Posts Tagged ‘creationism’
The claim that every letter and word in the bible has been ordained by God would seem to mean an inaccuracy would not reflect well on divine authorship. Though if being charitable, we could say God was an editor at large.
New International Version (NIV)
25 God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,[a] and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27 So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
New International Version (NIV)
18 The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.”
19 Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name.
The reading does not really indicate whether man was made before all other living creatures, after all living creatures, or some and not others. It is a slight stretch to say conclusively in the very first two chapters a major lack of proof reading has crept in.
So therefore argues a creation site:
Genesis 2:19 is describing only the animals created in the Garden, after man. The purpose of this second batch of animals being created was so that Adam could name them (Genesis 2:19) and select a wife (Genesis 2:20). Since Adam could not find a suitable mate (God knew he wouldn’t), He made Eve (Genesis 2:21-22).
There are no contradictions between these two chapters. Chapter 2 only describes in more detail the events in the Garden of Eden on day six. If ancient man had written the Bible (as some scoffers say), he would never had made it say the light was made before the sun! Many ancient cultures worshiped the sun as the source of life. God is light. God made the light before He made the sun so we could see that He (not the sun) is the source of life.
The sun though does not just provide an alternative light source:
Our sun gives us light, heat and energy. It may seem that energy comes from other sources such as gasoline and electricity but the ultimate source of energy for the Earth is nothing else but the sun. Without the sun life on Earth would not exist. It would be so cold that no living thing would be able to survive and our planet would be completely frozen.
The sun also plays the role of a big anchor, which creates gravity that keeps our planet and the other planets of the solar system in a small space. If it weren’t for the sun, our planet would simply fly off loose into the universe.
Perhaps gravity, and the order in which chemicals were formed, was left out because God neglected to mention how stars and planets form, and how their motion works.
Or just maybe it was written by a people who did not live in a time to know about such things. That is not scoffing. It is just being honest.
Article written by John Sargeant on Homo economicus’ Weblog
Islamic creationism: London debate on Islam and evolution cancelled because of Muslim student opposition
In my studies of on how people try (and fail) to accommodate science and religion, I've tried to investigate faiths other than Christianity (the main religion concerned with such reconciliation) and Judaism. But with Islam it's a dismal failure, for there aren't many decent books dealing with the topic (for one, see Tanir Edis's An Illusion of Harmony: Science and Religion in Islam…
Sir Harold Kroto has responded to my blog on Michael Reiss, and his comment I include below:
The Reiss Affair – a Matter of Intellectual Integrity
Various letters, such as that from the Bishop of Lincoln (Guardian) etc, contain a significant amount of self-righteous criticism of the Royal Society with regard to the Rev Michael Reiss’s position as Director of Science Education. It is clear that there is almost total ignorance about the real issues involved and a truly pathetic understanding of Science – the culture that created the modern world – from anaesthetics and penicillin to jet engines and the Internet. Of course “The Origin of the Universe and Living Organisms” is a perfectly respectable question for the Science lesson (perhaps the most exciting and fundamental one) – as long as someone with Intellectual Integrity is there to answer it! There is a major problem however for the religious person, scientist or otherwise, in answering this question and it involves, first and foremost, Intellectual Integrity.
Let me clarify the fundamental philosophical issue – The Scientific Mindset: Science is based solely on doubt-based, disinterested, examination of the natural and physical world. It is entirely independent of personal belief. There is a very important, fundamental concomitant – that is to accept absolutely NOTHING whatsoever, for which there is no evidence, as having any FUNDAMENTAL validity. A lemma: One can of course have an infinite number of questions but only those questions that can be formulated in such a way that they can be subjected to detailed disinterested examination, and when so subjected reveal unequivocally and ubiquitously accepted data, may be significant.
The plethora of more-or-less incompatible religious concepts that mankind has invented from Creationism and Intelligent Design to Christianity, Islam, Judaism, Buddhism, Mormonism, Scientology, Hinduism, Shinto, Shamanism etc., etc., etc., are all basically indistinguishable, from the Freethinker’s perspective. It really does not matter whether someone believes a mystical entity created the Universe five thousand or ten thousand million years ago – both are equally irrational unsubstantiated claims of no fundamental validity. Unfortunately Michael Reiss who is, according to reports, a nice guy, was just in the wrong job. He, together with all religious people – whether they like it or not, whether they accept it or not – fall at the first hurdle of the main requirement for honest philosophical scientific discussion because they accept unfound dogma as having fundamental significance. Note that I did not say value (positive or negative!). In the Jeffersonian sense Church and State (including education especially on Sundays) must be separated – otherwise our democratic freedoms are undermined. A secular socio-political framework is an absolutely necessary (though unfortunately not always sufficient) condition to guarantee freedom of religion – as well as freedom of non-religion.
I do not have a particularly big problem with scientists who may have some personal mystical beliefs – for all I know the President of the Royal Society may be religious. However I, and many Royal Society colleagues, do have a problem with an ordained minister as Director of Science Education – this is a totally different issue. An ordained minister must have accepted that there is a creator (presumably more intelligent than he is?) and thus many of us (maybe 90% of FRSs) cannot see how such a person can pontificate on how to tackle this fundamentally unresolvable conflict at the science/religion interface. Reiss cannot have his religious cake in church on Sunday and eat the scientific one in the classroom on weekdays. This is where the Intellectual Integrity issue arises – and it is the crucial issue in the Reiss Affair.
I suggest that the Rev Reiss, the Bishop of Lincoln and any others who presume the authority to dictate how religious issues should be handled in the science classroom read from Sam Harris’s book “Letter to a Christian Nation” at their Sunday sermons. Then perhaps some of their flock may understand what Intellectual Integrity and true humanity actually involve. Furthermore I suggest that this wonderful little book be a set text for young people at Sunday School, so they recognise that the really dangerous people can include the religious who are hell-bent on dragging us back into the Dark Ages, rather than the Freethinking Humanists who are struggling to save the democratic freedoms of “The Enlightenment” for our grandchildren.
Sir Harold Kroto FRS NL
Florida State University
Reposted from comments here.
To make life easier all the blogs on Michael Reiss have been put together in a category to see them all click
here (where this one will be on top). There you will find all the letters written by Richard Dawkins and Sir Richard Roberts, and my comments on both the articles that Reiss wrote that started his downfall and analysis of his resignation.
Mind you in hindsight we should have seen Lord Rees, President of the Royal Society and Reiss being in this situation over creationism. Not just because an ordained clergyman given the role of protecting science education in the classroom would be called into doubt, but the anagram of Professor Michael Reiss:
‘ism clash poor Rees fires
PZ Myers made this comment on Reiss:
Dawkins and I are both often slandered as being relatively uninterested in promoting good science education, preferring to fight the culture war against religion (a claim that ignores the fact that we may feel strongly that the only way to achieve a lasting investment in understanding science is by reducing the pernicious influence of religion) — we are told that we think atheism more important than science. Let us ask, though, if these brave paladins of Jesus-compatible science would be willing to set aside their religion to better endorse science…and I think we all know what the answer would be.
That feeling made Reiss’ position untenable because “unfortunately his words got all tangled in the appearance of an unwarranted accommodation to creationism.”
Once again perception of reality rather than the actual empirical observation triumphs in the murky world of society politics – rational minds are not immune to gossip or personality clashes even if they are Nobel Laureates. While the next candidate may well have no conflict between advocating science and holy orders, the issue over which Reiss was brought down was one close to my heart. That in a science classroom science teachers have the right to teach the science that challenges a students declaration of religious belief about the natural world.
Hopefully that challenge will still be taken up, as the Royal Society advocates, and in case you are new to the blog I go into more detail in my blog here on Reiss resigns. Though that can be found as the third blog in the category section of Michael Reiss.
Before Michael Reiss stepped down as director of education for the Royal Society, Dawkins sent New Scientist his thoughts on the creationism row that blew up last week
The Reverend Michael Reiss, the Royal Society’s Director of Education, is in trouble because of his views on the teaching of creationism.
Although I disagree with him, what he actually said at the British Association is not obviously silly like creationism itself, nor is it a self-evidently inappropriate stance for the Royal Society to take.
Scientists divide into two camps over this issue: the accommodationists, who ‘respect’ creationists while disagreeing with them; and the rest of us, who see no reason to respect ignorance or stupidity.
The accommodationists include such godless luminaries as Eugenie Scott, whose National Center for Science Education is doing splendid work in fighting the creationist wingnuts in America. She and her fellow accommodationists bend over backwards to woo the relatively sensible minority among Christians, who accept evolution.
Get the bishops and theologians on the side of science – so the argument runs – and they’ll be valuable allies against the naive creationists (who probably include the majority of Christians and certainly almost all Muslims, by the way).
No politician could deny at least the superficial plausibility of this expedient, although it is disappointing how ineffective as allies the ‘sensible’ minority of Christians turn out to be.
The official line of the US National Academy, the American equivalent of the Royal Society, is shamelessly accommodationist. They repeatedly plug the mantra that there is ‘no conflict’ between evolution and religion. Michael Reiss could argue that he is simply following the standard accommodationist line, and therefore doesn’t deserve the censure now being heaped upon him.
Unfortunately for him as a would-be spokesman for the Royal Society, Michael Reiss is also an ordained minister. To call for his resignation on those grounds, as several Nobel-prize-winning Fellows are now doing, comes a little too close to a witch-hunt for my squeamish taste.
Nevertheless – it’s regrettable but true – the fact that he is a priest undermines him as an effective spokesman for accommodationism: “Well, he would say that, wouldn’t he!”
If the Royal Society wanted to attack creationism with all fists flying, as I would hope, an ordained priest might make a politically effective spokesman, however much we might deplore his inconsistency.
This is the role that Kenneth Miller, not a priest but a devout Christian, plays in America, where he is arguably creationism’s most formidable critic. But if the Society really wants to promote the accommodationist line, a clergyman is the very last advocate they should choose.
Perhaps I was a little uncharitable to liken the appointment of a vicar as the Royal Society’s Education Director to a Monty Python sketch. Nevertheless, thoughts of Trojan Horses are now disturbing many Fellows, already concerned as they are by the signals the Society recently sent out through its flirtation with the infamous Templeton Foundation.
Accommodationism is playing politics, while teetering on the brink of scientific dishonesty. I’d rather not play that kind of politics at all but, if the Royal Society is going to go down that devious road, they should at least be shrewd about it. Perhaps, rather than resign his job with the Royal Society, Professor Reiss might consider resigning his Orders?
Richard Dawkins, Fellow of the Royal Society
My own take on the matter is in the previous blog.
Reiss has resigned, having been misrepresented that creationism should be taught in the classroom when he suggested that it should be challenged when brought up by students. He was the director of education at the Royal Society, and having initially stood by him, they decided that the damage to their international reputation over this meant he had no option but to resign. The Royal Society in a statement said:
Some of Professor Michael Reiss’s recent comments, on the issue of creationism in schools, while speaking as the Royal Society’s Director of Education, were open to misinterpretation. While it was not his intention, this has led to damage to the Society’s reputation. As a result, Professor Reiss and the Royal Society have agreed that, in the best interests of the Society, he will step down immediately as Director of Education a part time post he held on secondment. He is to return, full time, to his position as Professor of Science Education at the Institute of Education.
The Royal Society’s position is that creationism has no scientific basis and should not be part of the science curriculum. However, if a young person raises creationism in a science class, teachers should be in a position to explain why evolution is a sound scientific theory and why creationism is not, in any way, scientific.
The Royal Society greatly appreciates Professor Reiss’s efforts in furthering the Society’s work in the important field of science education over the past two years. The Society wishes him well for the future.
It seems that what did for him was the suggestion by some that creationism should not even have science used to discredit it; it should be dismissed. That if a student believed that science was wrong about the age of the world or evolution, that a science teacher should not respond. It is almost like creationism should be treated as the elephant in the science classroom. Science teachers do not deal with a misleading world view, and students go out the classroom thinking that the science of man is wrong compared to the glory of god, and continue to ride the elephant that has no substance. The hope it seems is that the excrement of the elephant will not be shown to the class to infect them with a delusion.
The argument boils down to quarantine creationism (no mention even by students) or inoculation (which risks that it is mentioned, but controlled by the teacher). The problem is that we do not trust that science teachers will teach the science – rather that they will consider creationism an acceptable alternative view, or by talking about it somehow make the criticism scientifically relevant. As if scientific ignorance born of religion is a genie that needs to be kept in the bottle for fear that it will make creationist’s wishes come true.
Outside the scientific community creationism is considered a world view that is acceptable. Whether good or bad science is less important then it being considered a religious belief, shielding the ignorance and by not wanting science teachers to correct the bad science giving further cover. The science classroom seems to be the best place to dispel such ignorance of the world we live in.
What I am calling for is a Bill Bryson teacher of biology class. Reiss is right that this is a tall order for teachers; someone that can make science interesting and explain how we know things, as much as what we know. When a student challenges science (on whatever) they can go into the science. The teacher has to stick to the science, not their personal views.
Why some think this amounts to teaching creationism is absurd. Atheist blogger makes the point:
So, I agree with Mr Reiss on the principle that if the subject is brought up, it should be commented on and dismissed. What I do not agree with is his opinion that “they should also take the time to explain how science works and why creationism has no scientific basis“. Creationism shouldn’t be given more than 10 seconds in a science classroom. If it is mentioned for more than that amount of time, students might get the impression that it is actually a worthwhile subject to talk about, instead of learning how evolution works, and all the evidence for that.
The student already thinks it is a worthwhile subject to talk about. Are we really concerned that a creationist student having their belief system mentioned and corrected with science will have unleashed a meme to infect their other classmates? This is not about saying teach the controversy (there is not one in science) or give it equal time (like we would not with alchemy or astrology).
The issue is one I relate to as a student of the Jehovah’s Witnesses when at school. Education is important in the instruction – that of god’s word and the teachings as explained by the Watchtower and Bible Tract Society. Evolution was wrong and creationism right. I even learned how to argue with Darwinists with scripture and bad science – cushioned with faith that the world was in the hands of the evil one and that science teachers and peers were pawns in the end game of Armageddon.
So it would have been great if my science teachers could have shown me just how wrong the bad science was. Yes I wanted to bring it up, because I felt it was misleading. I would have liked nothing better then to talk to my teacher after class. Their is an arrogance in ministry work that as an instrument of god you can change people’s lives and save them. As you can imagine, teachers would not discuss these things with me because that was not the domain of science to correct religious views.
Lord Winston made the comment:
“I fear that the Royal Society may have only diminished itself. This individual was arguing that we should engage with and address public misconceptions about science — something that the Royal Society should applaud.”
That is my fear too. Yet if we are prepared to allow misconceptions about what Reiss was arguing for then maybe for the sake of creationism not being challenged we will allow children to have their misconceptions about the world go unchallenged in the education system. Which will mean that evolution is not taught in a way that steps on sensibilities too much. That the scientific method and how that validates such things as evolution and the age of the world will not have time on the curriculum.
The enlightenment was about stressing the use of reason as the best way to find the truth about ourselves and the world around us. Kant’s buss word for this was ‘Sapere aude’ (‘dare to know’). Roy Porter observed on those intellectual bandits that were part of the movement:
They shared a general commitment to criticizing the injustices and exposing inefficiencies of the ancien régime; to emancipating mankind, through knowledge, education and science, from the chains of ignorance and error, superstition, theological dogma, and the dead hand of the clergy.
Perhaps a fear of religion in the science classroom is making us forget that education is the primary reason why students go to school. We can continue to allow teachers to teach things, the students to believe something different – and because of our fear not allow the student’s belief given to them by their parents to go uncriticized and their ignorance by which they reject what they are taught unchallenged.
Reiss, suggesting after 20 years this approach has not worked in making evolution understood by a generation of religious students, wanted an engaged approach with them – one that the followers of the enlightenment would have understood only too well. Yet rather than listen to whether such a different way may improve the science education and reduce the ignorance of school leavers, we have effectively said business as normal.
That though is the problem with science education in this country. Dawkins in his latest programme was critical of the science teachers of a school for thinking that creationist world views were acceptable and out of bounds for being challenged in the science classroom. Yet while Dawkins’ intentions are well known (his letter on Reiss can be found here), Reiss was already under suspicion that he wanted to promote religious views on science as an alternative. He was misrepresented in what he said, and people’s fears about him were realized based on the media reports rather than his actual article (which is covered in the first link of this blog but can be found here as well). If he was not ordained maybe he could have survived this.
I hope this incident will not cause religious secularists to duck and cover in the debate. Instead we are by the looks of things heading for a polarization of views. This may well be the best way – science should win over crack pot views of science. The problem though is that we may end up with an education that fails to enlighten students and give them the means to work things out for themselves, because their assumptions are not challenged. Reiss’ contribution was ignored based on the assumptions about his motives and the spin on what he was claimed to have said – in this we on the secular side seem guilty of hearing what we wanted to hear, and to think that a religious man being against creationism in the science classroom was not possible.
That though is exactly want the fundies want. By all means they would like creationism taught alongside evolution. But the next best thing is for the one in ten children of fundamentalist parents not to have their belief challenged. We seem to be promoting a stalemate, a situation that does not improve education, and creates a cold war of ideas. At the ice caps of the polarized views, people assume that the religious cannot take science seriously, and the other that evolution leads to wickedness and damnation. If we cannot challenge ignorance over science in the classroom then be prepared for new adults to be ignorant about the world in which we live.
The looser will be the children we fail to educate.
A debate rages in the Royal Society over the continual appointment of Michael Reiss, who in an article mentioned that creationist views of students should be discussed in the classroom. Nobel Laureates Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts have written to the President of the Society to dismiss him.
Reiss in an article wrote:
Just because something lacks scientific support doesn’t seem to me a sufficient reason to omit it from a science lesson. When I was taught physics at school, and taught it extremely well in my view, what I remember finding so exciting was that we could discuss almost anything providing we were prepared to defend our thinking in a way that admitted objective evidence and logical argument.
So when teaching evolution, there is much to be said for allowing students to raise any doubts they have (hardly a revolutionary idea in science teaching) and doing one’s best to have a genuine discussion. The word ‘genuine’ doesn’t mean that creationism or intelligent design deserve equal time.
The question is was he suggesting that in the Science classroom teachers challenge student doubts about how old the world is and the validity of evolution (which he claims) or that creationism should be taught as an alternative so that the scientific viewpoint could be considered as a different world view (which the Nobel Laureates rightly oppose). The problem is saying another world view makes it sound like an equal alternative.
If Reiss was suggesting that the discussion should be student led, with the teacher showing the validity of the scientific method then this would be a good thing. One that I would have benefited from at school seeing as I was brought up to believe that evolution was wrong on a scientific basis – if we could have discussed the science behind evolution and why we know the world is billions rather than thousands of years old would have been brilliant.
Reiss clarified his remarks this way at the Royal Society website saying:
“Some of my comments about the teaching of creationism have been misinterpreted as suggesting that creationism should be taught in science classes. Creationism has no scientific basis. 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. I have referred to science teachers discussing creationism as a worldview’; this is not the same as lending it any scientific credibility.”
I have just posted that clarification on the Dawkins website. It seems too many people were making judgments about him being sacked based on second hand comments of what he said, rather than reading his original article.
Ever wondered how to sum up evolution as being a valid scientific theory? PZ Myers suggests:
Yes, I believe evolution is true.
I consider it the best explanation of the origin and diversity of life on earth,
and it is backed by an immense body of evidence. Strictly speaking,
it is not a matter of belief, but a recognition of the knowledge
of qualified experts and a familiarity with the research
that has been done in the field; I would also
add that science does not deal in absolute
truth, but strives for approximations,
and is always willing to discard old
ideas if better explanations
with better evidence
Do you have evidence for an alternative theory?
Want to know what a religious field trip for home schooled kids is like?
The problem is what they are teaching is based on their faith, not on what the evidence is. They will not know that most religious people may not have to reject evidence in nature based on a dogma, nor that doing so for religious reasons is not a good way about discerning what is true. What they will not realize is that what is true about the natural world must submit to an interpretation of the bible based on a belief.
What they teach here is about reinforcing the presumed accurate belief system in the children, with the view that they will later on reject what science has to say with regard the age of the earth, when dinosaurs roamed the earth, the development of species over time by a natural process that we call evolution.
Remember: if recognising evolution took place leads your kids to deny faith in god, and to agree with same sex marriage and porn, some parents will do anything to prevent that possibility. Including denying them a proper education that may lead them to draw their own conclusions based on the evidence.
Thankfully children grow up, and often put away childish things as an adult. Belief that all things must be controlled by a supreme being and not natural processes is one of them.
Thanks to Alex Mabee for the link.
Well just got back from Leicester listening to Ken Ham talk about creationism this Thursday evening. Handed out a few leaflets to people attending on science education, but it became clear during the talk that Ken Ham’s version is smoke and mirrors.
His talk centred on there being observable science. That there was only the same facts, but that a creationist looked at it from the standpoint of the Word of God and others from the human reasoning stand point. What he seemed to suggest is that from our respective biases we drew conclusions from the same evidence – but his was true because it was based on the Word of God.
No – the world being billions of years old is confirmed by geology. He did show a video claiming that Mount St. Helens showed that the world could be created in a very short space of time – which it does not of course. There was a video on the Chameleon (shown in the Creation Science Museum) which suggested that swivelling eyes, and a brain that could process the information, let alone the ability to change colour, was proof enough that God did it.
Talking to one of the Answers In Genesis (AiG) staff outside the talk he claimed that I could not have a form of morality because it was not based on the bible. I pointed out that even the view of morality based on the bible had changed, and that in civilisations without the bible moral codes had developed. I even mentioned John Rawls and how the veil of ignorance worked – this went over his head because he said that human reasoning could not say why the holocaust was wrong. I pointed out that it was wrong to kill people on the basis of their belief or ethnicity, how did I know? Well because it was arbitrary and I would not want to live in such a society that did – and part of that was empathy with people and the whole veil of ignorance thing. That I could recognise such action as being a crime against humanity.
Ken Ham himself mentioned that Genesis was the foundation for the Christian message, and that evolution was wrong in the common descent because of it. In short, the literal interpretation of Genesis was essential not only to Christianity but also to moral virtual because secularism by not being based on God’s Word would lead to evil like abortion, pornography and gay marriage – even racism(?)
The display for this was two battle ships fighting one another. A recurrent theme was that secularism was not about being neutral – it was open hostility to God’s Word. It misses the crucial point that secularism is not based on whether you believe in evolution or not, faith or not, abortion or not. The principle is that the state does not use it’s power to enforce religion on it’s citizens, allowing them the right to their consciences in this regard but not to have dominion over another over a faith claim. But no, apparently morality is not something that atheists can have.
He also mentioned about seeing the Ben Stein movie Expelled. I kind of see watching Ken Ham talk as my way of making up for not seeing it in Minneapolis. One video Ken showed was two palaeontologists digging up a dinosaur fossil, and one says that it is millions of years old and the other that it is 4,300 years old because the bible tells me – then leaving it at that with no evidence accept that the bible says. As if both sides were just two different points of view like whether to support Manchester City or Man United – only that one side would be for justice and glory.
All the videos depended on the audience going “Wow, how amazing, so complex, there had to be a God.” Then Ken Ham following up with bible scriptures. At one point the Trinity was mentioned in scripture given proof by the perfection of creation. The leaps being made within seconds of one association over the other were breathtaking and liquid refreshment was needed to get over the nerve of someone that was prepared to say that they loved science and yet could pretend that the facts supported that the earth was thousands of years old and their view of Christianity.
The lecture ended with a look at the various books and DVDs we may want to buy. I was able to pass on that opportunity. The way that AiG staff can say that they do not want intelligent design in schools but Ken Ham can say that they should get involved in school boards to promote creationism is a double faced show. They do want books in the school libraries that denote the earth as a few thousand years old. They want society to be based on their human interpretation of the bible (something they do not accept – it is God’s of course) and the sooner we live our lives to the message of Christ the better.
There was the part where apparently with death and all an atheist has no purpose. May as well just die now. But through Christ we have meaning and a reason to live a life based on God’s Word. He quoted Dawkins as saying get used to the truth when asked if it was a bleak message science mentioned about existence. It missed the part that what we feel about facts is neither here nor there only whether they are true to be called that. Being alive makes us the lucky ones and we can find our purpose for ourselves.
The problem with Ham’s message is that this means taking away my rights, and making science second fiddle to what they claim the bible tells us. Ken Ham even claimed that Genesis was the only creation account that told us everything – clearly therefore it was true! Apparently no other religion now or before tells us about our origins. Later on he showed us a video that talked about how the aboriginals had a similar tale of creation to the bible. Which made me wonder how much of the double talk the listeners were hearing.
In the end we headed down the pub and showed that far from life having a pointless existence, lacking any meaning when you reject a sacred text as being literally true, there were things worth living for. Not just beer, but companionship and that it is better to talk about things as they are then talking about things as you wish they were.
Was the protest worth it? Well it was difficult to get the people to talk about science – ended up with the argument that personal revelation in their lives was more important then human reasoning. It gave them comfort, and meant that they knew what was right because it was in the bible. One of them had never heard of Lot and the seduction of him by his daughters – this surprised the gentleman because an atheist knew the bible. It surprised me because he worked for AiG and the account is in Genesis after all. I had asked him how we knew paedophilia was wrong as it was not mentioned in the bible. Not even in the ten commandments – graven images more of a sin then that? He tried to say that it was an affront to god – I asked if paedophilia was too? He could not bring himself to say that human thought derived such acts to be immoral and unethical – for him that could only be derived because of the bible.
Please do not think this is just a bunch of crazy people who mean us no harm. They really believe it is to the betterment of society that they project their belief onto how science is discussed, and that society must embrace Jesus (as defined in their ministry) before the world becomes a happier place – or Armageddon comes. They really cannot conceive that the world could have a noble purpose without that kind of belief. I beg to differ, and hope that science education is not befallen to faith claims but to evidence which is not based on the stand point of a religious text.
My thanks to Pennie and Chris who gave me a lift, and to fellow Leicester Secular Society members who attended the protest.