Friday, February 7, 2014

WORD OF THE DAY! 2/7/14!

debate [deb-ehyt]
noun
1. A discussion involving opposed viewpoints.
2. A formal contest between opposing viewpoints on a subject.
3. A deliberation.
verb
4. To take part in a discussion or formal contest of opinions.
5. To deliberate.

EX. I struggled with the decision to post this debate, as there is plenty of discussion before and after about whether it would or could have any sort of positive outcome given that, for example, much if not all of the ad revenue for the debate will go towards funding the Creationist Museum and that it might legitimize the option of Ham's Young Earth Creationism by putting it up against evolution, but the in the end, I think that it is a good debate and should be shared with more people.

While it may not change anyone's mind or end the debate about creationism and evolution, it does serve as a platform for us to discuss this subject. Personally, I applaud any chance to get people listening to ideas, thinking about them, and talking about them with others. This sort of discussion, in my opinion as a skeptic & agnostic atheist (meaning "I don't believe in the supernatural, because I have never witnessed any evidence that the supernatural exists, but I cannot know with full certainty that the supernatural doesn't exist"), will lead to people seeking more information to form and adjust their own conclusions and held-beliefs about the world and universe we live in.

I think the debate was fairly interesting and, while many people may have already heard both side's arguments before, I had not heard everything discussed or thought about everything discussed. I learned a lot about Ham's Young Earth Creationism, a belief held by many in the world but especially by fundamentalist Christians in the United States that the world was quite literally created by god around 6,000 years ago and then a Great Flood wiped all life except for two of every animal and Noah's family on the ark 4,000 years ago, and about many different disciplines of science, from biology to geology, from Bill Nye.

My biggest qualm with the debate is that, far too often, Ham fell back upon his faith and the Bible for evidence. In contrast, Nye used scientific evidence and the majority consensus of the scientific community brought about by decades and centuries of tested, true, or theoretical scientific exploration of the observable world around us. The major difference between these two view points is that, for biblical "scientists" like Ham, all of the answers to the big questions can be found in the Bible. Evolution is rooted in observable evidence; it can make predictions about the past, the present, and the future and many such predictions have been found to be accurate (EX. Transitional fossils). On the other hand, new earth creationism is, primarily, rooted in faith; their is nothing wrong with faith (in fact, as an agnostic, I don't rule out the existence of a god creating the universe) but, as far as I and many other see, it cannot do the same sort of things that science can do. Furthermore, most religious texts, including much of the Bible and the Old Testament contradict the evidence presented by all disciplines relevant to history from archeology to geology (EX. Egyptologists have found no evidence in their centuries of study and exploration of the Exodus ever taking place in Egypt) unlike the theories of the Big Bang, evolution, etc. that are backed by hard evidence-- just because they're theories does not make them any less valid (EX. Gravity is a theory. We don't know how it works, but it is an observable force.). Yet, if evidence is found to the contrary of these theories, and very little or none has been found, then the science community would be glad to explore new avenues created by any discovery. That is the very nature of science. It is the systematic collection of information used to formulate ideas about the universe and make predictions about discoveries yet to be discovered. That is not the nature of Ham's creationism.

Religion and science, in my opinion and in many others, don't mix. Creationism's place is in the philosophy class, not in our science text books.

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