My son tried a couple of lines he heard from (I'm assuming) Ken Ham on me today, I'm hoping my responses get him thinking. 


Line #1) I saw a video where Richard Dawkins (he couldn't remember the name at first) couldn't answer a question.

Response 1-a) I know the video you're talking about and that's not what happened. It was taken out of context and as I recall he didn't realize somebody was asking a question.  That's been debunked. 

Response 1-b) Even if the video were absolutely true it means nothing.  Making a prominent biologist look bad has no bearing on the truth of evolution.  It's one of the dirty tricks people like Ken Ham do to try to disprove evolution.  If one guy can't answer a question put to him then evolution is false and therefore the bible creation story is true.  It's completely illogical, but people make that logic leap all of the time because they just don't think about it far enough to realize the logic flaw.


Line #2) How could anybody know what happened billions of years ago if humans weren't around until a long time later?  Nobody saw it happen.

Response 2) It's called deduction.  Police do it every day.  If a guy has a reason to kill another guy, has gun powder burns on his hands, his fingerprints are on a gun, and the ballistics for the gun match the ballistics for the bullet that killed the victim, he's going to jail even though nobody saw him do it.  Sure, you could come up with alternative explanations for all of those facts, but they're not very likely to be true.  Life on earth has left behind a lot of evidence about how it began, and scientists use that evidence to deduce how life evolved, or that it evolved at all.  They're also a lot better at it than the police.


Then he told me he would like to see some stuff on evolution "so he can see the other side".  I dropped the fact that we've failed to take into account the hundreds of sides there are if you accept creation stories without evidence and simply said I would be happy to show him whatever he wants. 


After my responses he seemed to realize how illogical the arguments he was making and the ones he's been hearing from my almost-ex-wife were.  I think my son is just too smart for all this woo.

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Comment by Dr. Cowboy on April 7, 2011 at 12:19am

He's 10, so he's not too concerned about college just yet.  He's got a lot of garbage from his mother to work through first. 


I haven't shown him any videos yet.  A local skeptics group was showing a video by Jerry Coyne (auther of "Why Evolution Is True") that I thought he might like to see, but it will be on the weekend his mother has him.  She takes him to Ken Ham, I take him to Jerry Coyne.  One of them actually understands evolution and the other is getting rich off of people's ignorance.  :)

If I'm not able to get a copy of the video they were going to show, I have a PBS documentary on evolution that's quite informative and my backup was Cosmos.  I'm trying to not attack his religious beliefs as much as prove to him that science is real.  The religious beliefs will take care of themselves, I'm pretty sure.

I'll check out the website, thanks :)

Comment by Jedi Wanderer on April 6, 2011 at 6:15pm
You might also mention to him that if he wants to go to a university and study biology, 99.85% of the scientists in the field accept evolution as the truth and he would have to also if he wanted to be taken seriously.
Comment by Jedi Wanderer on April 6, 2011 at 6:14pm

I'd also been recently exposed to this web site. Maybe you will find it helpful too.

Comment by Jedi Wanderer on April 6, 2011 at 6:12pm

That does sound pretty good. What did you show him about evolution, if you don't mind my asking?



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