Creationism Is Not Science

IMG_20150110_175325My last post was a very brief answer to an article in the Shields Gazette on Thursday, 26th March 2015, in which Mike Hallowell complained that I have criticised his anti-scientific beliefs. I said I would give a fuller answer to his article on the Bad Thinking blog because his original article has not been published on the Gazette’s website. I obviously don’t have a right to reply there, but at least I can reply here.

Mike reckons he doesn’t have a problem with science itself, it’s the “culture that often surrounds it” that bothers him.

Mike says:

I don’t mind scientists telling me what they’ve discovered, but what I don’t take kindly to is being told what I should believe.

Give me the facts, but don’t get heavy-handed with me and tell me how I should interpret them.

In all probability I’ll bow to the expertise of scientists, but I reserve the right not to on occasion. And that’s what some individuals don’t like.

All creationists are happy to accept what science has to say, but only up to a certain point: if science comes up with something that happens to contradict a religious believer’s faith, then that is where their acceptance of scientific discovery stops.

Mike is under no obligation to believe what science has to say about anything, but what “some individuals don’t like” is the campaigning by many creationists to have religion taught in science classes. Religion and science are totally separate issues that are simply not compatible with each other.

Similarly, the so-called “debate” between evolutionists and creationists is a non-issue, except for the creationists. If they want to believe that a god or gods created the universe and the life within it, no one is stopping them from following their religious beliefs. Science would quite happily ignore religion if only religion would keep itself to itself. Unfortunately, religions do not produce new knowledge; what the religious believe is already written down and it would be considered blasphemous to question holy scriptures, so nothing in religion is going to be tested, questioned or changed in the light of new scientific research. Creationism is simply not scientific, and “creation science” is just an oxymoron.

I find it ironic, however, that the religious – like Mike in his article – refer to what they call “scientific dogma.” At the same time, they also claim – like Mike does in his article – that science changes, even to the point of discarding ideas that were eventually found to be wrong. He says science is dogmatic, in an article where he also says it is always changing. He appears to see no contradiction there.

But what about those scientists he mentions who had religious beliefs? After moaning that I have said in the past that if creationists could be reasoned with, there would be no creationists, he says;

I don’t know about you, but I find that sort of attitude appallingly arrogant, for it forces us to presume that great minds like Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Herschel, Joule, Pasteur and Kelvin were so beyond the pail (sic) of rational thinking that they could not be reasoned with.

As far as I have been able to determine, all of these geniuses believed in a creator.

What Mike says there is simply a red herring – a rhetorical device intended to divert his readers’ attention. Perhaps all the scientists he lists were believers in a creator; Isaac Newton in particular was a devout Christian, but he saw himself as merely discovering and describing what he believed was his god’s creation. Nowhere in his scientific writings does he invoke any supernatural explanation for any of his observations. Other scientists don’t appeal to the supernatural either.

The same applies when a similar argument is utilised with regard to the USA, for instance. Yes, it is a world leader in science; it is also a very religious (primarily Christian) country. But its scientific accomplishments are despite, not because of, the religiosity of its citizens. The science is done by (mostly godless) scientists, not by those who are motivated by, and seek, supernatural explanations for what we see in the world and the universe around us. The US constitution keeps religion out of state schools and universities. Keep in mind the fact that scientific breakthroughs come from purely secular institutions, not Bible colleges or any other religious organisation.

Natural events can be explained by natural causes, and you will not find any legitimate scientific research report appealing to the supernatural as a cause for anything. Whether the religious like it or not, science progresses while religion stagnates.

Mike then comments:

Swiftsure also admits that science “is not a perfect system” but if it isn’t perfect, why should people be ridiculed for rejecting some of the things science currently teaches?

It’s true that science isn’t perfect, but it’s the best system we have to find out about the objective reality that is out there. Those who reject science are ridiculed when they make claims that are, well, ridiculous.

Using the same oxymoron as above, Mike continues:

Many creation scientists have been bullied, harassed and threatened because they reject the theory of Darwinian evolution.

The point here, though, is that the people he refers to are not doing any actual science anyway. It’s a classic example of people who think their beliefs have – or should have – equal standing with empirical research, whining that science ignores them. If they could come up with solid evidence to support their beliefs rather than just trying to nit pick perceived faults with evolutionary theory then they would be taken seriously. But trying to replace established and well tested biological science with “God did it” isn’t good enough. Strong faith is regarded as an admirable characteristic in religion, but in science faith is a weakness (even a liability) not a strength.

Mike’s next comment merely illustrates that he is talking about things he does not understand:

I don’t get angry in the least when I hear people deny creationism, but I openly confess I do not like the high-handed, arrogant and often venomous way in which some evolutionists belittle those who do not agree with their views on the origin of life.

This is the standard trope of the typical uninformed creationist, who thinks that science is trying to compete with their particular god or gods. For Mike Hallowell’s benefit, let me make this point clear: no one knows how life originated. Science makes no claims about how life began (although there are people working on it). The theory of evolution has nothing to say about how life started. Evolution is a science that investigates how life evolved after it began, not how it came about.

The next thing Mike says is possibly the most eye-rolling of his diatribe:

We’re told science is “self-correcting”, [Mike is referring to me, again, informing him of that], but that’s a process which only works if one allows for dissent and open debate.

And you can’t have open debate if you believe those who disagree with you are too stupid to be reasoned with.

Creationists who disagree with science with regard to evolution are in the same situation as someone who disagrees with the accepted “dogma” that an internal combustion engine has to be operated with petrol or diesel fuel. Dissent and open debate are regular features of science – but that happens between scientists, who do change and adapt their theories in response to new evidence. But should a non-engineer who has no training in, and knows nothing about, engines be “debated” with? Such a person obviously can’t be reasoned with. That doesn’t mean they are stupid, but their ignorance can hardly be denied.

Mike is still on his high-horse, however. He says:

Many creation scientists have been bullied, harassed and threatened because they reject the theory of Darwinian evolution.

I don’t know about any literal bullying, harassment or threats that Mike mentions, although those people might interpret the rejection of their anti-scientific views as being that. In reality, creationists cannot get a foothold in academia for the simple reason that the very concept of “creation science” is a non-starter as a method of discovery. The only thing creationists do is to try to pick faults with existing evolutionary theory – particularly in areas where there is genuine disagreement between real scientists. Where there are areas in which scientists don’t know yet what is happening, creationists fill those gaps in knowledge with the all-encompassing and untestable “God did it.” The true purpose of creationism is to get rid of any aspect of science that contradicts the actual dogma of religion.

But Mike isn’t finished yet:

No matter how convinced you are about the wonders of science, just remember: behind every currently accepted scientific doctrine lies a long trail of discarded ones which seemed just as sensible in their day.

Unlike religion, of course, where the battle against disease and every other adversity we come across is fought the same as it always was: with faith, prayer and an assortment of rituals and incantations.

Science itself didn’t actually start on any particular date; it began when thinking people started to question religion. A drought was never overcome by prayer, for instance, but some people reasoned that bypassing gods and digging irrigation ditches would work – and it did. While some people were offering worship to their god during an outbreak of cholera, others were actually doing something useful – finding a source of clean water that was not contaminated with whatever was actually causing the disease. Those people were wrong when they thought cholera was caused by a miasma – a bad smell – and they discarded that idea when they found out about germ theory. Yes, that’s pretty much how science works – by keeping what works, and discarding what doesn’t. But Mike sees that as a bad thing.

Before science as we know it now, people were lucky if they lived to their mid twenties. It is the advancement of science that has brought us out of the dark ages, but it is the unchanging dogma of religion that would take us straight back there. And it might yet succeed. Mike, according to his article, is clearly also a global warming “sceptic,” (read, denialist) and he has the same complaints about science and what it has to say on the matter.

Unfortunately, the anti-science lobby is very influential, supported by religion and vested interests. However, when the rising water levels on this planet start lapping around the denialists’ ankles, they might start to pray, but by then it might also be too late. We have a realistic chance of avoiding disaster if we act now by listening to, and acting upon, what science has to say about it.

When the Earth becomes a water-planet with most of what is left of the land a parched wilderness, science will be able to do no more than say, “I told you so.” And the religious will replace their failed prayers with, “It was God’s will; we can’t do anything about it. Praise the Lord.”

If religion would stop trying to interfere with reality, we would all – including the religious – be much better off.

Meanwhile, here is a snapshot of our evolutionary history. No one is being told they have to believe it, it just happens to be true whether you believe it or not.

IMG_20150111_200601

Addendum: This is strange; the above article is now on the Gazette website here:

http://www.shieldsgazette.com/opinion/columnists/kicking-up-a-stink-over-origins-of-life-1-7178249#comments-area

It doesn’t appear on any of my feeds on any of several computers I use in different locations on different networks, and I came across it only by chance when I was looking for something else. Nevertheless, you can now click over there and read it; there are some interesting criticisms (at least there are at the moment; it’s not unknown for the Gazette to remove criticisms, so read now while you have the chance).

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4 responses to “Creationism Is Not Science

  1. An excellent article. I would mention a couple of points that reinforce what you have said, but which people really do need to appreciate.

    Evolution is the scientifically best way that we have of explaining the range and diversity of life on the planet. There is no ‘scientific’ alternative, which is why intelligent design was ‘invented’. Intelligent design is based on a pseudo-scientific term called irreducible complexity, which has been shown to be heavily flawed, and completely dismissed by the legitimate science community. Hence to dismiss evolution in favour of creationism is to be ‘anti-science’ by definition.

    There’s an appeal by Hallowell in his article to respect his belief in what appears to be an appeal to equality of opinion. The point is, of course everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that is not the same as saying that every opinion is of equal value. There are still folks who claim the earth is flat; we dismiss them as foolish, but they are entitled to their opinion. Even terrorists are entitled to their opinions, though that is an example of how we must control and limit sometimes the expression of an opinion. And that’s how it is with evolution. As you point out, creationism cannot be taught in schools as science; we now deem it a foolish opinion and limit its expression as to do otherwise would be to disadvantage children via their education.

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  2. Geoff, you’re quite right, of course. “Intelligent design” is nothing more than creationism masquerading as science. It fools a few people, though, so it’s important to keep science at the forefront. I try to help in that way with this sceptical blog.

    As you say, everyone is entitled to their opinion, but opinions do not have equal validity. Creationists want “balance” in science classes, but presenting anti-science, pseudoscience or outright religion is not balance, it is misinformation at the very least. We owe it to our young people to give them the best knowledge we have.

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  3. Mike Hallowell

    “My last post was a very brief answer to an article in the Shields Gazette on Thursday, 26th March 2015, in which Mike Hallowell complained that I have criticised his anti-scientific beliefs.”

    I never said that my beliefs were anti-scientific – you did. What I criticised was your arrogance.

    “I said I would give a fuller answer to his article on the Bad Thinking blog because his original article has not been published on the Gazette’s website. I obviously don’t have a right to reply there…”

    It may be obvious to you, but not to anyone else. You can send a letter to the Gazette in response, and I’ve offered you space in my own column to reply. You seem to keep forgetting this no matter how many times its pointed out to you.

    “All creationists are happy to accept what science has to say, but only up to a certain point: if science comes up with something that happens to contradict a religious believer’s faith, then that is where their acceptance of scientific discovery stops.”

    Not true. Its where a re-evaluation of the new scientific findings begins to see whether the orthodox interpretation of them is correct,

    “Mike is under no obligation to believe what science has to say about anything, but what “some individuals don’t like” is the campaigning by many creationists to have religion taught in science classes. Religion and science are totally separate issues that are simply not compatible with each other.”

    But Creationism isn’t religion; its an interpretation of science which is compatible with religious thought. That isn’t the same thing.

    “Similarly, the so-called “debate” between evolutionists and creationists is a non-issue, except for the creationists.”

    Strange – there’s many an evolutionist who keeps wanting to lecture us over the subject.

    “If they want to believe that a god or gods created the universe and the life within it, no one is stopping them from following their religious beliefs.”

    Why thank you.

    “Science would quite happily ignore religion if only religion would keep itself to itself.”

    And religion would happily ignore some of the less believable aspects of scientific thought if people like you didn’t keep attacking us.

    “Unfortunately, religions do not produce new knowledge; what the religious believe is already written down and it would be considered blasphemous to question holy scriptures, so nothing in religion is going to be tested, questioned or changed in the light of new scientific research.”

    False. Scientific analysis of religious belief and dogma goes on all the time. The beliefs may not change, but our understanding of them is being enhanced all the time.

    “Creationism is simply not scientific, and “creation science” is just an oxymoron.”

    Well, that’s just your opinion.

    “I find it ironic, however, that the religious – like Mike in his article – refer to what they call “scientific dogma.” At the same time, they also claim – like Mike does in his article – that science changes, even to the point of discarding ideas that were eventually found to be wrong.”

    So you’re denying that this has ever happened?

    “He says science is dogmatic, in an article where he also says it is always changing. He appears to see no contradiction there.”

    Correct, for there is no contradiction. Science continually changes, yet at any given point in time it howls down those who challenge it in the most dogmatic fashion. That’s where the irony lies – in insisting people accept what science teaches today in the full knowledge that it might be teaching something completely different tomorrow.

    “But what about those scientists he mentions who had religious beliefs? After moaning that I have said in the past that if creationists could be reasoned with, there would be no creationists, he says;
    I don’t know about you, but I find that sort of attitude appallingly arrogant, for it forces us to presume that great minds like Galileo, Kepler, Pascal, Newton, Herschel, Joule, Pasteur and Kelvin were so beyond the pail (sic) of rational thinking that they could not be reasoned with.
    As far as I have been able to determine, all of these geniuses believed in a creator.
    What Mike says there is simply a red herring – a rhetorical device intended to divert his readers’ attention.”

    No it isn’t. You’ve just introduced the red herring yourself. You said that its pointless reasoning with creationists because if they were people who could be reasoned with they wouldn’t be creationists in the first place. I then simply listed some of the great and the good who believed in a Creator – by your own definition those people should have been beyond reasoning with.

    “Perhaps all the scientists he lists were believers in a creator; Isaac Newton in particular was a devout Christian, but he saw himself as merely discovering and describing what he believed was his god’s creation. Nowhere in his scientific writings does he invoke any supernatural explanation for any of his observations. Other scientists don’t appeal to the supernatural either.”

    Hang on; You say Newton was, “…merely discovering and describing what he believed was his god’s creation.” But then say, “Nowhere in his scientific writings does he invoke any supernatural explanation for any of his observations.” Well, he wouldn’t have to, would he? Belief in God as the Creator is to embrace the supernatural openly!

    “Keep in mind the fact that scientific breakthroughs come from purely secular institutions, not Bible colleges or any other religious organisation.”

    Well, naturally! That’s as daft as saying that no advances in religious, theological or spiritual understanding come from secular institutions. Of course they don’t – that’s not the reason for their existence.

    “Natural events can be explained by natural causes, and you will not find any legitimate scientific research report appealing to the supernatural as a cause for anything.”

    Well, it depends who decides what is legitimate or not, doesn’t it?

    “.while religion stagnates.”

    A worthless, entirely subjective opinion completely unsupported by the facts.

    It’s true that science isn’t perfect, but it’s the best system we have to find out about the objective reality that is out there. Those who reject science are ridiculed when they make claims that are, well, ridiculous”

    Which still doesn’t address my question: If science isn’t perfect, why is there so much pressure put upon us to accept current scientific dogma which may later be discarded? Why not leave people to make their own minds up without criticising them for not accepting what may well be a flawed idea or concept?

    “Using the same oxymoron as above, Mike continues: ‘Many creation scientists have been bullied, harassed and threatened because they reject the theory of Darwinian evolution’”.

    How on earth is this an oxymoron? It’s simply a fact. The plain truth is that many creation scientists have been bullied and harassed. I don’t like it, you may be comfortable with it, but no one can deny that it’s happened/

    “The point here, though, is that the people he refers to are not doing any actual science anyway.”

    Rubbish. Some of these people have enjoyed prestigious roles in the sciences, and no one questioned their abilities or understanding in their fields UNTIL they expressed a belief in Creationism. Then, miraculously, they seemingly mutate from respected scientists into “quacks”.

    “It’s a classic example of people who think their beliefs have – or should have – equal standing with empirical research, whining that science ignores them.”

    What they “whine” about is the fact that conventional science refuses to give them a fair hearing. You’ve admitted yourself that there’s no point reasoning with them. They are scientists and do NOT “believe that their beliefs should have equal standing with empirical research.” What they believe is that their beliefs are compatible WITH empirical research – you are deliberately misrepresenting their position.

    “If they could come up with solid evidence to support their beliefs rather than just trying to nit pick perceived faults with evolutionary theory then they would be taken seriously.”

    Well, guess what; when they DO come up with what they genuinely believe to be solid evidence people like YOU openly refuse to debate with them on the basis that they can’t be reasoned with! In essence, “Show me the evidence, but don’t expect me to look at it.”

    “But trying to replace established and well tested biological science with “God did it” isn’t good enough.”

    Well, it’s your perception that just isn’t good enough. Again, you are deliberately misrepresenting their position by colouring it as “religion vs. science.” They aren’t trying to “replace” science with God at all. What they ARE saying is that belief in God and creation is not incompatible with science when its properly understood. If you want to engage in a war against Creationism then go ahead – but don’t misrepresent what those who oppose you are saying. That’s just a cheap shot – and one which you engage in all the time. Thank you for providing me with the following example to prove my point:

    “Mike’s next comment merely illustrates that he is talking about things he does not understand: ‘ I don’t get angry in the least when I hear people deny creationism, but I openly confess I do not like the high-handed, arrogant and often venomous way in which some evolutionists belittle those who do not agree with their views on the origin of life.’
    This is the standard trope of the typical uninformed creationist, who thinks that science is trying to compete with their particular god or gods.”

    My point was that evolutionists are often extremely aggressive and arrogant in the way they deal with Creationists. You then take my statement and paraphrase my argument, asserting that I “think science is trying to compete with their particular god or gods.” If you look at what I actually said, and compare it with what you claim I said, there is absolutely no relationship between the two. I wasn’t referring to the debate between God and science. I was talking about the aggressive stance some evolutionists take towards creationists. This is what you do all the time; invent straw-man arguments aqnd then attempt to shoot them down. No wonder you won’t debate with me – your skills regarding logical argumentation are simply dire and so easy to expose.

    “For Mike Hallowell’s benefit, let me make this point clear: no one knows how life originated.”

    Well, Creationists believe they do, although I appreciate you wouldn’t agree with them.

    The next thing Mike says is possibly the most eye-rolling of his diatribe: ‘ ”we’re told science is “self-correcting”, [Mike is referring to me, again, informing him of that], but that’s a process which only works if one allows for dissent and open debate. And you can’t have open debate if you believe those who disagree with you are too stupid to be reasoned with.’
    Creationists who disagree with science with regard to evolution are in the same situation as someone who disagrees with the accepted “dogma” that an internal combustion engine has to be operated with petrol or diesel fuel. Dissent and open debate are regular features of science – but that happens between scientists, who do change and adapt their theories in response to new evidence. But should a non-engineer who has no training in, and knows nothing about, engines be “debated” with? Such a person obviously can’t be reasoned with. That doesn’t mean they are stupid, but their ignorance can hardly be denied.”

    But that’s the point! Many of the people who espouse creationism ARE scientists who AREN’T ignorant of the facts. They ARE qualified to comment on the issue. Their “crime” is to offer unorthodox interpretations of the facts. Tell the truth, Swifty: This has nothing to do with whether they are experts in the relevant sciences or not, because whether they are experts or not one thing is sure – if they express a belief in Creationism they’ll be viciously attacked for it.

    “Mike is still on his high-horse, however. He says: Many creation scientists have been bullied, harassed and threatened because they reject the theory of Darwinian evolution.”

    I apologise. I was always under the impression that it was perfectly acceptable to mount one’s high horse and defend those who were being bullied and harassed.

    “I don’t know about any literal bullying, harassment or threats that Mike mentions, although those people might interpret the rejection of their anti-scientific views as being that.”

    No, I’m referring to those people whose careers have been destroyed after they expressed a belief in Creationism. I’ve already referred you to one book which details this sort of thing to a disturbing degree.

    “In reality, creationists cannot get a foothold in academia for the simple reason that the very concept of “creation science” is a non-starter as a method of discovery.”

    And that’s where the prejudice lies. Orthodox scientists should not exclude them, but merely disagree with them. Your statement proves what Creation Scientists have said all along; The current scientific-cum-academic arena is little more than a gentleman’s club, membership of which can only be gained if one agrees not to challenge the status quo.

    “The only thing creationists do is to try to pick faults with existing evolutionary theory – particularly in areas where there is genuine disagreement between real scientists.”

    Not true. Many creation scientists are actively engaged in research themselves – they don’t simply pick fault with the evolutionist interpretation.

    “Where there are areas in which scientists don’t know yet what is happening, creationists fill those gaps in knowledge with the all-encompassing and untestable “God did it.”

    No they don’t. Creation scientists may believe that “God did it” in broad terms, but they have also offered detailed scientific hypotheses as to what may have occurred in those “gaps” within a creationist framework.

    “The true purpose of creationism is to get rid of any aspect of science that contradicts the actual dogma of religion.”

    No; the true purpose of creationism is to prove that the concept of special Creation is not incompatible with science. True, Creationists would naturally not lose any sleep if the teaching of Darwinian evolution was to wither on the vine and die. But there again, YOU wouldn’t lose any sleep if Creationism was to go into extinction either, would you?

    “Unlike religion, of course, where the battle against disease and every other adversity we come across is fought the same as it always was: with faith, prayer and an assortment of rituals and incantations.”

    But that simply isn’t true. Some of the greatest pioneers in the fields of medicine were inspired by religious and spiritual ideals. The only people I know who reject modern medicine in favour of religious methods of tackling disease are the Christian Scientists (that’s a religious movement that was started by Mary Baker Eddy, by the way, and not a generic term.)

    “Science itself didn’t actually start on any particular date; it began when thinking people started to question religion.”

    Really. Well, I’m amazed. So, now we are to believe that during the times of the great empires, such as Sumer, Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Rome, ad infinitum – where religion was rarely if ever questioned and universally practiced – there was no science. None at all. Atheism was known in the 6th century BC, but it only gained any significant influence in small, primitive civilisations. In fact, the more advanced a civilisation was, the greater was its devotion to the sciences.

    “A drought was never overcome by prayer, for instance, but some people reasoned that bypassing gods and digging irrigation ditches would work – and it did.”

    Irrigation can help overcome drought, it’s true, but your assertion that prayer doesn’t help is questionable.

    “While some people were offering worship to their god during an outbreak of cholera, others were actually doing something useful – finding a source of clean water that was not contaminated with whatever was actually causing the disease.”

    But what makes you think that worship and practicality are antithetical? Can you show me an example of what you assert – incidence of people consciously refusing to engage in practical measures to fight cholera and proposing that only prayer and ritual should be engaged in instead? You’ve made the assertion – and you could well be right – but I’d like you to cite your source for this allegation so I can check it myself.

    “Those people were wrong when they thought cholera was caused by a miasma – a bad smell – and they discarded that idea when they found out about germ theory.”

    “Those people”? You’re obviously referring to those who, according to you, preferred prayer to practicality. How wrong you are. The Miasma Theory was accepted scientific dogma and had nothing to do with religion at all. When the Miasma vs. Contagion debate arose, there was no measurable division along religious lines. Why should there be? There is nothing to make one theory more or less acceptable in comparison to the other for people of faith. This was not a debate between religion and science – it was a debate within science. Further, Miasma Theory, although a flawed concept, promoted the idea that personal hygiene and a sterilised environment was one of the best ways to fight cholera. It was miasmism which precipitated the creation of new drainage systems which prevented the reflux of sewer odours into dwellings. Florence Nightingale was a firm believer in Miasma Theory and based her treatment and care regimens upon it. So, Swifty, don’t make out that Miasma Theory was the possession of the religious whilst Contagion Theory was brought into existence purely by “science”. Those who promoted Miasma Theory were scientists as well.

    “Yes, that’s pretty much how science works – by keeping what works, and discarding what doesn’t. But Mike sees that as a bad thing.”

    And I said that was a “bad thing” where, exactly? No, I didn’t. Just another example of you making up fairy stories to make your opponents look bad.

    “Before science as we know it now, people were lucky if they lived to their mid twenties. It is the advancement of science that has brought us out of the dark ages, but it is the unchanging dogma of religion that would take us straight back there.”

    No it wouldn’t. Yet again you’re presenting your oft-repeated lie that religion and science are antithetical. Now I appreciate that you think Creationism is unscientific, and you’ve openly admitted you don’t even want to talk to people who disagree with you, but now you’ve shifted the focus of your argument from Science vs. Creation to Religion vs. Medical Progress. Can you show us any evidence that religious people today wish to abandon all the progress science has made in medicine since the Middle Ages and return to the way it was then? What, specifically (no sweeping generalisations, please) is the “religious dogma” that promotes a return to the Dark Ages? Which specific religion or religions promote this dogma? I suspect this will be another one of the many challenges of mine you just ignore, but who knows, you might surprise me.

    “And it might yet succeed. Mike, according to his article, is clearly also a global warming “sceptic,” (read, denialist) and he has the same complaints about science and what it has to say on the matter.”

    I’m not simply a “global warming sceptic”. I’ve yet to be convinced. I’ve seen good and bad arguments on both sides, and I’m currently withholding my judgement. Unlike you, I don’t make dogmatic pronouncements about things I’m not certain about. Your castigation of Islam is a typical example. I pointed out many painfully inaccurate statements you made about it – assertions that were so off-beam that even non-Muslims I know, as well as my spiritual compatriots, just shook their heads at in disbelief. But did you apologise for your errors? Not a bit of it. As usual, you just carried on regardless.

    “Unfortunately, the anti-science lobby is very influential, supported by religion and vested interests.”

    Can you give your readers links to the websites of these influential religious bodies who say they are “anti-science”? I’ve never seen any. When you say “anti-science lobby”, don’t you really mean, “Anti-science –as –me-and-my –evolutionist-atheistic-pals-happen-to-understand-it Lobby?

    “However, when the rising water levels on this planet start lapping around the denialists’ ankles, they might start to pray, but by then it might also be too late.”
    Well, at least we’ll have someone to pray to. And I suspect some of the tub-thumping atheists might suddenly start to pray anyway. It wouldn’t be the first time. For them, you are correct. It may well be too late.

    “We have a realistic chance of avoiding disaster if we act now by listening to, and acting upon, what science has to say about it.”

    You could well be right.

    “When the Earth becomes a water-planet with most of what is left of the land a parched wilderness, science will be able to do no more than say, “I told you so.” And the religious will replace their failed prayers with, “It was God’s will; we can’t do anything about it. Praise the Lord.”

    You really do have a hopelessly twisted view of religion, Swifty.

    “If religion would stop trying to interfere with reality, we would all – including the religious – be much better off.”

    That would be your “reality”, though, wouldn’t it? The only one that matters?

    “Meanwhile, here is a snapshot of our evolutionary history. No one is being told they have to believe it, it just happens to be true whether you believe it or not.”

    To which many will reply, “No, it’s not”.

    Oh, and by the way, after I blew your “I had no right to reply” claim out of the water, you still didn’t respond to my open invitation to give my column space over to you to tell my readers why I’m so deluded. All you have to do is contact me and we’ll make arrangements…why not ask your readers if they’d like to see a two-part debate on, say, the UFO enigma. or maybe your new hot topic, Islam? i mean, if i’m so beyond the pail of reason and logic you’d be able to shoot me down in flames easily, right?

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  4. Mike, you obviously have not understood anything I wrote in my post. Or maybe science is just too threatening to your beliefs.

    You have not refuted anything I wrote, but I have published your see-through amateur rhetoric anyway for informed people to simply look and laugh (or maybe just facepalm it; perhaps even feel sorry for you if they are of a charitable disposition). I will say that your child-like naiveté has a certain charm, as viewed from a grown-up’s point of view, but this blog is for sophisticated thinkers. Learn something about logic and science and then get back to me.

    One more point: if you want to reply, then stay on topic. If you go off on another rant, as you have done on other posts here, trying again to turn this thread into an argument promoting your new religion – Islam – I will not publish it. I was referring to religion in general, not Islam in particular (which does not have a monopoly on creation stories, by the way – there are thousands of them).

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