Creationists Grill Nye

HT: NBR

What did creationists want to ask Bill Nye?  In Tuesday’s big debate, we heard a series of audience questions, but there must have been many audience members who still wanted to ask more.

Journalist Matt Stopera was there, and he asked self-identified creationists what they would wanted to have asked Nye.  Whatever your analysis of the debate, these questions help us understand what creationists thought of Mr. Nye and his presentation of the evolutionary worldview.

Some of the questions demonstrate ignorance of mainstream evolutionary science.  One respondent, for example, wondered why there were still monkeys if we came from monkeys.  That’s not what evolution says.  This is the sort of simple, naïve ignorance that too many non-creationists think makes up all of creationism.  A couple of other questions asked similarly naïve questions.  How can there be a sunset without God, one asked.  Another asserted that since the world was “amazing,” there must be a God.  It doesn’t take a Bill Nye to poke scientific holes in that sort of naïve creationism.

But that’s not all there is to the intellectual fabric of American creationism.  The other questions show the diversity among creationists.  One question asked simply, “What about noetics?”  Another woman wondered how we can understand salvation if we believed in evolution.  Another challenged Nye: “Are you scared of a divine creator?”  Two people asked about the Lucy fossils.  Some asked what caused the Big Bang.  When this came up in the debate itself, Bill Nye frankly and enthusiastically responded that he did not know, but that non-knowledge and the excitement of discovery lay squarely at the heart of real science.

stopera nye

Some of the questions showed that creationists have learned science, but a very different science.  For instance, one woman wanted to know how evolution could account for an increase in genetic information.  This is a question mainstream science can answer, but it is often presented by creationist scientists as a decisive disproof of mainstream evolutionary science.  What does it matter?  It shows that some creationists are not simply unaware of mainstream science.  Rather, their knowledge about evolution has been occluded by a compelling–if not scientifically accurate–counter-knowledge.  This is different from people who just don’t know about evolution.

Several questioners wanted to ask Nye about schools.  “Are you influencing children in a positive way?” one asked.  Why not teach more than one “theory” of origins, a couple more wanted to know.

Thanks to Stopera for sharing this fascinating gallery of creationist conundrums.

 

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9 Comments

  1. I saw this and found the Lucy thing quite annoying. We’ve found hominin fossils representing at least 1,000 individuals. Granted many of those are fragmentary, but there are dozens as complete as Lucy, if not more so.

    I wonder why people are not aware of this. Is it the focus of the media on Lucy giving the impression that there’s only one, or are we dealing with people who simply aren’t familiar enough with the subject?

    Reply
  2. For instance, one woman wanted to know how evolution could account for an increase in genetic information. This is a question mainstream science can answer, but it is often presented by creationist scientists as a decisive disproof of mainstream evolutionary science.

    Could you list two creation scientists who have made this EXACT claim?

    Reply
    • I assume you think creationist scientists have not made such claims? If so, educate me: What do creationists say that sounds to me as if they’re arguing that evolution can’t explain the existence of innovations in genetic information? I don’t have my copy of Jason Rosenhouse’s Among the Creationists handy, but I’m relying on my (admittedly spotty) memory of that book. I don’t remember the name of the creationist scientist Rosenhouse described, but I remember Rosenhouse noting this “no new information” argument.

      Reply
    • Most likely you are speaking about Werner Gitt, who as I have stated before, would not have made the claims that Rosenhouse attributes to him. Additionally, I would think it not wise to use Rosenhouse’s recollection when you could reference these supposed creation scientists directly. The claim is more complicated than just genetic information increase via mutations (as in the picture). Rather it pertains to huge information increases resulting in novel functionality leading to better survivability. See for example [ http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab2/mutations-engine-of-evolution ]. Rosenhouse gives the example that if you lose some information and then regain it through another mutation, that this is an information gain. However, that is not novel information and does not produce novel functionality. He does give other examples but I was unfortunately not able to see them on Google preview. Also, do YOU understand the information on your talkorigins link so that you could explain it to others?

      Reply
  3. This is a much better response than that snark published over at the Guardian blogs today. But did you see that Stopera also got 22 evolutionists at the debate to pose questions to creationists? Interested to hear your take on them. http://www.buzzfeed.com/mjs538/messages-for-creationists-from-people-who-believe-in-evoluti

    Reply
    • That link is evidence that evolutionists are just as simplistic or even more so than creationists and that both layman groups are talking past each other. But yes, Dr Laats, let’s have your take on these naïve comments and questions from evolutionists.

      Reply
    • Thanks, Adam. I hadn’t seen that. I operate in an ancient world in which I don’t actually subscribe to many “blasts” and “lists” and whatnot, so I remain ignorant of what’s out there. Thanks for the heads-up.

      Reply
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