back to article Royal Society says goodbye to creationism row vicar

The Royal Society has parted company with Professor Michael Reiss following the furore over the reverend slash biologist’s recent comments on how science teachers should tackle creationism in the classroom. The top boffin club issued a statement late yesterday saying that “Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Goodbye!

    If Creationism has a place, and I don't believe it does, then it is in "the study of Myths and Legends" or in religious studies as an aspect of "Western Abrahamic-based beliefs". Despite the presentational spin provided by eminent people, who should IMO have better things to do with there time given the problems humanity faces, it has been shown not to be science or scientific and has no place in being parachuted into science biased lessons.

    By all means, have an open mind and encourage open thoughts. We fill our young people heads with enough inconsequential data let's not add "creationism" to it, please.

  2. David Arno

    Why the fuss?

    Since evolution has been proven beyond all rational doubt, those that do doubt it are ignorant, stupid and/ or insane. That's all a science teacher need say on the subject of creationism. This hardly impacts on class time at all.

  3. Planeten Paultje
    Stop

    PZ Myers

    I agree with PZ Myers' stance on this issue:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/09/michael_reisss_big_mistake.php#more

    Creationism does not belong in science class, but you have to explain what science is and does and why creationism has no basis in science.

    Anything that blatantly goes against solid evidence is crap and should be exposed and dismissed as such.

  4. Graham Dawson

    Has no place?

    Well I would assume that teachers need to be able to discuss the subject when it comes up. To simply say "it has no place here!" would just encourage the typical child to start chasing up on the subject whenever they could, out of bloody-minded rebelliousness. Blanket censorship of an idea gives it a cachet. It's also unscientific.

  5. Jonathan

    All a big misunderstanding?

    Did he basically say, "If a child brings up creationism, a science teacher needs to be able to explain how it is not scientific?"

    I'm strongly against the teaching of Creationism in schools, but even I think he has a point - if you dont tackle the root of the fallacies, perhaps you will never get children to properly understand evolution and why creationism is not scientific. Anyone got a link to his original statement, before the damage control?

    On a side note, I received a pamphlet the other day from a local Baptist church about evolution. Only problem was, it confused evolution, abiogenesis and the theory of the Big Bang. I was tempted to write to them to explain the difference, just so that they could form a better opinion of why they were against evolution. Cos, you know, you cant disagree with something if you dont even know what it is.

  6. Ash
    Joke

    Religion in Science classes

    Get your Physics teacher to explain how the soul of a suicide bomber, after being blown into several hundred small pieces (two or three still-twitching, depending on the accelerant) will go straight to Nirvana with eleventy-billionz virgins and all the cocain he could want, or whatever.

    If we're going to talk about religion in science class, we should talk about ALL of them, especially the topics with some relevance;

    - Air-speed velocity of an unladen skull

    - Lateral forces on the tendons in Jesus's hands

    - Weight in Newtons of Buddha's beer-gut

    I'm sorry if I offend anyone; I just can't take "Religion in Science Classes" as a serious topic of debate.

  7. James Pickett

    Dear God

    "Reiss will return to his regular job as Professor of Science Education"

    You couldn't make it up! It's like something from the Middle Ages...

    Still, I'm glad the Royal Society has finally seen sense, although why they gave the job to a priest in the first place remains a mystery.

  8. Matthew Ellen

    Oh well

    At first I felt possessed by the twat-o-tron when I heard the idea of creationism in a science class. Then when the clarification came the next day, that he didn't mean teach creationism, but to explain the difference between it and science, I felt that it was a good idea.

    Shame it's come to him stepping down.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    We teach String Theory as a Science

    Look, we teach quantum theory as a science don't we? What is so wrong about teaching a religion like quantum mechanics, as long as the science teacher reminds them that it's just a theory that fits a few things and clashes with others.

    String theory is taught in science class, I always think it should be taught on a stage, as a comedy stand up routine, but no they teach it as a theory in science class.

    Creationism is a theory, why not teach it, show the problems with the 5000 year thing and the convienience of adding a 'God' creator. You could even make this 'god creator' make extra dimensions in string theory if you like, it would help them develop their own critical thinking skills.

  10. A J Stiles
    Flame

    How to deal with creationists

    There are only four words a science teacher need ever say to a creationist:

    "You are talking bollocks".

  11. Simon

    How do you 'teach' creationism anyway?

    Surely that would be the shortest course ever, and with the easiest end of term exam. Saying 'goddidit' takes about 1/3 of a second. What do you do for the rest of the 2 hour lesson?

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Science

    I wouldn't mind the following:

    "

    The society hit back last Friday issuing a statement quoting Reiss saying, "Creationism has no scientific basis."

    "

    .....if evolution was taught as a theory and not fact and that all the problems with evolution were also discussed (missing fossil records etc).

    It seems hypocritical for people to complain about creation as not being scientific and yet ignore problems with the theory of evolution.

  13. Daniel Turner
    Heart

    Doesn't really intrest me...

    But I love the tagline/subheading :D

  14. Mark

    To forstall godbotherer input

    If you think this is proof of "rabid atheists" quashing ideas, how many normal christians got pissed off at the archbishop saying that Islam is a really nice religion and we should allow it in the UK?

    Or when he says that gays should be allowed in the ministry. Women too.

    Oh boy, are the threats zinging about then!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    Good riddence.

    Religious mumbo jumbo (and practioners thereof) have no place in Science.

    Good night and may your 'fictional deity /big sky spirit thing' go with you.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Makes Me Sad

    I find it very sad when someones comments are taken out of context. This guy basically said that if a kid asks a question, albeit a controverisal one to some, it shouldn't be ignored.

    My wife is a science teacher and would answer honestly if a kid asked about creationism, and in fact has done. That doesn't mean in any way that she advocates the theory, it's simply a scientific discussion, or at worst a discussion about a lack of scientific evidence. As long as it's relevant to the topic being studied, it should be available for discussion.

    I would have thought that the guys at the Royal Soc would have been comfortable enough in their own beliefs that they could have advoated the discussion in schools, knowing their arguments were right. Very sad.

    On a different note, the poor guys comments have been taken totally out of context in most media reports. They claim he said creationism should be taught in schools. He said creationism should be discussed as part of the discussion on evolution... what's wrong with that?

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Unhappy

    OK people this is how it works,

    You are campaigning for something stupid like creationism or the breakup of a country or some other bull shit that is popular or profitable to WASP conservatives.

    So you make something up or better still misrepresent what some poor bugger say's.

    You turn this none news into a press release and fax it off to the editors of all the big news outlets (WASP conservatives will provide these editorial fax numbers).

    Sloppy hacks will then turn this into a big news article and print it on page one, everyone will read it and perhaps a few might think that it sounds like bull shit but if it's in the paper then there must be something to it right?

    When it turns out to be utter bullshit, the retraction will be a story hidden amongst the small adds at the back of the paper and only the propaganda effect is left. You can even openly boost about doing this, it will get a round of applause from other WASP conservatives at an after dinner speech.

    Job done let's go and have another war...

    sorry,that sounded a bit off message.

    Save the world from warmongers war criminals and satanists.

  18. Narlaquin
    Paris Hilton

    Wrong Result

    The Royal Society should have refused his resignation.

    His choice of language was poor, and there was much confusion as to what he meant, but IMHO he was advocating that teachers should address the matter of creationism, and demonstrate why it isn't good science (or even science). This would have helped stimulate critical thinking, debate, the different standards of evidence, and the full implications of what accepting creationism means in terms of physics, biology, chemistry, geology and all the rest.

    As it is now, his resignation becomes "Proof" (Proofiness?) that science hates religion.

    Christianity <> Creationism. Any battles of Science v Religion are wrong, they are being described as such in order to appeal to base instincts; Neither side can win, but both sides can be harmed. The actual battle is Creationism v Science. This is one that should be trivial to win, or even to avoid.

    The other thing to bear in mind is that Evolution is not addressing how life was created initially, which Creationism is. Don't let the debate turn into that. Technically it is possible (IMHO for small values of "technically") that God created the universe 15 billion years ago, the earth about 6 billion years ago, and then natural selection took over.

    Welcome back, Paris Icon.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Flame

    The only sensible way to deal with creationist students...

    ...ruthless and harsh punishment.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    wtf

    "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.”

    So in other words science teachers should explain how science works, why I never. What are the so-called scientists problem with him then, he said creationism has no scientific basis, or do they hold a non-justifiable belief that the word creationism should be censored in schools. Isn't it just such "non-justifiable beliefs" that got them angry in the first place? Seems to me they are just plain radical as they accuse creationists of being.

    Regarding the "scientific basis bit", I think there is no scientific basis for creationism as it is a relatively simple theory: some deity/ies creates everything or some things and allow/s it to live. If someone goes on to explain in more detail the impact/implications and proof of creationism theory (in a scientific manner) then maybe it could (not should) be taught in schools. Similarly evolution should be taught properly or not at all.

    PS: I am a "creationist"

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What is it with these religious zealots ?

    I'm with Ash on this one. The amount of people that believe in a crackpot idea can't be a yardstick for determining if it should be included in a curriculum. It's a crackpot idea, no mather how many people believe in it.

    'Believe' being the operative word.

  22. Mike Richards Silver badge

    The problem with Reiss' idea is...

    ...he was trying to address the problem of kids not believing in evolution because they come from the closed-minded part of the readership of the Bumper Book of Fairy Stories.

    He thought that a science teacher could say 'no, creationism is wrong because...' and win over his audience. When in fact, if you ever try talking to these people, you won't get anywhere - they believe it absolutely. The Creation is in the Bible, end of story, now let's go stone some gays and people who wear two kinds of cloth. The whole class would be given over to discussing the Great Flood when the 9/10 kids who are normal could have been learning about really exciting things like genetics, finches or Pangaea.

    There's one answer to this. You teach evolution. It is compulsory. If someone doesn't believe in it or doesn't want to study it they fail the class. No loss to science there, they can join Sarah Palin and the population of Kansas back in the 13th Century.

    If it upsets 'faith' - screw them, they can turn the other cheek.

    * It is - TWICE! Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 and Genesis 2:4 - 2:25. Despite coming one after the other and being the Word of God (TM), they can't even agree on basic things like what happened in what order or even how long it took. Mind you, I've had plumbers like that.

  23. Mark

    re: Has no place?

    So if a kid wants to talk about sex education in geography, it must be discussed? If they want to talk about music appreciation in maths class, that's okey-dokey? If they want to talk about satanism in RE class, that's fine by you?

  24. John Chadwick

    God's last message to creation

    Was I believe, "Sorry for the inconveniance".

    As a Christian, I believe that there is a god and he's omnipotent, and he could very well have created the universe in six days. However, if that's what he did, why has he left us so many clues as to it's being many billions of years old, that life has evolved from a simple organic soup, and so on. I'd guess, that he wanted to teach us something.

    My school Biology teacher was a creationist, and so far as I remember all his pupils thought it was looney. I'm also fairly sure most of the uniformed branch of the church in the school thought so too.

    So now where's my Total Perspectivity Vortex, I'm thinking of putting a few creationists in it.

    Inclusion of creationism as a viable alternative to science is stupid and dangerous. Not only that it's insulting to the vast majority of Christians.

  25. Phil
    Unhappy

    @James Pickett

    It appears that it is not just Creationist's who are ignorant. The vast majority of Christians are not Creationists, and who read the creation scriptures as myth. There are many eminent scientists, who fully embrace evolution as the correct explanation of the development of life who also are people of faith, including some who are ordained. To equate 'priest' with 'creationist' is indeed ignorant, and in this particular case shows that you didn't even take time to read the article and find out what the person in question actually said.

  26. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: Oh well

    "Then when the clarification came the next day, that he didn't mean teach creationism, but to explain the difference between it and science, I felt that it was a good idea."

    I think most people were upset by a representative of the Royal Society entertaining the idea that creationism be discussed in science class (even if it is to explain why it has nothing to do with science), mostly because junior creationists might interpret that message as a green light to pester science teachers with frequent, intellectually-challenged interruptions about what various pieces of religious literature have to say on various subjects.

    In other words, there are the guidelines for the teachers which tell them how to deal with the Genesis-botherers, and there's the message that one sends to the wider public. I think people were annoyed that the former message went out to a less discerning audience - the latter - with all the resulting potential for misunderstanding and manipulation with people with an axe to grind.

  27. The Fuzzy Wotnot
    Coat

    @Mark

    Yes, satanism is valid religion, as far as the other religions go, so yes that's fine for RE class.

    Music appreciation in Maths? If the RIAA sues 55 defendents for copyright infringement on 2 CDs of the latest, talentless, supermarket, pop drivel at £15 each, how much can the lawyers in each case hope to obtain a) for their clients, per infringement and b) the lawyers fees?

    SexED in geography? Well the sight of the Italian boot and the bulging bottom-shape of the USA coastlines get me going every time! I've gone too far haven't I? I'll get me...you know...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Genesis 1:1-2:3 Isn't that quote wrong?

    "* It is - TWICE! Genesis 1:1 - 2:3 and Genesis 2:4 - 2:25. Despite coming one after the other and being the Word of God (TM), they can't even agree on basic things like what happened in what order or even how long it took. Mind you, I've had plumbers like that."

    I seems to recall Genesis 1:1 was "I know what I want and I like what I know, getting better in your wardrobe, stepping one beyond your show"

    Which would imply that the wardrobe came before the earth, and before Adam and Eve started to wear clothes, to put in the wardrobe. So what did they put in the wardrobe before clothes? Perhaps the missing string theory dimensions that's what!

    Hence God must have *known* that Adam would eat Eve's forbidden cherry and hence be cast out of the garden of eden *before* it happened in order to have already created wardrobes. Was Adam led by his trouser snake? No because he didn't have trousers, only snakes.

    QED Proof positive!

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Is this how scientists should behave?

    It strikes me that those who were baying for Michael Reiss' blood were bigots*.

    In the first place, as has already been said a number of times, he is not a Creationist and was not calling for creationism to be taught. Bad headline and worse 'verdict'.

    In the second place Evolution is not truly a theory, it is a hypothesis favoured by the consensus just as geocentrism was in Galileo's day.

    Anyone who claims that Evolution is a fact just doesn't understand science. This argument is not about science but about philosophy.

    *Someone intolerant of views other than their own.

  30. sconzey
    Paris Hilton

    All aboard the failcopter...

    If a child is asking a question in a science lesson, no matter how misguided, at least they are THINKING. It is not the questioning students we should worry about, but the silent ones.

    Whether you consider ID/Creationism science or not, nobody should object to teachers answering questions from students fairly and honestly (even if they just say "I don't think that question is appropriate now, but I'd love to have a chat after the lesson").

    What disturbs me most of all is that supposedly rational, intelligent individuals could react so irrationally to what was (correct or incorrect) a rational proposal. This isn't science.

    Ironically, creationism is *already* in the science curriculum. A friend of mine is a teacher at a rural state comprehensive and as part of the "Science in the News" course the kids must learn about "alternative views" and critically analyse them.

    Paris, because her policy proposal video was more rational that some of the comments I've seen here.

  31. amlendu
    Stop

    RE

    Do they teach Satansim in RE ?

  32. Ed Blackshaw Silver badge

    @We teach String Theory as a Science

    I think the reason we teach quantum theory as a scientific theory is because it is a scientific theory which provides testable hypotheses.

    String theory is misnamed, as it does not, at least yet, provide any testable hypotheses and so, in the strictest sense, isn't a scientific theory. However, it is not, as far as I know, taught in schools. It may be taught at universities on Physics courses, if we still have any universities with Physics departments left in this country, that is. This is because it attempts to unify the two generally accepted theoretical frameworks of quantum theory and general relativity, in a slightly more logic-based framework than 'the sky-pixie did it', and is still science. It is not, however scientific 'fact' and is not taught as such.

    Creationism is not a theory. It provides no testable hypotheses. It also conflicts with observable facts. That makes it nothing more than an idea, and a fairly wrong-headed one at that. Calling it 'intelligent design' doesn't change the fact that is isn't science and shouldn't be taught in science classes at any level.

  33. David Szuter

    Correct but still wrong

    I am fully in agreement that religion does not belong in a science class but...

    Despite all the good work done on adaptation, scientists still have there own myth to worry about and that is the fable of the the "Lighting bolt and the primordial soup". The fact that there are people who genuinely believe that once upon a time the "Adam" cell sprung to life out of stuff (amino acids), instantly knowing how to grow and reproduce (divide) and adapt, is simply hogwash! Add to this that it had to have happened millions to billions of times due to "mortality" and failure to adapt and you have one humdinger of a myth. Lets not even begin with the evolution of sensory organs or two sexes......silly.

  34. Pete
    Flame

    6 days?

    What a laggard!

    Pander to one, you have to pander to them all.

  35. oliver Stieber
    Coat

    the c word

    I think it would be far better to mention the c word in science classes and completely debunk it then it would be to have some kids that have been brainwashed by their parents thinking that it wasn't debunked so it must be true.

    Mines the one with good news in the pocket

  36. TeeCee Gold badge

    @Johan Hartman

    Creationism isn't censored in schools, it's not taught in science lessons. That's an entirely logical move as it's a religious belief and not a science. You'll find it being taught in RE, where it belongs.

    If you can't understand the difference between facts and fairy stories, maybe you could start by attempting to appreciate the difference between censorship and classification. Think of it as being like going to the library and wanting a book on automotive design. You wouldn't start by looking in the romantic fiction section now, would you?

  37. Robert Harrison
    Coat

    @Why the fuss?

    "Since evolution has been proven beyond all rational doubt, those that do doubt it are ignorant, stupid and/ or insane."

    That absolutely made my lunchtime. "Scientific theory proven beyond all rational doubt" - I'm surprised it didn't make the papers. You were there then were you? When the first molecules spontaneously began replicating themselves and mutating over generations? Hurry, the Royal Society probably would like to talk to you.

    But seriously, a theory, albeit a very good theory, it remains.

  38. Frumious Bandersnatch Silver badge
    Boffin

    creationism *does* have a scientific basis

    ... it's called "addition". As in, find any "begats" in the story, then add up all the ages of the begettor at the time they supposedly begat the begattee. Unfortunately, that's as "scientific" as it gets.

    If creationists are serious about debate, I'd like to pose some questions, for instance:

    a) how many of the begettors were under-age at the time they begat?

    b) why did God feel it was necessary to speed up radioactive decay in the first ~7,000 years or so, while making all our experiments since Curie's time show that the rate of radioactive decay follows a fixed logarithmic equation? Is He trying to fuck with scientists specifically?

    c) the light we see from stars are "past images" due to the time it takes their light to reach us. Why does that show that many stars are older than 7,000 years (even allowing for measurement error of up to one light-week)?

    d) (anticipating the answer to (c) to be something about Genesis being metaphorical) how can we be sure when *any* day, week or a year in the Bible is meant to be interpreted as being a metaphorical day, week or year, or one in keeping with our current time-keeping devices? Isn't it equally possible that, say, Moses lived to be maybe a million or so of our current years?

    e) on triangulation of sources for the ages of each person mentioned in the creationist timeline, is there any other authority for age of begetting besides God speaking through the Good Books? Eye-witnesses? Government ID records? Mentions in contemporary biographies? Anything? Anything?

  39. ian
    Flame

    @Phil

    I agree, it is clear that only the ignorant (or demon-possessed) accept creationist drivel. It degrades both science and religion. From a Christian's point of view, it tends to bring their religion into disrepute (but please don't ask ME about its reputation). That being said, it must be asked why Christians put up with it.

    Defend your sacred space! Throw out the creationist heretics! Prepare the stake and faggots!

    BTW, thanks El Reg for returning the 'flames' icon. The other was too namby-pamby.

  40. Jason Hall

    @Robert Harrison

    "That absolutely made my lunchtime. "Scientific theory proven beyond all rational doubt" - I'm surprised it didn't make the papers. You were there then were you? When the first molecules spontaneously began replicating themselves and mutating over generations? Hurry, the Royal Society probably would like to talk to you."

    Idiot?

    Troll?

    I'm not sure really. You could be both?

  41. Mark

    @Johan Hartman

    But why should they waste time doing it when they can show things like "iron filings follow lines of magnetism".

    Philosophy of science is a college course for sixth-form college/BTech/etc. Or for a half unit in a degree course.

    Not for secondary schools.

    There's neither the time nor the inclination.

    About the only answer possible to give in the time available to "what about creationism" is "see your RE teacher".

  42. Luther Blissett

    They already teach creationism in science class

    Only they call it the Big Bang.

    Two things are evident from this thread:

    1. People like their prejudices, whether they are religious or scientific or whatnot, and enjoy waving them about.

    2. Suppressing creationists and discussion of creationism is not a solution, and demonstrates that only the preferred consensus ontology has changed in 1000 years - the underlying lack of rationality is just the same. The resort to naked exercise of power and coercion always indicates the arguments are less than persuasive.

    I've heard more rational discussion, scrupulous respect for facts, and honest attention to implications, from groups of football fans.

    PS. Pray tell what is a "slash biologist"?

  43. Mark

    @The fuzzy wotnot

    "Music appreciation in Maths? If the RIAA sues 55 defendents for copyright infringement on 2 CDs of the latest, talentless, supermarket, pop drivel at £15 each, how much can the lawyers in each case hope to obtain a) for their clients, per infringement and b) the lawyers fees?"

    the answer to this requires symbolic maths, not taught until university.

    The answers you gave will not work. what outrage would there be if RE started addressing questions of satanism? What outrage if Jimmy comes home and says he learnt about boobies in geography class? Etc. Shit, there's a big enough outcry by letting Islam into schools!

  44. Mark

    @Robert Harrison

    Proof? You can't HANDLE the proof!

    As evidenced by the copious evidence showing that our DNA is closer to that of the Chimp than the Gorilla. Closer to the Dingo than the Cabbage. How about Bird Flu? Or the searching in other animals genetic material evidence on how to improve the human biology?

    What other explanation of the world than Darwin's theory of speciation through adaption is there, and where is the proof for that?

    That you missed it all shows you can't handle the truth because you don't wish it to be true.

  45. Mark

    Re: Is this how scientists should behave?

    You seem somewhat bigoted yourself, AC. You do not believe in the Royal Societies requirements for senior members to remain senior members and instead of accepting this as the opinion of a group you will not be interacting with, you deride them with the perjorative "bigot".

    Less bigotry please. THEN you can talk about bigotry in others.

  46. Anomalous Cowherd Silver badge

    @ Mike Richards

    If these were adults I would agree, but they're not. Their fragile little minds have not yet been frozen in ignorance, and if a kid pipes up in GCSE Chemistry "so, what about what it says in the bible then" that could be the ONE opportunity anyone has to seed them with an alternate point of view.

    And to everyone that's said "tell them it's rubbish and be done": teachers are there to explain why, you numpties. Don't know what kind of school you went to but luckily when I got stuff wrong, someone explained why. This process is known as "teaching".

  47. Martin
    Go

    @Robert Harrison

    "Since evolution has been proven beyond all rational doubt..." is a perfectly accurate statement.

    It has nothing to do with the start of life, which is still a difficult one, with plenty of suggestions but no real proof yet.

    But evolution - ah, yes - you really do prove yourself to be a scientific ignoramus if you do not believe that evolution is correct. It has been tested over and over, via the fossil record and via DNA testing. Predictions have been made and confirmed. And no-one - not once - has found a fossil which cannot be explained realistically by the theory of evolution.

    Gravity is only a theory - albeit a very good theory. But it has been proven beyond all rational doubt.

  48. John
    Stop

    Easy answer.

    If the question is off topic, or a departure from the curriculum then you don't answer it.

    Under the age of 18 kids are learning to pass the exam, they're free to believe whatever the hell they like, but if they don't answer the question as per the curriculum then they will fail. End of.

  49. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Theory of music

    Something "just" being a theory doesn't mean that ic annot be considered _true_ *for the practical values we encounter daily". Gravity. The theory is *wrong*. It's an approximation, but it works for the practicalities of all manner of human endeavour, just as Sir Isaac described.

    Evolution by selection doesn't perhaps have the direct impact on day to day life that gravity can, but disease and inherent curiosity (what's that bit of stone that is animal-shaped? How did it get there? Why aren't there any animals quite like that nowadays?) both touch it

    Music in maths isn't such a stretch, actually. There's a lot of math in music.

  50. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh you religious zealots....

    "I think the reason we teach quantum theory as a scientific theory is because it is a scientific theory which provides testable hypotheses."

    So does creationism, they say the world was created 5000 years ago, you test it, find fossil older than 5000 years, QED time travelling fossils! Similar to the particles you observe travelling backwards in time in your bubble chamber.

    They say, God lives in heaven above, and you look up and say, there is no 'above' the earth is a sphere and we've been 'above' and he's not there. And they say, well if we had 6 more dimensions he would be living in the 'above' (+ve) of dimension 5....

    It's just a religion you know, the Large Hadron Collider is just a church.

    Developing critical reasoning skills is important, and so creationism it's problems and claims should be taught in science class, not because it's useful facts like history, but because it teaches critical reasoning skills.

    That way, the next time they see lightning travel upwards *into* the sky, they don't think the electrons are travelling backwards in time. They apply their critical reasoning, realize it's just an effect of the way we observe it and don't go wasting bucketloads of tax payer money building a church in Geneve to worship it.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Thank Buddah...

    I thought it was only wackos here in Kansas that wanted to push creationism in the schools. I'm so glad it's not just us...

    PS - Don't let anyone on our state Board of Ed know about this, they may want to hire the guy.

    (Feeling Blue in the Red State)

  52. David Arno
    Thumb Down

    Ignorant, stupid or insane?

    The fossil record alone is more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. DNA variance between species alone is more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. Observed speciation events are more than enough evidence to prove evolution beyond all rational doubt. Taken together, the evidence is just plain overwhelming.

    Robert Harrison, the fact that you are oblivious to all of this sadly means you are undeniably ignorant, stupid or insane.

  53. Luther Blissett

    @Evolution proven true beyond all doubt

    So the lack of supporting evidence from the fossil record is due merely to the funding poverty of paleontologists not being able to mount the field trips to produce it, and the evidence really is out there? So, where 200 years of digging has failed to uncover it, we should have faith that one day it (some) will be discovered?

    Evolution and the Big Bang are part of the same grand cosmogenic narrative for the credulous Great Unwashed, who wouldn't know metaphysics if it bit their ass, so can't tell it apart from genuine empirical investigation. Intelligent life should rather ask the question, why is this the preferred narrative? Empirical investigation is in order.

  54. Dominic (The Pimp) Connor

    Point Missed Big Time

    With all due respect to my editor, he has missed the scandal in all this.

    The Royal Society is a minor outfit, albeit with an illustrious past.

    The RS is a lobby, albeit with a smarter membership than some other lobbies.

    But...

    According to the Times he is "Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education"

    Now *that* is chilling.

    We already have academies funded by the state where Creationism is taught as a mainstream topic, and now learn that an obviously senior advisor believes in giving time to crackpot ideas.

    Britain has a highly prescriptive national curriculum, and so this defective priest is involved in defining what kids *must* be taught.

    Already we know that many teachers chicken out of teaching evolution because it might offend Christians or Moslems, and apparently such complaints by parents are treated seriously not just laughed at.

    We now know why teachers feel so insecure in standing their ground. The government actively wants to give time to creationists.

    It won't stop there either.

    History is not exactly kind to the various religions, and their habit of murdering each other in ghastly numbers whenever they get political power. Physics is not immune either, some stars are >6,000 light years away, is this "controversial" as well, given that the universe is only 6,000 years old ? Geography teaches about old rocks and the continents moving, and the ice ages.

  55. Britt Johnston
    Unhappy

    I would prefer teaching of tolerance

    nuff said

  56. W

    @ Mark re:re: Has no place?

    "So if a kid wants to talk about sex education in geography, it must be discussed? If they want to talk about music appreciation in maths class, that's okey-dokey? If they want to talk about satanism in RE class, that's fine by you?"

    Why not.

    What about talking about Chemistry in Physics?

    Although if I were teaching evolution and someone wanted to discuss creationism, I'd swiftly neuter all the arguments and point 'em in the direction of the RE class. Or EngLit.

  57. Martin

    @Luther Blisset

    What "lack of supporting evidence" in the fossil record? Considering how few living creatures actually become fossilised, it's astonishing how complete the fossil record actually is.

    I suggest you actually try reading a few science books, rather than parroting the standard line, which wasn't true a hundred years ago, and is even less true now.

    Try "Your Inner Fish" by Neil Shubin, or "Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters" by Donald Prothero.

    And for information about the DNA evidence, try "The Making of the Fittest" by Sean B Carroll.

  58. Mark

    @W

    "What about talking about Chemistry in Physics?"

    If you have a Physics class and a Chemistry class, why don't you talk about Chemistry in Chemistry? An inability to recognise this fairly obvious fact that you are in a class labelled "Physics" and not one called "Chemistry" indicates an inability to think.

  59. Anonymous Coward
    Dead Vulture

    NO ONE BACKS CREATIONISM !!!!

    The government does not back creationism.

    The Royal Society does not back creationism.

    The now sacked misrepresented scientist does not back creationism.

    Schools do not back creationism.

    The only people who support creationism are the lobbying group that tricked the media into publishing this story.

    They got this poor chap sacked even though he does not back creationism.

    More importantly they have got you lot shouting about people who do not exist supporting creationism, they have magically created support for creationism that does not exist for you to shout about. The problem is because you are all shouting about it some poor sod is going to think "Hay creationism that sounds like a really controversial idea that I want to be a part of!".

    Creationism is an American problem and it is extremely unlikely to catch on over here, so a little more care in vetting your story's please El Reg unless your hidden agenda is to manufacture support for creationists?

  60. J
    Boffin

    Beyond rational doubt

    Yes, evolution (the fact that organisms change with time) is beyond rational doubt. Irrational doubt on the other hand... can not be meaningfully discussed, of course. Lots of fine points in different aspects of evolutionary biology are still being discussed, tested, accepted or rejected as new data and ideas come forward. That's healthy science for you. IDiots, on the other hand, get their answer from one (wrong) book.

    @Robert Harrison "When the first molecules spontaneously began replicating themselves"

    Hm... what does abiogenesis have to do with evolution, exactly? That's right, nothing. Origin of life is NOT part of evolutionary biology, in spite of all the ignoramuses "critics of evolution" talking about it in their ramblings (and you swallowed it hook, line, and sinker). Evolution only enters the picture when something starts reproducing. We've got nothing to do with what happened before that -- although we are obviously very interested in that, because it's a cool topic.

  61. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    Mark

    sigh

    >You seem somewhat bigoted yourself, AC. You do not believe in the Royal Societies requirements for senior members to remain senior members and instead of accepting this as the opinion of a group you will not be interacting with, you deride them with the perjorative "bigot".<

    Please read what I said. I said that _those who were baying for Michael Reiss' blood were bigots_. I don't know what proportion of the membership this might be, do you? I also gave two reasons why they were bigots. The first, that they were damning him for what he did not say, the second, that their favoured belief is just that, a belief. It shows a sad state of affairs when a scientist is drummed out of the RS for merely saying that questions should be answered.

    I wonder how you would have described it if the roles had been reversed and Creationists had been demanding the resignation of someone who had said that Evolution should be discussed in the classroom.

  62. Martin Yirrell
    Flame

    Ignorance

    There is a marked ignorance in most of these comments about Evolution and Creation.

    1. Abiogenesis has everything to do with Evolution since the alternative to abiogenesis is Creation which thus destroys the argument for Evolution. (OK some weirdos believe aliens planted life on Earth - but where did the aliens come from?)

    2. Evolution is not that organisms change with time but that all life has developed from an original parent by means of small changes over a very long period.

    3. There is no supporting evidence for Evolution in the fossil record. (There should be, if Evolution were true, a vast number of intermediate fossils. There are none.)

    4. DNA variation between types of creatures does not support Evolution.

    5. Creationists believe that the original forms of life, by means of their inbuilt variability, have diverged into the many species we have today.

    6. Fossils, in general, are dated based on their presumed position in the evolutionary tree or, very occasionally, because of the radiometric dating of the igneous material they are found between.

    Right, that should be sufficient to start a flame war!

    Martin

  63. Stewart Haywood
    Flame

    Wot about the facts?

    Reiss did not say that he supported creationism. He said that if it was brought up in a science class, teachers should know how to deal with it. There is nothing wrong with that. There are all sorts of urban legends out there that can be demonstrated to be wrong using science and there is nothing wrong with dealing with these in a science class (take a look sometime at Myth Busters on the TV).

    Reiss' big sin was saying what he did whilst being ordained in the Church of England. The RS has admitted as much. If the RS gets rid of Reiss for being an ordained minister, then they must also look at how they might treat the scientific work of other ministers. As an example, let us take a look at Mendel (sometimes called the father of genetics). He was a priest. Let us then discredit him and remove all mention of his name from the RS. Copernicus was a Cannon in the Catholic church, oh dear. How about Lemaître, a catholic priest who proposed the theory that eventually became known as the Big Bang theory. Yup, best get rid of the lot, damned religious nuts!

    The icon....I know where I am going.

  64. Watashi

    Philosophy of science

    The answer is to teach the Philosophy of Science - but this would open a huge can of worms. How many evangelical Christian or Islamic parents would be happy to have their children coming home and saying "sorry, mum, I don't believe in God\ Allah now because the limits of human perceptions and the subjective nature of our thoughts mean that objective knowledge is ultimately dependent upon empirical observation and testing, and as there is no empirical support for God's existence it is irrational for me to accept that he is a real entity".

    Would the deeply Christian Gordon Brown tolerate science teachers training children to be agnostics and atheists? I went to a CofE school where 15 years ago loopy Christian parents forced the removal of Zodiac pendants from the school's summer fête because they were afraid that the symbols encouraged their kids to be Satanists. There are even quite a lot of scientists who are unable to take the principles of science they use on a daily basis and apply them to their own personal beliefs. Society isn't ready to give up its addiction to religion yet, so Creationism is a burden we're just going to have to bear for the foreseeable future.

    I have often thought that we need a term comparable to "champagne socialist" that can be applied to scientists who strictly adhere to the principles of science where other people's ideas are concerned, but refuse to allow those principles interfere with any superstitious personal belief systems they may hold themselves. The aforementioned Rev Reiss is a fine example of this hypocrisy, which is probably why he's taken suck a hammering.

  65. robbie

    Who are the bigots here?

    This poor man has been persecuted for merely mentioning what now appears to be a taboo word while being a church member.

    Personally I believe that Bertrand Russell debunked religion in a short sentence, but that doesn't mean that discussing Creationism in a school should be be a stoning offence. Discussion is not the same as teaching

    Some of the comments above belong in Malleus Malleficorum rather than a blog.

  66. Stephen
    Boffin

    Ignorance - displaying yours @Yirrell

    Your answers:

    1. Why a single point? There can have been many events and many replicating structures formed - we're talking hundreds of millions of years here. Still bugger all to do with evolution though.

    2. Nope, evolution is that genetic traits are selected by having a competitive advantage in the niche the organism occupied - never gets more complicated than that.

    3. There's an enormous amount - do some real reading and research, stop parroting a US backed religious lobby.

    4. A remarkably stupid comment and the opposite of the facts as we know them. Again do some research based on scientific studies.

    5. Creationist also believe in a magical sky creature...

    6. Fossils are usually dated by the geological strata they appear in. This is in sedimentary rock as igneous or metamorphic would destroy the fossil.

    Are you making this up off the top of your head?

  67. Ideala2
    Boffin

    Even though noone will read this down here...

    WRT the article - I too think it's a shame he was forced to resign, as the RS should have stood up for it's views, and taken a stand against the media which has twisted the message.

    My GCSE tutor took an entire lesson to allow the debate to take place - allowing students from a creationist background to UNDERSTAND not only EVOLUTION/ BIG BANG etc, but the SCIENTIFIC PRINCIPLES behind the theories. therefore WHY THEY WERE BEING TAUGHT IN SCIENCE.

    Whether they believed in it or not in the end, they understood why it was science, and not another religion - and why humans didn't just "one day pop out of a gorrilla".

    Can I also please point out that neither "Creationism" nor "Intelligent Design" cannot be considered theories, and calling them that is misleading.

    A theory must be able to predict outcomes of an experiment or observation - applied as a hypothesis.

    We cannot test "creationism" or "ID", cannot form a hypothesis from them, and cannot predict any outcomes over a given time. "God will do x" does not count.

    With the theories of Evolution and Natural Selection we can accurately predict outcomes given conditions. This is what the galapogas island finches are famous for - and the reason Darwin is in your wallet.

    IE: The finches EVOLVED as a result of NATURAL SELECTION from ONE SPECIES to MANY DISTINCT SPECIES following ISOLATION and UNIQUE CONDITIONS.

    CAN BECOME:

    The finches WILL EVOLVE as a result of NATURAL SELECTION from ONE SPECIES to MANY DISTINCT SPECIES IF ISOLATED, and presented with UNIQUE CONDITIONS.

  68. Moss Icely Spaceport
    Dead Vulture

    It's easy...

    1. You do not exist

    2. You exist

    3. You no longer exist

    That's it guys!

    Sorry, no invisible sky daddies to come to your rescue....or willing virgins, etc

  69. Mark

    You're the bigot robbie

    You demand that your sky fairy be allowed as the right and true answer.

    What about all the other creation myths? Why can't they get their fifteen minutes of fame in science class?

  70. Mark

    @Anonymous Coward

    Nobody is baying for his blood.

    Not one.

    Some asking for his resignation.

    Some demanding his reinstatement.

    Not one baying for his blood.

    Why is it OK when the Archbishop is called down when he says something like "we should allow abortions" but not when the head of the RS says that religion should be given time in science classes?

    Because the latter gives you a chance to both knock the scientists and a chance for promotion of your specific creation myth (as opposed to the hundreds of other myths).

  71. Grant
    Flame

    WTF

    There is a marked ignorance from Martin about Evolution:

    1. Abiogenesis has *nothing* to do with Evolution. You can believe that life was created by a supernatural being, but it doesn't say anything about which supernatural being or what created that supernatural being. Evolution is about evolution of species not the creation of life. Seriously look it up: Where did the aliens come from? Where did your particular god come from? And is your god not an alien? (i.e not of this earth?)

    2. Evolution is "the process of change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next". It does not claim that all life has developed from one original parent; if/when we find life on other planets, I would presume that there was an independent tree.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution If you are going to argue about it, spend 2 minutes and at least find out what Evolution really is!

    3. There is vast amounts of supporting evidence for evolution in the fossil record, including 'intermediate' fossils. You ever been to a real museum and touched fossils?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transitional_fossil

    4. DNA variation between types of creatures supports evolution perfectly. DNA evidence (which obvious Darwin never knew about), provides I think the best possible evidence for evolution. You can test your DNA, your parents and your children's and find the shared traits passed down, the new variations. You can also compare your DNA with animals that look similar (i.e. a Chimp) and find huge degree of similarity and with other mammals like dolphins & show the relationships.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact#Predictive_power

    To not believe in DNA is probably the biggest WTF in your post.. which bit don't you believe? that DNA exists?, that it shows genetic traits and changes? or that it shows the relationships between species. Excuse yourself from serving on a jury of any court case that might require DNA evidence because you obvious can't understand evidence.

    5. Creationists believe in all sort of crap; some believe that the original forms of life, by means of their 'inbuilt variability' have diverged into the many species we have today, others believe the world blinked into existence recently with all animals essentially unchanged. Which leaves all sorts of unanswered questions about why fossilised bones in the ground, and why all the evidence from a range of sciences prove evolution is a fact and yet creationists try and make up all sorts of crap.

    6. Fossils are dated by a number of means - mainly by strata.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fossil

    Right, that should be sufficient to prove that Martin knows nothing about evolution & should be ignored.

    Just to be clear; evolution is a fact.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evolution_as_theory_and_fact#Evolution.2C_fact_and_theory

  72. P. Lee Silver badge
    Pirate

    "Creationism has no scientific basis."

    Or to rephrase, "A supernatural event can't be explained by natural means."

    The man is a genius! Give him a peanut, he's obviously playing to the gallery!

    I don't think anyone wants creationism taught in school science classes, but I do have to wonder at why we want to teach evolution in science classes. Why not teach kids some useful maths, physics, biology or more recent history instead? Regardless of the truth, what is to be gained by telling children that they are an accident?

    Life: You don't know how it works, you weren't there when it started, there have been no significant changes to it in recorded history, you can't repeat pre-history to see what happened and the data collected over a few hundred years is being used to extrapolate back over billions of years. For a scientific community which argues amongst itself over the details and implications of current climate change, it is breathtakingly assured.

    There is a huge difference between forensic science and experimental science. One takes circumstantial evidence and draws conclusions whereas the other can actually demonstrate its validity. To assign equal weight to both systems would be foolish. In experimental science, new discoveries add to our knowledge rather than invalidate existing knowledge. In evolution, the "truth" has to be continuously changed to fit new evidence, because it is just a theory, not actually truth.

    Anyway, its all pretty much irrelevant. Apart from the academics whose research grants depend on it, the mechanics of how humans came to be isn't particularly relevant to most people's lives. The heat generated by the debate is from the implications of creationism and the implications of secularism. Its really about the choice between: " I really want to do what I want to do, guilt free, with no-one telling me there are consequences," and "I will be held accountable for my actions, even the ones no-one knows about." Can you guess which one will be popular?

    I can see why Christians get upset over evolution being taught in schools - they wouldn't want their children to miss out on living forever because some of some theory, but what are the evolutionists getting all het up about? What are the consequences of of not believing evolution? If you believe you're just an insignificant freak of biochemistry, then why argue over what's taught to kids? How are they any different?

  73. KarlTh

    You know...

    When this story first hit the Reg, I commented that Reiss was not in fact saying anything controversial, and simply was being misquoted by the "teach creationism" headlines - what he was actually saying was "teach why creationism is a load of dingos' kidneys".

    And I recall the regular Reg commentors baying for his blood.

    And I said "nothing to see here". And there wasn't. Royal Society professor says "teach why creationism is bullshit". Bears shit in woods. Pope still Catholic. More news at 11.

    Except that because of the misreporting, and the reaction of many like the Reg commentors, the poor bloke's position in the Royal Society is history.

    Too many people acting like Daily Wail readers and reading the headlines instead of the actual story. Too many people thinking with their spleen instead of their brain.

  74. phix8
    Flame

    @ The idiots.

    I see some foolish people here pretending that evolution and creationism are somehow equivalent, you can see how they love to confuse the common use meaning and the technical meaning of the word 'theory' you can see how they love to confuse evolution with abiogenesis, and if that starts to be answered straight to the big bang, particle physics and string theory.

    What is all this stuff about respect for other views? You may not like this about science theistic cretins but science is about uncovering the truth - if we know that 2 + 2 = 4 why should they privately held, sacred and deeply personal belief that it = 5 be 'respected'?

    I feel sickened that I share a world with such supersitious animals.

  75. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: "Creationism has no scientific basis."

    "I don't think anyone wants creationism taught in school science classes, but I do have to wonder at why we want to teach evolution in science classes."

    Because it provides a useful understanding of the natural world and is highly relevant to anyone wanting to go on and have a career in the biological sciences. The mechanisms at work around evolution by natural selection are becoming increasingly important in the medical domain - it's not all about "drink this chemical and you get better" any more. Children who go on to pursue such careers will have their work cut out in higher education if exposed to an impoverished evolution-free school curriculum, and their contemporaries will hardly be able to make the rational decisions about scientific policy required of them as fully involved members of the electorate.

    "Why not teach kids some useful maths, physics, biology or more recent history instead? Regardless of the truth, what is to be gained by telling children that they are an accident?"

    With the latter question, it's hard to know whether you're betraying your own insecurity when confronted with a universe without some kind of "executive director", or whether you've reduced the outcomes to an oversimplistic "all or nothing" picture of the universe's behaviour where if no such "executive director" exists then everything must be just a orgy of randomness. What's wrong with the children seeking meaning in who and what they actually are?

    "I can see why Christians get upset over evolution being taught in schools - they wouldn't want their children to miss out on living forever because some of some theory, but what are the evolutionists getting all het up about?"

    The concern is that if people start to insist that stuff in nature takes place because of some magic or other whose workings shouldn't be open to inspection - that people should just accept it as a matter of faith and not dare to question it - then aside from the devastating effects on critical fields of endeavour like medicine with all the horrifying consequences on public health, life quality, mortality, and so on, it opens the door for lots of other things to be sealed off and stamped with some inscrutable magic incantation, with the end result being that instead of understanding the natural world, everyone ends up parroting nonsense to each other over countless generations and wondering why "the spirits are angry" at them.

  76. Bob. Hitchen

    Scientific BS

    Scientists have large egos and little else. Of course there is a scientific basis for creationism we're all here with massive (er total) dependence between the organic and the inorganic. WTF that's got to do with a process called evolution is best left to dickheads. The Universe shouts design and that inevitably means designer or designers. It just happened don't hack it well not to the rational. Whether the designer(s) have anything to do with world religions is yet another debate.

    Both evolution and creationism should be in some obscure university course neither have much relevance to modern life.

  77. Mark

    re: You know...

    You don't know.

    You missed completely my query "how do you tell someone they are wrong without disrespecting their faith".

    Because you're blinded by your NEED to make this barnpot a victim. Because you want creationism given consideration (i.e. time) to ensure it is promulgated far and wide. Why YOUR version of the creation myth gets this special treatment is unknown.

  78. Mark

    re: It's easy...

    Well, define "Sci-Fi".

    You can't.

    Except by pointing to a book and saying "that's SciFi" and another "that's not SciFi".

    But that doesn't mean we can't write SciFi books, nor that we can't tell what a SciFi book IS when we see one. One may argue about corner cases, but that's all.

  79. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: Scientific BS

    "scientific basis for creationism"

    Science is all about attempting to not only describe the universe but also to use that knowledge to predict the behaviour of things in the universe. Looking at nature and saying, "Ooh! Deity XYZ made all this! Isn't it all wonderful stuff?" does not meaningfully describe nature, nor does it help us predict any subsequent events which may happen to the "wonderful stuff". If you start delegating everything to Deity XYZ then you lose all ability to rationalise about anything. You end up in a situation where if it rains and you roll around in the mud for a couple of hours and get sick, then shaking your fist at the sky and passing the buck on to Deity XYZ who was obviously angry at your "immoral" behaviour (so you pass it right back to yourself) is all you've got left.

    "neither have much relevance to modern life"

    Understanding biology beyond nursery school sing-alongs pretty much requires an exposure to evolution at some point. To reject perhaps the most powerful tool available to biological science means rejecting any chance of understanding how a range of biological mechanisms work and ultimately giving up on detecting, curing or treating a huge range of medical conditions. So we're quite clear on evolution's relevance.

    Meanwhile, the relevance of creationism in modern life is limited strictly to understanding why anyone would seek to emit the kind of idiocy which dresses creationism up as science in the way that small children may dress up as doctors but are not, obviously, trained medical professionals, and which talks about "modern life" - enjoying all the scientific benefits of such, too - whilst advocating a pseudo-scientific toolbox that is so flimsy that had our societies adhered to such a backward set of beliefs, it wouldn't just have taken away the tools that permit such idiocy to propagate - it would have condemned us to medieval levels of misery.

    But thanks for the BS, Bob. Don't forget to thank those generous scientists whose work let you live such a lifestyle of unhurried contemplation and let you share the fruits of that with the rest of the planet.

  80. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Mark

    >Nobody is baying for his blood.

    Not one.<

    Really?

    'The zealots' point-man was Richard 'Mad Mullah' Dawkins, who compared having "a clergyman" directing education at the Royal Society to "a Monty Python sketch". But the real heavies are known only to seasoned observers of scientific fundamentalism: Sir Richard Roberts, Sir Harry Kroto and Sir John Sulston, Nobel Prize winners all.

    Roberts plunged the knife, firing off a letter to the President of the Royal Society, Lord Rees, demanding to know "who on earth thought that [Reiss] would be an appropriate director of education?" and describing Reiss's religious occupation as "worrisome"'

    http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/45412,opinion,royal-society-or-rotten-society

  81. Martin Yirrell

    @Stephen

    1. So you don't actually understand ToE then.

    2. Obviously you don't understand ToE

    3. There is _no_ evidence for Evolution in the fossil record - otherwise you would have mentioned some.

    4. Obviously you cannot answer my point so you make an ad hominem attack.

    5. You don't understand Creationism or Christianity or you wouldn't say that.

    6. ROFL so how are the strata dated, by the fossils they contain and the fossils are dated by the strata they are in and the strata are dated by the fossils they contain and the fossils are dated by the strata they are in - ad infinitum.

    Don't feel too bad, it's about the standard I've come to expect from evolutionists.

    Martin

  82. Bob. Hitchen

    The Badger

    Your first paragraph is way outside evolution and yes it is amusing to watch theoretical physicists jump through hoops trying to explain the inexplicable. From the no strings attached brigade to the spaghetti monster most of it is pure vaudeville. Why would one want to predicate things aeons into the future it's irrelevant to the present.

    Er medicine is about the here and now not all our yesterdays. I wouldn't take kindly to my doctor reading "the origin of the species" whilst treating me for some illness. He don't need to know much about evolution either. I already accepted that evolution was a process but so is the formation of elements; I suspect neither is random.

    btw most of life's little luxuries are done by engineers not scientists Oh and designers! Mostly scientists just observe things.

  83. Mark

    @Anonymous Coward

    Nope, no blood.

    Sacking does not (unless you're defentrated in the course of being sacked) cause blood to flow.

  84. Mark
    Alien

    @Anonymous Coward

    1. No, you don't understand it.

    2. It's obvious you bulk out bullet points by repeating yourself

    3. there is evidence in the fossil record, but he has no need to cite each and every proof to you

    4. You invite ad hom because you're a freaking idiot. There's nothing to you apart from that idiocy. Certainly no arguments (as in reasons for your stance)

    5. God is a magical sky fairy. In what way is he not

    a) magical

    b) "our father who art in heaven" (i.e. up in the sky)

    c) invisible and able to grant wishes just like a fairy

    6. Nope, the depth is the measure of age of the strata.

    Go back to your pagan worship. Your sky fairy is a big grown up sky fairy now and can look after himself. If he doesn't like people, he can deal with it.

  85. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    Bob Hitchen

    Two words for you:

    Bird Flu

    If your doc doesn't need to know about evolution, why would this be a problem for humans. They aren't birds.

    MRSA.

    Same again.

    What about "finish your course of antibiotics"? Done so that you remove all your invading infection and don't leave some to **evolve** resistance to antibiotics. (see MRSA).

    PS there's no full stop at the end of Bob, unless you're ending a sentence.

  86. Peter Mellor
    Flame

    Re: The Badger

    @Bob. Hitchen Posted Thursday 18th September 2008 20:07 GMT

    <quote>

    Er medicine is about the here and now not all our yesterdays. I wouldn't take kindly to my doctor reading "the origin of the species" whilst treating me for some illness. He don't need to know much about evolution either. I already accepted that evolution was a process but so is the formation of elements; I suspect neither is random.

    <unquote>

    Organisms such as bacteria and viruses replicate very rapidly compared to organisms such as people. They also undergo genetic mutation more quickly. You can watch a population of disease-causing bacteria evolve **HERE AND NOW**. An example of such evolution is the development of resistance to drugs. That is why MRSA is such a problem. Penicillin was discovered in the mid-twentieth century, and within twenty years or so doctors were finding infections that did not respond to it. Doctors give patients an antibiotic, and the bacteria that survive the onslaught are those that have (randomly) mutated to be just that bit better at surviving in the presence of that drug. These more resistant bacteria give rise to the next round of infections. Repeat this for a few generations, and you have a population of bacteria against which your antibiotic has no effect.

    You might be happy being treated by some ignoramus who does not understand this, but I prefer my doctors properly qualified, thanks, which means that they know that drug resistance in bacteria can (and will) occur, understand how it occurs, and so can act to avoid (or at least delay) it.

    That is just ONE example of how an understanding of evolution is essential to a medical practioner.

    <quote>

    btw most of life's little luxuries are done by engineers not scientists Oh and designers! Mostly scientists just observe things.

    <unquote>

    You mean like Alexander Fleming "just observing" some interesting empty patches in his petri dish? Obviously you think that not dying of septicemia after a minor scratch is a "little luxury". WTF are engineers and designers (and drug manufacturers, in the example I have used) supposed to base their work on if not on scientific understanding, and how are they supposed to develop or design anything if they cannot work in a scientific way?

    I don't know which to fear most: superstitious bigots (whether Christian, Muslim, Scientologist, or whatever) for whom ignorance is a desirable quality to inculcate into children, or those like you who are too ignorant even to realise that knowledge matters.

  87. Bob. Hitchen

    Brock et al

    Like I said most modern appliances are the result of design/engineering. Science may have discovered/observed electricity but didn't do much with it. Designers use practical versions of laws which are not exact. btw I don't think electricity has changed much since the start of the Universe. Like most stuff those laws were set in concrete right at the outset and are the basic components on which everything is built. Happenchance don't hack it. Science just and often accidentally discovers them. A whole army of different disciplines produce the goods.

    That's what I call creation everything else is just a process. Nobody knows how those laws came into existence.

    Now life

    Everybody got taught there was a primeval ooze and lightening to produce the first cell which is crap so now its those mysterious deep sea volcanic vents. Nobody really knows how life started.

    So for all that science stuff the two basic questions are as remote as ever. The design answer covers both.

    Evolution is just a process which can be random or designed might be complex but it is driven by triggers.

    Only bigots I know are those who pretend to know things but in reality a 5 year old can expose the depth in short order.

    Oh btw MRSA is a result of crap management and cleanliness so it's not a good example. Anti-biotic resistance is just another trigger just like someone taking heavy levels of drugs a resistance builds up. A doctor needs to know sod all about the historic nature of all the forms of life that have existed only what works today and what doesn't.

    You have me with the full stop I apologise for offending yer grammatical sensibilities.

  88. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: The Badger

    "Your first paragraph is way outside evolution and yes it is amusing to watch theoretical physicists jump through hoops trying to explain the inexplicable."

    Yes, it's all magic isn't it, Bob? Others have issued appropriate responses to your pantomime-level argumentation, but your idea of what science is and how it contributes to your comfortable lifestyle seems to be stuck at the dress-up box. But then for creationists and neo-creationists, it's all about trying to redefine science as some kind of "science light" where you take away all the bits that give scientific pursuit any value or meaning and replace them with meaningless made-up filler that gives its practitioners that happy, warm feeling, letting them bask in their own ignorance, pretending that their special supernatural knowledge gives them the same level of insight as everyone else.

    Watching the usual creationist's rejection of science is a bit like watching a Hollywood movie or series set in medieval times and having someone say, "But everyone had nice and clean white teeth, blemish-free skin, and great hair back then! Wouldn't it be cool to have been living back in that period?"

    P.S. The arguably sad thing about this whole affair is that the spokesman in question may have been a run-of-the-mill Anglican, quite able to keep science and the spiritual domain separate, knowing that evolution doesn't threaten his own beliefs. In contrast, the simpletons who promote various brands of neo-creationism feel threatened by every new scientific announcement because their unsophisticated belief systems just can't adapt to any new information. Indeed, those people should just leave the heavy religious pontification to the Anglicans, who at least have a bit of experience in moving the goalposts without looking like foolish amateurs.

  89. Martin
    Stop

    There are two Martins with opposing views....

    "Right, that should be sufficient to prove that Martin knows nothing about evolution & should be ignored.

    Just to be clear; evolution is a fact."

    Just for the avoidance of doubt - I am the Martin who does believe evolution is a fact. The other Martin is Martin Yirrell, who, I agree, clearly knows nothing about evolution.

  90. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    re: Brock et al

    "Oh btw MRSA is a result of crap management and cleanliness so it's not a good example."

    Uh, how does crap management mean that MRSA didn't ***evovle*** resistance to the antibiotics being used poorly?

    Crap management: use less cleaner because that's cheaper than using enough cleaner.

    Result: bugs are allowed to survive damage from the cleaning.

    Bugs that are more resistant have more bug-children.

    The bug-children have the genetic traits of their parents plus some random changes from transcription errors.

    The bug-children are left to survive the next round of cleaning.

    Those bug-children best able to survive out of this already survivable race of bugs have more bug-children.

    This is the theory of evolution by natural selection that you say doesn't exist.

    Are you a throwback?

  91. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: Brock et al

    "The design answer covers both."

    Nope, the "design answer" is just a label that covers up the hole in your knowledge, indicating that not only do you have no idea about what went on, but also that you have no intention of finding out.

    "Only bigots I know are those who pretend to know things but in reality a 5 year old can expose the depth in short order."

    Having your "answers" crack under the scrutiny of five year olds is clearly something you have a lot of experience with.

    "A doctor needs to know sod all about the historic nature of all the forms of life that have existed only what works today and what doesn't."

    And what works today, Bob, and how do we know it works? Angels whispering the answers into people's ears? Perhaps they can get you up to speed on all the other topics you've touched upon while they're in a talkative mood.

  92. Mark

    addendum to "re: Brock et al"

    Oh, and if the bacteria only live months, how come each generation doesn't have to start from scratch in their "drug tolerance" like drug users' children do if this resistance/tolerance is not inheritable?

  93. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Nope, no blood

    sigh

    "baying for someone's blood" doesn't actually require the shedding of blood nor does it imply that anyone requires the shedding of blood.

  94. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark

    Mark

    Sorry, but it is plain you do not have the faintest idea about either Evolution or Christianity. I was not asking for "each and every proof" just pointing out that Stephen had provided none, just as you have not. It ill behoves you to call anyone an idiot when you appear incapable of reasoned argument. As to fossils being dated by "the depth" they are found at, how would this be affected by erosion? Perhaps you need to go back and think again. At to God, no He doesn't grant wishes and no, Heaven does not equate to sky. However, if He exists you will meet Him one day.

    Martin

  95. Martin Yirrell

    Drug tolerance

    Mark

    That bacteria inherit drug tolerance is not Evolution but variation. It does not require new information in the genome but may be produced by the loss of information. The bacteria have not evolved, they are still bacteria.

    Martin

  96. Bob. Hitchen

    Re: Brock et al

    No the design hypothesis theory call it what you like is a perfectly reasonable position I've read quite a bit of theoretical physics albeit without all that fuzzy maths. True I have no idea what went on and currently that applies to every member of the human race. The EU is currently spending some of my loot looking for some Noah's Ark particle that's supposed to be the answer to everything.

    Five year olds just need to ask why or how a few times and the honest person is stumped.

    Er how does one know something works er they don't snuff it. Most medicine is based on experience through trial and error. True drug companies and University types discover new things but for most that's jam tomorrow.

    Oh and only the lucky and able to breed (not the fittest) survive same as MRSA bacteria. Odd thing is the human race survived for tens or hundreds of thousands of years without any knowledge of bacteria. The answer to the addendum question is genetics. Those that don't suit there current environment cease to exist. Mind you all dem genes are useless against natural disasters like volcanoes or impacts it's 'goodnight Vienna' no matter how fit one is.

  97. Mark
    Boffin

    @Yirrel

    Then how come there didn't USED to be MRSA? How come DDT resistant mozzies weren't there until DDT had been used for a while? Why were they not as effective at resisting the problems of us trying to kill them in the past as now?

    If it is merely "variation", then the variation would remain the same and the problem would not be getting worse.

  98. Mark
    Boffin

    @BobPeriod

    We used to die a lot too. Our infant mortality rate went down as we discovered why children were getting unwell. As we discovered penicillin we found a way to kill many more bugs. And this was effective for many years.

    Then we started to see resistance to penicillin in the organisms that used to die from its application.

    Why did we see that *come into existence*?

    Then we invented or created new forms of penicillin. Versions these creatures had never seen before and these versions worked.

    For a while.

    Why is it they used to work if the variation to resist the new forms was as strong a hundred years ago as they are now?

  99. Mark
    IT Angle

    re: Nope, no blood

    So no knives being pushed in, either.

    Hyperbole, this is called.

    Now would it be considered rude to ask that the Pope be removed from his position if he said "well, y'know, maybe God doesn't exist. He's never talked to me, for a start."?

    Or is this too "baying for blood"?

  100. The Badger
    Gates Halo

    @Yirrell

    "Sorry, but it is plain you do not have the faintest idea about either Evolution or Christianity."

    If you're going to make claims like this, it looks better if you don't say things like "Creation destroys the argument for Evolution" since the grown-up Christian groups have been quite able to accept evolution alongside whatever creation beliefs they may have for quite some time. Indeed, I think I could probably name at least one vicar who could give you advice on the matter, should you be interested. ;-)

    "At to God, no He doesn't grant wishes and no, Heaven does not equate to sky."

    Actually, the whole "heaven" and "sky" correspondence is quite obvious in scripture translated to a number of languages. Feel free to cite the original to back up your assertion, though.

  101. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  102. tony benton

    SCIENCE AND RELIGION MUST TALK

    I am an outsider looking in. I am interested in science but would also have belief in religion. What amazes me is the further you go up the ladder in either (sects) the more entrenched they are. The simple logic is nobody is right all of the time. Half of science is theory and probably three quarters of religion. Considering the billions of years involved is there not an element of truth on both sides. As there are gaps in mans evolution could it not be that man came as an implant to the planet much later. Quote "man was made in Gods image", therefore before man God existed in mans image. Discuss.

  103. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark & MRSA

    Mark

    I don't know when MRSA first appeared but it has been around for quite a time. Bacteria from the intestines of those who died in ill fated polar expeditions, before the invention of antibiotics, have been found to be resistant to some modern antibiotics.

    Variation does not remain the same, that's why it's called variation.

    In any case the resistant bacteria are still bacteria and the resistant mosquitoes are still mosquitoes - no Evolution.

    Martin

  104. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: Brock et al

    "The answer to the addendum question is genetics."

    Which is *proper* science, Bob. But I suppose you'll now contradict yourself and insist that all the knowledge we have on that subject is peripheral and that "designers" (clearly your favourite word) actually don't take their clues from a scientific pursuit at all. As I said, if you're going to keep moving the goalposts, get some hints from the professionals - the grown-ups in the pantheon of religious groups - who have no problem squaring evolution with their religious beliefs.

  105. Bob. Hitchen

    @MarkTime

    I don't know if MRSA is a new "illness" or not. Packing people into hospitals like sardines don't hlp in fact could be the cause particularly when some of the 'unfit' have survived due to medical intervention and allowed to breed where otherwise they wouldn't. Oh and people just don't get the same exposure to nasties like they used to. Not everybody died of the plague either or AIDS for that matter.

    True people had shorter lifetimes in the past especially if they were peasants must have something to do with diet and horrendus work and living conditions.

    Far as I know nothing has come into existence only adapted.

    btw once the body becomes aware of infection it's toast to an healthy immune system.

  106. Mark

    re: SCIENCE AND RELIGION MUST TALK

    So why not in RE classes? Why not talk in Church?

  107. Mark

    @Martin Yirrell

    Nope, MRSA has not been around for a long time.

  108. Mark

    @Martin Yirrell

    "I don't know if MRSA is a new "illness" or not. Packing people into hospitals like sardines don't hlp"

    Bob, how can it be detrimental if there is no such thing as adaptive evolution? If you pack lots of people together too close, they will share their illnesses but will not create new ones.

    Unless the illnesses mutate and adapt to the new situation of resisting treatments.

  109. Mark

    Re: Typical Reactions

    "When faced with something they cannot come to terms with let alone begin to understand people first close their hearts and minds and then lash out in anger at those who and that which represents the true source of all wisdom."

    Uh, you seem to be closing your heart and mind to "the true source of all wisdom" to be anything other than your assumption of the personification of God.

    You seem to be polarising your thoughts so that anything other than "all our knowledge is from God" doesn't get in. No possibility of that being wrong is able to pass in and be assessed by you.

    Before you ask one side to open their eyes, open yours.

  110. Martin Yirrell

    @Typical Reactions

    >When faced with something they cannot come to terms with let alone begin to understand people first close their hearts and minds and then lash out in anger at those who and that which represents the true source of all wisdom.<

    Yes, that's their problem, look how they react when their fairy story belief is challenged.

    Martin

  111. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    >If you're going to make claims like this, it looks better if you don't say things like "Creation destroys the argument for Evolution" since the grown-up Christian groups have been quite able to accept evolution alongside whatever creation beliefs they may have for quite some time. Indeed, I think I could probably name at least one vicar who could give you advice on the matter, should you be interested. ;-)<

    Seeing the state of the poor old CoE (who I presume you are talking about since you talk about vicars) they appear to believe in anything and nothing and many of them don't even appear to read the Bible. That is not a grown up Christian group but one which in the main part is dead.

    If you mean another, if they consider their own pronouncements of greater importance than the Bible then I'm not interested.

    >Actually, the whole "heaven" and "sky" correspondence is quite obvious in scripture translated to a number of languages. Feel free to cite the original to back up your assertion, though.<

    So in your vast knowledge of such you will be aware that the Bible talks of more than one heaven, the one where God dwells is the abode of spirits, not physical beings, and hence is equally not in a physical place.

    Martin

  112. Bob. Hitchen

    Re: Brock et al

    I haven't denied that evolution is a process so what's your beef? Far from clear whether it is random or following some blueprint. Design is not my favourite word I spent too long doing computer systems. That being said it's logic same as looking at what is and determining whether it all happened by accident or something engineered it. Occam's razor says take the simplest route and for me that's creation. The whole thing was laid down right at the start just like all the basic properties of matter.

  113. The Badger
    Flame

    Re: Typical Reactions

    "Imagine a lifetime spent in foolish denial of the only real truth whilst searching for answers only to find inconsistency and emptiness in half answers which only leads to more fruitless searching for a way to further deny the inevitable."

    What is this? Some kind of retrospective of creationism?

    This "their minds will be opened so that they will see what can be the only truth" nonsense is precisely why people don't want creationists and their friends anywhere near the science curriculum, because it's quite obvious that creationism, particularly the neo-creationism popular amongst the less serious sects of today, is all about telling people not to ask questions and to elevate ignorance to some kind of virtue - they'd be ripping pages out of textbooks (if not burning them) in no time in order to preserve the veneer of their "real truth".

    P.S. It's hilarious to get a lecture about "half answers" given that creationists would have Jesus riding a dinosaur into Jerusalem if it were the only way to "stay in the game".

  114. Mark

    Occam's razor says take the simplest route and for me that's creation

    Except that there's one honking GREAT BIG assumption there that breaks it:

    What did the creating?

    Which leads on to these assumptions:

    Who created that?

    What are they creating?

    Why are they creating?

    How can I spot it?

    etc.

  115. Bob. Hitchen
    Thumb Up

    Re: Occam's razor says take the simplest route and for me that's creation

    Now that's getting back to the five year olds'. What did the creating who knows conversely what created a singularity and what created that. The what is easy we's here. Oh and why - now there's a thing why are there set properties of matter out of the infinitesimal values available?

  116. Mark
    Paris Hilton

    @Yirrel re: Typical Reactions

    Are you talking about the creationists fairytale? Or the ID'ers "Aliens wot did it" fairytale?

    Well, at least you seem to see the truth that these tales with no supporting evidence and no method of advancing knowledge (beyond "God did it" or "Aliens did it". wonder: Was it Xenu what did it?) are in fact fairytales.

    You're beginning to open that mind of yours.

  117. Mark

    @Bob Period

    Well, what created the creator? Why is the creator there?

    Now if the answer to "How did all this matter come about" is "God did it", where do you go after that? What learning is possible if you're wrong? You aren't looking, you "know" the answer.

    If the answer is "The Big Bang" then you have the option to investigate whether you're right. If you're wrong, then you will come up with a different explanation until you get something that fits. You are able to investigate because this isn't "divine truth", but "human truth" and believing people wrong is completely acceptable. Believing God is wrong is not acceptable in the least.

  118. Martin Yirrell

    Occam's Razor

    Mark

    Since God has told you He did it ...

    Who created what? If you are asking who created God the answer is no one. It is only if something or someone has a beginning they require to be created. Since God also created time He is outside of time and existed before time.

    Actually those who _believe_ in ToE believe in fairy tales, some believers in ToE even believe in aliens planting life on this planet. You believe in Evolution although you cannot show any evidence that it occurs - it's hardly scientific if you cannot observe it.

    Bob, I can't remember if it was a five year old who pointed out that the emperor was starkers but sometimes children can see through piffle the learned throw up about their ideas. <G>

    Martin

  119. Mark
    Boffin

    It may be worth noticing

    That the God Squad are being told they're wrong and look at all the "I'm completely neutral" party are telling scientists that they can't say that.

    How bad would it get if GodSquad children were being told this! The parents would go apeshit! Completely librarian-poo!

  120. Mark

    Occam's Razor

    Uh, how do you know God told me when *I* don't know any such thing???

    So if God also created time and is therefore outside time, why must the universe have been created WHILE TIME EXISTED? The Big Bang theory is that before the Big Bang, there was no time. Therefore no "before the big bang". No need for God at the moment.

    Now as to "where did all that mass come from", well gravitational potential energy is negative. E=mc^2 tells us mass is positive energy.

    So that's where the mass came from.

    If you want a more accurate explanation, read up on the theory.

    Are you calling yourself a five-year old or are you saying that I've seen through your spurious "reasoning"?

  121. Bob. Hitchen

    MarkTime

    No the five year old asks awkward questions like what how and why and comes straight out with things adults are inhibited about for one reason or another. The honest answer to all the major questions is don't know.

    Like Gordon Brown the big bang has an inflation problem. It's good for mathematicians but of little practical use. These are dark days and there are lots of unseen matters' which funnily enough somebody said they had detected recently by gravitational mirroring. Unfortunately it's not supposed to react with ordinary matter so those scientists could be talking complete bollocks.

    The point most things have more than one explanation but at least the odds are on my side by quadrillions to one.

  122. Martin Yirrell

    Occam's Razor Mark

    Mark

    >Uh, how do you know God told me when *I* don't know any such thing???<

    You've heard of the Bible? That is where God has told you. You may wish to ignore God and the Bible, and in the process diminish yourself, but you have still been told. Indeed the whole of Creation tells you that there is a creator but you choose to believe your silly fairy story of Evolution. You are without excuse.

    >So if God also created time and is therefore outside time, why must the universe have been created WHILE TIME EXISTED?<

    Because that is what God tells you.

    >The Big Bang theory is that before the Big Bang, there was no time. Therefore no "before the big bang". <

    The Big Bang cannot even properly be called a theory, like Evolution it is an idea put forward by those who are afraid to even think of God. You can call it a hypothesis if you like, it is just more silliness.

    >Now as to "where did all that mass come from", well gravitational potential energy is negative. E=mc^2 tells us mass is positive energy.<

    Remember, theories come and go and science proves only one thing - that we know very little and understand even less.

    >Are you calling yourself a five-year old or are you saying that I've seen through your spurious "reasoning"?<

    You have difficulty understanding what I'm saying? Do you not remember the story of the emperor's new clothes. Even a five year old can see through your spurious reasoning.

    >No need for God at the moment.<

    Those breaths you have taken while reading this, God has given you, He has sustained your life. When you stand before Him and He asks you what you have done with what He has given you, what will you tell Him?

    Martin

  123. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  124. Bob. Hitchen
    Happy

    Re: Fuck Me

    Isn't the title how evolution is supposed to happen - the survival of the breediest. You should be putting it about more!

    There is no answer except 42.

    I hadn't noticed much acrimony but there again my genes gave me a thicker skin. Evolutionists do get hot under the collar easy makes one wonder what they're trying to hide.

  125. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @AC

    Ah, a five year old - shame he can only talk potty language.

  126. Mark

    The bible is a book written by men

    translated into english by men, edited and added to by men.

    No "Copyright God, 4004BC".

    God didn't tell me, humans writing a book told me. That's not god.

  127. The Badger
    Boffin

    Re: Occam's Razor Mark

    "You've heard of the Bible? That is where God has told you."

    I presume you're reading the original signed copy from your private collection, although since we're still waiting for that refutation of the whole heaven vs. sky correspondence, perhaps you only ever leaf through it for the pictures.

    "Remember, theories come and go and science proves only one thing - that we know very little and understand even less."

    And the neo-creationists want us to understand nothing at all. Exactly why their delusions should be kept as far away from the science curriculum as possible. Indeed, as far away from the classroom as possible, given the level of critical thinking on display here:

    "When you stand before Him and He asks you what you have done with what He has given you, what will you tell Him?"

    Surely any omnipotent deity wouldn't need to ask, but I imagine that any such entity, if bothered to consider such matters, would be more favourably disposed to people who tried to understand the universe than people who just chanted the same nonsense over and over again as if it meant something.

    P.S. Amusing that "God" posting as an anonymous coward spells out the mainstream Christian view to the neo-creationists. Classy comment title, too.

  128. Martin Yirrell

    @The bible is a book written by men

    Mark

    How would you know?

    Martin

  129. Martin Yirrell

    @The Badger

    >I presume you're reading the original signed copy from your private collection, although since we're still waiting for that refutation of the whole heaven vs. sky correspondence, perhaps you only ever leaf through it for the pictures.<

    Ah, the modest Badger who knows it all.

    >And the neo-creationists want us to understand nothing at all. Exactly why their delusions should be kept as far away from the science curriculum as possible. Indeed, as far away from the classroom as possible, given the level of critical thinking on display here:<

    Tell you what, if you can demonstrate Evolution you can include it in the 'science curriculum'. As science Evolution just doesn't work. Time takes away information from the genome, it never adds it. The reason that genetic engineering is felt to be necessary is because selective breeding inevitably introduces harmful characteristics as well as those desired. Evolution is scientifically implausible.

    >Surely any omnipotent deity wouldn't need to ask, but I imagine that any such entity, if bothered to consider such matters, would be more favourably disposed to people who tried to understand the universe than people who just chanted the same nonsense over and over again as if it meant something.<

    If you read the Bible you will find that God asks the Cain "what have you done" not because God did not know but in order to impress on Cain what he had done. In the same way at the end of time God will present men with their actions.

    Of course, modern science is the result of Christians seeking to understand God's creation. If it weren't for Christians and their belief in a logical creation created by a logical God you wouldn't have science.

    >P.S. Amusing that "God" posting as an anonymous coward spells out the mainstream Christian view to the neo-creationists. Classy comment title, too.<

    Silly and vulgar, it showed a marked lack of thought.

    Martin

  130. Mark

    How do I know the bible is written by man?

    Because it says "Copyright King James Bible".

    Because God didn't dictate it in English.

    Because there are several versions that don't agree.

    Because God hasn't submitted to court a copyright infringement case.

    Because God hasn't said he did.

  131. Mark

    No modesty fromYirrel either

    HE JUST KNOWS. AND YOU DO TO!!! Even if you don't.

    He's the one who has decided that the question to the answer "what equals 2" is "one plus one". HE KNOWS God exists (1) and (+) therefore anything done is because god did it (1).

    That there could be any one of a billion answers matters not. HE KNOWS. And YOU DO TO.

  132. The Badger
    Boffin

    @Martin Yirrell

    "Ah, the modest Badger who knows it all."

    Still waiting, Yirrell! Or could it be that you're yet another in a long line of people who likes to show off his bible without having much of a clue about the content?

    "Time takes away information from the genome, it never adds it."

    I know where you're going on this one, and at the end of this little cherry-picking excursion there are a few choice words from MC Hawking.

    "If it weren't for Christians and their belief in a logical creation created by a logical God you wouldn't have science."

    As science reveals more of how the universe works, the label which reads "it's God's work, don't worry about it" gets stuck to something else mankind wouldn't have known anything about had it been up to the creationists. But for the creationists it's turtles all the way down, each one claiming to represent the deity of choice.

    Oh, and don't forget the scientific work done by people who just happened to be born into various other religions or belief systems, particularly the ones who actually provided much of the basis of what we actually regard as science. Or don't their contributions count?

  133. Martin Yirrell

    @How do I know the bible is written by man?

    Mark

    >Because it says "Copyright King James Bible".<

    I doubt it. In any case if the Bible is translated into English don't you think the translator is entitled to say so on the title page and to copyright their work?

    >Because God didn't dictate it in English.<

    We all know it wasn't written in English. What has that to do with anything?

    >Because there are several versions that don't agree.<

    Really? Are you sure about that? Have you ever read it.

    >Because God hasn't submitted to court a copyright infringement case.<

    ROFL

    >Because God hasn't said he did<

    2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

    Since God wrote it He clearly says He wrote it.

    Martin

  134. Martin Yirrell

    @By The Badger

    >Still waiting<

    For what?

    >I know where you're going on this one, and at the end of this little cherry-picking excursion there are a few choice words from MC Hawking.<

    Really? I see you still know it all.

    >As science reveals more of how the universe works, the label which reads "it's God's work, don't worry about it" gets stuck to something else mankind wouldn't have known anything about had it been up to the creationists. But for the creationists it's turtles all the way down, each one claiming to represent the deity of choice.<

    I see you know nothing about the history of science either.

    >Oh, and don't forget the scientific work done by people who just happened to be born into various other religions or belief systems, particularly the ones who actually provided much of the basis of what we actually regard as science. Or don't their contributions count?<

    Ah, so you admit that people who aren't atheists can also be scientists. Could it be that those Christians who are also scientists and who have looked at ToE and found it implausible will find your acceptance. Or does that offend your religion too much.

    Martin

  135. Mark

    @Yirrel

    2Timothy 3:16.

    That was written by a man, wasn't it? One of the scriptures. I.e. written down by man.

    Man is not God. Even for those who believe Man is made in God's own image (for which I agree with Hobbes: God must have a weird sense of humour were that the case).

    Failed again my blinkered friend.

    As to your other missive to badger, you have not yet shown you know ANYTHING AT ALL about science. All you've displayed so far is misinformation about science.

    And that statement you quoted said nothing about people who aren't atheists cannot become scientists. It was (if you can read English rather than Aramaic) that non atheists worked and produced science too. People whose belief as to what God did, what reason for life there is and why it came about are not the ones that YOUR belief accepts. So Science is more accepting of believers and religious people than your religion (as you espouse it, because you ARE NOT the world and in a very major minority [or trolling. badly] of those people who believe in the christian god).

  136. Mark

    Credulity in the Bible

    Please also note that according to the Bible, Bats are Birds.

    Because, apparently.

  137. The Badger
    Boffin

    @Martin Yirrell

    "For what?"

    Your refutation that "heaven" and "sky" weren't meant interchangeably in various scriptures.

    "I see you know nothing about the history of science either."

    Says the man who wrote, "If it weren't for Christians and their belief in a logical creation created by a logical God you wouldn't have science." The Christians you're presumably referring to merely advanced scientific understanding, albeit in significant ways, but that's what science is all about: building on the knowledge gained by those who came before. Darwin and friends weren't exactly the sole founders of science, but it's nice to see you recognise their contribution. Obviously, it's a shame that you more or less advocate overprinting all that knowledge with the single word "God" in all the textbooks.

    "Ah, so you admit that people who aren't atheists can also be scientists."

    Naturally. But those scientists don't let preconceived notions of the universe, written up from tribal knowledge, dominate their critical inquiries.

    "Could it be that those Christians who are also scientists and who have looked at ToE and found it implausible will find your acceptance."

    Here's the thing about science, Martin: it's not about which badge you're wearing or whether you support the same football team, prophet, spiritual leader, deity or whatever; it's not about "he's a Christian, too, so I believe in his work"; it's all about the results and whether those results stand up to cold, hard, objective scrutiny by people who say, "Yes, that helps us understand why that thing happens, and it helps us reason about when and how it might happen again."

    Sadly for mainstream Christians (because their reputation gets soiled by a bunch of pig-ignorant fundamentalists) and for everyone else, the people doing all the shouting about supposed "killer flaws" in evolution - which itself indicates that they don't understand how science is done - are people whose "review" of evolution starts with quote-mining exercises and always has to end with some sweeping away of any kind of detail under God's carpet. You and Sideshow Bob Hitchen might regard such stuff as science, but it's pseudo-science if we're being extremely charitable. From what you've written, I don't think you're able to distinguish between the two.

  138. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark

    Mark

    Yes, it was written by a man, but did you notice the sixth word? What that means is that though men wrote they were inspired in what they wrote by God. That is what Christians mean when they say that the Bible is written by God.

    Since you appear to accept that Christians can also be scientists why can you not accept that scientists who do not accept Evolution to be sound scientists could be right?

    Martin

  139. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    >Your refutation that "heaven" and "sky" weren't meant interchangeably in various scriptures.<

    Then perhaps you ought to go back and read what I wrote.

    You might want to consider that ToE postulates a series of random events resulting in your mind. this hardly implies a world where events happen in a logical fashion and where minds are capable of logical thought. On the contrary, a world based on the chaotic nature of random events would not lead to a logical science. On the other hand, a logical God creating a logical universe leads, logically, to a logical science. You are dependent for science on a logical God.

    >Naturally. But those scientists don't let preconceived notions of the universe, written up from tribal knowledge, dominate their critical inquiries.<

    All scientists have preconceived notions and all scientists interpret the world based on those preconceived notions. That's why Dawkins is a believer in Evolution, because he is an atheist. The concept of a disinterested scientist discovering wonderful things about the world is far from the truth. All people, scientists included, have a worldview and look at the world through glasses coloured by that worldview.

    >Here's the thing about science, Martin: it's not about which badge you're wearing or whether you support the same football team, prophet, spiritual leader, deity or whatever; it's not about "he's a Christian, too, so I believe in his work"; it's all about the results and whether those results stand up to cold, hard, objective scrutiny by people who say, "Yes, that helps us understand why that thing happens, and it helps us reason about when and how it might happen again."<

    So demonstrate Evolution. That should help you understand how it happens.

    >Sadly for mainstream Christians (because their reputation gets soiled by a bunch of pig-ignorant fundamentalists) and for everyone else, the people doing all the shouting about supposed "killer flaws" in evolution - which itself indicates that they don't understand how science is done - are people whose "review" of evolution starts with quote-mining exercises and always has to end with some sweeping away of any kind of detail under God's carpet. You and Sideshow Bob Hitchen might regard such stuff as science, but it's pseudo-science if we're being extremely charitable. From what you've written, I don't think you're able to distinguish between the two.<

    The fundementalists are the mainstream Christians. They are the ones who can show that their beliefs are the same as the beliefs held by Christians down the ages. Rowan Williams and those odd Americans are just Jonny come latelys.

    As for flaws in Evolution, it has one massive flaw. There is no mechanism by which new information can be introduced to the genome. And if you have no new information then there is no Evolution. That is it! I have worked in the comms industry for many years and you do not get information out of nothing, certainly not from errors. Errors destroy information and mutations are errors. Nor does time cause information to grow. The only thing that increases information is intelligent input. If you really apply science to Evolution you will see that Evolution just cannot happen.

    Martin

  140. Mark

    Martin again

    There IS a way to get new information into the genome.

    Random mutation that can

    a) be beneficial

    b) be harmful

    c) not pass on

    Each random change adds information to the genome. Each culling out adds significant information to the gene pool.

    How would your sky fairy put information into the gene pool? Scribing error?

  141. Mark

    Martin again

    No, a man SAYS he was inspired by God.

    Other people have written holy script from Bhudda. The information therein doesn't match what your scriptures say but is supposed to be the words dictated by their God.

    So having it written down as "Inspired by God" doesn't and cannot prove it was the word of god. Unless he's yanking your chain or insane.

  142. The Badger
    Boffin

    @Yirrell

    "Then perhaps you ought to go back and read what I wrote."

    Well, first you wrote this:

    "Heaven does not equate to sky."

    Then you wrote this:

    "So in your vast knowledge of such you will be aware that the Bible talks of more than one heaven, the one where God dwells is the abode of spirits, not physical beings, and hence is equally not in a physical place."

    Contrary to what you believe, the Bible is a compendium of a lot of different writings by a lot of different people, many of whom contradict each other, but various scriptures focus on the singular heaven and the very word for heaven in various languages corresponds exactly to that of the word for sky, even today. Now, you might argue that this was just a way to "sell" the religion to unbelievers (one of the nice ways, if you consider the catalogue of atrocities performed in the name of the religion), but for many people the correspondence was firmly established. Even today, the notion that God is located "up above" as we hear all the time in badly written popular music lyrics is still reflected in practices of worship and related behaviour.

    Still, I'm not really that interested in reading what a bunch of people tens of hundreds of years ago (or somewhat less, given the translations that most people are reading) have to say on various matters related to the structure of the universe given the scientific knowledge actually available at the time but unknown to or ignored by such people, and given what we've learned, thanks to scientific advances, in the last few hundred years.

    "You might want to consider that ToE postulates a series of random events resulting in your mind."

    And why not? And would it not be interesting to know how the mind works, what the structure is, whether other organisms have similar structure in the brain, how that structure might have come about? Rather than to say that it has been "divinely designed" or whatever under-the-carpet nonsense that "creationism reloaded" might suggest. Would it also not be interesting to understand why people suffer from various disorders in brain function and how those disorders come about? Or would you rather suggest that the otherwise benevolent creator deliberately inflicts such things on people for whatever perverse reason conveniently invented by the clique of believers to project whatever arbitrary and frequently cruel "morality" they subscribe to?

    "So demonstrate Evolution. That should help you understand how it happens."

    There's a huge body of scientific work constantly documenting evolution. On the other side of the "debate" are people pushing their pretend science, putting on the white lab coat and mimicking their favourite stereotype of actual scientists.

    "The fundementalists are the mainstream Christians."

    Hardly, unless the Pope's masses are filmed against a green screen.

    "As for flaws in Evolution, it has one massive flaw. There is no mechanism by which new information can be introduced to the genome."

    This is just the usual quote-mining going on, combined with the classic creationist's misuse of the laws of thermodynamics. Look up MC Hawking if you promise not to get upset by the rude words.

    "Errors destroy information and mutations are errors."

    Yet another misrepresentation of the science, but then skimming off and misrepresenting the results of other people's hard work is what creationism is all about.

    "The only thing that increases information is intelligent input."

    Turtles all the way down again, or maybe up into heaven.

    "If you really apply science to Evolution you will see that Evolution just cannot happen."

    On the basis of what you consider to be science or on the basis of actual science? Yet more material showing why creationists should leave science and the science curriculum to the scientists.

  143. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark

    Mark

    Random changes cannot add information. Information only comes from intelligent sources. What you are suggesting is the same as saying you get added content when your internet connection has errors on it!

    Martin

  144. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    >I'm not really that interested in reading what a bunch of people tens of hundreds of years ago (or somewhat less, given the translations that most people are reading) have to say on various matters related to the structure of the universe given the scientific knowledge actually available at the time but unknown to or ignored by such people, and given what we've learned, thanks to scientific advances, in the last few hundred years.<

    More fool you. You'd rather take as truth a book by a guy who failed at medicine and theology and who hesitated to publish his 'big idea' until someone threatened to pip him at the post! (it's even said that he pinched a good deal of the otherman's ideas as well)

    I'm afraid you won't understand the Bible unless you read it for yourself. Do us all a favour by keeping your ignorance on the subject to yourself.

    >There's a huge body of scientific work constantly documenting evolution.<

    Then why can you not demonstrate it?

    >Hardly, unless the Pope's masses are filmed against a green screen.<

    Why would you think that the Pope was a Christian at all, let alone a mainstream one?

    >This is just the usual quote-mining going on, combined with the classic creationist's misuse of the laws of thermodynamics.<

    So who mentioned thermodynamics?

    >>Errors destroy information and mutations are errors.<

    Yet another misrepresentation of the science, but then skimming off and misrepresenting the results of other people's hard work is what creationism is all about.<

    Then prove it. All you ever do is deny, you have no ideas of your own. If you have any involvement in IT you would know that errors destroy information and a lot of effort goes into combating errors and if you knew anything about biology you'd know that mutations are errors.

    >Turtles all the way down again, or maybe up into heaven.<

    If you want to believe in turtles that's up to you.

    >On the basis of what you consider to be science or on the basis of actual science?<

    On the basis of _actual_ science. Prove me wrong, demonstrate Evolution.

    Martin

  145. Mark

    @Yirrel

    Martin, random information CAN add information.

    If I toss a dice, you will, once it has stopped, know whether I tossed heads or tails.

    Information.

    Meaning is gained when evolution by adaptive mutation causes those random changes to spread or die out.

    "On the basis of _actual_ science. Prove me wrong, demonstrate Evolution."

    Yup. Here it is.

    Bird Flu Deaths in Humans.

    Humans aren't birds.

  146. The Badger
    Boffin

    @Yirrell

    "I'm afraid you won't understand the Bible unless you read it for yourself. Do us all a favour by keeping your ignorance on the subject to yourself."

    Says the person who in response to the statement that, of the Bible, "there are several versions that don't agree" said, "Really? Are you sure about that? Have you ever read it."

    Your use of contradiction as an arguing strategy wears thin. If you went to any serious venue of Bible study - in other words, not some Sunday School or whatever loud-but-uninformed sect you appear to have signed up for - and said that there isn't more than one version of the Bible out there, you'd be laughed off campus. I mean, are you even aware of why it was controversial that people translated the Bible to other languages? Did the whole Reformation business pass you by as well? And we're not even touching on all the source materials, the stuff which was discarded by various authorities, and the accepted view that the gospels were written up centuries after the events they were supposed to describe.

    All this "just read the Bible and you will understand" stuff is like some kind of paranormal practitioner pretending to get messages from the dead or aliens by meditating or handling supposedly sacred objects. And yes, I did have to read the Bible many times over the course of my primary and secondary education - plenty of time I won't be getting back - but at least my educators did the honest thing and pointed out what a patchwork of different, contradictory works it is, particularly the New Testament. You're going to claim that "they are wrong" but at this point even the biggest Bible-literalist of all of those people has more credibility than you have on the matter.

    "Then why can you not demonstrate it?"

    Just read the actual literature, why don't you? I'm certainly not going to start regurgitating the literature in a comment box to someone who is just going to come back with some "oh but it isn't, according to me, that is" retort. Inform yourself on the matter, read articles on the subject, actually engage your brain and consider how it is that people can attempt to reason about organisms, diseases and so on. And not in the "ooh, God let them" sense, but in the sense that they can actually look at the details, consider the available knowledge on the subject, draw conclusions, predict outcomes.

    It's as I noted in response to your "random events resulting in your mind" assertion, and I note that you won't go anywhere near that topic, would it not be interesting to understand how the mind works and the origin of cognitive disorders? Or is playing the God card the easy way out, even if it would make you look like a cruel person? To which I'm sure you'll parrot the "it's God's plan" line, meaning that any intellectual effort is unlikely to be forthcoming on reconciling the contradictions in your own belief system.

    "Why would you think that the Pope was a Christian at all, let alone a mainstream one?"

    Yeah, take a look at his CV. How did he get that job? Do you have a separate definition of "mainstream" as well, in your own personal English dictionary to complement your own special edition of the Bible?

    "If you have any involvement in IT you would know that errors destroy information and a lot of effort goes into combating errors and if you knew anything about biology you'd know that mutations are errors."

    You assume that genetic information is some kind of predefined message whose value is lost if it changes, but this is both a conveniently narrow definition of information *and* a misrepresentation of the science. In effect, you've provided a convenient set of erroneous definitions or analogues from which you then build up a "proof" which misrepresents what is actually being said. Only in your own little world does it make no sense. In fact, the triggering of mutations through a variety of methods which don't involve "intelligent input" have been used in plant cultivation to great success, but I expect some pantomime-level response from you which only serves to sustain your delusional worldview as it floats further away from observed reality.

    But as I said before, you take the honest hard work of others, clip out some choice bits, assemble some distorted montage and then use it to trash the work you've plundered. Upon being personally dissatisfied with the most potent and detailed explanation of the biological world, you promote ignorance, intellectual and physical poverty. You surf atop the achievements of civilisation whilst condemning those achievements and the people who made them possible. What indeed would Jesus say about that?

  147. Robert Harrison

    Heh

    Nice to see all the spittle and froth in response to my comment some weeks ago. Interesting reaction considering I don't disagree with the theory of evolution. Way to go zealots. What I was trying to say in a nutshell was "never stop questioning", maybe I should have just posted that in big crayon letters.

    Anyway, @J

    "Hm... what does abiogenesis have to do with evolution, exactly? That's right, nothing." Ok I hold my hand up here and say I know nothing, tell me in big crayon letters why the two are unrelated given that one follows logically from the other? Or maybe my definition of evolution is inapplicable here.

    And suppose that a fossil was found that dramatically changed the way we perceive natural history (please note I'm not saying how), what then would all the absolutists do? After all we've only seen something like 3% of the total fossil record.

    Carry on Flaming. Oooh saucy.

  148. Mark

    @Bob Harrison

    So? That's what science DOES.

    But, unless you're researching the boundaries of that science, you shouldn't be making shit up to say "it's wrong". If you're that interested, become a researcher.

    If such a fossil were found, there'd be at least three groups of scientists trying to FIND the truth:

    a) It's in the wrong place, so how did it get there?

    b) It's genuine, so what does that mean to adaptive speciation?

    c) It's a fake, so how do we find out?

  149. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark

    Mark

    Dice - Sorry, it's not information, it's just random data.

    Bird Flu - Guess what, it's still a virus - hence not evolution.

    Martin

  150. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    If you don't read the Bible you won't know what is in it - let alone understand it. Perhaps you ought to give up regurgitating what others have told you and find out for yourself. Then we could actually discuss.

    I'll give you a clue - as Dawkins said in the Channel 4 programme - No one has ever observed Evolution and no one has ever demonstrated it. Thus it isn't really science, just a hypothesis favoured by many because it means that they don't have to worry about God.

    I'd agree that knowing how the mind works would be fascinating but you would be somewhat limited by your belief in a purely material existence. So, what's the point in discussing it further?

    As to the Pope - do you actually know what a Christian is according to the Bible?

    The genome does contain information, I'm afraid. And the transmission of that information from one cell to another uses a mechanism to pass information. Mutations occur when there is an error in that mechanism. In effect it is similar to any system that transfers information. Now you might prefer to think of the contents of cells as Darwin did - as a jelly like substance - but science has moved on since then.

    Who do you think took those plants and bred them to select for the mutations. It was _intelligent_ human beings.

    As I said a long while ago, you folk do not understand Evolution or Christianity.

    Martin

  151. Martin Yirrell

    @Robert

    Robert

    What does abiogenesis have to do with Evolution? Well, since ToE postulates an entirely 'natural' cause for the variety of life you must also be able to postulate a natural source for that life. Thus any concept of Evolution must also include the origin of life.

    Actually, if they discovered a fossil that threw doubt on ToE it would be ignored. Can't have anything casting doubt on the creation myth of the atheist can we. Do you remember the fuss over the haemoglobin found in a dinosaur bone?

    Martin

  152. Mark
    Gates Horns

    How clueless?

    Yes it is information.

    "Heads I win, Tails I lose".

    After the result, you know whether I've won or not.

    Read up on Shannon theory. It's fairly basic maths. Not science, so you won't get sent to hell for questioning the big beard.

    "Bird Flu - Guess what, it's still a virus - hence not evolution."

    Uh, it affects birds. There's a cow virus that doesn't affect humans. It was used to prevent smallpox. It never changed to "human cowpox".

    Bird flu did.

  153. The Badger
    Flame

    @Yirrell

    [Yirrell as predicted: read the Bible (again), God did and does it all (again), here comes the misrepresentation of various scientific theories as a perverse Yirrell 2.0 mash-up (again)]

    "As I said a long while ago, you folk do not understand Evolution or Christianity."

    I'll happily wear the badge "Martin Yirrell says I don't understand evolution or Christianity", knowing what I now know about where this criticism is coming from.

  154. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    'Fraid if you are going to criticise a book you have to read it. Even fiction needs to be read before it is criticised. Wearing your ignorance on your sleeve may make you feel happy but it doesn't impress.

    Martin

  155. Mark

    Yirrels nethers speak again

    "Actually, if they discovered a fossil that threw doubt on ToE it would be ignored. Can't have anything casting doubt on the creation myth of the atheist can we."

    Uh, a paeontologis would give his right eye for a find like that.

    Hard to ignore it when there's a nobel prize for them in the works.

    fuckwit. I hope Shiva spit roasts you and eats your liver for eternity for obeying the fictitious false god YHWH (who can't even spell his own name!!!).

  156. Mark

    Proof reading

    proof Yirrel is not reading a damn thing:

    "'Fraid if you are going to criticise a book you have to read it. Even fiction needs to be read before it is criticised."

    Where has Badger said he has never read the bible? It's part of junior school in the UK.

  157. The Badger
    Flame

    @Yirrell

    "'Fraid if you are going to criticise a book you have to read it. Even fiction needs to be read before it is criticised."

    I told you already that I had to read the Bible at school - religious education was compulsory, and I more than adequately demonstrated my knowledge by passing the exams by quite some margin. Feel free to re-read this with expletives to drill the point home into your contrary little skull.

  158. The Badger

    Re: Proof reading

    "Where has Badger said he has never read the bible? It's part of junior school in the UK."

    And for those unfortunate enough to have their lesson plans slanted towards the spiritual, at a cost to real-world subjects, it's part of secondary education as well. Of course I actually wrote that I had read the Bible, but this obviously wasn't the special Yirrell Bible dictated by the apostles and the prophets in plain English, hot off the celestial presses.

  159. Martin Yirrell

    @a paeontologis

    Mark

    A what? ROFL

    Martin

  160. Martin Yirrell

    @Badger

    >I told you already that I had to read the Bible at school - religious education was compulsory, and I more than adequately demonstrated my knowledge by passing the exams by quite some margin. Feel free to re-read this with expletives to drill the point home into your contrary little skull.<

    Wow, and that made you an expert!! However you appear to have forgotten anything you did know.

    Martin

  161. Martin Yirrell

    @Mark

    >Where has Badger said he has never read the bible? It's part of junior school in the UK.<

    However you do not learn much about the Bible at Junior or Secondary school. Indeed to really understand the Bible takes a lifetime. It would, however, be interesting to know when was the last time either of you Bible students actually opened a Bible.

    Martin

  162. Martin Yirrell

    @How clueless?

    Mark

    When you toss a coin and make a decision on the result you are deciding on the basis of resultant data. You are taking data and applying your intelligence to it. Now it is true that a description of information theory will say that flipping a coin will have less entropy than a tossed dice but that does not mean that either implies that a flipped coin imparts information. The coin will contain information on both sides - and in some cases the edge - however that information was placed there by an intelligence, not by the act of tossing the coin.

    That bird flu can be passed to humans and cause harm and cowpox does not cause harm when passed to humans is irrelevant. Bird flu may have mutated but it is still a virus, is still bird flu in fact, and has not evolved.

    Martin

  163. Mark

    Less clueless than you, Yirrel

    Information doesn't have anything to do with meaning. Intelligence has nothing to do with it: If a tree falls in the forest and nobody sees it, did it fall? YES. Even though there was no intelligence watching.

    Read up about Shannon theory. Or information theory full stop.

    Of course this will show you where you're wrong, so I don't suppose you'll do that.

    My intelligence is vastly higher than yours, but I still cannot make a coin turn heads by the power of my mind.

    Bur flu could NOT be passed to humans. Until it evolved to have the key that opens the human cell system.

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