In June, 2005, I took part in an online debate on behalf of Australian Skeptics against Answers in Genesis to address the following question: "Did the universe and life evolve, or was it specially created in six days?". Public discussion followed in the public forum on the web site where the debate was held, if it could be dignified with the word "discussion". The debate wasn't a complete waste of time, as I learned something about the creationists that I didn't know before. I suspected it, but suspicion is not the same as knowing, and now I know that despite their protestations of being good and faithful Christians they are prepared to lie as much as is needed to avoid exposing the vacuity and idiocy of their particular mental illness.
The question for the debate was "Did the universe and life evolve, or was it specially created in 6 days?", but at no time did the creationists ever even mention six days, let alone provide any evidence to support the claim. Despite this, I was told that the skeptics had not been able to refute the evidence provided for special creation. All evidence offered by the skeptics was dismissed out of hand. I was told that I had offered no evidence, and then I was told that the evidence I had offered really indicated a young earth. That's right – no evidence but the evidence said ... It was said that the references supplied by the skeptics were inadequate, but almost all of the references supplied by the creationists were to where they had said the same thing on their own web site. I was accused of ad hominem attacks when I had never mentioned anybody from the other side, but the other side had no problem naming me and saying that nothing could be expected from me. Each time I asked for some evidence of a young earth I was ignored, except for a ludicrous statement that any potential flaw in a measurement (such as the age of the universe) was evidence that an alternative theory was true. In the face of such sophistry, discussion seems pointless. I do not have Job's patience.
I finally gave the job up as useless when I was told two things. The first was that the debate wasn't about creation vs evolution but was really about creationism vs materialism. In other words, we were being asked to debate not with scientists but with people who believed in a fantasy world. In a fantasy world anything is possible, but I was a bit surprised to see them admit that that is what the world of creationism is. The second thing I was told was that the King James Bible is not a correct translation and cannot be taken literally. I will say that again in another form – people who continually quote the Bible as inerrant truth were telling me that it was not inerrant. More spectacularly, the part that they said was incorrect was the creation story in Genesis 2. They were asking me to believe the Bible and then telling me not to believe the relevant part.
Even then, they couldn't stop lying. To get around the problem that Genesis 1 and 2 provide different sequences for creation, they invented a linguistic property of Hebrew that the language does not have. I happen to know someone who likes to ask fundamentalists if they have read the Bible in the original language like he has, and the word "scornful" hardly describes his opinion of someone who invents a tense in a language in order to deceive people. When I pointed out the consequences of accepting that the King James Bible may not be an accurate translation I was accused of trying to find fault with the Bible, but the fact was that it was the creationists who had suddenly discovered that the Bible was wrong, not me. Here is what I said about the consequences of translation error in the King James Bible:
It is the reliance on the Bible which is most puzzling, however, as our opponents have now stated that the Authorised King James version of the Bible from 1611 is not inerrant and is, in fact, an unreliable translation! That's right – the most important and influential book ever written in the English language (the works of Shakespeare and the Book of Common Prayer make up the trifecta) is, as many have surmised, merely a magnificent work of literature and not the Word of God. What was God thinking when He let King James's editors put this book together? Why did He allow them to make mistakes? Could it have been a test, or perhaps, as Phillip Grosse suggested with regard to fossils and Adam and Eve's navels, just God being deceptive?
The real question becomes "What else in the Bible is wrong?". If we cannot accept that Genesis 2 is correct, then what can we accept? If translation errors are possible, who is to say that the English translation of the Sermon on the Mount in the King James Bible is anything like a true account of what Jesus said? After all, it was translated from Greek and the author of Matthew was working from a third-hand account of a speech given in Aramaic. Much emphasis has been placed on the lack of first-hand, eye witness accounts of evolution happening, but surely the same caveat must be placed on hearsay filtered through multiple translations. What a mess! If the King James Bible can't be trusted to tell us about the Rising of the Sun, what can it reliably say about the Rising of the Son?
I knew when I started that I was never going to convince any true believer to change his or her mind. The purpose of debates like this for the skeptics is to expose the lies and sophistry of the other side to onlookers, to get practice at debating people with no scruples, and to see if any new lies have been invented since last time. The tactics used by the creationists are identical to those used by the anti-vaccination liars, which is to stand up, tell a monstrous lie which requires a detailed technical response to show the truth, and then sit down leaving the question hanging and no time for an adequate reply. There is no difference in quality between "There are no intermediary fossils" or "There is no way that an eye can evolve" and "Vaccines are made from aborted foetuses" or "Thimerosal in vaccines causes autism". The lie is there, the spectators have heard it, and the liars rely on the fact that scientists take too long to explain the truth and are too polite to shout "That's bullshit!"
And I am still waiting for the first piece of evidence to support the claim that the earth is only 6,000 years old. Any evidence at all, no matter how small. Just something other than "You don't know everything so we must be right".
Date: Wed, 07 Mar 2007 02:55:17 +1000
Subject: Ian Pllimer was right?? LOL.
You gotta be kidding me. I read that logically fallacious piece on the web and I could not believe my eyes. Creationists lie for God? How about anti-creationists make things up, create straw men ex nihilo, and lie for their unbelief. I think that is a much better description of the facts in the case.