Are we wasting our time ?

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Are we wasting our time ?

Postby Peter Henderson » Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:30 am

I hate to sound pessimistic, but what hope have groups like the BCSE or SJS have against a well organisied, heavily funded multi-million dollar/pound organisation like AiG:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/article ... -in-review

Some gloating by AiG who appear to be convinced they are winning the debate (if you could call it that):

The world’s major media, in covering the new museum, has made it known that that the evolution worldview is being seriously challenged by creationist groups, as well as by PhD scientists who work in secular schools and research centers.


They seem to have a well oiled media machine as well:

Over a year ago, AiG secured the services of the publicists at A. Larry Ross Communications in Texas to ensure that the museum’s opening would be well-covered, including by the secular press. With its connections and efforts, ALRC was able to see the museum and AiG President Ken Ham be profiled on such major American TV news programs as The O’Reilly Factor, ABC-TV’s Good Morning America (which did a live broadcast remote at the museum just before it opened), FOX and Friends in the morning, CNN’s Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, etc., plus major articles in America’s leading newspapers (such as the ones mentioned at the top). In addition to the 84 articles and radio/TV reports that appeared in the American media around the opening of the museum, the coverage internationally was greater than we ever expected: during opening week, 22 stories were filed by overseas media—with the majority of their correspondents actually touring the museum.


Who are A.Larry Ross Communications ? While I admire the folks over at the Panda's Thumb they seem to continually hammer on about ID when in actual fact it's Young Earth Creationism that they should be seriously concerned about.

AiG also takes a swipe at the UK media who appear not to be as sypathetic as their US counterparts:

Because the secular media have covered the museum in a generally fair and balanced manner (with some exceptions, such as in Great Britain where Darwin is a favorite son), we trust that AiG and our high-tech museum—with its quality science exhibits and PhD scientists—will continue to draw international attention to biblical Christianity and its authenticity, to the glory of our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.


and NI even gets a mention:

Later in the week, a correspondent with a Northern Ireland radio station came through,


is this William Crawley by any chance ?

I dunno. I get depressed at what is happening in the states and to a lesser extent in NI. Maybe we can only hope that Abraham Lincoln's words prove to be correct i.e.:

"You can fool some of the people some of the time etc. etc etc.......but you can't fool all the people all of the time "
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Re: Are we wasting our time ?

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:07 pm

AiG wrote:The world’s major media, in covering the new museum, has made it known that that the evolution worldview is being seriously challenged by creationist groups, as well as by PhD scientists who work in secular schools and research centers....<snip>
major articles in America’s leading newspapers (such as the ones mentioned at the top). In addition to the 84 articles and radio/TV reports that appeared in the American media around the opening of the museum, the coverage internationally was greater than we ever expected: during opening week, 22 stories were filed by overseas media—with the majority of their correspondents actually touring the museum.
Quite apart from the fact that in the USA they are preaching to the converted, it's hardly surprising that they get that (really quite slight, 84 reports/3 media over the whole of the USA) attention to such a monumental folly. Nor do they mention that most of the overseas reports would be mocking them.

They are clearly living in cloud cuckoo land when they say
we trust that AiG and our high-tech museum—with its quality science exhibits and PhD scientists—will continue to draw international attention to biblical Christianity and its authenticity, to the glory of our Creator and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Authenticity? How does an animatronic dinosaur plus children prove the authenticity of anything, let alone a misinterpretation of a fable?
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Postby tubataxidriver » Sat Dec 29, 2007 12:52 pm

I think we may be seeing the early stages of the Second US Civil War here, or at least the breakup of the USA into two groups of states, one which follows reason and science (e.g., California and the North East) and which is the dominant economy, and the other which is religion-dominated (e.g., Mid-West and South). Thinking as a secular European, this may be to our ultimate advantage. I don't particularly care if they delude themselves, or whatever else they do, as long as they don't turn dangerous, as some Islamicists appear to have become, and as long as they don't try to peddle their nonsense over here.
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Re: Are we wasting our time ?

Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:13 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:I hate to sound pessimistic, but what hope have groups like the BCSE or SJS have against a well organisied, heavily funded multi-million dollar/pound organisation like AiG:

http://www.answersingenesis.org/article ... -in-review

Some gloating by AiG who appear to be convinced they are winning the debate (if you could call it that):



I agree with you, Peter, that the anti-creationist movement is both far from getting its act together and utterly outgunned when it comes to resources.

The model I have for an effect ant-creationist movement is based oprettyclosely on the whay Michael Collins fought the British from 1917 (and, no, I am not a republican sympathiser or even Irish). I see it all as a management issue. Collins never had the guns to outshoot or defeat the British army. What he was, though, exceedingly good at, was getting the upper hand on intelligence. It was about knowing what was going on and using his very scarce weaponary to best effect.

It's basically what I have tried to do with BCSE - get the facts about the creationist movement together and present them to the public and the media in the most cost effective way. Yep, it's basically public relations - exactly what the creationists are using.

The difference is that the creationists, out of necessity, have to lie systematically, endemically and repeatedly. Deception is their stock in trade. It is that weakness I personally, amongst other things, am targeting.

The concentration of the anti-creationist movement in the USA on the ID thing is a bit of a problem for us. However, I suspect that will soon change because the creationists have lost the whole ID game. The next issue to look out for is where the creationists select another major area of science for attack - such as cosmology.

The third issue is that creationism is now probably on the run in the USA. Their power base in the Republican party is just about to be flushed down the toliet in the next presidential elections. Much of the media has now decided that ID is a joke and its backers a by-word for clowns. The term Baptist in the USA has now serious negative connotations. The high priests of ID, Behe and Dembski, have lost all what little credibility they ever had and Dembski is also now seen as someone with no personal integrity (see Panda's Thumb for details of his latest scam in endorsing ID books anonomously).

Moreover, religious belief in the USA is beginning to decline quite rapidly. Indeed, the Zeitgeist in the USA is generally getting very hostie towards religion, mostly, in my opinion, because of the fundamentalists. Americans are getting much more open towards questioning the excesses of the country's religious right.

I happen to think that BCSE has done a lot to discredit the creationists in the UK and to some effect. Our coverage of the European Theological Seminary in Northern ireland appears to have resulted in its closure. Truth in Science has done prescisely nothing since we launched a campaign against it getting on for 18 months ago. Even the attacks on the BCSE by the creationists have become so ludicrous as to discredit the entire creationist movement. (As you know, I've gone into that in a lot more detail off-forum) I also suspect that we may also have had an impact in Northern Ireland having "exposed" what the DUP and its allies are up to. Partly as a result of our efforts, Steve Fuller is increasingly perceived as off his rocker when it comes to science.

I think we may have some pleasant surprises in 2008. If Huckabee gets nominated as the Republican presidential candidate, the Republican party will have committed political suicide and that will be the end, altogether, of the Religious Right as a political force. The US media, in general, appears to have turned against the creationists and IDers so, despite Ham's blustering, they will continue to get very negative coverage. Moreover, most Americans are getting sick and tired of the religiousity in politics.

It looks as if Patrick Henry College, despite its arrogance, has already turned into little more that a obscure and tiny non-entity for home-schoolers. Oral Roberts University has managed to turn itself into a figure of fun.

Moreover, many believe that the AiG museum in Kentucky will prove to be the worst advertisement possible for creationists. It allows the rest of the world, including mainstream America, to understand once and for all how idiotic the creationists are. Just like the Kansas Kangaroo Court and Dover. In effect, the US$27m spent on the AiG museum plus whatever has been paid to PR puffery agents is an expensive self-defeating exercise of pissing in the wind. It openly demonstrates that the typical creationist is seriously short of his/her marbles.

Americans are also now wisening up to the money making scams of the fundamentalists, particularly the prosperity gospel crapola.

Finally, Dover again. This remains an absolute catastrophic defeat for tthe creationists. It couldn't possibly have gone any worse for them. There is a very good chance that the whole thing may be repeated in Texas again over the next couple of years or so. Yet Americans are turning on the creationists. Bright Texans don't like to see their state become an international laughing stock with a reputation of being full of hayseeds, hillbillies and bigots.

The huge weakness of the fundamentalists is that they cannot stand loss of face and will commit suicide rather than admitting they've got something wrong. Like all ideologues, they've got a built-in self-destruct button.

Play on the weakness till they hit it.



.












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Postby psiloiordinary » Sat Dec 29, 2007 2:27 pm

Sorry to get all corny but I mean this.

Protecting the truth is not a waste of time.

While we are even just one candle in the dark then we go on.

;-)
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Dec 29, 2007 3:09 pm

tubataxidriver wrote:I think we may be seeing the early stages of the Second US Civil War here, or at least the breakup of the USA into two groups of states, one which follows reason and science (e.g., California and the North East) and which is the dominant economy, and the other which is religion-dominated (e.g., Mid-West and South). Thinking as a secular European, this may be to our ultimate advantage. I don't particularly care if they delude themselves, or whatever else they do, as long as they don't turn dangerous, as some Islamicists appear to have become, and as long as they don't try to peddle their nonsense over here.


Jeremy,

I've ad that feeling in the back of my mind for a long time. Methinks that if Hillary gets elected, the USA might well find itself with a serious problem on hand as the extreme right go well beyond their excesses of the 1990s. When Bill Clinton entered the Oval Office in 1992 I was astonised at not just the viscious bile and hate that emerged but the shere mendacity of it all. The place suddently had armed milita (paramilitary groups) all over the place. There was some very serious violence as well - remember Wako and Oklahoma? Then there were the conspiracy theorists believing in black helicopters and a plot to invade the country by the New World Order. We kept hearing for years about Clinton having people murdered (remember the absurd allegations about Vince Foster) and alleged and unsubstantiated wrong doings in the Whitewater scandal. Nothing ever stacked up but even then they tried to impeach their own democratically elected (twice) leader. Then there was the huge and utterly stupid smear campaign that Hillary Clinton was a lesbian. Basically the extreme right was running a witch hunt.

What worries me is this time round, it will be a lot worse. It seems to me that a country where there is so much bile and hate towards its own democratically elected government is not politially stable. Those with the bile and hate don't accept the democratic process. It doesn't help that gerrymandering is rampant in the USA, often resulting in elecions being won over extreme causes.

Again, I plug Chris Hedges book, American Fascists. He points to a scenario where American democracy could collapse in the face of a deep recession (which American may now be entering) or a major terrorist attack. Hedges squarly points his finger at the Religious Right as the contender to cause the collapse.

I've pointed it out before but The Economist newspaper has suggested that the Republican Party will end up as the party of the Bible Belt and the Deep South, devoid of its once strength as a party of pragmatists and totally out of touch with the rest of America. I suspect that this scenario could be one more step to a civil war.

Hoepefully, Hedges and the doomsters are wrong but my personal opinion is that America is not the place it used to be. It's become socially backward, out of touch with the rest of the world and deeply foreign.

I've worked since 1981 in the communications sector and for years it was the USA that led the world in communications technology. basically Europe was largely an also ran copy or imprting US technology or producing second rate substitutes. Not any more. In the mobile communications industry the US gave us dogs like Iridium and Globalstar. We gave the world GSM and, more recently, UMTS and beat the pants off of them. They gave us obsolete cable TV technology; we gave the world satellite television. They gave us the useless Shuttle; we captured 65% of the world's market for commercial launches with Ariane. We gave the world decent digital tererstrial TV; they opted for the fourth rate ATSC 8VSB digital standards that the rest of the world doesn't want. They've lost most of the plot in communications.
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Dec 29, 2007 4:38 pm

tubataxidriver wrote:I think we may be seeing the early stages of the Second US Civil War here, or at least the breakup of the USA into two groups of states, one which follows reason and science (e.g., California and the North East) and which is the dominant economy, and the other which is religion-dominated (e.g., Mid-West and South). Thinking as a secular European, this may be to our ultimate advantage. I don't particularly care if they delude themselves, or whatever else they do, as long as they don't turn dangerous, as some Islamicists appear to have become, and as long as they don't try to peddle their nonsense over here.


Take a look at this vidoeclip involving Jeremy Clarkson's visit to Alabahma: http://c3fun.blogspot.com/2007/06/dont- ... phone.html

It is no advertisement for the Deep South.
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Postby Peter Henderson » Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:47 pm

I think we may be seeing the early stages of the Second US Civil War here, or at least the breakup of the USA into two groups of states, one which follows reason and science (e.g., California and the North East)


Hoepefully, Hedges and the doomsters are wrong but my personal opinion is that America is not the place it used to be. It's become socially backward, out of touch with the rest of the world and deeply foreign.


One of the most disturbing images that I witnessed on television over the holidays was some video footage from California. This was of a woman who was discharged from a hospital (because she couldn't pay her medical bills) wandering aimlessly in the street still wearing a hospital gown and with an IV drip in her arm. She eventually made it to a drop-in centre where she died 10 minutes later of pneumonia. I couldn't believe that this sort of thing could happen in modern day America. All I can say is thank goodness for the NHS. At least if I take ill and require hospitalisation I can make my way down to casualty in the RVH and no-one will ask me for medical insurance. I only hope the UK never goes down the insurance line. It's fine if you're healthy but take ill (and start making claims) and your premiums will go way up (just like other forms of insurance). That's the main problem with it, as I see it.

Sorry to get all corny but I mean this.

Protecting the truth is not a waste of time.

While we are even just one candle in the dark then we go on.


I agree with you whole heartedly Mark and I know we have drawn attention to YECism in the UK over the last couple of years. But what if there was a UK version of Dover ? Is there a UK equivelent of the ACLU for example ? Would we be well enough organised to take it to court ? Surely employing lawyers to fight such a case would be very expensive ? In light of what's been going on in NI over the last six months a UK version of Dover is a very real possibility. What exactly will our stategy be should this ever happen ?
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:40 pm

Peter Henderson wrote:
I think we may be seeing the early stages of the Second US Civil War here, or at least the breakup of the USA into two groups of states, one which follows reason and science (e.g., California and the North East)


Hoepefully, Hedges and the doomsters are wrong but my personal opinion is that America is not the place it used to be. It's become socially backward, out of touch with the rest of the world and deeply foreign.


One of the most disturbing images that I witnessed on television over the holidays was some video footage from California. This was of a woman who was discharged from a hospital (because she couldn't pay her medical bills) wandering aimlessly in the street still wearing a hospital gown and with an IV drip in her arm. She eventually made it to a drop-in centre where she died 10 minutes later of pneumonia. I couldn't believe that this sort of thing could happen in modern day America. All I can say is thank goodness for the NHS. At least if I take ill and require hospitalisation I can make my way down to casualty in the RVH and no-one will ask me for medical insurance. I only hope the UK never goes down the insurance line. It's fine if you're healthy but take ill (and start making claims) and your premiums will go way up (just like other forms of insurance). That's the main problem with it, as I see it.

Sorry to get all corny but I mean this.

Protecting the truth is not a waste of time.

While we are even just one candle in the dark then we go on.


I agree with you whole heartedly Mark and I know we have drawn attention to YECism in the UK over the last couple of years. But what if there was a UK version of Dover ? Is there a UK equivelent of the ACLU for example ? Would we be well enough organised to take it to court ? Surely employing lawyers to fight such a case would be very expensive ? In light of what's been going on in NI over the last six months a UK version of Dover is a very real possibility. What exactly will our stategy be should this ever happen ?


Well, I've being putting my mind to this. Even the NCSE doesn't tale people or organisations to the courts. No matter how influentional BCSE might become, it is not gonna be an option open to us. We do though, have a number of organisations in the UK that could spear-head any legal action including Liberty. I think it probably inappropriate to discuss this here in the open. However, the courts are very much the option of the absolute last resort in the battle with creationists (as is the case in the much more litigous USA).

If anything, Peter, i suspect that the whole thing would pan out differently in the UK. We've got plenty enough under our belts to show show that the creationists have committed malicious libel repeatedly.

I agree whole heardtely with you about the NHS. The American system is basically crap. It is exceedingly expensive, leaves some 50 million people without any medical coverage insurance and provies, by every major yardstick, poorer health care that the British system. But then, my view is that the absence of universal, affordable healthcare in the USA yet again indicates how far behind the rest of the Western world the USA has become.
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Postby Michael » Sun Dec 30, 2007 5:15 pm

How effective does one have to be to be some use?

It is only in the last few years that the issue is being noticed both in the churches (and the CofE)and by scientists.

If no one says anything then it will grow and grow as it did in the USA and seems to be growing here.

If one speaks out one is liable to be ignored or if a church member or clergy be seen as rocking the boat and causing unneccessary offense. Thus not all in my diocese when a fellow vicar Kevin Logan wrote an awful book Responding to the challenge of evolution (Kingsway 2002/3) and I said it was full of errors and distortions etc. Kevin asked me if I thought he was lying!

The trouble is in the CofE is that the more evangelical (and fundi) a church is the more cash it makes etc and can hold dioceses to ransom.

I could go on, but each person needs to find where they can make some positive contribution if possible not alienating possible sympathisers in the process. That does not always happen as I know too well

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Postby hearty » Mon Dec 31, 2007 5:44 pm

The work the BCSE is doing is invaluable. Whenever I need to convince anyone of the seriousness of the threat of creationism or ID in this country I always direct them to this website. At the the moment, proponents of both are rightly considered a joke in academic departments. It is precisely for this reason that so few resources are martialled to defend real science. However creationists will not stop, ever. That is why it is important to maintain a central body of knowledge on their activities, remain up to date on their arguments and tactics and prevent pseudo-science and religion from establishing itself in science classes under any guise.

Your work is extremely important and, believe me, much admired.
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Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:10 pm

hearty wrote: At the the moment, proponents of both are rightly considered a joke in academic departments. It is precisely for this reason that so few resources are martialled to defend real science.
Very true, but Steve Jones and a few others see it as it really is. Nor is it likely to be seen as a joke in Leeds, with McIntosh on the staff!
Your work is extremely important and, believe me, much admired.
Thanks Peter, a most welcome New Year greeting!
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Postby Roger Stanyard » Mon Dec 31, 2007 6:18 pm

hearty wrote:The work the BCSE is doing is invaluable. Whenever I need to convince anyone of the seriousness of the threat of creationism or ID in this country I always direct them to this website. At the the moment, proponents of both are rightly considered a joke in academic departments. It is precisely for this reason that so few resources are martialled to defend real science. However creationists will not stop, ever. That is why it is important to maintain a central body of knowledge on their activities, remain up to date on their arguments and tactics and prevent pseudo-science and religion from establishing itself in science classes under any guise.

Your work is extremely important and, believe me, much admired.


Thanks Peter!
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Postby Michael » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:15 am

hearty wrote:The work the BCSE is doing is invaluable. Whenever I need to convince anyone of the seriousness of the threat of creationism or ID in this country I always direct them to this website. At the the moment, proponents of both are rightly considered a joke in academic departments. It is precisely for this reason that so few resources are martialled to defend real science. However creationists will not stop, ever. That is why it is important to maintain a central body of knowledge on their activities, remain up to date on their arguments and tactics and prevent pseudo-science and religion from establishing itself in science classes under any guise.

Your work is extremely important and, believe me, much admired.


Creationism is not a joke!
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Postby Michael » Tue Jan 01, 2008 8:15 am

hearty wrote:The work the BCSE is doing is invaluable. Whenever I need to convince anyone of the seriousness of the threat of creationism or ID in this country I always direct them to this website. At the the moment, proponents of both are rightly considered a joke in academic departments. It is precisely for this reason that so few resources are martialled to defend real science. However creationists will not stop, ever. That is why it is important to maintain a central body of knowledge on their activities, remain up to date on their arguments and tactics and prevent pseudo-science and religion from establishing itself in science classes under any guise.

Your work is extremely important and, believe me, much admired.


Creationism is not a joke!
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