File this under: better late than never.
In the wake of the Bill Nye/Ken Ham creation/evolution debate BuzzFeed writer Matt Stopera had some of the people who attending the debate, and who were creationists, write down questions or comments to those of us who accept evolution.
The following are the questions they wrote down and my quick and dirty responses.
1) Bill Nye, are you influencing the minds of children in a positive way?
Obviously I cannot answer for Bill Nye but I would say yes he is, by helping to popularize science.
2) Are you scared of a Divine Creator?
No. If one exists and is worthy of admiration, let alone worship, it would not want its creations to fear it.
3) Is it completely illogical that the Earth was created mature? i.e. trees created with rings… Adam created as an adult.
Illogical based on everything we think we know about existence via science. However, if an all powerful being existed it is certainly possible it could have done this. Likewise under that scenario the entire universe, including all our memories of the past could have been created last Thursday and there would be no way to know. The evidence all points towards the Earth being 4.5 billion years old (and the rest of the universe more than double that) remains the same, so if it is not actually that old then that would seem to make the creator a cosmic liar.
4) Does not the second law of thermodynamics disprove evolution?
No, in fact life as we know it, which includes the ability to evolve, could not exist without the 2nd Law. You see the 2nd Law is essentially about energy flow from more coherent, usable states, to less coherent, unusable states. The obvious and most relevant example being the flow of energy from the Sun into space, where a tiny fraction of its energy is intercepted by the Earth. Life on Earth is only possible because of this energy flow (with the exception of life that lives off the energy flowing from the interior of the Earth itself at hydrothermal vents).
The effects of the 2nd Law can be seen reflected in the so called ecological pyramid, with each level able to extract less and less usable energy from the environment (and this is simplified of course). At the base we find plants are the most abundant and they absorb energy from the sun (“producers”). Next up there are herbivores that live off the plants (“primary consumers”). Then there are the omnivorous and/or small carnivorous animals (“secondary consumers”). Finally the apex predators (“tertiary consumers”), which are found in the fewest numbers of any ecosystem. Underlying all of these are the decomposers that make a living on the energy left over in dead plants, animals, and animal waste. See: Ecology/Energy in ecosystems
I cannot even imagine what living things or ecosystems would look like without the 2nd Law in operation.
5) How do you explain a sunset if their [sic] is no God?
Seriously? This is a “the tides go in, the tides go out, with never a miscommunication” sort of question. The Earth rotates on its axis every 24 hrs. creating the illusion (from the POV of an Earthbound observer) of the Sun moving across the sky from sunrise to sunset.
6) If the Big Bang Theory is true and taught as science along with evolution, who do the laws of thermodynamics debunk said theories?
No, see answer #4.
7) What about Noetics?
What about it?
8) Where do you derive objective meaning in life?
I don’t know that there is such a thing or that it is even possible. We do have subjective and inter-subjective meaning however and that is good enough for me.
9) If God did not create everything, how did the first single-celled organism originate? By Chance?
It likely did not occur by chance, in the sense of purely random actions of matter, rather it would have happened in accordance with the laws of physics and chemistry.
10) I believe in the Big Bang Theory… God said it and BANG in happened!
Cute, however “god did it” is not a scientific explanation.
11) Why do evolutionists/secularists/humanists/non-God believing people reject the idea of their [sic] being a creator God but embrace the concept of intelligent design from aliens or other extra-terestrial [sic] sources?
First “evolutionist”, i.e. one who accepts evolution, does not equate to being an atheist (“non-God believer”). There are plenty of Christians and other types of theists who accept evolution.
As for evolutionists in general I would say they do not “embrace” any such thing. I can only guess this comes from the disingenuous questions put to Richard Dawkins in the intelligent design creationism propaganda film “Expelled”. Here is a video where Dawkins discusses this and says exactly what his views are on the likelihood of intelligent design by ETs.
12) There is no in between… The only one found has been Lucy and there are only a few pieces of the hundreds neccssary [sic] for an “official proof”.
You were saying?
13) Does metamorphosis help support evolution?
I am not entirely sure what is meant by this question or even what sort of metamorphosis is being asked about. Insect metamorphosis? Amphibian metamorphosis? There is a creationist meme out there that insect metamorphosis (usually in reference to monarch butterflies) is somehow a problem for evolution, however as with most creationist memes, it is based on misinformation.
14) If Evolution is a Theory (like creationism or the Bible) why then is Evolution taught as fact.
It is, or should be, taught as an extremely well substantiated theory, i.e. a rigorously tested, fact-based explanation. Neither creationism nor the Biblical creation account it is based on, even begins to qualify as such.
15) Because science by definition is a “theory” – not testable, observable, nor repeatable why do you object to creationism or intelligent design being taught in school?
Science is not a theory; the development of testable—by observation and experiment—theories are part of doing science. In fact, one could say it is the very aim of science to develop such theories. Creationism—of which intelligent design is a subset—is made up of components which are either untestable or which have already been tested and falsified.
16) What mechanism has science discovered that evidences an increase of genetic information seen in any genetic mutation or evolutionary process?
Part of the answer was in the question; mutation and especially gene duplication.
17) What purpose do you think you are here for if you do not believe in salvation?
Our purpose is whatever purpose we choose for ourselves and frankly, I do not see the how the idea of some supposed purpose imposed from on high is somehow more attractive or fulfilling.
18) Why have we found only 1 “Lucy”, when we have found more than 1 of everything else?
Actually, there are fossil remains representing over 300 individuals of Australopithecus afarensis. “Lucy” is just the most famous specimen of this species. As for more than one of anything else, there is for example Homo erectus, the remains of which have been found in Africa all across Eurasia and into islands in the Pacific (Indonesia). The fun thing about H. erectus is that creationists used to (some may still) argue about whether they were “just apes” or “fully human”.
19) Can you believe in “the big bang” without “faith”?
Yes, as the theory is based on repeatable observations and is testable against further observations.
20) How can you look at the world and not believe someone Created/thought of it? It’s Amazing!!!
You are absolutely right, it is amazing, however there is no compelling evidence that “someone” created it.
21) Relating to the big bang theory… Where did the exploding star come from?
The Big Bang has nothing to do with a star exploding. Strictly speaking, it doesn’t have to do with anything “exploding” in the normal sense of the word. Rather it is about space expanding.
22) If we came from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?
For the same reason that both you and your cousin can exist when you both descend from your grandparents. Humans and the other living apes descend from a common ancestor with the living monkeys. That ancestor was probably more monkey-like than ape-like, but was not one of the current species of monkeys living today.
These questions, at least the ones regarding science—and which were coherent—were not particularly difficult and these people could easily have found the answers with a few Google searches. However, that would require actual curiosity and a willingness to learn. Sadly, these traits are often absent in creationists.
The rest of the questions (philosophical or theological) were simply irrelevant to the accuracy of evolutionary theory (or Big Bang theory) and a unwillingness to grasp this fact is yet another character flaw common amongst creationist.