back to article Royal Society: Schools should show creationism 'respect'

The Royal Society has backed the discussion of creationism in school science classes, kicking off what promises to be a spectacular row amongst the country’s top boffins. The boffinry talking-shop’s director of education told the British Association’s festival of science in Liverpool that creationism should be examined in …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Respect?

    'Respect for views' is not a good enough reason to teach total rubbish in classrooms. It is irrelevant whether the people being taught agree with the teaching or not, education should be about teaching the truth, and the accepted theories and ideas in science, not something else that opposes it just because it is 'an alternative'.

  2. Xander
    Thumb Down

    Way to spark a shit-storm

    If this was any other context I'd think he was going for an epic troll. Science help us if he's serious.

    Creationism is based off one source, a very old story book. If they are going to teach creationism in science it should be in the context of "Bad Science" and how people will try to manipulate others into believing things that are utter fooey.

  3. Simon Painter
    Thumb Down

    But the creationists know it's only a faith...

    The creationists themselves are the first to point out that the absence of scientific evidence leaves ID and creationism firmly in the field of faith rather than science. Let's keep this stuff for the theology classes and save the science lessons for stuff that has some sort of evidence to support it.

  4. Paul Howie

    Bloody stupid idea

    "Even more controversially, perhaps, The Royal Society told the Times that Reiss’ position reflected that of the society, on the basis that “teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t”

    Oh yes, why not teach flat earth theory and suction-based gravity theory as additional examples of 'what isn't actually science' in a science classroom.

    Why not take it to every subject? We can teach Middle Earth map reading in geography, 2+2=16 in maths and Playstation in P.E.

    Heaven forbid we should devote a short lesson to teaching the actual bloody subject.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Alien

    Crikey, fIrst the Scientologists, now this lot

    I know, it was the Water Bears.

    At some stage we might end up back in some form of intolerant theocracy. I guess its a bit harder to overthrow a tyranny with the power of religion behind it. Even if they are all space aliens.

    Still being burned at the stake as a heretic might be a saving on the really quite shocking fees for cremation these days.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    What about other isms

    I follow Yedism. I am a Yedi ! And God of Spaghetti. Trust there are many Spaghists out there. RE in science. I will pray that earth become flat so they all can walk off the edge and fall down. Better to have a full division of Evolution schools and creationists schools. Another way to divide and rule the masses.

  7. Haku
    Stop

    Stupidity reigns...

    If by some (hm, strange, I was about to say god-awful even though I'm athiest) absurd screw up creationism does get taught in schools, it should only ever be as part of RE (Religious Education) because to put it in the mainstream teaching like fact based science etc. would be very bad.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Let's follow America

    Let's just follow America. We've turned our military machine into a tool for securing oil rather than a tool to do good. We are following America's stance of doing as little to save the environment as possible.

    So why not follow and let the religious crazies start to have more influence on our lives. Tony Blair prayed together with Bush, so we have started bowing down to the religious crazies already...

  9. Gavin Ayling
    Pirate

    I agree with Richard Dawkins

    The arguments against Creationism are not required in the debate, but are strong nonetheless.

    Creationism is barely more defensible than a nursery rhyme and the suggestion by anyone with any amount of intelligence, that it should move into the class room where *facts* are taught belies belief.

  10. Chris Miller

    Where does this end?

    I demand equal rights for Pastafarianism! Should we be teaching Scientology or Jedi* studies in RE? If we mention the history of the moon landings, must we also say that of course there are a large number of web sites that claim they were all faked?

    * As reported in the last census, there are more folks claiming followers of The Force than Creationists in the UK.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    "flat earth" is also a point of view.

    It is also a pile of mince. I recall that being discussed in school along with *why* it was a pile of mince. Creationism should get the same treatment. The only possible exception is a religious studies class.

    If it's not Scientologists, it's the bloody Christians trying to drag us back to the stone age.

  12. Jim Coleman
    Coat

    And while you're at it...

    ...you can make sure school science classed are made aware of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. All the kids should be raised as Pastafarians anyway and pay due homage to the Great One and His Noodly Appendages.

    Only if this is done alongside teaching Abrahamic Creationism will balance be maintained.

    Mine's the techicolour dreamcoat.

  13. David Barrett Silver badge

    Ahh I remember it well....

    Physics, Chemistry, Flying Spaggetti Monster...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Joke

    God is dead

    And it was all a mythunderstanding anyway..

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alright then.

    So its a numbers issue? According to the 2001 census, there are more Jedi than Sikhs, Jews or Buddhists. As a jedi parent, I want the force to be part of the curriculum.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    Respect?

    "Creationism doesn’t challenge science, it denies it." - says it all really.

    Please don't let this country turn into America; Science and Religion do not mix; Politics and Religion do not mix.

    I hope this never comes off and that Creationism stays confined to RE classes.

  17. Danny
    Alien

    Easy solution

    Evolution should be taught in SCIENCE classes

    Creationism should be taught in RELIGIOUS EDUCATION classes

    Both arguments are heard and then left to the individual to believe what they like.

    Why the creationists are kicking up such a stink recently about their beliefs being taught as science I have no idea when the methods leading to their conclusions blatantly have no basis in science whatsoever.

    Alien, cos while we're at it why not also teach what the scientologists believe in science too?

  18. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Clarification

    Clarification from the Royal Society here

    http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?id=8004

  19. Neil Hoskins
    Go

    See also...

    http://www.secularism.org.uk/eminentscientistsaysweshouldresp.html

  20. Mo

    I see the point

    I think creationism is bunkum (lots of natural things don't demonstrate a huge amount of intelligence in their design, unless you can also attribute malice)

    However, being able to explain why creationism isn't science and evolution is is entirely sensible, and that sort of analysis is a skill that children should be taught (logical, rational, reasoning applies to a whole bunch of things, after all).

    The money quote is:

    “teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t”.

    This is entirely spot on. Teachers AND children need to be able to do this.

  21. censored

    Mention Creationism...

    in passing, then go on to present the vast amounts of data, evidence and common-sense which shows that evolution is right and true.

    Then fail them in their exams if their unable or unwilling to see the creation myth as just a nice story.

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    my science teacher...

    was a 'born again' chap. The classic words I'll always remember... 'I don't believe this but it's in the syllabus so I have to teach it.'

    Kids don't learn much useful at school as it is without having to put up with subjects with no real world impact.

    Dump humanities and do critical thinking.

    Science needs to become science and engineering (ie. mix of industrial and fundamentals).

    Religion should not even be on the radar.

  23. Keith McWhan
    Thumb Down

    Respect?

    Well there goes my 'respect' for the Royal Society. What a load of nonsense. Lets teach the 'magic man done it' theory in class. We have no evidence for it, not even a coherent idea, but hey let's say it's valid anyway 'cause someones opinion might be hurt if we dont. Shall we go for the Allfather as the 'magic man'? I have no evidence for him but he does sound nice and beardy.

    Religion only has one place in the world. That's down the toilet with the other shite.

  24. J
    Flame

    rubbish

    Its discraceful that this rubbish is even being considered by the royal society. Its worse still that this man has been allowed to gain such a presdigious seat in the scentific community. He isn't a scientist, he's a priest and shouldn't comment on scientific teaching as he is not capable of understanding its principles.

    This has annoyed me quite considerably. I thought England was above this kind of stupidity, the Americans and their fundamentalist fools might think this is a good idea but any sane, educated persion should not.

  25. Ferry Boat

    Eat the pudding

    No, it should not be taught in science lessons. Teach it in RE if you must subject children to this kind of rubbish.

    I wonder how a science lesson will go:

    Sir: Now lets look how the world formed about 4.5 billion years ago.

    Pupil: But sir, it was formed by God about 6 thousand years ago.

    Sir: Interesting idea, do you have any proof?

    Pupil, Err.... my mummy and the man in the dress said so.

  26. Carl

    Idiotic

    More than 10% of families are probably also racist, xenophobic and homophobic (Well if daily mail sales figures are anything to go by).

    Should we also be teaching these 'equally valid' viewpoints?

  27. Andy

    "should be examined as a legitimate point of view"

    Fine by me, so long as it's not examined as a *scientific* point of view, because it isn't one.

    It's perfectly legitimate to hold irrational beliefs. Lots of us have them. For example, I believe that if I keep buying those little tickets at the post office I'll one day become a millionaire. (Then again, it's also perfectly legitimate to take the mickey out of those that think their irrational beliefs are rational, too.)

    It seems to me that a sensitive, reasoned discussion about why creationism isn't good science would be a perfectly good way to teach the scientific method.

    Assuming that the teachers and pupils can manage that, of course.

  28. Paul Buxton

    Secularism?

    As a secularist I have no objection to schools teaching creationist theories in classrooms as long as they are even handed in their approach and include all creationist myths.

    This should be fun when they get to Egyptian mythology as Atum was the first god arising from the waters of chaos. He created the world by masturbating and also gave birth to two other gods, Shu and Tefnut from his emissions.

    There are many other amusing stories of creation, it should keep the children entertained for a while and may even serve to get the kids who were unfortunate enough to be indoctrinated into their parent's religion to start thinking logically about the whole issue.

    So as long as they are going to teach creation myths and not just A creation theory with a heavy bias on christianity, islam, judaism, whatever then I have no problem with it whatsoever.

    Teaching it alongside evolution theory and labelling it as science is, however, ludicrous.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Quote time!

    The church says the earth is flat, but I know that it is round, for I have seen the shadow on the moon, and I have more faith in a shadow than in the church - Ferdinand Magellan

    Says it all really.

    Flame as being a militant agnostic (I don't know and NOR DO YOU!) I'll be first to the stake!

  30. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

    OK

    Serious point here, in spite of the sarcastic comments drowning my brain at the moment:

    "teachers should convey a message of “respect” for those beliefs while continuing to teach evolution"

    Is this not what RE is for? Religious eductation should be taught from the standpoint of respect for others' beliefs. They should encourage respectful debate over the points of view involved, as all religious people will have to do this at some point, and most non-religious people will also (probably when the Jehovahs Witnesses call round).

    Teach about Science in Science lessons. Teach about Religion in RE lessons. Is this too much to ask?

  31. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    How would legitimising creationism by discussing it in class, in any way encourage pupils to view evolution as one way of understanding the universe? How would not discussing the creationist myth prevent such a view?

    If the estimate of 10% of pupils have "creationist leanings" (1 in 10 !!!) is correct, then it looks as if we are already losing the battle for sanity in this country.

    Surely this is just another leg pull ?

  32. KarlTh

    @AC

    "The Royal Society told the Times that Reiss’ position reflected that of the society, on the basis that “teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t”."

    Or, to put it your way, teachers should teach that: "Creationism is a pile of mince. This is *why* it's a pile of mince".

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  33. Matt Bryant Silver badge
    Flame

    Royal Society for the Stupid?

    Obviously all the real scientists were busy the day this joker got the job. Hopefully this public statement of complete idiocy will force his resignation.

    Oh, for the benefit of the obviously anti-Yank anonymous moron above, the majority of Americans I talk to do not want creationism taught in schools, and that includes some that are more than just one-day-a-week Christians. We are indeed following America in fighting off a tide of creationist nonsense.

  34. B Johnson
    Paris Hilton

    Geography and Design and Technology

    I demand that Geography teaches about beer volcanoes and DT teaches about how stripper factories work.

    As a biologist, I am sure that the learned reverend professor would also want to include a section on the management, feeding, breeding etc. of invisible pink unicorns.

    Keep god in MyTheology classes.

  35. Sandra Greer
    Coat

    Caught it from us, have you?

    I thought only the U.S.A. was overrun with holybolies. Most of us would prefer to have our children proficient in sciences, if they have the brains. An increasing number of us, however, evidently would like their children to be badly educated and unable to compete. Goody, more for me! Too bad they can vote.

    Think of it as an opportunity to teach the scientific method, if only the teachers were trained to do that!

    I can tell you that the people who teach sciences in the U.S. are frequently not so very well trained. You Brits can develop a national lesson plan for this sort of thing. We can't here (or won't). One would think that "No Child Left Behind" would include an emphasis on science teaching and learning, but considering the source, it can't.

    NASA is sending a turnip wagon to Mars next.

    Religion deserves NO respect, IMHO. I keep mine to myself.

    Now y'all can fight -- I'm just leaving...

  36. Writebaby
    Paris Hilton

    Children should not be taught nonsense?

    This seems a sensible proposition until you come across examples such as Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, estwhile bottom of the gardeners, witches, monsters...

    ... the fact is human beings and not just children are natural magical thinkers (magical thinking is a fundamental belief that a) the universe should revolve around me, why else is it here? and b) I can control the universe although I sometimes have to do bizarre rituals in order to establish that control) and as real scientific thought takes considerable effort with little or no emotional impact, it is generally rejected.

    It is much easier to do something wrong but which appears to deal with the situation and how I feel about it than to do something right. Magical thinking is a way of dealing with stress, not just sorting out stressful situations. But it helps e.g. to misquote (in all likelihood) Cromwell 'Say your prayers and keep your powder dry' i.e. carry out a stress relieving ritual and simultaneously do what you really need to do.

    So, bizarrely, it is easier to believe that the world was made in 7 days (try it for a few days) than that it took 15.4 billion years to come about. It also relieves stress because it allows human beings to wrap the universe around them like a baby blanket. it's small enough to think about therefore it is small enough to be controlled.

    Should creationism be taught in classrooms. Yes, but not as a serious contender, but as an example of the contrast between scientific thinking and magical thinking.

    Paris... because she makes me think magical thoughts and go through bizarre rituals.

  37. Adrian Barnett
    Thumb Down

    Ah, creationism

    The legitimate scientific theory that:

    A Mysterious Being created all things, using a Mysterious Process, for Mysterious Reasons.

    Why should Christian creationism be given the privilege of being discussed in science classes? There are literally thousands of other creation myths of equal merit (i.e. none) out there. The Biblical creation story is not special.

    Another problem with this nonsense is that there will be pupils who really believe this crap, and will argue with the teacher or even go so far as claiming discrimination if the teachers explain why it is "not science", taking away time which would be better spent teaching the actual subject.

    We need Critical Thinking classes in schools so kids can learn for themselves why Creationism and similar drivel is a load of bunk.

  38. Chris
    Thumb Up

    Doesn't go far enough

    We should also be teaching the 5 elements in physics, the 4 humors in medicine and that the sun orbits the earth.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only teaching they should do is...

    ...why creationism and ID are bogus concepts, but why give them the oxygen they don't warrant? There are plenty of other crackpot, anti-science, idiotic notions out there so why should these be elevated to a level above them?

  40. isawch

    Religion has no place in eductation

    Religion has no place in education or schools.

    As Chris E said above, education is about truth and fact and ideas that can be approached via empiracl, reproducible scientific methods, not myth, fear and speculation.

    Religion evolved out of (hu)man's need to explain the unexplainable and add some form of meaning and reason to what seemed like completely magical phenonmena, like thunder & lightning, earthquakes, flood & droughts, disease & famine, etc.

    Nowadays, many people are "educated" and know that there are scientific, factually based reasons and explainations behind these events which terrified our early ancestors.

  41. This post has been deleted by its author

  42. Dan Cooke
    Stop

    @Respect?

    I'm sure a lot of people agree it shouldn't be taught, but hang on one second...

    "It is irrelevant whether the people being taught agree with the teaching or not, education should be about teaching the truth, and the accepted theories and ideas"

    wow, now _that_ would be a great way to completely ignore the whole point of science and set about creating a totalitarian state the commies and George would be proud of. The point of science is to think and evaluate, not blindly accept. Its nothing to do with respect granted, but you can't just sweep creationism under the carpet and hope it goes away. Yes it should not be taught as a scientific theory in the same way as evolution, but we do need to educate people about it - the same goes for any religious hocus pokery 1) teach them the science behind it (like theories of why religion came about, the history behind it, what came first - morals or religion, etc etc) and then 2) teach them to think for themselves and question things (why the hell are religious people considered 'moral' when they need a book/ some idiot to tell them how to behave) The key out of this is education and free thinking. No, the 2 keys are education, free thining and evidence. No, the 3 keys are...

  43. CTG
    Boffin

    Banning doesn't help

    I think creationism *should* be taught in science classes - specifically, it should be taught that creationism is a load of bollocks. By banishing it altogether, you lend it a veneer of respectability, "the truth they don't want you to hear" etc.

    Then again, so little actual science is taught these days that it might be a bad thing to mention creationism at all. What we *really* should be teaching kids is the ability to think critically and independently, rather than just telling them one theory or another is the "truth".

  44. Anonymous Coward
    IT Angle

    A balanced view...

    While religious / spiritual elements certainly should NOT 'creep out' of the RE class into the science labs, considering 'intelligent design' and creation as a plausible theory certainly should, (Einstein would agree). Also, in relation to creationism being 'un-scientific' on the basis of opposing evidence, (particularly the age of 'stuff'), the same scientists should at least acknowledge that evolution is equally problematic in that the entire known fossil record has not produced one single example of an 'intermediate form', but rather complex forms such as entire species groups as well as functions such as flight, sight etc. appear whole and complete without the millions of 'in between' variations that macro evolution through natural selection would require. As well as this issue, there is also the problem of mutation vs. genetic variation. While nobody can dispute the fact that selective breeding causes changes and developments within species groups, this is limited by the quantity of genetic material available. Rather than the increasing diversity that evolution describes, we see a narrowing of both diversity and the ability to diversify as any particular species develops down an environmentally imposed path (look at the sabre toothed tiger which died out along with the large pray that it's highly developed incisors helped it bring down). Darwin was entirely un-aware of the limitations thermodynamics imposes on genetic development, however modern Evolutionary theory requires that genetic mutation comes into play in order to explain both the development from one species to another as well as the increasing diversity and complexity of life, but even if we accept that mutations can be helpful, the timescales involved in waiting for these rare occurrences to produce evolution is MASSIVE in comparison to the gene pool 'clock of doom' which is racing much faster in the opposite direction.

  45. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    And as a member

    of a little-known Pastafarian splinter group that worships the Labial Lasagne I demand my portion of respect and insist that my beliefs be taught in schools. Surely it won't be a problem that our sacred books are a collection of 1970s lesbian porn mags that miraculously appeared under my bed one night in 1987. Remember faith trumps such trivial matters as evidence, logic and human welfare.

  46. Carl Berry
    Paris Hilton

    Sigh

    Member of RS defends creationism and says it should be taught in schools shock!

    Except of course he didn't suggest any such thing. RS has clarified its position (which hasn't changed) and pointed out what Prof. Reiss actually said rather than what is being reported

    http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?id=8004

    Which amounts to that increasing number of kids are being taught this rubbish at home so wouldn't it be a good idea if when asked about it science teachers could give an explanation of why creationism isn't science. Presumably if kids ask about flat earth, FSM, aliens, homoeopathy etc. they'd get similar responses.

    Paris because after this and the LHC stuff earlier this week she'd do a much better job of science reporting in the main stream media than the current lot :(

  47. Tom Chiverton
    IT Angle

    "teachers should convey a message of “respect” for those beliefs"

    Respect ? Why ? The sooner the kids move out from under their parents shadow and start taking a rational view of how things work the better.

  48. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Lets Assume

    That God is all powerful.... Who's to say creationism isnt how it happened.

    All the evidence for evolution could have been created for Human amusement, and if evolution is the way it happened - why has it stopped at Humans?

  49. Charles Ullman

    Re: Clarification

    Good work AC. Everyone commenting here should read the Royal Society link above. The Royal Society are explicitly against teaching creationism. The point was that if a child asked a question about creationism, the teacher should take the time to explain why it's bollocks, and not just say "whoa, too political, I'll leave that one to the RE teacher."

  50. Justin

    The trouble with Creationism

    The trouble with Creationism is that it assumes the existence of the Creator which may or may not be "God" and which may or may not be detectable. A lot of people can't cope with that premise. On the other hand, a lot of people claim to have met God, and use that as evidence, so there is a stand-off.

    The trouble with Evolution, is that we don't really know what ultimately started the universe /life off, and though there is lots of evidence, there are many aspects that remain a mystery. Evolution also starts with some assumptions, some of which we have been brainwashed into accepting as "facts".

    The trouble with this whole debate is that it is so emotionally charged (and has been since the day of Darwin), that nobody is really prepared to put their own agendas (mainly based on the question of a "Creator") to one side, and analyse it in a real scientific way - by which I mean looking at the assumptions (on both sides of the argument) and testing the hypothesis (regardless of how weird it seems) - instead of everyone bashing everyone else saying "you are wrong".

    Father Fessio is right - we have lost the art of Philosophy.

  51. Sarah Bee (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: Secularism?

    Wanking gods. Now that's how you get a class's attention.

  52. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Philosophy...

    Actually it could be quite useful for explaining the philosophy of science...

    Get the kids to come up with ways of testing the theory, I'd expect a 13 year old to be able to see the issues that arise when one attempts to apply science to creationism, it's not hard to find the holes.

    Science is often portrayed as a vast book of facts with a few bubbling tubes on the side, when really it is a method for analysing a system. Schools would do well to focus on the method rather than the results.

  53. Steve King
    Stop

    @mo

    Mo,

    We come from either side of a big divide, but I agree with you on this.

    Kids should be taught to weigh up ideas, consider and test their validity.

    I am very cautious about what I choose to believe - and I don't want my kids to be taught to accept anything without question, particularly not in science or RE classes.

    Most of the comments above come from people who need to calm down a bit - they do their case no favours by ridiculing people and stirring up hate. It may be a favourite tactic of Dawkins, but it does not constitute a rational discussion and diminishes your view.

    Tin hat on....

    Steve

  54. vegister
    Thumb Up

    sounds like a good idea

    by the sounds of it, most people commenting here have a blind faith that evolutionary theory ticks all the boxes.

    however, there are many problems with current theory, so this would provide a good forum for learning the problems posed by both theories. it would avoid such devotion to a theory most people know little about. which evolutionary theory do you believe, the one scientists currently believe, or the one you learned about 15 years ago in school? in 15 years time the current evolutionary theory will be considered flawed and rubbish.

    see for example the recent news from this week "It appears that records related to carbonate platforms which are often used throughout the early history of the Earth are not good recorders of the 13C/12C ratio in the open oceans. Hence, the work presented suggests that assumptions made previously about changes in the 13C/12C ratios of carbonate sediments in the geological record are incorrect." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080910104202.htm

    also, without such study, how would people not query the evidence that suggests that mankind is in fact very young? http://www.cs.unc.edu/~plaisted/ce/humanity.html

    and also

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/the-big-question-how-old-is-humanity-and-where-did-homo-sapiens-come-from-457807.html

  55. Steve
    Flame

    this has gone too far!

    I want proof that their God exists and I want proof that it created the universe, if they can't give me hard proof I DONT WANT TO HEAR ABOUT THEIR FAIRY STORY ANYMORE!!!

  56. Louis

    Flat Earth? WTF?

    Come on, I expect *much* better from the pedants that inhabit El Reg's comments section... Kindly allow me to restate things...

    THERE IS NO EVIDENCE THAT PEOPLE EVER BELIEVED THE WORLD WAS FLAT. EVER.

    Stop perpetuating this bullshit. It is not now, nor ever has been, a "legitimate point of view". In much the same way as religion is absolute bollocks, but with even less social acceptance as it never had believers! FFS people, pay attention!

    Ramen...

  57. Martin Lyne
    Flame

    Listen closely

    Schools -> Evidence based theories

    Churches -> Crap that people though up and refer to "faith" as the proof of.

    You can tell me as many times as you want that we can't ever know something, but we should still believe it, and I will still tell you to shut up and come back when you have something that doesn't require an imaginary, unknowable creature to validate it.

  58. bothwell
    Happy

    @ Andy

    "It seems to me that a sensitive, reasoned discussion about why creationism isn't good science would be a perfectly good way to teach the scientific method."

    Yes. It sort of seems to me that that's actually what the guy was originally suggesting, but as soon as anybody even suggests such a thing, people start foaming at the mouth and shouting about the Flying Spaghetti Monster.

    Denying the fact that people have different beliefs isn't going to make them go away. And people can rant about "ISN'T THAT WHAT RE IS FOR" until they're blue in the face, but RE is now a dying subject, specifically because people foam so much about religion being taught in schools.

    When I was at school, I learned about incorrect theories of science alongside the correct ones - the difference between the two were explained. The reasons for the beliefs behind the incorrect theories were examined. So was it wrong for me to learn in school why pre-Galileo people thought the sun and moon revolved around the earth? Should the school have been deafened by the sound of ten thousand braying sceptics all going "NO YOU MUST ONLY TEACH THE ACTUAL SCIENCE NOTHING ELSE!"?

    I would say no?

  59. Mike Crawshaw
    Stop

    Hmmm. Maybe I read a different article?

    But tbh, I read this as "in science classes, we need to be able to show how Creationism is not a valid scientific theory if asked."

    How is that a bad thing? If, in Science, a kid says "but teacher, my mommy and daddy and Pastor say that the earth was created in 6 days by a great big beard in the sky who then nipped off to the pub with a stern warning about leaving the apples alone!!" - should the teacher not be able to demonstrate why such is not the case in scientific terms?

    I don't see anywhere that the Royal Society is saying "let's abandon Dawrinian evolution in class, and let the kids decide which they like best between Abrahamic Creation, Norse or Egyptian mythology (as Paul Buxton pointed out, the Egyptian one would be particularly entertaining!) and 'we just kinda turned up. who cares how?'."

    Accepting something as a worldview just means that they have to say "some people believe that...." rather than saying it is true in any way.

    For example, I can state that nazism and communism are both world views. Doesn't mean that I'm supporting either of these, nor does it mean that I am saying either is valid - I'm just accepting that there are people out there who believe these viewpoints. I *HAVE* to accept this position (that they are worldviews) in order to destroy the philosophical standpoint on which they rest through reasoned (and supported) argument.

    All from the article:

    “teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t”.

    "The Royal Society is opposed to creationism being taught as science."

    "The statement quotes Reiss saying, "Creationism has no scientific basis."

    "I have referred to science teachers discussing creationism as a worldview'," he goes on to say, "this is not the same as lending it any scientific credibility."

    Or maybe this is actually an article about Paris. In which case, my sincere apologies.

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Missing the point...

    Surely his point was not that we teach creationism, but equip teachers with a logical and coherent argument to convince (or at least attempt to convince) these children that creationism has no basis in fact whereas evolution does.

    Saying 'no, that's wrong' without explaining its flaws (and how evolution covers these flaws) is not scientific in the least part!

    Just as a science teacher should explain to a student who has perhaps misunderstood the causes of a lunar eclipse (a worrying number ask if the sun has got between the moon and the earth!) that this isn't the case, backing it up with a) the fact we'd be fried and b) the far more convincing argument that the earth has blocked the light, so too should they provide an argument as to why creationism is wrong rather than brushing it off the table - without being given the convincing counterargument these creationists will switch off and continue to believe!!

    That is how science has developed and how it will continue to develop, but only if we educate people with the correct skills to argue case over case!

  61. Craig Vaughton
    Thumb Down

    Useful

    I'd settle for schools teaching subjects which would be useful in later life, preferably ones based on hard evidence at the same time.

    Despite the 30 year gap between my leaving (as it turned out) the same school my 16 year old just has, the same ritual occured on the day of leaving; all the school books went in the bin! That would be the blue paper recycling bin just incase some council Nazi reads this!

  62. Christopher Boomer
    Go

    Reverse Engineering

    Let's give Creationism it's "respect".

    Those who do believe in Intelligent Design will in future be sent to Reverse Engineering classes where they will be taught Physics, Chemistry and Biology with all their implications and contradictions.

    These classes will be evidence based, using our feeble tools and minds.

    Then we send them to Truth classes where they will learn Judaism, Buddhism and Pastafarianism with all their implications and contraditions.

    These classes will be evidence based, using our feeble tools and minds.

    Then we'll send them to History classes where they can learn how to balance evidence and give them the tools they need to make up their own feeble minds.

  63. Big_Boomer
    Flame

    DogShitism

    If they are going to discuss Creationism in schools then in the interest of balance they should discuss DogShitism as well as Darwinism

    .

    DogShitism is the theory that a trans-dimensional dog ate too many super-dimensional pasties and the resulting diarrhoea caused a rent in the super-dimensional non-space-non-time continuum which resulted in the creation of an infinate number of dimensions, one of which is ours.

    (Yes, we REALLY are that insignificant, get over it)

    GRB's are in fact side effects of the Dog trying to bury the evidence of his squits and in fact nothing existed before last Tuesday. Yes, we were all created by accident all because of some dodgy (doggy?) pasties.

    goD-Dog

    There is some kind of balance there.

    If I've offended any God-botherers out there then good.

    You keep bothering me with your pushy preachy manner so I guess turnaround is fine.

    Oh sorry, I forgot that your faith is the "TRUTH". <ROTFLMAO>

  64. Steve Glover
    Boffin

    Why teach science at all when so many folk can't read?

    Never mind 10% of kids having creationist leanings: look at the percentage of comments here from people who don't seem to be able to follow plain English!

    Clue: KarlTh has the right of it....

  65. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Respect"!

    I must confess, I have equal respect fro creationism, Islam, Budism, Baal, Hinduism, Zeus, Christianity, Father Christmas, the Tooth Fairy, Easter Bunnies, Ghosts, and all other supernatural stories and they are all equally scientifically valid.

    The scientific questioni s how and why did such irrational beliefs survived natural selection.

    /ikh

  66. Jon H

    My R.E. lessons prooved it's all rubbish

    In my R.E. lessons I was taught about the Christian way... I was also taught about various other religions around the world. Hang on, if that one's right, then that one must be wrong, but that one says it's right too so that other one must be wrong...

    Yup, as a 10 year old, I knew it was all a load of rubbish. No different with this creationism stuff because it doesn't fit in with the other religions beliefs. They can't all be right as they contradict each other. Result is, they're all wrong.

  67. Simon
    Coat

    I demand...

    ...that both RE and Science classes teach the true lore as preached by the Jatravartid people:

    They believe that the Universe was sneezed out of the nose of a being called the Great Green Arkleseizure. They live in perpetual fear of the time they call "The Coming of the Great White Handkerchief".

    Although this theory of the Great Green Arkleseizure is not widely accepted outside Viltvodle VI, it is still as sensible as Creationism, belief in the Great Flying Spagetti Monster, or even that we all decend from crew of the B-Ark of the Golgafrincham exodus...

    Is that my electronic thumb beeping - got to go to the pub for beer and peanuts...so long, etc...

  68. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Louis

    Oh yeah? How come all the maps are flat then eh? Answer me that!

  69. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    Respect

    I believe that creationism should be accorded the same respect that creationists give evolution. That would be precisely none.

    Creationists have been lying about evolution, and creationism for years. They trot out the same old tired arguments against evolutionism long after the arguments are conclusively disproved, and in place of genuine scientific research throw out ad hominem attacks against anyone who disagrees with them.

    It is my belief that there are two kinds of creationist.

    The first is a sadly deluded individual incapable of rational thought who needs someone else to do all his thinking for him and refuses to accept responsibility for his own life.

    The second is a psychotic egomaniac who knows a good social control mechanism when he sees one and is determined to have as large a bit of the action as he can grab.

    I do believe that creationism should be taught.

    In Political Science lessons as an example of how people are subjugated and controlled by a dangerous minority elite using coersion and propaganda.

  70. Paul Taylor

    Teach a genuine debunked theory

    This argument that we should teach creationism as an example of how to challenge ideas in science isn't going to go away, we should have a good reply to it.

    We should teach a genuine case-study of a scientific hypothesis that had some evidence in favour of it, but was shown to be wrong. The best example is phlogiston.

    This lasted for about a century, coincidently being born more or less at the same time as the Royal Society.

  71. adnim Silver badge

    @Paul Buxton:Secularism

    Here, here. Well said that man.

    I have no objection to educating children in mythology providing ALL creationist myths are given equal footing.

    I would propose that religious education classes are replaced by or subsumed into a world studies class where the religions, faiths and myths of our global society are all equally discussed. A class where and each and every one of them would be assigned the same relevance or lack thereof to reality.

    At the risk of repeating other commentors, religion/faith has no place in science, government, politics and state legislation. Or indeed schools if taught as fact.

  72. Martin
    Stop

    @fLaMePrOoF - a balanced view?

    I haven't got the time or the inclination to go through all your comments and reject them one by one - suffice it to say that every one of your criticisms of evolution just indicate a complete lack of understanding of the theory, as well as ignorance of the facts.

    Just one point - "No intermediate steps in fossils" - Google archaeopteryx and tiktaalik. Then read a book like "Evolution - What the Fossils say and Why it Matters" by Prothero.

  73. Stuart
    Unhappy

    Evidence based commenting

    Dumb commenting on a dumb report!

    Check what was actually said and argued. It was that scence teachers should, if challenged by creationists, take time to show why creationism/ID is NOT science and why those advocating Creationism/ID are misunderstanding science.

    Instead of just ignoring the problem. Or leaving it to your neighbourhood RE teacher/mad mullah or panoid pastor to explain the difference.

    Can you really disagree with that? There was, in the presentation, sadly, a post modernistic treatment of different 'worldviews' (science/religion) but you can't get to demolish that if first you haven't seperated the views out.

  74. Anonymous Coward
    Go

    Superstitiuos Theory Bashin is good matter to teach

    Creationism can be an excellent ground to teach how inconsistent scientific theories are to be rebuked.

    Creationism is (one of) the best example(s) that can be lied down of theorization of superstitious belief and its excalation into science.

    Teaching children how such superstition-based theories wreck when confronted with facts and reason is OK.

    It's, I believe, a good starting point in the fight to remove the negative effects of superstition in our society.

  75. James Pickett
    Thumb Down

    Er...

    "creationism should be examined in school science classes as a legitimate point of view"

    Why are 'points of view' being discussed in Science classes?

    Evolution is a theory, while creationism is a hypothesis. Unfortunately, only creationists do not know the difference...

  76. ElFatbob

    Creationism....

    If people want to believe it, fair enough - however....

    what i'm more concerned about is that the holy grail of evolution may still have some hard questions to answer before it is touted as 'fact'.

    So called 'missing links' - may be discovered in the future, not too bothered about that.

    What interested me was an article i read (need to try and find again as it was about 7 years ago) by an mathematician, who pointed out that, in mathematical terms, the probability against all the elements coming together in the 'primordial soup' to make the first life form was so huge we would (mathematically, i presume) say it was impossible.

    He went on to point out that the constant repetition of these random events meeting to constantly evolve everything out this single lifeform into everything we see today only compounded the impossibility (i presume again, in mathematical terms).

    Slightly disturbed by this, and knowing my maths isn't very strong, I showed it to a colleague (PhD Particle Physics). Interestingly, he found no problem with how the maths was derived or even the conclusions it reached, but came out with the blunt statement that he would still choose evolution over the idea of an almighty God.

    I suppose all i am trying to say is that blinkered thinking can have a religious veil or scientific veil, depending on what shoes you're wearing....

  77. Dave Gregory
    Flame

    A definition of science

    Being lazy, I spent 5 whole seconds on wikipedia.

    Science - "the effort to discover, and increase human understanding of how the physical world works. Through controlled methods, scientists use observable physical evidence of natural phenomena to collect data, and analyze this information to explain what and how things work. Such methods include experimentation that tries to simulate natural phenomena under controlled conditions and thought experiments. Knowledge in science is gained through research."

    So, how can creationism ever be anything to do with science? If anything, it's it's antithesis. And anyone who believes in it, well, I pity them. Switch off your faith and open your eyes.

  78. Luis E G O
    Go

    Teaching how to debunk superstition is GOOD

    I see an excellent reason to teach creationism in science classes...

    To teach children on how to debunk superstitious theories.

  79. Darren Stephens
    Black Helicopters

    Give it a kicking...

    “teachers need to be in a position to be able to discuss science theories and explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t”.

    This is quite clever, give the science teachers the ammunition to give it a damn good kicking. sounds good to me.

  80. Elmer Phud Silver badge
    Go

    Royal Society

    "Well there goes my 'respect' for the Royal Society. What a load of nonsense."

    Maybe people are forgetting that when the RS was founded Alchemy was still in vogue. At least one of its founders was highly regarded as an alchemist. A broad church, as it were.

    But if we ain't allowed dinosaurs with some of the Creationist stuff then it should be kept out of science - until some Xtian can prove that all them bones are just a piss take.

  81. Ferry Boat

    Comment number 100

    I suppose what most people are saying is teach critical thinking, teach children how to think not what to think. That doesn't mean every bonkers idea should be given credence in science lessons. The lessons would never end because as these things are not evidence based there is always one more 'what if...?' question.

    Please agree and then I can go back to sleep until God tells me it's 5pm.

  82. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Obvious

    The purpose of teaching it is to enlighten students on why certain theories are pure rubbish. In fact, I strongly believe ALL religion should be taught in school, then dissected, to demonstrate why religion is a man-made item. By doing this, maybe we can stop the idiotic religious nut-freaks from starting wars or attacking their neighbors.

    While we are at it, history should be taught alongside so people can understand things such as:

    During the reign of Jesus, there were thousands of Messiac movements.

    Another one that ticks me off is the "turn the other cheek" story. The whole entire story does NOT mean you are meek, but during THAT period, Roman law would have put that person in the clink.

    Even in the Enligsh language, it has evolved, especially certain meanings and phrases.....

    Why oh Why oh Why oh Why oh Why can't we have people who think?

  83. Lloyd
    Linux

    Hold on now

    Could they not teach it in nursery where all the other fairy stories are taught?

  84. pastamasta
    IT Angle

    I for one...

    ...welcome our creationist overlords.

  85. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Give a straw man a bad name and flame him

    This comment "Dump humanities and do critical thinking" betrays why several of the previous posters have missed the point here. Science aims to answer the question "How?" whereas philosophy/religion aim to answer the question "Why?". They are not opposites. They are complementary.

    If your mental toolbox includes evolution but no ethics, then you can have no complaint if a stronger person beats you or kills you. Its just evolution, isn't it? Survival of the fittest, etc? His genes made him do it?

    The continued interest in philosophy, politics, and religious studies suggests that most human beings are not content with the outcomes of a purely mechanistic analysis of human behavior.

    The question of origins is a special case for scientific investigation in that it is not susceptible to empirical investigation. You can make your hypothesis, but you can't run experiments on it, without making assumptions about whether the physical conditions now are the same as they were at the beginning, and at all times in between. It cannot be proved, it can only be theorised about. Unless of course, the Universe ends, and gets restarted. ;-)

    A quick glance at history will show that ideas (both religious and scientific) which were regarded as "obvious" and "common sense" in one century, were regarded as bunk in the next. Its still happening now. It is foolish arrogance to believe that what we think today wont be debunked next century.

    It behooves both religionists and scientists to be a little more humble in their pronouncements : "we believe that our theory of the beginnings best explains the universe as we see it now, but we accept that future insights may show us we were wrong in some places"

    It may help to note that creationist views do not necessarily imply a young (c12,000 year) universe. There is a much more widely held view (theistic evolution) which is quite content with a old universe and evolution, but remains confident that "it was God wot done it".

    Indeed, the belief in some kind of Prime Mover behind the existence of the universe, remains the majority opinion worldwide, by a considerable margin. Which seems to me to be a decent reason for the Royal Society to suggest that the syllabus should cover that viewpoint.

    The existence of those billions of believers, including among them many intelligent, well-educated scientists, is also tangible evidence in support of a religious worldview. Now it might be that all these believers are just ignoring the evidence which doesnt support their belief, because they just can't deal with the implications.

    But equally, it might be the non-believers who are ignoring the evidence they dont like, because they just cant deal with the implications of there really being a God.

    Are you willing to test your hypothesis?

  86. adnim Silver badge

    @AC:Lets Assume

    "All the evidence for evolution could have been created for Human amusement, and if evolution is the way it happened - why has it stopped at Humans?"

    If it has, you raise a good question. Consider this, because we are here and witnessing the now as opposed to witnessing the future, we perceive ourselves to be the current extent of evolution. However, I put it to you that evolution t hasn't stopped at us and we, humans that is, are still evolving into what appears to be fat, lard arsed, ignorant sheep like entities with no sense of responsibility for our own actions.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Coat

    Couple of points

    @fLaMePr0oF

    'entire known fossil record has not produced one single example of an 'intermediate form'

    yes it has, but I can do better and point you in the direction of a 'living fossil' if you look up the Tub Gurnard. Some of its fins have evolved into legs and its eyes have moved further up its head to be more like a frogs so that it can see out of the water. Prime example of a fish well on the way to becoming an amphibian.

    @Lets Assume

    'why has it stopped at Humans?'

    It hasn't. It continues whether you believe it or not and who is to say that in our current form we are as far along the evolutionary trail as we will ever be?

    @vegister

    'blind faith that evolutionary theory ticks all the boxes'

    Maybe blind faith does, but most people realise that evolution as with any scientific theory is constantly being re-evaluated as new evidence comes to light. Compare this with religious dogma that states 'our holy text is truth, it is the way things are and will never change and if you disagree you are a heretic'

    Coat, as no matter what the evidence, you can never sway a believer with coherent argument so I may as well leave.

  88. Matt Clary
    Stop

    Not mutually exclusive

    First, I'm not religious, and I very much believe in evolution, but...

    There is no reason that the existence of God and evolution are mutually exclusive.

    The argument can be made that God went through a lot of trouble to make an incredibly complex and beautiful universe. He created a lot of rules for how things should work in this universe.

    A true believer should not underestimate the power of the creator and feel he should need to "cheat" and break the very laws that he set. If God is all powerful, he is fully capable of setting evolution into motion to achieve the results he wanted.

  89. Liam Johnson
    Thumb Up

    @JonB

    >>How come all the maps are flat then eh? Answer me that!

    The're not. I have one at home, it's shaped like a big ball. It's got a light in it.

  90. Louis
    Thumb Up

    @ JonB

    Let me tell you about this wondrous thing called a "Globe"... It is spherical, and you can get them with lights in, and even better, you can get them that flip open to reveal a veritable Aladdins* cave of alcoholic goodness!**

    *Subject to fair use policy - ie don't drink it all or there won't be any alcoholic goodness left!

    **Alcohol not supplied with Globe

  91. Adrian Barnett
    Paris Hilton

    Misunderstanding

    Anonymous Coward - "and if evolution is the way it happened - why has it stopped at Humans?"

    It hasn't. It is an ongoing process.

    Your comment is typical of those who object to evolution - you clearly have a poor understanding of what it is and is not. In my experience, those who object to evolution invariably have a very poor grasp of the subject, or have been deeply misinformed by creationist websites.

    These are the same people who trot out things like "If we evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys?", "It's only a theory." and "Half an eyeball is no use therefore evolution is wrong!"

    The net is full of resources which will correct your misunderstanding of these matters.

    Paris, because she can have a sample of my genetic code any time...

  92. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    @Paul Buxton

    Think of the homework!

    "For next week, watch this DVD. I want to see 6 sheets of Kleenex _each_ of results."

    ---

    We should try to create a Battle of Creation Myths- say there's only time to teach ONE creation story now, so you theologians go sort it out amongst yourselves. We'll teach the winner ^h^h^h^h^h^h Victor ^h^h^h^h^h^h One True Creation Story alongside Science in schools.

    You could stick it on Channel 4 to remove the gaping void left in Big Brother, have people vote for their least favourite Creation Myth each week.

    A Truely Democratic Solution. And, even better, one that involves Stripper Factories/Beer Volcanoes/Star Wars and masturbation for the guys and Pink Unicorns for the girls. Lets hope it becomes a little less invisible for the tele!

    Anyone else agree? Then write off to your national TV channels and try to get me funding!

  93. amlendu
    Go

    @Louis

    I read it in Asterix goes to America.

  94. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Round map people.

    Pah, modern inventions, mere perversions of the original form.

    By the same token you suggest that by drilling to the centre of the earth I'd reach a liquid gold mine! Bonkers.

    @AC : "along the evolutionary trail"

    Whilst in general agreement, this idea of an "evolutionary trail", (metaphorical in your use) is a mistake, species specialise to a niche, they don't progress along a path of supremacy. There's no race to the end of the trail.

    A species that is dominant and totally evolved to suit a particular niche may be a fish out of water in another (pun intended, I'm ashamed to say).

  95. Keith Doyle
    Thumb Up

    Gotta teach it...

    The thing is, if a lot of kids are showing up in class believing creationism because it's been fed them at home or at church, then you *do* need to teach about it-- that it's complete bollocks scientifically and why...

  96. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    @AC

    I stand by my argument on intermediate forms - there should be MILLIONS apparent when one considers the VAST transformations that lower life forms have supposedly made on their long road to complexity but evolutionists constantly wheel out the same two or three highly disputed examples.

    As for your fish, why would it be 'evolving' into a frog likle creature that can 'see out of the water' when it is a bottom dwelling fish? it might be a good example of micro evolution, i.e. something that has developed genetically along a certain path WITHIN it's speciese group but you really should at LEAST wiki before jumping in ;o)

    There has been a lot of trashing going on in this thread with little or no supporting evidence / arguments being produced, I'm quite happy to have my comments challenged but there has to be more than "I won't / can't be bothered to argue points right now" or baseless shouting down - i find it ironic and slightly disturbing that the most vehement / fundamentalist / unsuported castigations, accusations and criticisms are comming from those firmly in the 'science' camp.

  97. Dunstan Vavasour
    Boffin

    God created evolutionary science ...

    If, as I do, you believe in a creator, there is no need to use His existence to gainsay science - indeed, an understanding of science (particularly particle physics and astronomy) highlights the need for the *philosophical* answers to which Fr. Fessio alludes.The "religious right" are a vociferous bunch who are either unwilling or unable to describe their world in post enlightenment terms. Their wrongness neither proves nor disproves God's hand in the world, and the assumption of "guilt by association" for all believers is itself falacious. BTW, for a scary read about the emerging world order, I strongly recommend Francis Wheen's "How Mumbo Jumbo conquered the world".

    In the meantime, while I'm sure evolutionay science has an adequate explanation for the existence of woodpeckers, I prefer to see them as the creator having a laugh on a Friday afternoon. Perhaps the Benign Operator From Heaven?

  98. Steven Knox Silver badge
    Go

    Actually...

    This is a very good idea, if you focus on "why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism isn’t.”

    The purpose of science is to explain how things happen, which more often than not means debunking "common sense" knowledge. It makes sense to contrast a given scientific theory with its non-scientific counterpart to show how the theory better fits the observed facts.

    It's also good to highlight how a theory is just that: a theory. It's not the truth; it's just the best explanation we have so far*. Regardless of the fact that it's not based on the scientific method, creationism was for a long time the accepted explanation of life on this planet even among scientist. Showing how that was replaced by the theory of evolution, and how more evidence might replace evolutionary theory with a better theory in the future, would help students understand the evolution of science.

    * So many creationism-bashers (even other commenters here!) don't seem to get this fact. Evolution isn't true any more than Newtonian or Ensteinian physics are true. But does fit the facts better than any other hypothesis we've so far come up with.

  99. Melonfish
    Thumb Down

    Absolutely Lets start teaching creationism in schools.

    In Religious Education classes. after all even creationists are the first to admit that its religious belief not a scientific theory based off any evidence before us.

    /mines the one with the noodly appendage.

  100. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @fLaMePr0oF

    >I stand by my argument on intermediate forms

    But you misunderstand, there is no final form, therefore everything is an intermediate form.

  101. Filippo

    @Steven Knox

    Agree. If they'll teach creationism in the context of "here's how not to do science" and/or "here's why some theories are scientific and others aren't", I'm all for it.

  102. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To long, or not to be.

    The long world theory reads like a conspiracy theory to protect some sort of un-naive bias that the naive gullible scientific establishment can follow like a personal faith, oh sorry, religion, oh sorry, philosophy (the convenience of overlapping terms).

    Changes and adaption are easily incorporated into creationism, but interpretation of dates to be long is convenient as it obscures (hides) the evidence in the past re-interpreting it, making there appear to be less 'gaps'. I have seen competing fundamental scientific debates for decades and they are full of holes, wishful thinking and the sort of bully boy politically self serving bias that the gullible only wish the bush administration had. The fact that the problems in those theories are not objectively challenged only reinforces that this is all some sort of boys toys wish fest. If you look at the 'allegedly' objective rants of liberal theology to biasly disprove the undesirable, you see a similar trend where there can be so little hard evidence and many bias assertions, trying to reinforce each other, but the wishful will cling to all sorts of things. A bunch of nongs.

  103. Aetyr
    Thumb Up

    Works better than just slamming it

    "teachers need to be able to explain to them why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis."

    Too right. If you just go around saying "Creationism is wrong" and rebutting any queries about why with "Because it's stupid and I said so" then that's a perfect way to make a child more interested in it through curiosity. If you take the time to sit them down and show them why Creationism is a bunch of unfounded anti-science made up by religious nuts in a poorly-planned attempt at keeping religion 'realistic' in a modern, intelligent society, then they are far more likely to listen and learn the difference between fabrication and years of scientific evidence.

    "Because I said so" never teaches anyone anything, and in more cases than not just makes people of any age even more curious about the subject.

  104. Joe Harrison Silver badge

    I'm for equal do's here

    I personally have NO IDEA how the universe was created. The religious tards have totally failed to impress me with their strange theories but so have the alleged scientific blokes.

    The happy clappies laughably attempt to "prove" it's all true with backup from their special book but the science people are just as bad with their incomprehensible equations and terminology which they have obviously made up amongst themselves and mean nothing to normal people who don't have an advanced degree in quantum black holes and imaginary time singularities and wtf else.

    I'm with letting all the opposing factions have their say and kids can figure out for themselves which lot (if any) they want to believe.

  105. JEAN

    Are you there, God?

    Creationism means acknowledging there just might possibly be an intelligence responsible for the existence of the universe and all it contains. The seven days mentioned in the Bible simply means periods of time. Darwin's time table of evolution follows the sequence of events in Genesis. Interesting?

  106. Norbury

    @fLaMePr0oF

    I'm interested in the idea that thermodynamics would somehow prevent evolution. Do go on.

  107. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is the reason

    Schizotypal mouth-breathers shouldn't be allowed to make important decisions on behalf of anyone else.

    Anon because there are a lot of them.

  108. Ferry Boat

    @Dunstan Vavasour

    Good recommendation, I also recommend Francis Wheen's "How Mumbo Jumbo Conquered The World". It's a very good critique of the modern world. He wrote a rather fine biography of Karl Marx which might help too.

  109. Martin
    Alert

    @fLaMePr0oF

    Darwin answered your point about the millions of intermediate fossils in The Origin of Species - what it comes down to is the fact that there have been a huge number of living things and only a very very tiny number of them get fossilized - it's actually remarkable how complete the fossil record is. And please - don't just quote "There aren't any" - look it up. There are absolutely scads of them. (That's not a technical evolutionary term, by the way.)

    The problem is that every time someone finds an intermediate form, the creationists say "Ah-ha - there are now TWO gaps that we don't have any fossils in...."

    Tiktaalik is a good example of that. It's either an amphibian with distinct fish-like capabilities, or a fish with distinct amphibian-like capabilities. Either way, people are saying "Ah, but is there anything between fish and tiktaalik?"

    I am NOT an expert. But I've read enough books and articles by experts to realize that the evidence in favour of evolution is pretty well overwhelming. The only arguments about evolution are in the details. The broad picture is as certain as anything can be in science. The only people who argue with it are either people who are arguing from a position of ignorance (they've probably read a few critiques of it, like your original post), or those who are deliberately ignoring the facts because it doesn't fit with their world-view (normally, they prefer to believe that Goddunit).

    Which of these are you?

  110. Martin
    Go

    @fLaMePr0oF and other evolution-doubters.

    And actually - we can forget about the fossil record. The major evidence these days for evolution is right there in our DNA.

    Try The Making of the Fittest by Sean B. Carroll. If you read that, and you are still unconvinced, then there is no hope for you.

  111. Richard Porter
    Thumb Down

    "Religion and Education don't mix; Religion and Politics don't mix"

    Only half right. religion is politics - it's about controlling people by playing on their fear of death and promising them a good next life if they do what they're told in this one.

    But religion is the antithesis of education. Educatuon means "leading out" which is the exact opposite of indoctrination.

    Schools should teach pupils about religions and why they were invented. They shouldn't pander to parents' irrational beliefs.

  112. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    The truth will set you free.

    Discuss ;)

  113. Paul Buxton

    @ElFatbob

    "what i'm more concerned about is that the holy grail of evolution may still have some hard questions to answer before it is touted as 'fact'."

    The Theory of Evolution has never been touted as fact, it's a theory. There is, however, overwhelming evidence to suggest that the theory is true. On the other hand there is no evidence to suggest that creation myths are true and lots of evidence to suggest that they are not. One could argue that the science fiction writings of L Ron Hubbard are fact but we all know they're stories (the clue is in the term "science fiction").

    "What interested me was an article i read (need to try and find again as it was about 7 years ago) by an mathematician, who pointed out that, in mathematical terms, the probability against all the elements coming together in the 'primordial soup' to make the first life form was so huge we would (mathematically, i presume) say it was impossible."

    When you consider these figures alongside an infinite universe they suddenly become pretty good odds. The fact that it happened here is immaterial because, as the observer, we have to be somewhere and wherever we are is, by definition, "here".

    "I suppose all i am trying to say is that blinkered thinking can have a religious veil or scientific veil, depending on what shoes you're wearing...."

    This is true enough but scientists for years have studied evolution and tried to disprove it (that's what scientists do, they don't try to prove anything, they try to disprove things using scientific method) and like it or not, evolution theory holds a lot of water when scientific method is applied. We may never be able to prove it conclusively but disproving it may be impossible. Have a go at disproving it, I'm sure the scientific community would welcome any empirical evidence against evolution but all we ever seem to get is conjecture. Just because evolution can't explain something specific doesn't mean it's not true, it just means we don't know the answer, it doesn't mean there isn't one.

    I trust you accept Newton's Laws of motion? Would it surprise you to learn that they don't always work? We can still apply them to everyday situations and get the right results but we can also prove them to be wrong under certain conditions. Are you suddenly going to stop believing that, if a bus hits you, you will be thrown in the opposite direction to which the bus was travelling at a speed determined by the speed and the mass of the bus and your mass? Of course you're not.

    "Truth is sought for its own sake. And those who are engaged upon the quest for anything for its own sake are not interested in other things. Finding the truth is difficult and the road to it is rough." - Ibn Al-Haytham

  114. A J Stiles
    Boffin

    @ fLaMePr0oF

    Watch this video:

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=mcAq9bmCeR0

    Note in particular the sharpness of the transitions from the age of pendulums to the age of clocks, and from the age of one-handed clocks to the age of two-handed clocks. There won't be many transitional fossils, because transitions which cause a step change in survival rates tend to be abrupt.

    There's also the problem that every time scientists find a new transitional fossil C between A and B, the creationists insist to see the transitional fossils between A and C and between C and B.

    Anyway, DNA contains more evidence than even an ideal fossil record. Here is just one piece:

    Human and chimpanzee DNA contain evidence of endogenous retrovirus damage in perfectly-corresponding positions, but this damage is absent from gorilla or orangutan DNA. Either the common ancestor of chimpanzees and humans caught a virus at some stage *after* diverging from the other apes, but *before* diverging into human and chimpanzee lines; or a virus left perfectly identical signatures at corresponding positions in two distinct created kinds' DNA.

  115. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Misunderstanding probability

    "...the probability against all the elements coming together in the 'primordial soup' to make the first life form was so huge we would (mathematically, i presume) say it was impossible..."

    Very small probabilty events occur quite frequently in a large enough sample. The sample we're looking at is *very* large, both in volume and duration, being the entire universe. The fact that it happened is contained in the fact that we can hypothesise about it. It may or may not have happened elsewhere also.

    Is it *more* likely that some complex entity spontaneously formed previous to the "primordial soup" and set the process of "life as we know it" in motion? No, it's more likely that some mechanism about which we are unaware made the formation of complex organics more likely. Some substrate or circumstance which has yet to be discovered, such as the speculation about the organising capacity of some mineral types assisting the development of life from its *most* basic form to the next step up.

    Science classes should be for teaching science, and, possibly, the history of science. If there is a history of science section to the syllabus, it should be a compulsory question. Certainly science teachers should be equipped to rebut childish speculation regarding the origins of "us", but isn't that a *given*?

    It'd be great if philosophy and the history of thought was taught more widely in schools. Along with the reasons for doing some of the things that seem so idiotic to so many kids (simultaneous equations, for example; I knew how to do these for 4 or 5 years before I was required to use them for something sensible, in a physics class). But it isn't, so kids hate science, because it hasn't got room for them to be *wrong*, so they actually have to put some effort in.

  116. Chris

    Yes, I say..

    "could be encouraged to view evolution as one way of understanding the universe."

    the same way kids are encouraged to view mathematics as one way of ensuring 1 + 1 = 2. 'Encouraged' until they bloody well know it's true, unless they can bring evidence to the contrary. Those situations will need to be provable also.

    It's called evolution for a bloody reason, it's not just physical, can we stop thinking that we're not just chips who invented the soldering iron please.

  117. J
    Dead Vulture

    @Louis

    Hm... the Flat Earth Society must be a satirical thing then, ans I didn't know it... Makes sense though.

    @fLaMePr0oF

    Just stay quiet and stop making a fool of yourself, eh? Your ignorance is showing. Believe me, I'm a professional.

    Hey, there is another J up there! That's not me... Couldn't El Reg have tested for uniqueness of the display name during the registration process? How hard can it be?

  118. Dale Richards
    Go

    Creationism *is* Science...

    Just wait until that LARGE HARDON COLLIDER goes off and creates the next Big Bang... *Then* you'll understand!

  119. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    The proof is in the comments section

    90% of the comments here are proof of why children need to learn critical reading and thinking skills. So many leaping to conclusions based on what they think was said, rather than what was actually said.

    I was taught about creationism and Lamarkism in science lessons at school 15 years ago. They told us why they weren't good theories; took almost two minutes, even with questions from pupils. Then we spent the next three weeks on evolution. Things with no solid evidence, followed by the scientific alternative with thousands of pieces of evidence (don't have time to cover the millions). It puts things into perspective, even for the religious types.

  120. Darren Stephens
    Thumb Up

    Re: Misunderstanding probability

    Thank you for talking some good sense. Getting kids to think about the Anthropic Principle might be a good thing to do actually, because that's a pretty good summary of the difference between the weak and strong versions.

  121. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Proof of, Entity.

    "Very small probability events occur quite frequently in a large enough sample. The sample we're looking at is *very* large, both in volume and duration, being the entire universe. The fact that it happened is contained in the fact that we can hypothesise about it. It may or may not have happened elsewhere also."

    I think they were referring to it being improbably given the sample size of the entire universe since the beginning.

    As far as an Entity needing to spontaneously form, that is missing the point. Look at it this way, the entity is original, it exists and does not need to be created.

    Scientifically, logically, philosophically and ideologically, it all breaks down to this one point, that using the process of physics everything must eventually come from something, but it is impossible for that something to come from nothing, therefore there must have always been something and never nothing. The normal state of existence is therefore existence, even prior to physical cause and effect. Physics can't answer this, they always come from a cause and effect scenario which is self-contradictory. It is always going to be the ultimate proof for an Entity. In spirituality it only has to come from the source, and the source is original, defining physics and everything. Hence religious and scientific philosophy merge, with physics as subservient. It really puts to utter complete shame all those that argue because something is miraculous in that it defies the law of physics, or even chance, it must not be true, as bias and destroyed, contradictorily holding to physics (as a second order doctrine).

    I started philosophising this maybe 20 years ago and have been teaching and espousing it in that time. I will hopefully get around to writing on it one day, and to that purpose I reserve copyright.

    Wayne Morellini.

  122. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @J

    "Just stay quiet and stop making a fool of yourself, eh? Your ignorance is showing. Believe me, I'm a professional."

    Sorry J, a professional at being what? (..fool...ignorance..Believe me, I'm a professional).

  123. scotchbonnet
    IT Angle

    The Lady Doth Complain Too Much, Me Thinks

    All this bile and screed over an idea. A simple idea. It's astounding to me that just suggesting that an idea be presented in schools can be so threatening to so many people.

    It's easy for me to foresee a lesson given in school, in which the teacher prefaces her/his remarks with something along the lines of "This is how some people think about how life came to be...", followed by a brief description of the several branches of creationism. Done and dusted in half an hour. How hard is that? How is that going to confuse young minds, exactly? Are you all really that threatened by religious belief that it's worth all the vituperation?

    From reading the many above comments about creationism, I have been left with the distinct impression that many of the readers here picture creationists as all believing in the full-boat "world is 6,000 years old" creationism. I would like to point out that there are probably a whole lot more creationists who believe that the Big Bang was the moment at which God created the universe, and that physical laws and evolution took over from there. I'd defy you to conclusively prove them right or wrong through practical and tangible evidence. The fundamental question of creation is succinctly stated as: "How did something come from nothing?" No matter how many theoretical constructs one wishes to place between oneself and the moment of creation, the question still remains - how did it all get here?

    Note: I'm a life-long atheist and have no horse in this race. I'm convinced of the correctness of my position on the topic, but I've never felt much need to actively convert people to my way of thinking. I recognise that it's a personal matter of belief for people and I'm content with what I've concluded for myself.

    I'm just astounded that otherwise rational people, after all science is the embodiment of rational thinking, can get so threatened by the mention of creationism.

  124. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The truth is out there, and it isn't Creationism

    Good God Fuckery, I agree with the poster that says creationism should stay in the theology class, and that Science should teach 'science' for god's sake.

    Next, we'll have listen about some guy in a tent with a towel on his head talking about virgins and other nonsense and how it's OK to molest boys.

    Respect, yes, Respect the Truth, that religion is for cavemen scared of the darkness and that only clear thinking people can drag the savages out of the cave and into the 'present'.

  125. Tadd Axon
    Thumb Down

    Depressing

    Following the Americans lead? Sorry state of affairs.

  126. Dylan Fahey

    Here is what I heard from one moron creationist

    Here is what I heard from one idiot creationist:

    Evolution can't be true. If we're descended from monkey's, how come they are still here?

    This is what makes my brain cringe in fear of what these types of people will do when they are in positions of power in the government. I live in America (used to be the land of the free, but that's another subject) where there is a strong growing right wing religious movement. Us free thinkers are really having a tough time beating these creationist morons down. If you EVER see a creationist come to power (Palin) in America, feel free to join Russia and nuke bomb the shit out of us and put the world out of its misery.

  127. Stewart Haywood
    Paris Hilton

    By Jupiter!

    ..what is the matter with everyone? We all marvel at the pictures etc. comming from Mars (a pagan God or war). People are up in arms because Pluto (God of the underworld) has been reclassified. Man went to the moon in Apollo (yet another God) and NASA now plan on returning in Orion (a mythical hunter who made the Gods angry). And we don't want to tell kids about one of many creation myths in case they believe it!

    When she was told about Adam and Eve, our daughter said "The idiots don't believe that do they" , "Well, yes, some do" says I, "Good grief," she said "do they still live in caves?".

    Tell the kids the whole story and fill science classes with things like dust explosions and they will make the right choice.

    Aphrodite because she reminds me of that Goddess Paris.

  128. David Hagan

    Idiots

    The title sums it up.

  129. James Pickett

    @ElFatBob

    "constant repetition of these random events .. only compounded the impossibility"

    Not sure I follow. Repeating something doesn't normally reduce the chances of an event, however improbable. Also, the Universe is a big place, and it's not a zillion-to-one chance that you ended up in one of those corners where life evolved, because if it hadn't, nobody would.

  130. Herby Silver badge

    Creationism really does exist...

    ...it is just in the form of the Big Bang!

    As seen on somebody's signature:

    A black hole is where God is dividing by zero.

    Bring on the large Hadron collider and create us all again! Or maybe an tactictal nuclear strike in the proper place will do.

  131. Mark

    Not true after all

    See http://royalsociety.org/news.asp?id=8004 .

    I think The Register should be applauded for being, AFAICT, the only medial outlet running this story that (a) made an attempt to clarify with the Royal Society, and (b) have edited their story after the Royal Society's clarification.

    I wonder how many media outlets will even give an update? It's an embarrassment when misleading stories like this are copy and pasted around all the mainstream news organisations, with no sources given, like some bad game of chinese whispers.

    I fear these stories will also lend credibility to creationists. I can hear them now: "even leading scientists, of the UK's national academy of science, support teaching creationism in schools!"

  132. Paul Buxton

    @Wayne Morellini

    Thank you for that, it was beautiful. However, much as I can't disagree with it and to a large extent I like to believe something similar myself, it doesn't follow that this Entity is God or that this Entity is self-aware, let alone aware of our existence.

    YHWH (God of Bible fame) isn't just a creator, he's is apparently much more. A shepherd to guide us, our salvation after death. The Entity of which you speak only seems to fit into one of these categories.

    I'm aware that you never suggested that your particular entity was a guide or the keeper of the afterlife or YHWH, I have no idea if you are religious or which religion you may follow but I've found that when people talk about God then they usually mean a whole range of things that have nothing to do with Creation.

    As beautiful as your theory is, it's a long way from this viewpoint to the Pearly Gates.

  133. Robbie Pence
    Alert

    You are all uneducated, unless I missed something.

    The world is flat? Creationism? What?!

    Do you even have a blooming inkling on what Creationism is?

    I've studied both (evolution and creationism) and never /once/ did I come across 'the world is flat, we didn't go to the moon, and a giant ball of talking light made the earth.'

    What I did find is a bunch of zombies coming out of schools who don't even know the facts on basic beliefs of both parties(I don't mean the actual evidence on this point).

    Evolution however, has plenty of nonsense. Evolving from animals, all on the basis that Darwin saw a species of birds that varied for their environment.

    That is proof of micro-evolution(adaptations), not macro-evolution(one species into another). A bunch of self- proclaimed scientists, who simply didn't want to believe that a power higher than them, that placed rules-limits- on what they could and could not do. In other words, these were brats that didn't like mommy and daddy, and didn't even get to Cambridge. So, they slowly manipulated, by popular opinion, the public's findings and evidence.

    How do we know? Almost ALL Creationists are former Evolutionists. It's how they were raised, and how the public was deceived.

    Go here to see the 'Mecca' of Creationism's website:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/

    And here: to see the arguments in action. Be sure to see the video replies :P :

    http://www.youtube.com/VenomFangX

    That is, if you dare to consider your beliefs possibly wrong. Or are you just closed minded?

    By the way:

    The flat earth rumor was started by money-grabbing, mind-warping Catholic priests.

  134. Michael
    Happy

    I had this discussion earlier today...

    ... with my lab supervisor.

    Fair ennuf, let them teach creationism in science lessons, as long as Dawkins et al are allowed to teach Aetheism in R.E lessons on a school-by school class -by class pro- rata basis.

    If someone wants to poke holes in science, they'd better get as good as they give. i mean, it's not like True scientists give a shit anymore nowadays anyway.....

  135. Tam Lin

    Please stop anthropomorphizing theists

    What an easy crowd. Soon some of you will be drawing them with those big sad eyes, standing on two feet, speaking coherently, and not drooling.

    Truth is, theists cannot be domesticated, and therefore do not make good pets. They do not benefit from school, whether of fairy-tale gods or evolution. Unlike dogs, aggression cannot be trained out of them. (However, theist fights are a great, legal sport, and far exceed cock and dogs fights in popularity.) Because of brain disease you should not feed them to your livestock. They are useful only as draft animals (small gardens only), fertilizer (full of it by nature), terrorists (as clergy, presidents, soldiers) and crash dummies.

  136. jake Silver badge

    Re: Are you there, God?

    > Darwin's time table of evolution follows the sequence of events in Genesis.

    Really? Do enlighten us ... Would that be Genesis 1 or Genesis 2? Please compare and contrast. Extra points for comparison of both G1 and G2 and Darwin and contrasting other points in the Bible (Isaiah 46:10 comes to mind ...).

    > Interesting?

    Indeed. But not in the way most bible-thumpers would have folks believe ... It's just a book compiled of many documents, written, transcribed, translated, and re-written by many people, over a LONG period of time. It contains errors, and even outright faults (and bad math, sex, gore and violence ... but that's just gravy).

    Don't believe me? Read the silly thing cover to cover a couple of times. Read for comprehension, pay attention to the actual words on the pages. Ignore how others have interpolated the words for you; instead interpret them for yourself.

    Or don't. Remain ignorant of what you profess to believe. It's not by accident that the early christian church decided to think of their congregations as "flocks".

    Fundie sheeple. I can't stand 'em ... That goes for Mac/PC/Un*x fundies as well, and for the same reason. (Or Ford vs. Chevy, EMACS vs. vi, Western vs. English, RightWingNuts vs. LeftWingNuts, etc).

    Sometimes I think that Humans HAVE stopped evolving ... We're probably an evolutionary dead-end, doomed to failure because we have the ability to have "faith" even when confronted by easily provable reality in opposition to that faith.

    Ah, well. Enough rant for one night. Gotta walk the whippets & check the horses.

  137. yeah, right.

    by all means

    By all means teach creationism (or "intelligent design") in comparative religion. Right beside Cthulu and Great Spaghetti Monster. Or philosophy. Or critical thought as a counter-example. Or even in classes on contemporary mass hallucinations.

    But not science class, where it has no business being mentioned, let alone taught.

  138. Kevin Kitts
    Boffin

    No way...

    the only way to approach Creationism in schools is not to approach it at all. Teachers educated in evolutionary theory (science) are not necessarily qualified to teach Creationism, so they shouldn't even bring it up. Thus avoiding the otherwise inevitable confrontation and the dust-up afterwards.

    If by some chance the teacher is forced to approach Creationism (which is highly unlikely), they should explain that all science is based on observed phenomena, and it will take a *very long time* to travel to the ends of the universe (if the universe even has borders) in order to find all of the creatures that resemble God, and even longer to figure out which one of those creatures was responsible. It ignores the fact that no one here has ever seen God (that we can prove, anyway), but ignoring that fact disarms the argument before it can get started.

    As for having no scientific basis, that's not true. All science is theory; the crappy theories get discarded, and the good theories become science. It just so happens that Creationism theory has been repeated for around 2000 years, so in absence of available space travel, and the fact that a few things in the Bible are highly useful (like being nice to all creatures), you have a theory with staying power, despite the logic holes in it ("7 days? How long does your planet's rotation take?!"). Creationism theory can only truly be discarded when you can prove it completely wrong; however, evolution has a whole lot more evidence backing it up, and so evolution is (and should be) the leading theory in schools. IMNSHO, evolution is the only theory that should be taught in schools - you don't have time to cover every possible theory in class, and therefore you should stick to the leading theory. If it's later found to be wrong, there's no shame in that - that's science, we learn by making mistakes.

    In the meantime, try to keep things civil. Schools are places of learning, not places of argument and controversy (that happens when students get to college, when they just might have enough wisdom to know what they're arguing about).

    Separation of church and state means separation of religion and science in schools, and for the obvious reason that each person has their own religion. Science, though, is the rational belief, because everything it espouses is observable in nature and thus everyone who has eyes can see the truth of it. Unless they choose to keep their eyes closed, which is totally their own fault.

  139. P. Lee Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    Why evolution is a theory...

    Herein lies the problem: there is no test which evolution passes which, if failed, would render it invalid. If you found a triangle in which the square of the hypotenuse is not equal to the sum of the squares of the opposite two sides, you could prove Pythagoras' theory false. That is a scientific theory for which there is a test of truth/falsehood by which it stands or falls.

    Evolution has no such test. It isn't possible to prove evolution wrong because there is no logical test which would falsify it. Therefore, as an evolutionist, all data confirms that I'm right, nothing can prove me wrong. Oh wait, who do I sound like?

    If you can't falsify a theory and you can't experiment in a significant way, then you don't so much have a scientific theory as a philosophy. You can't expect people to accept your ideas as "true" if there is no standard by which to judge them "false." The evidence is assembled, categorised and "fitted in," so long after the fact that there is very little chance of being shown to be wrong.

    There is very little scientific discussion of the problems with the evolutionary theory within the classroom. Such as:

    a) Taking the universe as (by definition) an isolated/closed system, from the moment of the big bang, the second law of thermodynamics would seem to indicate an increase in entropy/chaos rather than resulting in a highly structured, ordered earth ecosystem.

    b) variety seems to come from restricting the gene pool (think pedigree dogs). When you mix lots of variety you don't get more variety, you get a generic mutt, which is probably healthier than those which are inbred for specific traits.

    c) interbreeding even closely related animals works rather badly. e.g. Horse+donkey = sterile mule.

    d) anomalies such as remains of trees which pass through millennia of rock formation.

    e) chances of a sequence of events which are lower than one over the number of atoms in the universe, I would classify as grounds for doubt. A few billion years here or there doesn't make much difference and doesn't really deal with the problem.

    f) er, we _still_ don't know how life works. We can't even duplicate sheep without a serious error rate and serious degradation in quality. Therefore extrapolating our theories about variation all the way back to non-life seems a little over-stretching things.

    A little more rational discussion for and against the evidence might be more constructive than just bashing anyone who disagrees with us.

    Paris - proof evolution just ain't working

  140. amlendu
    Thumb Up

    @fLaMePr0oF

    Whose skeleton is this ? Darwins. And the smaller one ? Darwins when he was younger? And the baby in the jar? Darwin when he was fetus.

  141. Michael

    spaghetti monster?

    Prefer the Great Green Arkleseiezure myself. Like I said, le 'em do what they want, just let Dawkins et al have an equal shot at the R.E classes as a trade off.

  142. Writebaby
    Paris Hilton

    @elfatblobs pathetic mathematician buddy

    It is a complete misunderstanding of evolution to say that it randomly occurred. Evolution is not a stochastic process as such.

    Examined in the laboratory the primordial model of the life conditions on earth demonstrates a remarkable consistency in coming up with lifelike characteristics in very short order i.e. primitive alkalines and amino acids. In probability terms therefore, given the right conditions, P(life or at least lifelikeness) \approx 1.

    Given that the university is on the large side and hence in probability terms has a strong chance of producing life favorable conditions, we could also argue that this probability is approximately 1.

    Given lifelikeness, we actually only need replication and mutation to make the next steps. Since we are dealing with very primitive forms of lifelikeness, it is trival to see that they could all differ slightly from each other, a little more amino here, a little more alkaline there. Spread out across large parts of a planet we see that there is a high probability of something getting jumpstarted by way of replication and in fact, we could also say that the first mutation was replication. And actually in chemical terms replication isn't all that hard, especially in the presence of (wait for it) carbon. P(carbon based life forms) \approx 1.

    Once you have survival, mutation and replication you have evolution with p =1. However, is complexity inevitable or can evolution go into 'reverse gear' so to speak (as it does in the film Evolution)?

    My response is evolution can go into reverse gear - it's called extinction. Extinction occurs due to a failure to adapt to survive to breed. Hence adaptability is the premier prize in the evolution game. The more adaptable you are the better you survive full stop. Adaptability suggests complexity i.e. the ability to bring to bear either physically or mentally a range of different strategies. What are the odds Polar bears don't go extinct but adapt big time (e.g. migrate to New York and learn to drive taxis)?

    btw with p \approx 1, human beings will in future create virtual worlds to explore the human condition. So likely is this that in fact, with p \approx 1, we are already living in such a world.

    Explains a lot really! We are all just 'living in a overcomplicated version of Warhammer or Sin City or the Sims.

    Paris...because she is the only real thing in a virtual world

  143. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Paul.B

    "Thank you for that, it was beautiful. However, much as I can't disagree with it and to a large extent I like to believe something similar myself, it doesn't follow that this Entity is God or that this Entity is self-aware, let alone aware of our existence."

    Paul, you noticed I was careful to avoid saying that, and kept the debate simpler (given all the head hunters around here coming out of anti-non-self determining caves (and most of them may not be smart enough to get that without re-reading it a few times ;) )). But the truth is that Physics is not self-defining, natural systems are not self-defining ultimately, but because there are laws and systems it implies a law maker and an intelligent law maker at that. So, now the natural state is existence and intelligence, intelligent existence. To argue why the universe did not just be what it is, would probably take too long to debate here for most people, other people might get it a lot quicker, that it was not going to just start out that way (inferring a reason or sub structure, and cause and effect) it must have always started out from something without limited form that always was (in other words, that never began, refer back to natural state being existence). That existence had infinite form (ironically implying infinite intelligence, and it does get mind boggling) and can take/produce whatever forms (distinct entities) it wants to. The really ironic part of that is that it not only sounds pseudo-religious, it sounds like some bizarre quantum theory :). As you can see, even I am having problems concisely conveying it (partly because I have been quiet sick today). In logical terms then, the reason why things are the way they are is simply that 'existence is, and we are..the way we are'.

    The truth is that anybody that denies a beyond natural basis for the universe is clearly biased, unobjective, unscientific and illogical. This then evidently goes the same for anybody that denies there being anything beyond the natural. The issue then becomes not if there is something beyond the natural but what form it takes. If you look at the blind, unobjective and bizarre way that a lot of anti-religious, anti-creationist people react, it really brings into question, and reinforces the question of, the existence of the demonic, and demonic influence and bias. You notice how many people here just completely avoided my "beautiful..theory" as you call it.

    "As beautiful as your theory is, it's a long way from this viewpoint to the Pearly Gates."

    With the whole theory, it is definitely beyond a dumb universe. I prefer to leave it there. Even though I have a personal belief in the way the universe and spirituality worked out (The reason why we are the way we are, and this spirituality is, is it simply is. In other words, the reason why it was done that way, apart from many secondary reasons etc, is that it was.) I could be wrong and actively deceived myself. That belief is fundamental original (without the contradictory appendages and re/mis-interpretations put on Christianity) to do with a path and intent that culminates in a substitution being made for us, to be punished instead of us, to right us, in order to bring us into directly connected relationship with God, which we were meant to be for, and the holding to God, the substitute and that belief, and the walking in step that entails. That substitution being Jesus Christ. The time of 'events beyond the natural being impossible' is at an end, atheism is dead.

    I still retain copyright.

    Thanks Paul,

    Wayne

  144. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    @James

    '"constant repetition of these random events .. only compounded the impossibility"

    Not sure I follow. Repeating something doesn't normally reduce the chances of an event, however improbable. Also, the Universe is a big place, and it's not a zillion-to-one chance that you ended up in one of those corners where life evolved, because if it hadn't, nobody would'

    I am not sure of the accuracy of the quote, and exactly what was intended, but that reading does hold true. To use an illustration that creationists use, that if you have a pile of building materials and blow them up they are unlikely to form a modern house. But if you were to pile them together again, largely broken, and blow them up again you would be even less likely to get a house, and each time you repeated this you would be even more unlikely to get a house forming by natural selection or evolution (be a good "experiment" for mythbusters though). Though ultimately, if it breaks down sufficiently, odds will start to even out, and eventually go up as the particles are small enough for some quantum effect to maybe do something that some quantum theorists believe is possible.

  145. Robbie Pence
    Dead Vulture

    No, no, no....

    The world is flat? Creationism? What?!

    Do you even have a blooming inkling on what Creationism is?

    I've studied both (evolution and creationism) and never /once/ did I come across 'the world is flat, we didn't go to the moon, and a giant ball of talking light made the earth.'

    What I did find is a bunch of zombies coming out of schools who don't even know the facts on basic beliefs of both parties(I don't mean the actual evidence on this point).

    Evolution however, has plenty of nonsense. Evolving from animals, all on the basis that Darwin saw a species of birds that varied for their environment.

    That is proof of micro-evolution(adaptations), not macro-evolution(one species into another). A bunch of self- proclaimed scientists, who simply didn't want to believe that a power higher than them, that placed rules-limits- on what they could and could not do. In other words, these were brats that didn't like mommy and daddy, and didn't even get to Cambridge. So, they slowly manipulated, by popular opinion, the public's findings and evidence.

    How do we know? Almost ALL Creationists are former Evolutionists. It's how they were raised, and how the public was deceived.

    Go here to see the 'Mecca' of Creationism's website:

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/

    And here: to see the arguments in action. Be sure to see the video replies :P :

    http://www.youtube.com/VenomFangX

    That is, if you dare to consider your beliefs possibly wrong. Or are you just closed minded?

    By the way:

    The flat earth rumor was started by money-grabbing, mind-warping Catholic priests.

  146. John Foster
    Paris Hilton

    Respect you say

    Is that the same kind of respect that Pastor Ted Haggard had for Richard Dawkins when he hoofed him off his property during a civilised interview for no reason at all other than being stuck in a corner with no evidence to support his view?

    Made me laugh though, the biggot was homophobic as they come and got fired for having it away with rent boys.

    Back on point though, its fine teaching kids how to not conduct scientific work, but not by simply teaching them bad science.

    We should gather up the creationists and dump them for a ride in the LHC. They might enjoy it

    I'm sure Paris is a died in the wool impiricist

  147. ElFatbob

    @Paul Buxton et all

    PB: I know it's a theory (best fit, so far, as you say), but some of the comments seem to confuse this with it being a fact. I am aware that the newtonian laws don't work in all occasions.

    Thanks for comments on probability - something i'll go away and try and get some more understanding on.

    JB: I think the point was around if we say something is 'impossible' then how is it meant to have happened again and again? As i said to JB, this is something i'm going to try and understand better - appreciate comment.

    Writebaby: Your title made me think you're a pompous arsehole. I didn't bother reading your comment which is really a pity as it may have been interestng. Meanwhile please stick it back up your ronson, with your title, where it belongs.

  148. RW
    Flame

    @ Robbie Pence

    "Evolution however, has plenty of nonsense. Evolving from animals, all on the basis that Darwin saw a species of birds that varied for their environment."

    And there, my friends, is the voice of someone who has never read "Origin of Species".

    Darwin's immortal book is not the easiest read in the world, if only because it's long, the type is small, and the Darwinian style deploys quite lengthy paragraphs, not the every-sentence-its-own-paragraph fostered by lousy pixelated text on monitors.

    There is no nonsense in Darwin.

    But Darwin took great pains in marshaling his evidence and his interpretation thereof. Anyone with a modicum of patience can read the book and understand the arguments in it. I would go so far as to say that anyone with even a fleeting interest in evolution should buy a copy of the book and read the damned thing so you know what Darwin said and what he didn't say. It may take a couple of years, but it's time well-spent

    The Galapagos finches to which M. Pence refers are only a small part of Darwin's evidence, though it's believed that observing them triggered Darwin's "eureka!"

    Darwin in fact starts off (iirc) observing that species are unquestionably mutable, pointing to domestic animals as evidence. (Again iirc) he tells us how long it takes to develop a new breed of cattle or sheep: not very many generations at all if there's a determined, knowledgable farmer in charge.

    His argument proceeds from there, but it's not really a very tortuous argument: in essence Darwin points to mountains of facts and asks "what non-supernatural explanation can there be for these many facts?" He does an amazing job of bringing together evidence from many fields in the process.

    Darwin was wise enough to know that his then-theory had its troubles, and does not hesitate to express his misgivings on some points—points which have largely been resolved in the ensuing 150 years.

    Today, evolution is taken as a scientific fact: Darwin's theory has been so productive of understanding, it is no longer considered mere "theory" or "hypothesis". The arguments now center on the mechanisms of evolution, and there are significant schools of thought that reject Darwin's own proposal of gradual change in favor of such alternatives as "punctuated equilibrium." But no scientist worthy of the name doubts the fact of evolution of species.

  149. bothwell
    Stop

    @Michael

    " Fair ennuf, let them teach creationism in science lessons, as long as Dawkins et al are allowed to teach Aetheism in R.E lessons on a school-by school class -by class pro- rata basis."

    Hm. Are you suggesting that R.E lessons never contain any discussion of Atheism as a viewpoint?

  150. CTG
    Boffin

    Micro- versus macro-evolution

    For all those people claiming that there is no evidence for macro-evolution (i.e. evolution of new species from existing species), just type "Oxford Ragwort" into Google, and spent five minutes reading about the speciation of S. eboracensis.

  151. david Bronze badge

    anti-evolutionist.

    Not that I'm Creationist, or pro-creationist, just that most of the evolutionists, pro-evolutionists, fellow-travellers and commentators, including the popular ones with big reputations, are anti-science and pro-religion.

    I've lost count of the number of 'scientists' I've met, who, with no training at all in HPS, comparative religion, anthropology, biology or palaeontology are quite ready to tell me that Darwinian Evolution is True and that Science is not a religion.

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  153. Mark

    OK, if this is sooo benign

    Please tell me how in this day and age you can tell someone they are wrong without being told you aren't respecting their beliefs?

    Answers on a postcard...

    And why is it that science is going to have to get a "philosophy of science" in secondary or even junior school when that's a college level subject? Are kids going to have to study political history too? Will they be taught critical thought as per philosophy degree?

  154. Sooty

    @Anonymous Coward

    "and if evolution is the way it happened - why has it stopped at Humans?"

    While there is no reason to believe it has stopped, we don't exactly subscribe to the Darwinian model anymore. One could suggest that civilisation is an evolutionary dead end, as we now have technology and a society that props up genetic defects and suppresses genetic advantages. It allows people to survive and breed, who have genetic traits that would not be able to continue under natural conditions.

    In the past, if you had a genetically weak immune system, that meant you would probably catch something and die in your childhood, so that trait would die out. Now we have the medical knowledge to treat the symptoms, so you could live out your life, propagating the genetic defect. Conversely, being naturally resistant to disease is no longer a reason to believe you will live longer than anybody else with access to antibiotics. Given this, and current society, evolution is more likely to be working in reverse. The successful people tend to have 1 or 2 carefully planned children, if and when they are ready, whilst the unsuccessful pop them out non-stop.

    Being intelligent certainly doesn't make you more likely to breed anymore, but being naturally attractive or fit does, the current society actually leans towards us evolving into 2 species, one very fit and attractive but a bit dim, and the others intelligent, but unfit/ugly. In this case evolution is observable, but not provable. Attractive people tend to have children with attractive people, producing attractive children. Intelligent* people tend to have children with intelligent people, producing intelligent children.

    Not everywhere is like this, some places with high infant mortality rates will still be evolving. Any advantage that makes a child more likely to survive into adulthood is going to be passed along to their children. As I said before, logical, and observable in the short term, but not provable so it is still a theory.

    * I do not mean to suggest that attractiveness and intelligence are mutually exclusive, just pointing out general trends and suggesting that, in future, they may be.

  155. John Sinclair

    Dark Matter You Can't Test For or a God You Can't Test For!? Pray Tell Me What is the Difference?

    Much of so-called "mainstream Science" is no more than a bunch of kids playing with toys in a tunnel in Geneva and getting absolutely nowhere. No right minded individual can believe in Darwinism for the simple fact it doesn't accord with the facts we have uncovered since it was first postulated by Wallace and niftily stolen by Darwin by the simple expedient of producing his "Red Book" and "Secret B" book supposedly drawn up on the voyage of the Beagle. Funny that not one word of evolution was spoken by Darwin until Wallace wrote to him of the ideas, ... funny that eh!? Anyway, punctuated equilibrium as we actually see in nature does not accord with an ongoing evolutionary prgress but it does sort of accord with a creative being getting bored and having another bash. It is a viewpoint and to be honest it makes more sense to me the more I hear Dawkin rail against it. Dawkin is probably the greatest push towards a creationist view because the arguments he uses to defend Darwinism take on EXACTLY the same form and flavour as those used to prove the existence of God. And of course with the latest theories being based concepts interacting rather than real things eg electro-magnetic-spin matter arising out of the flat electro-magnetic-spin vacuum from the planet's stored information as the planet moves forward through the vacuum much like a soliton wave on a canal or a pond can we really be sure in such a conceptual reality that requires no big bang that the top concept doesn't exist and simply chooses not to reveal himself or herself or itself to us? For all we know the world was created last Tuesday with all our memories intact, the point is no-one can disprove it and such thoughts free children's minds rather than constrict them to a wrong headed view of the facts that Dawkin and others want to enslave them to.

  156. Paul Buxton

    @bothwell

    "Are you suggesting that R.E lessons never contain any discussion of Atheism as a viewpoint?"

    Whether or not "Atheism" (I know a lot of atheists who would argue that "Atheism" does not exist, one can be an atheist but one cannot believe in atheism as this implies belief in a system of non-belief which would, in itself, be contradictory) is ever discussed in RE lessons is immaterial, I'm sure it is discussed as a huge percentage of the students are from non-religious backgrounds and some of them are intelligent enough to question the whole religion thing, the fact is that "atheism" is not part of the curriculum so there will be no guarantee that it's discussed.

  157. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    <no title>

    "However, when young people ask questions about creationism in science classes, teachers need to be able to explain to them why evolution and the Big Bang are scientific theories but they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis.

    Surely nothing has ever stopped a teacher answering a pupil's question, and explaining right from wrong. Had this been the genuine situation and not a damage limitation exercise then why would this have been reported at all? Seems to me it only takes a short sentence to point out science needs to be testable and not accepted on blind faith.

  158. Mark

    @ElFatBob

    So what's the difference between the "truth" and "an explanation that will be used to accurately predict an outcome"?

    If it is "truth" you can apply that knowledge to accurately predict the outcome: if I let go of this apple, it will fall on Isaac's head.

    You can apply "the theory of gravity" to accurately predict the outcome: if I let go of this apple, it will fall on Isaac's head.

    We are told the "truth" that the earth is round. But it isn't.

    1) it's an oblate spheroid

    2) hills and valleys must necessarily deviate from the spherical form

    3) water dragged about by tidal forces change the shape

    but what's the *difference*?

    And when you're teaching kids, why should you NOT put it down as "truth" in the same way as we do EVERYTHING that is applicable to life for those children in the "lies to children" called "education".

    You don't hear your sunday school teacher start it off with "this is all a mythology that only a few people on the planet believe in broad terms to be true, and very few think in detail is right", so they? But that is the TRUTH of *any* religion.

    Why? Because you can hear about that when you're old enough to understand and not take it in a way that doesn't help you approach life.

  159. Antony
    Alert

    sounds like creationists have started Dirty Tricks Propaganda

    Isn't the real news, "creationists miss quote scientists in order to give the appearance that scientists support creationism."?

  160. bothwell

    @paul buxton

    " the fact is that "atheism" is not part of the curriculum so there will be no guarantee that it's discussed."

    Yes, quite. And nor is Creationism part of the curriculum, nor has it been suggested that it should be. Actually all that's been suggested is "if it does happen to come up in the course of a lesson, teachers should be prepared to discuss it with sensitivity and respect".

    Interesting fact: It's possible to have respect for religious beliefs without adhering to any yourself.

    @Mark

    "Please tell me how in this day and age you can tell someone they are wrong without being told you aren't respecting their beliefs?"

    Heh, yes that is a very good point. On the flipside though, if you're in school these days and you'll willingly stand up in front of your largely secular biology class and go "hey i don't believe in dinosaurs!" or similar, then you're a very brave or foolhardy child indeed. I actually don't think it'd be a particularly common occurrence.

    But stifling discussion for fear of the religious ultimately isn't going to do kids any favours - it's a controversial topic, and having kids talk about controversial topics (in particular *why* they're controversial topics) is one of the very best ways to teach 'em critical thinking.

  161. Steve King

    @TheRegister

    I've read a handful of comments out of about 150 so far that come from people of differing views to mine, but who I would genuinely like to meet and discuss this with.

    Sadly at least 120 comments above are hate filled bile, containing endless repitition.

    This is the poison of Dawkins, I fear.

    How about some moderation (both kinds!)?

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  163. Mark

    @bothwell

    Well, why should creationism be taught in science? Why not in RE class? Unlike the US, we do have religious education. And, being a religious rather than scientific viewpoint, that should be discussed in the right place: RE.

    Not science.

    After all, if your English classes discussed nihilism in the current socio-political culture as a reasoned response to disenfranchisement of the common people, would you be wondering why English classes weren't concentrating on spelling, grammar and so on?

    Worse, this discussion is happening in first years. 11 yo kids being taught philosophy and political activism.

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  165. Rob Pomeroy
    Boffin

    Standard of proof

    I wonder why it is that people who base their lives on what science preaches, demand such a high standard of proof of religion, whilst demanding virtually no proof at all from the priests of science?

    "THERE IS NO ABSOLUTE MORALITY!"

    Fine, it's okay for me to kill you then. (End of argument.)

  166. Anonymous Coward
    Stop

    Hate filled bile

    It's not the Creationists we hate. Lots of them are lovely people, cleaving conscientiously to good ole' J.C.'s splendid interpersonal philosophy.

    It's their simpleminded inability or refusal to read. The number of basic logical errors and inabilty to comprehend the scientific method that declares that they are willfully ignorant is deeply irritating when repeated over and over and over.

    Then there's the conflation of "God kicked it off in the Big Bang" with "God *literally* created Everything As It Is Now in 7 days" schools. Cosmology and Evolution are only distantly related. Arguing against the one doesn't invalidate predictions made by the other. The Creationists can't even get their story straight, so how can they be right?

    The sheer intellectual poverty of the Creationist viewpoint saddens me.

    Oh, and to the idiot who wanted tests for the theory of Evolution: DNA. Mutations, viral damage (that's a great one, whoever brought that up), age and differences between species. It's all there.

    The *Empirical* support for the Theory of Evolution is overwhelming. Just saying that non-specialists don't understand it so it's its own religion is as stupid as saying that because you believe your garage when they tell you there's an oxygen sensor needs replacing that you believe in the Religion of The Main Dealer.

    Jumping from Evolution to Cosmology, I will admit the possibility that some whitecoated boffin from the previous Universe tuned a particle accelerator to a given set of parameters and "Poof" there goes another Big Bang, *but* the only evidence for this is a bunch of stories made up to soothe the fretting brows of intellectually-curious early farmers and nomads, transmitted with varying degrees of faithfulness across 3 or 4 thousand years, and much of that "Authority" is arrant nonsense (merciful God)/allegory (Eden)/exaggeration (The Flood)/contradiction (Old and New Testamental attitudes) (bracketted concepts exemplars only and not intended to be exhaustive), so why should any of the other unproven stuff (like how Man and the Animals etc were created) carry any validity whatsoever?

  167. Peter Adamson

    Asymmetrical Debate

    The whole debate is asymmetrical, and therefore not a debate at all. On the one side we have a group of people who allow their faith or religious beliefs to shape their perception of science. If the evidence falls within the bounds of their belief system, they accept it. If not, they dismiss it out-of-hand. On the other side of the debase we have a group of people who are essentially agnostic in their scientific beliefs. Whatever the evidence points to, they are prepared to accept.

    The first group of course, are the evolutionists who believe that all events within the space-time continuum must be explained by other events within the space-time continuum. The possibility that an outside agent may have influenced events cannot be admitted because of their belief that no such agent exists. This is an article of faith. It can neither be proven nor disproven.

    Creationists on the other hand don't care how such an outside agent (God if you prefer...) did things. Six days or sixty million years, who cares? When you're God you do things as you please. Consequently they are prepared to accept whatever the evidence suggests.

    Creationists err however when they bring non-scientific faith arguments into the arena of science. Evolutionists err when they reject sound scientific evidence because of non-scientific faith arguments.

    Creationism does not belong in science class. But then, neither does evolution.

  168. Mark

    To AC (aka God)

    If you believe yourself to be God, you will be locked up as a danger to yourself and others.

  169. Paul Buxton
    Paris Hilton

    @bothwell

    "Yes, quite. And nor is Creationism part of the curriculum, nor has it been suggested that it should be. Actually all that's been suggested is "if it does happen to come up in the course of a lesson, teachers should be prepared to discuss it with sensitivity and respect"."

    I was referring to the curriculum as a whole. Creationism (of various mainstream faiths) is on the curriculum and is discussed in RE classes, Atheist views are not on the curriculum despite the fact that there are more non-religious people in this country than religious people. You were referring to science classes and inferring that I hadn't read the article while in the next sentence you inferred that I had been disrespectful:

    "Interesting fact: It's possible to have respect for religious beliefs without adhering to any yourself."

    Where did I disrespect anyone's religious beliefs? Unless you count having the audacity to question God's great plan (what an arrogant bastard I must be). But what's more to the point is why should I respect anyone's religious beliefs?

    I respect your right to believe anything you choose to, however, why should I be forced to respect a view that is abhorrent to me? Do you really expect to be able to force me to respect your or anybody else's fantasies? Let's get real shall we? Or would you prefer to burn the Heretic at the stake?

    It's the same as the free speech argument. You may be a fascist and I respect your right to hold that view because I believe in the right to free speech and freedom of expression. I don't, however, respect fascism or fascists.

    I just invoked Godwins Law. Apologies for that but I simply couldn't think of another political movement that I had no respect for whatsoever (that's not to say there isn't one). Besides, there are other old Usenet Laws that have already been broken in this thread and we survived those.

    Paris because the more we are exposed to this awful icon the more chance that El Reg will capitulate and give us the real Paris back.

  170. Mark

    re: anti-evolutionism

    The only "belief" in science is that we can understand the universe as it presents itself to us,

    That's all.

    There's no religion. And a HUGE FRIGGING DIFFERENCE between science and religion is how "heretics" are dealt with:

    Religion: you will live an eternity in hell being punished for your disbelief in BBG (Big Bearded Guy). You must never talk to us or our children in case your lies persuade like satan our children to stray from the path and be punished for eternity.

    Science: That bloke with the idea has got it completely wrong? Well, he thinks you're a poopy-head and won't invite you for dinner.

    Which one treats "non-believers" better?

  171. Peter Mellor
    Thumb Up

    Hardly any mention of the "I" word?

    I find it strange that, in 160-odd comments so far, I found only one passing mention of Islam.

    In the USA, the main force behind creationism is fundamentalist Christianity. In Europe (and particularly the UK) it is Islam. A quick surf of Islamist web sites will confirm that they link to creationist sites set up by evangelical Christians.

    A Turkish writer who publishes under the pen-name Harun Yahya has written 250 books "proving" that evolution is wrong. (He is an "old Earth" creationist: he goes along with the assertion that the Earth is around four and a half billion years old, but maintains that God (or Allah) created all species as we now observe them.) The volume of his output leads one to suspect that he is probably a front-man for a well-funded organisation, rather than a sole researcher. The funds available (think Saudi oil money) have enabled a copy of one of Yahya's main books to be distributed (as a glossy and lavishly illustrated hardback, but free of charge and unsolicited) to every school in France. Given the secular basis of French education, there was something of an outcry. I don't know if a similar stunt has been tried in the UK.

    In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens.

    The notion that science is a con-trick to undermine Islam, is a dangerous delusion, and cannot be allowed to persist, but it is supported by alarming amounts of Islamic money. To stave off this attack on reason by the forces of superstitious bigotry, science teachers had better be well prepared to debate with Muslim, rather than Christian, creationists. They also need to be aware that a cornerstone of Muslim belief is that the Qur'an is the unchanged and unchanging Word of Allah, that it is inerrant, and that it is valid for all time and in all places. Although only a small minority of Christians still argue that Genesis is a literal historical account of creation, any Muslim who does not profess the equivalent belief regarding the Qur'an, is not a real Muslim.

    (In answer to the earlier comment that "no-one ever really believed the Earth is flat", the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia issued a fatwa, based on his knowledge of the Qur'an, that it IS flat. This was not a medieval historical event, it occurred in the 1970s!)

  172. Mark

    You got that the wrong way about, Peter

    Creationists deny that evolution exists because that doesn't prove them right.

    Evolutionists deny that creationism is scientific. They are quite willing to admit it is a theological view.

  173. Mark

    re: Standard of Proof

    You buggers reading the words in your head, not the words on the site???

    YOU CREATIONISTS say "prove that evolution exists". We ask back "prove God exists". Where some religious people say "I don't believe in evolution" we don't ask "prove God then".

    If you're going to make shit up about the arguments being made, why not say so.

  174. Rob Pomeroy
    Boffin

    re: Standard of proof

    @ Mark: Eh?

    Actually all I was pointing out was the typical inconsistency in this debate when it comes to proof. The evolutionist normally will insist that he/she HAS proof of evolution. The creationist may question that proof. I too would question the 'proof', since there appear to be quite a few glaring holes in it, in particular the assumption that extrapolation is wholly dependable over millenia. And this, despite the lack of the 'concrete evidence' that science outwardly prides itself on - e.g. masses of examples of transistional species.

    On the other hand, when the evolutionist asks the creationist for proof of God's existence, the creationist may (quite rightly, in my view) deny the possibility of such proof. Instead it is a point of faith. Therefore, while it is legitimate for the creationist to ask for the proof that the evolutionist claims exists, it is not legitimate for the evolutionist to ask for the proof of creationism, when no such claim is being made.

    Or to put it another way, at least the creationist is honest enough to admit that some things cannot be proved and simply boil down to faith. The evolutionist is less honest, perhaps.

    But that is unfair of me. There do exist some evolutionists who admit that there are some things unknown which are taken "on trust" (i.e. faith). And there are some creationists who insist that they have incontrovertible proof of a divine entity's existence. The truth is we don't truly 'know'; none of us do.

    I just wish that more people approached this subject with an open, non-dogmatic mind. In my limited experience, the atheists are every bit as closed and dogmatic as the theists. I rather think this comments thread bears that out.

  175. Paul Buxton

    @Rob Pomeroy

    "I wonder why it is that people who base their lives on what science preaches, demand such a high standard of proof of religion, whilst demanding virtually no proof at all from the priests of science?"

    Rubbish. I demand proof of everything, the difference is that science provides evidence and sometimes even proof whereas religion provides none. All of the arguments I've seen here which try to debunk evolution are, to be honest, childish. I could argue your case for Creationism better than anybody I've seen in this thread with the possible exception of Wayne Morellini who is unusual in that he actually thinks logically about the issue and doesn't just repeat what he's been told. I'd like to talk to Wayne but I'd just want to distance myself from the rest of the religious fanatics that have been posting here because you are, for the most part and in varying degrees, barking mad.

    "Fine, it's okay for me to kill you then. (End of argument.)"

    The point you're trying to make here is that religious people have more morals than non-religious people and I find that vastly offensive. Is all that's stopping you going on a rampage and killing people a faith in the teachings of The Bible? I don't need the threat of a deity casting me into eternal damnation to stop me killing people so who, out of the two of us, has more morals? The one who would like to kill people but whose deity has forbidden it or the one who has a respect for the law and realises (through rationalising) that without laws anarchy ensues and we are all fair game? One demonstrates rational thought processes, one demonstrates a belief in superstition - which would you employ?

    Let's get the opinions of some people who were abused as children by their priests or vicars shall we, then we'll see who can hold the moralistic high ground.

    Christians, Muslims and Jews have been killing each other for millennia yet it's written in your scripture "Thou shalt not kill". Does that not seem a tad hypocritical?

    By the way, I mentioned millennia but there is no such thing, there was just a Millennium. The Millennium was the 1000 years that Christ would rule the earth (Revelations 20:1-7) and guess what, that Millennium ended 1008 years ago. Get with the times.

    And why is it that I have more knowledge about The Bible than people who profess to believe in it? Have any of you people who profess to be religious actually ever read The Bible? From what I read here it would seem not but that doesn't surprise me from a faith that rewards ignorance.

    All religious people suffer from delusional psychosis and seriously need to get help before they fulfil their prophecy and destroy the world.

    Seriously - Get Help!

  176. Mark

    Rob Pomeroy

    Why is it OK that you can say "there are some things we can never know and this is one of them" but you can't say "We may be able to understand this phenomenon"?

    One is dealing with an absolute (and is the creationist creed) and one is the hope of science.

  177. elderlybloke
    Flame

    Reiss -A clergyman

    Well that explains why he says creationism should be shown respect.

    How he can be called a scientist is beyond me.

  178. elderlybloke
    Alien

    Louis -( Flat Earth belief)

    How come people were very nervous about Chis.Columbus falling off the edge of the world back in 1492.

    There was an earlier belief that the world was a plate supported by a Tortoise ,which was supported by Elephants , (If my elderly memory still works)

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  180. Mark

    @elderlybloke

    Elephants THEN turtle.

    And even the Mayans 2000+BC (?) knew the earth was round. Ancient Greece knew it and the ancient Arabs knew it and had a figure.

    The problem was that for orthodox christianity "four corners" meant like a map which is flat. And so the untutored "knew" the world was flat because "the bible said so". The knowledgeable educated class knew this but if they told the peasants they may have a problem with telling them the rest of the bible is still true.

    And when Gallileo wrote his heliocentric paper the issue wasn't the paper but that instead of being in latin which only the educated classes knew, it was in italian which the ordinary peasant could understand. Such understanding weakening the peasants faith in the bible.

  181. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Peter Mellor

    "find it strange that, in 160-odd comments so far, I found only one passing mention of Islam."

    Probably because it is a very contentious issue, and also it is evident towards which group the most bias is towards.

    "In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens."

    Easy, if it is legal, take them on a field trip to somewhere with a board area of fossils, ask them to point in a direction and unearth a fossil, ask them a few more times and find more fossils.

    "The notion that science is a con-trick to undermine Islam, is a dangerous delusion, and cannot be allowed to persist, but it is supported by alarming amounts of Islamic money. To stave off this attack on reason by the forces of superstitious bigotry, science teachers had better be well prepared to debate with Muslim, rather than Christian, creationists. They also need to be aware that a cornerstone of Muslim belief is that the Qur'an is the unchanged and unchanging Word of Allah, that it is inerrant, and that it is valid for all time and in all places. Although only a small minority of Christians still argue that Genesis is a literal historical account of creation, any Muslim who does not profess the equivalent belief regarding the Qur'an, is not a real Muslim."

    I would agree that the levels of proof seem suspicious, and the gaps in proof in science. I have seen too much stuff that is subjective and open to other explanations that are not mentioned. I am more interested in that virus mutation issue, that is something worth looking into because it is not only more clearly defined, but also more cleanly provable. Something creationist go on about, and very justly, is the assumption of the constancy of events that are used for estimating age, and this includes states in environment (even constants). But if these are not so constant, then we have to ask what we are looking at. For a mechanism to be predictable it has to be constant, or at least change in a estimated/ble way, including physics. If we assume a certain rate of change in mutation but there has been some other unknown or historical effect at work, then the estimates can be wildly out.

    On the Islamic issue, you may not be aware, but the Quran makes irreconcilable statements and predictions greatly at variance and contradictory with Christianity and the Bible. So, Christianity and the bible are regarded as great threats to it's authenticity, and the standard way of dealing with this is to claim the bible is not authentic and is corrupted compared to the Quran. However, there is little good proof of this, and statement attesting to the authenticity of Christian and Jewish scriptures by Muhammad, and copies of compatible scriptures from before that age. I wonder how much of the very poor quality, and devious, modern theology biased against the bible, is coming from this direction. On the other side, the elite in Islam would probably not want the Quran was examined that way. There are major issues with both evolution and biased theological attempts supporting each other. The whole of the modern attitude to the debate is based on these, so keep an eye out for them.

    There are other issues that you should be aware of, Christianity and Islam share different core beliefs not the issue of lying. This would take too long to go into here, as it requires some ground on the Islamic side (as there seems to be contrary views expressed). You might have guessed, I have read the Quran and done a bit of study on it.

    Wayne.

  182. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Paul.b

    "..I demand proof of everything, the difference is that science provides evidence and sometimes even proof whereas religion provides none. All of the arguments I've seen here which try to debunk evolution are, to be honest, childish. I could argue your case for Creationism better than anybody I've seen in this thread with the possible exception of Wayne Morellini who is unusual in that he actually thinks logically about the issue and doesn't just repeat what he's been told. I'd like to talk to Wayne but I'd just want to distance myself from the rest of the religious fanatics that have been posting here because you are, for the most part and in varying degrees, barking mad.""

    Yes, I would like to as well. I am busy at the moment doing up a followup submission to a government plan, but you can ask the register here to forward me your email address.

    I can appreciate what you are saying above. Christianity has had a higher than normal level of intellectualism, with a number of great thinkers, however the normal person might have little knowledge of scientific issues compared to a scientist, as can be said for the ordinary non Christan compared to an evolutionary scientist. However, from anecdotal experience, becoming a Christian often enough results in an increase in intelligence. I have met people from the original Creation Science movement over here, and have a regard for them, but would like to see more. The things is that there are multiple groups, and some are more scientific than others.

    However, I believe that science will basically eventually prove what is right, if done right, in regards to evolution and creationism. But the longer they let bias, subjectivity, politics, and the norm, the longer, more expensive and painful it will be to get to the truth. There are a number of areas that don't seem to get very well researched for some reason that would help. One is research into the nature of space and it's properties, curvature, density and rate of change (time) at distance from the sun, which is a basic area of research into the nature of physics. Even NASA preliminary research into new drive systems that could get a probe out far enough to test a suitable range of distance values was cancelled (such as the practical one using the new plasma reactor). Such a probe can be used to research a number of other areas as well. There are a number of other areas out there to research as well. Even though I am too unwell and old to do more studies and get myself to the sort of level needed to research these areas, I have been tinkering around with a new hypothesis for a unified theory of physics. It looks promising, more of a sort of simplified theory, and seems to account for time, gravity, fields, energy, space and the formation of space.

    "Christians, Muslims and Jews have been killing each other for millennia yet it's written in your scripture "Thou shalt not kill". Does that not seem a tad hypocritical?"

    Yes, but that is matter of personal choice against what is commanded, and people are people. It is also in reference to unjustified killing, not as part of legitimate enforcement of law, legitimate war or execution.

    Wayne Morellini.

  183. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  184. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    Towards the end.

    Well, it looks like God/universe/creationist bashing time is almost over for the illusionists, I mean evolutionists.

    It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief. Atheism is dead, there is no avoiding it. We need to be concentrating in proving (trying to find out) what is true instead. There has been a lot of bias here, and antagonism, and the anti-creation mob can hang their heads in shame along with anybody else. You might think you are superior in your science, but I have been there and I have seen, and believe me it is not as clear cut as you think, you are not nearly as good at science as you think you are compared to the people you are criticising, here (not even referring to creationist researchers in general)..

    90% of you are guarantee not know how to critically read a science article in New Scientist (which is an easy one to read). 90% of evolutionary/anti-creationists, researchers probably do not do proper research in relation to this area (actually many areas). The situation is that bad. Of the ten percent that do, the ten percent in charge might not want to listen to them. What is called, humanistic dogma is dominating this world, to the detriment of science and politics, and even religion, but in arm with power politics which finds it a useful tool. Before we think we are so good, in humanistic terms, just remember the quote, "we stand on the shoulders of giants". Just remember, that most of the success of the world today is squarely on the shoulders of authentic (versus merely associated) Judea-Christian values of the past, that enhanced rights, privileges, morality and humanistic like ideas before humanism, and modern science with many Christians, knowledge, innovation and productivity, with many scientist Christian. It has done this despite liberal, power politics, fascist and totalitarian alternative ideas and viewpoints of people in general. We think we are so good because those before us have gone forwards and made this society good, and taught us, yet many of the alternative view desire to tear this down and society is getting worse and worse. Ultimately humanism is devoid without basis beyond that morality which religion had already claimed God gave them awareness of, and ultimately is a justification for ignoring that reality to some.

    Sorry for the heavies, very tired but feeling much better today, so I can answer things a bit better.

    I forgot to add to one posts above, that i think the present thinking with creationists is that there is variability in species and adaption. This is where you start out with a complete set of genes and over the generation (avoiding discussions about expressions of genes) selection and adaption causes various differing genes to be lost in various groups, causing them to become separate breeds/races/linages of the original and the ability to adapt and vary dwindles, to the extent that much less happens today. Sort of like the reverse of evolution, where you don't really develop new genes (outside some purposeful encoding) but looses genes instead. So basically, you have a parent couple of horses, and all the breeds of horses come from them, or maybe a couple, different types of horse to begin with. You have maybe a couple different birds, and all the bird breeds extend from them. I think the example used years ago might apply to this, that as you radiate out from the middle east you get more coloration in bird species (obviously there could be an adaption thing to this in the colder regions). it also reminds me of another example they use, of an interview done with a farmer in America on evolution, the farmers apparently (something along these lines) replied, that he didn't know about the evolution subject, but all he knew is that when he bred a sheep with a sheep, he got a sheep and not a cat or dog, and then I think he made reference to breeding another species of animal and getting the same species of animal but not different ones.

    Wayne.

  185. Eric Crippen

    As an atheist...

    I prefer that someone disprove that a flourescent orange cricket with a voracious appetite for gay sex and abortions created this universe before I waste my time dis-proving a god(s) created this universe. At least I feel better in the knowledge that they understand, on some level, how I feel about them. Evolution is much more grounded in reality.

    Besides...

    If all the atheists suddenly dis-appeared, it would only be a matter of time before they re-appeared. It's just the truth of the matter.

  186. Mark
    Flame

    re: Towards the End

    "It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief."

    Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH.

    And with that faith, you ignore the real truths in front of you.

    Have you ever considered that the Bible is not the truth, yet there may still be a God?

    I do not believe in any god and I do not require belief in such a god because if I am right, then this life here is all I have. It is all anyone has. And therefore infinitely precious.

    If any God requires belief in them despite the evidence of natural explanation and hurts you for your disbelief, I will show my contempt for that god through all eternity even though I suffer infinite pains in hell. A god like that deserves nothing but contempt and will receive an eternity of it.

    Your god is a sham. Your faith a block to your own enlightenment. Without your faith getting in your way, instead of trying to get a good seat in the next life you may consider making this life worthwhile.

  187. jake Silver badge

    Re: Are you there, God?

    I find it extremely telling that none of the creationists have taken up my challenge of actually reading the book that they profess to believe as "the truth".

    Again, I invite them to compare & contrast Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 ... But they won't.

    Or even better, that ol' favorite that got me kicked out of "sunday school" when I was about 8 years old ... All I wanted to know was why Genesis 32:30 and John 1:18 were at odds with each other. It seemed to me that I had found a fault with the bible ... The "teacher" was shocked at the question, and went and got the paster, who tried to explain to me that I couldn't understand such deep matters, and shouldn't put such evil thoughts into the rest of my class's heads. I insisted on an explanation, and was frog-marched out of the church grounds, banished to a life of free sundays (this is punishment? OK ... ). And this was a LUTHEREN congregation, supposedly one of the more liberal US churches ...

    Fundie sheeple. Blinded by faith. Intentionally, willfully, and stubbornly ignorant.

  188. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Eric and Mark, "Towards the End".

    "I waste my time dis-proving a god(s) created this universe. At least I feel better in the knowledge that they understand, on some level, how I feel about them. Evolution is much more grounded in reality."

    Eric, are you admitting that it has to be disproved?

    Mark

    '"It is amazing how certain people here have skirted true evidence for a God and a Creation because it refutes belief."

    Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH.'

    I haven't, I have offered complete logical proof, that is what is the reality, that you need to address. Rather than concentrate on issues that need years of research to cut it, I have presented you both with a simple argument that is falsifiable, but logically concludes that it is not. Fact, and reality.

    "Have you ever considered that the Bible is not the truth, yet there may still be a God?"

    Yes, still do today. You may notice my argument is what form that God might be, as wherever an Entity exists is logical. Just because I might believe something doesn't mean that I don't believe I might not be wrong. But I don't need to believe that there is a god, that is already logically proven. Wouldn't i be foolish to defy the reality of the logical evidence.

    'I do not believe in any god and I do not require belief in such a god because if I am right, then this life here is all I have. It is all anyone has. And therefore infinitely precious.'

    But you are discarding the evidence, equivalent to the regard of evolutionists around here that creationists are holding to an ill conceived notion of bias.

    "If any God requires belief in them despite the evidence of natural explanation and hurts you for your disbelief.." rhetoric deleted.

    As I said, often that evidence you think is right is misconceived towards bias, you are pinning a faith of falsities. That is why I say I am more interested in real evidence, in real science to prove what the truth is either way. The people here are criticising others for the same errors they repeat. It is more sense then to state what can be proven, and allude to the rest (reference), and accept what is questionable, towards debate.

    The truth has been there staring you in the face, yet you do not want to believe, even though you profess that you are right, and true.

    "Your god is a sham. Your faith a block to your own enlightenment. Without your faith getting in your way, instead of trying to get a good seat in the next life you may consider making this life worthwhile."

    Enlightenment is in the truth, and you have just shown that you are not interested in the truth as much as you think, but getting your way to your faith. Funny thing that you should mention that, the people that are not obsessively evolutionary oriented are probably the only people that I know of that (personally and generally across the world) that make this life truly worthwhile.. They are probably the only people you know of that make life worthwhile. Consider that.

    The people on this forum have shown themselves not to be as innocent as they believe. I am already aware of this in my own life and am interested in seeking out the truth.

  189. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    Faith?

    "Yes, you and your ilk HAVE skirted any true evidence for God and a Creation because you don't want it and you don't need it. You have FAITH."

    Faith: Is the substance of things hoped for. It is the EVIDENCE of things unseen... Everyone has faith whether we admit it or not. Even the agnostic or atheist as one cannot answer all the questions in the world readily without resorting to something much more then science alone can explain. Mankind is imperfect and has a very finite mind in comparison to the 'INFINITE' (to me GOD or Jesus Christ) and therefore will encounter error occasionally (perhaps frequently). One only needs to see the 'advances' in science or 'evolving' of it from one definition to another over time to see as we people progress academically theories and 'answers' change or are altered. We want to answer all the questions but are unable to because of our own finite encapsulations. We imagine that in time we will be able to so, but realistically time has shown us otherwise. Sure we are more knowledgeable today thankfully in part to the revolutionary technology of the internet yet no one can claim omniscience. I can only tell you ONE who does and if you read what I stated earlier you'll know who I'm talking about.

    Questioner

  190. max
    Unhappy

    ID v Creationism

    The Vatican maintains that Creationism can be understood through applied philosophy ie it aint a science. It also declares that ID is trying to put scientific theory behing biblical ideas and as such should be shunned .

    If the Vatican doesnt thing creationism is a science why should anyone else.

    The references to America usually refers to ID which is way way more dangerous territory.

  191. Mark

    Faith is not "evidence of the unseen"

    It is merely the hope. You got that bit right, why the fuck did you screw it up and call it "evidence"???

  192. Eric Crippen

    re: ac

    it needs to be dis-proved as much as 1+1=3 needs to be dis-proved (although given the weird math stuff people on my dorm floor did with math, this probably would have been something they'd have seen).

  193. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    re: Faith .. "evidence of the unseen"

    That is actually based on a quote, from the Bible, Hebrews 11. "Hope" and "faith" have different meaning in the original languages than what we associate with it. From memory hope here is the firm hope of things that you can depend on, not wishful thinking as we use it today. Such as, the faith is substantial (real in the context of this thread) and produces firm hope in it. In that way it carries some meaning of our word faith. But I think faith here has even deeper meaning.

    I know the definition of belief gets strong. Various words have different levels of denominative meaning by their construct, where we often might interpret it in a contextual basis in English. For example, belief in (Jesus Christ) rather than just belief about, carries a meaning of trusting in, clinging to, and relying on, so you see that this goes a long way past what we think. This is a common problem in interpreting what is written in English, there is certainly a lot more depth to meaning in the original language. Translation does not bring this out enough, but certainly colors the depth, spiritual intent and underlying current of the Bible an awful lot, and also explains a lot of things missed from the english meaning.

    I don't' know the depth of the original meaning here, but it is likely (knowing the context of the subject area) that it is meaning there is something actual behind the faith that makes it firm, not merely wishful thinking or intense feeling, or even state of mind, but actual real things happening and expressing themselves in behind the scenes here, from context of this area, from the unseen, the spiritual world. It could be even be referring to the practical out working of faith. Meaning the unseen produces real effect in the physical world and people lives, that gives them valid firm hope they therefore can have firm hope on the eventual promise, of reward.

    This above, is not an actual interpretation of the quote the poster was eluding too, but includes background to the understanding and culture of the area it comes from.

    Therefore what the poster said was right and valid.

    Googled the original passage:

    http://kingjbible.com/hebrews/11.htm

    Sorry, it is actually 6 hours past my bed time, and it is hard to write concisely.

    Wayne.

  194. Mark

    Wayne, you're speaking ENGLISH

    Not Ancient Hebrew.

    And how does that gibbering get "evidence" from "faith", never mind "hope"?

    It doesn't and it can't. You didn't do it.

  195. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mark. No, not English, it's ancient Greek/Aramaic.

    Mark, it was explained simply and at length, that should be enough. It is a translation from a very different language, with different ways to do depth of meaning, and much more rigour that does not translate to english. I explained this difference. I also explained the context of what they were getting at, and how they were getting at it. The link between faith and evidence is in the context and the structure of the language, not English.

    You can try rereading it a few times. Hard to explain briefly, as there is so many aspects to consider when translating in between such vastly different languages. That is why translation is done by experts.

  196. Peter Mellor
    Boffin

    Re: Hardly any mention of the "I" word?

    Hello, Wayne. (If you want to post as "Anonymous Coward", why sign off with your real name at the foot of your messages? :-)

    @Anonymous Coward Posted Tuesday 16th September 2008 12:32 GMT

    <quote>

    "In January of this year, I was having dinner with my son and a friend of his who is a biology teacher. She told me that Muslim girls in her class thought that fossils were carved by scientists in order to deceive the faithful, and maintained this view even when presented with specimens."

    Easy, if it is legal, take them on a field trip to somewhere with a board area of fossils, ask them to point in a direction and unearth a fossil, ask them a few more times and find more fossils.

    <unquote>

    An excellent suggestion. I will pass it on. However, fossils are not *quite* that easy to find in most areas, although I collected quite a few myself over the years. I like the "if it is legal" qualifier, though. When I was a kid back in the 1950's, Miss Tilson simply marched us down the road in a crocodile to go on a nature walk. The "Health & Safety" fascist was then a rare species! :-)

    <quote>

    Something creationist go on about, and very justly, is the assumption of the constancy of events that are used for estimating age, and this includes states in environment (even constants). But if these are not so constant, then we have to ask what we are looking at. For a mechanism to be predictable it has to be constant, or at least change in a estimated/ble way, including physics. If we assume a certain rate of change in mutation but there has been some other unknown or historical effect at work, then the estimates can be wildly out.

    <unquote>

    I agree that assumptions need to be stated and subjected to confirmation/refutation, but you will find that scientists (including evolutionists) are well aware of this need and are well ahead of you and of creationists in general. For example, one piece of evidence by which we know that the Earth is around 4.5 billion years old, is that this is the age of the oldest known rocks in the Earth's crust, as determined by potassium-argon dating. The half-lives of most radioactive isotopes have been measured precisely in the laboratory, and the fact that nothing (but NOTHING) affects these, has been very well confirmed. Rates of radioactive decay have been shown to be constant under all environmental conditions, including variations of temperature, pressure, chemical combinations of the isotope, electrical and magnetic fields, etc., etc.

    The constancy of radioactive decay, which is one basis for estimating the ages of rocks, fossils, artefacts, etc., is not an "assumption"; it is overwhelmingly supported by all of the evidence we have.

    However, this is only *one* basis for age estimation. Many other bases can be adduced, and they are in mutual agreement. This agreement is, of course, "within the limits of experimental error", to quote the well-worn scientific phrase, but the error bound on the estimate of 4.5 billion years for the age of the Earth does not take you ANYWHERE NEAR the 6000 years which "young Earth" creationists would have us believe.

    <quote>

    On the Islamic issue, you may not be aware, but the Quran makes irreconcilable statements and predictions greatly at variance and contradictory with Christianity and the Bible. So, Christianity and the bible are regarded as great threats to it's authenticity, and the standard way of dealing with this is to claim the bible is not authentic and is corrupted compared to the Quran. However, there is little good proof of this, and statement attesting to the authenticity of Christian and Jewish scriptures by Muhammad, and copies of compatible scriptures from before that age. I wonder how much of the very poor quality, and devious, modern theology biased against the bible, is coming from this direction. On the other side, the elite in Islam would probably not want the Quran was examined that way. There are major issues with both evolution and biased theological attempts supporting each other. The whole of the modern attitude to the debate is based on these, so keep an eye out for them.

    There are other issues that you should be aware of, Christianity and Islam share different core beliefs not the issue of lying. This would take too long to go into here, as it requires some ground on the Islamic side (as there seems to be contrary views expressed). You might have guessed, I have read the Quran and done a bit of study on it.

    <unquote>

    So have I. In fact, my "bit of study" over the past two years has included reading the Qur'an (in several English translations), sizeable chunks of ahadith, several modern biographies of the Prophet (and I am currently ploughing through the Sira by ibn Ishaq), and loads of other stuff. I entirely agree with you about the contradictions between the Qur'an, and the Jewish and Christian scriptures. My immediate reaction to the Qur'an was that it is a second-hand, second-rate, garbled version of the earlier writings; just what you would expect from an illiterate camel train manager who had heard a few tales on his travels and only half-remembered them. Nothing I have read since has led me seriously to revise my opinion.

    If you want to see how the Qur'an and ahadith can be quoted in support of terrorist atrocities, and in support of lying in the furtherance of such nefarious activities, read the "Al-Qaeda Training Manual". (As a reader of El Reg, you will know where to find a copy!)

    Anyway, back to creationism. It is obvious from the Qur'an that Muhammad was clueless about astronomy and really did believe that the Earth is flat. I can't be bothered to cite sura and ayat, but if you Google "flat Earth Qur'an" you will be inundated with Quranic quotations to substantiate this. He also believed (literally) in a simplified and garbled version of Genesis and Revelations.

    The problem lies precisely in taking the ancient myths literally.

  197. Mark

    You didn't explain where "explanation" comes from "faith"

    Again.

    Oh, and a little snippet for those who read religious texts and find "astounding proofs of their validity":

    The Brahma Year is about 4.5 billion years. An astounding correspondence with the age of the earth.

    So those Indians must have the right scripture, not you whiney little western christians.

  198. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now, now ;)

    You're misreading things, put down any bias you have and realise what the context behind what is being said does not reflect your culture, but the culture of the writers and hearers. That the meaning comes from what they understand, the context the words are describing. I find when people do this on lien they are either doing this deliberately or it is pointless trying to explain it. I am not interested in wasting my time, if you are serious OK, but otherwise I do have a life.

  199. Mark

    re: Now, now ;)

    Which AC are you? Who are you talking to? Your points are so ephemeral and undefined, 100% of life as we know it could think you are attacking THEM.

    You apparently do not have a life, since if you had something in that area, you would have at least used your few minutes you spent typing on this site to produce something that could be read and your meaning gleaned from the words used.

    However, your inability to say anything and use so many words to do so indicate that no, you don't have anything better to do with your minutes spent here.

  200. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    One last time ;)

    Great the page reloaded as I was typing.

    Peter Mellor, sorry, it is obvious, I am not using my screen identity I use here.

    It appears that I missed your post previously, probably came in as I was spending time on Mark's.

    About the fossil thing, sorry again, context, assuming you do have such places near by (near by being a lot further to some of us).

    On constancy, dating etc, the research and scientists being ahead, it is not as clear as you might believe, and all areas of research are not exhausted. One reason I would like to see distance studies on the effect on space, is to see how it effects various fundamentals. This will not even cover changes over time. I am also mindful of the effect of energy on the structure of space (which I don't want to go into the hypothesis here, but these require observations and experiments on a larger scale than what can be attempted on earth). I am actually avoiding going into this because I don't want to waste time on it, I gave a simple valid argument on one topic, and that is enough to get people thinking. I have a basic belief, however wrong science is (or isn't), eventually the process of science, if followed, should find truths. So, debating it is pointless, takes too much time and effort, unless we are going to do research (worth doing). I however have seen many faulty arguments, that are whatever serving, in science, and scientist that are so logical that they disagree with each other. But unified fronts presented to the public, and the naive here, would present such science as uncontroversial truth (even in cases that eventually are overturned and regarded eventually as recalcitrant). It goes way past undeclared assumptions (which would probably make matters worse for them). The standard of proof is often a LOT LOWER, than what I deem as concrete, and the way assumptions are used you could make arguments for lots of things. As an logical illustrative example of something simple: Say that the present evidence is represented by the sum of 2, and the assumptions lead to the conclusion that 1+1 happens to equal 2 and therefore must have resulted by that calculation (a common mistake in logic I see skeptics use). Like skeptics, they insist that this is the "way" it happened, they do this until a better hypothesis (well avoid calling it a theory for obvious reasons ;) ) comes along and in the case of science there is a political power struggle before over whelming evidence of the inferiority of the past hypothesis/theory is accepted, and the new hypothesis/theory seems more likely. There was a lot of this going on for decades before I stopped reading because of health problems. To illustrate this differently, 1+1=2, is the assumption, but who said that it was 1+1 that got there is the first place, it is unreliable, and can lead to many unreliable arguments seeming to be true because they seem to replicate the results (backed up by assumptions). The truth is that there are many valid ways to get to the present sum of 2, which is 11-9=2 for this case, but often only a limited amount that are historically true.

    Mark, they are all valid and clearly explained (why they are so long), spent hours not minutes on them, and not many people are having trouble with it, apart from yourself. I am sorry if you either lack the basic intelligence to process them, are plainly deceived, or are trolling and wasting your time and ours. About who the posts are directed too, you might like to view my posts as general, or actually towards the people named in the posts, or that posted the posts quoted in my posts (but you obviously knew that). Insulting me is about as logical as ugly calling beautiful ugly.

    The previouse post. To make it clear, it's english speaking about something written in a different language and context than what you know. The likely interpretation from experience with the area, is that the unseen (supernatural) produces the practical working out (evidence) of faith (because of guidance, divine presence, miracles and the like) that is the substance behind the hope in eventual reward (validation). Unlike skeptics, it is not about how we read it, or how we want it read, but about the people it was written to and how they read it, and how the author meant it to be read. It's simple, it's not all about you and what you think Mark. Put it another way, if you are scientific, unbiased and logical you should have little trouble appreciating that.

    Now back to bed, so I can restart work on the 60 plus page submission to a government plan in the morning. I trust, apart from discussing things here, you also have more worth while things to do.

    Wayne.

  201. Mark

    So if I "get your point"

    the statement "Faith is evidence of god" is true if you have a definition of "evidence" that means "faith".

    Would that be correct?

    So you're telling us "Faith is Faith of God". But using the word "evidence" to pull in the standard meaning of "evidence" as "that which is shown".

    There is no evidence of God.

    Either deliberately, in which case, you live your life, I live mine (and leave religion out of science, we've got a perfectly fine RE class for it). Or because there is no God. In which case, by not investigating whether there is no God, you're creating a poor life for yourself in your delusion.

    PS learn how to think, then learn how to put an argument on the table. your post was almost 100% gibberish.

  202. Steve Swann
    Thumb Up

    @writebaby & Others...

    @WriteBaby -

    Ah, thank you! Your breakdown of probability and possibility is exactly what I was trying to frame before writing. You saved me the effort with your excellent and succinct post!

    @Soozy -

    Have you seen the film 'idiocracy' - I think you'd find it amusing given your post! I also reccomend it to anyone else interested in the comical side of social evolution.

    @Mark -

    I'm sure you have heard the phrase before; "Respect is earned and not demanded" - Religion (not faith per se) has yet to earn respect on any reasonable or logical basis. Instead, as a rule, it demands respect from a stance of fear and ignorance. It is taught, by it's leaders, that faith is a virtue and that faith does not question. Since when, I ask, is unquestioning obedience considered a virtue? Surely only religion and patriotism (my country, right or wrong) demand such things. Respect will come for Religion when religion learns to respect my beliefs and rights too.

  203. Ron Atu
    Alert

    Faith?

    "the statement "Faith is evidence of god" is true if you have a definition of "evidence" that means "faith"."

    Anyone please tell me that you you can answer ALL questions without considering something other than science as it is obvious that science does not answer all the questions pertaining to our world. I will say that when I was talking about faith in my previous post (as questioner) I dare to say that science limits our knowledge to a degree - perhaps a massive amount as it does not take the place of an INFINITE mind (GOD). I realize that I am speaking from within a theological sphere as science is inadequate (to the best of my knowledge) at proving some of my theological statements. The biblical view of 'evidence' through the passage in the book of Hebrews pertains to the spiritual view of the world that surpasses the scientific view as Christians because our faith in Jesus Christ is central to anything pertaining to our lives and therefore we cannot trust science alone as it is always in the state of changing unlike our infinite God who we believe to be unchanging and immovable when it comes to his Word (bible). I will state what I believe to be true and that is this, God can answer all the questions of life through the bible within our human reasoning as well as our spiritual understandings. It is our responsibility to 'seek' and we will 'find' as He (God) declares this clearly in His Word...

    "There is no evidence of God."

    I dare to say that there is so much evidence but you may fail to see it. Suggested website: http://www.godandscience.org. I personally know that God exists as I speak with Him on a regular basis. I realize that may seem crazy to some people but that is my experience or 'my science' that God exists. I have seen and experienced too much to dismiss His existence obviously and would commit intellectual suicide if I tried to dismiss His existence. I am a very curious person so I do ask a lot of questions but I've come to the conclusion that as fascinating as science may be, it will not answer all of my questions like this authorative Creator does. I am finding that science is a wonderful servant at confirming God's existence as it is confirming more and more about the bible.

    Ron (Questioner)

  204. Anonymous Coward
    Happy

    No.

    "the statement "Faith is evidence of god" is true if you have a definition of "evidence" that means "faith".

    Would that be correct?"

    Not at all, sounds like a troll. How on earth would you get any of that from what i said, or most the other things you have said.

    Context of faith I was implying was the circumstance and context of the faith producing something tangible. Such as work in a job as a position, and work as in the product of the job, two different contexts. So faith maybe viewed as faith itself, and also what it produces (the evidence). You really are actually helping everybody else understand and appreciate what I am saying, thanks.

    "There is no evidence of God." see previouse posts on concrete logical proof. Calling me deluded is like the "pot calling the kettle black". All true trolls are deluded as they are depending on dishonesty to keep it going (apart from the ego), and this is definitely so dumb it has got to be a troll. Even as a troll you are not looking very smart, you are overplaying the dumb hand and making yourself look bad even to trolls. The low level of intelligence of your troll may mean you are a skeptic.

    A few years back I anti-trolled a troll for 18 months, with him trying to get the last word in, not really realising that he was not the one in the control he craved for a good while, and was himself being anti-trolled. Eventually he spat the dummy and became a reformed member of the newsgroup he had been stalking. "If only you would use your powers for good instead of evil" ;) . I am not interested in wasting time on it, but how much time do you have..?

    "PS learn how to think, then learn how to put an argument on the table. your post was almost 100% gibberish."

    Yes, proof again, stop trolling.

  205. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ron and Steve

    Ron

    "I personally know that God exists as I speak with Him on a regular basis. I realize that may seem crazy to some people but that is my experience or 'my science' that God exists. I have seen and experienced too much to dismiss His existence obviously and would commit intellectual suicide if I tried to dismiss His existence. I am a very curious person so I do ask a lot of questions but I've come to the conclusion that as fascinating as science may be, it will not answer all of my questions like this authoritative Creator does. I am finding that science is a wonderful servant at confirming God's existence as it is confirming more and more about the bible."

    I tend to avoid getting into discussions about everything, that get bogged down, but I can testify to what Ron is saying, my experiences give science a run, and that of others I know completely defy science and less objective cynical/skeptical thinking. In certain circles, with various people, at certain times, these things tend to be more common. But why get into something that bias people do dismiss out of hand, instead of sticking to evidence that can be dealt with here, like the concrete evidence for the existence of God as I posted earlier. As I said, it is not if there is an intelligent God there can't "not be" by logic and science, but what nature that God is?

    If any of the people here consider themselves honest, undeluded and true, then examine my statements in the previouse posts on the existence of God and prove them true or false!

    Steve, God could demand unquestioned obedience (funny, he gives people chance and choice apparently though) and we say why, and eventually we find out. Religious leaders demanding unquestioned obedience is not the same thing, as people fail. While your interpretation of religion is such, mine is not that. But, if you want to see demand for unquestioned obedience, the communists, and other dictatorships, are a good example (look at the film "Enemy at the gates" for an example, do and die, or die), that it is power mongering you might really be talking about, not necessarily religion.

    In the same way our egos power monger and ironically 'demand' that people earn respect, and we demand respect. What is wrong with respecting others because they are human beings, respecting the truth and seeking it because it is the truth, respecting fairness, respecting any other righteous thing. Respecting police officers because they are police officers, government because they are government etc etc etc. However, some people expect to be blatantly wrong and respected, while disrespecting others they hold as wrong. crazy world isn't it. Anyway, back on course, respect is not only earned, but it is also by position. If we disrespect somebody who proves themselves right, because we want to please our egos and are wrong, then we disrespect their position of being right and also the fact they just earned it, and we just lost it.

    A lot is spoken about respect by those that neither respect the truth or other's belief in it, or understand very much.

    Wayne.

  206. Ron Atu
    Alert

    Faith - Tangibility

    "Context of faith I was implying was the circumstance and context of the faith producing something tangible. Such as work in a job as a position, and work as in the product of the job, two different contexts. So faith maybe viewed as faith itself, and also what it produces (the evidence). You really are actually helping everybody else understand and appreciate what I am saying, thanks."

    In regards to tangibility I will state my personal experience (science) and those of millions (perhaps billions) of people worldwide who have experienced supernatural (divine) encounters in regards to unquestionable miraculous, unexplainable, medically impossible healings and genuine resurrections; prophetic knowledge and wisdom to the benefit of one and (or) others lives and guidance beyond anything science could ever predict. Also I have had the privilege of seeing multitudes 'transform' from dysfunctional, unfortunate, poverty stricken human beings into whole, healthy, very functional ones through the awesome power of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I personally experienced the 'evidence' and an intelligent person would know that these things are indismissable. If you are after clinical, unquestionable facts do a search for the things mentioned earlier and you will find the documented proofs and testimonies. I would say that God is very much in the business of caring, nurturing, healing and restoring imperfect, finite and fragile beings like ourselves.

    Ron (Questioner)

  207. Mark

    God's Anon.Cowards

    I have seen someone survive a fall which should have killed them.

    They were an atheist and they didn't see God.

    Wayne, you understand nothing about science nor who is allowed to persue their proofs. I.e. EVERYONE. Science doesn't have heretics, unbelievers and people that need to be converted by the sword. Unlike your religion.

    And as to "stop trolling", shit man! Look at the dog-collar trolling going on here!

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