Bill Nye to debate Ken Ham?!

| 200 Comments

Let us hope not, but a reader just sent me the following from Mr. Ham’s Facebook page:

Well the big news for 2014 as we begin this new year is that in February, at the Creation Museum, I will be debating the well known Bill Nye The Science Guy! In the next day or so we will post more details including how you can buy tickets to this event. It’s quite rare these days for such a well known evolutionist to publicly debate a creationist–so we do expect a lot of media interest. For now, I just wanted to let you know about this–keep watch for details!

If it is true, I sincerely hope Mr. Nye will reconsider. There is nothing to debate, and a “debate” with Mr. Nye will only give Mr. Ham credibility that he does not deserve and increase not only his visibility but also his ability to attract investors. May I suggest that Mr. Nye take his cue from the noted Holocaust scholar, Deborah Lipstadt, who told the magazine Limmud,

If Limmud’s organisers invited Lipstadt to participate in a panel discussion with [Holocaust denier David] Irving, she would refuse point blank. “I don’t debate Holocaust deniers. Putting him on a panel would mean someone lost their mind. He’s a liar – why give a liar a platform?”

I sometimes bowdlerize that to “I do not debate liars,” and it is a policy I recommend to anyone who is tempted to “debate” a creationist. Whether you win or lose, you will convince no one and will only add to the prominence of your opponent, who can now say, “See, I debated a prominent scientist; I must be taken seriously now.”

Please, Mr. Nye, do not “debate” with Ken Ham or any other charlatan. No good will come of it – no good can come of it.

Update, January 2, 9:30 MST: February 4, at the Creation “Museum,” $25.00. See here.

200 Comments

Unless Bill Nye has found some way to defeat the Gish Gallop, and clean up the confusion as fast as Ham can create it. I doubt anyone can do that.

It can be done, but Nye does not have training. He is not a Jedi yet.

He should recuse himself and let Nick or Aron Ra debate in his stead. Or myself…

You have to have a come-back to all the quote mines. You have to have the TO quote mine memorized.

You have to have a comeback when they start bullshitting about radiometric dating. Does he know what an isochron is?

You have to know paleontology. Can Bill Bye list two dozen transitional fossils off the top of his head? I sincerely doubt it. What will he say when they cite Oxnard 1975?

He’ll get chewed up. He should let a Jedi take his place.

Hambone has other goals aside from gaining elevation by association with Nye. He will use this as an opportunity to raise money bilk more credulous followers to fund his state supported ark park boongogle.

Agree to participate only under certain conditions: 1.the earth is a sphere 2.the earth revolves around the sun 3.modern dating techniques are reliable, the earth is 4.5 billion years old 4.(almost) every multicellular animal has a mother 5.stick to a single subject, like the transformation of a certain line of sarcopterygian fish into tetrapods or 6.assistents who have laptops with databases of all sorts of information are allowed (in chess every now and then top grandmasters play against each other with the assistence of chess opening databases)

This is just from the top of my head. Feel free to add or remove conditions

I agree with Matt in urgently urging Nye not to debate the Hambone - see also http://old.richarddawkins.net/artic[…]creationists

There are a few pointers for Nye at http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/deb[…]ionists.html. See also http://www.csicop.org/si/show/debat[…]reationists/

Insist on an unbiased moderator and a balanced audience. Debate on neutral ground, not in a church. Insist on a live program - not an edited video to be released later.

Better yet, don’t do it - it only lends credibility to liars and scoundrels.

The imported Ham must have made Nye an offer he couldn’t refuse. Hopefully, someone close to Nye will get the word to him that this is not a good way to make a buck…not at all…regrets would soon follow.

Probably too late now - Ken Ham’d just shift to “Nye is scared to debate me” mode.

Roy

First, is Nye an expert in evolution? Does he know all of the details? Does he know how to answer honest questions? Does he know how to answer dishonest questions? Can he recognize quote mines? Does he know what to say in response to “were you there”? Does he know how to respond to the claim that dinosaurs were on the magic ark?

Second, what are the rules for the “debate”? Is there a moderator? WIll the GIsh gallop be allowed? Who will get the last word? WIll it be handled in a fair and impartial manner? WIll it be live? WIll it be edited? Who does the editing? Who will have final say on the editing?

Third, is Bill ready to stoop to the level of that Ham is going to go to? Is he willing to use quote mines? Is he willing to use sound bites? Is he willing to lie, or at least bend the truth? Is he willing to point out when Ham is wrong or lying or being deceitful? I’m not saying that he should or should not do these things. I’m just saying that he should decide ahead of time, not in a moment of blind fury at the utter audacity of the charlatan he has been assuming is a decent human being.

Fourth, is BIll going to be prepared? Is he going to watch videos of Ham and learn his tricks? Is he going to have come backs ready for all of the Ham one liners? is he going to have the facts he needs to deal with the misrepresentations? Is he going to be able to deal with the insertion of religious nonsense into a science debate? Is he going to know how far in the hole the ark project is and what ludicrous means Ham is using to try to get it built anyway? Is he going to point out the utter absurdity of such a monumental hoax? Perhaps he should ask Ham why he got kicked out of Australia.

DS said:

First, is Nye an expert in evolution? Does he know all of the details? Does he know how to answer honest questions? Does he know how to answer dishonest questions? Can he recognize quote mines? Does he know what to say in response to “were you there”? Does he know how to respond to the claim that dinosaurs were on the magic ark?

Second, what are the rules for the “debate”? Is there a moderator? WIll the GIsh gallop be allowed? Who will get the last word? WIll it be handled in a fair and impartial manner? WIll it be live? WIll it be edited? Who does the editing? Who will have final say on the editing?

Third, is Bill ready to stoop to the level of that Ham is going to go to? Is he willing to use quote mines? Is he willing to use sound bites? Is he willing to lie, or at least bend the truth? Is he willing to point out when Ham is wrong or lying or being deceitful? I’m not saying that he should or should not do these things. I’m just saying that he should decide ahead of time, not in a moment of blind fury at the utter audacity of the charlatan he has been assuming is a decent human being.

Fourth, is BIll going to be prepared? Is he going to watch videos of Ham and learn his tricks? Is he going to have come backs ready for all of the Ham one liners? is he going to have the facts he needs to deal with the misrepresentations? Is he going to be able to deal with the insertion of religious nonsense into a science debate? Is he going to know how far in the hole the ark project is and what ludicrous means Ham is using to try to get it built anyway? Is he going to point out the utter absurdity of such a monumental hoax? Perhaps he should ask Ham why he got kicked out of Australia.

Short answer: no no no no no no no.

DS said: …is Bill ready to stoop to the level of that Ham is going to go to? … Is he willing to point out when Ham is wrong or lying or being deceitful? I’m not saying that he should or should not do these things. I’m just saying that he should decide ahead of time, not in a moment of blind fury at the utter audacity of the charlatan he has been assuming is a decent human being.

If Nye decides to go through with a debate, he should be prepared to deal with massive psychological warfare bombardment from the Father of Lies Himself. I don’t know - does Nye have a temper? If he does, he will have to keep it under tight control.

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

DS suggests:

Perhaps he should ask Ham why he got kicked out of Australia.

Alas, Ham didn’t get kicked out of Australia. He can come back anytime. He will discover that all is not forgiven, but still, he can come back. Being a ratbag is not sufficient reason to lift a man’s Australian passport, though maybe it ought to be. Nevertheless, we really shouldn’t unload our spare loonies onto other countries. It isn’t polite.

Ham set out for Kentucky, lo, these many years ago. He did it for roughly the same reason that Big Daddy set out for New York:

“And the Voice said, brother, there’s a million pigeons/ Ready to be hooked on new religions/ Hit the road, Daddy, leave your common-law wife/ Spread the religion of the rhythm of life.”

And he’s been blowin’ on that trumpet loud and mean ever since.

I’ve often thought that what’s needed to rout these guys is not a panel of professors, who are often boggled by the sheer scale of the fraud that they’re expected to counter. No, it would be, say, four or five grad students who are google-savvy, and who can whip up a counter-presentation from web resources, right there, real time, and throw it on a screen, plus a front man (or woman) who can present it as it happens, hot from the press as it were. The requirement for the latter needs to be presentation skills, and the ability to think on the feet, not necessarily a PhD in evolutionary theory.

No transitionals? Here’s six. Nobody ever saw evolution in action? Here’s four, with pictures. Polonium halos? This is the explanation. Multistrate trees? Yep, right here. Reservoir effect? This is how it happens, and here’s how it gets screened out. And so on.

It has to be pictures, it has to be confident, and it has to be non-technical.

I hope Bill Nye can pull it off.

Dave Luckett said:

I’ve often thought that what’s needed to rout these guys is not a panel of professors, who are often boggled by the sheer scale of the fraud that they’re expected to counter. No, it would be, say, four or five grad students who are google-savvy, and who can whip up a counter-presentation from web resources, right there, real time, and throw it on a screen…

It has to be pictures, it has to be confident, and it has to be non-technical.

EXACTLY. This is exactly what I think. When Ken Ham goes into his quote mines, you need a 24-year-old grad student with an internet connection to google those quotes on the fly. If you do that, for each quote there’ll be dozens of creationist sites as the top 50 hits, so you need the experience to sieve through those to get to debunking.

And pictures and graphics. Ken Ham treats his audience as if they have the minds of 12 year olds, and he uses cartoons. We need diagrams, e.g. gradual brain size increase in the fossil hominids.

Just Bob said:

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

Exactly. We need to offer our vast collective resources and at least throw together a PowerPoint with graphics! Nick Matzke, Mike Elzinga, etc. are you listening?

Didn’t Nye just do Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars in the last year or so? I respect what he’s done as a science popularizer, but his recent behavior seems a bit publicity-first-quality-second.

I’m making a prediction right now.

Bill Nye will do just fine in this totally irrelevant “debate”.

Let’s clarify that it is totally irrelevant. No public policy is being debated. Literally no-one will have their mind changed by this “debate”. No-one is going to be converted to YEC. (Already-creationist liars will pop up claiming that the debate “converted” them but they’ll be lying.) None of the YEC people are going to change their minds, either. Not even if Ham breaks down blubbering in tears and begs Nye for forgiveness. It’s an irrelevant exercise.

Bill Nye is a professional entertainer with a solid to excellent general grasp of many scientific topics. We’ll have to see, but it won’t surprise me at all if he shows up quite well prepared.

Ken Ham isn’t Duane Gish. Gish had folksy charisma, actual scientific training that allowed him to “sound science-y”, and an ability not to explode in rage at the slightest frustration. Ken Ham lacks all of that.

Duane Gish “debated” stodgy scientists of the type who would put their own graduate students to sleep, who inevitable showed up unprepared.

And it never mattered. Edwards happened. Dover happened.

So, while I agree that refusing the “debate” would have been optimal, my money is on Bill Nye to make Ham look like an unpleasant idiot and generate a few funny moments for Youtube. But it really doesn’t matter.

eric said:

Didn’t Nye just do Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars in the last year or so? I respect what he’s done as a science popularizer, but his recent behavior seems a bit publicity-first-quality-second.

His job is “entertainer”. The guy has to work gigs to make a living. I can see a mild argument against “Celebrity Apprentice” (Trump is offensive). I don’t see anything particularly wrong with anyone appearing on “Dancing With the Stars”.

diogeneslamp0 said:

Just Bob said:

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

Exactly. We need to offer our vast collective resources and at least throw together a PowerPoint with graphics! Nick Matzke, Mike Elzinga, etc. are you listening?

That’s an excellent and constructive suggestion.

Dave Luckett said:

DS suggests:

Perhaps he should ask Ham why he got kicked out of Australia.

Alas, Ham didn’t get kicked out of Australia. He can come back anytime. He will discover that all is not forgiven, but still, he can come back. Being a ratbag is not sufficient reason to lift a man’s Australian passport, though maybe it ought to be. Nevertheless, we really shouldn’t unload our spare loonies onto other countries. It isn’t polite.

Your loss was our loss.

Seems to me (not a debater, not a scientist) that in a short format, before a live audience, that rather than trying to educate the audience on the evidence for evolution in a few minutes, what might have more ‘punch’ would be to put Ham on the defensive: review the history of modern creationism; bring up a few creationist claims that have been shown to be blatantly, obviously wrong (or outright lies), but that are still claimed by creationists; remind the audience of the Dover debacle–crowing about how the Christian conservative judge would give them a ‘Waterloo’, then their despicable trashing of him when he didn’t deliver as expected; read relevant passages of AIG’s pledge and contrast them with rationality; remind them, with names and statistics, that the majority of Christians worldwide accept evolution; etc.

Ham challenged Nye to debate over a year ago. I don’t know if this is a response to that challenge, but apparently the idea has been in the air for some time. So Nye has had time to discuss the merits of the debate, to set rules to keep it at least somewhat fair, and to study the tactics that creationists use, as well as good responses to same.

He should have this all worked out decently, since he’s had the time. If he hasn’t, he deserves to look bad.

Glen Davidson

If Bill Nye has accepted an offer from Ken Ham to do a February debate, it would be honorable and ethical for Nye to actually show up and fulfill his commitment.

If Nye chickens out of the deal, if Nye has failed to evolve a backbone by now, his absence will provide plenty of good material for yet another “Genesis Station” essay.

FL

Ham has already declined to debate Aron Ra and PZ Myers. I would point out that it is possible to debate clowns like Ham; Ken Miller debated Henry Morris and handed him his hat. However, Miller carefully prepared himself by reading everything Morris had ever written or lectured on and was fully prepared with short responses to anything that the latter might bring up. The late John Maynard Smith successfully debated Duane Gish and made him look bad.

diogeneslamp0 said:

It can be done, but Nye does not have training. He is not a Jedi yet.

He should recuse himself and let Nick or Aron Ra debate in his stead. Or myself…

You have to have a come-back to all the quote mines. You have to have the TO quote mine memorized.

You have to have a comeback when they start bullshitting about radiometric dating. Does he know what an isochron is?

You have to know paleontology. Can Bill Bye list two dozen transitional fossils off the top of his head? I sincerely doubt it. What will he say when they cite Oxnard 1975?

He’ll get chewed up. He should let a Jedi take his place.

harold said:

diogeneslamp0 said:

Just Bob said:

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

Exactly. We need to offer our vast collective resources and at least throw together a PowerPoint with graphics! Nick Matzke, Mike Elzinga, etc. are you listening?

That’s an excellent and constructive suggestion.

We know that Ham will Gish Gallop; he was trained by Gish and Morris at the Institute for Creation Research. He will also pull out the “where you there?” crap about “historical science.” His presentation will be to a stacked audience.

If Bill Nye really intends to go through with this, he should spend a few months going through everything on the Answers in Genesis website; and that means all the “Video on Demand” crap as well.

Then, if folks who have debated Morris or Gish are still available, Bill should consult with them.

One should not depend on an internet connection and Google in a debate; you can’t be sure the connection to the internet will be reliable and fast enough to get “instant” answers.

However, a well structured PowerPoint with quick links to pages that address specific claims by Ham would be useful; and it should be practiced so that Nye can do it on a dime in real time in a debate.

Nye should not fall into the trap of trying to address everything that Ham throws out, but instead should pick out one or two really important issues that he can address thoroughly in the debate format. Those will be the templates for revealing what Ham – and any ID/creationists, for that matter – does with all his other Gish Galloping “points.” Those one or two points should expose the tactics that Ham and the ID/creationists use.

In fact, it would be best to ignore most of the crap that Ham will throw out. This is where Nye really needs to know the science thoroughly at a high school level; because ID/creationists muck up high school science routinely as they try to pretend to be experts in “advanced topics” in order to impress their audience. Just look at what our resident trolls are impressed with and try to do in imitation.

Unfortunately, if this debate takes place, it is already a victory for the ID/creationists before it even starts. ID/creationists are looking for celebrity; any kind of celebrity they can get. Taunting high-visibility scientists or science popularizers into debates is how they do it.

One needs only to look at the AiG website to know just what kind of dump truck loads of trash Ham will throw out in rapid succession. Just watch a video over at AiG. Those characters practice and practice and practice; and everything they toss out per second is pure bullshit.

SLC said:

Ham has already declined to debate Aron Ra and PZ Myers. I would point out that it is possible to debate clowns like Ham; Ken Miller debated Henry Morris and handed him his hat. However, Miller carefully prepared himself by reading everything Morris had ever written or lectured on and was fully prepared with short responses to anything that the latter might bring up. The late John Maynard Smith successfully debated Duane Gish and made him look bad.

diogeneslamp0 said:

It can be done, but Nye does not have training. He is not a Jedi yet.

He should recuse himself and let Nick or Aron Ra debate in his stead. Or myself…

You have to have a come-back to all the quote mines. You have to have the TO quote mine memorized.

You have to have a comeback when they start bullshitting about radiometric dating. Does he know what an isochron is?

You have to know paleontology. Can Bill Bye list two dozen transitional fossils off the top of his head? I sincerely doubt it. What will he say when they cite Oxnard 1975?

He’ll get chewed up. He should let a Jedi take his place.

That is why I questioned Nye’s credentials? Is he a biologist? Is he an evolutionary biologist? Is he familiar with the molecular and genetic evidence? Is he familiar with the developmental evidence? Is he familiar with the fossil evidence? Is he familiar with all of the creationist misrepresentations of all of this evidence? Ham probably refused to debate anyone he thought was a real expert. Let’s hope that Nye will surprise him if he decides to go through with this.

FL said:

If Bill Nye has accepted an offer from Ken Ham to do a February debate, it would be honorable and ethical for Nye to actually show up and fulfill his commitment.

If Nye chickens out of the deal, if Nye has failed to evolve a backbone by now, his absence will provide plenty of good material for yet another “Genesis Station” essay.

FL

Like Bill Dembski?

Just Bob said:

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

Thanks for the address. I’ve written asking him to reconsider. It would be better to pull out. There is no debate on the scientific merits and Nye shouldn’t give Ham the unearned respect of sharing a stage.

I hope his inbox fills with similar requests.

The creationist crowd has been doing this gig for more than 30 years and they have all the rhetorical devices on their side. PLUS by allowing them to charge $25 a head for admission Nye is acting as a fund raiser for the kooks. Totally bad idea.

patrickmay.myopenid.com said:

Just Bob said:

Perhaps a few emails to Bill from you folks with years of experience in this wilderness would change his mind–or at least alert him to pitfalls and suggest useful strategies.

b*n*s*g*@billnye.com [no asterisks]

Thanks for the address. I’ve written asking him to reconsider. It would be better to pull out. There is no debate on the scientific merits and Nye shouldn’t give Ham the unearned respect of sharing a stage.

I hope his inbox fills with similar requests.

I’ve emailed him offering my assistance and pointing out that we at PT have massive notes, references and resources to put at his disposal, should he choose to proceed.

John said:

gnome de net said:

I hope any brokerage firm worthy of that distinction would make investment decisions based on its own research and analyses rather than the opinions of secular bloggers and reporters.

I am sure Goldman Sachs and other notable Wall Street firms did not rely on the “opinions of secular bloggers and reporters.….” or the views of Darwinian Conservatives such as yours truly. Am reasonably confident that they knew that the Hamster’s proposed amusement park would be the financial equivalent of securing a room aboard the RMS Titanic’s maiden voyage.

More like buying a ticket on speculation for the SECOND VOYAGE and hoping to scalp it at a profit!

My friend Alert Reader has just sent me a link to this splendid cartoon in the Louisville Courier-Journal. I think that says it all – it is not the “atheists” who sank the Ark, but rather a dose of reality.

I’m sure that when potential investors realized that he wasn’t going to build a real ark, they figured out that it was all just a scam. As opposed to if he had tried to actually build a real ark, in which case they would have found out too late to get their money back.

He may also have found out how poorly Henry Morris did against Miller in a debate held at Brown, which, I understand that Kwok attended.

John said:

Tenncrain said:

For good measure it could also be good to contact Ken Miller and have him reach out to Nye, as Ken may be between semesters now at Brown Univ. As many of us know, Miller could give excellent advice from direct experience, as Miller bested both Henry Morris and Duane Gish in debates during the 1980s.

It was telling that Bill Dembski suddenly withdrew from a planned debate with Miller at Case Western Reserve University in Jan 2006. Besides Dembski demonstrating a past history of being not-so-great in a detate-type format, ID having had just lost big in the Kitzmiller court case was probably also a factor in Dembski running away. But it was no problem for Miller, as he simply gave a lecture at Case Western on how the Kitzmiller plaintiffs won bigtime; video of this 2006 Case Western talk by Miller is easy to Google up (Miller was the lead expert witness for the Dover plaintiffs).

Bill may have remembered how Ken and Robert Pennock cleaned his clock at AMNH; that debate was moderated by Genie Scott who steps down today as NCSE executive director. Ken had studied prior debates Henry Morris had, so he was well prepared to deal with him, much to the disappointment of my fellow Xian Brunonians as well as the hordes that descended upon Brown’s hockey rink, courtesy of local Xian churches in MA, RI and CT. I recommended to Bill and to Don that Bill studies Ham’s prior debates merely to get a very good sense of Ham’s rhetorical style, which Ken did with Morris, and later, of course, with Gish.

AFAIK, there is no evidence for string theory as we sit here today. For instance, string theory, as I understand it, predicts the existence of multiple universes. Unfortunately, that prediction can’t be falsified as we sit here today.

John said:

patrickmay.myopenid.com said:

Science is not decided by debates, it advances through research and peer review. When Ham has objective, empirical evidence for his sectarian claims, he can participate in the process.

All he actually has, though, is a book of bronze and iron age myths and the willingness to be as intellectually dishonest as necessary to cling to those in the face of all evidence to the contrary. Nye should not be giving him credibility that he has not earned and he certainly shouldn’t be complicit in raising funds for Ham’s execrable “museum”.

I am in full agreement with your observations, Patrick. The creotards posting here tend to forget that mainstream Christian theologians, ranging from Pope Francis I to the Archbishop of Canterbury, accept the overwhelming scientific evidence for biological evolution and that current evolutionary theory is its best scientific explanation. Indeed, there is far more robust proof supporting the fact of biological evolution than there is for string theory.

I believe that some versions of String Theory do make testable predictions. I vaguely remember hearing that most of those testable predictions are either A) not exclusive to String Theory and so also accommodated by more conventional physics, or B) being falsified by failing to win experimental support.

Found one of the links I’ve read previously, purporting to demonstrate how the LHC eliminates some version of String Theory.

Today’s Daily Kos has an article, Bill Nye explains why, which shows several videos of Mr. Nye. I have not watched them yet, but there is nothing especially recent, and the “Why” in the head does not refer to the “debate” with Mr. Ham. Some of the comments refer to the “debate,” however, and echo concerns written here on PT.

SLC said:

He may also have found out how poorly Henry Morris did against Miller in a debate held at Brown, which, I understand that Kwok attended.

I strongly doubt Bill Dembski would have given the Miller vs. Morris debate much thought. I was referring to the early 2000s Inttelligent Design debate held at the American Museum of Natural History. That, I believe, would have been far more important in Bill’s decision making with regards to debating Ken again than Ken’s very first debate back in the Spring of 1981.

Matt Young said:

Today’s Daily Kos has an article, Bill Nye explains why, which shows several videos of Mr. Nye. I have not watched them yet, but there is nothing especially recent, and the “Why” in the head does not refer to the “debate” with Mr. Ham. Some of the comments refer to the “debate,” however, and echo concerns written here on PT.

The American Humanist Association newsletter is profiling the upcoming debate with one pro and one con essay debating the merits of holding it.

There seems to be a degree of panic about any public debate with creationists, and for good reason. They know exactly were the Achilles heel of naturalism and Darwinism is.

They know that Methodological naturalism operates on the premise that everything in science is “tentative” and “not necessarily the final word”. They also know that when mainstream science began to assert that science was the “final word” it turned methodological naturalism and the scientific method on its head. And moved from “methodological” to METAPHYSICAL (or philosophical) naturalism; from operational science to ideology, and from science to scientism.

NATURALISM is the METAPHYSICAL position that “nature is ALL THERE IS, and ALL basic truths are truths of nature.”

SCIENTISM is “The precept that science is the foundation of ALL knowledge and that ALL truth can be arrived at by the empirical method.” - Encyclopaedia of Philosophy,(Macmillan, p. 372-373).

They therefore know that evolutionists and atheists, of necessity, operate on the assumption that the above two statements are true. As to believe otherwise is to technically endorse a “creative” power. As such, mainstream science now operates on unproved “blind faith” metaphysical assertions and scientism. A reality affirmed by the fact that mainstream science now operates on the premise that science can, and will, define ALL REALITY in terms of natural causes alone - with the godless “Theory of Everything”. A TOE based on unresolved issues, hypothetical theories, subjective mind “experiments”, fancy math, and missing and invisible things. Resulting in paradoxes, inconsistencies, and ever more mysteries - the “finite” mind seeking to define the “infinite”. Thus, the starting hypothesis of naturalism becomes the “conclusion”, making naturalism and evolution unfalsifiable.

The creationist scientists also well know that their worldview is a contemporary version of the enduring teleological Intelligent Design scientific framework, in which the pioneers of modern science and operational experimental science works today. Namely, the proposition that “certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause”, rather than undirected chance events or unguided random processes.

Every scientist in every field of research functions on the precept that scientists can apply vast amounts of reason and intelligence to understand and harness the natural world because the universe itself is both RATIONAL and INTELLIGIBLE. Without which it is IMPOSSIBLE to do science. No rational scientist works on the principle that they apply their considerable intelligence to investigate a NON-INTELLIGENT universe. Nor does any rational scientist operate on the principle that the superbly coordination nature and design everywhere observed in the natural world and living creatures only “appears” to be designed. Nor that the biological systems and designs scientists replicate in technology are merely “apparent”.

Furthermore, the creationist scientists well know that it’s not just the origin of life that evolutionist have a problem with, but EVERY essential element of the evolutionary continuum. And that evolutionary “historical theories” about the unobserved distant past are all based entirely based on “subjective” ideological interpretations, inferences, and multiple assumptions. None of which can be empirically tested and verified, using experimentation and observation. There is NO VERIFIABLE experimental or observational “scientific evidence” for ANY of the phases of the supposed evolutionary continuum: Not the origin of life! Nor the origin of the DNA double helix; Nor the origin of consciousness; Nor the origin of mind; Nor the complementary origin of sexual reproduction biology; Nor the origin of vastly complex genetic coding and highly structured information; Nor the origin of language and music; Nor the origin of reason and intelligence’ Nor the origin of conscience and morality; Nor the origin of the religious instinct; Nor the origin of a vast multitude of other life-form characteristics. In fact, as acknowledged by the National Academy of Sciences, even speciation remains a mystery. None-the-less, on the basis of “blind faith” evolutionists simply believe that “Evolution did it” rather than God.

Indeed, creationists scientists well know that it is not a matter of whether on not a “metaphysical” belief is being promoted in science classes, but rather which “metaphysical” belief is being imposed: Namely, the “metaphysics” of atheism and godless materialism. Where science alone defines ALL REALITY, to the exclusion of the teleological worldview on which all operational science operates, of necessity.

Thus, you would all identify with the story of the atheists and evolutionary scientists who where about to board a flight to the atheist global convention. As they were heading towards the plane the air hostess informed them that the probability of their particular plane reaching its destination was about as probable as the wonders and design of the universe and life coming about by undirected “chance” cosmic events, and unguided natural selection. Shock horror! They all frantically raced back to the terminal. With the pilots and air hostesses racing past them.

- Cheers

Perhaps it’s not so bad, since Nye isn’t a scientist, but a humorous science entertainer. Hamm isn’t debating a scientist, but an entertainer- more on the level of debating Colbert.

Well, at least the new troll is more articulate than Byers. You don’t have to guess about what he’s saying. Still, all he has is blind assertion, with nothing to back up his “faith” in these mythical “Creation Scientists” that he keeps going on and on about.

Perhaps he could name one of these “Creation Scientists”, and what kind of “Science” that person actually does?

METHODOLOGICAL NATURALISM is what works. Deal with it.

johnheno said:

There seems to be a degree of panic about any public debate with creationists, and for good reason. They know exactly were the Achilles heel of naturalism and Darwinism is.

There is absolutely nothing original here. Just look at his website. It is the typical demonizing that rains down from the pulpits of many fundamentalist churches. And it’s all projection.

johnheno said:

There seems to be a degree of panic about any public debate with creationists, and for good reason.

Oh, the same “panic” as when Ken Miller (biologist, well known advocate of evolution, and Christian) whipped both Henry Morris and Duane Gish in debates?

The same “panic” when biologist Ken Saladin exposed Duane Gish as telling a bald faced lie back in 1988 at Auburn Univ when Gish claimed ICR never funded excursions to find the Ark? Not to mentioned Saladin exposing Gish’s extensive use of quote mining? Look up the debate for yourself; even some Gish supporters in the audience were openly turned off by Gish’s disgraceful performance.

- - - - - -

Besides, public forensics events are not how science works anyway, regardless of which side “wins” the public debate.

Science works by trained scientists putting fourth scientific ideas, testing these ideas, presenting these ideas at mainstream science meetings and publishing the results of these tests in mainstream science peer-review journals for other scientists to pick apart. This is something that anti-evolutionists have virtually never done, other than their own journals which are more like “self-review” than peer review. They rarely submit to mainstream journals; this was shown at the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover “ID” trial, at the 1981 McLean v. Arkansas “Creation Science” trial, etc. Anti-evolutionists have repeatedly chosen public relations and political lobbying over the mainstream science peer review process. If anti-evolutionism is allowed to short-circuit the science peer-review process, why not other “sciences” like astrology, alchemy, pyramid power, etc?

They know exactly were the Achilles heel of naturalism and Darwinism is.

Well, lookie here. Yet another anti-evolutionist using the term Darwinism in a long obsolete fashion. It’s understandable, though, as I and others here at Pandas Thumb grew up as anti-evolutionists (I’m now a former YEC). Thus, there is so much disinformation to unlearn.

Anyway, clue for johnheno. Pure “Darwinism” lasted only a relatively short time after Darwin and Alfred Wallace first advocated evolution via natural selection. Evolutionary theory since then has been greatly expanded on, such as to include the Modern Evolutionary Synthesis of the 1930s, the discovery of genetic drift as an evolutionary mechinism in the 1960s, the more recent rapid expansion of molecular genetics and of course the new field of evo-devo (it would not be too surprising if you don’t know what evo-devo means, look it up).

While Darwin was a great visionary in many ways, a few of Darwin’s original ideas turned out to be way off the mark (such as Darwin’s views on inheritance; big discoveries about how inheritance works came long after Darwin’s day).

It’s for these and other reasons that evolutionary theory is no longer the original Darwinism of 150 or so years ago.

They know that Methodological naturalism operates on the premise that everything in science is “tentative” and “not necessarily the final word”.

One of the few things you say that is correct.

They also know that when mainstream science began to assert that science was the “final word” it turned methodological naturalism and the scientific method on its head. And moved from “methodological” to METAPHYSICAL (or philosophical) naturalism; from operational science to ideology, and from science to scientism.

NATURALISM is the METAPHYSICAL position that “nature is ALL THERE IS, and ALL basic truths are truths of nature.”

SCIENTISM is “The precept that science is the foundation of ALL knowledge and that ALL truth can be arrived at by the empirical method.” - Encyclopaedia of Philosophy,(Macmillan, p. 372-373).

Look up the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover trial trancripts on how Ken Miller (lead expert witness for the plantiffs [the plaintiffs were for science and against ID] ) explained clearly why science is limited to natural explanations for natural phenomenon. Miller testified with both elegance and humor why claims for either theism or non-theism are outside the realm of science.

Even scientists that are non-theists generally understand clearly that they can only use methodological naturalism (or scientific naturalism) for science matters. When non-theism is attached to science, it then indeed become metaphysical/philosophical naturalism and thus it’s no longer science. To be sure, scientists like atheists Richard Dawkins and William Provine may at times blur the line betweeen methological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, but Provine and Dawkins are still operating outside science when they bash religion. In the same way, when a scientist that is a theist attaches theism to his/her science, then it’s also no longer science.

This short but humorous video of Ken Miller commenting about Richard Dawkins may well drive home the point about how scientists that are theists and scientists that are non-theists can largely agree in science matters even if they strongly disagree in theology/philosophy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4mLi-UwKrLk

They therefore know that evolutionists and atheists,

A false duality.

There are many religious people, including Christians, that accept (not believe, but accept) evolution as reality yet they see evolution as fitting alongside their religious faith quite nicely. This includes mainstream scientists such as the mentioned biologist Ken Miller at Brown Univ, geologist Keith Miller at Kansas State Univ, geneticist and former atheist Francis Collins, geneticist and one-time priest Francisco Ayala (Ayala was a key expert witness for the plaintiffs that stopped the creation science law in the 1982 McLean v. Arkansas trial), etc.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

I have a life outside PT and therefore I will try to finish the rest of the post later on.

Anyone remember this blast from the past? On the Origins of Methodological Naturalism

I think johnheno is new enough to have missed it:

johnheno said: NATURALISM is the METAPHYSICAL position that “nature is ALL THERE IS, and ALL basic truths are truths of nature.”

SCIENTISM is “The precept that science is the foundation of ALL knowledge and that ALL truth can be arrived at by the empirical method.” - Encyclopaedia of Philosophy,(Macmillan, p. 372-373).

They therefore know that evolutionists and atheists, of necessity, operate on the assumption that the above two statements are true.

First, the antecedent of “They” is never defined, though it might suggest “creationists”. Second, the “above two statements” are merely definitions of the words “Naturalism” and “Scientism”. I would say that any person would “operate on the assumption” that the definitions of words are what the words mean. How else could one communicate?

But these are mere grammatical quibbles.

As to believe otherwise is to technically endorse a “creative” power. As such, mainstream science now operates on unproved “blind faith” metaphysical assertions and scientism. A reality affirmed by the fact that mainstream science now operates on the premise that science can, and will, define ALL REALITY in terms of natural causes alone - with the godless “Theory of Everything”. A TOE based on unresolved issues, hypothetical theories, subjective mind “experiments”, fancy math, and missing and invisible things. Resulting in paradoxes, inconsistencies, and ever more mysteries - the “finite” mind seeking to define the “infinite”. Thus, the starting hypothesis of naturalism becomes the “conclusion”, making naturalism and evolution unfalsifiable.

“Hypothetical theories”. Methinks that Mr. Heno does not understand the meaning of the words “hypothesis” nor “theory”. This appears to be a common creationist problem. While this also is (conceptually) a mere grammatical quibble, it does seem to form the bedrock on which the creationist builds his ridicule of scientific “theories”.

But all the grammar quibbles aside, the substance of the paragraph is nonsense.

“Science” does not assume a “conclusion” about the nature of reality. In all his defining of terms, My. Heno has failed to define what he means by “natural” and “supernatural”. Let’s give that a try.

I would define “natural” to be that which we can observe or experience with our senses, or our instruments; something that has a visible or measurable effect on our surroundings. In contrast, the “supernatural” would be something “outside of” or “beyond” our ability to sense or observe. “The mind of God” might be something that might be considered to be “supernatural”.

Note that these definitions are a bit fuzzy. Can we “observe” or “sense” our own consciousness? Well, we can measure the electrical activity in our brains. But is this a “measure” of consciousness?

The answer, surprisingly, doesn’t matter to this particular little debate about whether scientists begin with their conclusion.

Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that our consciousness is not “natural”, but is in fact “supernatural”. That is, it is something that cannot be measured. I have never heard of a scientist who would argue that the human consciousness doesn’t actually exist. If we define our “consciousness” to be supernatural, then scientists “believe in” the supernatural, because they certainly believe in themselves.

However, most scientists with whom I’m familiar would instead argue that the emergent higher order properties of interacting “natural” objects are no less “natural” than the objects themselves.

But all that aside, “science” as an activity is simply practical. That is, it simply concerns itself with things that we can observe and measure. Science does not start out with the “assumption” that there are no “supernatural” things that we can’t observe or measure. Science simply shrugs its collective shoulders to such things. If we cannot observe or measure the thing, then we have no way to study it. It’s as simple as that. There is no assumption that such things don’t exist. But, as soon as something can be observed or measured, as soon as this “supernatural” thing has a measurable effect on our “natural” world, then by our definition, that “supernatural” thing becomes part of our “natural” world, and ceases to be supernatural.

Take “radiation”, for example. Before the 20th century, we did not know that such a thing existed. Once we were able to observe the effects of radiation, we could hypothesize that these effects either had a natural or a supernatural cause. If we hypothesize that the cause is “supernatural”, what then? What test can we do to confirm or contradict the hypothesis of “supernatural”?

Take “dark matter” and “dark energy”, for example. Before modern measurements, we had no idea that such things existed. Now we see these effects. We do not know what causes them. We could hypothesize (we could “assume”) that there is a supernatural cause, perhaps that God is forming galaxies out of gas and dust just as children form snowballs out of snow. What test can we do to confirm or contradict this hypothesis of a “supernatural” agent forming the galaxies?

Hmm… Maybe that’s part of the problem. Just like creationists believe that the term “Theory” means a random guess, maybe they also believe that the term “Hypothesis” means an untestable, unfalsifiable “assumption”.

Science does not start out with the “assumption” that there are no “supernatural” objects. Contrary to Mr. Heno’s assumption, science does not even conclude that there are no “supernatural” objects. “The Supernatural” is just not a practical subject for Science to discuss. “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”, is simply a waste of time. “What does God want us to believe?” is not a question with a measurable, testable answer. There are far more interesting, more practical questions that Science can ask and seek answers to.

The “assumption” or “hypothesis” of a “supernatural” agent simply isn’t useful in a practical sense.

johnheno said:

None of which can be empirically tested and verified, using experimentation and observation. There is NO VERIFIABLE experimental or observational “scientific evidence” for ANY of the phases of the supposed evolutionary continuum:

This statement is false. See how Tiktaalik was discovered.

Not the origin of life! Nor the origin of the DNA double helix; Nor the origin of consciousness; Nor the origin of mind; Nor the complementary origin of sexual reproduction biology; Nor the origin of vastly complex genetic coding and highly structured information; Nor the origin of language

Actually, there is quite a bit that science can tell us about the origin of language. If instead you meant the “Origin of Languages” (plural), we actually know how modern human languages came about. They evolved through natural selection from previous languages. With the exception of modern constructed languages such as Klingon, Elfish, and Esperanto.

and music; Nor the origin of reason and intelligence’ Nor the origin of conscience and morality; Nor the origin of the religious instinct; Nor the origin of a vast multitude of other life-form characteristics. In fact, as acknowledged by the National Academy of Sciences, even speciation remains a mystery. None-the-less, on the basis of “blind faith” evolutionists simply believe that “Evolution did it” rather than God.

So, another God-of-the-Gaps argument: Science doesn’t know how “X” happened; therefore “Jesus”.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 1, 2014 9:33 PM.

Republicans’ acceptance of evolution fades was the previous entry in this blog.

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