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About a week after Bill Nye's scathing attack on creationism went viral, the folks at Answers in Genesis have put together a two-pronged response to Nye's charges.  

The first was a video by two of Answers in Genesis' staffers, David Menton and Georgia Purdom.

Purdom contends that she teaches her daughter evolution, like most creationist scientists.  That's good and well, but Purdom starts out from a flawed premise--that the world was created in six literal 24-hour days.  She tips her hand when she contends there's a difference between observational science and historical science.  The question of how fossils and stars got here, she says, depends almost entirely on worldview.  The only credible account of how they got here, she says, is the Bible.

Prong #2 is an article by Elizabeth Mitchell, "Bill Nye's Crusade for Your Kids.  Mitchell, the wife of AiG speaker Tommy Mitchell, claims that evolution is fundamentally flawed because it relies on "interpretations of geological, biological, anthropological, genetic, astronomical, and radiometric data that are based on unverifiable assumptions about the past."  The Bible, she says, is much more reliable because it is an eyewitness account of how God created the world.

In attempting to answer Nye, Answers in Genesis just revealed why creation science is, by definition, an oxymoron.  It requires you to accept the Bible's account without question, while the fundamental premise of science is testing and questioning how things work.  I am a charismatic Christian--and yet, I know the difference between what science is and what science isn't.  Last time I checked, "God made it that way" is not science.

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Comment Preferences

  •  The Book of Genesis is (21+ / 0-)

    a mythological fable. It is not intended to be taken literally. To take it literally is to completely miss the depth and breadth of the actual lessons being taught in the book.

    "Do what you can with what you have where you are." - Teddy Roosevelt

    by Andrew C White on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 05:35:17 PM PDT

  •  You Don't Train the Football Team in Batting. (14+ / 0-)

    You don't train science students in religious teaching.

    Every game has its rules. Biblical creation may be correct but it's not part of science and cannot be discovered using the scientific method.

    No football bats, no creation science.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 05:38:22 PM PDT

  •  Jim has a coworker (10+ / 0-)

    with whom he shared the recent Bill Nye interview. She said she doesn't trust science because it changes. One day it says one thing, and another day it is different. I can't even wrap my brain around it.

    This is from the email she sent him:

    Dear Jim,

    Thank you for sharing. I did not find Mr. Nye to be very convincing. His premise is based on reasoning that I believe is flawed. For example, he presents the idea that only science can teach the ability to think. Actually, social studies (done correctly) is a tremendous vehicle for expanding critical thinking. He also implies that science cannot fail, but history proves otherwise. Just this week, NPR ran a story about how medicine has changed its opinion on male circumcision. If you’d like to read the transcript, the link is:

    •  I'm getting TBI from all the ((((headdesk)))) (8+ / 0-)

      I go to church with people like this. They need to learn what the word "science" means.

      The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

      by emidesu on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:08:38 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are a LOT of people... (0+ / 0-)

        ...who believe that science is just a collection of facts/beliefs that competes with other sources of "facts", like religious belief. That shallow understanding is something I've noticed in common among most science "skeptics", like this person. Science, of course, is a process, not a set of beliefs, and all conclusions are provisional. And this is it's strength, not a weakness.

        I don't know if it's that the educational system failed these people, that they are viewing a non-religious concept through an inappropriate religious lens, or that they are just plain incapable of higher level thought. But whatever it is, it's problematic that they think their views are valid and should be respected and taken seriously. I take them seriously, but only in that they are a serious threat to the goal of building a better world for all.

    •  Of course it changes. That's what science is (6+ / 0-)

      about.  Changing your views when overwhelming evidence supports the change.

      I can understand the appeal of creationism's simplicity.  It doesn't change because it can't change.  It's all in the book and the book is all there is.  People like to simplify their lives and I understand the psychological attractiveness of a worldview that does that.

      I, on the other hand, choose to suffer the insecurities of doubt, a rebellion of sorts against my innate desire for comfort, in favor of reason.

      Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

      by ZedMont on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:25:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "she doesn't trust science because it changes." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Melanie in IA

      The statement above   suggests  that she harbors a  rigidity in her intellectual thought processes which is necessary 4 an individual in order 2 be uncomfortable with change.IMO.

      Many Christians believe that the bible represents the immutable words of their "G-D".

      Given my postulated rigidity,in regard to her, I think  that if she were but powerful enough
      she would be able to put a slew of Christian Apologists out of work considering how they take such liberties in their changing THE WORDS,THEIR
      WORDS themselves in order to try to make the bible stories plausible to Christians who are a level up
      from the hard core, Word Of "G-D" members of the faith.

      That said,I would wish her all
      of the comfort that she can possibly wring out of her manner of belief.

  •  Its been (19+ / 0-)

    a long time since I read the Bible, but who was this eyewitness taking notes on how the world was created?  

    The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people. - 9th Amendment

    by TracieLynn on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 05:57:24 PM PDT

  •  Agree, but.... (3+ / 0-)

    Agree that there is no such thing as creation science because religion never rises to the level of science.  
    However, if you don't find Biblical myths about creation to be credible, why would you find Biblical myths about Jesus-the-magic-savior to be credible?  Sounds like cognitive dissonance to me.

    •  I'm not judging anyone's belief in Jesus as the (3+ / 0-)

      savior, but I do wonder if that belief would exist if the rumor was being spread by email that this whole episode of the life of Jesus culminated in his execution just last week.  Jesus was born in 1979, but nobody ever heard of him until 2009, and then last week he was killed and 3 days later came back to life, according to the emails. Yes, the life of Jesus confronting the present directly.

      I suggest that it would be written off as somebody's idea of a farce, or at the very least, the imaginings of a cult.

      But put 2000 years between the original rumor and the believer, and look what happens?

      How is that?  How does the passage of 2000 years make something that would otherwise be incredible, accepted as absolute fact?

      I'm not saying there is not a perfectly logical explanation, I just haven't heard it.

      Because stupid people are so sure they're smart, they often act smart, and sometimes even smart people are too stupid to recognize that the stupid people acting smart really ARE stupid.

      by ZedMont on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:37:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Gave me heart palpitations! (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    worldlotus, Cassandra Waites, Ahianne

    When I saw the headline and then who wrote it ... I thought "Nah, surely not Christian Dem in NC !!!" ... then I read it.

    I hate literalists ... they have no flexiblity and no imagination. There are still people that think women have one more rib then men ... because, you know, the creation story.  Of course science keeps changing because we keep learning new things. How stupid can you be not to understand that?

    I much perfer Barth's cry "Let God be God!" and wish they would quit trying to box everything up into tiny ticky tacky boxes so they can try to control their world.

    "Life without liberty is like a body without spirit. Liberty without thought is like a disturbed spirit." Kahlil Gibran, 'The Vision'

    by CorinaR on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:23:32 PM PDT

  •  Religions thrive when they capture the awe (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    of reality as understood by lay contemporaries, including the highly educated.

    When they don't? They stagnate. Often they die off.

    Far more 'major faiths' have failed than have lasted the centuries.

    And atheism is hardly a new phenomenon. On the contrary it's easily acquired given the cynicism with which religious belief systems have been exploited since the invention of the burial ritual.

    And that was a long long time ago.

  •  "an eyewitness account"? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    happymisanthropy, Randomfactor

    Sorry, I think my brain just exploded.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 06:41:05 PM PDT

  •  One question (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If man came from monkeys.How come we still have monkeys

  •  But...but... (3+ / 0-)

    God started creating the world on Monday, October 10, 4004BC, at 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time.  He was working out of New York City (which is in EST; they didn't move DST from late September to late October until the 1970s), and work at home wasn't an option in 4004BC (Cisco was late delivering a firmware update to the gateway routers that isolate heaven's network, and God's CIO said no way until that's done).  Like most cube dwellers, He was pretty upset about having to work Saturdays; as a knowledge worker he didn't get paid for overtime.  So like any disgruntled employee, in addition to creating Adam and Eve he created the fundamentalist conservative mindset.  Just a minor little software hack that I'm sure He regrets now.

    Yeah, I know this is a stretch but we're talking about the creation museum so reality is optional.  Very, very optional.

  •  Reversing Science (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, johnva

    Real scientists are required to play by the rules without exception. Creationists follow the rules of science only so long as it is expedient. Then they resort to miracles. But resorting to miracles is not offering an explanation: it is asserting that no real explanation exists. Whenever creationists resort to miracles, they are admitting that their system cannot account for the facts of nature; it cannot explain the world. -Frank R Zindler

    Acceptance without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western religion; rejection without proof is the fundamental characteristic of Western science.
    -- Gary Zukav, The Dancing Wu Li Masters

    Science has proof without any certainty. Creationists have certainty without any proof. -- Ashley Montague

    In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    by boriscleto on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:54:41 PM PDT

  •  How seriously can you take these people? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    They think The Flintstones is a documentary.

    In the beginning, the universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry, and is generally considered to have been a bad move. -- Douglas Adams, The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy

    by boriscleto on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 07:55:45 PM PDT

  •  moo'slums? i get so damned sick of bigots (0+ / 0-)

    that i could spit - need more screen cleaner.


  •  Anybody who believes the earth is 5,000 yrs old (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    page394, johnva

    or that it was created in six 24-hour days is a complete and thorough moron. I have serious doubts about the wisdom of allowing such people the right to operate motor vehicles, much less the right to vote.

  •  There's no such thing as "creationist scientists." (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Paul Rogers

    These people are not rational, and nothing they say has any value.  I don't know the point of even talking about them except as sick entertainment.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 09:36:38 PM PDT

    •  They're kind of funny, and weird. (0+ / 0-)

      They can be perfectly rational.  It's just they take something absurd as an absolute truth without question and wind up with some uniquely odd conclusions from there.

      It's kind of like a funhouse mirror version of reality.  Mathematical axiomatic thinking can lead you to some bizarre conclusions if you start from a flawed premise.

      •  You just contradicted yourself. (0+ / 0-)
        They can be perfectly rational.  It's just they take something absurd as an absolute truth without question and wind up with some uniquely odd conclusions from there.
        Rationality is not a mood, and doesn't permit "taking something absurd as an absolute truth without question."
        It's kind of like a funhouse mirror version of reality.
        It's not any version of reality.  A person ignorant of scientific principles can reach nonsensical conclusions about reality because they just don't have the information to find otherwise, but someone who has relatively extensive contact with science and just rejects it to cling to some mythology is not even conscious.  They're a damned robot.

        Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

        by Troubadour on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 05:06:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Solipsism can also be logical, but it's stupid too (0+ / 0-)

          Logic can be used to derive nonsense.  It depends upon what one uses as a set of beginning premises.

          In their case, the world is so fundamentally corrupted by sin that one can be led away from the divine by scientific behavior.  One's intellect is a trap for the person who is unwilling to submit their mind to the ultimate truths of the creator.  Satan planted fossils, tricks science, etc...

          This is why they tend to say that scientists start with a premise that there is no god, or other such stuff.

          It can be logical, it just most often is not.

  •  I seem to notice your diaries a lot. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My eye always seems to catch your posts.  I can tell by the comments that a lot of other atheists must notice your diaries frequently as well.

    Hope our commentary isn't too annoying.  After all, we seem to agree on the same division between state/religion and science/religion that you do.  We're essentially on the same political side no matter what details we argue about.

    No matter how insulting we are tempted to be to one another at times, it's worth remembering that.  For what it's worth, it's nice to see your concerns with the young Earth creationists.

  •  I was raised a Southern Baptist, but I (4+ / 0-)

    left the faith in 1949. However, I graduated from Baylor University in 1961, and I still have many Baptist friends. The Baptist church of my youth and of Baylor taught that God wrote two books: the Bible and the Book of Nature.

    The Book of Nature, written when God Himself created the universe is the purest Word of God, the inviolate Word. The Bible was written by human beings who were inspired by God. Humans can go against the laws laid down by God in the Bible, and they do it every day. But they can't go against the laws He laid down in the Book of Nature. HUmans can't change the laws of Nature.

    Now we all know that there are many disagreements between the Bible and the Book of Nature, and the question becomes: "Which is true?" We know that the Book of Nature is true beyond doubt because God Himself directly created it with his own Hands.

    The only proof we have that the Bible is correct is the word of some human beings. Maybe they are wrong, in fact, there is a very good chance that they are. So this leaves Baptists with a tough problem. They know that by rejecting the Book of Nature they are rejecting the Word of God, and this makes them uncomfortable. Their religious leaders require them to accept the unacceptable. This is why fundamentalist Christians are so upset all the time, why they are so defensive, why they won't listen to reason.

    They seem  to understand, unconsciously at least, that by rejecting the Book of Nature, the true, pure, inviolate Word of God, they are disrepecting God. They seem to understand that they should be studying the Book of Nature so that they can learn what God did and how He did it. They seem to understand that this is the only way that they can please God. But their rulers forbid it. I feel sorry for them. It must be a terrible thing to go against God every day in every way.

    Might and Right are always fighting, in our youth it seems exciting. Right is always nearly winning, Might can hardly keep from grinning. -- Clarence Day

    by hestal on Fri Aug 31, 2012 at 11:17:41 PM PDT

    •  Good comment (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hestal, Ahianne, Paul Rogers, RunawayRose

      It is an exercise of cognitive dissonance of the highest order when fundamentalists have to think through the logical outcome of their beliefs/actions, especially when it comes to science and politics. I think your comment's concept has been lost to the conservative evangelical community. It's amazing to see them reject environmental responsibility and conservation while trumpeting "the majesty of God's creation." The rejection of science would be thought of as heretical if science was seen as part of the created universe, but instead it is the norm in fundamentalist circles. To its credit, the Catholic church has embraced scientific discovery as an important part of a full and growing faith, and has priests and monks devoted to research and observation as their spiritual service.

      "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

      by newinfluence on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 12:06:11 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  As Cat Faber put it in a song, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hestal, RunawayRose

      .."Humans wrote the Bible, God wrote the world".

      Cogito, ergo Democrata.

      by Ahianne on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 05:26:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  One question, though... (0+ / 0-)

    Did you mean 1949 or was that a typo? I'm trying to figure out the timeline in my head, and it reads as if you left the faith around age 9 or 10, before you attended Baylor. Is that correct?

    "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

    by newinfluence on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 12:08:29 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Nova Land

    I enjoy your writing, and find myself drawn to your posts quite often!

    "Mitt Romney isn't a vulture capitalist: vultures only eat things that are dead." -S. Colbert

    by newinfluence on Sat Sep 01, 2012 at 12:09:41 AM PDT

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