Now I’ve finished my responses to the 22 creationists, I thought I’d finish off with a few links to others I found during the whole nightmare ordeal.
21. “Relating to the big bang theory…. Where did the exploding star come from?”
At first glance, 21 may look like the thickest of the whole bunch, and his question seems to reinforce that impression. But he has at least put a tiny bit of original thought into it.
19. “Can you believe in “the big bang” without “faith”?”
In other words, “I believe in something with absolute certainty, despite evidence against it, and none in favour. So I assume that’s what everyone else does too.”
14. “If Evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is Evolution taught as fact.”
The theory of evolution is a theory; evolution is a process, a thing which definitely exists and happens. The fact there’s a theory about it is not to say the whole thing is just a wild idea someone pulled out of their arse; it’s scientists’ way of saying “this stuff’s complicated, so we’re going to write it down properly.”
10. “I believe in the Big Bang Theory… God said it and BANG it happened!”
Other commentators have suggested that 10 is describing a belief in deism, the idea that god is an unknowable, ineffable entity who created the universe but who has not interfered since – and therefore cannot be the personal god of Judaism, Christianity, or any other revealed religion. Her mention of the “Big Bang Theory” and the phrase, “it happened” do seem to suggest some concept of deism or theistic evolution in which god set the fuse on the Big Bang, and then left “it”, ie the entire subsequent history of the universe, to happen as science understands it.
5. “How do you explain a sunset if their is no God?”
This is the one which inspired me to respond to any of these at all. At first I laughed at 5 like everyone else, but later I convinced myself that she couldn’t possibly be as stupid as her question seems to be. I simply refuse to believe that she’s asking a question to which the answer, “the rotation of the earth relative to the sun,” would make her go, “oh, yeah, that makes sense, thanks.”
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.
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.