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    Relax: Young Earth Creationists Can't Even Convince Other Christians They Are Right
    By Hank Campbell | June 14th 2012 05:30 AM | 66 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Hank

    I'm the founder of Science 2.0® and co-author of "Science Left Behind".

    A wise man once said Darwin had the greatest idea anyone...

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    So a young earth creationist museum put some dinosaurs in its advertising.  Ho-hum.

    While the atheist panic machine lumbers into action once again - after all, kids like dinosaurs, what if they go and learn not to steal and stuff while they are there? - there really isn't much to worry about if you are not in the panic business.

    I grew up in a small town with no bars and four more churches than there were stop signs and never came across a Young Earth Creationist. There were lots of creationists.  Heck, the whole town may have been creationist except for my family for all I know, 200 people filled 5 churches, but they never said there were no dinosaurs or that Adam and Eve rode them. It was only during a court case in the 2000s I even knew this was a movement and I spent most of my time before Science 2.0 hanging out with engineers and physicists - and you know how nuts engineers are.

    There were also apparently no militant atheists in science when I was a kid, there were just scientists doing science. Maybe it is sort of a chicken and egg thing. Regardless, the framing fix is in today.  Militants want to use the term 'creationist' to apply to all religious people, for example.  It's technically correct, religious people do all believe in a creator, but not all religious people believe that the planet is 6,000 years old and that fossils have been planted as a test of faith. It is either unfortunate or an outright propaganda campaign that science lets people with a cultural agenda speak for them, even when they are intentionally massaging the facts to suit their ends. 

    All anti-vaccine kooks vote Democrat, for example, but if anyone claimed Democrats are anti-vaccine I would protest that.  Anyone sane would, much like anyone sane protests claims that all Republicans are anti-science(1) because a few more Republicans than Democrats do not believe in evolution and global warming. So it goes with using the same precise language about religious people.


    This child will not become anti-science visiting a religious museum.  She will become anti-science if bearded militant kooks tell her she is stupid for going to church. Credit: Shutterstock.

    Writing in The Atlantic, Robert Wright says militant atheists are the bigger problem today and that is why the so-called evolution debate is bigger in America; atheists need for there to be a controversy the same way Jesse Jackson needs Obama not to be re-elected and neo-cons need the Middle East to be a mess. The residual impact, he says, is that the public shocked by the tone of 'increasingly secular' scientists begins to doubt that scientists are rational in their jobs. And those jobs, at scientist insistence, have increasingly become government-controlled ones, which means not enraging politicians. In reality, scientists are not becoming increasingly secular.  About 40 percent of scientists are religious, the same number as 50 years ago.

    The numbers of anti-evolution people are creeping up slightly, though. Wright says that is because shrill atheists control the debate and say you either deny religion completely or you deny evolution completely.  People choose religion because they can no longer say that maybe someone set off the spark of life and it evolved from there. If they try to take that middle ground, the militant kooks lump them in with the almost-as-bad Intelligent Design people.

    Cameron English writing at Policy Mic doesn't say the blame can be laid at the feet of atheists but they can worry a lot less than they think they need to; there is no need to worry about Bible-toting barbarians at the gates of science because Young Earth Creationists can't even convince other Christians that they are correct. They're no threat to anyone.

    Dr. Eugenie Scott, hard-working Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education (which fights against efforts to teach religion in science classes) has often made this same point; in the earliest days of the controversy, it was other religious people on the side of science.  They did not want to have to undo on Saturday and Sunday a sectarian viewpoint taught in schools Monday through Friday and NCSE membership today still reflects that diversity.

    How was that lesson lost on the younger, more intolerant generation of today? 

    NOTE:

    (1) Oh, you don't protest about broad stereotypes and biased claims against Republicans. only about Democrats?  Then you are part of the problem.

    Comments

    There are early date creationists and late date creationists. Then we have theistic evolutionists. Even the creationists do believe in evolution to a certain extent. The belief that all species of cows evolved from ancient cows, for example.

    Hank
    Sure, I never even heard the term creationist until I was almost 40.  Those were just 'religious people' and some of them were stupid about science, there was no conflict in the sense that earnest young people think there is now. Some of the debate is manufactured.
    As both an atheist and republican I agree that there are at least as many scientific idiots in the democratic party as the republican party. But the number of scientific idiots isn't the problem that the republican party faces.

    The problem is that the republican party draws a circle around its idiots and calls them the base. You can't get elected without catering to that base. I once had a conversation with a man who flatly said he would have to lie about believing in creationism in order to get elected. He justified it by pointing out that it was better him than an actual creationist. Creationism is more a sign of tribal identity than a reasoned position.

    By contrast most antivaxers may be democrats but the most effective criticism of them is also democratic. Hillary Clinton only made one pro antivaxx statement in passing and took a lot of criticism for it. It does reflect a deep democratic distrust of business and industry but has not been reduced to a sign of tribal identity.

    As for comments about "shrill atheists"...bite me. The most shrill intolerant statement by an atheist does not even approach the same order of magnitude of every day religious statements. Until you have lived in a state where they tried to put warning labels on biology texts and your boss tried to "save" you I don't want to hear about "shrill". There are not enough atheists to "control the debate" on anything anyway. That is as silly and "shrill" as the war on christmas nonsense.

    Hank
    As both an atheist and republican I agree that there are at least as many scientific idiots in the democratic party as the republican party. But the number of scientific idiots isn't the problem that the republican party faces.

    The problem is that the republican party draws a circle around its idiots and calls them the base.
    Of course they do, to you it is just too minor to notice.  When a Democratic Senator says he is stonewalling a genetic modification that has been tested for 15 years and invokes 'Frankenfood' he is wrapping himself in an anti-science flag to appeal to his base, no differently than a Republican does about global warming.

    You think 'number' is represented by media coverage - which means you are in the puzzling position of rationalizing that the media has just as many right-wing people as left, a statement even media people do not try and claim.  Academic science has 10% Republicans and science media have even less - pretending that does not influence how Republicans are covered (caricatured) would be laughable if you tried to extend that to black people or women.
    I think your whole article is focused on demographics of the older generations, when it's not the older generation that most 'militant' atheists are attempting to reach.

    //In reality, scientists are not becoming increasingly secular.//
    Let's test that hypothesis by measuring the demographic differences over the next thirty to forty years.

    Hank
    I'm not sure what your point is. We can't measure the future but we can measure the past; 50 years ago in the mid 40 percent ranges believed in religion and the same do now.  You're inferring from a century of data, the era of modern synthesis in biology, that the exact opposite result will occur in the next 50 years.  I suppose you can, it isn't based on evidence, though.

    Young or old, people are turned off by shrill kooks who don't care about science or society as much as they care about attacking religion. In the last decade, that loud minority has engaged in George Bush-ian 'you are with us or against us' framing and more people are choosing against them.  But only in biology.  There are no debates about physics even though the LHC is looking for ' the God particle'.
    As a minor quibble, the Larson/Witham study you appear likely to be trying to refer to (doi:10.1038/386435a0) was in 1996, and its predecessor by Leuba in 1916. So, about 95 years ago and 15 years ago, rather than 50 years ago and today.

    There also was a slight shift over that time, from a 41.8/16.7/41.5 theist/uncertain/atheist breakdown (see article for exact wording) to a 39.3/14.5/45.3 breakdown. However, this would appear only marginally significant at the sample sizes in question.

    I also think you're underplaying the demographic shift away from religion among the young in the wider community, as reflected over the ~40 years of the GSS data. Individual cohorts do shift slightly back and forth over their lifetimes, but younger cohorts are fairly (logistically) steadily tending less religious identification than their elders (measured by strength of religious affiliation -- GSS variable RELITEN). This logistic shift seems still in the early stages -- at least a decade before the midpoint cohort enters the data pool, and another two before they reach median age.

    Actually I can't make sense of the quote at all. All of society is becoming more secular and scientists are leading the charge in that direction with a vastly higher percentage of atheists than the general population. And even the religious scientists are vastly more liberal in their religious views than the general population.

    Hank
    So now atheism is a liberal trait?  When will President Obama proclaim his atheism?  When will any Democrat, for that matter? Are you using 'liberal' in the weird American sense?  If so, your lack of understanding about religion in the larger world makes some sense.
    Yes let people know that you are an atheist and the "L" word does get attached to you.

    But there are several different meanings that the word can take. For example republicans like to refer to themselves as "classically" liberal. They aren't much any more but they should be. The word can also be applied to anyone who pushes the envelope of socially acceptable positions like acceptance of gays, rejection of religion, engaging in forbidden sex acts. The word is also used to refer to big government democrats who often are anything but liberal in any other sense.

    And again why would Obama proclaim that he is an atheist when he isn't? Nor is he particularly liberal in any of the senses listed above. He combines some of the worst aspects of the republicans and the democrats.

    As for my understanding of religion in the larger world...I have no interest in it. I have no more interest in it than I have an interest in astrology in the larger world. My instinct is to ignore the idiocy of other people and let them live as they choose as long as they let me do the same. Locally religion is not doing that and so I have a local interest in religion.

    Atheism is a trait disproportionately but not universally associated with political liberalism in the US since at least 1988, and probably a lot earlier. (The relationship to party identification is a bit more complex.)

    So far, Pete Stark (who yes, is a Democrat) remains the only openly Atheist (Unitarian) member of congress. Reportedly, there are several others (affiliations undisclosed) who have declined to publicly admit their atheism due to the degree it would be a political liability with the electorate. Subjectively, President Obama seems more likely to be categorized as a theist-with-doubts rather than atheist. I'd be surprised if he wasn't at least a deist.

    Do a poll on how many democrats think a particular stance on genetically altered crops are a central test of being a democrat and compare it to a poll on how many republicans think a particular stance on creationism is a central test for being a republican. What do you think you will find? And is opposition to genetically altered foods really as stupid as a 7000 year old earth anyway? Maybe more dangerous in the short term but no where near as fundamentally stupid.

    Will Rogers once joked that he belonged to no organized political party, he was a democrat. This is the great strength and the great weakness of the democratic party. They are more loosely and more poorly defined. This allows them the ability to change. But they then attempt to be all things to all people. This often means they become nothing to nobody. There is no loyalty.

    Republicans have a much stronger tribal identity. This is their great strength and great weakness. This tribal loyalty gives them strength beyond their numbers. As long as they stick to their principles as the party of individual rights and individual responsibilities its all good. But the dynamic of the primary system forces them retreat into narrower and narrower signs of tribal identity that are more and more distant from reality. This is what is driving the surge in creationism. Blaming it on "shrill atheists" is shrill nonsense.

    Hank
    Do a poll on how many democrats think a particular stance on genetically altered crops are a central test of being a democrat and compare it to a poll on how many republicans think a particular stance on creationism is a central test for being a republican. What do you think you will find? 
    Why not use the same questions for both? 39% of Republicans and 30% pf Democrats deny evolution. How is it that Republicans are anti-science?  Why is that line drawn so conveniently to have Democrats on one side and Republicans on the other?  Because it is framed that way by politically sympathetic journalists.

    So you are telling me Obama is going to publicly proclaim his atheism?  He is going to deny creationism?  You are 100% wrong.
    MikeCrow
    What I find stupid is how anti business and excessive taxation the Democrats are, pretty much everything else is irrelevant. Which is why, while I'm a registered Democrat I've voted Republican since I voted for Jimmy Carter in 76.
    Never is a long time.
    "Cameron English writing at Policy Mic doesn't say the blame can be laid at the feet of atheists but they can worry a lot less than they think they need to; there is no need to worry about Bible-toting barbarians at the gates of science because Young Earth Creationists can't even convince other Christians that they are correct. They're no threat to anyone."

    Really, how many states are subject to legislation trying to be passed to change science standards? Did you miss the textbook standards kerfufle in Texas? This is what the fundamentalists and the YEC are up to and it is a problem for everyone because they are trying to enforce their world view on everyone. That is the reason the Atheist movement has stepped forward and started to fight back.

    Wrong question. Don't ask who denies evolution. Ask who thinks denying evolution is necessary to being a republican. My point is that the stance on evolution for republicans isn't a statement of belief so much a token of tribal identity. That 39% of republicans will not vote for a republican who does not wear the tribal token. The republican will never make it out of the primaries.

    The 30% of democrats are far less likely to make an issue of it in the primaries and are far more likely to vote republican anyway. No loyalty.

    These facts force republicans to cater to the wingnuts because it is the only way to get past the primaries.

    And why should Obama proclaim his atheism when he isn't one?!? Forchristssake man! But he did say:

    "I'm a Christian, and I believe in parents being able to provide children with religious instruction without interference from the state. But I also believe our schools are there to teach worldly knowledge and science. I believe in evolution, and I believe there's a difference between science and faith. That doesn't make faith any less important than science. It just means they're two different things. And I think it's a mistake to try to cloud the teaching of science with theories that frankly don't hold up to scientific inquiry." - Obama

    No republican running for national office could say this. There are very very few state or local level elections that a republican could ever say anything like this and have any chance. And again the problem isn't the larger number of deniers in the republican party although there are significantly more. The problem is their cohesiveness. It is a token of tribal identity and you cannot get elected without displaying it.

    Hank
    Wrong question. Don't ask who denies evolution. Ask who thinks denying evolution is necessary to being a republican.
    I think you are just making stuff up.  I never heard John McCain deny evolution in 2008 but I heard Barack Obama say there was a link between autism and vaccines.   So if McCain had said evolutioin does not exist, which of the two candidates was doing more real harm to society?  The anti-vaxxer, that's who.

    I was a Republican in the past and I never heard anyone deny evolution.  Rick Santorum was my Congressman in the early 1990s in Monroeville and I never heard him mention it then, I only heard him use it as a failed campaign strategy recently.  Dennis Kucinich also had the failed campaign strategy of believing in UFOs but I don't know anyone who claims believing in UFOs is essential to being a Democrat, even though far more Democrats than Republicans believe in ghosts and UFOs.  

    In other words, you only see problems in the party you happen to dislike. It's simple partisan thinking, there is no way to couch it in 'reason'.

    The party I don't like?!? NO!!!!

    I am a republican god dammit!!! I am constantly ignored and called a RINO because I dare criticize the party. Screw you.

    And Rick Santorum? Rick Santorum is a catalog of all that is wrong with the republican party. He is a conservative version of the old style progressives. He has a different agenda but has the same expansive view of government power. And what is your point anyway? That Santorum is being forced to argue for creationism because of evil uppity atheist? Jesus christ man.

    I don' remember Obama mentioning antivaxxers but as I pointed out Hillary did. And yes as I said it is in the short term far more dangerous. But the point I am trying to make is that while it is stupid and dangerous and deserves our contempt it is not a token of democratic party tribalism. We should be as critical of this nonsense as we are creationism.

    I have been following creationism since the 1981 Arkansas trial. The idea that it is a recent thing caused by uppity shrill atheists is just silly. It is a growing problem in the republican party and unless the party can find some path that allows self criticism it will continue to grow.

    The only study I'm aware of that addressed political affiliation and belief in UFOs/Ghosts would be the Baylor Religion Survey; I was not aware they had released information on the presence or absence of paranormal/political correlation. Do you have a reference?

    Ah, there's a PPP poll just out, showing UFO belief is indeed higher among the very liberal than the very conservative. It's Nevada specific, so the exact numbers may not be generally applicable nationally; but it's very likely liberals tend more to say "I WANT TO BELIEVE" than conservatives on this.

    "We've seen just a skyrocketing autism rate. Some people are suspicious that it's connected to the vaccines. This person included. The science right now is inconclusive, but we have to research it." --Barack Obama, Pennsylvania Rally, April 21, 2008.

    "It's indisputable that (autism) is on the rise among children, the question is what's causing it. And we go back and forth and there's strong evidence that indicates it's got to do with a preservative in vaccines." --John McCain, Texas town hall meeting, February 29, 2008.

    Now who is making stuff up?

    Gerhard Adam
    I think that the primary difference is being missed in all these comments and articles.  There's no question that religious people may believe in creationism, nor is there no question that many atheists may adopt a scientific perspective.  In fact, as already mentioned, I expect that within science you may find a wide combination of individuals with varying religious views that may or may not include some basic creationism.

    The problem is that it is only recently that creationists have felt that they have the means and ability to present creationism as a challenge to science.  Not as a coexistent view, but as something that supplants it.

    So, whether one wants to blame atheists or creationists for instigating this fight, the question is largely irrelevant, because the real problem is in determining who should win it.  Atheists and believers can always fight about the existence of God and that's not a problem.  However, this is about the existence of biology, and it is a problem.

    In that respect I am disappointed in religious people that don't take this fight more seriously.  In other words, what do people think would happen if the creationist view actually prevailed?  Does anyone believe that biology or medicine would improve?  If not, then why let these nutcases make the argument.

    Even if you feel there's no long-term damage being done, what about to students that are being taught nonsense to satisfy someone's hokey political agenda.  Doesn't anyone feel a sense that they are being ignored and set up to fail?

    In addition, despite the claim regarding physics and the LHC, I disagree with the conclusion.  Maybe there aren't more crackpots, but it seems increasingly that we see more and more people on the fringe in a variety of scientific areas fighting fiercely for the notion that their opinions should be granted equal time as "scientific evidence".  Part of this occurs because it has become acceptable that any argument can be made simply because you believe it strongly enough, so that anyone that challenges it is denying you your freedom.  It doesn't matter that you're a total loon and haven't got a shred of evidence.  It is now expected that scientists are supposed to disprove your nutty notion, rather than simply dismissing you as loopy.

    So, none of this is about religious belief.  It's about people that insist that religion is science.

    Mundus vult decipi
    Stellare
    ...it has become acceptable that any argument can be made simply because you believe it strongly enough, so that anyone that challenges it is denying you your freedom....

    I think you pinpoint the key problem here. Science and religion can co-exist just fine. Just look at the Vatican and their science departments. They actually do real science there. :-)

    I was exposed to religion as a child (Sunday school etc). Didn't harm me one bit - but then again they did not say anything about science at all. If you start to mix creationism in that religious education (that is what a Sunday school is I believe :-)), it will be damaging to some of the young impressionable souls. And later it will damage the next generations who get it all wrong.

    Believe what you want, but leave science out of your religion and vice versa.
    Bente Lilja Bye is the author of Lilja - A bouquet of stories about the Earth
    Tony Fleming

    Hank, interesting article about religious and atheist opinion about evolution in the U.S. Looking at this question from a historical and Christian viewpoint, it seems the issue is peculiar to the U.S. in nature.

     In Australia we have no such issue. We're a polyglot of original Brits (Anglicans), Irish(Catholics), and Asians (Buddhism and Taoism), followed by a European influx after WWII(Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican) and recent influx (Muslim) on top of a large minority atheist group. So I guess a secular political grouping overall at present. In terms of evolution this means a creationist movement is not strong here. Pope John Paul II stated 

    "The convergence, neither sought nor fabricated, of the results of work that was conducted independently is in itself a significant argument in favor of this theory.

    (He also spoke of the 'several theories of evolution" wherequestions of epistemology needto be considered. It is fair to say that amongst sections of the Church there was shock and reaction to his address to the Pontifical Academy ofSciences (October 22, 1996calling him the 'anti-christ'.

    As to the Anglicans they also support the scientific version of evolution in general. Charles Darwin was Anglican by affiliation.

    Not sure about the Orthodox churches, but Asian religions in general also accept evolution.

     Looking to the U.S. there seem many groups for instance the Amish and the Quakers who reject modern technology and society to a larger or lesser degree and hold to an older view of Christianity. 

     On one of my visits to the U.S. I went to see the Amish and saw how the lived.  Very earnest group of Christians. I think they curry a lot of respect amongst other Christians and the general public. I think these groups would see themselves as modern day 'Noah's, ready to build Ark II if necessary. 

    In general I'd say this supports your opinion: relax, let science do the job without interference from tribal views across the compass.

    Just another point of view.

    Tony Fleming Biophotonics Research Institute tfleming@unifiedphysics.com
    The split in Australia was running 25-32-42 on the creation-to-evolutionary spectrum circa 2009, reportedly using a not-quite word-for-word match of the Gallup question that yielded a 46-32-15 breakdown in the US. The poll indicated the breakdown for Christians in Oz leaned somewhat more creationist that the country overall -- roughly 38-47-15. (Corresponding numbers for US Xians only would be something like 49-42-7, though I can't find a recent source.) Oz is a lot less crazy on this than the US, but likely still short of being free of the issue.

    Hank
    This proves (again) a point I have made many times; this is a fabricated issue magnified out to be important but not really a national, much less an international issue. America leads the world in science despite being religious.  It has made no difference.

    Right wing kooks who think the world is 6,000 years old are a lot less dangerous than the left-wing ones on an anti-science crusade against vaccines, GMOs, etc. Evolutional denial does not kill anyone but that other stuff certainly does.
    Quite honestly, I feel that the suggestion in this article is nonsense AND dangerous. It is essentially that atheists should not combat fundamentalism while we let theists stick and paint their beliefs on everything they can. If you feel like you should be "just scientists doing science," because it didn't affect *you* growing up, then by all means stay in your lab with the rest of the "kooky" "bearded" fellas while the rest of us try to counter some of the ignorance and misinformation some theists promote. The truth is that people, specially children, can be easily impressed with incorrect information or outright lies by something as simple as a visit to a museum. A visit to a museum is what led me to my current profession, in fact.

    I know this paragraph will evoke some "righteous indignation" reactions but while you're at it, why not sit back while you also let the anti-gay rights activists post their nonsense because hey! they can't even convince other Christians that they're right? Maybe write an article about it, as well. After all, some of these crazy, in-your-face homosexuals are just pushing people away from accepting same-sex marriage rights for everyone.

    All that withstanding, I do agree that atheists and scientists do need better public faces. People like Carl Sagan who was had such a lovable attitude about science that just got you excited about it! I do think that most famous atheist "advocates" are abrasive and not very skilled in public relations. Having said all that, I do think it's just a matter of time before the "new" atheist movement cools down and starts becoming more mainstream. However, this being the very beginning of this movement, you have the most radical and vociferous of us representing us because they are the ones who have the balls to get people riled up. Later on, we'll have more and more likable personalities on our side as this issue cools down.

    Hank
    I know this paragraph will evoke some "righteous indignation" reactions but while you're at it, why not sit back while you also let the anti-gay rights activists post their nonsense because hey! they can't even convince other Christians that they're right? Maybe write an article about it, as well. After all, some of these crazy, in-your-face homosexuals are just pushing people away from accepting same-sex marriage rights for everyone.
    You're kind of proving the point - you are basically saying Jackie Robinson was a failure in baseball because he did not go out of his way to provoke bigots and get in fist fights with them. The only way atheists can ethically hold to their beliefs is to piss on a communion wafer?  The atheist movement 'cure' is worse than the disease, to many people.  A lot of religious people are not denying evolution, much less all science, they are running from fanatics and checking any box that says 'I am not them'.

    Science and religion get along just fine. Even the tired old Galileo argument conveniently leaves out that fellow scientists were far harder on him than religion was.  This supposed issue is, as everyone notes, solely an American one and, like vaccines and GMOs, a left-wing hangup. Very few scientists are actually involved in the rants by atheists because religion is a silly thing to worry about. It's not a national issue but people need to pretend it is.
    You're kind of proving the point - you are basically saying Jackie Robinson was a failure in baseball because he did not go out of his way to provoke bigots and get in fist fights with them. The only way atheists can ethically hold to their beliefs is to piss on a communion wafer? The atheist movement 'cure' is worse than the disease, to many people. A lot of religious people are not denying evolution, much less all science, they are running from fanatics and checking any box that says 'I am not them'.
    This is an example of a strange false dichotomy and exaggeration you presented in your article. As though an atheist must either "piss on a communion wafer," as you put it or shut up. I never said this or even implied. In fact, I specifically said that we need better faces for atheism. I'm not even sure how you got this out of what I said. Just like this whole thing about "Militants want to use the term 'creationist' to apply to all religious people[.]" Really? This is just sensationalist and stereotyping nonsense. I get that you may be trying to distance yourself from so-called "militant atheists" but to outright make things up? Back to the main point: An atheist shouldn't create more animosity toward atheists but we shouldn't just sit on our hands because "Well, I never heard of the issues and I grew up just fine!" or because they're making waves. I've heard the whole "don't make waves" or "don't piss people off" argument several times for different issues you present and I find it more than a bit insulting because it's a call to apathy for the sake of temporary "cease fire" at the expense of progress. Inevitably, when promoting an unpopular idea (as is the case of atheism in the US,) some people will react negatively and some very strongly. I'm OK with rattling a few cages for now. No great change came by people not "making waves."

    Science and religion get along just fine.
    Never said they didn't. But I will say now that they may get along just fine FOR YOU. And I am starting to notice a pattern here. Whatever doesn't affect you, doesn't exist or happen. Religion and science do not get along just fine for all religious people. I think the court cases regarding evolution are clear evidence of this.
    Even the tired old Galileo argument conveniently leaves out that fellow scientists were far harder on him than religion was.
    Gallileo wasn't tried, convicted, and house arrested by scientists.
    This supposed issue is, as everyone notes, solely an American one and, like vaccines and GMOs, a left-wing hangup. Very few scientists are actually involved in the rants by atheists because religion is a silly thing to worry about. It's not a national issue but people need to pretend it is.
    That's what people who don't care about an issue always say. "I've never discriminated against someone because of race and I've never seen anyone being discriminated because of race. So, it's not an issue but people pretend it is." So, again, I get that you're trying to distance yourself from the "militant atheists" and I get that you don't care about the issue. That's fine. No biggie. Now, don't pretend you speak for all scientists, atheists, or anyone. Many scientists are very involved in the evolution/creation issue and many atheists are very involved in the atheism issue. Just ask some of the atheist stories of their "coming out" of the "atheist closet," as it were. People have lost jobs, been disowned by family, been physically attacked, been verbally abused, etc because they're atheists. So, don't pretend to represent anyone else but yourself by saying things like "It's not a national issue but people need to pretend it is," merely because it hasn't happened to you.

    I screwed that first post up. So, I tried adding
    instead of just but the preview showed them to have no effect. I figured I'd submit it anyway and hope that the preview just didn't show blockquotes. I apologize in advance if I messed it, again.

    You're kind of proving the point - you are basically saying Jackie Robinson was a failure in baseball because he did not go out of his way to provoke bigots and get in fist fights with them. The only way atheists can ethically hold to their beliefs is to piss on a communion wafer? The atheist movement 'cure' is worse than the disease, to many people. A lot of religious people are not denying evolution, much less all science, they are running from fanatics and checking any box that says 'I am not them'.

    This is an example of a strange false dichotomy and exaggeration you presented in your article. As though an atheist must either "piss on a communion wafer," as you put it or shut up. I never said this or even implied. In fact, I specifically said that we need better faces for atheism. I'm not even sure how you got this out of what I said. Just like this whole thing about "Militants want to use the term 'creationist' to apply to all religious people[.]" Really? This is just sensationalist and stereotyping nonsense. I get that you may be trying to distance yourself from so-called "militant atheists" but to outright make things up? Back to the main point: An atheist shouldn't create more animosity toward atheists but we shouldn't just sit on our hands because "Well, I never heard of the issues and I grew up just fine!" or because they're making waves. I've heard the whole "don't make waves" or "don't piss people off" argument several times for different issues you present and I find it more than a bit insulting because it's a call to apathy for the sake of temporary "cease fire" at the expense of progress. Inevitably, when promoting an unpopular idea (as is the case of atheism in the US,) some people will react negatively and some very strongly. I'm OK with rattling a few cages for now. No great change came by people not "making waves."

    Science and religion get along just fine.

    Never said they didn't. But I will say now that they may get along just fine for you. And I am starting to notice a pattern here. Whatever doesn't affect you, doesn't exist or happen. Religion and science do not get along just fine for all religious people. I think the court cases regarding evolution are clear evidence of this.

    Even the tired old Galileo argument conveniently leaves out that fellow scientists were far harder on him than religion was.

    Gallileo wasn't tried, convicted, and house arrested by scientists.

    This supposed issue is, as everyone notes, solely an American one and, like vaccines and GMOs, a left-wing hangup. Very few scientists are actually involved in the rants by atheists because religion is a silly thing to worry about. It's not a national issue but people need to pretend it is.

    That's what people who don't care about an issue always say. "I've never discriminated against someone because of race and I've never seen anyone being discriminated because of race. So, it's not an issue but people pretend it is." So, again, I get that you're trying to distance yourself from the "militant atheists" and I get that you don't care about the issue. That's fine. No biggie. Now, don't pretend you speak for all scientists, atheists, or anyone. Many scientists are very involved in the evolution/creation issue and many atheists are very involved in the atheism issue. Just ask some of the atheist stories of their "coming out" of the "atheist closet," as it were. People have lost jobs, been disowned by family, been physically attacked, been verbally abused, etc because they're atheists. So, don't pretend to represent anyone else but yourself by saying things like "It's not a national issue but people need to pretend it is," merely because it hasn't happened to you.

    So...
    didn't work for me, either. I give up on the quoting, then.

    Hank
    This is an example of a strange false dichotomy and exaggeration you presented in your article. As though an atheist must either "piss on a communion wafer," as you put it or shut up. I never said this or even implied.
    You're not who the Atlantic article is talking about - sorry if you think I wrote this about an anonymous person on the Internet before I knew of his existence.  The very loud, very popular atheist who claims to represent biology did just that.  If you are contending that unless all atheists do it, the loudest ones with the biggest audience do not speak for them, okay, but it is even more pointless to label religious people as intellectually immature because a tiny minority think the world is only 6K years old.
    You appear to be referring to PZ Myers -- though I'm not sure where he claimed to be representative, rather than merely A biologist. Also, he didn't piss on the consecrated host. He tore out a few pages of a Koran and a copy of The God Delusion, nailed it to them with a rusty nail, dumped the lot in the trash along with some coffee grounds and a banana peel, and posted a photo on-line.

    Furthermore, it's approximately 25% of the US who are Young Earth Creationists, which is hardly a "tiny minority". (For comparison, African-Americans make up about 12% of the US population.)

    Hank
    I don't know where you got this 25% believe in an earth 6000 years old business.  In this article (he changed the title after outrage) Myers did indeed ask for people to send him a communion wafer specifically so he could desecrate it.  And I didn't know he was 'just a biologist' - once a week he mentions how many millions of readers he gets, how he hates religion and Republicans, and he is a foremost atheist skeptic.

    I have no issue with anything he does.  He is a hoot. Any time he wants to write on Science 2.0 he is most welcome. But let's not pretend he is doing constructive work for science rather than being against religion. He's a teacher, even other biologists wish he would knock the vitriol off - but to the mass public, all PhDs are the same.
    I base this on a conservative assessment of the history of Gallup polling data, in light of additional data from a Cleveland Plain Dealer/Mason-Dixon poll in 2002.

    From 1982-2002, the Gallup number has consistently remained between 40 and 47% of the US saying "God created human beings pretty much in their present form within the last 10000 years or so." This is rather higher than the 25% I'm claiming.

    The reason for the lower value I give is because in 2002, Mason-Dixon was commissioned by the Cleveland Plain Dealer using slightly different question. The poll was specifically Ohio; however, Ohio tends to be a US median state on presidential voting, party ID, income, race, and several other social measures. As such, polls there serve as an approximate proxy for the US as a whole. The CPD poll distinguished between Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design, Theistic Evolution, and Atheistic Evolution; respectively: 29%, 13%, 15%, 26%, 13%. The sum of YEC plus OEC number is within a few percent of the 2002 Gallup "God created" response; the sum of ID and TE, within a few percent of the "God guided"; and the Godless responses within 1% of one another.

    Both the Gallup and Mason-Dixon used the number "10000 years"; however, the most common numbers calculated from the Bible chronology are circa 6000. The slight additional uncertainty is one reason I round the 29% down to 25%, to be more conservative.

    And yes, Myers did indeed desecrate a communion wafer. However, as I detailed, he did it along with a Koran and a copy of the God Delusion, and used coffee grounds, a banana peel, and a rusty nail; no urine. If you want to complain about how liberals are inaccurate with their characterizations, equitability implies it would behoove you endeavor to accuracy.

    I'm trivially sure there exist biologists who wish he'd knock it off. I'm not aware of any polls showing the ratio.

    Oh, and that's for Americans typically. If you're particularly interested in those who identify as strongly religious, the (2004) General Social Survey indicates it would be about 60% in Gallup's YEC/OEC category.

    Gerhard Adam
    ...but it is even more pointless to label religious people as intellectually immature because a tiny minority think the world is only 6K years old.
    Yes, since one doesn't need to include the word "religious" in that sentence.  Otherwise such people should be called out.  We need to understand that simply claiming religious beliefs is not a free pass to be stupid.

    If I don't accept it from psychics, astrologers, or homeopaths, then why should I accept it from someone that calls themselves a Christian.  Christianity was never about competing with science and embracing stupid ideas about the world and if Christians can't differentiate that, then they truly are stupid.
    Mundus vult decipi
    ...actually, the only poll I'm aware of that addressed vaccines and political breakdown was from Pew, which indicated the anti-vaccine folk ("kooks" or whatever) were about equal among the Democratic and Republicans. Contrariwise, there's a difference between accepting the science of how the world is, and accepting a engineering risk/benefit analysis between choices about what to do in the world. Even the Pew question tends to measure the latter more than the former.

    Hank
     which indicated the anti-vaccine folk ("kooks" or whatever) were about equal among the Democratic and Republicans. 
    They are 'about' equal in evolution denial and global warming denial too.  If it only matters when one party has more (unless the issue is psychic belief, Bigfoot belief, UFO belief, ghost belief, astrology belief, anti-vaccine belief, anti-GMO belief, anti-medical research belief and lots more) on certain issues then, sure, Republicans are the only anti-science people. 

    But that isn't the case.

    Obviously the issue here is Young Earth Creationists and the unfortunate tendency to apply broad strokes about them to all religious people - but as these comments show, when it comes to right wing people, the left is happen to stereotype 50% of the country despite any evidence.  It's fine, the right does the same thing, but the left are the ones claiming to champion science and reason.

    More specifically: the Pew survey found they were identical (both at 71%) within sampling limits (about ±3% for 95% confidence). Contrariwise, the latest Gallup poll found a 58/31/5 breakdown for the Republicans, but a 41/32/19 breakdown for Democrats (about ±4%, presumably for 95% confidence). This is difference of about 17% on the creationist position, and 14% difference on the "atheistic evolutionary" position; roughly a factor of five larger than the confidence interval, in either case.

    So, no, they aren't about equal on vaccines and creationism. In one, the survey indicates a difference considerably beyond threshold of statistical difference, but the other does not.

    I'm not aware of any poll which directly addresses acceptance or rejection of the existence-and-impending-harm of anthropogenic climate change. There's several which deal with peripheral proxies; such as the PENGUINS question from the GSS. For those, there again appear to be party-correlated differences well beyond sample confidence limits.

    Now, this is incidental to your basic point about painting with broad strokes, and treating all GOP as on one side and all of the Democrats on another. Contrariwise, it would seem to undermine your argument when you assert the existence of differences in the trait distributions that don't actually exist, or the nonexistence of differences that do.

    Bloody double post. My browser hates me.

    Pardon my interjection but I believe you've overlooked the third side of the coin, those of us who are genuine agnostics. 40 years ago we were highly respected by both sides of the debate. Athiest and Christian alike listened with attentiveness to the pure reason of our contention that unless we know all there is to know of all of infinity and eternity we can never scientifically answer the question of what is infinity and eternity.
    Christians and atheists alike both agreed that thier position was not based on reason, but rather on belief. Atheiests believe there is no "supreme being" while Christians believe that there is. Very simply, feelings are the basis for both points of view. One side feels the presence of a supreme being, one side does not feel it. Niether of these groups has any scientific means to measure the question. (despite claims by both sides of the supposed existence of "evidence" . All the evidence gathered throughout all of human history doesn't amount to a grain of sand in the expanse of the un-known)
    Scientists of that era who were not agnostics almost always left thier beliefs at the labratory door and refused to allow feelings to enter the equation. The work of science was about the science and whatever knowledge could be derived.
    Today we have a politically charged enviroment in almost every segment of the scientific world. For agnostics this is an intolerable enviroment where irrational people dominate the discourse and attempt to out scream one and other.
    The "young earth" advocates are no more or less offensive than the "militant atheist" advocates to an agnostic. Both groups have exactly the same argument, they beleve they are right, they feel they are right, no more, no less. It is politics that has allowed both groups to make spurious claims that "science" provides "evidence" in favor of thier argument by contaminating science with its own agendas.
    In short anyone that tries to claim that science provides any "evidence" that can prove or dis-prove the existence of a "supreme being" is a irrational.
    It is the political agenda of "evolution" versus "creation" that is the problem. Militant atheists love to proclaim that Darwinian evolution is "proven" , which is nonsense. Until we can replicate Darwinian evolution in controlled laboratory conditions and evolve a fish into a human, or some equally important transformation, it's merely an un-proven theory. Creationists love to proclaim that fossil anomilies "dis-prove" Darwinian evolution, which is nonsense. Fossils are by thier nature anomolous because even the best specimens are fragmentary and incomplete. Both sides ignore the fact that no matter what knowledge science gains concerning the question of Darwinian evolution that knowledge will not answer the question of a "supreme being".
    The larger problem is that both sides want to control and dominate our society and impose thier irrantionality on each other's children through the government mandated and controlled educational system. I find that agenda offensive in the extreme no matter which group is pursuing it.

    Gerhard Adam
    Until we can replicate Darwinian evolution in controlled laboratory conditions and evolve a fish into a human, or some equally important transformation, it's merely an un-proven theory.
    Sorry, but it's crap statements like that that are irrational.  No one gives a damn whether you're religious, agnostic, or atheistic.  If everyone is abusing the science you're all idiots.
    Mundus vult decipi
    You've illustrated my point quite eloquently. Expermental poof replicated and documented is how science, real science, as opposed to politically driven psuedo-science , proves something is real and not just conjecture. You are irrational.

    If pastors, priests. rabbis, and "so called" Christians would stop their false (old Earth) and foolish (young Earth) teachings, and start promoting the truth of Genesis (Observations of Moses), then there would hardly be any room for the ridiculous teaching of evolution.

    Collectively, Bible believers are so "blind", that their approach to Genesis is a joke. Instead of seeking the truth, they continue to support the current lies and foolishness of Creationism. Genesis does not have any "Creation accounts". When you keep telling a person that their car is running out of gas, and they refuse to go to the gas station, you begin to wonder how "dumb" they are.

    Herman Cummings
    ephraim7@aol.com

    Gerhard Adam
    ...then there would hardly be any room for the ridiculous teaching of evolution.
    Thanks for that.  Now I can relax.
    Mundus vult decipi
    "All anti-vaccine kooks vote Democrat, for example,

    Can you cite some sources? 'Cuz my neighbor is a anti-vaccine "nut" but is a Libertarian.

    Hank
    He votes for Lyndon Larouche?  Okay, non-insane anti-vaccine kooks vote Democrat.

    Plus, there are going to be exceptions because that is what people do to try and deflect arguments.  It takes a year to get a concealed weapon interview in my county (California is its own republic, the Constitution does not always apply), for example, not because a whole lot of people want them, but making an appointment requires no deposit so anti-gun kooks stuff the appointments register and then never show up in order to keep citizens from getting them.

    Somewhere in that last of offenders may also well be a libertarian nutjob - but contending that all those anti-gun people are equal parts Republican and Democrat is silly.

    Great article, Hank!

    While the young-earth position will never be eradicated (I know wise and knowledgeable people who hold it), the old-earth position is slowly gaining ground even among the most biblically-literalist evangelical Christians (my group). But those who take Darwinism as their religion don't go in for nuance. There is a legitimate scientific debate, but they refuse to engage, in my experience. But everything we know about stochastic processes (the "random mutation" part of Darwinism) argues against getting even a single bacterium that way.

    If I stirred my alphabet soup and it wrote poetry for me, I'd believe in Darwinian evolution, because that would be evidence that the laws of probability favor the language of life from nothing.

    Gerhard Adam
    Why does every creationist have to parrot the same mindless rubbish.
    There is a legitimate scientific debate, but they refuse to engage, in my experience.
    How does one engage in a scientific debate when one side claims "magic" as their explanation?
    Mundus vult decipi
    As my Statistical Thermodynamics text said, "In light of the statistical methods developed and used in this text, it is the view of the Authors that Evolution is impossible."

    What did your Statistical Thermodynamics text say, Gerhard? Or, what is your analysis on how stochastic processes can create large, information-rich structures?

    Wait! You're right! You ARE claiming "magic" as your explanation!

    Gerhard Adam
    Mine says that you don't listen to idiots that don't understand Thermodynamics. 
    The answer is that the second law is only valid in closed systems with no external sources of energy.  Since the Earth receives continual energy from the Sun, the second law does not apply.
    http://biologos.org/questions/evolution-and-the-second-law
    Get a new book. 
    I am amazed at how many Christians claim that the theory of evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics. This can be clearly shown to be false. There may well be some good, valid arguments against evolution, but claiming that it violates the Second Law is not one of them. If we are so careless in our thinking about this subject, are we not in danger of being equally careless in our thinking about more important issues?

    So the bottom line is, the Second Law of Thermodynamics does not argue against the theory of evolution.  Evolution doesn't violate the Second Law of Thermodynamics any more than it violates Newton's Law of Gravity. That doesn't necessarily mean evolution is true, but we shouldn't make a false claim that it violates the laws of physics, unless we want to be intellectually dishonest.
    http://www.noble-minded.org/thermodynamics.html
    Mundus vult decipi
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Thanks for that link Gerhard, it is wonderful. It provides me with even more evidence that the universe is infinite in every direction, as I have always known since I was 2 years old and first started to speak and say such to anyone who would listen, obviously the universe is not a closed system because if :-
    " the universe is taken to be a closed system, the Second Law requires that the total entropy of the universe can never decrease, no matter what changes are taking place in the universe. For example, when heat flows naturally from a hot object to a cold object, the entropy of the two objects taken together always increases."
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Yes I'm sure the prattlings of a two-year old are an adequate theoretical basis for discussing cosmology!
     
    Did you happen to notice that the article makes the very mistake that Gerhard does and which Danthrax is quite rightly insensed by? 
     
    Bonny Bonobo alias Brat
    Did you happen to notice that the article makes the very mistake that Gerhard does and which Danthrax is quite rightly insensed by?  
    No I didn't, any chance of a toddler level explanation please? 
    My latest forum article 'Australian Researchers Discover Potential Blue Green Algae Cause & Treatment of Motor Neuron Disease (MND)&(ALS)' Parkinsons's and Alzheimer's can be found at http://www.science20.com/forums/medicine
    Gerhard,
    You're such a poser. I never mentioned the Second Law, I mentioned Statistical Mechanics. Wow, you can look up "Thermodynamics" on a Church-of-Darwin blog! Thanks for proving my point that most Darwinians refuse to engage in legitimate scientific debate.
    Since I'm one of the "idiots that [sic] don't understand Thermodynamics," and you're versed in science, let's have a discussion that goes beyond what you can proof-text with your Church-of-Darwin Bible, biologos.org. By the way, my father was a Professor of Physics, and my own major was also Physics before I switched degrees to graduate in Engineering Science.
    The Second Law was first formulated in 1850 by Clausius, who said that heat can't flow from cold to hot. In 1865 he said "The entropy of the universe tends to a maximum," which has nothing of your Bible's "closed system" in it. But let's assume Clausius was just shooting from the hip.
    A purely mathematical formulation of the Second Law was given by Carathéodory (1909): In every neighborhood of any state S of an adiabatically isolated system there are states inaccessible from S. Now "adiabatically isolated" means just what your Bible said--no energy input. The reason there are inaccessible states is because there is insufficient energy in the isolated system to get there. But here's the part you're missing: there are accessible states that will never occur. Are you following me? That's the part your Bible is missing; that's what my claim was. And the reason those accessible states will never occur is not because they would violate any of the Thermodynamic Laws. You need Statistical Mechanics to make the reason clear.
    Even before Carathéodory, the great physicist James Clerk Maxwell (a devout Christian, by the way), formulated the Maxwell Distribution of molecular velocities, later developed by Ludwig Boltzmann, who formulated the currently used statistical formula for entropy, S = k log W.
    The problem, of course, is that W includes the factorial of the number of molecules involved! (You understand that the "!" is a joke, right?). Even the log of that is, though not infinite, enormous. The reason entropy increases is that the number of states increases exponentially faster, and the number of low-entropy states is Infinitesimal.
    So you can see the problem your Bible misses, right? The hint has to do with accessible states that nevertheless will never happen. Follow the math and give me an answer. Because I'm the idiot here, and you are the brilliant Darwinist who understands science.
    Prove yourself.

    Actually you seem to be as muddled as Gerhard. You have missed the point of Carathéodory's definition. You said
    The reason there are inaccessible states is because there is insufficient energy in the isolated system to get there.
    This is incorrect. In the adiabatically isolated system, the inaccessible states by definition have enough energy to get there - the total energy is by definition, fixed. What Carathéodory's definition tells us is that despite all the states being energetically possible, the system can only evolve towards some of them. Or, if you prefer, it cannot evolve towards some (other) ones. This therefore defines a "one-way" or "downhill" topology. Of course this is identified as increasing entropy.
     But here's the part you're missing: there are accessible states that will never occur.
    I realize you are answering Gerhard and keen to move in for the kill, but "accessible states that will never occur" does not make sense. They are not very accessible if they never occur, are they? Either you are referring to the classical states, in which case you should probably say "energetically permissible states that will never occur" or you are talking about the statistical ensemble in which case evolution to any particular state is very rare. You need another step in the argument to explain why 
     the number of low-entropy states is Infinitesimal.
    and thus evolution against the entropy slope is vanishingly improbable.
     
    Now, the only reason it's worth talking about the relationship between statistical mechanics and classical thermodynamics is because both sides of the creation debate confuse the two. See my article here (it has a non critical error about Shannon information on the first page, by the way). Evolution is nothing to do with heat or energy, neither has it anything to do with microstates. It also hasn't got anything to do with Shannon information. In fact, as far as I know, the parallels between the genome and a statistical ensemble are purely qualitative:
    The reason entropy increases is that the number of states increases exponentially faster, and the number of low-entropy states is Infinitesimal. The hint has to do with accessible states that nevertheless will never happen. Follow the math and give me an answer.
    the problem is not in counting the states but in identifying the parallel to "accessible (sic) states that nevertheless will never happen". In other words, Shannon entropy is as irrelevant to evolution as thermodynamic entropy is and even Maxwell-Boltzemann statistics.
      
    What is needed is a meaningful "fitness landscape" to give us a topology of the likely directions evolution can go. Unfortunately mapping this to mutation at the molecular level is impossible, at best we can only assume that most mutations take the system "downhill" towards less fitness and eventual extinction. To make the model even remotely realistic, the occasional beneficial mutation must be able to peg itself at the higher level - and thus climb "Mount Improbable". The reproductive success of fitter variants is the equivalent of Maxwell's demon, a ratchet that ensures the system will increase in fitness within the local topology - microevolution.
      
    Extending the model to the full picture is fraught. Dembski went wrong from the very beginning by assuming that the fitness landscape was a deep black pit with just the occasional pillar sticking up above the level at which the species is viable. Thus he made macroevolution - hopping from isolated peak to isolated peak - impossible in principle.  What he studiously ignored was the fact that there's always room for improvement - especially if the landscape is subject to earthquakes (changing conditions!). Thus what look like isolated peaks from which it is impossible escape (left image) always have a few narrow ridges extending away from them, which, of course eventually intersect with others, making the whole landscape a web of intersecting ridges (right image).


    Such a system has no parallel in statistical mechanics: the presence of Maxwell's demon alone ensures the model is inappropriate, but the fine-grained topology of the genome-to-fitness landscape makes any comparison with a simple logarithmic formula quite meaningless.
     
    Hi Derek,

    Glad to make your acquaintance! I'm not ignoring your post, it's just been a busy day and now I only have a few seconds...I'll give your reply careful attention, but it'll have to wait till tomorrow.

    I'm afraid I was only using Carathéodory, as you surmised, as a stop-gap in my argument. So I incorrectly used his theorem as if it were defining the First Law, and that the inaccessible states were energetically, rather than probabilistically , inaccessible. You are of course right, it's instead a statement of the Second Law, and those states will not be attained because of the probability against it.

    That's of course where I was headed, as you deduced, and I'm glad to see you bring fresh ammo to what is now an actual scientific discussion!

    Sometimes it is better to ignore fools and idiots than to argue with them...they are not worth your time and energy.

    You point seems to be that *science* is causing increased belief in creationism by being too vocal. This is absurd. People virtually always believe in creationism because they are taught it from a young age, not because a scientist they met years later was annoying. They DO tend to believe that scientists are malicious and out to trick them, but this any fault of the scientists. As a former creationist, I assure you that people convinced of the conspiracy will tend to see even the politest and best intentioned supporter of evolution in a negative light. The evidence is automatically assumed to be fudged and untrustworthy. Being nicer won't stop this, and catering to creationism will only let it indoctrinate more children.

    Also, I have never heard a (wannabe) scientist criticize people who accept evolution, even if they are technically creationists of some sort. When people say creationist, they mean the crazy ones, because no one cares otherwise. You may be conflating the science lobby with the more recent atheist lobby, who really does think you are all nuts. Still, even that is in reaction to perpetual abuse from religion... being nicer wouldn't fix anything at all.

    a)Using coolness of the earth to compute its age with the presumption that the earth would be in molten state:
    Using coolness to compute the age of the earth might not be reliable for the fact that its computation has presumed this earth could be in molten state or in other words, it could be in liquid form.
    However, the initial stage of earth could be either in solid state that would be fully or partially covered with or without water. The water might be either warm or cold and that I do not like. If the earth would be in solid state that would cover with or without water, it would not take much time for the earth to cool down. Thus, the computation of the age of the earth by means of its coolness would not be feasible since the earth might be in solid state cover with water.
    b)Benoit de Maillet (1656-1738), a French anthropologist and diplomat, measured declining sea level and arrived the conclusion that the earth would be 2 billion years.
    His computation would not be feasible since sea level could rise as shown in the website address:
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/01/us-climate-sealevel-idUSBRE860...
    The rise of sea level has caused his computation of the age of the earth to be unreliable.
    c)Radioactive dating method has been used to test the same stratum of rock and yet the same results (within the margin of error) would produce. The reason to explain this is simple. Using the same isotope to test on the same stratum of rock would produce almost the same result due to the same rock would produce the same unstable atomic nucleus of ionizing particles and electromagnetic radiation in spite of its spontaneous emission.
    The following is the list of some isotopes that are used for dating:
    Parent daughter half-life
    Samarium-147 Neodymium-143 106 billion years
    Rubidium-87 Strontium-87 50 billion years
    Uranium-238 Lead-206 4.47 billion years
    Potassium-40 Argon-40 1.3 billion years
    Uranium-235 Lead-207 704 million years
    Uranium-234 Thorium-230 80,000 years
    Carbon-14 Nitrogen-14 5,730 years
    Question has to be raised. If all the materials as mentioned above would have been created ever since the beginning of this earth, how could the scientists compute the half life of decay rate for Lead-206 from Uranium-238 to be 4.47 billion years? The reason is simply that the half life of decay rate for, let’s say, Lead-206 from Uranium-238, should be 0 if they would have been created at the same time in the very beginning. As the decay could be 0 if these materials would have been created in the very beginning, how could the Scientists be sure of its reliability and to use it to compute the age of the earth to be billion years?
    Besides, even if one material could be the transformation from another, how do the Scientists compute the figure of half life decay rate? For instance, how could the Scientist get 4.47 billion years or not 4 thousand years or others for Uranium-238 to decay to Lead-206? This half year decay rate that has been established by Scientists has pushed the age of the earth and even fossils, i.e. dinosaurs, to billion years. Whenever they use this isotope to test a rock to guess its age, it would give them billion of years since the decay rate has already set by them in the first place to push up to billion years.
    Thus, radioactive dating method is rather subjective and not accurate since the half year decay rate is indeed questionable.

    Gerhard Adam
    If you would have taken half the time you spent writing this post, in actually reading how the half-life is determined, you not be making such glaring mistakes. 

    http://www.skeptictank.org/files/evolut/halflife.htm
    Mundus vult decipi
    Let’s furnish another mathematical formula below for the computation of age of fossils and the earth that could be located at the website address http://education.gsfc.nasa.gov/ess/Units/Unit4/U4L31A.html :
    t = 1/delta In (1+D/P)
    where t is the age of a rock or mineral specimen, D is the number of atoms of a daughter product today, P is the number of atoms of the parent product today, ln is the natural logarithm (logarithm to base e), and delta is the appropriate decay constant.
    In order that the formula could apply for the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or the earth, the substance or objects or whatever must have established the relationship that one object must be the daughter of another. If the relationship between them could not establish to be one as parent and another as daughter, the above mathematical formula could not be used to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth.
    Let’s use Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 as examples for elaboration since scientists have linked up these two objects as parent-daughter relationship that would lead to the decay rate of 106 billion years. The following are the reasons why the computation by means of the above mathematic formula could not be used to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth:
    a)What if Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 would have been created in the very beginning and Neodymium-143 would not be the result of decaying from Samarium-147, the relationship between them to be parent and daughter could not be established. As the relationship could not be established in case if they would have been created simultaneously in the very beginning, the above mathematical formula could not apply. This is by virtue of the above formula could only be applicable when two objects have established with the parent-daughter relationship.
    b)What if Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 would be as hard as a diamond that there could be no way for them to decay, the formula could not be applicable to this condition since Both of these items could not be established to be parent-daughter relationship as one could not be the transformation from another.
    c)Even if Samarium-147 could decay, how could scientists be so firmly that it could turn up to be Neodymium-143 instead of otherwise since nobody could live billion of years to witness the end-result of transformation for Samarium-147 to be Neodymium-143? As that could be so, to comment Samarium-147 and Neodymium-143 to be parent-daughter relationship and to use them to compute the age of fossils or rocks or the earth would lead to wrong age since they could have no relationship between them in the first place.
    d)What if Samarium-147 could decay to Neodymium-143 and yet the decay rate could not be established to be billion of years instead, it could only be a few thousand years, it would certainly affect the figure that has to be used for delta. This is by virtue of the unreliable decay rate would affect the decay constant figure that has to be used in the formula above. As the unreliable decay rate of the above substance would affect the decay constant to be used in the formula above, the end-result of the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or the earth would not be reliable.
    As it is hard to jump into the conclusion that one material or substance or whatever could be the daughter of another, this makes the computation to be unreliable and it is irrational to use radioactive dating method to jump into the conclusion that the age of fossils or the earth or rocks could be in billion years.

    Gerhard Adam
    Too many "ifs" contingent on geological information that I suspect you don't possess. 
    Mundus vult decipi
    What is radiometric decay or radioactive decay? Radioactive decay is a spontaneous disintegration of a radionuclide accompanied by the emission of ionizing radiation in the form of alpha or beta particles or gamma rays.
    Some might argue that radiometric decay could not cause any decay in the rocks or substance or etc.. If radiometric decay could not cause any influence upon the rock or substance. The parent isotope, such as, Rubidium-87, could still remain to be Rubidium-87 after 50 billion years, instead of turning up to be Strontium-87 (daughter). As the parent isotope, such as Rubidium-87, would turn up to be Strontium-87, in 50 billion years later, it implies that there would be a change of quality as a result of the influence of radioactive decay.
    Do environmental factors have any influence upon radiometric decay? Yes, there is. If environmental factors could not have any influence upon radiometric decay, there should not be any reason for scientists to assume that the half year decay rate from Parent isotopes to Daughter to be constant in the first place.
    The following are the number of websites that have indicated that environmental factors could alter radioactive decay rate despite the assumption that has been established through radiometric dating method to be constant and unchanged:
    http://www.patentstorm.us/patents/5076971/description.html; http://creation.com/radioactive-decay-rate-depends-on-chemical-environment; http://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j14_1/j14_1_04-05.pdf; http://wavewatching.net/2012/09/01/from-the-annals-of-the-impossible-exp... http://www.dinosaurc14ages.com/decay.htm
    As the decay rate that has been assumed by scientists in the computation of the age of fossils or rocks or whatever to be in constant rate and yet the actual decay rate might not be constant as a result of the influence of environment, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in billion years would not be reliable. This is by virtue of radiometric dating method has presumed a perfection for decay rate and yet it could be accelerated in reality. As the decay rate could be accelerated, the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could never be accurate.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Samarium-147, so hard that it could resist radiometric decay that it would not cause any change of quality to turn up to be the daughter isotopes, such as, Neodymium-143, the mathematic formula that has been used to compute the age of the fossils or rocks or the earth could not be applicable. This is by virtue of the objects that have been used to measure the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth have to be established to have parent-daughter relationship. Or else, insisting the use of radioactive dating method would simply give false information about the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth.
    What if the parent isotopes, such as, Uranium-235, or whatever, could be so weak that any environmental factors, such as, sun, wind, Noah’s ark and whatever, could accelerate radioactive decay rate and yet it could restore to its original rate at the absence of the influence, the ages of the fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified as a result of great influence from environment.
    What if the objects that have been presumed by Scientists would not have parent-daughter relationship in reality, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth would be falsified through computation.
    Let’s give you an illustration. The parent isotope, Samarium-147, has found to be the daughter of Neodymium-143 just because they both emit alpha particles instead of physical witness of the transformation of Neodymium-143 from Samarium-147. What if Samarium-147 could be so hard to resist radioactive decay so much so that it could not be transformed into Neodymium-143, the insisting to place these two items together and to establish them to be parent-daughter relationship and to compute the decay rate to be 106 billion years would certainly turn up to be unreliable. What if the parent isotope, let’s say, Samarium-147, would change in quality as a result of radioactive decay, yet it would not turn up to be Neodymium-143 but other source. The insisting to establish these two isotopes to have parent-daughter relationship would falsify the computation of the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth. Anyway, nobody could live in billion of years to witness whether the isotopes, let’s say, Samarium-147, could transform into Neodymium-143. Scientists simply establish their relationship through observing the similarity of emission instead of seeing physical transformation. Thus, the ages of fossils or rocks or the earth that have been computed by scientists to be in million or billion years through radiometric dating method would not be reliable.
    From the above analysis, it is irrational to conclude the earth or fossils or rocks to be in million years or billions years as a result of the uncertainty of radiometric decay rate and the questionability whether one substance could be the daughter isotope of another.

    Gerhard Adam
    Please ... just stop.  No one is interested in your nonsense.
    Mundus vult decipi