientific evidence that it is true.’ Of course he can’t give us any. That statement is not verifiable scientifically. It is an expression of his belief. It is a statement of his faith.

    So you were saying something about reason and evidence, and faith being legend and myth? Think harder next time. Before you come off looking more foolish than you do now.

  • abucs

    I think (without getting into an argument) the scientific method was created in the West as a tool to investigate and understand the material world. It was largely created by Christians who would describe it as looking into the material world that was Created by God in one way or another.

    Whichever way you go, a tool to investigate the material, based in the material world is by definition incapable of giving any sort of proof for anything immaterial.

    Christians would continue, as with Bacon, Newton, Galileo etc to see it as such. Those whose philosophy rejects all but the material will continue to insist the scientific method be used to prove claims of the immaterial.

    I think that insistance though is largely based on an underlying philosophy and does not recognise the limitations of the scientific method to the material world.

  • Big Maggie

    Good try—well, a long try anyhow.

    But you didn’t in any way refute this:

    “… religious belief is very real to many people, but one exists because of reason and evidence, the other despite them.”

    And calling your betters “morons” doesn’t earn you any credibility with me at least.

  • Cynic

    “There is no purpose in evolution. It simply is. There is no better end, just those not yet selected against.”

    …. ah so you need an invisible friend to give you purpose in your life? many of us just get on, live and enjoy whet we have inherited

  • Cynic

    ” a tool to investigate the material, based in the material world is by definition incapable of giving any sort of proof for anything immaterial.”

    This presupposes that the immaterial exists. There is no evidence at all that it does

  • Amadan

    Those whose philosophy rejects all but the material will continue to insist the scientific method be used to prove claims of the immaterial.

    The problem lies in precisely the opposite situation. Those whose claims depend ultimately on supernatural causes are dressing up their claims in scientific-sounding language, “to prove claims of the immaterial”, as you put it.

    Perhaps their faith is too fragile to enable them to not see but yet believe. Perhaps they mean to persuade the undecided that they can justify claims that aren’t persuasive on their own terms. Or perhaps they’re just reassuring members of their own in-group that “we” are right and The Others are wrong.

    In any case, it’s hardly the sort of thing I understood to be Christian behaviour.

  • PN

    Cynic:
    “This presupposes that the immaterial exists.”

    No, it doesn’t. It states that the immaterial can’t be proved by empirical evidence. That’s the point.

  • Museum. A museum is a non-profit, permanent institution in the service of society and its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits the tangible and intangible heritage of humanity and its environment for the purposes of education, study and enjoyment. ICOM definition of a museum

    Which is more entertaining, the tangible or the intangible?

  • RickK

    I think it would be very interesting for a museum to display the success of creationism in explaining the origins of the natural world.

    Similarly the museum could display many examples from history of how successfully the natural world has been explained by divine/supernatural causes. Here are some examples:

    The Sun – was a god, now a ball of fusing hydrogen
    The Moon – was a god(dess), now a big round dusty rock
    The stars – were gods or spirits, more flaming gas balls
    The tides – were attributed to gods, now gravity
    The seasons – attributed to gods, now Earth’s tilt
    Earthquakes – were caused by gods, now plate tectonics
    Lightning – was thrown by a god, now static electricity
    Rain & drought – was God, now atmospheric moisture
    Health & disease – was God, now germs & genetics
    Schizophrenia – was demonic possession, now brain chemicals
    Epilepsy – was divine possession, now neurology
    Origin of species – was God, now science (evolution)
    Identity & personality – was the soul, now neuroscience

    See what a great display it would be? See how wonderfully the divine/supernatural has explained our world?

    Let’s make a whole wing of the museum dedicated to the divine/supernatural and its power to give good explanations.

    We can call it the Hall of Failure.

  • Unlucky Erb

    But of course Mc Causland is avoiding sparking a real debate on on creationism – he knows full well he will lose.

    Its much better and easier for him to force his delusions on others by abusing his position in local government – one hand on essential funding streams and the other writing a letter strongly advocating a place for his fairytales in our museum.

  • Nevin, I didn’t see entertainment listed as one of the purposes in that definition!

    slappymcgroundout

    I didn’t claim ‘faith’ was legend and myth; I am claiming that the story of creation is.

    I would guess that virtually all societies have a story of creation. We seem to have a need to explain the inexplicable to ourselves. I’m not sure that a story thousands of years old, originating in an ancient middle eastern society and mistranslated through the ages is more valid than any other story. Why shouldn’t the other religions, even ones that seem bizarre to us, have their place in the museum, if that is the case? What science does is test theories and throw out the ones that don’t work, not stick with the fantastic.

    There is no necesary conflict between faith and science if you see the story of creation as an allegory. But those seeking to promote Young Earth Creationism – who lobbied the minister – are literalists, and for them conflict between the two is a necessity. (Unless some scientists really believe God created dinosaurs, stripped the flesh off them, aged their bones several million years and buried them under metres of earth. Does that trickery sound like the work of a God of love?)

    Odd that only the Cynic has commented on why the Minister has left the debate for others. I actually don’t mind Nelson. even if he has some funny ideas, so I hope he takes this post in the spirit of debate in which it’s intended. I’m just terribly disappointed he doesn’t want to be part of it. And if that is the case, I guess we can only draw our own conclusions about the strength of his conviction for the Caleb group’s proposal.

  • BG, I thought you would see the connection between enjoyment and entertainment 🙂

  • I know, I know. But without wanting to look like a humorless git, there is a subtle difference. To me entertainment suggests something more frivalous, whereas one can enjoy more weighty issues.

  • “having competing narratives seen as equal”

    Why so fearful? Who is promoting such a status? Accommodation and equality are not the same.

  • Actually, you can investigate scientifically things people think are immaterial. One need only think of all the efforts of the Society for Psychical Research. But then Spiritualism is rare among religions, in that it makes claims that can be tested.

  • Herman Cummings

    There comes a time when you keep telling people the same thing, over and over again, and they don’t listen, you wonder if they have any good sense at all. The creationists which you know or hear of do not understand the Genesis text, and are too stubborn to learn the truth (from the Genesis expert). God was revealing geologic time to Moses, not Creation Week. I advise all who think that they believe Genesis to throw away the junk that they presently believe and teach, and learn the truth of God’s Word.
    Genesis does not say that the universe was created 6,000 years ago. That is foolish misrepresentation of the text. Neither are gap theories, Day/Age, theistic evolution, progressive, framework (or other “old Earth” doctrines which you have heard of) correct. The correct opposing view to evolution is the “Observations of Moses”, which is the correct rendition of Genesis. There is a 62 minute PowerPoint presentation that proves early Genesis to be correct, and the various factions of creationism to be in error. So stop this silly argument over Creationism and evolution, and learn the truth about what Moses wrote. Otherwise, our collective heads will remain mired in the sands of ignorance.

    Herman Cummings
    Ephraim7@aol.com

  • Jay

    Cynic ^^ . That is probably the best one liner I’ve read this year.

    Says so little yet means so much.

  • Jay

    “And that’s why we need “religion”. It gives humans purpose.”

    So does pushing a large rock up a hill all your life.

  • Big Maggie

    Nevin, I don’t know if “fearful” is the word I’d use. “Careful” maybe.

    Let’s not forget that museums are places where children are taken with a view to broadening their sweet little minds. Museums should therefore be repositories of knowledge. Good, sound, scientifically tested knowledge, not bollocks about the Garden of Eden and a 6,000-year-old earth.

    It’s bad enough that so many parents baptize their kids and brainwash them with this nonsense from an early age. It’s quite another matter if a reputable institution like a museum has exhibits that reinforce the nonsense.

    Keep delusion away from our museums!

  • EWI

    So, who are Nelson’s “scientists” that are advocating Creationism, Intelligent Design and Young Earthism?

    Inquiring minds want to know.

  • Jean Meslier

    “..Don’t understand all the fuss about this one…..surely it’s quite simple…God CREATED evolution (and science)!!! …”

    Jim
    I think the operative word here is “simple”.

    May I please endorse Big Maggies suggestion that you invest in Dawkins’ :- The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution.
    The Bible is a good book, but it is not the only book.

    We live in progressive times .
    Technology is literally at our fingertips as I’m sure you’ll appreciate.
    However this infomation and the choice to access it is peculiar to our present generation only.
    The multitudes of previous generations never even had the chance to make a choice. The only literate and educated people were the select few ie “bishops and kings”.
    The right to education and scientific truths were obtained from neither of the above, but were gained only after sacrifice which included persecution and denial.
    Science, I believe, is the Greek word for knowledge.
    The holy books gave us stories and parables but never knowledge. So come on Jim and exercise your non – god given right to choice.

    One last point.
    I believe that Nelson’s latest ramble may have a positive side effect in so far as it may help people from different “traditions” to find common ground and purpose on resisting this nutty crusade.
    Just think Nelson’s espousel of creation might help to bring people from unionist and nationalist backgrounds to a shared purpose for perhaps the first time ever.

    I take my hat off to this inadvertent progress.

    First Galileo, Copernicus, Kepler, Darwin – all people who had associaion with religion or indeed worked as religious ministers, and now Nelson McCausland.

    That noise you heard in the background was the Reverend McCrea fainting!!

  • Jean Meslier
  • Big Maggie

    LOL, Jean!

    This is my favourite sermon by “Dr” McMurtry (I wonder if his brother Larry based his novel One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest on this guy).

    “The Road to Man”?
    No evidence exists to support the evolution of Man.

    Stop laughing at the back. I recognize wishful thinking when I see it. My school friends were splitting their sides because I desperately wished to go on believing in Santa at age nine :^)

  • Big Maggie, we need to know what makes people as well as clocks tick. A lack of knowledge of our ‘intangible’ heritage and a shortage of dog-wit IMO led to the Rathin furore a few days ago. I’m still working on a blog of the Royal and Ministerial visits!!

  • Peter Fyfe

    Nelson McCausland spends half his blog questioning the motives and actions of those that disagree with him. He then calls for a reasonable debate on Creationism. I will give him many reasons why creationism is wrong. Such as those dinosaur bones perhaps. Something tells me Cynic has hit the nail on the head on this one, he is clearly the politician playing the believer. They all do it, Nelson’s beliefs are jut that bit crazier. If he was really a believer would he shirk out from defending literal meaning of the good book?

  • EWI

    Wow – there’s really something for everyone on that page, isn’t there?

    Laws of Science/Laws of God
    The facts of scientific Laws prove creation and disprove evolution.

    Intellectual Honesty
    The Two Model approach to teaching Origins, real education for the real World.

    The Solar System – Was Created
    Presenting evidence that the solar system was created recently.

    Potassium/Argon and Uranium/Lead – Proof for Creation
    These dating technologies do not work – ever!

    Genetics – DNA Supports Creation
    The Laws of Genetics conserve the previously created information.

    No Truth to Global Warming!
    There is no truth to the idea of “Global Warming.”

    It’s like the ground zero of Stupid. The DUP should clearly get this man in front of their fellow MLAs as soon as possible (and the other parties should help them…).

  • southdown

    An ape is any member of the Hominoidea superfamily of primates, including humans.

  • Danny

    For the sake of the human race I really hope that Jim is trying to channel McCausland, rather than actually being serious…

  • abucs

    I understand your view Amadan but of course we have different starting points. I wouldn’t say that “our side of the fence” are “dressing up unpersuasive claims in scientific sounding language”. We would say that the view of Bacon, Gerbert, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, LeMaitre etc etc, even Darwin when he was doing his science as a young man, was always that there was the physical world and the supernatural (immaterial) sitting behind it. We would still claim that is the best philosophy for the evidence we have today. We would say the materialists (if i can use that term) broke away from that founding philosophy of western science and adopted a different philosophy by putting a square around only the material and saying that’s all there is. Such thinking of course is philosophical, not scientific (which doesn’t mean it is wrong, only that there is no scientific proof for it). We would say that we are not trying to “sound” scientific, we are scientific. But we realise, like materialists, we bring a different philosophy and hence underlying assumptions to the big question of how our universe ultimately works.

  • abucs

    Hi Cynic.

    “This presupposes that the immaterial exists. There is no evidence at all that it does”

    I agree with PN. If all of our tools are material, we can only view (or detect) the material. For example, light bounces of “stuff” and into our eyes/microscopes/readers etc. We are limited by our material tools. Of course if you have the philosophy that is all that exists anyway, then you believe you are seeing everything. But it is a belief.

    If we are going to argue for the immaterial, we have to look at how the material “stuff” interacts and persuade that a material only view of everything is an insufficient or even a deficient philosophy.

    The laws of physics i would say are immaterial and not based on mechanical ’cause and effect’ interaction (although on a larger scale it certainly appears that way). Also, the laws of physics seems to take into account ‘consciousness’ which would point to the laws of physics somehow anticipating consciousness.

    To prove this we have to get right down to the basic elements of “material stuff” and it gets quite complicated. But i think it shows that the immaterial not only does exist but is fundamental. If i thought it didn’t and wasn’t, then i would most likely be a “materialist”.

    For any that are interested :

    http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=383372&page=10

    (Please excuse any heated language used in the preceeding pages of this blog with Yankee as there was a bit of history involved).

  • TAFKABO

    And no one has yet scientifically explained to my satisfaction why some species evolved and some others didn’t

    Err, all species evolved, you’re making the classic mistake of assuming that evolution has an advanced point it is trying to reach. Evolution is blind, it has no end goal in sight. It follows certain rules and procedures, the same for every species and animal.

  • mister

    Proof by PowerPoint. I suspect that’s a fairly loose definition of proof.

  • mister

    Stephen Meyer and Michael Behe among others.

    They’re out there and they’re well-known. They’re just not well-respected.

  • vanhelsing

    But you didn’t in any way refute this:

    “… religious belief is very real to many people, but one exists because of reason and evidence, the other despite them.” – could you explain BM?

  • vanhelsing

    I would happily admit to being a gap creationist rather than a ‘young earther’. This concept of ‘big bang’ which the evo’s believe is rather difficult to get your head round by a rational thinking mind – which I believe I have. I wouldn’t propose to patronise those who believe in such on the site but simply ask them the question – do you know the chances of Abiogenesis occuring. Well it’s a big number bigger in fact than the odds of NK beating Brazil this evening:)

    My faith is simple leaving aside the personal aspect of it – I prefer to believe that there is a God who made the universe in stages of over millions of years [days in Genesis] than the odds of Abiogenesis.

    The other interesting note in this thread so far is that whilst NMc is being berated because of his ‘fundamentalist’ beliefs there are so many ‘fundamentalist’ atheists here proporting THEY ARE CORRECT!!! Spot the irony?

  • Danny

    There’s been a whole heap of things that were unexplained down the years, and, in the absence of the explaination, those looking for an easy way out will state “oh, must be some higher power” and move on. Those who aren’t lazy will press on and develop the tools and theories to explain it. We don’t know yet how the universe works, but one day we will, just like everything else attributed to an unspecific diety throughout the years has been proven to have a logical explaination. Sensors, developed by man, show that it is in fact shifts in the Earth, and not boobs, that cause earthquakes.

  • mister

    So the Big Bang is difficult for a rational thinking person to get their head around, but the concept of a God who knows your thoughts isn’t? The idea of a benevolent deity who grants you free will but condemns you to burn for all eternity inthe fiery depths of hell if you exercise that free will by not worshipping her isn’t a head-scratcher?

    Sounds like the kind of thing that might be spouted by someone who believes that atheism is as much a religion as any of the faith systems.

  • abucs

    Danny, the bit that i disagree with you there is on the assertion that the religious simply say “God does it” and then move on leaving it to the other “more intellectually free thinking non religious” to understand.

    With respect, that idea is held strongly by many but i think it is part of a belief system that is not supported by evidence and that belief misleads a lot of people to view religion and the religious incorrectly.

    For example, the field of earthquakes/seismology that you cite was actually called “The Jesuit Science”

    http://www.companysj.com/v264/SU09.Jesuit.Science.pdf
    http://www.faculty.fairfield.edu/jmac/sj/geophysics.htm
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alessandro_Serpieri
    http://books.nap.edu/html/biomems/jmacelwane.pdf
    http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006ANHOA/ref=nosim/catholiceduca-20
    http://sp.lyellcollection.org/cgi/content/abstract/310/1/135

    If you trace science back far enough you will find the pioneers were religious and they succeeded for the very reason that they were not (and are not) intellectually lazy or close-minded.

    We continue to search for how the universe works. We don’t see God as being between the gaps who is slowly being fazed out, but on the other side of the gap. And we have tried for centuries to close that gap. I view western science as the great success story of Christianity not as something alien or foreign or in conflict with Christianity.

    OK got to go.

  • vanhelsing

    Mister – your intial paragraph misrepresents Christainity completely.

    Whilst I don’t expect you to agree I believe that God demonstrated the greatest love by sending his son to die to save a fallen mankind. However this is not a thread on Christianity but rather creationism….

    ——-‘Sounds like the kind of thing that might be spouted by someone who believes that atheism is as much a religion as any of the faith systems.’——–

    Nope I don’t believe Atheism is a religion – I was simply making the point that some atheists are ‘fundamentalists’ – which is often who they choose to critically comment on because of their faith system.

    When Francis Crick [who co-discovered DNA] calculated the possibility of a simple protein sequence of 200 amino acids (much simpler than a DNA molecule) originating spontaneously, his figure was 10 with 260 zeroes after it.

    It is scientifically reasonable to assume that a chance of one out of 1,000,000,000,000,000 is considered a virtual impossibility. Personally I prefer ‘as a rational person’ the chance of God existing than the atheistic long shot of Crick.

    I don’t have to prove gap creationism to you or prove that their is a God, that I accept is a matter of faith. I would be interested in you explaining away the SCIENCE of Abiogenesis and why you are willing to put your non-faith in it.

  • Veritad

    ” Instead of knights in shining armour you could have an RUC riot mannequin”

    Hardly a like for like replacement

  • mister

    A fundamentalist is someone who is unwavering in their belief. The problem with labelling an atheist as fundamentalist is that the huge majority of them will change their outlook based on the evidence at hand.

    If someone provides me with reasonable evidence for a young earth (which is the theory McCausland puts forth) then I’ll accept that their theory is worthy of investigation. Reasonable evidence does not include adding up the ages of people in a book that also carries no weight as evidence.

    I don’t put my non-faith in abiogenesis. If anyone asks me how life started I’ll tell them I don’t know. But I am glad that brainier people than me are looking for the answer rather than taking “Dunno. God did it.” as an acceptable answer.

  • vanhelsing

    Interesting post,

    We probably could debate whether or not some of the views on this thread expressed by atheists are fundamentalist or not – if you read through them you might conclude they are fairly unwavering:)

    Your last comment seems somewhat of an admission – you don’t know where life started [brave of you to say – that was not scarcasm] but I have a faith in where I believe it started. I don’t believe that the ‘I don’t know answer’ from an Atheist
    should be any more or less respected than the ‘God created it’ from a Christian.

    To widen it out slightly and return to NMc comments regarding Creationism. I would imagine that there would be a significant number of people in Northern Ireland from both sides of the community who would side with some type of Christian theory regarding Creation. To this regard I feel that Museums should reflect the views and beliefs of all – that includes Christians.

    I appreciate you taking the time to reply and not patronise me – even if we don’t agree. VH

  • mister

    I have no problem with creationism being represented in the Ulster Museum, provided it is in the proper context. For example, in an exhibition detailing creation stories from around the world and throughout history.

    However I suspect what Mr McCausland actually wants is for the museum to present creationism in a context of equivalency with evolutionary theory. It’s a tried and tested technique of the Intelligent Design proponents. “Teach the controversy”, as though ID is backed with as compelling a body of evidence as evloution when the truth is that there is precisely zero scientific evidence backing up crewationism and all that places like the Discovery Institute do is try and poke holes in evolution, seemingly oblivious to the fact that even if they were to bring down evolutionary theory, it would do nothing to make the case for their own beliefs any stronger.

  • vanhelsing

    I’m no expert, not a theologian and don’t really know what a museum is there for – always thought on schools trips they were boring:)

    My faith on the concept of IT gets strengthened when I see the complexity of the human eye, the reasoning power of the human brain or the sheer dexterity that a hand can produce and wonder – surely we did not come from creatures that simply crawled out of the slime?

    Not sure what Nelson would like to see in the Museum; i guess though that it should represent both history, science and faith if they important to the people living in the country.

    I also believe that we should respect each others views on the subject and haven’t really seen that from many [non-creationists] commentaries here except yours.

  • vanhelsing

    Cheers

  • mister

    Irreducible complexity is one of the gangplanks upon which ID is founded. The eye is one of the examples ID proponents used to use, but they don’t use it anymore as the evolution of the eye is much better understood than it was.

    ID needs to develop a scientific foundation built on a base of evidence before it can expect to be treated on a level par with evolution. Currently it has none and it’s supporters seem to spend most of their time trying to poke holes in evolutionary theory rather than creating an evidence base for their own viewpoint.

  • TAFKABO

    Well one of the scientists Nelson cited was quickly withdrawn after Dawkins pointed out that he knew him personally and he was no creationist. Nelson, like most religious people, if fond of lying when he thinks he’ll get away with it.

  • TAFKABO

    This concept of ‘big bang’ which the evo’s believe is rather difficult to get your head round by a rational thinking mind

    This idea that the big bang and evolution are somehow inextricably linked is baffling to me, why do people persist in assuming that one theory depends upon the other?
    Evolution as a theory is proven, the jury is still out on the big bang.

  • Big Maggie

    “I also believe that we should respect each others views on the subject and haven’t really seen that from many [non-creationists] commentaries here except yours.”

    Really? I believe we should respect each other but not each other’s views.

    Why should we? Should I respect Scientology or any other wacky belief based on zero evidence?

    Absolutely not.

  • Danny

    “My faith on the concept of IT gets strengthened when I see the complexity of the human eye, the reasoning power of the human brain or the sheer dexterity that a hand can produce and wonder – surely we did not come from creatures that simply crawled out of the slime?”

    If that is so, what with humans being the ultimate lifeform and whatnot, it’s a pretty weak arguement. I’d like to see the human eye out-perform an eagle’s, human limbs outperform an insect’s, and as for the brain.. perhaps there’s an arguement there, but just because animals can’t talk doesn’t mean they aren’t as smart. Hell most would outperform humans on Eggheads, power of human speech or not.

    And it’s hardly like we “crawled out of the slime” overnight, it happened over billions of years (which is quite a hard number to quanitify – look how far the Earth has come in just the last 100), not the 200 or so years as an alarming number of people think.