Bill Nye - Science Guy - insults homeschoolers?

Discussion in 'Homeschooling in the News' started by pecangrove, Feb 12, 2014.

  1. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    I have no interest in discrediting anyone. Instead, we need to know how many papers they have published in the scientific press, which is an indication of their standing and authority in their field of study. The science citation index can be found in most university libraries; I just don't have access to one right now. Maybe someone can check it out for names on the list.

    Yes, I do claim to be something of an expert since I spent several years as a research scientist getting my PhD. I have published many papers and discovered a new law in my field of science. Since then, I've kept in contact with various academics around the world, and I've had the distinct pleasure of meeting with one or two of the world's best. Yes, because of my expertise in the field, I do know how science is conducted - which is why I get so very frustrated when I hear the "propaganda" put out in the Christian press. I've sat quietly for years so as not to rock the boat, but this year I've come to realize that someone does need to rock it. Really and truly, I don't mean to come across as arrogant. I respect those who know their subjects very well and have spent years in their field - and I don't view them as arrogant for admitting to the fact.

    Can you sense the frustration? Imagine being an expert in Chinese and listening to someone who's picked up a few words telling you and everyone else things about the language that are simply not true. You sit quietly for years because you don't want to cause a ruckus and simply bite your tongue. How long can you do that before you're just ready to burst? At what point is it your responsibility to stand up and say what you know - no matter how unpopular?
     
  2. ochumgache

    ochumgache Active Member

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    The difference: TRUST BUT VERIFY! We can verify whether or not the experts you mentioned here are acting on good science or good information. Bridge doesn’t fall down – engineer’s science was good. Doctor successfully diagnoses and treats illness – doctor’s science is good. Chinese speaker warns me to not say “_____” to the Chinese ambassador—I do it anyway—war breaks out between U.S. and China – Chinese speaker’s knowledge was good and I should have listened. A biologist tells me that we all evolved from goo—can’t test that. A physicist tells me that the expansion of the universe is evidence that space itself is stretching as a result of the Big bang – can’t test that either

    One more thing:
    "In other words, science does not care about the ideology behind submitted papers." Science may not, but scientists do. These are humans who have biases which color their perceptions. Science is a field of study not an entity. It does not rise above the inclinations of the humans who are studying it.
     
  3. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    No, I don't SENSE the frustration, I FEEL it. I find it very frustrating that when I come up with a large number of Creationists, you ASSUME they aren't "real scientists". You do not allow that they can even CONSIDER creation as an alternative. You assume they can't possibly be "real" scientists, because if they were, they'd agree with you.

    That will be my last word. I'm bowing out of this discussion to your "superior" knowledge.
     
  4. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    There's certainly an element of truth in this. When we submitted papers years ago, our research team always hoped that one particular professor, who conducted some peer reviews, would not be part of the review team. This was because he had strong opinions and his university's research to some extent competed with ours. Our fears were unfounded, though, because he was very fair in his assessment. I'm sure personality clashes do result in some work being dropped at the first review, but persistence and integrity usually win out.
     
  5. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    Jackie:

    The world was created; we just differ on the 'how'.

    Your knowledge in many topics is "superior" to mine because you've studied them in depth and have been interested in them for years. I respect that. Science just happens to be my principal area of expertise. I can't run from that. So what should I do? Just stay quiet, as I have done for years, and let misinformation abound? Increasingly, Christians in North America (and it pretty much is only in North America) are becoming a laughing stock, and the reaction is turning millions of people (young people in particular) into the arms of the aggressive atheists.

    Over time, the church realized its error when it insisted that the sun moves around the earth and not vice versa - not matter what a historical passage in the Bible indicates. But Christians were burned at the stake for refusing to believe what the evidence increasingly showed as being untenable. We're going through the same process now. We can fight it, we can ignore the evidence, and we can pretend that the scientifically "wise" are really fools, but the issue won't go away. As believers, we have to face up to it. And one of the toughest lessons for our children to learn is to know when to stand up for something even though they may be ostracized for it. We teach it when it comes to faith, but it's relevant in all aspects of life.

    Anyway, I apologize for causing annoyance. My new year's resolution to no longer bite my tongue is causing frustration everywhere, but I do at least try to be reasonable and respectful.
     
  6. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    Incidentally, thank you to the "powers that be" at this forum for even allowing me to post my thoughts on this topic. Ken Ham and his organization have a track record of having dissenting views suppressed, including at home school expos. It's no accident that we'll never find anything but literal creationism represented at more and more so-called Christian events.
     
  7. ochumgache

    ochumgache Active Member

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    Steve,

    If you really wish to educate the church on evolution, I think you need to take two steps back. Why discuss this with people who lack the “expertise” to examine the evidence and come to an opinion which you will deem “informed” (unless it is the same as your opinion)? Like I said before, that’s not a discussion; that’s a lecture.

    I have striven to understand your position on evolution and how you reconcile it with Genesis, even though I don't agree with it right now. I don’t think you do the same. I hear you speak with a certainty that I, as a layman, believe is unwarranted, despite your expertise. From my perspective, the experts’ interpretation of the evidence seems to be full of assumptions, imagination and leaps of logic presented as indisputable fact. I believe that the social/religious debate about evolution has tainted the purity of this scientific process in which you have such faith. Both sides have a great deal of pride entangled in the debate; the search for vindication, I believe, is hindering the revelation of truth...on both sides.
     
  8. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    A good question, and a gentle exhortation - thank you! Why address the matter at all?

    1) Because we should be open to the possibility that evolution really is settled science, and the implications this will have on our children if they come to this realization at college after being told all their lives that it's a lie and sinful and anti-Christian. I've heard too many stories of this happening.

    2) Because many statements are made on this topic that are so blatantly untrue. For example, evolution has nothing to do with the origin of the universe, with the origin of our planet, or with the origin of life. If we're going to disagree, it must be from a position of credibility.

    3) Because, admittedly in my experience, those in church who don't toe the literal creationist line can be personally hounded and criticized and insulted. I admit that I may take a strong position, but never ever do I attack anyone personally for what they believe.

    4) Because it's perhaps a defining issue of our time regarding faith. Do we really want to put belief in literal creationism on a par with the basics of salvation? Do we really want to insist that mainstream science and the Christian faith are orthogonal?

    Your comments are well put, but I would like to make one point: Evolution is now a well-established theory. Its basic assumptions are supported by the evidence available. It has been used to make predictions in the field of genetics, all of which have been proven to be correct. (The evangelical Christian and leading scientist Francis Collins went so far as to write a book about this.) On the other hand, the two principles upon which Intelligent Design is based have been shown categorically to be false. There's no doubt about that; they have been shown to be just plain wrong. Yet I still see and hear comments all the time that the two theories are on a par, that it's quite OK to believe either one. That's like saying it's OK, if you prefer, to believe that the earth is flat. This is not a matter of ideology, where two people can have honest differences. This is a matter of science, where you can prove many things right or wrong. This is why I sound absolute, because at this point the evidence is absolute - yet you'd never believe it to listen to Ken Ham and team.

    Anyway, I've been too forthright already, and thanks to all for putting up with me.
     
  9. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    Look what someone posted FB! It isn't something I went looking for; I normally would never post anything from an Intelligent Design site here. But I was very intrigued by the first paragraph:

    "Professor James M. Tour is one of the ten most cited chemists in the world. He is famous for his work on nanocars (pictured above, courtesy of Wikipedia), nanoelectronics, graphene nanostructures, carbon nanovectors in medicine, and green carbon research for enhanced oil recovery and environmentally friendly oil and gas extraction. He is currently a Professor of Chemistry, Professor of Computer Science, and Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science at Rice University. He has authored or co-authored 489 scientific publications and his name is on 36 patents."

    I wonder if he's a "real scientist"? ANYWAY, while he isn't a creationist (or particularly an ID guy, either, I don't think!), he seems to have some serious problems with evolution, too. HUH? But I thought ALL "real scientists" know for an absolute fact exactly how the Earth came into being!!! How can he be a "real scientist" and not agree 100%?

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/inte...t-alive-today-who-understands-macroevolution/
     
  10. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    Now we're talking! Here is someone coming at this from a truly scientific perspective. He sees how processes work today in detail, and he's having trouble understanding how complex life forms evolved from simple life forms. At the level he is commenting, I agree with him!

    However... the process of evolution was guided. This is the point! This, in my opinion, is why it is still creation. It's not that evolution is not possible; it is that it is improbable! It's the improbable that lies behind many miracles, and this is another example. The process happened, because we see the evidence and we successfully verify the predictions, but behind it there is a master intelligence!

    The way I like to put it is that our God interacts with this world, and in very personal ways, through probability. This lies behind the many miracles that I've experienced in my own life - with timing sometimes being immaculate! It also lies behind the Anthropic Principle, which points to the fact that the scientific constants are set to very precise values. Our world is probabilistic by nature, not deterministic, and this is where the person of God meets the laws that govern our world. It's how God guided, in a very detailed and intimate way, the evolution of life to the point where human animals were ready to be made children of God. And God saw that it was good. :)

    This is what we would expect of a sovereign and all-powerful God - his mighty hand influencing/controlling every tiny detail, bringing into being new species and wonderful new life forms at just the right time and place - ultimately leading to the emergence of humankind. And then the incredible happened: He breathed into those creatures a spirit made in his own image.

    So, far from disagreeing, I'm with this man. Without God's personal influence, the process of evolution as we see it would not have led to the emergence of mankind. As it is, we can look at the process - from the simplest of cells to the most wonderfully complex human beings - and give God all the glory. The process amplifies his glory; it in no way diminishes it.
     
  11. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    So, since he has almost 500 writings, he's "real". What if he only had 400? Or only 100? At which point does he become "real"?
     
  12. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    In the world of science, peer reviews are vitally important. Without meaning to sound flippant, it's almost like a boy scout with badges: The more badges, the more we respect their abilities. We admire Eagle Scouts, and they carry more credibility that the boys who fail to acquire any badges but claim they know the subjects just as well. Maybe it's true, and maybe it's not, but badges are the "proof of the pudding." They require knowledge and hard work and really mean something.

    So it is with peer reviews. The process is tough. You must be able to substantiate claims and justify conclusions. If you can't, science is cruel and your work will be rejected. I would stress, though, that the process is fair and impartial, and I've seen papers rejected that were submitted by supposed experts in their fields.
     
  13. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    Very fair and impartial to those who tow the line!
     
  14. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    In my experience, I've not seen too many examples of papers being rejected in a way that's unfair or prejudiced. It's not uncommon, though, for some to claim that, because it's not a pleasant experience to have a paper rejected. It's rather like players on a sports team feeling bitter about a loss and blaming the umpires.

    One problem is that some scientists start with a certain conclusion in mind and then set about trying to find data to justify that conclusion (confirmation bias). This means they may push aside data that doesn't serve their purpose. This is a problem no matter what the person's ideology. I remember reading a paper about this, actually, that was published decades ago. The trend has continued since then, and it can be a reason why papers are rejected. Science is an adventure, and you go where the data takes you.
     
  15. Jackie

    Jackie Active Member

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    You are part of the system. As such, you are blind to the problems with it.
     
  16. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    And I would respond "touche." :) Your point is well made, though: no matter what our opinions, each of us must be open to the possibility that we are interpreting Bible passages incorrectly.

    If you know of any papers that have been rejected purely on grounds of ideology and not because their conclusions are not justified by the facts, I'd love to hear about them. I'm sure they occur in isolation but am aware of no systematic problem.

    Incidentally, Genesis 1:11 reads "let the land produce vegetation," and Genesis 1:24 reads "let the land produce living creatures". Couple that with Genesis 1:25 - "God made ..." - and the idea of "guided evolution" is very compatible with what is written in Scripture.
     
  17. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    The most frequent theological objection I hear to evolution is that death never occurred before the fall. When we look at those verses carefully, though, it's clear that they refer to spiritual death - namely, separation from God. Jesus wrote that, if we believe in him, we will never die - yet it's clear that we all die physically. He too was referring to spiritual life and death. I see no problem here.
     
  18. ochumgache

    ochumgache Active Member

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    "Let the land produce..." is interesting phrasing, but so is "And there was evening, and there was morning ___ day," and "according to their own kind."

    Curiouser and curiouser... I was going to give this thread up, but I'm intrigued by the Biblical side of this discussion. I've tried to understand the scientific side. I've been checking out the BioLogos site after you mentioned Francis Collins. I've read several of the articles. I think I understand what they are saying, but I still end up wondering how they could possibly KNOW what they claim to know. Clearly, I'm just not going to get it.

    I would, however, like to understand more about how evolution affects your view of Scripture.

    I see how you distinguish between death and DEATH in the post above. So, Adam and Eve would have died in body even if they hadn't sinned? Physical death was covered under "And it was very good"? That lead me to ask...

    Were Adam and Eve real and specific people?

    Was the Garden of Eden a real place?

    Let's presume you are right about evolution being God's chosen method of creating over billions of years. Then, are you saying that the account of Adam and Eve is actually the account of God singling out these highly evolved mammals and breathing spiritual life into them? (Like the scene in C.S. Lewis's Magician's Nephew where Aslan, the Lion, calls out creatures to breath upon and they become sentient, talking beings.)

    That can't be though, because he breathed life into Adam and then created Eve. Adam would have had a hard time procreating in his pre-spiritual-being state without a female of his kind. So, what's up with the genealogies? Are they bogus?

    Was Noah a real and specific person?

    Did he really build an ark and put animals in it?

    Did flood waters which covered some, part, most or all of the earth for a year?

    Did all of humankind descend from Noah's sons?

    Was the flood account just allegory?

    What about the tower of Babel? Were languages really confused there? Or was that a simplified story of the evolution of linguistics?




    Just a side note: I ran across this passage this week which I found interesting in light of these discussions. It doesn't settle anything one way or another in this particular discussion, but it does describe the current situation in the world.

    II Peter 3:3-5

    Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.
     
  19. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    As John Polkinghorne puts it, God has written two books: the book of Scripture and the book of nature. We can read both and, since the author is the same, they will be compatible. We have no need to be afraid. In a nutshell, this is my view of faith and science; they are two sides of the same coin.

    Yes. The English translations of Genesis 1 and 2, though, are misleading. The Hebrew uses different phrases for "man" in different verses - apparently differentiating between "mankind" and "this specific man."

    Yes, but I have some thoughts on this. Let me make clear that it's speculation on my part. I do believe in other dimensions of existence (not dissimilar to the nine dimensions of space that advanced physics seems to imply). The picture of Adam and Eve being banished from the garden, to me implies that they no longer had access to those dimensions. God does exist there, but sin cannot exist in his presence.

    Absolutely. Speculation again on my part, but I suspect that "human animals" existed in the same world as the descendants of Adam. This would explain quite nicely the strange passage in Genesis 6 about the "sons of God" interbreeding with the "sons of men." What behavior could be more abominable to God than his children turning their back on him and breeding with animals! It must have taken something very extreme to warrant the flood, and this surely is extreme.

    Yes.

    Yes.

    What Noah believed to be the whole world. Based on my thoughts above, the flood would have wiped out any hybrid creatures that resulted from inter-breeding. This is entirely compatible with the evidence. Toward the end of the last Ice Age, flood waters broke through in that area and caused a flood of immense proportions.

    Yes.

    No.

    I've not answered everything, I know, but maybe this is enough for now.
     
  20. Cornish Steve

    Cornish Steve Active Member

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    Are we excited or defensive when science pushes back the boundaries of our knowledge? Take, for example, a wonderful new discovery that has apparently been made. It completely undermines atheist attempts years ago to disprove a beginning to our universe, because it implies a creator. Now, the researchers involved will have a hard time getting through the peer review process; however, if their observations and interpretations are correct, this is a stellar discovery - literally. I'm very excited about this, but I'm also waiting for Ken Ham to claim that it's all nonsense.
     

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