Creationists respond to Bill Nye’s pro-evolution video

September 2, 2012 • 5:13 am

Last week I posted Bill Nye’s “Big Think” video in which he went after creationism without mincing words.  Predictably, the creationist organization “Answers in Genesis” enlisted a video response (below) from two of the self-described “science guys” (better described as “Liars for Jesus”) from Kentucky’s Creation Museum,  Dr. David Menton and Dr. Georgia Purdom. The title of the video is offensive as well: “Bill Nye, creationism is highly appropriate for our children.”

It’s unfortunate that Nye said that creationism was a problem unique to the U.S., but it is true that levels of evolution-denial are higher in this country than in any other First World nation.  But as for the rest of the creationist response, it’s predictable and lame. Purdom draws a false distinction between “observational science” and “historical science,” placing evolution in the latter category, a category in which truth is determined solely by one’s “worldview.” She also avers that “historical science” “confirms the literal history in Genesis.” What has she been smoking?

Menton’s argument for why the idea of evolution is “highly superfluous” is hilarious. How can these people believe such things?  Well, we know the answer. A world without religion would be a world without creationism, and our kids could learn the truth about their origins without opposition.

Also predictably, the creationists have disabled comments on the video.

137 thoughts on “Creationists respond to Bill Nye’s pro-evolution video

  1. I don’t know what Menton means by creationism is taught in S. Africa. It is not taught in science class at school and it is definitely not taught at Universities.

    1. What am I to make of the drop down title at the top of the video?

      “Bill Nye, Creationism is Highly Appropriate for our Children.”

      1. Treat it as a rare example of Fundamentalist ironic humour? P’raps not.

        That said, the Brit non-believing CofE brethren are capable of the odd bit of genuine wit, usually predicated on the joke that faith in this day and age is absurd. Vide Giles Coren who quizzed Dawkins on the full title of ‘The Origin…’ and Archbishop Rowan Williams, who is no slouch, as long as he keeps away from religion.

        But the Fundamentalists, sheesh, what they need is a good drink – came across a few of them up in the Western Isles off the coast of Scotland; whatever the opposite is of life-enhancing, that’s them.

      1. That said, it would have been better to simply opt for moderation to weed out the trash, and let in constructive opposing views.

      2. Nearly everyone allows commentary on their videos on YouTube, even if they’ve got highly controversial views, like a lot of the conspiracy nuts. Locking comments is an instant tip-off that the person who made the video is being blatantly dishonest but doesn’t want to allow other people to be able to point out the deception.

  2. “Evolution and creationism are part of the same category historical science” What a laugh, creationism is part of the hysterical category. Where do these people get their PhD from, of course I forgot they bought them.

    1. From Wikipedia:

      “Ken Ham obtained a bachelor’s degree in Applied Science, with emphasis in Environmental Biology, through the Queensland Institute of Technology and, in order to begin teaching science in Australian public schools, a diploma in Education from the University of Queensland.”

      No Ph. D. No Masters degree. No wonder He just makes up whatever he wants to sell to the ignorant American public.

      1. Yeah, I agree with jacobvanbeverningk. While I’d be hard on someone saying they have a PhD when they only have an honorary one, I think people should be judged by their arguments and relevant experience.

        And in that case, I’ve judged the argument “Darwin wasn’t there but God was” rather harshly. 🙁

    2. Purdom’s Ph.D. is from Ohio State and Menton’s is from Brown. I suppose it could be argued that all Ph.D.s are purchased; maybe what one does with the degree after it is attained (obtained?) is important. Using a Ph.D. in biological science (molecular genetics for Purdom and cell biology for Menton) to work for “Answers in Genesis” as an “educator” arguing against biological science is. . . what? weird? twisted? nonsensical?

  3. “Evolutionary biology is included in the high-school curricula of most Muslim countries. Science foundations of 14 Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, and Egypt, recently signed a statement by the Interacademy Panel (IAP, a global network of science academies), in support of the teaching of evolution, including human evolution”

    Creationism may be taught all over the world- that doesn’t make it any more true than the religions that are taught all over the world. The way it’s worded is a shameless attempt at manipulation. Where exactly in Brazil is creationism taught? Not at state schools or universities.

    1. Yes, it’s bizarre that they’re using an appeal to the authority of Muslim countries’ high-school syllabuses when at the same time they would vehemently oppose many other aspects of those same schools’ teachings. Reminds me of the way some neo-Nazi groups in the US find common cause with Muslim extremists because they both hate teh Jews. Sheer desperation.

  4. “Do we start with Man’s ideas of the past, who wasn’t here during the supposed millions of years of the worlds history, or do we start with the Bible, the written revelation of the eternal God who created it all”

    Man’s idea: the timeline of the past, built up piece by painstaking piece from examination of physical evidence, to form a vast system that is self-consistent and consistent with all of the evidence, including making predictions about future evidence and events.

    The Bible: A translation of a written account that was a conglomeration of a oral history past down through many generations of bronze age tribesmen, claiming to be revelation, but not consistent with the evidence nor even self-consistent, making many failed prophecies.

    Yep, I guess it does depend on your worldview. Do you look at reality or fairy stories?

    1. The problem with “wasn’t [t]here” is that the readers and writers of the myths wasn’t there, while we are here making observations of these times.

      But of course you can lie about what observations are, and hope your audience doesn’t know better.

      1. God was there, though, and he told us. Last Thursday, actually. While I was finishing up my oatmeal, God appeared to me and gave me the true first-hand account of it all. To convince me he was the real deal he performed a miracle in front of my two dozen house guests and brought my goldfish back to life. I was just about to flush him when he stated flopping around again. Bubbles lives! God told me to ignore all the rubbish in the Bible. He said that wasn’t inspired at all, unlike the story He told me and which I will be publishing soon. Here’s a preview: Creating the universe took a whole year, and involved a huge egg. You’ll have to wait for the hardback to get the full story, the true story, the written revelation of the eternal God who created it all. I suggest you put down your science pens now, because it’s all going to be redundant once God’s first-hand account hits the shelves.

    2. It is even more blatant than that. She gives the game away with that statement. She clearly reveals that one of her initial premises is that the bible is “the written revelation of the eternal God who created it all.”

      She is admitting that she begins with her god belief and that any evidence contrary to her belief is, by the very fact of being contrary to her belief, bogus.

      She reveals herself to be a dishonest hack. There is no use in arguing with her. But I think she is a perfect example to use to demonstrate, by dismantling her arguments, to others who may be listening who are not quite as committed to self delusion, how weak the theist’s arguments are.

    3. “The Bible: A translation of a written account that was a conglomeration of a oral history past down through many generations of bronze age tribesmen, claiming to be revelation, but not consistent with the evidence nor even self-consistent, making many failed prophecies. ”

      The most of those generations were iron age (which in the near east started around 1300BCE though iron didn’t become common until later) and I wouldn’t necessarily call it “a oral history”. There were multiple stories (some were probably written such as the king lists for Judah and Israel) and also a fair dose of stuff not initially meant to be history. These then produced several books with their own agendas (e.g., the king lists were annotated to indicate who was good or bad in the eyes of the authors).

      1. Which is astounding. How do you contribute anything meaningful in genetics or cellular biology if you reject its foundation?

        1. I’m sure the faculties of cell biology from Brown University molecular genetics from Ohio State are very proud. I’m thinking of coming out with a new book in which I explain that molecules don’t really consist of atoms. I’m sure I’ll be a big hit with my chemistry colleagues.

        2. One can lay shingles without understanding anything about what holds the house up. It is possible to be focused on a narrow technical question in some corner of a field, to make real contributions in one’s narrow area, while understanding amazingly little of the rest of one’s field. I see it all the time. The specialization of science makes this possible. It is, of course, in some sense a failure of the system that we don’t verify that people have a broad enough understanding of the field they are getting a degree in. But in practice many programs are structured to merely vet your actual research on the way to your degree and give surprisingly scant attention to the breadth or generality of your understanding and capabilities. And there will always be people with latent infections of a mind virus. No program can achieve a 100% cure rate. Many brilliant scientists of the first order at some point in their lives seem to turn away from all reason and descend into some kind of crack pot realm. Micro-strokes or senility? Who knows. The human mind is a many layered mess and emotions are always there seducing us into blind alleys.

        3. Since when is common descent (to my knowledge the only major tenet in biology which creationists reject) the “foundation of it all”?

          Creationists accept evolution as change over time – they only reject the notion of a single common ancestor for all living things.

          1. …and by extension, that known drivers of evolution can increase the “information” (yea, I wonder how to precisely define that in this context) in the genome to the degree that organisms develop “significant” (weasel words galore) new traits.

            Personally, though I believe in a young earth, I do not understand why creationists are so contentious about this. I see no clear indication in the Bible that species could not evolve in the “macroevolution” sense (no matter if they came from a created “kind” or a single common ancestor), so there really is no need to be dogmatic about it.

          2. Only some creationists accept any form of evolution at all. Many outright reject it whole cloth because it implies that everything was not created perfectly at the beginning and that the conditions on Earth are prone to changes. Fear of change to the point that even the possibility of change must be denied seems to be common among creationists.

  5. Please do us a favor and write a post about Ohio State and Brown Universities. That’s where these speakers got their Ph.D.s from and it should be known what the schools’ stance is on Creationism. If it’s not considered a science there, the speakers should relinquish their doctorates.

    1. These people have created a whole industry of junk science. Apparently Purdom is a “peer reviewer for Creation Research Science Quarterly”- LOL PEER REVIEWER???

      Here’s an interesting Q&A between her and anti-gay crazy Bryan Fischer:

      Fischer: It seems to me that you can draw pretty much of a straight line from Darwinian Evolution to Social Darwinianism – I mean, if it’s survival of the fittest and let’s get rid of the weakest members of our society, it makes absolutely logical sense if you believe in Darwinianism, this is how all of life develops, this is how we get increasingly complex lifeforms. So it seems like you can draw almost a straight line between Charles Darwin, Margaret Sanger, Eugenics movement, and Adolph Hitler. In other words, you’ve got pretty much a broken (sic) line from the theory of evolution to Hitler’s Germany. Is that an over-exaggeration?

      Purdom: No it’s not, it’s absolutely [garbled] and that’s one of the things I will show in the presentation that I’ll be doing for the Life Series to sort of show that building, so to speak, from Charles Darwin to Francis Galton to Margaret Sanger to Nazi Germany and all those others in this one big continuum, so to speak. One thing leads to another. When we start compromising on the Bible in one part, like with the ideas of evolution, it’s just another step to compromising on other parts, like the sanctity of life.

        1. Craeful now! When you publish a study on the viability of building residential facilities inside whales, (based on the bible) you’re going to need someone to review it!

      1. To me, Purdom’s quoted remark comes across as “the whole edifice of Biblically-based religion is a house of cards that will collapse if even one part is shown wrong.”

        Or to be more crass about it, “our anti-scientific attitudes bring in good incomes and we’re not about to let anybody interfere.”

        Perhaps I am stating the obvious.

      2. What confuses me is they understand the science enough to use the Wedge Theory, but not enough to realize evolutionary biology does not apply to morality or history, and that they look like fools when they say stuff like that.

        Biology 101, evolution takes what’s hanging around nearby, not strategically. I guess they really do believe their own ideas in their delusional world.

        1. I think it’s a trick and they don’t actually understand science. If they do, that makes it even worse because it means they are intentionally deceiving their listeners/readers.

          Maybe they’re playing the same game as Narth/Paul Cameron in which they simply manipulate language, sometimes abusing it or completely changing the meaning of words to forward an agenda.
          I saw a funny one recently where one of these science-abusers was saying that humans are ‘naturally monogamous’. To justify this assertion he used a convoluted theory on oxytocin- details of which I won’t even get into. The underpinning of the whole thing was what nature “wanted”.
          The lines between what’s observable and their religions are so blurred in their minds- it destroys any chance of reasonable conclusions.

          1. I think that in many cases they do not understand the science at all, and have no wish to. They want to learn just enough, but not too much. It is all just a game of finding things that seem to support their position, or that can be made to sound as if they do by judicious editing (or should that be interpreting?).

            I once had an argument with an acquaintance about same sex marriage. We were having a beer together at a bar and a political discussion somehow led to him explaining to me why SSM should not be legalized. (My 1st response was “oh, I didn’t know it was illegal). He went through all the familiar arguments, it’s a choice, it will somehow damage “real” marriage, one man one woman marriage is ancient tradition (HA!) and maybe a few others. On each of those he seemed to give ground when I countered them and he would leave them to go onto something else.

            Until he got to “science shows that homosexuality is an aberration in nature”(paraphrase). On that he would not budge. I pointed out that homosexual behavior has been common throughout human history. That it is common among many other species from birds to dolphins, and most especially in other primates. That though it is not the dominant type of sexual behavior in all these various species it is known to occur in, that it is ubiquitous enough to be able to say that it falls within the range of normal behavior.

            He would not acknowledge any of these arguments. His only response was to repeat each time, more animatedly and louder, that homosexuality was an aberration in nature. We made quite a stir at the bar that evening.

            1. You’re right, of course, but what if it were an aberration in nature? Building airplanes is an aberration in nature too. Deal.

              1. Agreed. I was not arguing that because it is not an aberration it should be legal. My argument was, “the claim you are making to justify your argument is wrong.”

                In fact I did present the argument that nothing should matter, people should be free to do as they please. I presented it with great relish actually, because he is a big L, the government will get my guns over my dead body, keep your no good government hands out of my business, every man is an island and real men love it that way, social safety nets are for free loading wusses, Libertarian. The irony of the situation was totally lost on him.

          2. There’s a few creationists who do understand the science- Kurt Wise being the example that immediately springs to mind: he got a Ph.D. in geology from Harvard. To accomplish that he’d by default have to understand the science well enough to know that his claims are BS, but I think you’re right with the majority of cases, since they rarely have anything more than a bare minimum of education on any of the relevant topics but are hit so hard with the Dunning-Kruger effect that they haven’t got the slightest idea that they haven’t got the slightest idea what they’re talking about.

            1. Case in point- a guy I know thinks that modern medical practices are a scam because they require you to get a prescription from a doctor on order to get antibiotics, even though every time his kid got a sore throat the doctor prescribed the same stuff so he should have just been allowed to go down to the drug store and buy a few pills without having to go to the doctor’s office.

              I asked him if he’d ever heard of MRSA. He hadn’t.

        1. From the journal’s instructions to authors:

          “6. Does this paper provide evidence of faithfulness to the grammatical-historical/normative interpretation
          of Scripture? If necessary, refer to: R. E. Walsh, 1986. Biblical hermeneutics and creation. Proceedings
          First International Conference on Creationism, vol. 1, pp. 121–127. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Creation
          Science Fellowship.
          Remark:
          The editor-in-chief will not be afraid to reject a paper if it does not properly satisfy the above criteria or it
          conflicts with the best interests of AiG as judged by its biblical stand and goals outlined in its statement of
          faith.”

        2. That’s hilarious. They’ve even standardized bible quotation format: “Bible References—Typically spell out books of the Bible; when abbreviating, avoid two letters. An abbreviation should contain no less than three letters, e.g., Isaiah should be abbreviated Isa., not Is. The only exception is the book of Psalms, which should be abbreviated Ps.”

          That’s because Psa is the sound the devil makes…

      3. It seems that they forgot to mention that Hitler used Christian rhetoric to justify killing the Jews.

        Frankly Christianity itself hasn’t had a great record in preserving the “sanctity of life”, i.e. killing off anybody who has a different religion, lifestyle, etc.

        I am not painting all Christians with the same tar brush but they like to pretend that Christianity has perfect morals which just isn’t true when you get deep into the study of the Bible. A God who commands his followers to murder, rape. enslave others and even commit the human sacrifice of a young virgin girl (funny how that never makes the Sunday sermon) cannot be considered to be a moral God.

        I am not an athiest but I will say that many of them that I have met seem to have better values than many Christians do.

        1. Judging by the way many of the “sanctity of life” crowd go on other issues, like the appropriate sentences for various crimes or the funding of poverty relief, it appears that said sanctity only applies until an individual is born.

    2. Just goes to show that earning a degree is not necessarily evidence that one gained an education. It’s dumbfounding that they would cite the bible as scientific evidence.

      1. Yep that is true for just about anything, what I’m objecting to is their use of the universities’ name in the video. If the school does not teach Creationism, they cannot be allowed to represent the school that way.

  6. Creationism is something not just peculiar to the United States. Why look at any backward country clouded by religion and you will find creationism along with the denial of human rights in the name of god. Are they telling us that these are the people we should look to for guidance?

  7. The comment about the bible being an eye witness account is thouroughly laughable. but depressing that they can’t see the problem with that statement and how it is inconsistent withthe common creationist denial tactic of “you weren’t there millions of years ago”.
    As for no genetic mechanism? Are you kidding? Duplication/pseudogene conversion/ frame shift/fusion……….. and this person claims to be a genetecist!

  8. It was really hard to listen to more than half of this 3 min. vid so perhaps I missed something, but there did not appear to be any reference to the UK.
    If you take a look at responses say to Yahoo articles relating to, for example, Darwin or fossil finds, it’s quite surprising just how much ignorance there is in the UK. However, a major difference between the UK and the US is the apparently inexhaustible supply of professors and other high level academics (many in Life Sciences) in the US who can be trotted out to support Creationism. You would be hard put to find more than a handful in the UK. I find this very difficult to understand.

    1. Don’t be fooled, in general they’re not actually ‘professors and other high level academics’- they’ve have doctorates in divinity or some such rubbish.
      Dr. Jerry Falwell? Not quite.

          1. Obviously! But he is a “professor and high level academic” and his doctorate is not in “divinity or some such rubbish.” My point was that you can find a creationist cranks even in fields that seem to be something substantial who will trot out creationist garbage. They’re pure gold as far as creationist propagandizing is concerned. For the average Joe who wants to believe, a degree and a record of accomplishment in Mechanical Engineering is good enough. In that regard, gluonspring’s comments below are dead-on.

      1. I’m not sure that covers the position. I expect Jerry has a pretty good idea of the numbers and qualifications of the “Creationist Life Scientists” Some comment would be useful.

  9. How can you have a PhD in science and think the world is 6000 years old?

    “The president/CEO and founder of Answers in Genesis–U.S. and the Creation Museum, Ken Ham, responds to Bill Nye’s recent YouTube video”

    1. Thanks for this. I haven’t kept up with the rhetorical slight of hand of the creationists… and I didn’t sick up, but I was a little nauseous.

      1. If the Creationists want all of human knowledge to conform to the contents of the Bible, why are they so dishonest and misrepresentative in their arguments? I thought they had rules against that kind of thing.

    2. Many of the creationists I have met so admittedly do so on primarily Biblical grounds. However, they also believe so because they think the evidence for an ancient earth falls short of being conclusive, and that there is strong contradictory evidence that is not being addressed.

      Of course, there are old earth creationists who think the opposite. Myself, I lean towards the young earth view.

      1. Have you read WEIT? If not, you have no right to be giving opinions on this site. Most people are ignoring you, as I shall after this.

          1. Before you can post again (and you are posting here quite a lot), please tell us briefly

            a. what is the evidence for an old earth that you find unconvincing

            b. what is the evidence for ayoung earth that makes more more convinced that that is the case?

            You won’t be allowed to post here again until you discuss the evidence.

            1. Thanks for replying,

              from my OP:

              “Many of the creationists I have met admittedly do so on primarily Biblical grounds. However, they also believe so because they think the evidence for an ancient earth falls short of being conclusive, and that there is strong contradictory evidence that is not being addressed.”

              This is addressing individuals other than myself, whose views are their own. Myself, I believe in a young earth primarily on dogmatic grounds, but I am open to the fact that I may be wrong, and hence why I want to hear opposing views.

              As far as evidence is concerned, I noted in another post that I am fully aware of the problems with a young age for the cosmos, and I find many arguments made by creationists to be far from convincing. That said, there are other ones, such as Helium diffusion (see: http://creation.com/helium-evidence-for-a-young-world-continues-to-confound-critics) that I do find persuasive.

          1. See above. You are going against all the scientific evidence in supporting young earth creationism, and also making many posts on this thread. I am asking you then to give us the evidence for this view before you’ll be allowed to post any further on anything else.

  10. Historical science is just fine when you have an accumulation of mutually corroborating pieces of evidence from highly diverse sources (paleontology, geology, biochemistry, etc.) I can see how in the years just following Darwin one could have “reasonable doubts” about evolution, but not after further exploration of the fossil record and the discoveries of genetics. There simply isn’t any reasonable alternative explanation.

    All the areas of the world with high numbers of evolution-doubters seem to be those heavily influenced by Abrahamic religions, excluding for example India and China.

    There’s a video of the gal from this one debating with Micheal Shermer in the cafeteria of the Creation Museum somewher.

    1. That video can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_CLIGJW6Ic

      It was filmed by Healthy Addict. I recommend all of her videos.

      Shermer shows an amazing amount of patience in this debate even when Purdom, who does indeed have a PhD in molecular genetics from The Ohio State University, states that evolution “never really came up” in all of her years at OSU. Like Jerry said, a liar for Jesus.

  11. They block comments and ratings for their videos? They obviously don’t want feedback for their ridiculous litany. I lived for 3 years a stone’s throw from the creation “museum.” Wouldn’t give them a dollar though I was quite curious about their show.

    Face palm!

    1. While I do not think it was a wise move, chances are they actually wanted to spare viewers from the veritable frenzy of vitriol, slander and foul language that tends to plague not only creationist videos, but YT videos in general.

      As I see it, they should have opted for moderation of comments instead – not to stifle dissenting views, but to weed out trolls and general content-free trash.

  12. Apparently, one of the problems with evolution is “the complete lack of a genetic mechanism that allows organisms to gain genetic information.” [Georgia Purdom]

    Better educated creationists, like the two in the video, cling like limpets to wilfully misunderstanding two basic concepts: information and randomness. We may assume that they are not too stupid to grasp them, therefore it is either their way of protecting their faith (in other words, a delusion), or plain old lying.

      1. Not quite, as creationists tend to use ‘information’ in a highly idiosyncratic way. They would deny, for example, that gene duplication increases the information content of the genome.

        1. So I guess what you are saying is that they change the definition of certain terms so as to confuse people. So technically they are not lying. Of course misdirection is still dishonest. But many people still fall for “slight of hand” tricks.

  13. Ratings disabled, comments disabled, same old discredited, chewed out “arguments”……I mean, why do they even bother to make a video reply? Unfortunately I do understand why: their target audience does NOT want to critically think about what is being said as long as it validates their belief. They will have heard about the Bill Nye video (very likely not watched it) and now they have a handy video “discrediting” it while stating all the pleasant, comfortable “arguments” they are so nice and familiar with.

    1. Because that is all the hordes of believers need. They just need someone to reassure them that there is a reply. These videos aren’t about convincing unbelievers, or even about supplying believers with reasons for their belief. Heck, believers won’t even bother to watch and understand the reply, they’ll just go to bed feeling like their “experts” have countered the evolutionists lies again and they’ll be happy with that. It is a kind of theater. My whole extended family, hell almost my whole childhood hometown, are fundamentalists and that is how they treat the whole question. They freely acknowledge that they don’t know anything about science or biology, that they couldn’t begin to argue the point one way or another. However, so long as someone, anyone, out there is making confident pronouncements that some scientists somewhere say their religion is right, that’s all they really require. For people like my parents it isn’t even about knowledge or truth or any such thing, it’s about morality. They feel that Christianity = morality. They can not imagine that there could be morality without Christianity, and so for them it is imperative that Christianity be true because they feel the alternative is moral chaos, murder in the streets, etc. I am not exaggerating. All they want or need is someone to reassure them that they can go to bed with their ideas about morality intact. That’s the purpose of videos like this. That’s the purpose of all apologetics.

      1. ==Because that is all the hordes of believers need. They just need someone to reassure them that there is a reply.==

        I agree with this in general, and I find it sad. However, remember that this is far from isolated to people who hold a religious position. There are people who are more than willing to listen to anti-creationists as well – not because they objectively weight (or even understand) the information at all times, but because they gain an assurance that the opposing position can be safely rejected. Of course, this is not a correct way to deal with truth no matter where you come from.

  14. “Do we start with Man’s ideas of the past, who wasn’t here during the supposed millions of years of the worlds history, or do we start with the Bible, the written revelation of the eternal God who created it all”

    That’s why it’s useless to argue with these people. Just concentrate on fighting them legally and politically.

    1. I don’t think it is useless to argue with them because there is such a thing as cognitive dissonance, of having one part of your mind telling you “isn’t this bullshit?” while another part of your mind is telling you “no no, it is imperative that you don’t think that, you’ll end up in Hell if you fail to accept God’s word”. They may look confident and certain but most often there is a part of them that knows they are wrong. The goal of arguing with them is to give some moral support to the “isn’t this bullshit?” voice in their head. It worked for me. I was a brainwashed believer but over a long period of time I slowly absorbed enough facts and arguments to undermine that belief, for the reasonable part of my brain to overpower the superstitious part. Being bit of a geek, I went out and found the arguments that undermined my beliefs. For others, we have to bring the arguments to them. It can take a lot of time, too, because they will actively avoid thinking about it to protect their superstitions. That is one benefit of someone like Bill Nye speaking out. It forces people who otherwise would avoid thinking about it to think about it.

      That said, it probably is somewhat useless to argue with the people who actually make these videos, because they are so invested. They have a lot to walk back at this point, and some of them have a job on the line too, and they are mini-celebrities in their own sub-culture. So it probably is a waste of time to argue with Ken Ham to try to persuade Ken Ham, but it’s worthwhile for everyone listening in on the argument.

      1. gluonspring,

        Thanks for sharing your experience. Can I ask, how long it took you to move from believer, to doubter, to atheist?

        1. Sure. I’m always happy to recount my own tale in hope that it will provide moral support for someone else. Your question is difficult because it was such a long process and because, for a long time, I sort of had two minds, the believing mind, and the mind that knew and accepted the right answers from science. As a child religious answers often seemed weak, but I assumed the adults knew what they were talking about. When I watched Cosmos at 15, that dislodged something in my mind and might be the beginning of a new level of doubt. Probably from then on I sort of had to actively work to keep my belief intact. The first time I admitted to myself that I didn’t really believe I was about 20-22. I had rolled all the arguments around in my mind for years, but one day I simply realized that, as a point of fact, I didn’t believe it. It was a weird moment. I didn’t decide to be a non-believer so much as I noticed that I was a non-believer. My first reaction was to be very scared, since non-believers are going to Hell. Pretty twisted, eh? I didn’t believe in Hell, but I still feared it might exist. It took awhile, a month or two perhaps, to lose that remaining irrational fear. The first time I admitted out loud to another person that I didn’t believe I was 25 years old. I’m going on 50 now not once since I was 20 has it crossed my mind to reconsider. Being a believer is hard, because you have to work to make the world fit into a story that it doesn’t fit. Being a non-believer is easy, because the world is what it is and you can just observe. That is the best thing about non-belief. No temples to defend that the Gods will not save (f/ Borges).

          1. Thanks for sharing, I can relate to this a lot since I have undergone a similar journey – albeit from atheism to theism (Christian theism, specifically).

            I underwent, for a long time, the cognitive dissonance that you mentioned, although a bit differently. To me, it was a large chunk of my mind simply not wanting Christianity to be true, because I thought the implications were so horrible not only for me, but for my family and mankind at large. Nevertheless, I could not escape the fact that the more I tried to refute the Bible, the more the arguments against it fell apart. Eventually, I could only accept where I believed the facts where leading, and that was to the truth of the Christian religion.

            It is very important to try and leave emotion out of all of this – passion is a poor guide to truth.

            I waver as far as the age of the earth is concerned. From a Biblical perspective, I find it very hard to argue that the Bible even allows for an old earth, and as a believer, that more or less settles it for me.

            As far as the science is concerned, I am fully aware that there are several challenges to a young earth for the cosmos, and you should know that there are a great many old earth creationists who feel the very same way (For examples, Google “Questioning Answers in Genesis”, and “GeoChristian blog”). However, importantly, one of my main concerns here is that there are a great number of arguments that simply have not been shown to be refutable when it comes to arguing for a young earth. At the same time, there seem to be several problems with the arguments for an old earth that are not being addressed either.

            1. “From a Biblical perspective, I find it very hard to argue that the Bible even allows for an old earth, and as a believer, that more or less settles it for me.

              There is the problem right there. You have described several times now that you are interested in the evidence, have examined it, have doubts. But you have also stated clearly right here that none of that matters, that the only thing that matters is that you are a believer, therefore whatever the bible says must be true. That is an unreasoned position. Not to mention unreasonable and irrational, and it directly contradicts your claim that you are open to evidence.

              “. . . there are a great number of arguments that simply have not been shown to be refutable when it comes to arguing for a young earth.”

              That is simply not true. You may not understand the reasons that such arguments fail, but rest assured that they do. You manage to have faith in the christian god without any reasonable evidence that he even exists. Can you not manage some faith in the scientific process that has huge amounts of evidence to support its findings? In fact you do exhibit a certain faith in science nearly all the time.

              “At the same time, there seem to be several problems with the arguments for an old earth that are not being addressed either.”

              None of this is true. In the rare instance that YEC counter arguments are not wrong due to ignorance, or simply fallacious, the error they are trying to use to refute the science is orders of magnitude too low to support their claims. And the claim that problems with the findings of science are not being addressed is flat out false. In fact when problems become evident that actually draws more interest and attention from scientists.

            2. However, importantly, one of my main concerns here is that there are a great number of arguments that simply have not been shown to be refutable when it comes to arguing for a young earth.

              This is false.

              The earth was known to be old centuries ago.

              Even most xians accept that the earth is old. Acceptance of the old earth is around 99+% among scientists. The few who don’t, like Purdom or Menton freely admit they don’t on religious grounds.

              The only real YEC argument is not refutable. Last Thursdayism. Yes kids, god created everything last Thursday. Enjoy your week, he will create another one next Thursday. Needless to say, such a god would be a malevolent monster.

          2. Hi Gluonspring,

            Thanks for this. There are lots of stories on the web of people who escape from Mormonism and other fundamentalist groups. Its the amount of time it takes for the various parts of the mind to catch up with each other and feel comfortable with the new narrative. It’s similar to getting over a fear of anything else – eg heights. I had some fundamentalism in the church, but not parents, so in high school, I was taking evolution arguments to the pastor. I went on to tertiary education, and also being in Australia, there was a more secular ethos (although this was all some time ago).

            I liked in your other post that you said your ‘whole home town’ was fundamentalist. You did well to escape a whole cultural indoctrination, whereas mine was just one aspect.

            And your rationale as to why the fundies don’t bother engaging in discourse with atheists – that they are only talking to their ingroup, to keep the gate closed. Again, your escape, given the ubiquitous nature of the belief was remarkable.

    1. Haha, it’s so true! I knew before I even visited the video page that votes and comments would be disabled. It’s practically required for every faith based argument, while those based on science always have open discussion. This way they can avoid seeing people point out the ridiculous aspects of their belief so they can go on maintaining their illusion. It’s an inadvertent admission of defeat.

    1. Naw. She is a Zombie, a meat robot.

      That is what religion can do to a person.

      1. Purdom knows that evolution is both a historical and experimental science. There are huge numbers of evolution experiments running in real time everywhere.

      2. She also knows that there are numerous mechanisms for increasing genetic information. She has a Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Ohio. Gene duplications are common and commonly known mutations for one thing.

      It’s easy to be a creation “scientist”. Just repeat the party line without worrying about the fact that is a bunch of lies.

  15. It’s interesting to read the comments about Georgia Purdom- I’m currently a Ph.D. candidate in the MG program where she studied. I have heard of her, in fact, her advisor is on my committee. It does not make me happy that she is able to use her degree to lend even a small degree of credibility to these ideas.

  16. So Menton has a PhD in cell biology from Brown. I wonder what Ken Miller has to say about that. I will, however, have some fun at John Kwok’s expense by citing Menton when the creation issue comes up over at Panda’s Thumb and Kwok leaves a comment.

  17. “Highly superfluous”?

    Knowledge of the workings and construction of my car’s (automobile’s!) braking system is highly superfluous to the mechanic maintaining the fuel injection or engine cooling systems, but it’s still car mechanics and still essential to the efficient, effective and safe running of the vehicle.

  18. Doesn’t Governor Bobby Jindal have a biology degree from Brown? Pity, it is also where Bumpus made the first observation of natural selection in action.

  19. “…the lack of a genetic mechanism that that allows organisms to gain genetic information to go from simple to complex…”

    This upsets me more than anything else in the video. It’s a blatant lie that I heard for most of my life. If people want to cling to religious views in the face of facts, I suppose we can’t stop them, but this kind of misrepresentation is intolerable.

    It shows a total disregard for what’s actually true and cheapens their religious views. If I can prove that statement wrong (and I’m currently working on it) will their entire world view fall apart? A faith that puts known falsehood on equal footing with facts is not to be trusted, whether one accepts evolution or not.

  20. Well, their video did get me thinking something I hadn’t considered before. How did DNA grow from a tiny thing to a double helix that is gigantic? What made it grow? How did it add to itself? The answer, polyploidy, is mysterious to me now but I assume someone out there will explain it to me (and tell me how to pronouce it).

  21. This definition of ‘Doublethink’ from George Orwell’s 1984 has recently been called ‘MittSpeak’. However, I think the Creationists speak a fine version of it.

    Jerry, it may be worth passing on to all.

    “DOUBLETHINK: To know and not to know, to be conscious of complete truthfulness while telling carefully constructed lies, to hold simultaneously two opinions which cancelled out, knowing them to be contradictory and believing in both of them, to use logic against logic, to repudiate morality while laying claim to it, to believe that democracy was impossible and that the Party was the guardian of democracy, to forget, whatever it was necessary to forget, then to draw it back into memory again at the moment when it was needed, and then promptly to forget it again, and above all, to apply the same process to the process itself – that was the ultimate subtlety; consciously to induce unconsciousness, and then, once again, to become unconscious of the act of hypnosis you had just performed. Even to understand the word ‘doublethink’ involved the use of doublethink.”

    “The power of holding two contradictory beliefs in one’s mind simultaneously, and accepting both of them… To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just as long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink. For by using the word one admits that one is tampering with reality; by a fresh act of doublethink one erases this knowledge; and so on indefinitely, with the lie always one leap ahead of the truth.”

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