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Silver

Creationists

Are many of them poorly educated? Is that why many of their answers on forums are just quotes from creationist websites, dogma or just assurances that the bible is true? Can creationism actually be harmful to mental abilities, as in the case of Steavey?
Shaker

Quote:
Are many of them poorly educated? Is that why many of their answers on forums just quotes from creationist websites, dogma or just assurances that the bible is true?

Some of them, well, yes, of course. My experience of die-hard creationists leaves me unshakably convinced that many of them really aren't very bright in at least one respect - they have absolutely not the first clue what evolution actually entails and thus don't even know what they think they're against :roll: Educational level aside, what they all have in common is fear - their desperate fearfulness that evolution being true means that their entire worldview, based as it is on a slavishly literal interpretation of the Bible, is going to come crashing down around their earoles. They're very fearful people, in my experience. And they're right to fear that, because it's true.
Quote:
Can creationism actually be harmful to mental abilities, as in the case of Steavey?

You may say that: I couldn't possibly comment  
LornaDoone40

Quote:
Are many of them poorly educated? Is that why many of their answers on forums are just quotes from creationist websites, dogma or just assurances that the bible is true? Can creationism actually be harmful to mental abilities, as in the case of Steavey?



I don't think their poorly educated - just willfully ignorant.

Which is not harsh - just bluntly honest.
Lexilogio

Re: Creationists

Silver wrote:
Are many of them poorly educated? Is that why many of their answers on forums are just quotes from creationist websites, dogma or just assurances that the bible is true? Can creationism actually be harmful to mental abilities, as in the case of Steavey?


I wish I knew.

But I don't think Steavey is a creationist per se. His ideas are...shall we say a little further out?
Shaker

Around Neptune, I'd say.
Lexilogio

admin wrote:
Around Neptune, I'd say.


That close? I had him on the newly discovered tenth, or now ninth, planet...
I'm thinking of asking NASA to call it Planet Moon....
Shaker

Quote:
I'm thinking of asking NASA to call it Planet Moon....

That'll keep the astronomers busy.
Silver

Brad / 7:36 is one of the few reasonably intelligent creationists I have come across. OK, he is often on the wrong track but he does try and doesn't just C&P.
Farmer Geddon

I'm wondering if it is the time-scale of Evolution that creationists cannot get their head around.

They seem to operate on the premise that the earth is only thousands of years old - when in fact it is Billions of years old...
david_geoffrey

I think there are an awful lot of people out there, both religious and otherwise who have no idea about evolution or even think about it or even in science in general; or if they do then it probably comes down to "we are descended from chimpanzees" sort of thing.

This is not to say that they are neccessarily unintelligent although they might be, simply that they are not interested, not all people are

If you then ally that with religious belief then creationism is that "unthinking" (which I don't really mean in a perjorative sense) result in some cases. Because of what I beleive then I cannot really condemn them, as Duck said on another thread you have to live with what you are comfortable with.

Co-incidentally, or perhaps not, I was reading Augustine's City of God book 12 last night, and this is sort of relevent to the thread and what Duck said above, sorry it is a bit long

Quote:
As to those who are always asking why man was not created during these countless ages of the infinitely extended past, and came into being so lately that, according to Scripture, less than 6000 years have elapsed since He began to be, I would reply to them regarding the creation of man, just as I replied regarding the origin of the world to those who will not believe that it is not eternal, but had a beginning, which even Plato himself most plainly declares, though some think his statement was not consistent with his real opinion. If it offends them that the time that has elapsed since the creation of man is so short, and his years so few according to our authorities, let them take this into consideration, that nothing that has a limit is long, and that all the ages of time being finite, are very little, or indeed nothing at all, when compared to the interminable eternity. Consequently, if there had elapsed since the creation of man, I do not say five or six, but even sixty or six hundred thousand years, or sixty times as many, or six hundred or six hundred thousand times as many, or this sum multiplied until it could no longer be expressed in numbers, the same question could still be put, Why was he not made before? For the past and boundless eternity during which God abstained from creating man is so great, that, compare it with what vast and untold number of ages you please, so long as there is a definite conclusion of this term of time, it is not even as if you compared the minutest drop of water with the ocean that everywhere flows around the globe. For of these two, one indeed is very small, the other incomparably vast, yet both are finite; but that space of time which starts from some beginning, and is limited by some termination, be it of what extent it may, if you compare it with that which has no beginning, I know not whether to say we should count it the very minutest thing, or nothing at all.
Shaker

Quote:
This is not to say that they are neccessarily unintelligent although they might be, simply that they are not interested, not all people are

At face value that would be absolutely fine. There are umpteen things I'm not interested in - sport, for instance - a subject about which I know nothing and care less. But something falls out of that stance: if I'm not interested, and know nothing about it, I'm not in a position to go head-to-head with the die-hard sports fans and tell them why they're wrong. It simply doesn't arise. Creationists, however, are interested in evolution - very interested indeed: they're interested enough to try to attack it from a position of profound ignorance. They're interested enough to take it as far as several court rooms. They're interested enough to want to hold debates with prominent real scientists around the world. So the conclusion is not that they're uninterested: they're very interested but ignorant, in both the literal and pejorative senses.

They're not merely interested in evolution: they hate it and fear it - as I said earlier in this thread, creationists are deeply fearful people. They have a mortal, existential terror that if they admit that evolution is true, their faith will be shown up as the uber-flimsy, fundamentally weak reality-denying structure that it is, something so weak that a dose of science is enough to bring it crashing down around their ears (narrowly missing the fingers they have permanently inserted therein). Look at how many religious believers of all varieties and denominations the world over see no problem in reconciling established scientific fact with their religion - that's the majority of believers, actually. Both Catholicism and Anglicanism are fine with it (Anglicanism from day one, as it happens). Mainstream Judaism, Islam, Sikhism ... all the same. But Creationists, often not very bright, are also people of weak faith: their particular brand of religion is a hothouse flower or a bauble of spun glass so incredibly fragile that it can't even be touched lest it shatter to smithereens in their hands.
SusanDoris

Lucifers Duck wrote:
I'm wondering if it is the time-scale of Evolution that creationists cannot get their head around.

They seem to operate on the premise that the earth is only thousands of years old - when in fact it is Billions of years old...

And to accept this is to avoid the necessity for independent thought.
Those who sensibly accept evolution and the time scale for the formation of the universe etc are finding the rapidly increasing scientific knowledge to be eroding the ground from beneath their feet, with a smaller and smaller base for which they can invoke a deity.
SusanDoris

DG
Very interesting quote from Augustine. Pity he's not around today - wouldn't he just love the debate.
Tricky Dicky

Re: Creationists

Silver wrote:
Are many of them poorly educated? Is that why many of their answers on forums are just quotes from creationist websites, dogma or just assurances that the bible is true? Can creationism actually be harmful to mental abilities, as in the case of Steavey?


I agree with just about everything that admin has written in the post immediately above mine. However, there are one or two creationists who give the appearance of being well educated, though on deeper probing I suspect that their basic ignorance would be apparent. There was certainly one such on the BBC forum (not Brad) who seemed quite fearless in the manner in which he took on the extremely well-informed atheist (and christian) evolutionists. He combined his overly-enthusiastic manner with a boorish arrogance and an insolence I've scarcely seen paralleled in any so-called Christian. Frequent references to the supposed philosophical naivete of the evolutionists were accompanied by his name-dropping of such worthies as Hegel and Wittgenstein, and repeated exclamations such as "You have no Absolute" (his absolute apparently being a supposedly inerrant bible - some "Absolute").

Further investigation revealed that his views derived directly from the Swiss evangelical Francis Schaeffer and the fanatical John Blanchard, author of the notorious "Does God Believe in Atheists?". Of Schaeffer, I know little, but I am acquainted with Blanchard's dreadful screed. A prince among name-droppers, he gives a whirlwind tour of every significant name in western philosophical and scientific history, usually quoting what someone else has said about these luminaries, and giving the impression that he has not read one word of them himself.
david_geoffrey

SusanDoris wrote:
DG
Very interesting quote from Augustine. Pity he's not around today - wouldn't he just love the debate.
I'm sure he would, this very very long book is simply packed full of arguments and attacks on contempory thoughts.

He comes across as someone who is very much prepared to defend his cause, but also to use other knowledge outside scripture to do so. I am sure that he would have incorporated evolution in his stride.

The other thing that comes out from his writing is that so many arguments about faith etc are not very new and have been around in one form or another probably from the very beginning
Shaker

Thank you, TD.

I've just had a thought that would get creationists spitting tacks faster than you can say endogenous retrovirus: the thought that creationists might be closer to atheism than their non-creationist but believing brethren. By that I mean - as I've already said - most religious people, no matter what their religion or denomination within a religion, are mature enough to have their idea of a god(s) and science happily coexisting without friction (or without too much of it, anyway). Doubtless that are other perfectly good grounds for criticising that stance, although that's another discussion for another time. But creationists have such a Sunday-school, literalist, juvenile version of a god that if they admit that evolution is true, they have to give up God too. For these people, a literalist reading of the Bible (including a very cartoonish concept of God) and creationism go hand in hand: when one goes down so does the other, like Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll handcuffed together in The Thirty Nine Steps. In the creationist (for want of a better term) mind, evolution = no God and God = no evolution. When one or the other gives way, they only see the remaining option.
david_geoffrey

admin. wrote:
like Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll handcuffed together in The Thirty Nine Steps
Wasn't in the book though - because neither was Madeleine Carroll's character! Although Hitchcock's is probably the best of the three adaptation so far, I don't know why film makers can't simply film the book. I believe there is yet another version coming out next year, I hope that this one is more accurate, but I fear it won't be.
Shaker

This is all true - thought I have to admit to a soft spot for the Robert Powell version that I grew up with.
Lexilogio

I think creationists are driven by a number of different things.

Some are wilfully ignorant - refusing to learn anything which they see, or are told, is "anti-god".

Some are fearful - their minds cannot accept the idea that the Bible isn't exactly literal, because if they did, their entire mental construct of where they are in the Universe would crash.

Some are wilfully controlling - deliberately playing on the ignorance of others. I don't think these people are necessarily true creationists... just pretending to be.


I think many are threatened by evolution. They see it as the words of evil, set to trip them up. They are unable to openly consider the possibility.
foolfodder

I always kind of assumed that high-profile creationists were so dishonest to protect other people's faith, rather than their own. I imagined that their reasoning went like this:

1. People should be moral.
2. To convine other people to be moral you need a moral absolute.
3. If the bible isn't absolutely true, then we don't have a moral absolute.
4. We've got to pretend that the bible is absolutely true, even if that means interpreting reality in a completely stupid way and generally lying to everyone. The ends justify the means.
Silver

High profile creationists generally seem to believe in what they preach, but they also make a nice living out of it since many seem happy to throw money at them. The ICR sells doctorates which is legal provided you don't use them to defraud people (of money), so have many doctors on their letterheads, of people who seemed to have had only the poorest of educations.


The so-called Discovery Institute is run by creationists and they pay scientists to help their cause, like the tobacco industry used to pay doctors to help their cause. These people are extremely dishonest and are generally just in it for the money. Some are fairly plausible while others are awful, but all are acceptable to creationists who know nothing about a subject and are happy for any straws to grab at.
Silver

Lucifers Duck wrote:
I'm wondering if it is the time-scale of Evolution that creationists cannot get their head around.

They seem to operate on the premise that the earth is only thousands of years old - when in fact it is Billions of years old...



It does seem as though many creationists have got a filter. Some information just don't get through to them, no matter how often they are told it. They normally don't bother with links given them, knowing instinctively that they are wrong. For some it is just endless repetition, with bible verses given as answers to questions. And then there is aTruster who tries to get posts removed that he does not like.
rick

Not really interesting is it?
Basically the same arguments but nothing concrete.

R.
Farmer Geddon

Another that always gets me is their "How can we be descended from monkeys" argument:

It doesn't how carefully you explain to them that we aren't, they seem to have it stuck in their heads that we are.
rick

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Another that always gets me is their "How can we be descended from monkeys" argument:

It doesn't how carefully you explain to them that we aren't, they seem to have it stuck in their heads that we are.


Is that still in use?

R.
Pukon_the_Treen

I think of creationism and fundamentalism in general as a socio-political rather than religious movement.

They reject the modern word and our Enlightenment standards of reason, analysis, ethics and even government, trying (in a rather creepy nostalgic far-right kind of way) to return to some fantastic medieval system, based on faith, tradition and revelation.

I think that part of them knows that what they believe doesn't make any sense, but they wear that fact like a badge of pride, kind of “look at the lengths to which I will go in order to turn my back on the modern world”.  The irony is of course that they are products of the modern world, not medieval romanticism, so when they try to attack science they foolishly try to use sciences own tools to do so.

It's a wonder the poor devils aren't schizophrenic.
Shaker

Quote:
The irony is of course that they are products of the modern world, not medieval romanticism, so when they try to attack science they foolishly try to use sciences own tools to do so.

Like an "Answers in Genesis" website, for example  :-)
foolfodder

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Another that always gets me is their "How can we be descended from monkeys" argument


I thought that we were, or at least something similar enough to call it a monkey. A primate or something.
LornaDoone40

admin. wrote:
Quote:
The irony is of course that they are products of the modern world, not medieval romanticism, so when they try to attack science they foolishly try to use sciences own tools to do so.

Like an "Answers in Genesis" website, for example  :-)


I tend to regard AiG in the same way that one might regard the alcoholic, tobacco stained uncle who sits in the corner of the room at the wedding reception, occasionally ranting in a somewhat incoherent manner.

You know - he's a relation, you can't do much about it, all you can do is hope that he won't piss on the floor and start a fight...


:roll:
Farmer Geddon

Please say you are just taking the piss there sage..
Shaker

At risk of a capital latter overdose, AiG has its UK HQ in my home city.

Imagine how that makes me feel :roll:
Lexilogio

admin. wrote:
At risk of a capital latter overdose, AiG has its UK HQ in my home city.

Imagine how that makes me feel :roll:



:smt044

It's like the capital city for wierd things isn't it....
LornaDoone40

admin. wrote:
At risk of a capital latter overdose, AiG has its UK HQ in my home city.

Imagine how that makes me feel :roll:


Ah, I bet it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't it?









Shaker

Yeah, warm and fuzzy like this:

Lexilogio

LornaDoone39 wrote:
admin. wrote:
At risk of a capital latter overdose, AiG has its UK HQ in my home city.

Imagine how that makes me feel :roll:


Ah, I bet it gives you a warm and fuzzy feeling doesn't it?











Is that the same feeling you get when you've had too much to drink and realised you needed the toilet at least an hour ago?
LornaDoone40

:smt043  :smt043  :smt044
Farmer Geddon

admin. wrote:
At risk of a capital latter overdose, AiG has its UK HQ in my home city.

Imagine how that makes me feel :roll:


Hmm:

Quote:
Answers in Genesis

16 Morris Road
Clarendon Industrial Estate
Leicester,
LE2 6BR

Phone: (0116) 2708400

Fax: (0116) 2700110


Shall we go to the office and burn them down, claiming they are heretics?

Give them a taste of their own medicine...  LOL
foolfodder

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Please say you are just taking the piss there sage..


Nope. We are primates, so we must have descended from some.
Farmer Geddon

Well if you go far enough back you will find that all mammals, including us Primates, have evolved from a creature that was genetically similar to the “order” known as Afrotheria - the modern aardvark.

If you go further back, the evolutionary root of all animals may be the ancient Jelly-fish or even Coral...
LornaDoone40

What, you mean we all a bunch of old soaks?    
foolfodder

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Well if you go far enough back you will find that all mammals, including us Primates, have evolved from a creature that was genetically similar to the “order” known as Afrotheria - the modern aardvark.

If you go further back, the evolutionary root of all animals may be the ancient Jelly-fish or even Coral...


So what's wrong with with saying that we're descended from monkeys? I can see that it might be inaccurate, but in essence we're descended from something similar enough to a monkey that if most people saw one they would say that it was a monkey.

Edited for splellingn
Farmer Geddon

Because we aren't
Tricky Dicky

Sage of the Last Biscuit wrote:
So what's wrong with with saying that we're descended from monkeys? I can see that it might be inaccurate, but in essence we're descended from something similar enough to a monkey that if most people saw one they would say that it was a monkey.

Edited for splellingn


Back in the 1970s, the anthropologist David Pilbeam wrote a book called "Not from the Apes", in which he argued that the evolutionary line leading to humans can be traced back to a creature called "Propliopithecus" - which was a small creature about the size of a shrew. His thesis was that the line leading to humans diverged long before anything really ape-like or monkey-like ever came along. Don't know if evolutionary studies have superseded his ideas, but the creature in question wouldn't have borne much resemblance to anything we'd recognise as a monkey. However, the ending "-pithecus" in the creature's name suggests the direction that things were to go.

I believe that Shaft and LD are the experts in these matters, so I'll bow out gracefully.
foolfodder

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Because we aren't


Are you saying that we aren't descended from a monkeys in the scientific sense of the word monkey, or the less precise more general sense, more like "a creature that lives up a tree, has a tail, clever hands, a humanish face etc." Because the latter is what I expect is being used when a creationist says that scientists say that we're descended from monkeys. Telling them that they've got their categorisation wrong isn't going to counter the point that they're trying to make. (I aintn't no dumb animal.)
Tricky Dicky

Sage of the Last Biscuit wrote:
Lucifers Duck wrote:
Because we aren't


Are you saying that we aren't descended from a monkeys in the scientific sense of the word monkey, or the less precise more general sense, more like "a creature that lives up a tree, has a tail, clever hands, a humanish face etc." Because the latter is what I expect is being used when a creationist says that scientists say that we're descended from monkeys. Telling them that they've got their categorisation wrong isn't going to counter the point that they're trying to make. (I aintn't no dumb animal.)


If a creationist is purporting to take issue with "what the scientists say" on their own ground, then they'd better make pretty damn sure they know what the scientists actually do say - categorisations and all.

Naturally enough, most of them have the most limited grasp of anything the scientists are talking about, so a small degree of accuracy over certain questions of generics and specifics might be in order. It might even help the scientists give a smidgeon of respect for the creationists' arguments (though I'm inclined to doubt that).
Farmer Geddon

Hang on here Biscuit - Are you saying that we are descended from Monkeys?
Shaft2101

To clear a few things up:

(i) Effectively all mammals share a common ancestor from about 65m years ago. It was very much like a modern shrew (at least that's the closest comparison). Dinosaurs effectively had a bit of a hegemony on most ecological niches. As soon as they were wiped out, these shrew-like creatures started diversifying. And from there mammals became as different as they are today. That's the short overview of it. As LD said, prior to that we can keep tracing our way back to various different concestors (a word, I believe, coined by Dawkins).

I highly recommend "An Ancestor's Tale" by Dawkins which deals with exactly this sort of thing, if you're interested. It's a very lengthy tome, but it's some of his best scientific writing to date. Though it's not ground-breaking (unlike Blind Watchmaker or selfish Gene etc.) it's a wonderfully comprehensive overview of evolutionary history.

(ii) We are primates. As would have been our immediate ancestors. We shared a common ancestor with chimps, monkeys etc. So whilst we never descended from monkeys we did descend from proto-humans, who in turn descended from other prior primates. I won't get in to throwing around the exact classification names as they won't really mean much to you ;)
Tricky Dicky

Did propliopithecus have any shrew-like characteristics as well (I suggested size above)?
Tricky Dicky

Tricky Dicky wrote:
Did propliopithecus have any shrew-like characteristics as well (I suggested size above)?


And don't say it was a vicious little bugger!  :)
foolfodder

Lucifers Duck wrote:
Hang on here Biscuit - Are you saying that we are descended from Monkeys?


No, I think the point that I'm trying to make is that when a creationist says that "evilutionists say that we're descended from monkeys" they're right by their definition of the word monkey.

So what could happen is something like this:

Creationist: "It is preposterous that the human species is descended from a monkey, I won't have it. I will not."

Evilutionist: "Nuh-huh, I never said that."

Creationist: "Oh, but my dear fellow, what was all that babble about being descended from monkeys, that my fellows and I just heard."

Evilutionist: "Duh, not monkeys. Primates. Or apes or summut. Are you fick or wot?"

Creationist: "Surely sir, your quibbling over the definition of the word monkey has shown that this is only ground on which you can challenge my assertion. Therefore, my fellows and I will henceforth dissengage from this debate, safe in the knowledge that the day is ours."

N.B. Language modified to represent how it might be transformed inside a creationist brain.

I kind of feel that an answer to an assertion like "evilutionists say that we're descended from monkeys" should acknowledge that we're descended from earlier primates, and then go on to say "however, we aren't actually descended from monkeys, though we do have a common ancestor with them."

The point that a creationist trying to make when they say "scientist say we're descended from monkeys" is not "scientists have an incorrect definition of the word monkey, they think that our latest common ancestor with a monkey was a monkey, *chortle*" but "isn't it preposterous to think that humans have come from something like a monkey, it debases everyone to be compared to something like a chimp." It is the second point that should be responded to. Maybe.

Not sure if that's clear, but got to go.
Farmer Geddon

No worries SotLB.

Reading it back I now realise the point you were trying to make.  But we still aren't descended from monkeys though - we are related to the great Apes...

Not sure I agree with the "Evilutionist" tag....

Surely you could have used a "Cretinist" one to counter-balance it?

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