This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

← God, Darwin or...Both?

God, Darwin or...Both? - Comments

mordacious1's Avatar Comment 1 by mordacious1


Eugenie: "I want to talk today of the relationship among science, religion and materialism. Now, these are three ways of knowing. They contrast and they overlap. And they contrast and overlap in more complicated ways than most people usually appreciate or usually understand".

Eugenie, I respect you and what you do, but you are wrong. Wrong. WRONG.

Thanks. Have a nice day.

BTW, no need for me to comment on Hugh Ross (rolls eyes).

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 02:24:52 UTC | #489762

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 2 by Wuht2Ask

Comment Removed by Author

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 06:50:48 UTC | #489799

Janus's Avatar Comment 3 by Janus

We're usually willing to make excuses for accomodationists when they're fighting the good fight for evolution, but I'm starting to wonder if this is a good idea. Isn't the lie that religion is a 'way of knowing' worse than the lie that evolution is false? Sure, the latter is a big one, as it distorts one's understanding of one of the most important facts about our universe. But the former distorts rational thought itself, which is the basis for all of science.

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:04:47 UTC | #489801

Jos Gibbons's Avatar Comment 4 by Jos Gibbons

This is absolutely ridiculous. Hugh Ross and Duane Gish are both creationists, so accept theism but not modern evolutionary theory. Eugenie C Scott accepts modern evolutionary theory but not theism. Great. An "X, Y or both?" discussion where no panelist thinks "both". And who's hosting it? A group who believe in X. What does Scott, the advocate for Y, do about this? Promote the discussion as worthy of viewing. (Why NOW, after so many years? Are accommodationists getting more desperate to reach out? For years, the NCSE were presumably convinced this was not worth sharing with people like us.)

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 07:44:31 UTC | #489804

cynicalasalways's Avatar Comment 5 by cynicalasalways

Sometimes the format of a debate is skewed to aid one side thereof, and therefore one should decline to participate unless you are on the side that is benefiting. If you are an exceptional debater, joining in the fray might be okay. In this case, you have to wonder if this "debate" had an effect of adding to the problem rather than reducing it. Choosing when and where to fight, is important.

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 09:08:00 UTC | #489827

mmurray's Avatar Comment 6 by mmurray

The other thing that worries a lot of scientists is that when you stand up and debate a creationist it looks like 1 scientist on one side and 1 creationist on the other whereas it is really 100,000's scientists on one side and maybe 100 creationists on the other. So the mere fact of standing up lends legitimacy to them they don't have.


Sun, 18 Jul 2010 09:20:54 UTC | #489830

Rogro's Avatar Comment 7 by Rogro

There is a big, big mistake at that part concerning the first quality religion is supposed to have: logic and empirical evidence used. This is not in accordance with the religion "reality". Faith is not logic or evidence based in the sense science is using it. I could say that this is what separates them and not the common part as it is described at the minute 26'30". The meaning of the evidence in religion is very limited, being mostly based on revelation. And it has a typical trait: it is unquestioned...

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 10:24:52 UTC | #489846

Raiko's Avatar Comment 8 by Raiko

Sometimes I wonder whether the NCSE, as important as their work is, is practicing some kind of snake oil sale. It's dubious to me that the spokespeople of the NCSE actually believe what they're saying, though they might really think this is the best approach. Yet, selling something when you know better would be like selling snake oil to me. Or homeopathy.

Updated: Sun, 18 Jul 2010 19:34:16 UTC | #489995

Roger J. Stanyard's Avatar Comment 9 by Roger J. Stanyard

Interesting selection of speakers. The YECers hate Hugh Ross because he's a "splitter" i.e. an old earth creationist. Jonathan Sarfati (the flea that has written The Greatest Hoax on Earth) has written a book trying to pull jim to pieces.

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 19:36:15 UTC | #489996

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stephen of Wimbledon

Who wrote this:

In a creation/evolution debate, the audience is there to hear their champion ... and who cares if the Evolutionist gets off a good shot or two? The function of the Evolutionist in such a setting is to be beat[en] ... up [and] inspire the troops.

I have been invited on many occasions to debate, and have always turned them down.

Before you accept a debate, consider if what you are about to do will harm the cause more than promote it. Many scientists justify the debate by saying, "creationists will claim that scientists are afraid to debate them." So what? Who are they going to make the claim to? Their own supporters?

If the alternative is to show that scientists are not afraid of creationists by having some poor scientist get beat up on the debating stage, are we better off?

Step forward Eugenie Scott (July 7, 1994):Debating Globetrotters

While a part of me is full of admiration for the way Dr. Scott walked into the Lions Den, I have to say that this looks like exactly the kind of debate that the younger Scott would have swerved.

I wonder what it is about the debate on teaching evolution that has changed and persuaded Dr. Scott that debating creationists is a good idea?

Can anyone enlighten me?

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 22:17:46 UTC | #490040

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 11 by Philoctetes

There are two possible answer to why debate with creationists that I can think of.

One is that not to do so leaves them with the argument that that we do not have strong enough arguments. But why should we argue with them on that basis, we may as well let them lob that extra lie at us with all the rest.

The other is that they always end up looking foolish.

Hitch and Fry wiping the floor with Widdicombe and an African bishop should have been shown at prime time on all channels. It was sheer entertainment and also proved that it could change minds as the before and after audience polls demonstrated.

Sun, 18 Jul 2010 23:16:29 UTC | #490055

Stephen of Wimbledon's Avatar Comment 12 by Stephen of Wimbledon

Hi Philoctetes,

Dr. Scott was quite clear in her 1994 piece (see the link I provided): Don't debate Creationists unless you agree in advance ground rules that exclude the "Gish Gallop" format.

Yet here she is 6 years later doing exactly that.

... not to do so leaves them with the argument that that we do not have strong enough arguments.

... they always end up looking foolish.

In the quote that I gave from Scott's 1994 article she explicitly covers both those points.

After giving it some thought; the best I can come up with is that the NCSE has decided that the Dover trial has changed the the way in which they must approach the public debate.

Dover established {deep breath}: That I.D. is creationism and creationism is clearly religion so I.D. and creationism cannot be taught in government-funded schools because they are essentially religion and that is forbidden by law because teaching religion even non-aligned deism would be using the government to establish religion which is explicitly excluded by the First Amendment.

Has the NCSE, therefore, decided that they must take that decision to the churches (as Scott did in California) and renew the debate with Creationists? If they are, then they will need more than one prominent speaker. I hold Dr. Scott in very high esteem, but she will simply be too thinly spread to do such a thing on her own.

Dr. Scott was clearly trying very hard to rise above the usual level of Creationists' 'debate' and did a good job of separating philosophical materialism from scientific naturalism and science from religion - but such niceties were clearly lost on her audience, as can be seen in their reactions to some of Gish's most outrageous statements.

The audience revealed themselves to be, at the very least, partisan. Dr. Scott clearly knew that they would be, and tried very hard to get them to apply parallel thinking and see that teaching science properly is not threatening. Her pearls of wisdom were cast ... inappropriately.

The NCSE, like most organisations promoting reason science critical thinking and secularism (no religion favored) in society, is clearly not well funded. Even appreciating that problem I have to say that I think this move by the NCSE is not their best idea.

When Dover was running it was clear that many I.D. folk saw that there might be a down-side - and several prominent people in the I.D. and Creationism movements refused to support the case.

I.D., as a front-running political tag and rallying flag, is fading. But the movement is still hanging in there because many people refuse to take on board the facts, and are not educated in critical thinking. The media are not educating and informing anyone. It is still possible to find fresh work at the Discovery Institute on 'Teach the Controversy'. Political movements, it seems, don't die easily.

At the time of Dover we needed to be thinking ahead - as those I.D. people who refused to support the Dover case clearly were - and trying to work out what we needed to do to take the initiative.

It is no surprise, given that lawyers outnumber everyone else at the Discovery Institute, that I.D. proponents have switched their tactics to attempting to put state statutes on the books that 'defend academic freedom'. Given how often many politically active lawyers have battled with academics at universities over academic appointments, curricula, politically correct speech, and so on - it wouldn't have taken a genius to come up with the idea.

Dr. Scott is, by her own 1994 admission, tilting at windmills. The NCSE's tactics (my inference) are to take the fight to the people rather than the courts and the legislators.

While I can see the benefits of taking the long view - and we do have to get the voters to think about the issues and evidence rationally - this does not seem to me to be the best way to go about it. If it were analogous to lighting a match in one church in each state and watching the fire spread across the country it might work. But let's be honest - you have to go to each and every individual church and you probably have to be seen to be winning the argument several times over in each one. The NCSE simply does not have the resources.

Perhaps I am being unkind. Perhaps Dr. Scott was trying some new debating ideas and has no intention of using this debate as a model for a future strategy?

US media is deeply flawed - perhaps the most flawed in the free World - but it's what we have to deal with if we want to reach lots of people in a cost effective way. The NCSE have the right idea; take the I.D.ers controversy and run with it. It is in the execution that they need to apply more thinking.


Mon, 19 Jul 2010 10:54:55 UTC | #490207

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 13 by Stafford Gordon

How do we know that there was no one there to witness evolution?

How is it known that there were no human beings at the time of the Dinosaurs?

Are we told it in the Bible?

If not, which kind of literature tells us about it?

Is this the dumbest argument against Darwin, or, could there possibly be a more stupid one?

Dear oh dear; and all those PhDs.


Tue, 20 Jul 2010 07:39:23 UTC | #490686

Anaximander's Avatar Comment 14 by Anaximander

How is it known that there were no human beings at the time of the Dinosaurs?

If there were, surely dinosaurs would tell us. I mean, humans would have hunted dinosaurs, which would be seen in their (dinos) fossils. And some dinosaur species should have been adapted to those hunters and that should show in some way. And there should have been some pet dinosaur species; and their evolution should have been so fast that it would be seen in the fossil record.

Is this the dumbest argument against Darwin, or, could there possibly be a more stupid one?

Wait; I'll come back tomorrow.

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 11:50:42 UTC | #490744

TeraBrat's Avatar Comment 15 by TeraBrat

I can't believe that Eugenie agreed to participate in this travesty. This debate is SO rigged.

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 14:54:00 UTC | #490808

Wuht2Ask's Avatar Comment 16 by Wuht2Ask

Comment Removed by Author

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 17:30:32 UTC | #490869

Dover Beach's Avatar Comment 17 by Dover Beach

Duane Gish was unintentionally very amusing; a sort of Fred Flinstone of science. I could see him as a cartoon character walking with dinosaurs.

Eugenie Scott was excellent, making her points in a calm and measured way.

Hugh Ross, on the other hand, I found really disturbing. He was able to speak at great length and in a plausible way about evolution, probabilities, cosmology etc then suddenly he came out with his outrageous statement. God has placed us here to conquer sin. All the wonders and vastness of the universe made so that we can conquer sin! A shocking statement that threw us back from cutting-edge science to medieval ignorance. He then carefully explained to a questioner, and with absolute authority, the difference between the creation of Adam and Eve and how God breathed life into the dust!! We'd gone from sanity to madness and in Hugh Ross' cold eyes I felt I caught a glimpse of the fanatic; of inquisitorial fires.

Tue, 20 Jul 2010 21:53:09 UTC | #490956

Archi's Avatar Comment 18 by Archi

It's a general comment:

Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have smart people doing smart things and stupid people doing stupid things. But for smart people to do stupid things, it takes religion.


Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it, you'd have smart people talking smart things and stupid people talking stupid things. But for smart people to talk stupid things, it takes religion.

Wed, 21 Jul 2010 08:57:41 UTC | #491104

katt33's Avatar Comment 19 by katt33

Stupidity comes from a number of things, not just religion. It comes from lack of education, being absolutely closed minded to anything new or innovative and immaturity.

I am not saying religion does not cause major world problems and personal ones, but stop blaming everything on religion. Human stupidity without religion is very possible and happens all the time. That's life.

Thu, 22 Jul 2010 16:05:50 UTC | #491609

wes2000's Avatar Comment 20 by wes2000

I agree some religious people just like some uneducated people can pretend to speak on things with authority that they have little or no knowledge of. I think many of us who wish to defend our specific viewpoints can be guilty of that before we properly understand what another is really saying.

Some athiest love to belittle people of faith as do some people of faith like to do the same. Seems its all very human.

It seems to me Hugh Ross has constructed a model that explains both biblical theology and scientific discovery in a cohesive manner that seems philosophically sound, scientifically accurate and theologically orthodox.

Because he believe the Bible is the word of God he's going to have to account for Adam and Eve, sin, the purpose of evil and human suffering as well as redemption through Christ in the light of scientific discovery.

As to religion, as Paul Tillich discussed, anything that achieves ultimate concern for man is elevated to the status of god. Religion is a commitment to some ultimate. It could be God or It could be who you think is looking back at you through the mirror.

Given that the author of Genesis probably did not have a scientific vocabulary like we have today, nor the education to understand modern discoveries in science, it was adequate to say God created man out of the dust of the Earth. Does not evolution claim that life arose from the non living matter here on Earth? Seems to me Hugh is arguing that intelligence is responsible for engineering man and not just the natural processes that could have occurred on planet Earth. That certainly sounds reasonable to me.

Whatever the distaste for the biblical terminology, his model seems very cohesive and powerful and one ought not dismiss it so easily.

Sat, 08 Dec 2012 09:59:25 UTC | #951284

JHJEFFERY's Avatar Comment 21 by JHJEFFERY

"It seems to me Hugh Ross has constructed a model that explains both biblical theology and scientific discovery in a cohesive manner that seems philosophically sound, scientifically accurate and theologically orthodox."

This may come as a shock to you, but I have a copy of Origins of Life sitting on my coffee table. I have read, I regret, large portions of it. To say that it makes no sense damns it with faint praise. It is pathologically stupid, I mean stupid beyond bilief. Your simplistic understanding of the theory of evolution coincides with that of Ross, but that does not make it intelligible. The book displays a complete lack of understanding of evolutionary theory on the first page, where Ross contends that since evolution fails at a theory of abiogenesis, it must be discarded. Evolution is not a theory of abiogenesis--and I have followed Ross enough to know that he knows this. His pathetic attempt to make science and Genesis congruent is just that: pathetic. That makes his assertion not "wrong," but a damned lie. Ross has lied his way into a lot of money this way and I find that, and him, disgusting.

His "model" is not a model at all. He merely says that the Bible is truth and we must bend science to fit it. If you think that approach is intelligent, you are definitely on the wrong site.

BTW, you are on the wrong site anyway--this is the old site. Try posting something about Ross on the new site and the conversation will begin.

Sun, 09 Dec 2012 00:45:51 UTC | #951285