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Science Government Politics

Creationism Museum Opening in Kentucky 1166

Noel Linback writes "A new creationism-espousing museum is opening in the state of Kentucky. According to a New York Times article the museum depicts humans and dinosaurs living together in traditional 'diorama' style exhibit. 'Whether you are willing to grant the premises of this museum almost becomes irrelevant as you are drawn into its mixture of spectacle and narrative. Its 60,000 square feet of exhibits are often stunningly designed by Patrick Marsh, who, like the entire museum staff, declares adherence to the ministry's views; he evidently also knows the lure of secular sensations, since he designed the Jaws and King Kong attractions at Universal Studios in Florida. For the skeptic the wonder is at a strange universe shaped by elaborate arguments, strong convictions and intermittent invocations of scientific principle. For the believer, it seems, this museum provides a kind of relief: Finally the world is being shown as it really is, without the distortions of secularism and natural selection. '"
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Creationism Museum Opening in Kentucky

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  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:42PM (#19285589) Journal
    Or in other words: I really don't care about this "museum", but get the fuck out of our public education!
  • by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:46PM (#19285609)
    We have lots of cave drawings of man with impressive animals like wooly mamoths and the like. So why are there not cave drawings of man with really impressive animals like the dinasaurs. I mean I I was impressed enought to paint the large elephant like creature you would think that a 20' high meat eating moster would at least reate a few pictures.
  • by Icarus1919 ( 802533 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:52PM (#19285673)
    The past is the future. Ignorance is strength.
  • what I find odd (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nanosquid ( 1074949 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:52PM (#19285679)
    What I find odd is that the same people that promote this unscientific kind of bullshit still want the benefits of science and technology.
  • by unlametheweak ( 1102159 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:56PM (#19285717)
    For every argument made against irrationality, there will always be irrational arguments made to contest the rational. There is no way of winning against the irrational. So it goes. Religion will always win so long as the human mind is irrational.
  • Re:About the Bible (Score:3, Insightful)

    by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:01PM (#19285745)
    That would explain why all the prophets were put to death for criticizing the government of their day.
  • by catbutt ( 469582 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:05PM (#19285785)
    Well the whole thing about God being perfect, but making humans flawed, blaming humans for being flawed, and then punishing someone else to make up for those flaws .....that seems a tad silly as well.

    Or do you just consider Christianity the idea that we should be nice to each other? Because I don't think Jesus invented that concept.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:10PM (#19285833)
    If you do not believe what you read in the bible, then by what right do you call yourself a Christian? It sounds to me like you are a "Christian" by name only, enough to assuage your guilty liberal conscience but no more.
  • by conigs ( 866121 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:13PM (#19285859) Homepage
    I normally don't respond to ACs, but here goes:
    In its broadest sense, a fundamentalist is someone who believes that unvarying principles must apply to all people or every situation, in this case, the Bible as absolute truth. So, if someone believes every word of the Bible is absolute truth and nothing is metaphorical, simplified in terms that the people of the time would understand, and was completely accurate in its translation from language to language, then that would qualify them as a fundamentalist in my mind. In general, there is nothing wrong with that. I see no problem with believing what you believe. It's when you force that belief on other people that causes problems. Open discussion of beliefs on the other hand, is good for everyone involved.
    Now, what do I believe? I am a Christian, but I believe there is one problem with the Bible: it was physically written be humans. This means two primary things to me:
    1. It could only be written in terms that the person writing it could understand. This could lead to simplification of concepts. For example, in the story of creation, seven days may not necessarily equate to seven 24-hour periods. It could just mean seven stages, where each stage could take years, centuries, millenniums, etc.
    2. Because humans are flawed, some of those who physically wrote the Bible may have injected their views of the world into it. It then becomes a problem to decipher what may have been written by a human voice and not God's. This can only be done through self reflection which will be different for each person.
    This is just what I believe and I have no expectations of other people to accept or adhere to this belief. This is where I depart from fundamentalists.
  • Re:Not going there (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tony ( 765 ) * on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:14PM (#19285863) Journal
    I'm not positive that science has everything right. . .

    That's the great thing about science: neither do scientists! They don't know what they have right, either. Isn't that a fucking hoot?

    What they know is what *makes sense* based on observed facts. The epistemology of science is simple: if your explanation is contradicted by observation, it is not true. Otherwise, it *might* be true.

    That's it. Nothing is ever "proven." It's just that some things only have one current explanation, and so we use those as our working assumptions. If another explanation comes around that isn't contradicted by the *observable facts*, that explanation is also considered.

    Human nature makes us sure of ourselves-- sometimes *too* sure. But, for the most part, the scientific method, and the knowledge gained from that method, are self-correcting.

    And that is why this museum can never win any converts from those who understand science. Their explanations do not cover the observable facts.
  • Science is (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:15PM (#19285871) Homepage Journal
    The process of observing the world and drawing a logical set of self consistent conclusions. All sciences, especially the soft sciences, have bias, or systematic error, We will tend the local world view on situations that far removed in time or space. Such errors can be corrected by future research and a more diversified group of scientists. There is no attack on faith, as faith is what we believe, not what we use when we need to model a natural process.

    This museum, while attempting to provide a self consistent set of conclusions, fails to limit itself to observable and verifiable fact. In fact I feel it mocks Christianity by further limiting the power of the creator. Limiting such power has always been popular in the sinful human population that wishes to transfer power from the creator to itself. Just look at catholicism and the belief that certain religious leaders can speak for the almighty. For example, when I was growing up it was quite a popular belief that the creator put fossils and likes on earth as a test of fate. Those that continue to believe the bible even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary are those with sufficient faith to be saved. Now these sinful humans are trying to rewrite the bible and limit the power of the almighty by saying that dinosaurs existed and the grand canyon and the fossils were caused by the flood. You know, if the creator wanted a grand canyon, or fossils, or dinosaurs, or floods, or whatever, there is nothing to stop the desire becoming a reality, no matter what greedy and corrupt humans have to say.

    I wonder if the future will see this museum as an artifact of a time in Christianity when the leaders were more concerned with wealth and personal power than serving the almighty. If, perhaps, someone like Martin Luther will emerge to blog 123 ways that the christian church is corrupt, and call for a post-christian movement.

  • Priorities (Score:1, Insightful)

    by florescent_beige ( 608235 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:16PM (#19285877) Journal
    16,000 children under the age of 5 died [] yesterday because they didn't have enough to eat. This church, along with the rest of us, will have to answer some pointed questions in the afterlife about priorities.
  • by nattt ( 568106 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:18PM (#19285895)
    The logic and reasoning that points to the earth not being 4000 years old, and the logic and reasoning that points to evolution being what actually happened, also allow us to see through the charade that is christianity though. Now, if you were a deist, I could amost accept that, but christianity is just a bunch of made up stories. At least the fundies take their holy book by it's word. If you pick and choose from the Bible, you're demonstrating that you yourself have a much better sense of morals than the god you worship. If you've ditched the nasty bits of the Bible already, why not go the whole distance and ditch the rest. You know you want to!
  • not a museum (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JustShootMe ( 122551 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:18PM (#19285905) Homepage Journal
    I'd defend the right of the people who started this to continue on as long as they can support it, but I'm not sure it should be called a "museum". A museum implies some hind of historical accuracy.

    Perhaps "theme park", or "house of ill repute" instead?
  • by Paradise Pete ( 33184 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:19PM (#19285913) Journal
    Some christians believe that the bible contains the truths necessary for salvation

    If there is a salvation to be had, here is the secret: Be kind to each other.
    What else could possibly matter?

    Any God that cares if you worshipped him doesn't deserve the position.

  • by Lurker2288 ( 995635 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:24PM (#19285953)
    The problem is that most 'true believers' aren't just content to hold their own beliefs, and to indoctrinate their kids while they're young and accepting. All the born-agains I know says that it's also god's will for them to convert others and "bring us to Christ's truth." That's not tolerance, and if the rational people of the world refuse to make a stand against this kind of ancient bullshit, then religious mania will take us over. Just look at the 'moral majority' of the 70s carrying Reagan into office, or our current situation with George Bush.

    And it's ridiculous to put religious belief on par with scientific explanations for how things came to be. Science generates hypotheses; those hypotheses are tested with observation and experiment, and the ones that hold up become theories, which will be amended or rejected when contradictory evidence is found. When science doesn't know an answer, it speculates, but it does not proclaim. Contrast this with religion, which tells us god made everything, and our brains can't comprehend the awesomeness of it all. What proof do they offer for these extraordinary claims? Oh, no proof, see, because it's all about faith--believing DESPITE the fact that all they really have to back it up is a book, and the words of 'holy men' who, of course, have a vested interest in keep the sheeple flocking in one direction.

    Religion is poison to rationality, and we lose sight of that at our own peril.
  • by mushadv ( 909107 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:39PM (#19286085)

    You can't prove God does (not) exist

    Nor can I disprove the existence of unicorns living in Venus's core. So as long as we can't put cameras there, we might as well just accept that we'll never know, right?

    don't teach creationism nor evolutionism as an exact science

    And why in the hell not? Evolution is a scientific theory, and a widely accepted one at that. There's no reason it shouldn't be taught. Creationism on the other hand is religion and nothing more.

    I see a lot of atheists that hang on to evolution and the big bang theory as a religion, something that has to be and is true, no matter what other people think or say. Why? Because you feel the need to be religious about something? What if I come up with a scientific theory that better fits the bill? You're going to massively change then? Or am I going to be incorrect.

    Hey, feel free to try. If it has significant basis in fact and mountains of evidence behind it like evolution before it, then sure, we'll "massively change." You seem to think this is some kind of a game, evolutionists vs. creationists. In reality, the "debate" doesn't exist. Evolution is scientific theory and is based on facts. Creationism is based on a book, and on no facts whatsoever. Game over.

  • by fermion ( 181285 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:42PM (#19286109) Homepage Journal
    Well, it is not really private. Churches are primarily a way to shelter tax money from the government. For instance, a person that tithes 10% net, no more than 7 gross, is allowed to take that money off the taxes, and keep that money. In the end the person actually only tithes perhaps 5%, and gets to keep a fistfull of money, money that is used to buy fancy cars and sunday clothes rather than buy critical kit for the military.

    So, if the museum was funded through the church scam, and cost 27 million, at an average tax rate of 20%, it cost our fighting force over 5 million dollars. Talk about not supporting our troops. Well, I guess if we pray that our god's children kill all their god's children first, it will all work out. Or even worse, 5 million for education so our kids will be smart enough to avoid the bullet, and museum, all together.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:43PM (#19286123)
    The human mind only knows what it experiences (including the experience of receiving communication from others in any form). The accuracy of said experiences, as well as the soundness of the interpretation, is always questionable.

    Some people are very uncomfortable with uncertainty. They desperately crave a solid and unquestionable source for correct knowledge. So, in the absence of such a source, the mind will play games with itself to create one. Hence the popular religious trend of interpreting mythology as if it were history.

    It is true that scientific knowledge is not rock-solid. It is vulnerable to inaccuracy and just as questionable as any other kind of knowledge. So, the religious believers are correct in pointing this out. However, there is a very important difference of methodology at work. The scientific process is one of perpetual questioning and re-examination of fact, and hence of perpetual refinement of accuracy. The religious process utterly lacks this element, and as such it has no demonstrable means of approaching any kind of practical validity. That, however, does not prevent people from convincing themselves that their religion of choice is correct and unquestionable, and that any and all evidence to the contrary must be in error.

    So long as this thought process is confined to the realm of private institutions (museums, churches, clubs, and what have you), I am fine with it. Just don't go infecting public education with your myths.
  • natural selection (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mistersooreams ( 811324 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:43PM (#19286131) Homepage
    Urm, even if you reject the scientific theory of evolution, it's just ridiculous to reject natural selection. You can easily observe it in your own lifetime, as Darwin did.
  • Re:Almost funny... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by techno-vampire ( 666512 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:44PM (#19286137) Homepage
    Maybe after this museum opens some atheist tour group so do the same thing...take tours through Ken's "museum" and provide scientific narrative to dispute his biblical nonsense.

    Intelligent Design groups get way with their propaganda because the museums believe in free speech, and allow them to have their say. Do you really think that these fundamentalists will allow pro-evolution groups to spread their propaganda in the Creationist Museum? To them, free speech only applies when it's in their favor, not their opponents.

  • by brezel ( 890656 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:48PM (#19286177) Homepage

    Read the bible before trying to dispute it, you might learn something. You don't even have to read far to see that God created man in His image (i.e. perfect). Their disobedience caused their fall which brought on death and corruption.
    if humans had been perfect they wouldn't have disobeyed in the first place.
    -> god is not perfect.
    discussing with christians is just too easy. anybody with half a brain should see that statements like that can't even withstand a simple logical test.
  • by JeanPaulBob ( 585149 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:54PM (#19286217)
    OK, I see the jkorz has already replied, but I'm going to do so as well...but hopefully less inflammatory.

    Well the whole thing about God being perfect, but making humans flawed, blaming humans for being flawed, and then punishing someone else to make up for those flaws .....that seems a tad silly as well.

    Yes, that chain of four ideas does seem rather silly. What religion are you referring to? Christians don't believe God made humans sinful. He made us capable of making moral choices, but we're not punished for being able to sin--we're punished for sin.

    Nor do Christians believe that God punished "someone else". Jesus was God incarnate. God taking on the punishment for the evil we choose is rather different than God "punishing someone else to make up for those flaws".

    So...What religion were you talking about, again?
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:00PM (#19286271)
    Oh, faith can be a wonderful thing. As long as people don't make a religion out of it...
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:12PM (#19286387)
    I already have troubles with another part of the Genesis. Since God is omniscient and transcends space and time, he must have known that Adam and Eve will eat from the forbidden fruit of knowledge. Why did he punish them for something he must have known all along? Why did he let it happen first of all? Why did he put the trees into the garden of Eden, it would have been in his power (remember, omnipotent) to put them somewhere else so they could not reach it.

    Personally, I think God framed the humans. And such a God I should worship? I'd rather say, he wanted to kick the nudists out and needed some reason. But then I wonder, what reason would God need to do what he pleases? Who does he have to report to?

    Somehow, it doesn't add up.
  • by dn15 ( 735502 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:13PM (#19286399)

    Any God that cares if you worshipped him doesn't deserve the position.
    Bravo! I find it inconceivable that a being as omniscient and all-knowing as a "god" would be so petty as to consider one set of dogmatic beliefs to be right or wrong. It would judge people (if it chooses to judge them at all) by their actions and the intentions behind them, not details of which creation story they chose to believe in. In fact, I say such a god would see right through the people who treated others like crap but went to church every sunday because they thought that's what is necessary for salvation. And this is one of the reasons I myself am not religious. I see no reason to seek validation by any being who would actually care whether I attend church or not.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:24PM (#19286489)
    That's the nice thing about religion. There's always an easy answer for a complicated problem. Usually, it's either God testing your faith or Satan trying to thwart you, and that's good enough. Have faith! Don't question, believe blindly.

    I slowly get a hunch just why the government is suddenly so keen on supporting religion and faith based education...
  • Re:what I find odd (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:29PM (#19286547)
    What's odd about it? Wanting to Have the cake and eat it, too, is common practice today.

    Why shouldn't conservative religious zealots not jump on the zeitgeist from time to time?
  • by Frostalicious ( 657235 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:34PM (#19286575) Journal
    In general, there is nothing wrong with that. I see no problem with believing what you believe. It's when you force that belief on other people that causes problems.

    I think the main problem is that if you are a fundamentalist, then that neccesitates that you either try to force those beliefs onto others, or kill all nonbelievers. If you are absolutely certain that your belief system is correct, and inherent in your belief system is that all other belief systems are evil, then it follows that you want everyone to have your belief system. At that point things like secular government and religious tolerance just dissapear. How can you state that the Bible is the direct infallible word of God, and in the same breath say that we aren't going to use this in government, and we are OK with the fact others don't believe what God is saying?
  • Appalling (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Saraphim ( 797750 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:50PM (#19286705) Homepage
    I weep for America when, in otherwise legitimate media, the articles actually approach a topic from a superstitious angle: "... For the believer, it seems, this museum provides a kind of relief: Finally the world is being shown as it really is, without the distortions of secularism and natural selection." I'm not an American, but from what I have read of NYT's articles, I got the idea they was the kind of newspaper that would not stoop as low as to lend any credibility to superstition.
  • by localman ( 111171 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:53PM (#19286737) Homepage
    I agree 100% with your "let's peacefully co-exist". I am content to let everyone believe what they want and to express what they like as long as they do the same for others. So don't take my expression below to be an attempt to convert or insult yours or anyone elses beliefs, but rather as an expression of my view.

    I am an athiest and I believe natural selection to be the orgin of the species, as it were. The big bang is too abstract for me to seriously consider, but it might as well be true as it doesn't say much practical to current existence. But in response to your claim, I really don't think that many people "hang on to evolution ... as a religion". If someone came up with a better explanation I would most certainly consider it; that's why science is not a religion: it adapts. The bible is purportedly unchanging, and for that reason alone it is of limited usefulness as it can't take into account new discoveries. Science can. Sure, there are some scientists who hang on to pet theories in spite of evidence to the contrary, but fundamentally science is an endless exploration of what is, and it allows for error. Ptolomy was overturned by Copernicus. Newton was overturned by Einstein. It's amazing how non religious science is, given that it's coming from people, an inherintly religious tending breed of creature.

    I don't discount the usefulness of myth (and I use that term entirely non-pejorativly). Myth is an important part of the human experience, and can help us discover truths about ourselves on which science has nothing to say.
  • by tiffany98121 ( 1094419 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:55PM (#19286747)
    You still believe in the unsupported theory that there is a supernatural being that created the universe and everything in it though. This position is just as unlikely to be true as the young earth theory.
  • Re:Not going there (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume ( 22995 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:05PM (#19286853)
    Fossils: geological processes are not always conducive to exhaustive records(some gaps just be). Adaptations that confer advantages often confer massive advantages; I'm not an expert, so I don't have reasonable figures, but there is some truth to the idea that successful creatures are *very* successful. Strong environmental stresses will lead to strong expression of phenotypic traits in a population; simply put, a tendency for long legs will exist in a population long before it becomes an advantage; when it becomes an advantage, it will overwhelm other traits very quickly.

    Sophisticated DNA: There is a good chance that DNA based life was preceded by simpler self replicating protein like molecules. Trillions and trillions of them. The first DNA based organism wasn't born into ooze, it was born into ooze that it was able to exploit, in that it could replicate itself while expending much less energy than the somewhat similar molecules around it. It defies explanation, but it isn't surprising that a highly successful replication strategy managed to become very pervasive(there could have even been a 'necking' incident where there were dozens of extant replication strategies, and then some environmental factor changed such that only one of them persisted, to much benefit).

    If you consider it in terms of information persistence and replication, with different molecular strategies having different rates of success in different molecular and energy environments, it isn't so crazy that a stable and successful strategy emerged, or that graduated improvements occurred.

    Finally, creationism doesn't rely on facts. A creator could have done whatever he damn well pleased. No research can ever reveal that which is stated to be beyond research.
  • Re:An appeal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jcr ( 53032 ) <jcr.mac@com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:17PM (#19286935) Journal
    Exactly: evolution is a theory, like gravity.


  • by Goaway ( 82658 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:19PM (#19286947) Homepage
    It could only be written in terms that the person writing it could understand. This could lead to simplification of concepts. For example, in the story of creation, seven days may not necessarily equate to seven 24-hour periods. It could just mean seven stages, where each stage could take years, centuries, millenniums, etc.

    You know, even 4000 years ago, people did understand the concept of periods of time longer than a day.
  • by Paulrothrock ( 685079 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:20PM (#19286953) Homepage Journal

    The book of Daniel is about a man who commits genocide because god tells him so. Period. How is that ever an attractive moral story?

  • Evolution has nothing to do with religion. I don't care if you're Hindu, Voodoo, Greek (pagan), Seikh, Muslim, Wiccan, or Catholic--evolution has nothing to do with religion.

    If you decide to ignore all the evidence out there that supports evolution (including its laboratory use, and as a basis for creating new technology []), that's your choice, but realize you lose credibility with everyone else that decides not to ignore the evidence.

    Also, Catholicism supports theistic evolution []. Even Pope Benedict's more recent comments on the situation [] weren't actually against evolution in spite of what many have said, but rather the use of evolution to push atheism.

    Peacefully co-exist? Sure, but you and everyone else that says evolution isn't science should just be honest and say that you don't really believe in science, instead of hiding behind some pseudo-science like ID.
  • by Lord Apathy ( 584315 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:30PM (#19287035)

    Why are you protesting? Who gives a shit? As long as they keep their creationist crap out of our schools, that's all I care about.

  • by Aequo ( 923926 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:49PM (#19287205)
    I really can't believe this debate (and the same "yeah, me too!") still comes up and gets modded insightful all the time. The point is not that Christianity's God wants you to worship him through his own insecurity, but that the bible says that the natural state for humans is to worship him -- that humans are happiest when they do so.
  • by DarkSarin ( 651985 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:50PM (#19287223) Homepage Journal
    Unless, of course, said deity saw that, if done correctly, attending regular worship services could help people to be nicer to each other--and said deity also knew that it would only do that if those worship services were teaching certain specific bits of information. Furthermore, if the deity was really smart, said deity might also want people to know about its true nature before it revealed itself to them. So, there just might be a reason to be religious after all.

    Oh, and perhaps there are some other reasons for going to church that you just haven't thought of. One of the neat things about postulating an omniscient being is that it is smarter than you are.
  • by SanityInAnarchy ( 655584 ) <> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:53PM (#19287241) Journal
    Others have already pointed out a couple easy-to-refute claims.

    But the real reason people don't usually refute these claims is, we don't have the time. It's obvious that "creation science" is as much pseudoscience as the Q-Ray [] to anyone who pays attention. Real scientists, in general, would much rather go about discovering reality than disproving your biblical fantasy.

    It'd be kind of like asking the government to go around disproving every UFO sighting and conspiracy theory. It's a pointless waste of resources.
  • by name*censored* ( 884880 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:25PM (#19287453)
    I dunno man, really cool special effects have been making movies succeed despite the ridiculous stories attached to them for a long time now..
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:32PM (#19287507)
    Another thing is leading fundamantalists beleive the book is absolute but don't bother to learn the languages it was written in to discuss what it says like the Biblical scholars of other groups have been doing for centuries. Even worse - they are actively anti-intellectual, which is really what the creation vs evolution thing is about and why it's really a US only thing. It isn't the main issue that is just how it manifests there.
  • No, you have it exactly wrong: belief has nothing to do with it, and that's the point.

    The schools should be teaching what is supported by evidence (e.g., evolution), not what is proposed to prop up a theology (e.g. creationism).
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:02PM (#19287765) Journal
    The Bible tells a rich history of God with man. Why does man have to make up stories because there were certain details left out? I don't take sides with the young earth or ye old universe theory, but it bothers me when someone thinks they're so right they have to do something like this. It's almost as bad as bickering between denominations. Anyway, I know God is real, but that doesn't mean I know everything, and odds are neither does this guy.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:04PM (#19287787)
    Unless, of course, said deity saw that, if done correctly, attending regular worship services could help people to be nicer to each other

    That would simply be a means to the end. The point was if there's any judging to be done it would be on the end itself. It may or may not be true that worship would help, but that is beside the point.

  • by flyingsquid ( 813711 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:09PM (#19287825)
    several groups (both religious and secular) will be protesting. come join us!

    Are you kidding? This museum is doing us a tremendous favor. If anything, we should send them money.

    The intelligent design movement managed to make creationism look vaguely scientific. Its proponents had academic degrees and wrote books; Behe is actually a biochemist. They didn't make patently absurd claims about world being 6000 years old, they didn't use the Bible as a primary source, and they didn't directly refer to God and Jesus in every third sentence. They didn't do science, but they did a decent job of pretending to, and made creationism look almost respectable.

    But if you want to see creationism made to look ridiculously unsophisticated and ignorant again, nobody could do a better job than this museum. Apatosaurus living with Adam and Eve? Dinosaurs on Noah's Ark? If you were trying to parody creationism, or create a strawman of all the worst creationist arguments, you couldn't do a better job. And the intelligent design guys- Behe and Dembski- will suddenly find that when they're arguing for creationism, people will be asking them if they believe that Jesus rode a Velociraptor.

    So I say, put the Genesis account on display, in all its glory, and let people see it. I think most people will leave thinking exactly what they thought when they came in: evangelicals will leave still knowing that every word in the Bible is true, people looking for a laugh will emerge thinking that while science doesn't have all the answers, it's a lot better than a bunch of ancient myths, and kids- well, I say, let them see dinosaurs and men living alongside each other. Because while adults like to be told what they already know, kids like to ask questions, and I think those dioramas will get them asking a lot of questions.

  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:14PM (#19287865) Homepage Journal
    I've noticed that many slashdot articles about evolution seem to attract a sizeable number of creationists. Because of this, I've decided to address the serious (i.e. non-trolling) creationists that frequent slashdot in the hope that I can prevent you from making the same easily avoided mistakes that make so many of your brethren sound like ignorant cretins. Here are some common arguments that creationists use, and why I think that you shouldn't use them... unless of course you want to be ridiculed. Note: this is by no means a comprehensive list.

    (1) "Evolution is just a THEORY"

    This is the most common (and the most disappointing) creationist argument I hear on a regular basis. While it's true that evolution is a theory, this statement is made in an attempt to cast doubt on evolution by implying that evolution is akin to a wild guess that scientists came up with after a night of heavy drinking. Newsflash: it's not going to work. Most educated people understand that you're confusing the word "theory" (which means an explanation or model that is capable of predicting future events) with the word "hypothesis" (which means an educated guess). Calling evolution a "theory" isn't an insult. For the millionth time, I will repeat this: gravity is also "just" a theory (for example, google the "General Theory of Relativity"). I might even add that most scientists would consider evolution to be a better-supported theory than gravity, because of the fact that gravity cannot (currently) be quantized, despite decades of attempts. If you want to debate evolution, fine- but don't play these childish word games.

    (2) "But evolution has never been observed!"

    Most creationists, faced with the mind-numbingly obvious fact that viruses and other creatures (like those famous moths) evolve right in front of our eyes, make a distinction between micro-evolution and macro-evolution. Micro-evolution is "proven", they say, because it only represents a change in allele frequency within a species. Macro-evolution, defined as change from one species to another (aka "speciation"), is more of a problem for creationists. They often insist that speciation has never been observed outside of laboratory experiments. This is blatantly false. Many examples of speciation have been observed in the wild- for example check out this large list of peer-reviewed journal articles here [] and also here [].

    The next step that creationists take in response to this rebuttal is to claim that speciation proves nothing- only a change from one kind of organism to another will prove evolution. What's a "kind", you might ask? No one knows. Creationists will give vague examples, such as saying that a dog is a different kind of animal than a whale, but a rigid definition has never (to my knowledge) been offered or universally accepted by the major creationist organizations. It's just a convenient goal post which keeps getting pushed back every time new evidence is found. The fact is, speciation is rather easy to observe in organisms which breed relatively quickly. Observing the creation of, say, a new phylum or order could take many millennia. Unfortunately, human civilization hasn't been around that long. Plus, standard biological nomenclature isn't based on evolutionary criteria, so it isn't clear to me that equating a "kind" with a phylum or order is meaningful in this context.

    (3) "But Intelligent Design is different than Biblical Creationism! It's a purely scientific alternative theory."

    Don't try to pretend that "Intelligent Design" is somehow different than creationism. Especially don't try to pretend that it's a scientific theory. Seriously. No one's buying it. "Intelligent Design" is a disguise- a secular-sounding term thrown over religious creationism to try to smuggle it into a state-funded science class

  • There are numerous problems. Would you like them listed?
    • If God created Adam and Eve in His own image, and God is perfect or infallible, so too would Adam and Eve have been. Direct contradiction if you accept that interpretation.
    • If "free will" is what God has, and it is what He gave Adam and Eve, then that is certainly in His own image. However, humans have curiosity and must experiment to satisfy it, and God does not (based on the assumption that He already knows anything that He might possibly be curious about), so God clearly denied us a tool we needed to be safe (it was supposedly safe in the garden, right?) Put differently, exactly why were Knowledge and Life suppsed to be mutually exclusive?
    • For that matter, why would would God create such a temptation in the first place? What purpose does it serve? How was its creation essential to the creation of everything else? I'm pretty sure I haven't seen any trees of knowledge (or life) lately, so they can't be terribly important elements of the world. If nothing else, it clearly falls under the category of an attractive nuisance.
    • Let us not forget the God also supposedly created the snake (and apparently made it either evil or possessed of free will and a twisted sense of humor... not to mention speech) let it loose in his childrens' paradise! Nowhere does it state that the snake should have been created good (although one might infer that from the fact that its creator was supposedly the essence of goodliness) but what an utter lack of morality would be required to put such a thing in the garden where your children play! Thus God is either evil or both irresponsible and uncaring.
    • Almost at the end, the explanation most directly relevent:
      If God created Adam and Eve, then they were His children and His responsibility. It was His duty to teach them, to guide them, to nurture them, to comfort them, to correct them when they made mistakes, and to keep them safe from their own ignorance. Creating beings with free will, whether by divine powers or natural conception, makes you responsible for those who are created. If they screw up their lives because you left them in an environment with dangerous elements that your children have no experience in dealing with, then it is your fault. Heck, from the perspective of Adam and Eve, the snake was probably a perfectly legitimate source of guidance; nobody had told them it wasn't!
    • Finally, if God didn't want humans to be little automata, but denied us education, didn't He pretty much just make a pair of amusing little pets? At best, Adam and Eve were sentient monkeys in a zoo, placed there without having ever known their parents and watched by an uncaring master through semi-silvered glass. At worst, they essentially WERE automata, except they lacked a pre-defined sequence of instructions. Robots without any programming except curiosity, that had once been given a command but that had been designed to act with a certain degree of randomness. If that's your idea of creating beings with free will, I sure as hell hope you aren't involved in any major AI projects.

    In any case, if Adam and Eve existed, then they had pretty much the worst growing up experience possible. They were given curiosity but were kept ignorant, provided with dangerous temptations, and given no guides save for malicious entities that they had never even been warned against. When the urge to satisfy that curiosity (at the urging of a creature made by their same creator and dwelling in their own safe garden) became too great, they were irrevocably changed, cast out from paradise, and defamed as the originators of sin for the rest of eternity. At THIS point, their all-powerful 'parent' offers no comfort or assistance, but decides that NOW He would put protection on the one thing that might, possibly, have reversed the change done to them.

    You are arguing that this deity loves us, and that we should worship Him? The average everyday, non-omniceint, flawed-in-various-ways father and mother that most of us had growing up is far more worthy, in my opinion (not that I worship anybody, but maybe I'm just a bit too cynical).
  • by RodgerDodger ( 575834 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:47PM (#19288129)
    Believing in evolution means you toss out large chunks of the bible, at least with the old testament. In particular, the acceptance of "Deep Time", required for evolution and geology, tosses away the idea that a diety created Earth only a few thousand years ago, put humans on it fully formed in a garden, then kicked them out into the wide word.

    Accepting evolution and other modern scientific viewpoints increasingly forces you to treat the Bible as a set of parables, not the literal word of God. And if it's just a bunch of parables, where does it's definitive authority, and the authority of religion come from?

    No, it's very easy to see why many deeply religious Christians have problems with evolution....
  • by tftp ( 111690 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:15PM (#19288355) Homepage
    You can't take the parts of the Bible you like and ignore the rest.

    You must be kidding - the whole religion is based on selective quoting.

    God cannot make a mistake unless he wants to make one.

    In other words, God knew all the time that Eve will fail because He intentionally built her this way, fallible. Then why all the fuss? She performed as designed.

    But if God did not know how she will perform, then He is not omniscient, regardless of his creative intent.

    Is God omniscient or not? If He is then He indeed set her up, giving her no choice in the matter, and likely intentionally building her to succumb to the sin, unless God is not omnipotent either.

  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:15PM (#19288359) Homepage Journal
    I've not really considered that before, but I'm not really sure I'd want to give a lecture like this in public. From what I've seen, public debates on evolution are usually failures for rationalists. There are several reasons:

    (1) Most scientists are accustomed to honest, civilized debate. Scientific conferences are full of disagreements and arguments, make no mistake about that. But (almost) all the participants are aiming to understand the universe better, to examine their assumptions and use experimental evidence and logic to figure out whether or not they need to change their assumptions or ideas. They might attack a speaker's ideas if they believe that a mistake is being made, but there's nothing very personal at stake. So once proven wrong, they admit it (usually politely if you're lucky). Most creationists, on the other hand, are defending the One True Religion. They already know The Truth, and simply pick and choose arguments from creationist websites to attempt to defend that Truth. This kind of backwards reasoning (arrive at conclusion first, find supporting facts later) is so alien to scientists that they simply can't handle it. I'm not sure I could, for that matter.

    (2) Creationists often make statements like "Evolution can't produce new information in a genome" or "We don't know how old the earth is because carbon dating isn't useful on large timescales and we don't know the initial amounts of isotopes and polonium halos disprove old ages anyway". Answering each one of these statements would require hours of boring, dry lecturing- something that simply isn't going to happen. And the problem is that creationists don't just make one of these statements, they make DOZENS of them. Answering this kind of deluge of mis-information in such a way that it can be intelligible to the average person would take an unbelievably long amount of time. As such, even answering questions from the crowd can be a tricky business. How do you explain isochronology and radioactive dating methods in 2 minutes to a young earth creationist? I can barely explain it to a fellow scientist in less than 15 minutes. Now imagine someone standing up and asking two or three of these questions in rapid fire mode, and ridiculing you for not having a snappy answer. This kind of public failure would not look good.

    (3) Creationists are usually much better at the fine art of crowd manipulation, whether they're participating in a debate or simply asking an "impromptu" question from the audience. I'm finishing up my PhD now, and I've taught some pretty big classes, but never had to worry about anything like this. I'd probably be slaughtered if I tried...

    I'm not completely knocking the idea, it's just that I can easily see it becoming ugly.

  • by ControlAltDelete ( 1107897 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:17PM (#19288379)
    Show me one religion that hasn't changed or "adapted" over the years. I don't think you can say that, because science adapts, that excludes it from being a religion (not to say that science is a religion, but to contest your apparent requirement that, in order for something to be a religion, it must not adapt or change).
  • by dantheman82 ( 765429 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:43PM (#19288545) Homepage
    It is an interesting question, and one that has been asked before...I refer to things that could be based upon the Bible (I could quote references if desired). Of course if you throw out bits and pieces, it will become a tad difficult to argue.

    Men (and women) were made in God's image. Mankind was created with knowledge, righteousness, and holiness. And a free will, even as God Himself. All creation was good, as God had said. Mankind was also perfectly good. So, God presented the choice, which was not a malicious one. One tree, the "Knowledge of Good and Evil", was where Adam and Eve could (as the tree is self-described) know about evil as well as good. They had perfectly good trees throughout that garden to eat from, and thus the choice was not difficult really. Should they listen to the God they walked with every day? Or trust someone or something else...

    So, why would God, who knows all, allow this possibility? Because He wanted mankind to freely serve Him. Robots can be trained, people or animals can be "beaten into submission", but that is not the willing and free service of the Creator by the creature. And Luke's geneology refers to Adam as God's son, as he was created in God's image. So, as a parent, would you force your kid to always listen and totally protect them from every having any possibility of disobedience? Wouldn't that make you a tyrant?

    But why would God allow this, especially as a Father who knew His children would rebel in such a way? Because He had a plan for this that would bring even more glory to Himself (no matter if His children remained in their sin or returned to His loving arms), as well as bringing greater glory to the creatures who repent and return to Him than even if they never fell.

    God has chosen to have creatures made in His image (mankind) serve Him freely and willingly and perfectly. It was done before the fall, and can be done only in heaven for those who return to His loving arms and embrace His son Jesus Christ.

    I can't say that people naturally will like this concept of God much, who designs mankind in His image in order to serve Him freely and joyfully. People also hate the concept that those who do not do so but rebel against His fatherly care realize the miserable consequences here (to some degree) and in the afterlife.

    I guess if you've ever been a parent, and believe you should have some authority in molding your child in a moral and right way, you will understand a little what God the Father is like. If you have been a parent, and see the seeds of rebellion being sown and your good counsel being openly flaunted, you will realize in a very small way what it felt like to God. Some may wish their children to turn into little robots who always say "Yes sir" and "No sir" to their demands, and are never given the freedom to choose any wrong thing, and never are harmed or experience any negative consequences for anything. But then, to expect a spontaneous and free declaration of love from those children is impossible...
  • by ControlAltDelete ( 1107897 ) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:45PM (#19288551)
    Well, it's one thing to criticize infallibilistic dogma, and it's another to criticize religion. I'm all for the former, since the former is clearly insane. It just bothers me when people claim that they're one and the same.
  • by jkabbe ( 631234 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:21AM (#19288803)
    Just wanted to say a few things before you get modded down into non-existence.

    Evolution isn't any more "non-science" than astro-physics is non-science. Sure, it's pretty hard to set up an experiment to test evolution. But the same can be said for most of what goes on in space. That hasn't kept science out. Unfortunately, it does mean that the scatter is a little larger and research takes longer. But research still does happen because predictions can be made and then you wait and see if the observations match up.

    Evolution is falsifiable. If we actually wanted to run experiments we could. It might take a few hundred million years, but we could do it. Creation, on the other hand, is not falsifiable. But that won't stop those with blinders on from claiming they are similarly situated.
  • by tukkayoot ( 528280 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:50AM (#19288975) Homepage
    Why are you protesting? Who gives a shit? As long as they keep their creationist crap out of our schools, that's all I care about.

    This museum represents a direct attack on science. I give a shit because I happen to think that science and scientific literacy are important. The stuff presented in this museum is blatantly wrong, and ridiculous, and is a menace to the public understanding and enlightenment even without government support (though, I would not be surprised if the museum has not benefited at least indirectly from the tax breaks our government is too happy to give religious institutions.) The only educational value it has to serve as a case-in-point as to how excessive religious faith can obliterate any trace of rationality in an otherwise intelligent individual.

    Also, some schools (hopefully only private/religious schools) are undoubtedly planning field trips to this museum (an earlier article I read noted the parking lot which was designed to comfortably accommodate school buses). It's bad enough that parents and churches poison impressionable, helpless children's minds with this garbage, but now they'll have a multi-million dollar, Universal Studios caliber set of displays and presentations to even more thoroughly inculcate kids to this backwards, pre-medieval nonsense.
  • by hazem ( 472289 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @02:12AM (#19289459) Journal
    Unless you researched everything yourself, then there is belief. Who do you trust?

    Creationism and Evolution have one thing in common - a big stack of paper that tells what each is. But that's where it ends.

    Creationism says "This stack of papers states the absolute proof and if you challenge it you are a heretic who will burn in hell."

    Evolution(ism) says "These papers say the way we think things are based on the information we've found so far. If you can refute the evidence and findings in them, please do so, and add your evidence and findings to the stack of papers."

    One requires blind belief in "information" that cannot be examined or refuted. The other requires no belief and encourages examination and refutation.
  • by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @02:51AM (#19289673) Homepage

    "You will surely die" wasn't specific enough?

    Assuming the Bible is literally true, nothing in the universe had ever died when he gave this warning.

    And while "you will surely die" is literally correct since it meant they would become mortal, it in no way even remotely approached the level of true consequences of the action. God didn't say "you will condemn a million generations of your offspring to torment and punishment, separating them from me and having them wither of old age, suffer from illness, violence, childbirth, etc", he said "you will surely die", which arguably was as meaningless to Adam and Eve as the word "day" before the sun and earth existed.

    It would be like warning a child not to detonate an atomic bomb because then he wouldn't be able to ride his bike after school. Literally true, but not really the appropriate warning for the situation.

    Just think, if God had the common sense of your average teenage unwed mother and put dangerous things where the kids couldn't get at it, the whole universe would be different.
  • Falsification (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mark_MF-WN ( 678030 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @02:51AM (#19289675)
    You can run an experiment on evolution in a matter of hours, using viruses or bacteria.

    This just shows how evil and destructive the theistic movement is -- they've already brainwashed society into thinking that evolution is an untested theory. It HAS been tested -- undergrad students (and even high school students) routinely run experiments in which they allow various traits to evolve in micro-organisms. There are thousands of examples of species that have evolved in the last century, many of them extremely novel. Novel ecosystems have developed. Entirely new metabolic pathways have appeared -- I somehow doubt that titanium-oxidizing bacteria, nylon-oxidizing bacteria, or fungi that subsist on high levels of ionizing radiation, developed before Human were around to provide pure titanium, nylon, or Chernobyl-level nuclear disasters.

  • by ranton ( 36917 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:33AM (#19289855)
    Why do scientists such as yourself disparage supernatural proposals as though they were false, when you are yourself not in honest pursuit of truth, but of credible naturalistic explanations?

    That is pretty much a semantic argument. There really is no difference between the natural and the supernatural. When we describe something as "natural", it is because we can explain it already. When we describe something as "supernatural", it is because we cannot explain it yet. Lightning was once supernatural. As soon as we have a working theory for something, it becomes "naturalistic".

    Science does not ignore "supernatural" occurances. They are routinely dismissed because they are usually found to be simple misconceptions, but the options are always on the table. Any decent scientist will tell you that we know that we dont know everything yet.

    If God was shown to exist, he would be a very natural being. He would just have natural laws that are completely unknown to us, just as electromagnetism was unknown to us 1000 years ago. The reason why God's existance is dismissed is not simply because he is deemed to be supernatural, but because there is no reason to believe that he does exist.

    Not a single scientific experiment that I am aware of has ever pointed to the existance of any god that has ever been worshiped by man. Quite the opposite in fact. An almost infinite amount of natural phenomena that have at one time been attributed to a godlike being have been explained with "natural" laws.

    We basically have two choices:
    1) Almost every god that has ever been worshiped in the history of mankind is false, but the One God worhiped by a few similar religions today is real.
    2) ALL relgions that provide no tangible and reasonable proof are false.

    I am sure that the Romans thought the same thing that we do today. I am sure that they laughed at the idea of the old babylonian gods actually existing. Just like our descendants a thousand years from now will probably be laughing at our current religious beliefs.

    Science is not being close minded by not listening to religious arguments. Science has listened, but has found nothing worth continued listening. The only reason that it is even a topic of discussion is because of how many people still believe in organized religion. Illiteracy is something that has only recently been almost eliminated in the civilized world. Our civilization's next step of enlightenment is to rid ourselves of religion, but it will take a while. Until then we will still have discussions that confuse the natural and supernatural, and confuse scientific conviction with religious conviction.

  • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:51AM (#19289949)
    JESUS SAVE ME..... .....from your followers.

    It is *MY* belief that the Bible, and religion in general, has been hijacked by nutjobs who have bastardized and perverted the Bible and religious teachings into things that they are not.

    Keep in mind, following the Ten Commandments and the Bible DO NOT make you a religious nutter. They just make you more polite, and generally more pleasant to be around. It's when religion gets taken out of context, exploited, and contorted into something far different than what it was meant to be do people become the religious extremists that we have today. This goes for pretty much ANY religion, not just Christianity.

    Scientology is one exception: It just stupid no matter how you look at it, drunk or sober.
  • Who Cares? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JaSla ( 1073124 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @04:26AM (#19290117)

    You'll all be dead within 100 years anyway. It's funny how anytime something about God is posted we all have an opinion. Here's my 2 cents...

    If you don't believe in God, then I propose that for 24hrs you take notice that most everything in your life more than likely rotates around something man made. Whether it be the screen you're reading this through, the chair you sit, or the cup that holds your drink. You could very well be an unaware caged being. Take a camping trip and observe things not made by human hands.

    If you're a Christian, then I suggest you stop beating people over the head with the bible. Live by example & not comparison. Realize there IS a place/need for science. This isn't a fairly tale world we live in.

    Most of us possess strong beliefs whether it be in God or not. Science has a great need for fact, religion has a great need for faith. People of science find it difficult to believe in what they can't see & those of religion question the knowledge of man. I agree with both. It's difficult to believe in what one can't see & it's equally difficult to have faith in a species as corrupt as humans. However, in the end I feel actions speak louder than words. Have you stepped up and taken part in something aside from you own interests, or are you spinning your wheels a pissing contest?

  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:11AM (#19290323)
    Actually, both of those theories are backed by fact, but make unsubstianted claims that life didn't originate or change over time in any other ways. For example, Glofish [] definitely came to be through creationism. If it ever wanted a religion, it would be able to name both their creator and their purpose in life. And certainly there are many fossil records as well as contemporary experience in husbandry that shows evolution does take place and is the origin of many species. But, there are also inherent properties of hydrocarbons and DNA that limits the number of ways a particular desired trait can be realized. There are probably only so many ways a carbon-based organism can have vision, hearing, muscles, metabolism... This boils down to laws of physics in our Universe, but who is to say if the universe is intelligent and can be considered a kind of God, or what does this god want? Individual humans are intelligent and have certain moral objectives. It appears that millions of humans together have collective intelligence and morals that are sometimes more and sometimes less than that of an individual. It certainly seems unscientific to exclude the possibility that the universe at large has intelligence, moral objectives and a hand in making human species who we are.

    I do think it's extremely unlikely that intelligent universe/god(s) would care about our sex lives or support war in Iraq. If anything, it behooves on us to fight increase in entropy whenever we can.
  • by jeremyp ( 130771 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @05:19AM (#19290355) Homepage Journal
    Creationism is falsifiable. The Genesis creation story makes some very specific claims about the way everything was created which should have predictable effects on the fossil record.

    For instance, all of the animals were made on the same day according to Genesis. This means that we should see fossil cows at every level of the geological column. Do we? No. Creationism is not only falsifiable, it is falsified.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @06:10AM (#19290587)
    Um, I think it was *dinosaur fossils*. Otherwise there'd be stories of giant wombats & chipmunks, don't you think?

    You see a 6 foot T-Rex skull in a cave and you figure there are dragons inside. And you stay the hell away from that cave.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:01AM (#19290805)
    Remember that the people you're trying to explain the meaning of the word "theory" think that the word "liberal" is an insult.
  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) * on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:49AM (#19290989)
    If you believe the Bible, people never lived in caves. Adam and Eve went straight to a bronze-age livestyle, raising crops and livestock, and living in more or less decent housing. If anyone in their time lived in caves, it would have been some poor stupid shmucks who had no idea how to build a house. (All normal people are born knowing things like that and can undertake great engineering projects like, say, a giant floating Ark, without much instruction) Surely, we can't expect stupid people like that to know how to paint, can we?
  • Re:Falsification (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tyreth ( 523822 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:14AM (#19291129)
    Get a clue. Or at least have the decency to know a little something about what you criticise.

    As surprising as it may sound to you as someone who obviously doesn't know what they're talking about, Creationists *do* believe in evolution. They believe that mutations occur, that children differ from their parents, and that bacteria adapt to novel situations. If you don't believe me, take a look at the Answers in Genesis website, it shouldn't take you too long to find that out.

    What they dispute is the idea that all living things share a single common ancestor. They just don't believe that the dog and the shark are distantly related. But they do believe that evolution, defined as a change in allele frequencies in a population over time, does occur.
  • Re:Falsification (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @08:54AM (#19291353)
    Every fossil is a transitional fossil.
  • by tukkayoot ( 528280 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @11:16AM (#19292115) Homepage
    Evolutionism and Creationislm (bad spelling) are two opossite ends of the spectrum. One is Judeo/Christian at its fineist (once again, horrible spelling), the other pretty much directly attacks it.

    The theory of evolution and creationism are on opposite ends of a spectrum, if the spectrum you are talking about is one of scientific credibility and reason. I wouldn't call creationism Judeo-Christian belief at its finest, unless by "finest" you mean "most demonstrably incorrect."

    You cannot just teach one or the other and expect to make everyone happy. There are only two possible solutions to this.

    The "solution" is that you accept the fact that you can never make everyone happy and, after accepting that, accept the fact that the science education of children should not be compromised by anyone's religious beliefs. Anything else would be a ridiculous expression of excessive political correctness. The same sort of argument you're making here could be made against teaching about a heliocentric solar system, or a spherical Earth, if only you can find a parent who has a strong religious conviction that the Earth is flat and at the center of the universe and that contradicting theories/ideologies are the devil's work.

    2) Teach both. Unfortunately, this has issues as well, in that you are limiting yourself to Judeo/Christian and Science. You must include all religions. Actually, my public high school is doing this as an elective, they cover Christianity, Judiasm, Islam, native-American views, so forth and so on. Present the kids with all the information from different religions and theories in science, let them make up their own mind. I support this, but only in the teenage years, when the student's mind have evolved to the point where they can make an informed decision. Some will probably choose to go with views different than what their parents believe, most will go with how they have been raised, but at least the information has been presented in a non-biased manner.,

    Evolution should be taught in science class, for the reasons I've already outlined. Creationism has no place in science class.

    In my opinion, comparative religion should be taught as social studies. Creationism could be touched on here, as a part of a larger study of the beliefs of the Abrahamic faiths. Evolution would probably be outside the scope of this particular set of classes, except to possibly mention that it (or science generally) is where naturalists and non-religious people tend look to find answers to some of the questions that religions try to answer.

    Personally I think such classes should be taught as a fairly young age, for a similar reason that you suggest it should be taught later. Teaching comparative religion later rather than sooner does relatively little good, if your goal is to open minds and really, truly educate. At a young age, children are hardwired to believe virtually anything a parent or other authority figure tells them. It's not the school's place to tell children what religion they should believe, but I think it would be great if they were simply made aware of the fact that other religions exist, with an education of some of their more salient, defining features.

    This idea is objectionable to religious people of many stripes because I think deep down they realize that kids are smart enough to realize that looking at all of these different faiths side by side, that they can't all be true, and some of them will wonder if there is a good reason to believe one set of religious beliefs over another. The truth is, there really isn't, but there's no need to explicitly tell the children that ... they can come to that conclusion on their own -- or not.

    But why should schools take it upon themselves to potentially plant such a seed of doubt in the child's religious faith? To me, it comes down to trying to cultivate healthy critical thinking skills in students and allowing them some chance of making a personal
  • by khayman80 ( 824400 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @10:44PM (#19296837) Homepage Journal

    In your first paragraph (of point #3) you point out a strong correlation between belief in intelligent design and certain religious views. You are appealing to the prevailing Slashdot bias against organised religion when you do this: the correlation says absolutely nothing in and of itself as to whether the idea is true or false. C. S. Lewis described that form of argument as "Bulverism": dismiss the argument on the basis that the person raising it has particular motives for doing so. "You just say that because you hold religious view X." I can't argue against this, because it isn't an argument.

    Note that I wasn't attempting to use this correlation to argue that intelligent design is false. I was arguing that intelligent design is a religious idea, not a scientific idea. I believe that the fact that evolution is not well correlated with religion, whereas intelligent design IS well correlated with religion, is evidence that intelligent design is related to religion in some manner. Of course, as I point out at the end of that paragraph, there are ways to argue around this point so I don't consider it particularly strong evidence.

    I will point out, however, that Intelligent Design and Creationism are not the exclusive property of theists. Sir Fred Hoyle and the "panspermia" proposal are an example of a prominent scientific atheist and a naturalistic intelligent design theory (limited to chemical evolution in scope). His ideas were not accepted, of course, and I wonder whether his audacity in questioning such sacred cows (and providing quotable material to the infidel creationists) didn't cost him Nobel Prize recognition in the end. Still, he started a meme that may yet bloom and grow: "seeds of life".

    That's interesting. I didn't know that Fred Hoyle identified as an atheist. I wonder if he continued to self-identify as an atheist after espousing these ideas...

    I'm not sure that panspermia is at odds with evolution. As far as I understand the idea, panspermia simply expands the "biosphere" from planet Earth to the whole galaxy or even beyond. Natural selection still acts, species still evolve to fill available ecological niches, etc. If true, it completely changes the answer to the question of the origin of life on earth (ordinarily called abiogenesis, but that term doesn't seem appropriate in this context). Depending on the rate at which microbes survive re-entry into earth's atmosphere, it might also contribute somewhat to genetic diversity on geological timescales. But it seems compatible with evolution unless I'm misunderstanding something.

    As far as his often-quoted "tornado assembling a 747 from a junkyard" remarks, I don't think I'm qualified to deal with this issue in detail because I'm not a molecular biologist. I do have two things to say, though. First, he seems to be arguing that abiogenesis (rather than evolution) is statistically unlikely. From what I can tell he's not arguing that natural selection is incapable of producing the diversity we see around us, provided we assume the existence of just one living cell. He's simply arguing against abiogenesis by saying that the first cell is so improbable that it can't have formed by chance.

    Secondly, abiogenesis is arguably the most mysterious question in biology because of the fact that it happened so long ago and left no trace of how it happened. It will probably remain mysterious until we find other biospheres (crossing my fingers for Mars, Europa and Titan) or find a way to successfully simulate abiogenesis in the lab. I haven't read his explanation of how he arrived at his claim that "the cell has one chance in 10^(40,000) of forming". And, again, I'm way out of my depth here, but I'd like to go out on a limb and suggest a possible flaw in his analysis. As far as I can tell, he seems to be examining the simplest cell he can find, and calculating the probability of

  • Re:AIG (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tyreth ( 523822 ) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @11:12PM (#19296975)

    I've been through answers in Genesis. Acknowledgement of what they call "microevolution" is simply their latest fall-back point. They only concede it's truth because to do otherwise would make them look so deliberately ignorant that they would lose all but their core membership

    So, it turns out that they're not refusing the evidence you cited, but in fact embrace it, and so your response is "they're lying! They really don't believe it, but they're lying to us to suck us in". Well, you're wrong. I'm trying to help you understand something here, because it's quite obvious you're quick to criticise but slow to understand that which you reject. The YEC position (and I don't consider myself a YEC) is that natural selection and changes in allele frequencies in a population over time have played a *very* large part in the 6000 year history of the world, and their worldview. For you to say that they only concede it so as to not lose membership is a major (yet common) misunderstanding of the YEC position. I direct you to: nches.asp []

    Most people are blissfully unaware of the objections cited to Darwinism, and so they wonder at how people can reject it. Maybe taking the time to understand the objections might make things a bit clearer.

    Nevertheless, if someone were to demonstrate a contradiction between the bible and "microevolution", they would be denying the existence of changes in allele frequencies soon afterwards.
    This is probably correct, but they don't expect this to happen. Since for them the Bible is revealed truth from God, it will *never* contradict facts of the world. So if something is actually true, then the Bible will never claim that it is false.
  • Re:AIG (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Tyreth ( 523822 ) on Monday May 28, 2007 @06:14AM (#19298543)

    The sad little article in AiG was nothing more than the same bullshit and lies that theists have always engaged in.
    Your vehemence and irrationality seems to stem from this idea that all us theists (not just YEC's now!) willfully and knowingly tell lies to promote whatever cause we believe in.

    Whatever your reason for thinking this, I don't know. But if you think you'll persuade me, or indeed any theist, by telling us we're liars then you'll be sorely disappointed. I know I don't lie, so telling me I am a liar is not going to achieve anything. Who are you hoping to convince? Or do you have a chip on your shoulder from when you went to church, and now you think all theists are your natural enemies? Perhaps some of that Dawkins hostility has found its way to you. Whatever your problem is, there's no way you'll discuss anything meaningfully with a theist with your current attitude.

    I quoted that article not to justify any YEC belief, but just to show you that they don't reject natural selection. It doesn't matter if the conclusions they draw are completely wrong - the fact remains that they believe in natural selection and a change in allele frequencies in a population over time.

"What the scientists have in their briefcases is terrifying." -- Nikita Khrushchev