Your Creation Museum Report

Yes, finally, ladies and gentlemen, I present you with your Creation Museum report! Thank you for your patience. Our report today has two parts: The first part is a photographic tour, with all the snarktasticness you’ve been no doubt hoping for. Click on the first picture and cruise on through. It’s long — 101 pictures — but, hey, you guys paid top dollar, so I don’t want to skimp. The second part, a think piece, if you will, is directly below. It’s no less snarky (as you will soon discover), but also somewhat more thoughtful. Enjoy.

ON THE CREATION MUSEUM
By John Scalzi

Here’s how to understand the Creation Museum:

Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit. And we’re not talking just your average load of horseshit; no, we’re talking colossal load of horsehit. An epic load of horseshit. The kind of load of horseshit that has accreted over decades and has developed its own sort of ecosystem, from the flyblown chunks at the perimeter, down into the heated and decomposing center, generating explosive levels of methane as bacteria feast merrily on vintage, liquified crap. This is a Herculean load of horseshit, friends, the likes of which has not been seen since the days of Augeas.

And you look at it and you say, “Wow, what a load of horseshit.”

But then there’s this guy. And this guy loves this load of horseshit. Why? Well, really, who knows? What possesses someone to love a load of horseshit? It’s beyond your understanding and possibly you don’t actually want to know, even if you could know; maybe it’s one of those “on that path lies madness” things. But love it he does, and he’s not the only one; the admiration for this particular load of horseshit exists, unaccountably, far and wide. There are advocates for this load of horseshit.

And so this guy who loves this load of horseshit decides that he’s going to do something; he’s going to give it a home. And not just any home, because as this is no ordinary load of horseshit, so must its home be no ordinary repository for horseshit. And so the fellow builds a temple for his load of horseshit. The finest architects scope this temple’s dimensions; the most excellent builders hoist columns around the load of horseshit and cap them with a cunning and elegant dome; and every surface of the temple is clad in fine-grained Italian marble by the most competent masons in a three-state radius. The load of horseshit is surrounded by comfortable seats, the better for people to gaze upon it; docents are hired to expertly describe its history and features; multimedia events are designed to explain its superior nature, relative not only to other loads of horseshit which may compete in loadosity or horseshittery, but to other, completely unrelated things which may or may not be loads of anything, much less loads of horseshit.

The guy who built the temple, satisfied that it truly represents his beloved load of horseshit in the best possible light, then opens the temple to the public, to attract not only the already-established horseshit enthusiasts, but possibly to entice new people to come and gaze on the horseshit, and to, well, who knows, admire its moundyness, or the way it piles just so, to nod in appreciation of the rationalizations for its excellence or to clap in delight and take pictures when an escaping swell of methane causes the load of horseshit to sigh a moist and pungent sigh.

When all of this is done, the fellow turns to you and asks you what you think of it all now, now that this gorgeous edifice has been raised in glory and the masses cluster in celebration.

And you say, “Well, that’s all very nice. But it’s still just an enormous load of horseshit.”

And this is, in sum, the Creation Museum. $27 million has purchased the very best monument to an enormous load of horseshit that you could possibly ever hope to see. I enjoyed my visit, admired the craft with which the whole thing was put together, and was never once convinced that what I was seeing celebrated was anything more or less than horseshit. Popular horseshit? Undoubtedly. Horseshit hallowed by tradition and consecrated by time? Just so. Horseshit of the finest possible quality? I would not argue the point. And yet, even so: Horseshit. Complete horseshit. Utter horseshit. Total horseshit. Horseshit, horseshit, horseshit, horseshit. I pity the people who swallow it whole.

***

So that is the key to understanding the Creation Museum. But what is the enormous load of horseshit that sits, squat yet moundy, at its very center? It’s simple: That the Bible is the literal and inerrant Word of God. If the Creation Museum doesn’t have that, it doesn’t have anything. So what it does — and very cleverly — is to position the Word of God as a non-threatening and accommodating given right from the start.

In the first room of the Creation Museum tour there’s a display of two paleontologists unearthing a raptor skeleton. One of them, a rather avuncular fellow, explains that he and the other paleontologist are both doing the same work, but that they start off from different premises: He starts off from the Bible and the other fellow (who does not get to comment, naturally) starts off from “man’s reason,” and really, that’s the only difference between them: “different starting points, same facts,” is the mantra for the first portion of the museum.

The rhetoricians in the crowd will already see how a card has been palmed here. The Museum is casually trying to establish an equivalence between science and creationism by accrediting them both as legitimate “starting points” for any discussion of biology, geology and cosmology. This would cause any scientist worth his or her salt to have a positively cinematic spit take, because it’s horseshit, but if you don’t know any better (say, if you’ve been fed a line of crap your whole life along the lines of “science is just another religion”) it sounds perfectly reasonable. And so if you buy that, then the next room, filled with large posters that offer on equal footing the creationist and scientific takes on the creation of the universe and evolution, seems perfectly reasonable, too: Heck, we can both have our theories! They’re both okay.

The problem with this is that creationism isn’t a theory, it’s an assertion, to wit: The entire universe was created in six days, the days are 24-hour days, the layout for the creation and for the early history of the planet and humanity is in the first chapter of Genesis and it is exactly right. Everything has to be made to conform to these assertions, which is why creationist attempts at science are generally so damn comical and refutable. This is also why the “different starting points, same facts” mantra is laughably false on its face — creationism has to have different facts to explain the world. It’s a little idiotic to establish as a “fact” that both science and creationism acknowledge, say, that apes exist, but to paper over the difference in the set of “facts” that explain how the apes got here, or to imply that a creationist assertion (apes created on the fifth day) is logically or systematically equivalent to decades of rigorous scientific process in the exploration of evolution.

But none of this is immediately obvious stuff and certainly the Creation Museum isn’t going to go out of its way to point it out; quite the opposite, in fact, since everything relies on the audience swallowing that whopping load of horseshit right up front. Thus the avuncular fake paleontologist at the start of the tour, looking all squinty and trustworthy and setting forth his load of utter horseshit in a tone of calm sincerity. Why wouldn’t you believe him? He’s a scientist, after all. Once you buy the initial premise, the rest comes easy, or, well, easier, anyway.

***

Let me say this much: I have to admit admiration for the pure balls-out, high-octane creationism that’s on offer here. Not for the Creation Museum that mamby-pamby weak sauce known as “Intelligent Design,” which tries to slip God by as some random designer, who just sort of got the ball rolling by accident. Screw that, pal: The Creation Museum’s God is hands on! He made every one of those animals from the damn mud and he did it no earlier than 4004 BC, or thereabouts. It’s all there in the book, son, all you have to do is look. Indeed, every single thing on display in the Creation Museum is either caused by or a consequence of exactly three things:

1. The six-day creation;

2. Adam eating from the tree of life;

3. Noah’s flood.

Really, that’s it. That’s the Holy Trinity of explanations and rationalizations. And thus we learn fascinating things. Did you know, for example, that Adam is responsible not only for the fall of man, but also for the creation of venom? It didn’t exist in the Garden of Eden, because, well. Why would it? Weeds? Adam’s fault. Carnivorous animals (and, one assumes, the occasional carnivorous plant)? Adam again. Entropy? You guessed it: Adam. Think about that, won’t you; eat one piece of fruit and suddenly you’re responsible for the inevitable heat death of the universe. God’s kind of mean.

The interplay of this Holy Trinity of explanations comes to its full realization when the Creation Museum considers what really are its main draw: Dinosaurs. Are dinosaurs 65 million years old? As if — the Earth is just six thousand years old, pal! Dinosaurs were in the garden of Eden — and vegetarians, at least until the fall, so thanks there, Adam. They were still around as late as the mid-third millenium BC; they were hanging with the Sumerians and the Egyptians (or, well, could have). All those fossils? Laid down by the Noah’s Flood, my friends. Which is not to say there weren’t dinosaurs on the Ark. No, the Bible says all kinds of land animals were on the boat, and dinosaurs are a subset of “all kinds.” They were there, scaring the crap out of the mammals, probably. Why did they die off after the flood? Well, who can say. Once the flood’s done, the Creation Museum doesn’t seem to care too much about what comes next; we’re in historical times then, you see, and that’s all Exodus through Deuteronomy, ie., someone else’s problem.

But seriously, the ability to just come out and put on a placard that the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt — well, there’s a word for that, and that word is chutzpah. Because, look, that’s something you really have to sell if you want anyone to buy it. It’s one thing to say to people that God directly created the dinosaurs and that they lived in the Garden of Eden. It’s another thing to suggest they lived long enough to harass the Minoans, and do it with a straight face. It’s horseshit, pure and simple, but that’s not to suggest I can’t admire the hucksterism.

***

I’m quite clearly immune to the ideological charms of the Creation Museum, but then, I never was the prime audience for the place. How were other people grokking the museum the day I was there? Honestly, it’s hard to say. The place was certainly crowded; I and the friends I went with had to wait in line an hour and a half to get into the place (there’s a bottleneck in the middle of the museum in the form of a short film about the six days of creation). No one I could see was getting sloppy over the place; people just more or less shuffled through each room, looked at the displays, read the placards and moved on. My friends occasionally heard someone say “oh, come on,” when one of the placards tested their credulity (there’s apparently only so much of “T-Rexes were vegetarian” propaganda any one person should be obliged to take), but for my part I just noticed people looking, reading and moving on.

There have to be people who believe this horseshit unreservedly, but I suspect that perhaps the majority of the visitors I saw were Christians who may not buy into the whole “six days” thing, but are curious to see how it’s being presented. To be clear, the “horseshit” I’ve been speaking of is not Christianity, it’s creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ. Now, the Creation Museum rather emphatically argues that a literal reading of the Bible is essential for true Christianity — it’s got a whole red-lit section that suggests the ills of society are directly related to folks deciding that maybe some parts of the Bible are, you know, metaphorical – but that’s just more horseshit, of a slightly different flavor. There are lots of Christians who clearly don’t need to twist their brain like a pretzel to get around the idea that the universe is billions of years old and that we’ve evolved from earlier forms. For those folks, the Creation Museum is probably about culture, to the extent any installation largely created by someone who previously worked for Universal Studios can be about culture.

At the very least, this is high-quality stuff on the level of production. There are lots of things here that are cheesy, but there’s not much that’s chintzy; you can see where the $27 million went. Whether this will all age well will be an interesting question, although I don’t plan on returning in five years to find out. Here and now, it’s all pretty damn slick, and I think that in itself may be a draw for mainstream Christians. Christian culture has only recently ramped itself up into being something other than a wan and denatured version of pop culture (this is evidenced in part by the fact that many evangelical Christian teens now dress as badly as the rest of their peers), and this is another high-production-value offering for this particular lifestyle choice.

Will these folks find the arguments they find at the Creation Museum convincing? Again, you got me. I certainly hope not, but more to the point I would hope that these folks don’t come away feeling that their love of Christ obliges them to swallow heaping mounds of horseshit from people who are phobic about metaphor. I really don’t think Jesus would care if you think that you and a monkey have a common ancestor; I think he would care more that you think you and your neighbor have a common weal.

What about non-Christians? I can’t imagine that anyone who wasn’t strongly religious or already inclined to agree with creationist ideas would be converted by this place. Between blaming Adam for everything from poisons to sweating and T-Rexes eating coconuts and a particularly memorable placard explaining why in early Biblical times it was perfectly fine to have sex with your close relatives, it’s just way too over the top.

***

Indeed, it’s over the top enough that I never could actually get angry with the place. Not that I was planning to; I admit to dreading coming to the place, but that’s primarily because I thought it would bore and annoy me, not make me angry. In fact, I was never bored, and was genuinely annoyed only by the “paleontologist” at the start of the walk-through. The rest of the time I enjoyed it as I suspect anyone who is not some stripe of creationist could enjoy it: As camp. At some point — specifically the part where the Scopes Monkey Trial was presented as the end of decent Christian civilization as we know it — I just started chuckling my way through. By the time I got to the Dinosaur Den, with its placards full of patent misinformation about how soft tissue fossilization strongly suggested a massive, worldwide flood, I was a little loopy. It was just so ridiculous.

And I’m happy about that. In the end, the Creation Museum is one of those things that I suspect will comfort those who absolutely believe in creationism, amuse those who absolutely don’t, and be a interesting way to spend a day to lots of people somewhere in the middle. It’s not a front in the culture war, as much as I think it would like to be; it’s designed too much like an amusement for that.

It is what it is: An attractive and diverting repository for a massive load of horseshit. And, well, let’s be realists: That load of horseshit’s not going away anytime soon. Might as put it somewhere that it’s out of everyone else’s way. The Creation Museum manages that well enough.

568 thoughts on “Your Creation Museum Report

  1. Great article … I was wondering about that place, and now I need wonder no more.

    Btw, just one minor typo spotted: “I don’t plan on returning in five years to find about.” (SB ‘find out’)

  2. Perhaps the “over the topness” didn’t come through in the photos, then. I got angry looking at them and I didn’t even have to pay $19.95. Unfortunately, even I have to scold myself for that not being justified. People are permitted to believe any darn thing they like and even encourage other people to journey to their museum to see their dioramas. It annoys me that there isn’t more public dissing of nonsense like this, though. The circular reasoning and ignorance of existing data in the signs is … *shudder*.

    P.S. The rhetoric exercises were fun. Slightly blurry at times, but fun. Hey, and cool background on the site now, even if any text not on a white background is unreadable. Very spiffy.

  3. Oh, I should print this post out and keep it handy for the next time one of the other homeschooling parents approaches me at a get together and asks why I chose not to “allow my children to experience the full glory of finding The Answers.”

    ( I’m one of the only members in the group who did not sign the statement of faith on the membership application )

  4. Funny – maybe. Terrifying – certainly. I’d like to say only in America but unfortunately these nu…sorry intellectually challenged…people have also showed up on the UK’s side of the pond.

    I think Joe has a point about science particularly where unproven theory becomes viewed as fact but where belief is directed at items that have been demonstrated to be wrong. Well it’s just sad really. Science, good science – not faith in science, is all about the question. Worship the question.

  5. I find the whole dinosaur obsession to be really interesting. Those of us not enamored of equine excrement might assume that a muse- uh… institution(?) of this type might try to paper over the dinos – or at least get them off the stage after the flood (“They were too busy playing with the unicorns and eating their spinach, kiddos.”). Instead, we get dinos in the parking lot, dinos in the bookshop, “There were dinos until last Tuesday – really. You just missed the last one. Yes, the loss of the glory and wonder of the Tyrannosaur is just the latest in the long line of ills that stems from Adam’s consumption of the apple.”

    I guess it’s a more visual rhetorical trick? Keep everyone off guard with reptilian glare and sharp tooth, so that you inadvertently swallow the horseshit which enters via your conveniently dropped jaw?

    I’d just like to be a fly on the wall when some six-year-old, complete with convenient dinosaur obsession, comes in and starts a loud (and geologically correct) disquisition on which dinosaur lived in which age and therefore shouldn’t be pictured together, and even though he would love to have a dino like the person in the diorama, that is just SO WRONG.

  6. Thank you, thank you, thank you for going there and sharing your experiences!
    I have to say though, that the saddest picture (to me) in your slide show was of the Home School bus in the parking lot. Those children are going to swallow that load of garbage, and probably never question it.

  7. Terrific report, John, and very much well worth the wait! Will have to look at the multitude of pictures tomorrow.

    BTW, I believe you meant ‘put’ rather than ‘out’ in paragraph 8:

    the craft with which the whole thing was output together,

  8. I found myself wondering how they managed to square the quote from Genesis, And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed, with the whole things-were-perfect-then and they-really-suck-now message. Surely, by this reasoning, we should all drop our clothes?

    How did the museum handle the whole Adam and Eve nudity thing? In the one picture you have of Adam, he’s using a convenient lamb as a loincloth. One presumes that mutton wasn’t always handy. In a later photo, of the serpent (who, it should be noted, were also affected by The Fall in that they lost any semblance of vocal cords), Adam and his clone (is it legal or even advisable to procreate with your clone?) are seen from the shoulders up.

    If you believe that the Bible is inerrant, then it seems to me that you have to accept that human nudity is entirely natural and part of God’s plan.

    So I was kind of wondering how the museum handled this seeming contradiction.

    Oh, wait…

  9. Patrick @11: No, the Horseshit Museum is not in Ohio. I suspect that, like the Creation Museum, it’s in Kentucky. After all, Kentucky is home to some of the finest horse farms in the world, it only makes sense that they would produce a high grade of horseshit.

  10. Hey, quick one for those more better edumacated than me: why, if “God’s Word” = “hope” does its manifestation so often fill me with sadness and despair? Weird.

    Dean: But there is logic to this — nudity was only cool before the Fall. Now, like weeds and public schools and Daily Kos, it’s blood-red XXX and totally wikkid (\m/). It’s all right there on the placards, dude.

    Oh, and, Thanks, John!

  11. I just spent seven precious minutes skimming this of the 15 I have to get dressed, eat breakfast, and get on the road to class. I can’t wait to read this at leisure.

  12. Thanks for visiting and posting your reportage from the Creationist museum! The photo captions were especially funny.

    BTW, shouldn’t archaeologists in Egypt have found ancient murals showing dinosaurs and Egyptians co-existing? And since Egyptian gods often had animal heads, how come none of them had dino heads? (Sauron, Egyptian god of darkness… now there’s stuff for a sci-fi story. Or an episode of Stargate. Whatever.)

  13. So why was it okay for people to have sex with their immediate relatives back in the day? I couldn’t read the placard in the photo, and I’m dying to know.

  14. John said: “Now, the Creation Museum rather emphatically argues that a literal reading of the Bible is essential for true Christianity — it’s got a whole red-lit section that suggests the ills of society are directly related to folks deciding that maybe some parts of the Bible are, you know, metaphorical – but that’s just more horseshit, of a slightly different flavor.”

    Yeah, well, I guess that nut “Paul” is surely going to hell:

    Galatians 4:
    21Tell me, you who want to be under the law, are you not aware of what the law says? 22For it is written that Abraham had two sons, one by the slave woman and the other by the free woman. 23His son by the slave woman was born in the ordinary way; but his son by the free woman was born as the result of a promise.

    24These things may be taken figuratively, for the women represent two covenants. One covenant is from Mount Sinai and bears children who are to be slaves: This is Hagar. 25Now Hagar stands for Mount Sinai in Arabia and corresponds to the present city of Jerusalem, because she is in slavery with her children. 26But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother. (NIV)

    If I lived closer, it might be fun to protest carrying around signs that said, “Repent, sinners! Galatians 4:24!”

  15. “But “whose” mummy?”

    Oh, Scalzi you Glorious Bastard, you. What a great way to start the day. Thanks for taking one for the team. :)

  16. Oh geesh, I see mensley’s brought both his imaginary friend and his work of fiction…

    And now, on to a discussion of how, since the Bible clearly condoned slavery, we should have slaves too.

    John, an interesting look at that place.

  17. But here is the saddest part;
    Right now, the ‘president’ and most of the Republicans running for high office, BELIEVE this crap! They really do!

    (Or at least say they do, to satisfy the millions in Ohio, Alabama, Texas, etc. who actually think stories cobbled together from ancient middle eastern stories are to be taken literally, and for some reason, these people can vote.)

    As a result, so many believe in the ‘Rapture’, that they were all disappointed when it didnt happen in 2000.
    Problem is, they WANT it to happen! Yes! Now!
    And they will do anything they can think of to make it happen,
    including causing it themselves!

    So while this seems funny to most, it is actually very dangerous.

    I dont know what the answer is, but right now the USA has 11,000
    nukes, and a ‘Christian Fundamentalist’ administration.

    May the REAL God help us!

  18. Laurie Mann wrote: “Oh geesh, I see mensley’s brought both his imaginary friend and his work of fiction…”

    Oops, I guess I wasn’t clear. I was making fun of the bible-is-literally true crowd. It’s hard to write tongue-in-cheek without using emoticons, I guess. What amazes me is that creationists don’t seem to be able to read their own book. It always amuses me that if you believe that the bible is literally true, then it tells you that it’s metaphorical.

  19. Most important question, oh master of the equine fecal matter…

    Is that some random guy riding a dinosaur at the end of the slideshow, or did they somehow get Eddie “Mr. Potatoehead” Deezen to participate in their show? He’s aged really well.

  20. So, when will the criminal justice system start seeing murder defenses that consist of, “It’s all Adam’s fault” and… win?

    “Your Honor, I firmly conclude, that had Adam not eaten that apple in the Garden of Eden, and brought down the smiting and cruel hand of our Lord God, my client Joe-Bob Mass-murderer would not have brutally mutilated his next door neighbor for playing country music.”

    You wouldn’t even need juries anymore!

    Furthermore, I find a horrible lack of women in that whole museum. (at least according to John’s depiction) I kinda liked it better when Eve was the one responsible for evil. Miraculous virgin births, and prostitutes aside, being the cause of sin for all of humanity just leaves a tasty flavor in my mouth.

    F U Adam, evil is MINE.

  21. Honestly, I’m in that nether-realm of not being able to decide between howling with laughter or screaming in rage at this monument to stupidity….so instead I’ve pretty much decided to forward this to my brother who runs the exhibit side of a major science museum….just to watch is head explode.

    Why not share the pain/laughter?

  22. I made the mistake of reading this at work. My laughter apparently disturbed some of my co-workers. I passed on the link, and as I type this, there are various patches of giggling around the newsroom.

  23. Thank you very much for posting this. My curiosity has now been satisfied, and with you as a filter, my head will not blow up. The photos make clear both of the initial assumptions about the creators of the place: (1) they spent a buttload of money on this place, and (2) they flunked science, rhetoric, and both formal and informal logic.

  24. Best money I ever spent. And I think Deb Geisler@34 pretty much sums up my opinion about the museum and its creators (small c).

    Does anyone else have the feeling that the true “young-earth creationsists” spend a lot of time with their fingers in their ears, singing “lalalala I can’t hear you!”?

  25. As a former creationist, I have to say I’m surprised at how shoddy their reasoning is. There’s better arguments they could have used. (Not _much_ better, mind. But it would have been nice if they could have given it the old college try.)

    Jill@8: Dinosaurs have long been a favorite tool of the creationists, because the public likes them and wishes they were still around. Only, you know, not eating _us_. Hence, Jurassic Park and sequels. There’s a particularly scummy scumbag based out of Florida (though he’s currently in the slammer for tax evasion) who calls himself “Dr. Dino”, though his only doctorate is from a diploma mill. (Guy’s named Kent Hovind, if you feel like wikipediaing/googling.)

    Dean@14: Nudity wasn’t a precondition of sinlessness, but rather a consequence thereof, or perhaps a privilege. After they sinned, God killed off some animals for them and gave them the skins to wear. Dropping all your clothes may intrigue and/or frighten your neighbors, but it seems unlikely to be sufficient to get you back into God’s good graces, assuming you were not already there.

    Remember, “A implies B” does not necessarily mean “B implies A”.

    Sarah O@20: I don’t know exactly what the placard said, but the standard explanation is that (a) it’s not like they had a lot of choice, (b) God hadn’t prohibited incest yet (that happened in the Mosaic law), and (c) genetic diseases hadn’t had time to “develop” (or perhaps, “evolve”?) yet. I don’t believe they actually have a good argument for (c), it’s just something they assert. Like, you know, everything else.

  26. ‘k, so… is it just me, or does that one placard state that God designed dogs to evolve? Seems like they could have run with that and skipped, oh… a museum full of inanity.

  27. Laurie @25: mensley’s poking fun at the literalists. Paul is basically the second-most-important person in the New Testament, after Jesus himself, and verse 24 there is saying that the story of Abram and his two sons is a metaphor, not necessarily history.

    That said, since it’s a story involving approximately five humans (at least until their descendants got _busy_), it’s got about as much chance as being exactly historical as the Greek and Roman epics, barring annoying things like “infallibility” and “inerrancy”. That is, there was a Troy, and likely a Trojan war, but that’s about as far as we can get with history. Since we don’t even know when Abram was supposed to have lived, we’ll probably have to settle for not knowing anything else about him for sure. And I for one am fine with that.

  28. John, you said “Here and now, it’s all pretty damn slick, and I think that in itself may be a draw for mainstream Christians.”

    I’m a Lutheran — which I consider pretty darned mainstream Christian — and for most of us, there’s not conflict between good science and the Bible because we really don’t take it literally.

    Granted, there are different types of Lutherans, and a couple of them *do* take the Bible literally, but the largest group doesn’t.

    Granted also that Lutherans may not be mainstream anymore.

    But still, most of the church-going Christians I know would be exasperated by the Creation Museum.

  29. I posted a link to the report on a few discussion groups I frequent. So far the responses have been positive but some less-than-polite people may come calling as a result. Just a heads up.

  30. John,

    I think you broke my brain.

    You know, I’ve wishy-washy about it, but I think the time has come to commit myself to a life of sin. The alternative appears to be a life of “Ow, my head!”

  31. “So, when will the criminal justice system start seeing murder defenses that consist of, “It’s all Adam’s fault” and… win? ”

    To be fair, people have already brought in neurological psychologists and biological behavorists into trial in an effort to establish that an action was preconcieved by biologal nature rather than an act of free will (a good rebuttle which sadly will never be seen is that do to the jury’s biolgocal nature they had to condemn the defendant anyway). I don’t see blaming Adam as being any more obsurd than trying to use science to remove accountability.

    On the subject at hand, I have seen plenty of Young Earth Creationists (the sect of creationism that believes a literal interpretation of the bible and seem to have no issue with the thousands of contradictions within it) who assert that Dinosaurs lived through the rise of Rome, which I find utterly obsurd but cool to imagine. I think it would be obvious that should the dinosaurs have still lived, Rome would have used them for war (I mean, if Hannibal can surprise the romans with Elephants, why couldn’t Rome repay the favor to Carthage with ankylosaurus and gigantosaurus). It would be like the old cartoon Dino-Riders but with the roman legion, and ballistae and mangonels, in place of weird alien humans and lasers. Actually, John, I propose that as a premise to an alterate history/fantasy novel should you ever feel inclined to write one.

    Also, the Romans would have made early christians fight dinosaurs in the colissium. I’d think that possibility alone would cause creationists to want to take care of the dinosaurs following the flood rather than leave it as an open question.

  32. I wouldn’t have a problem with creationism if they weren’t trying to cram it into just about every area of our schools’ science departments. Science education is already struggling in this nation, and adding this gibberish is only going to cement our status as one of the most scientifically illiterate nations on the planet.

    However, I loved the work, John. You’re a hell of a lot nicer than I would have been. It would be nice if this “museum” could be seen as nothing more than a little bauble of amusement with no value other than that of entertainment, but the fact is, creationism has an appeal, and it seems to appeal to a growing section of society who want justification for lacking the ambition to study and comprehend real science. The fact that Ken Ham endorses this nonsense and tries to pass it off as something legitimate is infuriating to anyone with a rational –even semi-functioning– mind who can easily see the damage this dumb bastard is doing. It’s like me demanding that the finger-paintings I did when I was five be hung in the Louvre because, hey! They’re art, dammit.

    One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists? Do we lower our admission standards to accommodate them? Or, do we deny them admission based on something which will inevitably (although mistakenly) be seen as religious intolerance?

    Now, if you’ll excuse me, I think I’ll go hug my pony.

  33. John,

    I wish you had told us how you really felt about your visit, rather than beating around the Bush (sic) so much!

    – Tom -

  34. Jill@8: Oh god, how I would love to see that child. You know it’s going to happen at least once. And with any luck, someone will try to convince this kid that, no, all the dinosaurs lived at the same time, and the kid will argue, and someone will post on the internet and we’ll all get to hear about it.

    Wow. Just… wow. I now want to go see that with my girlfriend so we can be inappropriate in the queue (and the red-light district– I mean red-lit area) and laugh loudly.

  35. In Çatalhöyük there are ruins of a Neolithic city which, based on dendrochronology and carbon-14, has been estimated to be about 9,000 years old. If I were a young-earth creationist, I would much rather be waving my hands to explain dinosour fossils than trying to convince people that in the early days of creation, trees grew more than one ring per year.

  36. Well, thanks John.

    Here, have a nice cold beer on me. Go put up your feet and relax for a bit. After all, we need to be sure that there has been no long lasting psychological effects.

  37. Your review was smart, funny, and credible until you got to the part about the saving graces of Jesus Christ and such. Then I had to think you were hoarding your own little pile of poo there, and the rest of your tale seemed hypocritical because of it.

    If you’re going to wallow into it to your knees, you can hardly make fun of the people wallowing in to their necks.

  38. Anne:

    Well, you know, I’m not talking about myself there; I’m really not a Christian. I think I’m personally free of any hypocrisy on the matter. I’m just not going to suggest that all Christians need to be lumped into the same category as creationists.

  39. Re: vegetarian t-rex’s

    From Mark Twain’s Diary of Adam:
    [Eve] engages herself in many foolish things: among others, trying to study out why the animals called lions and tigers live on grass and flowers, when, as she says, the sort of teeth they wear would indicate that they were intended to eat each other. This is foolish, because to do that would be to kill each other, and that would introduce what, as I understand it, is called “death;” and death, as I have been told, has not yet entered the Park. Which is a pity, on some accounts.

    (later on, it mentions offhand how their meals often disagreed with them)

  40. Looking at the placards in the photos, there’s just enough science jammed in and contorted into the creationist framework that I had to shake my head at the mental gymnastics necessary to pick and choose which parts were true and discard the rest. Though I suppose that’s how they feel about people selectively picking which parts of the Bible to believe.

    While it’s refreshing to see Adam rather than Eve get the bum rap for every horrible thing on Earth for once, I felt that she was getting cheated of her share of the credit here. It took *two* people to destroy paradise!

  41. #21 Patrck M -

    Kentucky? Nothing good comes from Kentucky…

    Untrue. Some really good bourbon comes from KY. Sad if John didn’t find himself a nice small batch distillery to tour afterwards. I totally would have.

  42. I just know that I’d be laughing uproariously through the whole thing and explaining to everyone nearby just how each placard is egregiously wrong.

  43. Ah! Now I don’t have to go.

    And John, having come from the very background that spawned this thing, you were much more forgiving than I would have been. I would have been banging my head against an ornately carved Italian marble wall going, “They spent $27 million on THIS!?”

    Hate to break it to the Creationist paleontologist, but I used his starting point and reached the same conclusion as his Big Bang-loving colleague by about age 10. Something about, “If there’s a God, why does Jerry Falwell think he’s such a pussy?”

  44. So John, did you need to have a nice lie-down after this? A stiff drink perhaps? Thank you for your exertions on our behalf – I hope your brain is on the mend.

    Of course, the really important question is – did you take Athena with you and if so, what was her considered response?

  45. Kirsty:

    Hell, no. She was at the Newport Aquarium while I was at the Creation Museum. A far better use of her time.

  46. Most of the bourbon distilleries are south of Louisville. I know that there are two or three in Bardstown, and Maker’s Mark is in Loretto. I think most of the distilleries have tours.

  47. Thanks, John. This made my day.
    I still can’t believe people actually believe this. I’m amazed at the care they took to craft the exhibit, but it still seems a load of hooey.

  48. Dan@47- “One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists?”
    Yup, that’s it right there, that’s the part that fuels my ire at these silly antics. You have a large chunk of the population that’s being exposed to this crap, and they won’t know better until they’re basically laughed out of some university lecture hall (unless they attend Bob Jones U, but that’s a different rant altogether).
    The worst part about it is that these kids, being full of the righteous indignation that often accompanies fundamentalist fanaticism, will probably put their fingers to their ears and ‘la la la’ their way through college. And the world will continue it’s slide into nimrod-ism, until we eventually get to a point where society will resemble Mike Judge’s film, Idiocracy, to a greater extent than anyone will care (or have the intellectual acuity) to admit.

  49. Pablo Defendini Says:
    November 12th, 2007 at 2:23 pm

    Dan@47- “One of the things I think about a lot is what’s going to happen ten years from now when our state colleges are going to be forced to confront this under-educated mob of home-schooled, young-earth creationists?”

    They’ll flunk out. At least out of their biology and ancient history classes. Some of them will switch to bible colleges, some will find ways to get regular degrees without having to examine their prejudices, many more will wind up flipping burgers.

    Others will hit enough contravening evidence to realize that they’ve been fed a load of, well, I can’t improve on Scalzi’s description. This betrayal drives a lot of them out of Christianity entirely, and I can’t say I blame them.

    I feel compelled to mention http://www.talkorigins.org/, which is the home archive of the newsgroup talk.origins. (Motto: we deal with this stuff so sci.biology doesn’t have to.) I’m a longtime Howler Monkey who has a few items in said archive myself. This link was posted on t.o. amid widespread applause so you may see some new people.

  50. Zeph@38: Of *course* they can have a placard saying God designed dogs to evolve. No contradiction atall, nosirreee… because that’s MICRO-evolution, and it doesn’t count.

    The educated, rational creationists I know are quite willing to admit that small changes of an “evolutionary” type do occur — they pretty much have to, because the evidence is right in front of them. Where they draw the line is that they don’t believe the “big stuff” — most importantly, things like mammals evolving from reptiles or humans evolving from apes. Their explanation is that God created “kinds” (for which they have invented a technical term that I can’t remember), and while things may change *within* a “kind,” one “kind” can never change into another: a horse remains a horse, a cow remains a cow.

    From a scientific point of view, of course, this overlooks the abundant evidence that “big evolution” and “small evolution” happen in EXACTLY the same way and by the same means: the big stuff just takes longer.

    Speaking as a cynic here, it means that any evolution that is so blatantly obvious they can’t weasel around it is promptly classified as “micro-evolution” and so becomes OK. Anything they *can* ignore is “macro-evolution” and therefore verboten. Perfect circular reasoning.

  51. WTF? You tease us with a picture of someone sitting on a dino — yet, NO pictures of the Creation Museum Dino-Rodeo?!!?

    No, forget it, Scalzi. I’m just NOT going to help raise money for you to take a second trip just for that picture!!

  52. What I don’t get is why they bothered with the dinosaur bones to begin with. I mean if it were me, I’d say God created the world with the bones in it. Never were no big stinkin’ reptiles. Ever. Just the bones. Because God likes bones. He gave a whole buncha creatures bones, and everybody ends in bones.

    Bones, bones, bones. God just likes bones. Who are you to argue?

    I think the only reason they bother with the whole dinosaur exhibit is because they know kids love dinosaurs.

  53. Mr. Scalzi, I genuflect in your general direction.

    The photo essay? Impressive. The photo titles and commentary? Ruthlessly hilarious and yet informative.

    When I read the words “natural selection” on one of the placards, though, my head essploded a little. (I also admit to wishing for a larger version of the “Where did Cain get his wife?” placard, simply because of the moral contradictions I imagine it must contain.)

    And this post is a work of art in and of itself.

    Sir, you are a genius. Thank you! And I hope you suffer no lingering aftereffects. :)

  54. Maybe I’m more of an optimist than Louann and Pablo, but I’m one of those childhood fundamentalists (six years at a tiny insular private Christian school; I remember attending one of Ken Ham’s lectures, even *shudder*) who went on to a private Methodist college. Lo and behold, over the course of four years–at an explicitly Christian institution, mind you, and a fairly conservative one at that–a whole series of thoughtful, intelligent (and, yes, religious) professors made clear the severe, undeniable flaws in the literalistic dogma I’d been raised on.

    Sure, plenty of my cohorts did stick their fingers in their ears and shout “la la la” at challenges to their beliefs. But I think you make the same mistake made by those right-wingers who crow about their notion that libruls are having so many abortions that we’re just going to go extinct–this idea that beliefs are more or less immutable. It seemed to me, growing up in that kind of a community, that the authoritarian, dogmatic, literalistic, my-way-or-the-highway parents were the ones whose kids most strongly rebelled against their childhood beliefs, frankly.

    All that to say, I think there’s more hope for those kids than you might assume. But then, as a former quasi-nutjob myself, I WOULD say that, wouldn’t I?

  55. Weeds? Adam’s fault. Carnivorous animals (and, one assumes, the occasional carnivorous plant)? Adam again. Entropy? You guessed it: Adam.

    I suppose I should be grateful they don’t lay all that at Eve’s pedicured tootsies, but it’s probably just because it’s a stripe of fundamentalism that denies women’s agency.

    Screw it, I’m with Kate; I’ve brought down one Paradise already, so don’t try me, son!

    Also, to Josh @ 60 and Johnny @ 66: There is a monastery in Kentucky (Benedictine, if memory serves) that makes some damn fine high-octane fudge out of that bourbon, available by mail for holiday gift giving.

    Come to think of it, maybe I know what a certain writer deserves under his tree (just don’t let Athena near the stuff, John!)

  56. I don’t eat stuff infused with booze, Angelle (part of my general “no alcohol” policy), but thanks for the thought.

  57. Why do the Creationists spend so much time on dinosaurs? Because dinosaurs and rocket ships are gateway drugs to the hard sciences. Give a 10-year old a choice between something dinosaur-related and something Bible-related, and I think a sizable majority are going to go with dinos.

    Rockets aren’t so much of an immediate threat to blind faith, but a little kid who knows when T-Rex lived has already questioned Biblical literalism without even knowing it. So the creationists try to co-opt the dinos. “We have dinosaurs, too, but people called them dragons and leviathans!”

    Thanks for going to the Creation Museum, John. I hope you’re right about its lack of significance, but I worry that the “culture war” has always been an asymmetrical war for hearts and minds. I don’t fear the CM as a “front,” but I do fear it as a training camp for tomorrow’s “cultural jihadists.” I hope I’m really, really wrong, and just being paranoid and cynical.

  58. Our Host (which in this context brings on all kinds of odd images…)@50:

    I dunno. I suggest we, your o/r/g/a/n/g/r/i/n/d/e/r audience wait a few months, then ask for an amount. I suspect that e.g. 5 figures worth of USD* would be pretty easy, and we can post all kinds of good things that could be done with the money…

    bwahaha…

    *assuming that this is more than about 4.75 euros by then

  59. I have to speak up here and say that not all homeschoolers are fundies who think science is an elaborate Satanic scheme responsible for the Downfall of Society. Some of us just had hippies for parents.

    Re: the museum…wow. That there is some mighty ripe horseshit, all right.

  60. Thel @ # 76 – S

    No, I don’t think John is making the sort of mistake that you think he’s making about the creationists. I don’t see him claiming that conservatives are idiots because of creationism. He’s just snarkilly critical of creationism. So far as I can tell, the essay was non-political, and non-dogmatic. You’re accusing him of dogmatism. If you want to get into that, you’re going to need to just dismiss science as the best route to empirical truth about the way the universe works, not John, and at the same time, claim that the bible has the only non-scientifically provable truth about creation.

    That sort of argument is only helpfully for creating solidarity among dogmatic creationist Christians. Or devotees of Paul Feyerabend.

  61. You remember way back when we were all kids? And you dared a friend to do something stupid, eat a worm, jump off the roof, touch a nine-volt battery to his tongue, tease a pit bull – that sort of thing? And then the guy went and actually did it? And it was funny as all hell, even if he did get seriously hurt. And as the ambulance was driving away, you turned to the crowd and said, “Holly Horseshit! I didn’t think the idiot would actually do it!”

    That’s how I feel about this whole thing – Jeebus, John, I didn’t actually think you’d do it, you idiot. It was entertaining, I’ll give you that. But, now you’re scarred for life, man, for life.

  62. Jim:

    Well, you know. I took money for it, even if I did then just donate it somewhere else. I felt obliged.

  63. Thel, you’re probably right. I didn’t mean to come off as a blanket, knee-jerk hater, although that’s probably what I sounded like. . . this issue gets me going, what can I say?

    In all seriousness, the times I’ve come across this vein of fundamentalism (two-ish years at an episcopalian boarding school in North Carolina —complete with born-again faculty!—, and a few other times scattered here and there), one of the things that strikes me the most is not only how dogmatic the parents are, but how they condition their children so thoroughly and effectively. It breaks my heart (and then enrages me) to see children being manipulated in that way, and know that eventually they’ll have to come to a point where they either rebel in the way that you describe (and have to deal with that particular brand of heartbreak, sometimes punctuated by estrangement from loved ones), or continue to live in their fundamentalist echo chamber. I tend to side with people like Richard Dawkins who claim that this form of indoctrination should be considered a form of child abuse.

    This isn’t to say a that religious education equals evil brainwashing, mind you. Some of the most interesting and open-minded teachers I’ve had were Jesuit priests. Like you say, there’s a little bit of everything, and things aren’t black or white. But I have to say that the fundamentalist brand of indoctrination is a heady brew indeed, and it’s hard to break that hold.

  64. Frank:

    “What I don’t get is why they bothered with the dinosaur bones to begin with. I mean if it were me, I’d say God created the world with the bones in it. Never were no big stinkin’ reptiles. Ever. Just the bones. Because God likes bones. He gave a whole buncha creatures bones, and everybody ends in bones.”

    Many Creationists do indeed propose such an idea. It’s called the Omphalos Theory.

  65. I hate to find fault with such a beautiful post, but I believe the tree Adam ate from was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Which makes a lot of sense as a creation myth, but not much as actual history.

  66. So was there an astronomy annex? With whatever variant on C-decay or neo-pre-copernicism or what-not that explains the various pieces of starlight older than the universe is supposed to be?

  67. It’s also known as the “Douglas Adams theory.”

    In other news, I sent my father to the ‘continents rearrange themselves during the flood’ link because I thought that was the part he’d enjoy the most, and he sent it on to another geologist with the note “Unfortunately the guy died from a lightning strike immediately after uploading this.” :)

  68. Lovely.

    I remember an encounter with a dedicated creationist who assured me that the datings of dinosaur fossils weren’t wrong because God MADE them that old when He created the earth.

    I assured him that I could not bring myself to have any faith in a creator who felt obliged to post-date his reality checks.

  69. Here’s something I don’t get: Why all the hating on creationists in this thread?

    I can understand scorn, contempt, amusement, etc for the creation museum and the idea of creationism. It’s more or less an amusement park anyway, after all, even for creationists. Why are they going to go do there except “Ohh” and “Ahh” at all the displays? It’s like me going to the Air and Space Museum and being overwhelmed with wonderment at the Apollo capsules and full-scale mockups of P-38s.

    But I don’t understand the people on this thread that say they’re full of rage when they see this sort of thing. BobC even said “creationists are not human.” What the hell? Just because they believe a certain thing, they’re no longer human beings and no longer worthy of respect and dignity that human beings are due?

    Perhaps you’re not aware of this, but the vast majority of creationists just believe it, and want to live their own lives without messing with anybody else’s. Having known plenty of them, and having been one myself for a time, I know what they are: Ordinary people. They’re not monsters, they’re not out to get you, and they certainly don’t deserve hatred.

    Don’t judge all creationists or fundamentalist christians by the few hate-spewing loudmouths that you see on TV. Would you want somebody judging all atheists by the example of Stalin or Mao?

  70. 97: Because that thinking is the breeding ground for those who want to get science out of schools, who kill abortionists, and who provide a mass of flabby thinkers who will support cynical, hopeless leaders of the world’s only superpower. Directly or indirectly that will have an effect on everyone, as surely as the overconsumption of the world’s resources by people in middle America “who just want to get on with their lives”.

    In other religious contexts the same tolerance of these beliefs (passive or otherwise) yields groups like the Taliban. The Stalin/Mao/atheist argument has been rebutted so many times, it’s barely worth acknowledging it.

  71. I assured him that I could not bring myself to have any faith in a creator who felt obliged to post-date his reality checks.

    Ah, but as Scalzi showed, it’s post-dated in any case. And the whole justification is that God can do anything; the very thing that makes the Creationist/ID argument not-science to begin with.

    The terrific thing about the “God created the bones when he created the Earth” assertion is that you no longer have to create all those convoluted, difficult to understand, justifications for why the bones appear older than they actually are. You just say “Hey! It’s Gods decorating plan. You get a new place, you decorate it any old way you want. Why should God be any different. The fact that you got confused is completely unimportant.”

    Of course, short circuiting like that doesn’t make for a very interesting museum experience. And as a result, no jobs would be created which means fewer taxpayers.

    So it’s all good.

    I mean, it’s not like you’re going to eliminate the credulous. And there is a witchcraft museum, and there is an astrology museum, and there is an alchemy museum; all busily employing people while servicing the credulous.

    And someday there will be an “Anthropogenic Climate Change” Museum with Al Gore at the door selling carbon offsets to those who had to drive (by car or school bus) or fly to see the exhibits.

    In the wise words of the people who brought you the Coliseum: caveat emptor

  72. Josh @ 86: I’m not sure what you’re on about, but apparently my comment was terribly opaque. Nothing I said was directed at our gracious host, whose essay and slide show had me in appreciative giggles for about an hour. I was just protesting a couple of commenters’ (in my opinion) unnecessarily gloomy assumption that “once a creationist, always a creationist,” and that all the kids getting a steaming pile of horseshit piled onto their educational platter in the name of Biblical literalism are bound to live out their days in ignorance. I think plenty of them will grow up and learn, as I did, that the world is a far more fascinating, complicated, inexplicable, and, actually, amazing place than you have room to imagine when you’re locked into a narrow interpretation of the Bible. I’m hopeful, in other words, that more folks than you think are capable of a sort of “reverse conversion” to the reality-based world.

    Pablo @ 90: I agree with you completely, as someone who was subjected to that kind of mental quelling. When I think of all the horseshit I myself was served as a kid, it makes my blood boil. I could have been reading Dawkins and Gould and Darwin himself, and instead I was studying Ken Ham and his ilk…bleh. It feels like so much time wasted, you know? And that’s part of why I am such an avid lurker at online spots like this one and Pharyngula…trying to make up for lost time!

  73. It still bothers me that someday there is going to be a very stubborn young-earth creationist kid banging on the college admissions’ office doors demanding that the science curriculum be adjusted to accommodate his belief that the earth is only 6,000 years old. And, if the college doesn’t oblige, he’ll sue them for some sort of discrimination.

    Kenny Ham’s Temple of The Burning Stupid is going to contribute to a lot of really unwanted hassles and suffering for higher education.

    That’s what bothers me. It’s not that this place is just funny and dumb and whatever. It’s the fact that these loons are demanding that this silliness be recognized as a legitimate science. What, on earth, could a person learn at this place that would be of any use to them in the great, big, real world?

  74. I suspect people here are “hating” creationists the way they also “hate” canned brussel sprouts. It’s okay as long as someone isn’t putting it infront of them and saying, clean your plate.

    Which, unfortunately, they are. Non-creationists kinda chuckled at the idea and said live and let live for years. Meanwhile, it seams the creationists have decided that they know what’s right and the non-creationists need to be corrected in their impressionable years by being taught theis horseshit. So it’s either get vocal as a non-creationist or let them roll over science.

    Without implying non-creationists are athiests, I point out why being angry about this topic is a good idea by referencing Greta’s website – get past the list about 1/2 way down for the reasons.

    http://gretachristina.typepad.com/greta_christinas_weblog/2007/10/atheists-and-an.html

  75. Great post. Most excellent. So, I was wondering….for someone who goes to this Pantheon of Horseshit for the first time would you recommend a good sativa or a mild indica to enhance the humorous aspect of this place?

  76. Man, there are a lot of stoopid Americans. Admit it and maybe you can do something about it. No wonder you have Bush as president, with a massive number of people who fall for this bullshit.

    My mum used to say “don;t touch shit you will stink”. And no matter how grand a temple you build around the shit, it still is shit.

  77. That was very funny and totally worth the money.

    I saw this this morning and decided to wait until I could sit down and really look at it, but I kept sneaking back to it all day when I had a few minutes to spare. I was fearful that my face might permanently contort in blown away amazement of the sillyness of it all.

    The main thing I can’t get over is the thing right at the get go about scientists starting from different starting points. Do scientists, real scientists, really have a starting point? I mean, I get that they may start with a hypothesis and test it, but the facts discovered then lead to the next direction of study. If you are a scientist, a person who questions and then researches to find answers, there is no starting point. The data leads you to where you need to go next. I just couldn’t get over that. The first placard should have said something like, “God doesn’t like the scientific method because he wanted us to waste 27 million dollars on a horseshit museum instead of, oh, I don’t know, feeding the hungry. If you use it, you will burn in eternal damnation. Now that you’ve suspended all scientific method, you may begin eating the horseshit.”

  78. You are much kinder than I. I find Creationism intellectually offensive and fatuous. Of course, I find disco intellectually offensive and fatuous, too. The difference is the Beegees never mandated that their fans wipe out rockabilly or ska.

  79. Manny, “Here’s something I don’t get: Why all the hating on creationists in this thread?”

    My wife instructs college biology classes. Most of them include the “Big E” lecture. For what these wonderful people put my wife through every semester, they deserve it. And they’re the “good people.”

  80. What a bunch of horse shit. The article above I mean. It might as well say, “I can’t think.” Blather about how he couldn’t think. What idiocy.

  81. I particularly liked the paragraphs at the start dedicated to describing this pile of horseshit. I’ve never heard such mellifluous words used in describing horseshit.

  82. We got into a discussion with our grade six class today about superbugs and the perils of the overabundance of antibacterial soaps and cleaners. It really hammered home how much damage can be done when ordinary people make everyday decisions without actually understanding how evolution works. ::sigh::

  83. I knew it! I knew Adam was a douchebag! But, I missed this placard:

    ADAM BEFORE THE HERPES–ADAM AFTER THE HERPES.

    But, did you see how ripped his was while working in the garden? Yowza! meeeeowww.

    When you got to the diorama of Noah building the ark with his 3 buddies, I was waiting for “Yo ho, Yo ho, a pirate’s life for me” to start playing. The little minature of the Ark was actually kind of cool. I liked that. But just thinking about the close quarters on that 3 hour tour, that 3 hour tour–you just know it would have smelled like a one of those old Texaco gas stations; the ones where you just sort of hovered your ass over the seat like a U.F.O.

    The butterfly picture you took was quite pretty. What popped into my little noggin’ there was the movie PAPILLON. “How much would you charge to send this one to Panama?” What say you God?

    The Ye Olde Gift Store and Coffee Shoppe were pretty interesting. Creation Cappuccino and Believe Water. Now THAT’S some wicked marketing skills in action. GOD’S DINOSAURS–A Coloring Book, was so sugary cute, I just wanted to pinch that little Apatosaurus’s cheeks.

    Oh, and somewhere in there was a sign to the basement–or lower level, something like that. I was almost positive we were headed THIS WAY TO HELL, but unfortunately, they missed this part of the ride. Hey, maybe it’ll be part of the new addition everyone is talking about.

    Finally, that kid on the triceratops at the end? Is that your kid? If so, save this picture so when he graduates from high school and they ask for pictures to honor your senior for the yearbook, you’ve got yourself just the perfect snapshot to contribute. Nothings says, “I love you” like a humiliating ride on a dinosaur published for all eternity.

    I enjoyed your photos and blog, thanks.

    And may God be with you.

    Dana Jean

  84. Once again, I am pleased that John went so I wouldn’t have to. That whole “shake the dust off your sandals” bit in Matthew? I drew that metaphor from a life-long – and I mean Earthly life, though it never really goes away – aversion to stepping in horseshit. I once fell into a pile. Took mom a week to get me to quit smelling. A week later, my stepdad wrote the first rosary. (I may be the Son of God, but I could try a parent’s patience. After all, I used to share an office with Satan before he began his startup in the fiery pit.)

    Anyway, I, too, am perplexed with the obsession with dinosaurs. I can only conclude that Mr. Ham is a fan of Jurassic Park. (Personally, I hated JP II, but liked III, if only because it was 90 minutes vs. II’s 2 1/2 hours. That’s 150 minutes of eternity I’ll never get back. Hey, we’re omnipotent, but we’re not… Oh, hell(TM). You get the picture.)

    Anyway, I will be appearing to Pope New Guy… Er, um… Shortim- I mean, Benedict this evening to inform him of my will to have John canonized. Sure, John’s an agnostic who doesn’t really believe in me, but it’s like my birthday. It’s the thought that counts.

    Speaking of which, anyone know what to get Dad for My birthday? What do you get the Creator of Heaven and Earth for Christmas? He’s still mad I got Him the Left Behind series a few years ago. Hey, I thought they were humor books! How was I supposed to know it’d give Him an ulcer? I might be ominpotent, but… Well, anyway.

    And remind me not to schedule the Second Coming on a major holiday. That whole census thing and the malls at Christmas last time? And I had to spend all my time on Earth with Mom going, “Were you born in a barn?” That got old by age 4.

    Gotta run. Dad wants to go play skee ball in Jersey.

  85. Awesome post. For seriously. I’m half-tempted to send my born-again Christian brother to see it, but it won’t matter.

    On another note: I hereby volunteer to execute the five-year follow-up, under the same terms.

  86. Ya know — I couldn’t get a book with this material in it PUBLISHED — I’d make the editors laugh their asses off, but not one editor I know would accept this level of reasoning in characters I wrote…

    OUCH

  87. Oh, wow. I can’t remember how much I donated, but I definitely got my money’s worth, just from the snarktastic photo set. Thanks for taking one for the team.

    And now I have to go do actual science. Maybe I’ll ditch the project I was going to propose for this fellowship application, and instead do something about chemcals changing after Eve’s Adam’s sin.

    (Those tricksy creationists! Courting the feminist vote!)

  88. Thanks for going and taking such detailed photos. My brain melted just by looking at those, and I’m glad that now I don’t have to see it firsthand.

  89. I’m waiting, with cynical amusement, to start seeing more and more atheists homeschooling as creationism becomes more accepted in the government and public schools.

    Signed,

    A homeschooler from a place where the majority of homeschoolers were hippies, agnostics, and pagans, not Bible-thumpers as seems to be the case in the US.

  90. Brenda, it depends on where you go. When I lived in Oregon, most of our fellow homeschoolers ranged from crazy earth-first hippies to Concerned Secular Types.

  91. According to the Wikipedia article, one of the founders of the museum, Ken Ham, is (or was) an Australian! Not one of our better exports… *embarrassed*

    Quoth he:

    “This idea came about from when I was a teacher in public schools in Australia actually, teaching in the science classes and students saying, ‘sir, you’re a Christian, how can you believe the Bible when we know that’s not true because of evolution and what’s in our textbooks?’ And then when I took them to museums and saw that they were presented evolution as fact, I thought why can’t we have a creation museum. And so I had this embryonic idea 25 years ago in Australia. But of course, Australia’s not really the place to build such a facility if you’re going to reach the world. Really, America is.”

  92. Brilliant. Just brilliant. You should set up a foundation to send kids from all over to this place to learn about the value of skepticism.

    (odd technical note: when I scrolled down here, the previous commenter’s posting information was still in the box. Since Kristy and I are not the same person – *checks junk* yep – nor in the same place, that’s a worry.)

  93. As Jew, the notion of literalism is a bit ridiculous to me, as Pshat – the literal interpretation of the Torah – is considered the least of the levels of knowledge. To have a museum dedicated to it is…… strange.

  94. What fun!

    Interesting that nobody that I noticed (and I admit to not having read everything that everybody said, including the author) has pointed out that the Bible contains two mutually incompatible creation stories BACK TO BACK in Genesis. How can the Bible be literally true when it contains two stories where, if one is true, the other can’t be? How do you pick which Biblical creation story you are going to believe? Or put into a Creation Museum?

  95. joa@126: I actually noticed that a long time ago, and once tried to have a conversation about it with a True Believer(TM). Her response: “They really AREN’T two different versions, you’re just reading them wrong.” And there’s a similar (and to me, equally unconvincing) disquisition on bibletruths(dot)net…it was the fifth item down when I Googled “genesis chapter one” (without the quotation marks, of course).

    It’s just another example of self-delusional horse hockey.

  96. John,

    I take issue with you describing the museum as horseshit. Horseshit, properly treated, is extremely useful stuff and makes excellent fertilizer.

  97. Wow. If you could write more than horseshit, I might be interested in your point of view. But considering you’re a hack blogger, I find nothing more interesting here than Mel Gibson knockin’ Jews.

    So yeah. Boo Creationism?

    Problems? Comments? Concerns? You can talk to me via email.

  98. Oh, what the wizards of Unseen university started when they created Roundworld, this is what we have now.

  99. “To be clear, the “horseshit” I’ve been speaking of is not Christianity, it’s creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ.”

    Amen.

    [Declared interest: I'm Christian] I prefer to receive my grace “free from horseshit”. I despair at those Christians who prefer to switch their brain off before doing anything else.

    The trouble is: these folks are serious. What a waste! If you believe in any form of goodness from God, then your time and money could be better spent in this crazy world than a sideshow like this.

  100. I got off the science bus as a junior in H.S. I did physics and pulled Bs and couple of Cs. I foolishly got into a fight on-line with a creationist and got my ass handed to me. He kept hammering me with “bio-genisis” and how species have never been proven to just leap across boundaries, and the fossil record, and carbon 14 dating be suspect, etc. He actually had study groups at his church all dedicated to slaying the likes of me. I mean, I’m not a moron, finished 9th in my class overall studies, but was never fantastic at science. And I was a sitting duck. Think what these slick dudes do when they get a hold of someone who checked out of science earlier than me? I also found a Christian on-line who claimed he could get this guy on his literal translation of Genesis, and the whole what is a “day” to god thing, and he ate his lunch too. Went into the greek translation and kept referring to an abundence of hermeneutical evidence, and how this whole hermenuetical is infalliable. I used to think you could say this book can be interpreted a thousand diferent ways (because it has!), but they know have this hermenutical thing going that sez, “no, this is a perfect logical way to know I’m right and everyone else is wrong. It’s sad that such a bright and motivated guy has decided to pick something which seems fairly feeble. But, maybe that’s what intrigues him. It’s easy to defend things that the whole scientific community believes in, it’s tougher and maybe more fun to be contrary. I also love this Rush Limbaugh rationale for combating the consensus of scientists thinking something — Science is not voting! Most scientists have believed many errouneous things throughout history! Ugh …

  101. Followed a link from boing boing to your blog. Glad I did, the pictures were great fun and the post it self educational. I live in Boston, and do not have a real feel or understanding as to how infected the rest of the country is with creationism.
    Part of me wishes I could have re-written those cards to make them a bit more, dare I say logical. A small part of me that wants to redo the museum, because I am sure I could do it better. Some of those cards contradicted themselves, were you the only person reading them? Or at least find out why some things such as a discussion of incest was important to the story creation, while something as important as an explanation of how mountains came into being just after the flood. ‘It was mud, and then it wasn’t’

    I have added you to my blogs I must read feed.

  102. “Adam eating from the tree of life”

    IIRC, there was a Tree of Life in Eden, but the big ruckus happened because they ate of the tree of Good and Evil.

    “Entropy? You guessed it: Adam.”

    That’s actually a great idea for a story. Entropy as a consequence of original sin, maybe the original sin of some cosmic intelligence or whatever.

  103. I wanna just add to the testimonials that not all homeschoolers (actually, not really any that I know, but I live on the west coast and I’m sure it is different in the deep south) are fundamentalist Christians who homeschool creationism since the PS don’t.

    The homeschoolers around here are pretty liberal, almost entirely secular, and have kids who’ve studied latin, logic, rhetoric, etc. and thus could basically rip that museum apart like a pro.
    (and guess what? They are even ‘socialized’)
    Homeschooling is quickly becoming the working class’s private school or talanted and gifted and in some cases–special ed program. It is more about individualization than conforming to “the ways of the master.” I think that stereotype is quickly becoming passe.

    Signed,
    An ex-public school teacher and strong public school supporter that also homeschools. (I know, It contradicts. Its kinda like being straight and supporting gay marraige or like those people who can believe in a god or spiritual creator AND evolution at the same time, but unlike those folks who can believe in two creation stories by denying that there are two creation stories.)

  104. “They spent $27 million on THIS!?”

    Heh. Oh, the irony: it reminds me of the phrase: “If you want to know God’s opinion of money, just look at the people he gives it to.”

  105. The image of fools getting “high” on fermenting horseshit is perfect:

    Creationism is the jenkem of the Christian Right.

  106. If the majority of people that go to the museum/temple are skeptics, then they are responsible for the financial success of the place. In short, stop paying attention to this medieval mumbo jumbo! This will be the only way for this non-scientific crap to disappear.

  107. Your review was delightful, if a bit over the top (not nearly so over the top as the Creation museum however.) Just wanted to let you know that there are Christians like myself who find the Creation museum an embarrassment and who lament the popular notion that being a Christian means you must swallow the whole fundamentalist literal-chronological view of Genesis, as do the sad benighted souls who built this “museum”. Please don’t judge us all by this lot.

  108. I noticed tat adam was very white, this must be the mormon version or at least the kkk version of creation.
    But what can you expect from a old white man in the sky with his white very sunburned palistinian son on his right.

  109. Fantastic review. And, I’m sorry to disagree with the Polymath Pastor, but not over the top at all. $27 million could feed and help a lot of people. But instead were dumped into a place like this… Just crazy…

  110. Mr. Scalzi,

    Thanks for the informative report. I’ve been curious about this place, but am morally opposed to supporting it in any fashion (including buying a ticket).

    I’m surprised that there isn’t more outrage at the gross commercialization of it all (i.e. Creation Cappachino).

    Rich

  111. Rich Gombert:

    “I’m surprised that there isn’t more outrage at the gross commercialization of it all (i.e. Creation Cappachino).”

    Well, gross commercialization is kind of the point of the place.

  112. Marko @ 142: “Creationism is the jenkem of the Christian Right.”

    I almost spewed coffee out of my nose. Good one!

  113. As an atheist, I was prepared to read your report on the Museum. That is, until your constant use of “horseshit” became an embarrasment to me.
    I can only conclude that your views are not very civilized. In fact, they’re offensive.

  114. George Dunbar:

    “I can only conclude that your views are not very civilized. In fact, they’re offensive.”

    Ah, that’s horseshit, George.

  115. It struck me while reading this– Holy Shit, this is the Museum that is 3 miles from where I grew up, its 10 miles from where I live now. Had shoved any knowledge of this place into a deep dark pit in the back of my mind, but now you’ve brought it back! Oh no!

  116. A tour well worth (your) $19.95. While on the tour I was thinking that it might have been possible to make it through without constantly laughing out loud if I had been alone – but then you said you were accompanied by friends – you sir, are a stalwart of restraint.

    At first glance, I thought the Corruption poster read: Reflection of God’s Word Led to Corruption but no, that would actually have made sense.

  117. Adam and Eve ate from the Tree of Knowledge of Good And Evil, not the tree of life. God found out that they’d eaten from the tree of knowledge and said: “And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: [I'm kicking him and his wife out of Eden.]” Presumably by “us” he meant “me and the angels.”

    So there’s more horseshit right there that most people don’t think about and the creationists usually elide: God was afraid Man would not only be morally conscious, but also immortal.

  118. “To be clear, the “horseshit” I’ve been speaking of is not Christianity, it’s creationism, which to my mind is a teleological quirk substantially unrelated to the grace one can achieve through Jesus Christ.”

    Methinks your “horseshit-o-meter” still needs some adjustment. Nice try, though; you had me going there for a minute.

  119. Michael Brutsch:

    “Methinks your ‘horseshit-o-meter’ still needs some adjustment.”

    Nonsense. My meter is exquisitely calibrated by top experts.

    TOP experts.

  120. The slide show includes a photo of one plaque that is — truly — priceless:

    “The preservation of delicate internal tissue of a heart indicates burial under sudden and catastrophic conditions such as the global flood of Noah’s day.”

    Yep. That’s always my first thought when I see delicate structures preserved for a really long time — “Gee, that must have been buried violently in a global catastrophy! What better way to preserve delicate internal tissue?”

  121. [ rabid, unreasoning fundie ]

    :: sprays flecks of foam everywhere ::

    Persecution! Persecution!

    How dare you pass through the Creation Museum and then write this horrible screed! Curse you and all the other Atheist Satanic Evilutionist Baby-Eating Science Worshippers!

    God will get you for this! Just you wait! When Jesus comes back He is sooooo gonna kick your ass! And I hope I’m there to see it!

    [/rabid, unreasoning fundie]

    Hope everyone enjoyed that little performance piece, I’m here all week!

    Thanks for doing this, sir. You’re a credit to thinking humanity.

    John Scalzi: He works hard, so you don’t have toooooo…!

  122. Two points:

    First, I’m kind of impressed that the Creation Museum has the guts to go ahead and insist on the literal truth of the Bible. I actually find that more honest than the ones who try to fudge and compromise — and thereby wind up abandoning the only reason to _be_ a Creationist in the first place.

    Second, I don’t see why everyone is so terrified of Creationists. They’re not going to cripple science or send the world into a new dark age. Think about it: this is the same Biblical literalist Christian faith that produced _Charles Darwin_. And just about every other scientist in the 19th Century — you know, the people who _invented_ paleontology, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

    The Creation Museum isn’t the temple of a confident faith: it’s a fortress of a dying doctrine.

    And for the more apocalyptic commenters, may I recommend this? http://www.cracked.com/article_15663_god-fuse-10-things-christians-atheists-can-agree-on.html

  123. Scalzi said, “I’m just not going to suggest that all Christians need to be lumped into the same category as creationists.”

    And for that I want to thank you, as well as for giving me a huge laugh today

  124. As an atheist, I was prepared to read your report on the Museum. That is, until your constant use of “horseshit” became an embarrasment (sic) to me.

    Uh, George Dunbar, I’m curious – how exactly is this review an embarrassment to you, personally as an atheist? I went back and reread every word Scalzi wrote, didn’t see your name anywhere. At this point I have to assume you’re in the background of one of his pictures and you’re embarrassed to be filmed on the Museum grounds? Or do you just have a personal aversion to manure?

    Damn you, Scalzi, for embarrassing the Atheists with this post, may you be eaten by fallen carnivorous velociraptors (providing some of them survived Teh Fludz)

  125. I can’t stop thinking of all the people that $27 million could have fed, clothed, educated, and provided medical treatment for.

  126. “I tend to side with people like Richard Dawkins who claim that this form of indoctrination should be considered a form of child abuse.”

    The problem with Dawkins is that he is also a fundemantalist, just of the opposite variety. He is just as intolerant as any disciple of Fred Phelps, but happens to be violently athiestic. He seems blind to the fact that science cannot disprove the existance of God; rather it can only provide theories about the evolution of the cosmos that contradict creationism. Religion is not the necessarily opposite of science, as the modern Catholic church (and in fact much of the historical catholic church, though they have had their off centuries) demonstrates, but Dawkins doles out no less hate for such a standpoint than those who blindly ignore science.

    I say this as a life long Athiest, raised by athiests, who hates the idea of creationism inflicting ignorance on my society. What I hate about creationism isn’t what they believe, but that it is an indocterinization of closed, rigid, perspective. I believe an open mind, one unafraid to eventually change, is crucial for a great society. Dawkins mind is as thoroughly trapped shut as any creationist, and I certainly don’t want fellow members of society seeing him as the voice of science and athiesm, representing my standpoint. (much like, I suspect, most Christians don’t want to be represented by Phelps)

    “Man, there are a lot of stoopid Americans. Admit it and maybe you can do something about it. No wonder you have Bush as president, with a massive number of people who fall for this bullshit. ”

    When Europe finally realizes homeopathy is just as much a pseudo-science as intelligent design you can have grounds to make fun of the ignorance of americans. As it stands, it isn’t like the other developed nations are doing a hell of a lot better at disbelieving bullshit.

  127. There’s really one thing that powers this idiocy, that would lead to a $27 million dollar funded museum to complete, impossible fantasy.

    It is a powerful engine, the fear of death. The thought that when you die, your corpse is just simply put into a hole in the ground, or burned up into ashes. That there is no continuation, no room in the house of the Lord, no lingering on in spirit with consciousness and perception. If you were to have a heart attack tomorrow, get hit by a bus next week, develop an inoperable brain tumor next month, shot in the head by a sniper’s bullet next year, that’s it, game over. You are done.

    It’s an engine that has powered religion for centuries, and will continue to do so until mankind gets a grip on death.

  128. If believing in Creationism means the Ancient Egyptians rode around on dinosaurs then I don’t want to be right.

    The only part I don’t get is: If Eve was shooing away Pterodactyls when trying to pick the apple, if Noah was looking after a T-Rex, if the shepards were protecting their sheep from flocks of Velociraptors, why does everyone in entire bible fail to mention the giant fuckin’ lizards?

  129. First, I want to state that NO ONE on earth has the power to speak on my behalf. I am the Almighty God and I don’t need mortals to speak for me.

    Second, Although I intelligently designed the system of evolution, I’m starting to think I forgot to include a mechanism that would ensure “the survival of the smartest.”

    Third, I do not endorse the sale equine feces, no matter how tastefully gift wrapped it may be.

    P.S. Stop cheating, hurting and killing each other, please, it’s not cool.
    Peace…….

  130. I believe in the creation of the Universe by God as well. However, I don’t believe you have to take the Genesis account literally nor do you have to subscribe to the 6000 year old earth belief.

    I am not Catholic, but I agree with the official Church teaching on the matter. Basically, God created everything, but the exact mechanism and timing is not important and He lets nature run its course.

  131. No one saw the dinosaurs in the bible because no one had discovered the “Land of the Lost” until the 1970′s……duh

  132. Great Post, thanks for the rundown. I agree with your viewpoints and acceptance of the Bible, except for one thing:

    “The entire universe was created in six days, the days are 24-hour days, the layout for the creation and for the early history of the planet and humanity is in the first chapter of Genesis and it is exactly right.”

    The Bible does not specify the length of each of the creative periods. Yet all six of them have ended, it being said with respect to the sixth day (as in the case of each of the preceding five days): “And there came to be evening and there came to be morning, a sixth day.” (Ge 1:31) However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued. (Ge 2:1-3) Also, more than 4,000 years after the seventh day, or God’s rest day, commenced, Paul indicated that it was still in progress. At Hebrews 4:1-11 he referred to the earlier words of David (Ps 95:7, 8, 11) and to Genesis 2:2 and urged: “Let us therefore do our utmost to enter into that rest.” By the apostle’s time, the seventh day had been continuing for thousands of years and had not yet ended. The Thousand Year Reign of Jesus Christ, who is Scripturally identified as “Lord of the sabbath” (Mt 12:8), is evidently part of the great sabbath, God’s rest day. (Re 20:1-6) This would indicate the passing of thousands of years from the commencement of God’s rest day to its end. The week of days set forth at Genesis 1:3 to 2:3, the last of which is a sabbath, seems to parallel the week into which the Israelites divided their time, observing a sabbath on the seventh day thereof, in keeping with the divine will. (Ex 20:8-11) And, since the seventh day has been continuing for thousands of years, it may reasonably be concluded that each of the six creative periods, or days, was at least thousands of years in length.

    That a day can be longer than 24 hours is indicated by Genesis 2:4, which speaks of all the creative periods as one “day.” Also indicative of this is Peter’s inspired observation that “one day is with Jehovah as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.” (2Pe 3:8) Ascribing not just 24 hours but a longer period of time, thousands of years, to each of the creative days better harmonizes with the evidence found in the earth itself.

    I enjoy your faith in the Bible as being truth and not a loose version or suggestion. I just believe that the length of the days and understanding that we are currently in the seventh is fundamental to understanding Creation as a whole.

    Sorry for the length. Thanks again .

  133. Wow, way to show *how* this was all a big pile of faeces…oh wait, you didn’t. I’d be willing to listen, but you failed to refute any of their data or interpretations, instead using a superficial ‘snarkiness’ as if that justifies your lack of science in the post? How disappointing. I was hoping for at least some credible refutation.

  134. Kieran:

    Feel free to tell that to the folks who run the Creation Museum; they appear to disagree with you.

    K:

    I’m not responsible for your inability to find and/or read and/or understand talk.origins.

  135. Hey K,
    No one wants to believe in people more than me, after all, you are all part of me. But there are HUNDREDS of museums in the world full of evidence to refute the Creationist Museum. I cancelled my subscription to National Geographic for that reason. I know you believe in your doctorines and dogmas, but has anyone ever showed you proof of creationism? Faith is one thing, but even that couldn’t get the Phillies past the Rockies, dig.

  136. I would have to an extent agree with your assessment of the museum. I feel it leans to heavily on the “feelings” aspect of creation. Instead of displaying the vast amount of scientific facts that support creation. So no I don’t completely agree with you, but I find it interesting that being someone so diametrically opposed to your views can agree with you in so many areas. I also appreciate reading your views as to know where you are coming from. So, even though I for the most part, disagree with your views. I thank you for the article.

  137. K’s just mad because his belief in me was shaken. Let me tell you, he’s not willing to listen. He doesn’t even listen to me sometimes and he hears me directly in his head!
    In Me We Trust…..

  138. Shane:

    “We mock what we don’t understand.”

    Who’s this “we” you’re talking about? I understand perfectly well what I’m mocking, thank you kindly. Understanding what you mock is what makes it fun.

  139. @RonsherA

    Its heartening to see someone of a creation bent responding rationally to a writeup of such differing opinion. I don’t mean to suggest that simply believing in creationism precludes such a response, but it certainly seems to be the norm as represented in discussions such as this. Thus it is nice to see such a courtious response (I am sure you no doubt feel much the same when Athiests such as Richard Dawkins start spouting off).

    One quibble though, you use the phrase “Instead of displaying the vast amount of scientific facts that support creation.” My quibble arises because generally the notion of scientific fact is downplayed by creationists concerning scientific ideas counter to their belief. It seems that if one were to use the phrase to support creationism it is only fair to acknowledge that both macro and micro evolution are considered scientific fact (and in general, outright fact). It is only the specific mechanisms of evolution that generate the wider collection of theory that has varying levels of uncertainty applied.

  140. I find it not so much amusing. That people have trouble following science, don’t like the fact that things are only as provable as you can prove them today, that black and white only works in comic books… That I can get. It is unsettling to find out that uncertainty is about the only certainty in life.
    That people are on the other hand fully prepared to believe just about any stupid explanation as long as it is epic, fits in one book and explains just about everything by um, not explaining anything. That is scary.
    And the funny (funny as in – I laugh because the other option is to cry) thing is that a huge part of humanity is actually prepared to die for God(s). I am not even talking about the people who are prepared to kill as much innocents as they can in the process.
    Terry Pratchett, as atheist as they come, says it right, in a fantasy book of his: “You don’t die for a god, you live for him.” But that is just a bit too complex for people who are prepared to swallow fairy tales for adults as the literal truth. Uhhh, scary.

  141. I’m posting comments here because I’m in the Writer’s Guild and I can’t work until they settle the strike. I write for jokes for Jay Leno. (How else do you think he landed that gig)

  142. The first 10 paragraphs or so of this article, ironically, is journalistic horseshit. Cut the crap (pun intended) before the first “***” section divider, and perhaps you might actually get the attention of people who want to read something with meaning. You lost mine at about 10 seconds.

  143. My grandfather (a stoutly Dutch Reformist, conservative, rifle-toting and NRA-stickered-truck-driving Republican), told me with a straight face that the devil (I mean, The Devil) put dinosaur bones in the ground to trick us into turning away from the Bible. Of course, he also believes he has seen sea monsters with his own eyes. Very interesting to read about the “official” dinosaur explanation – it’s even more fantastic than his! I still like his general idea. You might as well say “The Devil invented Reason to trick us into turning away from our Faith.” Oddly, it’s not working as well as one might have expected.

  144. Anonymous Coward:

    Your first error is assuming I was practicing journalism here. Your second error is assuming that your advice on how to write has any value to me. Your third error is assuming I give a shit whether you are entertained or not.

    Hope that clears up any lingering confusion.

    Shane:

    I’ll take your word for it.

  145. Yeah right! I put dinosaurs into the ground? Not likely, I had a hard enough time putting Red Foxx into the ground, the more Booze and Broads I threw at that guy, the stronger he got.
    P.S. Evolution is currently happening, just ask the Influenza Virus.

  146. Now, now, God. Just because you’re the Supreme Ruler of the Universe doesn’t mean you have to be rude to the other guests. Leave that to me.

  147. I don’t refute the existence of dinosaurs or even what carbon dating claims to say about the earth’s age. What is unprovable is that – either because of environment or mutation – DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, I’m saying that archeology cannot prove it.

    If we believe in the accuracy of carbon dating then the archaeological record shows that species came and went within specific time periods. We can follow genetic lines of species throughout time. But does that empirically prove that DNA can spontaneously and grossly transform itself in nature?

    Sure we can knock a few proteins out of the DNA chain here and there and make a mouse glow in the dark but does that mean that things like lungs and eyes and wings can just “happen” accidentally?

    It seems most everyone posting here would like creationists to stop pushing creationism because it’s a poor and unprovable “science” and for the whole world to tow the evolution line (whose scientific foundation is also unprovable). Therefore there HAS to be something greater at work in the biology of life.

    It’s sad that so many Christians have turned their faith into a war…a war on evolution, a war on homosexuality, a war abortion. And throughout history as well.

    Jesus called His followers to teach the truth, that mankind is fallen, and apart from Christ we will never know the full measure of joy and peace and love that God has for us.

    God loves you guys. Seriously. Please don’t let a minority of Christians steal away your chance for real truth.

  148. The ole’ Scratchster sez: “…I had a hard enough time putting Red Foxx into the ground…”

    Redd Foxx? Redd Foxx? You got him over 15 years ago; let it be, man. If I were you, I’d be more frustrated (not to mention embarrassed) that Keith Richards is still vertical.

  149. Keith Richards has been dead for years, Jeff. It’s just taking this long for the effects of the drugs to wear off.

  150. Hey Look, John’s standing up for himself!
    BTW Did anyone ask you your religious affiliation or reason for going to the “Museum”. I’d understand if you didn’t want to talk to anyone there, lest they find out about your Blasphemous mission.

  151. Wait… so Anonymous Coward stopped paying attention to the post after the first ten paragraphs, but the rest of the post might get people’s attention? But if he stopped paying attention… then how could he be paying attention… if he stopped paying attention… but then he paid attention….

    Oh no, it’s the Adam and the thorns plaque all over again.

    Thank you, Anonymous Coward: I can now empathize with all those AI computers Captain Kirk destroyed during the three seasons of the original Star Trek. This was not something I was previously capable of. Now I can feel their desperate need for Advil, or the 23rd century equivalent.

    My poor head.

  152. To clarify – creationism isn’t an assertion, it’s a declaration. Assertions are provable or disprovable via the interpretation of facts, while declarations are made without regard to facts.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident…” when they are not self-evident at all, that sort of thing. Declarations are about the way you’d like things to be, the goal for which you intend to apply your efforts toward achieving, where there is no evidence of your success. It’s a hat over the fence sort of thing. That’s what Creationists are doing.

    To call creationism an assertion gives it credence as a viable explanation of the current circumstances based on examination of the evidence. However, as there isn’t evidence, Creationism ought not be given the mantle of assertion.

  153. God, come on, cry alreadyy. Georgia needs the rain.

    And Adam, that (reason is a tool of the Devil) was a very prevalent theory during the Gothic period (sorry, I’m an art major, does it show?) of European History.

  154. “No one saw the dinosaurs in the bible because no one had discovered the “Land of the Lost” until the 1970’s……duh”

    Good one, Dad.

  155. Jason, there are a few scientific errors in your post that I would like to point out. First, you wrote: “What is unprovable is that – either because of environment or mutation – DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism.”

    Well, I think that the evidence presented at talkorigins.org is pretty darn convincing. I would particularly direct you to the following:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

    Next, you said that “archaeology can’t prove it”. I guess I’ll be the first to point out that archaeology is not the discipline that would even try to do that. However, paleontology, molecular biology, geology, zoology and comparative anatomy — to name a few — do provide substantial evidence to support evolution.

    Third, carbon dating is not the only dating method available to geologists. Not by a long shot. I would suggest the following to get you started:

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/isochron-dating.html

  156. “DNA was translated into another self-sustaining, self-reproducing organism. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, I’m saying that archeology cannot prove it.”

    Actually, archeology doesn’t need to prove it. It has been observed and verified in living organisms, no digging necessary. That it happens, that it has been observed to happen, is actually fact. If such evolution did not happen we really wouldn’t need to worry about disease. The stuff that killed people 1000 years ago we can cure with freaking mold; the problem is that said organisms didn’t hang around unchanged. They evolved, developed resistance, branched off into different strains (species if you will), and we end up with things like spanish influenza. Avian Influenza isn’t scary because it kills ducks; its scary because there is a very real chance it will evolve into a virulent strain that targets humans. On the subject of disease, genetic diseases, or diseases that result from genetic propensity arise because of evolution.

    Changes happen faster in simpler organisms because they tend to have quicker generational periods. Opponents of the idea like to assume that such organisms are special, that micro evolution can happen but not macro, but they ignore the fact that we can observe it in humans through our own historical data. We can watch sickle cell alleles be selected for TODAY, because there is a 50% chance of being resistant to maleria, a 25% chance of anemia, and a 25% chance of not inheriting either. Because of the prevelance of malaria we can watch those with one allele being selected for. That is evolution. That is people evolving a trait that increases the chances they will live to reproduce.

    Also, you incorrectly assume it is by accident. There may not be an intelligent creator guiding development (such a thing would be impossible to prove, which you do correctly identify), but that doesn’t mean selective pressures cannot provide a reason why an organism with a certain trait flourished and passed on the trait where organisms lacking said trait did not. Removing intention by no means implies accident.

    An organism didn’t go from no lungs to fully developed lungs because of one minute change in genetic sequence in one generation. Instead it was a series of miniscule changes occuring over the course of thousands of generations, each one slightly increasing the overall chance that the organism passes on their genetic material, or perhaps simply not deminishing the chances.

  157. Another glaring discrepancy no one has called attention too:

    There’s the big flashcard that says:

    “I think, therefore, I am” — Descartes

    “I AM THAT I AM.” — God said in his booming God voice.

    The most important philosopher wasn’t even represented.

    “I’s yam what I’s yam” — Popeye

    (although supposedly this was a veiled reference to God. Which is bullshit. He was a friggin’ yam, people.)

  158. Jason,
    DNA can not mutate itself from light sensitive discs into eagle’s eyes in 6,000 years, you are right. It would take hundreds of millions of years of evolution and failed attempts to reach that level of specialization.
    The universe is no accident, but then again neither is your ability to QUESTION it. Man’s first question wasn’t “Does God exist?” or “Is Evolution the mechanism for life’s diversity” it was “Can I eat this?”.
    It took several millions of years before man evolved enough to ask “Can I blog this?”

  159. Hi -

    Just found a link to this review on delicious…..

    I think your preexisting dread (“I admit to dreading coming to the place…”) and probably some bias precluded you from having an open mind. As I thought more about creationism vs evolution, it seems that there is a lot more faith and hocus-pocus in the star alignment on the latter? ….Look at the depth of complexity of multiple systems (ecological, chemical. biological, etc) and how they symbiotically interplay….heck – look at the physiological intricacies in your own body!…….The latter seems to much of a 1 in 10000000000 (more zeroes could be aded) chance

    I went to their website http://www.answersingenesis.com and the more I looked, the more creationism makes sense to me regardless of religious affiliation. I think you should revisit or stop by the education parts of their website (or others) and take another consideration without presuppositions.

    Lastly, the founder of this organization seems to have a life purpose greater than his own individual world….how many people can really say they have similar size goals or passions much less execute them…Not knowing you, I am not sure if you do or not…just something to think about.

  160. “Lastly, the founder of this organization seems to have a life purpose greater than his own individual world….how many people can really say they have similar size goals or passions much less execute them…”

    I’ll take “Hitler,” for $500.

  161. In Defense of the great Commonwealth of Kentucky

    A creationist museum within a rock throw from Ohio, built by a nutty Aussie, is not representative of Kentucky. Of course we have bourbon and horses–even Ashley Judd, though I’m not sure why she’s gives us bragging rights.

    Come to Louisville. We have Actor’s Studio, the best regional theater in the country. There are great restaurants, a vibrant music scene and anything you might find in any great city. If you come and visit, you just might want to stay.

    We don’t need no stinking creationist museum in our great state. So here’s my solution.

    I’ve long advocated giving Northern Kentucky to Ohio, where it rightly belongs, (sorry John). As the Cincinnati Airport is located in Northern Ky, it only seems reasonable. Ohio can have all the boneheaded right-wingers now living in Northern Kentucky. I’ll throw them in for free. They’ll want to go wherever their creationist museum is anyway.

  162. DT, hi, I’m a former officer in the US Air Force and I currently serve as an elected councilman in my Village. Last time I checked, no religion was necessary to have done either. I also served a four-year term as a Director in my local Ruritan’s Club (we’re a service orgnization). While they are nominally a a club with “religious beliefs” I was neither asked about mine, nor was a carded at the door to the meetings.

  163. Whether or not one accepts the theory of evolution shouldn’t be a religious debate. Darwin was a Christian, for crying out loud.

    I happen to believe in some of the things that Christianity teaches. However, I could fully accept the theory of evolution without having that interfere with my faith in any way, shape or form. And evolution certainly sounds right: those species do seem to originate from each other. We’ve all seen the diagrams.

    But I’ve read about some serious challenges that the theory of evolution faces, such as the question of missing links and lack of intermediate forms in fossils; the formation of the first proteins; the destructive and ephemeral nature of mutations; the formation of complex organs through mutation; etc.

    I think some of these pose serious questions that aren’t being dealt with in an open-minden way. I think anyone questioning evolution is automatically dismissed as a religious nut, and evolution is treated as fact rather than a theory.

    I think evolutionism has become the ultimate atheist religion.

    Logically speaking, atheists “need” to support evolution more than Christians “need” to reject it: a Christian may or may not accept evolution (as Darwin did), but an atheist doesn’t have such choice. Without evolution, atheism would have a hard time explaining the origin of the various species.

    So in a way, I do find truth in the creationist accusation that at least part of science is religion: lots of supporters of the theory of evolution refuse to acknowledge that evolution is but a theory, and it does have its weak points. Ironically, questioning evolution today is heresy.

    Of course, this has little to do with the bigoted creationism that seems to be on display at the museum in question.

  164. Joe @ 126
    “…the Bible contains two mutually incompatible creation stories BACK TO BACK in Genesis. How can the Bible be literally true when it contains two stories where, if one is true, the other can’t be?”

    Well, duh. First of all, God is omnipotent, which means he could create two version of the same story that are both true. Secondly, this proves that the Bible does indeed contain all knowledge, since it’s obviously an early description of quantum superposition … the divinely inspired writers just didn’t have the math(s) (or the space in the margin) to provide mathematical proof.

  165. Wow, what a load of ignorance. I mean among guys who swallow “scientific explanation” handed out today. It must be, that because this “opposite” stuff looks so bad, they swallow equal amount of elephant droppings with happy smiles on their faces. Doesn’t anybody think anymore? Or do they think that there are no alternatives?

  166. I haven’t been to the museum but I wonder if it couldn’t be offering up its subject “as-is.” What I mean is, if there were a museum–or perhaps a Wikipedia entry–dedicated to say, the Lord of the Rings, it’s presented as “fact” but the subject matter is not factual. For example, “Bilbo found the One True Ring.” That’s a fact but it is not factual. Also, your generous use of the word “horseshit” might not make the best way to grab your reader. I skimmed through until the “horseshit”‘s ended.

  167. Call it ironic or what you will but if you take a short drive from the creation “museum” to downtown Cincinnati to Sawyer Point along the river, you can take a walk along the, “Dr. Frederick A. Hauck Geologic Timeline.” If you don’t get your fill of Hadean Eon from the “museum”, stop by the park and take a walk. The only question is, which one should you visit first?

  168. Thanks for your respectful comments on my post. I am thankful that you chose to share your reasonings and just not lambaste my ignorance.

    I don’t refute that biology allows for things to adapt and change. As El Chepageek mentioned, we have observed it. But it seems that what we have observed as “micro evolutions” are taking place within an already existing biological foundation – one that seems prepared for adaptation. Our bodies develop antibodies and fight disease because they have functions specifically designed to do that.

    I don’t want to argue against science or evolution. I’m just making the observation that we accept that nature has led us where we are today but assume that a biological entity designed to adapt, or evolve, was its own progenesis. From my meager exposure to science I see that the basic foundation of life requires a foundation of life to begin with.

    It seems to me that in order for evolution to work it has to have been set in motion somehow and within an environment conducive to change. Is that incorrect?

  169. Andras Puiz:

    “Logically speaking, atheists ‘need’ to support evolution more than Christians ‘need’ to reject it: a Christian may or may not accept evolution (as Darwin did), but an atheist doesn’t have such choice.”

    There’s nothing inherent in not believing in a god or gods that requires that same person to subscribe to any particular scientific theory or hypothesis; a rejection of theism in not the same as the acceptance of science.

    If you are going to use the phrase “logically speaking,” please be sure to subsequently employ actual logic.

    Jari Laukkanen:

    “It must be, that because this ‘opposite’ stuff looks so bad, they swallow equal amount of elephant droppings with happy smiles on their faces.”

    Alternately, people believe scientific explanations because these explanations are testable and the data open for examination by other knowledgeable people.

    DT:

    “I went to their website http://www.answersingenesis.com and the more I looked, the more creationism makes sense to me regardless of religious affiliation.”

    Your life, pal. I personally think it’s a load of horseshit, but you’re welcome to believe whatever you like.

    Shane:

    Re: comment 214: For your edification.

  170. What sticks in my mind after reading this – and what popped into my mind when I first heard about this – was how much GOOD could have been done with this not-insignificant wad of money. 27 million dollars feeds a lot of hungry kids, buys a lot of winter coats, pays for a lot of flu shots.

    Silly me … I thought one of the Christ’s teachings was to help each other out and assist the less fortunate. I didn’t realize that propoganda was more important than helping others. I must have missed that part of the Bible.

  171. how dere u angage in such frippery at da espenxe of us cHristens! we no dat da bibel is truf cuse it sez so.so dere. god wud nut a let hiz sun dy on da kros for not to be gud fer uz. an as fur yur stopid kwestuns bout da dinasewers de was der allong da time wif da res of us untel god tooks dem way for ta be wit him. hop dat ansewers ya kwestun bot dat. i nos u alls goin ta HEll n i kant waits fer da dey.
    sined a rilly gud cHristen

  172. subject: CEASE AND DESIST NOTICE
    from: HEAVEN

    Humankind is hereby informed that the publication, circulation, recitation, cantillation, inscription, citation and paraphrasis – public or private – of any book, poem, song, parable or other work, in any language, current, obsolescent or obsolete, containing or purporting to contain Our Words is to cease, effective immediately.
    The Author thereof asserts His Enjoyment of Eternal Copyright on said works, and has deposited a sworn (to Himself) statement accompanied by copious documentation demonstrating that, to date and after numerous millennia, His Estate is still awaiting His £$%*!^g Royalties.
    Calculations of compound interest plus damages (for pirate translations, sucky miniature illuminations, incunabula and mystery play/theatrical/cinematic adaptations, unauthorized transcriptions from stone tablets and angelic messenger boys, etc.) are being tallied even as you quake and a Holy Invoice to The Living stating the Total Sum Due shall be Annunciated within the fiscal year.

    Doodz, U R Pwned!!!

  173. John, Thanks for the report. It sounds like a fun day. Now I want to go see it for the entertainment. T-Rex eating coconuts…how could you not laugh!

    I was worried that the place would be full of rude, in-your-face illogical people. (like the two fundamentalists who bitterly insulted me at my door when I was 13. Thanks assholes. You showed your true colors. I’ll never forget. I really think you people are twisted perverts).but, instead it looks like it’s so utterly ridiculous that you just have to smile.

    Next I expect the “What the Bleep do we Know” museum. Displays of water having feelings and a memory! It’ll be built by the same type of illogical people with lots of money to throw away.

  174. 176 Kieran said: However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued.

    So God isn’t dead, he’s just resting?

  175. Whether or not one accepts the theory of evolution shouldn’t be a religious debate. Darwin was a Christian, for crying out loud.

    This is a common misstatement that deserves to be corrected. Darwin–I’m assuming we’re talking Charles Darwin–was skeptical by 1839 and had almost certainly renounced what was left of his religious faith and was an agnostic (in the Huxleian sense) after 1851, the year his 10-year-old daughter died. There is a common urban legend that Darwin re-embraced Christianity on his deathbed, but the only evidence for this assertion comes in the form of bumper stickers. (See, e.g. Niles Eldredge Darwin–Discovering The Tree Of Life at 12-13; I’d love to cite Dennett or something more substantial, but that’s the source I have handy.)

    Not that this is really dispositive of anything. It just annoys the hell out of me when I see the myth repeated. Because if Darwin recanted, he must have been wrong; or, if he was wrong, evolutionary theory must be wrong or Christian literalists must be right or something. Even if it was right it would still be a lame appeal to authority–the fact that it’s a baseless lie merely makes it a gallingly lame fallacy.

    Look, I have no problem with religion and science keeping to their own, separate bailiwicks. The problem comes when proponents of a religious agenda make objective statements about the physical world that are unprovable or (worse yet) contrary to physical principles. If they keep such things amongst themselves, it’s a minor problem. They’re wrong and I may take the time to correct them, but I won’t lose sleep if they prefer ignorance and error. The substantial problem is when these folks attempt to force their mistakes and foolishness upon other people (e.g. children in public schools), attempt to censor truth (e.g. redacting text in science texts) and attempt to set public policy based on their erroneous views (e.g. quashing legitimate scientific projects).

    Open-mindedness is a noble virtue when it serves inquiry, but deceit in the guise of “open-mindedness” has become a pox during my lifetime. Examining gaps in our understanding of evolution in order to come to a better understanding of how the world works is noble; claiming that the gaps necessarily imply the existence of supernatural forces contrary to observable experience is vile. FUD is not debate. Dogma is not inquiry. And not every side deserves equal time in a serious conversation among adults trying to come to terms with the world around them–some claims are true and some aren’t, some things can be observed and others can’t, some things can be proved and others can’t, and there is such a thing as right and wrong.

  176. Interestingly this “think piece” is just a prettied up with fanciful “non-threatening” wallpaper the author despises in the meuseum.

    Also of note. Why not let us, the readers, determine if the contents of the meuseum is “horse shit” rather than you craming it down our/their throats?

    Apparently this type of hypocracy is unavoidable by the makers of the creation meuseum and those who despise it!

    Comical in the least.

  177. “The Voice”:

    “Interestingly this ‘think piece’ is just a prettied up with fanciful ‘non-threatening’ wallpaper the author despises in the meuseum.”

    This sentence doesn’t actually make any sort of sense. It’s a grammar thing.

    “Why not let us, the readers, determine if the contents of the meuseum is ‘horse shit’ rather than you craming it down our/their throats?”

    Because, among other things, the piece was about my impressions of the place. If you want me to write something else, “The Voice,” we can discuss my freelance fee. Otherwise, feel free to cram it.

  178. Yeah, I’d say those of us who paid top dollar for him to write that are satisfied with the return on the investment. :) Although we were supposed to get a short story too, weren’t we? What happened with that?

  179. To paraphrase Mike Huckabee, who said something like “as to how long ago it was or how long it took, I’m not sure; but I believe God did it”; which parts do you find equine excrement?
    Does this include the God did it part, as well as the literal days and 6,000 years? If you believe God did it, but it took millions of years, then you are at least near my impression of Huckabee’s opinion.

    I only bring that up because of a comment I read here concerned that Republican presidential candidates actually believe in divine creation. Actually only three said they didn’t believe in Evolution, and the only one who has given an in depth answer was Huckabee.

    Through research, I’ve discovered that he seems to accept the possibility of “Theistic Evolution”; the idea of long-ages and gradual development via a divine plan. What he was explicitly denying is that it was a product of total random chance. A growing body of scientific evidence is calling the totally random aspect into question. (I’d be interested to see your take on Ben Stein’s upcoming movie on the subject; “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”; when it comes out in February.

    http://www.expelledthemovie.com

    As for me, I don’t see how one could reconcile divine creation and molecules to man evolution. I see absolute evidence for evolving variation within species, but don’t take the huge leap from that to universal random evolution OF species. I’m also not too confident about the Bishop Usher 4004 BC date Ham seems to hold to (though I tend to be in the 10′s of thousands, but not millions camp); nor do I push the thinly-if-all supported conclusions Ham reaches in some of his details.

    I do, however, really believe in 6 literal days of Creation. That you don’t agree isn’t a cause for hostility on my part; nor does Mike Huckabee’s apparent disagreement with my belief that the earth is not millions of years old, change the fact that I think he’s the best candidate to help avoid American becoming a taxed-to-death and completely socialist state, with enforced secularism as the state religion.

    http://justcrazypolitics.blogspot.com/2007/11/where-mike-huckabee-is-wrongbut-its.html

    It just means I wouldn’t want either of you in the pulpit of my local congregation; and while that might hurt his feelings, I’m sure it won’t hurt yours and wasn’t intended to.

  180. Vradic:

    “To paraphrase Mike Huckabee, who said something like ‘as to how long ago it was or how long it took, I’m not sure; but I believe God did it’; which parts do you find equine excrement?”

    That would take up too much time. The better question is “what parts don’t I think are horse excrement?” The answer to that is “not much,” since pretty much everything goes downhill from “the universe was created in six days.”

  181. What I love is in the pictures you took, after Adam left the Garden of Eden, both mutations and natural selection took place. Essentially they acquiesce that evolution happens, but it just started 6000 years ago. (The pictures of “Unintended Consequences of Fruit Ingestion, Part II and III”)

  182. OK, for the “short form”:
    Do you think there was some sort of intelligent prime cause, or do you assert that any view other than Total Random Chance as the source of everything goes in your steaming pile category?

    That was really the root of the Huckabee response I referenced.

  183. Vradic:

    “Do you think there was some sort of intelligent prime cause, or do you assert that any view other than Total Random Chance as the source of everything goes in your steaming pile category?”

    Who knows to the first (although if there was, it did its work before Planck’s Time), and of course not to the second, since evolution does not occur by “total random chance,” which is something a lot of folks who get twitchy about evolution don’t appear to get.

  184. Evolution isn’t fact. Evolution is Chance. It takes more “Faith” to believe in Evolution than it takes to believe in Creation. You can’t even pull the phrase “The Theory of Evolution” out of a bucket of letters in the alphabet by taking one letter out at a time. You could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and it would never happen. Thank you for letting this Born again, Creation believing, goofball Christian to post my comment.

  185. Joe @ 255:

    Any “chance” you creation believing types are going to get some new arguments any time soon? I suspect that you could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and creationists would still be spouting the same old, tired, and repeatedly reputed nonsense.

  186. You guys aren’t giving the creationists a fair shot here, here’s what you do, ignore the fossil record, near phylogenetic sequence similarity, comparative anatomy (Pentadactyl limbs, insect limbs, aquatic tails, wings, eyes, etc.), radiometric dating, and examples of evolution like the Hyracotherium to the modern day horse and modern evidence like the sympatric speciation of the Hawthorn fly, once you’ve cleared your head of all strong scientific evidence, you’re totally wide open for great rhetoric like “different starting points, ” wow.

  187. Is Adam shagging that sheep while turning his head like he’s shamed about the act. Is that a prototype of Eve, perhaps?

    Did Adam’s act also invent Relativity and String Theory (which is actually closer to a theory than that Evolution thing)?

    Did his actions cause children and the lightning bolt of love that parents have for them?

    Did he create the smell of horse dung? How ‘but my dung? Actually, that’s probably the beer and fast food.

    The Focus on the Family and their ilk probably will highlight this blog as an advertisement of (with hand raised and eyes squinted as though reading from a divinly inscribed 700-Club queue card …’why it is so important for us all to receive the message that only the museum founder has the courage to celebrate’?

    All that evolution and this is as far as we’ve come?! If this is the best humanity has to offer even after only a few thousand years of evolution, zoiks, it is a slow process. Somebody wake up God and tell Him it’s Monday, already, before we all kill each other.

    Ack!

  188. DT said in post #219:
    I think your preexisting dread (”I admit to dreading coming to the place…”) and probably some bias precluded you from having an open mind. As I thought more about creationism vs evolution, it seems that there is a lot more faith and hocus-pocus in the star alignment on the latter? ….Look at the depth of complexity of multiple systems (ecological, chemical. biological, etc) and how they symbiotically interplay….heck – look at the physiological intricacies in your own body!…….The latter seems to much of a 1 in 10000000000 (more zeroes could be aded) chance

    I ran into that same kind of wooly thinking with regards to the existence of paranormal entities.

    The rationale the “researcher” used was something to the effect of “the chance that [i]every single one of the hundreds that I have interviewed was either lying, mistaken or deluded about encounters with ghosts, demons, etc. is so small that there has to be something to it. There are too many people in too many places giving strikingly similar reports for there to be nothing out there.”

  189. There’s something out there alright, gas leaks. Carbon dioxide and monoxide poisoning refutes most evidence for paranormal experiences.

  190. Jim Wright @ 257

    “Any “chance” you creation believing types are going to get some new arguments any time soon? I suspect that you could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and creationists would still be spouting the same old, tired, and repeatedly reputed nonsense.”

    Same beliefs in Creationism = same arguments. Evolutionists keep having to change everything every couple of years while most Creationists keep basically the same beliefs throughout. Also, Intelligent Design and Evolution ARE the same thing, just in different packages.

  191. Here ya go Joe, some research that’s been around for a bit longer than a couple years, get informed:

    fossil record, near phylogenetic sequence similarity, comparative anatomy (Pentadactyl limbs, insect limbs, aquatic tails, wings, eyes, etc.), radiometric dating, the Hyracotherium horse, and modern evidence like the sympatric speciation of the Hawthorn fly

    Enjoy!

  192. “It seems to me that in order for evolution to work it has to have been set in motion somehow and within an environment conducive to change. Is that incorrect?”

    At its very heart, biological evolution revolves around chemistry. We didn’t start with even simple strains of DNA, but much smaller, simpler organic molecules, which in turn were precursed by even simpler molecules, and so forth until you get to the early years of the universe built almost entirely of hydrogen. In certain circumstances (say, stars) the conditions are right to combine hydrogen into helium. Produce new conditions and more complex atoms form, molecules start forming, etc. There are basic chemical laws that present a reactant with a set of conditions and you get a product differing from the reactant.

    So in essence you are absolutely correct, an environment must be conducive to these sort of chemical reactions that would eventually give rise to the formation of very simple strands of DNA, it needs to be hospitable to chemical change such that DNA would arise. Conditions needed to be correct for the right reactants to be in place and the right conditions to be present. If examing the earth alone, and not considering the expanse of time it has been around, this seems like an almost astronically low probability, however when considering the age of the Universe and the expanse of it, the probability that hospitable conditions would exist somewhere at some point in time becomes much higher. Just as the probability to throw snake eyes at least once with two dice on one throw is low, but much much higher if the dice are thrown one hundred times, the chance of the conditions being present increases.

    Many scientists of faith that I have met or read about have varying thoughts on where God fits in. Some put God as the spark of creation at the big bang (they tend not to accept M-theory because of that, but I don’t blame them. I have some serious issue with it myself), the let there be light moment if you will, and believe that God stood back from there (by stood back I mean established physical laws and watched creation develop based on those laws). Others think that God sort of stacked the deck for Earth, possibly being responsible for catalyst events that were essential for our own development to occur.

    The ultimate evolution of humans was no sure thing. It only happened because conditions occured just right, and there is plenty of room for faith concerning that. Say if the cataclysm event that killed the dinosaurs never happened we probably wouldn’t be around. In the scientific community a widespread theory is that the moon was created when a protoplanet called Theia collided with Earth, and that that was also the catalyst necessary for life here, that it changed the chemical and climatic makeup suffiecently to birth simple early life like molecules that eventually evolved into proper simple organisms and after millions of years, us. Faith is a fine answer to wondering what gave rise to the conditions that generated evolutionary pressures, but evolution is a better tool to describe how and why organisms react to evolutionary pressures.

    Personally I think existance is all the more wonderous when viewed through the lense that my existance, who I am, where I am, what I am, is the result of innumerable events where conditions had to be perfect to provide conditions that eventually gave rise to me, rather than believing I am nothing more than another entity’s creation, something made and manufactured, though it does remove the notion that I may have some sort of higher purpose than simply replicating my genetic material.

    Unrelated, John, it would be great if there was some sort of Preview option for Word Press the way MT had. Do you happen to know if there is an extension that provides that functionality. I would love to preview for typos and am hesitant to use tags to format things for fear that I leave one open or malformed.

  193. Almost forgot…The first thing Adam said to Eve, “Stand back Honey, I don’t know big this thing’s gonna get.”

  194. JoeSays:You can’t even pull the phrase “The Theory of Evolution” out of a bucket of letters in the alphabet by taking one letter out at a time. You could try for billions of years of 24 hour days and it would never happen.

    Sorry Joe, even I have to disagree with you making that an absolute. Although, I did calculate it to be very long odds. At 3 letters a second, I calculated something like 1 chance in 1,356,715,447,154,471 that it could be done within 6.5 billion years.

    While those are ridiculously long odds (though much shorter odds than DNA sequencing), is it an absolute? I would go with the absolute. Where did the bucket of letters come from, and why are the pieces letter shaped? If you go all the way to the origin of the letters, then the odds of all possible shapes becoming a bucket of letters, which then forms the sentence is insanely long odds.

    Then focusing on the part that deals with absolute natural law, neither matter nor energy can be created or destroyed (although it may be converted between the two states); where did the original materials for the bucket and letters come from? Because of the previously stated natural law, it’s cause is, by definition, supernatural.

    One could argue that a supernatural cause is not necessarily a divine cause. However, since the matter formed letters; and letters are information; and since information suggests intelligence; the existence of the bucket of letters gives strong evidence for (if not absolute proof of) a supernatural intelligent cause (which by most accounts would certainly qualify as divine).

    That’s as far as the “intelligent Design” argument gets you, Mr Scalzi is quite right in his assessment that it’s a “mamby-pamby weak sauce” to try to prove the God of the Bible (or any particular religion) by “Intelligent Design”. That’s why I find it so ridiculous when people try to ban teaching Intelligent Design as promoting a religion. It doesn’t prove God(YHVH), gods, or goddess! I.D. is simply not exclusive of religion, the way naturalistic* evolution is.

    Again, I’d love to see John Scalzi review Ben Stein’s “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed” when it comes out in theaters in Feb 2008.

    http://www.expelledthemovie.com

    *Is that a more acceptable term for you than “random”?

  195. I have to take exception to the denigrating and offensive tone you took throughout this posting! I cannot believe that you would be so critical and downright pugnacious on what is such an important topic.

    Horse manure is a critical resource for many organic gardeners. When composted with other animal manures and kitchen waste it contributes much needed nutrients into garden soils. To compare this valuable resource to the bizarre, hallucinatory ramblings you found at the creation museum are insulting to horse manure and to the producers of that manure.

    Please, do not pull manure down to the level of creationism!

  196. joe @ 262

    Evolutionists keep having to change everything every couple of years while most Creationists keep basically the same beliefs throughout.

    So I’m guessing that you’re a firm believer in a flat earth (since if I remember my bible correctly that’s pretty much how it’s specified) and that the earth is indeed the center of the universe? Since that is what the majority of Christians believed for a very long time, in fact they went so far as to kill and imprison people who knew better. Additionally, it seems to me that dinosaurs in the garden and on the ark are concepts you guys pulled out of your asses fairly recently.

    Creationism = self deluded, rationalized horseshit

    As to ‘evolutionists’ changing things every couple of years, well, Joe hate to break it to you but that’s how science works. And you should be grateful that it does, or else you’d still be living on a flat earth scratching in the ground with a sharp stick for your dinner. And just for the record, there is no such thing as an ‘evolutionist.’ Science doesn’t require faith. There are people who understand basic science and are actually capable of using their minds, and then there are people like you.

    How about saving the shuckin’ and jivin’ for somebody who buys into your horseshit, eh?

  197. 260. GB said: I ran into that same kind of wooly thinking with regards to the existence of paranormal entities.

    The problem with paranormal research is that, generally speaking, the researchers are looking at the wrong things. Starting at the wrong starting points, so to speak. It’s a little like they’re trying to figure out what a computer is doing when they have nothing but a voltmeter – and can’t see the monitor, keyboard, or human user.

  198. I loved your museum visit! Agree with every word (even though I`ve never been to the museum).

    But for me, the most annoying fact is…. they just happen to HAVE $27 millions to trash out in a hole lot of horseshit.

  199. Wow evolution believers sure are a hostile bunch aren’t you? The Flat World thing again? When are you evolutionists going to get some new arguments? Re: the Ark and Dinosaurs isn’t big a deal when you realize that the DInosaurs didn’t have to be full grown to be on the Ark. SInce God created the dinosaurs, why WOULDN’T they be in the Garden of Eden also? Where is the World is Flat passage in the Bible again?

  200. ok, took my meds and I’m all set.

    John S.:
    An outstanding report on the creationist amusement park. Frankly, it’s something I would never have done, mainly because I couldn’t see giving up my hard earned $20.

    et al:
    Some of the comments are outstanding, pretty sure that my I.Q. is much closer to room temperature than many that have commented in here, John S. included, but…….
    the main point that most seem to have missed, while the arguments of enlightenment towards evolution are simply great, they unfortunately fall on deaf ears. No, I will repeat that, No amount of logic will ever convince a creationist of the error of their ways. You (we) are dealing with people that are absolutely convinced in their belief and in their god. If I told people that my dog talks to me, tells me to give to the poor, donate my time and do other altruistic things, people would assume that I am insane, harmless, but insane. But if you tell people that you talk to god and he/she/it tells you the same thing, then people nod and go about their business. So, apparantly listening to an invisible ‘entity’ is more sane than listening to one’s dog.

    No matter how well presented some of the comments in here are with regard to, if not creationism than I.D. the default position STILL is to a supernatural entity. So if one chooses to believe in a supernatural entity then anything is, was and will always be possible. No research,study or understanding is necessary. For those with a scientific bent and concommitant open mind the world, and the universe, is a fantastical place which operates on laws and rules we have only recently begun to parse.

    So rather than try and convince or educate ‘believers’, we all should be working hard to instead commit them.

    As for a comment I read which likened atheists and evolutionists to being a religion, let me offer up this; bald is NOT a hair color.

    thanks again John for manning up and taking the hit for us all.

  201. Joe:

    “Re: the Ark and Dinosaurs isn’t big a deal when you realize that the DInosaurs didn’t have to be full grown to be on the Ark.”

    I’m sorry, I’m getting the giggles again, here.

  202. John, to think, my mom told me I wasn’t funny. I guess she was wrong. Put a gun to my head and tell me to renounced Christianity or you’d shoot me…Pull the trigger because I am not doing that. It isn’t because I am stubborn..trust me, I don’t like being shot at, it’s because I fear God, not man.

  203. Joe:

    I wouldn’t ask you to renounce Christianity even if I could; every man should tend to his soul; that said, your Christianity wasn’t the issue, at least not to my mind. I am sorry you believe that believing in Christ means you must also believe creationist horseshit, but, well, again: your choice to make.

  204. Joe

    “I fear God, not man.”

    What god is worthy that needs to be feared. Shouldn’t love be the more rational emotion. Sort of like saying that fear of your father is the reason you love him. Your god sounds more like a despot who rules by whim and decree. So how’s that working out?

  205. It kind of works in the same way. The absence of God is the absence of creation which would only lead to evolution. Christianity without Christ is tianity, and therefore, doesn’t make any sense.

  206. d-thing, it seems to be working out. When you did something as a kid that your dad didn’t like, was there any fear of what he might do? Makes perfectly good sense to me.

  207. My perspective as a believing, practicing Jew who has studied and rather likes the Bible (well, the Jewish part):

    The creation story is a recording of the beliefs/best guesses of the ancient Israelites who wrote the Bible (possibly with God’s “help”) about how the world was created, a few thousand years before the scientific method was developed. It is clearly meant to be metaphorical. It has value because it offers insight into the way Jews historically thought about the way the universe was ordered.

    I have never met a single Jew who takes the creation story completely literally and only a very few who reject some parts of evolution.

  208. The Musuem is awesome. I plan to take my four kids after seeing this website. I’ve won numerous math awards in my life, so I have easily calculated how evolutionists’ claims of today’s vast numbers of species could have emerged on a earth which is 4 billion years old: double the number of species every 200 years starting on the date of the first life form.

  209. András Puiz

    I consider myself an agnostic (adhering to the scientific principle that you cannot completely prove the absence of something); how does that fit into your assertion that I MUST believe in evolution because otherwise there is nothing left to explain stuff?

    Plus those ‘challenges’ have been shot down too often to count. How many missing links to you need? Every time a new one is found, the creationshits say ‘ah, but there’s still a gap’. Useless trying to please on that one. And many ways to form the first proteins have been proven in addition to the classic Primorial Soup experiments. Oh, the ‘destructive’ mutation FUD; many mutations ADD or duplicate genetic material; and where this is the first time I’ve hear about ‘ephemeral’ mutations. Complex organs? So a patch of photosensitive cells that detect vague movement is useless because it’s not as good as the human eye? Sheesh. What else you got?

    Hang on, why am I wasting my time. You don’t even understand the scientific use of the term ‘theory’. Scientists only upgrade a hypothesis reluctantly to the status of theory, if not a single bit of evidence exists that can’t be explained by it. Every scientist questions evolution as we currently understand it and continually improves it. In science there is never a final answer, just as good a description as we can come up with using our current knowledge.

    Science looks for the truth, Religion just wants truthiness.

  210. Joe

    My father never threatened to kill me or condem me to eternal hell if I didn’t love or obey him. Sure I ‘feared’ him, as any kid might, but as I grew older my relationship with my father became more of a friendship with semi-equality. Not so sure your god operates in the same way.

  211. And if this horseshit is closely examined, then it must be noted that humans were created LAST. Truly, we are but a Cosmic horseshit afterthought.

  212. Just a note to those people ranting about ‘hypocrisy,’ ‘journalistic integrity,’ and similar nonsense, can I recommend that link at the top of the article that says ‘you guys paid top dollar?’ It will give you some grounding in the background behind this little adventure, which will save you some time and Scalzi some comment storage space.

    (short version: Those of us that paid for this write-up knew full well what we were getting. In delivering what he promised to deliver, Scalzi is actually practicing, not undermining, professional integrity in this piece. And the fact that it was a fund-raiser for Americans United for the Separation of Church and State might be a bit of a clue (possibly a clue-by-four) to the intent).

  213. My father never threatened to kill me or condem me to eternal hell if I didn’t love or obey him.

    That’s because you never ate his apple.

  214. it’s a shame you feel the need to mock people’s beliefs. no one forced you to go to that museum. even if the people who designed that place are horribly, horribly wrong, do you really need to mock them? they have a different opinion than you. next time you criticize Ann Coulter, go look in the mirror. hint: you’re no different. is that really who you want to be like?

  215. I think the problem, Doug, is that young earth creationism makes such a mockery of science. John’s report is more of a rebuttal than a blatant jab. He’s honestly one of the most respectful non-Christians you’ll run across. (no offense to other non-Christians with manners)

  216. @Joe

    I have an honest question for you, because I really would like to know how a literalist view of the bible can resolve the issue. If the bible is literally true, why then are there different versions of it? I can produce several of explinations for different versions of the bible, stemming from the fallibility of those producing it, i.e. us, but by introducing the fallibility of man into the equation I have just ensured that it can no longer be the literal word of God. The only way to ensure it is the literal word of God is if the Almighty preserved the sanctity of the content so that the fallibility of man could not taint it, but if that were the case, how would different versions of the bible arise?

  217. Doug:

    “it’s a shame you feel the need to mock people’s beliefs.”

    It’s a shame people have such dumbass beliefs, Doug.

    “Even if the people who designed that place are horribly, horribly wrong, do you really need to mock them? ”

    I don’t need to, no. It’s just a bonus.

    Trying to shame me for calling horseshit horseshit really isn’t going to work, Doug.

  218. Doug Says: “no one forced you to go to that museum.”

    Truth be told, Doug, yes, we did force him to go (well, not me personally as I don’t have a paypal account and John refused all other forms of donations).

    Joe, I have no problems with you believing what you want to believe. It’s when those that have these beliefs try to force the rest of us there that things like external validation and scientific process come into sway. Same with tax dollars. If we teach science to kids, we teach them science, not religion. What you wish to teach those kids at home or in Church is your own thing. But on the state/class test will be science. That’s how they’re graded. And just to make it clear, ID, by those that wrote the books and go around getting school boards to include it on their science agendas, is Creationism by their own admission as shown by the trial in PA. ID is Creationism wrapped in semi-scientifical language.

  219. First, Doug. I am pretty sure Ken Hamm has heard it all, I am sure people have called “Bull Butter” on his beliefs and Science data.

    El Geeko, I don’t have a great answer, but the reason I feel there are the New King James, Living Bible, New International Version, New American Standard, etc. is so people can understand what the Bible says. Last I checked, schools in the Joonity Stace don’t teach Greek and Hebrew so the Bible was done in King James English, when people could no longer understand the King’s English, they translated, then they translated that, then that… Other than what I typed, I have nothing.

  220. Joe @293: I’m pretty sure El Chupageek wasn’t talking about the various modern translations of the Bible, but rather the different *ancient* versions of the Bible. Those old source texts have contradictions in them.

  221. Man, were you giggling uncontrollably during the entire tour? I would’ve been. This stuff is just priceless unintentional humor.

  222. I guess my point was missed. I’m trying to say there’s way too much hostility in this post. We could do with fewer Ann Coutlers, Rosie O’Donnels, Sean Hannitys, and Randi Rhodes. It’s clear you disagree with these people’s beliefs, but what value is there in the mockery and charged language? Does it change them? Does calling people names and mocking their beliefs accomplish anything? When we criticize christians or anyone else for harsh behavior, demanding that there is one correct point of view, forcing their beliefs on others etc, we become fundamentalists too — only we have a different set of beliefs. We are right. They — those foolish, crazy, irresponsbile people — are wrong. Sounds like self-righteousness to me — the same thing we criticize them for. It is possible to disagree with somone and still treat them with respect — even if they don’t deserve it. I wish there were more of that in our culture.

  223. SteveS:

    I had fun, yes.

    Doug:

    “It’s clear you disagree with these people’s beliefs, but what value is there in the mockery and charged language? Does it change them? Does calling people names and mocking their beliefs accomplish anything?”

    No, but so what? I’m not trying to affect a change in anyone’s beliefs or behaviors; I’m writing my impression of the place, and my main impression is that it’s a perfectly grand monument to a really big load of horseshit. The value in the mockery and charged language is it reinforces the fact I think the place is ridiculous, that the ideas promulgated there are ridiculous, and being polite in the face of horseshit is of limited utility. Also, I enjoyed writing it, which has value to me. Whether other people see any of this as valuable is not my problem; they’re not obliged to read it. Indeed, people have to affirmatively seek it out to read it. Let them take their chances, I say.

    “When we criticize christians or anyone else for harsh behavior, demanding that there is one correct point of view, forcing their beliefs on others etc, we become fundamentalists too”

    Oh, bah, Doug. This statement of your doesn’t mean anything. Criticizing dogma behavior does not inherently imply dogmatic behavior on the part of the critic. We do not become what we criticize when we criticize. And in this particular case, it’s certainly not correct; I do not maintain my point of view is the only correct one, nor do I force it on others. I’m happy to have people believe what they wish to believe. But if they believe a bunch of horseshit, and then spend millions of dollars to a monument to said horseshit, I’m also happy to note both, and not bother to pull my punches.

  224. maybe someone can explain a simple question to me…
    In regards to the formation of the geologic column, we know that there is a process in which the sediment is placed down and then another layer, etc. In due time, [ie millions of years] with the event of erosion there are some canyons formed, and then filled again by the same sedimentation process… the geological column according to the evolutionary process might have to look and show evidence of some fossil Grand Canyon… however when I look at the GC I find the layers neatly stacked one after the other, and even in some places there are entire layers missing…? why is that?
    Another question that arises… The estimate of the rate at which the sediments reach the ocean is an interesting 20.000 million tons per year according to Milliman and Syvitski [geologists, not creationists]… the question is, if the earth has been here for millions of years, then how come we have such a rate of sedimentation and still be around?

    Everest is more then 10M years/old [according to the datation of evolutionist geology], however according to the sedimentation rates analyzed in the Yellow River, it should take 10M years to take Everest from its peak to level ground… yet it is still here.. and its been here for millions of years, right? how come?

    Maybe some of you great scientific minds can explain that conudrum to me… in laymen’s terms considering I am not a scientist neither do I pretend to be one, however I could use an answer to that question… I mean, considering Evolution is such an exact fact, not theory mind you… because a theory is just that, a theory; and ultimately it requires some amount of faith from the person that adheres to it… The other option is that whole creation bullshit right that is just shoved down homeschooling kids and they should learn to question it… JUST AS MUCH as the kids in public schools should learn to question the challenges that EVOLUTION and its EXACTNESS presents…

    I doubt I’ll get an explanation to my geologic dilemma, perhaps a little of that christian horshit called faith might help… we’ll see…

  225. Intelligent design is just evolution repackaged,it doesn’t have much to do with God. It could be that Aliens created the whole Universe, Apes, Magic Genie…

  226. Re: horseshit as a stylistic choice – I think it works really well in this piece. You so rarely see excrement used as a metaphorical device with that level of care and dedication. And really, say what you will about the imagery, but “Imagine, if you will, a load of horseshit.” is an opening line that grabs attention.

    Mr. Scalzi, if this is the kind of writing I can expect from your blog, I may have to go pick up one or six of your books.

  227. Thanks Joe, I appreciate the answer, and I hope you didn’t take it as an attack or anything that I asked the question, but honest curiosity. Belief in general interests me and I am always curious to learn what others believe and why. I don’t actually know any literalist creationists (until recently I was a denizen of the West Coast, which for whatever reason doesn’t have as many people of that specific belief as, say, the mid-south) and most of the people I have encountered on the web with that belief are less interested in fielding my questions than establishing why I am wrong, which I don’t generally find conducive to conversation or understanding.

    Without considering what a literal interpretation of the bible would entail, I’ve always thought the first question is whether we can assume the bible has been preserved without alteration of message (even if the particular language used to convey that message has changed, which would make sense, since language does change and multiply). There are various theological questions around whether the bible can be altered by man and what it would mean if it could or couldn’t; depending on the answer to those questions, I have then wondered why we see a new international version, a revised standard version, a living bible, a new world translation, new american standard version, etc. obsensibly all targetted at American christians who speak essentially the same dialect, and all with variations that can change meaning of certain aspects of the bible either subtly or dramatically (either would effect a literal interpretation). I was hoping that you might have some insight into how to address than, because I think it would lead insight into the belief in general, which I would find interesting.

    I’ve spent some time trying to look up an answer on the interweb, but while there are a lot of critiques about the differences of versions, I haven’t found a good source that really explains how the differences could exist and maintain a literal interpretation (other than hand waving that everyone else just reads the wrong version, which doesn’t explain away the differences). If you do come across a good explination in the next couple of days I would be happy to read it if you posted it. Though before you spend time hunting down good explinations, I hope you would realize my goal is to simply gain understanding of another belief (and thus my fellow humans that believe it) rather than to convert.

  228. @Tim Walker

    Actually, I wasn’t getting into those, because an arguement could simply be raised for the fallacy of history and our understanding and record of it. It seemed much easier to address modern versions that contain inconsistencies among them, many of which convey different meaning because of those inconsistencies. It seemed a more immediate and current question.

  229. Harry Says: “however when I look at the GC I find the layers neatly stacked one after the other, and even in some places there are entire layers missing…? why is that?”

    Oo, now I’ve gotta go see the Grand Canyon and those missing layers. “How does rock float like that?” is what I’ll wonder.

    “evolutionist geology” I didn’t even know there was such a thing.

    “Everest is more then 10M years/old… sedimentation rates analyzed in the Yellow River, it should take 10M years to take Everest from its peak to level ground… yet it is still here”

    Well, other than to say that Ganges is what’s washing away much of the Himalayan range, and that these rivers go a very long way eroding much more than just the mountains, it’s known as the phenomena of the India Plate trying to make it’s Siberian train. In other words, the two plates ramming together that created the Himalaya Mountains continue to ram together. This might help.

  230. I’ll be the guy you can all laugh at, I generally reject the idea that one cell -> humans, even given the timeframe we all generally except. I also believe in a creator, and I believe there we are intelligently designed, or were at least the start things off. In short, there are metaphysical elements of this world that I believe point to a creator, and I also believe that attempts to construct a plausible start to finish history of our evolution are nothing short of awful, strung together science. Combine those two things together, and for now, I stick with ID.

    Having said that, there is a sizable portion of ID fans or at least supposers, that totally and completely reject about 99% of the stuff that Ken Hamm presents and misrepresents as science. The whole “age of the earth” thing alone is insane.

    I know you think I’m out their trying to ruin your schools or kill your kids or whatever, but at least know that most ID proponents are not batshit crazy, they just mix science in with their metaphysical sometimes, which is poor science.

  231. @Harry

    Your questions ignore plate tectonics. it is true that a mass of sediment is pushed into the ocean. It creaps along until it gets to a fault and then it is pushed down or up. If it is pushed up, land rises. Everest is just such an example. It is still GROWING, as are all of the himalayas, because they are along a fault where two plates collide and one is getting pushed upwards, forming increasingly high mountains. The plate that gets pushed down eventually rises again as well, as its contents are turned molten in the core of our planet and expunged through various vulcanic fissures. It is thus a constant cycle as the earth is built up and then torn down.

    If we did not have erosion our mountains would be substantially larger. Take, for example, Olympus Mons on mars. Without significant erosionary forces it has risen to a hight of over 13 miles (almost 70,000 feet). It has a base larger than China. And it is still growing.

  232. Superjewgirl:

    You place an argument/questioin regarding the literacy of the Genesis account. The writer of Genesis had the intention of telling us a literal account of creation in six days. The analysis and syntax of the hebrew in the torah and in that particular narration just points to that fact [ie waw consecutive, numerals, verb syntax, construction of sentences, etc] No serious Old Testament Scholar that is specialized in Hebrew will concur that the Genesis account is a metaphor.

    Yes, it is true that it is portraying the cosmic view of the writer to the people of Israel, of one God Creator, YWHW; however the belief of it JUST being a metaphor, and its consequential acceptance in all Jewish circles springs from greek philosophical influence upon judaism during the diaspora and the post-exilic era.

    Normally the majority of those scholars that will question the account and make it a simple legend at best or limit it to only a cosmic view of the nation of Israel before the scientific method, are not specialists in OT or much less in hebrew language. The intention of the writer was to portray an account as he saw it, a literal 6 day creation account; whether we accept it or not is a whole different subject. [OT scholars that say it was a literal account do not necessarily believe in the account, ie. Julius Wellhausen, Von Rad, etc.]

    The application of the “scientific method” to both history and bible results sometimes a little unfair and unscientific at the same time as we bring foreign elements to the study of the object, being it the Bible.

  233. True, Everest grows at a rate of 2 cm per year if I am not mistaken, and I have not ignored plate tectonics, in the case of mt Everest it is true it is right in the fault, therefore it still grows, however the fact that the GC is neatly stacked and some layers are missing [ie Dead Horse Point, Utah] just posses questions as to perhaps our dating of the geological column is just a little off [perhaps]. And then if there are no evidences of a “fossil Grand Canyon” in the GC then how do we explain the stacks of the rocks and no evidences of the natural process of erosion and placement of plates. it is interesting that the questions are answered so quickly…

    True I might have overstepped the point in evolutionist geology… geology PERIOD. I apologize for the offense.

  234. Harry, you might also check out the talk.origins site on this; they have a lot of information on geology as it relates to creationism/young earth stuff, and have probably got data there on point to your questions.

  235. @Stephen

    I don’t think most of the people in this thread find the idea of alternate belief to be a point of amusement. I think what amuses/horrifies them is when science is utterly bastardized for that belief. Since you aren’t proclaiming to do that, I don’t think people will laugh at you (well, most wont, but no one belief has a monopoly on asses).

    That said, taking a look at the single cell to human being in one context is a jump that anyone would have issue with. Evolution doesn’t seek to do this in one jump, but rather explain how one cell first might form a dual-celled organism, and the next small jump and so forth, until it is at the point where osteolapthicus (I probably butchered the spelling) arose from it’s closest ancestor to become an early proto-hominid, and the next small step after that, until finally you have a transition to homo-sapian. The “walking with” series (which “Walking with Dinosaurs” is part of) does a great job showing all of the small steps from early arthropods (walking with monsters) to ultimately humans (walking with cavemen). It by no means is a perfect documentary on the subject, flaws abound, but it is entertaining and an approachable illustration of transition.

  236. @ Steve Bucheit

    I never said that the missing rock floats… that is you assuming something, I just posed a question… in order for rock to be neatly stacked in that way you do need water… an example of that would be the turbidity currents, in the particular case of the Grand Banks Earthquake in 1929… interesting event.

  237. Patrick, I’m STARTING to sound crazy? Duh, I must be, I believe in The Creator God, and I’m fine with that. IF, I am wrong about creation, no big deal, right? I look like a fool, which I do whether Creation is true (it is) or isn’t (it is). If everybody else is wrong and the creator gets ticked off (He will) there will be a huge price to pay (there will).

    I think my crazy meter went way up just now.

    El Chupageek,
    atc dot org at gmail dot com

  238. Your arguing is useless. the nonscientists cannot accept the scientific language and therefore do not understand the term “theory” at all. E=mc^2 is just a theory and an atomic bomb was created based on it and it seemed pretty real to a lot of people. theories in science have been proven several times, but not enough to say that it applies to all things. you could try an experiment a million times and get the same outcome and you still wouldn’t be able to call it a law. it only takes one failed experiment to disprove it even if it’s occured the right way a hundred thousand times.
    Secondly, I feel that taking information as it given and accepting it all for truth without question is a sign of weakness and ignorance. Especially, when the information is contradicts its self in its own pages. Looking for a deeper meaning shows depth, in spirit as well as character. you don’t need to be spoon fed your faith. you need to work for it. find what it means to you.
    Also, don’t you think someone might have mentioned a giant lizard in the bible? possibly? I think it’s a pretty major thing to skip over……

  239. No, no – all those beliefs are fine…

    But ID is Evolution repackaged? I’m going to have to vomit on you.

    Job 40:16 is in reference to me.

    Is the price we have to pay, roughly, $20 admission to a museum?

  240. 316. Joe said: If everybody else is wrong and the creator gets ticked off (He will) there will be a huge price to pay (there will).

    So Joe, what’s an effective way to tick off The Creator™? All I’ve ever managed to do is tick off his followers, and all they can muster is the old “Jesus will kick your ass when he comes back!” threat, which is best responded to by saying “Because you are too much of a weenie to do it yourself, right?”

  241. if you have to believe that life on earth was created by a God, because “it’s” to complicated to come from evolution, then what created God?

    I mean, if he exists, then surely he’s much more complicated than a man !

  242. ROTFL. I love your photo essay and hope to enjoy it at my leisure. Love the Photo titles. Particularly like the cleverness of some of your commenters. Thanks for sharing this. I’m going to post to my LiveJournal – see if that brings you even more fans.

  243. Re: Harry (312)

    Erosion is a perfectly natural explanation for missing rock layers in a formation. Layers form only when sediment is being deposited in an area. If the watershed in the area changes so that instead of laying sediment down, the sediment is being eroded away and deposited elsewhere, no rock layer will form in that area during that time.

    If later, the watershed changes again so that sediment is once more laid down, you will see sedimentary rock formations from the newer era, and you will end up with a gap or a “missing layer” in the sedimentary layers, which will correspond to the time that the sediment is being eroded.

    Not only will there be no sedimentary layers corresponding to the actual time of erosion, but depending on how long the erosion lasts and how powerful the eroding force is, some of the underlying, older rock layers may also be eroded away. Thus, you end up with missing rock layers with a perfectly natural explanation – no outside intervention needed.

  244. That was absolutely, utterly, delightfully, hilarious!!! Never before has the word “horseshit” brought me so much joy (or been used more truthfully).

    The photo set also cracked me up!!! It was like going to the Grand Canyon with the Brady Bunch – some laughs, some scares, and lessons learned – all from the comfort of my couch.

  245. John Scalzi:

    “There’s nothing inherent in not believing in a god or gods that requires that same person to subscribe to any particular scientific theory or hypothesis; a rejection of theism in not the same as the acceptance of science.

    If you are going to use the phrase “logically speaking,” please be sure to subsequently employ actual logic.”

    What I said was logical.
    Premise A: Evolution supports atheism.
    Premise B: Evolution is neutral to theism.
    Conclusion: Acceptance of evolution is more important for atheism than its rejection is for theism.

  246. ginckgo:

    “I consider myself an agnostic (adhering to the scientific principle that you cannot completely prove the absence of something); how does that fit into your assertion that I MUST believe in evolution because otherwise there is nothing left to explain stuff?”

    It doesn’t. I never mentioned agnostics, only atheists. My comments on them obviously doesn’t apply to you.

    “Scientists only upgrade a hypothesis reluctantly to the status of theory, if not a single bit of evidence exists that can’t be explained by it.”

    This is precisely what I have doubts about in the case of evolution. When exactly was the point in history when the “hypothesis of evolution” was reluctantly upgraded to theory status?

    “Science looks for the truth, Religion just wants truthiness.”

    That’s what science strives to do, but I think it would be foolish to subscribe to an infallibility dogma. Scientist are humans with flaws, so agendas, politics, interests and simple honest mistakes abound.

    As for your counterpoints about the weaknesses in the theory of evolution: these are being argued pro and con as we speak. I don’t think they have been settled. I also don’t always see that these points are tackled with open-minded honesty from either side.

    Please note that I’m fully open about the theory of evolution. I’m not opposed to it. I just think that it has some serious weaknesses, some of which are the exact ones that Darwin himself mentioned. I’m not suggesting that the theory is necessarily wrong; I just believe that our society, including several scientists, are unscientifically biased towards it.

  247. 335: We have a bias towards explanatory frameworks that work, that cohere, that are fruitful in extending our knowledge of the universe. That’s a scientific bias. While science continues to attack known weaknesses, creationism basically does nothing but prop up weaknesses with arguments based on additional weaknesses.

  248. Stephen 309: “but at least know that most ID proponents are not batshit crazy, they just mix science in with their metaphysical sometimes, which is poor science.”

    No, they make a fundamental mistake as to the nature of science the scientific method. What they do is not poor science, it is not science at all. People like Dembski dress up faulty logic in the guise of abstract mathematics, and arrive at what I can only describe as mathematical masturbation.

    The first problem is that science is not a compedium of facts or a static body of knowlexge, it is a dynamic process. The testing of sequential hypotheses is similar to Newton’s Method for finding the root of a differentiable function – each iteration gets closer to the truth, but the Truth is never obtained. The problem with the “God in the Gaps” argument is that there will always be a gap in which to insert God. That’s fine if you want to believe God is there (I do), but science will continue to try to narrow those gaps. Which one is the gap where God lives? When should science stop looking? Never. So as a scientific hypothesis. ID is useless, and therefore not science.

    Beyond that, mathematical attempts to “prove” the need for an Intelligent Designer have thus far been a larger pile of horse shit than the Creation Museum. The reason for this is that the scientific method requires testable hypotheses.

    I’ve read Demski’s papers, and the math is lacking one vital element – a number – e.g. exact probabilities for the cutoff of the categories “extremely unlikely” and “impossible”, because it is on the claim of impossibility that the fundamental premise of Dembski’s leading version of ID rests. My Ph.D. advisor used to say about something quite unrelated that without numbers, you are not talking science, you are talking religion. So, since Demsbki claims that the proabability of life spontaneously arising is so low that it is impossible, where are the cut-offs in probability that would falsify his hypothesis? What is the magic number (probability) that means “impossible”? And from what fundamental principles would one derive and validate that number? Answering those questions might turn ID into a testable scientific hypothesis, but as of now, it’s just a steaming pile. Dembski violates the central code of science outlined by Fyenman in “Cargo Cult Science” – a scientist must explain what would cause him or her to reject a hypothesis, and try as hard as possible to actually shoot down one’s own theory.

    To be fair, many mainstream scientists fail at that, but they have plenty of competitors actively trying to seek to supplant their assertions with new ones, so the failing of one individual scientist is not that important. The best ones do try to kill their own babies, though. When I see IDers doing that, I’ll think about accepting them as some of my own. Until then, they need to stay away from the science curriculum. We have enough problems with scientific illiterates teaching primary and secondary school science as a bunch of facts without diluting even that minimal exposure with horse shit.

  249. You know if the dinosaurs did co-exist with the Egyptians it would explain how they built the pyramids – dino-labour. Of course they wouldn’t have been the first, was the museum showing those delightful re-enactment documentaries featuring Frederick Flintstone and his charming wife?

  250. Andras Puiz:

    “Premise A: Evolution supports atheism.”

    Wrong. The theory of evolution has nothing to say for or against atheism; the question of whether or not there is a god or are gods is outside its ambit. Also non-responsive as to the question of of the existence of god or gods: The theory of gravity, the theory of quantum physics, the theory of vaccination and so on. Indeed, all of science is neutral to the question atheism because the existence of god or gods cannot be tested and thus is literally outside the realm of science.

    Science can say that a supernatural explanation to natural phenomena is not needed by theorizing a natural and physical process of said phenomenon, but this is neither here nor there as regards god or gods, their existence or lack thereof.

    Your use of logic continues to be wanting. Please do better, or stop trying to use it.

  251. My favorite counter-argument against creationism is disease:
    If viruses and germs didn’t keep evolving, all animals and plants would be immune by now. Nobody would ever get the cold, or the flu… and of course viruses would not mutate, so new diseases would not emerge.

    I know, I know… someone will respond that plagues are caused by divine (or Satanic) intervention. But that in turn raises other questions:
    A) If Satan creates new diseases, just thow powerful is he? Shouldn’t that concern believers?
    B) If God creates new diseases, why does he hit the poor and the Third World disproportionately? Does this imply that God hates the poor? (I fear that some who call themselves “Christians” would conclude “Of course God loves me — I’m rich!”)
    :-S

  252. András Puiz @ 335This is precisely what I have doubts about in the case of evolution. When exactly was the point in history when the “hypothesis of evolution” was reluctantly upgraded to theory status?

    When Watson and Crick figured out the structure of DNA and their research became known.

  253. I am very proud of all of you, my children. Let us suspend belief for a second and imagine that I am speaking only to you the reader. Could you believe that God could speak to you? Am I a white gentleman with a long grey beard? Am I Alanis Morrisette? Am I the light in your children’s eyes? No one on this planet knows who I am to the person sitting next to them. Do you need me to be in the corner of your life, so you know which way to go? Why can’t people just believe in themselves and the connection they have to the universe. I could be a man, a woman or the sum of all lifeforce in the universe. But it is not for any of you to say who, what, where, or how I should be to anyone else! The unbridled nerve it takes to spend 27 million dollars on a shrine to your beliefs, when mere miles away my children live in squalor and poverty! You shall never know me, only your dreams of what I mean to you, don’t think that you could ever preach to people that which you do not have providence to understand yourself.

  254. Glen:

    Go back the entry and click on the link embedded in the words “The first part is a photographic tour”.

  255. Dean you say :

    “How did the museum handle the whole Adam and Eve nudity thing? In the one picture you have of Adam, he’s using a convenient lamb as a loincloth”

    Are we absolutely sure that the lamb is just being used as a loincloth by Adam ?
    After all if incest hadn’t been prohibited back then who knows what else was still alowed ?

  256. @ A R Yngve

    Your argument against creationism using the facts of viruses and plagues that evolve, and they do… this has nothing to do with God and Satan and all that, at least not in this stage of the argument… any Christian that simply answers that, is ignoring the fact that there is bimolecular evolution BUT… those bacteria, and viruses remain bacteria and virus… they do not become other things, they do not decide by some chance something else other then a bacteria or virus… they have been living for millions of years… right? I do not see a bacteria making the leap into some different species or a different family or animal… they always stay bacteria.

    AND regarding your argument of “dis-balanced” disease repartition in the world I believe you are ignoring the disease that are here among rich people… cancer, heart disease, stress,… heart failure is a greater killer then other “diseases” in the world. The fact that there are other countries that struggle with sickness that we have “eradicated” in America is due to variations in climate in education and the reality of pharmaceutical companies that give a damn about the poverty and sickness around the world… after all, if they could really cure the disease, then they would be out of business RIGHT?

    Those simplistic arguments against simplistic arguments of Christians, are simply lame and fail to see the broader picture of it all… it just seeks to have a scape goat to the problematic of the world and heck, lets just make that scapegoat GOD…

  257. Harry, that’s because you’re being confused by your concept of “progression” (ie. you think evolution has a “goal” state of higher beings). Also, as I pointed out in another thread on this blog, humans, “history”, and specifically “modern science” haven’t been around long enough to see enough generations to have one species evolve into another one.

  258. John,
    Why horseshit? I mean, I’ve been around horses, their shit is not particularly offensive, odor wise. Cow shit is certainly more odiferous yet again, not all that offensive. Carnivorous shit, on the other hand is highly offensive and stinks to high heaven (pun intended). All due respect, not correcting or chastising you, and it has already been written (can’t unring a bell) but ya gotta believe that in retrospect, MONKEY SHIT woulda been pretty appropriate as well, no?
    just a thought, from one of god’s little monkeys

  259. Nice post and review.

    I actually have a guy I work with (software developer) who is highly “intelligent” who went there and loved it. I think he believed in it hook line and sinker.

    Just pointing out its not JUST the backwards folks going there. And their are people their who truly like it.

  260. I should say, it could have happened while we weren’t watching or hadn’t been able to identify a species, we’ve been able to see the genetic plasticity/morphology of many species, but I don’t believe we’ve had laboratory science long enough to hold an animal/plant/baterium under the scope and say, “Wow, this was an A and now it’s a B.” However, we can see that with the fossil record and with looking at genetic “histories.”

  261. I wasn’t able to make it through all the comments, but did NOT see one that thanked you for not only saving us the $19.95 that the horseshit museum cost, but also kept that $19.95 out of the hands of the idiots that run the place. Supporting that kind of wholesale crap is not what I want to do, but my curiosity about the place might have made me cave eventually. Now since I have your report, I don’t HAVE to go!! So THANKS!!!!

  262. @Steve,

    Animal husbandry has produced new species. The modern cow is a human guided new species. Humans acted as the selective pressure rather than nature, however it does demonstrate that speciation through genetic selection is possible.

    @András Puiz

    Evolution does not preclude a creator, it simply is a series of outright observed facts and evidence, as well as a theoretical framework to explain biological and selection mechanisms. It is inconsistent with a literal interpretation of the bible, however the majority of christianity does not accept a literal interpretation so that is not an issue for them.

    If one assumes the 6 days of creation is a metephorical six days representing history up until the arrival of modern humans, as say, the Catholic church has done, then evolution takes the form of a tool of God. It seems perfectly within the power of the creator of the universe to have the forsight to create a framework of natural rules that would allow for our eventual development, especially in light of the fact that said creator seems to have gotten every other natural law to play well with each other. If you then add into the equation that the natural record shows various cataclysm events (the permian and cretacous extinctions are both primarily linked to asteroids/comets) originating outside of earth that had a huge hand in changing the course of organismal life, it seems like there would be plenty of room to believe God was directing things along a certain path.

    All evolution provides is a best fit explination of mechanisms that address observable fact in this world. It happens to be the only idea that comes close to doing so, hence why it is the backbone of biology, modern medicine, agricultural science, etc. Like the rest of science it simply provides a means of explaining the reality we live in, without theological qualifier. A person inclined to think there is not a creator can incorporate it into that belief, but just as easily someone who believes in God can use it as part of their belief.

    You’re assertion that it is inherently athiestic ignores the reality of the large bulk of christianity that believes otherwise, as well as the rest of the world’s religions that have incorporated evolution into their beliefs. You are doing a disservice to religion by contending that science (and that is what evolution is) is incompatible.

  263. GB@326: So Joe, what’s an effective way to tick off The Creator™? All I’ve ever managed to do is tick off his followers, and all they can muster is the old “Jesus will kick your ass when he comes back!” threat, which is best responded to by saying “Because you are too much of a weenie to do it yourself, right?”

    This argument reminds me of the old child’s argument “My daddy can whup your daddy!” conveniently ignoring the fact that neither daddy wishes to fight the other.

  264. Species on this planet are past rudimentary evolution. That happened in the beginning of life’s journey on this planet. The variety of species currently in existence are all highly specialized. After the next mass extinction life will need to adapt and change again in quick order to take advantage of that situation. Bacteria, viruses and other species of Reptiles, mammals and plants have remained unchanged because the outside forces of environment and adaptation have already been conquered. The are successful at what they do. For example: Bacteria EVOLVE resistance to Antibiotics because they HAVE to. They do not aspire to own iPods, therefore they do not need to evolve opposable thumbs. Evolution is a simple and elegant way to adapt to change, people do it everyday. Humans should not be arrogant enough to think that through the small window into the mystery of life that they have, they can see the whole world.

  265. God, you are always trying to make sense, can’t we just have fun and revel in the tiny thoughts the humans fight over?

  266. @Post 327: The problem with that attempted role reversal is that annoying things like the First and Second Laws of Thermodynamics or Newtons First Law of Motion aren’t required for belief in an eternal omnipotent being, but ARE fundamental tenets of science. That’s probably a good thing, actually; if they applied to EVERYTHING instead of just the material world we’d all be at quite an etiological impasse, eh…? Put in logical terms: Refer to the opening of Aristotles “The Metaphysics” Book II, Part 2, where the ancestor of all Western logic in the past 2300 years quite eloquently and thoroughly eliminates the possibility of an infinite regression of causes and thus posits his “First Cause”, the preeminent cause to all others that results FROM no others.

    That’s the logical problem with positive atheism vs. religion debates (the more disturbing practical one is someones suggestion above that creationists should all be institutionalized). Advocates of religion object that those arguing for pure materialism don’t play by their own rules; to respond with nothing more than “you don’t play by them either!” is irrelevant, since religion is manifestly not limited to material means. I believe the punchline goes “and then God says, ‘No, no: Get your OWN dirt!’”

    To Stephen: In a real sense the whole problem with so called Intelligent Design is that it’s not content to accept a God Who initiated a Big Bang (and SOMETHING had to set that dead matter in motion, right…?) and then leaves the universe to operate by the physical laws He established; IDs want an ACTIVE designer always minding his store, which reduces it to nothing more than a Trojan horse for creationism. It’s “spin”; a new twist on an old (i.e. obsolete) concept that lacks even the integrity or confidence in its own arguments to be honest. What’s really ironic is the when the Big Bang was first proposed it was attacked on precisely those grounds by the mainstream scientific community.

    In terms of literalism in particular:

    I’m aware of no conflict between the order of creation in the first chapter of Genesis (which pretty much follows the progression science indicates) and the second chapters statement that God brought His creations to Adam for names; there’s no requirement God bring them IMMEDIATELY after they were created (and no need prior to Adams creation). As for divergence between the oldest extant manuscripts, the only ones I’ve seen are in the various fragments of the Greek New Testament where word order (which is totally irrelevant to meaning in Ancient Greek) varies. It’s equivalent to the difference between “my dog, Spot” and “Spot, my dog”; that’s not exactly a “conflict” or “discrepancy”.

    Regarding six day creation in specifically:

    Six day creation; fine. As someone else already noted, the Bible concludes each episode with “and the evening and the morning were, one day”. Someone else suggested referencing the Bible for instances of days that aren’t exactly 24 hours long; as it happens, all you have to do is ask an Inuit, since an “evening and morning” are 365 standard days at the poles. Each of those 365 “days”, in turn, is composed of 24 hours, or 1440 minutes, or 86,400 seconds, each of which the same scripture that proclaims six day creation tells us can last a thousand mortal years; 86,400,000*365=31,536,000,000 years, if I did my math right (and I’m coming off a 12 hour shift, so I probably didn’t… ) so all you heretic young earth science people are going to hell, Q.E.D. Personally, I think it’s a bit presumptuous to say 6 day creation=144 standard hours (and for anyone familiar with the Bible the square of 12 is a very significant number… ) unless you were there, just as it seems presumptuous to say God established the physical laws of nature but is somehow precluded from operating within them and consequently FORCED to operate solely via the miraculous (understand, I’m not saying miracles don’t happen, but by nature they’re anomalies reserved for special occasions; there’s not much room for faith if God’s always pulling rabbits out of hats on demand).

    Short form of the above: My God is a HELLUVA lot bigger than their museum, for which I’m very grateful, which makes this less about religion than narrow-mindedness.

  267. To The Devil,
    Speaking of, wanna come over and watch ER on thursday? I just got a 42″ Plasma….a couple of brews……sweet

  268. Hey God,
    I can’t, I got a meeting with GWB, a book signing in Prague and my broker called and said I gotta pull my money out of Chase, swamped dude. Thanx though!

  269. Morambar:

    “My God is a HELLUVA lot bigger than their museum, for which I’m very grateful, which makes this less about religion than narrow-mindedness.”

    We have a winner!

  270. Hm, if you replace all instances of ‘God’ and ‘creation’ for ‘evolution’ and ‘year’ for ‘million years’, does this change the story significantly? And didn’t single-cell organisms according to evolution theory spring from mud too?

    My suggestion would be to put an identical musum next to this one but now representing the beliefs (sorry: facts) of evolutionists. Something in the line of a Christian church next to a mosque. Let the visitors decide which one serves the horseshit. Freedom of choice: I love it …

  271. Dear #97

    Creationist thought is a problem to humanity.

    Although I completely believe in free speech and think that anybody regardless of their opinion or knowledge should be able to speak their minds, I think it is a horrible thing for people to start trusting religion over science.

    To anyone who has ever really thought about it, religion is a sham. Sure there are some individuals who benefit from religion but humanity overall is indisputably harmed by religion.

    How is it possible to make progress if people constantly reject the reality observed every minute of their lives for an alternate reality described by unknown authors thousands of years ago? How can we create applications that help humanity using ideas from an ancient book? We cannot.

    Science gives us the knowledge necessary to build machines and ideas that help the human race.

    Food and water shortages are rampant in this world. These problems are fixable, we simply need to apply our knowledge of the world in order to fix them. Diseases can be cured with science, but nobody is cured from disease because of religion.

    Religious thinking paves the way for a decline in reasoning abilities, decline in intellectual capacity, and a decline into middle age “Magical thinking”

    Although I do not think this uprising of magical thinking will necessarily lead us back into the dark ages, the time that we spend trying to dispel these idiotic idea’s is taken away from the time that we can be spending actually developing new knowledge and technologies. Creationists are simply a thorn in the foot of science, that will undoubtedly be pulled out quickly because it is natural tendency to accept logic, whereas it takes years of brainwashing in order to accept “faith”

  272. “which makes this less about religion than narrow-mindedness.”

    That alone is a wonderful summation, however kudos on the generally well presented post.

  273. Hey, Devil,

    We just cleaned out your old office last week – Good help is so hard to find up here these days. Anyway, did you want us to send you your red Swingline stapler?

    Oh, and did you happen to take my stress ball? I’ve kinda needed it lately, what with people building monuments to horse crap in my name and all.

    And while I got you on the line, can we book Bonn Scott for a shindig we’re having next week? I know he’s lead singer in your houseband, but Bob Goulet’s still in orientation and won’t be available for a few weeks.

    Plus he keeps messing with our stuff.

  274. To nornerator:
    Stop makin’ sense dude, the humans aren’t ready to evolve past mysticism and myth. They are like the horses that made that dung pile they call a museum. You know what they say about horses:

    Horses are scared of two things:
    1. things that move
    2. things that don’t

    Being alone with their fellow horses in the universe scares the Sh*t out of them, then they build a museum to enshrine it….

  275. Hey, I never said nothing good ever comes out of Kentucky. Although I don’t drink, so I’ll have to take your word about the bourbon.

  276. I could never set foot in a place like this because knowing that even one person possibly believes in it will make me lose all faith in mankind.

  277. And didn’t single-cell organisms according to evolution theory spring from mud too?

    No, not literally in the sense you mean, although there was a hypothesis at one time that crystalization patterns in clay might have formed a kind of template for single-celled organisms. I don’t believe that hypothesis has had any traction for 15 or 20 years, however.

    There are several threads of speculation concerning how single-celled organisms might have come into existence; this may not be a question we can ever answer with absolute certainty, only with some degree of probability based on evidence and experimentation. At some level, however, the question of how life began (unanswered) is separate from the question of how speciation occurs from common ancestry, i.e. “evolution” (very well understood and getting better every day).

    Here’s one of the crucial things about science versus religion, and how they are completely separate entities. The scientist says, “I wonder how single-celled organisms came into being? I think I’ll test a hypothesis and see how it holds up.” The theologian says, “This (creed, dogma, tale or text) tells me how life began.” Science is about inquiry, about process.

    It probably also bears observation (again) that creationists try to hold science to their standards of dogma. The creationists seem to believe that not holding all the answers is a flaw, or that the fact that some things might be beyond our capacity to gather information means that they can only be known to a probability, not a certainty, as a fatal defect. To the scientifically-minded, being able to say, “We may never know, but it’s worth trying to find out!” is an expression of faith in human reason, not a reason to wail in defeat and place faith in translations of ancient texts. Science is about challenge, not surrender.

    Regardless, I’m not personally inclined to turn to a 17th-century translation of ancient texts written by people who thought the sky was a fixed ceiling and the earth at the center of the universe for a solution to the question of life’s fundamental origin. For one thing, I’m not terribly impressed by the source, notwithstanding some lovely poetry in “The Song Of Solomon” and “Psalms.” For another thing, I don’t see why I should find the Old Testament account of creation more interesting than the version told by the Norse, or the Aztec, or the one told by J.R.R. Tolkien for that matter. However, if it helps others sleep at night to do pick a creation story and embrace it with all their hearts, that’s their prerogatives, I’d just like them to keep it out of schools that I help pay for and out of public policy decisions that affect my friends’ health. Thanks in advance.

  278. I believe…the planet Mars..God ..u remeber that place…last summer, you Moses and Budha..oh man what a time..but anyways….some people are saying life originated there…is that a kick in the @ss

  279. Ok, all of the arguments for I.D, creationism (young earthers) et al presupposes the same singularity – a supernatural entity. This construct is neither provable nor disprovable and relies soley on faith. So really, the sum of it all is whether one chooses to believe in a god, or that all creation is the sum total of natural processes. No amount of arguing will change anyones mind and for those that do change it will be a result of personal inner conflict which leads them to one or the other conclusion.
    So, you have your belief I have mine and there it should end. But, the significant difference, as pointed out by so many comments in here is how science operates; postulates, hypothosizes, theorizes, tests and concludes, always leaving room for changes, additions and deletions. Believe one, the other or a combination thereof, it’s all good, except…..we now know how and where earthquakes originate, mountains rise and fall, how hurricanes and tornados form, mudslides, drought, floods and famines, and ALL are now (and almost globally) accepted as to derive from natural causes and processes. We no longer ascribe them to a god or gods. And this works (or is in the process of working) for essentially all of the processes found in nature. Sure, there are ‘gaps’ in the fossil records, ‘gaps’ (perhaps) at the cellular level, certainly ‘gaps’ in chemical and atomic processes. But attempting to fill in those ‘gaps’ as being the result of intelligent design forsakes all of the ‘gaps’ that have now been filled in. In other words, many ‘gaps’ from two, 20, 2000 years ago or 200 million years past have been filled in and present day’gaps’ will most assuredly be filled in down the road, as science progresses in its understanding. Granted there may ultimately be a point (gap) beyond which we just may never be able to fill in but again, it neither proves nor disproves a supernatural entity, simply a point beyond which we can go no further. That’s assuming the human race even exists to reach such a point. And as to the ‘gap’ issue, are there not significant ‘gaps’ to be found throughout the bible? Should we then insert ‘science’ or some other issue, into the biblical ‘gaps’? Apparantly it is neither the veracity of science, but rather the amount and extent of the perceived gappage that seems to have the most relevance. The fact that we don’t necessarily fully understand how cancer(s) work does not preclude us from knowing that they do and developing treatment strategies. The ‘gap’ in our cancer knowledge doesn’t keep us from treating and learning nor does it imply that cancer operates outside of the known physiological rules. As we test and try various treatments, the results add to the body of knowledge, ultimately resulting in the filling in of those ‘gaps’. Science learns from trial and error and so is cumulative, while religion eliminates knowledge in favor of unprovable concepts and is instead reductive.
    ps. God, I’m free thursday, I can bring some beer

  280. To An Eric,
    Most religions say they are accepting and inclusive of other religions and beliefs but it isn’t true. Many religion blast outsiders as non believers. They shake hands with the right and behind their backs cross their fingers with the left.

  281. Maybe we are all shit-heads. Maybe we are all mostly right and a little wrong at the same time. Maybe my day would have been a little more productive if I hadn’t waisted my time reading all this “HORSE-SHIT”. Not being absolutely sure us what is fact, other than I think I need to take a shit right now, If we spent less effort judging others so harshly for the things they are passionate about and made some effort to find the middle. Then maybe we would be able to see who the real enemy is. Calm Down.

  282. To damnthing:
    Bring beer but leave the secular B.S. @ home, I’m starting not to believe in myself anymore………………….sike

  283. God, understood. also i make a kick-ass salsa. BTW, I’m cool with poker if you promise to reign in your omniscience

  284. The middle east isn’t my fault, those people all have tools they need to live and work in peace. They fight over what my face looks like, who I talked to, what I said. Intolerance is the culprit here, not the basic message, I thought that was on point!

  285. Hmmm…if no one believed in god, then god wouldn’t (or would cease to) exist. Therefore god exists only so long as I/we believe he does, therefore I/we control god’s existance, therefore god needs to behave or I/we will cause him to not exist.

  286. wait a minute, the bible says it’s your word, yet here you are saying you didn’t write it. So am I to believe the word of god that the word of god is not the word of god?

  287. “But here is the saddest part; Right now, the ‘president’ and most of the Republicans running for high office, BELIEVE this crap! They really do!”

    Actually, most Christians are not creationists beyond the belief that God created the universe. The six-days itself is a metaphore for simply breaking the act of creation into digestible stages, and actually mirrors an ancient Mesopotamian myth regarding the creation of the universe, which also had six stages, each with a god-goddess pair.

    Creationism is a by-product of sola scriptura, which says that the Bible is the whole, complete, and literal Word of God, and to question it is to commit blaspheme. Despite all evidence to the contrary, creationists *must* make the real world fit into the model literally described in the bible. Sadly, oft with hilarious results.

    The important thing, if your are a Christian, is to focus on the fact that God did create the universe and not so much how.

  288. “Here’s one of the crucial things about science versus religion, and how they are completely separate entities. The scientist says, “I wonder how single-celled organisms came into being? I think I’ll test a hypothesis and see how it holds up.” The theologian says, “This (creed, dogma, tale or text) tells me how life began.” Science is about inquiry, about process.”

    This is a poor characterization of theology in general. There are plenty of religions based around inquiry into the nature of reality, using scientific methods to better understand the work of their respective creator. Theology and science do not necessarily need ot be seperate; the believer must simply keep an open mind that future evidence might reveal a current misunderstanding. The existance of a creator, or lack there of, is unprovable (and rightly so, if there was proof there would be no need for faith) so the most basic tenant of *most* theology is safe from contradiction. Science is a tool for understanding creation but has no standing when pondering a creator.

    A large minority of religious individuals make the mistake that the two are contradictory, how about those of science not make the same mistake. In terms of creationism/ID the issue isn’t that they believe in a creator, but that they believe in a creation that does not match an overwhelming level of contrary evidence.

    Ultimately, creation is something that can be understood to an extent through observation and inference. However a creator, or lack thereof, is the pervue entirely of belief. Religion can produce dogma about the latter and still pursue understanding of the former through science. Thus there is no inherent contradiction between Science and Religion, nor necessarily a different mindset.

    A large body of scientific understanding either came directly from religious inquiry, or the scientific inquiry of deeply religious individuals.

  289. If it’s any consolation, JRRT, if and when religious observance becomes Federally mandated, I’m totally going with your mythos. Or George Lucas’. Okay, I’m a little undecided. Maybe I’ll combine them: The Reformed Church Of Latter-Day Elven Jedi.

    Do we control Ilúvatar? Not exactly. Ilúvatar binds us, connects us, holds the galaxy together. Ilúvatar flows through us. And he has nothing to do with revisionist psychic cooties in your bloodstream. Only a heretical infidel would posit such an obnoxious device to clumsily advance the plot by having a major character take the protagonist under his wing because of a stupid blood-test the premises of which contradict the previous three movies.

    Remember: Ilúvatar will be with you. Always.

  290. (this was supposed to be posted yesterday when everyone was talking about the Bible. It may be moot by now, though still valid)

    “I have an honest question for you, because I really would like to know how a literalist view of the bible can resolve the issue. If the bible is literally true, why then are there different versions of it?”

    The Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew and the New Testament in Koine (common) Greek (introduced by Alexander the Great) – I don’t speak either of those languages; an English translation is necessary for me to read the Bible.

    So why so many different English translations of the Bible? I guess we could ask the same question when observing all of the varying books on the subject of Physics. They describe the same thing but in ways that different people can understand – a High School Physics book is much different than a College Physics book. The deeper a student of Physics delves into their study the more explicit their textbook must be.

    So it is when a person studies the Bible. God’s Word is rich and multi-layered. The original word translated as “sin” simply means “missing the mark” or “coming short”. It illustrates the imperfection of man, no matter how “good” he tries to be he still falls short of God’s requirement of perfection. Always.

    I’ve read almost all these posts in their entirety and I see a common thread (besides the original one) of anger and frustration toward Christians who throw some ill-conceived science down on the table and declare, “That proves there is a God! Eat it sinner!” I would be made at them too.

    Benjamin Franklin said, “I doubt that a God who would give us brains to reason would then ask us to forgo their use.” Yet so many Christians seem to do just that: afraid to use reason, to think, maybe even to question. God says in the Bible, “Come, let us reason together.” He wants us to question, to ask honestly and to honestly accept the truth when its made evident to us.

    Science alone will never persuade a person to faith in God. A 24 hour day or 24 billion year day is irrelevant if we miss that the Bible says that God personally calls individuals to a relationship with Him and our responsibility isn’t to a religion but to simply answer His call.

  291. First of all, for whoever said that there isnt enough denouncing of this kind of horses#it is blind, deaf, and a little dumb. Evolution is the only thing taught in public schools, evolution is the only thing taught on television, and evolution is the only thing that HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE ANYWHERE TO BACK UP ANY OF ITS ASSERTIONS. You can believe whatever you want, but when you become militant you make evolution start sounding like….. a religion. I am a Christian, but thats only because it takes way much more faith, blind faith to be an atheist. I do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

  292. I’m calling but it keeps ringing and ringing……I don’t want you to believe in anything if it means that you will not open your mind.

  293. “HAS ABSOLUTELY NO EVIDENCE ANYWHERE TO BACK UP ANY OF ITS ASSERTIONS”

    Neil, you are ignorant. Show me proof of your faith. Show me proof that yours is the one true way. Show me proof that all others will burn in hell if they do not follow. Did King James write it all for you? Did Emperor Constantine enshrine it for you? You live in a bubble of your OWN making and yet you have faith enough to doubt the complexity of the universe.

  294. Beliefs and convictions don’t equal truths and I would be a lot more convinced of the big bang theory if it were explained to me where the very first matter and elementary particles came from. And evolution would in opinion hold a lot more water if it could be explained to me how despite the necessity of survival of the fittest the Bacterial Flagellum came into it’s current form with it’s “propeller,” “driveshaft,” and “motor” (referencing Illustra Media’s film Unlocking the Mysteries of Life Transcript: http://www.illustramedia.com/scripts/UnlockingtheMysteryofLifeScript.pdf)

  295. Keep it down over there. Some of us are trying to rest up. Big week coming up and then it’s work, work, work until just after the New Year. Those darn Eastern Orthodox, always making me work later in the year. So some of us a trying to nap over here.

  296. I enjoyed the slide show and the article. It leaves me with two reactions: The ordinary man is a smart ass who tries to explain everything with science. That is illustrated by this little anecdote:
    A scientist was bragging to God that he could now create man out of dirt. As he reached down to gather some dirt, God stopped him and said, “Get your own dirt.”
    The second is that the Bible is all “horseshit.” If we paid a little more attention to the basic teaching of Jesus (man or divine – take your choice), especially the Beatitudes, the world would be a lot better off.
    I remember years ago a debate between the philosopher Bertrand Russell (atheist) and the scientist Edward Teller (Christian) about the creation of the hydrogen bomb.
    RUSSELL: “Don’t you feel some responsibility for creating such a horrible weapon?”
    TELLER: “I create the hydrogen bomb. How and if it is used is not my responsibility.”
    RUSSELL: “Here we have the prime example of a scientific genius and moral moron.”
    Creationism is just one example of the stupid attempt to blend science and religion, and it is just as stupid to try to explain religion in scientific terms.
    I admire the vast natural Universe with its billions of galaxies of stars and am glad that we are learning to explain more of the science connected with this great and marvelous world, but I cannot answer why it or we exist except through some kind of faith that it and we have a purpose or reason for living.

  297. Every time I have a few bong hits and mellow out, you people keep getting serious on me. Can’t we all just get along and laugh at the bad dioramas? The cheesy/scary mannequins and the horribly skewed explanations to life’s questions?

  298. I am a Christian, but thats only because it takes way much more faith, blind faith to be an atheist. I do not have enough faith to be an atheist.

    If you mean “faith in human ability to observe and reason,” then yes, I do start from the a priori assumption that the universe is perceptible, comprehensible and consistent. Those aren’t particularly radical assumptions.

    After all, I can’t prove that I’m not in The Matrix right now, or the Black Iron Prison, or that I’m not having a very elaborate near-death experience as Union soldiers hang me as a spy. But those are also useless hypotheses: if they’re true, and the universe (everyone on this thread included) is an arbitrary and imaginary construct, I might as well lie down and die in my sleep. Or imagine that’s what I’m doing.

    But that’s the extent of my faith–a faith that’s generally shared by religious and nonreligious thinkers, and largely taken for granted by non-thinkers of every stripe.

    I am an atheist. I do not believe that adequate evidence for a deity has been produced. I do not believe that the existence of a deity is a necessary hypothesis to explain anything about the universe. I cannot know with any certainty or faith that there is no deity–hence, I am what some might call an “agnostic atheist,” a “negative atheist” or “weak atheist” depending on your preferred typology. I cannot prove the negative proposition “there is no God” any more than I can prove the negative proposition “there are no invisible unicorns living on Mars.” But I have the exact same amount of competent evidence on both scores (God and unicorns) and can apply Occam’s Razor to say that the possibility of God as an explanation is not parsimonious; far from it–the possibility of God causes more problems than it explains away.

    Where, I have to ask, is the faith in that?

  299. When you boys are done arguing, you can come on by my place. I’m running a 2 for 1 special this month.

    [i]bumpachichabowbow[/i]

  300. Coming late to this party. To #169 Josh who accused Richard Dawkins of being “violently” atheistic, and who also claimed to be a “lifelong atheist” himself, I say, Dawkins is not “violently” anything, even his rhetoric is notably restrained and polite comparatively. He’s a professor at an English university, and it shows. But I do not doubt your claim to be a lifelong atheist. No Christian would ever pretend to be an atheist, because they would know, doing so would cancel their Salvation. For Jesus said, in Matthew 10:32-33 ” 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.” And also in Luke 12:8-9 “8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”

  301. I was just goofing with the “Origin of Species”…

    …now… let me get back to my next project….

    The Origin of Spider-man…

  302. “When you boys are done arguing, you can come on by my place. I’m running a 2 for 1 special this month.”

    That’s why I never let JC be alone with her, that boy would have just followed his nose right into the abyss….

  303. Pontius..whens the next shin-dig happening….you think you can come up with another Jew to slaughter… the last one was kid of uneventful…

  304. Coming late to this party… To #169 Josh, I say that Richard Dawkins is not “violently” atheistic, not “violently” anything. Even his rhetoric is relatively restrained and polite, comparatively. He is a professor at an English university, and it shows. You are accusing him of opposing Theism irrationally, for essentially insane emotional reasons, I suspect as a way of discouraging others from reading his books, and finding the careful argumentation within. But I do not doubt your claim to be a lifelong atheist yourself. After all, no Christian would ever claim to be an atheist, for that would cancel their ticket to Heaven. Matthew 10:32-33 ” 32 So every one who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven; 33 but whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven.”
    And also Luke 12:8-9 “8 “And I tell you, every one who acknowledges me before men, the Son of man also will acknowledge before the angels of God; 9 but he who denies me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”

  305. I don’t know if it’s the crisp theological discussion or the syphilis in my veins but I feel like we are not getting anywhere…..

  306. To Steve Buchheit.

    that’s because you’re being confused by your concept of… “, “history”, and specifically “modern science” haven’t been around long enough…

    … AND so… we arrive to the undeniable theory of evolution based on nothing more then what? short time observation… interesting.
    I don’t believe that there is a “goal” of evolution to become higher beings, however… what stops that from being the goal of evolution, what determines whatever creature to remain as a basic rudimentary form and not evolving into something more complex…? what determines it…? I guess eventually we will come to have enough science to actually determine that right… ?

  307. “The problem with this is that creationism isn’t a theory, it’s an assertion”

    I prefer to call it a hypothesis. It puts things into perspective. A hypothesis becomes a theory when you can show it’s not horseshit.

  308. What’s a museum again?

    From Wiki: A museum is a “permanent institution in the service of society and of its development, open to the public, which acquires, conserves, researches, communicates and exhibits, for purposes of study, education, enjoyment, the tangible and intangible evidence of people and their environment”

  309. OK..OK……let me put all this to rest now…we all know Apes rule this world…and if it wasnt for “ol blue eyes ” wouldnt have a career…so enough of this rhetoric…

  310. To God…

    Species on this planet are past rudimentary evolution. That happened in the beginning of life’s journey on this planet.

    Oh I see, brilliant! I never thought of that God… that’s why your God

    The variety of species currently in existence are all highly specialized. After the next mass extinction life will need to adapt and change again in quick order to take advantage of that situation.

    Oh I see, Dinosaurs were not highly specialized, they were very basic, neither were the trilobites, of course you will say yes! they were basic, we have evolved [what about entropy?] OK so there will be this mass extinction again… that kind of makes life here just … haphazard, and pointless, I guess all the problems in the world then are normal, part of existence…

    Bacteria, viruses and other species of Reptiles, mammals and plants have remained unchanged because the outside forces of environment and adaptation have already been conquered.

    Interesting that is a brilliant explanation as to the absence of actual living “missing links” and to why we do not see evolution from frogs to lizards and such today… for some reason it just stopped and we await the next mass destruction… perhaps we will accelerate it with our conduct

    The are successful at what they do. For example: Bacteria EVOLVE resistance to Antibiotics because they HAVE to. They do not aspire to own iPods, therefore they do not need to evolve opposable thumbs. Evolution is a simple and elegant way to adapt to change, people do it everyday. Humans should not be arrogant enough to think that through the small window into the mystery of life that they have, they can see the whole world.

    Brilliant! BRAVO! I liked the iPod thing… that would be funny to see a bacteria using an iPod… nano technology… uuhh!

  311. Dear Mr. Darwin,

    I greatly look forward to your pending opus on the origins of that meddling buffoon wonderful hero, Spider-Man. This is a subject that has been of lifelong interest to myself and several of my co-conspirators scientific colleagues.

    We were wondering if a man of your eminence might have a theory as to Spider-Man’s current place of residence, allergies, medical disabillities or any other issues that might help us crush the smart-mouthed little runt like a bug prevent him from heroically foiling jewel heists, bank robberies, or other such nefarious dealings. We certainly want the young gentleman to remain healthy.

    Any notes or thoughts you might be willing to share could be forwarded to my current residence in Sing Sing Correction c/o Mr. Harry Osborne, P.O. Box 58201, New York City, New York, 10024. Mr. Osborne is reliable and will see to it that I receive any mail you might deliver.

    Sincerely,
    Dr. Otto Octavius, PhD.

  312. I would be laughing here in purgatory, but I don’t want to wake up my roommate Friedrich Nietzsche……

  313. Hey God…

    I was thinking, maybe you have an answer to all the problems in the world… I mean, you are God right? why don’t YOU tell us what to do… why don’t YOU give a solution to the problem… I mean, you seem to know it all, you seem to have a quick answer to EVERY SINGLE question that there is… you seem to criticize what Christians do, you seem to have it all figured out… but try to give it with a little hope a little love, something to look for beyond the grave GOD… something that you can tell your children about, something that can point to a better future… Since you are so brilliant GOD, why dont you tell us what to do with the situations that exist? I can just guess what you will say… you will come up with some clever answer to my questions GOD, you will perhaps tell me that you expect me to find out… that you gave me brains and all that crap you normally like to say in order to look sophisticated and wise above the poor stupid ignorant un-scientific christians and their belief in that load of horseshit…. you are so wise and smart GOD, why dont you answer …

  314. I apologize: certain comments in my previous missive used strikethru html that did not render. Please excuse anything that left the impression that I am anything other than a brilliant, sane, rational man who has been grossly misunderstood by his narrow-minded, ignorant, unworthy so-called “peers.” I am the very model of reason, I assure you.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Otto Octavius, PhD.

  315. I too agree with Otto Octavius..as a fellow geniuos in molecular regeneration…i believe that we as humans must abide by the rukes of god…and therefore lead us not into temptation…but deliver us from evil…

  316. Harry:
    “that kind of makes life here just … haphazard, and pointless, I guess all the problems in the world then are normal, part of existence”

    Problems are a part of existence, dumbass.

    “frogs to lizards”

    are you serious?

    Santa told me you’ve always been an angry little boy, and yet you make no points of your own.

  317. …All the explanations that you give regarding the questions that are pointed out when we look at evolution are just as or even more lame then the ones you accuse the creationists give.

    You disguise your answers in clever science statements that are nothing more then SPECULATION. You have not gone to a lab and observed what you state as reality, for somethings yes, however there are just as or more holes in the evolution theory then in the other option.

    YES! creationists tend to do the same thing, and that deserves a “mea culpa” of not answering the questions with some scientific evidence… however since when did evolutionists get all EXACT in their observations… Since when has all statements that debunk God existence been EMPIRICALLY and SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN under that exact DEFINITION?? Oh yes, evolution likes to pride itself of being exact along with science… and the quesiton is why the hell is the world so messed up anyways?!?! Science cant fix it… so lets blame the inexistent GOD that we have already SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN DOES NOT EXISTS!!

    Darwin himself KNEW that his hypothesis had weak spots, and all he did anyways was renounce his faith and say that it was all a hoax simply because he could not deal with some of the questions that arised in his religious experience.
    Denying God seemed to be the best way to cope with the existential crisis he went through, and since the Church had screwed things up in the middle ages anyways, EVERYBODY else from that day on, climbed in the band wagon… it is all a regurgitation of the same old stuff that has been around since the beginning of time; God does not exist; lets evolve a new god, science.
    Why cant you just accept that you are as fundamentalistic in your belief as the Christians are. Oh you will say WE HAVE SCIENCE on our side, and you will scoff at those who have the Bible… like Science has really done a great job of answering all the questions that seem to boggle mankind’s minds… it all boils down to faith, you in your god science and the christians in their God…

  318. “, Dawkins is not “violently” anything, even his rhetoric is notably restrained and polite comparatively.”

    Some of his rhetoric is anything but; he has fairly often shown that he has little regard or respect for anyone who doesn’t hold his particular viewpoints. For someone who wants to encourage the adoption of evolution a good starting point is NOT calling anyone who doesn’t believe in it “delusional on the verge of outright insane”. That level rhetoric is not conducive to gaining the ear of those it is levelled towards. If I wanted someone to actually listen to what I have to say I am not going to start out by insulting them. His rhetoric is no different then the close minded individuals he seemingly is in opposition to.

    I prefer to call it a hypothesis. It puts things into perspective. A hypothesis becomes a theory when you can show it’s not horseshit.

    But in the proper sense it isn’t that yet. A great deal of work needs to go into establishing why a hypothesis is a good “educated” guess. There needs to be rationale and supporting evidence that suggest that not only is the thought testable in some way, but that it is worth even spending the effort to test. Creationism and ID are not a hypothesis yet because they do not have sufficient existing evidence to suggest that they are testable in some way.

    Me saying that the control mechanism for sperm investment in rodents happens to be their left foot isn’t a hypothesis because absolutely no existing information would suggest that might be the case. In the case of young earth creationism, there isn’t ANY evidence supporting a 6000 year old earth, nor have they tried to find any. Instead they simply present critique of the ~4.8 billion year earth theory, which does nothing to establish 6000 years.

  319. El Chupageek Says:
    November 14th, 2007 at 4:30 pm
    “, Dawkins is not “violently” anything, even his rhetoric is notably restrained and polite comparatively.”

    Didn’t he play center for the 76ers?

  320. I commend you for your willingness to endure your visit to the CM. However, I find fault with your circular logic. You yourself ridiculed the museum for slipping in a handy starting point for their argument. Your starting point is the statement that the whole thing is “horse-shit”, rather than bring up scientific, or logical arguments (I understand that may not be your expertise, not necessarily mine either). It seems that you feel that you don’t need to express an actual argument against Creationism/Literalism, because as you claim, it is after all only “horseshit!”

    So here is a sum of all my thoughts: It really doesn’t matter what you believe to be true, in this sense: When the day arrives that we have to face the truth (perhaps that may mean standing before a God for you, or myself finding out that death is all there is), our belief will not sway reality. So you or I could call it “horseshit” all day long, but if it is actually the truth you’ve only wasted your time. The famous argument is a simple one: If I believe in God, and it turns out He doesn’t exist, what have I lost? If I reject God, only to face Him at Death, I have lost everything.

    It may be a tired argument ( I only say this because I hear it a lot), but it is more logical than simply throwing expletives like “horseshit”.

    I would recommend that you examine some of the archives at http://answersingenesis.org if you are actually interested in reading some of the answers to the questions that you and some of your readers have posed. After all, being able to poke actual holes in an argument is more commendable than just calling it “horseshit.”

    You’ve educated yourself to an extent by visiting the CM, as I have already commended you for enduring, now why don’t you step back from your initial viewpoint that it is “horseshit”, and try attacking their articles and ideas with logical arguments?

    Thanks for your time,
    Jeremy

  321. @Harry

    Why does evolution prove God doesn’t exist? I think it simply contradicts a literal interpretation of the bible. Are you asserting that God only exists if the bible is literally true?

  322. Harry:
    Science doesn’t have all the “Answers” but do you think that religion does? Have you ever had an experience that you could not explain? When Science and Religion can’t explain what is happening, do you think faith in a divine purpose or belief in a scientific future can make a difference in your mind? I don’t know is sometimes the answer….

  323. God
    I never said that religion has all the answers, it has had the audacity to claim that, however an honest christian has to come to grips with the fact that there are no answers for some questions and “sadly” either we have to wait until science can give us a glimpse of the answer or we just have to wait and have … yes, FAITH! despite on how stupid that sounds.

    My point is exactly that… and when it comes to that you cant come along and say ok, you are wrong cause your lame explanation does not satisfy my craving for exact answers… [which ever side you might be on]

  324. Chupageek

    Your question is good. As I have stated before the literal interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2, is not my invention and perhaps it is not that accepted, however a close grammatical look at the hebrew of that text will indicate that the writer was intending to make a literal account of what happened in the first week of creation of the planet.

    The existence of God is above the existence of the Bible, those are questions that pertain to the realm of authority of Scirpture and perhaps to the realm of Revelation and Inspiration of Scripture. God’s existence is not dependant upon the Bible even existing. The reality is that Evolution and a Biblical perspective of the origins of the world cannot coexist, you cant be a Christian and an evolutionist at the same time; perhaps I can elaborate more if you are curious as to share what we both believe, not that you will convert [like you previously said]

  325. and if that would be the case… you would have a problem with that Jimmy? such a level of maturity… I am so impressed

  326. Sigh. Maybe I shouldn’t have recommended you to the Bad Astronomer. The usual Jerk ID Creationists turn up thinking they have new turf to mark.

  327. The problem with all this is that these same people are now cooperating with people in other countries — not just the “UK side of the pond,” but in places like Turkey. Radical Muslims are just as happy to accept that the creation account is literal truth. So the neo-Con Xtian crowd are helping oppress people under the heel of other religions, that they claim to hate and be fighting against.

    One thing is certain — THEY all have a common ancestor.

  328. @John,

    my brother is gay, and I assure you from the amount of cologne he wears fairly regularly he is anything but unscented.

    @Harry
    The reality is that Evolution and a Biblical perspective of the origins of the world cannot coexist, you cant be a Christian and an evolutionist at the same time; perhaps I can elaborate more if you are curious as to share what we both believe, not that you will convert [like you previously said]
    The Catholic faith supports evolution by taking a metephorical view on genesis. There are over a billion Catholics, more than any other denomination. They believe in God and Christ, but believe evolution was the tool God used for creation, at least according to the current and former popes.

    If they are not considered Christian I am curious what criteria you use to determine such. I can understand that if a literal interpretation of the bible is necessary according to your criteria you would then correctly assert that they aren’t Christian by that regard. Regardless, it wouldn’t address why evolution would prevent someone from believing in God, simply why they aren’t Christian.

    I would like you to elaborate because I have never seen evolution as a necessary foe of belief in God specifically and I would like to understand why it might be. I can see evolution as being contrary to a specific interpretation of creation but just because two people interpret creation differently doesn’t mean they don’t subscribe to the idea of a creator. The Catholic example above illustrates that point, at least in my mind.

    You are correct that I am probably not going to convert because of your answer, as likewise you are not likely to forsake your beliefs because of what I say (nor am I trying to get you to do so). Rather I do hope that I can convince you that being a proponent of evolution does not mean someone is trying to remove God from society, which is one of the reasons I have issue with Richard Dawkins. It does mean I am a proponent of an idea contrary to the literal interpretation of the bible, which would put me at some level of odss with your belief, but it is not my intention to be an advessary to belief in general.

  329. Radical Muslims are just as happy to accept that the creation account is literal truth.

    A millionaire muslim in Turkey has essentially carpet bombed American Academia (and possible foreign institutions as well) with this beautifully done coffee table style book attacking evolution. The production value of this is amazing; I could see it intending to sell for $100-$150 in book stores, though it was sent to faculty free of charge (or really desire on their part). The arguement in it is terribly flawed and I can’t help but think the whole effort was in vein, since the faculty that recieved it are the very ones who point out such flawed arguments. Regardless, it strikes me much as this museum; you may severly disagree with the message but can’t help but admire how it is presented.

  330. “Science, good science – not faith in science, is all about the question. Worship the question.”

    Hmm. I disagree. Don’t worship the question. What preempts the question is the motive behind the question, whether conscious or unconscious (or subconscious). Regardless of the question, the answer you settle on will ultimately be determined by your motives.

    An otherwise good scientist will engage in bad science if certain very human motives prevail, and evolutionists and creationist alike are both guilty of bad science.

  331. Perhaps we could plan a mass walk-through and surreptitiously scatter hundreds of copies of Inherit the Wind throughout the place…. (book and movie.) Wasn’t Spencer Tracey great?!

  332. Harry, just because we haven’t had laboratories and scientific method around long enough to watch species change from morphological differences to new species doesn’t mean we can’t observe the clues that this has happened. It also doesn’t mean that we can’t come up with hypotheticals that are testable to see if we’re correct with what we think are the reasons for what we see around us, experiments that can take place in laboratories. It also doesn’t mean that we can’t say, “here is a gap in the fossil record, we expect to find fossils that only are within this geological time period that would have these traights and show these differences.” And, behold, these things have happened. With each of these experiments’ results, fossil gaps closed, and new experiments that all show the theories of Evolution and the mechanism of Natural Selection hold up to rigorous examination, the Theory becomes stronger.

    That evolution for one species to become another by natural means would require hundreds of thousands of generations to be observed with specific pressures. So let’s take some bacteria that can reproduce 3 times in one hour. To reach one thousand generations would take slightly less than one year. The first 100,000 generations would then take a century. A. Leeuwenhoek first observed bacteria in 1674, but it would take until after the discovery of DNA in 1953 to really start classification of bacteria that would show us speciation. So lets say that when Crick and Watson published, we could do everything. That would mean we possibly could have observed only 55,000 generations (roughly). Let us round up to 60,000 generations. Still below the hundreds of thousands needed.

  333. Whoops, math error, that would be roughly 25,632 generations per year, so 1,281,600 generations. So, if we had all that knowledge, and the funding we might have been able to see one. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the tech to do the genetic sequencing until the mid 80s. So at south of 700,000 generations of a single bacteria species, we might have seen one, if some one had funded the research all that time.

  334. Give them credit…at least they believe in dinosaurs. Somewhere in a biblical tract I was given, it said that God put the bones of the dinosaurs underground to fool the scientists.

  335. @452 — “Jeremy….you speak in tongues?”

    Jeremy has multiple tongues? Mama like. Mama like.

    (I am so frying for this, aren’t I? Whip out the weiners and roast em’ boys, I’ll be bursting into flames any minute now–or wait, that could be menopause.)

  336. Jeremy: “The famous argument is a simple one: If I believe in God, and it turns out He doesn’t exist, what have I lost? If I reject God, only to face Him at Death, I have lost everything.

    It may be a tired argument ( I only say this because I hear it a lot), but it is more logical than simply throwing expletives like “horseshit”.”

    Actually, Pascal’s Wager, as it is commonly referred, is not logical at all. It has many flaws. Too many, in fact, to elucidate in this forum, so I encourage you to just type “Pascal’s Wager” into your favorite search engine and be enlightened.

    I will, however, point out two of your argument’s most glaring flaws. First, you can apply Pascal’s Wager to any religous belief, not just yours. Think of how an angry Kali will deal with you for not believing in the Hindu pantheon.

    Second, I know you’re trying to evangelize or “save” others with this argument. But do you really think portraying your faith as “afterlife insurance” is the best way to do it?

  337. @476 – “But do you really think portraying your faith as “afterlife insurance” is the best way to do it?”

    Uh oh. Better get Geico.

  338. So, uh, what IS the record for comments on a thread? I’m guessing it was on Bacon Cat. No?

    It’s too bad this didn’t surpass Bacon Cat fame on opening day. Sorry, you’re still the Bacon Cat guy, not the Creation Museum Tour guy.

  339. Is Bacon Cat archived? Can someone please direct me to Bacon Cat? This concerns me. I’m thinking I probably don’t want to know, but I HAVE to know.

    Hey. Dick around with God all you want, but don’t be messin’ with cats.

  340. > the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt —<

    Actually that’d make a pretty cool science fiction novel. Egyptians with dinosaurs! ;)

    There used to be a creationist museum somewhere down south, maybe Texas, that one of my college friends, a Texan biologist, checked out occasionally for fun. At one point she noticed a display purporting to be of fossils had been altered so that human footprints occurred in it.

  341. @482 –
    “GAAAAAAAH – you must learn of this thingy called google. I think it is going to be big…”

    Patrick,

    I’ma skeered to Google too much. I always end up places that pop up all these windows and I can’t close them and then I panic and crawl under my desk to unplug the power cord. That happened to me when I Googled Joanna Petit. Yikes!

    And Bacon Cat, Ghlaghgheahaohehoahellaghehalaghhla, was very cute. Is she a Ragdoll?

    Looking at Bacon Cat ended up being IF YOU GIVE A MOUSE A COOKIE, because while there, I learned of something called, “Athena’s Pluto Defense” which I’m sure will make me have to go read some other Scalzi blog. Very smart Mr. S. Very smart.

    But, I’m off topic, sorry. Back to your regularly scheduled programming….

  342. ” the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt ” WOW… no wonder you folks react the way you react against creationists… that statement is kindda embarrassing… pretty…embarrassing

  343. My summary of the museum’s message as depicted by Scalzi:

    1. That Adam guy is a real asshole. Seriously. He’s a total dick. What a loser.

    2. Dinosaurs are super cool and totally awesome. But they are tragically doomed. Like clowns.

    3. When at first you don’t succeed, flood the earth.

  344. ” the Jurassic era is temporally contiguous with the Fifth Dynasty of the Old Kingdom of Egypt ” just made me realize that the 10th plague must have been a pack of raptors that ate the first born.

  345. Can Science prove the existance(sp?) of Julius Ceaser? There is no known signature, does that mean he doesn’t exist? No pictures…what about George Washington, did he exist? Can Science theories prove his existance? How come creation believers are close minded, but evolution believers are open minded? Neither one is willing to believe what the other believes so wouldn’t both be equally open or closed minded?

  346. Joe… You are not really helping the Creationist cause/argument with that argument my man… JC, George Washington are historical figures… science proving them … nevermind; [even though I have heard some extreme people out there state that he is not really real; anyways... ]

  347. “I prayed fervently to God for good weather during my holidays, and he heard me; bless The Lord”.

    Ya? D’you know why he does f*ck all about starvation?

    “That is a mystery that you must not question, as it shows lack of faith; praise The Lord.”

  348. I went to the picture tour… (didnt pay attention to it at first), and boy! can I see why some of you react the way you react… some of the things that are stated in that museum are… well despite the “good intention” of the founder, are just inaccurate. The dating of the the earth as a beginning in 4004 BC?!? That is well known to be a miscalculation done some centuries ago by Archbishop James Ussher [not the singer]. He mixed chronological data of the LXX [septuagint] and the MT [Masoretic Text]; and also he was influenced by some time calculations of the Midrash. His notes were used as side notes in the KJV, and some good souls THOUGH they were as sacred as the words in the BIBLE; and so some people today just seem to agree with the late Archbishop.
    However there are other studies about chronology done, and it is not 4004 BC… at all. We can’t really pin point the exact time frame of WHEN the earth was created. One final thing 4th day in the Bible does not infer at all that the WHOLE universe was created in that day. The hebrew wording does not imply that, it has a stronger indication in the verb structure that God “ordered” that which was already there, rather then “created”…
    Chupgeek have not forgotten your question, I’ll elaborate later…

  349. @Harry

    Hey, no worries, in my general experience rushed answers to involved questions rarely are effective answers (regardless of subject). I’d really like to understand where you are coming from and if I have to wait a while to find out I don’t mind. Education is rarely instantaneous (well, other than “touching the fireplace while it is in use is bad” sort of educations).

    Unrelated, have I just been utterly blind to the preview button, or is it a new addition? Admittedly I haven’t viewed the comment threads much since the switch to WordPress, but still if it has been here the whole time that certainly doesn’t build any credibililty for me when I talk about the observable portions of evolution.

  350. @Myself

    Arg, most likely I haven’t scrolled far enough down on the page to see the preview button. Hey John, it would be more noticable to lamo-s like myself if it were on the same level as the submit button (it would also stand out if it had the same style as the submit button).

  351. I’m still trying to figure out why the heck God would operating on a schedule based on the human-scale “24 hour day”.

    When you’re talking about an omnipresent, omniscient, omnipotent God who existed before the universe, 15 billion years seems like a much more likely timescale for him to operate.

    On the other hand, the ‘day’ is quite a comprehensible metaphor for a bunch of bronze-age herders, as is the need for a day of rest at the end of six days of labor. (And if the opposition deity allows his believers to work every day, then keeping the sabbath is a big competitive win!)

    Why would an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent Creator need to take a rest?

    - JH

    PS: the page theme is making me want to redo my kitchen with avocado appliances.

  352. Steve Buchheit: Why go through the lengthy hassle of using chronospecies to demonstrate speciation when you can just take a ring cline and wipe out all the intermediates? Voila, instantly you have two species! :D

    (Pay no attention to the fact that “species” is harder to define than it looks…)

  353. Well, as An Eric and SteveB know, in a different thread I was an “unbeliever” in evolution. I was once a Creationist – pretty hardcore in fact. After talking it out, and realizing what I was missing, I changed my tune.

    Yes. An argument on the Internet was the direct cause of a changed opinion. I think that Satan is ice skating right now.

    Now, I don’t “believe” in evolution, I UNDERSTAND evolution, which is a completely different thing. I used to say pretty much everything being said on here against evolution: it’s still a theory, you can’t disprove God, where did the first stuff come from, how did one thing become something else, etc.

    These are all, I realize now, rhetorical questions and bullshit anti-science diatribes. When you ask these question, you are basically saying “I don’t understand what science actually does, even if I say I do.” You are making statements under the guise of asking questions that you don’t want the answer to, because even when people do give you the answer, you throw it back in their face with some other ridiculous argument that once again proves you don’t understand what science actually does.

    The Theory of Evolution is not, as some would have you believe, a guess of WHETHER OR NOT one species changed into another species – that is not in question. It did, it does, and it will, and the fossil record as well as genetic data proves that. You don’t have to believe it, but that doesn’t make it untrue.

    Rather, The Theory of Evolution attempts to explain the HOW of one species turning into another using the already established precepts of various processes that have already been proven. That we have yet to disprove how these processes work together actually helps to solidify this reasoning.

    Science doesn’t prove, it disproves. Rather, the scientific method does. It took me quite a bit of maneuvering to wrap my head around that, but once I did, the whole landscape of scientific reasoning became open to me. I suddenly understood so much more, and feel enriched for the process.

    Many Creationists just refuse science. There is no discussion. I used to be one of those – many years later I educated myself the best I could to understand the difference between the faith of Creationism and the science of evolution – science is not, as some would claim (and indeed I did just recently) a faith. You need not have faith in a fact for it to exist – it is independent of your faith. To perceive and understand and attempt to explain a fact is not faith, it is science. To perceive and understand and explain a belief is not science, it is faith. Not accepting this difference is disingenuous – and those of you who do this know that.

    Indoctrination can be broken, and the truth can be accepted. But it will take a lot of introspection to understand where your beliefs come from, and even more force of will to not allow those beliefs to keep you from understanding the true nature of the world around you.

    For more on the Fact and Theory of Evolution: Evolution Fact and Theory

  354. Joe, I don’t normally say this but – you are wrong. Completely.

    You are making specious arguments that illustrate a complete lack of understanding of the scientific method. You are then using those arguments to draw false conclusions, and THEN using those conclusions to try to cast doubt on the method you do not understand.

    Give it up and embrace your ignorance. Then try to keep an open mind and read something – anything – about the scientific method. While it won’t “prove” evolution insofar as you feel it needs to be proved, it will show immediately how your arguments are not only incorrect but inappropriate.

    The main reason scientists are open minded is because they are constantly trying to DISPROVE their assumptions, not classifying them as fact regardless of lack of proof. Really – call a faith a faith, and until you find out more about the method you are attempting to abuse, please ask questions you really want the answers to instead of resorting to rhetorical grandstanding to prove an unprovable point.

    “The honest scientist, like the philosopher, will tell you that nothing whatever can be or has been proved with fully 100% certainty, not even that you or I exist, nor anyone except himself, since he might be dreaming the whole thing. Thus there is no sharp line between speculation, hypothesis, theory, principle, and fact, but only a difference along a sliding scale, in the degree of probability of the idea. When we say a thing is a fact, then, we only mean that its probability is an extremely high one: so high that we are not bothered by doubt about it and are ready to act accordingly.” ~ Laurence (Larry) A. Moran

  355. Amen, Corby Kennard. I wish more creationists would just look at the world God made and see how beautiful and utterly fascinating it really is. Instead of burying their heads in their holy books pretending it isn’t there, or that it’s somehow all bad. To me that’s an insult to God.

    I do know one Christian fundamentalist who was honest enough to know that the reason he doesn’t want to look is because he’s afraid of what would happen to him if everything he believes turns out to be an illusion, and his house of cards fell down. At least he could admit that. I gave him all the pointers to talk.origins to every specific argument and even mailed him books, and now it’s up to him to take that next step, of looking. That was a few years ago, and I’m still too tired from arguing with him to do more than wisecrack in present-day evolution vs. creationism discussions. So it’s good to hear that every once in a while, these discussions actually help someone.

  356. Whoops – I actually meant ScottE not SteveB. He and I did not engage in an evolutionary discussion, although we have exchanged witticisms in other threads…

    And Thanks, MWT. If you read the Kicking the Legs out from the Willfully Ignorant, you’ll actually see evolutionary processes at work, as I change from an ignorant (although not exactly willfully) self-assumed pseudo-IDer into an evolution-embracing intellectual, (hopefully without the pseudo-intellectual snobbery).

  357. El Chupageek:

    “Hey John, it would be more noticable to lamo-s like myself if it were on the same level as the submit button (it would also stand out if it had the same style as the submit button).”

    I’m sorry, you’re assuming this blog has been intelligently designed.

  358. Wonderful story. It saves me from having to go; and probably end up in jail for disturbing the peace.
    However, may I humbly remind Patrick M. (entry #21) of Maker’s Mark?

  359. Only if I can arroganly state I have no idea what Maker’s Mark is.

    I’ve got information that Kentucky has WMDs and think we should rush in and depose their rudimentary government.

    (Now I think we’re just stretching for six hundred.)

  360. Corby Kennard, thanks for that clarification. At first I was all, “wow, I helped him see it.” Now I’m all, “I had nothin’ to do with it.” :) No worries.

    To everybody else who dismisses Evolution as “just a theory,” it may surprise you to know that micro-organisms (bacteria, virus, prion, etc) causing disease is “just a theory” as well (called the “Germ Theory of Disease” or “Pathogenic Theory.” So if you’ve ever gotten a flu shot, or used anti-microbial soap or antibiotics to help keep healthy or get over a disease, you’re basing those decisions on just a theory.

  361. Regarding theories, gravity comes to mind. If Kansas had repealed that, rather than evolution, they could have built an awesome spaceport.

  362. Wow, 500+ posts. Maybe it’s time some people acted like adults and closely observed what all the fuss was about, rather than calling people names and writing them off as wackos. It seems like in that way, atheists and Darwinists are really not that different than the Christians and creationists they call stubborn, hateful, misinformed, and immature.

    http://www.teachinghearts.org/dre09creationnotes.html

  363. Actually, Steve, you did help – everyone on that thread did, including Skar, as I realized I sounded more like him every post and that that was the last thing I ever wanted to do! :)

    One thing I find incredibly fascinating is how humans have, in some sense, “broken” some of the natural processes of evolution by their ability to go against nature – living in extreme conditions that would not be possible for most species, wiping out certain “breeds” (races) of other humans in genocides, and generally acting like asses to the rest of the planet. While some may term this as our own natural way of acting, and thus is exactly how we are supposed to be acting (which is a philosophical argument and not necessarily incorrect on its face), we see evidence of the damage this is causing every day, and it doesn’t seem like “nature” (God) would have wanted it this way, ESPECIALLY if He was an Intelligent Designer and humans are pissing all over His creation.

    The people who are most likely to voice opposition to evolution are generally the first group who have no problem destroying our natural resources and ruining God’s creation. Funny, that.

  364. Hi, great article – I found my way here from a link on the London Times website to your photos so you are certainly getting the message out.

    One little gripe at a number of posters – bacteria etc are not less evolved than us – they have just evolved differently – all life around today is the result of 3.5 billion or so years of evolution. Also evolution is a process that does not have a target in view beyond surviving to reproduce so the view of a tree of life with us at the top is erroneous.

  365. You make an excelelnt point about the creationists. Most Christians do not buy into creationism. They are in effect a cult. If God is as hands-on as they assert, there really is no need for science – He can simply make it as He wishes.

  366. @John
    I’m sorry, you’re assuming this blog has been intelligently designed.

    Why, I have done no such thing. I made no claim on the origins of word press or this specific template. For all I know they are the result of a nth generation evolutionary algorithm (probably not all that likely, but NASA does have radio arrays on a couple deep space probes designed through a similar mechanism so something as simple as a blog template being generated is not outside the realm of possibility). I’m simply suggesting some artificial manipulation on an existing design. Much as the fact that GM crops exist is not an indication of the origins of non-modified crops, suggesting a modification to a blog template makes no assumptions about the origins of that template.

    Though hey, all that blathering aside, it was just a friendly suggestion. I have now stumbled across of the revolutionary idea of continueing to scroll, so it isn’t something hugely important to me, just a general design suggestion.

  367. Actually Corby, this is one point I disagree with you on. If you look strictly to the evangelical churches, you’ll see that there’s been a growing “Green” movement there over the last few years. That’s a good thing.

    Also, I can’t speak for them (since I’m decidedly not one of them), but I suspect they are increasingly finding themselves at odds with the politicians they support. That may also turn into a good thing.

    I al

  368. Regarding theories, gravity comes to mind. If Kansas had repealed that, rather than evolution, they could have built an awesome spaceport.

    Or the entire state could have been slung off into deep space by the earth’s rotation! How often do you get a win-win proposition like that?

    _____

    Corby: excellent posts. I hope they connect with some folks.

  369. Listen, history is old. Do you know if Hitler has a dinosaur army? You don’t do you? So shut up. Captain Planet built earth and that’s that. Shhh. I said Shhhh! I’m shooshing you. Earth was handcrafted by Santa, and we got rules and sins then everything that exists got made… don’t ask, or God will turn this car around right now. Ok young man? Your fancy “science” can’t stop a bullet now can it? I didn’t think so. So there.

  370. El Chupageek:

    “Though hey, all that blathering aside, it was just a friendly suggestion.”

    Oh, I know. And as soon as I figure out how to bump it up to the same level, it’ll be done.

  371. Regarding theories, gravity comes to mind

    I’d actually posit that this isn’t really a great arguement. Outside of fairly fantastical theories such as M-Theory (and its string theory precursor), which still have considerable controvery in their respective communities, we have squat for idea concerning the mechanisms for what gravity actually is, what makes it work. We know what it does and we can predict the effects of it very accurately, but the theories that actually explain what causes it to function still have a lot of work ahead of them. Conversely the mechanisms of evolution, at least on a broad scale, are almost universally accepted amoung all of the scientific community, not just the applicable fields. We still have a long way to go on specific mechanisms that gave rise to specific traits/features, but we are building off of a much more solid base than we are with M-Theory and gravity.

    @Corby

    Concerning humans breaking out of evolution, I would disagree. Our ability to go to so many climates/conditions and in general our artificial advancements, are a result one particularly well adapted trait, our cleverness. We are, none-the-less still the experiencing selective pressures. Disease epidemics continue to kill large numbers of people and cause certain genetic strains to have a better chance (malaria in africa is a great example, though genetic HIV immunity in africa is likely to be another. Influenza has repeatedly played a role in human selection). Genetically linked ailments such as autism (many forms of which are now thought to be actively selected for if you consider the amazingly high occurance in the tech and science industries), forms of diabetes, and forms of cancer, all play a role in the selection process despite our efforts to mitigate them through medicine. And social selection pressures (which are by no means unique to humans) are a force that no amount of advancement in knowledge is likely to address.

    We may have different selective pressures on us than other organisms, but we certainly are not free of pressures.

  372. The reason we have a 12th Century “museum” in this 21st century, is due to the religious psychosis way of thinking, where imaginary entities are perceived as reality, even by the most educated. Mental illness does not discriminate. Christ-psychosis, the acceptance of the imaginary friend Jesus as reality, is the most dangerous and virulent strain of the religious beliefs neurological anomaly. We know that the brain is the creator of thought, ergo god and rest of supernatural nonsense via neuron interaction and electromagnetism. The acceptance of religious retarded beliefs by educated people as if they represented reality is no different than the acceptance as reality of similar beliefs by the schizophrenia or temporal lobe epilepsy sufferer.

    Would Walt Dysney be seen as a mentally healthy man if he had built Dysneyland on the premise that all of the characters and events depicted in his park were based on real people?

    This “museum” been allowed to be called a museum instead of an amusement religious park, IMHO, is an open invitation to the molestation, perversion and corruption of our children’s minds.

    Why not let schizophrenics or temporal lobe epileptics built a “museum of their own and the donations used to help cure the disorder? This is not the case in the Creationism “Museum”. It promotes the Christian psychosis and retarded way of thinking. In my view it would be like giving AIDS to obese folks to make them loose weight!. What are the benefits of having such a museum? Filling children minds with dangerous anachronistic Christian idiocies aka neurological excreta or horse shit?

    This “museum” would not be as dangerous, IMHO, if not one under 14 would be allowed to enter. The misinformation, lies, deluded irrational fantasies presented adding the Christ-psychosis infected parents constantly drilling on their children minds the retarded beliefs of Christianity, would only guarantee that America will have another christ-psychotic retarded POTUS, SCOTUS and congress in the years to come.

    Calpurnpiso

  373. @Nathan: I don’t follow the Evangelical movement very closely; even so, this goes against what I’ve always understood about them – i.e. they are not only awaiting the rapture, they are actively pursuing it and trying to bring it about. (Unless I’ve confused them with some other ultra-right wing religious group.) Why would a group trying to get to heaven take any stock in Earth? Not that I’m saying you are wrong, it just seems contradictory to their implied purposes. It goes against the candidates they support who are all for raping Alaska for oil instead of coming up with better ways to reduce our oil dependence. Like I said, I’ll have to take your word for it, since I’ve never seen it.

    @Chupageek: Actually, you are making my point for me. Deer don’t make coats out of other animals to shield them against cold or to mask them during deer season, for example. Some animals learn hiding techniques, but they go with nature instead of being destructive. Generally, what an animal does may look destructive on the surface, but it benefits other groups of animals and insects, etc, who thrive, consume and effect other life, etc. Humans do something destructive and it actually destroys the area making it unfit for other life and negatively impacting everything on down the chain.

    Those diseases you mention kill, but nowhere near the same numbers they used to, resulting in overpopulation in certain areas which reduces sustainability, which again negatively impacts the area, which in turn negatively impacts other areas which have to employ harsher crop-growing techniques to sustain both their normal areas and the ones who need assistance.

    All of these things go against the idea of natural selection – we have taken it out of nature’s hands.

    Now, lest I be branded some sort of zero-population growth guy, or anti-medicine or something, know that I am thankful for the medicines that kept me alive as an infant when I almost died, and the medicines and drugs which facilitated the recent delivery of my own child. I appreciate the winter coats I wear in the cold climes I visit, and I drive a mini-suv, mainly because of back problems which make it difficult to get in and out of a shorter car, and also to carry all the stuff required to maintain a child. I love the modern conveniences that make my life easier. But that doesn’t mean those things are not having a negative impact, and that I should not be aware of those impacts to some extent.

    Intelligence may be a trait that has been positively selected for, but that doesn’t mean we have no responsibility to the environment that selected it for us.

  374. @Calpurnipiso

    It promotes the Christian psychosis and retarded way of thinking

    To be accurate, the way of thinking isn’t Christian, but specific to a minority of christianity, nor is such a literal interpretation reserved entirely for christianity. Muslems believe in a literalist view to a much greater percentage than Christians for example.

    Also, strictly speaking, Jesus wasn’t any more imaginary than the other famous JC of the period, Julius Caesar. There is equally strong evidence for the existance of both, and Augustus sort of elivated Julius well above mortal status as well. It just happens that that particular belief wasn’t as sustaining as the one concerning Jesus.

    Feel free to contradict religious views that are not in line with observation, go ahead and be snarky about it, because some of them are outright silly. But I would hope you would act just as vehemently against scientific thoughts that do the same (Aether comes to mind, but I think Aristotles absolutely proposterous model of projectile motion would be a better fit, since a 5 year old could disprove it simply by throwing a stone and watching its path). Also, when you attack the very notion of religion,which mostly is outside of the knowable bounds of science, and especially in the manner you do so you aren’t doing anything but actively hurting the idea of evolution. You make the lot of us look like a bunch of asses, and you have pretty much guaranteed that no one on the other side of the fence is going to continue listening.

  375. @El Chupageek: “But I would hope you would act just as vehemently against scientific thoughts that do the same (Aether comes to mind…)”

    Is there an Aetherist Museum somehwere we don’t know about?

  376. Corby

    Since I’m too lazy to run around the net looking for better sites, I’ll refer you here:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Christians

    I’m not sure how they square all this with trying to bring about the Rapture, but there you have it. And as I said before, I’m hopeful that as this becomes a priority in the Christian community, it might have an effect on their voting. I’m pretty sure we’re already seeing less monolithic thinking going on with how they’re reacting to the Presidential candidates. (Yeah, I know, they’re mostly all going GOP, but Pat Robertson endorsing Guiliani? Wow. What the hell. Rove wasn’t burnt in a day.)(Crappy pun, but I couldn’t resist.)

  377. @Zakur

    No, fortunately the belief died out. I just pointed it out as an example of some of the crazy stuff that has been believed in the name of science. The Aristotle example is better; his projectile motion models survived for nearly 1500 years before someone pointed out they were ridiculously stupid. His belief in the elements was likewise. We can look back now and say “of course”, but it is just as likely that 100 years from now people are going to say “People actually bought into M-Theory?”. Scientists thought T-Rex could run 30 mph despite the fact that there is no way basic mechanical laws would allow for it, and that didn’t get debunked until 10 years ago.

    (for creationists reading the thread, you might latch onto that as a means of approaching evolution, but prior to you doing so, let me point out that for 150 years it has been subject to some of the most thorough scrutiny any scientific idea has ever experienced, and perseveres. Much as Newton’s mechanical motion isn’t technically correct in light of relativity but still perfectly useful, any break through that supercedes current evolutionary theory would still likely not render it obsolete. It just matches real world observation too well, though the theory will continue to evolve itself in light of new observation)

    @Corby

    The notion that somehow nature is in harmony with itself is actually very contrary to the principles laid out by darwin and expanded over the years. It is proliferation of the fittest, at the expense of everything else. It happens that usually as one species begins to proliferate another will evolve tactics or traits to benifit as well. Grasslands make up one of the most widespread bioms, but only because the grass was successful to the point of preventing almost any other plant life from taking hold. It is also not horribly easy to digest so the initial spread of grass had a very negative rather than positive impact, destroying vegitation and causing the starvation of the animals that depended on it, as well as those that preyed on the herbevoirs, on up the chain (though scavengers had a good run for a couple years). It was only after a great deal of time that herbevoirs evolved to rely on grass and biodiversity returned. That said, despite the fact that grasslands support a huge bulk of life, they do not support a huge diversity of life.

    It is hard to look at grass and see a problem, but much of that comes from the tactics grass uses to prosper. Rather than discouraging an animal from eating it, it simply recovers quickly. However there are plenty of plant life (kudzu for example) that develop tactics that discourage their consumption, and continually evolve adaptations as would be consumers also evolve. Thus they take over an area, destroying vegatition biodiversity, and offering absolutely no benifit to external species in the process. Species go extinct, and large area becomes home to a single monoculture rather than offering any amount of biodiversity. On a geological scale, states like this are not generally maintainable, but that doesn’t mitigate impact until this point.

    I don’t mean that as an excuse for our impact. I happen to have a very negative view of humanity, and I believe we have a moral obligation to adjust our behaviour. However without bringing in morals, the long term viability of our species is not served by our population growth or increase in resource consumption, so even in just the context of species fitness it is in our best interest to start long term population deflation (just not, perhaps, by employing the heavy handed tactics that China uses. Incentives can be more persuasive than oppression). My family has always had a strong conservationist streak to it and I am disgusted by much of my species because of it, but that hasn’t caused me to idealize the natural world; it is a world of violence and genocide, that just so happens to be amazing all the same.

    As for us taking natural selection out of Nature’s hands, we can’t ever escape that we are as much tools of selection as we are subject to it. War is a perfect example of selection at work, and we wage it better than any other species. We use it to select based off of creed, color, location, and resources. Its false to think that selection happens on just an individual level; in both nature and humanity it happens on a social level as well. Some societies are selected, others are not fit enough. It is terrible and horrible, but it is also natural (that isn’t me excusing its existance; we can choose not to wage it if we want).

    We have made some amazing advancements in medicine, but if Avian Influenza became trasmittable between humans and retained its current lethality, that advancement would mean nothing. We can kill bacteria fairly well (though they seem to be adapting to that), but we suck at stopping viral infections. The reason WHO is terrified of the possilbity is because it could utterly devistate Asia. We make ground on one disease and another catches up. Occurances of diabetes are increasing horribly fast, in some populations as much as 30% of the population suffers from it and the rate still increases. We will eventually come up with some solutions for it, thought diabetes itself is more a syndrome with a variety of underlying causes. I think it important to remember our average lifespan isn’t any longer than that of civilized Greece and Rome, 2500~2000 years ago (I used the word civilized specifically to qualify the parts of the population I am refering to). For all of our knowledge and advancement, we haven’t noticably changed our lifespan.

  378. El Chupageek: “I think it important to remember our average lifespan isn’t any longer than that of civilized Greece and Rome, 2500~2000 years ago (I used the word civilized specifically to qualify the parts of the population I am refering to). For all of our knowledge and advancement, we haven’t noticably changed our lifespan.”

    I think you’re confusing “life expectancy” for “life span.” Although certainly we haven’t made as dramatic strides in extending human life past “three score and ten” as you might expect consider the advances we have made in medicine, we have made extraordinary strides in decreasing childhood mortality, which has been one the key forces driving up life expectancy in modern societies. And actually, the odds of being a functional member of society up into your 70s is much better than it was even 50 years ago, which is the rationale behind increasing the age of retirement. The problem, (which our esteemed host eloquently describes in OMW) is that medicine can only slow the relentless march of entropy. Stupid free radicals…

  379. (I know others have said something similar already, but I wanted to add my $.02.)

    OK, I am a creationist, and *I* have problems with some of the museum creator’s “answers” to certain issues, like the thorns dating dinosaurs or Cain having sex with his sister. Please hear me out: not all creationists agree with this guy’s beliefs. I am from a very small, very conservative town in Texas, so if anyone here has to be a “close-minded retard” (which is basically how some of y’all have described all creationists), I guess it would be me.

    We are all fighting a common enemy here: dumb-asses. You know what I mean: the people who hear something that kinda sounds good, and once they accept it, they will never even consider any other alternative.

    Basically, what happened is this guy is a dumb-ass (but his heart is in the right place, I guess), and he heard about religion before he heard about science, so in his mind religion wins. First idea he heard was that Cain must have married his sister, so he ignores the much more plausible idea that God would have probably created other people in addition to Adam and Eve (and also that the Bible condemns incest).

    The problem shouldn’t be that he has a different belief than you; the problem should be that the guy is a friggin moron who uses 2nd grader logic (at best) to resolve cognitive dissonance. Seriously, there are morons on both sides of the fence, but I admit it is far easier to spot the ones “in the other camp” than it is to spot the ones that agree with you.

    I’d rather disagree with a person who thinks than agree with a person who refuses to kick the old brain on every once in a while.

  380. @ Chupageek:

    By your reasoning every action we take is a direct result of our own natural selection, and therefore acceptable even if horrible.

    Lets take your grass analogy. Yes, grass grows easily, kills off some species, and helps some others, creating and then sustaining, at least for a time, a stability. The grasslands have been there for generations and support much life, even as it does not support other life.

    Now, lets assume grass are humans. We grow easily enough, insinuate ourselves into the ecology, and kill off some species. Then we kill some more. Then we raze the ground, and turn it into condos for all of our other grassy friends. Then we defend our condos from all the other grass and/or animals that may want to use it, even though they were there first, and we really haven’t brought anything to the table as far as biodiversity goes in this example. Then, when we decide we are done with the land, for whatever reason, we abandon it, but all the damage we did that helped no one but ourselves basically salted the earth there so no one else can ever use it again, or at least not for many years. Meanwhile, we stretch out and kill off other species and grasses just in case they might want our land, or because they look like different types of grass, or because they allow the wrong types of animals to feed on them. Then we go wherever we want and start again.

    There is nothing “natural” about it.

  381. 176 Kieran said: However, this statement is not made regarding the seventh day, on which God proceeded to rest, indicating that it continued.

    239 MWT said: So God isn’t dead, he’s just resting?

    He’s pining for the fjords!

  382. El Chupageek:
    Also, strictly speaking, Jesus wasn’t any more imaginary than the other famous JC of the period, Julius Caesar. There is equally strong evidence for the existance of both, and Augustus sort of elivated Julius well above mortal status as well. It just happens that that particular belief wasn’t as sustaining as the one concerning Jesus.

    Well, no, actually. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s a reasonable probability that there was a historical Jesus, and I have no problem acting under the assumption there was such a person. But the actual historical evidence of such a person is surprisingly scant. There are no agreed-upon non-Christian sources before the middle of the second century CE, and these sources (e.g. Josephus) are somewhat controversial (they appear to be quoting or paraphrasing Christian sources). The Christian sources weren’t committed to writing until the last half of the first century CE, well after Jesus’ presumed execution (if memory serves–and someone feel free to correct me–Mark, the earliest Gospel, is dated to around 80 CE).

    The sole bit of archaeological evidence for Jesus comes in the form of an ossuary (a box for bones) that allegedly reads “James, Brother Of Jesus” or words to that effect. Unfortunately, the provenance of the ossuary remains questionable, as does the interpretation of the text upon it and the connection to the Biblical Jesus (as opposed, say, to some other Jesus; Jesus Jones, perhaps).

    Julius Caesar, on the other hand, is referred by a number of Roman contemporaries, and evidence of his doings survives in archaeological evidence found across Europe. There’s much more evidence that he lived, fought, and died.

    Again, it’s quite possible that Jesus lived, and I’m happy to concede the point. However, I have to admit that I’m mainly happy to concede it because I see no real point in arguing he didn’t exist, despite the equal evidence for that proposition. Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t; that point is ultimately immaterial to the history of the world. The only real reason the inadequacy of the historic record bears mentioning is whenever someone (a) mentions the existence of the historical Jesus as confirming the Bible, a common argument used by some fundamentalists or (b) someone claims that the evidence for Jesus is comparable to some other figure who had his own face imprinted on coins or whose signature appears on his will. There may indeed have been a Jesus–but right now, nobody can prove it. Sorry.

    (The article in wikipedia on Jesus’ historicity seems fairly well-balanced as an initial survey. You can easily find alternate sources on the web that are both more comprehensive and more biased in one direction or the other. While most historians, I think, are willing to assume Jesus was a historical figure, I don’t expect it’s a discussion that will end any time soon.)

  383. Adam @513 shared http://www.teachinghearts.org/dre09creationnotes.html

    What a bait and switch! A lot of lead-up stuff about “We will abide by the scientific method.” and then straight down the path of unsubstantiated statements (“In 1929, a flow of mud caused by an earthquake under the sea covered 200 miles in 59 minutes and 500 miles in 13 hours and 17 minutes.”-> “Verdict: Using the scientific method, modern geologic processes have demonstrated that rock strata can be formed in days or minutes.”), sheer exaggeration ( “Scientists often throw in billions of years for any perceptible evolutionary change to occur. “) and gobbledy-gook (“The earth is crushed in on one side and has the motions of a wobble. “)

    That is wacko.

  384. @ El Chupageek:

    Also, when you attack the very notion of religion,which mostly is outside of the knowable bounds of science, and especially in the manner you do so you aren’t doing anything but actively hurting the idea of evolution.

    Say what?

    How does attacking religion hurt evolution? The existence of evolution doesn’t care what we think about religion. It simply exists and does its thing.

    What you are saying is about as illogical as saying that attacking evolution as a concept hurts the existence of religion. I haven’t seen any evidence of such. Religion continues to exist, despite lame attacks on evolution.

  385. Lets take your grass analogy. Yes, grass grows easily, kills off some species, and helps some others, creating and then sustaining, at least for a time, a stability. The grasslands have been there for generations and support much life, even as it does not support other life.

    It wasn’t an analogy. I am not trying to make comparisons to humans using literary constructs but simply establishing that humans do not have a monopoly on destructive impact. Nature is full of examples where organisms have had a horrible impact on all other organisms. Grass was a perfect example because to our modern eyes it seems harmless. A great deal of evidence suggests that the original development of grass was a horribly destructive event. It spread quickly, out competed existing vegetation and killed it off, not in little bits, but killed off massive amounts of competiting vegitation. The creatures that survived on the existing vegitation starved and died. The creatures that predated on those starved and died. We like to think grass has been around forever, but it hasn’t. It’s rise comes long after the cretacian extinction that wiped out the dinosaurs. Creatures need to be specialized to survive on grass, and that specialization post-dates the rise of grasslands. A strong body of evidence suggests that for a long time there were deserts of grasslands, more devoid of natural life than your average city block (if you really look around a city block you will find it far from steralized). Life has since evolved and adapted to deal with the spread of grass, and to infact prosper from it, but that was not an immediate transition by any sense. Before that happened there was no great balance of lifeforms, no pyramid of supporting life. Grass, innoculus little grass, destroyed that across the massive lands that it spread. Much as unchecked capitalism gives rise to monopolies that actually hurt the overall system, so to do natural systems (pure capitalism is almost perfectly analogous to a natural system btw, hence why biologists and economists have so many shared theories).

    I will grant that humans are exceptional to this, and I did not claim otherwise. I think we have the ability to adapt and change far quicker than the natural response to us, so whereas organisms eventually evolved to deal with the proliferation of grasslands and balance out the effects, we likely will not see the same response to us anywhere near to that scale (which is not to say that other organisms have not prospered as a result of us, see afore mentioned racoons, rats, etc).

    My reason for bringing the point about other organisms up was because your post very much came across to me as an idealized version of nature where everything works in harmony and balance, and while that may be true on a geological scale, it is certainly not the case on a shorter term scale. It is natural for an organism to try and secure the greatest amount of resources possible, and this inherently comes at the expense of other organism. That is not a formula for harmony

    By your reasoning every action we take is a direct result of our own natural selection, and therefore acceptable even if horrible.

    In that I have not conveyed myself well. I believe the vast majority of our actions are the result of natural behavoir (not natural selection, though I think our behaviors can impose selective pressures), but I also believe we have the ability (and responsibility) to choose to do otherwise. I think it very important to recognize where our behaviors come from, why we are compelled to perform acts that are at the expense of those around (fellow human, animal, plant, etc), so that we can RISE ABOVE those behaviors.

    There are two conditions before doing that though. First, it must be acknowledged that natural behaviors, those expressed by organisms other than us, can be very destructive. They are not cute and cudely but ruthless. Second, we have to acknowledge that we are from a shared origin and so are not inherently above such behavoirs.

  386. @Harvard

    It does not damage the premise of evolution, but it does damage the idea, because it inhibits the spread of it. By attacking the notion of religion, not the specifics contradicted by evolution, but the very notion of it, you are ensuring that the audience that does not understand evolution because they believe it challenges the notion of God (it doesn’t even if some of the proponents ignorantly use it as a tool to do so) are both going to be justified in thinking so and not inclined to actually learn about evolution.

    People who use evolution to attack the concept of religion do as much to keep religious minds closed as the fundementalists teaching aspects of religion. The vast majority of religious people are reasonable and sensible. They are largely ignorant of what evolution really is (largely because our society does a crappy job of educating about it), but that does not mean that they would be unopposed to it if presented in an approachable way. Starting off saying that they are morons for believing in a god is not an approachable way.

    Thus, people who are caustic towards religion and use evolution as the tool are an active hinderance towards the idea. Moreover, they have no scientific grounds to do so. Their attack is based on close minded belief, as bad as the worst fundementalists. They have no scientific evidence that there is no god, they just BELIEVE there isn’t. That isn’t science, and I would rather they not tie science to the belief. It is sort of be like trying to use science to prove the earth is 6000 years old and we were created by God, because in both cases there is no supporting scientific evidence.

  387. @Nate

    The italics are for quotes of other people’s text, to give context, though I guess more correctly I should use a <blockquote>

  388. note: in my post to Howard I say

    It is sort of be like trying to use science to prove the earth is 6000 years old and we were created by God, because in both cases there is no supporting scientific evidence.

    To be clear, since I could see how this could be misunderstood, I am not implying there is no evidence for evolution, the bulk of my posts here would show otherwise, but that there is no scientific evidence that can establish the absence of a god. Hence their standpoint being entirely belief driven.

  389. El Chupageek Says:
    “but that there is no scientific evidence that can establish the absence of a god. ”

    Was kind of my point in questions of can Science prove that George Washington or Julius Ceasar was ever around. I believe George Washington lived on this Earth because I have read history books in school about him as a kid.

  390. @Joe

    Ah, ok, that makes a level of sense, though they aren’t really analogous comparisons. I could see where you would be going with it, but such reasoning isn’t even necessary. Evolution makes absolutely no claim about the existance of God, and is by no means an attempt to disprove God, or figures of any religion for that matter. You shouldn’t need to defend the idea of God when discussing evolution because it should not be under question.

    By implication of what evolution states it is at odds with the literal events in the Bible, but that isn’t a question of whether God exists or even if God had a hand in our creation. Simply it is at odds with the specifics concerning your belief on how species were created and evolved.

    That is why I take exception with how certain athiests attempt to use evolution to attack thiesm. They are misrepresenting the theory, and if they truly believe the two concepts are at odds they are guilty of some very flawed reasoning.

  391. @ Chupageek

    I don’t buy it. Someone who is stupid enough to refuse to acknowledge evolution, simply because their religion got attacked, is not likely to acknowledge evolution under any circumstances.

    That’s really retarded thinking. “I refuse to look at facts, because you insulted me.” Who needs such people on “our side” anyway? They only hurt themselves.

    Thus, people who are caustic towards religion and use evolution as the tool are an active hinderance towards the idea

    But I don’t really see them going together very often. They are independent criticisms. I hate religion, but I don’t “use evolution to attack it.” I simply attack it because it is ridiculous and harmful.

    Basically, hating religion is a totally separate thing to acknowledging evolution. And you can’t really harm “the idea of evolution” – because it is more than an idea. We don’t need to “spread” it like an evangelist would spread “the word of God.” It does quite OK by itself.

    Moreover, they have no scientific grounds to do so. Their attack is based on close minded belief, as bad as the worst fundementalists.

    Errr, no. Attacking creationism has plenty of scientific basis. There is tons of evidence that the world is more than 6000 years old. It’s not simply “belief” – and there’s nothing close-minded about it.

    You can’t really make equivalencies here. The two sides aren’t “the same” – they are coming from totally different perspectives. The religious people bash atheists and evolution, because they are close-minded. However, the reverse does not apply. Atheists and scientists are usually much more open-minded, and make their attacks based on evidence and logic – not brainwashing.

    Is there some reason that I should be extra-nice to deluded people who are pushing a dangerous theology? Why do I want to persuade these people? Better just to leave them to their self-delusion, while we work with intelligent people to make the world a better place.

    Seriously, it’s a waste of time trying to educate people who don’t have the inclination for it. I think it’s much more productive just to dismiss them and concentrate on reality.

  392. Joe, for whatever it’s worth, when my comment clears the moderation queue (no hurry, better to be in the queue occasionally than to see comment spam when I visit), you can visit an online article with a photo of a coin that Julius Caesar had stamped in his lifetime (with his face on it, humble man that he was) and an article on George Washington’s will that includes a photo of his signature on said will.

    Similar items can be personally observed in museums and collections around the world, tho’ you might need access or permissions to get close looks at some of them. The bottom line, however, is that there’s plenty of evidence that these men existed in the form of contemporary accounts and archaeological remnants. Of the two leading hypotheses that you can offer for these items–that either they’re forgeries or these men really lived–the latter does a better job of satisfying Occam’s Razor. The rhetoric about “can science prove these men lived” is… well… pretty weak; the only limit to how much evidence you personally have is how much time, travel and trust you want to personally put into looking at it, so I’m not sure what you’re trying to prove when you ask the question.

  393. two things

    first: Thank you, John! You saved my dad from this horrible place – he’s very devout and didn’t believe me when I said it was a place for wackjob loons who wouldn’t appreciate his Catholicism anyways – but when I e-mailed him some of the pictures with the vegan dinosaurs and the 4000 BC nonsense, he said “oh, well I guess I can skip that one.” On behalf of my family, I thank you.

    Second: anyone else SEVERELY hacked off at how badly these dolts misinterpreted DesCartes? “I think, therefore I am” doesn’t mean that Rene thought he created himself, it FREAKING MEANS that he cannot doubt his existence, because the doubt is a thought, which requires a thinker. Therefore, even if the entire physical world is an illusion, you must still be certain that your thinking mind exists.

    They play it off like DesCartes is the patron saint of the “me” generation, when really he was deciding whether or not he existed.

    GRAAAH!

  394. @Chupageek

    Ah, OK.

    First off, no, the grass thing was not an analogy, but I couldn’t think of the word example for some reason. Mine WAS an analogy. I understand the difference, but just used the wrong word. Sorry.

    Second, I was not claiming nature is perfect – I was saying that natural selection provides for the eventual harmony in a system, even if the getting there is destructive to some. Conversely, humans provide no eventual harmony in the average case unless they choose to – it does not seem to be a common result of our actions.

    I think we are agreeing more than less.

  395. Hey folks:

    Just as head’s up, I’m likely to cap this comment thread at about 600 comments, partly because it’s becoming a bit unwieldly to load (it is literally getting near novel length).

    So consider this “host flickering the lights” note. Get your comments in while you can!

  396. For many of you who claim to have an open mind, you seem to have a remarkable amount cerebral inertia. To fight an argument with insult is neither smart nor convincing, but makes you appear much more stupid than the people you accuse of being stupid. (think emotional bully !) I believe God created the universe, and I can hold my own. The bible absolutely does not require a young earth, but I would rather be associated with those who believe the earth is 6k years old, than stand on your insulting statements that are so evidently ignorant of the possibilities the bible affords as far as the history of the universe is concerned. Before you rant like a raving lunatic, get an education about the facts. My bet is that you are not willing to do that, because it would rock your world and force you to change.And you dont want that.That is the issue at hand here. I do not claim to have all the answers or perfect arguments, but let me plead with you to really work though the facs.You will almost certainly find that your ill concieved cockiness is on such shaky ground , its outright sad !!.
    respectfully,
    Mitch

  397. Mitch:

    “Before you rant like a raving lunatic, get an education about the facts.”

    What an excellent idea, Mitch. Please do.

  398. Thanks, Mitch! The main character in my NaNoWriMo project is a musician and I need vaguely cheesy song titles: “Cerebral Inertia” is so going into his set list!

  399. 550. PJ the Barbarian: “I think, therefore I am” doesn’t mean that Rene thought he created himself, it FREAKING MEANS that he cannot doubt his existence, because the doubt is a thought, which requires a thinker. Therefore, even if the entire physical world is an illusion, you must still be certain that your thinking mind exists.

    And it’s even more ironic because the very NEXT thing he says is “And because I cannot possibly have personally created the entire rest of the physical world I perceive, there must be a God.”

  400. To all of you who have been offended by comments posted here, let me share with you a little rule I live by. I absolutely and unconditionally support and respect every individual’s right to choose any belief that suits them. That being said, while I respect the right, it doesn’t necessarily follow that I respect WHAT one has chosen to believe, or that I respect the individual for choosing it. I only respect the right to choose. The only sin is to attempt to force a particular belief on an individual, or to limit their access to competing/alternate beliefs.

    That is why I may debate, argue, mock, or otherwise spar with persons who believe differently than I while never being concerned about changing their thinking. They are free to choose, as am I.

  401. @Corby

    I think we probably agree in general but see the particulars differetnly. I would certainly agree that humans are not a harmonizing element, though short of depressurizing Earth (evidence suggests Mars had a reasonably established atmosphere once but it certainly doesn’t now, so I don’t discount the possibility of similar results happening here), on a long enough time span I think even our impact can be rectified. Life has crawled back from far worse than we can throw at the planet at the moment, nukes withstanding, so I am optimistic (which isn’t an excuse not to alter our behavior, just that either way I hope long term life will go on).

    @Harvard

    I really wish you could reflect on how close minded you come across, because it mirrors the close mindedness of those you seem to hate against the most. It isn’t stupidity to ignore the comments of someone who comes across as a caustic ass to you; its rational behavior. What you are doing is removing any credibility you might have to that person, and losing any respect they might show you and your words out of courtousy. You might as well not talk to them at all. Seriously, don’t even bother. Not because they are unaproachable because of their faith, but because you make them unaproachable with your attitude.

    Errr, no. Attacking creationism has plenty of scientific basis. There is tons of evidence that the world is more than 6000 years old. It’s not simply “belief” – and there’s nothing close-minded about it.

    Creationism and God are not the same thing. If you think that you are grossly misinformed. I have intentionally seperated the two in my posts because belief in God is not dependant on creationism (what the hell, why am I having this conversation with BOTH sides). Your previous comments were clearly an attack on the concept of religion in general, as well as the specific beliefs in both Jesus and God. It was not a targetted attack at creationism, and I think you have a very flawed understanding if you can’t differentiate the two.

    We don’t need to “spread” it like an evangelist would spread “the word of God.” It does quite OK by itself.

    Our society is where it is because of our scientific and technological understanding. Promoting this understanding is essential to the continual prosperity of this country. It has a tangible benifit to society in just about every aspect possible. Intellectual resources are more benificial to an economy than physical resources. The spread of knowledge and understanding is one of the most noble undertakings a person can strive for because it is providing the gift of empowerment both of the individual and of the society.

    The existance of evolution is not based on belief, in that you are correct. Whether I acknowledge it or not doesn’t mean it isn’t happening around me. The point of spreading understanding of evolution isn’t to make sure it succeeds as an idea, but to make sure we continue to succeed as a society. Your approach is as much a tool for ignorance as any close minded religious idea, because you don’t care about spreading understanding, just letting your irrational hate be known.

    Seriously, it’s a waste of time trying to educate people who don’t have the inclination for it. I think it’s much more productive just to dismiss them and concentrate on reality.

    If you think it is such a waste of time trying to educate close minded people, do you somehow think it a good use of time to let them know you hate their belief and that you think they are morons?

    Personally I am of the opinion it is worth trying. Thankfully people like Galileo and Darwin agree (perhaps worth noting, individuals like Martin Luther King also believed such, even if his message concerned a different subject). At the very least, even if someone who doesn’t accept evolution can be presented it in such a way that they understand it, then they are more likely to be tolerant of it, and by extension its presence in society as well as those who hold it (for the same reason I try my best to understand their perspective). The presence of tolerance alone is benificial to society.

    Though I suppose it is obvious I disagreed with your sentiment, otherwise I wouldn’t spend time trying to discuss the subject with you

    Atheists and scientists are usually much more open-minded,

    Scientists typically are, but there is nothing inherent in atheism that makes it such. It isn’t that you are absent a belief, but rather that you believe there is no God or supernatural elements. This makes you inherently close minded to any possibility of either, and when presented with any evidence for it you would discount it rather than consider it. I’m not knocking you here for that, I happen to be an athiest as well and recognize there are things I am not prepared to accept based off of my belief. My point isn’t to say you are wrong for believing such, just that it does come down to a belief, which means you aren’t truly open minded (a true agnostic is the only one who could claim that, and true agnostics are incredibly rare).

  402. “Denying God seemed to be the best way to cope with the existential crisis he went through, and since the Church had screwed things up in the middle ages anyways, EVERYBODY else from that day on, climbed in the band wagon…”

    Okay, God, I believe in you, always did… but God damn it (sorry), my idea was right too. Knew it all along. Sure, I was ashamed to share it for a while, and I made some mistakes, but I was one man in a backward time. How many transoceanic trips can one man make? How many species can he catalog and draw with fine detail? How can one old man prove the fundamental scientific thought addressing the development of life without the advantage of observing cosmic time?

    So can you leave me alone and let me go back to being dead? Or at least swing me by Mary’s for a quickie?

  403. @ Chupageek

    I am reminded of the old joke about the guy who offers the woman 1 million dollars for sex; she accepts. Then he offers her 100 dollars. She says “What do you take me for, a whore?” He says “We’ve already established that, now we are just haggling on price.”

    Of course, what I am talking about are the chances of humanity on this planet. Extinction is almost assured, from a long point of view. We will eventually die out – at least this specific model. When, who knows. Will we get to the stars and seed them with our presence assuring our continued survival in some form? Will we burrow underground and become mole men if the sun goes out? Will we blow up the earth, and the remnants of humanity cling to the shattered fragments to eventually orbit a different star and become a New Earth? Maybe. Maybe not. A long enough view can extrapolate pretty much anything.

    But if we don’t make some behavioral changes in ourselves soon, I suspect we won’t have that long view to take. We can extrapolate our current future to be rather short if we don’t start acting more in concert with nature and each other instead of what we currently do.

    I don’t know if I am optimistic or pessimistic about humanities survival. I read science fiction for a reason, though, and not just to see stuff blow up – I like the ideas set forth about where society might go were it allowed to continue. Of course, if we take a starting point, using the ideas of natural selection we extrapolate, but humans have proven again and again that they need not act in any manner except how they choose at any moment, which makes a fair extrapolation almost impossible. To wit, we know how grass will act, we know how animals will act, we know how geologic formations will act (even if we don’t always know the mechanisms of all of these actions), but the only thing we can truly know about humans is that we have no way of truly knowing anything about eventual behavior, though we can certainly make an informed guess – humans will hate and fight and kill and love and help and destroy and create; and hopefully our generation and our kids generation and their kids generations won’t be the last, ad infinitum.

    And in that context, that is our nature.

  404. My children…of god..im finding it very difficult from all these postings..that you all lack faith…whats so hard about just believing…whats the worse that can happen…as a man of GOD…and a disciple of the Christian faith …

  405. Good lord, I could only get through about half of the thread once the apologists came out. I have to say, though, I loved this:

    Everest is more then 10M years/old [according to the datation of evolutionist geology]

    I know the goofy theory (there’s that word again) being referenced, but this restatement was wonderful – “evolutionist geology” is completely meaningless when not used as a slur, “datation” is a word with specific meaning that is being used incorrectly, and saying Mt. Everest is 10 million years old absent context is silly. All told, that statement isn’t even a good presentation of the underlying argument, which is completely silly to begin with. I don’t think it even qualifies as horseshit – it seems to occupy that realm somewhere between horseshit and syntactical dadaism, except dada implies a self-awareness that appears lacking here.

    A little late in the thread, but John, thanks so much for this. You’ve substantially contributed to my non-productivity for the day.

  406. You’re welcome, fishbane.

    And on that note, I think I will close the thread a little early, because I’m noting a very long load time now. Thanks everyone for comments. It’s been a very interesting thread.

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