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Posted by on Dec 7, 2013 in Creationism, Culture, Education, featured, Science, Skepticism | 2 comments

Tim Stafford Doesn’t Get It

Tim Stafford has a post at Fox News entitled In creation-evolution debate America needs a Day of Listening.

He is completely and utterly wrong on several things.

Both sides do NOT have strong evidence for their position.  There is zero evidence for any young Earth proposition.  There just isn’t any actual evidence.  I don’t know what’s so hard about this.

A couple of people standing up and shouting about how mainstream science keeps the creationists out, is not evidence that they are correct.  If there was any valid science, then it wouldn’t matter what the conclusion was, it would be published.  The fact is, there is no evidence for a 10,000 year old (or less) Earth.

I would like to propose, therefore, a Day of Listening. The format is simple. Those who care about issues of creation and evolution will seek out somebody on the other side and seek merely to understand.

There’s a technique in marriage counseling known as “Speaker-Listener.” The Speaker gets to hold the “microphone” — it can be a coffee mug, or a rolled up newspaper–and express an important concern.

The Listener cannot interrupt nor rebut. He or she can only ask clarifying questions, and then paraphrase as well as possible what the Speaker is saying. Only after the Listener has paraphrased the Speaker’s concern to the Speaker’s satisfaction does the “microphone” change hands. Then the rules apply the other way.

This isn’t marriage counseling.  This isn’t a little tiff among scientists who are trying to figure out whether life began with metabolism first or the RNA world.

Let me say this in no uncertain terms.  This is science, with evidence, hypotheses, falsifiable tests, millions of individual pieces of data and valid conclusions vs. the Bible.  That’s really exactly what this is.  Reality vs. myth.

Let me say something else that Mr. Stafford doesn’t understand.  Two things really, but they are related.  As someone who has been discussing directly with creationists for nearly 20 years, I can say, that I understand their position as much as anyone.  Any person fighting against their anti-science position for this long really does understand their ideas.

The issue is, of course, that creationist constantly change their position (especially intelligent design advocates).  These position changes are not based in new evidence coming to light, but because they have been shown to be fundamentally flawed and mere tricks instead of actual science.

I know there is small likelihood that issues of creation and evolution will be solved through such an exercise. It’s not even clear that people are capable of understanding each other on these complex issues.

Tim is correct here.  There is zero chance that these issues will be resolved because they are fundamentally different.  One is science, the other is faith.

Tim is incorrect in that there is no understanding each other on these issues.  Scientists understand that creationism is nothing less than an attempt to get Biblical theology into public schools and creationists (at least the leaders) understand the science… mainly so that they can misrepresent it to their followers.

Let me say this in no uncertain terms Mr. Stafford, creationists are liars.  This blog is full of examples of the purposeful misrepresentation of Stephen Meyer in his book Darwin’s Doubt.   This link is full of hundreds of falsified quotes by creationists about the science and scientists that they oppose.

It only makes young people who grow up in religious homes avoid science careers. It only makes those who go into science avoid church and the insights that faith can offer.

Yes, that is sadly true.  It’s basically telling people that it’s OK to live in a fantasy world.  Mr. Stafford, this isn’t the matrix.  One of the two propositions is false.  Either the world is 6,000 years old or it is 4.3 billion years old.

This is not a discussion of who is the better composer, it is not a discussion of what food tastes best or which actress is prettiest.  It is a discussion of facts.  One side has facts, evidence, and has shown this many, many times.  The other side has nothing but empty rhetoric and lies.

Mr. Stafford, I challenge you to read the quotemine project at talk.origins and then tell me to my face that creationists are arguing their position in good faith.  If creationism is even partially true, then why do they have to lie so much to support it?

P.S. If you think that am just another “angry scientist” who doesn’t understand the creationist position, then I will be happy to write an essay, in my own words, detailing the Young Earth Creationism position and let you ask any YEC advocate you know how accurate my essay is.  I think that you will find my explanation of their position is quite accurate.

If you still think that I am not expressing the YEC position accurately, then I will accept your challenge.  We’ll set up a Google+ hangout or other live environment and you can present the creationist side and I will listen.  Then I will produce for you an explanation of every single that claimed that is wrong.  I won’t have to do any work, because everything that has ever been claimed by a creationist has already been shown to be wrong.  There is an extensive list here.  I will be shocked if you can find a YEC claim that isn’t on this list.

I will show you that the creationist position lies, does not use any evidence, or even have coherent arguments.  I will insist that you read up on the Gish Gallop and will insist that any claim made by the creationist is backed up with evidence… not just the creationist’s word that it is true.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/John-Pieret/100000023960330 John Pieret

    I can sort of understand the impulse to have a Kumbayah moment between adversaries but there has to be some sort of common reference. Ultimately, what reference can their be between those who value science and those who assert:

    The 66 books of the Bible are the written Word of God. The Bible is divinely inspired and inerrant throughout. Its assertions are factually true in all the original autographs. It is the supreme authority in everything it teaches. Its authority is not limited to spiritual, religious, or redemptive themes but includes its assertions in such fields as history and science. …

    By definition, no apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

    In short, we can talk ’til we’re blue in the face about evidence and they won’t listen. And what possible reason would anyone who values science listen to anyone who denies science exists if it so much as counters a (particular and peculiar) interpretation of a book of stories millennia old?
    It would be like having a sit down between sighted and blind people to discuss the nature of the color red.

    • SmilodonsRetreat

      Or these comments from everyone’s favorite intelligent design organization

      To defeat scientific materialism and its destructive moral, cultural and political legacies.

      To replace materialistic explanations with the theistic understanding that nature and human beings are created by God.

      To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science.

      To see design theory application in specific fields, including molecular biology, biochemistry, paleontology, physics and cosmology in the natural sciences, psychology, ethics, politics, theology and philosophy in the humanities; to see its innuence in the fine arts.

      To see design theory permeate our religious, cultural, moral and political life

      Yes, because a dialogue with people like this will be so productive.