I know a lot of my blog deals with LGBT issues, so this will be an interesting turn (maybe uninteresting for some) towards my love of science, atheism, and being a skeptic in general.
You may have heard of a recent debate between creationist Ken Ham and Bill Nye. Someone at Buzzfeed asked some creationist viewers of the event to ask a question or send a message to Bill Nye afterwards.
Here are my answers and responses to their questions and statements. Obviously this is just my opinion and not that of the great Bill Nye. I just found it would be a good medium to expose my audience (all 10 of you 😉 ) to another side of my personal views. I’ll ask these as if they’re addressed to me, except for the first one because it was explicitly addressed to Bill Nye. Disclaimer: I’m not a professional scientist. There are better answers to these questions by people who study this for a living. I promise.
1. “Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?”
I don’t know if he means specifically in the debate itself, or in general, but the latter is definitely yes. The Science Guy is all about educating children and raising a generation that can meet the scientific problems of the future. In terms of the debate itself, if you believe science and the scientific method is the way to evidenced-based reason and truth, then absolutely. Exposing a child to reality is always better than telling them a comfortable lie.
2. “Are you scared of a Divine Creator?”
Are you scared of Sauron, Voldemort, or Glory(Buffy, Season 5)? Me either. I feel very sad for you that you are scared of something that has as much evidence for existence as do other literary villains.
3. “Is it completely illogical that the earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings… Adam created as an adult…”
Yes. Is it impossible? No. There is just no reason to assume it happened that way because of an ancient story. You’ll notice my answer to this question will start a pattern of sorts for evolutionist, atheist, and skeptic reasoning. Just because something is possible doesn’t make it true, and there’s no reason to believe something until you have justified evidence that it happened that way. Everything we know about human and tree existence is that they don’t suddenly appear as mature lifeforms.
4. “Does not the Second Law of Thermodynamics disprove Evolution?”
My super smart boyfriend shared this as a response when someone on social media asked the same question. The second point is the one you want for this question specifically. The direct answer to this question aside, I have to marvel at the reasoning behind the question. If Evolution was so easily disproved by what seems to be a very basic law of science… why would so many scientists and experts not have disproved it? I can almost guarantee that person would with a Nobel prize, at the very least they would get money from the Templeton Foundation…
5. “How do you explain a sunset if their[sic] is no God?”
Well… you see the rotation of the Earth makes it so that sometimes where you live is facing the sun, and sometimes it’s not. The transition into and out of those dark or light states, what we call night and day, are called sunrise and sunset, because it appears as if the sun is rising or setting from or into the horizon line. If you’re with me so far, the pretty colors we sometimes get with sunsets come from the way the light from the sun refracts off the atmosphere and the various particles in the air. Some colors like pink and purple are actually caused by pollutants. National Geographic describes it very well this way, “at sunset, the light takes a much longer path through the atmosphere to your eye than it did at noon, when the sun was right overhead. And that is enough to make a big difference as far as our human eyes are concerned. It means that much of the blue has scattered out long before the light reaches us. The blues could be somewhere over the West Coast, leaving a disproportionate amount of oranges and reds as that beam of light hits the East Coast.”
To turn off my sarcasm and address what I’m assuming your actual question is “How do we have natural beauty without God?” The universe is vast and mysterious. We as humans have an interesting connection to art and the social construct of beauty. We find certain things in nature to be beautiful, but even those aren’t universal. I had a friend once who found spiders beautiful much in the way you and I do sunsets. We…disagreed on that point. The point to come back to is that beauty and the emotions it evokes exist in our brain, something we are still in the process of mapping and understanding, but we do know that those warm fuzzy feelings you get when you see a sunset are chemical reactions in your brain reacting to visual stimuli. There’s no God required.
6. “If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, why do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories?”
The easy answer is that they don’t, and you don’t understand the laws of thermodynamics. For a better explanation, ask a scientist. We covered evolution and these laws earlier. I don’t know what part they apparently debunk, but the Big Bang Theory doesn’t prescribe the creation or loss of mass, energy, heat, or matter, just that they used to exist in a ‘hot dense space’ and then they weren’t anymore.
7. “What about Noetics?”
What about them? To be honest I’ve never heard of it before, but Google and Wikipedia tell me that, “The Institute of Noetic Sciences proposes noetic sciences as an alternative theory of “how beliefs, thoughts, and intentions affect the physical world.” So… we use our brains to will things into or out of existence? I mean, that’s what people did with God… so…
Heh, I kid. Kind of. Anyway, as soon as there is sufficient evidence that I can Neo the world with my brain, I will be happy to believe it, and will immediately learn Kung Fu and bend spoons. Until then, I don’t see any reason to worry about it.
(Yeah I realize my entire answer to this question was a sarcastic straw man, but I put it at the same level of astrology or anthropomancy.)
8. “Where do you derive objective meaning in life?”
Ah, excellent! Finally a good philosophical question. This topic could fill many, full blog posts all by itself. To give a very inadequate, short answer: I would say I find meaning in life through experiences, relationships and legacy. Experiences can be anything from watching a great show to bungee jumping. Relationships from romantic to platonic, professional to personal, I enjoy interacting with the other fantastic human beings who share this planet. Finally, legacy: what will my life add to the lives of those around me? Will I have contributed to the betterment of humanity because of my brief life. See, I don’t think that a lack of an afterlife makes my life less important. I think the opposite happens. Every second of every day becomes that much more important and valuable, because when I’m done… I’m done.
9. “If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By chance?”
Let’s define, “By chance,” real fast. Google tells me, “the occurrence and development of events in the absence of any obvious design.” If that’s what you mean, then yes. However, often in these questions there is the implication that such an event was just completely random and unpredictable. Everything we currently know about abiogenesis (the process of getting life from non-life) tells us that it is a natural process, just like evolution (and no they’re not the same scientific theory). Natural processes are anything but random or unpredictable. Given the right circumstances, and given the vastness of our universe, they are inevitable.
10. “I believe in the Big Bang Theory… God said it and BANG it happened!”
Oh, good for you. Really, I’m happy for you and your belief. I don’t. There’s no reason to assume that God is the answer for the things we don’t fully understand.
11. “Why do evolutionists/secularists/huminists [sic] /non-God believing people reject the idea of their [sic] being a creator God but embrace the concept of inteligent [sic] design from aliens or other extra-terestial [sic] sources?”
Numerous spelling mistakes aside and forgiven, the flat-out answer is that ‘we’ don’t. I put ‘we’ in scare quotes there because I’m sure some atheist evolutionist somewhere for some reason believes we were created by aliens, but there is just as much scientific evidence for that idea as there is for creationism, which is to say none. Many people believe the right thing for the wrong reasons and because they don’t have good critical thinking skills they can then go on to believe some other non-evidenced, also ridiculous thing. Once again, it’s not impossible that we were created by aliens… but there’s no reason to believe it until we have evidence to do so. Claims require evidence, and really big claims require a lot of evidence.
I’m going to stop here for now, because this is already getting long. I’ll do the next 11 in my next post. What do you think? Agree, disagree? Leave your comments below, I’m happy to answer questions, discuss or provide clarification.
Have a great week!