A Conversation for Creationism - Fundamental(ist) Errors

You don't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 1

Einauni Muznobotti

None of your points refute, or even address, the points that Josh are trying to make. This debate is very much more complicated than I think you are qualified to handle. For the record: I believe that evolution happens. I have not studied for a degree in paleontology ... *formally* ... but I think I'll be able to get one with minimal further work. I've been reading about the subject since the age of five. I know many of the pro and con arguments. I also know of many *different* theories to account for criticisms of *different* models of evolution. Beside me here I have two textbooks: 'Vertebrate Paleontology and Evolution' by Robert L. Carrol (1988 W. H. Freeman and Company) and 'Mammal-like Reptiles and the Origin of Mammals' by T. S. Kemp (1982, Academic Press). Don't worry about their being behind the times ... they are pretty complete, as it is; not *that* much more has happened in the meantime (I try to stay up to date on new discoveries.) I have read the first front to back, and I understood all of it, and remember a lot of it; the other not yet, but it contains basically the same info as one or two chapters of Carrol's book, only in a bit more detail. I have read many, many other books also, but those two are *textbooks* on a very important (so we humans consider it) part of the evolution of life, and they detail the definitive examples. I will be able to explain it to someone like Josh, but the attempt will take quite a long period and a lot of effort, and is not guaranteed to succeed.

Anyways ... I think I *may* be able to teach Josh something about evolution ... but I also want to say this: I understand the points he tried to make. If I attempted to criticise him, I sure as hell would not do it in the way you tried to. Your criticisms are extremely superficial and fail to touch the conceptual base Josh is working from. I understand that base ... and undermining it will take very long, very dilligent work, *differently focused* to the way you or anyone else have been going about. Also, I don't think I want or need or have to do anything to make Josh change his beliefs. There are significant groups of people who believe like he does. They think *differently* from the way I think ... but they *do* think. Some of them may be significantly more intelligent than you or I. They may also perhaps exercise their mindpower even more than you or I do, in coming up with their theories. Ridiculing either them or their beliefs and/or theories and/or whatever is silly and rude - in my opinion.

If I had the opportunity to talk with Josh about this entry, I'd try and help him make the points he wants to make in a better way ... and also connect them up with his stated goal of providing a scientific basis for Creationism more clearly.

I am personally interested, apart from evolution, in meta-Creationism: everything above, below and around different kinds of creationist theories and beliefs and the people who subscribe to them ... *but* without considering myself, or my knowledge, or my beliefs, to be superior to them/theirs.

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 2


Hi Willem:

"None of your points refute, or even address, the points that Josh are trying to make."

Before I changed it, the entry was a point by point, paragraph by paragraph deconstruction of almost Josh's entire entry. If you think I haven't addressed his points I can only assume that you've either not read what I wrote or are using a different definition of the word "refute" to one I'm familiar with. Since I've now changed the entry I don't want to get into a discussion about it, but please do read what I've written before commenting.

"This debate is very much more complicated than I think you are qualified to handle."

Disregarding the implied slight to my qualifications, this is (a) not a debate, because Josh is not debating as such, and (b) desperately simple - did evolution happen? It's a YES/NO question, and I don't see how it could be much simpler.

"I think I *may* be able to teach Josh something about evolution"

Good luck. He doesn't have much of a record of listening...

"Your criticisms are extremely superficial and fail to touch the conceptual base Josh is working from". The conceptual base is that a book more than two thousand years old is a more reliable source of truth about reality than the evidence of reality itself. *You* try touching that conceptual base if you can.

As for trying to make him change his beliefs, I'm not trying. I'm trying to get him to stop defaming the memory of reputable scientists, lying about science, and misrepresenting the work of professional researchers for his own religio-political reasons. He's ignored me and many others completely, while purporting to ask for comments in Peer Review. I'd say that was rude. He was rude, so people (myself included) were rude back, eventually. Make no mistake, we tried to be polite, but were consistently ignored. You can try talking to him if you like. I wish you luck.

Since I've now rewritten the entry and removed all of Josh's text, the above comments are now immaterial in any case. See what you think of the new version.


You don't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 3



You will not succeed in teaching Josh anything. He won't reply, unless it is to insult you.

I am in total agreement with everything Hoovooloo has written in this article. I have a degree in Genetics, of which a large part covered evolutionary theory, with specific topics studied being animal speciation, rapid evolution and genomic change (sorry to sound braggy), so I feel qualified to comment. The fossil record isn't everything.

I'm not trying to be superior. I've just been in this whole debate from the start and I just wanted to give Hoovooloo my support.

smiley - smiley

Ste smiley - stout

You don't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 4



Just pretend "The fossil record isn't everything." is a different paragraph.

smiley - smiley

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 5

Stephen the Sane

I Would like to try and touch on the 'conceptual base' of josh's argument: the (over) 2000 year old book. The truth of this book hinges on one man's life in history, a very well documented life, that of Jesus Christ. The argument is that if he rose from the dead (which there is a fair amount of evidence to support) then the bible must be true (another argument). This is what supports josh's point of view, not the science. His arguments against the science are just his attempt to explain how what he believes is possible. Although you may be able to knock some of the scientific arguments (incedentally, i think some of your statements need to be backed up by examples, such as 'there are many cases where the fossil record is complete.' such as? i want to know what they are) , you will probably struggle to put down the argument of the truth of this book (if it were possible, there would be very few christians).

There is however, an argument within christianity, the fundamentalist/conservative argument, as to whether the genesis account is literal or metaphorical. (incidentally, Mr. Hooloovoo, i am due to be discussing this subject at my youth group in a few weeks time, so i may be able to add to your article - if you're interested).

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 6


LONG POST WARNING... I'm a wordy person, so this goes on a bit. Go and make a cup of smiley - tea and get comfy...

I think we may be at a little cross purpose here. You possibly missed what led up to where we are today, so apologies if you know this, but if you don't, you need to...

Josh wrote an entry, the basic thrust of which was "Evolution is a pernicious fiction put about by Godless scientists, Darwin was a fraud and a hoaxer and the story of Creation is supported by much scientific evidence."

The entry repeatedly made reference to Creationism as a "science". He presented absolutely no evidence in favour of Creation at all. He did present a number of points intended to show evolution was false. These were mostly just plain wrong. Some of them were quite defamatory towards science in general and some scientists in particular (one section was headed "Darwin's Great Hoaxes" - despite containing no reference to anything that happened before Darwin's death, and no mention of any hoaxes, oddly enough).

All well and good, except Josh wanted this to get in the Edited Guide. One of the writing guidelines clearly states entries must be factual, and a number of qualified individuals pointed out the flaws in his understanding of the science. (He could be forgiven some of these misunderstandings on grounds of his quite young age). He ignored the criticisms entirely. The consensus in the Peer Review thread was that this was not an entry which could be Edited, and the thread was moved out of PR. So he put it back in.

The criticism got harsher, because he had not addressed any of the points from the first thread, apparently missing the point of Peer Review entirely. The thread was moved again.

So he put it back in, with a couple of short paragraphs removed. Comments in that PR thread got downright rude, and it was swiftly moved away from PR again. (it's worth pointing out that at that stage Josh's screenname was "Josh the Genius", which seemed to be hubris in the teeth of the evidence to some of the PR commenters...)

So he put it back in, less than five hours later, unchanged, and unashamedly said "This is what I think and I'm not changing it." - clearly missing the point of Peer Review entirely. The debate on Creation/Evolution has ranged over various bits of the site for a long time, and it was obvious that (a) there was a subject here fit for Edited Entries (because whether or not "Creation" is a fact, people's belief in it is) and (b) one entry wasn't going to cut it. So I suggested that a University project would be the way to go. The Creationist "side", i.e. Josh, could explain what he believes to be the case and get that in the Edited Guide. For balance, along with that would be the mainstream scientific view in other entries. The entries making up that project are in progress (there was a deadline spoken of, but these things are fairly informal, thank Bod).

This would achieve a number of things. (1) it would get the Creationist viewpoint into the Edited Guide, which is what Josh wants. (2) it would get it in there, inextricably bound up with a mainstream scientific viewpoint, which is what many other PR commenters would prefer (3) it allows several people to have an input and (4) I might get a nice shiny badge for my personal space...

smiley - popcorn

Moving on to your post...

I'm surprised you think that the truth of the WHOLE Bible hinges entirely on the resurrection. Is this really the Christian position on the Bible? In which case, what was the status of Old Testament scripture before the time of Christ? Truth? Or colourful yarn? And how did Christ's arrival/departure/return change the status of writings done hundreds of years before his birth? (not facetious questions, I'm just trying to understand your position).

"This is what supports josh's point of view, not the science. "

I know that. That's kind of the point. Josh (and you, and everyone else) has a choice. You can decide whether to base your view of reality on (a) reality, and the evidence of your own eyes, today OR (b) the writings in a book written 2000 years ago.

The POINT here is that science asks "why is the world this way?", and attempts to answer the question by looking at the world.

Creationists on the other hand, say "the world is *this* way", and when asked to provide evidence, point to an old book. Now this in itself would be harmless enough if there weren't people bandying about terms like "Creation Science" and sticking stickers on school books describing the theory of evolution as "controversial and unproven".

smiley - popcorn

As to whether I'd "struggle to put down the argument of the truth of this book" , I have no interest in doing that. The basic message of the Bible, or at least the New Testament, seems to be "be nice to people", which is laudable, and not something I'd want to discourage. (The Old Testament, on the other hand, seems to have quite a number wildly conflicting messages - my favourite among which is "Never be rude to a baldy guy" - 2 Kings, Ch2, v23-25. Forty two (smiley - winkeye) children were never rude to a baldy guy again!)

On the other hand, there are *certain elements* of the Bible I'd have absolutely no trouble DEMOLISHING the truth of. A few choice ones for you - ask yourself, Christian that you are, whether you believe any of the following...

(1) Genesis 1:30 - all animals were orignally herbivores. Tigers ate tofu then, presumably. Sharks chowed down on seaweed. Birds of prey preyed on... lettuce?

(2) Leviticus, 11v5-5 - hares are unclean because they chew the cud but do not part the hoof. Hares. That well known cud-chewing animal. Or not.

(3) 1 Sam.2:8, 1 Chr.16:30; Job 9:6, 38:4-6; Ps.96:10, 104:5, Is.13:10, Mic.6:2 - The earth is stable and doesn't move. So, no naughty turning on its axis, no blasphemous orbitting the sun, and certainly no heretical moving around the outer spiral arm of the galaxy.

(4) 2 Chronicles, Chapter 4, verse 2. This one is like shooting fish in a barrel. "Also he made a molten sea of ten cubits from brim to brim, round in compass, and five cubits the height thereof; and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about." (same text in 1 Kings, Ch 7, v 23). So in other words, pi=3.0. Absolutely, 100%, desperately easily provably WRONG.

"(if it were possible, there would be very few christians). "

I must say I disagree. I think there'd still be a LOT. Mainly because Christians would have no interest in a proof of the Bible's falsehood, even if I or someone else could produce one. Ask yourself - if I came round to your house tomorrow, and promised to sit you down in your front room and quietly and calmly explain in simple language the incontrovertible scientific proof of why the whole Bible was nonsense - would you listen? Would you WANT to know? Or would you prefer to just go on being a Christian? (obviously, I think I know the answer to that question).

The "discussion" here (it was an argument, even a row, in the Peer Review threads which led to this, but it's settled down to discussion) was an attempt to clear up a problem which as I see it is one of demarcation. There are fit subjects for science to discuss (HOW did we get here?) and there are fit subjects for religion to discuss (WHY are we here?).

Science rarely pretends to even have the ability to phrase sensible questions about the meaning of life or the purpose of the universe, much less provide answers. It sensibly avoids straying into the territory of religion for the most part. Only where religious texts make definitive statements about reality (e.g. The world has four corners, Revelation and others...) does science come into to conflict with religion, and then only because scientists have the temerity to point out how the world ACTUALLY IS, even though that contradicts the Book.

Religion, on the other hand (and fundamentalists in particular), see the evidence of reality (where it contradicts their Books) as a threat, and set themselves in opposition to science on certain questions (although interestingly only some of them - I don't know of an "Institute" which purports to "research" the applications of pi being equal to three (it would certainly make designing gearboxes easy, for instance - but listen the to the engineer prattling... I'll shut up in a moment) but there *is* an Institute of Creation Research...).

smiley - popcorn

"There is however, an argument within christianity, the fundamentalist/conservative argument, as to whether the genesis account is literal or metaphorical. "

To which I would ask - WHICH Genesis account? The one in which humans were created after the animals, in Genesis 1, 25-27? Or the one in which humans were created first, Chapter 2, vs 18 and 19?

The one in which the first man and woman were created simultaneously, as per chapter 1, v27? Or the one in which man was created first, then the animals, then the woman? (chapter 2 vs 18-22)?

If you're going to defend a Creation myth as fact, you need to be clear on which of the two contradictory Creation myths you're in favour of before you start. There's not much point getting into whether an account is meant to be taken literally or metaphorically until you've decided which bit of the account you're going to decide is false before you start, because it contradicts another part you prefer to believe is true.

If you're going to tell me this Book is ALL true because Jesus was resurrected, well, fine. But if it's ALL true... which of those two self-contradictory parts isn't?

One final point - I don't personally remember saying that ANY fossil record is "complete", and I made a fairly comprehensive argument somewhere about why it's quite surprising there's a usable fossil record at all. But since you ask, there's a pretty good fossil record of the evolution of the horse, including (in order):

Eohippus (which I understand is now more correctly called Hyracotherium) at 58 million years old.

Mesohippus, 36 million years old

Merychippus, 25 million years old

Pliohippus, 13 million years old

Equus, 1 million years old to the present day.

The fossils of these creatures show a very clear progression from a small, many toed forest dwelling creature the size of a cat to a larger, plain dwelling hoofed animal we know today. This matches up with the geological evidence of the recession of the forests and their replacement with hard, dry plains to which hooves are better suited. I expect there are other examples, but I'm an engineer not a paleontologist, unfortunately, so that's all I can offer.

I'd be very interested in any feedback you have from your youth group talk, btw. If you feel there's an entry in it, something that isn't covered by the project overview already, let me know.

smiley - cheers


Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 7

Stephen the Sane

Hi H.

Again this is a long one, but i dis-like people just giving brush off answers when their faith is challenged, so i tried to answer them properly.

To clear this up, i have nothing personally against the theory of evolution, i was merely trying to clarify where josh's opinion came from, not support the creationist viewpoint. My own opinion on the matter is that at the time it was written, trying to explain all the theory of evolution to some guy about 3000 years ago (when genesis was probably written) would not have been the best thing for god to do.

I completely apologise for making it seem like i agreed with josh's science, i'm not really into biology myself, but i didn't feel there was substantial weight in either of your arguments (although having just read that quote it does appear that he actually made stuff up), i felt there was a lack of justification in some cases. Which brings me onto my next point. (I may have this in the wrong conversation string, forgive me for this, i'm new) My request for examples was not me suggesting that your evidence was wrong, it was ment to be a suggestion that you could put this in your article. If you could back it up with real examples, it would show what you are saying is based in fact, rather than opinion (for non-biologically minded people like myself).

The truth of the bible hinging on the resurrection i don't believe is a specific christian viewpoint, rather a piece of logic i put together. If the rusurrection is correct, then in general christianity is correct. I think its ok so far. I actually devised this so that i could cope with other tough questions facing christians, the usual why is there so much suffering/pain etc. If the resurrection definately happened, then there must be a loving god out there and i can accept that he has his reasons for everything. The extension of this is that if christianity is true, the the bible, where our beliefs come from should also be true. I must add here that at the moment i am unsure of my position on the old testament, some of it is strange.

Probably sticking this in at a fairly random place, thinking as i type. The resurrection has no direct baring on truth of the scriptures before it happened (apart from the prophecies of course). By saying the resurrection means the bible is true doesn't mean that it couldn't be believed before, just there was less evidence supporting it.

Onto the tricky bit, the problems with the bible verses u quoted:

1 - Genesis 1:30) as i said, i am not a creationist, so this doesn't particularly bother me. I think this verse just explains the point of plants, i.e. holding up the food chain - in accordance with science - rather than saying tigers were all vegetarian. (incedentally, looking at my bible now, Genesis 1 is entitled 'The STORY of creation' although you can't read too much into this, as it is just one translation of it).

2 - Leviticus 11:5) Arrrrgggh! I don't like laws in the old testament - they confuse me! I'm not sure about hares - my bible says rabbits, but that makes no difference. It never actually says they are cud-chewing animals. It says 'you may eat and animal that has divided hoofs and also chews the cud. You must not eat rock-badgers, camels or rabbits' You must have a strange version. (mine is the good news bible. Did like the bit about the 42 children, no idea what its on about, but i'm sure there's some logic somwhere)

3 - Loads of references) Many of the ones you have selected are prayers or songs of praise, they aren't there for factual content, but emotional pieces, based on all that people knew at the time. These include 1 sam2:8 (Prayer of Hannah), 1 chronicles 16:30 (song of praise), Psalms.96:10, 104:5 (i can't believe u used psalms! these are all songs of praise and prayers). Micah 6:2 It appears to be a litarary device to add emphasis to the what Micah (a person who lived before modern science, i might add) was sayin. Even the mountains, should listen cause is so great, kinda thing. Isaiah 13:10 "Every star and evety constellation will stop shining, the sun will be dark when it rises, the moon will give no light" This could be referring to the big freeze theory for the end of the universe. If you were suggessting that this says the earth is stationary cause the sun rises? still an expression used even with today's modern understanding. Job 9:6, 38:4-6. the first is Job talking to the lord, again, a factual account of what a person said in the days before modern science. He complains about earthquakes, which he believes are caused by god shaking the 'pillars that hold up the earth'. The latter is gods reply to Job, where he uses Job's language to make sure he is understood, so his point gets across. I find it quite an effective metaphor in this case. I think thats all the ones you said.

4 - 2 Chronicles 4:2) A cubit is a measure from a mans elbow to the end of his finger (or it could be his wrist, i can't remember). As this is such an inaccurate form of measuring, a) assuming the measurements are given to a high degree of accuracy is non-sensical, and b) in my experience, you cant give answers to a greater degree of accuracy than the measurements taken. To give the circumference a value of 31.4565 cubits is just bad maths. If you do it the other way, assuming the value for the circumference is correct, you get a value of 9.53.... which rounds to 10 any way.

And finally, i'm not convinced that the 2 accounts contradict in genisis. The first is about the whole universe, and the second is when god made the garden of eden. I don't believe it contradicts, but i think it could easily appear to, particularly out of context. I will have to look at other translations on this though, maybe they'll spread more light on it.

Stephen the Sane

P.S. I kinda agree with you on one point, if you could scientificaly could prove the bible to be false, i would be interested to hear your arguments, but i don't think i'd change my faith. This is for the simple reason that, as you said, the new testament is about "being nice to people" which suits me fine. I know my life, and my friends lives are better because of it. I also don't think that you could do it, and if it is possible, why haven't i heard this before?

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 8

Stephen the Sane

Just noticed something embarrassingly wrong with one of my answers. In the section with the whole reference to pi in it i wrongly remembered the precice value for pi. no matter, the arguments still the same, and still holds water, just thought i'd get in before any one else did.

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 9

The Dali Llama

THis might get a bit long too.
In response to what Hoovooloo was saying I would like to mention two things.
-First, an excellent critique of Fundamentalism, religious and otherwise(for instance the insistence of the scientific community that the Aquatic ape hypothesis is wrong and the plains are hypothesis is right, despite the fact that none of those insisting that it's wrong have actually examined or researched it) is "The New Inquisition" by Robert Anton Wilson, and I highly recommend reading it.
-Second, RE the two creation stories in Genesis, in the first one it states that Elohim created earth, animals, etc. Elohim is the feminine, plural form of the Hebrew word for god and would be used to designate either an all-female group or a mixed male and female group. Hence, the more accurate translation into English would be "pantheon", rather than "god" as it is usually rendered. In the second story YHVH(Jehovah or Yaweh is the usual transliteration) creates the Garden of Eden, Adam, Eve, etc. Hence, according to the old testament, many gods created the world, but Jehovah(the god of the Jews, Later borrowed/stolen by the Christians and Muslims) created his chosen people(the Jews) and bade them remain loyal to him only.

Just thought I'd add a bit of fuel to the debate, and where can I find Josh anyway?

Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 10


Josh "the Genius" is U185839. He's the one we're talking about above, and he's the one who wrote the entry on the Genesis Creation account for this project.

I *think* he might only have internet access at school, and I haven't been lurking his space recently and I've not seen him about, so he may no longer be using h2g2 smiley - blue


Josh doesn't know what Josh is talking about.

Post 11


I'm working on getting Josh back. I regularly talk to his cousin, another Josh, on h2g2 and I've put in a word.

smiley - earth

Key: Complain about this post

Write an Entry

"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a wholly remarkable book. It has been compiled and recompiled many times and under many different editorships. It contains contributions from countless numbers of travellers and researchers."

Write an entry
Read more