Creationist Misunderstandings: Answered WITHOUT Genesis

Feb 6, 2014

Buzzfeed’s Matt Stopera published an article entitled  22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution which contained photos of 22 creationist at the event, each holding a question for Bill Nye.  As these questions often come up when discussing the issue with creationist myself I wanted to post my own answers.

If we define positive by how well we educate our children concerning the operations of the physical world, how to think critically, and to recognize when supposed answers actually have no explanatory value, then yes.  Whereas other educators are focused on teaching at the high school and college level, well after some parents have crammed their children’s minds with superstitious religious bullshit; Bill Nye is at the forefront of education, introducing young children to the wonders of the real world.

 

Since there is nothing to fear from “creators” that show no evidence of being physically real, then no I am not scared.  I do not fear a divine creator for the same reason I don’t fear the boogie man, Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolf Man, Jason Voorhees or Freddy Kruger.  I find this question odd because to fear something first requires a belief in that something.  If there is no reason to believe this divine creator is real then the question seems to resolve itself.

 

Yes, of course it is illogical.  Occam’s Razor tells us that among competing hypotheses, the hypothesis with the fewest assumptions should be selected.  The idea Earth was created as we see it today would require your creator god to create all the evidence currently pointing to a 4.5 Billion year old Earth.  That necessitates your god being a dishonest trickster deity which is refuted by the very Bible to which Ham appeals.  Hebrews 6:18: “[I]t is impossible for God to lie.”

 

No, it does no such thing.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics roughly states that energy can only flow from a hot body to a cold one in a closed system, and that the measure of this is called entropy, which only ever increases.  The argument being that a living cell appears to contradict this by maintaining order in their cellular innards.  Alas living things are not closed systems.  Creationist like to use one thing they don’t understand to explain the others.  The problem here is a misunderstanding of physics.

 

This is a misunderstanding of physics and cosmology.  Living in the same region, I am inclined to give her the benefit of the doubt that her question was with regard to the beauty of the sunset, not how it occurs.  It should be obvious to anyone with a basic education that the earth is a rotating oblate spheroid and sun sets when any surface observer rotates away from the sun.  The beauty aspect usually depends on other factors such as landscape and weather and is purely subjective, not everyone is in awe over the sun setting.

 

Basically the same answer as #4, with a slight twist. At the start, the universe in its compressed form would seem to be at near-maximum entropy — a dense, homogenous gas.  But the “organization” of the universe into its current form also generates disorder.  The solution here is that because the universe is expanding it keeps getting shifted out of equilibrium.  In the drive to reach a new equilibrium state, you can get pockets of order occurring without violating the second law, because the maximum allowable entropy also keeps increasing.

 

What about it?  It is a branch of study concerning the mind and intellect.  The concept is most widely known from a mention in Dan Brown’s novel “The Lost Symbol.” It’s not evidence against evolution nor is it evidence pointing to any sort of god.  The argument would appear to be that the mind is unexplainable without a supernatural creator.  Again we find the old argument from ignorance.  As far as we can tell our mind is a manifestation of our physical brain and not something that is separate from the brain.

 

From many of the same places that you probably do.  But this is irrelevant to the question of whether evolution is true or not.  Should we not try and shape facts to fit a certain philosophy, or figure out the facts and consider how this affects our worldview?  The hidden argument here is that without a sky daddy there is no meaning to life.  But the meaning granted to us by a religious belief is that we are all slaves created to dedicate our entire lives to the adulation and subservience of an invisible celestial dictatorship, backed up by a threat that refusal will lead to torment after death.  Why would anyone want that sort of “objective” meaning?

 

This is yet another argument from ignorance, otherwise known as the god of the gaps.  The implied argument being that, absent a scientific explanation concerning how life arose, the default answer is to attribute it to a god; this doesn’t actually explain anything.  The question of how the first cell arose is actually irrelevant to the Theory of Evolution via Random Mutation and Natural selection or the Earth being 4.5 Billion year old, the two things which Ken Ham explicitly denies. The chance of life originating on Earth is actually 100% because it has already occurred.  Attributing life to a god only begs the question of how god originated?  Did their god originate by chance?

 

This isn’t a question but a theological assertion which shoe horns a religious belief into the prevailing cosmological model for the early development of the Universe.  This assertion is another appeal to ignorance as it is currently unknown what if anything existed or could exist before the initial quantum fluctuation that lead to cosmic inflation.  This assertion requires further investigation such as why and how does god speak?  What did god say exactly and how did uttering this mystery phrase cause physical reality to begin?  The fundamental problem of appealing to supernatural causes in an attempt to explain natural observations is that it raises far more questions than it attempts to answer.

 

The question reads, “Why do evolutionist, secularist, humanist, non-god believing people reject the idea of their being a creator god but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra-terrestrial sources?” This is example of prejudice as we don’t universally embrace that idea, nor are we required to believe aliens designed life in the absence of a magical sky daddy.  The exact explanation of how life arose is currently unknown.  All we know is that there is nothing within the laws of chemistry that prevent self-replicating molecules from occurring in nature.

4  

The argument appears to be that there is nothing in-between Lucy and modern humans, only a few fossils of the hundreds necessary for what this person would consider “official proof”.  I’m wondering if this lady has ever heard of something called Wikipedia?  Perhaps she could start here and see all of the fossils showing the many intermediate forms between humans and our ancient apelike ancestors.  I’m also certain that even with hundreds of fossils this lady would then move the goal post and demand even more evidence before considering it “official proof”.

 

Metamorphosis is not micro-evolution; it’s a series of developmental stages in a single organism. Here is a good article on the evolution of metamorphosis in insects.

 

The idea that diseases are caused by germs is a theory too, yet most medical schools tend to spend much more time on antibiotics and hygiene than on faith healing. Most science classes don’t teach evolution “as fact”; it is taught as a scientific theory. And in this case, “theory” doesn’t mean “a bunch of wild ideas that Richard Dawkins and Bill Nye cooked up after a late night at the pub”; it means an explanation supported by massive amounts of physical evidence and logic, tested and weighed and re-tested and scrutinized by scientists across the world.Creationism is not a scientific theory. A scientific theory can be altered or disposed of if new, convincing evidence arises; creationism ignores or selectively misinterprets existing scientific evidence in favor of preserving the assumption of a divine creator.

 

That definition of theory is wrong as explained in the previous response.  Observation and testing is actually pretty much the entire thing that science is about.

 

So this seems to be a common creationist argument: evolution cannot be real because mutations don’t “add information.”  In their view, it’s impossible to get from a tiny microorganism that has a very small genome to a human with about 20,000 protein-coding genes through mutations.  This is kind of an extension of the entropy argument.  But there are actually plenty of ways that mutations can “add information” to the genome!  A region of DNA might be copied and inserted into the genome due to an error during replication, or by a virus.  Sometimes even a whole genome can get duplicated — many plants are what are called polyploidy, meaning they have multiple copies of their whole genetic library (cultivated strawberries, for example, are octoploids — they have 8 copies of their genome in every cell!)  Duplication is thought to be a powerful engine for evolution.  A creature might retain an original version of the copied gene, while the other copy might undergo some point mutations (changes to a single letter of the DNA sequence). The organism still has the functional, original gene that allows it to keep on trucking’, while the other copy may gain new functionality.

 

Like the 2nd & 8th question, this question is irrelevant to the larger question of whether evolution is true or not.  But this is also a false dichotomy; there are plenty of scientists that identify as religious and don’t see a conflict between evolution and their beliefs.  Does the concept of Salvation really hinge on whether or not humans evolved over time?

This also presumes that salvation from sin is something to be concerned with.  Sin is an affront against god and as yet there is no good evidence to assume there are gods, therefore there is no good reason to assume there is a need for salvation.

 

Scientists have actually found at least nine specimens of Austrolopithecus afarensis (the species “Lucy” belongs to) in Eastern Africa.  This is someone else who hasn’t yet heard of Wikipedia.  Perhaps he should look here if he wishes to see the other pre-human fossils he assumes have yet to be found.

 

Yes, because there are multiple lines of evidence supporting the theory.  Astronomical observations show that galaxies are moving away from each other, and if we trace their paths backward, it looks as though the Universe was condensed into a single, very hot point billions of years ago.  The ratios of hydrogen, helium and other elements throughout the Universe appear to match what we might expect if the Universe was once compressed into a tiny, very hot, very dense point.  We haven’t found any stars that appear to be older than 13.8 billion years old.  The cosmic background radiation permeating throughout the universe is at the temperature that one would expect from an expanding, cooling universe.

 

Ah…. you can add this to the long list of arguments from ignorance.  The non sequitur here being that the world is amazing therefore it must have come about by the will of a god; and I’m going to bet on it being her god.  Most scientists find evolution pretty amazing and beautiful!  It’s exciting to think about how life in all its vast, varied beauty and terror, has changed over billions of years – and how it might change in future eons.  Black holes are amazing as well, but they are also terrifying objects which can destroy solar systems and swallow whole stars.  Did god makes them?  Supernovas can destroy entire planets in orbit around them, some of which may harbor living beings.  Why would your god create something like that?

 

Barring the fact that the Big Bang isn’t quite the same thing as an exploding star—it’s massively hotter, for one thing, and stars explode in space, while the Big Bang created space itself and stretched it — a lot of scientists would like to know this too!One idea*, for example, is that the Big Bang was actually the interaction between two vast objects outside of our universe called “branes.” It’s an important question, and a difficult one to explore – but one of the great things about science is that you can always say “I don’t know”; another is to follow that up with “but I’ll try and find out.”

 

This question is, for lack of a nicer word, as stupid as asking why, if Americans came from England, are there still Englishmen?  Or, if dogs were bread from wolves why are their still wolves?  Humans did not “come from monkeys”, we simply share a common ancestor with all modern primates.  This man might be shocked to discover that humans are currently classified as great apes.  We are Homo sapiens, members of a clade of tailless catarrhine primates, belonging to the biological superfamily Hominoidea.

by | Categories: John Tremblay, Musing |

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