Response to Creationist 4

4. “Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove Evolution?”

No, it doesn’t. In brief summary, the second law of thermodynamics says that entropy (disorder) increases in a closed system, and since the planet earth, the system on which life evolved, is not closed – it has energy being put into it from an external source, the sun – it doesn’t apply.

Besides, the law refers to the average entropy of the system, which means that pockets of order can appear as long as greater disorder occurs elsewhere, like several space modules converging and docking to form a more complex object, but only by firing their rockets and spreading plumes of propellant exhaust all over the place.

Damn it, I’ve got side-tracked already, trying to argue logically against creationist bollocks. I’m meant to be concentrating on why they’re asking the questions, not on the actual answers.

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Response to Creationist 3

3. “Is it completely illogical that the earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings… Adam created as an adult…”

Again, 3’s question gives us an insight into how he tries, and fails, to understand the world.

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Response to Creationist 1

1. “Bill Nye, Are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?”

And WHAM, straight in with the most instructive message of the lot. This guy isn’t engaging with the facts. He doesn’t even want to engage with the facts. For him, it’s not a factual issue at all, but a moral one.

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22 Responses To Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution

This is a response to Buzzfeed’s 22 Messages From Creationists To People Who Believe In Evolution. If you know the background to the post, you can skip the introduction and go straight to number 1.

On 4 February 2014, Bill Nye, a well-known US science advocate and TV personality, debated with Ken Ham, President of Answers in Genesis, a creationist propaganda organisation, at the latter’s “Creation Museum” in Kentucky. The full video of the debate can be watched here.

A Buzzfeed staffer called Matt Stopera went to the debate. While there, he asked creationist attendees to write questions and messages to Bill Nye and evolution/science supporters, and took photos of them with those messages. The full gallery is here.

The first time I read the creationists’ messages, I thought they were so stupid, I wanted to dismiss them all with rapid-fire answers. I imagined assembling all 22 people in a line, in order, and marching down it, pointing at each one, saying, “Yes, no, yes, no, the rotation of the earth relative to the sun…”

Later I realised it’s worth considering them in a bit more detail, though not because they have any validity, nor because a fuller response might persuade them. As Peter Boghossian argues in his book, A Manual for Creating Atheists, it’s no use arguing over facts and evidence with religious fundamentalists. They’ve already rejected ‘reasoning from evidence’ as a belief-forming mechanism. His approach is to try to understand humans as imperfectly rational, as suffering from psychological flaws which prevent them from understanding, or even trying to understand, the world around them – and then to find ways which pragmatically help to repair those flaws.

Therefore, in the spirit of trying to understand the reasons behind the 22 creationists’ messages, I’ve written 22 responses. They’re not short, and the whole thing was getting too long for a single post, so instead I’m going to post each one separately and link them from here as I progress.

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Beyond Belief on organ donation

I don’t usually listen to BBC Radio 4‘s religious discussion programme, Beyond Belief, but I happened to be driving yesterday while it was on. The programme, broadcast on Monday 12th August 2013, and as of the time of writing, available on iPlayer, dealt with the ethics of organ donation.

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