Thursday, 4 July 2013

Does Creation science have any convincing arguments?

Oxford Skeptics in the Pub hosted Peter Harrison this week.  He is based at St Andrews University (of which I am a graduate) so it was fun to have a chat with him.  His talk was about creationism.  As it said on the SITP site:

It’s easy to make fun of many creationist claims, but what are their strongest arguments?

Creationism often takes a lot of flak for the kind of wild claims made by hoards of ALL-CAPS creationists on blogs and YouTube comments. But of all the claims and arguments made by creationists, which are the most impressive? Do they pose a threat to creationism-denying scientific fields? Forget the usual tired canards. Peter has spent a year collaborating with top creationist organisations and groups to collate and bring to you their most powerful arguments yet…

So, I hear you asking whether any of the arguments were convincing.  He had asked them about both their evidence for creationism and in four of the five cases for evidence that the world is young (6000 to 10,000 years old).  The fifth organisation promotes old-earth crationism so it was not relevant in their case.

The organisations that he had challenged included Answers in Genesis and The Discovery Institute.  It seems that they have now ceased to cooperate with him after he shared his conclusions with them.  They didn't even appear to have used their best lines of evidence even while they were talking, but then again who is the best judge of that?

One thing did surprise me.  In his discussions with the 'Discoveroids', he had used the term 'creationist'.  I happen to listen to their podcast, ID The Future (which I decline to link to, as I have no desire to increase their Google ranking) on a regular basis.  They usually make a point that The Discovery Institute is there to promote 'Intelligent Design', and not creationism.  They say that there is a difference, although I have some doubts about that.

All in all, it was an entertaining evening with a great speaker.  It was only the second time that he has given that talk.  I hope he will get chance to use it many more times.

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