Andrew Brown has really put his foot in it this time

This is some unbelievably obtuse commentary on creationism from Andrew Brown. After noting that the proportion of creationists in the population is very large, and that many people will assent to the proposition that the earth is around 10,000 years old, he proceeds to place the blame.

This is quite clearly not a problem caused by religious belief. Even if we assume that all Muslims are creationists, and all Baptists, they would only be one in 10 of the self-reported creationists or young Earthers. What we have here is essentially a failure, on a quite staggering scale, of science and maths education. The people who think the Earth is 10,000 years old are essentially counting like the trolls in Terry Pratchett: “one, lots, many”. Ten thousand is to them a figure incalculably huge.

We’re to excuse religion when people dumbly parrot religious dogma? That number of 10,000 years isn’t just a random choice; it’s not arbitrary; it’s not a familiar, convenient, nice round number (why don’t they say it’s a million, or a billion, if it’s simply an ignorant guess?). Somehow, large numbers of people echo the specific claims of a narrow religious belief — a young earth, a worldwide flood, a six-day creation, and all that other foolishness — and somehow they just spontaneously, out of some peculiarly synchronistic ignorance, tend to give just these answers…and it’s not religion’s fault? This is an amazing example of plagiarized errors — if two students turned in exams with wrong answers that were identical to this degree, I’d nab ‘em for cheating.

It also ignores the reality of the responses. It’s not just ignorance, I’ve seen that plenty of times, and usually when you teach a student something they didn’t know before, they react with please surprise — the lightbulb goes on above their heads. When I teach genetics or physiology, for instance, there’s hard stuff to master, but the students aren’t closed off to it: they’re signed up to learn it. Evolution is different. There are always some students who hear you tell them the earth is 4½ billion years old, we’re descended from other apes, we have fossils of intermediate forms — all wonderfully cool stuff that they should be thrilled to learn about — who resist and deny.

That’s the unique thing about evolution and a few other subjects. It’s not just that they’ve been in the dark about these controversies, it’s that they come into the classroom preloaded with dogma in opposition. Where does that problematic opposition come from?

Religion.

I really don’t mind and I certainly don’t belittle students who come in to the classroom unaware of the science they’re being taught — that’s the whole raison d’etre of having the classroom in the first place! What Brown is missing is the qualitatively different nature of the creationism argument: it’s an active and malicious anti-science promulgated in defense of religious myths. It clearly is a problem caused by religious belief.

(Also on Sb, and also Why Evolution is True and Butterflies & Wheels)

1. truthspeaker says

Twenty years ago, Brown could have found gainful employment with the tobacco companies explaining how lung cancer can’t be blamed on smoking.

2. says

What we have here is essentially a failure, on a quite staggering scale, of science and maths education

And why is science and math education being impeded? What is preventing proper science from being taught in schools?

You know the answer… starts with an R.

3. Agi says

actually Pterry’s trolls count “one, two, many, lots” so he fails in quoting too

4. Randomfactor says

You know the answer… starts with an R.

Republicans?

5. Argh, I hate it when they butcher Pratchett. Because they go on one-one, one-two, one-lots, one-many, two-one….

6. says

@Agi, I think it’s worrying that of all the problems with Brown’s post, his mistake about troll math was the one that bugged me the most. I see that as a sign that I’m simply numb to the usual atheist bashing religion excusing tripe that so abounds these days.

7. otrame says

Actually, trolls have a base-three numerical system: one, two, many, many one, many two, many many, many many one, many many two, lots.

8. says

When it’s PZ Myers vs sunday football, pz myers stills comes out on top.

9. Glen Davidson says

That’s staggeringly stupid. Only Muslims and Baptists are religiously creationist?

And most Muslims don’t go in for 10,000 years after creation, because their “holy book” doesn’t happen to have a kind of time reckoning like the Jewish and Xian Bibles do. Indeed, that by itself indicates what dumb fuck commentary that was.

Glen Davidson

10. Sastra says

Brown seems to think that if religion exploits, encourages, encodes, and entrenches prescientific biases in the way the human brain works, then religion is not the ultimate cause of creationism — and therefore it’s not the cause.

Faulty reasoning on his part. Without religion our natural tendencies to err in our reasoning are not exploited, encouraged, encoded, and entrenched. That part matters.

11. Ben says

Conservatives (the majority of them being religious) don’t seem to have any trouble counting to the billions or trillions when money is involved. It’s only time, carbon emissions, and people’s lives they seem to have trouble with.

Wilfully ignorant is my guess.

12. chigau () says

Even after reading the linked article and wikipfffftdisambuing, I don’t know who this guy is and why I should care what he thinks.
I am somewhat impressed that he plays cricket, rugby, soccer and American baseball.

13. 'Tis Himself, OM says

Brown says:

The question, then, is which kind of pupil does more harm in the science classroom. Is it the passionately wrong child, or the dully indifferent one? Which would you rather argue with, and which argument would teach the rest of the class more?

The problem isn’t arguing with an ignorant or misinformed student. The problem is the student has been systematically and extensively indoctrinated into a dogma by people claiming extreme authority. “God says so, you need to believe it or else you’re going to Hell!”

Someone so indoctrinated coming into a biology class and being told “evolution is true” is going to perceive that claim as a conflicting dogma. Creationist kids are told, in no uncertain terms, that religion trumps science and evolution was invented by Satan to bring souls to Hell. Despite what Brown may believe, this is not hyperbole. That’s what folks like Ken Ham and Ray Comfort are preaching.

14. 'Tis Himself, OM says

Blockquote fail in my post #13. Brown only said the first paragraph, the other two are mine.

15. says

I’m not sure if it’s quite fair to say that without knowing how the question was asked. If the survey said, “How old do you think the Earth is?” and 40% of the population said, “10,000 years”, then yeah, we could definitely say that’s a number they got from church. But if the question was phrased the way that the Creationism question seems to be

(i.e., “The Earth is 10,000 years old. This is a) definitely true, b) probably true, c) maybe true, &c &c)

then it could be that a significant chunk of those respondents just don’t understand large numbers. Likewise, I mean, if you just asked some strangers on the street “How old do you think the Earth is?” and you got answers ranging from, say 5,000 to 15,0000, it might be tempting to put all of those people into the same “Young Earth” category on your survey, even though they didn’t use the specific number 10,000, and might have just been idiots.

I’m not saying religion wasn’t a contributing factor here, or even the major contributing factor — just, I guess, that I’d like to be a little clearer about how he got those numbers.

16. Hurin, Nattering Nabob of Negativism says

What an amazing cauldron of boiling horseshit.

The last four paragraphs are especially stunning:

But let’s assume a classroom that has already taught the fundamentals of learning: where facts are true, whether you like them or not, and where arguments are examined on their merits, and not on the political force behind them.

In such a hypothetical classroom, is it really a catastrophe if some child comes in and says that he knows evolution is false and gives some wholly spurious scientific explanation? That at least can be argued against, informatively. And it has been. The experiment I am describing has to some extent already been played out over the last 30 years, on the internet. There, the arguments between “scientific creationists” and real scientists have resulted in the creation of a vast collection of arguments and facts showing that evolution is in fact observable, and, in a word, true.

Some of that must have changed people’s minds or provided useful and vivid teaching material. That couldn’t have happened without the development of creationist intuitions into pseudo-scientific hypotheses. It really is an inspiring example of good ideas triumphing over bad ones – or it would be, if there had been any notable diminution of the number of creationists in the last 30 years.

This is mindblowing. Creationists have been pumping out misinformation on the grand scale, and trying to weasel into our classrooms, and this guy wants to frame this problem as though it might be aiding the case for evolution? Cretinst propaganda is not a useful teaching tool, you moron. Not when it is typically founded on religiously motivated fear and blatant dishonesty. The creationist argument is not being made in good faith, and it isn’t a good teaching tool even if you can use it to illustrate logical fallacies.

At least he’s willing to acknowledge that it hasn’t worked out to be a teaching tool. And why isn’t this “inspiring example of good ideas triumphing over bad ones” working to the advantage of science?

So perhaps we could stipulate that this material could be produced without sneering at the intellect and character, and without the ambition to crush their egos as well as to prove them wrong – ah, but that would require a different kind of education, in another classroom.

Oh, its because people are calling the creationists mean names.

17. CS Miller says

<voice accent=”Strother Martin”>
What we got here is failure to educate, some folks you just can’t teach.
</voice>

18. KG says

Brown is talking about the UK, so the comments by LykeX and Randomfactor are moot. The survey report his 40% figure comes from can be found here. I haven’t had time to read it right through, but it’s clear YEC-ism is strongly correlated with Christian belief, which is enough to show that Brown is talking through his nether orifice as per usual.

19. And then you’ve got political figures like Rick Perry telling everyone that no one has any idea how old the earth is, so it’s pretty much OK to believe whatever you want. We’ll teach it round and flat, and let kids figure it out. That certainly won’t confuse anybody.

20. KG says

There [on the internet], the arguments between “scientific creationists” and real scientists have resulted in the creation of a vast collection of arguments and facts showing that evolution is in fact observable, and, in a word, true. – Andrew Brown

That has to be the stupidest remark printed by The Guardian for some considerable time – or at least, since Andrew Brown’s last article. Such a “vast collection of arguments and facts” was produced by real scientists, long before the internet existed.

21. says

But let’s assume a classroom that has already taught the fundamentals of learning…

Why would we assume something so obviously counter to the facts? I certainly never learned any such thing in school. Everything I ever learned about thinking, logic, evidence and a rigorous regard for the truth, I learned outside the school system.

22. evilDoug says

re: ‘Tis’s citation of Brown @13

Does is serve any useful purpose to argue in class with a “child”?

As ‘T.H. points out, the opponent is going to regurgitate indoctrination, or simply mouth off with “Were you there?”, as the idiot Ham teaches them to do. I would expect a “child” to be unable to “argue” an any way that would be anything other than a disruption to the class. Now perhaps someone with at least a couple of years of university education might be able to argue, but if were my undergraduate science classroom, I simply wouldn’t allow it (unless the course was Discussions in Science or the like).

I view the nonsense of “teach both sides and let the students decide” the same way. For a student to decide based on rational evaluation of the evidence, including the ability to refute the false stuff, requires far more learnin’ than all but a tiny fraction of students would possess upon graduation from high school.

23. azkyroth says

[But religion is good for individuals and society. Therefore religion does not cause problems. Therefore this cannot possibly be a problem caused by religion.]

What was that about failures of education, Andy?

24. Aquaria says

Whenever I try to imagine how numbers work in the theotard head, or the heads of their apologists/fellaters, somehow what comes it mind is always this.

25. Roxane says

Of course it’s religion. But I’m not sure that that little fact lets science education off the hook. Somewhere along the line, a staggeringly large number of students decided that their science classes were pretty much like the fiction classes that they were taking over in the English department. Somehow or other, there has to be a way of getting through to people that science is true in a way that “Pride and Prejudice” isn’t.

26. reasonisbeauty says

I sometimes wonder if it isn’t a structural problem within the species. There may be a significant portion of the population that are genuinely incapable of critical thinking, and whichever authority figure gets to them first keeps them, and most organized religions work very hard at getting their hooks into kids early.

27. Jeannie in PA says

One trouble is that the fundamentalists churches hammer home this message many Sundays. And Wednesdays. And Saturdays. They sell slickly produced DVDs promoting the creationist viewpoint, mocking evolution. It is compelling. Then there are the Sunday school teachers, grandparents, church friends all reiterating this view. How can an introduction to evolution one hour a day for two weeks in 9th grade biology class hope to compete with that?

28. Gregory Greenwood says

The question, then, is which kind of pupil does more harm in the science classroom. Is it the passionately wrong child, or the dully indifferent one? Which would you rather argue with, and which argument would teach the rest of the class more?… is it really a catastrophe if some child comes in and says that he knows evolution is false and gives some wholly spurious scientific explanation?

Er, Mr Brown? You see that tiny, rapidly receding speck in the distance? The one you just breezed past at a hundred miles an hour? That would be the point…

What Brown fails to realise is that these kids do not enter the classroom with an erroneous point of view that they are prepared to re-evaluate in the face of evidence. Some of them do not even enter the classroom with such an erroneous point of view but also a preparedness to respect their fellow classmates and allow the class to continue without incident.

All too many of these kids are indoctrinated to believe that evolution is an evil that must be fought tooth and nail. They go into the classroom primed to disrupt the teaching of that which they have been brainwashed to think is the most heinous lie imaginable, fresh minted from the calumny forges of hell, and they do it with all the blinkered, self-righteous, ignorant certitude that was drummed into them by their parents/their friendly neighbourhood bible-bashing preacher/the local creation ‘museum’ (or all of the above).

Furthermore, this attitude is far from limited to the kids themselves. It is enthusiastically embraced by adult creationists as well, and every effort is made to obstruct the teaching of evolution or ludicrously demand some kind of false parity between evolution and creationism, via means of such face/palm worthy, tooth-grinding inanities as the transparenntly disingenuous demand that schools should ‘teach the controversy’ – a controversy that, needless to say, only exists in the minds of fanatics and morons.

This corrosive, anti-intellectual, anti-science attitude is pervasive, and it seeks to pervert education into nothing more than crass theistic indoctrination. The motivation behind it is transparently religious in character to any honest observer, which leads me to wonder:- is Brown truly so oblivious? Or is he wilfully blinkered? He wouldn’t be the first crypto-fundie who claimed to be an ally of rational scientific education while actually working to undermine the very foundation of the system he claims to champion…

29. David Marjanović, OM says

Does is serve any useful purpose to argue in class with a “child”?

Of course.

Unless the child is clearly trying to disrupt.

30. StarScream says

The blame can’t be simply laid solely on religion. Religious teachings about origins simply reinforce and magnify people’s naive, unscientific intuitions. Indeed, Helen Keller claimed to have wondered “Who made the sky, the sea, everything?” before knowing anything about “religion.” Source.

The blame for unscientific beliefs about origins can be placed, more or less equally, on religion, lack of scientific education, and the way that the human mind works. See here for a great paper on the subject.

Take religion away and you’d still have people thinking in mythic terms. It would probably be far less prevalent and more amenable to correction since it wouldn’t have the support of religion, but it would still be present.

31. says

the whole raison d’etre

Umm, PZ, you got the phrase wrong, it’s *raisin date*.

32. says

Everything PZ says is right, but nonetheless there is a failure of science education. In my experience (UK & Sweden) the context of science is rarely explained. People (and I mean PhD and postdoc level people too) tend to have an apallingly poor grasp of what a “hypothesis” or “theory” is. And there is no commentary, at any stage of the curriculum spelling out the differences between how religion “handles” truth claims and the way science does it.

And that is IN academia. The average person in the world is mightily ignorant of how science works altogether, despite constantly benefiting from what it gives us all.

And I’ve not even mentioned things like consensus, peer-review, reproducibility of data, how the sciences relate to each other, and so on…

This ignorance must be reversed! For a start, I encourage all atheist scientists to speak up. Secondly, I encourage all scientists to drone on and on about the value of evidence-based thinking, spelling out as frequently and as clearly as possible the value of testing hypotheses.

33. Circe says

This reminds me of a quirk about Hindu mythology, in which the age of the universe is about a factor of 2 or so larger than the current scientific estimate. One of my CS professors at college had a tongue-firmly-in-cheek theory for this, which, though it might not be historically accurate, was certainly funny enough to perhaps merit mention here.

When you are writing a mythology (the professor’s theory went) you want to make it as grand as you possibly can. Now let’s think of a mythology writer sitting in the Middle East c. 500BC. The most prevalent number system in his area is an additive one, so the guy (or the gal) writing the mythology put some 5-7 M’s (getting a few thousand years) and calls it a day. Now let’s think of a mythology writer around the same time somewhere in modern day Pakistan or Northern India. This gal (or guy) has access to what is a developing place-value number system, where adding new digits can actually cause exponential increase in the numbers involved. So she makes the same effort as her Middle Eastern counterpart and gets a few billion years as the age of her universe :)

I have a feeling the professor may actually have hit upon something there, though he just intended to make a good joke out of it. For instance, several mythological stories in India refer to “shat koti” (which means 10^9) universes each with “koti koti” (10^14) or so gods (or perhaps the other way round). Sure helps to write a grander sounding mythology when you have a place value system.

34. YesYouNeedJesus says

The 10,000 number comes from the Bible. Considering that the Bible is the number one best-seller of all time, I wonder if you’re allowed to consider yourself educated if you haven’t read it? I think not.

The Bible talks about dinosaurs (how is that even possible?), human footprints have been found with dinosaur footprints in the same layer of strata, dinosaur drawings and carvings made by ancient civilizations have been found, and of course they’re finding soft-tissue dinosaurs all over the place with C14 in them.

Pretty cool if you ask me.

35. Ben says

I think the last five blog comments began focusing in on the multifaceted complexity of the issues. With so many influences feeding into and upon each other, it makes it difficult to lay exclusive blame on any one area:

–the social meme of generational (and increasing) religious and political indoctrination;

–the effect of hypocritical, self-righteous, power-seeking politicians influencing and INFLUENCED BY much of the willingly-ignorant masses;

–the educational/intellectual laziness we have in this country–almost wearing it as badge;

–the preference for entertainment(much of it empty)over education
(wish we could fill up stadiums for interesting speakers on science as easily we do for a football games);

–the comfortable preference for pseudo-science over real fact and discovery, and the ease with which all this holds sway in our thinking due to thd deep, long-lived primeval biological circuitry in our brains.

With all these cogs grinding away in the machinery of society
(and within brains of so many of us), it seems difficult for the voices of relative clarity–at least on certain subjects– to have a definite influence. In the 21st century the expression and dissemination of new knowledge and enlightening thought should be getting easier,… not more difficult. It should be catching fire, not be doused with water.

As a 56 year old who has always loved science, had the utmost respect for fact, truth and reason,….. and have been trying to instill these appreciations in my son (along with a healthy dose of secular values), I would have never thought we’d be needing to fight ‘tooth and nail’ for this stuff at this point.

@35 YesYouNeedJesus:
It’s not that impressive. I know biologists recognize them as dinosaurs now, but they’re still just birds, everyone knows about them.

37. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

I need Jesus to get a hit, end this game and finish burying the Red Sox, but that’s about it.

38. YesYouNeedJesus says

Do you agree that the fact that humans described dinosaurs in the Bible is significant?

The soft-tissue dinosaurs that I was talking about were T-Rexes, Hadrosaurs, etc. You did know about those right?

39. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

Considering that the Bible is the number one best-seller of all time, I wonder if you’re allowed to consider yourself educated if you haven’t read it? I think not.

I’ve read it twice, cover to cover, and it is an obvious book of mythology/fiction. Not a good history, or anything else. In the same category as Norse, Greek, and Roman mythologies. That you can’t see that, says all we need to know about your lack of reading comprehension.

40. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

Ok, fine. I’ll play; Where in the Bible does it mention that Dinosaurs evolved into birds?[/patronizing voice]

41. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

human footprints have been found with dinosaur footprints in the same layer of strata,

Nope,they were later found, with proper examination, to be footprints of other dinosaurs. Keep the lies coming. It is all you have.

Why don’t you actually be the first one here to show actual conclusive physical evidence for your imaginary deity? Evidence that will pass muster with scientists, magicians, and professional debunkers, as being of divine, and not natural (scientifically explained), origin. Then go on and do the same for your book of mythology/fiction, proving it is inerrant. Not one false tale. Until then, you have nothing but bluster to present to us. We call them lies.

42. YesYouNeedJesus says

Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls said,
“I’ve read it twice, cover to cover”

Hard to believe, especially with what you said next.

Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls said,
“and it is an obvious book of mythology/fiction.”

That’s proof you’re lying. Anyone that has actually read the Bible knows 2 things. It’s obviously not fiction and it would be literally impossible for men to have written that particular book.

So many atheists have tried to discredit the Bible over the years claiming people or groups or societies mentioned in the Bible did not exist. Of course archaeology has proven the atheist wrong time and time again.

If you haven’t studied archaeology, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t talk so confident about something you know nothing about. And lying about what you know is even worse.

43. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

Anybody need popcorn?!?

44. Nerd:

I’ve read it twice, cover to cover, and it is an obvious book of mythology/fiction.

I’ve read the bible, more than once. More than one version, more than one language, too. I studied it, in depth, for over 5 years. It may be many things, but the word of god it ain’t.

For our hypocritical coward, YYNJ, xe might want to spend a good amount of time reading SAB.

45. YesYouNeedJesus says

Randide, ou l’Optimisme said,
“Ok, fine. I’ll play; Where in the Bible does it mention that Dinosaurs evolved into birds?”

The fact that the Bible describes dinosaurs is an impossibility if evolution is true.

Soft-tissue dinosaurs with C14 in them are a HUGE problem for evolutionists too.

Another HUGE problem for evolutionists is the discovery on the 2nd DVD of The Grand Experiment. How is it exactly that the other fossils found with dinosaur fossils over the years are of species that still exist today and haven’t change one bit?

46. YYNJ:

Considering that the Bible is the number one best-seller of all time, I wonder if you’re allowed to consider yourself educated if you haven’t read it? I think not.

I’ve read Romeo and Juliet, too. Should I start adding up the ages of the people involved there, to determine an accurate history, and assume it means anything with respect to reality?

So, you’ve read the Bible. From you attitude and your nym, I assume you adhere to the following rules:

1. You do not where clothes of mixed fibers, including (but not limited to) most silk clothes, anything made of cotton and polyester, and those really tacky ’70s sports suits.

2. You have never eaten beef cooked in milk-derived products (beef stroganoff being a prime example, but really, anything made with a deglazing sauce with cream).

3. You have never slept with a menstruating woman. (Whether you knew in advance or not.)

4. You have never eaten shellfish (lobster, crab, clams, or tasty tasty shrimp)

Or any other number of strictures, bans, or admonishments listed in the Bible.

Oh, I could go on. There’s quite a few listed there.

But really, the point is: I’ve read the Bible. Front to back. I’ve read stuff written about the Bible (Asimov’s Guide to the Bible being the most recent). I think I understand what’s written there.

What I don’t understand is simply this:

How can anyone think that it’s any more true than Romeo and Juliet?

47. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

The fact that the Bible describes dinosaurs is an impossibility if evolution is true.

We agree. Now shut up.

48. Hekuni Cat says

I want some popcorn, Randide, ou l’Optimisme. Thank you!

Hi Caine, I hope you are feeling better. I’ve been worried about you.

49. says

So many atheists have tried to discredit the Bible over the years claiming people or groups or societies mentioned in the Bible did not exist. Of course archaeology has proven the atheist wrong time and time again.

Same with Homer’s works.

ZOMG, the Iliad and the Odyssey were divinely written because Troy and other cities mentioned in them actually existed.

And Zeus is the top God! I see it all so clearly now.

Glen Davidson

50. YYNJ:

How is it exactly that the other fossils found with dinosaur fossils over the years are of species that still exist today and haven’t change one bit?

Uhm, which species are these, exactly?

Forgive me if I don’t just accept your assertion here.

51. Hi Caine, I hope you are feeling better. I’ve been worried about you.

Hello Hekuni Cat! I’ve missed you. Don’t worry, I’m okay. It was rough for a while, but things have been better lately.

/OT

52. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

Uhm, which species are these, exactly?

Hey, that’s not fair, Nigel. Xe accepted that statement without needing it backed up with facts. Why should we be any different?

53. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

Hekuni Cat, the first batch is done. Fridge is stocked with drinks as well. Make yourself at home. I’m probably going to need to make more popcorn.

54. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

That’s proof you’re lying. Anyone that has actually read the Bible knows 2 things. It’s obviously not fiction and it would be literally impossible for men to have written that particular book.

What a line of bull fucking shit. It is a book of mythology/fiction. Show it is inerrant with solid and conclusive physical evidence from outside of the babble. You know, confirm what is says with science.

Oh, you should know a major cause of atheism is actually reading the babble cover to cover. It’s problems are obvious, including a “deity” who appears to make an amoral drug lord look like a paragon of virtue for capriciousness and outright cruelty.

Of course archaeology has proven the atheist wrong time and time again.

Sorry, they prove that there are significant problems with the babble in timelines, who wrote which section, and when it was written. Have you ever seen a Nova program The Bible’s Buried Secrets>? Puts what you say to the test, and you fail. It is mythology/fiction, designed to allow the Canaanites to remain as solid entity.

55. YesYouNeedJesus says

Caine, Fleur du Mal said,
“you never showed back up at the other thread…Too busy being a hypocritical coward, Cupcake?”

I had to go to UFC 135, it was in town. When I got home at 11pm, there was 65 comments to respond to. That’s a bit of a challenge.

If you want to know who is a coward, try PZ Myers. He’s afraid to debate Bob Enyart.

I would bet that the posters on this site would be unwilling to debate other than behind a computer screen. I would love to be proved wrong. I can get anyone on a 50,000 watt Creation radio show, just let me know.

56. Randide, ou l'Optimisme says

Jesus forsook me. Scott Proctor is on my shitlist too.

57. chaos_engineer says

Do you agree that the fact that humans described dinosaurs in the Bible is significant?

It’s hard to tell, but I think you’re implying that dinosaurs lived at the same time as humans…

If that were true, it would certainly be very exciting. It wouldn’t overturn Evolutionary Theory, of course…there are lots of kinds of animals that lived at the time of dinosaurs and are still around today. But the person who made that discovery would be famous; I bet he’d get his picture in the newspaper and everything! But so far nobody has presented convincing evidence for the claim, so I’ve got to assume that the evidence isn’t out there.

I don’t remember dinosaurs getting brought up in my Sunday School class. What verse do you think they’re mentioned in? Are you sure that it’s not just an exaggerated description of a crocodile or monitor lizard? We already know they lived at the same time as humans.

58. says

Sure, you’ll put it down for the date and the odd! news story with it, just like Darwinist bigots always do.

Glen Davidson

59. Randide, ou l’Optimisme:

Hey, that’s not fair, Nigel. Xe accepted that statement without needing it backed up with facts. Why should we be any different?

Well, that’s a novel epistemology.

Granted, I’m still trying to figure out how the Bible described dinosaurs. Because it fucking didn’t. There’s not a single place in the Bible that describes dinosaurs. The closest we have is leviathan, which is most definitely not dinosaur. It’s no different than Beowulf describing dragons using a single word.

“Hi. I’m Joe McMisinterpret. Did you know the Bible can say anything you want it to say? Sure! It’s bronze-age poetry! Not only is it non-specific, but it speaks of entire tribes as if they were individuals. So go on. Have some fun interpreting the Bible however the fuck you want. You’ve got history behind you!”

Andrew Brown stinks – he doesn’t happen to be an “Atheist But”, does he?

61. YesYouNeedJesus says

nigelTheBold, Wagering against Pascal said,
“From you attitude and your nym, I assume you adhere to the following rules:”

Actually I do not adhere to the rules you mentioned. And if you read the Bible, you would know why.

nigelTheBold, Wagering against Pascal said,
“But really, the point is: I’ve read the Bible. Front to back.”

This is laughable! The fact that everyone here must lie about reading a book is hilarious! It’s even funnier how obvious it is that you guys haven’t read it. Like I said before, if you read the Bible, you would have known that the symbolic ordinances given to Israel were done away with by God.

62. YYNJ:

This is laughable! The fact that everyone here must lie about reading a book is hilarious! It’s even funnier how obvious it is that you guys haven’t read it. Like I said before, if you read the Bible, you would have known that the symbolic ordinances given to Israel were done away with by God.

Heh. Yeah, I often get this response by Christians who haven’t read the Bible. Which most haven’t.

In fact, Jesus states twice he is not doing away with the old rules. In one spot, he says he’s paying the price of sin. That’s it. So, my sinning friend, while Jesus may have paid your price, you are still sinning. In fact, you are sinning to the same degree as same-sex couples.

Aren’t you special.

63. Tigger_the_Wing says

JesusIsAnUnnecessaryMyth, as others have said, studying the bible shows it to be a mish-mash of myths and fake history. If it was indeed inspired/written by any god, that god is an almighty fool and ignoramus.

It was only by willfully ignoring sensible conclusions in favour of conforming to the strictures of my religion that enabled me to claim to be Christian for decades after I should have abandoned any loyalty to the church.

The brainwashing goes deep.

I honestly thought that if I couldn’t understand the contradictions then the fault lay with me.

Huh.

64. YesYouNeedJesus says

nigelTheBold, Wagering against Pascal said,
“Uhm, which species are these, exactly?

Forgive me if I don’t just accept your assertion here.”

Ahh. This is getting interesting. Before I tell you, would you be willing to admit that if true, this would be a problem for evolution?

nigelTheBold, Wagering against Pascal said,
“I’m still trying to figure out how the Bible described dinosaurs. Because it fucking didn’t. There’s not a single place in the Bible that describes dinosaurs.”

Now we’re talking. You know that if evolution was true, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Bible to describe dinosaurs. I love it. Again, I don’t believe you’ve read the Bible, and this is more evidence.

Whether or not the Bible mentions dinosaurs is really irrelevant to me. The Carbon-14 in the their original biological material is what fascinates me.

Job 40
“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. He moves his tail like a cedar.”

Job 41
“Can you draw out Leviathan? Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of his crashings they are beside themselves. On earth there is nothing like him. He beholds every high thing; He is king over all.”

65. hotshoe says

If you want to know who is a coward, try PZ Myers. He’s afraid to debate Bob Enyart.

Grow up, you dumb little whiner. No one is afraid to debate the tenth-rate idiot Bob Enyart.

This is the asshole you think is so special:

Enyart pickets the homes of doctors performing abortions resulting in one Colorado town banning such protests in residential areas.[3] Enyart also angered families of AIDS vicims when he read the men’s obituaries on his television show calling the deceased “sodomite”s.[4] Enyart has also led residential protests against executives of a company which provided construction services for Planned Parenthood offices leading to similar neighbor complaints.[5] Most recently Enyart has criticised presidential candidates who do not share his view on abortion.[6] Enyart is a proponent of corporal punishment of children saying that their “hearts are lifted” by spanking.[7] He was convicted for misdemeanor child abuse in 1994 after beating his girlfriend’s child with a belt so hard that the beating broke the skin.

He’s a convicted child abuser, a terrorist, a bigot, and perhaps a self-hating closeted gay man. Oh, and a heterosexual fornicator, too. Some hero you’ve got there. YOU make me sick by even mentioning his name.

I wouldn’t piss on Bob Enyart if he was on fire.

66. Tigger_the_Wing says

Oh, look! A mythical beast can be interpreted as anything one chooses!

67. YesYouNeedJesus says

nigelTheBold, Wagering against Pascal said,
“Jesus states twice he is not doing away with the old rules.”

Okay, this is a little evidence that you have indeed at least read parts of the Bible. You are correct, but it was more than twice. Christ did not do away with the law. The law was done away with LONG after Christ’s death. I would get into theology, but I doubt anyone cares.

68. Tigger_the_Wing says

Sorry! This:

Oh, look! A mythical beast can be interpreted as anything one chooses!

was aimed at the biblical quotes about Leviathan.

Which species of dinosaur was it?

And my bible says Leviathan was an elephant.

69. hotshoe says

YYNJ –
Learn to blockquote, you dumbass.

You’re not as retarded as most of your creobot friends, so don’t pretend you’re too stupid to learn how to behave on this blog.

70. YesYouNeedJesus says

Anteprepro said,
“because of the rare event of finding soft tissue preserved in fossils.”

The fact that you would call it “rare” tells me 2 things. One, you realize the problem it is for evolution. Two, you are not too studied up on soft-tissue dinosaurs. They are finding them all over the place now. In fact, they never thought to look until Mary Schweitzer’s team was forced to cut a bone in half to extract it from the dig site. So now they’re actually looking.

Immediately evolutionists claimed it was not soft-tissue. What ignorant fools. That proved they don’t care about science. Instead of wanting to do scientific tests and let science speak for itself, they made up lies because it contradicted their worldview.

It is in fact original biological material and they do contain Carbon-14. I believe this one is a textbook changer folks.

71. Anteprepro says

Jesus troll: “I said before, if you read the Bible, you would have known that the symbolic ordinances given to Israel were done away with by God.”

Chapter and verse, plz. I hear plenty of piss-poor “let’s throw the Old Testament under the bus” arguments from Christians, so I’d like to hear the one that you think is so obvious.

Also: Behemoths have been assumed to anything from elephants to crocodiles, or just a mythological big thing by those who don’t have a young earth axe to grind. Leviathans, according to Psalm 74, have multiple heads. What the fuck are you on?

72. Anteprepro says

Correction Tigger: Behemoth was probably the elephant. Leviathan is a glorified sea serpent.

73. YesYouNeedJesus says

hotshoe said,
“Grow up, you dumb little whiner. No one is afraid to debate the tenth-rate idiot Bob Enyart.”

LOL! Eugenie Scott is! Eugenie Scott made the HUGE mistake of debating Bob Enyart. She got destroyed. It had to be the most embarrassing debate for an evolutionist ever. Bob Enyart has promoted and distributed the debate to this day. Eugenie Scott never has.

I GUARANTEE you PZ Myers is afraid to debate him. It’s obvious. All that other stuff about Bob Enyart’s personal life is not relevant and just an excuse to get out of debating him.

74. YesYouNeedJesus says

Anteprepro said,
“Behemoth was probably the elephant.”

ROFL!!!! An elephant’s tail is like a cedar? LOL

75. says

I would get into theology, but I doubt anyone cares.

Yeah, but we obviously care about ignorant creationist bullshit that we’ve heard hundreds of times from idiots like yourself. They’re so…credible. I mean, if you’re dimwitted as YesYouNeedJesus is.

IOW, why don’t any of you morons bother finding out the answers to the propaganda that you so willingly swallow? It’s all over the web, and yet you can’t find out how mindless is the twaddle that you espouse.

Then again, you can’t read stories of talking snakes and think, hm, wonder how plausible this is? Or find out how the snake fits in with the eternal life theme in the Epic of Gilgamesh, which Genesis echoes. Then again, nothing YesYouNeedJesus writes seems to rise to the level of a competent high school student.

Glen Davidson

76. Anteprepro says

Jesus freak sez: “. Two, you are not too studied up on soft-tissue dinosaurs. They are finding them all over the place now. In fact, they never thought to look until Mary Schweitzer’s team was forced to cut a bone in half to extract it from the dig site. ”

Grand. You made me dig deeper and find that even the small amount of ground I had ceded to you was actually too much, because, predictably, you are full of shit. The only follow-up I found actually calls the original finding into question: They’re thinking now that what they found were actually bacterial biofilms.

And here I was, thinking that a creationist nearly had a point. What a fool I was!

77. Ichthyic says

She got destroyed

the denial is strong with this one.

78. Anteprepro says

“ROFL!!!! An elephant’s tail is like a cedar? LOL”

That’s not my interpretation, dumbfuck. Take it up with the Christist scholars trying to pretend that the Bible had some credibility by translating behemoth into elephant. Do you actually try to be this wrong, or does it come naturally?

79. YYNJ:

If you want to know who is a coward

I know who the coward is, Cupcake. You. Go back to http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/09/22/more-ugliness-laid-bare/ and finish what you started, you lying coward. A whole lot of people replied to your crap, Cupcake. If you had a shred of honesty, you’d respond.

You’re just another intellectually impoverished, cowardly liar for Jesus, with zero interest in any actual discussion or answers. Your only aim is to proselytize, which won’t work here. People here expect actual answers and discussion. All you’ve managed so far is to vomit up religious canards, one after the other.

In the other thread, you compared us to nazis and went on and on about “laws of science” and babies when you don’t even have the slightest idea of how bodies actually function.

If you had even the tiniest shred of a working intellect, honesty and courage, you’d finish what you started, buckle down and actually answer all the people who responded to your enormous pile of bullshit.

Don’t you dare call anyone here a coward, Cupcake. You’re the one who is afraid to face actual knowledge.

80. ichthyic says

They are finding them all over the place now

amazing how the creationists are so desperate for ANYTHING to cling to to reject evolution, not even something to support creationism, that they will simply invent supposed evidence on the fly, and somehow convince themselves that it’s all in the peer-reviewed literature.

sorry, but if that ain’t symptomatic of an underlying mental pathology, I will eat my fucking hat.

81. Tigger_the_Wing says

Anteprepro, you are right, of course. I got confused between the two quotes! Sorry!

Leviathan, it says, is a crocodile.

82. YesYouNeedJesus says

Anteprepro said,
“They’re thinking now that what they found were actually bacterial biofilms.”

ROFL!! Wow, you guys are so unscientific. In case you didn’t notice, anyone can put whatever they want on the internet. That’s old news and was just a lie by evolutionists because the SCIENTIFIC find did not fit their worldview. Evolutionists don’t care about science.

They have decoded the proteins. It is original biological material.

Jack Horner was offered a large grant to C14 test his soft-tissue T-Rex. He wouldn’t do it because he doesn’t care about science. He knew (as did I) that there would be C14 in it, so he wouldn’t do it. Wow!

83. says

Anteprepro said,
“because of the rare event of finding soft tissue preserved in fossils.”

The fact that you would call it “rare” tells me 2 things. One, you realize the problem it is for evolution.

Actually, dumbfuck, there’s nothing new about soft tissue preservation. There’s some soft tissue preserved from much earlier, it’s just not “dinosaur,” so dumbfuck creationists haven’t heard of it.

Indeed, there was some talk of searching for dinosaur tissue that would contain DNA well before Schweitzer’s find. But it appears unlikely that DNA can last that long (perhaps it can in amber, but in few other fossil media), and it hasn’t been found in dino soft tissue. Yet it has been found in ancient Neandertal bones. Tell me, lackwit, why do 20,000+ Neandertal fossils contain DNA, and dino fossils from 4000 to 5000 years ago don’t?

Oh, just a pathetic detail that fuckwit creationists don’t care about because it doesn’t serve as a weapon against science. Your kind is too pathetic to even understand what’s going on in science.

glen Davidson

84. YesYouNeedJesus says

Off to bed. You can all thank me later for the free education I gave everyone on soft-tissue dinosaurs and the Carbon-14 in them! Resist the urge to deny SCIENCE. (That’s what all evolutionists naturally want to do with these finds.)

85. says

Jack Horner was offered a large grant to C14 test his soft-tissue T-Rex. He wouldn’t do it because he doesn’t care about science. He knew (as did I) that there would be C14 in it, so he wouldn’t do it. Wow!

Wow, lying for Jesus is all that this cretin cares to do.

Actually, capitulating to lying assholes is what Horner likely was unwilling to do.

You, of course, don’t need any evidence to make claims, a convenient fact for a constant liar for Jeebus.

Why do you morons bother coming onto a place like this? If possible (rarely is it, actually), we end up thinking that you people are more stupid and less honest than we even thought previously.

Glen Davidson

86. ichthyic says

15 Behold now the behemoth that I have made with you; he eats grass like cattle.
16 Behold now his strength is in his loins and his power is in the navel of his belly.
17 His tail hardens like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are knit together.
18 His limbs are as strong as copper, his bones as a load of iron.
19 His is the first of God’s ways; [only] his Maker can draw His sword [against him].
20 For the mountains bear food for him, and all the beasts of the field play there.
21 Does he lie under the shadows, in the cover of the reeds and the swamp?
22 Do the shadows cover him as his shadow? Do the willows of the brook surround him?
23 Behold, he plunders the river, and [he] does not harden; he trusts that he will draw the Jordan into his mouth.
24 With His eyes He will take him; with snares He will puncture his nostrils.

line 15: fits with elephants, that eat both grass and trees.

line 16: elephants are very strong.

17: says nothing about SIZE, but about STIFFNESS, which elephant tails rather are, actually (stiff, that is).

18: elephants have very strong legs, and very large bones to support their immense weight.

19: haven’t got a clue what the fuck this means

20: Trees grow on mountains too; elephants eat trees.

21: Elephants live in areas described here.

22: Elephants are too tall to hide in willows.

23: Yes, that’s right, elephants can swim.

24: I think this refers in the first part to an elephant’s long memory, and the second part to the tusks and trunk.

so, out of all those lines, only one, which is indecipherable anyway, doesn’t refer to things that would indeed fit an elephant.

I say it’s a fucking elephant.

prove me wrong.

87. Nigel:

In fact, Jesus states twice he is not doing away with the old rules.

Oh yes. Take Matthew 5:17-18:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

In Matthew, Jesus makes it clear that the Old Testament laws are binding on everyone forever.

However, when you go to Luke 16:16, he changes his mind:

The law and the prophets were until John: since that time the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presseth into it.

Now the OT laws only applied until John the Baptist came on the scene. But wait! Jesus changes his mind again, in the very next verse:

And it is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail.

Silly Jesus, such a fickle fiction.

88. ichthyic says

Jack Horner was offered a large grant to C14 test his soft-tissue T-Rex.

lie.

He wouldn’t do it because he doesn’t care about science.

no, exactly the opposite: He knew that C14 doesn’t have enough half life to warrant using it as a test for something as old as dinosaur bones.

fucking idiot.

89. Anteprepro says

ROFL!! Wow, you guys are so unscientific. In case you didn’t notice, anyone can put whatever they want on the internet.

I’m well aware. Case in point: You and your unnamed sources. However, my source actually links to a science article.

Kaye TG, Gaugler G, Sawlowicz Z. Dinosaurian Soft Tissues Interpreted as Bacterial Biofilms. PLoS ONE, 2008; 3 (7):

They have decoded the proteins. It is original biological material.

Citation needed desperately. All I’ve seen is mention of finding a few proteins, collagen being foremost among them. Which was mentioned in the article I cited which you obviously didn’t fucking read, and found this protein to be more similar to biofilm than to collagen.

But, yeah, I’m “so unscientific”. Fuck off.

90. ichthyic says

…and lastly, you know what’s REALLY fun about that paper, fuckwit?

they actually DID DO A C-fucking-14 test on the biofilm.

…and it showed it was of much more recent origin than the fossilized bone itself, in fact, not even close to the same age as the bones (hence, that’s why they could even GET AN AGE of it using c14 to begin with).

91. Hekuni Cat says

OT

I’ve missed you too, Caine. I was out of town and without internet access for nearly two weeks. As usual, it’s taken me an additional three weeks to recover from my trip to Mom’s house. I finally had to declare thread bankruptcy and declare myself mostly caught up.

I’m happy to hear you are doing better. I’ll bet that Chas and Alfie made even the bad days a little better. My cat Chloe nearly always does the same for me.

/OT

92. ichthyic says

LOL! Eugenie Scott is! Eugenie Scott made the HUGE mistake of debating Bob Enyart.

wait, so if Eugenie was “afraid” to debate an idiot like Enyart… how did she end up debating him then?

logic, ur doin’ it wrong.

93. Anteprepro says

Chew toy got broken before it even got taken to task for its most egregious nonsense yet. Sadness.

94. dexitroboper says

You can’t “debate” creationists, they lie too much. You are a case in point, IneedJesusLikeAHoleInMyHead

95. ichthyic says

You’re not as retarded as most of your creobot friends

I have to take issue with that.

I find it to be right on the average mark for a creationist.

96. ichthyic says

This is laughable! The fact that everyone here must lie about reading a book is hilarious! It’s even funnier how obvious it is that you guys haven’t read it.

project much?

if you read the Bible, you would have known that the symbolic ordinances given to Israel were done away with by God.

but later, you said it wasn’t actually IN the bible, but was related to some form of mystical theology you rightly considered we wouldn’t be interested in.

fuck me, but you’re insane.

97. Tigger_the_Wing says

You’re not as retarded as most of your creobot friends

I have to take issue with that.

I find it to be right on the average mark for a creationist.

I agree. I find retarded people to be a great deal more honest and pleasant on the whole.

98. says

Going back to Andrew Brown and his flawed theory of the breakdown of science and math education as the cause for rampant creationism, I am satisfied with PZ’s analysis of why this is a ludicrous assertion.
I’m just not certain whether science ed couldn’t do better than what it is doing at the moment, to get these kids who sit in class full of dogma and restricted thinking, to actually open up and think for themself, and teach them to evaluate claims like those of evolution on their merits and based on scientific evidence.
I’m not an educator, but maybe presenting scientific facts like dogma that is to be swallowed, is too confronting for a kid that has been brought up drinking anti-scientific and religious koolaid. Maybe the way to go is to let these kids make their own discoveries during science class, let them apply scientific thinking to subjects unrelated to evolution, and maybe for some the penny will drop.
I am convinced that the way we teach science to kids can be improved, there will always be a certain amount of stuff that you just have to know, and learn and memorize, but we need to think more about the teaching of “how” to think scientifically, rather than to just teach facts.

99. Andrew Brown says

PZ, I know pretending to be an angry halfwit gets you readers — and, skimming the comments, you’re welcome to them — but you might have noticed that this was a survey about English schools, and the British system, and so almost wholly irrelevant to your experiences in Minnesota.

Had you actually, you know, read the survey, or looked at the relevant evidence, you would have noticed a couple of relevant facts. Neither of the Christian churches that run schools in this country teach creationism, and there is no significant home-schooling movement here. 10,000 was one of the answers in a multiple choice survey.

And there are large numbers of school leavers in London today who cannot even read or write — the London evening paper is running a huge campaign about this. Those people are not rejecting science because of religious indoctrination. They are rejecting it because of the catastrophic failure of the school system.

100. ichthyic says

I know pretending to be an angry halfwit gets you readers

The awards for best science blog suggests otherwise.

skimming the comments, you’re welcome to them

is he “welcome” to yours too?

ou might have noticed that this was a survey about English schools, and the British system, and so almost wholly irrelevant to your experiences in Minnesota

yes, there has never been a religious influence in Britain. Never.

are you able to detect sarcasm, I wonder?

Neither of the Christian churches that run schools in this country teach creationism

do they teach that the world is 10K years old?

I’m betting they don’t, halfwit.

And there are large numbers of school leavers in London today who cannot even read or write

or think…

101. says

Brown @ 104,

Neither of the Christian churches that run schools in this country teach creationism

You mustn’t have heard of the recent call to ban creationism from public and free schools in the UK, or of the influence of creationist lobby groups like the Christian Institute, as could be witnessed a while ago in Gateshead.

Whether Christian schools teach creationism or not is entirely irrelevant here. The existing prevalence (one is tempted to call it “morbidity”) of creationism is not the fault of science education, but a result of religious indoctrination and the omnipresence and influence of creationist lobby groups. And yes, in Britain.

102. ichthyic says

I have a serious question for you, Andrew, in 2 parts:

Why does the Guardian still employ you to write opinion pieces?

and, related to that, why should anyone take your opinion seriously?

frankly, I’m not the only one to wonder why anyone even bothers with you.

103. julian says

And there are large numbers of school leavers in London today who cannot even read or write… Those people are not rejecting science because of religious indoctrination. They are rejecting it because of the catastrophic failure of the school system.

How can you be so sure about that? I’m almost positive these people have no issue accepting basic English history, do they, despite not being ignorant of it? Or mathematics. So for what reason would they reject basic science other then their religious beliefs?

Yes these people might not be familiar with the topic or the evidence, but that, in and of itself, isn’t going to make them hostile or dismissive of something as uncontroversial as evolution.

104. vicarofartonearth says

Brown is going for a Templeton Grant?

Brown wants a science post in the Obama Administration but is not willing to sacrifice his principals as much as Francis Collins?

Brown wants everyone to love him, like Obama, is finding out that with that attitude no one loves him?

It was refreshing he did not blame Dr. Dawkins and “New” Atheists which most of these “stuck in the mud” atheists pundits do.

It is nice to have someone to point too if any UK folks go off on how bad the US media is.

105. hotshoe says

No one should ever take Andrew’s opinion seriously. He can’t think his way out of a paper bag. Take a peek at his most recent anti-abortion column if you think you can stand it. Seriously, he claims that abortion is wrong because it prolongs the horrible “suffering” of a woman who wants to adopt and is being denied an adoptable baby because one was aborted. No, really, he is actually that stupid (and callous). And not surprisingly, the genesis of his column was a stupid misreading – or a deliberate lie – about what makes that heinous Nadine Dorries’s “independent” abortion counseling proposal so objectionable. Is is possible Andrew is just too stupid to understand the issue is that Dorries’s fundamentalists pretend to be objective while really selling a load of guilt ? Yes, it’s possible he’s that dumb; after all, look at the stupid hash he made of his creationist-student column. But it could also be a deliberate lie on his part, modeled after the deliberate lies of his anti-life hero Dorries, and the deliberate lies of the IDiots/Creotards who he also so admires.

106. julian says

“… despite not being ignorant of it?” should read “…despite being ignorant…”

107. John Morales says

Andrew Brown:

PZ, I know pretending to be an angry halfwit gets you readers

Just because (in your experience) it works for you is an insufficient basis for such an universal generalisation.

108. KG says

Had you actually, you know, read the survey, or looked at the relevant evidence, you would have noticed a couple of relevant facts. Neither of the Christian churches that run schools in this country teach creationism, and there is no significant home-schooling movement here. 10,000 was one of the answers in a multiple choice survey. – Andrew Brown

Well Andrew, had you actually read the survey without your preconceived notions dictating what you saw, you would have noticed the strong correlation between Christian belief in general, and creationism. For example (from the executive summary):

* Most YECs (83%) have always believed in God. This is significantly higher than the 45%
of the total sample who say this.
* 71% of YECs believe that God is still involved in the universe, more than twice the total
sample (34%).
* 60% of all YECs say that the Bible is the divinely inspired word of God, compared with 26% of the total population and 8% of AEs.

It’s also notable that the percentage of YECs increases markedly with age, and decreases markedly with educational level, both of which suggest your charges against the education system are overblown. (I’m far from thinking its treatment of evolution, as indeed of many other subjects, is what it should be.)

It’s true that the survey reveals a huge amount of inconsistency and confusion. Whether this is unique to this area, I don’t know; but it would seem at least plausible that the inconsistency and confusion are themselves at least partly a result of people being fed creationist nonsense and lies in their churches and mosques.

109. says

he claims that abortion is wrong because it prolongs the horrible “suffering” of a woman who wants to adopt and is being denied an adoptable baby because one was aborted

I didn’t realize that all children had already been placed in good, stable homes. When did this shortage of orphans occur?

Oh wait, he means that the childless couple will be denied an adoptable white baby, doesn’t he?

110. Ravi says

Hi folks, i am quite new here and am surprised that you take time to refute yynj regarding dinasours. But here is my attempt from a different perspective.
Note that I am not a hindu but an atheist. To yynj i say, agreed bible mentions the dinasour but hindu scriptures got a lot more correct. In addtion to clearly mentioning ‘sarabha’ which is capable of killing elephants and which is.not a dragon, the age of the earth n universe is held to be millions of years old. Further by mentioning endless cycles of.creation n dissolution, the cyclical theory of the universe is mentioned. Whats more, even the string theory which the scientists are only now trying to understand is clearly explaipned in the concept calld spanda. spanda literally means vibration and the entire universe is actually a manifestation of thedivine vibration. so there, the hindu books got a.lot more right so hinduism is the best. probably the christians copied the concept of dinosaur frm the hindus but didnt clearly diferentiate it frm an elephant.
pls note that this is not a hinduism vs christianity post. that wud be bullshit vs horseshit. but i want to show that every religion thinks it got things right exclusively which is just not true. even islam claims it is a scientific religion. but if u read the religious texts u clearly see that it is just mythological n mystical nonsense hving nothing to do with scientific method. we shouldnt bother refuting nonsense or what is at best science fiction.

111. GG says

As a lifelong atheist, I once had a Maths teacher who was a creationist, and who would often tell us how evolution was false. His reasoning was mainly with numbers – there just isn’t enough time for evolution to have happened in the way it has – but also with the origins of life. For a while this instilled doubt in me because the arguments he made fitted with the sloppy, piecemeal way that evolution had been taught. I never considered creationism as an alternative, but it did make me think that the theory of evolution was missing something (and it was – decent teaching).

My point being that however much blame you put on religion, you are living with your head in the clouds if you think that science and maths are being taught well (or even adequately) in schools. All of this applies to the UK (which is what Andrew Brown is writing about) rather than the US.

112. julian says

My point being that however much blame you put on religion, you are living with your head in the clouds if you think that science and maths are being taught well (or even adequately) in schools.

Has that claim been made? I haven’t seen it and it sounds like it would run contrary to what many of the regulars here believe.

113. John Morales says

[meta]

Ravi, it’s kinda nice to have an ex-Hindu (ex-Buddhist too, if I recall correctly) around here.

Welcome.

114. says

i want to show that every religion thinks it got things right

Yes, but you see, his god is the right one. Therefore, he’s right and you’re wrong. Pretty obvious when you think about it. [/sarcasm]

All religions use the same arguments. Some of them even outright steal from their competitors. The reason is simple: it’s not really about the arguments. None of them ever came to believe because of the arguments.
The arguments are there simply to give the semblance of an intellectual position. What it’s really about is how it makes people feel.

If we want to do away with religion, the first thing we have to do it get it into their heads that a fluffy feeling is <i<not a good justification for a belief, and get them to accept it with regard to their own belief.
I’ve talked to people who are perfectly capable of accepting this idea in the abstract, but the moment you try to apply it to their own beliefs, they go all “but my fluffy feeling is special.”

IMO, this is one of the scariest things about religion; its ability to take a perfectly reasonable and intelligent person and turn them into a gibbering moron.

Ok, rant over.

we shouldnt bother refuting nonsense or what is at best science fiction

Some of us don’t think it’s a bother. We think it’s fun. Nothing like a good chew-toy to keep the teeth sharp, am I right?

115. says

Thanks John Morales and yes am ex buddhist as well. LykeX, u r right, it is fun! So will join the fun from now on.

116. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

It is in fact original biological material and they do contain Carbon-14. I believe this one is a textbook changer folks.

Of course anything containing carbon in the ground contains carbon 14. Diamonds and coal both will age out to 70,000 years. Why fuckwitted idjit? Carbon 14 is made in the ground, by the radiation of the Earth by a neutron and carbon 13.

$^{13}C(n,hv)^{14}C$

Science has known that for years, and isn’t worried at all by it. Why didn’t you ignorant fuckwit? Oh, that’s right, the babble is book of mythology, not science.

117. Gregory Greenwood says

YesYouNeedJesus @ 35;

The 10,000 number comes from the Bible. Considering that the Bible is the number one best-seller of all time, I wonder if you’re allowed to consider yourself educated if you haven’t read it? I think not.

Do you know what else is a best seller? Twilight. I hardly think that someone’s level of scientific education can be impugned for failing to read either book. In any case, I think you will find that most atheists have read the bible, but simply consider it a collection of particulalrly nasty, violent and bigoted myths. I wonder, if you take the bible’s claims without evidence, are you also prepared to believe in sparkly vampires on the exact same evidential basis?

The Bible talks about dinosaurs (how is that even possible?)

Vague references to mythological creatures is hardly the same as specifically referencing dinosaurs.

human footprints have been found with dinosaur footprints in the same layer of strata

No, that’s been debunked.

dinosaur drawings and carvings made by ancient civilizations have been found

Cave art has been found, but no cave art has been discovered that unambiguously depicts something that could only be a recognisable species of dinosaur. Vaguely reptilian shapes are not sufficient, it could just as easily be a crocodile or monitor lizard.

and of course they’re finding soft-tissue dinosaurs all over the place with C14 in them.

And the dating of this isotope places the animal as being coexistent with early humans? As living within the last 100,000 to 200,000 years? Citation needed.

@ 39;

Do you agree that the fact that humans described dinosaurs in the Bible is significant?

Given the fact that humans did not describe dinosaurs, but rather mythical leviathans and behemoths, then no, this is in no way significant.

@ 43;

That’s proof you’re lying. Anyone that has actually read the Bible knows 2 things. It’s obviously not fiction and it would be literally impossible for men to have written that particular book.

Just because you, and others like you, find the bible to be compelling does not automatically mean that others must also do so, thus it is ridiculous to state that someone who identifies the bible as creation mythology must be lying. Biblical stories do not amount to hard, scientific evidence. If we abandon our need for evidence, then there is no way to distinguish myth from reality. Even if we were to go along with that, just for a moment, why should we buy into the biblical myths rather than those contained within the Koran? Or Hindu belief systems? Or myths associated with the Ancient Greek, Roman or Nordic pantheons?

Also, on what basis do you assume that it is ‘literaaly impossible’ for humans to write a work of such fiction? ‘World building’ is a well known aspect of the authorship of all fantasy and science fiction stories. Many authors have come up with a creation mythology and even fully functional systems of belief for their own fictional worlds. I think you sorely underestimate the human capacity for imagination.

So many atheists have tried to discredit the Bible over the years claiming people or groups or societies mentioned in the Bible did not exist. Of course archaeology has proven the atheist wrong time and time again.

And yet there is still no hard evidence that Jesus ever lived, still less that he was the son of a deity. Similarly, there is no evidence for any of the fantastical events of the bible that cannot readily be explained scientifically as naturally occurring phenomena. The Great Flood. The Plagues of Egypt. The Parting of the Red Sea. The Resurrection – there is no evidence for any of them.

Even if Jesus did live, it proves nothing of a claim to divinty. Alexander the great lived, and he claimed to be a god. Does the mere fact that he lived give any credence to his claim of godhead?

If you haven’t studied archaeology, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t talk so confident about something you know nothing about. And lying about what you know is even worse.

Pot. Kettle. Black. Ring any bells?

@ 57;

If you want to know who is a coward, try PZ Myers. He’s afraid to debate Bob Enyart.

What is you basis for the claim that PZ is ‘afraid’ to debate Enyart? Nauseated by the man, quite possibly, but afraid of him? That raving bigot can barely string a coherant sentence together.

I would bet that the posters on this site would be unwilling to debate other than behind a computer screen.

The medium by which a debate is carried out has zero impact on the logical force and evidential basis of an argument.

I would love to be proved wrong. I can get anyone on a 50,000 watt Creation radio show, just let me know.

Why? So that screaming fundamentalists can drown out any reasoned argument? Not wishing to be bellowed at by fanatics with possible personality disorders says nothing about the quality of one’s arguments. The evidence either supports your position, or it doesn’t. Reality is not ratified by talk shows.

@ 64;

This is laughable! The fact that everyone here must lie about reading a book is hilarious! It’s even funnier how obvious it is that you guys haven’t read it. Like I said before, if you read the Bible, you would have known that the symbolic ordinances given to Israel were done away with by God.

There you go again. Most atheists have read the bibel, they just don’t find the claim that it is the word of any unevidenced deity persuasive. You will never convince us without bringing forth some kind of credible, hard scientific evidence for biblical claims that can survive the attentions of professional scientists and debunkers.

@ 67;

Ahh. This is getting interesting. Before I tell you, would you be willing to admit that if true, this would be a problem for evolution?

We can hardly evaluate the significance of your claim without first hearing your supporting evidence. That is a key principle of the scientific method.

Now we’re talking. You know that if evolution was true, it would be IMPOSSIBLE for the Bible to describe dinosaurs. I love it. Again, I don’t believe you’ve read the Bible, and this is more evidence.

You really don’t know what ‘evidence’ means, do you?

Whether or not the Bible mentions dinosaurs is really irrelevant to me.

Strange, given all your claims that it is so significant.

The Carbon-14 in the their original biological material is what fascinates me.

Unless this has been dated in a fashion that demonstrates that the established timeline is in error, then I fail to see why you should consider it so important.

Job 40
“Look now at the behemoth, which I made along with you; He eats grass like an ox. He moves his tail like a cedar.”

Job 41
“Can you draw out Leviathan? Indeed, any hope of overcoming him is false; Shall one not be overwhelmed at the sight of him? No one is so fierce that he would dare stir him up. When he raises himself up, the mighty are afraid; Because of his crashings they are beside themselves. On earth there is nothing like him. He beholds every high thing; He is king over all.”

That is your ‘evidence’? Seriously? Vague references to mythical creatures that could just as easily be loosely based on animals such as crocodiles and elephants? If this is the best you can do, then you have a real mountain to climb.

@ 73;

Immediately evolutionists claimed it was not soft-tissue. What ignorant fools. That proved they don’t care about science. Instead of wanting to do scientific tests and let science speak for itself, they made up lies because it contradicted their worldview.

The projection is strong in this one…

@ 76;

LOL! Eugenie Scott is! Eugenie Scott made the HUGE mistake of debating Bob Enyart. She got destroyed. It had to be the most embarrassing debate for an evolutionist ever. Bob Enyart has promoted and distributed the debate to this day. Eugenie Scott never has.

You live in your own little world entirely isolated from reality, don’t you?

I GUARANTEE you PZ Myers is afraid to debate him. It’s obvious.

Do you believe that being religious gives you amazing, mind-reading powers? I fail to see how else you could make this claim with such certainty… well, at least not without impugning you honesty, and far be it from me to suggest such a thing…

All that other stuff about Bob Enyart’s personal life is not relevant and just an excuse to get out of debating him.

How, exactly, is it that Enyart’s homophobia and conviction for child abuse, along with his other various bigotries – all motivated by his extreme religious views – is not relevant to any discussion with or pertaining to him? Enyart is the nasty, child-beating, homophobic excuse for a human being that he is precisely because of his religiosity. It is perfectly reasonable that someone may not wish to lend any crdiblity to such a nauseating creature by talking to him, let alone the unpleasant thought of actually being in the same room as such a man…

@ 85;

ROFL!! Wow, you guys are so unscientific. In case you didn’t notice, anyone can put whatever they want on the internet. That’s old news and was just a lie by evolutionists because the SCIENTIFIC find did not fit their worldview. Evolutionists don’t care about science.

So anything you disagree with is automatically a calculated lie, whereas you own wilfull misinterpretations of evidence or outright unevidenced claims must be taken at face value? Sorry, you don’t get to frame the parameters of the debate like that.

Jack Horner was offered a large grant to C14 test his soft-tissue T-Rex. He wouldn’t do it because he doesn’t care about science. He knew (as did I) that there would be C14 in it, so he wouldn’t do it. Wow!

Once again with the mind-reading. Who would have thought that mumbling incantations from an ancient book of mythology would give you such amazing psychic superpowers?

Off to bed. You can all thank me later for the free education I gave everyone on soft-tissue dinosaurs and the Carbon-14 in them! Resist the urge to deny SCIENCE. (That’s what all evolutionists naturally want to do with these finds.)

I think my irony meter just exploded.

So I take it that YesYouNeedDelusion has flounced then? I wonder if he (or she) will stick the landing?

118. says

I got to this one late so I didn’t read through the 122 comments, but I think part of the fault lies with the poll-takers themselves – I don’t think those polled come up with the 10,000 year number on their own, I think it’s a part of the question; i.e., Do you agree that the earth is 10,000 old?

Juno

119. John Morales says

[meta]

So I take it that YesYouNeedDelusion has flounced then?

Gregory, nah, actually flouncing requires a smidgen of honesty.

It bravely runs away when challenged (though, admittedly, it has been known to gather the courage to morph), but will return again to take another dump.

(Classic godbot specimen)

120. YYNJ:

The law was done away with LONG after Christ’s death. I would get into theology, but I doubt anyone cares.

Everything you get into here is theology. What you present as science is theology. When you interpret mythological beasts listed in the Bible you get into theology.

Let me know when you find a talking ass. I mean, other than the one you use.

121. Rev. BigDumbChimp says

What were YYNJ’s other nyms?

122. truthspeaker says

YesYouNeedJesus says:
26 September 2011 at 3:04 am

The 10,000 number comes from the Bible. Considering that the Bible is the number one best-seller of all time, I wonder if you’re allowed to consider yourself educated if you haven’t read it? I think not.

I have read it, and the nowhere in there does it say the earth is 10,000 years old. Nor does it say 6000 years old, the date preferred by American young earth creationists. Neither does it mention dinosaurs.

123. John Morales says

[meta]

Rev BDC, I have no compelling evidence, only an educated guess (which PZ can disconfirm).

I strongly suspect GODISNOWHERE (here: More ugliness laid bare) is a morph of YYNJ.

124. Gregory Greenwood says

John Morales @ 124;

Gregory, nah, actually flouncing requires a smidgen of honesty.

It was my error to expect even the tiniest expression of intergrity from someone with a username like YesYouNeedJesus.

Andrew Brown@ 104;

PZ, I know pretending to be an angry halfwit gets you readers

Being angry about the toxic effects of religion on society is a perfectly reasonable response. As for halfwit, well I think it only fair to tell you that your projection is showing…

and, skimming the comments, you’re welcome to them

Because insulting everyone here makes your argument so much more persuasive…

but you might have noticed that this was a survey about English schools, and the British system, and so almost wholly irrelevant to your experiences in Minnesota.

As a Brit, I can confirm that anti-intellectual attacks on science education are hardly limited to the US. This is why figures like Dawkins and Attenborough felt it necessary to issue a call for a ban on the teaching of creationism as science in public and free schools. Rorschach even provides a convenient link to the story @ 106. Calls for ‘teaching the controversy’ most certainly do exist in the UK. The problem isn’t at US proportions yet, but it is heading that way.

Those people are not rejecting science because of religious indoctrination. They are rejecting it because of the catastrophic failure of the school system.

If it was simply a lack of understanding, then it would be possible to rectify this deficit and then an acceptance of the evidence would not be problematic. You own post contains the critical phrase rejecting science, and that is exactly what is happening. This is not primarily a problem of people who find science difficult to understand due to a paucity of education , this is a deliberate rejection of the very idea of a scientific understanding of biology. This is a denial of science in favour of myth, a myth so important to those who propogate it that no evidence will sway them.

You don’t demand that schools be compelled to ‘teach the controversy’ out of ignorance alone. Such a campaign requires an agenda.

125. says

There are reasons to believe that without religion’s influence, the percentage of people who rejected evolution (or at least badly misunderstood, to the point that they might as well reject it) might very well still hover in the 10-20% range. It’s early so I’m not going to bother to detail why I think this.

But in any case, a) that’s a lot less than 40%, and b) ignorance that is backed by religious belief tends to be a lot LOUDER than “simple” ignorance.

126. says

I wonder, if you take the bible’s claims without evidence, are you also prepared to believe in sparkly vampires on the exact same evidential basis?

Important point, there. I remind you all that the evidence is clearly in support of the Twilight series being a factual account. From wikipedia:

Bella Swan moves from Phoenix, Arizona to live with her father in Forks, Washington to allow her mother to travel with her new husband, a minor league baseball player

Note that not only are Phoenix and Forks real cities, but it is also well established that baseball is in fact a commonly played sport in that geographical area.

Now watch those “scientists” scramble to deny the evidence.

127. Iain Walker says

YesYouNeedJesus (#77):

An elephant’s tail is like a cedar?

Creationist sleight of hand alert! The translation you quote in#67 says “He moves his tail like a cedar”. Yet somehow you manage to jump from “moves like” to “like”.

The original Hebrew expression can be translated as swaying, stiffening or lengthening like a cedar – it does not say that the Behemoth’s tail looks like a cedar in terms of shape and size. Which is why several scholars reckon that “tail” is being used here as a euphemism for “penis”, which would fit in with the text’s rather single-minded emphasis on the behemoth’s virility. What the passage in Job is in effect saying is this: “Behemoth’s dick is big, but God’s is even bigger.”

Also, Behemoth is described as having a navel and testicles (“stones of his belly” or sometimes euphemistically translated as “sinews of his belly”). It’s a large male mammal, possibly an elephant, possibly a hippo, possibly a water buffalo, or a mythical combination of several such species.

In Jewish folklore, the Behemoth is usually depicted as a giant bull.

You really know fuck all about your own holy book, don’t you?

(#73):

Two, you are not too studied up on soft-tissue dinosaurs. They are finding them all over the place now.

This is a gross exaggeration. So-called “soft tissues” from dinosaur remains are still controversial, and there’s still a lot of debate about their actual composition. You may also be confusing them with fossilised impressions of soft tissues, which palaeontologists are a lot more aware of now.

In any case, this isn’t a problem for evolution. It’s a problem (and not a very serious one) for the science of taphonomy (the study of how organisms decay and fossilise). Since we have numerous independent lines of evidence confirming that dinosaurs lived and died out tens of millions of years ago, the real question is: What are the mechanisms that allow soft-tissues preservation over such a long period of time?

As for your claims of preserved dinosaur soft tissues with measurable amounts of C14 in them, please feel free to back up this assertion with evidence at any time.

(#87):

Resist the urge to deny SCIENCE.

As opposed to science, which is what scientists do, and of which you appear to know very little.

128. Gregory Greenwood says

LykeX @ 131;

Note that not only are Phoenix and Forks real cities, but it is also well established that baseball is in fact a commonly played sport in that geographical area.

Now watch those “scientists” scramble to deny the evidence.

Yes, that is precisely the logic of the likes of YesYouNeedJesus, only brilliantly applied to something that is almost as ridiculous as the bible itself*.

I take my hat off to you, sir or madam.

* No, now I am being mean. I must recant. Twilight is nowhere near as ridiculous as the bible. It is merely the kind of banal ridiculous that has teenage girls pining after creepy, immortal serial killer types. Hardly a patch on magic-sky-fairy-creates-universe-in-seven-days levels of crazy.

129. Iain Walker says

hotshoe (#110):

Take a peek at his most recent anti-abortion column if you think you can stand it.

That was indeed a new low for Brown. Fact-free, muddled and misleading.

LykeX (#114):

Oh wait, he means that the childless couple will be denied an adoptable white baby, doesn’t he?

I think an imputation of racism is quite unfair on Brown, since he really does appear to be dumb enough to think that there’s a shortage of adoptable children. And morally stunted enough to think that women should be forced to give birth for the convenience of others.

130. Bruce Gorton says

John Morales

It bravely runs away when challenged (though, admittedly, it has been known to gather the courage to morph), but will return again to take another dump.

Hang on one minute, are you saying that these trolls are the boss characters from JRPGs?

131. says

Soft-tissue dinosaurs with C14 in them are a HUGE problem for evolutionists too.

All you have are lies.

132. Hazuki says

@Ravi

Fascinating! For having grown up in a city with so many Hindus I’m pretty ignorant of the literature…still need to read the Gita sometime :) If we’re going by evidence and predictions in the natural world, that would be a slam-dunk for Hinduism.

YYNJ is a dishonest, lying sack of crap. If he would spend some time researching the origins and dates of the individual books, plural, of the Bible (and learn what the word “pseudeipgraphical” means) it would go a long way to making him less of an ignorant schlub. Thinking about the implications of Mat. 10:23, the Olivet Discourse, and the barely-concealed panic over the failure of the Apocalypse to happen by ~100 AD in the pseudepigraphical 2 Peter is in order too. And will not be done.

133. YesYouNeedJesus says

Slammed at work today. Wanted to respond to one thing. I must say that it’s quite shocking to see such ignorance on the sift-tissue dinosaurs. It may not be your fault, but shouldn’t one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era be covered more by the scientific community?

Citation needed desperately.

you don’t say? fucking idiot. oh, and here’s the fucking PEER REVIEWED paper on it, fuckwit:

134. Ing says

If people actually depicted dinosaurs in works of mythology (opposed to say random imaginations of monsters like the Rancor, Mimic Judas Roaches, Sayans, Daleks, and Hydras) isn’t a far more likely explanation in light of other dating methods that the timeline of the extinction event was far less dense than previously projected.

To YouNeedJesus:

Um, no, actually I don’t.

I’ve read the King James Version, the Standard Revised Version, the New Standard Revised Version, the Jerusalem Bible, and the TaNaKh, put out by the Jewish Publication Society. I’ve also read the Biblia Hebraica Stutgartensia, which is in Hebrew. I’ve read the Bible in the original, and you have probably only read it in translation, which is to say, you have not read it at all.

The Bible does not mention dinosaurs, no, not even leviathan or behemoth. The books of Kings and Chronicles are actually not good history. There is no evidence from other countries’ records (Rome, Egypt, any of the City States in Mesopotamia) that Israel was a large and important empire. What we can glean from their records is that it was a small backwater country, eventually overwhelmed by Assyria and Babylon.

Oh, and Israel was not as monotheistic as everyone likes to pretend. There was an Asherah (pole sacred to the goddess Asherah) in the Temple for several hundred years: cf R. Patai, The Hebrew Goddess. The Bible was written by men, not God, and is largely myth (which I mean in the original sense of the word, not the sense that it has come to encompass, that a myth is a lie).

You might want to read a book called Who Wrote the Bible, by Richard Friedman. I don’t agree with everything he says, but he’s got some good points.

And no, we don’t need Jesus. There is no such thing as original sin, and no one needs to be redeemed. That’s just a fairy tale.

136. ing says

Jesus Nuts clearly didn’t read anything that was posted in response to the soft tissue. He needs to go looking for his missing gray tissue

137. Anteprepro says

About fucking time, Jebus freak. But, yeah, I’m an idiot because I was supposed to divine what paper you were talking about, despite the fact that you never mentioned any paper other than the original one, and I found more recent papers challenging the first. The only problem I see is that they haven’t “decoded the proteins”: There was only one kind of protein, collagen, and they didn’t decode it, they’ve only identified that it is, in fact, collagen. But whatever helps you feel like you’ve made a point. You’ve still been pathetically wrong about everything else you’ve said here.

138. says

It’s getting a bit hard to keep track things, so I have to ask; precisely what claim is that citation in support of?

139. Anri says

I will readily admit that I have not had the patience to read the Bible all the way through, so there are many things I’m uncertain on with regards to its contents.

One good example of this is which Pharaoh is the one who Moses was tangling with? I’d ask my fellow Pharyngulites (and I suspect I know the answer I’d get), but I’d rather ask YYNJ for his opinion.
So, how ’bout it, mind tossing me a bone here?

140. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

I must say that it’s quite shocking to see such ignorance on the sift-tissue dinosaurs.

Read about it when it came out. Interesting, but yet confirmed. C-14 is a distraction for you, not real scientists like myself, who understand how and where it if formed. And when carbon is in the ground, carbon 14 is continually being formed from carbon 13 and neutrons. Recent contamination by bacteria must also be taken into account. Anybody but a religious fuckwit like you knows that. It doesn’t mean what you think it means.

For example, from your cited paper:

Here, we present the results from a broad array of biochemical and molecular analyses of fibrous bone tissues isolated from an exceptionally preserved 70 Ma mosasaur

70,000,000 year bone. Age refuted already. But the carbon 14 was found associated on the surface with bacteria, causing the age of 24,600 years to be measured. And they did find a small amount of bacteria present via PCR. It doesn’t prove what you think it proves.

141. Bernard Bumner says

…Carbon-14…

It may not be your fault, but shouldn’t one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era be covered more by the scientific community?

They did radiocarbon analysis in order to demonstrate that the proteins were not modern contamination, here:

Likewise, the amount of finite carbon was exceedingly small, corresponding to 4.68%±0.1 of modern 14C activity (yielding an age of 24 600 BP), and most likely reflect bacterial activity near the outer surface of the bone (although no bacterial proteins or hopanoids were detected, one bacterial DNA sequence was amplified by PCR, and microscopic clusters of bone-boring cyanobacteria were seen in places along the perimeter of the diaphyseal cortex).

142. says

Doowahdiddy 4:17-21 clearly states that the Pharaoh in question was Samthesham.

143. Anteprepro says

LykeX, YYNJ said, in regards to soft tissue in dinosaur fossils, in response to my article where they found that the soft tissue was more consistent with bacterial biofilm than collagen:

“They have decoded the proteins. It is original biological material.”

The citation was to back up this quote. So he linked to an article that used multiple different types of examinations to suggest that the protein (note: singular) they have found in these bones is actually collagen.

And here’s a slight tangent. Something that struck me suddenly: why doesn’t the latest cited article mention the fact that collagen self-assembles? It took me a little while to recall that fact, and I think it would be relevant to note. The original paper by Mary Somethingorother regarding soft tissue didn’t mention that little tidbit either. Perhaps it is too obvious to bear mention, but I feel that few of the popular articles mentioning the science articles bothered to bring up that idea either. So it’s likely that only the monomers of the protein needed to be preserved, and after the bone gets washed out with acid and gets all this other treatment, collagen strands form, rather than being there all along and simply being revealed through just the right technique. I would say this is why these particular findings haven’t been heralded as a game-changer quite yet: the jury seems to still be out on what this actually is, let alone what it means.

144. KG says

From YYNJ’s citation:

Two short DNA sequences of possible lagomorph origin were amplified by PCR (together with three human sequences), and consequently it is possible that the outer surface of the bone has been painted with animal glue at some point.

So in addition to bacteria on the bone surface, there are other possible sources of contamination with recent material, which can account for the 14C results. The authors argue that the collagen could not have come from any of these sources – I don’t have the expertise to know how strong their arguments are. If the collagen is genuinely from the mosasaur (which is a lizard, BTW, not a dinosaur) then that is indeed of great interest, and may mean we can discover far more about long-extinct animals, but it’s not evidence that mosasurs lived thousands, rather than tens of millions of years ago: just evidence that fossilisation can at least sometimes preserve original organic material for very long periods. That may seem surprising, but once the bone was buried away from water and bacterial scavengers, there seems no reason a tough protein like collagen should not last indefinitely.

145. abb3w says

I suspect the main reason for the 10000 year number being bandied so often is the standard form of the Gallup question on the topic uses that. (I also suspect the Gallup question options are insufficiently nuanced to distinguish OEC from YEC, based on the more nuanced 2002 Ohio Plain Dealer poll of that state.) A quick check of Google Scholar doesn’t turn up any rigorous polls where “What do you think is the age of the earth?” is asked as an open question.

As there’s also some mild controversy within the YEC community about the exact Biblical dating, the “under 10000 years” sweeps under the rug the question of whether the earth is 5.5 or 7.8 kiloyears old.

That said, yes, the root of the ~10ka versus ~4.53Ga science and math education failure is clearly religious.

146. truthspeaker says

YesYouNeedJesus says:
26 September 2011 at 3:34 pm

Slammed at work today. Wanted to respond to one thing. I must say that it’s quite shocking to see such ignorance on the sift-tissue dinosaurs. It may not be your fault, but shouldn’t one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era be covered more by the scientific communit

We’ve all heard of it, and it’s not one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era. The only one ignorant about it seems to be you.

147. evodevo says

Being too lazy to research it, why did they come up with the figure of 10,000? According to old Bishop what’s his name, it was ~6,000 years. Where do they say the other 4,000 came from?

148. Friendly says

A good friend from my evangelical fundie days invited me to a Christian retreat over the weekend with the promise of getting to play some board and card games during the extensive leisure time. I decided it wouldn’t kill me to sit through a couple of services, so I went. Unfortunately, one of those services was led by a young-earth creationist, repeating all of the usual stale old arguments to indoctrinate the kids and adults who were there, and I walked out on that one. As I listened to him talk later that day, and then tried to engage him in conversation myself, a few other things became clear:

He did not believe in global warming.

He did believe in Bigfoot and lake monsters.

He was a science teacher at a public high school and he was proud of undermining the evolutionary instruction of the school’s other science teacher.

I weep for the USA sometimes, and for the rest of the world that has to live with the consequences of our willful wrongheadedness.

149. ACN says

150. ichthyic says

Being too lazy to research it, why did they come up with the figure of 10,000? According to old Bishop what’s his name, it was ~6,000 years. Where do they say the other 4,000 came from?

this is a forest-for-trees issue.

the details to most people are not important, but the idea of the earth as being very young, as opposed to billions of years old, is an entirely religious one.

DM may be right that humans tend to “round off”, but he is dead wrong wrt where the numbers originate from to begin with.

he has ZERO support for the idea that this is a case of people unable to comprehend larger numbers, or that this isn’t a case of religious ideology becoming spread as a cultural meme.

so, in essence, one could just as easily support the case that the 10K figure is just a conservative convenience for people who simply don’t know about, or care, about what the many, MANY (Usher is just a relatively late attempt at it), attempts at deducing geological age from the bibles have been.

does that help any?

151. ichthyic says

…er, DM should be AB (Andrew Brown).

need more coffee.

152. 'Tis Himself, OM says

myeck waters #147

Doowahdiddy 4:17-21 clearly states that the Pharaoh in question was Samthesham.

You win one internets.

153. ichthyic says

And less DM, too.

most heartily agree.

154. ichthyic says

Has it been mentioned yet that AB should go to a country where the religion ISN’T involved with making predictions the earth is thousands of years old, but rather orders of magnitude OLDER than what science says, and then see what numbers people there use?

for example, circe at #34 mentions Hindu mythology:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_cosmology

I think the very reason Andrew focuses on the 10K aspect, is exactly BECAUSE his mind grew up indoctrinated in the Abrahamic traditions, Anglican or not, that infect much of the Western world.

that he doesn’t even see this is instructive in and of itself that he is wrong in his thesis.

155. skeptical scientist says

Assuming Brown is correct (and the survey he cites is reliable) when he says that most people who believe in a young Earth do so without belonging to a religion which espouses young-Earth creationism, then it is the fault of a poor education system. Of course he’s wrong to say that religion is not to blame. The teaching of evolution is routinely under attack by creationists, in the UK as well as elsewhere, so creationists surely share the blame for poor science education.

It’s depressing that the teaching of science is so poor that many people believe in a young Earth, but there are also seeds of hope: improving the understanding of a large sector of the population may be as simple as giving them better science teachers, rather than attempting to remove years of religious indoctrination.

156. says

How hard is creationism to explain, really? We have a design sense, where we see things in terms of function and utility. We project our sense of design and designers onto nature, some more than others. Bruce Hood’s Supersense gives a good account of this.

Though I’m not sure why Andrew Brown thinks that “one, lots, many” just happens to get the same figure as those who have calculated the date from adding up genealogies in the bible is just coincidence. It seems like arguing that even though people see lights in the sky as UFO activity, it has nothing do with the prevalence of aliens as a cultural explanation. They’re just using UFO in its proper sense…

157. Antiochus Epiphanes says

evodevo: Bishop James Ussher, Primate of Ireland?

I was actually wondering the same thing.

158. KG says

Though I’m not sure why Andrew Brown thinks that “one, lots, many” just happens to get the same figure as those who have calculated the date from adding up genealogies in the bible is just coincidence. It seems like arguing that even though people see lights in the sky as UFO activity, it has nothing do with the prevalence of aliens as a cultural explanation. They’re just using UFO in its proper sense… – Kel

Brown’s “10,000 years” is taken directly from the questionnaire. That figure is in one of the questions, roughly “did God create the world sometime in the last 10,000 years”. I gave a link to the document containing it earlier.

159. KG says

Slammed at work today. Wanted to respond to one thing. I must say that it’s quite shocking to see such ignorance on the sift-tissue dinosaurs. It may not be your fault, but shouldn’t one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era be covered more by the scientific community

We’ve all heard of it, and it’s not one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era. The only one ignorant about it seems to be you. – truthspeaker

I have to say I don’t think that’s fair. Several regular commenters evidently hadn’t heard of the paper YYNJ cited, giving evidence that the collagen is probably ancient. Of course it doesn’t have anything like the significance YYNJ attributes to it, because if it really is Cretaceous collagen, the conclusion is that collagen can indeed survive in fossils for tens of millioms of years.

160. ichthyic says

Several regular commenters evidently hadn’t heard of the paper

speak for yourself. HE FUCKING QUOTED THE PAPER I CITED FOR HIM, without even reading it!! He doesn’t get credit for that.

If he had read it, he would have immediately seen what the answer was to the original proposal of “preserved collagen tissues”.

he didn’t.

don’t know what you’re on about, but most here ARE aware of the original claims and the counter evidence.

the counter evidence is pretty damn conclusive that it wasn’t collagen tissue, but then you can read the paper yourself.

you’re confused on how this sorted itself.

try again?

161. amphiox says

If people actually depicted dinosaurs in works of mythology (opposed to say random imaginations of monsters like the Rancor, Mimic Judas Roaches, Sayans, Daleks, and Hydras) isn’t a far more likely explanation in light of other dating methods that the timeline of the extinction event was far less dense than previously projected.

The most likely explanation is that somewhere down the line, perhaps several times even, some ancient peoples stumbled upon well preserved, nearly complete fossil specimens, and the legends built up from there.

162. amphiox says

Assuming Brown is correct (and the survey he cites is reliable) when he says that most people who believe in a young Earth do so without belonging to a religion which espouses young-Earth creationism, then it is the fault of a poor education system.

But how many of those people, if asked why they believe in a young Earth, would reply that this is what they think their religion tells them is true?

I’d say the failure is not just of the education system, but of the religions in teaching their creeds properly to their congregants.

163. amphiox says

I must say that it’s quite shocking to see such ignorance on the sift-tissue dinosaurs. It may not be your fault, but shouldn’t one of the greatest scientific discoveries of our era be covered more by the scientific community

Pish. The cretaceous-era collagen found in various fossils is an old story that’s at least 10 years old by now. The cited paper is just one of the latest in a long string of papers on the subject, and while quite interesting, doesn’t add anything groundbreakingly new to the already understood overall picture.

164. EJ says

Don’t forget that he’s talking about the UK, which of course has a very different religious landscape than the US.

Only a few churches in the UK teach YEC as official dogma, (the largest, the C of E and the Catholic church, do not) and in any case, IIRC, the number of Britons who regularly attend religious services of any kind is something like 15%.

So, at least to me, it’s actually an interesting question – why are there so many people in Britain who are at least open to YEC when, unlike in the US, it’s unlikely they’re attached to it out of any strong religious belief.

Also, FWIW, the 10,000 years number comes from the survey itself – the question was something about what the respondent believed about the origin of the earth and one possible answer was something like “it was created at some point during the last 10,000 years.” I don’t think YECs actually agree on the exact age of the earth, the “classic” biblical interpretation from Usher says the Earth was created in 4004 BC but there are a bunch of competing claims.

165. Kagehi says

Sigh.. I hate when I come home, want to comment on one of these things, on the original site, and can’t. I hate it even more when the other commenters let things slide that bloody well shouldn’t have (and I see this here too, too often, when dealing with some cases). An example – ‘agreewith’ on the comment thread on the site mentions how Wallace had a view of species adapting to changes in environment, then claims that there would have been fewer problems if “survival of the fittest” hadn’t been presented as an “alternate” by Darwin. This seems to me a gross misunderstanding of the phrase, and a vast ignorance of both why their differed on that point, as well as modern views on the subject. It also shows a complete failure, imho, understand how, and why, this phrase has been distorted by creationists.

In reality, “fittest”, obviously, means, “regardless of what has the effect of making them fit”, and it has nothing to do with the creationist canard involving, “tooth and nail killing of each other.”

Someone one page of comments later then makes a reference to some book or other, which they say claimed that each species of man “replaced” each other. They rather obviously missed both recent articles showing Neanderthal DNA in humans, which contradicts this, and have no clue what “replace” means, in this context.

And that isn’t even bringing up the howler than ID, “improves with time”, that someone tried to make, or the comment by someone as to what things Darwin included in his work, which could falsify Evolution, while failing to note, as part of the comment, that the odds of anything “he” ever suggested as a problem being found are 1:1 Gazillion odds against, to the extent that a) nearly everything he didn’t have clear ideas on now *does* have explanations, some of them contradicting his assumptions, and b) it would actually be more likely that someone genetically engineered a hoax, than that any one of his still plausible falsifiable conditions where ever met by *anything* that wasn’t artificially created by man.

In fact, that is probably the most likely scenario for the only thing that any creationist will ever manage to come up with that would present a real challenge, and they would get by with it only as long as no one ever looked at the DNA, and found it hacked together by humans, from multiple species, completely with obviously “engineered” fixes to any anomalies that arose trying to make it (it would probably, for simplicity sake, either die early, from a mistake, or be stripped clean of ‘garbage’ DNA, that they didn’t need to create the hoax. I.e., it would be either fatally flawed, or devoid of anything that might cause an unknown flaw, either way, 100% artificial).

But, seriously, why is it no one, when ever these threads crop up, seems to ever correct the most obvious, and often fairly critical, errors, and instead wander off on some other tangential issue, while leaving a glaring pothole in the whole argument they seem to think they are addressing, by, for example, ignoring the problem with “fittest”, while instead focusing on the poor justifications of ID?

Its like watching someone argue about why propellers are bad things to have on cars, while skipping over the more obvious issue that the thing under discussion sits on a trailer, has a keel, and floats well. I.e., the problem isn’t that propellers are bad on cars, the problem is, its not a damn car!

166. davidrichardson says

Is this the calibre of Andrew Brown’s evidence? The “London evening paper”, the Evening Standard, is a right-wing rag which is a sort of cross between the New York Post and the Washington Times! Of course the Standard would run a load of lies like this – it’s what right-wing rags do.

167. davidrichardson says

The blockquote didn’t work for me either.

The quote from Andrew Brown I was trying to use was:

And there are large numbers of school leavers in London today who cannot even read or write — the London evening paper is running a huge campaign about this.

168. KG says

ichthyic@166,

The paper I am referring to is not the one you cited. Follow YYNJ’s link@138 (there’s a confusing blockquote fail there). The link goes to a 2011 paper. Yours was to a 2008 paper. Now as I said, I don’t have the expertise to know whether the 2011 paper is correct, but it’s there in the peer-reviewed literature.

169. Ing says

In reality, “fittest”, obviously, means, “regardless of what has the effect of making them fit”, and it has nothing to do with the creationist canard involving, “tooth and nail killing of each other.”

A friend of mine had in a sci-fi story they wrote a human ship that was lost for eons and left adrift, with the self repairing functions keeping the ship systems going. When it was rediscovered they and found some alien life had been seeded in it and since the food dispensers and water systems and all were still working but calibrated to use human controls and recognize human faces the dominant species were a bunch of crab like creatures that had their mouth parts adapted into human hands and had fleshy human “face” mimicry on their backs and/or stomachs.

170. David Marjanović, OM says

So many atheists have tried to discredit the Bible over the years claiming people or groups or societies mentioned in the Bible did not exist. Of course archaeology has proven the atheist wrong time and time again.

If you haven’t studied archaeology, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t talk so confident about something you know nothing about. And lying about what you know is even worse.

Read this. Then come back here.

And here’s a slight tangent. Something that struck me suddenly: why doesn’t the latest cited article mention the fact that collagen self-assembles? It took me a little while to recall that fact, and I think it would be relevant to note. The original paper by Mary Somethingorother regarding soft tissue didn’t mention that little tidbit either. Perhaps it is too obvious to bear mention, but I feel that few of the popular articles mentioning the science articles bothered to bring up that idea either. So it’s likely that only the monomers of the protein needed to be preserved, and after the bone gets washed out with acid and gets all this other treatment, collagen strands form, rather than being there all along and simply being revealed through just the right technique.

Erm. Collagen is a helix made of three strands, each of which is a protein molecule. The helix self-assembles from the strands; the strands don’t self-assemble from amino acids! You can’t have protein synthesis by magic. :-)

Of course it doesn’t have anything like the significance YYNJ attributes to it, because if it really is Cretaceous collagen, the conclusion is that collagen can indeed survive in fossils for tens of millioms of years.

…under special conditions: inside intact, robust bone, crosslinked by iron from hemoglobin, in well-drained sandstone. Schweitzer and her colleagues say preservation varies wildly even within a bone.

Now I’ll read the paper. The youngest I had were a talk and a poster from 2008.

171. David Marjanović, OM says

Laddies and Gentlewomen, this is the first time I learn something from a creationist. Unsurprisingly, it’s not what the creationist wanted to tell me, but still, I didn’t know the paper (access is free, it’s in PLoS ONE!), and it’s genuinely interesting:

We can drop “well-drained sandstones” from the list of special conditions that allow collagen to be preserved for, in this case, some 66 million years.