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Here is the shortest debate ever between a scientist and creationist

deadstate scientist vs creationist

There’s a fundamental question in the debate between natural science and creationism: are creationists who write and distribute their theories allowed to call themselves “scientists”?

There’s a fundamental question in the debate between natural science and creationism: are creationists who write and distribute their theories allowed to call themselves “scientists”?

On a BBC special from last year, comedian Andrew Maxwell took five British creationists to the West Coast of America to try to convince them that evolution rather than creationism explains how we all got here.

In the clip below, a geologist named Don Prothero is explaining to Phil (an Irish creationist) how the Grand Canyon was formed and the immense amount of time that it took. Phil, eager to pounce on what he perceived as inconsistencies in Don’s remarks, asked if the geologist had ever cared to consider the creationist viewpoint.

Watch Doyle’s response in the video below:

51 Comments

51 Comments

  1. Perry

    December 22, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    Duh.

  2. jlope014

    December 22, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Evolution is itself a theory that still makes many assumptions and he some yet unaddressed problem. also, there are some theists who don’t necessarily deny evolution, nor does any sort of acknowledgement of evolution preclude a faith in God.

    You also speak speak as if all scientists and all evolutionists are atheists. This is not the case.

    • Jay

      December 23, 2013 at 6:26 am

      Please stop with this. Theory in science is not a “best guess”. It is a truth that has not been invalidated by scientific research. Those “assumptions” you speak of are hypothesis…and then using the scientific method, they are either proven or dis-proven.

      • Kenneth Johnson

        December 27, 2013 at 6:12 am

        good for you, I agree

    • Jan Wensveen

      December 23, 2013 at 8:19 am

      Gravity is itself a Theory that still makes assumptions. Does not mean it aint there, even while we still barely touched the surface of what it exactly is and how it works.

      • akrazycalm

        January 6, 2015 at 9:30 pm

        actually gravity is a fact, it doesn’t care if you believe in it or not. say a prayer then jump off a cliff, then get back to me with who wins

      • akrazycalm

        January 6, 2015 at 9:35 pm

        plus Farraday already explained how it all works, you ever think to consider science is Gods way of communicating with us. Makes more sense then a human interpretation of a book of parables at a time when we still thought the world was flat and situated in the middle of the universe

    • Joe Walsh

      December 23, 2013 at 9:28 am

      The funny thing about the Theory of Evolution is that so many predictions have been made from it, as to where in the geological strata to find fossils, have bore fruit. Have come true.
      The biggest “unaddressed problems” with the theory of evolution is simply that NOT EVERY CORPSE GETS FOSSILIZED.
      Creationsim, no matter what religious text it is based upon, makes no predictions: simply claims that are at odds with the natural, observable world.

    • Contrararian

      December 23, 2013 at 9:37 am

      No-one says religious people can’t be scientists. We don’t understand all of physics or chemistry, just as we don’t understand all of evolution. Likely we will never understand all of these things. But they’re still science. What is not science is pretending religious beliefs trump everything else.

      • Michael

        January 8, 2015 at 12:57 am

        Actually you CAN’T be a scientist if you are religious. If you don’t believe that all things follow natural laws (even if we do not understand those laws), in other words you allow for “miracles” and “creation” that deviate from these natural laws, then you are NOT, in fact a scientist. BTW – I AM a scientist and an atheist.

    • lordbrucegiles

      December 23, 2013 at 2:58 pm

      I believe the point is that creationism has no basis in the fundamentals of science. It is purely faith based. So, without condescension or any added connotation, it is absolutely true to say they are not scientists when it comes to that subject. It’s not a knock on them to say that. It is just going by the very definitions of the words used. So, trying to participate in a scientific conversation by using creationism makes no logical sense. You wouldn’t try to prove where lightning comes from by alluding to Zeus in Greek mythology, would you?

    • Vic demented

      December 23, 2013 at 6:33 pm

      No not all…just more than 85%

    • Jeff Mo

      December 23, 2013 at 11:49 pm

      Actually, he speaks as if scientists and creationists are two separate categories.

      • Perry

        January 5, 2014 at 8:18 pm

        Jeff, they are separate entities. Creationists base their “science” on a book of a religious faction. Scientists base their conclusions on scientific facts and research.

      • Burzghash

        February 6, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        They pretty much are. One is science, and the other… isn’t.

    • Skip Moreland

      December 24, 2013 at 1:18 am

      True, but he was only addressing creationists who deny any natural causes for anything in the world. Not all religious people are creationists in the sense that god created the world 6000 yrs ago and man walked with dinosaurs.
      I was taught evolution in a catholic school quite a few decades ago, geology and age of the earth as billions of yrs old. A creationist would insist that everything I was taught is false. There are many religious people who say that god created the world and universe and have no problem with an earth that is 4.5 billion yrs old and evolution and science in general. They are not creationists.

    • David Tasciotti

      December 24, 2013 at 2:54 am

      i don’t think you know what that word means.

    • Beverly Holmes

      July 14, 2014 at 1:23 am

      Do everyone a favor and do *not* try to talk science any more. With the first 5 words of your statement, you have shown everyone that you know nothing of science.

    • Jello Biafra

      September 6, 2014 at 6:03 am

      scientific theory:
      A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that is acquired through the scientific method, and repeatedly confirmed through observation and experimentation.

      Thranslation: You are wrong.

    • emskadittle

      January 6, 2015 at 4:29 am

      gravity is a theory, please read the definition of Scientific theory before you post again

    • masadavt

      January 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

      Unfortunately, if you can’t even understand the scientific term “theory”, then you are so far removed from reality that no amount of logic can possibly matter to you.

  3. Ndjinn

    December 22, 2013 at 8:23 pm

    Young earth creationists now are arguing that the speed of light is not constant and that all theories based on c are incorrect and Relitivity is wrong. It’s ridiculous.

    • Randall E. Winn

      December 23, 2013 at 11:40 am

      Certainly, but it’s funnier than that. There *is* some evidence that the speed of light is not the same under all conditions – for example, light propagates more slowly through glass than through a vacuum, which is why glasses work. And there’s some evidence that universal “constants” might actually be a tiny bit different under extreme conditions such as the Big Bang. However the Creationists seize upon that to suggest that (for example) the light coming to our telescopes from 12 Billion lightyears away isn’t evidence that our Universe is more than 12 billion years old is like observing an 8-foot tall man and arguing this is proof that Goliath really could have been 90 feet tall.

      • Jordan Jacobson

        January 7, 2015 at 7:31 pm

        That’s normal, the speel of light c is defined to be the same for all observers in a vacuum. It’s not because light moves more slowly through media but that the photons get absorbed and re – emitted as they pass through a medium.

  4. Jim S

    December 22, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    There are idiots and then there are Stupid idiots of which the creationists are the WORST! Religion and science do not have to be at odds with each other. It’s a matter of interpretation!

    • lancejz

      February 6, 2014 at 10:13 am

      So you are saying that religion, that requires faith is fine with seeking out answers.
      Religion, I know everything its in the bible. Nothing can change my mind.
      Science, I don’t know, I’ll find the answer with science.
      Those are opposites. How can they co-exist?

      • marecek

        February 7, 2014 at 8:38 pm

        They can co-exist, because they essentially seek to answer different questions. Science attempts to explain the physical universe, but cannot explain (or as yet does not attempt to) how it all got here or why. Whether there is a supreme being and a moral dimension to our existence is something that science does not concern itself with, but religion does. The problem with doctrinaire religious nutjobs, as that they presume to use religion to answer all questions, and it is simply not suited for that purpose.

  5. Rory Cornelius

    December 22, 2013 at 11:49 pm

    A video of one ideologue snarking another. Big whoop.

    • Contrararian

      December 23, 2013 at 9:38 am

      Do you really not care that creationists want to impose their religious beliefs on children studying science in schoolrooms?

      • Rory Cornelius

        December 24, 2013 at 4:57 pm

        Whether they do or not, or, whether I care or not, doesn’t make this video anything other than a video of one kind of ideologue snarking another kind of ideologue.

        The invocation of ad-populum arguments and no-true-Scotsman fallacies are not effective methods for those truly interested in the spirit of discovery to guard against misinformation. They are the tactics of ideological zealots.

    • Felicia Nomiko

      December 23, 2013 at 6:16 pm

      Best comment.

    • Jeff

      January 6, 2015 at 7:33 am

      Scientist are hardly ideologues. Ignorant statement.

    • nathanL

      January 6, 2015 at 2:27 pm

      So scientists are now ideologues? I could be assumed that an ideologue would make such a statement.

  6. adso

    December 23, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Disappointing. This is nothing more than an amusing put down. It is so easy to disprove creationism and to expose creationism promoters for the liars that they are. The resources available are vast. I would suggest starting at Infidels.org: http://infidels.org/library/modern/science/creationism/

  7. theiphotoguy

    December 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    yeah that failed to deliver pretty much anything entertaining.

    • Jude

      January 6, 2015 at 8:34 pm

      I believe in what science tells me to be true and creationism is well dangerous. This video made me think the scientist was a d*ck and kind of feel bad for the creationist

  8. jazzgeek

    December 23, 2013 at 9:59 pm

    Science is the means by which we explain natural phenomena in the natural world; its language is mathematics.

    When one interjects the supernatural into the equation, it is – by definition – no longer science.

    • Rory Cornelius

      December 24, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Science is a methodology. Any work which faithfully follows that methodology is science – no matter its conclusion. If one posits a ‘supernatural’ explanation and is able to show the validity of that explanation through the faithful exercising of that methodology, the explanation ceases to become supernatural, and becomes merely natural. The work which validates the conclusion remains science, and the conclusion it arrives at is scientifically valid.

      Proclaiming certain types of conclusions or hypotheses to be off the table, a-priori, is anti-science — anti-discovery. It is nothing more than the setting up of a system of heresy.

      • Skip Moreland

        March 31, 2014 at 6:17 am

        Problem with your description as per what you said, the explanation ceases to become supernatural, thus by your own example there is no supernatural explanation and there never was one. Thus supernatural explanations such as god did it have never been proven.
        Trying to prove some god did something by virtue of the christian definition is a fool’s errand. By their standards there is no proof of god, he makes sure of it. Thus can never be proven or unproven.

  9. Jason Wharton

    December 25, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    Thankfully science is helping many religious people come around to the conclusion that they have not properly understand their own scriptures.

    As for myself, I see no contradiction between science’s vetted facts and what is recorded in the Bible. The creation account in the Bible makes use of cosmic symbolism and does not directly pertain to the creation of our physical cosmos. It’s actually far more simple than people realize and the Bible says itself what it all pertains to. See Genesis 2:4 where it says it all pertains to people. For example, the “greater light to rule the day” isn’t talking about our physical sun in the sky. It’s talking about a person who is symbolized by the sun who is the “light and life of the world”.

    Each day of creation is simply a millennia and it’s no coincidence that Jesus came in the 4th millennia according to the Bible’s reckoning of time. The reason these are the “end times” or “latter days” is because we are near the end of the cycle with day 6 closing out and the last day beginning.

    Also, just as one creation now stands from 6,000 years ago, there shall be a new creation and many many creations to follow. The cycles of Biblical creations pertains to civilizations, nations, kingdoms, peoples, etc. that rise up, flourish and decay and die and that resurrect again, etc. The story of the nation of Israel is a primary example to showcase birth, life, death, resurrection, judgment and at some future point redemption when it comes out from under the adversary taking it for a complete spoil.

  10. Mike

    December 27, 2013 at 6:29 am

    40+ years ago when I was taking first year college biology at a rural midwestern community college the instructor took the biblical story of creation and contrasted the theory of evolution–quite interestingly the order of appearance of various life forms pretty much ran parallel in each case. The biggest concession one needed to make was accepting that the early biblical reference to God creating in one day was not a literal 24 hour period that we now define as a day. Realize that is a big issue to literalist Bible students–suspect God has a few surprises in store for the literalists.

  11. Sane Spirit

    December 27, 2013 at 9:55 am

    Evolution is based on science. Creationism is based on theology.

  12. Fuckallhumans

    December 28, 2013 at 3:17 am

    evolution is not a theory it is a law..maybe take some very basic intro classes before you make a very basic mis understanding or law an theory. Origin of life is a theory not a law an evolution does not deal with such but then again it is not like the creationist comments here have anything o o with anything but opinion. This is basic science looks like a lot of you did not take a science class like ever or one taught at a non religious institution

    • Rory Cornelius

      January 5, 2014 at 9:32 pm

      In science, theories and laws are not directly related, nor mutually exclusive. The only thing about evolution that can be referred to as a scientific law, in the remotest sense, is the idea that organisms change their physiological structure over time — most creationists, however, do not have a problem with this, and fully accept it as being entirely factual.

      On the other hand, a number of proposed aspects of evolution, such as the idea of common ancestry, Darwinian natural selection as a complete mechanism driving such changes, etc, are most certainly not ‘laws.’ They are theories. The term ‘law’ refers to demonstrably repeatable causal effects that do not change given any set of specific circumstances. No such demonstrations are possible with regards to the aspects of evolutionary theory mentioned above.

      There is no mathematical formula one could offer, for instance, that will show that, given a specific set of circumstances, a given organism will alter its physiological make-up in a specific way, exactly the same way, each time such processes occur under the identical circumstances.

      Saying evolution is a law is a nonsensical statement. The term ‘evolution’ encompasses many varying phenomenon, ideas and processes. Some of these are well understood, some aren’t very well understood at all, and some of which aren’t really anything more than hypotheses.

  13. Roland Sanchez

    February 6, 2014 at 7:00 am

    I can’t wait until the Anunaki come back to earth in their Chariots of Fire!

  14. Tobias Bobo

    February 16, 2014 at 2:56 am

    The smart guy’s name is not Doyle. That’s Don Prothero. Please, get your facts straight. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Don_Prothero

  15. Big Black Dog

    March 1, 2014 at 2:35 am

    It never ceases to amaze me how supposed “scientists”, who would all agree the universe is expanding, and what happens to space happens to time. Now, the big bang theory (with which I partially agree) itself demands that you believe when it happened, matter and energy were traveling at unimaginable speeds. Close to, if not at, the speed of light. We also know the farther out you go, the faster it’s expanding. So what happened with that first day God created? How can the Bible say six literal days and science say the universe is about 14 billion years old without one being false? Because that first day was haulin’ ass through space. Remember, as space goes, time goes. So what was a 24 hour period at the time of creation became a few billion years pretty quickly. Millions of years the 2nd day, 3rd day, etc. I believe each “day” expanded to be half the time of the previous day. Which, explains why the outer edges of the universe are expanding faster that the inner parts. Scientist seem to always forget the time/space continuum thing when it comes to the age of the universe and earth when seen through the eyes of the Creator
    .

  16. Mitch

    March 19, 2014 at 10:21 am

    Ignorance is taught.

  17. tlalocwW

    March 25, 2014 at 9:24 pm

    Let’s get some terms in science straight.
    1. Theory is not “a guess.” A theory is a systematic method of explaining a phenomenon we know to exist given what we can observe about the phenomenon itself. The phenomenon is real. Gravity exists. We have a Theory of Gravitation that explains it to the best of our ability. Evolution exists. We have a Theory that explains it to the best of our ability. Theories allow us to adjust our explanations of a phenomenon as we learn more and get better at measuring things (such as the speed of light). As we learn more, the theory of evolution will likely… evolve. Unfortunately for those of you who claim it says man came from monkeys (which it never did), you’ve stranded yourself so far behind education-wise, it’s unlikely you’ll ever catch up to be able to argue about it realistically. So keep throwing out man came from monkeys, misunderstanding the laws of thermodynamics, etc. because real science has moved onto number 2.
    2. Theories are building blocks of applied science. Without the theory of gravity, we would not have space exploration. WIthout evolution, we would not have genetics. That is not the case for number 3.
    3. Creationism is not like number 2. There is no applied science that takes creationism as its start. You don’t start with, “Everything was made by a creator,” and get genetics.

  18. Phineas and Ferb

    July 18, 2014 at 3:25 am

    That wasn’t a debate, that was 2 narrow minded people attempting to prove the other person wrong.

  19. Marty Rothstein

    January 6, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    Hannity saying that someone else is a hater or insulting people..that’s rich !! This idiot does nothing BUT insult people who do not agree with his twisted views. Then he claims to be a christian? PLEASE !! Christians do not act like this Jackass !! For someone who does not care he seems awful defensive ..

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