Bill Nye's short, but brilliant explanation against creationism

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by 63dot, Aug 29, 2012.

  1. 63dot, Aug 29, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2012

    63dot macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I saw this video, link from CNN, and I liked how short and to the point it was about why it's not a good idea to teach creationism in schools. Originally I thought it was a good idea to bring all big ideas to the classroom for kids to see teaching history, science, religion, etc at school. I loved my 8th grade class in Greek Mythology and though it was obvious it wasn't true, it was a fun class and began to explain a lot of what helped form early European culture and literature. I liked my 11th grade class in Marxism and though it was during the cold war, it gave me some perspective just as I signed up for selective service.

    If creationism is taught to bring up (young and impressionable) kids up with a 5,000 year old planet earth as determined by the Vatican and give or take a few hundred years, by some protestants, a lot of other ideas in science fall apart.

    As the US is threatened to lose its position as an intellectual leader in the world, as Nye explains, teaching creationism to kids can have a devastating effect on future scientists and engineers. We already have a brain drain as it is!
  2. quasinormal macrumors 6502a

    Oct 26, 2007
    Sydney, Australia.
    I could never understand how Christians can't reconcile their omnipotent and omnipresent God with evolution.

    I don't have a problem with an evolution fuelled creation myself.
  3. thewitt macrumors 68020


    Sep 13, 2011
  4. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    If you believe God is powerful (and far superior to us humans) and then you look at the amazing process that evolution is, I don't think it's a stretch to think it was the idea of a higher power some call God, or Jehovah, or Allah, or mother nature.

    As a Christian, I have never had any problems with evolution, just like I don't have any problems with the earth being a sphere. I know there are those Christians who believe in a 5,000-6,000 year old earth, and even those who believe in a flat earth, but it's to their own detriment in their understanding of the universe.

    Even in politics there are those extremists who think all republicans are nazis and on the other side who think that democrats are Marxists, but to all those who see things that off kilter, it's to their own detriment in the battle that is politics and being able to beat one's opponent knowing their strong points as well as their weak points. In this GOP convention, I think it's a smart idea for liberals like me to see the good and the bad from the speeches and not simply write this whole thing off as a Mitt love fest for the loyal flock. The side that polarizes the most, and not look at things analytically will lose in 2012. All things should be looked at with a critical eye, even if it ruffles some feathers, like Nye explaining creationism as being taught in schools.

    There is no doubt about the political implications of a GOP, or some in it, pushing a new earth creation mythology. All gains the GOP had in the Reagan revolution, and overwhelming support in what are now blue states really lost a lot of traction during the 2000s with all the social conservatives taking over the party with their focus on abortion, gay marriage, and creationism in schools. Their focus on these things and not the economy is why we are in this mess and 16 trillion dollar deficit.
  5. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    Thank you! I've been thinking along these lines for years. Unless you subscribe to a direct, literal interpretation of The Bible--which most modern Christians don't--there's no good reason to view evolutionary science with derision and fear. Science explores the natural world by empirical means.

    For a Creationist, isn't this the same as exploring God's Creation? I can't think of anything more wonderful for a believer than being able to actually witness and understand the mechanism by which Creation takes place, and seeing God's Hand move in quantifiable ways.

    But that isn't how it's viewed at all by most Creationists, and the only reason I can come up with is the misguided idea that Abiogenesis (inorganic matter becoming life by only natural means) is directly tied with evolutionary theory.

    Unfortunately, education is the only way people learn that evolution isn't a replacement for God, but an observable, verifiable phenomenon. It's too bad a lot of people are taught to be terrified of science and education in church.
  6. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    At least my church, ironically same one as W, didn't see science in a bad light. I understood my spiritual needs were in the church (United Methodist) and science was taught in school. There's really no conflict the way I see it between Sunday school and what I learned in elementary school. If everything were literal in the Bible then we would be made of salt, literally be sheep, avoid eating pork, attend services where men and women were separated, and have to engage in some sort of sacrifice to a temple.

    Sometimes when there is a change in the church, not all members take to it and it wasn't exactly the smoothest transition when a branch of Judaism, lated called Christianity, wanted to let its first non-Jewish members in. I think eventually the long held practice of teaching a literal 5,000 year old creationism in some Christian churches will go the way of the banning of pork. It's still hard to believe that this many years after Darwin and his fairly conclusive proof of how natural life evolves that there is even a debate anymore.
  7. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    I agree. I too wonder why believers don't simply think, "God created the universe, set it in motion, then moved on to create something else."
  8. Sydde macrumors 68020


    Aug 17, 2009
    If you pay close attention to their arguments, the reason becomes obvious. Genesis says that god created man in his own image and told man to be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. This elevates humankind above the rest of creation, whereas evolution threatens to take away our divine throne by putting us on the same level with all the "lower animals", and, in truth, even all other living things. We cannot be related to other simians in particular because they screech, scratch indiscriminately and throw poop around, we are most certainly better than that, invested with a soul, and potentially deserving of a flat in heaven when we die.

    It is this sort of perspective that creates (!) ardent foes of evolution even amongst some otherwise reasonable, well-educated people. Because who, after all, wants to think that they are not really special?
  9. AhmedFaisal Guest

    Because it would mean that we are not God's chosen people... we can't have that....
  10. NickZac macrumors 68000


    Dec 11, 2010
    It surprises me too...theoretically if God is God, then why can't God do as God pleases? I imagine creating evolution isn't beyond the abilities of God, and religious documents are transcribed by those other than God which means they are not infallible. I know of no religion that looks at any mortal that is known to have transcribed religious word as completely perfect.

    I read a stat that said 46% of Americans believe in creationism WITHOUT evolution...while the poll is likely a bit off, it still makes me want to cry.
  11. NewbieCanada macrumors 68030

    Oct 9, 2007
    Because if he moved on, then all religion is a pointless waste of time.

    If God moved on, then debating what he thinks we should do, or how we should live our lives is as pointless as the endless "Steve never would have allowed this" posts.

    Much as I dislike the fundamentalists of all stripes, there's a certain logic to their beliefs. As I like to ask the more rational believers, "OK, so at precisely what page does the bible stop being a nonsensical fairy tale and become the truth?"
  12. AhmedFaisal Guest

    I believe one of the founding fathers produced such a version, no?
  13. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Wow! Serious?

    OK, Bible in a nutshell. ;) :

    God makes us, we screw up, He lays down a law/set of laws, God leads a people to find a land which includes Jerusalem, and many factions within that nation pop up. So about 2,000 years ago, the faith has a major reboot in a Jewish man named Jesus Christ and religious thought in the region is radically changed for many.

    What I think many people don't grasp is the last part. What may have seemed off or mysterious, like the many laws in the Old Testament which would include the banning of pork or wearing mixed fabrics or intermarrying with non-Jews, may have had some cultural context thousands of years ago which we could never really understand. The faith was made perfect, or written in stone, so to speak when Jesus came along. Either the laws were changed, or clarified, or some of both with his sermons. People either accepted or rejected his more compassionate version of Judaism and today the two are considered completely different religions.

    So it's basically what some like me would call an evolution of a religion/faith, not really a point where it went from fairy tale to serious religion. That being said, many believe this and all religions/faiths are complete fairy tale nonsense and that's their right. The fundamentalists are but one branch of Christianity and even within their fold, which I once belonged to, have their deep divisions on issues in both the New and Old Testaments. The larger body of Christianity, which includes many fundamentalists, mainstream, and liberal groups pretty much take the sayings of Jesus as the center of their faith and in almost all cases, do not ban pork, sacrifice animals, or think that only the Jews are privy to God's truth.
  14. VulchR, Aug 30, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2012

    VulchR macrumors 68020


    Jun 8, 2009
    Ugh. I am a scientist, but I think Nye's video is sufficiently condescending to religious people that it will have a detrimental effect. He might as well waved a red flag in front of a bull. First, the US is not the only country in which the issue of the teaching of evolution is controversial. By all accounts the people of South Korea are very skeptical about evolution and they are adjusting teaching in their schools accordingly. Second, he never really presents the evidence for evolution, so it sounds like a glorified op-ed piece. Third, a religious person might say that the future of the US is not simply about technology, but also about moral values (case in point: the many banking and corporate scandals). Fourth, religion has been around far longer than science, and it has survived attempts to suppress it (USSR, PRC) whereas science is more easily suppressed. It is arrogant to think that science will become the predominant view in the future (although I wish it were so). Finally, a religious person might have a different criterion for defining knowing than a scientist, but that does not make the religious person's viewpoint invalid. For instance, my kid found a fossil on the beach (Lepidodendron) and I stated that the plant probably lived hundreds of millions of years ago. A religious relative overheard me and quite rightly pointed out that nobody could know that. All I could say is that it was the best inference we could make given what scientists have observed about the world, and that a rational person looking at the evidence would conclude that the simplest, but not the only, explanation is that the plant in the fossil was much older than the Bible would allow and that the plant was a species that went extinct by the processes of evolution.

    My point is that in the US this battle won't be won by convincing religious people they are wrong, and certainly not by belittling their beliefs. Creationists in the US have different criteria for what is considered evidence compared to scientists, so it is like comparing apples and oranges. I think the real issue is the separation of church and state. The problem with teaching a creationist account in public schools is choosing which account to use. Those that believe creationism should be taught in schools should be asked which account should be used, and whether they are prepared to allow one religion to be favored over another (and risk that their view will not be the favored one).
  15. zioxide macrumors 603


    Dec 11, 2006
  16. Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    The idea of Dominion that you're referencing here is an incredibly destructive cultural ideal. Not only is everything here for us to use and abuse as we see fit, but I've heard conservative Christians absolutely convinced that overpopulation, pollution, and man-made natural disasters are not possible in this divine creation. It defies even the most basic logic and common sense, but at some level there are a lot of Christians who ardently believe this.
  17. Rampant.A.I., Sep 6, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 6, 2012

    Rampant.A.I. macrumors 6502a

    Sep 25, 2009
    Sorry to block quote for one minor thing, tiny phone screen.

    The religious definition of "knowledge" doesn't fit the dictionary definition of what knowledge is, empirically verifiable facts and observations. The word has been re-formatted and used incorrectly to describe religious beliefs, which whether factual or false are "irrational" beliefs. Not meant to be an insult, just saying anything that isn't falsifiable is by definition irrational. There have even been movements in philosophy to define eyewitness testimony in the bible as "evidence" coraborated by "reliable witnesses." This really bugs me because of how subtly it's used in my field, and people have built up massive, unsupportable epistemic theories to "prove" it, and trick a captive audience into "believing" they've proved a divine power is a "logical necessity" by burying an assumption or a belief in a lot of technical jargon.

    The "knowledge" definition has been used to trick the audience, to slip a belief under the door and call it a "fact" or "knowledge." it isn't, it doesn't qualify, but the average person unfortunately doesn't pay enough attention to know the difference. For them, they know what they ate for breakfast, they know what kind of music they like, and they know God exists because they've been let in on an infallible truth. And it absolutely terrifies these people that infallibility doesn't exist, so they fill the void with "musts" and "necessarilys".
  18. Renzatic Suspended


    Aug 3, 2011
    Gramps, what the hell am I paying you for?
    Exactly. Though you have two opposing sides muddying up the whole thing. On one hand, you have the Bible is a literal account people, screaming that if it doesn't work exactly like it did in Genesis, it didn't happen. On the other, you have people like Dawkins saying that evolution is proof that God doesn't exist. It's causing fights and panic over absolutely nothing.

    I think of it like this.

    If there is a creator God, then evolution is the process God set life to conceive itself, advance and improve while adhering to a set of universal rules and standards we currently know of as physics and the material universe.

    If there is no God, then evolution is a natural process by which life is conceived, advances and improves itself within the boundaries of what we currently know of as the natural laws of physics and the material universe.

    Since no one can prove either statement as true, and even if they could, it wouldn't make any difference to the end results, then you could say that the study of evolution has absolutely no theological bearings whatsoever. It's a study of a process. Nothing more. shut up and teach it in schools.
  19. FreeState macrumors 68000


    Jun 24, 2004
    San Diego, CA
    Dalai Lama Quote

    “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.” - Dalai Lama
  20. 63dot, Sep 14, 2012
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012

    63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    Good points, or at least a fair representation of what many believe.

    Actually, Darwin, while he did lay out a process, didn't try to spell the end of religion per se. What may have resulted for some was the strengthening of an already existent atheist belief. What was revolutionary was the discovery of a theory which had very little that could disprove it. He pretty much got it right and today it's what the majority of the world believes. Just like there are those who still believe that the world is flat, there are those who believe in a world 5,000 years old (give or take 1,000 years).

    As for religion, Christianity was not always meant to be a literal translation. Take for example Sermon on the Mount. Jesus had a lot of concepts put together through symbolism. Did he really believe in self mutilation and cutting off limbs to save one from hell? At the time of Christ there were some changes made to Judaism and the radical reboot of the faith led many not to believe in Jesus, which may have been understandable for the time. What he could have said could be taken as a possible political upheaval and that's most likely why the authorities may have wanted him dead.

    He came at a time when a lot of cultures were mixing and exchanging ideas in a perfect central location. A lot of what happened with Christianity was interpreted in a lot of ways to fit whatever culture was there at the time. I have no doubt in the deity of Christ, but I also have no doubt in the many ways the faith could be interpreted and even abused. I don't think any form of Christianity (or Judaism) could possibly be practiced in the same way due to the space of time and culture. It's even fair to say today's different cultures in Jerusalem are different than what was there in a Hellenistic, Roman Empire outpost.
  21. citizenzen macrumors 65816

    Mar 22, 2010
    Buddhist dogma can be boiled down to—thoroughly investigate your mind/body and the world around you and see what comes from that investigation, and always be willing to throw away old concepts and habits when better ways to think and behave become apparent.

    There is nothing special about Buddhism. I practice it because it provides a framework for the doing what I described above. But if anyone truly embodied those principles, then they could be "enlightened" regardless of the culture they lived in, or the religion (or non-religion) they practiced.
  22. 63dot thread starter macrumors 603


    Jun 12, 2006
    I think Christians and Jews have their scriptures but when science challenges the current mindset, many things change. We no longer have slaves, women hold positions of authority in congregations, and the earth is now no longer thought to be flat. I have no doubt that early followers had no problem with society's use of slaves, holding women back to the point of no positions in the clergy and separating sexes during services, and of course the earth being flat.

    As for the flat earth concept, I think the scriptures talking about the four corners of the earth were relating to "different" areas and not a literal flat plane. Of course, back then from casual observation from an uneducated person, it would seem to most that the earth is flat. Even in my life I still knew of a person who held to the flat earth theory and thought the photos from space showing a spherical planet were a government coverup to diss religion.

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