ReligionSkepticism

Who says creationists don’t make testable claims?

Sure, it’s tough to really invalidate the hypothesis, “Goddidit,” but sometimes creationists make claims that can actually be tested. And sometimes, they even suggest a perfectly good experiment for testing it!

In this case, Kent Hovind suggested that we can test the hypothesis that the Noah’s Ark story in the Bible is true, and that layers of sediment in nature can be explained by the way sediment settles in a large amount of water. Unfortunately for Kent, he didn’t actually try this experiment before suggesting it. Fortunately for us, YouTube star Potholer54debunks did do the experiment. He filmed it and included it in this 10-minute video that effectively destroys a number of geological claims made by creationists. Enjoy!

YouTube link

Rebecca Watson

Rebecca leads a team of skeptical female activists at Skepchick.org. She travels around the world delivering entertaining talks on science, atheism, feminism, and skepticism. There is currently an asteroid orbiting the sun with her name on it. You can follow her every fascinating move on Twitter or on Google+.

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16 Comments

  1. Well,

    That may be true for Noah’s flood, but I’m convinced that Gilgamesh’s flood is really true…

    So, Hovind made a statement that could be tested. That’s good. I’d like to see more of that.

    I had thought they were getting less brave with the testable stuff, since the fake dinosaur/human pics, anyway.

    Too bad most of his followers probably think they’ll go to hell if they even watch U-tube but, hey, it’s a great start.

    rod

  2. Sometimes, I get the feeling that the creationists and other ‘non-scientific’ people proposing ridiculous hypotheses really don’t understand the scientific method.

    They first decide what the answer MUST be (It has to agree with their interpretation of the Bible), do their version of research haphazardly, and then wonder why the scientific establishment doesn’t accept their “science” as valid. They throw out any evidence that doesn’t confirm their preconcieved ideas, rather than changing their hypotheses to account for them (Can’t change doG’s ‘unerring’ word, now can we?). Interestingly to me, they frequently accuse the scientific establishment of ignoring facts and evidence. Projection? But I digress.)

    Maybe it’s because doing true science is hard work, frequently takes a long time and doesn’t always provide an answer – only more questions. Sometimes answering a single question can take one’s entire life – and there’s no guarantee that it will be answered even then. That’s very hard for someone that expects simple, permanent, authoritative answers to accept.

    The Cosmos isn’t interested in our search for answers, nor is it concerned with making it easy for us to understand how and why it works. The Cosmos doesn’t lie to us, but it doesn’t offer any help, either. It is up to the scientific community to delve its secrets.

  3. The bible is a book designed for a simple people to give answers to complex problems. Too bad God didn’t outline the scientific method so that they could develop a hypothesis, develop a test, and learn things into the future. Oh, they say that the bible has answers for all sorts of questions that we can have now: for example, how to treat slaves, polygamy, and perhaps my favorite– that if you have a son, it is ok to sacrifice him because God says so — “Sorry, Abraham, we were just fooling, go find a ram.” Then I wonder why they pick and choose what to believe — some of the old — like “creation,” — although no where does it say this is exactly how it was done (I mean come on, if there was no light for a few days, then does a day when you “create” something last for how long?). But I wonder– why do creationists eat lobster? Did Jesus say it was ok to eat lobster? Then again, I don’t like lobster, but that is another story. What does it say about prisoners of war — oh, kill them all (would solve some issues today I suppose– and perhaps explains their radical views about closing Gitmo).

    I like myths from all different societies — they all have common themes – the son who is a savior (my mom likes me) — and they all have to use “God gaps” to explain physics. Joseph Campbell did a wonderful job explaining these.

    Did it bother anyone that when in a political debate among Republicans they asked who believed in creation and almost all of them raised their hand? And, by the way — when Jesus was suppose to come back and see the folks of his generation — what happened – -or do we have some very old people living today?
    What creationists don’t see is they have proved evolution – they are the missing link. Living among us they are uniquely unable to understand or comprehend the world, and depend upon scientists for a better life in ours. Like most simple-minded creatures – they will survive – but they are parasites on our society. Much like others who want to take complex answers they do not understand, and develop a theory they can — e.g. — all organic food is good, and more vitamins are better, and if this has anti-oxidants then it will be better (they do clean clothes nicely).
    Why is it that when I grew up in a place far away (Alaska), that in fourth grade they taught the scientific method, and yet here in the continental United States they want “faith”instead? Why? Did they not learn the scientific method? Did they miss that day in class — or did they become home-schooled and skip that in favor of other important topics – bible 101?
    For them it is a matter of faith — they have to believe this because someone tells them they do. Perhaps they will be stoned if they don’t.

    Perhaps this is why God has me live in Arizona. I will go to hell so I might as well get use to the heat, and even our animals here have horns. There was some lightening this morning, perhaps another flood is coming.

    Creationists are too silly to take seriously, and too ill informed to talk to. Still, those who have evolved minds will find their way — and will learn that the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, Santa, and Jesus are fun myths that people tell their kids. All nice stories. Since I don’t have children – which makes me an expert at raising them – it shows the wisdom because I would be the one telling my child that there is a way of truth – -it is science, not religion. That ethics come from individual responsibility, not from above — that we do good while we can on this earth and if we can’t leave it in a better place, at least we will leave.

    Creationists — the missing link.

  4. @TerrySimpson: Love your post: I’ve read (and need to re-read) my Jospeh Campbell. I wish that I could agree with your statement here, but I can’t: “Creationists are too silly to take seriously…”

    Unfortunately, when they gain political and economic power (the last eight years, for example), their beliefs can become dangerous for society. Faith-based science, economics and politics have brought us to the edge of ruin…and maybe over that edge. It remains to be seen, but I am frankly worried as to where we are now and what the future may hold.

    So we have to take them seriously, at least in certain circumstances.

  5. Yes, I agree. I remember when Roe v. Wade ruling came down, I thought we had evolved, we didn’t.
    In those days over 70 per cent of Americans agreed with the ruling, it is down to a slim majority. So views change.
    But let us not confuse politics, economics, and religion. We have to take our “leaders” seriously, no matter what they believe – and we have to take their views into account when we vote for them.
    We have to be skeptical in our economics (see what has been tested and not) in our politics, and our ethics.
    When I say they are too silly to be taken seriously – -forgive me for not putting it in context. I do not take a child seriously when he says he wishes I was dead – -but I take him very seriously if he is holding a gun. While homo sapiens were far more evolved than neanderthals, they took them seriously when they had more clubs.
    I think we should study the DNA of creationists and neanderthals, and the rest of us. Or perhaps MRI their brains. Or perhaps they are like my Karman Ghia – they don’t fire on all cylinders

  6. We should cook up a really intricate theory about how flowing salt water naturally sorts dead creatures by the complexity of their form or the by the complexity of their DNA, post it on Conservapedia, and see if we can’t get Hovind or his ilk to repeat it back to us in a book some day.

  7. I am so embarrassed. One of the first things that I realized when I started to separate myself from fundamentalists was how arrogant and audacious we were. I really thought that I had greater insight then Richard Lenski, a man who had committed his entire life to the study of evolutionary biology, because I read an old book once.

  8. I went to Catholic elementary school in Alaska, and while I have met a great many creationists up here. Catholic school even taught the scientific method. And evolution.
    In 6th grade the nun I had for a teacher had us breed rabbits! 6th grade Catholic kids breeding rabbits. I wasn’t actually cognizant of creationism existing till I tried talking to my babysitter about evolution at the tender age of 8 and she said “shush, I don’t wanna hear that I grew outta no monkey’s armpit!” as she chain smoked the day away……

  9. @QuestionAuthority: One thing I don’t get about a lot of creationists is the way they seem to think “God did it” is not just an answer, but a final one – that once we’ve got that nailed, that about wraps it up for science. They never seem to consider that if God ever descended to Earth and settled the question by announcing that he did, indeed, make it all, every scientist would immediately change their focus only to the extent that they’d start studying *how* he did it.

  10. Why don’t we just redefine a “flood” as

    a sequence of events–possibly acting differently at different points on earth–producing a corresponding sequence of layers in the geological record

    and get over with the bloody thing? Come to think of it, I bet that if you gave any quote from the bible that references the flood, I could show how it’s actually talking about my definition of a flood.

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