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Creation/Evolution

Facebook discussion perfectly mirrors public censorship of creationist positions

The following Facebook conversation I had with a few people is the perfect example of how creationist viewpoints are pushed out of the conversation on no merit whatsoever.  If you feel I was wrong in this conversation, feel free to show me where I went wrong in the comments.

The conversation following a friend posting that they were happy that the UK agreed to kick creationism out of any publicly funded school.  The names and profile pics have been covered up.  I am “Tim”, the black icon.  The original poster is the blue icon.

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__________

What do you think?  Did I push it too far?  Did I say something offensive or out of line?  From my viewpoint, I was simply pushed out of the conversation because they did not want to hear anything contradictory to their chosen worldview.  The evidence was staring them in the face (my first comment), but they would not entertain any idea outside of their own paradigm – even for an adult discussion.  Thoughts?

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About Tim

http://www.gracewithsalt.com

Discussion

21 thoughts on “Facebook discussion perfectly mirrors public censorship of creationist positions

  1. Your paper does not demonstrate what you claim. It concerns mutations in H1N1 flu virus. Consider Darwin’s finches, whose beaks fit the particular food source of each diverging species.

    The problem with the Creationists’ challenges to evolution is that they are so easily refuted.

    Posted by Clare Flourish | June 20, 2014, 7:02 pm
    • The paper was written by John Sanford. If you review his other work you will see that his area of focus is genetic entropy. He is a geneticist with Cornell University. He is on record as stating that none of the leading geneticists that he knows or works with believe that natural selection and/or mutation is sufficient to produce an upward change.

      I believe I sufficiently displayed the concept of genetic entropy with this infographic: https://gracesalt.files.wordpress.com/2014/04/money.png.

      Regarding natural selection, I’m wondering if you are aware that creationist Edward Blythe published the idea of NS 24 years before Darwin? Darwin’s explanation of finches is no different than a creationist explanation. Why do you suppose this change is an advancement? Natural selection obviously cannot explain the origin of traits or adaptations if the traits have to be there first. Natural selection is a selective process, not a creative process.

      Posted by Tim | June 20, 2014, 7:11 pm
      • Tim, I am very happy for you to rot in your delusions. I am less happy that you drive thinking people away from Christ. So Sanford is a proper geneticist? What is the point of you citing one geneticist, and ignoring the vast majority of them?

        Posted by Clare Flourish | June 20, 2014, 7:37 pm
        • Sanford, in his book called Genetic Entropy, presents dialogue with several leading geneticists who agree with his conclusions. On this page (http://creation.com/genetic-entropy), he defends his book against several disagreements from critics.

          From that site:

          Is man presently degenerating genetically?

          It would seem so, according the papers by Muller, Neal, Kondrashov, Nachman/Crowell, Walker/Keightley, Crow, Lynch et al., Howell, Loewe and also myself (in press). Scott suggests this is foolishness and dismisses the Crow paper (1–2% fitness decline per generation). But Kondrashov, an evolutionist who is an expert on this subject, has advised me that virtually all the human geneticists he knows agree that man is degenerating genetically. The most definitive findings were published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science by Lynch.4 That paper indicates human fitness is declining at 3–5% per generation. I personally feel the average mutational effect on fitness is much more subtle than Lynch does—so I think the rate of human degeneration is much slower than he suggests—but we at least agree that fitness is going down, not up. Can Scott find any qualified geneticist who asserts man is NOT now degenerating genetically? There is really no debate on current human genetic degeneration—Scott is 100% wrong here, and is simply not well informed.

          So, actually Sanford (the creationist) estimates that mankind is degenerating slowly than most experts (and evolutionists) believe.

          Posted by Tim | June 20, 2014, 7:44 pm
          • So you change argument, from H1N1 to humanity. OK.

            The argument is that human society is so safe that deleterious mutations are not selected against, so propagate. Possibly. It hardly means that life in general does not evolve.

            Posted by Clare Flourish | June 20, 2014, 8:04 pm
            • The H1N1 paper is just an observational example of the bigger argument. The bigger argument is developed, from my understanding, based on computational rates (http://ge.tt/7mN7K6O/v/0). The argument is that deleterious mutations are so rampant that even aggressive (never observed) selection cannot keep up with it. They take the observed selection rates and conclude that they cannot keep up with the amount of deletions. Therefore observation confirms de-evolution, not evolution. There is thus, no known mechanism for upward mobility in evolution.

              Posted by Tim | June 20, 2014, 8:08 pm
            • Geneticists are the one subset of scientists who are the most skeptic of evolution. Never skeptical about natural selection, no one is. And NS can so easily be interpreted as evolution. A classic example is that a brown bear moves north and develops white fur (polar) – therefore evolution right? Wrong. That bear LOST the ability to create dark fur, resulting in white. Therefore the LOSS of genetic information. That is the reality. Popular media would publish that as the GAIN of white fur. That is incorrect interpretation.

              ** Disclaimer: I don’t know if that exact example is scientifically accurate (may be the other way around), but that is the jist of the argument that I have heard exampled time and time again. The point is most adaptations are actually LOSSES not gains.

              Posted by Tim | June 20, 2014, 8:26 pm
  2. Carter and Sanford wrote about their experiments with the H1N1 virus and only about that virus. You take one study published in one journal and use Carter’s and Sanford’s conclusions as a general conclusion of all sequences of mutations over time. Regardless whether Carter’s and Sanford’s conclusions are correct (or even whether or not their methodology was sound or whether any other scientist(s) is/are able to reproduce their experiment and arrive at the same conclusions), according to formal logic one cannot use a “singular” to prove a “universal.” To use an (admittedly ridiculous) example: one pitched baseball hit a batter, therefore, all pitched baseballs hit batters.

    Contrary to your claim that students or whomever are taught never to question evolution, there isn’t a biologist, geneticist or any other scientist who wouldn’t love to be the person to come up with a theory (in the scientific meaning of the word) that better explains the evidence than evolution. Evolution has been tested constantly since Darwin proposed the theory. Testing theories is a key element of the scientific method. Evolution is so widely accepted by scientists because the theory has met every challenge. If evolution is ever demonstratively proven inaccurate — again with the formal logic — that doesn’t mean creationism is true.

    If creationism can explain the varied observations made of the natural world more comprehensively than evolution, more power to it. From my decades of listening to creationists, their explanations always come to a variant of “God made it that way because the Bible says so.” That is religion.

    Posted by stim | June 20, 2014, 8:29 pm
    • The H1N1 paper is just an observational example of the bigger argument. The bigger argument is developed, from my understanding, based on computational rates (http://ge.tt/7mN7K6O/v/0). The argument is that deleterious mutations are so rampant that even aggressive (never observed) selection cannot keep up with it. They take the observed selection rates and conclude that they cannot keep up with the amount of deletions. Therefore observation confirms de-evolution, not evolution. There is thus, no known mechanism for upward mobility in evolution.

      From Sanford in reply to Scott (a critic):

      Is man presently degenerating genetically?

      It would seem so, according the papers by Muller, Neal, Kondrashov, Nachman/Crowell, Walker/Keightley, Crow, Lynch et al., Howell, Loewe and also myself (in press). Scott suggests this is foolishness and dismisses the Crow paper (1–2% fitness decline per generation). But Kondrashov, an evolutionist who is an expert on this subject, has advised me that virtually all the human geneticists he knows agree that man is degenerating genetically. The most definitive findings were published in 2010 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science by Lynch.4 That paper indicates human fitness is declining at 3–5% per generation. I personally feel the average mutational effect on fitness is much more subtle than Lynch does—so I think the rate of human degeneration is much slower than he suggests—but we at least agree that fitness is going down, not up. Can Scott find any qualified geneticist who asserts man is NOT now degenerating genetically? There is really no debate on current human genetic degeneration—Scott is 100% wrong here, and is simply not well informed.

      So, actually Sanford (the creationist) estimates that mankind is degenerating slowly than most experts (and evolutionists) believe.

      Posted by Tim | June 20, 2014, 8:34 pm
  3. Interesting and needed discussion on genetics. The problem is that the term “creationism” has come to stand for YEC and a wooden view of Scripture. I believe God is the Creator and that we are His creation, but, these days, would never refer to myself as a ‘creationist’ because of the baggage that goes with such terms. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2012/05/03/creation-young-earth-ham-nye-genesis-one/

    Posted by Michael Snow | June 27, 2014, 2:58 pm
    • Thank you for your comment. I am YEC, and this is a YEC blog – but I still appreciate other views. I read your post and was going to comment there, but I believe Jonathon Silcox replied anything I would have added. Have a good day.

      Posted by Tim | June 27, 2014, 3:09 pm
  4. I saw quite a few insults (change the subject and attack) and bad comparisons. It is surprising how often supporters of evolution do not understand their own belief system, so they lash out instead.

    Posted by Question Evol Proj (@PiltdownSupermn) | June 30, 2014, 6:19 pm
  5. I’m glad to see that Tim realizes that one virus in one study does not invalidate evolutionary processes. No scientists has ever denied that some evolutionary paths lead to extinction. Extinction is common in the biosphere. That doesn’t invalidate The Theory of Evolution. The paths which are “successful” are what we observe all around us.

    As to the ban on “creationism in the public schools”, the main problem is that Young Earth Creationists have yet to publish a comprehensive theory of special creation—and demonstrated that it better explains the evidence/data than other theories. I can respect Dr. Hugh Ross, an Old Earth Creationist, because he realizes that and he has published a formal scientific theory of OEC. He also does a good job of explaining why YECs should not expect to find their religious view in a science classroom. If they want to be represented in science textbooks, they must do the actual science and publish a theory which passes peer review.

    Intelligent Design has the same problem. IDers publish all sorts of complaints about other theories and hypotheses but never get around to publishing and defending a Comprehensive Theory of Intelligent Design, which would include heuristic rules on determining what is and isn’t intelligently designed. To their credit, back in 2005 one of their board members admitted publicly that a major problem for the ID movement was that they had yet to publish and define an ID Theory that could be falsified and tested under the scientific method. Here we are about a decade later and still no scientific theory.

    “Creation science” is known for trying to find flaws in real science. But the most common question in every origins forums is the request that Young Earth Creationists provide a scientific theory. They’ve yet to do so. That is why Young Earth Creationism is mentioned in sociology and political science classes but not science classes. If you don’t present a formal theory subject to falsification testing, you aren’t dealing in science. That is why YECism doesn’t belong in science class.

    When I was a Young Earth Creationist, I asked both Dr. Morris and Dr. Gish why they didn’t publish a formal theory. Dr. Gish told me: “It wouldn’t matter if we did.” Dr. Morris said, “That’s for your generation to do.” But eventually I realized the real reason: origins ministries make their money selling propaganda to their followers. There is nothing to be gained from publishing a YEC theory which can’t be shown to better explain the evidence than does the established science, such as The Theory of Evolution.

    Posted by Allen Miller | July 9, 2014, 3:50 pm
    • I didn’t really make this post to argue for creationism in public schools. It probably would never work. Even most pastors can’t explain creationism correctly, how could we expect public school teachers to? The point is that the UK did not just ban creationism, they banned anything that is contrary to evolution. In other words they just made evolution unfalsifiable in public schools. Does that sound problematic to you? Unfalsifiable = unscientific.

      Posted by Tim | July 9, 2014, 3:57 pm
      • No, it does NOT sound problematic to me. The purpose of the public schools at the pre-collegiate level (what we call elementary school and high school in the USA) is to teach what we KNOW about science—not every minor issue that scientists debate. There just isn’t time for it in the science curriculum at the pre-collegiate level. And there certainly isn’t time available to talk about non-issues which a tiny percentage of scientists pursue FOR RELIGIOUS REASONS, not scientific ones. Young people have enough difficulty learning the basics. In a “current events” class or a sociology class, “teaching the controversy” may be entirely appropriate. But it has no place in the science classroom UNLESS an alternate theory has been through peer review and represents an important challenge to a previous accepted theory. The Theory of Evolution has NO RIVAL in any sense.

        As many have observed, both “creation science” and “ID” in the USA are trying to find a short-cut into the science classrooms: through courts and legislation. They don’t want to do the hard work of actual research, publication, and peer-review. (And as with most other fringe groups, blaming everything on “evil conspiracies” keeping them out is a great fund-raising technique. We hear the same arguments from 9/11 “truthers”, Apollo Moon hoaxers, chem-trailers, and even anti-vaccine crazies. Of course, “creation science” advocates and IDers don’t like to mention that most Christians oppose them as well. Some conspiracy!)

        A lot of people think that astrology is a valid field of astronomy. But the fact that a lot of non-scientists (and even some scientists) think astrology is science doesn’t gain it inclusion in science textbooks and the science classroom. Likewise, homeopathy has many fans but it DEFIES science. Should science textbooks include homeopathies criticisms of pharmaceuticals? Personally, I’d like to see homeopathy covered in high school science books because it is an excellent opportunity to teach students what is science what isn’t. While the same argument could be made for “creation science”, it would probably stir up more heat than light. And some parents would be furious if their children had an opportunity to learn how it developed and that it has no science behind it. However, at the college level, for biology majors, it may well be appropriate for students, especially those training to be science teachers, to learn how to help students see that there is no formal scientific theory of YEC-ism and why it wouldn’t pass peer review if there was.

        If anything were added to high school science curricula, it should be a course about the history and development of science and how the scientific method works. We have far too many adults today who are still saying, “Evolution is only a theory” and “Science proves that God created everything” and “Observations today can tell us nothing about what happened in the past.” Those bloopers and many others like them show us that we need to do a better job of teaching science —-and we don’t have spare time for including obscure arguments for why some religion-motivated person denies established theories.

        The Theory of Evolution is far better attested that the a lot of scientific theories which nobody complains about in science textbooks. So if there was actually the abundant time available to present alternate views on various scientific theories, the ToE is the last place I would start. There are some scientists who question the Big Bang Theory, but their evidence and arguments are far beyond the abilities of even the best high school students. Those technicalities can be address in the university-level science books.

        Judge John Jones in the Dover Trial decision rightly ruled that even a sticker that the school board voted to include in the high school’s science textbooks would create an impression among students that everything else in their science textbook is solid but The Theory of Evolution must be flawed. That would be lying to students.

        Sadly, recent surveys in the USA have confirmed that evangelical Christians are already underrepresented in the sciences. They learned from parents, pastors, and peers that “good Christians” had better stay away from “evil science” which “defies God” and is “atheism”. Who wants to study a complicated subject made even more complicated by constantly having to decide which pages of the textbook are acceptable to God and which are not?

        Do the Christians who oppose The Theory of Evolution ever consider that in the history of church leaders disagreeing with the scientists, history repeatedly shows us, the Christians, to be wrong? No, because we have a poor track record for learning from history, we are doomed to repeat it. Ken Ham would deny this and pretend that Christians trumped the scientists—but because he doesn’t know what modern science is and does, his examples are not science at all but TRADITIONS. His favorite is blood-letting, which was an ancient remedy based on pagan philosophy which said that everything consisted of the four humours and bloodletting was their way of adjusting the “surplus” of the humour in blood. It never had a basis in empirical science! Yet he likes to cite it in claiming that the Christians were right and the scientists were wrong. Ham even claims that the definition for modern science should be “simply knowledge” and that “Scientists have hijacked the definition of science.” No joke!

        In fact, one of the main reasons I don’t want Christian theology taught in the public school science class is that it will convince the public that the most ignorant pseudo-science which defies the scientific method is somehow representative of all Christians and is endorsed by the Bible. We already have far too many science-illiterate circus side-show clowns entertaining the general public with their silly antics and convincing people that Bible-believing Christians are ignorant and illogical. We do NOT need it amplified in our public school textbooks.

        Posted by Allen Miller | July 9, 2014, 5:50 pm
        • Please again, do not make comments that are longer in word count than the original post. It is inappropriate. I want to dialogue with you, but I cannot devote time to responding to pages of information. Can you imagine if everyone did that?? Your comment was just under 1000 words. My post, was at most 800 words (I estimated). I really don’t want to censor or delete your comments, but your pattern is out of control. I truly believe you are trying to sound superior through your amount of words.

          Posted by Tim | July 9, 2014, 5:57 pm
  6. PiltdownSuperman wrote: “It is surprising how often supporters of evolution do not understand their own belief system, so they lash out instead.” I’ve seen your websites and you lash out all the time. And you censor any comment which exposes the failures and errors in your arguments. So you are in no position to judge others for “lashing out” about what they don’t understand about their own beliefs. Your webpages are known for showing just one side of a dialogue; those “debates” are hard to follow because you always delete what your opponent has stated. Of course, that makes it much easier for you to brag about how you “destroyed” their arguments and won another victory. One would think that you would want visitors to SEE how you won the debate. But because you know that you had no evidence to back up your claims, you censor everything and then brag about your brilliant performance. (Sadly, this is common to a great many Young Earth Creationist websites.)

    Why don’t you publish a comprehensive scientific theory of special creation? Without it, you will never have a chance in the science classroom. “God created everything” is my belief—but I can’t expect to find it in the science classroom until it is part of a scientific theory which can be subjected to falsification testing under the scientific method. The Theory of Evolution has survived 150+ years of falsification attempts. Indeed, when genome mapping became available at reasonable costs, DNA comparisons between species was your last big chance to falsify The Theory of Evolution. After all, if the nested hierarchies of phylogenetic trees did not appears at the molecular level also, The Theory of Evolution would have suffered a serious, devastating blow. But instead, it verified what all of the other arguments and sets of evidence for ToE had already told us. Yes, The Theory of Evolution remains one of the most thoroughly attested theory in all of science (if not THE most attested.)

    So to win a place in the science classroom, you not only need a YEC theory to publish, you need to take every single argument which supports The Theory of Evolution, from genomic mapping to phylogenetic trees to atavisms and ERVs and show how your YEC theory provides a BETTER explanation. We all know that NOBODY has done that. Instead, “creation scientists” spend their time rallying their fans and making money. You don’t see them at the academic conferences presenting papers which present the YEC scientific theory. Not one. They sometimes publish something which nitpicks at established science, but they never present a formal YEC theory. They never will. And you and I both know why they don’t.

    Posted by Allen Miller | July 9, 2014, 4:04 pm
    • Why are you not replying to his comment on here instead of creating a new thread? I’m still not convinced you understand YEC theory? We claim that NO theory of origins can be shown scientifically. Therefore either neither or both should be in schools.

      Posted by Tim | July 9, 2014, 4:07 pm
      • I did not start a new thread. (I click on the REPLY button directly under comment I’m answering.) I directly responded to the comment posted by PiltdownSuperman just before it. His is an excellent example of a censorship problem which directly relates to the TITLE OF YOUR BLOG at the top of this page brought up.

        When you write a blog article about censorship problems, you shouldn’t be surprised that someone posts a comment about censorship problems.

        I don’t think I’ve ever seen a website where the admin spent so much time complaining when visitors post comments directly related to the blog topic! (Or is the purpose of this webpage supposed to be total agreement with YEC ideology?)

        Ben Stein’s *EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed* was a great example of a one-sided look at censorship and academic freedom. The irony which nearly every critic of the movie spotted was that not only were all the cited examples extremely questionable (if not outright bogus), censorship and dishonest depiction of alternate views is far more endemic in fundamentalist Christian educational institutions. (Having served on the faculties of both Christian evangelical and secular universities and seminaries, I can say without reservation that academic freedom and scholarly inquiry was far more outrageously denied at the Christian institutions than even the state universities where I had far more freedom of speech and thought. Indeed, I can cite many instances in Christian schools where a professor [or even a janitor in one case!] dared to speak aloud a “wrong QUESTION”, and he was terminated within HOURS. Dr. Bruce Waltke was one of the more public examples of someone making a statement off-campus and being fired three days later. Another seminary hired him just as fast, but most of my colleagues were not as fortunate.)

        So if we as Christians want to bring up the topic of censorship, we should expect to hear others respond with examples of our hypocrisy. In the case of my blog post, I was providing an ALTERNATE VIEW on the subject you brought up: censorship. And I thought your view on the public schools was that alternate views on The Theory of Evolution should be allowed? Do you have a double-standard on exactly where alternate views are and aren’t appropriate?

        Posted by Allen Miller | July 9, 2014, 6:09 pm
        • When you make statements like “YECs have no evidence”, you clearly don’t understand our basic argument – which is: we all have the same evidence, different interpretations of the evidence. Therefore, we have just as much evidence as you – the exact SAME evidence. Our argument is over whose interpretation of the evidence is more valid. Also we would say that any theory of origins cannot be proven scientifically – so of course we wouldn’t be publishing a scientific theory of origins. We would say that evolutionary theory is also unscientific. The simple fact that you are asking us to produce this shows you don’t understand our basic positions.

          Posted by Tim | July 10, 2014, 3:22 pm
      • > “I’m still not convinced you understand YEC theory?”

        {I clicked on the REPLY button directly under that comment. I didn’t start a new thread.}

        What is your evidence that I don’t understand “YEC theory”?

        As I said, Young Earth Creationists have yet to formally publish any comprehensive scientific theory of special creation. (If somebody published it and I missed seeing it, this had to be very recently.) As I wrote, Dr. Hugh Ross has published an OEC theory. Yet, when he published his COMPARISONS of the major origins theories, he explicitly stated that he was UNABLE to find any published scientific theory by Young Earth Creationists. So he described how he compiled what he believed to be an accurate summary of what most YECs would agree on. For his comparison charts showing how each theory addresses the available scientific evidence, Dr. Ross had to resort to his own summary where he basically drafted a YEC Theory for them. He said that he even directly requested that various YEC ministries provide a summary of their theory for him so that he wouldn’t in any way err in describing their position. But he said that nobody was interested.

        Of course, many of us who spent years within the YEC movement and who worked with various of the founders have concluded that these ambiguities are deliberate because they make the YEC position harder to nail down and analyze. As it is now, any formal critique can be evaded by saying, “That might apply to Ministry X but we don’t agree with them on all matters.” Sometimes trying to debate a Young Earth Creationist is like nailing Jello to the wall. (After the debate is finished, there is a lot of red on the wall and quite a mess but it is not clear exactly what was accomplished. And the red stuff on the floor hardly looks like Jello any more.)

        Tim, how about YOU summarize for us the formal “YEC theory”. Seeing how you say that you are not convinced that I understand YEC theory, why don’t you explain how YOU understand YEC Theory? How can that YEC Theory be tested in order to potentially falsify it? (The Theory of Evolution is subjected to falsification attempts on a daily basis. How about YEC Theory?) Of course, in a formal publication of a scientific theory like YEC Theory one must also take each major argument and collection of evidence which supports the best attested theory, The Theory of Evolution, and explain how your YEC Theory *better* explains the data. That will mean that YEC Theory must better explain nested hierarchies, phylogenetic trees, atavisms, ERVs, genomic comparisons and other molecular nested hierarchies, and all other categories of evidence for The Theory of Evolution.

        Posted by Allen Miller | July 9, 2014, 6:29 pm

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