Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Creationist-Baiting on the BBC

Hi everyone, Jonathan just invited me to post this review of a BBC program I watched recently. A while back, Jonathan received an invitation to participate, to "engage in a genuine debate", and you will see why he is very glad he declined. The programme was interesting, but mostly horrible. 

or, if that doesn't work

Admitted, a major thing that made it horrible was my fellow countryman from Ulster, a young man named Phil, who really was in a bubble of fearful isolation and pride yet somehow managing to hold authority over others through sheer confidence (pigheadedness). Yes, it happens. I know all about that. Dawkins is wrong, Northern Ireland is a lovely place, but yes sometimes conservative Christianity in the hands of an immature or egotistical person can have a really ugly side. Say no more.

But the main thing that was horrible was the pretence that this was about trying to encourage thought and 'debate', but it was really car-crash-tv, not a way to deal with anyone if you give a $#!+ about them. It was cruel. And the 'science' was a sham too. One good point Phil made was that they should have put the questions to creationist experts. It was a little bit unreasonable to throw 'facts' at kids without hearing another side. Isn't that the whole point of a debate: that there is another side to every argument.

I don't know why I am even bothering but lets look at some of the issues:

Grand Canyon was created by the Biblical Flood. 
But even those who call themselves creation geologists don't believe that. Some creationist kids might, but not even Phil claimed that, if you listen to his first statement very carefully. In fact, the creationist theory is that a huge flood stripped the whole area FLAT, leaving the Great Unconformity, a sudden, straight break in the stratification (what was that you just said about flood water? it goes in straight lines?), such that layers below have been cut across at a totally different angle. The Great Unconformity is there, plain for all to see, and for creationists, it is very clear what it means. As for the Grand Canyon itself, they believe it was later cut through the newly (catastrophically) deposited layers of material by something like a large lake busting its banks, so that the canyon was carved by a much larger river with much more attrition than is now seen, perhaps because the sediment was still soft. Is that plausible? I don't know, but that's the theory that needs to be addressed. If I had been attacked in that way as a young man (by the way, I was, in different ways) the main lesson I would have learned is that there is no point listening to a mainstream geologists opinion about creationism: they just don't get it (that is still my observation), and thus that it is entirely up to me alone to figure out the truth, and that is clearly an impossible task. Result: disillusionment with science even though I do and want to believe in it, and thus resentment of the mainstream, and thus isolation. That's a very bad, polarising effect. Please stop it, mainstream guys! Don't talk until you have listened and clarified. 

Noah's Ark was seaworthy
The joke here is who they got to be the authority: Jerry Coyne, the biologist. A BIOLOGIST. But his argument was about boat-building. ? He said that wooden boats that big cannot survive. He doesn't know that, period. But they ended up in a stupid argument instead of driving that point. They took him to be an authority, but he isn't. What he is, is a known creationist-hater. Again, what is your intention, BBC producer?

Whales were on the Ark
Really how silly can this get? The poor kids didn't have the gumption to point out that whales would stay in the water. Coyne was just laughing at them. That was despicable and cruel. But it makes for good tv I suppose.

Adam and Eve
Poor Sam didn't even know the story. Yes, there is some evidence that suggests humans had an ancestry from apes. Genetics, morphology. But it only becomes proof if there are no alternative possibilities, for example design! For example some skulls were presented. There are only a few fragments for the most important ones. And then, at most what do they indicate? A number of different species over time? That's fine. Abdul asked the right question: where is the evidence that natural selection did that? The evolutionist seems not to realise there is a question there. He seems to think that only natural selection could do that. But where is the evidence that natural selection can do that? Since there are huge differences between humans and chimps, huge design differences, why do you think that kind of transition could happen without design? Have you seen natural selection do something similar? No, of course not. You say it takes a long time. In that case, you don't know! Don't talk crap about "reason and evidence" when you should be saying "you're right, we don't know that". Maybe evolution would take a long time for humans, but not for bacteria. Bacteria breed much faster, and how much do they achieve in a comparable span of evolution? Not much, if you don't count destructive mutations (Check out Biologic Institutes's work, but even more so the mainstreamers like Lenski). So why do you believe natural selection has power to construct and design? Maybe you haven't thought much about it ... 

Origin of Life requires design
Again, Abdul made the right point. He respects science when it talks about what it does know, but not when it tries to paint speculations with the same authority. Stories of bacteria being captured and 'purloined' by other lifeforms, are just speculations and the scientist should have acknowledged that, if he wished to defend the integrity of science. But, more to the point, naturalistic science has nothing to show when it comes to explaining the origin of life, especially the origin of biological information. The kids are shown a hot vent colonised by bacteria. That's a nice simple start, isn't it? Nope, bacteria are extremely complex. It was studying A-level biology, particularly cellular biology, that killed the naturalistic worldview for me. It is simply impossible. And I know that a lot of my knowledgeable colleagues also know this. The in-vitro experiments that yield only trivial results, even when starting with complex RNA, only serve to hammer that fact home.

But at the moment the zeitgeist is naturalistic, even if we know that cant be true, because the cultural momentum remains on the critique of religion for now. While I believe there is no human conspiracy, like Phil (awkward fact) I do believe in human sin, and I do believe that at present it suits the 'macrobes' to distract people from the true cause and solution to the world's pains, and for the moment, it suits them to do so in this way. Sorry, but this tv programme had 'macrobe' written all over it.


  1. The crazy thing is that the same thing could have easily happened the other way round. It isn't implausible to imagine a bunch of creation scientists ridiculing an audience of naive atheists. None of this proves anything, it's just mindless bullying.

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