In discussing the National Science Board’s latest stand on whether to report evolution literacy, and how to do so, I didn’t get into the details of Jon Miller’s concerns. Chris Mooney quotes that passage from the Science report, and raises some concerns.

Science reported that the NSB will, in the 2014 Science and Engineering Indicators, report results of two questions: the standard true/false “Human beings, as we know them today, developed from earlier species of animals” and another version in which people are asked “according to evolutionary theory, human beings….” An experiment with that language in 2004 found substantially higher agreement with the latter claim than with the former. Science reports:

The change infuriates Jon Miller, a science literacy expert at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and architect of the original questionnaire, which is now used by several countries. “If you are altering the questions in that way, you are doing it for religious reasons,” he says. “We don’t make statements like, ‘According to some economists, we had a recession’ or ‘According to the weatherman, we had a tsunami.’”

Mooney replies:

I’m sorry, and I know he’s an expert and all–and has pioneered research on scientific illiteracy–but I think Jon Miller is wrong here. The proposed alterations to these questions are important, because many religious conservatives both know what the evolutionary and Big Bang theories are, and yet also reject them–and the smartest of them can probably generate many arguments for why they do so. It doesn’t make any sense, in my mind, to call such people scientific illiterates or ignorant. That would suggest that they lack knowledge, but they obviously don’t.

There is, however, a much stronger argument for calling such people evolution or Big Bang “deniers.” The key point here, though, is to recognize that illiteracy/ignorance and denial are not the same phenomena, because denial is often highly informed and sophisticated. The sooner we recognize that, and separate these two problems, the sooner we’ll be able to tackle both of them–independently.

I think Mooney is right that denial is different than illiteracy or ignorance. But I also think that he’s grossly overestimating the sophistication of the average creationist or climate change denier. “Sure,” a creationist will say, “‘according to evolutionary theory,’ humans evolved, but I know that’s false because the bible says so.”

“And besides,” the creationist will likely add, “evolution is just a theory, so it’s not true, and scientists are all atheists whose goal is to destroy religion with their evolutionary lies. They hide all the evidence refuting evolution.”

It is my contention that one cannot call a person who adopts these views “science literate.” And in a chapter aimed at assessing “knowledge and attitudes” regarding science, it is not sufficient to find that someone knows evolutionary biology says humans share common ancestors with other life, or that astronomers say there was a big bang. A person who thinks calling something “a theory” is discrediting is not science literate (having misunderstood key terms and scientific processes). A person who thinks scientists as a community would hide evidence to advance their theological agenda is not science literate (having betrayed a misunderstanding about how scientific claims are evaluated within the scientific community). A person who thinks it is appropriate to set their interpretation over empirical evidence when asked a scientific question is only arguably science literate (having substituted an untestable theological claim for a valid scientific claim; arguably, such a substitution is a value choice, not a matter of science literacy, but either way it is a relevant measure of attitudes toward science).

Science literacy has to be more than abstract knowledge. To be meaningful, it has to be integrated into a person’s view of the world in some useful way. Someone who knows that evolutionary biology deals in common ancestry of life, but who rejects that idea is not able to integrate that knowledge, for instance by connecting new discoveries in roundworms and relate them to their own health, let alone to have a coherent understanding of newly discovered fossil hominids, or other new findings directly related to evolution. Such a person necessarily has an incomplete ability to read and understand science reporting such as would be found in Science Times on Tuesday, or to discuss new research findings and their implications for his or her own health with a doctor.

Mooney is right that this is a different sort of illiteracy than when someone doesn’t know whether an electron is bigger or smaller than an atom. It’s different than when someone isn’t aware that evolution has to do with common ancestry of all life, including humans. But it’s still a sort of illiteracy.

And the alternate wording comes embedded with its own set of misconceptions about science. Framing the issue in terms of “According to evolutionary theory” or “According to astronomers” (for the Big Bang question) could be taken to imply that the truth of science claims has to do with scientific authority, not with the results from testing actual testable claims, or that the scientific claim consists of nothing but an argument from scientific authority. And we don’t want science literacy surveys to promulgate that misconception! I suspect you’d get a different result if you emphasized the evidence and testing of claims: “According to evidence from fossils, biogeography, embryology, anatomy, and biochemistry, humans share….” In those senses, Miller’s critique is right; the alternative wording could be misleading, and certainly diverges from the way every other science literacy question is asked (you don’t have “According to physicists, the electron is larger than an atom” or “According to geologists, the continents have moved from their current position over millions of years,” just questions about the scientific position itself).

So I think Miller’s kinda right and Mooney is kinda right, even though Mooney is disagreeing with Miller. That’s what makes this issue tricky. Understanding of evolution is different than acceptance of evolution, and have to be measured differently, and the NSB needs to decide whether to measure only one or the other, or both, and whether they ought also to be separately assessing acceptance and understanding of other concepts (like heliocentrism, the germ theory, whether lasers work by focusing sound waves, etc.). I think singling evolution out for such scrutiny is problematic, and reducing science literacy simply to awareness of scientific claims but not to any sort of deeper acceptance of those claims is also problematic.

I don’t think those questions should be settled on blogs, nor by two small workshops organized hastily by NSF. I think research communities focused on science education, science communication, and public understanding of science probably have some reasonable consensus on where to draw these lines regarding science literacy, and I know the research community focused on acceptance and understanding of evolution is working toward some consensus on these issues. I also know that community had no part in the NSF workshop, leaving its assessment needlessly incomplete.

If the NSB wants to redefine science literacy, and rejigger how science literacy is measured, that’s a fine and worthy goal. I’d rather see that done by commissioning a major report from the NRC, since that’s how these things usually go. The NSF workshops discussed in the last post laid out some interesting options, but by their nature they were assembled quickly, but haste is not a necessity here. The NSB should take the time to get this right, based on a broad consensus of relevant research communities, not just a couple of brief workshops.

Comments

  1. #1 David
    July 27, 2011

    reducing science literacy simply to awareness of scientific claims but not to any sort of deeper acceptance of those claims is also problematic

    I agree – scientific literacy isn’t awareness of facts, it’s understanding of method. In my view, a person can be scientifically literate without knowing a lot of facts, if he/she can think properly about the facts that are known. But if a person knows many facts, and approaches them with a counter-scientific mental process, that is illiterate.

  2. #2 Neil craig
    July 27, 2011

    I suppose it woyuld be better to be scientifically illiterate than to be knowingly and deliberately lying.

    They do seem to be able to put their arguments without having to rersort to obscenity.

    Mostr of them seem to be putting their views without expecting to be fed out of the public trough.

    3 points for creationists then compared to catastrophic warming alarmists.

  3. #3 Nick (Matzke)
    July 27, 2011

    Why don’t they just ask questions that are more specific and require some recall from intro bio? E.g. “the closest relative of humans is…(a) chimp, (b) mouse, (c) bird”..etc…

  4. #4 Crowhill
    July 27, 2011

    Your complaints about creationists show that you’re missing the point, which is that you can question knowledge and belief separately — in as much detail as you like.

  5. #5 Anthony McCarthy Leveler
    July 27, 2011

    How about differentiating among evolution deniers who might have quite different reasons to do it? There is a story Richard Lewontin told about when he and Carl Sagan were dispatched to debate a creationist who had a doctorate in Zoology (as I recall) from the U. of Texas, back in the early 60s. As he pointed out it would be absurd to say he was scientifically illiterate.

    People aren’t that easy to categorize and pigeonhole.

    I’d question the idea of “scientific illiteracy” in the way it’s being used. You can be quite literate in one branch of science and be pretty nearly ignorant in another branch.

  6. #6 dan satterfield
    July 27, 2011

    “Science literacy has to be more than abstract knowledge. To be meaningful, it has to be integrated into a person’s view of the world in some useful way. Someone who knows that evolutionary biology deals in common ancestry of life, but who rejects that idea is not able to integrate that knowledge..”

    Well put and spot on Josh.

  7. #7 Pseudonym
    July 27, 2011

    There’s a difference between the “leaders” of the anti-evolution movement on one hand, and the “average creationist” on the other. Scientific illiteracy is precisely one of the things that the leaders are trying to push.

  8. #8 Ian
    July 27, 2011

    One can’t reason with the irrational. Years ago I had a co-worker spouting the usual “it’s just a theory” nonsense. So I asked him to define “Theory”, a scientific Theory. Of course he had no idea. I said a theory is somewhat analagous to a balance sheet in accounting. It is composed of various elements that must be present, otherwise it is not a blance sheet. A Theory is like that, so, I asked, can you explain one element of a theory, just one thin that must be present for it to called a Theory. He could not, so I encouraged him to educate himself, which of course he did not. I’ve found it a good way to cut creationist off at the knees without being rude.

  9. Ian, I had an argument last month with someone who violently objected to the idea that the massive evidence supporting evolution had placed it in a position where it shouldn’t be called a “theory” because it was not “just a theory”, not even within science.

    No matter what the word “theory” means in science, most people don’t live in science and they will not use the word according to its scientific definition. Obviously, as “just a theory” shows, for most people the word means a conjecture or speculation with a lower level of support than a “fact”. Scientists can grouse all they want that that’s not the real, official, official science meaning of the word but that’s not going to help them explain the situation to people in the general public. The language doesn’t belong to scientists, the general public isn’t going to stop using it the way they’re used to using it. If scientists want those people to understand what they mean their choices are between accommodating that general use or being misunderstood. It’s a lot smarter to accommodate that use than to grouse over an avoidable misunderstanding.

  10. #10 Miike from Ottawa
    July 28, 2011

    According to geologists the Earth is round not flat.

    According to medical science babies are born to human parents not delivered by storks.

    According to mathematicians 2 + 2 = 4.

  11. #11 Steve Greene
    July 28, 2011

    According to a simple statement of astronomy (which is close but not correct in detail), the earth orbits the sun, instead of the sun going around the earth.

    According to physicists, the more detailed description is that the planets (and other objects) and the sun revolve about a dynamic center of mass (barycenter).

    Of course, if a holy book you presume to be the word of a god (because the book says it is) says anything you consider to be contrary to the science, then whatever scientists think they have learned must be wrong, because a god obviously knows far more about everything than any mere human beings think they know. (Don’t worry about considerations such as circular reasoning, because when you are on the side of a god such mundane matters are irrelevant.)

    But you are at least “scientifically literate” if you know something about what scientists think they know, even though you disagree with it. However, note that measuring the “literacy” of a person with a list of “basic scientific facts” does not actually indicate a decent comprehension of the scientific process or how that process has been specifically applied in particular cases, and correlations are statistical and don’t imply that specific individuals who are highly “scientifically literate” necessarily have a decent comprehension of science.

  12. #12 harmon
    July 28, 2011

    And so, ‘Mike from Ottawa’s’ key point is: According to evolution, the periodic table of dead elements has engineered the incredible complexity of the biosphere.

  13. #13 Steve Greene
    July 28, 2011

    Followup…

    It’s certainly possible for an evolution denier to be scientifically literate, even very much so.

    Of course, in my experience the vast majority have a very superficial knowledge of science, a poor-to-horrible comprehension of the scientific process, and a lot of them have a considerable anti-knowledge of science based on all sorts of misinformation from a substantial body of creationist pseudoscience literature, which significantly corrupts their “scientific literacy”.

  14. #14 harmon
    July 28, 2011

    The ‘“knowledge of science” and “comprehension of the scientific process” of evolution-affirmer, Steve Greene, can explain how the evolutionary cunning inherent in dead elements produces biochemical encoding.

  15. I first met Carl Sagan in 1964, when he and I found ourselves in Arkansas on the platform of the Little Rock Auditorium, where we had been dispatched by command of the leading geneticist of the day, Herman Muller. Our task was to take the affirmative side in a debate: “Resolved, That the Theory of Evolution is proved as is the fact that the Earth goes around the Sun.” One of our opponents in the debate was a professor of biology from a fundamentalist college in Texas (his father was the president of the college) who had quite deliberately chosen the notoriously evolutionist Department of Zoology of the University of Texas as the source of his Ph.D. He could then assure his students that he had unassailable expert knowledge with which to refute Darwinism.

    http://www.drjbloom.com/Public%20files/Lewontin_Review.htm

    While you could complain about the motives of this Texas Ph.D. it would be absurd to deny that he was scientifically illiterate. And, in terms of science, his creationist motives are no more out of line than the imposition of ideological atheism on science, often by people with far less scientific knowledge than he demonstrated.

    Later in the review, Lewontin said:

    Even individual scientists are ignorant about most of the body of scientific knowledge, and it is not simply that biologists do not understand quantum mechanics. If I were to ask my colleagues in the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard to explain the evolutionary importance of RNA editing in trypanosomes, they would be just as mystified by the question as the typical well-educated reader of this review.

    The idea that there is an adequate level of scientific literacy in any person is pretty silly. No one person can know more than a tiny amount of what is available, not to mention the enormous amount that no one knows. Science is a communal thing, it can’t exist in isolation.

    harmon, no one knows how life originated, I doubt they ever will because the evidence needed to figure that out is forever lost. That’s quite a different problem than that life subsequently evolved into different species about which quite a bit is known from quite a bit of evidence.

    You can’t say how “dead elements” originated, exactly how where they came from but you don’t deny their existence or the results of their combination into molecules and the combination of those into larger molecules. You don’t have to go back to the absolute beginning of things in order to understand a lot about them. The evidence that evolution happened is massive, the evidence that species today are related is massive. Whether or not that is the result of a an intentional design is not scientific question since science couldn’t deal with the idea of a designer, which would be beyond its competence. It’s pretty silly to believe that God could be seen with science, which is designed to investigate material phenomena, unless you want to demote God to having the same status as material stuff.

  16. #16 harmon
    July 29, 2011

    Science establishes that only the unspeakable concinnity and complexity of the biosphere is “massive.” Habitual evolutionist retreat into life origins nescience always advances deftly into ‘knowledge‘ of subsequent evolution–because the underlying auto-transformational creed assumes molecular combination is conducted by an innate predisposition to successfully discharge an organ/species concept.

  17. Harmon, the evidence of relationships among living organisms as demonstrated by science, especially genetics, is more than “concinnity”, it is only possible to explain it in terms of shared ancestry. There is no other valid explanation of it. If you don’t like it, you have a pretty large amount of data to explain in some other way. You have to find sufficient physical evidence to support your alternative, come up with a coherent analysis of that evidence, submit it to review and to consideration by scientists. While you can point to instances in which scientific research later vindicated was originally rejected, even ridiculed, that’s the way science works. Like religion, it is in merely human hands but those hands are what determines what is accepted as science at any given time. The alternative methods of handling information about the physical universe have proven to be far less useful and often. though not always, far more malignant.

    Evolution is the idea most supported by evidence in science, you’ve got your work cut out for you. That it is such an enormous phenomenon and so much of its operation is irretrievably lost means it will never be known in more than a small fraction of its detail, that fraction is there and won’t disappear. There is no physical evidence supporting a literal reading of Genesis, though some people find it useful to consider it in light of what the people who originally gave us the account can be assumed to have known.

    Personally, I think Biblical fundamentalists are guilty of turning a book into an idol and nothing good comes out of that. The Bible isn’t even available to us in a letter perfect edition, the variant readings of the texts run into the tens of thousands. You can’t assert the literal truth of The Bible without lying about it. It’s the truth that sets you free, not lying.

  18. #18 harmon
    July 30, 2011

    The belief that biochemical phenomena routinely generate conceptual elegance from within themselves makes evolution-affirmation the epitome of scientism.
    “Despite their tiny brains bees are capable of extraordinary feats of behaviour,” says Dr. Nigel Raine. “We need to understand how they can solve the traveling salesman problem without a computer.”

    But “there is no physical evidence supporting” an evolutionist reading of hive-building, pollen-gathering, waggle-dancing, honey-producing bee culture because the “concinnity” of these organisms incorporates conceptual outcomes that void the mechanisms of randomness behind “shared ancestry.”

    Conflating ‘operations science’ with origins paradigm-cooking has produced the evolutionist metaphysic enshrined in Carl Sagan’s poetical gibberish: “We are star stuff, which has taken its destiny into its own hands. The loom of time and space works the most astonishing transformations of matter.”

  19. Scientism is the belief that only that information produced by science is valid.

    Science is the study of physical evidence, the collection of data about physical evidence, it’s measurement, the analysis of that and the results of that analysis published, the review of that analysis of that information by others able to adequately evaluate it and it’s continually being susceptible to future challenge. It is also the contingent acceptance of that information, the necessity of assuming that information is accurate based on the review of it by competent people. It should also be the knowledge of the limits of science, which is incompetent to deal with anything except those things which can be successfully subjected to its methods. It should also be the knowledge that there are many known phenomena and ideas which can’t be subjected to those but which don’t suffer the fate of non-existence or falsification of those things due to science not being able to process them. It should also be the acknowledgement that science has bred an astonishing amount of arrogance in a large number of its practitioners and its fans that is the very essence of scientism.
    Those arrogant sci-fans are just another variety of fundamentalists.

    That said, evolution is the best available explaination of an enormous amount of evidence, there is no other phenomenon in science which has more evidential support. As I said, if you want to challenge it on the basis of science, you’ve got your work cut out for you. If you believe that God created life on Earth, through the mechanism made manifest in that evidence, that’s not an invalid idea, though you can’t insert it into science because science couldn’t deal with the idea of the divine creation of life, science couldn’t deal with the idea.

    I believe in God, I believe God created the entire universe and everything about it. I believe that God is not susceptible to the network of causality that contains the subject matter of science. I believe it is an act of idolatry to turn some human conception of God into a mere thing that can be subjected to science. The insistence that God can be seen through science is an act of desecration. That God might be seen in the majesty of the universe is not the same thing, it is an acknowledgement that God is only knowable, in an absurdly miniscule part, through living experience of a kind far to broad and far too complex for science.

    None of which overturns the limited amount that science can reveal about physical reality, in all its contingent reliability, within the limits of its careful application.

  20. #20 harmon
    July 30, 2011

    “Let all the earth fear the LORD: let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of Him. For He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast (Psalm 33:8,9).”

    Evolutionary theists believing in so-called “enormous amount of evidence” remain passengers on Father Darwin’s anti-Bible contraption. It’s operated by a rabbit’s foot deity somewhat affiliated with a multi-billion year progression of centillions of thaumaturgical micro-events. Matter learns to think.

    They specialize in cognitive self-immolation; the mind screeches, “You can’t assert the literal truth of The Bible without lying about it,” and then intones, “I believe God created the entire universe and everything about it.”

    They incarnate Carl Sagan’s fundie-scorning truism: “You can’t convince a believer [in Evolution] of anything; for their belief is not based on evidence, it’s based on a deep seated need to believe [Evolution].”

  21. Harmon, if there’s one thing I’m known as around here it’s as someone in favor of dumping Darwin and a skeptic of Darwinian fundamentalism. I’ve had some of my biggest blog fights over my criticism of him and his family.

    I am, also, no fan of Carl Sagan, who wasn’t a biologist and who promoted the pseudo-science of “exo-biology”. Not to mention giving a generation of atheists the merest smidgens of the language of formal logic with no real understanding of it. Seen most annoyingly of the constant refrain of “Occam’s razor”, as a “disproof” of the existence of God, though William of Ockham was a Franciscan priest for whom God was the only essential entity, all else being subordinate. They don’t even get it right on a materialistic level. I have also criticized his cribbing of Truzzi’s “Extraordinary evidence…” line. You clearly don’t know me and have no idea of where I stand on these issues.

    Have you ever heard it’s a sin to bear false witness?

  22. #22 J. J. Ramsey
    July 30, 2011

    harmon, acceptance of evolution is not like religious faith, but rather is a matter of multiple converging lines of evidence. See, for example, here: http://talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

  23. #23 victoria
    July 30, 2011

    I propose that most creation deniers are Bible-illiterate.

    Dr. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., founder and chairman of the Core Knowledge Foundation and a retired professor(2002)emeritus of education and humanities at the University of Virginia, said,

    “No one in the English-speaking world can be considered literate without a basic knowledge of the Bible. The Bible is also essential for understanding many of the moral and spiritual values of our culture, whatever our religious beliefs.”

    “The Bible is a central book in our culture. Far from being illegal or undesirable, teaching about the Bible is not only consistent with our Constitution, (and Declaration of Independence) it is essential to our literacy.”

    I have personally read Darwin’s “Origins,” and read many evolutionist-written articles, books, blogs, papers, etc. Can it be said that most of the evolutionists on this website have read the Bible and stay current on creationist literature? I have also listened to lectures by many scientists, including microbiologists, astrophysicists, geologists, etc., who are staunch creationists.

    Rosenau contends that, because these scientists believe in creation by God, that they cannot be called “science literate.” Their science literacy is certainly incorporated into their “view of the world in some useful way.” One would certainly believe that PhD scientists would understand “evolution” in all of its forms, from the Big Bang, to monkeys-to-man-Darwinian evolution, macro- and micro-, natural selection ,etc. (By the way, when discussing “evolution” and “science” we should always make certain we are all operating by the same definition; such as empirical science vs. historical science.) An astrophysicist, for example, definitely has more than, as Steve Greene’s experience has been, “very superficial knowledge of science, a poor-to-horrible comprehension of the scientific process.”

    I would recommend that those who are blogging here, should get up-to-date on the latest creationist scientific literature. There, you can at least find answers to 1)where the Universe’s original matter came from and 2)how life began.

  24. #24 harmon
    July 31, 2011

    “Bearing false witness” is Anthony McCarthy Leveler stating “Biblical fundamentalists are guilty of turning a book into an idol.” His “stand,” a rejection of Darwin and Sagan that shares their core faith in the auto-transformational power of lifeless matter to acquire cognition, is clearly knowable .

  25. #25 J. J. Ramsey
    July 31, 2011

    victoria: “One would certainly believe that PhD scientists would understand “evolution” in all of its forms, from the Big Bang, …”

    The Big Bang has nothing to do with evolutionary biology. It’s telling that you claim to have “read many evolutionist-written articles, books, blogs, papers, etc.,” yet still made such a basic mistake. Maybe you were misled by the creationist literature that you asked us to read.

  26. Harmon, where did I express a faith in the idea that “auto-transformational power of lifeless matter to acquire cognition, is clearly knowable”? For the past two days on Greg Laden’s blog I’ve been arguing strenuously that it isn’t knowable, assertions made to that effect are certainly not science since there is no physical evidence of how it actually happened, neither is the assertion that it didn’t happen.

    Biblical fundamentalism begins in lying about the text of the Bible, for which we have no, single, clear copy. It continues those lies through selective reading and interpretation, out of any context which would be necessary to coming to some idea of what it meant. It lies that Genesis is a science or historical account of how Earth and life came about, it lies continually. I’ve never, not once, encountered a “christian” fundamentalist who took what Jesus said seriously, even as they claim that he was divine and that his teachings carry the weight of a divine command. They are pseudo-Christians worshiping a book and mostly slavish servants of Mammon even as Jesus warned them that you couldn’t serve both God and Mammon. Those are the twin gods of fundamentalism, though, as Chris Hedges recently pointed out, all fundamentalists, including atheist fundamentalists, really worship themselves.

    You’re never going to get control of science, Harmon, you are never going to get scientific support for creationism dressed up in a lab coat. You discredit religion and, especially, Jesus, in your dishonesty.

  27. #27 harmon
    July 31, 2011

    The statement, “That it [evolution] is such an enormous phenomenon and so much of its operation is irretrievably lost means it will never be known in more than a small fraction of its detail…,“ exposes invincible faith in an “irretrievably lost” operation which, presumably, should evidence the “power of lifeless matter to acquire cognition.”

    Theistic evolution (scientism dressed in ‘Jesus-citing rhetoric’) had its schizoid head bashed in by atheist Richard Bozarth in 1979: “If Jesus was not the redeemer that died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.”

    The Bible (a dependable, mud-slinging resource for evolved theists who “have no single, clear copy” of it) tells us, “All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made (John 1:3),” and “… the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear (Hebrews 11:3).”

    The Mind Writ of time-worshippers like Darwin, Sagan, Bozarth, Leveler, et al., has seized “control of [a] science” ineluctably married to ideological naturalism. “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Corinth. 2:14).

  28. #28 Anthony McCarthy Leveler
    August 1, 2011

    Harmon, you lie too much for me to take what you say about religion seriously.

    Jesus had something to say about false followers and people who used him in false ways. You are one of those people. You are a pseudo-christian.

  29. #29 harmon
    August 1, 2011

    Lying at the bottom of every theist-evolutionist believer’s dogmatic tank is a pathetic ‘liar ad hominem’. Again, angry, Jesus-citing rhetoric reaches into the Bible it downgrades and comes up with a vague “something to say.”

    The Bible has this to say, precisely, to all who are hog-tied to the spirit of evolutionism’s undesigning idiot-savant, ”Though you grind a fool in a mortar, grinding them like grain with a pestle, you will not remove their folly from them (Proverbs 27:22).”

  30. #30 Gray Falcon
    August 1, 2011

    Does that refer to an actual mortar, harmon?

  31. #31 harmon
    August 1, 2011

    Are you an actual Gray Falcon? :-)

  32. #32 Gray Falcon
    August 1, 2011

    Hey, you were the one arguing for biblical literalism, not me. So, if the Bible meant to be is literally true, did you just threaten us with a mortar and pestle?

  33. #33 harmon
    August 1, 2011

    Sounds like someone’s been “Climbing Mount Improbable.” :-)

  34. #34 Gray Falcon
    August 1, 2011

    Okay, now you’re just being nonsensical. So, if the Bible is literal truth, was that verse referring to a literal mortar and pestle?

  35. #35 harmon
    August 1, 2011

    Is Dawkin’s nonsensical? Because you’ll find that as you’re being guided up to the top of Mt. Improbable by the blind watchmaker you’ll swear you’ve seen the God delusion making an imaginary argument “for biblical literalism.“ The thin atmosphere will do that to the selfish gene.

  36. #36 Gray Falcon
    August 1, 2011

    Actually, I’m a Christian, and I’m wondering why you insist some passages are the perfect literal truth and some are metaphorical. Also, why are you rejecting a mainstream Christian’s opinion on theistic evolution in favor of a radical atheist?

  37. #37 Gray Falcon
    August 1, 2011

    Actually, I probably shouldn’t have responded in the first place, it’s pretty clear now that harmon can’t be more than ten years old.

  38. #38 harmon
    August 2, 2011

    Yes, Gray Falcon, that’s “pretty clear now.” :-D

  39. #39 Anthony McCarthy Leveler
    August 2, 2011

    Harmon, you are a very silly pseudo-christian.

  40. #40 victoria
    August 3, 2011

    J.J.,  I said, Evolution “in all its forms”……..meaning cosmic evolution, organic evolution, micro & macro evolution….the whole gamut.  You seem to be siding with Rosenau with your presupposition that if I believe in creation I must not be “scientifically literate.”  But see, I know that the “Big Bang” is also evolution; in fact, according to evolutionary theory, it would be the beginning of all forms of evolution.  I just can’t get past “What went bang?”