Creationism and Surveying the Evidence

There is a reason why creationists wish to debate and not do research. For starters? There is nothing to research. Biblical research with regards to creationism boils down to “It was magic all along”. There is no divine finger print that can be detected, merely evidence that can be misunderstood.

It is why creationists are claiming the recent discovery of the gravity waves that could be the “echo” of the Big Bang is a victory for creationists. Why? Because they called shotgun on it. There is no actual reason, just tortured Bible verse. It is the attribution of great knowledge to the past and denigration of progress. It is a laughable concept, the Bronze age Jews knew about gravity waves but not iron.

But that’s how they work. The reason they want to do debates is because it lets them display their wares. Now most of them were quiet for a few years thanks to the efforts of people like Christopher Hitchens and Dawkins and because they were not good at debates. While science made colossal strides and progress, creationists trotted out crocoducks and ideal bananas and failed to realise that there was a ball of fire in our sky.

When Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow asked professors at Furman University in Greenville, S.C., to participate in a Creationism debate modeled after the Ken Ham-Bill Nye event last month, the professors not only refused, but allegedly mocked the idea on social media. A student reported that a professor even threatened the group via email for reporting what the students saw as “bullying.”

Sure the “Conservative Students for a Better Tomorrow” deserve their debate. Must we also debate the shape of the Earth?

But it should be mocked. It is a stupid debate, it is the invitation of a pseudoscientific viewpoint and giving it equal time as a real science and portraying the alternative to all Biology as “God did it” and ignoring all the progress we have made by treating the “divine creation” as a natural phenomenon and so intricately understanding how it works.

Lauren Cooley, a CSBT advisor, told The Christian Post on Thursday that as soon as the professors heard the group’s plans to invite Answers in Genesis lecturer Terry Mortenson, they attacked his ideas and the students’ desire to invite him to campus for a debate.

Because his ideas deserve attacking. He is an anti-science luddite who has tried to guarantee a generation of children do not get the education they deserve and to encourage superstition.

He is a thief of futures, a man who robs children of the joy of science and replaces it with ignorance.

“The comments on Facebook were definitely bullying,” Cooley said. “It’s really inappropriate and unprofessional. … We want to expose the fact that we’re being ridiculed.”

But you deserve ridicule. The Christian Post may hand wring about this but if we called in a Hindu talking about the superiority of ayurvedic medicine over real medicine, we would laugh at it. Creationists deserve the same. Christians do not get a free ride for their pseudo-science.

Cooley told CP that roughly five professors were involved in the alleged bullying on social media, but she only named three – Bibb, Sneed and Oakes.”When we exposed the Facebook posts, one of the professors involved threatened a student by email,” Cooley said. She alleges that the professor accused the student of violating their privacy and threatened to report the student to campus authorities.

Sure, the professors shouldn’t bully students but they should be allowed to tell Students if their ideas are stupid. The debate is a rigged one since Creationist arguments exist purely through debate while Evolution is a product of painstaking science. All the evidence in creationism is based on the fear that Christianity will cease to be relevant and so every opportunity must be taken to twist and warp reality to fit and support Christianity. It is a fragile attitude to faith.

Cooley also commented that professor Bibb’s unwillingness to support the group’s event was “outlandish,” but admitted that she’s aware that he doesn’t agree with Young Earth Creationism, a belief espoused by AiG.

An idea so vapid that it requires blank ignorance of any civilisation not related to Christianity since written human History and our architecture pre-dates this. It’s an abandoned idea, because the weight of evidence made the various churches look daft. It’s not “wrong” but catastrophically wrong. A 6000 year old planet is not even within the error margins of the evidence for a roughly 5 billion year old earth. It is a blink of an eye in the time scale of our planet.

To push it is not a debate, but an argument for ignorance.

Despite the professors’ ridicule and unwillingness to participate in the event, Mortenson addressed the students at Furman Wednesday night. Cooley reported that the turnout was “just shy of a hundred, with 96 people in attendance,” which she described as “a good turnout” for a small liberal arts college with roughly 2,700 students.

Because science doesn’t progress by debate. Debate is what we do when we are bored. Creationism progresses by debate because it relies on convincing the lay and uneducated that winning a debate makes you right. You may be a naive person and I may win a debate over the value of slavery. That doesn’t mean we should own slaves, that just means I am good in a debate.

Mortenson gave a lecture on his Young Earth viewpoint, Cooley said, and the event was even attended by a few atheists, whom she said only attended to disrupt the event and ridicule his beliefs.

Yes, because your belief is stupid. For every time you laugh that “Hindus worship cows” remember that they do not think the world is just 6000 years old. Praying to cows is silly, thinking everything happens due to a god is harmful to human progress.

Because CSBT was unable to recruit a Furman professor for the event, students did not receive academic credit for attending. Although Cooley said this fact doesn’t bother her, she mentioned that Furman students have received credit for attending less academic events, such as lectures given by a drag queen and a political cartoonist who sharpens pencils by hand for a living.

Definitely, the University professors are correct. This is not an exercise in academia.

See the drag queen provides a different perspective about reality. About life. A political cartoonist sharpens pencils for a living is humour. A cartoonist is by definition a professional pencil sharpener. It’s like how at the end of the list of my qualifications, I joke that I play the triangle.

This is not an academic event, this is pushing the notion that the answer to the question of “Why are there so many different species in life and how did they get here” is “Magic, now don’t question it”.

That we have to throw away more than a hundred years of progress in Biology and go back to the genteel art of the killing jar and pine board. That is not academic, that is superstition.

“The university denied credit for the Creationism event by denying Mortenson’s credentials,” she said. “It’s sad because Furman tries to make the argument that it would sponsor a creationist who had academic credentials, but Mortenson has a PhD in the history of geology from Coventry.”

Which is laughable. How on earth do you give a doctorate to someone well versed in Geology who is claiming the world is 6000 years old?

A doctorate in History. That’s because Mortenson has a doctorate in History and is bad at it. History requires you to not throw away the bulk of history in order to push a superstition as fact. The fact that Mortenson has a doctorate in the History of Geology is laughable as he practices neither.

Jay Richards, senior fellow at The Discovery Institute and co-author of The Privileged Planet: How Our Place in the Cosmos Is Designed for Discovery, told CP on Thursday, “It’s absurd when professors at a university use their power to try to stop student-sponsored debates on subjects with which the professors disagree.”

Except the students wanted academic credit for it when there is no academic benefit from debating creationists. Astronomy does not progress by debating flat earthers and Biology does not move forward by debating creationists.

“Such actions exhibit a weird combination of hubris and cowardice,” Richards commented, adding that the professors seem confident in the truth of their position, but unwilling to risk debate.

That is because Richards has nothing to lose by debate. See a loss for Richards will be quickly covered up as unfair strategy. A win would have him claim that his data is the reason why he won the debate. To claim this is to show that Richards literally has no idea how science works. If you cannot understand the basic premise of science and then demand it play along like a philosophical or a political debate then you are stupid.

The fact of the matter is, debating creationists requires a specialised tool kit because creationists conflate evolution with everything from evolution itself to abiogenesis and cosmology. You have to be everything from astronomer to biologist to orator.

And it is unfair, it is easier to be ignorant at all these things than be proficient.

Despite his disagreement with the ideas supported by AiG, Richards believes there should be opportunities for debates about this issue on college campuses.“I’m not a Young Earth Creationist, and disagree with some of the views of Answers in Genesis, but that’s not the point,” he said. “There should be more, rather than fewer, debates on university campuses.”“If they think the evidence against creationism is so compelling, why not simply take the debate as an opportunity to survey that evidence?” Richards asked.

We will have more religion in our science lectures the day we have more science in your churches.

I don’t disagree with “some” of the Ideas from Answers in Genesis, I disagree with ALL of them.


  1. Al Dente says

    As Richard Dawkins explained when refusing to participate in a debate: “That would look great on your CV, not so good on mine”.

  2. Menyambal says

    An on-stage debate is pretty much just two sermons. The better sermonizer is going to win.

    When I was on the debate team, back in high school, we had to be ready to debate either side of an issue. Seriously, we had boxes of quotes both for and against, we’d flip a coin, and each debate was all about sounding good. I have judged debates since, and it was still the same. Debates aren’t about finding truth.

    Having a stage debate on campus allows the creationists to say that the issue is being debated in universities, as if the professors are disagreeing about science.

  3. says

    There is no divine finger print that can be detected, merely evidence that can be misunderstood.

    Well, there should be. That’s one of the great big jokes about religion: it depends on a lot of non-science claims that are verifiably wrong by science.
    1) What are souls made of?
    2) Why are souls undetectable?
    3) Why does prayer not affect probability distributions at all? (If you consider prayer as a long-term study, wouldn’t you expect to find that the followers of a god that actually existed and listens to prayers would be more successful, show greater longevity, etc?)
    4) How does prayer work?
    5) How is it that there is no place in our genetic map for an “adam” and “eve”?
    6) Many of the historical claims of the jewish legends are theoretically verifiably by archeology; why do none of them pan out? Not one?
    7) Miracles appear to have stopped happening around the time when we started to understand physics, chemistry, and biology. Why is that?
    8) Why is there absolutely no sign of “life after death”? For that matter, why don’t religious people have anything like a theory of how “life after death” works? They talk about it like they know something about it; where did that knowledge come from?

    If you pick one, or two, of the points I’ve outlined above, and reject it as vacuous unproven claims, the whole of christianity falls apart. No prayer? Then huge parts of the bible are lies. No adam and eve? No original sin. No life after death? No punishment; life is all we have. No soul? Ditto. Etc.

    Religions’ foundational claims are disproven. What the faithful are doing is looking at a building that has had the foundation and bottom floor obliterated, and claiming “It’s still standing! It merely looks like a pile of rubble, but that’s part of our super clever plan!”

  4. Menyambal says

    Heh. I just checked for job openings in my school district. The high school debate teacher needs a degree in Speech and Theatre.

  5. says

    The faithful need to make the case that their (extremely wild) claims are true. Not that science is false. All the religious would have to do is discover the soul, or demonstrate how prayer shifts probability, or how life after death works — and they’d win the game. Why aren’t they working on that?

  6. says

    The high school debate teacher needs a degree in Speech and Theatre.

    Debating is a beautiful art-form, if done right. Those are the correct qualifications.

    I once had a wonderful dream in which I had a time-machine that would work for a week, and I had to make up my plan of attack. After going back in time and cold-cocking Gavrilo Princip while he sat at his cafe table, what would I do? I’d take a decent digital audio recorder back in time and record Elvis’ early sessions at Sun Studio (in glorious stereo!) Furtwangler’s performance of Beethoven’s 9th in 1944 for Hitler’s birthday (which I guess probably wouldn’t happen after all!) and some of Cato’s speeches, most notably the “Carthago” and, of course, a bit of live Shakespeare. …

  7. smrnda says

    I’m glad to see more people rejecting the debate format. Regrettably, in the popular consciousness things are settled by debates; a reason why this is not how science is settled is that science done property has to avoid bias, and debates are pretty much about either taking advantage of cognitive biases, emotional manipulation or various techniques like the ‘gish gallop.’ My background is in mathematics, and nobody settles a mathematical question by debate, end of story.

    I suspect a disdain for people avoiding debates is based on the anti-intellectualism of many creationists. They want to depict the people avoiding debates as elitists, rather than admitting that they don’t really have any credentials to question the experts.

  8. hoary puccoon says

    Marcus Ranum @3–

    About your point #6, that Jewish legends never pan out–

    It’s a little more complicated than that. For instance, the talking snake in Eden– there is evidence that there was a widespread cult of priestesses who pretended to get messages from snakes. The Pythoness at Delphi was an last (very male-dominated) remnant of that. And the Delphi cult lasted well into historic times.

    But using the evidence that the story of Adam and Eve was actually propaganda against a cult with women clergy makes the (centuries later) doctrine of original sin even more problematic. The real origin of the story almost certainly had nothing to do with that bizarre concept.

    The most likely explanation for the first books of the Bible is that when Hebrews developed writing, they wanted to write down their legends and oral histories before they were lost. Whether the stories were factually true or not was probably not a criterion they cared about– any more than early 20th century anthropologists cared when they recorded the legends of remote tribes. And as far as being *literally* true– what would that even mean, if the story was passed down verbally through generations of story-tellers? There is, by definition, no original to check the story against.

    In a way, what I’m contending is worse than “no evidence.” It’s tentative evidence that the stories in Genesis had a completely different explanation from the one modern religions are giving them.


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