back to article 'I can see dinosaurs from my back porch'

GOP Veep candidate Sarah Palin's belief in creationism brings the evolution of a crank's outlook into an asset in US public life into plain view. It's simply the rock-like belief that if science isn't convenient to a very personal value or notion, then it constitutes an attack on such and is to be set aside. Kevin Phillips, a …

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It isn't a problem with science...

For years I have been saying that America doesn't have a problem teaching science... we have a serious problem teaching critical thinking. We need to teach students how to be critical consumers of information.

While America's religious conservatives worship religion and mock science's theory of evolution the fiscal conservatives worship an economic theory as though it is a religion. That is part of the problem with trying to make our economic system work... because any attempt to deal with the reality of tempering greed and stupidity is seen as sinful because reality doesn't match their "theory". Once again we are paying the price for their worship of deregulation. Remember the Savings and Load (thank you Mr. McCain) bail out of $billions, the loss to investors from TYCO, Global Crossing, ENRON, etc. and now the current crisis.

As long as they can keep the simple people arguing over the number of angles that can dance on the head of a pin, or who their neighbor is having sex with... well, they are free to run this country into the ground.

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Paris Hilton

@steven W. Scott

"Like most religious zealots, you make your case with the assumption that all you claim is indeed proven. Is it still not the "Theory of Evolution"? Certainly there are precepts of Darwin's theory that have validity, and others that do not, or have not yet been verified scientifically."

And like most religious zealots, you ignore anything that disproves your arguement, including it would seem, what a scientific theory is.

Any time evidence against a scientific theory is found, the theory has to either be completely re written or updated to include the new information depending on how out the original theory is, our understanding of gravity and time have both recently had such an upheaval as a result of firing satalites into space.

If you ever read Darwin's Origin of Species, take special note on his ideas on how traits were passed on from parent to offspring were discussed, you would realise that even Evolution has had to be re-edited on the mechanics (he thought the transmission medium was blood) as we have since found out about what RNA and DNA are.

"it's the concept that a particular species, confronted with a particular challenge, suddenly begins some quasi-conscious self modification to meet that challenge (grow legs, wings, etc..), as if a dog breeder can eventually "evolve" a long-necked dog by placing it's and it's progeny's food bowl at an unnaturally high position relative to the dog. Absurd."

Strawman. Also, evolution does not work that way.

BTW, on dog breeders: The first "dogs" were wolves and foxes, we bred the ones that helped us, killed the ones that hurt us and ended up with breeds of dogs as we have today. If you read up on evolution, it would tell you that those animals best suited to a given pressure are those most likely to survive, in this case, mankind was the pressure and the dogs best suited to survival were the ones willing to work with us then attack us. Later we bred them for different tasks and eventually just for their looks, Evolution in action.

"That, combined with a complete dismissal of any other possible explanation for diversity in species, including that of creationism, is where your religion of science begins. Science questions everything, including it's own probable conclusions."

There has been no such dismissal. Whenever creationists have put forward ideas that "prove" evolution to be vitally flawed, such as the eye argument, or more recently irreducable complexity, the information has been examined, and in both cases shown to be factually incorrect. As such, Evolution is the only theory that is left standing.

If you want the best explanation of why creationism is rubbish, I suggest you look up the kitzmiller case from a few years back, the findings for that case put plainly why creationism is a pile of cack in terms of scientific theory (in as much as it isn't one) and that it's top proponants are liars (they were forced to admit that their case was based on information that had been shown to be innacurate a long time ago).

I must admit, it was one of the best reads I'd had in years!

Paris, because she knows all about reproductive traits.

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@Seán

"Religion may be the opium of the masses but Creationism is the crack of the subnormal."

ROTFL, mind if I use that as an email sig?

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Happy

I finally figured out how to fix this mess.

I'll just write my own version of a Bible and fix all the screwed up stuff in the old one. Instead of a faerie tale we can start with the known and unknown and admit right up front that there's a lot we don't have the answers to; but that we're not going to just "make up" some imaginary spaghetti monster to answer all the unknowns.

Solved now, innit?

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Anonymous Coward

A pox on both your houses

I see an amazing amount of intolerance in the base article and in the comments preceding this one. I noted only one comment weakly attempting to defend Creationism only but I saw many that attacked religious believers without regard to the truth.

The so-called left has further developed a technique used by the Volkischer Beobachter to advance their cause. Any resistance or skepticism about their claims must be viciously attacked and the skeptical person personally attacked, up to and including physically. In this case, statements attributed to Sarah Palin (mostly false or the repeated lies of her enemies) are given credence as if they actually reflect her wishes and actions. Her actual actions are not mentioned or are falsified (the librarian was not fired, she stayed in her job for two more years before leaving of her own accord for another position - according to the librarian herself). The left apparently believes in free speech only for themselves. Sort of like the Koran/Quran on the subject of freedom of religion. Intolerance is the word.

I have also noted that the scientific method of observation, hypothesis, testing, examination of results, and modification of hypothesis with retesting, has been distorted but to a minor degree. A real scientist is willing to believe in test results but is not averse to further testing - that is the basis for the advancement of science. Making a hypothesis and getting a consensus with some other people does not constitute science. I note that the Man Made Global Warming cultists have decided that the evidence of the numerous preceding cycles of glaciation and warming is not relevant nor is such data as the Malenkovich cycles, the periods in Europe from 900 CE to 1300 CE and the changes and cold spell from 1400 CE to around 1860 CE. In other words, all contrary evidence to the leftist hypothesis must be suppressed and the people expressing skepticism suppressed or shouted down.

No, I am not a creationist or intelligent design advocate. I think Darwin's hypotheses are in all essential elements correct. I do not think that Creationism should be taught in schools (neither does Sarah Palin). I do think that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it.

Whether anyone agrees with me or not I do not care. As a note, however, I am voting for McCain/Palin in the hopes that they win the election and the leftists/Marxists of the world will be so upset that they die of burst aneurysms. That will make all my effort worthwhile and furnish a grand present for the morticians! The massive irritation of leftist groups in the US and UK will bring great joy to my heart.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Craig Gorsuch

How about you go away and count up to 1x10e21, and then come back again to regale us with just how short a span of time that is? Although I feel I should point out that I will have been dead for a substantial period by then, sorry.

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Anonymous Coward

A few points

A interesting post Anonymous C, but I found its consistency somewhat spoiled by your conclusion: You bring peace and love and can't see what all the fighting's about except if you belong to the political left, in which case you can all die screaming in hell.

A few points about Man Made Global Warming. (cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_warming, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_IPCC_AR4 and related articles for basic introductory material).

The IPCCs AR4 report's general conclusions that "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic (man-made) greenhouse gas concentrations" have been endorsed by at least 30 scientific societies and academies of science, including all of the national academies of science of the major industrialized countries.

Now, while I agree with you that science isn't merely a question of asking around your friends and seeing what they think about topic X, and that observation, hypothesis, testing, examination of results, modification of hypothesis and restesting form the basis for science, everything in the IPCCs report suggests they're prepared to take actual scientific findings (such as the Malenkovich cycle and the other periods of cold and warm climate you mention) into account. All of which leads me to conclude you're just not happy with their findings for some reason - perhaps you find them inconvenient, or inaccurate? If the latter is the case might I suggest that - seeing as you clearly have such a deep knowledge of this complex and difficult subject - you might put yourself forward to the IPCC as an external consultant. I'm sure they'll hang on your every word </Sarcasm>.

At the very least I'd say you appear to have some problem with the idea of a 'general scientific consensus' which is fair enough in a general sense: There have been many occasions in the history of science where the hypothesis which seemed less likely turned out to be the one with the best fit, or the most accurate predictions, or whatever. However, at the moment other than "Problem? What problem?" global warming due to man-made emissions /is/ the best fit we've got for the available phenomena, so unless you've got any better suggestions would it not be as well to pursue that hypothesis until we find a better one?

On the subject of religion: Do you /really/ think - irrespective of the ideals of a particular religion - that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it? If I were to tell you that I'm part of religion that endorses paedophilia would you still respect my wishes? I certainly hope not. Surely then if your religion involves beliefs which are manifestly contradicted by prevailing moral attitudes, or facts obtainable by any reasonable investigation then your religious beliefs are at fault and require correction? Or perhaps you prefer to believe that ignorance is bliss? Well so be it, but I pity the person whose belief instructs them to take a leap of faith from a high building without any kind of safety device: Your God may understand and forgive you, but I think you'll find the floor a little less forgiving in the short-term </Hume>.

Finally: Thank you also for invoking the Volkischer Beobachter. I'm sure Mike will be pleased to see further confirmation of his Law. Mind you, this thread has reached 105 comments (106 including this one) so I suppose it's only to be expected </Godwin>.

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Reason?

The reason we non-/un- religious people get a bit uppity about faith is that faith is just someone telling you what to think and your thinking it unquestioningly. Faith only teaches that to have an original or radical thought of your own or question something you have been told is a reason for shame and guilt.

If the world had to get by on faith alone, then we'd be stuck in the dark ages and there'd be no scientific progress. The scientific progress you religious folk rely on to keep your cholesterol down, cure your indigestion, and replace the insulin your perfectly created bodies no longer produce.

The reason we get uppity at all with the pious is that you, too, are atheists. You don't believe in Titan, Zeus etc. Well (to paraphrase Dawkins) we just go one god further. Your hypocrisy upsets us.

And, another thing... PZ Myers is an el Reg reader! How cool is that?

Gil.

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Alien

Religion is only theory as well.

Religion IS a theory. Proof is there are many. And this IS the view of the modern church. Catholics, Muslims, Budists, you name them, they're all respectable because in the quest of the the same truth.

Therefor none of those religion can be handled like "the truth", only as therories. I like to define religion not as a belief but as an introduction to God. And the introduction is never the important part of the book. So get over it. Evolve.

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AC

"I do think that the religion of the parents should be respected and not demeaned because someone does not agree with it"

But why must it be respected IN A SCIENCE CLASS???

By trying to get it shoved in there, are not these people disrespecting and demeaning SCIENCE? How come that's right and the return shot not?

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re: It isn't a problem with science...

How about an RE class where each mythology is taken and discussed. The real life examples of how belief can change based on merely "taking on faith" rather than critical thinking can produce a story with

a) so many points in common

b) so many contradictions

c) so many points in direct oppositions

Would be a good place to show critical thinking.

But I suspect that the religious won't like a place where kids are taught critical thinking ***against the bible***. Worse, the option of giving the children following a different religion or taking an a la carte proposition to religious belief! That would be worse than "no religion at all"...

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Oh joy!

Reading these comments, I get the impression that the US conservatives have a good bunch of their supporters in place to voluntarily scour the net, ready to argue against anything that discredits them and theirs anyplace, anytime it is necessary, may it even be a UK IT site that to most of them is probably as obscure as the backside of the moon.

To my fellow Europeans: We should rejoice and even encourage them on their path to self-destruction. What's wrong with it for us, when a competitor effectively chooses to eliminate itself from the global market, by hindering the advancement of science and therefore technology?

To the Americans that still have sense in them: I feel sorry for you.

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Alert

Egads, more of the same.........

I was raised in the South (Which for those of you from Europe is the old Confederacy), where espousing views about evolution was at least going to get you into endless heated confrontations, and at worst make you ostracized from your so called "friends." So I learned to keep quiet, and talk with only the ones I trusted.

I believe in evolution, but also realize we don't know everything and probably never will. Creation Science attempts to make all the findings and theory of evolution fit a pre-conceived idea.

Evolutionary theory can be modified and changed. and new discoveries are happening all the time. The difference is the evidence haws to be proven and repeatable, and can be challenged. If you want to change conventional thinking, prove how it's wrong. In Creation Science the core concepts can never be questioned, and therefore all theories and evidence have to fit the model.

Science gives us all kinds of facts, but not answers. It doesn't tell us why we're here, what's the meaning of all of this. what are we supposed to do with ourselves. This is where religion and philosophy come into play, and it would be great if there was a religion that accompanied science but I haven't seen that yet. Instead we have people now doing the opposite of Creation Science, trying to make the religious model fit modern science. (Such as reinterpreting the seven "days" of creation as seven historical periods or epochs.) In the end it's two different ways of understanding things, which are not compatible.

So now down to the vice-president nominee. Wait, what did I say, vice president? Yes, the one most people never pay attention to, the Mondales and Gores of the world. I'm not really surprised at the controversy over Palin, in the eyes of many of the liberal/leftist elite she is a commoner, someone who shouldn't be near the reigns of power. No siree, she should have been shuttled off for an Ivy League business education and taken a few trips around the world before she could even be considered as a candidate. Never mind all that being a mayor and governor, which has actually given her more executive experience than Obama. Never mind also that he's the presidential nominee, and busily showing his religious convictions also.

So in the end it's usually down to who you think will do you and your ideals the least harm, as opposed to the most good. That I think is really the sad thing about American politics.

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Happy

"I have theory...

...that dinosaurs are very thin at one end, very fat in the middle and very thin at the other end. That's my theory and I'm sticking to it."

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@sean

LMBO - brilliant!

"Religion may be the opium of the masses but Creationism is the crack of the subnormal."

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Different Questions

Evolution and Creationism are two different answers, aimed at two fundamentally different questions. To wit, Evolution is concerned with How, and Creationism is concerni.ed with Why.

So, it really take a particular kind of hard headedness to put the two in conflict. I.E., Creationists who think Genesis was written with aid of a stopwatch (24 hrs/"day", etc.) and Evolutionists, if I may be excused the term, who are loathe to acknowledge the possibility of a higher power than themselves.

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Happy

Maybe this will help clear the air

I feel that perhaps you came by your opinion from one side of a tree, and I want to show you something. I hope this helps. I am referring to both this article and the one currently at the top of your blog, Dick Destiny.

If the "this" in your second paragraph on Dick Destiny article "HONK IF YOU HATE JESUS: More on creationism, Palin and the opinion of one trained in science" is referring to the notion that the GOP seem to be able to talk more freely on matters of religion (or that the GOP are the sole drivers of the “faith” discussion), then the subtext suggests that the matters of religion (all-encompassing) were at one point not owned by anyone or owned by everyone, until the GOP stole them.

That subtext is one-sided, completely disallowing that (a) Democrats seem increasingly squirmy when discussing matters of faith, and (b) that the GOP are merely using matters of faith for political gain but don’t really believe what they say (side note: some do, I’m sure of it…on both sides).

I feel that you have attacked a group of people to which I belong (sort of, but more on that a bit later), but don't get me wrong: While I believe in God and what is written in the Bible, I don't exclude a candidate because of his/her party affiliation and that party’s stance on matters of faith. I vote on his/her ideas and policies. I can, just as many others do, vote dispassionately.

For any election, I believe that you and I have the same goal. We want citizens to vote with their heads, to have come to a decision based on facts and the truth. But here’s the rub: There are those within government who are hostile to the idea of Creationism and those who are not.

But this whole debate is clouded by angry people with class hand-out, one-sided arguments. Here are mine, and I hope that you can think on these before you write future articles on this topic.

While you believe that the world came about (tell me if I have gotten the wrong impression) with the Big Bang and inter-special evolution over billions of years, I don’t. But when anyone in government introduces a law or policy that encroaches on either belief or favors one over the other, it puts one of us on the defensive.

What makes it worse is that when the government takes a stance in either case, it has the authority and power to enforce it, and beliefs be hanged. The separation of church and state debate is so powerful for this reason only. But I would like to move on to a discussion about the relation ship between science and religion.

If I believe that God created everything (and you can assume that those who argue in favor of Creationism do also), then I must also believe that He created all the laws that govern the relationships and interactions of everything within the universe. That includes gravity, Newton’s Laws of Thermodynamics, and the fact that light seems to have every characteristic that matter can have but, hey, there it is and the universe hasn’t imploded.

I don’t have a problem with intra-special evolution, which I think also comes under the mild mantle of “adaptation.” I just don’t think that dinosaurs became birds, that’s all. And if a political candidate wants to think otherwise, I couldn’t care less.

I will make the allowance that some people will vote exactly that way, and I put them on the same shelf with those who think that Nazism can make a comeback.

In short, I don’t hate science. Neither should anyone else. But the word “science” is now bandied about loosely and is sometimes a copout word (such as, “Science discovered that ABC is true, so you can’t deny it”). It is often used to belittle those who maintain that ABC might not be true, even if a recent study concludes without a doubt that, too bad, ABC is true.

Forgive those who are skeptical simply because they are aware of the human condition, which is that people lie, use deceit and manipulate others for gain. And I put everyone in that bucket.

If believe what is written in the Bible, you ask, then how can I reconcile the history in the Bible with everything that has happened in the world and all that scientists have posited? I can’t say that I fully can, nor can I say that I really need to. My belief is based on faith, and there is no room for proof in the definition of faith.

That is not to say that we can’t find evidence that God exists. If He does, then He did create everything. But the creation is based on the belief, and therefore is not “proof” to unbelievers. Kind of circular, isn’t it?

You quoted Alan Boraas in your recent article about Sarah Palin in The Register. He is right. The debate is about core values. I feel that the proof is in the language. On both sides, the rhetoric is the vehement kind found only when people feel that their beliefs are under attack, and I’m not talking about tooth fairies.

It is because these beliefs direct our way of life that the debate is as nasty as it has become. If we could reflect on our lives after death (for hypothetical reasons here), then Christians would agonize that they had spent countless hours at church wasting their time and Big Bang believers would realize that there was/is a God and that they’re not going to heaven.

I can, however, argue immutability. Today when a scientist discovers something, the end product is accepted as immutable, because scientific methods, instrumentation and, indeed, scientists themselves are immutable. This very notion of immutability cannot be true, or we wouldn’t be having a debate on things like man-made global warming.

To use the quotation on your blog from Kevin Philip’s book, American Theocracy, nobody that I have met “dismisses knowledge and science” out of hand, not even most of the time! You may have disdain for Christians because you were raised Catholic (this opens another discussion entirely, but that’s neither here nor there), but that’s no reason to disassociate them from public discourse on any matter that is relevant to our nation.

And it is not “stupid” (again from your blog) to be skeptical of scientists (not science). If you (George) want to believe that religion or a belief based on the Bible can’t be right because there is no way it is true, then we have a theological discussion. But if I (Nathan) want to believe that the Big Bang did not occur, then we have a scientific discussion based on current findings.

Science is still a unifier. Most people love that we are working on a myriad of cures for diseases that plague us, and that we might one day inhabit the moon. There are only two areas in which there is debate, and they are the man-made global warming theory and the old earth, Big Bang evolution theory. Everything else, I think, is quite accepted by the majority of the populous.

I apologize if this whole response is long, windy, mean or disorganized. I have given it my best effort in the hope that you can see how there is a great misunderstanding in this debate. If you have any questions, I will try to answer them. Thanks.

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Pirate

RE: Gianni Straniero

And another Dem slander with no basis in fact, which again has been thoroughly disproven. Please try something new as the same old lies are just boring. The Baptist Rev. Howard Bess has already been shown to be, amongst other things, a liar, and his book has never been banned anywhere in the US. Just rarely bought.

And as for those mocking Palin's reference to Putin, Alaskan airspace is the area frequently tested by Russian bombers, something that stopped after the end of the Cold War but has picked up again in the last year (just like it has over the North Sea). And as Governor, Palin is effectively commander in chief for Alaska and has to be involved in defence planning. That's part of the Governorship resposibility. And before she became Governor two years ago, she was a town mayor. Compare that to Obama and Biden, both of whom have never had responsibility for anything other than ensuring their friends get a good bite at the pork barrel, and suddenly you realise Palin is actually more qualified to run the US and deal with the world than possibly even McCain. Heck, Arnold Schwatzenegger is more qualified than Biden or Obama, as Govenor of Caifornia he has far more real experience than either! In fact, Biden is so deeply unpopular that Palin got more votes to be Govenor in just Alaska than Biden got in either of his attempts to gain the Democratic nomination across the whole US. ZerObama is just a popstar politician with a good scriptwriter, but if he gets in office he's going to need more than just a pretty speach or two.

You may ask why is a Brit worrying about this? Well, unlike the majority of egocentric Europeans, I realise that out economy is still massively dependent on the US economy. The current sub-prime affair (triggered by naive Democratic social-engineering) has demonstrated that perfectly. I want a responsible pair of hands guiding the ship beacuse when the US sneezes, Europe catches a cold. If Obama gets in, our economy will get diaorhea!

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Terrifying

The reality denying zeolotry of a large portion of the US population is quite frightening. When I first worked in the US (a long time ago). one of my american colleagues told me that nuclear war between Russia and America was part of gods plan, that true christians welcomed it and would go to heaven, thoise how were evil would go to hell.

If Palin believes the world is a few thousand years old she is so religously fannatical that she denies all of geology, most of biology and astronomy. I have no idea what she thinks when she looks at an eroded valley or the night sky but the thought that someone with that sort of delusional religous mind could make decisions affecting the future of the human race is terrifying.

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Anonymous Coward

Readership

The downside to the reg having a large US readership now is that we get so many more ignorant religious idiots. Sigh...

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Alert

Palin as the new McCarthy?

Truth is definitely stranger than fiction..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JsDfkAnCvKY

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Stop

Summat to bear in mind

There is a serious omission in the discussion so far.

Everyone harks on about "scientific method proving this" or "creationists proving that". Newsflash: nothing can ever be proven.

Scientific method and the conclusions drawn from its application only ever seek to _disprove_ possible explanations, i.e. to narrow down the possibilities. A mechanism for some observed effect is conceived, and then experiments are run to test that mechanism - not by seeing if the mechanism applies, but by seeing if at any point it fails to explain the observations.

At the end of a round of experimentation, one concludes that either that the mechanism is false because we have shown plausible exceptions to it, or (and here is the important bit) _so far_ we cannot discount it, because our experiments have thus far agreed. Absolute agreement with the mechanism is never postulated, for that would be naive.

Sorry to have to point that out to all you learned people.

Religion and faith and 'creationism' - such that it exists - should be presented in R.E. lessons. Faith is good - scientists have as much faith in the scientific method to explain their world as religious people do in their deity of choice. Only science and the scientific method should be presented in science lessons.

Science gives us a self-consistent window into the workings of the Universe but a good scientist knows that this is just a blinkered view. With time we may widen our perception and discover that what we know now is a) in fact the whole truth or b) just an approximation of it (think classical vs. quantum mechanics) and that has to include omnipotent supradimensionsal beings. It _sounds_ like bollocks, and I personally don't believe in such things, but to discount even those far-fetched explanations is to be inherently unscientific. Truth is stranger than fiction, after all.

If we wish to allow our children to form their own opinions, and grow up as balanced, free thinking individuals, we should teach all human ideas on how we came to be, but never confuse the purpose of the two. Science in science lessons. Religion in RE. Do not mix the two!

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Faith in Evolution?

I don't have enough faith to believe in evolution. It's better to follow the evidence,wherever it leads.

Evolution -- meaning speciation and the origin of life (from non-life) -- is the modern version of flat-Earth thinking or Lysenkoism in the old Soviet Union.

It's not good science but a mechanism that enables one to tell any story desired, even mutually exclusive ones.

Thousands of generations of forced breeding of dogs (or "X") produces only other dogs. Mutations are either deadly or neutral, not beneficially constructing complex new organs out of nothing. Resistance to antibiotics isn't evolution; it's the same bacteria. Darwinian evolution has not been observed. I don't have enough faith to believe in it.

Drive through a desert and see a turtle beneath a billboard that says "Buy Pepsi". People assume the sign had to be designed even though it is very simple. But somehow, the trillions of times more complex turtle is a product of chance events and self-assembly.

A real scientist, not blinded, by dogma would think to ask how we are make those decisions, and if the analysis can be generalized and applied without bias.

If the very simple "Buy Pepsi" signs REQUIRES design, the extremely complicated turtle has be considered carefully.

Also, after thousands of years assuming the universe had always existed, it was discovered last century that space and time originated from nothing. Things that have a beginning require a cause. If not, give an example. (Note that by definition, a creator of space-time could not be defined by space-time, thus would not have a beginning).

The world should be filled with transitional forms if evolution was correct. It is not. The fossil record shows species suddenly appear fully formed, persist unchanged, then die. This is consistent with design, totally at odds with evolution.

If the age of the Earth was a football field, you would march from one end to the 16 yard line on the other side and see only primitve cellular creatures. Then, in the span of a footstep, all major phyla suddenly appear fully formed without preceding forms (Cambrian explosion). This is also unreconcilable with evolution, but consistent with design.

Evolution is a 19th century science turned dogma, maintained for philosophical reasons (fear of being accountable or subordinate to something larger; human ego) even though modern understanding of biology is passing it by.

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Anonymous Coward

Creationists Are Exactly Who You Should Elect

Creationists are exactly the people you want in power. They believe human life is precious and that they are accountable to the creator.

Evolutionsts believe humans are bags of accidental chemicals. If true, there is no basis for human rights. The only thing that matters is power.

As evidence, consider all the people who sought to create a society based on "scientific" principles: Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot -- 200 million dead in the last 100 years as a result of their evolutionary views.

Look at the problems that are said to be so important in the world: global warming, pollution, weapons of mass destruction -- all due to science, not cretaionists.

But some people go nuts about creationists because they are frightened of being held accountable to a higher power for their actions. Each wants to believe they are their own little god. That's what it's all about. People bad-mouthing creationists despite all the history are not concerned about science -- they are concerned about the definition of a human being. They need to pretend their egos are supreme measure of the universe.

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@pox

"As a note, however, I am voting for McCain/Palin in the hopes that they win the election and the leftists/Marxists of the world will be so upset that they die of burst aneurysms."

As good a reason for the removal of your franchise as anything. What this has to do with "leftists" escapes me - these GOP idiots are not "sceptic septics" as you seem to imply, rather they are oblivious to evidence-based reasoning and logic.

Creationism and other religious-inspired pap are not "theories" because they are not evidence-led and their deductive conclusion is also their axiom. Of course what these twats really want is to discredit the scientific method completely so that they can punt their sophistry as truth and turn critical thinking into political dissent. That's what makes them (and in turn you, as their anonymous sponsor) a danger to themselves and to normal people as well. Leftists my arse.

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Paris Hilton

Deer Hunting with Jesus

To gain some insight into redneck culture, run, don't walk, to your neighbourhood bookshop and get:

"Deer Hunting with Jesus: Guns, Votes, Debt and Illusion in Redneck America" by Joe Bageant, Portobello Books Ltd., London (2008), ISBN 978 1 84627 152 6, paperback, 273 pp, £8.99

It will explain why the guns 'n religion conservatism in the flyover states means that Obama hasn't a cat in hell's chance of becoming the next President of the USA. It was first published in the USA in 2007, long before the current presidential campaign started, but shows why Palin is the darling of the Midwest. Bageant is a native of West Virginia, and his brother is an evangelical preacher, but he is unique in his family in having moved out in the 1960s and kept right on going, so that he returns with just a tad more perspective than the good ol' boys he left behind. At the same time, he writes about them and their economic plight with understanding and genuine sympathy.

I haven't time to write a full review of the book, but it is a great read. When Bageant isn't scaring the bejasus out of you with stuff like Chapter 5 "The Covert Kingdom" (the Rapture, Armageddon, and all that), or the statistics on functional illiteracy among the American working class, he'll have you rolling about laughing.

(Q: How does a redneck tell when the house trailer is level?

A: The snot runs out of both sides of the baby's nose at the same time.)

One of the interesting things is his description of the attitude of Midwesterners to their guns (hunting rifles, not handguns). He persuaded me that Sarah Palin bagging the odd moose should be the least of my concerns about her candidature.

(Paris, as she's the closest we've got to a picture of Sarah Palin.)

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@Craig

"The Bible teaches that God exists OUTSIDE our temporal existence, and there is nothing outside that."

Really? I don't recall reading that in the Bible. Could you provide a reference? I rather think you are projecting your own wacky beliefs onto the Good Book.

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Ignorant Creationists...

@NukEvil

@Craig Gorsuch

This is a classic reason creationism has no place in the science class room, because people like you make fundamentally incorrect assertions.

Photons have no mass.

Gravity doesn't attract light, it distorts the space time fabric through which the photons travel.

It's is a very well understood phenomena and is called "GRAVITATIONAL LENSING".

It also occurs when seeing light from distant galaxies, and is one reason we can detect - yet not "see" black holes.

Disagree?

Then please present the mathematical proof that replaces Einstein's E=mc^2

Haven't got any?

Nope thought not.

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Which came first, stupidity or stupid ideas?

"Dinosaurs and humans walked the Earth at the same time" apparently. If Palin is a Young Earth adherent, it's not her policy towards science education that we should worry about. It's her obvious stupidity.

Could the US end up with a president even more anti-intellectual than good ole' Dubya Bush?

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Cripes

@"The so called left" "Intolerance""Malenkovich"AC

You act out of spite and laziness, the true driving forces of the Universe and yet you produce mediocrity rather than validity. Your slithering hiss of a post conveys your perceptions, but what use are they? Try having a point when you waste so much of peoples time or leave them with a joke.

A paedophile, a rapist, and a priest go into a bar. That's the first guy...

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Paris Hilton

So

So three things :-

One Forest Gump said "Stupid is , Stupid does !"

Two Back in 1967 we were warned in advance that incompetence is self promoting .

Three "Idiocracy" the satirical movie takes it to the next step , thank you Mike Judge !

Such is life in an evolutionary world that we live in where you either adapt to a changing environment or become extinct (Merkin Military are fully aware of that problem and their own inherent inability to adapt to the changing environment as those that learn the hardway are the first out the door for better pay else where in three or more countries in which they have chosen to interfere with the local environment and the people on a large scale)

As for Sarah Palin once upon a time in 2006 Alaska four out of five voters supported her based on the myth of the infamous pay cut of 1996 along with alleged great financial management skills of cutting pork???????????? Cue in 25th September 2008 the local Alaskan rednecks have found out to their horror she cannot even balance any public cheque book period , in the period 1996 to 2002 awarded herself no less then four pay rises , started with zero debt and by 2002 had increased that to $22 million greenbacks and still no sewage in town of 5000 plus souls but a nice $15 million greenback ugly barn like 2500 seat "Palindrome Ice Rink" virtual white elephant , used about once or twice a week at most with the bulk of the capacity unused . The other $7 million went on projects that seem to go nowhere very much like her waxing and waning support on the infamous Senator Ted Stevens "bridge to no where". When she became State Governor took the first budget papers home to husband Todd a part time seasonal Salmon Fisherperson by trade(a possible poacher in Canuckistan waters due to delining fish stock numbers ?) and non state employee who just happened to work for BP Oil most of the time. She then whipped out the knife in the back to rewrite the allocation of money figures with his help due to her basic inability to allocate strict guidelines and thus it came to pass , she created the largest State Budget Deficit recorded in the history of statehood in Alaska ever . Thus it comes to pass her support base has dropped to a mere one in two local blind drunk rednecks , thus she bites the hand that feeds often , what a fishy murky tail of a state governor she be indeed , and even our redoubtable socialite appears to be far smarter than her , although that isn't saying much is it ?

PS a standing joke in Alaska in Juneau the State Capitol in 2008 amongst the professional public servants employed is the mandatory read her high school year book to find out who is whom at the top of newly created piglet money feeding trough . She is also not on apparent speaking terms with either republican federal senators in the state and has been known to sack the odd public servant who does speak to them as well.

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Jim

Goes to show Evolutionism is taught like a Religion in the States

The response from the high pirests, er, professional public educators, goes to show that evolution is taught like religion in the US!

I'm a firm believer in Evolutionism. Yet, it's quite obviously to me that many in the public education field have no clue as to why Evolutionism is a better explanation for the wide world around us. They do not understand the dynamic probablistic system analysis behind Evolutionism at all! They profess belief in Evolutionism because that's how they had been taught, and their professional job and privilege hinges upon it!

That's the reason why so many kids graduating from public schools are easily converted to born-again fundamentalism . . . they'd embrace Creationism just as easily as how they had been crammed with Evolutionism, with none of the probablistic logic and mathematical basis that make Evolutionism a much stronger case!

Kids should indeed be taught both theories, and proper math, i.e. probabilistic systems, and see for themselves that a Divine Designer is quite unnecessary for a well-adapted speies to emerge after a few generations of probabilistic mutation and selection. That will also clue them in to why the public school system as we have today doesn't work and how it weeds out motivated instructors and become a haven for paper pushing tax wasters that function as wardens for kids. We can't have that now, can we?!

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Re A pox on your houses

Thank you AC for a typically American post. You do realise there is no left wing in America dont, you? There is really only right wing (DEM) and Ultra right wing(REP). The rest of the world, in between guffaws of laughter at your anti marxist rant, will continue to be majority socialist.

Even more amusing is the fact that China a <Gasp> communist country will own the US wholly in the next 10 years.

Hasnt your much vaunted capitaism worked out well, needing a 700 billion bailout..

Oh and what a surprise- you dont believe in climate change. Well, a dumb redneck doesnt believe it, all those experts must be wrong!

Isnt there a Fox news site you can post at where people might agree with your twaddle?

The only way leftists will die is from laughing at the likes of your pathetic rant.,

Its a good job you dont care whether people agree with you-most dont.

Posting as AC just makes you look even more pathetic. (hard to believe but true)

Now go play with the other children, we are dicussing adult matters here.

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Black Helicopters

sweet zombie Jesus!

The stupid is running thick in these comments. Who'da thunk that El Reg is frequented by so many religious loons, troofers and neo-fascists.

My faith in mankind just died a little bit more - I think it will finally die if McBain/Palin get elected, despite their best efforts to scupper their own chances

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Faith in Evolution?

Personally I don't believe in the existence of this thread, but I'm not going to bang on about it for twenty paragraphs.

Look, I created the earth, OK? It actually took me seven *weeks*. The Guardian got it wrong in the first instance.

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I usually like the Register...

...for it's different point of view than our Stateside one.

In this case, though, I can cheerfully say-- Stay out of our politics, and we'll CONTINUE to stay out of yours... Cheers.

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Black Helicopters

Palin is SOOO Alaska ... but so is TOE; both frozen solid

Gents:

Granted that Ms Palins science is frozen solid as an Ice-age T-REX . But, the sophmorish TOE.boyz are in bigger trouble. Nucleic acid and poly-peptide phase_spaces are NOT their pals; too little of the first and too much of the 2nd.

If you can't DEMONSTRATE analytically that wiggy-stuff can even BE alive then you can hardly argue for a specific 'evolutionary" motif for that life. Except of-course the infamous "2-nekked Brit naturalists walking hand-in-hand thru green meadows". Or when writing grants.....

Faithfully ...

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Palin's Beliefs

Look, as long as she keeps her beliefs to herself she can believe pretty much anything she wants to. Its when the people start wanting for every one to believe that "her" version is the only right version is the problem I am having problems with these people. I do not agree with her (or any of the other religious people on this issue) which is fine just do not "assume" you are right and insist that it is the only version. I am really mixed about having religious items taught in public school. If they want to teach their version in their schools that is fine, just do not expect the US Taxpayer to pony up with *ANY* money for supporting such teachings.

I would be extremely surprised if any student that was only taught the religious people's version could be capable of getting a college degree (from any main stream college). If they want to handicap their own people by teaching them incorrect information it is *THEIR* issue not ours.

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looking for catch title...

The title for this article is based on the good news doesn't sell idea, bad news does sell. Most folks like to read about bad news unless its about them. Bad news seems to migrate towards mob mentality is short order.

I watched the Palin interview during which she stated her position on the development of the earth and its inhabitants. She explained that she is the daughter of a science teacher and grew up in a religious family.

Recent events, admitted bias http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/09/09/AR2008090900956.html, in a our news industry have made it very difficult to use output of the news industry as an information gathering resource. In my opinion the news industry is gracefully moving towards mob mentality in search of increasing profits. When there are as many news outlets as we have today there is extreme competition for our attention and thus advertising dollars. Good news has a history of not selling to the public. When good news does not sell the news industry, to survive by attracting advertising, needs bad news to sell its products and the news industry has the resources to find bad news. In the end the good news for the news industry is when advertiser pay them for time or space which is a direct result of how their news sells.

Now read any news article and ask yourself is the information intended to attract readers? In that vain does this article feed the mob mentality?

Jim

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Happy

Let's have some balance...

If we are going to teach Christian creation beliefs as science then we need to have some balance. Let's have US public schools teaching Muslim creation beliefs. Muslim creationism is more compatible with evolution so would present a good middle ground between pure science and pure hocus pocus.

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Happy

Time to stick the jolly old oar in.

Will people stop referring to Creationists and Christians in the same breath as if they are in some way linked? It's fucking insulting to the majority of Christians out there who can actually walk and chew bubblegum at the same time. I strongly suspect that it's also somewhat insulting to the very large number of Islamic creationists around, not to mention those from the various other belief systems out there (Pastafarians, I'm looking at you....).

Now we've established that, can a representative of one of the Abrahamic ones explain how anyone's supposed to create anything in seven days prior to the existance of a space-time continuum capable of supporting the concept of "days" in the first place? Hint: If you teach this shit in school as science you're implying the acceptance of debate on the subject, so you'd better have some good answers ready. You'll also want some nice experimental proof for the practical sessions as well. I'd get on that now.

Lastly: ".....if asked the teacher told them she thought God did it...". Hmm, I reckon in the Conservatory with the lead pipe myself, anyone got those?

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Happy

cool image

"disappointing story... not because of the contents (didn't really read it), I just thought it would have more fun pictures of US politicians in a Flintstones setting. :("

Private Eye had a good one in the other week of bill & hillary as fred & wilma

scary

As for creatism on Day #1 god created light on Day #3 he created the sun, moon and stars. Where was the light coming from for 2 days, glow sticks? matches?

I'm with the Australian aborigines, there was the dream time, then we woke up. Makes more sense than most creation theories and nobody has ever been slaughtered in the name of it :P

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: Maybe this will help clear the air

I think it's more likely to dirty it. But I'll let it stand. Anyone who's going to respond, take some deep breaths first, yeah?

It's not a 'blog', though, Nathan. But then you could argue the archaeopteryx wasn't reptilian. Not that I'm going there. Not in <strike>3 million years</strike> <strike>30,000 years</strike> a really long time.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: I usually like the Register...

We'd love to, but your politics is pretty much everyone's politics, isn't it?

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@AC

"2. Evolution is a theory with holes in it. These holes may be resolved over time but I'm sick of it being thrust on us as a fact, which it is not."

Stop talking now. Though Evolutionary Theory is a Theory, i.e. "NOT A FACT" (would you like me to go slower?), and I quote from the article which you purport to have read, "so far nothing better than evolutionary science has emerged to explain biological processes".

The main thing that makes the theory of evolution doubtable is the amount of complete fuckwits around on these boards who feel that they can argue a case against it by just stating "I don't believe it" or "despite the fact that I can make many predictions based on this theory that can be proven through tests, the Bible tells me different and I believe the Bible". But then again "survival of the fittest" doesn't necessarily mean "survival of the people with rational working minds".

If you want a real argument for creationism then read 1984, the thought police are particularly good at explaining this alternative theory (and that's no joke, read it and learn something so at least we can have a proper philosophical debate. They didn't argue for or against the existence of God, they simply proved that a man can fly and that 2+2=5 - but maybe read the next paragraph first, especially the last statement as that's also a requirement of successful debating).

But the real question here is: how the fuck did you manage to survive infancy? Do you just instinctively believe everything you're told by your parents and the people your parents have vetted? I ask this because I remember from a very early age that I was unable to do this. I demanded proof of everything and still do. I fell out with the Anglican church when I was 6 years old when I decided that if I wasn't allowed to question their theories (and I was told that I could not) then they could all fuck off and die (though this is just a small part of the child abuse that the church is responsible for, it's the one I'm qualified to talk about). Grow a fucking brain and learn how to use it.

And to think, people with analytical skills as good as yours (i.e. very very flawed) could soon have the most massive arsenal on the planet at their disposal.

But enough of the vitriol, though god knows you deserved it (and yes, I asked him, and he came to me in a vision, stole all my pop tarts, didn't flush the toilet and told me, "yes, that anonymous coward deserved at least the amount of vitriol you gave him, probably more"), let's hear your theory on how biological processes work then shall we?

Alternatively, shut the fuck up!

Now, for the sane people amongst you. Why is it that these religious types think that they are smarter than Darwin?

And, just for the record: Atheists haven't got a clue either. Your arguments provide no proof and you expect me to take a leap of faith to deny that very faith, surely that's a dichotomy. I can't work out which is worse to be honest.

I am an Agnostic. The only thing I understand is that I don't understand. However, I'm also aware that none of you understand either (and that's a fact) which is why it really pisses me off when people claim they do.

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Stop

Teach both?

No. Fact and fallacy do not have equal weight. Teach the FACT of evolution through natural selection and the FACT of Geological processes in science. Teach the FICTION of creationsim in ... oh say ...Religious studies.

Note - Religious studies should be the study of religions, not indoctrination regarding <insert your preferred deity or deities here>.

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Anonymous Coward

Careless whispers

The American-origin "I could care less" has its roots in "I could care less, but not much". I.E. I care so little about this that it's hard to tell the difference between that much care and none."

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ben

wow

wow, shouty lot the Americans aren’t they?

I think that a few people might have forgotten this is a UK centric website, in England we never Mix Faith with politics.

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re: Time to stick the jolly old oar in.

However, I don't think there are any creationists who AREN'T Christian.

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