"Still scope for a creator"

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"Still scope for a creator"

Postby Thomas Winwood » Tue Jan 06, 2009 7:41 pm

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree ... -evolution

You reported a recent poll which indicates about 25% of UK teachers support the teaching of creationism in secondary school science courses (Would you Adam and Eve it? Quarter of science teachers would teach creationism, 23 December). In a sidebar, Professor Richard Dawkins states that it would be a "national disgrace" if such a high percentage of teachers believe this, adding that the teachers must be either "stupid" or "ignorant".

But an important point of confusion involves the poor use of the term "creationism" in the original poll question: "Alongside the theory of evolution and the big bang theory, creationism should be taught in science lessons." The question is ambiguous because there are at least two interpretations of "creationism".

A "hard" definition is that the Earth is about 6,000 years old and that God created man and all the other creatures as in the Book of Genesis. This definition is out of line with virtually all scientific evidence and cannot fit in a science course. Sir Michael Reiss says: "Some students have creationist beliefs. The task of those who teach science is ... to treat such students with respect". I agree - if for no other reason than that sneering sarcasm almost never changes someone's mind.

But a softer definition of creationism is not as easily dismissed. Although science can state a great deal about what followed after the big bang, it cannot in fact explain how "something" (the energy of the universe compressed into a volume the size of a golf ball) arose from nothing beforehand.

This yawning logical gap leaves open the possibility that something else may be going on. The history of life is consistent with Darwinian evolution, although life's increasing complexity - including the very recent appearance of modern man - is also consistent with (but not proof of) the possibility of some special creative agent existing.

A further point of confusion is that "intelligent design" - again a term not properly clarified in the article (or apparently in government guidelines) - is not just a figment of Christian fundamentalist thought. It is embedded in any Christian religion that continues to treat the promise of a messiah, the incarnation and the resurrection as historical fact (the reasoning being that, if God is responsible for creating the big bang, then the incarnation and resurrection would be child's play by comparison).

This could be used to make a case against outright dismissal of the concept of creationism and intelligent design in the science classroom. However, if included at all, it should still take only a small amount of total class time to discuss. And it is essential for any teacher to point out that, even if "soft creationism" and "intelligent design" are true, they cannot be considered science until they make predictions that can be falsified.

But as long as science cannot explain how our universe evolved from nothing, scientists should not be so quick to dismiss the "soft form" of creationism. And the subject certainly does not warrant arrogance from those who seem to think that scientific materialism is the only logical option for the 21st century.


This seems suspiciously like a God-of-the-gaps argument directed at the lack of scientific knowledge about the origin of the universe itself to me. On the other hand, Dr Crowley shoots his own position in the foot by stating explicitly that intelligent design and creationism of any kind is not science, which begs the obvious question: "if it's not science, why teach it in a science lesson?"
Last edited by Thomas Winwood on Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:13 pm

Thomas Winwood wrote: On the other hand, he[Reiss] shoots his own position in the foot by stating explicitly that intelligent design and creationism of any kind is not science, which begs the obvious question: "if it's not science, why teach it in a science lesson?"
Maybe he doesn't want to frighten the horses?
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby Roger Stanyard » Tue Jan 06, 2009 9:57 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:
Thomas Winwood wrote: On the other hand, he[Reiss] shoots his own position in the foot by stating explicitly that intelligent design and creationism of any kind is not science, which begs the obvious question: "if it's not science, why teach it in a science lesson?"
Maybe he doesn't want to frighten the horses?


He's a 1st class phoney - "A further point of confusion is that "intelligent design" - again a term not properly clarified in the article (or apparently in government guidelines) - is not just a figment of Christian fundamentalist thought. It is embedded in any Christian religion that continues to treat the promise of a messiah, the incarnation and the resurrection as historical fact (the reasoning being that, if God is responsible for creating the big bang, then the incarnation and resurrection would be child's play by comparison). "

The Catholic Church and the Law Courts have dimissed ID for what it is - a product of bogus Sola Scriptura, Creationism in a cheap toxedo. Not Christian but explictly an open fundamentalist product of religious extremism. The idot hasn't figured out that creationism is an "alternative" to the theory of evolution by natural selection - an explanation of the differences between species. It has nothing at all to do with the "Big Bang".
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby Thomas Winwood » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:05 pm

Brian Jordan wrote:
Thomas Winwood wrote: On the other hand, he[Reiss] shoots his own position in the foot by stating explicitly that intelligent design and creationism of any kind is not science, which begs the obvious question: "if it's not science, why teach it in a science lesson?"
Maybe he doesn't want to frighten the horses?


The "he" was actually Dr Crowley, not Michael Reiss. Sorry if that was confusing.
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby Brian Jordan » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:23 pm

Thomas Winwood wrote:The "he" was actually Dr Crowley, not Michael Reiss. Sorry if that was confusing.
Sorry, my bad - I'm having problems with my glasses! (seriously - I've just discovered that my 40 year old glass lenes are still better than my two year old plastic ones. Hutber's Law, I suppose.)
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby Roger Stanyard » Tue Jan 06, 2009 10:25 pm

Thomas Winwood wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/controversiesinscience-evolution

You reported a recent poll which indicates about 25% of UK teachers support the teaching of creationism in secondary school science courses (Would you Adam and Eve it? Quarter of science teachers would teach creationism, 23 December). ...


Lookslike Edinburgh University has an IDiot on its hands. This one is notably seriously bonkers.
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Re: "Still scope for a creator"

Postby ukantic » Tue Jan 06, 2009 11:54 pm

Thomas Winwood wrote:http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2009/jan/06/controversiesinscience-evolution

But as long as science cannot explain how our universe evolved from nothing, scientists should not be so quick to dismiss the "soft form" of creationism.


There is no such thing as a, “softer” creationism. If he had been paying any attention to these matters over the last two decades then he would know that ID is nothing but a sugar coated version of YEC with the same virulent disdain for evolution, etc.
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Postby Chris Sergeant » Wed Jan 07, 2009 12:41 pm

Although science can state a great deal about what followed after the big bang, it cannot in fact explain how "something" (the energy of the universe compressed into a volume the size of a golf ball) arose from nothing beforehand.

The author of the article might benefit from looking into areas such as Loop Quantum Gravity, where physics does not break down at the big bang. I think I have read articles in New Sci & Sci Am covering Bojowald & Ashtekar’s work on simulating the previous universe collapsing and bouncing into our big bang.
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