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William Crawley | 18:07 UK time, Friday, 28 March 2008

blueprint_group.jpg

I want no funny comments about this press picture for Blueprint, our natural history series which begins on Monday night.

The picture features our two science experts, Peter Woodman and Emily Murray, standing either side of yours truly. The shot was taken during a break from filming on Mountsandel Fort, near Coleraine. Within a hundred yards of this spot is the site of the earliest human settlement in Ireland. In fact, the distinguished archeologist who identified that site as the cradle of civilisation in Ireland, back in 1973, is standing to my right in the picture.

I've been doing various bits and pieces of promotion for the series, including interviews with the press, and that will continue for the next few days. I'll be making a visit to the John Daly Show tomorrow, and the Stephen Nolan Show on Monday morning. On that occasion, I'll be joined by Paul McGuigan, BBC NI's head of factual TV and Blueprint's executive producer.

On Sunday morning, quite separately, we'll be talking about the age of rocks. There's been some renewed debate about the age of Ireland, and whether this island is millions of years old or merely a few thousand. Many of you have pursued that debate on this blog and in other online venues. So, we'll be inviting four guests to debate the question following the 9.00 am news on Sunday. A young earth creationist, and intelligent design theorist, a theistic evolutionist, and an atheistic evolutionist -- how's that for a balanced panel? Those four positions pretty much represent the variety of possible positions one might hold on the question of planetary (and human) origins. My guests will be Professor Peter Bowler, Professor David Livingstone, Rev Dr Robert Beckett, and Professor Norman Nevin. I'll leave you to work out who's who in that line-up.

You are welcome to suggest, here, questions that I might put to individual panelists.

Comments

Great Sunday Sequence panel. (Wish I could say the same about the photo! Sorry, couldn't resist.) How about asking the creationist panelists how they account for the evidence of human evolution in genetics, even more specifically, in human chromosome #2 which demonstrates the fusion of two ancestor chromosomes to produce the human DNA. Each of the creationists will be carrying this evidence with them into the studio on Sunday morning in their own chromosomes, so it couldn't be a more pertinent question!

A new rock group is about to take Ulster by storm  – Little William and the Palaeozoics, performing their new No 1 hit, Do the Evolution.

John:

You have just proved how difficult it is to discuss science on the radio especially in the company of people who will reduce complex realities to simplistic certainties.

William:

I would ask both the creationists and the evolutionists what evidence would have to be produced to convince them that their theories were wrong.


  • 3.
  • At 11:06 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Anonymous wrote:

John you seem to have missed the point “ROCKS”

  • 4.
  • At 11:23 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Hello William,

I think some of the questions Dylan Dog has asked to pb several times here would be nice ones:

- If YECism is true, please let the YEC list some of the technologies that have sprung from applying that science. 'Creation science' supposedly touches many very tangible areas like oil formation, microbes, etc. These are all areas with applications. Why have we never seen any based on YECism?

- The many supposed hooks to other areas also make me wonder why noone outside 'Creation science' has ever used their results as stepping stone for further research.

And you could also ask the opposite question. If YECism is true, then much of astrology, biology, volcanology, plate tektonics, geology, anthropology, paleontology, archeology, physics and chemistry are wrong (and no doubt more areas of science). How come these areas are so successful in the new insights and technologies they yield if they use models which supposedly are so far off? We're not talking minor differences here. 6000 years vs just over 4.5 billion years is no less than 75000000%. Yet it works so well?

greets,
Peter

  • 5.
  • At 11:59 PM on 28 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Hello Brian,

"I would ask both the creationists and the evolutionists what evidence would have to be produced to convince them that their theories were wrong."

A prominent evolutionary scientist once answered that question with 'Rabbit fossils dating back to the pre-Cambrian'. And indeed, evolution is falsifyable. It's just that no one has ever found anything to falsify it with.

greets,
Peter

ps: and apologies for multiple posts, I hope the BBC sorts out the blog problems real soon now!

Oh, the questions are only about rocks? Okay, revise to this one for the young-earth creationist:

"Fossil fuel: please explain."

  • 7.
  • At 02:24 AM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Hi John,

"Oh, the questions are only about rocks? Okay, revise to this one for the young-earth creationist:
"Fossil fuel: please explain.""

I can tell you the answer they'll give to that:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v12/i2/oil.asp

The article starts fine (read if you like, it's not long), in that it mentions the quick formation of oil in conditions where plant matter is exposed to temperatures of hundreds of degrees Celcius. But then near the end it claims (all of a sudden there are no more references to fancy journals) that such conditions explain all oil formation because such conditions supposedly were once common. Including apparently in Antarctica where there is presently no extensive plant material to decay into oil in the first place. And where temperatures of hundreds of degrees Celcius are also hard to find.

greets,
Peter

Hi Peter. I realise there have been problems with posting comments, which have been frustrating for all of us. We will be launching new software across the BBC blogs on the 7/8th of April, and it's hoped that this will sort out the problems we've all been experiencing. I'll have more information about the new software and what it will mean for posting comments in the days prior to the launch. Thanks for your patience.

  • 9.
  • At 04:35 PM on 29 Mar 2008,
  • Dylan_Dog wrote:

Thank you for the vote of confidence Peter!

I would reiterate what Peter has said(and what I have been asking creationists for years) eg., the *positive* evidence for their position.

Since the main topic is rocks which are an (obvious) eg of empirical, testable evidence show how the YEC position is backed up by independent confirmation and conversely why their position is only backed up by those from Christian fundamentalism(and funnily enough Islamic creationism is only backed up my Fundamentalist Muslims and the same with Hindu creationism etc etc).

Also ask the YECist (if you have the time!) that the fuel used in the car/transport they used to bring them to the studio(and the studio itself!) was sourced using creationist predictions, the same with the fuel that heats their home/church etc and indeed a list of all the multi-trillion dollar natural resource companies that use creationist predictions.

Best of luck Will!(going by own experience you will need it)

Ps. was out and about today and saw the posters for the series and will definitely watch on Monday.

  • 10.
  • At 12:57 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Damian Connolly wrote:

Having listened to the Sunday Sequence Evolution debate I have to say I am sick to the back teeth of these polite, respectful, diplomatic discussions with creationists. These people are wilfully ignorant morons who threaten the education of our children and the advancement of civilisation. And as such they should be mocked and ridiculed for their lies, stupidity and insane belief in Stone Age mythology, even in the face of overwhelming VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE to the contrary.

Enough is enough!

Unrelated: does anyone here remember an evangelist of yesteryear from Belfast called Leslie Hale? I have the flu this weekend and have been keeping strange hours: this morning I was flicking around the channels and found Leslie Hale preaching sermons from his church in Florida. What's the history there? (lesliehale.com)

  • 12.
  • At 01:32 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Damian Connolly wrote:

Having listened to the Sunday Sequence Evolution debate I have to say I am sick to the back teeth of these polite, respectful, diplomatic discussions with creationists. These people are wilfully ignorant morons who threaten the education of our children and the advancement of civilisation. And as such they should be mocked and ridiculed for their lies, stupidity and insane belief in Stone Age mythology, even in the face of overwhelming VERIFIABLE EVIDENCE to the contrary.

Enough is enough!

  • 13.
  • At 03:11 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Ok, just listened to todays Sunday Sequence. I thought the debate was rather relaxed and civil, but maybe didn't go into things too deeply. But then discussing the fine detail on the scientific side may not be too suitable for Sunday Sequence.

From a scientific point of view, I thought the YEC and the IDiot displayed the usual hopelessness. In listing the usual list of canards of how science supposedly shows a young earth, Becket managed to trip himself up at one point even before the opposition by Peter Bowler had started. He claimed that the radiometric dating methods used to determine the age of rocks require knowledge of the initial amount of radio-active isotopes. That is incorrect. Rock dating is done by measuring the ratio of parent to daughter isotopes. It does not depend on the absolute initial amount of radio-active parent isotope. What a wonderful blunder that shows lack of understanding about even the very basic workings of radiometric dating.
Or maybe he is thinking of C14 dating, where the initial amount of C14 is important. But then C14 dating is not used for dating rock but organic matter. And only organic matter of up to a few dozen thousand years old. C14 dating is not relevant for dating the age of the earth.
Whether Becket doesn't know the basics of radiometric dating or he is thinking of the wrong method, his story is the usual load of nonsense.

And Norman Nevins fellow IDiots probably won't be too happy about parts of his performance too. The IDiots have tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid the stench of creationism clinging to them by explicitly not mentioning the bible, the words 'Creation' or 'Creator' etc. Yet Nevin starts off by stating that we shouldn't focuss too much on the first part of Genesis (good from IDiot perspective) but .......on verses in John instead (very bad if you're trying to sneak in ID as science!). And that he doesn't mind how old the earth is, as long as the creator is in there as the one who brought it about. Pffffhrt.

Peter

  • 14.
  • At 03:37 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Dylan_Dog wrote:

Hi John,

I can remember Leslie Hale from my younger days, from what I can remember Leslie left Belfast(or I think he preached in the Ballyclare area)under a bit of a cloud.

If I can think of anything else I will let you know.

Regards the show, just listened to it and agree with Damian. The YECist repeats the same old canards/lies and repeating them does not make them true. No explanation why natural resource companies use the "flawed" radiometric method. Indeed the YEC explanation is so *useless* that not even the most ardent YECist can live by them. Poor old Prof Nevin repeated the stuff about the flagellum motor which was conclusively shown to be claptrap at the Dover trial by Prof Ken Miller(who happens to be a Christian).
DD

  • 15.
  • At 03:37 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Billy wrote:

Hi John!

Leslie Hale was a Dunlambert old boy from the Skegoneill area, his church during the 70's was facing the Grove Park, which was later taken over by the Rite-Price bed shop,(you might remember Rite Price facing the community centre) he did a runner from Belfast after his Faith Cathedral at Mossley failed to materialize, it lies as a derelict shell which can be viewed on the Larne line just past “CORR’S” on the right of the Mossley roundabout, he was a Belfast forerunner of the name it and claim it school of theology (Word of Faith), Belfast's answer to Benny Hinn. As I was waiting for the bus on the Somerton Road during my school days at the Synagogue he would have drove up in his Jag or was it a Merc to pick his children up from The Somerton House prep school, now the N.I. Hospice.

  • 16.
  • At 05:18 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Ok, just listened to todays Sunday Sequence. I thought the debate was rather relaxed and civil, but maybe didn't go into things too deeply. But then discussing the fine detail on the scientific side may not be too suitable for Sunday Sequence.

From a scientific point of view, I thought the YEC and the IDiot displayed the usual hopelessness. In listing the usual list of canards of how science supposedly shows a young earth, Becket managed to trip himself up at one point even before the opposition by Peter Bowler had started. He claimed that the radiometric dating methods used to determine the age of rocks require knowledge of the initial amount of radio-active isotopes. That is incorrect. Rock dating is done by measuring the ratio of parent to daughter isotopes. It does not depend on the absolute initial amount of radio-active parent isotope. What a wonderful blunder that shows lack of understanding about even the very basic workings of radiometric dating.
Or maybe he is thinking of C14 dating, where the initial amount of C14 is important. But then C14 dating is not used for dating rock but organic matter. And only organic matter of up to a few dozen thousand years old. C14 dating is not relevant for dating the age of the earth.
Whether Becket doesn't know the basics of radiometric dating or he is thinking of the wrong method, his story is the usual load of nonsense.

And Norman Nevins fellow IDiots probably won't be too happy about parts of his performance too. The IDiots have tried (unsuccessfully) to avoid the stench of creationism clinging to them by explicitly not mentioning the bible, the words 'Creation' or 'Creator' etc. Yet Nevin starts off by stating that we shouldn't focuss too much on the first part of Genesis (good from IDiot perspective) but .......on verses in John instead (very bad if you're trying to sneak in ID as science!). And that he doesn't mind how old the earth is, as long as the creator is in there as the one who brought it about. Pffffhrt.

Peter

  • 17.
  • At 08:33 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Val wrote:

Will, I thought you were way too nice to those creationists today. I know you made a programme defending evolution and your prob thought you should give these guys a fir crack of the whip on your show but REALLY ... the young earth creation view is so ludicrous it demands ridicule.

  • 18.
  • At 08:44 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • freethinker wrote:

Peter
Pretty pathetic performance by all speakers! - especially by William who after all his experience making his TV prog wasn't able or willing to ask any searching questions of any of them.
Let's hope Blueprint better makes the scientific and factual case but any bets that William will declare his hand?

DD & Billy - thanks... interesting! So did he raise money to build this Faith Cathedral Billy? When did he leave? This seems to be one of those stories that isn't written down anywhere, since Hale himself seems to have edited his own bio to omit his emigration!

  • 20.
  • At 09:15 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • nonplussed wrote:

This debate was a valiant attempt but doomed by the lack of shared reference points that might have permitted some sort of meeting of minds.

It was like a discussion of War and Peace where one person is talking about the book, another the movie, another the etymology of the words ‘war’ and ‘peace’ and the fourth conflict resolution.

  • 21.
  • At 09:22 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • freethinker wrote:

John
nudge! nudge! say no more!
I know of a few people a little less well off since his departure to the colonies.

  • 22.
  • At 09:27 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Amenhotep wrote:

Well, I think we can put the question of Norman Nevin being a Young Earth Creationist to rest now. We "skip over Genesis" - that seems fine. That being the case, all bets are off, including ID.

So, given that Norman seems to now accept that the universe is Old, we can regard this as something of a start. There is hope that creationists can be converted.

  • 23.
  • At 09:35 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Amenhotep wrote:

Well, I think we can put the question of Norman Nevin being a Young Earth Creationist to rest now. We "skip over Genesis" - that seems fine. That being the case, all bets are off, including ID.

So, given that Norman seems to now accept that the universe is Old, we can regard this as something of a start. There is hope that creationists can be converted.

  • 24.
  • At 10:52 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Amenhotep wrote:

[Whew, that last one eventually got through, if even twice!]

I have to say I was rather disappointed overall. Here's the deal. This is a *cultural* dispute - the *science* is not in question. The phenomenon we are witnessing with cdesign proponentsists (creationists/IDists) is an intriguing example of people being so wedded to an ideology that they cannot bring themselves to even understand an alternative view.

Unfortunately, Will, your brave attempt to cross the spectrum of views on the topic of evolution gave undue weight to the views of creationists like Beckett, who have zero understanding of science (as he made abundantly clear).

Instead of trying to be so conciliatory (a fine goal in many areas, but not here), those who were defending the scientific viewpoint should in my opinion have been far more strident. They could have pulled Beckett up on each of his daft points about the age of the Earth (they were all classic creationist boners). I can't remember who made the point about the Mt St Helens ash strata, but that should have been dealt with too.

In some ways, the person who should have been working hardest should have been David Livingstone - if he really accepts evolutionary theory as well as Christianity, he should be aware that creationists are causing the little ones to stumble - they are preaching theological and scientific *heresy*! Why do liberal and (relatively) rational Christians not take these people on? Instead, they protect them, while getting all shirty with us atheists. Don't forget that Jesus had no truck with this "brothers in the Lord" nonsense. Matt 7:21&ff, if you're interested.

Will, I'm sure the series will be great; I'm looking forward to it. I hope it focuses on the science, rather than giving undue prominence to wacky minority views.

Cheers,
-A

  • 25.
  • At 11:52 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • freethinker wrote:

Creationists should withold licence fee!?

http://www.takeheed.net/BLUEPRINT_website_article.htm

quote
Dear friends of 'Take Heed',

I received an email from a concerned parent about a series of programmes that BBC Northern Ireland will be airing on TV/Radio/Internet as from 31st March. It will be their biggest single ever expenditure on a series of programmes. In it they will teach the theoretical 600 million year history of the island of Ireland. No reference will be made to a Creator or Intelligent Designer and no reference will be made to important biblical events such as God's 6-day creation or the worldwide flood of Noah's days as recorded in the book of Genesis.

I have spoken with the presenter, William Crawley, who is a 'theistic evolutionist' and explained to him that this will cause great offence to many Christians in Northern Ireland who accept God's account of His own creation as recorded in the book of Genesis. Such Christians will view this expenditure by the BBC as an offensive abuse of their TV licence fee money. He said he hoped that wouldn't happen but I confirmed to him that it has already happened as in the case of the lady who emailed me and myself also.

I will set out shortly the email I received from the concerned parent and then I will set out an email that I would ask you to copy and send to William Crawley as your personal protest to the BBC about this offensive abuse of the licence fee money of Christians in Northern Ireland who accept Genesis as God's account of His own creation.

Yours for His truth and glory

Cecil Andrews

'Take Heed Ministries

  • 26.
  • At 11:52 PM on 30 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Morrow wrote:

Hi Damian

I didn't hear the programme. I was sleeping.

However having read your comment, I was wondering if you had a view on tolerance?

Oh yes, it seems you do.

  • 27.
  • At 09:39 AM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Freethinker,

Thanks for that links. It would be cause for hilarious laughter if it weren't meant to be serious. I wonder if Cecil ever considers how the average non-believer feels about the part of the license fee that is spent on producing Songs of Praise etc.

Peter Morrow,

Those who missed it can listen to the episode of Sunday Sequence over the internet (I didn't set my alarm clock for it on Sunday morning either :) ).

In your opinion, is it wrong to laugh at the views of flat-earthers? Is there any idea that one would be allowed to laugh at in your opinion? From a scientific point of view the belief in a flat earth is no more ridiculous than YECism. Playing the intolerance card against Damian does seem the last resort of those who can't produce any substance. The idea that religious beliefs should be treated different. That they should always be exempt from criticism, no matter how ridiculous. Sorry, but you'd better get used to it that that idea is dying. There is an increasing number of people who, when confronted with a ton of BS, will call it what it so obviously is.

I go with Val (#19) and Freethinker (#20). William was too subdued and too 'impartial'. Treating creationism with the same respect as evolution is rather like putting holocaust denial books by David Irving on a par with Anne Frank's Diary or Primo Levi's The Drowned and the Saved.

Nonplussed (#22), I think your analogy is not quite right.
All the alternatives you suggest might conceivably throw some light on Tolstoy's novel, whereas this 'discussion' was more like Beckett's Waiting for Godot or Pinter's Landscape and Memory.

I see that already, the godly vultures are circling over Blueprint before it has even started. Let's hope that they are well and truly blown away.

  • 29.
  • At 06:01 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • Peter Morrow wrote:

Peter Klaver

I was responding to the phrases, "sick to the back teeth of these polite, respectful, diplomatic discussions"... and "they should be mocked and ridiculed"...

I'm not so sure that this is the same thing as laughing, unless you are forcing the synonym. I mean, should I be thinking in terms of reintroducing the stocks?

Nowhere did I suggest that religion should not be laughed at. Laugh all you want, I laugh at it alot aswell, but I draw the line at mocking individuals.

As for it being a last resort, I hardly think that asking a pluralist society to be avoid mocking those they consider to be"insane" is such. I was making a point about tolerance, not YEC.

Anyway it is interesting to note that you ask, "is it wrong to laugh at the views of flat-earthers?" The distinction being between 'view/idea' and 'they'. You also use the word criticism, this too has a different connotation. No it is not wrong to laugh at ideas, but I hesitate before laughing at people.

  • 30.
  • At 10:47 PM on 31 Mar 2008,
  • pb wrote:

Peter

just to correct you for the nth time. I have never defined myself as a young earther.

I havent come to any firm conclusions as I dont know enough.

but in answer to your question for the nth time again.... the scientific revolution was inspired by a young earth creationist faith.

this is a statement of fact.

perhaps the onus is therefore moreso on you to show exactly what scientific discoveries rest absolutely on an old earth viewpoint.


exactyly how many are there that fall into this category and can you actually demonstrate this rather than just assert it?


We know there are a number of factors that can disrupt radiometric dating such as extreme heat and leaching.

we also know that dating 4.6bn years of aging is done on the basis of obersvation of radiation by men over a period much less than a century.


some people have pointed out that this is a comparitively tiny sample on which to base such old earth positions with certainty.

I am interested to hear more on this from both sides.


old earth extrapolations is model building which popper said had scientific character but was not actually scientific theory, as it cannot be replicated or observed.

I also understand that the traditional jewish and christian viewpoint has been young earth; jude endorses a literal young earth jewish geneology; the christian faith has for most of its history taken the viewpoint that adam was a literal person.


certainly that is the viewpoint of ALL NT authors.

You will also notice that Christ in his teaching on diviorce said that marrige was formed at the beginning of creation; he also affirmed noah and the ark as a true story.

it is very hard to sit on the fence on this matter if you want to take the bible seriously.

it is a bit like jesus; he spits out anyone who is lukewarm about him.

I dont purport by any means to understand this whole subjecty or have absolute truth on it.

I have that open minded in common with Dawkins though, who says the entire theory of evolution could one day be discarded competely.


but finally I have to say that even evolution does not allow Peter to believe in athiesm as it gives no honest conclusions on teleology.

certainly the first cause of the universe and the formation of life requires much more faith from athiests than from Christians regardless of whether on believes in evolution as true or not.

pb


  • 31.
  • At 10:13 AM on 01 Apr 2008,
  • Amenhotep wrote:

PB, that's rather disingenuous.

Incidentally, I need to correct myself - I listened again, and William finally forced Norman Nevin to admit that he is in fact a young earth creationist, which essentially confirms that Intelligent Design is just creationism with its lippy on (and smudged over its teeth).

An interesting aside on that is that Norman pointed out how finely tuned the various constants of physics are, and how critically life (as we know it!) depends on these values. Yet, it is precisely these values that totally exclude the possibility of young earth creationism. The speed of light is just one. Seems like the YECs are wanting to have their cake and eat it.

But here's where you are being nonsensical: certainly the first cause of the universe and the formation of life requires much more faith from athiests than from Christians regardless of whether on believes in evolution as true or not.

That is such a common turkey that it's nearly not worth refuting. Let's try again. I am an atheist. That does not mean that I *believe* that there are no gods; it is just that I do not believe that there *are*. In fact, I would go further. "Belief" is just a mental shortcut. It is actually completely unnecessary. You don't need to "believe" anything. Science means that you construct your hypothesis, and test its sorry arse with the evidence. Belief doesn't come into the equation.

So, to state that atheists require *more* belief than theists is simply absurd. I have yet to meet an atheist who would not be a theist if they were presented with good evidence for the gods. So far all you kids have come up with are crap arguments.

  • 32.
  • At 08:12 PM on 01 Apr 2008,
  • Ian McVeigh wrote:

RE: Blueprint
I never watched a more incredible (incredulous) idiotic, unbelievable load of nonsense written and spoken by what in Norn Ireland we regard as educates eejits.

One positive note: The untarnished (by computer generated spoofs) scenery of our beautiful Province was beautiful. Could this not be shown without the nonsensical claptrap of "science falsely so called."

Ian- Not all of us are so willfully ignorant of scientific fact as to do so.

  • 34.
  • At 10:27 PM on 01 Apr 2008,
  • pb wrote:


Amen

I dont know what you mean when you say the anthropic prinicple is against creationism.

I mean, the secular big bang theory has major problems with light too;-

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horizon_problem

And come on even secualr scientists have loads of faith; faith that their interpretations are correct, faith that God's scientific laws are stable, faith that they can under stand the univserse and their data properly with their human senses.

I cant prove God but there are lots of hints.

Ethics, beauty, conscience and science all dovetail very well under the grand unified theory of God.

scientific imperialism which takes only one university faculty and elevates it above all others as the ultimate arbiter of truth is rather presumptous. can you amke a case for it?

This also goes for secualr scientists in their daily lives - who among them uses only empricism among their faculties to interpret their world and learn truth?


it is quite easy to reject God using science and I find it hard to believe most athiests would accept him if they were given "evidence".

If you really are as rational as you claim you should be able to explain why you used to have a strong christin faith and why you then rejected it.

both positions are positions of faith basec on conscious decisions.

you seem to imply that the only respectable scientific position is to be sceptical about God.

but this only became the norm in science around 100 years ago. before that scientists were natural philsophers who assumed the existence of the supernatiral but focussed professionally on studying natural causes. no tension or contradiction. that was a major point apparently missed at Dover.

You are hiding your athiesm behind a very trendy modern but minority assumption in the history of science.

and if it was the cold hard decision of reason you make it out to be your mouth would not be contsantly spilling over with contemptuous ad hominems it is.

That betrays your heart, not your intellect.

The fact is that science cannot make a definitive case for or against God.

PB


  • 35.
  • At 01:25 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

freethinker, you seem to be convinced that the 250 000-yearly pole-flip theory is fact. None of us were around then and there are no written records, so it is still just a theory is it not? Or have you new evidence?
However let's say theory is true. It then raises many problems : how did living creatures survive the exposure to deadly solar radiation in each flip? Since the earth is and has been slowing down, how does this fit with your idea of earth as a self-sustaining dynamo? When and why does it speed up again? Why don't the other expected planets in our solar system exhibit this dynamo-model?

  • 36.
  • At 05:01 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Hello Jason,

Hope you won't mind if I answer a question you asked to freethinker.

"freethinker, you seem to be convinced that the 250 000-yearly pole-flip theory is fact. None of us were around then and there are no written records, so it is still just a theory is it not? Or have you new evidence? "

No new evidence is needed. Maybe an explanation instead of what constitutes a theory in physics.

In mathematics there are proofs that are final. If someone writes down a mathematical proof without errors, then that is it, that's where the discussion ends. The proof is 100% certain. In physics it rarely if ever works that way. Presumably you think gravity is real and will make you stick to the earth tomorrow. Yet ask any physicist to write down the 100% certain proof that that will be the case and they'll come up blank.
Even two of the most fundamental, accurate, extensively tested theories we have in use right now, quantum mechanics and relativity, are still theories. They've made predictions that were later on measured to be accurate up to more than a dozen digits. Incredibly accurate and reliable, yet still theories. So a theory can be the most amazingly reliable explanation there is for some of the things we observe around us.

By contrast, the 'just a theory' sound bite often spoken by a certain group of religious believers is no more than a hollow way of dismissing those parts of science that show their beliefs to be wrong. If only they would aim a tiny portion of that doubtful thinking to their religious beliefs and require as much grounds under their beliefs as they require from science!

"However let's say theory is true. It then raises many problems : how did living creatures survive the exposure to deadly solar radiation in each flip? Since the earth is and has been slowing down, how does this fit with your idea of earth as a self-sustaining dynamo? When and why does it speed up again? Why don't the other expected planets in our solar system exhibit this dynamo-model?"

I can answer the latter question for you. The earths magnetic field is caused by currents in the liquid outer core (made up of mostly Fe and I believe also a good portion of Ni, not sure of the latter). So other planets that do not have such a core would not have a magnetic field like the earth. Or if they do, then it wouldn't be caused by the same mechanism as around the earth.

greets,
Peter

  • 37.
  • At 08:28 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

Hi, Peter.

Apologies, freethinker, for posting on this thread - I meant to post on the one at the top of William's blog however freethinker is also posting here and it is connected so I hope you don't mind. I don't mind you answering Peter but freethinker's answer was what I was most interested in...
Not entirely sure where you got the idea I belong to "a certain group of religious believers" - did I mention my religon to you?
I'm interested in the science and logic here, so could we stick to that at least just for the meantime please? Thanks for the info on physics and maths - I already know that from studying both at Queen's.
You can answer 1 of my 4 questions raised by freethinker's theory. I would say well done except that it doesn't answer the question of how the earth generates its field or other planets nearby. You should know that you don't need to having moving Fe or Ni to have an electric current, but you have to say that to make evolution theory fit...
Back to the original point...I think it was Dr David Whitehouse(BBC News Online Science Editor) who said,"Looking back in the geological record it is clear that on average such events occur about every 250,000 years. However, it has been 750,000 years since the last reversal—so we are certainly overdue.’ Hmmmmmmmm !!!

  • 38.
  • At 09:11 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Jason wrote:

You can have an electric current, Peter simply from the movement of free electrons in a conductor - of course this also generates a magnetic field. It's not necessary to have a movement of Iron, Nickel or any other conductor of electricity at the outer core of the earth to generate our magnetic field. To be honest I don't know how it is generated exactly but believe it most likely to be some sort of free flowing electrical current that is subject to decay (and most evidence I have seen points to it not regularly reversing),not moving metals because the "revolving outer core" such as in the 2003 film "The Core" idea seems to be rejected by eminent scientists : http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/2889127.stm
http://academics.utep.edu/Portals/633/Physica0203.pdf

  • 39.
  • At 09:54 PM on 02 Apr 2008,
  • Amenhotep wrote:

Hi PB,

"Assuming the existence of the supernatural" is precisely the problem. This is an unwarranted assumption. If you're wanting to construct a hypothesis in this regard, and test it, go right ahead.

If you really are as rational as you claim you should be able to explain why you used to have a strong christin faith and why you then rejected it.

Because I believed it at one stage, and then read a lot of the bible, and realised that it was not true. I can't disprove the existence of the gods, but I have no reason to believe in 'em, and to do so would require me to think up some explanation for why they exist in the first place.

Simple enough?

-A

  • 40.
  • At 05:51 PM on 04 Apr 2008,
  • Klaver's nemesis (PB) wrote:

Pete / Amenhotep

Pete

Rephrasing the answer to your question - what has creation science ever given us?


Old earth geology (Lyell) and evolution (Darwin) both came around 100 years after the scientific revolution.

ie young earth creationism was the norm when most of the hard lifting was done which gives your the science you enjoy today.

Names such as Bacon, Boyle, Pascal, Kepler, Newton were all bible believers as was Lord Kelvin who based the second law of thermodynamics on the bible.

Interesting that Copernicus and Mendel were also priests!

For your question to mean anything you would have to be able to do a meaningful analysis of the proportion of scientists who were creationists or evolutionists since Darwin and Lyell.

But that is still missing the point that the scientific revolution was avowedly Christian as it was seen as worship to seek out and understand God's creation by them.

At one stage the scientific parson was a social stereotype in Britain, just before science became a profession in its own right.

AMENHOTEP

You sure have skirted over alot of questions I raised there - horizon problem and athropic principle for example - getting a bit hot for you in this kitchen?

Ref old manuscript proofs of the bible BTW, after more reading I understand the massive amoung of acgreement between a hughe volume of mss confirms their accuracy because of the time and geography which seperated them; ie this affirmed the tracjectory of accuracy over centuries was virtually unchanged.

PB

  • 41.
  • At 06:41 PM on 04 Apr 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Hello Jason,

I'm afraid you misunderstood. When I mentioned currents in the core I meant electrical currents of course. A liquid flow by itself wouldn't generate magnetism. An electrical current does (as you yourself already pointed out in your follow-up post). So contrary to what you said, that does explain the origin of the earths magnetic field.

In your posts you seem to make a distinction between electrical currents caused purely by the flow of electrons and currents caused by moving liquid (which would have to be charged then, I would think). Would both not have the same net effect as far as generating a magnetic field is concerned?

I only addressed one of your four questions, I don't know that much about how the earths magnetic field will evolve in the distant future. Maybe freethinker can help you out with that.

Finally, you mentioned studying both math and physics. If you have a scientific background, then you should know that cutting a quote from an online BBC news article does not constitute a very solid basis for a scientific argument. Neither does linking to a pdf that supposedly shows something, when nothing in that pdf actually does.

greets,
Peter

  • 42.
  • At 01:51 PM on 05 Apr 2008,
  • David Agnew wrote:


Dear Brian,

You say that science “may be proof without certainty”.Well is it “proof without certainty” or not?

Surely it would need to be proof with certainty otherwise how can you say before this that “science is truth”.Do you have any certainty about this statement?If you do have certainty do you have any proof for the same?

What do you mean by proof?What do you mean by certainty?

If someone is going to make scientific claims about how the earth came to be and how old it is then they should tell us

1) the assumptions made (all theories have them)

2) the errors in any measurements made (all physical measurements have them)

This program did not start with observation,proceeding to questions about how to explain what is observed.It made assumptions without telling the watchers of the program.

I studied Geology in school and it is full of assumptions about strata and chemical processes.These were not stated to the class when we studied the subject as impressionable teenagers.

David Agnew

  • 43.
  • At 01:57 PM on 05 Apr 2008,
  • freethinker wrote:

Jason #35
Sorry for delay - thought we'd moved on to the more recent Blueprint thread!
OK one thing at a time!
re the earth's magnetic field

see
http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2003/29dec_magneticfield.htm

quote
They've also learned what happens during a magnetic flip. Reversals take a few thousand years to complete, and during that time--contrary to popular belief--the magnetic field does not vanish. "It just gets more complicated," says Glatzmaier. Magnetic lines of force near Earth's surface become twisted and tangled, and magnetic poles pop up in unaccustomed places. A south magnetic pole might emerge over Africa, for instance, or a north pole over Tahiti. Weird. But it's still a planetary magnetic field, and it still protects us from space radiation and solar storms.

  • 44.
  • At 02:06 PM on 05 Apr 2008,
  • Dylan_Dog wrote:

Goodness PB!

Still as big a dishonest hypocrite as ever! good to see some things remain constant!

"perhaps the onus is therefore moreso on you to show exactly what scientific discoveries rest absolutely on an old earth viewpoint."

Errr well you are using some of these discoveries at this moment sweetie! all of palaeontology,geology, most of physics, the same with biology and chemistry rest on an old earth, they all link together. Take fossils for eg, now you use fossil fuels these are discovered using scientific predictions(remember your thesis! on Fossils PB-what a load of dishonest useless horse manure that was!).

Now this old (yawn) canard about great scientists being "Bible-believers"-well first of, they were very intelligent men that you mentioned and as you know PB being intelligent instantly rules you out of being a Bible-believer! and let us not forget that their discoveries that we use today are firmly within the scientific naturalistic framework nor that most scientific discoveries were opposed by Bible-believers.

Then we get on to the special pleading about what Jesus said, well Egyptian rulers also believed their creation myths etc etc. Julius Caesar believed firmly in Romulus and Remus therefore they are true!? so what PB and since this is meant to be a scientific discussion I don't know why you wish to bring in religion!?Incidentally Jesus also warned about "false prophets and hypocrites", you know sanctimonious, self-righteous, dishonest, religious hypocrites-it is very odd that you never to take to heart these parts of the teaching of Jesus!? how...hypocritical!

Read what Popper actually said not what some creationist has perverted his ideas into-think you would learn by now!?

"I dont purport by any means to understand this whole subjecty or have absolute truth on it."

Goodness some honesty! though this tempered by your past record as you have attempted to give us the "facts" on science though as you know this has invariably been shown to be on every occasion a load of dishonest, useless horse manure.

"I have that open minded in common with Dawkins though, who says the entire theory of evolution could one day be discarded competely."

Isn't it absolutely wonderful that Dawkins would say this? personally I am cock a hoop that he has! Now could you name me one prominent creationist who has said that they would be prepared to discard their ideas?

"You sure have skirted over alot of questions I raised there "

Goodness PB yet more hypocrisy!? pot...kettle...black are the words that spring to mind! now are you the person who couldn't/wouldn't answer a couple of very *simple* questions that have been posed to him of over a year and a half really be getting all sanctimonious about someone else seemingly not answering a question!?!?

lots of luv

DD

  • 45.
  • At 11:39 AM on 06 Apr 2008,
  • Peter Klaver wrote:

Pb my sweet,

You're my nemesis now pb? Well, I was wondering who I got that STD from. And you said there was no need for protection. How dishonest of you pb, so typical of creationists!

Regarding the rise of science, it was pointed out to you already that the Greeks were doing great science hundreds of years before jesus was ever heard of. You know that url that was pointed out to you before:

http://www.ics.forth.gr/%7Evsiris/ancient_greeks/

  • 46.
  • At 10:32 AM on 07 Apr 2008,
  • pb wrote:


Peter


completely avoiding the point!

what a stunning sidestep!

;-D

PB

  • 47.
  • At 12:02 PM on 07 Apr 2008,
  • pb wrote:

just to recap Pete

up until the enlightenment formally took hold ie about 100 years ago, the rule of thumb was that ALL science studied "the uniformity of natural causes in an open system (read; supernatual world)".

This included the Greeks.

The scientific method was developed long before evolution and old earth geology came on the scene as theories.

In fact it was two Christians who played the formative roles in creating the method, ie Bacon and Newton.

The greeks were natural philosophers but did not use the scientific method as we know it today.


PB

  • 48.
  • At 07:25 PM on 07 Apr 2008,
  • Dylan_Dog wrote:

PB

Any chance of a reply to the simple questions I posed you?

Or are you going to continue to act the hypocrite?

DD

  • 49.
  • At 07:33 PM on 07 Apr 2008,
  • Dylan_Dog wrote:

PB

Any chance of a reply to the simple questions I posed you?

Sweetie try and read a decent history of science before making yourself looking even more foolish(if that is at all possible).

Or are you going to continue to act the hypocrite?

DD

ps. If indeed "open system" means "supernatural" what testable evidence did they provide? You know why that type of science was dropped PB? because it didn't work-simple as that!

pps. How do you feel about filling your car, heating your home/church etc etc with the "old earth viewpoint"-must make you(and Ken Ham) feel like a right hypocrite.

  • 50.
  • At 11:36 AM on 16 Apr 2008,
  • guthrie wrote:

PB- the enlightenment took hold over 200 years ago.
Where did you get your definition of science? And what do you nderstand by the word "natural"?

What has anyones religion got to do with the science? Nothing! You keep acting as if it does, yet he vast majority of scientists who made discoveries throughout the 18th and 19th centuries were believers of some sort. YET THEY STILL CAME UP WITH THE OLD EARTH AND EVOLUTION!

Yes, thats right, by following the scientific method, they came up with answers you don't like. Well, tough.

Perhaps you need to go and read what Bacon actually wrote? Or indeed go back further, to Grosseteste.

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