Academic Freedom, Climate Change and Creationism

A child riding the Triceratops statue at the Creation Museum, run by Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham

A child riding the Triceratops statue at the Creation Museum, run by Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham. By John Scalzi [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

Vice reports that some US States are using new academic freedom initiatives, designed to prevent climate indoctrination, to add courses about creationism to mainstream school syllabuses. The question – who has the right to decide what lessons children learn?


A new wave of state bills could allow public schools to teach lies about climate change.

By Emmalina Glinskis on Apr 25, 2017

Legislation proposed across the country since Donald Trump’s election threatens to bring climate change denial into the classroom under the guise of “academic freedom.”

Currently, six states have legislative measures pending or already on the books that would allow anti-science rhetoric, including the rejection of global warming, to seep its way into schools’ curricula. While these types of proposals have become fairly routine in certain states, some of the most recent crop have advanced farther than in the past.

Senate Bill 393 in Oklahoma, for example, would permit teachers to paint established science on both evolution and climate change as “controversial.” The “controversy,” however, doesn’t really exist — more than 97 percent of actively publishing, accredited climate scientists agree that global warming trends over the past century are directly attributable to human activity. And some teachers might already be misleading students.

Since its initial proposal in early February, the bill passed out of the Senate and into the House, where it circumvented the House Education Committee and now heads for a full House vote.

Read more:

I believe anyone who takes a serious interest in climate science should be able to see that there are serious problems. The models don’t work, the evidence is weak, and the assurances that the science is “settled” are clearly a political construct, not a scientific conclusion.

I also believe that creationism is junk science.

The thought that creationism is being taught in mainstream schools makes me as uncomfortable as the thought that some students are being indoctrinated with climate dogma.

But plenty of people hold different views. Some people believe evolution is bogus, that creationism is a more acceptable explanation for the formation of the Earth. Some of those believers in creationism are parents.

I believe schools which teach climate dogma to students are doing those students a grave disservice.

Many people believe not teaching climate alarmism leaves students unprepared for the choices they urgently will need to make, to avoid the apocalyptic climate dystopia which looms over their future.

Yet other people think exclusively teaching evolution, not teaching creationism, leaves students with an unbalanced view of the evidence.

Some people even think children as young as seven should be comprehensively educated about all the different weird sexual preferences and “genders” prevalent in some parts of today’s world, should be educated about “gender fluidity”. I personally think confusing young children about sexuality in this way is completely insane.

Who has the right to decide what children are taught?

The answer as far as I can see, is no one group has the right to decide what children learn.

Ultimately parents have to decide what is best for their children.

If parents think the best preparation for their children’s future is a course on making voodoo dolls, or the healing power of crystals, do we really have the right to step in and demand they desist?

Freedom means having the freedom to mess up your life. Academic freedom is the freedom to mess up your children’s education.

I don’t like the choices some parents will make. I absolutely loathe the choices some parents make. I think any parent who indoctrinates their children with the idea that the world is about to end in a fiery climate catastrophe needs their head examined. I think parents who teach their kids that there is no point studying palaeontology, because god made everything just the way it is, are crippling their children’s understanding of the world.

But the alternative to having the freedom to mess up your children’s education, is giving the state the authority to mess up your children’s education.

The only sane choice is to take back power from the state, to demand and receive the right to decide what is best for our own children – however outrageous some of those choices may be. Because the only thing worse than watching other parents make bad choices for their children, is being forced to accept whatever lunacy the latest crop of government bureaucrats decide to inflict on your children.

575 thoughts on “Academic Freedom, Climate Change and Creationism

  1. One big difference between teaching AGW and teaching creationism is that nobody is harmed by the teaching of creationism. Sure, the kids won’t be familiar with evolution and theories about how that works, but once the leave school, how much will that impact their day to day lives?

    • Depends on what they do for a living. All of the biological sciences (including public health) wouldn’t be able to function without an understanding of evolution.

      • Whereas the truth/untruth of creationism is irrelevant. It predicts nothing, it implies nothing beyond the existence of a sentient purposeful god (which no one needs creationism to have an opinion about).

      • MarkW:
        Why do you have to get a new flu shot every year? Because the viruses mutate, which means short term evolution.

      • There is nothing that requires a course in “creationism” to replace a course in evolution. The “you have to believe in one or the other” argument is as anal as the stated position on not knowing anything about biology if you were taught a course in creationism. Your position on this mirrors the problems we have about “climate change.” If you don’t believe in CO2, you are a climate denier. Creationism does not replace evolution. the concept of creation doesn’t negate the probability that mutation causes natural evolution when it is successful.
        oeman50 – yes, viruses do mutate. Why do you get a flu shot every year? No, not because viruses mutate, but because you’re brainwashed into believing you need to, and perhaps have to, since your body never actually fought off the flu. It is amazing what antibodies do when they haven’t been deadened by constant vaccination.

      • Don’t forget, without creation of some form, you would need to have a Static Universe.
        Big Bang IS Creation
        Man was created as a perfect being
        …all perfect beings bust be able to change to meet the needs/limitations of their changing and varied environments
        …all perfect beings need to be able to evolve
        …we do

      • Tom,
        Viruses do indeed mutate and hybridize, producing new disease pathogens. So do bacterial pathogens, as in the deadly case of MRSA. Modern medicine requires a deep understanding of the fact of evolution.
        Your belief, if adopted by medicine, would mean billions of deaths.
        The only difference between so-called “micro” and “macro” evolution is time. There is no barrier in a genome that stops micro from becoming macro. It was for instance a number of microevolutionary events in one lineage of lobe-finned fish which produced the macroevolutionary development of tetrapods, ie land vertebrates like us. Our fishy ancestry is visible throughout our anatomy as well as in our genes, embryological development and of course the fossil record.
        Microevolution often occurs in a single generation. Macroevolution usually requires many generations. A new species of bacterium can be created instantly, such as the single point mutation which changes sugar-eating microbes into nylon-eating bacteria. But the evolution of eukaryotes from prokaryotes, which happened only once, required a number of such microevolutionary events. It took one to two billion years for eukaryotes to arise, then on the order of another billion years for multicellular organisms to evolve from unicellular eukaryotes. In the case of animals, the unicellular ancestor was a colony-forming choanoflagellate, already close to a sponge, the feeding cells of which are choanoflagellate.

      • Well Tom, while they are rare, Young Earth 7-day creationists do exist, and they are loud (note the page picture, which is not a wonderful genetics engineering project but a nightmarish attempt at history). Those people DO make predictions and do create problems, not just in biology, but in everything from geology to astrophysics.
        That being said, the more typical intelligent design believer will do just fine in science.
        And I’ve caught the flu three or four times over the course of my life, mostly due to forgetfulness on getting the annual vaccine. It does mutate. It does change, just like the common cold. That can be seen easily and is well documented.

      • The thinking goes that the evidence for macro evolution isn’t in the fossil record. (some say it is and some say it ain’t) The bigger rap against evolution is how it is that a life form evolves from inert matter. Specifically, how it is that a life form evolves from inert matter without the mechanism of natural selection…

      • MarkW April 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm
        Of course I can show all I said to be valid, repeatedly confirmed and never shown false.. Science doesn’t do “proof”. That’s for math.
        The scientific method does observation, hypothesizing, prediction making and falsification or confirmation by experiment or further observation.

      • ” Young Earth 7-day creationists do exist, and they are loud (note the page picture, which is not a wonderful genetics engineering project but a nightmarish attempt at history). Those people DO make predictions and do create problems, not just in biology, but in everything from geology to astrophysics.”
        That is special snowflake talk if ever I heard it, Ben. I now consider you a closed-minded bigot, who can’t tolerate the idea that others see things differently than yourself.
        “… Create problems, not just in biology, but in everything from geology to astrophysics”? What the hell are you babbling about” ??
        Are you a member of the Borg or something? Why would there be the slightest “problem” created in any of those fields because some people don’t believe this or that aspect of what YOU believe true with regard to them? It looks like you’re talking about mass indoctrination “problems”, not anything having to do with science itself.

      • *** Doctor Swanson, this microscope is simply not working properly . . I suspect someone in the Midwest is thinking the Earth is not billions of years old!!! *** ; )

      • afonzarelli

        The bigger rap against evolution is how it is that a life form evolves from inert matter.

        Evolution has nothing to do with how life formed. It explains how life, once established, evolves in response to genetic mutation and environmental forcing.

      • Tom, a closed minded bigot? For thinking that anyone who thinks the world is 7,000 years old is incorrect and will have a difficult time in the sciences?
        After all, if the world is only 7,000 years old, forget fossils. Essentially all geology must be a lie, as most rock formations took much longer to make, and you can’t discuss plate tectonics forming mountain ranges in less than geologic timescales.
        Astrophysics won’t work either as we can see stars that are far older than that.
        Perhaps we are speaking about different things.

      • Ben,
        Yes, if anything, the Bible is even more contrary to all the other sciences than it is to biology.

      • Chimp I think evolution is the best game going but it not proven, so far no one knows how DNA evolved, How we went from amino acids to DNA not a clue, even a good idea, zilch. Understand how DNA works tell us nothing about how it came about. We are basically at the level of a car mechanic that knows how to work on a modern car and understand most of it parts but has little understanding of how it all came together and why. The are to mostly in the dark about the cars multiple computers and do’t have a clue how they work, computer engineers and programmers they are not. The same for us with DNA we are just beginning to understand its programing as to how it got showed up and how it happen no. Yes evolution happens with DNA, the big question is how DNA formed, if you figure that one out you will stand with the all time greats in science. Oh by the way I figure only a fool would believe God would not use evolution if he exist, it also cuts the other way at this point and time one cannot dismiss a higher power, the more we find out the less random the universe becomes.

      • tim maguire Many people the believe in creationism have done wonderful things in biological science and public health, one does not preclude the other. To accept the function of DNA does not preclude the though DNA was created by a higher power, until that question is to answered as to how DNA evolved not that DNA can evolved the jury is still out on the question how DNA evolved. The question can living thing with DNA evolve within the framework of DNA, that answer is yes. How far and how much good question, Where DNA came from even bigger question, i strongly doubt that that question will be answer in our life times or even of children’s children’s life time.

      • Mark Luhman April 26, 2017 at 7:21 pm
        As has repeatedly been pointed out here, biological evolution says nothing about the origin of life through chemical evolution. Two different issues. The fact of evolution is observed in living things. How living things arose is another subject.
        That said, we have learned so much about the origin of life that you might be amazed. It’s far from zilch. In fact, we’re closing in on it. We’re about at the stage where genetics was in the first half of the 20th century. Observing modern organisms can however shed light on the origin of life.
        DNA is not made out of amino acids. It’s a polymer of nucleotides. Polypeptides and proteins are polymers of amino acids. DNA codes for protein synthesis. A gene is a stretch of DNA which does so.
        DNA evolved from RNA. It forms a stable double helix rather than vulnerable single strands, due to lacking an oxygen atom in its sugar, so makes for a better repository of genetic information. RNA self-assembles spontaneously and has the wonderful property of being able both to store genetic information and act as an enzyme. Hence the RNA World hypothesis of the origin of life, in which early life forms used RNA in both replication and metabolism.
        Today some viruses still use RNA for their information storehouse, and all organisms use RNA to send messages from DNA to the ribosome, where proteins are made, and to transfer building blocks there. The ribosome itself is a large transfer RNA structure, with some nonfunctional proteins attached to its surface.
        We are learning more almost daily about how life arose on earth. It’s an exciting area of research, promising great practical applications.

      • “Astrophysics won’t work either as we can see stars that are far older than that.”
        Oh, can we . . ? Actually, we can see what appear to be rather young spiral galaxies, with clear “arms”. If our concepts about basic physics are correct, they can’t be billions of years old. The varying orbital rates of objects would have long ago washed out any trace of such “arms”, just as we don’t see “arms” of planets/materials in our solar system.
        (Mysterious invisible “dark matter” in vast quantities, has been summoned up to rescue the many billions of years concept though, so not to worry, Ben ; )

      • John,
        Wrong again.
        Clearly you don’t know any more about how spiral arms form than you do about embryology.
        Sorry, but you just repeat the most preposterous creationist claptrap without bothering even to think about it, let alone study up on the relevant subjects.
        They form from density waves. Understanding spiral density waves requires some background in the theory of differentially rotating disks. Have you never wondered how the sun and other stars, while orbiting the barycenter of the Milky Way galaxy, can pass through spiral arms, while the arms stay where they are?

      • I’m talking about science, Chimp, not things merely imagined by scientists.
        Of course people can endlessly propose this and that “fix” to whatever doesn’t fit the observed, but until someone actually demonstrates the fixes are valid, it ain’t science. Which don’t mean the fixes are incorrect in the ultimate sense, but it does mean we’re discussing ideas, not observed phenomena.
        ” Have you never wondered how the sun and other stars, while orbiting the barycenter of the Milky Way galaxy, can pass through spiral arms, while the arms stay where they are?”
        Not a problem if the sun hasn’t actually done that . . beware circular reasoning, it can make just about anything seem “factual” . . honest.

      • John,
        The sun has and is doing exactly that right now. Just because you don’t believe a scientific fact doesn’t make it false.
        Our solar system’s journey around the Milky Way is directly observable. Its orbital speed has been measured:
        Why do you comment on a science site when you don’t believe in the scientific method or even observations of nature, but substitute for it faith in the Bible, in which there is no science, but a collection of clearly objectively false myths, fables and legends (until about 800 BC)? As noted, the Bible itself makes no claim of physical reality.

      • No one could possibly have observed the Sun doing more than moving a tiny bit around the galaxy, Chimp . . Haven’t been watching for very long. That’s the fact.

      • DWR, it has everything to do with it. Evolution cannot explain the origion of life. (in fact this is the crux of the intelligent design theory which is the counter to evolution theory) Evolution would include ALL of how life evolve from inert matter. That you are claiming otherwise is just “splitting hairs”…
        (yours has got to be the dumbest reply to a comment of mine that i’ve seen in quite some time; please get off it)

      • Chimp, very interesting comment (on the origin of life). What you’re saying still doesn’t seem to be telling us how inert matter chances into becoming a life form. The chance of inert matter becoming a life form is as remote as radio signals from deep space saying “i want pizza”. (just ain’t gonna happen)…

      • Chimp notes: “How living things arose is another subject.”
        In the end that’s the sole question. Who or what created God?
        I like to consider it from the perspective of physics, but that hasn’t really led to any answers. I have some fairly esoteric evidence there’s something called entropy (“s”) and it works to disorganize things. There something else we call “life” (no symbol in physics I’ve found yet) that works to organize things.
        Life opposes entropy and so brings balance to the universe.

      • A colleague of my wife has a daughter, who said “I’d like to study Marine Biology, but I can’t – because I’d have to believe in evolution”. Maybe a self-limiting problem?

      • afonzarelli April 26, 2017 at 10:47 pm
        The odds are not only shorter than you suppose, but indeed, life is probably inevitable under the right conditions.
        The inanimate matter of which you speak is a selection of complex organic chemical compounds, the constituents of life, which self-assemble in aqueous solution. No mystery there. They arise spontaneously on earth from the elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, sulfur, phosphorus, iron and a few others, all abundant in the universe. They also arrived here on meteorites. The Hadean seas were rich in them and their compounds.
        Getting from these constituent compounds to replicating RNA is just a series of engineering problems to be solved, many of which already have been through experimentation, such as the formation of a protocellular bilayer lipid membrane, capable of developing into prokaryotic membranes. We know that RNA functions both as a store of genetic information and as an enzyme. We’re learning how short amino acid oligomers and polymers (protein precursors) can help catalyze RNA reactions. We’re closing in on making simple living things out of “inanimate matter”.
        Origin of life research is fascinating and exciting, holding great promise for improving human life.

      • Chimp, that’s one helluva leap to go from organic compounds to a tiny biological machine (known as a life form). And those organic compounds would literally have to organize themselves by chance into a life form. What mechanism could there possibly be for that happening? With a life form up and running, it’s fairly easy to see how the mechanism natural selection moves the evolutionary process along. (what constant and consistent mechanism is there that moves organic compounds along until they become a life form?)…
        You sound like you know a lot about this. (with a user name like “chimp”, i can see that evolution is your gig… ☺)
        Is there anywhere that you can point me to on this stuff? It would be nice to read up on this in layman’s language to get a good feel for whether or not the argument being made has any merit. Thanx…

      • A,
        From large, complex compounds to tiny protocells isn’t a giant leap for a molecule. It’s a series of small steps, many of which have been discovered.
        There are whole books on origin of life research, but they’re out of date before even going to press. Any link I might provide besides the latest research papers on this or that aspect of abiogenesis would also be behind the times. But i’ll offer a few suggestions, both papers and videos, old though they are. Which means before this month in this rapidly advancing field.
        To keep up on the latest:
        For a quick recap of some developments before 2016. Comments are also worthwhile:
        Ancient, ie five years ago, but introduces you to one of the Nobel Prize winners working on OOL research (first of three segments):

        A cartoon from another lab prominent in the field:

        There are so many issues under investigation, that even an entire blog post here couldn’t cover them all and cite relevant papers. The takeaway is that precursor compounds, to include short RNA oligomers, self-assemble. Getting stable, longer polymers is harder, but a number of surprising “tricks” have emerged from recent experimentation.
        Bear in mind that in the Hadean seas, lakes, ponds and ice, trillions upon trillions of reactions occurred daily among these precursors, for hundreds of millions of years.

      • John,
        Clearly you aren’t familiar with facts.
        The sun moves 220 kilometers per second in its orbit around the galactic center of gravity. How could that speed not be measurable?

      • So-called Intelligent Design is not science, any more than is creationism. Its proponents had to admit under cross-ex at the Dover trial that by their definition, astrology would count as science.
        Here is the judge’s ruling in the case:
        Some relevant portions of the decision:
        “Stated another way, ID posits that animals did not evolve naturally through evolutionary means but were created abruptly by a non-natural, or supernatural, designer. Defendants’ own expert witnesses acknowledged this point. (21:96-100 (Behe); P-718 at 696, 700 (“implausible that the designer is a natural entity”); 28:21-22 (Fuller) (“. . . ID’s rejection of naturalism and commitment to supernaturalism . . .”); 38:95-96 (Minnich) (ID does not exclude the possibility of a supernatural designer, including deities).
        “It is notable that defense experts’ own mission, which mirrors that of the IDM itself, is to change the ground rules of science to allow supernatural causation of the natural world, which the Supreme Court in Edwards and the court in McLean correctly recognized as an inherently religious concept. Edwards, 482 U.S. at 591-92; McLean, 529 F. Supp. at 1267. First, defense expert Professor Fuller agreed that ID aspires to “change the ground rules” of science and lead defense expert Professor Behe admitted that his broadened definition of science, which encompasses ID, would also embrace astrology. (28:26 (Fuller); 21:37-42 (Behe)). Moreover, defense expert Professor Minnich acknowledged that for ID to be considered science, the ground rules of science have to be broadened to allow consideration of supernatural forces. (38:97 (Minnich)).
        “Prominent IDM leaders are in agreement with the opinions expressed by defense expert witnesses that the ground rules of science must be changed for ID to take hold and prosper. William Dembski, for instance, an IDM leader, proclaims that science is ruled by methodological naturalism and argues that this rule must be overturned if ID is to prosper. (5:32-37 (Pennock)); P-341 at 224 (“Indeed, entire fields of inquiry, including especially in the human sciences, will need to be rethought from the ground up in terms of intelligent design.”). The Discovery Institute, the think tank promoting ID whose CRSC developed the Wedge Document, acknowledges as “Governing Goals” to “defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies” and “replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.” (P-140 at 4). In addition, and as previously noted, the Wedge Document states in its “Five Year Strategic Plan Summary” that the IDM’s goal is to replace science as currently practiced with “theistic and Christian science.” Id. at 6. The IDM accordingly seeks nothing less than a complete scientific revolution in which ID will supplant evolutionary theory.14 Notably, every major scientific association that has taken a position on the issue of whether ID is science has concluded that ID is not, and cannot be considered as such. (1:98-99 (Miller); 14:75-78 (Alters); 37:25 (Minnich)). Initially, we note that NAS, the “most prestigious” scientific association in this country, views ID as follows: Creationism, intelligent design, and other claims of supernatural intervention in the origin of life or of species are not science because they are not testable by the methods of science. These claims subordinate observed data to statements based on authority, revelation…”

      • Chimp wrote, “So-called Intelligent Design is not science, any more than is creationism…”
        Actually, some of the ID work is real science (information theory), but that’s not the main problem with your line of argument, Chimp. Do not make the mistake of equating “scientific” with “rational.” In fact, it is irrational to discount “unscientific” knowledge as somehow inferior to “scientific” knowledge.
        Science is a wonderful tool for investigation of many sorts of questions, but it is simply inapplicable to some problems. For instance, the central fact of your own existence is your self-awareness, yet science cannot test, affirm, or refute that fact. if you are self-aware, then strict, naturalistic atheism requires a game of make-believe: pretending the assumption that there’s nothing more than the natural, physical world, even though the central fact of your own existence, the fact which is proved to you more conclusively than any other, demonstrates that assumption is untrue.
        The Judeo-Christian account of Creation gives an explanation for your self-awareness: it is the small way in which you are made to be like your Creator. Scripture says that God created you in His own image, and imparted to you His “breath of life.”
        The competing, naturalist theory assumes that nothing exists except the physical. It holds that you are the sum of the matter and the chemical and electrical processes in your body, nothing else. That means you cannot be self-aware, because you cannot be in any fundamental sense unique. There’s no basis in naturalism for your consciousness to exist, let alone be lodged in a particular body.
        ID does not require acceptance of the Judeo-Christian account of Creation, but it allows for it. In contrast, atheistic naturalism prohibits it, and offers no alternative.
        Neither of those theories is especially scientific, but ID is the more rational of the two, because at least it isn’t falsified by facts in evidence.

    • Any acceptance or propagation of dogma is dangerous to civilization. People who unquestioningly accept the direction of leadership are useless at best and dangerous at worst.
      Children need to be taught to think.
      In controversial subjects, this can be done by reviewing the available facts and leaving off the conclusions. For evolution, the facts say that different types of life lived at different times and that genetics work. For climate change, the facts say that temperatures are changing and have always changed. The ever-increasing population of hairless apes is undoubtedly impacting the planet in many ways, including changes to the atmosphere.
      If kids can’t come to their own conclusions based on the available evidence, then they need to learn to live with uncertainty. Real life is uncertain.

      • One ounce of critical thinking beats a hundredweight of facts.
        According to the OP, parents should decide what their children learn. But parents believe some wacky things. That’s up to them. Indoctrinating their children is another matter.
        Also: our prejudices need to be challenged and that should start at school. We’ve seen where stifling certain opinions gets us.

      • “Any acceptance or propagation of dogma is dangerous to civilization. People who unquestioningly accept the direction of leadership are useless at best and dangerous at worst.”
        A nice, dogmatic, claim.

      • vboring:
        “Children need to be taught to think”.
        Got it in one.
        Now convince the educationalists – or most of them anyway.
        FWIW, all 3 of mine went to a school who taught their pupils to read, write, count and think. Everything else, including suggesting WHAT they MIGHT think was left to the parents.

      • What is “dogma” depends on what you think. What YOU think might well be “dogma” to others. I’ve always said that atheism is the toughest religion to live up to, still believe that, since all things deemed “religious” in nature must not be used or sited. As for teaching children to think, I agree, but teaching them nothing to think about makes thinking a wasted talent.

      • vboring writes: “The ever-increasing population of hairless apes is undoubtedly impacting the planet in many ways, including changes to the atmosphere.”
        Well, most certainly. Most especially if you’re spending lots of time in a TexMex restaurant. That will certainly change your atmosphere.

      • I only mention the TexMex problem because I live (once again) in California, a place where Gov. Moonbeam wants to put but filters on 4 million cattle.
        I guess no one explained there were 9 billion people farting in the same atmosphere.

      • Quantum physics shows us that subatomic particles pop into and out existence all the time in the quantum foam. What controls that? What is its mechanism? Quantum physics experiments strongly indicate that every particle in existence “knows” the quantum state of every other particle. We are told that there possibly be an entity that is omnipresent and timeless but photons in theory satisfy that criteria. Dr. Michael Behe provides strong evidence that at the biochemical level, classic Darwinian evolution completely breaks down. Recent theoretical physics suggest that the known universe is a hologram projected from the edges of the universe. We accept all of this as possible fact but legitimizing the possibility that the universe is intelligently designed is a bridge too far? I look forward to the citations of papers documenting the successful experiments which change one higher species into a completely different and viable species

      • Brian Wilson April 28, 2017 at 12:51 pm
        I assume that by “higher”, you mean multicellular. Or do you mean just the “higher animals”?
        Changing species of plants, animals and fungi into new species is done all the time in the lab and observed in nature. Even new genera. I’ve referred to some of these experiments and commercial processes repeatedly.
        One example of the many I could cite is the use of polyploidy in breeding new plant species. Nature does this all the time, and now commercial nurseries do it, too:
        An estimated 30 to 80% of all plant species have arisen in a single generation due to polyploidy, often whole genome duplication. It happens in other organisms, too, although less frequently in animals than plants, it appears. Nevertheless, at least two whole genome duplications occurred recently enough in human evolution to be detectable. It’s a great way to get a bunch of new genetic material for innovation via mutations, since it’s all redundant to existing needs.
        Another quick and dirty evolutionary process is hybridization, which often produces daughter species unable to produce fertile offspring with one or both mother species.
        But we’ve also made new species gradually in the lab the good, old-fashioned way, ie selection. Takes longer, ie more generations, to accumulate small changes, but for organisms with short generations, such as fruit flies, is possible.
        For microbes, no problem. A single cosmic ray can make a new bacterial species in an instant.

    • Darwin was raised as a creationist, and yet he had the intellectual tools to build a logical framework around observations that puzzled him. So the impact is even less than you suggest. The religious aspects of AGW are profound, even if they aren’t linked to any coherent philosophy that might provide guidance in dealing with life’s larger issues. AGW is nothing but a mysticism that rejects and ridicules the essential aspects of scientific inquiry. Darwin prevailed against a 99.9999% consensus.

    • I never really know what people mean when they use the term “creationism”.
      Georges LeMaitre proposed the [big bang theory] back in in 1923 and he was publicly ridiculed by Fred Hoyle as a “creationist”. Well, LeMaitre’s Creationism was proven correct by Wilson and Penzias for which they got the Nobel prize in Physics in 1978. In this case, the creationist, LeMaitre, was correct.
      On the other hand we know of a host of people who assert that the entire visible universe was created about 5000 BC. None of them won Nobel prizes.
      So, Eric, where on this grey scale of “creationism” do you place the witness mark as junk science? Somewhere between LeMaitre’s and Kurt Wise’s? Newton-esque, or Maxwell, Edward Maunder, Alexander Vilenkin?
      Good science requires a good definition of terms, rooted in science.

      • My preferred definition of “creationism” is the doctrine that the laws of nature are insufficient to explain particular natural processes, and that some intelligent agent must be invoked to explain those processes.
        So the origin of life is taken to be beyond the ability of the laws of physics and chemistry to explain, and so some intelligent agent must have created the first living things.
        So the laws of biology are inadequate to account for “leaps” and “gaps” in the record of living things, and so some intelligent agent must have effected these changes across said “gaps”.
        Yes, this does mean the term “creationism” includes “intelligent design” and is not limited to Biblical literalism, to the dismay of the “intelligent design” advocates.

      • I think “creationism” is generally understood as “God did it”.
        My feeling is that there should be a pact between schools and churches that would dictate that schools are not to teach creationism and churches will not be required to teach science. Fair and equitable.

      • The Bibles story of creation is an allegory, meant to describe The Creation in terms that humans can understand in a sense of time that they can relate to. How long is a “day” to a God that is infinite? Humans can’t get their heads around that concept. If you start thinking of it that way, the whole creation story of Earth, and everything in it spans Eons, thereby giving the things He created time to “evolve”, as Darwin claims, and we know they do. If you go back and read the story with the different time frame in you head, the story almost reads like the Earth was Gods “plaything”. He created certain conditions and then when they weren’t what he liked, he changed them. All the way from the formless void, to land and water, night and day, animals, and finally humans. That’s how you get by the points where there aren’t smooth transitions in Evolution. Cataclysmic events ended the dinosaurs, and most life on Earth, and them what was left evolved again. Until you find a real link between humans and their “ancestors”, a God of creation is the logical answer. Even there, the 6-12,000 year time frame doesn’t work as we are getting into times when we find evidence and then records of civilizations that extend into current time.
        These two concepts aren’t mutually exclusive, but actually work together when you get past the PC concepts embedded in each side.

      • “On the other hand we know of a host of people who assert that the entire visible universe was created about 5000 BC. None of them won Nobel prizes.”
        This is probably the most often untruth attributed to creationists. I know many, and none of them think that the universe was created about 5000 BC. This is misconstrued because there are non-science bible zealots, with no science, making the claim.
        I believe in both evolution and creationism, and find very little that conflicts.

      • Paul, there is no way to “prove” the big bang theory. Never has been proven, and it never will be proven. You can have evidence that supports the concept, but unless you actually can travel back to the moment at which the universe is started – by whatever method it was – you can’t prove it. A lot of “science” is based in “absolute faith in itself.” That doesn’t mean it is truth, but it is the “best guess” available. I won’t give the big bang theory that much credence, though.

      • “None of them won Nobel prizes.”
        As an argument, that ranks right up there with refusing to look at any papers that aren’t printed in the peer reviewed journals that are controlled by the AGW crowd.

      • I’m with you, Paul. People bandy words like “creationism” about usually as terms of abuse like “denier” or “fascist”.
        There are theological proofs for the existence of God but none of them demand that we take Genesis literally. And the fact that God clicked his fingers and said “let there be light” (a helluva lot longer than 6,000 years ago!) is not in any way incompatible wifh evolution. In fact, if you look closely at the biblical story of creation you will see that the six “days” follow pretty much the evolutionary process as we now understand it.
        If you don’t care to believe in God,that’s fine by me; those of us who do see no conflict between religion and evolution or between religion and science. We see no problem with teaching, in their proper context, both religion and science as long as we remember that science deals with the physical world and religion with the spiritual world. The same God made the laws that govern both so how could there be a conflict?

      • Paul Westhaver I agree there are many different shades of creation belief, but I was looking to focus on my core point – people have a right to choose what is best for their children, even if other people disagree with those choices.
        Einstein’s and Spinoza’s god – god as an expression of the orderly functioning of the Universe. Not a view I share, but I have no problem with such a reconciliation between faith and science.
        The young universe advocates are a different kettle of fish, I have no sympathy for such views. A god who creates light mid-flight to make the universe appear billions of years old, or a theory that the speed of light changed radically over time, to give the appearance of age, when the universe is actually only 5000 years old? Give me a break. A God worthy of devotion would not have created a universe of lies.
        Nevertheless, my core point remains – if someone wants to teach their children the universe is 5000 years old, I believe that is their right to do so. Otherwise by what right do I complain, if the state mandates that MY child be taught subject matter and viewpoints which I utterly oppose?

      • Newminster April 26, 2017 at 1:01 pm
        The Six Day story, the first of two irreconcilably contradictory creation myths in Genesis 1 and 2, does not follow even remotely the order of evolutionary history. The Adam and Eve story in Genesis 2 is even worse.
        Order in Genesis 1:
        Day Three: Plants.
        Day Four: Sun and moon.
        Day Five: Sea creatures, including whales, then flying creatures.
        Day Six: Cattle, creeping creatures and “beasts”, then Man.
        Order in Genesis 2:
        Sea animals
        Plants (evolved from green algae, ie eukaryotes with chloroplasts derived from cyanobacteria)
        Land animals (arthropods first, then mollusks and vertebrates)
        Flying animals (insects first, then vertebrates later)

      • karllembke “Yes, this does mean the term “creationism” includes “intelligent design” and is not limited to Biblical literalism, to the dismay of the “intelligent design” advocates.” I am a agnostic on the subject, the bible beaters do drive me nuts as do the evolution pushers, the honest answer is we are no way near understand how life came about or even that coming about was evolution, we do know life evolves. If that by design or accident no one knows at this time.

      • Eric,
        “A god who creates light mid-flight to make the universe appear billions of years old…”
        Please consider carefully . . To whom does it appear billions of years old? You? Other yous? ; ) That’s something you’re reading into the appearance, I say. Virtually every civilization/society had a creation story of some sort, and they all thought is was young (though some got their through a cyclic model) so it can’t be considered unbiased to say it looks billions of years old . . and;
        ” … a theory that the speed of light changed radically over time, to give the appearance of age…”
        How ’bout the light came first? You know; Let there be light ? … In the Book, the stars are for light (and “signs”) on the Earth . . for us. It’s not a story about a universe into which we happen to be placed, it’s a story about creatures placed into a universe. The story will never make sense if you insist on making inanimate matter the main character ; )
        ” … when the universe is actually only 5000 years old? Give me a break.”.
        (He did ; ) But nothing under 6,000 years old is possible ; ) and, IF He wanted to leave sufficient room for doubt about His existence, He’d have to make the joint look amenable to what we call “naturalism”. It’s very clear to me that the Story involves people who can doubt He exists, at least in these “latter days”. The concept that He had/has an obligation to refrain from placing us in a situation wherein His existence is not obvious, even if He sees that as a beneficial step to our looong term state (His children/companions), is somewhat hard for me to . . acquiesce to.
        And, He left you a communication . . and “me”s, to let you know what’s really going on . . if that Book is what it claims to be. Perhaps you can bitch because you think you know a better way to generate independently intelligent and moral entities, but I don’t know such things . . worm that I am of no account or wisdom off my own.

      • There is a lot there wow.
        First to Eric Worrall who extended the courtesy of a clarification and even a framework to his definition of “creationism”. Underneath my skepticism of the global CAGW movement lies a foundation of “The autonomy of the individual person”. It is a BELIEF of mine that is not shared by the world. That belief makes many things contingent on it. Schooling. The right of a couple to have children and raise them in accordance to their wills is part of natural law and exists in the absence of government, literate-ness, epoc, or status of wealth. So to that extent Eric, we are in total agreement regarding your core point. Civilization may collapse, yet people will have children and raise them as they have done for 1000’s of years.
        From a logical exercise, many people are concluded to be Creationists, particularly if your framework is applied. Anyone who practices nearly any faith accepts that the natural world is contingent. Today was contingent on yesterday. My atoms are contingent on the condensation of super novae. According to the present standard model for which there is measurable evidence, all the observable universe is contingent on the big bang. Logic and science require that the big bang be contingent also. A lot of people place that event on the prime mover that exists outside the natural world [who] created EVERYTHING from NOTHING. To that extent, they are all creationists.
        [Side note: the BVG Theorem is an equation of state, that is, the process is unimportant only the beginning and end matter. Vilenkin is pretty conclusive that regardless of the mechanism, multiverse, singleverse, etc, the states of enthalpy all indicate a finite beginning.]
        Karlelembke and Hoyt Clagwell. In order for students to be informed, the big bang, IMAP, BVG Theorem ought to be discussed. The implications of these subjects are profound from a metaphysical standpoint. Then we have the near abandonment of incremental evolution based on SJG’s punctuated equilibrium based on the observed fossil record. How are students able to learn to move forward in life and confront these ideas if they are not permitted to explore/discuss them? Haeckel’s Embryos as evidence for recapitulation theory persisted for decades even though they are now (as of 1995) defunct. And so what. People are generally smart and I have great faith that fully informed and honest, self-critical people will come to more or less the same conclusion. Students need completely informed.
        Earl Jantzi. My only addition to your comment is that the Universe is rationally intelligible. We know this because we have done such a good job in first assuming that it is describable by mathematics and physics, then executing the description. Why would anyone have assumed that the universe is rational and intelligible in the first place? It is not axiomatic that that all cultures came to that conclusion. Some culture were/are uninterested, some believed in total chaos, and a special few believed in a “divine” order. Some religious principles, the assumption of rational intelligibility for example, was essential to the birth of science.
        Roy Denio. I can point to nobody in particular that holds that view of 5000 BC. I was repeating a commonly stated notion and maybe I should have been more careful.
        Tom O. I think the big bang is well accepted in the standard model and is on pretty solid ground. The predicted background MW radiation, confirmed by Penzias and Wilson, is a very good proof.
        MarkW. See above. I accept your criticism. I am guilty of expressing a meme. I am sorry.
        Newminister. Thanks. I am called many things relative to my need to keep my mind open. I hold that CAGW is unproved. I am a blue-eyed white straight male with a German surname. Automatically that make me a hater apparently. I try to be consistent about not putting good people in pejorative baskets since it only marginalized those with whom I otherwise share a great deal. I admit to scapegoating the leftists…. I likely won’t stop anytime too soon. 
        Mark Luhman. I agree with you and do keep an open mind and an eye to science for that is how we learn how or natural world works. In my mind, no scientific theory is sacrosanct. As far as those things that are outside the natural universe yet with us and confound scientific inquiry (moral judgments, aesthetics, what to do with scientific knowledge, philosophy etc), people still need to learn about them.

      • “we know of a host of people who assert that the entire visible universe was created about 5000 BC. None of them won Nobel prizes.”
        A slightly more nuanced answer is:
        It is unlikely that the Earth is only 7000 years old (plus or minus a few millenia), but what proof do you have that it (and thus you and I) was not created yesterday? No such proof can exist; since any such proof is part of the very same construction.
        But that kind of thinking is not useful so I accept the “seemings” of great antiquity and if it turns out not to be so, well, what does it matter? It is better to accept things as they seem to be rather than to imagine an infinite variety of things not demonstrable to yourself or anyone else.

        • Not all Christians believe that the earth is 7,000 years old. Those people are fringe. You can learn more at Reasons to Believe ( A chimp would need a major re-engineering to get to a human. Talking gait, and voice box for starters,.

    • Geez Mark, I don’t know that nobody is harmed by the teaching of creationism. Unfortunately, I know a lot of people who believe the world is 6000 years old and some god created the Rocky Mts with talus in place, and they are seriously damaged on an intellectual level if not several more. Some of my own family still believe this claptrap, and they tried pushing this pseudo religion garbage down my throat, and I knew by the time I was 2 years old that the whole story was garbage and told everyone so by 3 years old. For which I was harshly punished. While they may not be evil people, they are surely deceived about how the world works. Religion is a philosophical choice, something that should be studied objectively and it should be left at that with freedom to choose what you want to believe as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others. Including your own children.
      The sooner we throw all religion in the garbage heap of history the better by me. Religion is about fascism ruling over free thought and science giving us the best evidence for how the world works. Threatening little kids with eternal hell and damnation if they don’t believe the same as them, well, it just reminds me of some people who practise climate science as a religion.

      • Let me see, at the age of 2, when most kids are still trying to figure out how to speak in full sentences, you had already figured out a mystery that most adults still struggle with?
        How do you know this, very few people have any memories before the age of 5. Nobody remembers back to 2 and 3.
        So you are either an ignorant liar, or you are 100% delusional.
        Which is it?

      • Mark,
        Most people don’t remember back to 2 or 3 but I have memories of earlier times.
        My earliest memory was of a house we moved out of when I was 4 months old, probably near that moving day as there were boxes stacked around.
        My next early memory was of sitting on the Living Room floor viewing President Kennedy’s funeral, Nov 1963 I was just past my first birthday.
        Some people do remember farther back than 2 or 3 years old. We are few and we are rare but we do exist

      • It is true Mark, at age 3 and younger, I was calling the protestant minister in our church a Cow, during the sermon no less, and don’t know why I called him a cow, except I grew up on a farm with an ornery cow that my father had to milk morning and night and always kicked the milk can over for which the cats just loved. It is still a family chuckle at family gatherings. So I am not delusional or lying. Too much fire and brimstone I think and something triggered me at such a young age to speak up what I perceived at such an early age. Or maybe I was just hungry after the sermon went on until 2 Pm. Which is why I sometimes rant here about the orthodoxy of climate religion practiced by the alarmists.
        Mark, I am not atheist, (I don’t think), so I am not trying to convert you to my ‘religion’. If anything, science is as close to a belief system that makes sense to me. I do have a belief concept that there is perhaps a much higher power of consciousness that exists all around, perhaps in dimensions that we don’t understand. Maybe just add water, amino acids and some dirt, and presto, you have life. That is my guess for the rest of the universe, but what do I know. It would certainly be ignorant of me to presume there is no higher conscious power on earth or in the universe, but to teach a certain belief system to kids in public school that only this particular god or that god is the only god, would be a disservice to everyone. So teaching creationism or intelligent design is really just a cover for protestant christianity to get a foot in the door for their particular brand of religion. To which I really oppose. Better to teach pure science, and perhaps a history class of religion(s).
        In a few years or decades, we will probably confirm life on Mars, or perhaps the lack of any life. It will be a grand moment in the history of human kind one way or the other. If we find life, then probably confirms life is spontaneous under the right conditions and ubiquitous throughout the universe. If we find no evidence of life, then life on Earth may be a one off, and no other life in the universe could perhaps be deduced from that. And then why only Earth? I hope I live long enough to find this mystery out.

      • “MarkW April 26, 2017 at 12:12 pm”
        I do, albeit an electric shock, but I still remember it. I was about 3.

      • Ron Williams writes: “I don’t know that nobody is harmed by the teaching of creationism.”
        The list of things I do not know, and the list of things that you do not know, is probably infinite.
        “they are seriously damaged on an intellectual level if not several more.”
        Until my teen years I believed the Earth was young. I am not damaged on an intellectual level but I am beginning to question your damage.
        “by the time I was 2 years old that the whole story was garbage”
        This cannot be known by 2 year olds. Instead, 2 year olds naturally rebel against their parents. But it is not “knowledge”. Did I mention questioning your own intellect?
        “and told everyone so by 3 years old.”
        And obviously still telling everyone. That’s the work of a preacher.
        “they are surely deceived about how the world works.”
        Whereas you are wise and smart (and severely punished). The world works mostly through religion; religion is that which people believe and don’t need to have proven every little or big thing.
        “Religion is a philosophical choice, something that should be studied objectively”
        Wrong. Religion cannot be studied objectively; only its effects can be studied. Do you study magnetism? No, it is impossible. You study its effects on nearby things! Religion is that which is NOT objective by its very nature, you cannot apply objectivity to that which is by definition not objective.
        “and it should be left at that with freedom to choose what you want to believe as long as it doesn’t interfere with the rights of others. Including your own children.”
        How exactly is that to work? Where do RIGHTS come from, if not “belief”? Children do not have rights and neither do you if there is no creator of rights or defender of rights. Atheists cannot believe in rights for there is no source of authority, no source of rights. “All men are created equal” vanishes if it turns out men weren’t created in the first place; they got where they are by eliminating the competition and this stupid argument of yours is simply your DNA trying to trick others into abandoning the competition.
        “The sooner we throw all religion in the garbage heap of history the better by me.”
        You overestimate anyone’s concern about being “better by you”. ALL people have religion! Things they believe without explanation or proof. So you would throw “thou shalt not steal” into the garbage heap of history? “Thou shalt not kill” — that, too? Shame on you.
        “Religion is about fascism ruling over free thought and science giving us the best evidence for how the world works.”
        Religion is believing things without proof. You are here attempting to rule over MY free thought. The world works by people with shared values, and it is religion that establishes the sharing.
        “Threatening little kids with eternal hell and damnation if they don’t believe the same as them”
        I look forward to reading more of your own threats and arrogance.

      • Global warming activism: If you KNOW that the earth is going to become uninhabitable if people continue to burn coal and oil, what are you willing to do to prevent this disaster? How much effort would you make to advise everyone of this future and how to avoid it?
        Christianity (of some flavors): If you KNOW that all souls will spent eternity suffering horrible pain and anguish unless they do something very simple, borderline trivial actually, how much effort would you make to advise everyone of their future and how to avoid it?
        The parallel ought to be obvious. Neither future can be known with certainty; but either can be believed with usually a great deal of certainty.
        But you have chosen to deprecate those who worry about your soul; in their minds they are doing you a huge service and what thanks do they get? Not much.
        As to early memories, I have several from the age of 2, and because “false memories” can seem quite real I have also returned to essentially all of my early memory places to see that it is as I remember. I have not created false memories but I have discovered a few “merged” memories; things that seem to be a single memory of a single place turn out to be two, maybe three different places enough alike they merged in my mind.
        I remember the day that my “young earth” sense was challenged. I was raised with no religion and yet in the 1960’s you could not escape its cultural effect, not that I was trying, I really didn’t know or care. But one day in the mountains hiking I sat on a rock to rest and noticed that the rock was composed almost entirely of long narrow cone shells (about 1.5 inches long each) embedded in black rock. These are “sea shells” at about 7,000 feet elevation.
        At this point a person will usually make some sort of decision. For me it was “this rock is OLD”. I mean, really, really, millions of years old. Did I suddenly disbelieve God? No, I simply recognize that he’s kind of a hands-off God; and so it says in the bible: “The Earth brought forth life and God saw that it was good.”
        It also means my life is in my hands; it is not predestined. I have freedom of choice.

      • Michael 2 April 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm
        “Christianity (of some flavors): If you KNOW that all souls will spent eternity suffering horrible pain and anguish unless they do something very simple, borderline trivial actually, how much effort would you make to advise everyone of their future and how to avoid it?”
        Translation: Believe like me, or you will spend eternal damnation roasting in hell. Unfortunately, in my very early youth, I was tortured at a bible camp with real fire as way of being told this is how it will feel for ever unless you believe everything we tell you. You say children have no rights… and I know what you probably do to children.
        Michael, if you believe this claptrap crap, then you are a very sick dangerous puppy capable of the most heinous evil. It is people that think like this that will justify anything to dominate their world view. This is the original evil, the original sin that plagues humanity. The christian taliban… Just like the ecoterrorism prevalent against anyone who opposes their world view.

        • Actually no, God does not send people to hell, they send their selves. Hell is just the absence of God

    • Emotional harm is still harm. I was brought up as a Catholic, was indoctrinated in that religion and it took well into my 20’s to rid myself of the guilt and fear of god for even thinking about questioning that indoctrination.

      • Every religion has it’s extremists. Look at the damage being done to children by a lot of the new age stuff. Or the vegans who end up killing their kids by forcing a vegan diet on infants.
        Or even atheists who over flow with intolerance towards anyone who religious views differ from their own, such as Ron above.

    • Another big difference is that on one in the US is required to pay the various churches anything. However, AGW imposes taxes, fines, etc. on almost everyone (rounds to 100%). In Europe, you can opt out of supporting the church by claiming to be atheist or some such. No such opt out in the US. You must pay for to the AGW religion.

      • a person is entitled to what he pays for.
        so the answer is NO.
        i will also add that rationality is not an entitlement either and must be paid for. (not in cash, obviously; the currency for this is virtue)
        i will also add that belief in the supernatural is called mysticism and is the antithesis of science (empiricism)
        and ONLY the owners of the child have any rights regarding that child.
        and just to spook the mystics- milo loves his childhood priest. how bow dah?

      • “What about the children? Are they not entitled to a good education?”
        Yes, they (and you) are not entitled to anything made or produced by anyone else. You can trade for things possessed by others.

      • “a person is entitled to what he pays for.
        so the answer is NO.”
        This is a logically valid view, but most people do not believe it because it allows parents to let their children starve to death without interference. Some die-hard libertarians say they do believe this should be allowed to happen, but most people do not.

      • cool that you respect logic.
        any ethical matter can be resolved on the basis of ownership and damage, btw.
        ‘public property’ is oxymoron, so that’s why it’s a quagmire concept.

  2. “A new wave of state bills could allow public schools to teach lies about climate change.”
    Wait, they already do that.

  3. God is another word for “the Unknown”. Creationism is strange because the next question is: “who did create this creator?”

    • This question has been adequately addressed. The universe is finite and contingent; its cause (God) is not. That which begins to exist requires a cause; that which is eternal does not. So, the real choice is to choose one’s eternality — the material universe, or God.

      • The material universe that you see or feel every single moment of your life or god who has no tangible manifestation because it moves in “mysterious ways”.

      • MarkW- I try really hard not to believe as I am trying to be a scientist. On religious matters as on all matters, I try to be agnostic but that is a hard path to follow. Above, I was making the point that there is a big qualitative difference between the universe we see and an imagined concept like god. I can imagine all sorts of fantastical things (like string theory- well in reality I can’t even imagine that), but simply imagining a complex alternate reality which defies testing is not a difficult thing. We do it as children. There is lot of satisfaction in just accepting that the world is what you see and that it is wonderfully complex, sometimes unknowable.

    • Completely agree that God is an “unknown,” in fact most organized religions acknowledge as much. But the next question is not that strange, if you look at any “hypothesis” about the creation of the universe you still end up with the infinite recursion regarding the origins of the necessary and sufficient conditions for each event. Matter could not have formed out of nothing, on it’s own, if it did that’s magic, at least in our understanding of the physics, and if it’s magic wouldn’t that require a God?
      Further, creationism and other explanations are not always mutually exclusive or incompatible, but that would take several thousand pages to even get a start on that topic.

      • BCBill demonstrates for all to see that his mind is closed to anything that runs counter to what he wants to believe.

      • Bryan, even in the Big Bang theory, strings (matter and energy combined) are still conserved. Note the “HOT” part of hot empty space.
        And Mark. The answer is simple. We can see the universe. It’s there. Where it came from we don’t know, as we have no laws that can don’t conserve strings.This is why physics breaks down at the Big Bang. Even as far as wild theories know, it’s a known incomplete, and anyone familiar with the theory acknoweldges that.
        On the other hand, we don’t see any omnipotent creator being, much less your specific creator being (whether that’s Jehovah, Vishnu, Odin, or Tiamat). The evidence is purely speculative, and many different competing theories as to this creator’s identity have not real decisive superiority as far I can tell as they are all equally unprovable.
        Saying you don’t know the answer is a valid statement.

      • Sorry, put this in the wrong space
        MarkW- I try really hard not to believe as I am trying to be a scientist. On religious matters as on all matters, I try to be agnostic but that is a hard path to follow. Above, I was making the point that there is a big qualitative difference between the universe we see and an imagined concept like god. I can imagine all sorts of fantastical things (like string theory- well in reality I can’t even imagine that), but simply imagining a complex alternate reality which defies testing is not a difficult thing. We do it as children. There is lot of satisfaction in just accepting that the world is what you see and that it is wonderfully complex, sometimes unknowable.

      • If you lived in a 2-dimensional world, a three dimensional pencil intersecting the 2-dimensional world will always appear to be a circle. There is no way to measure or observe the circle in the 2-dimensional world that would reveal a 3-dimensional pencil. In such a world, ‘proving’ the existence of ‘pencil’ would be impossible, even though the manifestation of the pencil in the 2-D world was right there all along!
        Likewise, I find the argument that there is no God because we cannot measure God in the physical universe, very unimpressive and short sighted. Particularly when countless millions of people through the ages have had spiritual experiences and interactions with non-physical consciousness. These non-physical experiences can never be ‘proven’ in the physical world, much like a 3-d pencil cannot be proven in a 2-d world.
        “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance, he is about to conquer the highest peak; as he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.”
        ― Robert Jastrow, God and the Astronomers

      • JClarke. Proving the pencil isn’t impossible. Even if you can only see the pencil in two dimensions, other forces will act in 3 dimensions. Most notably, gravity. If you measure the gravitational force, you will find something odd. It won’t relate to distance in a linear fashion, as it would if it was truly 2-dimensions. It would fall by a square of distance, based on the area of a sphere. Don’t forget that physics is based on geometrical facts. This is how we know that if there are other dimensions, they must be tiny, so as not to affect the scaling of known forces. In fact, that distortion of forces to distance ratio at miniscule distances is one of the ways that we might be able to prove string theory.

      • Calling what isn’t known yet “God” isn’t science.
        It could be that mass and energy are simply products of spacetime. Indeed, something along those lines is likely to reflect reality.
        In any case, as I told my fundamentalist students (literalists as opposed to inerrantists, which is the correct formulation, allowing for interpretation), you can inject your concept of God into the observed universe, whether evolution or expansion, at any point that makes sense to you.
        But going by the supposed Word of God rather than His actual Works (if you believe in some version of Him) verges, IMO, on insanity.

    • The whole concept of before etc, is dependent upon our space time continuum.
      Since God by definition is outside of space and time, then such questions aren’t relevant.

    • It really isn’t that strange David. Consider the following. String theory requires eleven dimensions for the mathematics to work. Now of course neither you or I or anyone else can imagine eleven dimensions. We can do the math (I can’t), but we can’t really visualize in our head what eleven dimensions are like. Now I’m not arguing whether string theory is correct or not. But many really smart people believe it is correct. Now consider this. If you can’t imagine eleven dimensions, then how can you reasonably expect to imagine a God who created eleven dimensions?

      • If you can imagine a system where angels sit on the head of a pin, you can imagine how to calculate how many will fit. A purely imagined reality like string theory can still be elegant and complex but it may not have anything to do with reality, just as god may be wonderful and complex and completely imagined.

      • String theory is another of those avenues that “science” is traveling in its efforts to replace god. That is the whole issue, really. Those who have chosen to not wish to believe in a god have chosen to believe in the infallibility of man and science to take god’s place. Doesn’t mean you can’t study science and work in the field and are required to be atheistic, but it does make understanding the dogma of atheism easier to understand. Just an attackable thought.

    • Bryan, hot empty space is a bit of an oxymoron. Heat is the energy of motion in the atoms or photons maybe. Empty means “nothingness”. Space implies time, and also extent. Even totally empty, infinite space, which begs the question, How did it come to be?

    • “who did create this creator?”
      His creator (father) before him.
      Analysis: [http]:// “The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”
      So what did the Son (Jesus) see and do? Father was himself at one time a son, died and was resurrected. For it were not so, then this statement is incorrect (which is of course possible).
      As to who, what or when the universe was created, nothing seems to be said. The bible starts with the Earth already existing, but “void”. It is a story of this planet, not any other planet.

  4. Keep in mind that “creationism” is a smear, like “denier”, that covers anyone who believe that the scientific evidence points towards design and intention in creation. Materialistic scientists believe they can detect intelligence when it comes to alien life in the universe, but go all wooly and weird when it comes to using the same criteria and methods to infer intelligence and intentionality in creation. In fact, the evidence for undirected, mindless, purposeless evolution is not as strong as its advocates insist, and is getting weaker by the year — especially when origin of life is thrown into the mix.

  5. Creationism cannot be taught in US public schools. It would be a First Amendment violation. The attempted creationist end run via pseudoscientific ‘intelligent design’ in Delaware was also ruled a violation. The first amendment does not, however, apply to private Church run schools.

    • Intelligent design does not posit who or what the intelligence behind the universe is. It remains within the domain of materialistic science using a principle espoused by Darwin of inference to the best explanation. Many/most advocates are theists. However, some are agnostics, perhaps some are atheists.

      • As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.
        –Freeman Dyson, 1986

      • Either one is studying evolution or one is studying the interesting patterns that were left for us to find. Under both interpretations, the science is essentially the same. So from a scientific point of view, evolution vs creationism doesn’t matter. The issue is a philosophical one.

      • As we look out into the Universe and identify the many accidents of physics and astronomy that have worked together to our benefit, it almost seems as if the Universe must in some sense have known that we were coming.
        Well no, all it seems like is that we are the product of a universe that we are capable of inhabiting, duh.
        And it looks like its made for us, because it IS made for us. By our own minds. Its no use seeing the universe as a bacterium sees it. We are not single bacteria.

      • I like to use the definition that the man who coined the term “Intelligent design” used when he created it. He said it is a place holder of sorts where design is implied and when no existing scientific evidence explains. Behe never suggested a specific designer, rather he said that a designer is implied by irreducibly complex structures and systems. Science my fill the gap by providing the “design” mechanism. But not one has been demonstrated since in the inception of the Journal of Evolutionary Microbiology~~1994??
        Other people use his term less specifically and have used it in books to replace a deity.
        I would suggest that even Leonard Susskind is far more open minded about the basis of the cosmological constant exteme precision yielding an anthropic universe. Which are in his words: 1) “God” 2) “Chance” 3) “we’ll never know” 4) “Maybe someday we’ll know”.

      • Samuel, why do you insist on making definitive pronouncements on a subject you quite clearly know nothing about.
        And apparently don’t want to know anything about.
        For some, anything about God, goes into one big bucket. Doesn’t matter that there are many differences, they can only handle God, not God.

      • RW, reminds me of the wag who declared that Gaia was getting worried about all the plants suffering because so much CO2 had been removed from the air.
        So she invented men to return some retrieve some of it for her.

      • If you teach evolution you get to the conclusion that there are too many examples of “not so intelligent design,” oops extinction or survival in what appears to be poor engineering. I was in Louisiana when we had one of these sort of laws come up, kind of a joke, although in one case it would have made biology illegal to teach. It would help if some evolutionists, like Dawkins, come down from the pulpit a little. Good principles don’t need preaching or any special protection. Let the teachers and parents decide. Like the speed of light keep trying to disprove it, so far there always have been deeper truths. Circa 1900 they thought science had found it, sounds similar today.

      • MarkW – April 26, 2017 at 11:46 am

        Samuel, why do you insist on making definitive pronouncements on a subject you quite clearly know nothing about.
        And apparently don’t want to know anything about.

        Now MarkW, just because my posted commentary incites your mental state to becoming highly irritated and extremely defensive, …….. which is usually always “triggered” by one’s own realization that their long-time beliefs (Religious, love, friendship, etc.) are utterly bogus, false, untrue, etc.
        In other words, MarkW, ….. the realization that one’s long-time beliefs have no basis in fact.
        Anyway, MarkW, ….. I can assure you that I have surely forgotten more about Gods, Goddesses, Sky Pixies, Flying Spaghetti Monsters, Biblical history, the origin & history of Multitheism of yesteryear and the Monotheism of today …….. than you have ever known.
        And I am also well educated in the Biological and Physical Sciences and have been an avid student and learner of the “natural world” around me …… beginning in my early childhood of 70 years ago.
        So MarkW, it is you, …… not I, …… that clearly doesn’t know very much about the world around you that you live in/on …… and your accusing me of being poorly nurtured and seriously miseducated …… doesn’t alter your “learned knowledge status” one iota.
        But iffen you read the following, it might, to wit:
        We are what our environment nurtures us to be.
        Upon gaining their freedom from their enslavers, small groups of the now human population wandered off in all directions to fend for themselves. And in doing so, these now isolated groups were dependent upon their new environments to nurture them with the means to survive. As they learned new and better survival traits from their environments they became quite successful as hunter-gathers at finding sufficient food resources for their survival.
        As the population of these groups increased the need for social rules and guidance became necessary for their survival. Thus a leader was either chosen or the strongest member of the group took control and rules of social conduct were established by proxy or by the individual leaders themselves. In the latter situation the rules of conduct could change each time a new leader took control.
        A need for religious beliefs arises.
        As the individuals within these groups became more intelligent and knowledgeable of their environment they began to question those things they were subjected to that they didn’t understand, including thunder, lightning, the seasons and their own origins. And when such questions arise in social groups of humans their leader(s) were queried for an answer to them. But their leaders no longer had any memories of, or the access to any of the alien explorers that originally created humans, to nurture them on their origins, or any historical records that would explain things to them. Therefore the leaders and/or oldest members of these isolated groups were forced to use their imagination to create acceptable “reasons” for said origins in order to appease the curiosity of the individuals in said group.
        Thus Gods and Goddesses were thought up to “explain the unexplainable”. And the isolation of the different groups of humans resulted in differences in their imagined “reasons”, otherwise known as “religious beliefs”. Our knowledge of said religious beliefs are recorded in both the archeological and historical records of past cultural groups, of which some are the root source of most all present day Religions.
        A per say, ….. Religious belief decent with modifications, ….. from the polytheism worshipping of the past to the monotheism worshipping of the present.


    • Irrespective of court rulings, the teaching of creationism would only violate the First Amendment if a specific religion’s version was taught.
      That said, creationism can’t be taught as science because it can’t be falsified.

      • Neither can a lot of things called science, but we teach them anyway. How do you falsify evolution?

      • How could any fossil discovery falsify the hypothesis of evolution? We already know that there is no principal that forces evolution to go only from less complex to more complex. Wales, for example, seem to have gone from sea to land and back to sea.

        • Evolution is an extremely robust scientific theory. Its two main pillars are:
          1. Direct observation and empirical testing of genetics.
          2. Correlative evidence from the fossil record which is consistent with an evolution of past species into modern species, through genetic mutation and natural selection.
          The first pillar is falsifiable in several ways.

          Consequently any of the following would destroy the theory:
          If it could be shown that organisms with identical DNA have different genetic traits.
          If it could be shown that mutations do not occur.
          If it could be shown that when mutations do occur, they are not passed down through the generations.
          If it could be shown that although mutations are passed down, no mutation could produce the sort of phenotypic changes that drive natural selection.
          If it could be shown that selection or environmental pressures do not favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals.
          If it could be shown that even though selection or environmental pressures favor the reproductive success of better adapted individuals, “better adapted individuals” (at any one time) are not shown to change into other species.

          This would take down the entire theory. While the likelihood of any of these things is extremely minuscule, they are possible.

          The discovery of an entire sequence of fossils which were inconsistent with the theory (large land mammals in the Devonian) would falsify the second pillar. Or at least force a major restructuring of the theory.

      • David Middleton: Not all mutations are passed down through generations, are they? At least that was what I was taught. Even DNA mutations may not be passed on or may be passed on in unique ways.
        I have read that finding sequences of fossils in the “wrong” geologic layer is explained by migration of the fossils to another layer or other such mechanisms. It doesn’t disprove the theory. Unless many, many examples are found. Then maybe.
        My experience has been that any such “problems” in evolution are dismissed in much the same way inaccurate climate models are dismissed concerning how far they miss. The misses are anomalies and don’t count. Or the models all show increasing temperatures and that’s all that matters.
        We have changed the way dino skeletons are put together, debated whether they were reptiles or birds, and whether they were warm or cold-blooded. There are so many things that are unknown, yet the theory is regarded as accurate. I will further study the criteria for disproving the theory, but I’m very skeptical that anything would be allowed to disprove the theory.

        • I have read that finding sequences of fossils in the “wrong” geologic layer is explained by migration of the fossils to another layer or other such mechanisms.

          Fossils don’t “migrate.” But they can be out of proper stratigraphic position due to quite a few geologic processes. Generally speaking, when this occurs, it’s fairly obvious that the section has been deformed or disturbed.
          Finding Miocene foram’s in a Pleistocene section near a salt dome wouldn’t be inconsistent with evolution. Because the Jurassic-aged salt tends to drag up older rocks when it intrudes into younger rocks and sediments.
          The fossil inconsistency would have to consist of entire sequences of fossils that were totally out of place. Large land mammal fossils in the Devonian would be an example.
          The strength of the theory of evolution lies in the fact that it would be very difficult to falsify.

      • I’m having trouble imagining a fossil that would falsify evolution.
        All that would be needed is to declare that the fossil is the first member found of a previously unknown genera.

      • DM: The idea of evolution as genetic-directed adaptation to environmental stresses and changes is both robust and of scientific utility. The insistence that random events are the source of life and that random genetic mutation is the only source of life-form changes is speculative, logically falsifiable, and not of scientific value.
        I have encouraged my granddaughters to be skeptical of a dogmatic Darwinist unless he could list the sequence of individual genetic mutations, each of which contributes to species survival, that would constitute the “evolution” of metamorphosis. They do not need to offer an alternative theory.

        • I generally agree that evolution appears to be a directed adaptation process. I also think that the fossil record is strongly supportive of punctuated equilibrium rather than slow genetic drift.

      • Mark, what gets called “evolution” is descent with modification. What would falsify the system would be an organism that, lets say, did not use the common DNA/RNA coding for amino acids. As far as I know, all organisms use the same arbitrary coding scheme in DNA/RNA coding, and any beastie useing a different system would be something that falsifies “evolution”.
        No Tom, it would just be proof of aliens. /sort of sarc?/

        • Sort of. It would require aliens, but there is no good “intelligent design” reason for the common coding, as digestion mostly breaks proteins down to amino acids, so common amino acids would not show common descent.

        • Mark, it is different argument. Occam’s razor is not really provable, but a practical principle. Special creation of each lineage is not testable for fossils, so the argument is that structurally similar beasties that can be tested have the same DNA. There are tests that could be done to demonstrate special creation, but all have thus far failed. Of course, as this is science, the next one. …

      • David Middleton – April 26, 2017 at 10:55 am

        The discovery of large mammal fossils in the Devonian would totally upend the theory of evolution:

        Now get serious, David M.
        Me thinks the Theory of Evolution preceded the designations of Geologic “Fossil” Periods.
        Such a find in/of fossils would surely and totally “upend” a lot of people beliefs, attitudes and actions …… but I hardly think it would affect the theory.
        And there is no proof or evidence that large mammals didn’t exist during or even prior to the Devonian Period. And don’tya be forgettin that for 95% of earth’s geologic history (non-Interglacial Periods) with an ocean environment ….. sea levels were 200+- meters or 600+- feet lower than they currently are …. and no one knows what fossils may lie hidden there.
        And nothing says that “mountain building” out of fossil laded “seafloor” had to contain fossils of all animals that had evolved up to the time said “uplifting” commenced. And nothing says that a “Cambrian Explosion” didn’t or couldn’t have happened twice.
        Even the evolutionary “path” of Homo sapiens sapiens is still being ‘hotly’ debated simply because there has been no fossil evidence found that directly “links” humans with another extant species of the Family of Great Apes.
        There are “close” connections of fossils ……… but “close” only counts in the game of Horseshoes.

      • David, upon finding such a mammal fossil, would they declare evolution over turned? Or would they declare that the evolutionary line for mammals extends further into the past than previously known?

      • Samuel C Cogar April 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm
        You are mistaken. The geologic column was worked out on geologic principles. In so doing, geologists noted that each layer had characteristic fossils, which could then be used to place newly studied strata in the proper order.
        By 1858, when Darwin and Wallace proposed the origin of species via natural selection, much of the geologic column was already named, although not always with the same terminology as today.
        Darwin himself, as a just-graduated Cambridge divinity Bachelor degree holder, worked with Sedgwick in Wales to delineate what became the Cambrian, Silurian and eventually Ordovician (between the other two) Periods. In the 1830s, a dispute called the Devonian Controversy arose among geologists, including Sedgwick, over the geology of that period, named for the English county. The Carboniferous was then called the “Coal Measures”. The Permian, last period of the Paleozoic Era, was described by Murchison, one of the Devonian controversialists, during his Russian expedition in 1841. The Triassic, first period of the Mesozoic Era, was named in 1834. The term “Jurassic” dates from 1795 and “Cretaceous” from 1822.
        The startling lack of fossils from the early Triassic led some to conclude that there had been a whole new creation after the end-Permian mass extinction event.
        The older terms Primary for the Paleozoic Era and Secondary for the Mesozoic have been abandoned, but the Tertiary and Quaternary (both Cenozoic) are still used (although replaced by Paleogene and Neogene Periods). The Tertiary is the oldest period in the Cenozoic Era, while the Quaternary is the youngest. The current era names are based upon the kind of life found in rocks of those ages, ie Old Life, Middle Life and Recent Life.
        So Darwin was able to use the advancements in geologic knowledge by 1858 to help make his case for descent with modification via natural selection and other “transmutational” processes.

      • Chimp – April 26, 2017 at 3:08 pm

        Samuel C Cogar April 26, 2017 at 12:49 pm
        You are mistaken. The geologic column was worked out on geologic principles.
        By 1858, when Darwin and Wallace proposed the origin of species via natural selection, much of the geologic column was already named,

        Chimp, I assume your “mistaken” claim was in reference to this statement, to wit: ….. “Me thinks the Theory of Evolution preceded the designations of Geologic “Fossil” Periods.
        Well now, Chimp, ….. I won’t engage in a “peeing contest” to determine who is correct, ….. but, to wit:

        History of evolutionary thought ……. Evolutionary thought, the conception that species change over time, has roots in antiquity – in the ideas of the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Chinese as well as in medieval Islamic science. With the beginnings of modern biological taxonomy in the late 17th century, two opposed ideas influenced Western biological thinking: essentialism, the belief that every species has essential characteristics that are unalterable, a concept which had developed from medieval Aristotelian metaphysics, and that fit well with natural theology; and the development of the new anti-Aristotelian approach to modern science: as the Enlightenment progressed, evolutionary cosmology and the mechanical philosophy spread from the physical sciences to natural history. Naturalists began to focus on the variability of species; the emergence of paleontology with the concept of extinction further undermined static views of nature. In the early 19th century Jean-Baptiste Lamarck (1744 – 1829) proposed his theory of the transmutation of species, the first fully formed theory of evolution.
        In 1858 Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace published a new evolutionary theory, explained in detail in Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859).

        Read more @

      • David Middleton – April 26, 2017 at 1:24 pm

        The evolution of mammals can be traced through the evolution of the jaw bones of synapsids…
        If fossils with opossum-like jaw bones were found in the Devonian, it would upend the theory.

        David, the “Theory of Evolution” …….. and the physical attribute that defines the “evolution of mammals” …… are essentially two different matters of discussion.
        Thus, a newly found Devonian era opossum-like jaw bone would likely upend the presently accepted criteria that defines the “origin Period for the evolution of mammals” ……. but nothing else.
        David, newly found fossil “species” are noninfrequently screwing up the established taxonomy of the Animal Kingdom …….. and it has to be “re-adjusted” to include the new finds.

    • Totally disagree that it can’t be taught. If it’s positioned as one of several philosophical perspectives on the origins of the universe it does not run afoul of separation arguments. It only gets into trouble when it’s taught in isolation as “the truth” After all science eventually reduces to nothing more than philosophical arguments. The other practical problem is that it’s probably pretty hard for a typical junior high teacher to maintain a more distanced and objective view of the arguments between the views.

    • If we ban everything that has an religious/philosophical connotations from the public schools, then the kids will spend the majority of their school days just staring at the wall.
      Regardless, your argument is a good one for getting rid of public schools, because everyone is going to fight to have their beliefs mandatory and everyone else’s banned. Much as you are doing here.

    • “Creationism cannot be taught in US public schools. It would be a First Amendment violation.”
      That is incorrect. The separation of State and Church is a creation of the SCOTUS, not the Constitution. The Constitution doesn’t separate Church and State: it is a one way separation to keep the state out of the church, not the other way around. And it is only a restriction on the Federal government, not the states.
      In fact when the Constitution was written several states did have state religions.
      Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire – Congregational Church
      Georgia, New North Carolina, Maryland and others – Church of England
      Separation of Church and State is a construct of the SCOTUS and the left.

      • It’s worth noting that SCOTUS was quoting Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists:

        To messers. Nehemiah Dodge, Ephraim Robbins, & Stephen S. Nelson, a committee of the Danbury Baptist association in the state of Connecticut.
        The affectionate sentiments of esteem and approbation which you are so good as to express towards me, on behalf of the Danbury Baptist association, give me the highest satisfaction. my duties dictate a faithful and zealous pursuit of the interests of my constituents, & in proportion as they are persuaded of my fidelity to those duties, the discharge of them becomes more and more pleasing.
        Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State. Adhering to this expression of the supreme will of the nation in behalf of the rights of conscience, I shall see with sincere satisfaction the progress of those sentiments which tend to restore to man all his natural rights, convinced he has no natural right in opposition to his social duties.
        I reciprocate your kind prayers for the protection & blessing of the common father and creator of man, and tender you for yourselves & your religious association, assurances of my high respect & esteem.
        Th Jefferson
        Jan. 1. 1802.
        The State of Connecticut, was treating Freedom of Religion as a favor to be granted, rather than a constitutionally protected right. The Danbury Baptists were reaching out the Pres. Jefferson,
        The “wall of separation between Church & State” was to protect religion from government. SCOTUS reversed that when they inserted an out-of-context quote into their ruling.

      • A protein made of 160 amino acids would take how long to randomly assemble? This question has a mathematical solution. Since you like math, (referring to +[∞] ) how long do you think it would take to assemble the protein? I agree that math has an answer.

      • Paul, if you assume its completely random, nearly infinite. Given the demonstrable fact that they are constructed out of other smaller processes, thats not calculable.

      • benofhouston- it’s only on the order of 2.44 billion times the age of the earth. A mere snap of the fingers in an infinity.

      • Paul,
        Proteins don’t self-assemble randomly. Their synthesis is catalyzed.
        The origin of life also was facilitated by catalysts. One of the goals of origin of life research is to decide which of the many candidate catalysts actually did the deed.
        For instance, in a major breakthrough just reported, it was discovered that short peptides, ie amino acid polymers, can help ribozymes, ie RNA enzymes, conduct processes essential in the origin of life. Thus it appears that amino acids and nucleotides may have always cooperated.
        The oceans of Hadean earth were rich in both sorts of complex organic compounds, and others, of course. Origin of life research is under-reported in the popular press, but is the most exciting science being conducted right now, IMO.

  6. The constant drip feed of linking or equating climate scepticism to creationism is a particularly pernicious piece of rank dishonesty and one that has to be fought. But in the U.K. religious studies textbooks unashamedly state global warming is caused by humans and that stewardship of the planet should result in us doing something about. (Bit short usually on the detail of what exactly.)
    I agree with your conclusion Eric that ultimately it is parents who must have the last say, even though it may result in some unfortunate examples.

  7. You got it–the State messes them up worse.
    See the book “The Wisdom of Growds” by James Surowiecki for an in-depth discussion of the advances that can happen when large groups of people have the freedom to make independent decisions. It is one of the most important books ever written.
    As to Creationism, I found the resolution on this matter when I websearched Samaritan Torah and found a word-by-word translation from the Hebrew. Genesis chapter One does NOT say G-d made (past tense) the world in six literal days in the order stated. It says He IS MAKING each of the items and it-is-becoming Evening and it-is-becoming Day. This is much more in accord with Modern Physics.
    The Western European Churches were known for burning scientists at the stake. The Eastern Orthodox Church always had a more sensible attitude. They said: We know the Bible is True (this is a Church, remember) and Science is a search for the truth. Therefore if they appear to conflict, it means that one or the other has been misunderstood and further research will clear it up.
    The conflict is now resolved for me. “In Him we live and move and have our being,” an idea which science cannot ever prove or disprove. Science investigates the physical world. It draws lots of wrong conclusions along the way, and further research corrects them.

    • The real problem with creationism is that it doesn’t explain anything. It has no implications. It doesn’t matter if it’s right or wrong. And, for that matter, it can coexist quite happily with Darwinism.
      Only a literal translation of the bible conflicts with science. And a literal translation of the bible would be historically illiterate, it would have no meaning to the people who wrote it. They looked at history very differently than we do and didn’t care in the least about fact for fact accuracy.

      • “The bible teaches us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go.”
        Cesare Baronio, Roman Catholic Cardinal

    • “The Tao is that which exists through itself”
      If you peer deep enough into the mysteries you end up in the same places. What causes causality? What is existence?

  8. I believe anyone who takes a serious interest in climate science should be able to see that there are serious problems. The models don’t work, the evidence is weak, and the assurances that the science is “settled” are clearly a political construct, not a scientific conclusion.
    I also believe that creationism is junk science.

    The creationists aren’t coming after your money.
    They don’t have the force of government behind them.
    You can opt out.

    • That’s not really true–as this article itself points out, many school boards are trying to add creationism to science classes, when it should be taught, if at all, in religion class.

  9. Curriculum decisions should be made by communities, not state governments.
    That said, this press release brings up yet another problem with the politicization of science by global warming alarmists–by relentlessly pushing their pseudoscience and demonizing those who believe in the scientific method, they undercut arguments against other forms of pseudoscience such as creationism.

    • Local governments rather than state or national governments.
      Still governments.
      BTW, I love it when people try to claim that only their religion is real and all others have to be excuded.

    • The Ministry of Education of Saskatchewan is revising the high school science curriculum, and it considers ‘traditional knowledge’ on an equal footing as scientific knowledge in the life sciences, physical sciences and earth and space sciences.

      • I think that includes aboriginal studies since ‘First Nations’ in Canada are trying to get their foot in the door with regards to curriculum in a predominantly Eurocentric vision. I wouldn’t be opposed to that as long as the class being taught is labeled as a religious or history class of some sort and not in a science class like physics or chemistry. Perhaps all the worlds religions and nativism should be taught as a history class, so as we have an un-indoctrinated introduction to all the worlds belief systems. You don’t have to believe any of it, but I think it would assist a lot of people in understanding people that are different from them selves. And where humanity has come from in a philosophical sense. Hopefully people would then learn that no one religious belief system is superior to any other, and while they all have many messages of understanding, they are our collective history of why we are and where we came from.

    • >>
      Science classes in grade school should be focused on teaching the scientific method.
      Let’s make science as boring as possible so no one wants to enter the field. What excited me about science was knowing how things work, and who made those discoveries. I loved science until they started teaching me the basics by teachers who probably knew less science than I did. At least they didn’t kill my love for learning science–not that they weren’t tying.

      • >>
        The scientific method is how you learn how things work.
        Nonsense. Studying laws and theories is the way to find out how things work. The scientific method is only a means to an end–in other words: boring. It’s a necessary part of science, but it’s still boring.

      • This is how you learn how things work:

        What is the “scientific method”?
        The scientific method is the best way yet discovered for winnowing the truth from lies and delusion. The simple version looks something like this:
        1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
        2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
        3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
        4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
        5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.
        When consistency is obtained the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain a class of phenomena. A theory is then a framework within which observations are explained and predictions are made.

      • >>
        This is how you learn how things work:
        I see nothing there that tells me how a computer works, how to fly an airplane, how to plot a course, how to compute a Hohmann transfer orbit, how the genetic code of mitochondria differs from the standard genetic code, how to use the Laws of Thermodynamics, how to use Laplace transforms, how to use Kirchhoff’s voltage and current laws, how to use the resistor color code, how stars have different spectral classes, how many known satellites Pluto has, and so on.

    • Agreed. Later, the philosophy of science can be taught and the older students can argue over whether the philosophy of religion or the philosophy of science makes more sense, can co-exist, etc. Many of the ideas discussed here are probably university level.

  10. The left is at least consistent in trying to make education consistent with indoctrination in their belief systems.
    A push around WWI in the US tried to make the teaching of evolution, especially in elementary schools, illegal.Despite the later development of creationism, the push was by William Jennings Bryan, a repeated losing Democratic Party candidate for president, and a non-Marxist leftist. What Jennings objected to was eugenics and Social Darwinism, and he was too ignorant of science to be able to distinguish those themes from biology in general.
    As the left still wants indoctrination, they still use the same tactics of suppressing any discussion of the larger issue, as knowledge tends to get in the way of the political message.

  11. Creationism – should really be taught as one of the early scientific theories on the orgin of the universe and evolution.
    Most all early societies and religions had some form of a story or theory on the creation of the world. Considering the level of scientific knowledge circa 6,000 – 2,000 BC, it is surprising how much of the learned minds of that era got right. Start with the big bang theory, creationism got that right except the earth and sun were in the wrong order. Creationism includes the theory of evolution, first starting with the creation of fish, small animals, and working through larger animals until the last day when god made man.
    Ignore the anti religious bias and the literal interpretation.
    If someone had come up with a simliar concept in 1,000 ad – 1700ad, they would have been considered an ultimate genius.

    • Genesis got nothing right, not just making the earth before the sun. The order of appearance of plants and animals is also wrong in both of the two creation myths in Genesis 1 & 2, which are irreconcilably contradictory. The two stories are wrong in different ways. The second really blows it by having man made first, then plants, then animals, then woman.
      But you are correct that evolution can easily be read into the first myth, much more so than modern astronomy, geology, meteorology or any other science can be interpreted out of the Bible.
      And the special creation of species lasted a surprisingly long time as a serious explanation for what was called in the early 19th century “development”, the obvious change in species from older geological layers to younger. Darwin’s own geology mentor, Sedgwick, an Anglican priest, advocated serial creation. Before his voyage on Beagle, Darwin traipsed over Wales working out for Sedgwick the geologic formations which came to be labelled with Welsh names the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian Periods.

      • Chimp – you are letting anti-religious bias creep in. Of course, there are errors in the theory, virtually no theory survices the first couple of drafts. Bear in mind, the theory of creation in the bible was developed circa 2,000BC when the overall scientific knowledge was quite limited. Given the knowledge circa 2,000Bc, they got a lot right. You might say they guessed right on many of the basic concepts. Try to not get hung up on various specifics out of order.

    • Joe,
      My first reply got lost in cyberspace again. If it should reenter our spacetime continuum, please forgive the double posting.
      Genesis got nothing right, not just making the earth and day and night before the sun. Saying “Let there be light” is not the same as the Big Bang. There were already waters for the spirit to move over before the light. To be accurate, the story would have to have said that before God started the expansion, everything was concentrated in a space smaller than the smallest mustard seed, or some such language comprehensible to people of 3000 years ago.
      The order of appearance of plants and animals is also wrong in both of the two creation myths in Genesis 1 & 2, which are irreconcilably contradictory. The two stories are wrong in different ways. The second really blows it by having man made first, then plants, then animals, then woman.
      But you are correct that evolution can easily be read into the first myth, much more so than modern astronomy, geology, meteorology or any other science can be interpreted out of the Bible. You’re also right that myths and legends are what pre-scientific people had in lieu of science, which began around 600 BC in Greece, and with astronomical observations in various regions before that.
      And the special creation of species lasted a surprisingly long time as a serious explanation for what was called in the early 19th century “development”, the obvious change in species from older geological layers to younger. Darwin’s own geology mentor, Sedgwick, an Anglican priest, advocated serial creation. Before his voyage on Beagle, Darwin traipsed over Wales working out for Sedgwick the geologic formations which came to be labelled with Welsh names the Cambrian, Ordovician and Silurian Periods.

      • Chimp, you are reading it in English. In order to understand it you need it to read it in the original Hebrew. What many people do not understand is that there are about 3,000 words in Hebrew and over a half a million in English. The Hebrew word for day (yom, I believe) can have multiple meanings depending on the context. Watch the following video for a good explanation, or better yet, read the book.

      • Mike,
        The Hebrew word for “day” has the same range of connotations as it does in English. But even if, as the Bible says, a day is to the Lord as a thousand years to us, that still leaves only 6000 normal years for God to poof everything into existence before taking a breather for another millennium.
        It also doesn’t explain how the earth, day and night and plants could exist before the sun, for example.

        • The Hebrew word for day can mean1) part of the daylight hours, 2) all of the daylight hours, 3) a 24 hour day or 4) a long but finite period of time. Again you are reading it to literally. Context is very important. I am not a biblical scholar but I know people who are. This video explains it very well. Watch it if you dare.

      • oh, chimp –
        you have to read it in sanskrit!
        the ineffable is way more effable and impressive when it comes straight from the lips of a medieval goat herder.
        wuwt had become infested with mystics and worse- people who can’t distinguish between supernatural and rational.
        and also people who type ‘per say’ … one of the lower rungs of hell is reserved for that..
        the lowest rung is reserved for those who think they will go there if they don’t believe…lol
        what a lot of mystics infest wuwt these days, eh?
        yeah, i’m just trolling. all a mystic is really good for is wringing out the schadenfreude.
        there is no other reasonable way to deal with the insane

      • Mike,
        The Day-Age excuse is old as the hills and has only gotten more ludicrous with time. The only daring involved is the shamelessness of people purporting to be scientists who spread this errant drivel.
        Even if you make each “day” last over seven hundred million years, you can’t make Genesis comport to reality. Please explain how plants came to exist before the sun. How about day and night without the sun?
        It is to laugh.
        Mysticism has its place as a way of knowing. What doesn’t have a place is confusing science with religious belief. They are two separate categories. There is no science anywhere in the Bible, nor does any book in any version of it make the claim that there is. It’s an entirely pre-scientific collection of often redundant ancient story-telling, a mix of myth, legend, fiction and spun history.
        I’ve generally found that fundamentalist rarely have actually read the Bible to find out what it really says, if they’re read it at all rather than just swallowing hook, line and sinker the lies that professional liars tell about it.

      • nope.
        this is your pons asinorum
        anything true can be proven.
        popper was a mystic.
        my mistake- i thought you weren’t.
        now i know.

    • Joe,
      My first and second replies got lost in cyberspace again. If they should ever reenter our spacetime continuum, please forgive the triple posting. This will be my last attmept.
      Genesis got nothing right, not just making the earth and day and night before the sun. Saying “Let there be light” is not the same as the Big Bang. There were already waters for the spirit to move over before the light. To be accurate, the story would have to have said that before God started the expansion, everything was concentrated in a space smaller than the smallest mustard seed, or some such language comprehensible to people of 3000 years ago.
      The order of appearance of plants and animals is also wrong in both of the two creation myths in Genesis 1 & 2, which are irreconcilably contradictory. The two stories are wrong in different ways. The second really blows it by having man made first, then plants, then animals, then woman.
      But you are correct that evolution can easily be read into the first myth, much more so than modern astronomy, geology, meteorology or any other science can be interpreted out of the Bible. You’re also right that myths and legends are what pre-scientific people had in lieu of science, which began around 600 BC in Greece, and with astronomical observations in various regions before that.

    • That’s an interesting idea. I like it. Kind of a teaching of natural history, as religion reigned and was then superceded by science. Discuss the pros and cons of both positions type exercise.

      • Sheri – Most all ancient societies had some form of deities to explain what was beyond their scientific understanding. The greeks, romans, egyptians had multiple gods to explain the unknown. They used “religion” or “the Gods” to explain the unknown – essentially scientific theories. Basically, the story of creation in Genesis was an early scientific theory on the creation of the universe and evolution.

      • Joe—I doubt some people would appreciate having the story of creation in Genesis called a “theory”. Again, people label things to suit their world view, irrespective of the reality of that view. Does it bother you when people call evolution “just a theory”?

      • Sheri – “I doubt some people would appreciate having the story of creation in Genesis called a “theory”. ”
        I think on the religious zealots and the anti religious zealots dislike the characterization of the story. Those that are willing to step back from their religious biases, should be able to recognize genesis as early theory for both the big bang and evolution.
        Again, people label things to suit their world view, irrespective of the reality of that view. Does it bother you when people call evolution “just a theory”?
        No it doesnt bother me. Evolution, while parts remain a theory, there are a lot of confirmed links between species, a lot of unexplained gaps, a lot of unknowns, but there have a lot of confirmed links,

      • Joe,
        Except that neither myth in the first two chapters of Genesis bears any relationship whatsoever to the Big Bang Theory or the fact of evolution. As I said, however, it’s easier to read evolution into the words of Genesis 1 than it is to find any semblance of modern astronomy, physics, chemistry, geology, meteorology or any other scientific discipline in the Bible, which is from start to finish a flat earth text, complete with talking animals, rabbits chewing cud, stars falling to earth, the sun racing across the sky, then returning to the place of his rising and God walking on the solid dome of heaven, operating the levers of the storehouses of rain, snow and hail.
        The Mesopotamian myths from which those stories derive were indeed however what the ancient Near East had instead of science. The problem was that by the time of the New Testament, pagan Greek and Roman science had advanced, but even in the NT the earth remains flat. This created problems for attracting converts, so Augustine argued that the propagation of the faith was more important than maintaining the biblical flat earth, as had his Early Church Father predecessors.

        • So sad, so much hate. I actually think you are making up all up. I have given you links to refute what you are saying about Genesis and science, but if is obvious your worldview will not allow you to see the truth.

      • Heliocentrism, universal gravitation, atomic matter, disease germs, relativity and quantum mechanics also remain theories, in just the same way as evolution. That is, they are bodies of theory attempting to explain observations. In the case of the theory of evolution, it’s the fact of evolution. The theory of universal gravitation has the same semantic ambiguity, as do the theories of relativity and quantum mechanics. The facts, ie observation, to be explained and the explanations use the same word, ie gravity, evolution, relativity and quantum.
        Evolution is much better understood than is gravity.

      • Mike Graebner April 27, 2017 at 7:51 pm
        You gave me nothing. As I told you, the Day-Age excuse is ancient and ludicrous. It refutes nothing. Linking to professional liars is not evidence of anything.
        Now please do as I ask and explain how, in your alternate universe, plants managed to exist without the sun, and how day and night happen without the sun.
        The hatred is all on the fundamentalist side. You hate not only the truth but anyone who points it out to you. You don’t even have a clue about the theology of your own ostensible religion.
        It’s pointless to try to educate those who refuse to see, than whom no one is more blind.

        • Plants did not exist before the sun.It refers to the atmosphere becoming more transparent over time. Hey i tried. You have your worldview and really will not intrude . You discount the links I gave you, Hugh Ross is an astronomer BTW. John Lennox is a Professor of Mathematics at Oxford University. he has debated Dawkins and because of John Lennox, Dawkins will not debate anymore. Got tired of losing I guess.

  12. The 97% lie has been soundly and repeatedly refuted:

    “From the Hockey Schtick: ‘The 97% “Consensus” is only 76 Self-Selected Climatologists — … close examination of the source of the claimed 97% consensus reveals that it comes from a non-peer reviewed article describing an online poll in which a total of only 79 climate scientists chose to participate. Of the 79 self-selected climate scientists, 76 agreed with the notion of AGW. … ‘“

    galileonardo: “I just wrote about this at The Guardian the other day: … {link}

    I hear the 97% figure thrown around a lot, … I dug a bit and found the one-page report that was published in Eos January … .
    Here are the two relevant questions that were asked in the survey:

    1. When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?
    2. Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

    Here are the results:

    In our survey, the most specialized and knowledgeable respondents (with regard to climate change) are those who listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change (79 individuals in total). Of these specialists, 96.2% (76 of 79) answered “risen” to question 1 and 97. 4% (75 of 77) answered yes to question 2. ….

    The first question is irrelevant. We have been rebounding from the Little Ice Age for over 200 years! …,
    {Re:] the second question …. Why do you think it was phrased in that manner? Why didn’t they use a less ambiguous statement more in line with the IPCC consensus claims? How does one quantify a ‘significant contributing factor?’ ….”
    ( )


    The following is a list of 97 articles that refute Cook’s … 97% consensus study: … [list]
    Compiled by and reproduced here with permission.”

    ( )

    • notrickszone has a list of two thousand peer reviewed papers from the last TWO years which refute the CO2 caused global warming nonsense.

      • Pierre Gosselin’s site is, indeed a good one, Stan! 🙂 (hope all is well with you)
        Here is the page for articles from 2016 (there are hundreds more, for prior years — see No Tricks Zone):

        …. in 2016 alone, 500 peer-reviewed scientific papers published in scholarly journals seriously question just how settled the “consensus” science really is that says anthropogenic or CO2 forcing now dominates weather and climate changes …..

        ( )

  13. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle…on a lot of topics. With regards to climate science, yes humans are responsible for an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere. However, that doesn’t mean CO2 has caused temperatures to rise, or that a rise in temperature has been caused by humans, etc. There is a big gap there.
    I believe that God created the universe and the earth, and the life thereon. However, I don’t believe that it was done a few thousand years ago and I don’t have a problem that his creation can evolve and change. Pure evolutionists have to make some mighty leaps to explain a lot of things from a purely accidental and evolutionary framework. Just as creationists do when they contend that dinosaurs didn’t exist, or died off a couple thousand years ago, or fossils were planted by Satan to deceive. There is room to offer both, though creationism that adheres to a particular religion should not be taught. As a theory that a creator (unspecified) is the logical (not scientific) answer to highly complex organisms and the complexities of the universe, creationism is acceptable as a possibility. At this point, it can’t be proven. Neither can the theory of evolution (not scientifically). It also depends on logic and showing a fossil progression. There is nothing wrong with saying there are things we don’t know and still try to establish a framework that explains what we observe. The fact that our theories regarding the origin of the universe, black holes, dark matter and energy, etc. are changing on a regular basis is exhilarating. It means we haven’t stopped thinking, exploring and challenging old concepts. Science is never “settled”, or it isn’t science.

    • I agree. Evolution cannot ever be proven, other than “things change”. That’s not something most biologists accept and generally results in individuals calling the speaker a “creationist” or a “religious nut”. Just as in climate science, ridicule and name-calling is common. It’s nearly impossible to have an actual discussion on the short-comings. I have no desire to remove all teaching of evolution from science, only to be honest about the short-comings and limits thereof. Just as skeptics demand from climate science. As you say, science is never settled.

      • I’ve always found it fascinating how some evolutionists get angry, almost to the point of violence when I bring up the possibility that evolution might have been guided rather than pure, 100% random chance.
        The truth is, neither can be proven.
        It doesn’t bother me that they don’t believe in a God, why should they get all bent out of shape when they learn that I do?

      • The point is that the theory of evolution is not a belief system – it is a theoretical framework developed by Darwin (and subsequently others) based on observation. No scientific theory can be completely provemn, as in order for it to be scientific it has, in principle, to be falsifiable. The theory of evolution and its elements is falsifiable – that is we can imagine observations which it cannot account for or which contradict it.

      • Is the belief that all the mutations that bring about evolution are the result of random chance, falsifiable?

      • The fact of evolution doesn’t need to be “proven”, which is not even a scientific concept. It has been repeatedly observed, makes falsifiable predictions which are confirmed over and over.
        Please study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.

      • Mark,
        As I keep pointing out, it’s unscientific to conjecture about possible divinely inspired mutations without presenting any evidence in support of that assertion. Of course you’re free to imagine that this has happened, but for it to be science, you need to show which mutations did in fact result from direct divine intervention in the development of life.
        In science, the null hypothesis is that the processes we observe occur naturally, without divine intervention. That’s why we look for natural explanations. Thus it is not incumbent upon biologists to demonstrate that every mutation occurred naturally rather than supernaturally. It’s incumbent upon you to show that this or that mutation could not have happened naturally.
        No one has ever been able to do that. Until that happens, then the unsupported conjecture of supernatural mutations will remain a religious belief, not science. No development in the history of the evolution of life on earth requires a supernatural explanation.

      • Chimp, in other words, you just assume on blind faith that God could not have been involved.
        You ask me to prove what cannot be proven, at the same time relieving yourself of the same burden.

      • Mark,
        No, I assume nothing on blind faith. You keep misunderstanding me.
        I keep stating that there is no evidence for God’s being involved in the creation of new species or mutations. It’s possible (although highly unlikely), but a scientific hypothesis requires evidence. You have none. It’s just a religious belief on your part.
        Why should I imagine a supernatural explanation for what is fully explained by entirely natural phenomena? There is no need. Not just the scientific method but even basic philosophy supports this view, as in Occam’s Razor.

      • MarkW April 26, 2017 at 11:50 am
        There has never been an instance of an unexplained mutation requiring divine intervention, so the hypothesis that all mutations are natural, not supernatural, has never been falsified, but repeatedly confirmed.

      • Chimp- ” the processes we observe occur naturally, without divine intervention….”
        The universe was created by God, making all natural processes products of divine intervention.
        Science is part of the universe and by definition isn’t suitable to ascertain the cause of the universe. It can’t eat its own tail, sso to speak.

      • Philo,
        It is your religious belief, shared by the majority of Americans, that the universe was created by God. However that’s not a scientific conclusion, since the God hypothesis can’t be shown false or confirmed by testing predictions made upon it. Hence, it is a faith-based belief rather than a scientific statement.
        But, yes, so far science can’t conclude that God doesn’t exist and didn’t make the universe. Neither however is their evidence that He did. Some scientists have tried to falsify the God hypothesis, but so far their results aren’t persuasive.
        Evolution might be God’s tool, but demonstrably it arises naturally from the processes of reproduction, without any sign of proximate or even ultimate intervention.

  14. Over 31,000 scientists say, “No” to AGW:
    Oregon Petition Project

    We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
    There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

    ( )

  15. The battle is between belief and reason. The confrontation between Science and Religion was won by science when Darwin was confronted over his theory of evolutiuon by the established church and won. Belief systems cannot win against reason, ergo we need to teach kids how to think rather than a particular version of ‘the truth’ – there is no such thing as ‘the truth’ in science.
    Belief systems lead to conflict, prejudice, dogma, intolerance and reduce prosperity.
    The Western world needs to bravely characterise itself as pro-reason, and not retreat into belief systems, however politically convenient they may be.

    • Evolution is a belief system in many ways. However, it may be your belief system so you want to characterize it as “science”, not a belief system.
      (Isn’t Darwin “beating” the church an appeal to a legal outcome or authority? Darwin “won” a legal battle. Also, science and religion are two very different things so I’m not sure how one “wins” out over the other. Science can be a religion to many people. People with “conventional” religions can believe in science. The criteria for the beliefs, however, are very, very different.)

      • If Charles Darwin’s original description “descent with modification” had been used, the model in biology would be rather more clear. What gets conflated with evolution is progressive tendencies over time, or the origins of life in general. Layered onto those is the tendency of some militant atheist to use biology as a preaching tool.
        The issue is just how much the advocates can use politics, in other words, force, to shut up the other side. I will argue that creationists and CAGW advocates have both been guilty of trying to tell the other side to shut up or else.

      • Tom,
        Those who conflate evolution with abiogenesis have never studied either. Clearly, our schools failed them, or they chose willfully not to grasp the simple distinction between the origin of living things and their development after the origin.
        Not that the origin of life is an intractable problem, as once thought. Hypotheses concerning the many ways in which it might have happened on earth are currently being tested.

      • Chimp: Progressive changes are observed, based on various factors. So, please tell me which animals will go extinct in the next 50 years. The theory should tell you how to answer that if it’s scientific.

    • Religion doesn’t believe in reason?
      Funny how ignorant those who know nothing about religion are.

      • A very broad statement. Some religions do accept reason, others don’t. Religious belief, spirituality and the like are essentially personal questions rather that attempts to explain the universe objectively. They depend on faith. This is not wrong, it is just not scientific. I know several scientists who are also deeply religious – but their beliefs do not affect their science.

      • There is reason involved in some religions, but it is applied to beliefs not supported by evidence but taken on faith.
        Christianity has a large body of theological reasoning, some of it quite profound, but the rational analyses are of things unseen.

      • Mark, isn’t it more productive to argue forward from the resurrection of Jesus to the New Creation? After all, if one believes that, isn’t easy that the world was created with apparent age, stars in place millions of light years away, etc?

    • did Darwin really win? “But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
      [To William Graham 3 July 1881]”
      ― Charles Darwin

  16. I think evolution is appropriate in schools and church/state issues push creationists doubts outside the school environment. In that area I am aligned with many that I don’t line up so well with on the issue of renewables. It seems to me on evolution no one try’s to shut down the dialogue outside of the public schools. In the area of climate and renewables it seems they want to shut down the dialogue everywhere.

    • Should we use government to require the teaching of things to children, that the parents disagree with?
      If so, who gets to decide and how far do we take it?
      If your answer boils down to we teach those things that I agree with, then you are no different than the creationists in that regard.

      • That’s not my take, you’ve put words in my mouth. The only reference I made to what should be taught in school was to include evolution and exclude items driven by creationism (a religious ideology). Some misconstrue secular as some kind of awe full word, but in its proper understanding I say schools should limit themselves to secular subjects . Evolution has a long place in science and is overwhelmingly accepted by our major universities and a powerful theory and perspective.
        While I have my doubts about the quality of climate science in our universities-I do not argue against teaching climate or advocate that parts of the curriculum should refer to the questions raised by so called “deniers”. Schools should try to teach our best collective understandings. I do wish it was not so proselytizing. If schools touch on renewables-i wish they would get informations from non-ideologues.
        You will find parents who disagree with most everything. Vaccines, round earth, birth control, history…

      • Who gets to determine what this “best understanding” is?
        Once you decide that it is the role of the government to decide what is and isn’t proper to teach, you open the door to all of the rest, regardless of whether that is your intent or not.

      • Are you serious? Certainly the “government” must make those sorts of calls. People are elected, make appointments and exercise oversight. They are not free to be dictators but within parameters they exercise judgement. Curriculums are developed. Their are balance like courts and constitution. Been going on a long time. Otherwise what?

      • aplanningengineer: Suppose the elected party is Muslim and wants only Muslim doctrine taught. Suppose the Democrats are running the show and only want global warming taught. Suppose Wiccans are elected and only want their beliefs taught. Yes, it has been going on for a long time, but that doesn’t make it the best choice anymore than a 97% consensus makes global warming true. As David Middleton says, teach scientific method. It won’t please everyone. That’s a case of allowing private and home schools. That worked for many years before the government took over all education. The US started with small, local schools.

      • Sheri-if you think small town America didn’t teach religion when it was just small local schools you are very naive. They continued to do so for some as and after the “guvmemt” took over. My junior high principal was quoted in the local paper saying “nine old men in black robes are not going to tell me how to run my schools”. The same courts that limit (your?) Christian beliefs from being imposed also should work to limit majority Muslim and Wiccan beliefs being imposed where they attain majorities. It’s not just the scientific method as if anything could be that simple, Was the “new deal” helpful or harmful? Who are characterized as aggressors in the wars? …. Politics will impact curriculum and majorities will impact influence. Appeals to standards you think are objective based on how you see it (but actually there is a lot of variance). is not a standard that has ever been successfully implemented or ever will be,

      • aplanning: YOU are the person inserting the idea that local schools did not teach religion. My comment was local schools can teach what they want. That worked for many years before the government took over all education/propaganda. Local areas chose what they wanted taught, not a Federal Government. It’s a state’s right/individual freedom case. Religious areas can teach religion. It’s THEIR choice—they pay for the schools and hire the teachers. The federal government needs to stay out. It’s how America began and it worked fine.

      • Sheri- If you are a serious federalist – I can respect that. If you feel the same way about a 60% Christian majority pushing their ideas on the other 40% that you do for 60% Muslim or Wiccan district, I’m not going to critique, criticize or suggest you change. I tend towards Favoring some national standards in the USA, but I see that there are benefits in local control and using different areas as experiments. I’d much rather live in an area where the schools are pushing our best common nonreligous ideas. But good luck to those who see it different and if we can learn from them all the better.
        Now if you just favor Christianity but not the others – I get who you are and I’m done with this one.

  17. If they simply taught ‘critical thinking using the facts’ then the students could make their OWN minds up on BOTH subjects. But lower school tends to teach by rote rather than thought. It’s how ALL religions get a hold of the young.

  18. My kids went to a religious school. They were taught creationism and evolution side by side. They learned about the pros and cons of each. Importanlty, they learned that both are not true science. And that belief in one or the another really does not impact the march of science. They also know both theories better than any public school kid.

    • That’s a proper perspective: separation of logical domains. Each theory of creationism has its value, separately, and together. The conflict is not in the chaotic process (e.g. human life from conception to death), where intimate knowledge and experience establish our frame of reference; but in the theory of origin. Divine creationists attribute origin to an extra-universal source, while evolutionary creationists attribute it to spontaneous conception (e.g. legerdemain, viability).

    • Excellent. Teach theories, explain that a theory isn’t a proven fact, it is an argument and explanation that seeks to rationally organize evidence and make sense of it. Allowing “creationism” or “intelligent design” without a religious component offers a competing theory and emphasizes that the science isn’t settled. It is still being explored. Teach the theory. Teach the supports for those theories. Let the student decide which one makes the most sense, or an amalgam between the two. We know that a particular species can deviate into separate lines that become too far apart to breed, or in some cases, still can. I believe it was on this site a couple of days ago that there was an article finding that polar bears interbred with brown/grizzly bears, and that those bears interbred with other bear species such that polar bear DNA found its way to bear species that had no contact with polar bears. We know that horses and donkeys can breed and the offspring is a mule. In most cases, horses and donkeys are too far apart for the mule to be fertile, but in rare examples, there have been fertile mules. These two examples argue the veracity of evolution. On the other hand, there are very complex organs, limbs, etc. that are non-functional and actually a detriment to the animal until their developed state is achieved. The proposed evolutionary pathway requires that the organ develop over a long period of time, acquiring beneficial mutations that simply progress the development, but don’t do anything in the interim and somehow, over thousands and millions of years, eventually a functional, useful organ results. Creation/Intelligent Design would say that the animal was created with the functional organ, or that it’s development was done with purpose, the way we breed dogs, plants, etc. with the characteristics and functions we desire.

      • Creationism/ID are not scientific theories or hypotheses, hence cannot be taught in public schools. The only new idea in ID was “irreducible complexity”, which is an anti-scientific concept, since it says it’s impossible to figure out a structure evolved. No more anti-scientific attitude is possible than to throw up your arms and declare, “There’s no way I can explain that observation!”
        Behe’s example was bacterial flagella. The first time I saw one under a microscope, I laughed out because it looked so machine-like. Yet instead of trying to understand how it evolved, so that we could use that information to develop new antibacterial drugs against the numerous flagellated pathogens, Behe said, “Aha! Proof of ID!”
        Sadly for him, real scientists have since worked out how bacterial flagella did evolve. Another “proof” gone “poof”!
        Under cross-examination at the Dover trial, even Behe, who hatched the ID scheme to get around the constitution, had to admit that evolution is a fact.

      • Chimp: Climate change is THE current theory. It’s scientific according to many, many people. Therefore, it should be taught and no others. According to the government until the current administration, all theories opposing it were NOT scientific and many still feel that way.

      • Sheri,
        Although a court let stand the false EPA finding that CO2 is a pollutant, no US court has ever found that CACA is science and climate skepticism isn’t. Too many scientists would object.
        But every federal court ruling on creationism has rightly found it not to be science, hence it’s unconstitutional to teach it as science rather than religion.

    • Then they weren’t taught science and you should sue for your money back
      There are no pros for creationism. It is not science, since not based upon facts, ie observations, upon which hypotheses are formed and tested by predictions subject to being shown false.
      Evolution is scientific fact. Creationism is a religious belief based upon nothing but blind faith, without a single shred of supporting fact.

    • “My kids went to a religious school. They were taught creationism and evolution side by side.”
      That’s the way I would do it. Give everyone all the information available and allow them to make up their own minds about things.
      A debate like this one here on WUWT would be a good example of giving all sides of the story. The truth will set us free, if we can figure out what the truth is, and we will be farther along the path to doing that by absorbing all the information available from all sides.

  19. Why should pupils be forced to learn any hypotheses? I have always thought a good teacher teaches pupils how to learn for themselves: to give them the basic tools, provide the motivation and let the students build their own store of knowledge and experience. I guess I’m dreaming again.

    • You are dreaming. Wake Up!
      Education as a voyage of discovery is a metaphor, not a teaching technique.
      If we have our students “discovering” everything, once every few hundred years one of them will discover calculus. With calculus in hand, the orbital motion of the planets will soon be discovered.
      Better, I think, to set forth the knowledge and have the kids learn it. Saves time.
      As an aside:
      In the US, a popular education theory developed in the 1980s, was the idea that the kids “discover” the knowledge. The kids would teach themselves and each other. (the Student Workgroup concept) As far as I could see, it was a dodge to hide the fact that new teachers coming out of the university Education programs did not know a damn thing.
      US History: Could not tell you who fought in the Civil War, much less who won.
      Geography: Could not identify Canada and Mexico as US neighbors, even with a map.
      Math: YouGottaBeKiddingMe.
      Science: Dirty Word, Foul Language.

  20. … actively publishing, accredited climate scientists …

    Generally speaking, the longer your title is, the less important you are in an organization.
    In this case, the more modifiers they have to apply, the weaker their case.

  21. usually creationism teaching has as much time spent teaching evolution.
    both are theories.
    mans role (full blame) in climate change is not offset by other teachings.
    so far.

      • Climate change is an observation.
        Anthropogenic climate change is a weak hypothesis.
        Catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is a falsified hypothesis.

      • Catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is a strawman and not a part of science. There is no “catastropic” in the scientific literature. There is no “catastrophic” in AGW. The strawman was constructed such that it can be knocked down (falsified.)

      • Michael Darby April 26, 2017 at 7:09 pm
        It should be obvious that if AGW is beneficial, as Arrhenius and Callendar believed, then there is no reason to shut down industrial society to combat it.
        Obama called it “dangerous”. Hansen speaks of the “Venus Express” and oceans boiling.
        Where have you been? Don’t you read what alarmists write and say?

      • Chimp, show me in the scientific literature where exactly the “catastrophic” is demonstrated. Obama wasn’t a scientist, so please don’t bring him up. Please post a link to a published study of the “catastrophe” you are talking about.

      • I already gave you Hansen. What more could you possibly want?
        Try reading his book. Nothing but catastrophism of the most overheated kind.

      • Hey Chimp, thanks for the link to “Fortune.” Now, if you went to the actual paper ( ) that the Fortune article was referencing, you would see the title the words ” could be dangerous ”

        Now, if you read the abstract for that paper, outside of the title, there is no mention of “catastrophe” nor is there any mention of “danger.” You need something better Chimp….because that paper is pretty dry, lays out what the model runs show.

        Here’s the abstract:
        “Abstract. We use numerical climate simulations, paleoclimate data, and modern observations to study the effect of growing ice melt from Antarctica and Greenland. Meltwater tends to stabilize the ocean column, inducing amplifying feedbacks that increase subsurface ocean warming and ice shelf melting. Cold meltwater and induced dynamical effects cause ocean surface cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic, thus increasing Earth’s energy imbalance and heat flux into most of the global ocean’s surface. Southern Ocean surface cooling, while lower latitudes are warming, increases precipitation on the Southern Ocean, increasing ocean stratification, slowing deepwater formation, and increasing ice sheet mass loss. These feedbacks make ice sheets in contact with the ocean vulnerable to accelerating disintegration. We hypothesize that ice mass loss from the most vulnerable ice, sufficient to raise sea level several meters, is better approximated as exponential than by a more linear response. Doubling times of 10, 20 or 40 years yield multi-meter sea level rise in about 50, 100 or 200 years. Recent ice melt doubling times are near the lower end of the 10–40-year range, but the record is too short to confirm the nature of the response. The feedbacks, including subsurface ocean warming, help explain paleoclimate data and point to a dominant Southern Ocean role in controlling atmospheric CO2, which in turn exercised tight control on global temperature and sea level. The millennial (500–2000-year) timescale of deep-ocean ventilation affects the timescale for natural CO2 change and thus the timescale for paleo-global climate, ice sheet, and sea level changes, but this paleo-millennial timescale should not be misinterpreted as the timescale for ice sheet response to a rapid, large, human-made climate forcing. These climate feedbacks aid interpretation of events late in the prior interglacial, when sea level rose to +6–9 m with evidence of extreme storms while Earth was less than 1 °C warmer than today. Ice melt cooling of the North Atlantic and Southern oceans increases atmospheric temperature gradients, eddy kinetic energy and baroclinicity, thus driving more powerful storms. The modeling, paleoclimate evidence, and ongoing observations together imply that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level could be dangerous. Continued high fossil fuel emissions this century are predicted to yield (1) cooling of the Southern Ocean, especially in the Western Hemisphere; (2) slowing of the Southern Ocean overturning circulation, warming of the ice shelves, and growing ice sheet mass loss; (3) slowdown and eventual shutdown of the Atlantic overturning circulation with cooling of the North Atlantic region; (4) increasingly powerful storms; and (5) nonlinearly growing sea level rise, reaching several meters over a timescale of 50–150 years. These predictions, especially the cooling in the Southern Ocean and North Atlantic with markedly reduced warming or even cooling in Europe, differ fundamentally from existing climate change assessments. We discuss observations and modeling studies needed to refute or clarify these assertions.”
        I don’t see where they assert anything that resembles “danger” or “catastrophe.” Looks to me like you got sucked in by the interpretation of the results of the study by the journalist at Fortune.

      • Apparently you’re unfamiliar with how scientific papers are couched. Results are always suggested, tentative, requiring more research, etc.
        You wanted instances of “climate scientists” discussing catastrophic consequences. I gave them to you in abundance. They could be multiplied many times over, whether storms, sea level, polar bears, whatever.
        How is Hansen’s “boiling oceans” not catastrophic?

      • ” I gave them to you in abundance.” you gave me one article from fortune, which references one paper, that says “imply that 2 °C global warming above the preindustrial level could be dangerous.” You say they talk about “catastrophic consequences.” but there was no mention of ANY consequences.

        Lastly, please point me to the scientific paper where Hansen talks about “boiling oceans.” Apparently you seem to be confused with a fictional story written by Hansen. “Storms of my Grandchildren” wasn’t a peer reviewed report on a scientific study right?
        Chimp….do you understand the difference between a novel and a published peer reviewed paper?

      • LMAO @ Chimp…..”Storms of my Grandchildren” wasn’t peer reviewed.
        Do you have a clue?

        Are you incapable of telling the difference between “opinion” and “science?”

      • No Chimp, if you write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper, and it gets published, you can’t call yourself a “reporter.”

      • Hansen claims that his opinion is based upon science. He made the same claims in his ostensibly scientific studies, as did his colleagues to whom I pointed you.
        So do the authors of all the other papers which I’ve cited.
        How have you managed to miss the statements by science societies warning of catastrophic consequences?
        For instance, In 2009, the American Institute of Professional Geologists (AIPG) sent a statement to President Barack Obama and other US government officials. It read:
        “The geological professionals in AIPG recognize that climate change is occurring and has the potential to yield catastrophic impacts if humanity is not prepared to address those impacts. It is also recognized that climate change will occur regardless of the cause. The sooner a defensible scientific understanding can be developed, the better equipped humanity will be to develop economically viable and technically effective methods to support the needs of society.”
        You’re a hopeless case, ignoring reality. So-called climate scientists have to argue for catastrophic effects. Otherwise, why fund them and why destroy civilization?

      • Chimp: ” He made the same claims in his ostensibly scientific studies”

        Please point me to the scientific study where he talks about “boiling oceans.”

        “Statements” by scientific societies are again “opinion” not science.

        I still challenge you to give me a link to a scientific study that shows “catastrophe”

        Are you so inept that you can’t distinguish the difference between opinion and research reports?

        • MD, James Hansen had a senior position with NASA, and testified as an “expert ” witness. Who do you want to defend, Michael Mann? Thomas Karl? The sort of models and positions they take fit the dismissive term CAGW.

      • PS Chimp…..“why destroy civilization?” ……you do realize that you’ve just proffered your “opinion”???

    • Creationism is not a scientific theory. It cannot be disproved, which is the fundamental requirement for a scientific theory.

      • Sheri,
        Wrong. Where do you get these false ideas about science, such as that the Big Bang and evolution don’t make falsifiable predictions? They most certainly do.
        Of course the Big Bang can be shown false. It just hasn’t been, although many are trying.
        The hypothesis makes a number of predictions, most if not all of which have been confirmed. None that I know of has been shown false, but I’m far from expert in cosmology.

    • Evolution is a fact, with a body of theory trying to explain its processes. Same as the heliocentric theory, theories of universal gravitation, atomic structure of matter, disease germs, relativity, quantum mechanics and continental drift.

  22. I also believe that creationism is junk science.

    It isn’t science at all, its metaphysics.
    When you examine science and creationism in detail you find that they differ in terms of what they both hold to be ‘true’
    Science begins with the assumption hat the physical world is the most real thing, and that it behaves according to the principle of cause and effect as expressed in natural laws in operating in space time.
    Creationism begins with the assumption of the Absolute unequivocal and literal Truth of the Holy Bible.
    Both then use the assumptions to construct a narrative. The timelines of science extend back to the Big Bang, billions of years ago, when some sort of Prime Cause caused the earth to be brought into existence.
    Creationism goes back 6000 odd years I think at which point a God created everything including fossil dinosaurs to test men’s Faith, in one magical fell swoop.
    The problem arises because the Adherents of both narratives will insist that these are not narratives, but the One Truth.
    And that is partly the fault of science, and wannabe scientists talking about ‘scientific truths’ which simply dont exist. What exists is an accurate mathematical narrative that allows us to predict the future in small ways and build technology. Creationism doesn’t make any testable predications. And indeed some of its proponents wouldn’t say it contradicts science either. All the laws are the same, they say, its just that god made them 6000 years ago, not a big bang 13 billion years ago or whatever it is.
    Mutatis mutandis these two world views are in fact identical. Neither has more predictive power and neither is demonstrably wrong. One has to resort to Occam, to ‘pick the simplest’ and of course that tends to depend on who you are and what you believe to be ‘simple’…
    The problem arises becaiuse of mutual arrogance and lack of humility in both parties. If science wannabes would stop claiming science is ‘true’ and instead realise its just ‘what works’ we wouldn’t have them irritating the religious, and if the religious were moire humble in claiming that the One True Word of the One Truie God was actually wroitten down in a book that has been translated from one language to another with many mistakes, elisions, mistranslations and so on., then the problem would disappear.
    I am all in favour of teaching creationism.
    In a philosophy class. It’s interesting. But it ain’t science.

      • I think evolution is to an extent testable against fact. I..e. we breed animals and we cross breed animals and plants so we know that genetics can mutate and change.
        What do you mean by ‘evolution’ that living things change, that’s all. Tats a hypothesis one can try and disprove, but you wont succeed. Cancer is proof that life changes
        And it its intelligent design causing it, its pretty damned malicious….
        All science says is that there is no *need* to posit an intelligent creator to explain the Universe .
        Ultimately metaphysical propositions are not amenable to proof: at best we can say that they are [not] useful.

      • Leo,
        The fact of evolution is tested experimentally every day in every way, not just to some extent, and always found valid.
        Do you mean that we can’t directly observe the evolution that occurred during the previous four billion years before modern science? That depends upon what you consider direct observation. If it means seeing it as it happened, then no. But if it means looking at the evidence and seeing no other possible scientific explanation, then yes, it has been observed in operation for four billion years, plus.
        We may soon be able to observe it on other celestial bodies as well.

      • Leo—Then there is no need for any social sciences. All our problems can be solved by drugs. That’s science. Emotion and love and other such ideas are not scientifically verifiable unless they are nothing more than a biological reaction. That makes things much simpler.

  23. Religion and faith are the very human art of believing something without evidence or proof. This is possibly (and evolutionarily) an important human trait because it is so prevalent. Science is something completely different or opposite. Science is a deliberate process to try and disprove something by seeking evidence in support, but failing in that, choosing not to “believe”. It is making predictions based on theory and testing whether they align with observations. It is, at its center, skepticism as opposed to faith. In religion or any belief system, the application of science principles is pointless because belief is built-in and the tools of science can never prove a belief is false, or prove non-existence (think gods, ghosts, aliens, etc.) Those who try to link teaching of creationism with an objective presentation of the controversies that abound in attribution and quantification of various drivers of climate phenomena, are very deliberately confusing two completely different if not opposite phenomena. It is “apples and fish”.

    • AndrewPattulo – “Religion and faith are the very human art of believing something without evidence or proof.”
      I’m sorry, Andrew, but you are just wrong. My faith is not based on believing something without evidence. I have evidence that convinced me of the reality that God exists.
      Does the fact that you have never met any of my sisters prove that I have no sisters? No, it just means that you’ve never met any of my sisters. Similarly, the fact that you have never met God does not prove He doesn’t exist – only that you’ve never met Him.

      • What tests does your ‘evidence’ pass? Is it repeatable, observable, independently verifiable? If it doesn’t meet these tests it is simply a subjective state of mind.
        I don’t have to have met your sisters to accept you may have sisters. If asked in a court of law whether you have sisters, I would have to meet them before affirming that you do. Therefore the question of whether you have sisters is a scientific one as it can be falsified (if you claim to have them but in fact don’t.) This does not apply to the question of the existence of your God as you cannot produce him (or her.)

      • What evidence do you have in favor of a God, Creator or whatever other supernatural being you believe exists?
        As I’ve written before, Protestant theology requires belief in God and His Son on blind faith alone. It must, since otherwise the faith is of no value. If your belief is based upon evidence, then there’s no need for faith. I’ve elsewhere quoted the relevant NT passages upon which Luther and Calvin relied in founding Protestantism. Anglican theology lies somewhere between Catholic and Protestant doctrine. Or dogma.
        Thus, for salvation (:justification”) by faith alone to work, God must remain above scientific or rational philosophical “proof”, as attempted by the Scholastics. Requiring evidence for God is actually blasphemous in Protestant theology. Fundamentalists miss this point because they worship the Bible rather than God. Bibliolatry is idolatry, hence anathema and blasphemy.

  24. I’m not trying to cause any trouble here but can we all just remember that Alfred Russell Wallace has a more than equal claim to unlocking understanding of Evolution, which is not Darwinism. Darwin just had some very rich and influential friends who ensured his paper on natural selection got priority. Poor (literally) Wallace gets screwed over to this day on the history, although things have begun to change slowly. I wonder who of the pair of them would have gone along with AGW
    (Idle and useless speculation to be ignored, but speculative fun)

    • And both Wallace and Darwin were beaten to the buzzer by a Scot called Patrick Matthews in the 1830s who set out the basics to the theory of natural selection in an addendum on a piece on arboriculture and boatbuilding . . . There are numerous online refs to Matthews and his work, including this one: . It’s referred to in Walker’s Revival of the Democratic Intellect (1994, Polygon, Edinburgh). Daniel Dennett also identifies Matthews and his work on page 49 of his “Darwin’s Dangerous Idea”. For those looking for a very comprehensive discussion of evolution – Dennett’s book is good, and Sean B Carroll’s Making of the Fittest is better still imv.

      • True, but not surprisingly, no one in the broader scientific community read his article in an obscure periodical. Nor did he do anything concrete with his insight. Darwin and Wallace, by contrast, mustered supporting evidence from many sources around the world.
        Others to before them glimpsed evolutionary processes dimly, to include Darwin’s grandfather. If Lamarck had had Darwin’ insight instead of the conjecture he did come up with, biology and medicine would be a lot farther advanced now.

    • No, iMO Wallace can’t hold a candle to Darwin, who had the insight in 1837, then spend two decades researching his hypothesis to test it and obtain evidence. One of the best diagrams of common descent I’ve ever seen was the sketch in Darwin’s notebook from that year.
      Wallace sent his letter to Darwin because he had heard that the distinguished naturalist was a secret (except to friends) “transformationist”, but didn’t know that he had already discovered natural selection. Maybe private transformationist is better, since he really didn’t make his views secret, but hadn’t published them yet.
      A book in 1844 about “development”, what would now be called “succession”, in the fossil record was surprisingly well received, helping to allay some of Darwin’s worries about heresy. Yet he still didn’t rush to press. He wanted to compile so much evidence that no open minded person could fail to see the reality of his hypothesis.
      Wallace could not have written “Origin” in 1859 because he hadn’t spent the prior 20 years gathering evidence.

  25. Of course everybody in his right mind now knows in his bones that it is more than 6000 years ince the creation of the world – but that is new knowledge. We mustn’t forget that until less than 300 years ago every educated person thought the same thing. Only the odd geologist was beginning to suspect otherwise. Children then was certainly being taught creationism. Does it really matter that much in the big scheme of things if a few kids get told stupid knowledge at school, be it creationism or climate alarmism? The main thing is that they are free to grow up and think things out for themselves. What really matters is that our society gives us the freedom to talk and to print books.. Everything will work out peacefully then.

    • Of course everybody in his right mind now knows in his bones that it is more than 6000 years since the creation of the world
      Time does not exist. Only memory. Time is a way of ‘explaining’ memory 🙂

      • What kind of memory do you mean? The very incomplete and conflicting memories of humankind, or the physical memories of the earth that archaeologists sift very partially through? Or perhaps, those on hard drives all over the world now? Or do you mean that the events of our past actually occurred but not through the medium we call time? Or are you suggesting that time is only a construct, a concept we’ve devised to aid and organise our understanding, meaning that there is no dimension of time? If the last, then I agree. There is imv only an eternal present where all action occurs at the same “time”/moment, and then it’s over and the wave of action moves on. Behind the wave is the past (memories of every kind – mostly inaccessible, except for those on hard drives etc), and in front of the wave is the future. . . . ?? Bit of a free for all on this page today Mr Watts! Thanks for the space on this part of the wave!

    • Yes, AndyE, it matters. Children learn to follow rote learning (evolution, climate change) or they learn to think. If we teach them to follow only rote, they make great subjects for dictators and cannot ever survive in a free society. So it matters if you care about children thinking freely. Consider that Muslim children learn everything through the lens of their religion. Not many ever leave that position. Even as children, they may be willing to die to defend their beliefs. It matters.

      • Evolution is as far from rote learning as possible. It’s the most exciting of all scientific endeavors, with the most benefit for humanity. It explains everything that can be observed in the natural world.

      • Every child who ever lives is continually exposed to “rote learning” of a sort, both at home and at school – on all sort of subjects. We simply have to acept it. It is impossibly to legislate against, for example. In a free society it sorts itself out in the end.The beauty of an individual human brain is that is is cognisant and conscious – we are not animals who automatically act in response to some stimuli. But yes, we need a free society – freedom to speak and act. If your Muslim children weren’t restricted by their society and their parents they would break that mould within a generation.

      • Chimp, I think you’re going to swoon over evolution. You are positively in love with the whole idea.

      • Sheri,
        Indeed I do love evolution. It’s the most exciting, beautiful and profound of all great scientific insights. It explains everything about life on earth. I love nature, so must love the process by which its wonderful expressions came to be.
        It also offers the most hope for improvement of human life of any scientific discovery. I feel sorry for people too blinkered to study the subject and enjoy the deep understanding it permits.

  26. Evolutionary and divine creationism appeal to different segments of the population. Both are articles of faith that exist well outside the narrow limits of the scientific domain.
    That said, it must be noted that the latter acknowledge their belief as faith, while the former mischaracterize their belief as science. Not surprisingly, evolutionary creationists exhibit a high correlation with ideologies that deny individual dignity (e.g. [class] diversity) and life unworthy (e.g. selective-child). Of the two, the evolutionary creationists pose a clear and progressive threat to the integrity and utility of science through conflation of logical domains and to human rights through a violation of conservation of morality.
    People want to believe… in something. And the political leverage and narcissistic fervor are intoxicating.

      • Most people outside of the ivory towers, who do not grasp at the leverage of political industry, would choose to go fishing… to live life, when that is practicable. I would too, if people would respect a separation of logical domains.

    • Evolution is not creationism and requires no faith whatsoever. Just the facts. It is a natural process which is plainly evident on every side, all the time.
      Creationism is a belief system based upon nothing but blind faith. It is based upon no facts or evidence of any kind.

      • So you have proven that all the mutations that led up to modern animals were 100% random, or is this just something you take on blind faith?

      • Mark,
        Since there is zero reason to assume that divine mutations occur, I have nothing to “prove”. Indeed it’s antiscientific to imagine in the absence of a shred of evidence that they do occur.
        If you believe that this has happened, please offer some evidence. That’s how science works.
        I can’t “prove” that the universe rests on the back of a giant elephant, either, another proposition for which there is no evidence, same as divinely ordained mutations. As I said, you’re free to harbor whatever belief you want, but if you can’t support your conjecture with evidence from nature, subject to falsification, then it’s a religious belief and not a scientific hypothesis.
        That mutations can and do occur in the manners in which science has discovered is subject to such demonstration. That God did it, not so much. As in, at all.

      • MarkW: It is standard on the part of evolutionists I have known to replace belief in God with belief in nature and claim it is “real” because in their minds it removes the need for God, while ignoring how many things in evolution are not needed either.

      • I’m not sure why we need evolution at all, except to disprove religion. It does not accurately predict the future extinctions and what happened in the past may be fascinating, but much of what is done is simple cataloging of species, etc. You don’t need a theory for that. As David M said, it may predict where fossils will be found, but so what? It’s handy for scientists, but as far as life is concerned, evolution is pretty much irrelevant unless it’s a person’s “religious” belief that erased God. And yes, science can be a religion, if it forms the basis of your life’s beliefs, gives you comfort and meaning, and guides your life. The diety is a method, rather than being. (Note “Scientology” is a religion created by a SciFi writer.) It all depends on definitions. You define words and tems in a way that yields what YOU want. I know you will never consider that possible, but AGW people do precisely the same thing and you don’t seem to agree with them doing this.
        One could ask why it’s even necessary or desirable to know where we came from. If there is no God, as atheists say, there is no reason whatsoever to ask where we came from. It’s here and now—Nietzsche’s “whatever doesn’t kill you” is all that is needed in the here and now. Whether or not there were dinosaurs matters not. Here and now we need food, energy, etc. Why are we studying the past? It’s a waste, a total waste.

  27. The climate change catechism is being challenged in the US public schools? Oh Dear!
    I had to stop reading because my cognitive dissonance disturbed me so. And I need another cup of java before my morning hike….. /s
    I read the article on ‘Vice’, at the link provided by Eric above. It illustrates how firmly the indoctrination is seated in the minds of many who should ‘know better’ by now. ‘Climate Parents’…. Ugh!

  28. Some parents might mess up some children education, but a state can mess up all children education.
    I would prefer some children to be brainwashed into creationism, to a state that brainwashes all into submission.
    A state mass indoctrination is much worse than individual indoctrination of some individuals only.

  29. Vice reports that some US States are using new academic freedom initiatives, designed to prevent climate indoctrination, to add courses about creationism to mainstream school syllabuses.

    But is what Vice reports really true?
    Is there really a sneaky effort to get creationism is the schools under the guise of academic freedom?
    Or maybe, Vice is trying to protect the CAGW franchise in the public schools, labeling climate realists as the hated “Creationists” and using the old “Think of the Children” ploy.
    In one school district near me, the kids were complaining about having to sit through Al Gore’s “Inconvenient Truth” as many as 12 (!) times. No wonder parents might get involved. Easy to see where the CAGW crowd might not like it.
    The old leftist ploy, label the opposition as something ugly, like Creationist, Anti-Vaxer, Denia****.
    Shut Up!, they explained.

    • Warmunistas do repeatedly try to tar CACA skeptics with the brush of creationism. Unfortunately, the charge sometimes sticks.
      But I agree that this is a pushback attempt by the Carbonari. As noted, it’s illegal to teach creationism in science classes, so any state trying to do so will be in violation of federal law, to include the constitution, which prohibits an establishment of religion.
      The first amendment’s establishment clause might not have been intended to apply to the states, but that’s how courts have ruled over time. There were in fact states in 1789 with established religions, ie official, publicly supported denominations.

  30. The theory of origin, whether characterized by divine or evolutionary creationism, cannot be falsified, cannot be established, other than through inference and assertion (e.g. axiom). The chaotic process (e.g. human life) that begins at conception should be incontrovertible, but is actually highly controversial in many secular sects, and taught as a negotiable choice in public schools.

    • Not sure what you mean by origin. As noted below, the origin of new species via evolutionary processes is observed every day. New species and even genera have been made in the lab as well as seen in the wild.
      If you mean the origin of all living things, that’s a chemical evolutionary process separate from biological evolution. Scientists are working on the problem of the origin of life and have made great progress in recent decades. We should be able to make artificial organisms from scratch within the lifetimes of at least some people reading this. Actually, we already can in some ways, but not yet just from mixing the organic chemical constituents of life together under the right conditions. We have however made a lot of wonderful things using directed evolution and synthetic biology.
      If you mean the origin of each individual human life, well that process is now well understood, too. There is always more to learn.

      • The evolutionary (i.e. chaotic) process is uncontroversial. Divine creationists recognize it as a physical process. Evolutionary creationists recognize it as a social process. Origin refers to a source. Not conception, while a highly controversial fact in liberal societies, and often denied for purposes of political progress, is a phenomenon observed and reproduced well within the narrow limits of the scientific domain. Creation or corruption of organisms neither proves nor disproves either of the creation theories. These topics are separable. Religion (i.e. moral philosophy) is separable from faith is separable from tradition and coexist with little conflict (the key is separation of logical domains). Just like climate change, anthropogenic climate change, and catastrophic anthropogenic climate change are separable and each must be qualified in its own right.

      • NN,
        There is no scientific theory of creation. To be scientific, a theory has to be based upon repeatedly confirmed hypotheses. There is no way to confirm a belief in creation by a God, and all the predictions made by biological creationists have been shown false.
        Unlike all other vertebrates, mammals have only a single lower jaw bone, the dentary. In mammals, the back two jaw bones of other vertebrates have migrated into the skull to form our unique middle ear structure.
        Creationists used to argue that mammals couldn’t have evolved from “reptiles” because that would mean at one time our ancestors had two jaw joints. Biologists predicted that fossils of such proto-mammals would be found, and they soon were, from all over the world. In these Triassic animals, the new jaw joint is already the main hinge, while the little bones of the other joint are already clearly being put to use to augment hearing.
        Here’s one such protomammal:
        Actually, as far as I’m concerned, it is a mammal, since it has the mammalian jaw joint, but some taxonomists prefer to assign it to the clade Mammaliaformes.

  31. Every believer in a physical resurrection of Jesus as the Bible describes is a creationist. They are asserting that known physical laws and the time/space continuum are not immutable. They are asserting that the spiritual unknowns vastly outweigh physical knowns.

    • I’ve always been fascinated by the conviction of those who know nothing about religion, that they in fact know more about religion than those who have been studying it their entire lives.

    • Scientists belief on faith that the physical “laws” they have identified are immutable. Why? Because their theory falls apart if that is not true. Therefore, it must be true.

      • Sheri,
        No. It’s because the laws have never been shown false. Einstein improved on Newton’s theory of universal gravitation, and science welcomed the advance.
        Science is self-correcting, so good scientists should welcome such improvements. Unfortunately, being human, they don’t always accept new discoveries, especially if they lack good explanatory processes, as acceptance of “transmutation of species” had to wait for the discovery of natural selection and continental drift had to await the discovery of seafloor spreading.

      • Sorry, arguing that EVERYTHING changed over billions of years EXCEPT the laws one needs to support their theory is not different than many of the arguments CAGW users use. It very muchly resembles circular reasoning.
        They have not been shown to have remained consistent, which would be the correct proof. What has not been found is an exception, but since the entire model is based on the “law” that things needed do not change, it’s impossible to disprove. A catch 22. (Kind of like the IPCC never disproving AGW because it’s their job to prove and maintain it.) Anything that might show a difference is rejected because the theory would says the finding is wrong. Also, there is no way to PROVE what happened billions of years ago. That is 100% FAITH-BASED. You can whine and moan all you want—it is simply impossible to know that. That only bothers you when it’s religion, not when it’s faith-based “science”.

        • Um…. do you have any evidence that the rules have changed? (Let’s avoid the term “laws” because of its semantic baggage.)
          People who do science for a living have looked for cases where the rules have changed, and they haven’t found any. Have you found something they’ve missed?
          And by the way, if the rules do change, then you can quit following this page now, because it relies on a belief system in which the rules don’t change.

      • Sheri,
        There is no reason to assume that the laws have changed. The physical laws which rule our universe have been shown to have operated since its origin. The astronomical, chemical, geologic and biological laws derived from physics have done so as well.
        Some surprises have arisen, to be sure, such as the discovery that the expansion of the universe appears to be speeding up.
        But if you have some sound, valid scientific reason for concluding that, for instance, the decay rate of uranium has changed over time, please present it. Science does assume that fundamental physical laws have always applied, but there has never been any reason to find that rational assumption false.

  32. Talk about science working by consensus. 100% of actively publishing, accredited creation scientists agree that at one time the world was destroyed by a flood.

  33. Creationism/intelligent design is fairly benign. However, socialism, in one form or another, has failed every time it has been tried, from Argentina to Zimbabwe. And in the wake of these failed socialist experiments, some 200,000,000 people have been left dead. Socialism has proven brutally destructive. So, why do so many people believe that it is OK? The number of people who voted for Bernie indicates the “fake news” meme of “higher education” and the dinosaur media has been very powerful in making people think that “black” is really “white” and that 2 + 2 can really equal 5. Watching the travails of Venezuela is just the latest horror story of socialism. I will take a creationist/intelligent design person over a socialist any day. At least they aren’t trying to enslave me.

    • It took the West over a 1000 years and millions of dead (not to mention millions of parishioners abused) to free itself from Creationists.
      We still are fighting them to stop them raping our children.
      Why do you think there as a Reformation? Why are we not all Catholics?
      Of course the real problem was that of not separating Church and State but it shows that Creationists can’t be trusted to respect others unless they are controlled by secular forces.
      Creationism has not been benign in the past. It still abuses people. It will continue to do so unless constrained by the rest of us.

  34. We should be able to teach and discuss what we know about our theories and the limitations therein.
    The limitations shared by the Climate Change theory and Evolution via speciation are that neither has any: Laws; Axioms; Postulates; formulae; or anything to reason with. They are each vacuous theories that offer no way to predict anything.
    Acknowledging the limitations of theories does not necessitate the acceptance of some other alternative. For example, we should be able to criticize the Theory of Evolution with regard to speciation, without necessarily defending Creationism.

    • Evolution is a fact, observed over and over and over again. Indeed, it cannot not happen. It’s unavoidable, given genetic inheritance.
      Evolution makes predictions all the time, and they have been confirmed. Creationism is always shown false. Evolution most certainly does obey laws. The branch of mathematics called statistics was invented to elucidate evolution, just as calculus arose out of physics and astronomy.
      New species are made in the lab and observed in the wild every year. Many of the speciation events seen in nature have been recreated in the lab.
      People tend to think of evolution, ie the origin of new species and genera, as gradual events taking many generations. That happens, of course, but more often they arise in a single generation, through such quick and dirty evolutionary processes as hybridization and polyploidy. In the latter case, all or part of an organism’s genome is duplicated, making much more genetic variation upon which evolution can work, but also creating a new species instantly, since the polyploid organism usually can’t reproduce with its parent species. It is probably the dominant method of speciation in plants and has occurred in all animal and fungal lines. It’s if anything even more common in unicellular organisms. The largest genome known belongs to an amoeba.
      At least two whole genome duplications occurred during human evolution, and probably more.
      For categories higher than genus, gradual evolutionary processes, such as natural selection, reproductive isolation, genetic drift, etc, do predominate. I don’t know of an instance of direct observation of the evolution of a new class or phylum, for instance. In those cases, you have to compare genomes and embryological development, look at fossils, study biogeography and have recourse to other sources of evidence for relationships to see how these groups of organisms evolved.
      But that they did arise through descent with modification is the only possible scientific inference and conclusion.

      • Chimp: “Evolution most certainly does obey laws.”
        I notice you haven’t provided any of those laws. Nor have you provided any of those predictions. If your Law is that it is Random, then by definition it is not predictive.
        In truth there are no Laws of speciation. There is no science to apply even when faced with simple questions.
        For example:
        1) what would the first step be for man to add the sensory ability of magnetic fields to the human species?
        2) If we are able to establish a colony of humans on Mars and then lose our ability to travel between the planets, when would the Mars’ colony become a separate species from Earthly humans?
        You’ll notice that if you attempt to answer these questions you have nothing to get started with, there is no science to apply.
        Farmers and animal breeders have experience with thoroughbreds. That’s where we leverage the certainty of passing genes to offspring. That directly conflicts with your assertion that: “more often they [origin of a new species] arise in a single generation”

      • Thomas,
        Biologists regard evolution as a law, just as the theory of universal gravitation is sometimes called a law. The distinctions aren’t hard and fast. The laws of thermodynamics could just as well be called something else.
        Allow me to quote a prominent biologist on this question. In his 2008 book “Selection: The Mechanism of Evolution”, Graham Bell wrote, “The main purpose of evolutionary biology is to provide a rational explanation for the extraordinarily complex and intricate organization of living things. To explain means to identify a mechanism that causes evolution and to demonstrate the consequences of its operation. These consequences are then the general laws of evolution, of which any given system or organism is a particular outcome.” I don’t know any biologist who would disagree with that use of the term “general laws”.
        Whatever it might be theoretically possible for an organism to evolve won’t occur unless there is selective advantage in the development. But I’ll respond to you hypotheticals.
        Using magnetism has evolved repeatedly among different lines of organisms. It’s theoretically possible in humans, since so widespread. We have iron in our bodies already, so if some selective advantage arose, we could form magnetosensitive structures. The genetic ability already exists for a magnetic sense, since there is a protein (a cryptochrome) in our eyes which could serve this function.
        Human cryptochrome exhibits light-dependent magnetosensitivity
        Not just Mars, but any isolated space-faring population of humans would evolve into a new species. The spacefarers would probably control their own evolution the better to adapt themselves to such a changed environment, rather than relying on natural selection and reproductive isolation.
        The debate in evolutionary theory today is over whether “directional evolution” via processes such as natural selection is more important or “stochastic” processes such as reproductive isolation. Both matter, but it’s possible that more new species have arisen “statistically” rather than via selection.

      • Chimp: “if some selective advantage arose” … “would probably control their own evolution ”
        ‘If’ and ‘would probably’ – those are your Laws?
        Here’s an example of a Theoretical Law:
        “The gravitational attraction force between two point masses is directly proportional to the product of their masses and inversely proportional to the square of their separation distance.”

  35. The old Creationism was based on a literal interpretation of the Bible. It was not very interesting. Over the years, and many, many debates, Intelligent Design emerged. It is a far stronger and much more interesting proposition.
    In other words, It Evolved!

    • Funny, but ID is old creationism in a new bottle. This fact emerged hilariously in the Dover trial.
      There has been no scientific debate among knowledgeable biologists about the fact of evolution since the 1950s, when the French finally came around. The discovery of how DNA and inheritance actually work convinced even the last hardcore skeptics. That evolution is a consequence of reproduction is now directly visible on the molecular level.

      • It is really frustrating how otherwise smart people completely lose all semblance of intelligence when the subject of religion comes up.
        There are huge differences between creationism and ID. It’s just that some people have a belief system that requires them to believe that any mention of God is the same as any other.

      • Mark,
        Clearly you are unfamiliar with ID. The Dover trial showed that the ID textbook was copied directly from a banned creationist textbook, as hilariously shown by the copying errors. There is no difference between the two. ID just pretends to be non-religious, but it has not scientific bases, indeed is actively antiscientific.

      • Thomas,
        Yes, of course. One old species could evolve into a new species, then later give rise to another, It happens fairly often even on observable time scales.
        An example is South American butterflies. There are multiple species now in a region where there used to be just one, surrounded by other related species in the same genus. The parent species hybridized with one neighboring species, then another. At least one of those hybridizations has been recreated in the lab. The new species are not interfertile or don’t interbreed with the parental species, hence are true species.

      • Chimp, I see that you have this fixation on one ID’er and a desperate need to believe the rest of us believe exactly as he did.

      • Chimp: “The parent species hybridized with one neighboring species, then another”
        That’s your example of a single species producing two separate species? You introduced other species. The only criteria I spelled out for you was ‘single species’ and you couldn’t adhere to it?

      • MarkW April 26, 2017 at 1:12 pm
        Behe is the guy who cooked up ID to get around the rulings against creationism.
        What evidence do you imagine exists for ID?

      • Thomas,
        That’s a quick way in which a species can produce a new species. If you want to limit it to one species, then there are lots of instances of a plant species undergoing polyploidy to produce different daughter species, then the daughter doing the same.
        Here’s an example of one species producing two daughter species:
        But even if each maternal species never produced more than one daughter species, it’s still speciation and evolution. Dunno why you think its happening repeatedly for the same species is important.

    • MarkW: People who have no beliefs based on faith are always the most convinced they are 100% correct no matter what the evidence or lack thereof. Their faith is strong—stronger than many openly religious people.

      • It is 100% correct that speciation occurs. It has repeatedly been observed. Same as the earth moving, contrary to the Bible. Stating facts observed has nothing to do with faith.
        There is all the evidence in the world for the fact of evolution and none against it. That you might imagine such evidence exists would be an act of faith.

  36. It is unconstitutional, ie illegal, in any and all of the United States to teach creationism in public school science classes. If a school has a comparative religions class, then yes.
    The courts have so decided for the unanswerably good reason that creationism is not science. Not just junk science, but unscientific and anti-scientific in the extreme. CACA is also antiscientific, IMO, but no court has so ruled, and at least it has a basis in real science, unlike creationism.
    I too favor lifting the government monopoly on education. If a fundamentalist charter school wants to teach creationism, that’s OK with me, but for its students to have a chance in the world, they need to be correctly taught the scientific fact of evolution. Maybe no teacher in such a school would know how to do that. But in my experience, when kids have the chance to compare creationism with science, the latter wins, since the evidence for the fact of evolution is overwhelming.
    The reporters in the Dover, PA “Intelligent Design” case, despite their college degrees, were plainly flabbergasted by how incontrovertible was the evidence presented in favor of evolution. They had just vaguely thought of it as a “theory”, which it is, but based upon the fact of descent with modification and the origin of species (and higher classifications) by means of natural selection and other evolutionary processes.
    Evolution doesn’t need as unscientific appeal to authority, ie a “consensus of 97% of scientists”, for support. Just the facts, ma’m.

    • We must use the law to outlaw those things that I don’t believe in.
      Nobody else has the right to encode their belief systems in the law.

      • Evolution is not a belief. It’s a scientific fact. If a school is to teach biology, it has to teach the fact of evolution and the theories explaining it. You can’t teach geology without plate tectonics and the theories explaining it. Same, same.
        The US has, to some extent, separation of church and state. That separation extends to public education.
        Teaching creationism in science classes is clearly forcing people to be subjected to religion in a state setting. Thus doing so is plainly against the law.
        The Dover case, like the previous creationism cases, couldn’t have been decided any other way.

  37. Evolutionists demand that I accept that random chance, mutation and selection were the mechanisms by which life in all its myriad and varied forms that exist at this moment developed. But evolution must also depend upon some spontaneous mechanism by which something that is not alive became alive, from which all other forms evolved. I have not yet found a shred of plausible let alone compelling evidence that such a mechanism exists. Is it “scientific” to demand that a complex system must have plausible origins? It is mysticism to waive it off as some future problem that cannot be explained but must be believed none the less.
    As a scientist, I am compelled to believe that the myriad of harmonious biological complexity that exists in the present and the historical record is direct evidence that life was started and is being guided by a rational outside power. So, yes, I believe that God created life on earth. To what extent subsequent life forms evolved using the mechanisms of adaption, natural selection, random mutation, etc. and to what extent this rational outside power intervened at times, I do not know and don’t know how anyone could prove that.
    As to when each step in the development of life took place, I accept the general scientific evidence and timelines. I await more evidence which will surely come as more research is conducted. I accept that some on this very forum will think that I am a “denier” of the fact that life must have sprung from the non-living. I also accept that others on a different forum would think that I am a “denier” when it comes to the extent to which human activity is harming the climate. Other people cannot live my life and I cannot live theirs.

    • Buck,
      You’re making the common mistake of people who haven’t studied biology of conflating abiogenesis with evolution. They are two different processes. You might be surprised by how much advancement has been made in recent decades toward understanding the origin of life. But abiogenesis, ie the chemical evolution of the first living things, is obviously nowhere nearly as well understood as biological evolution.
      Descent with modification is a scientific fact, ie an observation seen over and over again. Evolution is also a body of theory aiming to explain those observations. That speciation occurs constantly is a fact of nature. We’ve even made new genera in the lab. That evolution happens is no more controversial than that objects fall when dropped.

      • “You’re making the common mistake of people who haven’t studied biology of conflating abiogenesis with evolution. …”
        Actually, I am not conflating. Cause and effect dictates that a system that purports to be self-sustaining (evolution) must have something initiate it. Logic dictates that either life came from something that was not alive like rocks or water, or an external force was responsible.
        But in the end this is always deeply existential. God cannot possibly exist, because if He does, then He might be able to make good on His promise to judge everyone for how they live their lives.

  38. I dread the idea of having the creationist nutters and the vaccine crackpots lumped in with me.
    That is, of course, an opportunity the climate alarmist propagandists dream about.

    • I dread the idea of having those people who are so bigoted against religion that they refer to them as nutters lumped in with me.

    • As this progressed, those whose own “religions” make them so positive they know the whole truth have emerged with increasing attacks on those who dare question the belief. How one can get angry at the 100% positive nature of global warming teaching and then turn around and do the exact same thing themselves (THE SCIENCE IS SETTLED) is hard to fathom. Perhaps one of you evolutionists can explain the completely contradictory nature of one’s ability to ignore their own prejudices while condemning everyone else. It does not seem to be a “needed” biological adaptation.

      • The science of biology is not settled. But, just as that the earth goes around the sun is now settled, so is the fact of evolution.
        The CACA conjecture however is not settled science. Indeed, it is more akin to the blind faith belief in creationism, although with a better scientific basis, ie some of its conjecture is based upon valid science, contrary to creationism and its bastard child ID.

      • That CO2 causes warming is as settled as evolution. The details are where both have problems. Of course, you LIKE evolution and don’t like CAGW. If CAGW “proved” there was no god, I can see you jumping on board. Maybe I can get Mann to work that in and make CAGW a bigger seller.

      • Indeed, there are strong parallels between how “evolution” and “climate change” are “packaged.” Both are better characterized as belief systems rather than scientific theories, and both are highly politicized.
        In both cases, some facets of the “package” are well-supported, but other facets are very poorly supported, if at all. In both cases, adherents frequently point to the well-supported bits and say that the issue is settled, while disingenuously pretending that constitutes a complete proof of the entire package of beliefs.
        It’s very unscientific. It is, in fact, subterfuge. The demonstrated ability of bacteria to evolve antibiotic resistance no more proves the abiotic origin of life than the demonstrated existence of downwelling longwave infrared from atmospheric carbon dioxide demonstrates that CO2 drives sea-level rise. But you’ll rarely find a leftist who admits it.

  39. Religion does not belong in the public school systems. Parents that want that have options for home schooling or private school. I consider religion to be any ‘fact’s taught that are not confirmed by the scientific method. Thus creationism might be taught in a social sciences class regarding belief systems of various religious groups, but not in a functional biology class. And teaching comparative religion at the public school level probably is too controversial but I’d have no problem with it if it was taught in that context.
    Likewise, the belief system of catastrophic human caused climate change is a faith based belief system.
    This is clearly true when every honest paleo-climatologist knows our little uptick is the 6th since the last ice age and the least high of the prior 6 which means our overall trend is still cooling to a return of normal ice age conditions. Purveyors of this religion a high bar to prove man is doing it since it’s well withing expected natural variation. (see articles related to the Null-Hypothesis)

    • I think you are confusing teaching religion and teaching about religion and teaching religion as science, all different endeavours.
      The real issue is the use of schools as indoctrination centers, of “teaching” the students to end up agreeing with a certain orthodoxy. Zealots of various types, Marxist, fundamentalist Christian, Feminist New-Age Socialists, CAGW advocates, ad nauseam, all want to advance their particular zealotry.
      My particular conclusion is the “vaccine” model, that being exposed to a type of zealotry in low doses enables resistance.

    • Let’s see. Everyone gets taxed to support the education of your choice. If they choose another option, they still have to pay for the education of your choice.
      How tolerant of you.

  40. The very delicately balanced physical forces as well as the almost mystical laboratory proven quantum physics would lead me to believe in intelligent design if I did not already believe in God. Then take a look at the theory of biocentrism and you might start to think that the entire universe requires an observer to even exist. You know, wave function collapse when observed.

  41. I consider myself a creationist. I take offense that I would be the type of person who would might say “there is no point studying palaeontology …”. The mechanism of evolution is a simple and trivial part of creation, What’s the big deal, it could probable be taught to monkeys.

    • There are also hybrids of creationism and evolution.
      For instance, even the more backward creationists often use animal husbandry.
      On the other hand, nobody can say what happened on the other side of the “Big Bang”.

      • Or if there was a “big bang” (i.e. spontaneous conception) at all. The theory is based on liberal assumptions/assertions of uniformity, progressive (i.e. monotonic change) processes, and invariance in systems and processes that exist well outside the scientific domain in both time and space. Assertions about the composition and character of space based on inference (i.e. created knowledge). Not unlike the prophets of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming, who offer claims about a system that is incompletely, and, in fact, insufficiently characterized and unwieldy, then demand payments to remain in good standing.

    • A majority of Americans are creationists in the sense of believing that the Universe was created. Support for the baseless assertion that each and every individual species (whatever that term means to a creationist) was miraculously created by God is lower, and for the YEC conjecture that the earth was made in six days even less.

  42. If I were an advocate of creationism, I would be alarmed that it might be presented on a level playing field and have to stand up to evolution under close examination. If students were to examine the claims, based on the Scientific Method, creationism would not come out looking very good. A complaint about evolution is the unanswered questions. That is even more so in the case of creationism. And, creationism, unlike good science, offers no predictive value. Thus, the insights from evolution that led to understanding how disease organisms mutate and evolve would not have taken place in a society that endorsed creationism instead of evolution. I’m strongly against any faith-based dogma that isn’t subject to falsification tests. Teach it in your local Sunday School if you will, but don’t force it on the general public in publicly funded schools. That is the ultimate science denial.

  43. What bothers me most about Ms. Glinskis’ article is that she is committing the same crime which she rails against. As soon as she promotes the debunked 97% meme it’s clear that she is only partially educated about the climate change. Her words will influence others, and the exponential growth of misinformation marches on ………

    • Neither is valid in the scientific domain, which is purposely and naturally restricted. Both theories of creation are philosophies. Either one or both may be true or false. However, with respect to just these two speculations about life, the universe, and everything, there is a real conflict in the evolutionary process (e.g. climate, human life), which precludes predictions outside of a limited frame of reference; but especially in each factions’ beliefs about origin. The best we can hope is that each group recognizes and respects a separation of logical domains. Both seculars and theists have sects that respect and deny their separation and are disposed to conflation of logical domains for political (i.e. social) progress and narcissistic indulgence.

    • Evolutionary creationism is based on sincerely held beliefs, circumstantial evidence, liberal assertions, and conflation of logical domains. Intelligent creationism less so, if only because believes often respect a separation of logical domains (e.g. science, faith).

      • Michael,
        You have no evidence whatsoever. You imagine things because you’re blinded by your religious faith.
        Posting a link to a pack of lies by professional liars isn’t evidence of anything other than your gullibility.

        • Hmm, you have decided what is correct, even without looking at them.. How would you know they are “liars” without examining the evidence? Your mind is closed. You attitude is the same as a warmist.

      • Mike,
        Do you refer to Gerlach, et al, 2011?
        Quantum interference of large organic molecules
        “The wave nature of matter is a key ingredient of quantum physics and yet it defies our classical intuition. First proposed by Louis de Broglie a century ago, it has since been confirmed with a variety of particles from electrons up to molecules. Here we demonstrate new high-contrast quantum experiments with large and massive tailor-made organic molecules in a near-field interferometer. Our experiments prove the quantum wave nature and delocalization of compounds composed of up to 430 atoms, with a maximal size of up to 60 Å, masses up to m=6,910 AMU and de Broglie wavelengths down to λdB=h/mv≃1 pm. We show that even complex systems, with more than 1,000 internal degrees of freedom, can be prepared in quantum states that are sufficiently well isolated from their environment to avoid decoherence and to show almost perfect coherence.”
        I once met a fellow cultist of yours who bizarrely imagined that this result somehow “proved” the existence of the soul.
        Sorry to say, I couldn’t help laughing out loud.

      • Mike,
        I don’t need to look at them, since I’m at least as familiar with old, tired, worn out Day-Age drivel as the authors.

        • as I said, you are blind to the truth. Your disregarding what I have offered means you are no better than the warmists.

  44. Let’s be clear. There is no dispute that human activity (particularly the release of greenhouse gases) is warming the world. Well not with the people who work in the field anyway. So it is not only reasonable, it is essential that our children are taught there is overwhelming evidence that our actions have an effect and that if we carry on business as usual, there will be consequences. What is not known (and can never be known for sure… til they happen) is what the consequences will be. What is not acceptable is to teach children that the current thinking has an equal number of people on both sides of the debate. That is simply not true.
    Now before some here jump down my throat, here is a challenge. Give me the name of one person working in the field who does not accept my second sentence “……human activity (particularly the release of greenhouse gases) is warming the world.” All the prominent skeptic scientists believe this… Spencer, Christy, Curry. Even the creator of this blog agrees with this. So if it is not in dispute, why not accept it is right to teach it in schools? I know some here will believe teachers are on soap boxes telling children they are all going to burn. But truth is it is the creationists who believe some of us are going to burn…. “in hell” and are happy to teach the children that.
    So to finish, there is nothing wrong with teaching students the current thinking with regard to greenhouse gases and to also show them the possible scenarios if we continue as usual. That includes minimal impact through to major problems. To do anything else would be dishonest. After all it is the future that is theirs, not ours.

    • Physical properties are things that can be measured. Things that cannot be measured are not physical properties. To Date, there is no way to measure the ‘Greenhouse Gas’ effects that you reference as indisputable, and that means there is no actual ‘Greenhouse Gas’ physical property. We should be teaching our children this truth.
      We should be teaching our children that Carbon Dioxide is the base of the food chain for all Carbon Based life forms. We should be teaching our children that Carbon Dioxide is the unique singular throttle in the Carbon Cycle of Life. We should be teaching our children that all of the Carbon in all organic material came from Carbon Dioxide. We should be teaching our children that there can be no life without Carbon Dioxide.

    • It really amazes me how Simon is so shameless about promoting lies that have been refuted time and again.
      Then again, when your paycheck relies on you believing something, you believe it.

    • Simon: “So if it is not in dispute, why not accept it is right to teach it in schools?”
      What is it that you think is being taught? That humans can have a minor influence on the climate, particularly local microclimate? Probably no-one would disagree with that.
      That isn’t what my kids are taught when this topic comes up at school. They are told that CO2 is a pollutant. That we are harming the planet. That warming is bad. That species are dying off from climate change. That we have to stop climate change. That our behaviors need to change. That this is an urgent crisis. And on and on.
      Such claims are indeed highly questionable and controversial.
      BTW, my son came home this week and told me that the teacher just started showing them Bill Nye’s new series on Netflix. You know, the one with all the additional propaganda that goes far beyond a claim of minor influence on the climate.

    • If I were to spit in the ocean, I defy anyone to claim I haven’t warmed the ocean. Go ahead, deny it. I dare you. It is “human activity”, after all.

  45. From the OP:
    “Senate Bill 393 in Oklahoma, for example, would permit teachers to paint established science on both evolution and climate change as ‘controversial.'”
    Where in this bill does it say that it would “add courses about creationism”? Adding courses about “creationism” sounds scary, doesn’t it?
    On the other hand, if what is being proposed is that students and teachers have an opportunity to ask hard questions and learn about both the strengths and weaknesses of a theory, then any rational person who isn’t committed to a philosophical position should be fine with it — indeed, supportive of it.
    The handwringing about this so-called “attack on science” looks like it is nothing more than false information, news spin, and circling of wagons on “consensus” science.

    • established science on both evolution and climate change as ‘controversial’
      The very essence of scientific thought. A departure from political/social consensus and conflation of logical domains. The controversy is born in individual minds conceived from inference and a peculiar prejudice.

  46. oeman50 April 26, 2017 at 11:16 am
    Why do you have to get a new flu shot every year? Because the viruses mutate, which means short term evolution.
    flu viruses mutate But thats not evolution Its still a flu viruses.
    evolution is to change species.
    True evolution would be for the flu viruses to change say into the hepatitis viruses.

  47. The answer is simple to me, teach philosophy and theology along with science, they need not be exclusive, and would better educate children to recognize empirical based beliefs vs faith based beliefs, not to mention maybe some critical thinking skills.
    It’s clear to me that with how many young people are atheists, that science has been misrepresented for some time. It’s created an illusion of grand knowledge that doesn’t actually exist. The universe is peculiar and mysterious, despite the popular reports.
    By far the most important consequence of the conceptual revolution brought about in physics by relativity and quantum theory lies not in such details as that meter sticks shorten when they move or that simultaneous position and momentum have no meaning, but in the insight that we had not been using our minds properly and that it is important to find out how to do so.
    — Percy W. Bridgman

  48. I am not trying to be offensive in any way. And I greatly appreciate the knowledge and expertise exhibited by many of the people who post on this site.
    Nevertheless, I have often thought that there is a great similarity in attitude between the global warming crowd and those who oppose any discussion of creationism. I see name-calling and ad hominem insults of the “creationists are intellectual children who believe anything they are told and never think critically” variety. Please note, not everyone who believes the Bible is stunted intellectually, nor do we all believe whatever we are told. Furthermore, we who believe the Bible have good reason to say that you can’t pick and choose which parts you are going to believe. Either it is the Word of God – or it isn’t.
    If you read the history of the Creation Research Society on their website, you will see that the reason it was founded in 1963 was because there was a group of scientists who were having trouble publishing scientific research favourable to the creation viewpoint. Their story sounds a lot like the way the global warming crowd has shut out the publishing of research that doesn’t fit the global warming narrative. And it also sounds like an effective way to achieve a “97% consensus” on the issue of evolution.
    If you are intellectually honest, you have to at least allow for the possibility that God exists. To not do so is to state (implicitly or explicitly) that those things you can observe in the physical realm are the ONLY things that exist, and furthermore, that nothing exists that we can’t observe and explain. But aside from being incredibly arrogant, it is also dishonest to suggest that nothing can happen that we cannot explain. We already know that there are things that DO happen that we cannot explain, and it certainly isn’t for lack of trying.
    Anyway, that’s my 2 cents worth on the subject. I think that everyone – whether you believe that God created the universe (as I do) or that it spontaneously happened – could use a good dose of humility. After all, if you seriously take the time to listen to the other fellow’s point of view, you might just learn something.

  49. I have only recently delved into this ‘creationism’ controversy and, like Paul Westhaver, am somewhat confused and uncertain about what it is people are attacking. It is necessarily the case that ALL believers in God believe in creationism in some form or another and a fortiori in an Intelligent Designer of the universe. Clearly, some Christian believers interpret the bible in a literalist sense but most don’t and I doubt very much any life sciences or natural sciences scientists who are believers do so. I had always assumed that the attack on ‘Creationism’ or ‘Intelligent Design’ was an attack on the former literalist Christians. However, it would appear that the attack is on all believers who believe A) there is a God who caused the creation of the universe and B) God, in any form whatsoever, shaped or directed that universe as it was created and evolved. Essentially, as I understand it, it is an attack on believers by non-believers who assert that science (particularly evolutionary theory/evidence) has ‘proven’ that there is no need for God to explain how we exist – science explains it perfectly and to insist on God being required is both anti-scientific and irrational.
    The 2 most obvious flaws in their supposed ‘scientific’ position are as follows: firstly, there is the great metaphysical question of why things exist rather than don’t exist – but the vast majority of people have no time for philosophical questions of this sort and dismiss it with a wave of the hand and a ‘things just exist – THEY ARE and that’s it’ – for me I cannot accept such hand waving and use reason to try and understand how things can exist rather than not exist. Secondly, their belief in evolutionary theory doing away with the need for God has the most obvious flaw that evolutionary theory applies to LIVING creatures only. Evolutionary theory is completely silent on how we went from inorganic matter to organic matter. Of course, they will probably engage in more hand waving and dismiss this with ‘the universe is very old and vast and according to the laws of probability something somewhere was going to come together and BANG there was the first spark of life!’. Ignorance is bliss. In Cairns-Smith’s excellent ‘7 clues to the origins of life’ he makes the reader know, in no uncertain terms, that explaining how life began is an incredibly difficult thing to do even for the most basic life form imaginable, they haven’t got anywhere near explaining how it happened, and shows for just nucleotides alone that there simply isn’t enough time or universe for them to have had the remotest possibility of having come together by accident. The science of how life began is most certainly not settled and seems to have progressed little beyond theorising.
    With regard to evolution itself there are more problems. The American philosopher (sorry – more philosophy!), Thomas Nagel, who is an ardent and convinced atheist, recently wrote a book ‘Mind & Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature is Almost Certainly False’. Nagel’s central thesis is that the current Darwinian theory completely and utterly fails to address ‘consciousness’ and how it evolved. By consciousness he is not even talking about humans’s higher rational powers, but even just the animalistic self-awareness. Of course, such an attack on Darwinism has earned him much stick but he’s brave enough to stick his head above the parapet and point out the (to me anyway) obvious flaw in this materialistic theory that should replace God.
    Believing that science has definitively removed the need for a God for any intelligent and educated person is a position based on a profound ignorance of the state of the relevant sciences and a massive dollop of wishful thinking. Remember Pascal’s wager………….

    • That is something that has bugged me for years.
      The number of people who insist that there is no difference between believing that the earth is 4.5 billion years old and that species evolved via evolution, but that the evolution was guided by God, are no different from those who believe that the earth was created 5000 years ago exactly as it is today.
      To them, they are all “creationists”.

      • MarkW, you are conflating different areas of study. While a fair number of people advocating evolution are atheists, and obnoxious about it, atheism has nothing to do with it. I was raised Catholic, and that church has no problem with evolution, as is the case with a large number of other Christian denominations.
        What you are into is philosophy, and the nature of “proof”. Philosophy is the remainder category of “subjects that interesting and not really testable”. The issue is teaching religion as science, when it is not. My favorite example of pure philosophy is Bishop Berkeley and his assertion of solipsism. Try testing that.

      • It absolutely is possible to be a Christian and have no problem with the age of the Earth, the Heliocentric Solar System and evolution.

      • Of course theistic evolution adherents, ie Old Earth Creationists, differ from Young Earth Creationists. But both groups are creationists and, at best, nonscientific. Neither form of creationism has a scientific basis. Both forms believe in divine intervention in speciation and the development of higher biological categories, for which there is not a shred of actual evidence. Thus, both are faith-based beliefs.

      • Tom,
        The largest Christian denominations accept the reality of evolution, leaving it up to individual believers to decide for themselves where and when, if ever, God intervened in the history of the evolution of life on earth. But there is no scientifically demonstrable need for God at any point in that history.
        As I told my fundamentalist students at the historically Baptist university where I taught genetics, you can insert God into the story of life at any point or points you want. it’s just not scientifically necessary to do so. It’s a completely faith-based exercise.

      • David Middleton April 26, 2017 at 3:42 pm
        You bet!
        Dobzhansky, the genetic pioneer who famously and truly wrote that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”, was a devout Orthodox believer.
        Collins, who succeeded Watson of DNA fame, an atheist, as director of the Human Genome Project, is a Christian.

      • Chimp,
        “Both are faith based beliefs”
        All beliefs, by definition, are faith based. This, is all one can actually know, without some form of faith being involved, it seems clear to me;
        At least one self aware conscious entity exists.
        Con artists have been busy indoctrinating folks to believe (have faith in ; ) the idea that some special other people (not the reader ; ) know many things in an absolute sense, but it’s just BS as far as I can determine . . cooked up for indoctrinating people into a cult like form of Siants (sounds like science ; ) so as to achieve a passive controlled society.

      • @Chimp
        ‘But there is no scientifically demonstrable need for God at any point in that history.’
        Clearly you didn’t read my post! How does evolutionary theory scientifically explain how we went from inorganic matter to organic matter? Evolutionary theory is well outside of its ken there! Maybe I am misreading you, but you strike me as precisely the type of person I was talking about. I suggest you read Cairns-Smith’s 7 clues. It might open your eyes.

  50. Eric,
    “I think parents who teach their kids that there is no point studying palaeontology, because god made everything just the way it is, are crippling their children’s understanding of the world.”
    Well, I’m curious what exactly you think the “point” is in studying paleontology (which I think you misspelled, but who knows, yer a Brit ; ) Now, when I was a little kid, I pretty much learned to read so I could “study” that fossil type stuff, so I get that “point”, though I don’t see why kids wouldn’t find dinosaurs and trilobites and so on fascinating if they didn’t believe in the Evolution origins story. I did, believe that story, so I can’t be sure . .
    And, I’m not sure where you get the idea that creationists necessarily believe that God “made everything just the way it is” . . the Book says He created “kinds” of creatures, that reproduce “after their kind”, and that’s what I see here in reality-land . . It also speaks of things changing, including humans, though not in the “total transformation” sort of sense Evolution theory presents it.
    If you don’t know the “junk science”, please refrain from teaching it . . I say ; )

    • John,
      There is no scientific definition of “kind”, which is an insurmountable problem for people who try to make the Bible correspond to reality.
      For starters, there are way too many kinds, and often of such size and rapid growth rates, that it’s impossible to fit all those on the ark which would have needed saving from the mythical flood. Let alone feed them and clear away their refuse, with so few people.
      Besides which, the OT clearly shows that the closest real biological fit for “kind” is “species”, not genus, family or order. It gets literally specific in naming kinds.
      Since ravens are unclean, there would have been only one male and one female on the ark, so it was dumb of Noah to send it out to look for land. I guess Mrs. Raven eventually found her missing mate, since we have ravens today.

      • Chimp,
        “There is no scientific definition of “kind”, which is an insurmountable problem for people who try to make the Bible correspond to reality.”
        I think He was doing some basic teaching . . so folks would expect/understand that goats come from goats, seaweed from seaweed . . people from people. That “generic” meaning of kind, so they would not think rats came from dirty rags, flies from rotting meat, goats from naughty people ; ) and the like. It does dove-tail rather nicely with genetic traits being inherited (Mendel) and so on . . and He plays the long game, so to speak ; )

      • John,
        His point is the same as mine. I used his reference just so that I wouldn’t have to say the same thing with the same biblical references.
        The point is that arguing, as literalists do, that “kind” means some higher level of taxonomy than “species”, is not justified. Fundamentalists know that it would be impossible to fit all the now known species onto the ark, so fudge by claiming that, for instance, a single pair of baby sauropods could represent that entire suborder of gigantic animals. The irony is that this argument would require astronomically rapid evolution in the past 4500 years, plus massive waves of extinction.
        There’s just no way that the creation, flood and other myths in first several books of the Bible can possibly be literally true. To believe they are means that your God is cruel, deceptive and incompetent, a blasphemous creed.

      • Chimp,
        “Fundamentalists know that it would be impossible to fit all the now known species onto the ark”
        I don’t see why not . . very big boat . . wouldn’t need one of every species, since the genetic coding for many species could already be in a basic set . . like dogs, cats, horses, etc . . The key would be in the richness of the initial coding within the actual animals HE provided for the Ark.
        . . If one cannot break the habit of believing what one has been told (and imagined) many times about the history of living things, then naturally something different will be impossible to accept, regardless of whether or not it actually happened. If you can’t believe God is far more than an old man in the sky ; ) you will prolly keep limiting what He can do to things an old man could do . . But a maker of galaxies? A maker of life? Gonna have to grant some special skills to get the idea related in the Ark story, me thinks ; )

  51. Warmists love to try to conflate arguments, in their efforts to pin the “anti-science” label on Skeptics/Climate Realists. It is just a ploy on their part. We don’t need to go down that road.

  52. What Does the Oklahoma Bill Actually Say?
    I would encourage anyone who is sincerely interested in this topic to actually look at the Oklahoma bill, rather than speaking out of turn or relying on shrill press stories.
    It states that “Teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories covered in the course being taught.”
    In addition, it specifically states that it is only related to “the teaching of scientific information and shall not be construed to promote any religious or non-religious doctrine, promote discrimination for or against a particular set of religious beliefs or non-beliefs or promote discrimination for or against religion or non-religion.”
    Anyone who claims the bill proposes to add classes on “creationism” in the school is simply telling a falsehood. It does not. It specifically prohibits it.
    The bill is basic common sense. It is too bad that it is even needed, but the principles outlined in it should be non-controversial for anyone interested in objective science.
    Of course, if someone is concerned about protecting their “consensus” science and circling the wagons, a bill that proposes teaching science in an “objective manner” might seem threatening.

  53. Most kids, people in general, do not know how to evaluate sources of “information” to determine if research is trustworthy or not. I say start with some very basic learning in evaluation of research. Don’t quote me what percent fall into a given category when your sample size is 6 and your original sample was not random nor structured properly to be representative of the universe you are attempting to describe. High school kids have no idea and neither do their parents, many with so called college degrees.

  54. To get back to the original topic, I’m just curious about HOW one would teach creationism in school. After saying “God did it”, what else can you say? You can’t describe why he did it, exactly when, or how. You can’t describe the tools he used or the application of physics. There’s nothing left to do but offer endless critiques of alternate theories, which isn’t really teaching creationism, it’s just saying, “my baseless theory is better than your incomplete theory”. Enter the flying spaghetti monster.

    • Hoyt, even assuming your assessment true, it is following the red herring set out in the opening post. The fact is that teaching “creationism” in the school (whatever that is), is not on the table in the Oklahoma bill. It isn’t a risk. It isn’t happening.
      What we have here is just handwringing and spin by those who are afraid to have their theory objectively and critically evaluated, whether climate change, evolution, or some other theory.

      • Climatereflections,
        I’ve read what you’ve posted regarding the wording of the Oklahoma bill and I think what people are worried about is not really a “red herring”. While people may try to deny it, Intelligent design is nothing more than creationism theory with God being implied but not mentioned. It was formulated to fit within the Oklahoma bill’s guidelines as a teachable science based theory of the origin of the universe and life. Although, the only science-like thing in it involves the concept of irreducible complexity which argues that science knows of no way for life to begin, therefore (God, but we won’t mention that). Intelligent design exists only as a means of arguing against the Big Bang, or scientific theories about the beginnings of life, it doesn’t argue for any alternative theory. It just leaves it up to the student to fill in the blank with God, Aliens, Robots, or whatever.

      • Hoyt, your description of intelligent design is seriously flawed, although I see you’ve parroted the usual anti-intelligent design talking points from the web. Furthermore, intelligent design is not proposed to be taught under the law either.
        Setting that aside, is it your position that a scientific theory presented in school — climate change, evolution, whatever — should *not* be taught objectively and that teachers and students should *not* be allowed to examine the strengths and weaknesses of the theory?
        Or it is just certain theories that are off limits and should not be subjected to scrutiny? You know, the ones that you happen to believe and don’t want anyone questioning.
        Sorry for being a bit snarky, but this protection-of-the-consensus seems pretty self-serving. It is part of the problem we are currently experiencing with climate change claims.
        Let’s ask the question in a more practical way:
        When presenting a theory like climate change or evolution to students, do you think it would be appropriate for the teacher to help the students understand the primary assumptions underlying the theory, areas where there are important open questions about the theory, areas in which there is ongoing debate in the scientific literature about the theory? Or should teachers be required to just present the consensus and pretend these important open issues don’t exist?

      • Climate,
        It’s important to use the proper terms. Catastrophic man-made climate change is not a theory. It’s an hypothesis, which has repeatedly been shown false. It could be “taught” in school, but properly everything wrong with the falsified conjecture would be shown, as well as what its proponents say. It contains elements of science, so could be taught in a science class. Learning where it fails would be instructive. It’s a scientific hypothesis because it makes predictions (or at least projections) which can be shown false. And have been.
        Creationism in either its biblical or phony ID form however OTOH is not science. It’s not a scientific hypothesis because it either can’t make testable predictions, or, if it tries to, they’re readily shown false. Saying “God did it” and leaving it at that is the antithesis of science. ID tries to get around this, but comes down to the same thing. Intelligent Design requires a designer, although he, she or it must be intensely stupid. But substituting an unnamed designer for God doesn’t magically turn creationism into science. As Hoyt says, students will naturally fill in the blank with “God”.
        The scientist who hatched ID clearly did so to get around court rulings against teaching creationism in public school biology classes, as shown in the Dover trial. He cooked up the antiscientific idea of “irreducible complexity” to try to make his scheme sound more science-y. This is worse than CACA.
        If you think some actual scientific evidence exists in favor of ID, please, by all means, trot it on out. Thanks.

      • Oops! Failed to apply those terms to evolution. The theory of evolution was originally a theory composed of hypotheses, each of which made testable predictions. As with the heliocentric theory, what was originally hypotheses based upon insights came to be shown factual as objective reality.
        Today we can observe the earth going around the sun and turning on its axis, as Copernicus could not. Similarly, we can observe the evolution of new species, as Darwin could not, except possibly in those domestic animals that are arguably different species from their wild ancestors, thanks to artificial selection.

      • Chimp, Catastrophic man-made climate change is not a hypothesis, it’s a strawman. There is no “catastropic” in the scientific literature, and it is not a part of AGW.

        • CAGW is deliberate snark, but have you ever read the predictions of the climate change advocates? Sea rise in meters, and ten or more degrees temperature rise. Seems like “catastrophic” to me.

      • So. all the papers trying to show dire effects from “global warming” are what, politics as usual?

      • Climatereflections, to answer your question I would first point out that I’m not trying to get personal, but calling what I wrote “talking points from the web” is baseless since my knowledge comes from listening to interviews with Dr. Stephen Meyer, and others, and your comment does nothing to disprove anything I wrote.
        You say ID is not proposed to be taught, but your comments seem to suggest that you think it should be. As far as teachers being objective, I would love that in every subject, but science and it’s missing pieces must be weighted objectively. I wouldn’t want intelligent design being given equal weight to evolution as nothing more than different theories but equally plausible. This is where the “flying spaghetti monster” origin idea came from. The argument goes, there is just as much evidence the FSM created the world as there is for any other intelligent designer, so that must be taught too in order for the students to weigh the evidence for each theory. You see how ridiculous it gets. Why not let schools teach facts and evidence, and yes even the missing pieces, and let churches teach faith based theories with no physical evidence? I just wanted to answer your question, I won’t reply further to avoid any animosity.

      • Chimp……all I ask is that you show me one or more papers that demonstrate “catastrophe.” Chimp, the papers don’t “show dire effects.” Scientific papers don’t place a judgement on their conclusions. The effects they speak of are neither “dire” nor are they “beneficial.” Science doesn’t deal with that. Tom, for some folks, several meters of sea level rise would be good, especially if it makes their property beachfront. I also would think the people living in Ontario would think a ten degree rise in temps would be “nice.” Again, science doesn’t evaluate it’s conclusions, they just lay them out for you to ponder.

        • You are being deliberately dense. Hansen testified before Congress, so dismissing his dire claims is a silly “mother may I” game.

      • I have showed you not only recent papers, but Hansen’s book. How much more proof of the claim of catastrophic consequences do you want?

      • Really, Michael? No “catastrophe” in CAGW? You think the skeptics made up that “catastrophic” bit, as a straw man?
        Have you not seen all those maps of Florida (etc.) under water? Here’s a brand new one:
        It’s propaganda, but it wasn’t made by climate skeptics. It is propaganda from the Climate-Industrial Complex, a/k/a “Big Green.”
        From the caption:
        “Many of the effects of climate change are irreversible. Sea levels have been rising at a greater rate year after year, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change estimates they could rise by another meter or more by the end of this century.”
        1. Antarctica averages more than 40 degrees below zero. A couple of degrees of global warming obviously won’t melt it.
        2. Sea-level rise has not been accelerating (“rising at a greater rate year after year”). That’s just a lie. Sea-level rise hasn’t significantly accelerated since the 1920s or before, anywhere in the world.
        E.g., sea-level at Delfzijl, Netherlands hasn’t accelerated since the 19th century:

      • Hoyt, thanks for your kind comment. I apologize for assuming you had taken your talking points from the web. If you have listened to Meyer, then all I can say is you might want to go back and listen a little more carefully, as your description of intelligent design in the prior comment was seriously flawed.
        Regardless, I have not proposed that intelligent design be taught in school, nor does the Oklahoma bill. I personally wouldn’t have a problem with it, given that it is based on scientific principles and the same uniformitarian approach to historical science and inference to the best explanation that Charles relied upon in The Origin. But again, the Oklahoma bill does not propose that any new or alternative theories be taught. It doesn’t even propose any change in curriculum.
        Personally, I would love for students to learn more about evolution — a lot more. The underlying assumptions, the various shifting and inconsistent definitions, the difference between observation and inference, which claims that are supported by evidence and which are conjecture. There is so much that students could learn, including learning how to critically analyze and assess the strengths and weaknesses of various claims, without ever bringing up anything about intelligent design or “creationism” (whatever that is).
        I’m glad to hear that you agree teachers should be able to teach the science objectively, including the missing pieces. That is all the Oklahoma bill is trying to do — make sure teachers don’t get in trouble for objectively analyzing theories and asking hard questions.

  55. I applaud the success of the theory of evolution. It is a little foggy – “the survival of the fittest”, the definition of the fittest absent, so the fittest is one that survives in a changing environment, thus changing the environment. And then comes molecular biology, showing how closely related archaea, bacteria, fungi, plants, animals, and viruses are. It is nice to have a general framework that could account for all the variety. As noted in this thread, evolution does not explain the origin of life. Only the variety of life – that’s enough for me.

    • Actually, in biology “fitness” is not at all a vague concept. It’s not only defined but precisely measured.
      The phrase “survival of the fittest” was coined by a philosopher, not a scientist. Fitness in natural selection is based not upon survival rates per se, but upon reproductive success.

      • This is an interesting claim. Can you share with us how fitness is defined and precisely measured?
        Making sure, of course, that such definition is not dependent on the concept of survival . . .

      • Thank you Chimp, for taking time to reply.
        “It’s not a claim. It’s a fact. I wish that people would take a course in biology before presuming to comment upon the discipline. It’s elementary.”
        I wish people wouldn’t presume that others don’t know enough to comment. 🙂 I have plenty of knowledge to comment on this topic. And to spot the flaws and nuances that other people often gloss over. Let’s see just what is elementary.
        I was hoping you would provide a definition in your own words, but fine. You have cited three websites with various definitions (somewhat underscoring Curious George’s point, I might add, but let’s let that slide). Let’s take the lesson you cited on biological fitness. How do they define fitness:
        Fitness “means the ability to survive to reproductive age, find a mate, and produce offspring.”
        Those who understand the topic, as you and I do, know this definition isn’t quite complete, of course, as the simple production of offspring is not helpful unless those offspring, in turn, survive to reproductive age, find a mate, and produce offspring, and on to the next generation. An organism that produces a ton of offspring, which don’t survive to reproductive age (and so on) isn’t fit.
        This is otherwise known as “reproductive success,” as you mentioned.
        So now we come back full circle. You have stated that “fitness is not based on survival rates per so, but upon reproductive success.” And yet, when we examine what is meant by reproductive success it means precisely that: being able to survive long enough to find a mate reproduce, and for those offspring to, in turn, survive.
        You will find, if you analyze this issue in more depth that it is indeed extremely difficult to divorce the concept of fitness from survival. The second is inherent in the former. Which is why I asked the question I did and gave you the hint I did about the anticipated circularity. Sure enough, the definitions you pointed me to circle right back to survival.
        We can throw lots of fancy terms at the wall — reproductive success, differential survival, and so on — but in practice It is very difficult to avoid this tautology, as even some prominent evolutionists have acknowledged. Some have even been so bold as to applaud this circularity, proclaiming that the tautology makes it self-evidently true.
        Perhaps. But unfortunately it also robs it of any explanatory power.

  56. The ranting here is fun, but like what an astrophysicist from Caltech once said, he was looking for a religion, looked at many, only Christianity had a story of the beginning that did not bother him, yes the time line was wrong but the story was a pretty good description of how we came to be. As my historic geology prof said after giving a brief description of the “scientific” versus the biblical story, that’s all we will say about this here, now let’s study historic geology and we did and he was excellent. The other thing I like to point out – there was a big event in that 5000-6000 year ago window that had and has a huge impact today. This event also likely influenced the biblical story. What was that? Writing was developed!

    • No doubt you’ve noticed that the oil industry relies on real geology rather than so-called biblical “flood geology”.
      I have to disagree with your astrophysicist. All three Abrahamic religions share the Genesis creation myths, which are based upon ancient Mesopotamian stories. Genesis actually gets almost nothing even close to right. Same for other creation stories elsewhere in the OT.
      In its first, “Six Day” story of Genesis 1, the earth and day and night are made before the sun. Saying “Let there be light” is not the same as the Big Bang. There were already waters for the creator spirit to move over before the light. To be accurate, the story would have to have said that before God started the expansion, everything was concentrated into a space smaller than the smallest mustard seed, or some such language comprehensible to people of 3000 years ago.
      The order of appearance of plants and animals is also wrong in both of the two creation myths in Genesis, which are irreconcilably contradictory. The two stories are wrong in different ways. The second, “Adam and Eve” story in Genesis 2, however really blows it by having man made first, then plants, then animals, then woman. In reality, animals evolved before green plants, then people (both sexes at the same time) evolved from one line of animals.
      The actual order of “creation” differs completely from both stories. In Genesis 1, the order is, on the third day, plants. Wrong! Then He made the sun and the moon on Day Four. On the fifth day, first sea creatures (right for the animal sequence) and flying animals (wrong!), and has whales way out of place, too. On the Sixth Day, God told the earth to bring forth land creatures, such as cattle, creeping things and beasts. Again out of order, if creeping things are lizards and snakes. Plus, the flying creatures should have come in here. Finally, Man in God’s image. So this story is closer to correct than the second story, but still wrong, ludicrously so in putting plants before the sun.
      Evolution, as in “the earth and waters brought forth”, can be read into the first myth, however, much more easily than can modern astronomy, geology, meteorology or any other science be interpreted out of the Bible. Myths and legends are what pre-scientific people had in lieu of science, which began around 600 BC in Greece, and with astronomical observations in various regions before that.

      • Again, you are not reading it it Hebrew. Also the idea that the Old Testament if borrowed is wrong, Judaism has only one God all the others had multiple gods. Again your worldview blinds you.

      • Mike,
        Nothing blinds me. I read Greek better than Hebrew, but know the latter well enough for biblical exegesis. Aramaic, Akkadian or Sumerian, not so much. But the biblical myths are clearly borrowed from Mesopotamian originals. The OT authors just recast them with their chief tribal god Yahweh in place of Marduk, the Babylonian and Assyrian chief and storm god. This is not in the least a controversial conclusion in biblical scholarship. Indeed, it’s considered a fact, so obvious are the parallels.
        I’d urge you to read the Mesopotamian originals, or at least the Canaanite Ugaritic texts from which so much of the OT derives.
        Monotheism evolved slowly among the Hebrew tribes. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” has the same connotations in Hebrew as in English. The OT is filled with condemnations of the polytheistic backsliding of the people, for which transgressions the prophets blame the various calamities which befell them, such as the Assyrians’ carrying away into parts unknown 10.5 of the 12 tribes from the northern kingdom of Israel, and the Babylonian captivity of the remaining 1.5 tribe in Judea.

  57. Well I studied paleontology as a student of geology and the evidence for evolution is an order of magnitude plus stronger than even the perceived evidence for CAGW by proponents. The evolution of the horse and of the ‘keyhole brachiopod’ are two especially convincing cases (there are thousands of others). However, if the choices were not to teach creationism and to let climateers have their way with the minds of our children, I would without hesitation endorse teaching both sides of both arguments. Creationism ultimately does no harm. The CAGW stuff, used as a weapon by neomarxsbrothers and Champagne sloshulists who want wipe out democracy and western civilization is something different. Let all sides of all controversies be aired in the classroom. They will be excellent exercises for students.
    Incidentally, although I can’t see the current visualization of creationism as a realistic notion, were I to have been asked to debate the matter on the side creationists, I would suggest that a clever creator, especially one who operates in ‘mysterious ways’ could be expected to have created evolution to help the species adapt to all manner of events, cosmic based disasters, ice ages bolide collisions stresses that the All Wise Maker would know would be coming to visit earth. Now you paleontologists, refute that!!!

  58. Should parents have the right to do whatever they want to their children? Most people think not. Most people think there should be some limits to the “ownership” of their children. Parents should be prevented from doing things to their children that are harmful to those children purely for the parents’ satisfaction.
    Should they then be allowed to provide biased and false education, which is purely to satisfy the parents’ prejudice, but which will be harmful to the children because they are being taught lies and will therefore have limited choices?
    There is no simple answer. Some may say the parents should be able to do what they want. Most reject that argument. So it really comes down to what level of freedom you allow the parents and what level of harm to the children you tolerate.
    Maybe you say that education is on the side of the line that should be allowed, but that line is arbitrary. Argubly providing a biased and false education is one of the most harmful things you can do to a child.

    • So, seaice, we should teach both sides of controversial topics. Have I got you right? Teach creationism giving their best arguments and evolution the same. I would love to have CAGW stuff and non crisis climate science stuff. This would be a wonderful experience for the students. Bright high school students could probably make a contribution. University students presently don’t have this luxury in this politicized ‘climate’ (think Berkley violence and firebombing to stop a Conservative speaker from addressing a group that had invited him). The CAGW adherents do not want to debate. After losing those they did do early on, they won’t do it any more. They have taken the tack to blather about the theory being “physics based” with half the physics unidentified and so far not one correct prediction to crow about. I used to worry that by chance they might make one and plunge the world into an economic and cultural dark age. There is a way to do a fair job of prediction but not if you insist on dragging the 300% too high climate sensitivity figure along. You’d have a decent prediction, but it wouldn’t be very alarming. When one day, both sides can be taught and debated, I would hope I could be in the audience to see it.

      • “So, seaice, we should teach both sides of controversial topics. Have I got you right?”
        No, Gary, you have not got me right.
        In this comment I was not really arguing for or against, but discusing the underlying issues. We may say that parents should be allowed to teach their children what they want, but that ignores the fact that poor and biased education will be harmful to the child.
        We cannt simply take it as a give that parents should be allowed to teach what they want, unless we take it as given that parents should be allowed to harm their children in certain ways.
        Individuals need to consider what level of harm is resonable to allow parents and where to draw the line, and what action should be taken (if any). I can understand that many think that choice of what to teach is on one side of the line, but we should also recognise that it is also reasoable to think it on the other side – whichever side you are on.
        Personally I think public education of science should be science based, which rules out creationism and anti AGW, although is does allow anti CAGW. Creationism can be taught at home and in RE lessons but ot in science. For people who do not send ther children to public school it is complex, and I have no ready general answer.

    • seaice1 writes “So it really comes down to what level of freedom you allow the parents”
      Who exactly is doing the “allowing” and how did it come to that?

  59. The human is so complex, that evolution by chance alone would be astronomical.
    Like say equivalent to a tornado running through a car junkyard of parts only. Then, leaving in it’s wake a tornado built car that runs perfectly.

    • Ray,
      Humans are no more complex than other large mammals. Our brains have more interconnections than most, but other mammals have sensory and mental powers which we lack. Chimps have superior spatial memory, which no human can match.
      We weren’t assembled out of random parts in a single moment. We evolved by numerous steps from unicellular organisms over four billion years, along with every other living thing on the planet, whether complex or simple.
      Four billion years ago, single-celled organisms without nuclei, ie prokaryotes, arose. Between two and three billion years ago, unicells with nuclei and other organelles such as mitochondria, ie eukaryotes, evolved. Around a billion years ago, multicellular animals evolved from colonial unicellular eukaryotes called choanocytes, as shown both by their similarity to sponges and by their close genetic match to animals.
      From amorphous sponges evolved animals with radial and bilateral symmetry in the Ediacaran, the last period of the Precambrian. Before 500 million years ago, in the Cambrian Period, the first chordates evolved from their bilaterian ancestors. From among the chordates arose vertebrates, which then evolved jaws and bony skeletons during the Ordovician and Silurian Periods. From lobe-fins, a group of bony fish, evolved tetrapods, ie land vertebrates, in the Devonian.
      In the Carboniferous, adapting to life on land led to the evolution of amniotes, tetrapods laying shelled eggs, which don’t need water or at least a very moist environment, to reproduce, as do amphibians. From early amniotes evolved synapsids, which have a single hole in their skulls behind the eye socket. Diapsids, with two such openings, evolved into reptiles, including birds. Synapsids became ever more mammal-like during the Permian, which period they dominated on land.
      After the Mother of All Mass Extinction Events at the Permian/Triassic boundary, diapsids, such as dinosaurs and crocodilian relatives, gradually replaced synapsids as the predominant land animals, for good evolutionary reasons. But in the Triassic too arose proto-mammals, followed by true mammals in the Jurassic. Placental mammals evolved in the Cretaceous, final period of the Mesozoic Era.
      Primates evolved in the Paleocene Epoch of the Paleogene Period of the Cenozoic Era, after the mass extinction in which non-avian dinosaurs and many other groups were wiped out. In the Eocene Epoch, the ancestors of tarsiers, monkeys and apes evolved from prosimian primates. Among many other shared, derived genetic traits, these primates all lack the ability to make vitamin C. In the same epoch, tarsiers and New World monkeys diverged from the ape and Old World monkey group. During the Oligocene Epoch, OW monkeys split off from the line leading to apes, which lack tails, sung through trees by brachiating and share many other derived traits.
      In the Miocene Epoch of the Neogene Period, lesser apes diverged from great apes, then Asian great apes (ancestors of orangutans) split from African great apes and then these diverged into the gorilla and human-chimp branches. In the Pliocene, upright walking apes, ie australopithecines, split from the chimp-bonobo line. In the Pleistocene, genus Homo evolved from genus Australopithecus. H. habilis evolved into H. erectus-grade humans, which evolved into H. heidelbergensis, which evolved into H. sapiens, including its Neanderthal, Denisovan and Anatomically Modern subspecies. We, the AMHs are the only subspecies left, although bits and pieces of of our extinct kin remain in our genomes.
      Every possible line of evidence supports these evolutionary events.

      • You seem to forget that there are very few, if any, intermediate fossils. The fossil record is replete with organisms that seem to come out of nowhere, remain stable for millions of years and then go extinct, FYI, you seem to equate “creationism” with those who believe in a young earth, which I also reject. And evolution is all well and good but in the end there is no pathway (given the atmosphere of the early earth carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water vapor) to go from non-life to life. Chirality is even a bigger problem. I submit, it is your worldview that restricts your beliefs. Your religion is scienceism, and even if God visited you in the flesh,I have no doubt you would not believe in His existence. Even your high priest was not sure…“But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man’s mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey’s mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?
        [To William Graham 3 July 1881]”
        ― Charles Darwin

      • “Humans are no more complex than other large mammals. Our brains have more interconnections than most, but other mammals have sensory and mental powers which we lack. Chimps have superior spatial memory, which no human can match.”
        Only if you ignore the complexity of rational human thought. That is something that you do without question. Apparently, for you, evolution is the evolution of the body alone. You will account for the evolution of the brain, I guess, but you will do so with reference to the brain’s most important function, rational thought.

    • Ray,
      I wrote a long reply, but as with so many of my comments, it failed to post.
      Short version is that humans are no more complex than other large mammals. Our brains have more interconnections than most, but other mammals have sensory and mental powers which we lack. Chimps have superior spatial memory, which no human can match.
      We weren’t assembled out of random parts in a single moment. We evolved by numerous steps from unicellular organisms over four billion years, along with every other living thing on the planet, whether complex or simple.

      • Chimp,
        You are making my point for me. Not just humans, but any animals – large or small – isn’t just complex, but extremely so. Even the workings of a single cell alone is quite complex.
        We have messed with evolution on an accelerated timescale. We have changed the genetics of fruit flies, but have not been able to improve one. Most changes have been useless and a devolved fly: i.e. third wing. Often life seems to devolve rather than evolve. So much for survival of the fittest.
        We can mess with genetics to change a cell, but can we create a cell out of dust?
        A scientist was chatting with God:
        Scientist: “You’re not so great, I can create a man too with a little time.”
        God: Ok your on, and I will give you a full year.
        The scientist leaves, and as he walks away, reaches down for a handful of dirt.
        God: Oh no, no, no. That is my dirt. You have to use your own.

      • “Improvement” is not what evolution is about. It results in part form the differential reproductive success of individuals within a population, but there is no teleological end state.
        We could make better fruit flies if we wanted to. They are studied not to improve fruit fly function, but to find out how genetics works.
        “Devolve” likewise assumes some ideal end or starting state. There is no goal.
        We mess with genetics to change cells every day. That’s what genetic engineering does. So of course we can do that.
        We have not yet created a cell out of “dust”, which in terms of science would be making one out of the chemical elements of which cells are composed, starting from scratch. But we’re getting surprisingly (for those who don’t follow the work) close. Most of the essential components, the complex chemical compound constituents of cells, self-assemble. The engineering challenge which remains is putting those components together to form replicating protocells.
        The most important outstanding problem, IMO, has to do with the phosphate backbone of RNA. So far, only fairly short strands of RNA self-assemble and don’t last long. But a couple of exciting discoveries have been made to get around this problem. No miracles are needed. Just more lab work, experiments and biomolecular engineering.

    • Roy Denio writes “The human is so complex, that evolution by chance alone would be astronomical.”
      Or inevitable. As William Briggs repeatedly explains, there is no such thing as chance. Where life is possible it is probably inevitable.
      “Like say equivalent to a tornado running through a car junkyard of parts only. Then, leaving in it’s wake a tornado built car that runs perfectly.”
      Indeed. Or monkeys typing out Shakespeare. Give it long enough and it will happen provided the odds are greater than zero, however slight it might be.
      If you ARE that life, your odds of existing is “1”.

      • You are using an old argument that depends on equivocation on the term “random”. The meaning in evolutionary biology is undirected, that is, that favorable mutations do no appear at a higher rate. What the argument ignores is selection, that the unfavorable mutations die out, and the favorable mutations survive and leave more descendants.

  60. Oh, dear. Anthony chopped the astrology thread short yesterday – and opened a whole shipping container worth of creationism worms today…
    Nice to know that you, too, are human, Anthony! Good thing server space is cheap these days.

    • Our host was wise to cut short that developing thread. IMO squelching creationist comments would also be advisable, since Warmunistas seldom fail to point out instances of creationist snake oil being peddled here and on other skeptical sites.
      Sadly, the charge by the Carbonari that many skeptics are also creationists is valid. Almost their only supportable accusation against us.

  61. Let the children decide. Let’s teach them that climate may be warming but that there is good reason to question that view. Let’s teach them evolution and that there are other views on the subject. Let’s not indoctrinate them with one view to the exclusion of everything else. That’s close to brainwashing. If we show them all there is to see, plus what the evidence is, then in time they can make up their own mind. Wouldn’t that be best? The problem with science the past 30-40 years is that itself has become a religious battleground. Scientific American and National Geographic didn’t always wade into the battle of metaphysics as they do now. But now that science itself has become the religion, with its own set of priests and relics and close-mindedness, it’s hardly better than wild religion.

    • There are no scientifically defensible views against the fact of evolution, anymore than there are against the germ theory of disease or heliocentric theory of astronomy. Anti-vaccination activists might question the germ theory, but really have very little more going for them than do creationists.

      • Really! Your worldview blinds you. Read “More than a Theory: Reveling a Testable Model for Creation,” by Hugh Ross, if you dare. I am waiting for someone to cite Hawkins about the theory of gravity creating the universe. Like Dr. John Lennox, professor of mathematics at Oxford University, “nonsense spoken by scientists, is still nonsense.

      • Shame I did not read this first. I would have realized that you are a complete fanatic. You will accept no questioning of the theory of evolution. That is clear.

  62. That’s exactly the sort of close-mindedness I mean. This obsessive close mindedness didn’t always pollute science.

    • It’s not close mindedness to demand that science to be taught in science classes, rather than religion. For students to understand science, they need to study it, not theology.
      If you imagine that you can demonstrate creation of species scientifically, please, by all means, have at it. You’ll be the first.

      • It’s not teaching science in science classes that is the problem. Teaching scientism by strident atheists is where the problem is. Saying the science has done away with the need for a God as it has perfectly and satisfactorily explained how and why we exist is a rank falsehood. Do we not all agree here that teaching children things we know for sure as false is wrong?

  63. There is an easy answer to this one. Simply force schools to use the raw data instead of the “adjusted” data for their experiments. We should have schools teach the scientific method and then apply it to the ice core and other data. They should then study the results of the IPCC models, and the divergences between ground and satellite data. By only selectively teaching topics they hide the truth. Force the kids to be skeptical and the truth becomes apparent. BTW, has anyone ever seen this?

  64. I don’t think the article is entirely correct, just because the state can sometimes get things wrong, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better to let parents decide what’s good for them.
    The state runs schools, therefore the state has the right on what to teach, not parents. If someone wants to teach something (or not) in a state run institution, you have to first convince the state to teach it (or not).
    Religion is not allowed except in specially designated classes. Political views are also not allowed, only comparative political analyses in the appropriate classes.
    There are many such guidelines, but the bottom line is a teacher, like any public service official, cannot use their position to promote a personal political or religious view in the classroom, or in any state capacity, unless their official position calls for it. If they want to do such, they usually they have to do it outside their official functions, and not using the emblems or other official designations of their position (for example a national parks officer wearing a government uniform to a rally).
    Parents can sometimes withdraw children from classes they disagree with, but they can’t enforce what views are taught or not taught.

  65. Science is a tool. It is the application of a process called the Scientific Method to the challenge of learning about the physical world. It is, by far, the most effective known method for investigating the physical world.
    Science is a very useful tool, but it is only one tool.
    For other sorts of inquiry there are other types of study. If all you know is science, you are like the mechanic who has only a hammer, and thinks everything looks like a nail. You will be very ill-equipped to excel at music (though I once read a fascinating book entitled, The Acoustical Foundations of Music), or interpersonal relationships, or to understand your Creator’s purpose for your life.
    Practically speaking, even when seeking to understand the physical world, science is never the only tool in your toolbox. For instance, even the most dedicated scientist, if he witnesses something with his own eyes and ears, will invariably believe it, even though there may be no hope of reproducing it, and he knows that reproducibility is a prerequisite for application of the Scientific Method.
    Unfortunately, much of what is taught as “science” is anything but scientific.

    What passes for science includes opinion, arguments-from-authority, dramatic press releases, and fuzzy notions of consensus generated by preselected groups. This is not science.

    Climatologist John Christy, Sept. 20, 2012
    For instance, only part of what is taught as “evolution” is recognizable as science. On one hand, microevolution is well demonstrated, But, on the other hand, the theory of spontaneous generation, which was discarded by science as conclusively disproved 150 years ago, is now taught as part of the “science” of evolution. Of course they don’t call it “spontaneous generation,” they call it the “abiotic origin of life,” but the terms are really synonyms.
    Science should be based in evidence, and, sometimes it is. For instance, there’s a a great body of evidence refuting young-earth creationism. But there’s no evidence at all for an abiotic origin of life. The abiotic origin of life is taught in “science” classes, as part of “evolution,” in spite of a complete lack of evidence for it. There is no more evidence of an abiotic origin of life than there is of atmospheric CO2 causing accelerated sea-level rise. The supposed abiotic origin of life is taught in so-called science courses because those who teach it are ideologically opposed to the possibility of a supernatural origin of life, just as ideology, rather than scientific evidence, motivates the Party Line that CO2 drives sea-level rise.

  66. “I don’t think the article is entirely correct, just because the state can sometimes get things wrong, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily better to let parents decide what’s good for them.”
    True, a single parent deciding what is good is the wrong way. The parents in aggregate deciding what is good is how it should work.

    • Roy Denio:
      single parents or parents in aggregate-that’s much the same thing.
      State institutions teach state-accepted knowledge, not parent-accepted. If parents want to take it up with the state, they can do so at other levels, changing or challenging knowledge through publication e.g. at University levels- who generally decide what constitutes acceptable ‘knowledge’. There is a process involved, at a state level since it is a state institution. Other methods have been tried and don’t work as well, (much like democracy).
      When I was at school, certain parents wanted to teach creationism in biology (and other classes). Because creationism is not accepted as valid science by the state, this is therefore invalid. To teach creationism in science one would have to have it accepted at a University/state level as science, not at a ‘parent’ level, group or otherwise. Also, it violates separation of church and state. It can be taught in religious classes, not in biology classes, and even in religious classes there is generally a requirement to state it as a religious idea, not science.
      The same religious group also wanted to change or modify the teaching of art classes, geology, music classes, and ban certain English texts. (The only subject seem to be left untouched was Maths). You see the point.

    • Roy Denio says “a single parent deciding what is good is the wrong way. The parents in aggregate deciding what is good is how it should work.”
      Why? Why should there be a “should”? If parents in aggregate are wrong, which is often the case, should you be compelled to their wrongness? For me the answer is “no”.
      The brilliant mind cannot be trained by an “aggregate” of parenting.
      “The Accountant” movie comes to mind. There is no “aggregate” deciding how to raise an autistic child to be brilliant. My own formative years were out in the middle of nowhere with snakes and scorpions for wildlife. I was raised on Rudyard Kipling and Lyman Frank Baum, taught in “phonics”, and could read both by second grade and correctly pronounce (while not perhaps understanding) almost any word that can be written. Imagine my surprise when we moved to the city and I encountered “see spot run” for the first time. Say what? You call that READING?
      A fellow at church was able to read “repentance” but he could not read “wine”. He had not been taught “wine” and had no idea whatsoever of the rules for “sounding out” a written word.

  67. Speaking as a Louisiana teacher of more than twenty years, I can say that the idea that “creationism” can be legally taught in public schools is utterly false. What can be taught are scientific (NOT religious) objections to standard evolutionary theory, such as the non-existence of junk DNA, or difficulties building life from non-life via stochastic processes.

  68. Anthony Watts writes: “The only sane choice is to take back power from the state, to demand and receive the right to decide what is best for our own children”
    That’s really the best answer, the best defense. Parents house, cloth and feed their children and its their right and privilege to educate them on subjects that have no objective truth.
    Creationism is a philosophy I originally scorned. I’m a trained scientists and I’d been indoctrinated myself into believing the idea had no merit until I read a treatment on the Anthropic Principal by an Oxford philosophy professor named Nick Bostrom, who made a compelling case for the “Universe as a Simulation” hypothesis. I spent years tossing it around in the basement of my head and finally decided he had a point; there really was no way to objectively distinguish between Intelligent Design (the “simulation hypothesis”) and anything else. The entire argument was sophism, beetle tracking; no way to tell.
    So I’d rather have the government stay completely away from the subject. They don’t know. I don’t know. No one knows.
    Stick to reading, writing and arithmetic. Everything else will be fine if they can just manage that.

    • “Stick to reading, writing and arithmetic. Everything else will be fine if they can just manage that.”
      Evidently they can’t. This article is evidence.
      “But the alternative to having the freedom to mess up your children’s education, is giving the state the authority to mess up your children’s education.”
      Wrong. There should not be a comma after the subject clause.
      “The only sane choice is to take back power from the state, to demand and receive the right to decide what is best for our own children – however outrageous some of those choices may be. Because the only thing worse than watching other parents make bad choices for their children…>
      Wrong. A “because” clause is always subordinate, and should never be presented as a separate sentence.
      “Because the only thing worse than watching other parents make bad choices for their children, is being forced to accept whatever lunacy the latest crop of government bureaucrats decide to inflict on your children.”
      Wrong. Yet another comma after the subject clause.
      If modern schools cannot teach the basics of grammar, how can we expect them to teach science?

      • Roha asks “If modern schools cannot teach the basics of grammar, how can we expect them to teach science?”
        There is no “we”. Grammar is a social convention (of considerable complexity) and thus subject to whims of society. Science is not supposed to be subject to whims of society although new science clearly is as wiggly as language.
        Underlying language and grammar may well be some invariant structure that is found everywhere that language is found but one would have to look deep. In American English, adjectives precede the noun being modified, but in Icelandic the first adjective is a suffix. In English, you might have a fast boat. In Icelandic it would be boatfast (as I understand it anyway). Icelandic also has an interesting abiltiy to answer affirmatively negatively phrased questions (whose very existence is itself an oddity):
        Do you want to see a movie? Is a simple question with a simple answer.
        Don’t you want to see a movie? In English, the simple answer is likely to be misunderstood. If I say “yes”, did I affirm the “don’t” or affirm “see a movie”? But in Icelandic this form has its own form of yes “ju” which negates the “don’t” and affirms the object at the same time.

      • @Mike Graebner
        I know it is fashionable and politically correct to attribute “hate” to other people, but to find it in a collection of grammar notes is exceptionally clever.
        Well done.

      • @Michael 2
        Yes, grammar is a social convention, and, as is often the case with conventions, when the convention is flouted, confusion follows.
        We do not tolerate the deleterious effects of laziness, carelessness, and ignorance in engineering or medicine, and nor should we tolerate them in our most important means of communication.

  69. So at the end of the day everything came from nothing.
    So for me it makes more sense that God made everything from nothing than
    believing everything evolved from nothing.

    • Well, Mark r, everything from something outside of space-time, matter-energy. What that may be is a matter for debate — Simulation? God? — but whatever it is, it is clearly not nothing.
      Which is the long way of saying that I agree God is a superior hypothesis to “it just kinda happened.”

    • If you believe that nothing can come into existence without being created, how did God come into existence?
      If you believe “God was not created” then why not “the universe was not created”?

      • God is external of the universe because the universe was non existent at one point. That is like me asking you what does dark matter consist of? There has been a lot written about the fine-tuning of the universe. It is obvious to anyone who has an open mind that an intellect had something to do with it coming into existence. see

      • “God is external of the universe”
        But that doesn’t answer the question of where God came from.
        And when you say “the universe was non existent at one point”, do you mean that there was time before the universe came into being? If so, what was God doing in that time? If not, then how does “the universe was non existent at one point” imply that God is in some way external to the universe?
        Since I have lectured on Philosophy of Religion for a number of years, I am quite familiar with many versions of the Fine Tuning Argument. I will see whether the video offers anything new.
        Might I, in response, suggest a book?
        Robin Le Poidevin: Arguing for Atheism, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Religion Routledge, 11 New Fetter Lane, London EC4P 4EE, UK and 29 West 35th Street, New York, NY 10001, USA, 1996,
        It is quite short.
        You can also find some good discussion here.
        This material will, perhaps, help you to see that, for some open minds, at least, it is not entirely obvious that an intellect had something to do with the universe coming into existence.

        • I have a book for you, The Real Face of Atheism” by Ravi Zacharias. I am curious how you determine morality. In your worldview, since you do not believe in an absolute law giver (God), there is no good or evil. I am sure that you are aware that the biggest mass murders of the 20th century were all atheists. There is another book, “I Don’t have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist” by Norman L. Geisler and Frank Turek but I have not read that one as yet.

      • “If you believe that nothing can come into existence without being created, how did God come into existence?”
        Category error, like 2 plus 2 equals green. By definition, God never came into existence. That’s what being eternal means.

      • “By definition, God never came into existence. That’s what being eternal means.”
        Fair enough, though Mike did not give that definition. But then we are accepting the principle that something can exist eternally, without coming into existence. Why, then, simply not accept that the universe exists eternally, without coming into existence?
        If you want to point to the Big Bang as the universe coming into existence, there are two points to raise.
        First, assuming the BB theory is true, the current universe might be part of an eternally existing multiverse, perhaps something in the style of Smolin’s “fecund universe”.
        Second, more importantly, is the question of time.
        (a) Time started with the BB. But then there never was a moment of time in which the universe did not exist. This means that the universe has always existed.
        (b) Time existed before the BB. The BB occurred at a moment in time. But then we come to Augustine’s question of why God created the universe at that moment, and not, say, five minutes earlier. The usual response (Augustine’s)is that God is not a temporal being, and that God created time along with the universe. Alternative views get you into this sort of thing.
        It is very difficult to think of something personal existing non-temporally. However, some sort of non-personal,non-temporal “ground of being” (Tillich’s phrase) is easier to imagine. But to call this “God” is deceptive, since it pretends this thing is the same as the personal God that the theistic religions peddle.

        • Dr. John Polkinghorne, a quantum theorist, has stated the following about the multiverse, “Let us recognize these speculations for what they are. They are not physics, but in the strictest sense, metaphysics.” You might want to read “Who’s Afraid of the Multiverse?” by Jeffrey Zweerink, PH.D. (an astrophysicist, specializing in high energy gamma-ray astrophysics).
          Concerning the big bang, at some point there was nothing except the eternal being, God for lack of a better word, and then all of space, time, matter and energy came into being. There was no time before that. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1
          I am curious, why would a non-personal, non-temporal being be easier to imagine than a personal God? Maybe that is just your preference? My preference would be a personal, loving God.
          All of this is fun and games, and I rather doubt that either of us will convince the other. But thanks anyway. It helps me sharpen my apologetics.
          The above quote I took from “God’s Undertaker Has Science buried God?” by John C. Lennox (is Professor of Mathematics (emeritus) at the University of Oxford and Fellow in Mathematics and the Philosophy of Science at Green Templeton College, Oxford). He is a very good and lucid writer. You can also see some of this lectures on youtube.

      • “I have a book for you, The Real Face of Atheism” by Ravi Zacharias.”
        Not impressed. I agree with this reviewer:
        (I will add that if you want some real apologetics, as distinct from the stuff produced by American evangelists, try Richard Swinburne or Alvin Plantinga. They don’t convince me, but at least they try to make a respectable case, and it is by no means easy to refute them.)
        “I am curious how you determine morality. In your worldview, since you do not believe in an absolute law giver (God), there is no good or evil.”
        You don’t know what my worldview is. I might be a Buddhist, a Hindu,a Spinozan pantheist, or one of many other possibilities.
        As far as morality is concerned, I believe that moral principles are sui generis objective rules, in the same way that the principles of logic and mathematics are objective rules. (Expanding on this will take a pile of essays.)
        But if God gives moral laws, how does he choose the laws? Does he choose laws which he knows are good, or are the laws good because he chose them? The Euthyphro dilemma is inescapable.
        “I am sure that you are aware that the biggest mass murders of the 20th century were all atheists.”
        It was not the only century.

      • “Let us recognize these speculations for what they are. They are not physics, but in the strictest sense, metaphysics.”
        And that applies to ideas of a creator god. There really is no good reason (Fine-tuning arguments notwithstanding) for assuming the existence of such a thing.
        A personal non-temporal being is not difficult to imagine if I imagine it as only having the mental state of pure consciousness*, but as soon as I try to imagine beyond that I find I am attributing mental states and processes which take time.
        That is not to say that other timeless mental states, or timeless mental “processes” are impossible. I do not think that reality is forced to limit itself to what I – or you – can imagine. But it does raise a difficulty which does not seem to apply to a non-personal “ground of being”.
        I might add that I have never held the idea that “science has buried God”. My arguments are philosophical.
        (*This state is the only one in which I have experience without experience of time.)

  70. And the same policy allowing scientific criticism to be aired in class is true of climate change, as well.

  71. The Book of Genesis — the best philosophical science of its day.
    In Genesis why are plants created before the stars are set in motion? Because it’s pure Aristotle. (The Old Testament ain’t as old as people think.) Aristotle argued that there are three types of motion — physical place to place motion, change of color and growth. (Later Aristotle adds shrinkage as a fourth form of motion different from growth.) When the universe is set into motion all three (or four) types of motion are started up. Things move about and plants perform change of color and growth (also shrinkage).
    Motion can’t be started till things are created that can “move”. If there were no sun and stars in place to move about than motion could not be started. Likewise if plants were not there motion could not be started.
    According to Aristotle all motions have a unitary cause. — apparently one (and only one) commandment from God. (Apparently God was rather thrifty with his commandments.)
    So the idea of one God originated in Greece (God is Greek) not in the east. Aristotle was Alexander the Great’s teacher. Alexander conquered the east and brought Greek philosophy with him. And about four hundred years later the Old Testament was written.
    Oh, and by the way, the Old Testament was completely written by Christian Hebrews — yeah, like you are going to believe that.
    Eugene WR Gallun

  72. Thought this was a pretty apposite quote for the discussion here:
    ‘[S]cience can stand on its own feet and does not need any help from rationalists, secular humanists, Marxists and similar religious movements; and… non-scientific cultures, procedures and assumptions can also stand on their own feet and should be allowed to do so… Science must be protected from ideologies; and societies, especially democratic societies, must be protected from science… In a democracy scientific institutions, research programmes, and suggestions must therefore be subjected to public control, there must be a separation of state and science just as there is a separation between state and religious institutions, and science should be taught as one view among many and not as the one and only road to truth and reality.’
    — Feyerabend, Against Method, p. viii[47]

    • It is my opinion that human beings basically are religious. Religion answers questions about the Unknown to ease our consciousness and suppres doubts. Religious theses become true by authority (placing things outside comprehension of the public) and consensus which requires heretics to be silenced.
      Science places truth outside authority and consensus which requires analytic reasoning and numerical expertise. In climate matters, religious arguments dominate because the climate is not well understood. This enables opportunists to develop new business models, based on virtual fears. The Middel Ages are back. We have become a theocracy. If continued we are entering a period of stagnation and a more static lifestyle. Return to a feudal system could happen which is typical for a low-energy-society.

      • David says “It is my opinion that human beings basically are religious.”
        If by “religious” you mean “easily believe what they are told”, then yes. Believing is, on average, safer. If your distant ancestor heard that lions and tigers and bears oh my were just over the ridge, it is safer to believe it than to go see for yourself.
        There’s a reason why the Climate Consensus is almost exclusively a product of the socialist left; it is a social control mechanism. It might also be more or less true but that’s not the important reason most Democrats subscribe.
        A social grouping cannot exist if everyone requires proof, challenges claims, scientific behavior in other words. A social group exists when people simply believe what they are told by a leader. The leader himself might not believe a thing which is what makes him the leader rather than just another follower.
        Libertarians tend to be challengers, questioners, skeptics. It doesn’t mean libertarians do not believe, but they will tend to have good reasons for belief. A religious libertarian has made a choice for good reasons as seems to him. People of the Left go with whatever they are told but it will (almost) always incorporate elements of simple belief of what an Authority (or a Consensus) has told them.

  73. Evolution vs. Creationism
    Both do not exclude each other as long as you do not believe in a very specific story of creationism (i.e. bible). You can believe in evolution and track everything back to the very first single cell and how that one evolved. Still, this does not explain, how the conditions for this evolution were set. Since there is no start and no end of time we will very likely reach a point where we will fail to explain everything by evolution or science as we know it. It is at least as likely that there is something to set all this in motion as it is that everything evolved by hazard.
    But even if you believe that there is some creator it does by no means answer the question whether this is a being we describe as god. Also, it does not prove that this being started this process just to create mankind because nobody can know that we are the end of the process. It does not prove that any of the religions we know on earth has something to do with this being. Looking at the time scales and the many different religions over earth and time it is more likely that those are pure inventions of a selfimportant mankind which thinks to be and remain the top of the evolution. Even if the creator focussed on mankind an we were the very target of the process, who tells you that this creator has good intentions? etc. etc.
    After all I have come to the conclusion: Evolution explains the development of universe, earth and mankind well enough for me. Maybe there is a creator in another dimension to start the whole process with a specific intention, maybe there is not. But if there was one it is very unlikely that this is a godlike being (according to our definition) who would be interested in us or our lifes.
    Both have their place in school, evolution as the reality based theory and the different religions including their explanation of creation as it’s philosophical counterpart. The students will have to learn to evaluate both.

    • There isn’t a scientific theory of evolution. Scientific theories require testable concepts and no one knows how to test the claim, for example, tat ATP synthase evolved by means of natural selection, drift or any other blind and mindless process. The same goes for all of the biological systems and subsystems observed to exist.
      That said Creation is OK with populations evolving. It is OK with antibiotic resistance evolving. Creationism actually predicted reproductive isolation and the beginning of the universe, so at least it has that going for it.

      • Darwin predicted the existance of an insect with a very long nozzle fitting to a similarly shaped rare flower. Years after his prediction this insect was discovered. I don’t care how the evolution theory is called. To me it is completely logical but of course I accept other views.

      • Actually, there are scientific theories of evolution.
        Evolution itself is a fact, and it’s pretty well supported by observations.
        More importantly, there are any number of conceivable observations that would completely falsify evolution. Mammalian fossils in undisturbed Devonian rock, for example, or pollen in undisturbed Cambrian rock. One of the reasons why Creationists get so excited about complexity and “irreducible complexity” is they purport to show events that can’t be explained through known evolutionary mechanisms. (Explanations tend to get worked out, and in at least one case that I know of, the explanation had been worked out before the book popularizing the problem had been published.)
        Now the difference between evolution and Climate Change is that I’m not sure what possible observable fact could falsify it. If we have a heat wave, it’s Climate Change. If we have a blizzard, it’s Climate Change. If California has a drought, it’s Climate Change. If we have more water than we can handle, it’s Climate Change. I’ve listed two things that could completely disprove evolution. What would completely disprove Climate Change?
        (I think it’s fair to define Climate Change as having three parts: (1) The world is getting warmer; (2) Humans are responsible for a major amount of that warming; (3) Said warming is going to bring disastrous consequences. “Disproving Climate Change” means getting Climate Change Alarmists to admit that no, it’s not a disaster after all, or at least no, we don’t have to roll technology and civilization back to 1750 after all.)

      • Joe,
        There is no scientific theory more scientific and subject to falsification of its testable predictions than evolution. It has passed every test.
        As for the evolution of ATP synthase, there is a large literature on the subject. ATP itself is a nucleotide found in both DNA and RNA. How the enzyme to make this energy storage molecule evolved has been satisfactorily described for over 20 years, with recent refinements. It clearly involves selective pressure and gene duplication.
        Rotary DNA motors:
        F-ATPase similarity to V-ATPase:
        Differing proton gradient between them:
        Rotation of gamma subunit to drive enzymatic reaction:
        Gene duplication:;jsessionid=17840C4D0AEE41353FBB330318DE19A0.f02t02
        Reversals in functions:

    • paulclim writes: “But even if you believe that there is some creator it does by no means answer the question whether this is a being we describe as god.”
      There is no “we”. Consequently what you have in mind by the word is nearly certain to be different than what I have in mind by the word.
      “Also, it does not prove that this being started this process just to create mankind because nobody can know that we are the end of the process.”
      However it is easy to believe that mankind is the apex of the process right now, or its purpose. One thing that you cannot know is that no others can know a thing that you do not.
      “It does not prove that any of the religions we know on earth has something to do with this being.”
      Proof is not relevant. If God wanted everyone to know he exists, then everyone would know. Since that is clearly not the case, either he doesn’t particularly care for everyone to know he exists, or he cannot force everyone to know he exists, or he is choosing to not impose it (other possibilities may exist).
      But *I* can know a thing that you do not, and if I tell my story and others believe it, I have just started a “religion”.
      “a selfimportant mankind which thinks to be and remain the top of the evolution.”
      That is indeed what I think, more or less. However I suspect my dog also thinks she is the pinnacle of creation.
      “Even if the creator focussed on mankind an we were the very target of the process, who tells you that this creator has good intentions?”
      He does. One assumes of course that he is telling the truth; and if not, what then are you going to do about it?
      “Evolution explains the development of universe, earth and mankind well enough for me.”
      Whereas any of dozens of different creation stories serve the same purpose for others.
      “But if there was one it is very unlikely that this is a godlike being (according to our definition) who would be interested in us or our lifes.”
      Why would it be unlikely?
      What I know for sure is that there is such a being and that for reasons not entirely clear he is interested in my life. He has said nothing about yours to me. Each person will know, or not, based on personal experience and this is a thing that cannot be given to another person and that appears to be by design. Your moral compass will lead to your source of morality, mine to mine. My interpretation of these events is that life is a separation and development opportunity, sort of a metaphysical natural selection (unnatural selection?). God does not make you believe; rather, he selects those that do (or will). I was raised in an atheist household. That gave me one advantage — I did not have to “unlearn” a lot of cultural baggage. I did not so blindly believe “7 days” creation that it was difficult to change my thinking; rather I can read the plain words of the book and see that the Earth was already here, the Sun wasn’t created until the 3rd day anyway so “day” isn’t “day”. Since then I’ve also learned that in Hebrew it also isn’t “day” but rather a denotation of the end of one period of time and the start of the next. That may still not be accurate or correct, mythology in other words, but how hard is it to read the plain meaning of the words?

  74. I find that AGW and CAGW advocates and atheists have one thing in common—the desire to SHUT UP EVERYONE WHO DISAGREES WITH THEM. For a while there, I actually thought there could be civil discourse, but introduce one or two rabid atheists and civility is history. Just like CAGW believers, they are NEVER wrong and must be allowed to silence all teachings about religion in schools. The only solution is to completely destroy PUBLIC government schools and go back to home schooling and smaller schools or internet schools with the curriculum chosen by the parents. Otherwise, both atheists and CAGW believers will destroy all hope of actual learning in schools by demanding only their beliefs be taught. The blindness of the two groups is mind-boggling—they seek to silence all who oppose them rather than actual debate. They make proclamations and demand alligence. So very close-minded and dangerous.
    I do thank David Middleton for his answers and article. For a while, and off-and-on, very civil answers were given and i learned a lot. Perhaps later it can be tried again and until those “rational atheists” who demand no one believe a certain way jump in, we can all learn. Thank you David for your answers and article.

    • Sheri I disagree that atheists want to shut up people who disagree. At least I could not find that as a common behavior here in the comments. It should be clear that believeing in or opposing CAGW has nothing to do with being religious or not. i.e. even the Pope believes in CAGW.

      • Evolution has nothing to with being religious, either, but it is used to stomp out religion on a regular basis.

      • paulclim says “even the Pope believes in CAGW.”
        That is a thing you cannot know. Others can know what he chooses to say, and at times various persons can observe his behavior. My comment is a pedantic nit but let’s be precise.

      • Sheri,
        Keeping the anti-scientific, cult religion-based dogma of creationism out of public school science classes is not an attempt to shut anyone up. It’s a necessary result of the separation of church and state.

      • @ Michael 2
        If I said “Even the pope seems to believe in CAGW” instead, would that change anything? Being 100% precise impedes an exchange between 2 adverse views, especially in short comments.

    • Sure, what you label “junk science”. That’s the problem. Everyone has their own pet science/religion that they will never giver up no matter how junky it is. Skeptics constantly condemn vaccinations, Big Pharma, GMOs etc. The ONLY solution is to home school children. I’m fine with that. Then no one foists anything that might disagree with what you hold near and dear to your heart upon your children. Home schooling solves all of that problem.

      • Sheri writes “Home schooling solves all of that problem.”
        Indeed it does! But some new problems arise. Finding time and a teacher; and it seems to me states that allow home schooling still set the curriculum.

      • Micheal: Some states do, others do not. Where my brother lived, his kids had to pass certain tests each year. That was it. There’s also a lot of online schools now which are accredited and free.

  75. Wow- if anyone wants to see what a complete joke of a website this is- just take a look at this thread. Climate “dneyers” now debating creationism vs evolution.

  76. I regret having missed the meat of this debate. Maybe another time.
    My take on Darwin and his theory of evolution has nothing to do with creationism. I criticize Darwinism from a scientific perspective. The main points that I would make are two: 1. that the theory of evolution is incomplete because it has no account of human rationality and 2. that Darwin’s original story is taught by secondary teachers and some college professors as “the truth” rather than as science.
    Among all living things, human beings are unique because they can imaginatively project themselves into the distant future and treat it as no less important than present experience. Imagine a rabbi during Kristallnacht imaginatively exploring where this event is leading. No chimpanzee can do that. So, Darwin’s account of human evolution ended at least 50,000 years ago.
    As regards teaching “Darwin’s story” as the truth, consider a thought experiment. Suppose that we find in South Africa, or some such place, a family living near a cave that contains the burials of all their ancestors. Suppose that we discover that the first crypt contains a chimpanzee and, after walking hundreds of miles in this cave, that the most recent crypt contains Grandfather who died last year. Teachers of Darwinism present such a story as “the truth;” that is, they teach that the bones are in the ground somewhere and that, in principle, the entire line could be reconstructed. That is an incredibly powerful image to put into the head of a teenager. The problem is that on strict scientific grounds no one can say that the image represents reality. The idea that there is a direct line of descent from some chimpanzee to the first homo sapiens sapiens and that it is unique is presented as fact yet it is not a scientific fact by any stretch of the imagination

    • No magic need be invoked to explain human mental capacities. We have an enlarged neocortex, the evolution of which is evident not only in the fossil record but in our genes. Even so, our spatial memory is far inferior to that of chimps.
      We don’t descend from chimps as they are now, but from a common ancestor with chimps and bonobos in the Pliocene Epoch. Our genomes show precisely which mutations were important in our evolution.
      One happened early in the Pliocene, the gross chromosomal mutation which is associated with upright walking. Two smaller, standard great ape chromosomes fused to produce human chromosome #2. That’s why we have only 23 pairs instead 24, as do the other great apes.
      The other occurred near the end of Pliocene, a simple mutation which enabled our brains to grow larger. Less than a decade ago, another evolutionary development associated with brain function was discovered hiding in plain sight in a non-coding portion of our genome. (“Genes” are portions of our DNA which code for proteins.)
      The fossil record is now good enough so that we can also recreate the stages in human evolution of the past several million years, since the split from that common ancestor. Evidence from embryology, comparative anatomy, the paleontology of our ancient habitats and all other lines of evidence show what happened.
      “Truth” in science means that hypotheses have been repeatedly confirmed without ever having been shown false. That humans evolved from African apes ancestral to both us and our chimp and bonobo kin is supported by all available evidence and contradicted by none.
      We do share the MN blood group with gorillas, which chimps lack. But that’s just because the chimp line lost it during its separate evolution from our last common ancestor, while humans retained it. Overall, genomics, anatomy, proteins, indeed the huge preponderance of all evidence shows that we’re closer to chimps than to our other great ape kin, ie gorillas or orangutans.

      • You did not address human rationality. No living thing on Earth can imaginatively project itself into the future and treat that future as important, except for humans.
        Your definition of truth does not wash.

      • How is thinking about the future different in kind or quantity from any other sort of rational thought, which exists abundantly among birds, mammals and even mollusks?
        You ought to try to understand what “truth” means in science.
        Humans are not fundamentally different from any other living thing.

      • “No magic need be invoked to explain human mental capacities. We have an enlarged neocortex, the evolution of which is evident not only in the fossil record but in our genes.”
        So, you believe that some Chimpanzee has engaged in deliberation like the following:
        “I really love the Catholic Church. I love the ceremonies, the priests, and especially the sacraments. But I love the Baptist Church’s emphasis on the Word of God and the importance of preaching. I am really torn. And I know whatever decision I make, I will stick with it all my life.”
        How did you become aware that the chimpanzee deliberated about the distant future and commitment to abstract ideals? How did it communicate these thoughts to you?
        I believe that we did not become fully human until many among the existing population of the time engaged in deliberations about the distant future. I believe that this mental capacity and its outward expression, which are pretty much one and the same thing, is essential to what we understand by human being. I hold that human beings have most likely not existed for more than fifty thousand years.
        Your descriptions of mental capacities strikes me as someone describing the differences among various computers. I don’t think that you have addressed the question of human rationality. I don’t think you understand it.
        As for ‘truth’, I used the word in two senses in my example. I said high school teachers tell their students that the truth about human evolution is buried in the ground and all we have to do is be patient and dig it up. That is serious malpractice. Scientists might have inferred from theory that everything is in the ground, but they have not come even close to establishing that either in practice or theory. Teaching kids that evolution is a series of physical facts is no less wrong than teaching them that the story of Genesis is a series of physical facts.
        The concept of truth in science applies to particular observations, such as “I see the bone of a human finger,” and to theoretical claims, such as “Gravity explains the paths of the planets around the Sun.” Evolution remains a set of theoretical claims. It is not at all clear that they are well confirmed; rather, they might prove to be unfalsifiable. But I do not have time to go into Darwinian ideas of empiricism, which are certainly very different from those found in the hard sciences.
        Finally, and most important, keep in mind that we are discussing the teaching of Darwin’s ideas. You cannot defend that teaching by appealing to ideas or research that themselves depend on advances that Darwin did not know.

      • Theo,
        We aren’t talking about teaching Darwin. We are talking about teaching evolution.
        We don’t teach Copernicus, Kepler or Galileo when we teach astronomy or Newton or Einstein when teaching physics, although their names are attached to the advances they made. What was a great insight by Darwin in 1837 is a trivial observation now. Same as with Copernicus.
        The fact of evolution exists regardless of Darwin, Wallace or any other single scientist.
        Darwin didn’t know a lot of things, although he glimpsed and discovered much. He didn’t know how heredity worked. Had he read Mendel, his later books would have been even better.

  77. Paul Westhaver asks (April 26, 2017 at 11:52 am) “A protein made of 160 amino acids would take how long to randomly assemble?”
    [https]:// 2 amino acids per second or 80 seconds.

    • nope. A protein is an ordered structure. The one I suggested is typical and has 160 amino acids in a specific order. 80 seconds represents the first attempt at randomly assembling the protein. Please try again. 🙂 and again, and again etc.

  78. Human rationality and the idea of morals, and the process of metamorphosis are two things I have never found adequate explanations for in the theory of evolution (Yes, I read the evolutionist’s answers. I don’t go to ID to get answers to evolution, or anything else for that matter.) A few cobbled together ones, but none that held up to scrutiny. That to me says the theory is incomplete.

      • Are you freshman all full of vim and vigor and out advertising the virtues of your love, Darwinism? You, Sir, do not even understand what the conversation is about. Read my post in reply to you that is above.

      • Theo,
        No, it clearly is you who don’t understand, as I pointed out.
        You too ought to study a subject before presuming to comment upon it.

      • Wouldn’t help, Chimp. Mindless people like yourself reject anything that isn’t in line with their world view. In fact, you are doing a wonderful job of playing “global warming tr*ll” on the evolution thread. You’ve insulted, demeaned and now that you are not being praised for being the smartest person on this thread and infallible, you’ve gone to juvenile insults. Even if I had a PhD in evolutionary biology, you would call me a Li*r and say I’m making it up. Any answer I give will be called a lie.
        Fascinating. Tr*lling is a universal behavior, not just practiced by the global warming crowd. I do thank you for your hard work in laying out this fact for all to see. Have a nice close-minded, narrow, “shush up, I don’t want to hear it, you’re clueless and I’m brilliant” life. Sadly, people like you are worse than religious ones—religious people have been known to reject religion. Self-absorbed, super-smart, know-it-all genius atheists never, never change.

    • Evolutionists sort of address phenomena such as a family or tribe taking care of its own. But they haven’t reached questions such as what value has a concept such as Justice.

      • So, Chimp, the topics that I have written about, such as deciding which church to join, that falls entirely outside Evolutionary Theory, right? And you think that human reason is not a fit topic for evolutionists? So, tell me, how does a human being differ from a chimpanzee, exactly? And if you teach Darwin to high schoolers or freshman, do you refuse to answer questions along the lines that I have asked?

      • Theo,
        As I keep pointing out, abstract thought is simply a capability empowered by a larger neocortex.
        Birds manage to use reason to solve problems with their simpler reptilian brains. Mollusks don’t even have reptilian brains, and don’t live long to gain much experience, but can also use logical processes to solve problems.
        Human brain function is no different, just with more circuits. Consciousness doesn’t exist outside the biological, physical and chemical processes of the brain, which are no different in lab rats from in humans, except in scale.

        • I thought I would leave you with this note, you do know that now we have scientific proof that there is a soul. I would provide a link, but I know you would not follow up. Have a nice day.

      • Theo,
        You keep not understanding. You must be trying not to do so.
        Of course reason is an evolutionary topic. There is a gigantic body of literature on the subject of the evolution of mental function in animals. As with all other biological processes, rational thought evolved.

      • Theo: Everyone knows if you disagree with the likes of C, you are just being mean and not listening or trying to understand his brilliance. Really, you can’t see that?
        (Of course he ridicules kids in school for asking such questions. That’s been going on for fifty years. Why would it change now? Indoctrination is always better than learning to think and being a teacher is a power-trip. That means group-think is the only option.)

  79. Chimp, you write:
    “We aren’t talking about teaching Darwin. We are talking about teaching evolution.”
    Nonsense. No one would be upset with high school or college teachers if they started with Mendel and finished with genetic engineering. It is exactly because they teach Darwin, who is a combination of science and religion, that people get upset.
    Anyway, evolutionary theory, Darwin or not, has to explain human rationality as I have presented it or accept that the theory is incomplete. Or even worse, deny that human rationality exists, which is what you seem to be doing. No question about those things.

    • Theo,
      Not nonsense. Only people who have never studied biology imagine that evolution requires Darwin. As I said, his insights and contributions to evolutionary theory–common descent, natural and sexual selection–are now simply observations. I don’t know why you suppose that the state of our knowledge about evolution would be somehow different today if Darwin had never lived. Wallace discovered natural selection on his own and an agricultural researcher before Darwin.
      Darwin didn’t even call his hypothesis evolution. That organisms evolve is just a consequence of reproduction. It has to happen, sooner or later. It’s observed every day, and would be without Darwin.
      Again, please study the subject before commenting on it.

      • You missed my point totally. I said that teaching Darwin or Darwinism is what upsets people. If you just taught the science, Mendel’s population genetics and Crick and Watson’s vats of chemicals and genetic engineering, no one would get upset.
        But when you teach that Darwinian idea that the unique history of human evolution is in the ground as fossilized skeletons, you are teaching religion not science.

  80. Chimp (the Reply button is malfunctioning for me):
    You write: “Of course reason is an evolutionary topic. There is a gigantic body of literature on the subject of the evolution of mental function in animals. As with all other biological processes, rational thought evolved.”
    Then why are you not addressing my examples? So, you do agree that a human’s thoughts about religion might show an evolutionary step beyond chimpanzees?

    • Theo,
      I don’t get what it is you think you’re saying.
      In evolution, there is no “beyond”. The process has no goal. Organisms evolve the mental capacities which help them survive and reproduce in their environments. Brain tissue is expensive. In chimps’ habitat, more neocortex would have been a liability.
      Humans evolved our capabilities because they offered a selective advantage in our ancestors’ habitats, such that we gradually acquired more brain tissue. But our brains work the same way that chimps’ do and other mammals with neocortices do.
      There was a jump in brain size from the australopithecines to H. habilis, which permitted making stone tools. We know what the mutation was which permitted this increase and about when it occurred. After that, brain tissue increased gradually from H. erectus to H. sapiens. Neanderthal brains are actually larger on average than Moderns’, but shaped somewhat differently.
      I’ve answered what your questions appear to be over and over.

  81. Chimp,
    “As I keep pointing out, abstract thought is simply a capability empowered by a larger neocortex.”
    You are whistling past the graveyard. Evolutionary theory has never addressed human rational thought. Your answer shows the basest kind of reductionism. I know that all thoughts arise from physical causes. But the character of the thought is not explained by the physical cause. And your computer analogies are not helpful. There are powerful arguments to the effect that digital computers cannot in principle understand natural language, though they can simulate it. The argument is called “The Chinese Room Argument.” That is not surprising to me. I expect natural language and rational thought to be a product of the unique biological organism that a human is.

    • Theo,
      Clearly you have never read any actual books or papers on evolution. As I said, there is a gigantic literature on the evolution of human thought processes, down to the molecular level.
      Mere seconds of Googling would have showed you that, yet you persist in making this false claim out of total ignorance. Why? Are you afraid of the truth?
      Please educate yourself. I’m through trying.

      • Why are you so defensive? You cannot move outside the processes that underlie a thought. So, evolutionary theory will never address actual thoughts as opposed to the processes that underlie them?
        Let me give you one more example. Among all living creatures, human beings are unique in their ability to suffer pain. A human being can project himself into the future, maybe motivated by discussions of nuclear war, and begin a kind of suffering that can become a major depression and last months. What is the cause of the pain? It is thought. No other creature can suffer that kind of pain. Can evolutionary theory explain what is different about the rational human fear. Its cause is not processes underlying thought but thought.
        And you are needlessly offensive. Clearly you have read nothing on the vast literature on human thought rather than on processes underlying thought.

  82. Well, Chimp has devolved to the name-calling angry behavior always found in close-minded individuals. EVERYONE is clueless if they don’t agree with him. You’re just dolts who didn’t study hard enuough…..wait, this sounds familiar. Michael Mann says if you disagree with AGW you’re a d*nier and a dolt. Commenters on AGW blogs say if you don’t agree with their science you’re a imbecile. Indoctrination and name-calling are how this “science” is done and no one understands that except C and Michael Mann and the AGW crowd. We are fools for asking questions and daring to question authority.
    So, have a nice time. Once things become nothing but insults and chest-beating on the part of the true believers, science is DEAD and so is any discussion thereafter.

    • Sheri,
      What worries me most about Chimp’s presentations is that he is just piling on the achievements of evolutionary theory and believing that those achievements alone will be satisfactory to students or critics. That is very much the approach used by the CAGW crowd and by much of institutional science. There is a terror of critical reflection on his own enterprise and a need to beat down any point that demands critical reflection. If widespread in science education, that attitude means that most students are not being taught science. They are being indoctrinated. Of course, you have said wiser things along the same lines. I just wanted to acknowledge your wisdom.

    • Sheri,
      What name calling?
      I said that the authors of Theo’s link are professional liars, which they are. I didn’t call you or him liars.
      Creationists are like the CACA crowd, in being antiscientific.
      When you repeatedly don’t get what I’m saying, then, yes, I tire of trying to educate you. It’s pointless if you don’t actually want answers to your questions.
      There is no scientific case against the fact of evolution. It’s not a subject of debate. The body of theory explaining the observed fact of evolution is, like all scientific theories, subject to improvement. But evolutionary theory is far better understood than is the theory of universal gravitation.

      • Really!! The science is settled!! You sound like algore.
        How about these for starters.
        • Pavel B. Klimov and Barry OConner, “Is Permanent Parasitism Reversible?—Critical Evidence from Early Evolution of House Dust Mites,” Systems Biology 62 (May 2013): 411–23, doi:10.1093/sysbio/syt008.
        • “House Dust Mite Study Shows Reverse Evolution Possible,” Nature World News, March 9, 2013,

          • I did. I didn’t see anything that said the proposed changes were the sort that would be expected to be irreversible.
            If the adaptations involved had been the type that served as the foundation for a number of subsequent adaptations, we’d expect those to be “locked in” — changing them would pull out the underpinnings of everything subsequent. However, I don’t see any analysis showing that was the case.

      • Mike,
        Of course evolution is reversible. It’s observed all the time. As long as the evolving population still retains the genes and epigenetic sequences for the reversal to occur. These can be lost over time.
        This says nothing at all about the fact of evolution, except to provide another instance of it.
        Please quit cutting and pasting from the blasphemous works of the professional liars upon whom you rely for arguments against the fact of evolution.
        Creationism has nothing to offer positively, since “God did it!”, so consists entirely of totally bogus objections to reality.

        • Maybe it is YOU that is the professional liar. Ah, the science is settled. You and mr gore have a lot in common.
          As I said before, Reasons to Believe has a testable creation model. But since in your little mind the science is settled you will never know the truth. I wonder if you think that Francis Collins is one of the “professional liars” too, If you do not know he used to head the human genome project and is now the director of the National Institutes of Health and a Christian. Have a nice day.

        • You did not say anything about the Nobel Laureate’s article on DNA.
          Using the word “blasphemous” is generally use in a religious context. Does that mean that evolution is your religion?
          Your reaction does not appear to be just an intellectual disagreement, but it seems personal. So, if Christians and/or God let you down at some point in your life, I apologize.

      • Mike,
        I used “blasphemous” in its religious sense. It is blasphemy to imagine that God is cruel, incompetent and deceitful, as do creationists.
        Reasons to Believe has no such thing. It’s just as antiscientific and ludicrous as ID. Hagfish slime doesn’t “prove” that there is a creator. There is nothing the least bit mysterious about its evolution.

        • You lost me there. I certainly do not believe that God is cruel, incompetent and deceitful and I know of no Christians that think that. A pastor at a church where I used to go preached a 24 hour/7 day creation and I told him he was wrong. He is not very scientifically literate, and fell in with the wrong crowd (answers in genesis). He even repeated the old worn idea that God could have created everything young to look old. I told him that if God created me with the mind that I have, to do so would be a lie, and God does not lie.
          Concerning hagfish slime, I do not recall reading about that, so I can not comment.
          We will have to agree to disagree about Reasons to Believe. I do not see them as anti-science.
          All they are trying to do is understand both of God’s books, the bible and nature. I am thinking that this is basically a matter of opinion.

      • On scientific subjects, God’s Word is wrong; His Work is always right, whenever they conflict. The Bible cannot be reconciled with objective reality, unless you suppose that God is cruel, incompetent and deceptive, as your pastor imagined.
        Stars do not hang from a dome and fall to earth, as in the Bible. Nor is earth immobile, flat and covered by the solid dome on which God walks, operating the levers of the storehouses of rain, hail and snow, and through openings in which the sun and moon travel.
        Reasons to Believe has no science. Hagfish slime is one of their attempts to show, like ID advocates, that some biological features could not possibly have evolved. Behe’s example of “irreducible complexity” was a bacterial flagellum. Had he studied microbial flagella instead of pretending their evolution couldn’t be explained, he might have contributed to helping fight disease pathogens, but his religion got in the way of his work.
        To try to make the Bible correspond to reality requires lying about God, so is blasphemous. Worshiping a book written by men (and maybe one woman) trying to understand God, rather than God Himself, is beyond blasphemy. Nor in Protestant theology should you expect God to want to be understood and for us to find evidence for His existence. The whole point is to believe in Him on faith alone. If He were visible, what’s the value of faith?

        • What is faith? The faith you seem to be describing is “blind faith”, which is not the kind of faith that I have. This is the way John Lennox explains it in his book “Gunning for God: Why the New Atheists are Missing the Target” <>
          I know of no Christians who “worship” a book. Christians worship God. Since I believe that God inspired the writings in the bible, and He also created the “book” of nature. If I can read about Him in one book, why not in the other?
          You make the mistake of reading all of the bible as literal, which it is not. There are many teaching stories, songs, poetry in there which should not be taken literally.
          I still do not understand where you get that God is cruel, incompetent, or deceptive. Even my former pastor does not think that. Am I wrong in assuming that is the way you see Him?

  83. Looking at these comments I see a danger that alarmists are going to be given ammunition for the claim that AGW sceptics are all creationists and Christian fundamentalists. Many of the commentators seem to be tough on the nonsense that plagues climate science, but soft on the equal nonsense that the fundamentalists come out with.
    In some ways the alarmists and the creationists are very similar. For one thing, they hold themselves to a much lower standard of scientific evidence than is demanded in other fields.
    (And I like that “A new wave of state bills could allow public schools to teach lies about climate change.” It’s the one thing I dislike most about the climate change industry, that outright lies are considered
    acceptable in a “good cause”.)

  84. Creationism ==> Creationism is a religious belief. It is perfectly proper to teach it as such if the school district or State education department thinks it should be mentioned. Nearly every textbook about Native Americans, for instance, mentions their beliefs about the creation – mankind coming up out of a hole in the Earth or whatever. It certainly is no threat to Science.
    To say “Creationism is junk Science” is silly. It is not intended to be science — it is intended to be an understanding about the greater Universe, about which Physics, for example, has recently admitted to understanding only about 4% — all the rest (dark energy, dark matter == stuff we don’t have a clue about) makers up the other 96%. (may have those %s slightly off….they keep changing)
    Only those with a very shaky hold on reality or very little faith in the evidence for Darwin’s evolution could feel threatened by the fact that science teachers might say “Many Christian sects believe that the creation story of the Bible is literal”.

    • The problem is that millions believe that creationism is science, when its nothing of the sort.
      I don’t think that public high school teachers are prohibited from saying in biology class that some Christian sects believe that each individual species is immutable and specially created by God, as long as he or she doesn’t teach that as science. If kids want to study creationism, they can do so in comparative religion classes, not that they are common in high schools.

      • Chimp ==> I am not convinced that anyone believes that Creationism is Science. Creationists believe what they believe because — based on — their religious beliefs.
        There are Creationists that want Creation taught in schools as a parallel to Darwin — but again, not because it is science, but because they believe it is the greater truth and that the kids have a right to hear different views — in the same way that climate skeptics believe that the skeptic/lukewarmer view of climate science should be taught alongside of the Consensus view, which is held by most in the Science Education world to be settled truth.
        One mustn’t confuse religious belief — things held to be True based on one’s spiritual understandings — with “science” — we all know that Science simply represents our collective best current understanding of the world around us. It is not TRUTH — and it is constantly changing. Many science fields wander down paths of misunderstanding for years before making self-corrections.

        • Kip, not all “Creationists” are the same. The “answers in Genesis” variety is not science
          IMHO, as they fast and loose with science, in that they interpret it wrong or leave out significant
          information. I am more closely aligned with the “Reasons to Believe” group, which try to use science to reveal the truth found in the Bible. I think what many Christians react to, is that evolution may be taught as an absolute truth, meaning all other belief systems are wrong. I believe in the Christian God, but I also believe in science, knowing that it is always changing, which makes it all the more fun.

      • Mike Graebner ==> Yes, “Creationist” is like “Climate Skeptic” — they only agree on a general theme, not on the details.
        It is always a mistake to try and shore up one’s religious beliefs with fallible science — a mistake some religionists make.
        Science is our (mankind’s or our society’s) best current understanding of something in the physical world.
        Religion is a shared understanding of a higher order — the spiritual. Like minded people, those with a shared spiritual understanding, can group together to form a religion, a church, a sect, a cult — or whatever. But individuals each have their own unique understanding of the spiritual (at any moment and it changes, sometimes day to day, hopefully deepening and broadening) — and it almost never matches that of any other living person.
        None of this “understanding” effects the Actuality of the universe. It is how and what it is — and someday we may get closer to having some inkling of what it’s all about.

  85. Why not just be honest and teach we don’t know how the universe was created, that means the solar system we live in and the earth we inhabit. We don’t know why earth is capable of sustaining life or why it started here. How bout we stop acting like we know it all and just admit there is a lot of stuff we don’t know and probably will never know.

    • Actually, we don’t know whether the universe were created or not. We’re trying to look back before the Big Bang and beyond our universe, but not with much success so far. For all we know now, mass and energy might simply be properties of spacetime, which itself might have no beginning. In any case, positing a Creator doesn’t tell us anything about “creation” and is not a testable scientific hypothesis.
      Nor do we “know” with a high degree of certainty whether life developed on earth or came here on meteorites, as some scientists contend. I think it arose here through chemical reactions, but the same reactions could have occurred on bodies in space. Asteroids contain water ice and within ice are pockets of water, which concentrate the organic chemical precursors and complex molecular constituents of life.
      Before too long we will find out one or more ways in which these constituents could have developed into living things, whether one of those ways is how it actually happened in the history of life on earth, or not.
      We do know why earth is capable of supporting life, which is why so many suppose that life will be found on other planets or moons with similar conditions.

      • Chimp, if you’re still around/get this, I would love to hear your belief as to “why” (not how) Earth “is capable of supporting life.”

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