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  1. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Bill Nye debates Creationism

    Discussion in 'Debate Room' started by Lemex, Feb 5, 2014.

    So, this is trending on Facebook:

    http://www.courier-journal.com/article/20140204/NEWS01/302040080/Bill-Nye-Science-Guy-trades-barbs-Creation-Museum-founder-during-evolution-vs-creationism-debate

    Since it has every likelihood of heading straight for a debate I thought I'd put it here to save time.

    What do you guys think about this?

    While my personal opinion is that there is no debate anymore when it comes to Creationism, that it's not even a hypothesis and has been thoughtfully and very much refuted, people still like to hang on to the idea of Intelligent Design. So (and this next question is just for people on my side of this kind of debate) do you think debating a Creationist is productive?
     
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  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen several discussions of this on Facebook as well. I do not believe it is productive. Religion is based on belief. It should not be subject to debate. Science can be subject to debate, between scientists who are discussing, for example, differing interpretations or theories of the same evidence. But science cannot and should not be subject to "debate" between a scientist and someone who just makes up sh*t. Nor should it be subject to debate against religion.
     
  3. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    No, I do not think it's productive for anyone. The arguments from either side of that debate are each sourced from separate epistemologies; hence, they cannot come to a conclusion that even approaches the country in which agreement lives. The best either side ever manages is some manner of subsuming the other epistemology as subordinate in the order condescendi which is as useless to any sort of conversation as solipsism.

    Now, this is not the same as the phenomenon of individuals managing to accept both within themselves. That's a personal and insular choice and dynamic. I speak only of those camps, firmly tented on either side of the line, attempting to engage one another.
     
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  4. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    In a public setting, I do think it's productive. You're never going to change the mind of your opponent, and you most likely aren't going to change the minds of all the creationists out there. But you can change the mind of someone who isn't sure which side to believe (I'm sure there are at least a few such people out there).
     
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  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    While there is no scientific debate, it was interesting to watch Nye's approach. I think Ham got a little publicity for his Creationism museum, but that effect was likely a wash given Nye did a good job appealing to other Christians to view Ham as having a fringe view of the Bible.

    I was struck by Ham claiming everything was explained in the Bible down to the smallest detail. In a lecture on the evolution of the eye given by PZ Myers he began by tearing the first page out of a Bible and pointing out, that was it, that was the entire body of knowledge on the Creation of the Universe.
     
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  6. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    I watched the whole thing live and it was cringe-worthy to say the least. I'm not a huge Ham fan and most of the stuff he did kind of irked me. I didn't like the fact that Ham continually tried to appeal to authority and his constant barrage of 'There's this book...' during the Q&A was maddening. You can't use the Bible to prove the Bible, it's just circular reasoning.

    I think we lost what could have been a more ethereal conversation of the relationship between the two halves of the country. It is an almost equal split in the US between those who believe in creationism versus those that don't. I do believe that the naturalist/atheist side of the coin is more aggressive in their proselytizing.

    I would have rather seen William Lane Craig debate Nye, but then I wouldn't know who to root for. :)
     
  7. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Thank you! I'm glad when Christians admit this.

    Craig is a great debater. In all honesty, I think Nye would have lost.
     
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  8. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    True, but we could also have put Ham up against Hitchens or Dawkins and it would have been a bloodbath.
     
  9. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    Are we talking about Bill Nye the science guy?
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes.

    Debates between scientists can usually be resolved by obtaining new data. If there's a dispute between Dr. A and Dr. B, there are three possibilities: 1) Dr. A is right; 2) Dr. B is right; or 3) they're both wrong. So scientists gather new data and it resolves the question, and everyone moves on. No shame on whichever scientist was wrong; it's just that there wasn't enough data to settle the issue.
     
  11. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Everybody loves Bill Nye the Science Guy! :D
     
  12. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I've seen plenty of differing interpretations of data in the scientific arena. And I see more than 3 possibilities -- both could be partially right. And yes, usually all the scientists involved in a debate want more data.
     
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  13. Duchess-Yukine-Suoh
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    Duchess-Yukine-Suoh Girl #21 Contributor

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    My 5th grade science teacher would show us those!

    I don't know who all these other people are....except Dawkins.......
     
  14. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    If you have some time, check out YouTube for William Lane Craig, one of the best Christian debaters of our time. He has debated most of the big-time atheists and done very well, as opposed to Ken Ham.
     
  15. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yes, but in the vast majority of cases, if there's a debate, then sufficient new data will end it. My point is that scientists change their minds if convincing data is available. There is no amount of convincing data that will change a fundamentalist religious person's mind - they know they are right because their book tells them so; they don't just believe they're right because of their interpretation of available data.
     
  16. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    @JJ_Maxx: The problem with Craig's first cause argument is adding a god layer means you just invoke a supernatural cause as the first cause but you never explain the first cause of the supernatural God.

    It's not all that different in principle (the details differ) from Ham who makes up his own science to fill the gap. In Ham's case it's the gap between the evidence and the Bible. In Craig's case it's the gap between evidence we don't yet have and evidence we do.

    Science has a long history of finding evidence to fill the gaps and not once has that evidence suggested a supernatural gap filler.
     
  17. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    I swear to God, I had no idea this was happening today, and yet I just wrote the following passage in my story. I think it sums up my feelings well...
    ********************
    Logan deflected the question. “What about you? Do you believe?”

    Mills sighed. “It doesn't matter what I believe.”

    “What do you mean?”

    “Belief is irrelevant.” Mills gestured with his hands. “Look, we know the earth orbits the sun, right?”

    Logan smiled.

    Mills grew more animated. “So what if I say that I believe the sun orbits the earth? My belief doesn't change the facts. And it doesn't matter how strong or sincere my belief is, it doesn't change the facts.”

    “A true skeptic,” said Logan.

    I'm starting to like this guy.

    Mills wiped at the back of his neck and looked up at the sun. “I don't know when it happened, or why, but somehow we've become a world where beliefs are taken more seriously than facts.”
     
  18. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I watched most of it. I thought the only decent point Ham made wasn't related to the specific issue, but to the fact that Creationists can make good scientists and they conduct their science just like anyone else (I've worked with some of them, and their views on Creationism are irrelevant to the science they do). For some reason, some people seem to think if you're a Creationist, you're automatically opposed to all science and couldn't possibly be knowledgeable about science. I haven't seen that view expressed here, but it is common elsewhere. Creationist scientists are certainly in the minority, but one doesn't preclude the other.

    I didn't find Ham's overall argument persuasive, and I think he strikes an artificial dichotomy between what he calls observational science and what he relegates to historical science. Nye made that point nicely.
     
  19. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    While clearly people weave their religious beliefs into their science based narrative, it doesn't mean it is without problems. Of course people can do it, cognitive dissonance is no problem for the human brain.

    But a problem arises when a scientist who also believes something other than Deism (which says god started it all and now doesn't interfere) has to confront the double standard that is being applied to some beliefs.

    It's true, a creationist who is otherwise a scientist can go through life without ever having to address that double standard, but that doesn't make the creationist-otherwise-scientist's beliefs compatible with the evidence the person deals with in their career.
     
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  20. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think they're compatible, but I don't think they really get in the way of anything - at least not necessarily so. I worked in an evolutionary biology lab with a biochemist who was a young-earth creationist. Mostly it was just baffling, and I wanted to know how he could hold the creationist belief knowing what he knew of science. He had all kinds of explanations for it (not of which I found particularly convincing). But he was one hell of a smart guy and a very good biochemist, so from a practical standpoint it was a non-issue.
     
  21. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The Universe is a temporal object, which must have a cause, however it would be illogical to give the same attributes to a non-temporal entity.

     
  22. JJ_Maxx
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    JJ_Maxx Banned

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    The issue is that we are always speaking about the proof of the past, which can never be proven, simply interpreted and assumed. It's not something you can empirically hold in your hand, or test. Science can only tell us for certain what is, and make assumptions about what was if what is has always been that way. Where science falls short is when things haven't always been that way.

    I am a Christian, but I am not ignorant or illogical.

    I read a lot of the comments on the debate on atheist websites and I have never seen such seething hatred, such unabashed vitriol as I did there. It's not enough that they disagree, but they must degrade, mock, insult and bully Christians. I promise that even if I fall away from my faith, I will never associate with such people. If they are trying to fill the world with people such as them, God help us all.

    “Atheism, a religion dedicated to its own sense of smug superiority.”
     
  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For the record, @JJ_Maxx, I do not refer to myself as an atheist. I call myself someone who does not believe in any god. The main reason I do this is that people attach a lot of meanings to the word "atheist" that I don't intend, or in some cases, am even aware of. I don't want to be associated with the sort of hateful people you've found on other websites.
     
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  24. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    @JJ_Maxx . I'm an atheist, and if I were seething with hatred and full of unabashed vitriol, I might find your statement that Atheism is a religion to be offensive. But I don't. It's not offensive at all. It's simply wrong. I don't hate any person of any religion, I just don't have any religious faith. My Atheism is as much a religion as abstinence is a sex position.

    The fact is, as an empiricist, if presented with significant evidence, which I could explore first-hand, that there is in fact a God, I would change my stance. Why? Because belief is irrelevant. Only facts matter. Please, let me ask you, if scientists somehow unequivocally proved, with evidence you could examine for yourself, that there is no God, would you change your stance?

    If so, then I can accept your statement that you are not illogical. If not, then you have no right to challenge Atheism, as you are arguing from a completely different plane of reality.

    Some of my closest friends are genuine Christians. I've also got a couple Buddhists and a Jew in my close circle. Not one of them would ever make the statements you have. If you are trying to fill the world with people like yourself, then by all means, God help us all.

    EDIT: I have been told by Christians that I'm going to burn in hell. That I serve the Devil. That I am a monster and deserve to die painfully and be tortured for all eternity. I'm shunned by most of my so-called Christian family and most of my former friends. Some of the most horrific things I have ever seen, crimes and abuses, were committed by Christians. And yet, do I assume that you are that kind of person? No. So why can't you do the same for me?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2014
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  25. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I don't disagree with this, good for him, as long as he isn't teaching his aberrant rationale to biology students.

    The problem I have is trying to justify the double standard when the question comes up.
     
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