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Earth The Media Science

Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos' 667

Hugh Pickens DOT Com (2995471) writes "Travis Gettys reports that creationist Danny Falkner appeared Thursday on "The Janet Mefford Show" to complain that the Fox television series and its host, Neil deGrasse Tyson, had marginalized those with dissenting views on accepted scientific truths. "I don't recall seeing any interviews with people – that may yet come – but it's based upon the narration from the host and then various types of little video clips of various things, cartoons and things like that," said Falkner of Answers In Genesis who also complained that Tyson showed life arose from simple organic compounds without mentioning that some believe that's not possible. "I was struck in the first episode where he talked about science and how, you know, all ideas are discussed, you know, everything is up for discussion – it's all on the table – and I thought to myself, 'No, consideration of special creation is definitely not open for discussion, it would seem." To be fair, there aren't a ton of shows on TV specifically about creationism says William Hamby. "However, there are entire networks devoted to Christianity, and legions of preachers with all the airtime they need to denounce evolution. Oh, and there was that major movie from a few years back. And there's a giant tax-payer subsidized theme park in Kentucky. And the movie about Noah. And entire catalogs of creationist movies and textbooks you can own for the low low price of $13.92.""
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Creationists Demand Equal Airtime With 'Cosmos'

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  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:09AM (#46550583) Homepage Journal

    TV is not a government entity, you want equal time, pay up. You have no rights of speech with a privately owned business. You want your time in the spotlight during prime time, go out and make a show that doesn't suck, then pay for its spot to air. Its quite simple. Quit with the 'entitlement' mentality already.

    Yes, i do realize the FCC says you have to give SOME time away to public interest to get a broadcast license, but not equal time.

  • Deal (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lagomorpha2 ( 1376475 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:11AM (#46550585)

    Equal time to creationists on Cosmos, equal time for actual knowledge (read: science) on all televangelist broadcasts. That sounds like a fair compromise.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:13AM (#46550599)

    If we demanded equal time in church gatherings. I mean fair is fair right. So you creationists wouldn't object to that? In that case I'm sure there wouldn't be a problem.

  • No. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by scottnix ( 951749 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:14AM (#46550603)

    Because Cosmos is a science show.

  • Two Minutes Hate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DNS-and-BIND ( 461968 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:17AM (#46550617) Homepage
    Yaknow, I used to think the Two Minutes Hate from Orwell's 1984 was the least realistic, most suspension-of-disbelief breaking part of the book. It just didn't make any sense and the idea of people getting up in front of others to show how much they hated Big Brother's enemies was just ridiculous. But now that I'm older, hell...what else is this story other than despising those who think differently than we do? We write something to show how much we support the prevailing point of view and then move on with the rest of our day. And keep an eye out for that bastard Emmanuel Goldstein, you never know where his agents are.
  • Fine. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:22AM (#46550635)

    The quickest way to discredit a moron is to hand him a microphone.

  • by EmagGeek ( 574360 ) <(gterich) (at) (> on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:30AM (#46550663) Journal

    Religion, magic, witchcraft, and other hocus pocus have no part in science.

  • Church (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kenshin ( 43036 ) <kenshin&lunarworks,ca> on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:31AM (#46550673) Homepage

    If they wanna be fair, then Cosmos should be given equal time in their church.

  • by kruach aum ( 1934852 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:36AM (#46550693)

    Believing that something is not possible is not good enough grounds to warrant inclusion in anything. There are reasons why some things are not discussed on shows about science, and that is because they are either irrelevant to the subject at hand or proven to be untrue. I don't know where this idea of every point of view being equal has arisen from, but it's fucking terrible in its ignorance. The whole reason every moron and his puppet made of hair and excrement wants their claims discussed as an equal to scientific claims is because of science's epistemic integrity. If their ideas had epistemic integrity of their own, they wouldn't care about science as an authority.

  • by PopeRatzo ( 965947 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:38AM (#46550707) Journal

    Naw, the eye thing is passe for creationists. Their new tactic is claiming that "intelligence only comes from intelligence". It's from the book "Darwin's Doubt" from the Discovery Institute. Big best-seller on the god-botherer circuit.

    Here's the way the argument goes (I'm not kidding): "A human brain is like a computer. And only intelligent entities can design computers. Thus...Intelligent Designer!" In other words, "there is too much information in DNA for it to have come from anywhere but the mind of Jehovah because screw Hindus".

    Yep. That's it. Game over. Pwned. Until you suggest that it means the Intelligent Designer must have also come from a previous Intelligent Designer so we're looking at polytheism all the way down. Then, the argument rapidly devolves into, "The Christian Deity is the only possible explanation".

    I'm telling you, I prefer the Young Earth creationists, who at least put their mythology right up front. They're honest about "God made it". These ID people are trying to subvert reason and science to get to the same place as the Young Earthers in the most dishonest way possible. All while pushing this notion of "teach the controversy", which is basically code for allowing people to proselytize for a particular religion in public schools.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:40AM (#46550711)


    This Noah? []

    With Russell Crowe, Emma Watson, visual effects galore and explosions - that Noah?

    Yeah it may have some connections to the story of Noah, but then '300' had some connections to the actual story of the Battle of Thermopylae.. I don't think either should be taken too particularly seriously as exemplary of the source material.

  • by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:50AM (#46550747)

    Which is like saying you can only add 1s together to get small numbers (aka "microevolution) but not big numbers (aka "macroevolution"). It's an absurd position. New species arise through the accumulation of lots of small changes not the silly "chimp giving birth to a human" fallacious argument that creationists spew.

  • by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:50AM (#46550749) Homepage Journal

    I'd *love* to see that.

    The FCC could force religious broadcasting channels to give equal time to well founded scientific shows. Like, science without any sort of religion involved at all. Every television show with religious content can be forced to contain an equal part science, presented by a person with a scientific background and no theology is allowed in that part.

    That would pretty much derail every religious show broadcast.

    I know what they want though. They want half of the Cosmos show, so they can preach during it. I wouldn't watch it, if half the content is ancient mythology.

    I wonder if we could extend this to everything on television (cable or broadcast). Then we could have a perfect clusterfuck.

  • by Coeurderoy ( 717228 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @09:51AM (#46550759)

    The fun thing about "inteligent creation" is that the argument is "xyw is too complicated to evolve "naturally" it needs something even more complicated to "make it"...
    Of course how the "more complicated stuff" was created does not need any explanation...

    But a least it gives some arguments for a compationate God, since s/he does not smite them in anger for keeping on telling him, her, it how to do its job...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:02AM (#46550829)

    Providing equal airtime leads to people thinking that each side has equal weight and so that the real answer is a compromise between the two extremes, a form of false compromise[1]. This leads to thinning in effect that the anti science side is mostly right, if they play their rhetorical cards right. This is a problem even with non partisan moderation but for fox news.... will the climate scientist get anything like even treatment? Why should a climate scientist support an interview that will, at best, undermine him and portray an "armchair expert" as his equal by its very nature?


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:12AM (#46550899)

    Yes, i do realize the FCC says you have to give SOME time away to public interest to get a broadcast license, but not equal time.

    How is this creationist nonsense in the public interest?

  • by Lairdykinsmcgee ( 2500904 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:13AM (#46550913)
    It's not hate, it's recoil. Time and time again, Creationism seeks to undermine legitimate scientific thought in order to shout its psychobabble at us and expect us to call it 'legitimate science.' Those who recoil aren't doing it out of hate or disgust, but well-founded fear-- the fear of what will happen when religious ignorance dresses up as science for Halloween and people actually take it seriously. It's not just ignorant though; it's irresponsible, because it affects public policy. Texas representative Joe Barton SERIOUSLY said that the 'great flood' from the Bible was evidence of climate change not being influenced by human activity. These are the ideas that are truly terrifying because they poison people's minds and any responsible scientific mind would do everything it could to assist in debunking these ridiculous ideas. Again-- not hate, recoil-- recoil out of fear on behalf of the whole of society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:14AM (#46550923)

    What about *equal* tax exemption status for Science organization that the Churches have been enjoying?

  • by microbox ( 704317 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:21AM (#46550959)

    Yes, i do realize the FCC says you have to give SOME time away to public interest to get a broadcast license, but not equal time.

    The George Marshall Institute [], (an anti-environmentalists, pro-tobacco think-tank), threatened networks and newspapers with legal action over the fairness doctrine [], the spirit of which is that public media is a public resource, and that both sides of debates should always be present.

    This was back in the commie-Reagan era. There were real communist threats back then. Reagan wanted to build the absurdly expensive and naive strategic defense initiative [], aka "Star Wars", and pretty much every scientist in America said it was a stupid waste of money and could never work. And even if it did, then the Soviets would be forced to respond with some other ridiculously expensive piece of technology. (The Soviets saw Star Wars as a complete joke.)

    So... how to do silence a consensus of scientists? Well, the tobacco industry had been doing just that for 30 years by then. Get a few true ideological believers: (e.g., Frederick Seitz) and make a whole lot of noise, and if the newspapers/tv don't play along: sue them with deep corporate pockets.

    This worked. Mass media started to give false balance [] to an industry funded effort to rape the tax payer of trillions of dollars on a stupid missile defense system that had no chance of working.

    Then Reagan repealed the Fairness Doctrine (giving birth to right-wing radio), the Soviet empire collapsed, and the ideological believers moved on to other targets. Specifically: fighting regulations on passive smoking, acid rain, and the ozone whole... and of course climate change. In all cases the tactic was exactly the same, and this very small coterie was/is massively funded in spreading "doubt". You can read a ridiculous amount of grizzly details in Merchants of Doubt [].

    The point is that we create society however we want, and the load whining of creationists is just part of the game.

  • by oscrivellodds ( 1124383 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:21AM (#46550961)

    Yes, science is intolerant of stupidity. It has to be or it wouldn't work.

    Science requires critical thinking, learning, knowledge (not to be confused with belief, a frequent problem among religious and stupid people). It is based on reason and facts in the form of data. It recognizes the limitations of that data and seeks to improve it through more study, research, and experiment and will quickly throw away old ideas when they are shown to be wrong.

    Yes, it is discriminatory. Yes, it is intolerant. These are both characteristics of disciplined intellectual effort and minds. These characteristics have led to all the technological advances that the human race currently enjoys, and many of the miseries (including AGW).

  • I've given up on the name of most channels being accurate. None of them really show what they claim. Hell, even the guide channel isn't just a guide, it's a commercial with some guide information on it.

    I go to Comedy Central for News, and Fox news for comedy. Syfy is B movies and wrestling, and Discovery/History/A&E have shows about guys who make duck calls, and wackadoodles talking about aliens. CSPAN is to see rich white politicians argue for their purchased opinions, if they bother to show up to work. Well, no other channel can you watch a mostly empty stage for hours on end. It's almost like reading Slashdot and expecting News for Nerds.

    The only channel I ever expect to be as advertised is "Off", and I lose fewer IQ points watching it.

  • by plover ( 150551 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @10:45AM (#46551129) Homepage Journal

    I'd rather have equal taxation for churches.

  • by Registered Coward v2 ( 447531 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:02AM (#46551237)

    TV is not a government entity, you want equal time, pay up. You have no rights of speech with a privately owned business. You want your time in the spotlight during prime time, go out and make a show that doesn't suck, then pay for its spot to air. Its quite simple. Quit with the 'entitlement' mentality already.

    Yes, i do realize the FCC says you have to give SOME time away to public interest to get a broadcast license, but not equal time.

    Exactly; but this isn't about equal time so much as advancing their view that their POV is being stifled because it is Christian (although technically the Catholic Church ended the argument over creationism by saying basically evolution and the idea of a creator driving the process aren't mutually exclusive) and a way for them to get press. There is a fundamental strain of Christianity that needs to feel persecuted and seeks to characterize any action they dislike as persecution to bolster their feeling of being right in their beliefs. After all, Christ was persecuted so if I am persecuted then I am following in Christ's footsteps.

    Of course, many of the folks lamenting the lack of a creationist viewpoint would go nuts over the suggestion of brining in the theories of Scientology, Eric von Danakin, TGFSM, or any other viewpoint but their own.

  • by Jim Sadler ( 3430529 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:17AM (#46551321)
    Sadly Christianity in the US has sects that might as well be in a Looney Tunes cartoon. It starts with rabid, primitive ministers who preach absurd sermons. They take one word, not understanding the meaning, and form cults from the linguistic confusion. LeBron James played an inspired basketball game the other night. It was wonderful to watch. He may have been inspired by god, Himself. That does not imply that Lebron played a perfect basketball game. there is a huge difference between inspired and perfect. The men who wrote the Bible were inspired. The King James version in particular is a work of the highest art. That does not imply that the bible is perfect. After all, it was written by men who were just like LeBron james inspired but not perfect. Further the message of the Bible had to be delivered in a way that people could understand it. Terms that are understood to men in the 21st. century would have meant nothing at all to men 2,000 years ago. But take a backwoods Baptist minister wound up in full religious fervor and he can take a Bible and twist it into nonsense beyond all reason. As America has declined we have more and more wrectched people who simply latch on to straws trying to survive. The doctrines that they latch onto would be an abomination to Christ and are not part of the Christian faith. But we all understand that no matter how much proof of evolution emerges that backwoods nut of a minister can simply claim the proofs were created by the devil and are all false proofs. If anything it was that minister who was created by the devil to deceive the followers.
  • by VernonNemitz ( 581327 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:37AM (#46551449) Journal
    When they can offer equal EVIDENCE, then they might be deserving of equal time. So far, though, all they have is hearsay --worthless in a courtroom, and worthless in science.
  • by civilizedINTENSITY ( 45686 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:39AM (#46551457)
    Airwaves are a public resource, and so privately owned issues pretty much end where they hit the antenna. I'd make the argument that it isn't in the public interest to promote crazyness. I support the public interest, but that doesn't mean every whack-o's mutterings are worthy of promotion.
  • by number17 ( 952777 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:50AM (#46551533)

    and that both sides of debates should always be present.

    If we are going to display all sides, including religious theories, I propose that we start with the Flying Spaghetti Monster [] theory.

  • Two things: (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gerardrj ( 207690 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @11:59AM (#46551587) Journal

    1. As soon as creationists use actual facts: objectively observable, testable and debatable facts instead of simply pointing at a book and saying "there's the proof" then I will be more than happy to bankroll a Cosmos style show just for them. I don't have the money but I don't think they'll ever have the "goods" so I don't have to worry about raising it either. "WE" the collective have debated the creationist/evolution ideas ad-nauseam and creationists have no new information to bring to the debate. All of their arguments have been debunked and science has provided provable or plausible answers to every question posed to it.

    2. Your right to free speech is just that a right. No-one has any obligation to provide time, space or audience for your expression. If you want to produce a show about creationism and can get a network to show it, good for you. Some believe we are all defended from aliens, or a flying spagettin monster; Cosmos has no obligation to offer those opinions either. Look Christians: There are about a billion of you. There are also about a billion Muslims and a billion Hindus and all of you believe that you worship the one true god and know the true meaning of all the ancient texts. You can't all be correct and the most plausible answer is that you are all wrong and there is no god, gods, spirits, or any other super natural powers.

    3. The premise of most of religion's dislike of the Big Bang theory is that "nothing can just be, it has to be created". Well, where did you god come from if nothing "just is"? How improbable is it that super intelligent being that exists everywhere all the time(omnipresent) and has total knowledge(omniscient) and control(omnipotent) over every single quark in the entire Universe just spawned in to existence out of nothingness? For all your rants, you have the same problem as science except that science says "we don't know but we're looking really hard". Religion says "your question is stupid" (see item #1).

  • by kheldan ( 1460303 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:20PM (#46551755) Journal

    I'd rather have equal taxation for churches.

    Yes yes yes this this THIS times a million!

    We need to start taxing 'religious' organizations the same way we tax every other business -- because that's what they are: businesses. Have been for a long, long time now, and it's time everyone stopped sticking their heads in the sand and admitted that. "Oh but that money is to do charitable work!" some are going to say, but I call bullshit on that. Know what they do with that money? They spend it on politics, and on building extravagant churches! Enough's enough, time for them to pay up like everyone else, and time for them to get their religious noses out of politics.

  • by Maritz ( 1829006 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:39PM (#46551899)

    offering weekly moral instruction to children

    Particularly laughable. In the bible slavery, polygamy, genocide are all fine. Not appropriate 'moral instruction' for a modern era. Keep the fairy tales out of science programming, end of story.

  • by ganjadude ( 952775 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:46PM (#46551963) Homepage
    personally I want to see taxes get slashed accross the board and spending at a federal level cut by a drastic number as well. Let the people and states keep their money
  • by firex726 ( 1188453 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:50PM (#46551995)

    And for each viewpoint...

    So we got Christians, Atheists, FSM, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindu, Scientologists, etc... Keep things going and it'll only be like one second for each every service day.

  • by erikkemperman ( 252014 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:23PM (#46552247)

    ... once all of the science organizations start running various charities, food shelves, hospitals, orphanages, offering weekly moral instruction to children ...

    You mean like finding answers to health, nutrition, construction problems the way scientists, physicians and engineers do? Or like passing on modern ideas on philosophy and morality in stead of ancient and outdated scripture, the way academia does?

  • Funny that they have a fit if you dare even suggest taxing churches but didn't their own book say "Give unto Caesar what is Caesar's"?
  • by QuantumLeaper ( 607189 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @01:59PM (#46552487) Journal
    Last time that happened in the USA, it was called the Great Depression, you want version 2.0, so the rich can start jumping out of windows again?
  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:05PM (#46552521)

    To qualify for tax exempt status churches also have to meet various criteria []. (.pdf)

    I will also note that everyone on Slashdot loves to quote the Constitution, but tend to be forgetful about some clauses.

    First Amendment to the United States Constitution []

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.[

    There seems to be historical and documentary evidence that freedom of religion was important in the founding of the US.

  • by Mr_Wisenheimer ( 3534031 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:54PM (#46552787)

    The difference is that churches are allowed to actively lobby for a cause while maintaining their tax exempt status. While a church is not allowed to, for instance, lobby for a particular candidate, they can lobby for a particular cause that is relevant to their faith (such as same sex marriage).

    By contrast, if a scientific group lobbies for something such as reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, replacing fossil fuel plants with nuclear and renewables, or more stringent oversight by the USDA on GMO's ecological impact, they would usually lose their charitable organization status.

    So sure, scientific organizations are tax exempt, but as soon as they step out of the scientific arena by issuing weak "statements" into the political arena to spend money trying to effect change, at the very least, they have their charitable status revoked so you cannot claim donations as deductions. On the other hand, many churches were able to maintain their charitable organization status even as they poured millions of dollars into fighting for clearly partisan causes, such as opposing same-sex marriage.

  • by erikkemperman ( 252014 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @02:57PM (#46552799)

    You appeared to be arguing that the differences in tax status of religious vs scientific institutions, such as they are, are justified because some of the former act charitably some times. I don't mean to diminish that at all, by pointing out that efforts of modern scientists also contribute a great deal of practical and immediate value. And, by that measure, the tax status difference can not reasonably be justified, imho.

    Values such as you mention have not become obsolete, but following them blindly because some old book says so has. The reason I live by "do unto others..." despite being an atheist is it makes basic sense to me. I find I keep having to point out the obvious, not being a christian (or whatever) doesn't mean I oppose all of its ideals as a matter of principle or something.

    I find valuable lessons, alongside unbearable smallmindedness, in the various holy scriptures, in the same way as I might find them in (other) fairytales, aphorisms, plays, poems, etc.

  • by Tom ( 822 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @04:35PM (#46553415) Homepage Journal

    History says very clearly that once you allow government to get involved with religion, or religion with government, pretty soon you have government-mandated religion, or religion-run government. And both of those are Very Bad. Religions have never -- ever, ever -- been good heads of government. And it's pretty obvious why government-mandated religion is just as bad.

    Yes, but you missed the point by exactly 180 degrees there.

    Government giving special status to religions (by tax excemption) is the opposite of government staying out of religion. What the GP wants is that religion has no special status and is treated just like everyone else, and that would be less government involvement with religion, because it does away with the special treatment and registration, and reduces the interface between them. Now they aren't special little kids anymore, they're just taxpayers just like everyone else.

  • by Enigma2175 ( 179646 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @08:59PM (#46554851) Homepage Journal

    "In the Bible, Christ preaches that his followers should pay their taxes. You know 'Render unto Rome what is Rome's...". I believe that fundamentalist christian churches should volutarily be paying taxes, even if the law does not require it. "

    First, churches are not their followers... the followers do pay taxes.

    Not on money they give to their church. So it's really 2 tax exemptions, the one for the individual deducting money given to the church and one for income to the church not being taxed. If the church were a business (it's not, it's a virus - the only goal of a church is to grow) it would have had to pay taxes on the income and the individual would have to pay taxes as well, Meanwhile, the rest of us pick up that tax shortfall (and pay for the "quiverfull" families).

The only possible interpretation of any research whatever in the `social sciences' is: some do, some don't. -- Ernest Rutherford