Showing posts with label Nevin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Nevin. Show all posts

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Desperation at the C4ID

From our very own Grumpy Bob;

C4ID appears to be fairly small outfit, very largely run by Dr Alastair Noble, who’s PhD is in chemistry and who has been active in education (particularly through christian organisations). Other figures are the president (Norman Nevin, an emeritus professor in medical genetics who is on record preaching the literal truth of Genesis) and the vice-president (Dr David Galloway). All three are strongly religious.
After a series of communiques extolling their activities (e.g. their upcoming meeting, and their move to try and get a creationism pseudo-textbook adopted by schools), the latest is something of a mixed bag. Along with plans to recruit a recent PhD graduate to evangelise ID creationism to postgraduate students:
A major initiative to promote ID, formally and informally, among postgraduate students. This involves the appointment of a recent science PhD who will work across universities and colleges to promote the debate and provide support for students who find it hard to resist the peer pressure to shut down academic discussion of the subject.
To publish a book aimed at a lay audience:
A new, ground-breaking guide to Intelligent Design by Alastair Noble which is aimed at the layman and which will fill a gap in the range of available publications on the subject. This is part of our wider strategy to promote public debate of ID and its implications.
(Frankly, this isn’t the route to get ID creationism accepted – to do that one would need to do your actual research, to prove the existence of a designer etc, and get this stuff out there as science. Of course, as reheated creationism that isn’t exactly likely, so ID proponents have a strategy to try and confuse the lay public with silly arguments. And to try and insinuate their dubious texts into schools. It’ll be interesting to see what Noble comes up with – so far all C4ID have seemed to achieve is to import American ID creationist speakers and literature. It’s interesting to note in this context that Noble isn’t a biologist by training, and that his brief research career was in chemistry.)
. . .
But things don’t seem so rosy in the C4ID playground, and they seem to be needing a bit of a cash injection:
Our capacity to promote Intelligent Design in the UK is significantly limited by our current financial resources. If you share our understanding that these issues are important and are willing to partner with us, we will be able to develop our plans and programs more quickly and have more impact.
Actually, I suspect that promoting ID creationism is rather more limited by the fact that it is complete tosh.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Nevin Transcript - Adam and the Garden of Eden

This is a transcript relating to this post here.

Creation Watch - Norman Nevin - Adam and the Garden of Eden

This is our second analysis of a sermon given by Professor Norman Nevin OBE, who is named by the Centre for Intelligent Design in Glasgow as it’s president. 
First a little background.  “Intelligent Design” was invented in the US in the last decade or so to try to get creationism into publicly funded schools, where it is prohibited by the US constitution simply because it is religious.  The creationists decided to evolve their approach and so changed the name and dropped any direct reference to god, replacing the word god with the phrase “intelligent designer”.
The UK government has no such constitutional reason for stating that ID can’t go into schools as science, instead they confirm that it can’t be taught in school science lessons simply because it isn’t science.
This is an analysis of a sermon in a church and so it would be inappropriate to analyse anything other than the scientific claims made, so we haven’t.
On the other hand we are sure that Professor Nevin would not claim any lower standard of care or respect for the truth in a church compared to a classroom.  We would certainly agree that truthfulness and accuracy are vital when talking about science whether your audience are sitting in a church or a classroom.  So let’s look at the scientific claims he makes and see if they hold any water.
Whilst we won’t analyse some of the theological claims we will document them here.
BTW you can download the mp3 for yourself, if you have 45 mins to spare, from here.
Alternatively our transcription of the sermon (a little rough and ready in places) is here and takes perhaps 5 mins to read.
The first sermon we analysed can be found here.
OK let’s start with a deep breath and an open mind.  Let’s simply assess the scientific claims on their own merit.  Quotations from Nevin are in italics.
“Was Adam a historical figure or was Adam a myth or a legend? What I want to try and show this evening, was that Adam was historical figure.”
“[…] quotation from proverbs, “Every word of god is flawless, do not add to it.”  Now Adam is a real historical person, the New Testament endorses the accuracy of Genesis both directly and indirectly over 200 times.  Genesis chapter 1 to 11 which indeed many, many Darwinists and evolutionists say is myth or legend, I believe it is historical and it is cited 107 times in the new testament and Jesus refers himself, to the early chapters in genesis at least 25 times.”
“Now lets just look at the evidence we have that Adam was a real person.”
OK, he is pretty clear here.  A fundamentalist (in fact this is the precise usage that the word “fundamentalist” referred to when it was first coined) view that because something is written in the bible it is true, because elsewhere in the bible it says that everything in the bible is true.  
The obvious circular logic can be easily avoided by a simple denial of all other evidence to the contrary and normally involves a sincere belief that almost everyone else on the planet is conspiring against your view.
Most Christians and Christian churches don’t share this view.  It also leaves them open to easy and simple criticisms based on the bible itself e.g. contradictions seen in the bible.  The mainstream faiths are therefore happy to take a more considered view that the bible is inspired by god but written by human beings, that are prone to err.
Nevin himself will address some of the evidence for the evolution of man later on.  I use the word “address” in the sense of “making up a weird straw-man version of it” and then ignoring it anyway.
Now I’m not sure if this next one is a scientific claim or a theological claim but it is at the very least a claim of evidence so let’s have a quick look at it;
“We have three genealogies, Genesis 5, 1 Chronicles and Luke and each of those 3 genealogies trace back to the first parent, Adam.  Now when you examine genealogies and the word of god, yes there are occasions where you find names that are omitted but you never in any of the genealogies find in fact that someone who is considered a myth is inserted into a genealogy.”
Breath taking.  This person can’t be a myth because myths don’t appear in the lists that this person appears in.  A rounded shape with no corners springs to mind again.
Remember this, it is Nevin’s first and best reason for ignoring the science we will point you at later on.
Wondering if number two is just as “good”?
“Secondly there is nothing in the teachings of Jesus on marriage to suggest for one second that he doubted that Adam was a real person, and indeed when we look at the writings of Paul again we see the same thing, that he spoke of Adam as being formed first and then woman coming from him, and that’s in at least two places.  So the new testament and this who spa, like Paul and Jesus refer to Adam as a historical person.”
Once again, most Christians don’t rely on the bible being inerrant.  Most Christians treat it as historians treat it; an ancient collection of work from different authors written at different times and offering poetry and insight into the human condition.  Most Christians go further and think it was inspired by God.  Neither the Pope nor the Archbishop of Canterbury would go as far as Nevin does.  This is why neither the Archbishop of Canterbury nor the Pope continue to deny huge swathes of scientific endeavour.
Ok we are back on firmly scientific ground with the next claim;
"this is one of the problems of science as theta define it as a materialistic process without reference to any supernatural cause or event "
This is simply untrue.  At this stage we are not sure if Nevin is simply mistaken or if he is deliberately trying to mislead.  If he continues to make this claim after the error in it has been pointed out to him then we will know.
We treat this subject in detail here
Nevin doesn’t make such a wild claim lightly.  Remember that this is just part of the picture he wants to paint of a world wide, multi-disciplinary, multi-generational conspiracy of atheists fighting Satan’s battle.  It is only in such a context that his denial of most of modern science can make sense.  You will see later hints from him that teachers are in on the “conspiracy” as well.
Next Nevin talks a little about Francis Collins as an example of a scientist who is a christian - of course this seems totally at odds with his comment about science ruling our god by definition.  He also doesn’t mention that fact that Collins has dismissed both biblical creationism and ID as being unscientific and bad theology.  So we have dug out a few comments from Collins about creationists and ID proponents (our emphasis);
“The tragedy of young-earth creationism is that it takes a relatively recent and extreme view of Genesis, applies to it an unjustified scientific gloss, and then asks sincere and well-meaning seekers to swallow this whole, despite the massive discordance with decades of scientific evidence from multiple disciplines. Is it any wonder that many sadly turn away from faith concluding that they cannot believe in a God who asks for an abandonment of logic and reason? Again from Augustine:
In matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision, even in such as we may find treated in Holy Scripture, different Interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.
Again, written over 600 years ago but right on target today!”
“The past ten years have seen the emergence of a new theory of how God has intervened in the development of living organisms. Intelligent Design proponents point to the complexity of multi-component molecular machines as unlikely products of a random evolutionary process. The argument about irreducible complexity is an interesting one. And yet I must say, the more one looks at these supposedly complex and irreducibly complex structures (whether it is the flagella, the eye, or the clotting cascade), the more one begins to see some evidence of intermediate forms that could have had some selective advantage. While not offering strong evidence against Intelligent Design, the study of genomes offers absolutely no support either. In fact, I would say—and many others have said it better—a major problem with the Intelligent Design theory is its lack of a plan for experimental verification. “
Next from Nevin is a cleverly hidden implication that the historical existence of Adam is actually a scientifically controversial topic when in reality it is not.
“As I see it scientists and evangelicals are drawn up into two groups, those who accept Adam as a real person and those who accept that Adam was created as a result of evolution.  Does it make a difference?  Does it make a difference if what you as a young person maybe in your 5th and 6th form believe.  I do believe it does make a difference and I have listed some of the differences that I see.”
So let’s see just what those differences are then;
“First of all if it was the result of an evolutionary process there is no need for god or god the creator as evolution starts off and ends according to them by its own action.”
Well no, evolutionary theists (i.e. a vast majority of Christians) think this is tosh.
This next bit is bordering on bigotry;
“If you are the process of an evolutionary process then you are not responsible for your own actions, there is no sin there is no need of a saviour and you have to question yourself, where does this sense of moral values come from, life has no purpose and christianity is false so I believe it does matter where you stand.”
It almost goes without saying that he is clearly trying pull the wool over believers eyes with this.  This kind of stuff is impossible to satirise.  Often a useful indicator that something is pushing back the boundaries of silliness.
Even if he doesn’t agree with the huge pile of both religious and non-religious opinion that is against him, he speaks as if there is no possible counterargument.  He ignores it all.  He makes no attempt to support his claim and no attempt to counter any of the many arguments against it.
Ok next Nevin gets out his Creationist playbook and we have some claims I have heard made by perhaps half a dozen young earth creationists in the past couple of years here in the UK;
  • You can breed dogs all you want they are still dogs
  • The Galapagos finches were all finches after all.
Based on the use of the phrase “after their kind” in Genesis, Nevin thinks that there is some kind of barrier preventing the production of varieties or sub-species through evolutionary process eventually producing new species.
He doesn’t accept common ancestry but he does accept that a million species of beetles evolved from the “beetle kind” that was saved on Noah’s Ark about 4,000 years ago.  That means that whilst denying evolution as understood by science, Nevin thinks that a new beetle species has evolved approximately every 36 hours since the time of Noah’s flood.
Before we move on to Nevin’s next claim, it is worth pausing a second to explain a common creationist tactic that they have practiced right back to their modern emergence in the early twentieth century in the southern United States.  It’s very easy to do and can be an effective debating tactic if the audience are unaware of the facts (in other words, it’s a convincing way of lying).
Look out for any kind of scandal or dispute in science, harp on about it, suggest that this means that no scientific findings can be relied upon and therefore your own claims are definitely true.
On no account point out any of the following; scientists and not creationist discovered the error/fraud, scientists still accept the underlying or supporting evidence, in fact stay away from any kind of detailed explanations of complicated issues, just keep it simple.  That way anyone trying to cover off the detail just looks like they are being too clever by half.
Nevin gives us classic example of this technique in action as follows;
Haeckel embryo drawings;
"Ernest Haeckel was a scientist who supported Darwin and he put forward the idea that when you look at the development of an animal or a human within the womb it undergoes a series of changes so that it looks like a fish at one stage and gradually evolves and the next slide is a picture of animals, human, pig,  salamander etc.  And you will notice that there are similarities of slits on the region of the gills, again earner Haeckel faked those results, he manipulate those embryos so that they all look alike.  That now should be abandoned from any text book you have at school because it is false, there is no evidence that a human goes through the process, the various stages of evolution within the womb."
Firstly, can anyone out there actually give us an example of this being used in this way in a school?  I can’t find anything and I have been looking for a while.  
Secondly, the diagrams were exaggerated and wrongly labelled but the underlying point about common ancestry being reflected in common developmental stages does have merit.
Here is a more detailed examination of this issue if you are interested.
Next up Nebraska Man;
“Here is an impression by the artist of Nebraska man now just look at him the height and the brutish appearance and the skin and so forth, that in fact was base don one single tooth which was identified in 1922 and from that tooth the artist gives you that impression, six years later that tooth was found in fact not to be from a primitive man but in fact from an extinct pig and then in 1972 evidence was found that these pigs were still alive in the community, so remember that the artist portrays the skin the hair and the appearance and sometimes its on the most flimsy of evidence.”
Which is examined here.  The illustration, which was for a newspaper actually had the following caption;
"Mr. Forestier has made a remarkable sketch to convey some idea of the possibilities suggested by this discovery. As we know nothing of the creature's form, his reconstruction is merely the expression of an artist's brilliant imaginative genius. But if, as the peculiarities of the tooth suggest, Hesperopithecus was a primitive forerunner of Pithecanthropus, he may have been a creature such as Mr. Forestier has depicted." (Smith 1922)
Next up Piltdown Man;
“We all know about the Piltdown man this was put forward as a primitive man and scientists actually in the same institution as those who discovered it set it up as a hoax, the took fragments of a human skull a chimpanzee jaw and teeth and they filed them down and stained them and it took 40 years for some of these scientists of high repute to actually come to realise that they had been hoaxed by this which was totally false.  
This again was put forward as a primitive man, this was Lucy unearthed in Ethiopia but most, majority of scientists of today now believe that it is not a forerunner of man at all but indeed it is in fact an ape.”
Check here for the actual story.
Back up for a moment from this collection of “frauds” arguments Nevin also threw in this little gem along the way;
“This is what is known as the tree of life, Darwin’s tree of life, and by the way again that is something that should be taken out of textbooks because both both nature and new scientists how both recently indicated that the idea of a tree of life is totally false.”
This claim is wrong.  It is so obviously and simply wrong that it really does stretch the imagination to believe that Nevin doesn’t know this. 
The issue he is distorting wildly relates to the fact that science now understands that many single celled organisms can swap bits of DNA between species and so the roots of the tree of life look a bit like a tangled web rather than one solid root.
Here is comment from one of the very magazines he claims supports his claims;
“As we celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, we await a third revolution that will see biology changed and strengthened. None of this should give succour to creationists, whose blinkered universe is doubtless already buzzing with the news that "New Scientist has announced Darwin was wrong". Expect to find excerpts ripped out of context and presented as evidence that biologists are deserting the theory of evolution en masse. They are not.”
This is as clear an example of dishonesty in argument you are likely to come across and Nevin should be questioned about this at every opportunity.
Now Nevin has saved some entertainment for us for the end of his talk.  This is apparently his own work;
“Adam first, the woman second.  […]  look at the extreme right and bottom line that is the male chromosome, he’s got a female chromosome X and a male chromosome Y.  Now there is a biological reason why man was created first.  The female has XX and the male has XY, now if the female had been created first he could never have made a male from a female as she has two X chromosome but you can make a female from a male as he has an X chromosome so the man was formed first and then eve and it was good.”
Wonderful stuff.
Suitable for children in science lessons?  We don’t think so.

Friday, 12 November 2010

C4ID’s Introduction to Intelligent Design: Part 2

The Centre for Intelligent Design website features a set of brief (sometimes very brief) pdf documents which collectively form an Introduction to Intelligent Design, credited as written by Dr Alastair Noble, C4ID Director. Collectively, these files form a pamphlet setting out C4ID’s manifesto for ID. Often these documents are written in a way that could be seen as persuasive to the uninformed. In general, the arguments used are those of ‘common sense versus rational investigation’, and the hoary old ‘argument from ignorance/incredulity’.
Part 2 of “An Introduction to Intelligent Design” is credited to Professor Norman Nevin, a retired medical geneticist in Northern Ireland, and President of the Centre for Intelligent Design. Why Nevin has penned a document in support of ID is unclear, since he is on record as a biblical literalist as far as the Genesis account is concerned (reading the transcript is rather quicker).
Since van Leeuwenhoek, continual improvements in microscope technologies have revealed the complexity of cellular structure in greater and greater detail: with the advent of biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology this understanding has increased exponentially.
This article begins by using an analogy of “[...] a large city with different types of factories, power stations, communication centres, transport systems and storage areas”. [As an aside, I would note here that as with many ID proponents, Nevin seems to confuse analogy with explanation.]
The article is very brief and merely outlines a variety for cellular activities and components, and serves to set the stage for later argument from ignorance.

Robert Saunders, BSc (Hons), PhD

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Creation Watch - Norman Nevin - God and the Cosmos

This is an analysis of a sermon given by Professor Norman Nevin OBE, who is named by the Centre for Intelligent Design in Glasgow as it’s president.

First a little background.  “Intelligent Design” was invented in the US in the last decade or so to try to get creationism into publicly funded schools were it is prohibited by the US constitution simply because it is religious.  The creationists decided to evolve their approach and so changed the name and dropped any direct reference to god, replacing the word god with the phrase “intelligent designer”.

The UK government has no such constitutional reason for stating that ID can’t go into schools as science, instead they confirm that it can’t be taught in school science lessons simply because it isn’t science.

This is an analysis of a sermon in a church and so it would be inappropriate to analyse anything other than the scientific claims made, so we haven’t.

On the other hand we are sure that Professor Nevin would not claim any lower standard of care or respect for the truth ina church compared to a classroom.  We would certainly agree that truthfulness and accuracy are vital when talking about science whether your audience are sitting in a church or a classroom.  So let’s look at the scientific claims he makes and see if they hold any water.

BTW you can download the mp3 for yourself, if you have 45 mins to spare, from here.

Alternatively our transcription of the sermon (a little rough and ready in places) is here and takes perhaps 5 mins to read.
OK let’s start with a deep breath and an open mind.  Let’s simply asses the scientific claims on their own merit.  Quotations from Nevin are in italics.
The questions that Napoleon Bonaparte asked of Laplace “When I think of Isaac Newton and his thesis, he made great play of God as the creator, I have read through your thesis and there is no mention of God.”  Laplace’s famous reply was sad, “I have no need of that hypothesis”.

OK this isn’t a biggy but there is a basic fact error here; there is, in fact, no mention of Newton in the quotes we could find for this.  We are not really sure why he would add it in either.  Perhaps he didn’t expect anyone to fact check him?

You see the battle that is taking place at the moment is a battle between the veracity, the truthfulness of the word of god and that of science.
If that isn’t anti-science I don’t know what is.  This kind of language and the position it describes does not agree with the position of most churches on this topic;

The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts: "Methodical research in all branches of knowledge, provided it is carried out in a truly scientific manner and does not override moral laws, can never conflict with the faith, because the things of the world and the things the of the faith derive from the same God. The humble and persevering investigator of the secrets of nature is being led, as it were, by the hand of God in spite of himself, for it is God, the conserver of all things, who made them what they are".

From the CofE web site; "Good religion needs to work constructively with good science – and I dare to suggest that the opposite may be true as well."

 Last year was the 400th (SIC) anniversary of the birth of Darwin and there were many celebrations, and the voices of many atheist and theistic evolutions  were heard very frequently on the media and the sad thing today is that many christians are also turning away from the word of god and saying that what we see in fact is the consequence of natural selection and Darwinism. 
Basic fact error;
Last year was the 150th anniversary of the publication of “On the Origin of Species” and 200 years from Darwin’s birth.

And I sat down and I was thinking about why do I believe the first eleven chapters of Genesis as the word of god and as historical fact.

So a six day creationist.  Genesis is historical fact.  These kinds of comments suggest that he might need to deny many different scientific disciplines and not just biology, lets see shall we.

Let’s first of all look at the reasons he gives for this position;

First of all Genesis is the foundation of God’s word and I believe that it is crucial to our understanding of the rest of scripture. 
He is building the position that if genesis is not literally true then he can’t believe the rest of the bible.  Such a position is widely criticised as bad theology by most mainstream churches.

Re Genesis;
If it were a book of myths , if it were a book of legends, would indeed new testament writers make historical reference to that book and those particular sections? 
. . .
 Indeed the eleven chapters, the first eleven chapter of the book of genesis, are referred to in the new testament.  So the book of genesis is foundational to the word of god. It indeed is referred [SIC] by many writers in support of arguments that they put forward.  But for me, more importantly is the Lord Jesus Christ, his attitude to those frost eleven chapters of the book of genesis, at least on six different  occasions, the lord jesus christ refers to one of the first seven chapters of the book of genesis.  I’ll just highlight some of those, for example, when he talks about marriage and divorce he makes reference to Adam and Eve, not as mythical figures but as historical realities.
. . .
So the lord Jesus christ looked upon Adam and Eve, he looked upon Able and Cain as historical figures, not as mythical legends that we are supposed to believe, and when he discuss the flood and noah, when he  discusses the question of him returning again he paints the picture that just as society was degenerate in Noahs day and had turned their backs upon god , so that before he comes, society will suffer a similar change.  So the lord Jesus Christ looked upon these early chapters as historical fact, so over the next 4 weeks we are going to look at some of those aspects those first 11 chapters.
Yet no mention of any of this on the C4ID web site.  What a coincidence that the other members of the C4ID share these views?  Could this really happen just by random chance or is there the mind of a designer(deceiver?) behind this?

OK Astronomy, it’s your turn;
I just want to look at two groups of stars because to me it conveys something of the accuracy of the world of god.  We read in Job chapter 38,and I have put it down in 3 translations because it is important, “cans’t though bind the sweet cluster of pleiades or loose the bands of  orion”, remember that word bind.  These two words occurred in the new king james version; bind pleiades and loose orion, and again in the NIV version, bind pleiades or loose the cords of Orion.  Now what was Job trying to convey?  Now I find this absolutely amazing, on the right hand side of the screen you see pleiades a cluster of stars, now that cluster of stars is so overcome with gravity that the stars can’t expand, they can’t break the bonds, they are bound by gravity.  Bind beautiful pleiades, and when we look at Orion which you can see in the sky, and you will recognise the belt of orion the three stars there in a line, what is happening to them, they are steadily expanding, they are being loosed.  So what a confirmation of , and what a wonderful display of accuracy of gods word. 

From wikipedia re the Pleiades; Also, like most open clusters, the Pleiades will not stay gravitationally bound forever, as some component stars will be ejected after close encounters and others will be stripped by tidal gravitational fields. Calculations suggest that the cluster will take about 250 million years to disperse, with gravitational interactions with giant molecular clouds and the spiral arms of our galaxy also hastening its demise.

So dead wrong there then.

What about Orion?

From wikipedia re Orion’s belt;  The Belt of Orion is an astronomical asterism in the constellation Orion. It consists of the three bright stars ζ Ori (Alnitak), ε Ori (Alnilam), and δ Ori (Mintaka). Alnitak is approximately 800 light years away from earth and considering ultraviolet radiation, which human eye can not see, Alnitak is 100,000 times more luminous than the Sun. Alnilam is approximately 1340 light years away from earth and shines with magnitude 1.70. Considering ultraviolet light Alnilam is 375,000 times more luminous than the Sun. Mintaka is 915 light years away and shines with magnitude 2.21.
. . .
Like constellations, asterisms are in most cases composed of stars which, while they are visible in the same general direction, are not physically related, often being at significantly different distances from Earth.
 So dead wrong again.

Two scientific facts given, both totally inaccurate.

The next bit of Astronomy is also bogus;

Now earth is in the right galaxy, its in a spiral galaxy and only 5% of all of the galaxies indeed are spiral.  Not only is it in the right galaxy but it has got the right star, the sun and this is about one hundred and fifty million km from the sun now that distance is important because if it were closer to the sun, life could not exist, if it were further away from the sun, life could not exist, it is just in the right position within a fraction of a percentage, and if it were to move either way, life would not exist.
Ok here we have some straight forward and unambiguous scientific claims.  And they are false.  As this video extract from Thunderfoot’s video “Why do people laugh at creationists part 1”, demonstrates;


You can find the whole video here.

Surprise, surprise we are now on quite a run, a run of consistently false and/or inaccurate scientific claims.  You would think Nevin might get the odd scientific claim right now and again, just by accident wouldn’t you?

Now think about that for a moment.

Yes the nature of his actions actually seems to imply he is doing this on purpose.  And he wants to gain recognition of ID as a science?  The C4ID has already confirmed that it will be speaking in Scottish schools as quoted in the Herald;

“We are definitely not targeting schools, but that doesn’t mean to say we may not produce resources that go to schools,” Dr Noble said, adding that he had already been asked to speak in Scottish schools, and agreed to do so.

Anyway back to the scientific claims from Nevin.

If in fact we were closer to the moon than we are, earth would be flooded, if we were further away then the earth again would degenerate simply because of the cleansing effect that the moon has on the earth. 

I’m not going to waste your time digging into these here, they are simply garbage, the moon was closer to the earth, it is receding slowly due to the way gravity works.  I have no idea what this cleansing effect of the moon is that he talks about.


We’ve got the right planets near us because we are very near to the meteor belt and if we didn’t have the right planet such as Jupiter between the meteor belt and ourselves the life could not exist because it would be destroyed by meteors.

Here is a diagram of the solar system,  Jupiter is not in-between the earth and the meteor belt.  It is the other way around.  Doh!

The earth is the only place in this universe that indeed life could exist.

Wow, I wonder how he knows this?  We don’t know how he knows it and he doesn’t give us any evidence.  Such a claim isn’t scientific unless he backs it up with evidence.

Next he quote Hugh Ross as an “astrophysicist”, but he doesn’t mention that Ross is a creationist.  Why would he not want to admit that?  

OK next up, claims that the moon is 400 times further from the earth and also 400 times smaller than the sun can’t be a coincidence.  Now he is entitled to think what he likes and he is particularly free to say anything he likes, especially in church, but he would not be entitled to make such claims in science classes because this isn’t science.

Let me give you one or two quotes from scientists who are not christians.
OK fire away.

Paul Davies - OK fine.

Next a quote from Bernard Carr, who happens to believe in Psychic powers and that they can bridge the gap between science and religion;

Next we have Roy Peacock, who is a christian.

Not sure why would Nevin not know this?  Or is he deliberately trying to mislead people?

Next up we have the foundational theoretical (used in the scientific sense of the word) framework of Cosmology and Astronomy, the Big Bang.  I wonder what he thinks of that?

I know that many christians say yes there must have been a point when god created and thats the point at which the big bang occurred.  I just want you to pause because there are a number of reasons why I think this theory is totally flawed, first of all it cannot explain how matter came to be, it says that at a point in time matter became so compressed that it exploded, they can’t answer the question, what is the origin of the matter.  Where did it come from , how did it arise.  I think if you ask your science teachers these questions I think that you will get a stony silence.  
Well there is plenty to look at here, Big Bang doesn’t explain the origin of matter.  Wrong again,  it does explains how matter condenses from the energy present at the moment of the big bang, it even explains how long after the “bang” this happens.  Where does the energy come from?  Well science isn’t sure, but one explanation being investigated is that the total energy in the universe is actually zero so it didn’t have to come from anywhere.  Another is that colliding higher dimensional universes can explain it, but as I said none of these explanations are well supported enough to be counted as theories (in the scientific use of the term, again).  Either way, making the false representation that science doesn’t have a clue and suggesting that science teachers might be embarrassed or annoyed by such questions is plainly mischievous

It can’t explain why stars are born and why stars are decaying.

No it can’t, but this is because it doesn’t cover this issue.  Strange that he would want to imply that it does.  Unless he just wants to make he audience think it doesn’t work and he doesn’t much care about how he goes about it.

Ok this next bit is straight out of the creationist's playbook;

So there’s a scientist who actually arguing against the current theory of the big bang, he says it is astounding that the big bang hypothesis is the only cosmological model that physicists take seriously.  

Debate and discussion is normal in science.  It is done with evidence and logic.  It is part of how science progresses.  Simply quoting such debates as evidence that science is wrong is disingenuous.  Taking this a step further to imply that, “therefore creationism must be true”, is simply logically unsupportable.

Next we get a gross misrepresentation of  the privately funded project SETI;

SETI, fifty years, millions of pounds spent on this project and what they are doing is they have sent out messages into space and they are still waiting for message sot come back.

Well no, that isn’t what SETI does actually.  They just watch and listen.  Have a look for yourself.


Lots of mistakes.  Or are they?

Is he really so ignorant of a subject he pretends such knowledge of?  Or is he trying to mislead people?

Either way do you want the nonsense he is promoting as “science” taught in your school to your kids?

Norman Nevin Sermon Transcript - God and the Cosmos

This transcript is additional material for this post.