Organization: GM NAO R&D Center
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Bill Hamilton)
sschaff@roc.SLAC.Stanford.EDU (Stephen F. Schaffner) writes:
(in a followup of a post by Lionel Tun)
>By the way, I'm still waiting for you to state the 2nd Law of
>Thermodynamics (hmm, this has the potential to turn into an
>echo of t.o's resident soft drink).
It might be useful to ask Lionel (as well as other creationists) a
series of questions before we agree to discuss anything with them.
If they answer correctly, we discuss. Otherwise we send them to
appropriate references and don't talk to them (except perhaps for
a followup message stating that so-and-so has not read the suggested
references and so his/her opinion is not to be considered informed)
Questions I would submit for such a list would include
1. Please give a brief definition of evolution which would be
acceptable in an undergraduate biology course
2. Please give a brief definition of common descent which would
be acceptable in an undergraduate biology course
3. Please explain the methodology geologists use to validate
rock samples for dating
4. What is the difference, if any, between the concept of entropy
as used in thermodynamics and as used in information theory?
5. Please explain and critique at least three lines of evidence which
support the currently accepted age of the earth of ~3.6 billion
6. Please explain how deductive reasoning is used in the sciences.
7. Please explain what is meant by the statement, "Science can't
prove anything. It can only disprove things."
8. Please explain the meaning of the term "theory" as used in the
sciences, explaining in particular how theories are used in
the sciences and what characteristics they must have to be useful.
While it would be difficult to convince most creationists to undergo
such a program, those who did would begin to understand how appalled
I was when I began to check out references t.o. folks provided.
Creationists have problems with several branches of the sciences.
They believe some of the work in these disciplines is misguided
because it's based on the wrong paradigm. They think they can help.
Wouldn't it behoove them to learn the fields they want to change,
so that they could communicate their wisdom to the practitioners
of these fields? Instead, time and time again I've seen them take
refuge in definitions that are intended to inflame rather than
define, or in misuse of evidence, taking it out of context or
distorting it. These are not tactics that should be used by anyone
intending to communicate anything. As a Christian I was appalled
that Christians would use such tactics or flaunt such ignorance.
Note to Christian creationists: The most important thing you have to
communicate, which is infinitely more important than anything else, is
the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Some of you seem to believe that if you
can convince a person to accept your interpretation of Genesis, then
that person will come to faith in Jesus Christ (or at least he/she is
more likely to). Why not try the direct approach? Communicate what
Jesus Christ [sic] has done in your life and show him/her by what
you do and say that He really matters to you. After a person has
become a Christian, he/she must take Genesis and all of scripture
seriously, and the Holy Spirit will help him/her understand it.
That's a far better time to worry about interpretation. I can attest
from personal experience that the Lord honors evangelism carried out