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Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is now the poster politician in support of creationism. She may not know, however, that evolution is the critical basis behind much of our nation’s medical treatments, including the inoculation of children.
Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is now the poster politician in support of creationism. She may not know, however, that evolution is the critical basis behind much of our nation’s medical treatments, including the inoculation of children.
Creationism, deadly black holes, 9/11 conspiracies, global warming hoaxes, and other myths, Part I
A liferaft of sanity in a sea of ignorance
By Tom Boyd

September 11, 2008 — It is now seven years after the September 11 attacks, and on this day every year Americans take time to reflect upon the consequences of that grim and historic day. Seven years later we have yet to be successfully attacked by terrorists, but we are constantly under attack from ignorance.

September 11, 2008, is also one day after the Large Hadron Collider at Lake Geneva came online – a moment which, in the scientific world, ranks among the most exciting in a decade. There is little doubt that the NEXT most exciting event will also come from the LHC – when it begins making discoveries about the most fundamental structures and elements of the Universe.

Why would the Hadron Collider enter into our thoughts on September 11? Answer: because the events have in common that both are surrounded by huge amounts of misinformation, conspiracy theories, and myths.

The same goes for creationism vs. evolution and the debate over global warming.

Various groups have made claims on each of these issues which purport that the science on the issues is categorically wrong, and all four of these issues make excellent representations of how ignorance is successfully challenging science in America today. If you’re not familiar with the counter-science arguments each of these issues, here’s a quick synopsis:

Large Hadron Collider: Walter L. Wagner and Luis Sancho are among those who filed lawsuits to try and shut down the LHC because they feared the collider would create black holes that could destroy the Earth.

September 11:  In 2004 a CNN poll indicated that 89 percent of Americans believed there was a government cover-up involving 9/11. Other polls indicated that as many as 14 percent of Americans at some point have believed that the 9/11 attacks were perpetrated by the Bush Administration so that America could go to war in the Middle East.

Creationism vs. evolution: Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin has recently been catapulted to the forefront of the American political debate on this issue, and is now the most widely recognized supporter of teaching creationism – the biblical belief that God created the world approximately 4,000 years ago (correction: 6,000 years ago) – in schools. Creationism is a belief which is severely at odds with the theory of evolution.

Global warming: Radio personality Rush Linbaugh is a leading proponent for the belief that global warming is a hoax, that “left-wing nut jobs” have corrupted the science on the issue, that the globe is not getting warmer, and that human beings have had no impact on the global climate.

There are usually small bits of truth in each counter argument, but nonetheless their proponents are either misunderstanding the science or ignorant in large degree of how science works and what research has done to develop and support the current theories.

I’m not here to re-argue the truths behind the facts that the LHC is safe, September 11 was not an inside job, that creationism is myth, or that global warming is an actual phenomenon caused, in part, by human activity. That has already been done for me, thousands of times over, by engineers, biologists, physicists, doctors, and other educated experts in their field.

A large black hole would look this way if superimposed on the Milky Way – but don’t fear the Large Hadron Collider’s nano black holes, which will disappear in an instant.
A large black hole would look this way if superimposed on the Milky Way – but don’t fear the Large Hadron Collider’s nano black holes, which will disappear in an instant.

This column is designed to buoy the spirits of rational people who love learning and enjoy the search for truth. There is a massive wave of ignorance, coupled with vitriol, which seems to be washing over us now, around the world, but particularly in the United States.

I’d hate to see good people metaphorically drown in this deluge.

Simply so that people understand, here are the quick explanations which support the science behind each of these issues, with links to more in-depth rejections of the insurgent ideas marshaled by Wagner, Sancho, Linbaugh, Palin, and others.

Large Hadron Collider: The LHC may in fact create subatomic “black holes,” which bear relation to their cosmic cousins in that they represent an event horizon: a place where the normal laws of physics don’t apply. Contrary to public opinion, however, Black Holes do not suck up everything around them in a kind of runaway, exponential growth (thank you Stephen Hawking). The LHC black holes, if they appear at all, would be smaller than an atom and exist for an almost infinitesimally short period of time (think nano-seconds). Even if the black holes did somehow manage to stick around and grow, it would take about a billion years for them to reach the size of a golf ball.

September 11: Popular Mechanics did an excellent job of putting each and every one of the September 11 conspiracy theories to rest, one-by-one, in an article and follow-up book called “Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Facts.”

Creationism vs. Evolution: When someone claims that the Devil put fossils in the ground to fool us, it’s not about arguing anymore, it’s about knowing that religious belief, applied in such a manner, will always keep ignorance alive. The wisdom behind Bible stories can live side-by-side with evolution, but it’s only when people in power begin to take the Bible literally that we are in danger of tremendous harm. Evolution isn’t just a theory, it’s the foundation for everything in biology and much of medicine, from paleontology to molecular biology. Sarah Palin should dwell on this each time she goes in to have her children inoculated or, in fact, each time she visits a physician.

The Large Hadron Collider’s CMS detectors being installed.
The Large Hadron Collider’s CMS detectors being installed.

Global warming: It’s true that global warming has been highly politicized, which leaves little doubt that interpretations of the science are being skewed both left and right. At the core of the debate, however, is the indisputable data, which clearly indicates that the Earth is heading toward a climate much like the one in which dinosaurs thrived.

Does that mean we’re headed toward the end of the world? No. In fact, Al Gore may have done a disservice to scientists when he stretched the truth here and there in his movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” Despite what critics say, however, it is beyond dispute that the planet is warming, that human beings have contributed on some level to this warming, and that warming could have negative consequences. Those consequences are sometimes unknown and largely exaggerated by politicians and the media at large.

However, the point is moot: The economic, health, and national security reasons for finding cleaner renewable energy soon are well-known and stand on their own with or without global warming to drive them.

OK, now that I’ve set the stage, I’d like to get to the main point of this column. So grab another cup of coffee, adjust your monitor, and prepare to reclaim your sanity in a world where millions of people seem to be incapable of rational thought on these four issues.

It’s true that crazy conspiracy theories sometimes gain national attention. It’s true that people like Sarah Palin might... CLICK HERE TO CONTINUE READING...



Comment on article  11 Comments on "Creationism, deadly black holes, 9/11 conspiracies, global warming hoaxes, and other myths, Part I"


switch — September 11, 2008

You need to get your facts straight. Creationism believes that God created the universe approximately 6000 years ago, not 4000 as you say.

Another thing worth noting is that Creationism might be severely at odds with Evolution, but you're using the wrong basis for your argument. Creationism isn't any more at odds with SCIENCE than evolution is, in fact, Science (TRUE science) supports the Bible better than it does Evolution.

Regarding your statement that Evolution is not just a theory, you couldn't be further from the truth. It isn't called the THEORY OF EVOLUTION for no reason. True, lots of medicine and many other facets of life have been observed EMPIRICALLY, but that's SCIENCE, not evolution. The THEORY of evolution has never been proven empirically and has on many levels been proven wrong.

Also, whoever told you that the Devil put the fossils in the ground is a fool. There are certain facts that can't just be explained away like that. In other words: fossils are real and are found... what differs is people's interpretation of these facts. Evolution is just guessing at what happened and tries to find answers to fill the gaps to FIT THE THEORY. Creationism uses historical records (ie: the Bible) to explain the facts, not just some person trying to make THEIR THEORY right.


Reid — September 11, 2008

Funny, I once read a book that said there was a cat in my hat. But alas, I have yet to find that cat.


James — September 11, 2008

I found the article to be thoughtful and well-written.

Some elaboration regarding evolution's status as a scientific theory is appropriate however. Unlike, creationism, which is not a scientific theory, evolution is generally 'falsifiable'. That is, it is quite possible, for example, that DNA evidence would NOT correspond very well to evolutionary theory. Similarly, it is easy to imagine circumstances whereby fossil and related physical science evidence is also incompatible with a general theory of evolution. But in fact, DNA evidence, fossil evidence, and physical evidence can be explained by evolution, Moreover, evolution also makes predictions that might or might not be verified. To a great degree what genentic scientists are learning IS a prediction of evolution.

On the other hand, 'creation science' as it is called, adds little or nothing to understanding. It also makes few if any real measurable predictions. To the degree that it may predict events (such as dating the age of the earth to about 6000 years), it certainly appears to be wrong.

Hence to say that both views are 'just theory' and therefore one is not superior to the other in the context of scientific theory, is quite wholly incorrect.

Evolution is a sound and well-organized theory given strong evidential support. Creation science has no real supporting evidence at all. That is likely because creation science is just wrong.


busybee — September 11, 2008

I am not a scientist, but there must be some important data of scientific value that determined the age of the earth is only 6000 years old, rather than zillions of years old. In fact, creationism is rather measurable with data and facts, than the big bang theory. The LHC is just the instrument with which an experiment was created, in other words a theory is being put to the test. This experiment is yet to be analyzed and interpreted, and nobody knows what the findings are going to be. I'm sure they are going to be grand, like any other scientific discovery. The findings might support the big bang theory, but then again, they might not. I don't understand a lot of physics, but can someone explain to me how can this experiment be similar to the big bang, since it happens inside a finite space? The basis for the big bang is that it happend in an infinite space/ void! Doesn't this fact change the entire view on the interpretation of data itself?


JosephU — September 11, 2008

Q. What does creation science teach?
A. A world-wide flood ...

Q. What does the Bible teach?
A. A world-wide flood ...

Genesis 7
10 And after the seven days the floodwaters came on the earth. . . .
23 Every living thing on the face of the earth was wiped out; men and animals and the creatures that move along the ground and the birds of the air were wiped from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those with him in the ark.

Q. "If there really was a world-wide flood, what would the evidence be?
A. Billions of dead things,buried in rock layers, laid down by water,
all over the earth."

Q. What does scientific evidence show?
A. "billions of dead plants and animals buried in rock layers laid down by water all over the world."
See: The World's a Graveyard (Conclusions)

The Bible, creationionism, and scientific evidence are in agreement.

Let's teach the truth.


Climate Chaos — September 12, 2008

Adding global warming to this list is very misleading. Man made global warming is highly disputed and a very open question. Many scientists and climatologist argue there is not significant man made global warming.

"Beyond dispute the earth is warming"
Not exactly. There are 10's of thousands of scientists who have signed petitions noting there is not man made global warming (AGW). There is extensive data and literature that the models are wrong. But very specifically, it has strongly cooled over the last 5 years, land and sea. We have had many months this year, below the 114 year average temp.
NASA recently restated their temp data and note that 1934 was the highest temp year in recent history.


Vic — September 15, 2008

Creationists cannot see out of their own veil of ignorance. Such is religion. 2000 years ago the same fools would be pleading their case for the Hindu belief system or Jewish law or Buddhist doctrine. Religion and God are inventions of man and did not always exist. Now, because a small number of ignoramuses are creationists, we are supposed to take them seriously. At least science works hard to discern fact from fiction. Religion just perpetuates ignorance and faulty, circular logic. Have fun with your ideas, but don't try to force them on those of us who are guided by common sense.


vic — September 15, 2008

And another thing: according to the right wing Christian insanity doctrine, why should Palin be a governor, let alone a VP, when she is a woman and incapable of doing the job. She should be at home in the kitchen with a man's boot on her neck, to use a phrase I've heard the right wing zealots use. Religion is a sickness of the mind.


Chad Woodburn — September 16, 2008

The author terribly misrepresents things. First, NO creationist believes that the world was created "4,000 years ago". Second, Palin has not advocated teaching creationism in schools (she has advocated allowing scientific data that does not support evolution to be discussed). Third, thousands of scientists with their doctorates in biology, astronomy, geology, etc., disagree with evolution. There are massive scientific holes in evolution that have not been answered. Fourth, as a creationist who has read many, many books by scientists about creation, I have never heard of the idea or explanation that "the Devil put fossils in the ground to fool us". Maybe someone out there actually says that, but I doubt it.


C'mon really? — September 16, 2008

I'm all for teaching creationism in schools. The belief in the co-existance of dinosuars and cave men means we can get rid of the science teacher and just show Flintstones reruns. Then the schools will have more money to spend on making all the little children pray to the same god (wait that sounds like a madrahsah, Fred and Barney surely must have been Christians, not infidel Muslims, right).


Genius — April 30, 2009

I don't believe I am insane but I will gladly comment on one of the reasons in which you have said the theory of creation is false. I believe that when the Christian god created the world he may have gathered matter from all over the universe. Thus, the age of the Earth as the planet we live on may be 6.000 or so years old, however what it is made from may very well be older. Also, this would then mean that fossils found in the Earth could be from other parts of the universe as well. Science can be satisfied along with religion. As for evolution, I am not a believer and I simply say that God created us in the image of himself, so unless he looks like an ape i would rather not believe this theory.



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