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[This post is not yet another debate whether they should have a debate, but a look at what Ken Ham actually says.]

Background for those not following this:  Bill Nye (the science guy) is scheduled to debate with Ken Ham (the creationist) February 4.  It's going to be live online.  (First it was going to be $5 to watch online, but now it's free.)  There’s been some debate about whether it makes sense to debate someone who believes in the infallible word of God rather than in logic.  Lot's of folks think this just gives Ham a lot of publicity and will help raise money for the Creation Museum.  "It will help Ham's resume, not Nye's"  is the theme.  You can see an example of the basic evolutionist online discussion of the debate here.

In any case, I thought I should check out what Ham has to say and how he says it.  I have no doubt that Nye and his team are doing the same.   Below is the video  I watched:
[Here's the link to the video  -  - and Glen the Plumber has it up already in the comments I'll keep trying to make it work up here too.  Thanks Gooserock, I've tried your instructions by so far without the video showing.  Teach me to schedule a post and not check if it went up ok right away.]

In this video, Ken Ham argues that the earth was literally created in six days and that the earth is 6000 years old, not millions or billions of years old.  He knows this, as he says over and over again, because God tells us that in the Bible. Basically he argues that those who want to impose man's 'facts' (there are no facts, just interpretations he also tells us) on the Bible are undermining the authority of God by substituting the authority of man. 

His main target is Christians who reinterpret the Bible to accommodate evolution and other scientific evidence by reading the six days of creation figuratively, not literally.  He takes quotes from about ten or eleven of them and explains what’s wrong with what they are doing.  [The exact number isn't important enough for me to go through that 76 minute video again.  For the same reason the quotes below, from the video, are close but not exact.   But I don’t think anything distorts what is said in the video.]

The basic problem, Ham tells us, is that the Christians, who are willing to see the six days of Genesis as figurative rather than literal, so that they can stretch them into the millions of years that science would suggest, are substituting the fallible word of man for the infallible word of God. 

Ham’s arguments demonstrate a number of rhetorical tricks and fallacies.  I make an attempt to point out some of those fallacies and give examples, but Ham’s examples often include more than one, or even two, of the fallacies. 

Let's start with a circular argument - basically appeal to authority:  The bible is authoritative because it is the word of God.  (This isn't necessarily a fallacy, but the premise and the conclusion are the same.  It doesn't prove anything.)

He argues that those who try to claim the earth is millions of years old have no place to fit those millions of years into the  Bible except Genesis.  The rest of the Bible can be calculated by counting the ‘begats.’

“Where do you fit millions of years into the bible - you have all the begats.  The only place you can do it, is before Adam, before creation.”
But, he argues, using the consequence of the action to invalidate the action,  if you put them before Adam, then you end up blaming God for all that’s wrong on earth when in fact man is responsible. Because, of course, God is infallible.

He uses straw man arguments. He attacks those who say the world is millions or billions of years old by saying:
[People ask me] Don’t  you have all these dating methods that prove the earth is millions and billions of years old?  Well actually, I say, what about the majority of dating methods that go against the secular accepted dates right now.  90% of the methods you can use, and there are hundreds and hundreds of methods you can use, to age date things on the earth, but 90% of them actually contradict the commonly accepted secular dates.
Thus the Bible is right.
There are problems in all dating systems because they are based on assumptions - that’s the point.  Which leads us back to the main circular argument - Are you going to believe the fallible word of man or the infallible word of God?
Why would you take man’s fallible dating methods and use them to judge God’s infallible word? 
He even makes science the straw man, by defining it his own special way:
"Science - What I mean by science is operational science, in the present, you know, using your five senses.  He’s talking about big bang theory, billions of years, that’s stepping out of that sort of science."
And, he says, that’s how the word of man has supplanted the word of God. 
"In the 1700’s the door was unlocked and it’s gone on and on until today the bible is not looked on as the absolute authority."
He uses semantics to confuse and in some cases seems to move to a biased sample fallacy  - There’s lots of discussion of the meaning of ‘day’ in English and some about the meaning of ‘yom’ in Hebrew.  Much of this is like a verbal version of hiding the pea under one of three walnut shells and moving the shells around and around so fast that the observer can no longer follow.
"The point is, the word day can mean something other than an ordinary day.  You know what?  That's true.  I had a pastor who once said, "The word day can mean something other than an ordinary day and I said that's true.  But it can also mean an ordinary day.  He said, "That's true but it can mean something other than an ordinary day."  And I said, "That's true, but it can also mean an ordinary day."  I said, "Look Pastor, does the word day ever mean day?  Can day mean day or doesn't day mean day? And if it doesn't mean day when does it ever mean day?  Can you give me an example of when day means day?"
This is more like Abbott and Costello's "Who's on First?" routine than a logical argument.  And his audience laughs.  But while Abbott and Costello's audiences laugh at the absurdity or the word play, I suspect Ham's audience is laughing at how cleverly they think Ham has dismissed the argument.
“When is a day a literal day?  Why is it accepted as a day in the other 2300 times it’s used in the Old Testament, but not in Genesis?  They only want to reinterpret the meaning of day in Genesis. 
He may be right or maybe not.  Someone would have to check up on those other uses of day in the rest of the Old Testament.  And while we're checking up on the literal meaning of 'a day' let's look at all those biblical figures who lived to be hundreds of years old.  Are those literal years too?  
"God didn’t create the sun until the fourth day.  People ask, how can you have a day without the sun.  You don’t need the sun for day and night, you just need light, and there is light on day one.  Why didn’t God tell us where the light came from?  There’s lots he didn’t tell us." 
If we look at the words of Genesis used to tell us about the first six days, there are a number of seeming inconsistencies like this.  But since the word of God is infallible we're supposed to just accept it.  Literally. 

He says to look up the words in a Hebrew dictionary, which in my experience with foreign languages is often a sure way to misinterpret the meaning of a word, because the meaning of a word in one language does not exactly correspond with the meaning of a similar word in another language. See 15 myths about Bible translation.   He does at one point acknowledge that “I’m not a Hebrew scholar.”

He constantly goes back to the assumption that the word of God is authoritative:

comparing the fallible word of man to the infallible word of God - this way, the literal meaning of the (English) Bible has to be the truth. 

He can also change the subject with an ad hominem joke:
"A pastor came to me and said how could so many scientists be wrong, and how could they be soooo wrong?  And I said, “The majority of scientists didn’t survive the flood either.”  
The audience ate that one up.

But how does that answer the question?  There were no scientists as we know them today at the time of the flood.  Or is he saying, they (the scientists) weren’t around for the flood?  If so, then that applies to him as well.

In fact, he likes to taunt scientists by saying, "How do you know?  You weren't there."

Using the consequences to prove his point.  Basically he says that if the earth wasn’t created in six days, then there will be negative consequences: a) the authority of God is compromised and b) there will be no basis for morality.  The Bible must be literally true because if it’s not, these are the serious negative consequences that would be the result. 

“If you tell generations of people the bible means something, but it doesn’t mean what it says because of outside influences, you’ve just unlocked the door. And the door you’ve unlocked is you don’t have to take the Bible as written and you can take man’s fallible ideas outside the Bible to reinterpret the Bible.”  

“The Bible is the basis for morality - if we say the world was created in six days, then we are saying that God’s word is authoritative and we have a basis for the meaning of life, for moral standards, for marriage, for laws . . . “Six days, Thousands of years” - God’s word is authoritative.  We believe in the Bible and don’t take man’s words and impose them on the Bible.

But if you believe millions of years, then you believe that man determines truth by himself without revelation, because you don’t get the millions of years from the Bible.” 
“If you use millions of years - instead of six days - you then blame God and not man for all the problems on earth, because many problems would have happened before Adam and Eve ate the apple.”
That's like saying, "I can't be adopted, because if I am, then you aren't my biological mom."   I can see why he wouldn't want the authority of God to be challenged, just like after 20 years of believing you're my mother, I don't want to believe you aren't my mother.  But if the facts are at odds with what I've always believed - in this case the biblical text - then perhaps what I believe needs to be reassessed.  
So that’s what Nye is up against. 

A man who starts with the assumption that the Bible is the literal word of God and that God is authoritative and infallible while man’s word is fallible.  So from his perspective, Nye’s word, when it doesn’t confirm the literal words of the Bible, can't be right. 

Nye could ask how Ham knows that God wrote the Bible.  Was he there to see God writing it?  My understanding is that what is now called the Old Testament was passed on for centuries if not millennia orally, and eventually put in writing by many different people.  Surely over that time period, some, if not many, words got changed. If you've ever seen people pass on information orally from one person to the next, and so on,  you know that the meaning of a short sentence can be radically different after passing through only a few sets of ears and lips.  Yes, we're told they were inspired by God.  But lots of people have claimed to be inspired by God, people who tell us contradictory things - just as Ham himself disputes what other Christian leaders tell us about the Bible.  How do we know whose claims to believe?  Ham's answer seems always to be, because I'm only telling you what's written in the Bible.   
 And it's not just different Christians who believe their holy books?  Why should we believe Ham's version of the truth over those of Muslims or adherents of other faiths?  
And even if we accept that the writers of the Hebrew Bible were inspired by God, what about the people who translated the Bible into Greek and Latin and then to English?  If they were all inspired by God, why aren't all the translations the same?  Which one is actually the literal word of God that Ham cites as infallible?  (Also go back to the link on 15 myths about Bible translation.
Nye will face a man who can speak with ease, moving words around in ways that seem to make sense unless one is paying close attention.  And untangling his words may be hard to do on the fly. Which is why I'm sure he's doing what I'm doing here - going through Ham's video tapes to prepare. 

Nye willl face a man who puts down his opponents as a way of winning his arguments.  He does it gently, but they are still put-downs. And he'll be on Ham's home court.  We don't know who got tickets, some claim atheists were shut out, but Ken Ham says that's not so.

But Nye doesn’t have to win over Ham, he just has to get some of the listeners to see that Ham’s arguments are fallacious.  He just has to plant some seeds of doubt about the literal word of the Bible.  But many of these folks will be judging what he says - if the Hams of the world have done their work well - by whether it contradicts the literal words of the Bible, not by the rules of logic. 

However, people Ham himself cites as compromising the Bible, by accepting the millions of years argument of science, include many biblical scholars and evangelists - including James Dobson of Focus on the Family.  Ham bills himself as an outlier even among evangelical Christians.  It may well be that those who follow him are very literal thinkers for whom black and white are the only options and abstract thought - such as logic - is a stretch.  Or maybe they just haven’t been exposed to other perspectives.

An earlier version was posted at What Do I Know?

Originally posted to AKSteve on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 04:30 AM PST.

Also republished by Street Prophets and Progressive Atheists.

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Comment Preferences

  •  You can't "debate" someone (14+ / 0-)

    with fingers in their ears - shouting la-la-la-la

  •  Your Video Link Needs Editing: (8+ / 0-)

    because of a Youtube error they refuse to correct.

    You need to insert


    at the beginning of the video link code in between





    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:18:09 AM PST

  •  You can't reason with the unreasonable. To us, (10+ / 0-)

    the Science Guy will kick ass.  To them, Ham will do the same.  

  •  logic VS Dogma, waist of time (15+ / 0-)

    Once you realize the person you are trying to have a discussion with has no reasonable or logical basis for their "beliefs", you are wasting your time and simply giving them the opportunity to reinforce the nonsensical "beliefs" of others like them.

    A lot of people don't even understand what a fact is.  To them, and opinion from someone they like, becomes a fact, or a claim wrapped in pseudoscience language is a fact.  How do you discuss something with someone when they are free to pull bizarre "facts" out of their ass and present them as reality?

    We need a lot more lessons on critical thinking and the methods scammers use to fool people.  Even yesterday here at DailyKos someone posted a diary about a known scam artist who claims to have discovered a secret fussion energy source.  Just 2 days ago a Tea Bagger friend of mine showed me a secret NASA publication with so much BS I couldn't read but a couple of pages.

    The biggest threat to the survival of our civilization is the inability of people to think rationally.

    •  Managed to watch half of Dawkins/Wendy Wright (11+ / 0-)

      "debate" the other day, from 2009. Total disaster and non-starter, for Dawkins--a scientist who bases assertions on evidence--was up against someone with no agreeable definition of evidence. Wright kept asking for evidence of evolution, Dawkins spoon fed her all the evidence she wanted, and she would respond with "yeah but show me evidence." It would make a thinking person go insane. Granted Dawkins arranged the interview for footage for his documentary and wanted people to see Creationists explain their beliefs, it literally makes one stupid with frustrated trying to explain the falsifiable to someone with no common definition of the rules you use to engage debate i.e. evidence.

      "Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell." ~Edward Abbey ////\\\\ "To be a poor man is hard, but to be a poor race in a land of dollars is the very bottom of hardships." ~W.E.B. DuBois

      by rovertheoctopus on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:06:23 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Baseball Game Between Baseball Team (7+ / 0-)

    playing baseball and a football team playing football.

    Both sides of the debate are playing unopposed.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:26:48 AM PST

  •  Describe the color red to a color-blind (5+ / 0-)

    person. He can't get it. He can get that he doesn't see what you see, but he doesn't know what that is. He can get that green lights and red lights affect people's behavior, but he can't tell which is which.

    So, how does a color blind person drive a car in traffic controlled by lights?  He learns that one is right and the other is left or one is up and the other is down and then he goes by which is brighter to determine which is 'on.'

    I wonder if traffic engineers are aware that the spacial arrangement of traffic lights is important to the color-blind.

    Obamacare at your fingertips: 1-800-318-2596; TTY: 1-855-889-4325

    by hannah on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:57:08 AM PST

    •  yes, they are. (0+ / 0-)
      I wonder if traffic engineers are aware that the spacial arrangement of traffic lights is important to the color-blind.
      In fact, if you look at the "green" in a traffic light, you will notice that it is actually "blue-green".  Thus to (most) types of red-green color blind people, they will appear subtly different.  that, coupled with the general orientation of the lights allows R-G colorblind drivers to stop and go appropriately.

      As my father used to say,"We have the best government money can buy."

      by BPARTR on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 03:42:53 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  It would seem to me that all Nye would have (8+ / 0-)

    to do is pound over and over again that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 give different versions of when and how humans and animals were created.

    "Hate speech is a form of vandalism. It defaces the environment, and like a broken window, if left untended, signals to other hoodlums that the coast is clear to do more damage." -- Gregory Rodriguez

    by Naniboujou on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:58:20 AM PST

  •  I've always wondered about this: (6+ / 0-)

    the Bible came to the ancients in the form of scrolls of papyrus, I believe, with writing on them in various ancient languages, Hebrew, Greek, etc, written over a long period of time.  So step one, writing with some type of stylus and ink in language Americans don't speak.  Does God have literal, physical hands to hold the stylus and dip it in ink?  My guess would be that they would say no, some inspired humans took dictation from God.  

    After many years, a number of these scrolls, not all, were selected I believe by scholars in Mycenae in the early centuries after the death of Christ, translated and compiled into a "book".  So already 3k years of history written on papyrus with some sort of ink, was translated into Greek by a number of scholars with some sort of ink on some sort of parchment.  Once again, human hands, pens and ink, wouldn't there be many chances to make mistakes in translation of words that were surely archaic by then?

    The King James English translation was widely used till the 20th century (another re-interpretation done by divinely guided human hands, I suppose) but was replaced in most churches during the last few decades by various "modern" translations making the language easier to understand for our times.   So God must be very busy making sure all this is done exactly according to his original text.  What a guy!  How does he have time to do all the other stuff he does?  Oh I forgot, he's magic.

    •  mine was inspired, yours is fake (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, pvasileff, Grubdnikk, Buckeye54

      I just had this discussion with a Tea Bagger Jesus freak friend of mine.  When I brought up all the different versions and different translations his answer was simple.  The version he used could be traced back to God's inspiration while all the others were just false claims.  How do you argue with that?

    •  "God's Secretaries" (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Amber6541, pollwatcher, pvasileff

      is a book that tells the story of the King James translation, and in it, the author describes a very conscious shading of meaning in translation to emphasize characteristics important at the time, for instance "kingship". i.e.,  Christ as king.  So a comparison of the KJV and a Nelson bible will show nuanced differences in the translations.

      I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

      by VeggiElaine on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:49:20 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ham is a big fan of asking "were you there?" (5+ / 0-)

    "Were you there when the world was made?"

    It's a completely disingenuous argument, of course, but this is Ham we're talking about.

    I hope Nye is ready for one heck of a Gish Gallop.

  •  You _can_ believe that Bible is the word of G-d... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Amber6541, justintime, DavidMS, AKSteve

    and still believe in evolution!

    Maimonides put it quite simply: there is no conflict between the Bible and the Universe.  And if we see clear evidence of something that seems to conflict, we're either seeing the evidence incorrectly, or we're understanding the Bible incorrectly.

    Even Ham doesn't think the Bible is literal. G-d saved the Israelites from Egypt "with a mighty hand."  Does Ham think G-d has a hand?

    Jewish authorities for a millennium have been quite clear on this: "G-d writes in the language of men" -- meaning: the concepts in the Bible, particularly Creation, are impossible to communicate by written word, and so it had to be "simplified" for us to be able to read it.

    And even the simplified version is not so simple!

    Rashi, who lived 1000 years ago, and was an expert Hebrew linguist, explains that the very first word of the Bible "Bereshit" does not mean literally "In the beginning" -- that the beginning of Genesis picks up while G-d has already been creating the Universe.  (too complicated to explain in a comment here)

    So -- I wish I could tell (or get a message) to Nye and tell him the following: "The Bible may or may not be the inerrant word of G-d -- no need to challenge that and no need to be distracted by an irrelevant argument -- but Ham is making the assumption that he perfectly understands what those words mean."  And the fact that many scholars disagree with what those words mean puts him in a more tenuous situation than scientists who agree with each other about the origins of the Universe.

    Going back to Maimonides: if the Bible seems to be contradicting common sense, then perhaps our understanding of the Bible needs to be examined.

    There are ways to reconcile the (Hebrew) words of the Bible and science as we know it.  See, e.g., Schroeder, Genesis and the Big Bang.

  •  6 days (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    implies earthly days are the universal measure.  Is the earth the center of the universe?

    The Bible is the basis for morality
    if we are made in God's image, are we inherently amoral since we must be taught to read & if so, is that one of the mistakes God made in the millions of years prior to Adam?  That implies in turn that God is amoral.  This is perhaps the intent of the Eden serpent story.  Or, the bible isn't the basis for morality, and atheists are capable of leading moral lives.  

    I do not demand tolerance, I demand equal rights. --Anna Grodzka

    by VeggiElaine on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 06:56:44 AM PST

  •  To see Bill Nye (5+ / 0-)

    take apart a Creationist sounds like fun, but part of me thinks the only real effect will be to raise the profile of the Creationist.

    "Much of movement conservatism is a con and the base is the marks." -- Chris Hayes

    by raptavio on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:07:14 AM PST

    •  You don't need to take apart a creationist (0+ / 0-)

      You just need to find examples of internal contradictions in the bible.  

      Ham needs a common sense delivery like Nome, Alaska needed a Diphtheria Serum delivery in 1925.  

      I'm a 4 Freedoms Democrat.

      by DavidMS on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 08:26:34 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ham is going to try to corner Nye with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Socratic questions.

    I think Nye is just going to explain how science works and not even touch evolution.

    Or if he's asked a direct question, will redirect to process and get Ham to ask the process questions about how the science works.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 07:18:37 AM PST

  •  Ham's going to use below-the-belt tactics. (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    justintime, Chi, Amber6541, pvasileff, BPARTR

    When you don't have logic and facts on your side, baffle 'em with bullshit.

    The classic tactic that creationists use is the Gish Gallop, which was also used infamously in Romney's first debate against Obama in 2012.

    Essentially, you don't make one argument. You unleash a blizzard of bullshit - you throw out dozens of smears, half-truths, strawman arguments, etc. etc. etc, to overwhelm the opponent. The opponent would have to spend hours debunking every single one, and can't debunk everything in the time allowed, so the creationist looks like he "Took the Offensive" and therefore "won".

    •  I thought of the Gish Gallop too. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Sounds important and leaves people saying "huh, this guy sure knows a lot of stuff".  They don't unpack the stuff, but are impressed by its volume.

      I don't think this debate will change anyone's mind.  When one side gets to chalk every thing up to "God says so, and he's magic"  there's no meaningful retort.

  •  What does Ham think about Physics? (5+ / 0-)

    Seems to me that Ham's argument is focused on using the Bible to prove his creationist premise. Science is all interrelated. You can't deny one part without invalidating everything else. If 1+1 does not = 2, everything else falls apart. Does Ham play golf? Was his swing perfect from the beginning? Or does he practice his swing which then evolves into a better swing?
    Why or how is Ham getting older? Where would he point us in the Bible to help us understand the mechanics of aging?
    I think the point is to play offense.

    •  Offense is key... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Chi, Amber6541

      ... including a furious ad hom accusing Ham of flogging a fringe belief for personal profit. He makes his living peddling bullshit to the gullible; Nye needs to make this case strongly enough to make Ham defend himself. Ham needs a sliver of the public to accept his word regarding interpretation of the bible because they pay his way in the world.

    •  Throw the book at him... (4+ / 0-)

      (Along your lines . . . )

      The thing is: many different fields of science all point to the same thing.  That the earth is more than 6000 years old is not just from anthropologists -- it's also from geologists, it's also from epidemiologists (rates of mutation of DNA), it's also from climate scientists (ice cores in Greenland), it's also from astronomers (red shift in stars), and so on.  And they all point to the same darn thing.

      Ham asks us to believe this his interpretations is correct, and that dozens of fields of science, all working independents, are all wrong.

      What an arrogant view.

      •  Conservatives has a strong anti-intellectual bias (0+ / 0-)

        I know someone who will go to the mat to defend the existence of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness monster.  When I told her of an exhibit I saw in Scotland showing how such a large animal could never survive in Loch Ness because it would need to eat huge daily amounts of plants or fish, neither of which is available in the lake because it is so dark from peat, she just flipped out.  How could I not "believe"  

        Once again, it's fear.  The world is much, much more complicated than they thought, and saying "God did it"  simplifies everything.

    •  To answer your first question, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pollwatcher, pvasileff

      "lies from the Devil."

      Thus his utter rejection of the Enlightenment and afterwards.

      "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

      by Snarky McAngus on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:34:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I went into this in some detail (0+ / 0-)

      in “Creation Science” in Indiana on my education blog

      Short answer: They have to deny large parts of chemistry and physics, and essentially all of biology.

      All of geology, as laid out in History of the Collapse of "Flood Geology" and a Young Earth.

      All of cosmology from the big bang through the three main populations of stars over billions of years that created the elements that planets and living things form from.

      The constancy of the speed of light, so that light from nearby stars could reach Adam in the Garden, and light from distant stars and galaxies can reach us today.

      All forms of radioactive dating, from carbon, with a range in the tens of thousands of years, to methods that work over billions of years.

      All of stellar evolution, including all of the quantum mechanics of stellar fusion over millions to billions of years.

      All of molecular biology and the fossil record going back billions of years.

      Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

      by Mokurai on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:53:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  If Ham is cognitively unable to grasp abstractions (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that could explain his rejection of reason while cleaving to faith.  Otherwise, his rhetoric deploys all the fallacious twists mentioned to support his basic circular argument, premised on his infallibility claim.  I wish Nye luck, but seems like hie's setting himself up for a frustrating evening.

    "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

    by Snarky McAngus on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 09:32:26 AM PST

  •  evolution and time (0+ / 0-)

    Some fossilized questions for a transitional and healhty debate, for instance: is there evolution if there is no time? How will evolutionary biology meet new physical paradigms about time, space and so on? Will new conceptual changes deny evolution? Or on the contrary, will it become a more extraordinary process, full of astonishing implications? If so, will past human beings and the rest of living beings become something different as science progresses? After all, is life something fix-finite-defined? That is, can one understand it by means of using a flesh brain and its limited words? Does the whole of life fit inside a bone box? Indeed, will science add indefinitely without understanding completely, is there an infinite pool of ignorance waiting for us? Otherwise, will religions use the word God forever and ever, as if it were a death thing, a repetitive thing? Besides, do those who speak about God know something about it? And, in order to speak about God, are they using his limited brain or do they use unknown instruments? Along these lines, there is a different book, a preview in Just another suggestion in order to freethink for a while

  •  Evolution is not only a biological process (0+ / 0-)

    The fact is evolution is a means of describing how things change. Its the mechanics of change. And not just biological things. As "environmental" conditions modify, things or even thought evolve to adapt. Once you have solved a problem, its solved because the environment remains consistent. That's why we have physical LAWS. We can count on them existing time and again. Without that, there's no way to predict and therefore you have chaos.
    And you cannot have life with chaos.
    So let's suppose for a moment that there is an "intelligent designer". If it doesn't have rules, and therefore consistency, how can you have life? Don't I need to know the sun is coming up tomorrow?
    So what if the set of rules this "ID" uses is called evolution?
    I don't believe this for a second, but give Ham his own rope.
    If the ID doesn't use "rules" and therefore can be random or inconsistent, how can I predict anything? And if I can't predict or count on anything, how do I exist?

  •  Best book on evolution versus creationism (0+ / 0-)

    A million Arcosantis.

    by Villabolo on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 12:05:33 PM PST

  •  So, he knows that Nye isn't a christian, right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How does this strategy work for non-christians? Is Ham preparing for this possibility? You can always tell these people are preparing for a fight where they define the terms. If all Nye has to say is that he doesn't believe the bible and demand to see evidence that the garden of Eden ever existed then where does that leave Ham? He could try to punch holes in evolution but, again, what would he do if Nye demands to see counter-evidence? Twisting words around only gets you so far.

  •  The fact this is still debated in the 21st century (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    will never cease to amaze me.  I guess there's some naive streak in me that believes stubbornly in basic human rationality.  Obviously this exists, but it is far from universal.

    It takes a strong, determined dose of willful ignorance to argue for the literal truth of a book that was never intended to be taken literally, and that makes the arguers look like blithering fools when they do it.

    But they do.  Why?

    The Fundamentalist argument comes from authority and it is made in defense of authority.  They fear in their bones that the loss of authority means loss of control and thus chaos.  Or certainly, loss of power for the status quo.  They're desperate.  Desperate people backed into corners do desperate foolish things.  This is one of them.

    It's a historic blunder, this is, this foolhardy brain-dead defense of literal truth.  Whoever "wins" this particular debate, we know that unless these people somehow drag us back into the dark ages, their time will have passed.  

    It actually already has.  The fact that they can still make noise does not mean they have any actual influence, except among the ignorant, whose ranks they work tirelessly to defend and expand.

    "A hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance." -- George Orwell, 1984

    by Treats on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 05:23:45 PM PST

  •  Arguing science with Ham and his followers (0+ / 0-)

    is pointless. The only thing that matters to them is their belief that if Adam and the Fall, resulting in Original Sin, are not historical, then God's Redemption of humans via the Crucifixion and Resurrection are impossible, no matter how much faith we might have in his message of peace and good works, or his supposed Omnipotence.

    What works is showing their children that they do not have to live inside this bubble of ignorance and intolerance, a message that millions of them take up every year now that information cannot be kept from those who are willing to look at it.

    Ceterem censeo, gerrymandra delenda est

    by Mokurai on Sun Jan 26, 2014 at 10:59:09 PM PST

  •  If Ham and the rest want to read their... (0+ / 0-)

    Bible literally...then what about all of the children after Adam marrying and committing incest with their sisters? I'm not a scientist...but I do understand what can happen with lack of genetic diversity. My bad...guess Ham and the rest of the "young Earth" literalists are what you get with lack of diversity and having no problem with incest. Gotta read that Bible literally to be able to sex up your siblings and be righteous about it...since it's also in the Bible right after their six day creation in Genesis.

  •  Ham isn't kosher (nt) (0+ / 0-)

    "Woe unto ye beetles of South America." -- Charles Darwin, about to sail on The Beagle, 1831

    by Katakana on Sun Feb 02, 2014 at 01:55:46 PM PST

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