Assailing the Ineffable

God is often referred to as unknowable, infinite, omniscient and ineffable. Ineffable means to defy expression or description or too sacred to be uttered.

Following a conversation here, led to my thinking more of the place of the ineffable in Christian apologetics.

Arguments for the ineffable take the basic form: we cannot fully describe God because He is unknowable and infinite (and we are mere men), so God can neither be fully described nor disproven (on the basis of our inability to account fully for His Nature).

Clever, huh!

What are the possibilities?

  • There is a God. This God is an all-round impressive God: supernatural, infinite, and beyond description; so failure to describe this God is actually to describe a property of this God's existence, and hence is to support the notion that this God has actual existence (usually undefined). Because this God is ineffable, it is difficult to account for His mysterious behavior and purpose, though He typically seems utterly indifferent.
  • There is a God. This God is definable: fickle, vain, demanding, cruel, vindictive, punitive, jealous, etc. (as depicted in the Bible). Because this God is fickle, it is difficult to predict His mysterious behavior and purpose, though He typically threatens to act like a Punitive Parent.

Depending on the particular religious beliefs, One of the above Gods, and it's not always clear which One, has taken the trouble to interfere to some degree with the Universe and with Life on Earth. Could it be both of them rolled into one? "But they are so different!" you say.

Examining just one Brand of Godhead: Whichever God was so interested in His Special Creation that He sent his Son, perhaps Himself, down to Earth via Immaculate Conception. He, Who can arrange any miracle that He chooses, arranged for the Crucifixion and Resurrection of His Son or Himself. Why go to all this trouble? He wanted to offer us Salvation in exchange for our worshipping Him and for behaving like good, obedient little children – or else we'd be punished for all eternity. How do we know this? His Son or He told someone who told someone who wrote it all down in differing versions. How else? Certainly not through non-circular evidence.

  • There is no God. This absence of the supernatural leaves the purposeless universe at the mercy, and sometimes benevolence, of mostly measurable, testable, physical forces. These natural forces operate on the basis of a hierarchy of mechanisms that operate on different scales – from the subatomic to the cosmic. Some 10 billion years after a rapid expansion of spacetime, a planetoid formed within the arm of a galaxy at the edge of the universe. Within 500 million years of that planet's cooling, life had spontaneously appeared on the planet.

Complexity emerged within those life forms, ultimately generating one species with a thirst for answers, but not necessarily for accurate explanations. For psychological reasons, this species invented the increasingly complex conceptualizatons of supernatural mechanisms to 'explain' inexplicable phenomena. One of these philosophical lineages led to the invention of the Christian God.

Eventually, some members of this species began to investigate and investigate and investigate how the world really works, and this knowledge led to doubt about the supernatural invention. Some members of this species were particularly emotional thinkers and chose to faithfully retain the old beliefs and promises, some rational thinkers looked at the evidence and decided that the supernatural only appears ineffable because God does not exist.

Thus the notion of an ineffable deity, which began its conceptual life as an attempted explanation for the inexplicable, ultimately served double duty as an excuse for theological inconsistencies in Christian apologetics.

The Problem with Polemics

I think that the chief difference between those who practice a scientific approach to understanding of the natural world and those who practice a philosophical approach is illustrated in the progress of thinking from the ancient philosophers to modern science.

The ancient philosophers believed that they could understand the world solely by thinking about a relatively few empirical observations. Although such approaches might be relevant to discussions of value-laden subjects such as ethics or esthetics, they were of limited value in understanding the physical world.

By the 17th century, Sir Francis Bacon was emphasizing the need for a more scientific approach to understanding the physical world.

"As a procedural starting point, at the dawn of a movement that would become modern science, Bacon rejected both the scholastic view that equated knowledge with conservation and the Renaissance reform that sought to recapture a long-lost perfection. Natural knowledge, he proclaimed, must be reconceptualized as a cumulative process of discovery, propelled by processing sensory data about the external world through the reasoning powers of the human brain." [s]

The idea caught on and the scientific revolution ensured that scientific understanding replaced the metaphysics of the ancients, medievals, and the earliest scientists. In the scientific method, a set of observations leads to formulation of hypotheses that propose logical explanations for the empirical phenomena. Predictions are made on the basis of these hypotheses and are tested against further empirical and experimental data. If further data does not support the hypothesis, then a new hypothesis is formulated that better fits all available data. Ultimately, those hypotheses that withstand this possibility of falsification become accepted as theories. Thus, scientific theories are much more likely than are 'vernacular' theories to accurately exlain reality. Scientific knowledge, then, is a system of verified or verifiable empirical data logically interconnected by tested theories.

Although the history of ideas is interesting, science discards disproven hypotheses and moves on, “historical” philosophy does not. By “historical philosophy", I refer to rhetoric, polemics, and apologetics, which are more concerned with the appearance of authority than with the truth value of content and which set out to argue a position by quoting those who have previously made a statement that follows the position taken by previous writers. This is quite different than the use of references to scientific articles, which point back to empirical or experimental evidence rather than to mere opinion.

It is circular to attempt to prove a point solely by noting that some ancient philosopher had said something with which we agree, yet this is a standard apologetic ploy. This tactic would be equivalent to my claiming that sperm contain microscopic humans and calling up Lamarck’s beliefs to “prove” my point.

In essence, the value of an idea depends upon its content and not upon how many illustrious, but mistaken thinkers have stated it. (To be fair to apologistic philosophers, I think that their intent is to discuss content even though their thinking is distorted by insistence on defending weak positions.) The strength of science, which is both misunderstood and attacked by its detractors, is that scientific knowledge is continuously scrutinized and refined by its qualified practitioners, whose work is measured according to accepted standards (peer review). Although professional (academic) philosophers do work within a logical system, philosophers work within areas that exclude the possibility of experimental verification. If the area under study could be experimentally tested, then that investigation should involve scientific method and would be outside the field of philosophy.

Not only do many people fail to understand the content and nature of science, they mistakenly assume that any thought system – set of opinions – counts as valid philosophy. In this Misinformation Explosion Age, people are increasingly unaware that lay opinion, particularly biased opinion, carries no real authority about the natural world whenever lay opinion runs counter to established scientific knowledge. Let's designate such people, Laypersons of the Misinformation Explosion, or LAMEs. Not only do LAMEs form illogical opinions on the basis of too little information, they form mistaken opinions on the basis of deliberate or ignorant misiformation pasted across the Internet. LAMEs are particularly credulous in the face of emotionally appealing rhetoric, and this is particularly apparent in relation to the ridiculous creation vs evolution debate, which really ought not to be a debate at all since only the scientific explanation is empirically supported.

The problem, I think, lies not merely with polemics and apologetics as rhetorical devices to sell an argument, it lies also with the fact that those who argue such positions also 'think' in the same clumsy style. That is, rather than learning the techniques of critical thinking, they assimilate (and later quote) arguments that they have accepted purely because they like the argument or its conclusions. They often go so far as to admit, "I like what Joe Bloe says about this, [quote]."

Such emotional, LAME thinkers are not so much concerned with whether or not the argument is logically based upon relevant evidence as they are distracted by the emotional appeal that the argument's conclusion provides. Such thinkers will uncritically accept any conclusion that fits their preconceived notions or biases without any concern or awareness of whether or not the conclusion represents reality.

LAMEs are emotional thinkers who construct their view of the world, not from logical analysis of empirical evidence, but from a pastiche of favored conclusions: ignorant conclusion 1 + unfounded conclusion 2 → illogical conclusion 3.

Typically, the arguments of LAMEs are packed to overflowing with false premises and fallacies of logic. For example, further compounding the cognitive mistake of favoring misinformation with emotionally appealing conclusions, illogical conclusion 3 may be cited as proof of ignorant conclusion 1 and/or unfounded conclusion 2.

Omnia in Ventor

Life is full of interesting discoveries, so this blog will be a repository for sundry tidbits.

Life is also replete with irritants, so this blog will be a release valve, which could evolve (hint, hint) to be deliberately noisome to creationists and religious dogmatists, not to mention Regressive Conservatives and Republicans.


Latest Quiz – the image at left has been color-altered – what does it depict?

So, with tongue planted firmly in cheek . . .
ɷ The Etymology of Mimble Wimble
ɷ Dastardly Stubborn Mean IV Revised
ɷ Do Canadians hate Americans?
ɷ Do Americans hate Canadians?
ɷ The Bathing Suit

With interest . . .
ɷ Topical Oinkment
ɷ Karyoti
ɷ Through the Microscope Brightly
ɷ Explore Virtual Caves
ɷ Galleria
ɷ In God, Distrust
ɷ Aboriginal Rock Art
ɷ We, the Products of Blind Evolution

It is with great irritation that we bring to you . . .
ɷ Creationism only flourishes amidst Ignorance
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ un-designed intelligences = intelligent [sick] design
ɷ All Concepts are NOT created Equal
ɷ Black Sheep are Sheep Too
ɷ Silly Ideas
ɷ Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
ɷ hate tanks
ɷ Should One Call One's Ex a Dog?
ɷ The Wedge Document

With relief . . .
ɷ Judge Jones Rules




Roll-over images for a snap preview of link destination (snap is a cool widget/web search tool that I stumbled across on someone's website.)

Topical Oinkment

Click on the images!








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I have played with posting 'dates' so as to set up this blog in subject areas – links to the latest mimble or wimble are next – the latest (a quiz) is HERE.

All Concepts are NOT Created Equal

“Logical errors are, I think, of greater practical importance than many people believe; they enable their perpetrators to hold the comfortable position on every subject in turn. Any logically coherent body of doctrine is sure to be in part painful and contrary to current prejudices.”
___ Bertrand Russell, History of Western Philosophy, 1945

Some debaters like to argue that all opinions have equal value. To put it bluntly, this is utter nonsense because some opinions diverge greatly from truth. I value logic, so I find ridiculous ideas particularly irritating. Similarly, an argument may follow the rules of logic yet be palpably ridiculous because it is based upon unfounded premises. In short, it is pure fantasy. I value truth, as applied to reality, so I find phantasmagorical claptrap irritating unless it admits, as does fantasy or science fiction writing, to being fantasy.

We are daily exposed to cherished beliefs that are without empirical support or logical validity. Religious dogma aside, we are daily exposed to ideas that are without empirical support or logical validity.

The trick, obviously, is to discern the difference and to eschew conceptual detritus. There are some quite good websites that outline the principles of Critical Thinking.

Creationists seem to think that being critical of thinking equates to critical thinking. Needless to say, as in so much else, they are irritatingly illogical in their insistence that any of the various forms of creationism have explanatory merit concerning the origins of life, in particular human life. I'll have more to say on this topic elsewhere because creationism in all its fanciful incarnations is a pet peeve.

Silly Ideas Index:
ɷ Silly Ideas
ɷ Anti-Stupidity Quotes
ɷ Behe Retreats
ɷ Black Sheep are Sheep Too
ɷ Complexity Reductio
ɷ Error Filled Belief Systems
ɷ Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
ɷ In God, Distrust
ɷ Moral Absolutism
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ Numbers Games
ɷ One Evolution, Many Creationisms
ɷ Out, Damned Spam!
ɷ Pet Peeves
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ YEC yack



Silly Ideas

Silly (euphemistically speaking) ideas, for the purposes of this blog, are either
● irritatingly illogical inaninities that are repeated ad nauseam by their devotees
● strongly held opinions about cause and effect that ignore or are ignorant of the facts and that run counter to widely known expert opinion
● ideas that have proved deleterious to their holders or others

● Many if not most ideas connected to an insistence on the 'existence' of one non-existent deity or another are illogical because they insist upon belief despite the lack of supportive empirical evidence when there ought to be empirical evidence. After all, if a purported deity actually created the universe, with or without interference in daily events, then there ought to be unequivocal evidence that links the physical with said deity – just as there is abundant evidence to link known physical laws with the origin of the universe and evolution.

There is no evidence of a deity unless one chooses to label physical laws as being God and to designate scientists as being the true theologians. That is, it is illogical to insist that there is a Creator of the Physical Universe, Life, and Us in the absence of any unequivocal evidence of a single entity capable of creating these tangibles. This illogic includes most perniciously, of course, the various ridiculous forms adopted by insistence upon literal interpretation of the Genesis creation myth.

● Fantasies, such as the supposed existence of the 'soul' or an 'afterlife' that run counter to all that science reveals about the inextricable connection between a functioning assemblage of chemicals and operation of the brain. There is neither evidence for–nor logical grounds for–any claim that the 'soul' has existence outside current-conscious-thought.

● Claims that 'God is Consciousness', such that some cosmic consciousness directs all that transpires in the universe, or even merely here on Earth, are akin to nonsensical claims for brain-independent souls and an afterlife. Those who believe that the sole motive force is 'thought' have applied very little–or nothing–in the way of analytical thought to their illogical beliefs. The meaning of 'thought' inherent in such illogical equivocation must necessarily be so broad as to bear no resemblence to the accepted meaning of 'thought' or of 'consciousness'.

● Insistence by Bible Thumpers on their holier-than-thou, unethical, absolute moral values that were supposedly dictated by their non-existent deity-of-choice. By unethical, I refer to those illogical attacks that harm others who do not fit into the rigid black and white box dictated by the thumpers' dogma-of-choice. While it is reasonable to decry as immoral any action that deliberately harms others, it is immoral to harm others by censuring activities that harm no-one.

● Denial of the fact of global warming despite the agreement of experts (earth and climate scientists) that rising levels of greenhouse gases (fact) attributable to our burning of fossil fuels (fact) have elevated average temperatures (fact) and increased frequency of extreme weather events (fact).

That'll do for starters!

ɷ All Concepts are NOT created Equal
ɷ Anti-Stupidity Quotes
ɷ Behe Retreats
ɷ Black Sheep are Sheep Too
ɷ Complexity Reductio
ɷ Free Speech or Propaganda of Hate?
ɷ Numbers Games
ɷ Pet Peeves
ɷ Pseudoscience Chicanery
ɷ Shun Spam
ɷ Statistics on Stupidity


Black Sheep are Sheep Too

Aginners who hold ridiculous beliefs that run counter to received wisdom often cite the fact that others agree with their opinion, claiming that those who concur with the fact-logic-based knowledge of experts are easily-fooled sheep. In other words, other black sheep agree with their anti-expert prejudices.

If one wishes to hold a correct position, one must practice critical thinking, which is not to say that one must be negative about any propositions originating with an expert.

"Critical thinking involves assessing the authenticity, accuracy, and/or worth of knowledge claims and arguments. This process requires careful, precise, persistent and objective analysis of any knowledge claim or belief to judge its validity and/or worth."

It is folly to make the automatic assumption that those who are experts in empirical fields are necessarily, or even likely to be, incorrect in their assertions. Value-based disciplines such as politics are obviously much more vulnerable to personal biases, so the opinions of experts in these fields may be more suspect. Nevertheless, few individuals have the time or luxury to assess all available information in a value-based area, and we must rely upon the expertise of those who have expended considerable time and thought.

The more education one receives, the more that one realizes how little one knows, and the more that one must rely upon received wisdom. Still, one must assess the level of expertise and level of bias of those who pass opinions. It is not wise to trust opinions posted on a website that has been set up for the express purpose of attacking the opinions or positions of experts. (It could be argued that, in our disgruntlement, we attack the opinions of hate-tankers, junk-tankers, and those who display cognitive disorders. However, our criticisms are directed at illogic and misinformation, certainly not at expertise.)

Credible experts possess the following attributes:
1. sufficient expertise in the subject matter in question.
2. claims made are within area(s) of expertise.
3. adequate degree of agreement among the other experts in the subject in question.
4. not significantly biased by subjective motivations or prejudices.
5. expertise within a legitimate area or discipline (related to the subject matter).
6. the authority must be identified.

Anti-Stupidity Quotes

The traditional YEC family adheres to anti-reality beliefs founded in illogic and ignorance.Some unfortunates are not intellectually gifted by virtue of genetic endowment or brain injury, through no fault of their own. These individuals lack the cognitive capacity to learn more than rudimentary knowledge or skills, yet they possess value simply by being humans.

Other individuals have sufficient intellectual capacity to be capable of acquiring understanding, yet they chose not to comprehend reality because of emotional biases. I find such willful stupidity so uttely infuriating that I have decided to collect some quotes that accurately denigrate ignorance:

God of the Gaps:
"The history of science shows us that patching the gaps in our knowledge with miracles creates a path that leads only to perpetual ignorance."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

Intelligent [sick] design theory:
"As the philosopher Philip Kitcher shows in his superb new book, Living With Darwin, the theory of intelligent design is a mixture of "dead science" and non-science. That is, insofar as ID makes scientific claims (for example, that natural selection cannot produce complexity), those claims not only are wrong, but were proved wrong years ago. And ID is deeply unscientific in its assertion that certain aspects of evolution (mutation, in Behe's case) required supernatural intervention. Behe's attacks on evolutionary theory are once again wrongheaded, but the intellectual situation grows far worse when we see what theory he offers in its place."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic

YECs:
"There is no polite way to say this: people who resist scientific explanations for natural phenomena such as the age of the earth and the fact of evolution are guilty of childish thinking."
~ Sharon Begley in So That's Why Evolution is in Trouble!

Behe Retreats

Michael J. Behe, populariser of pseudoscientific mumbo-jumbo for credulous creationists.Michael Behe's illogical arguments for intelligent [sick] design theory are such an embarrassment that Lehigh University has placed a disclaimer on their Department of Biological Sciences website:

"The sole dissenter from this position, Prof. Michael Behe, is a well-known proponent of "intelligent design." While we respect Prof. Behe's right to express his views, they are his alone and are in no way endorsed by the department. It is our collective position that intelligent design has no basis in science, has not been tested experimentally, and should not be regarded as scientific."

One can only imagine that if Behe had not already had tenure when he began publishing religious pseudoscience, then the university would have sent him packing to knock on the doors of that infamous junk tank, the misnamed Discovery Institute.

In The New Republic, Professor Jerry Coyne has published a good critique of Behe's retreat from disproven "irreducible complexity" into attributing mutations to God's intervention. The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism is Behe's feeble attempt to conjure up creationist pseudoscience for credulous dummies.

Complexity Reductio

An Amphimedon sea-sponge of Phylum Porifera.Behe's illogical challenge to biological evolution, the so-called "irreducible complexity" that sells books to science-ignorant creationists, has suffered yet another blow.

"The latest discovery in evolution: DNA needed to make synapses, the sophisticated junctions between neurons, in none other than the lowly sea sponge. Considered among the most primitive and ancient of all animals, sea sponges have no nervous system (or internal organs of any kind, for that matter), notes Todd Oakley, assistant professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. But, he adds, they “have most of the genetic components of synapses.”"[source, original on PLoS ONE]

No surprises here–after all, the most primitive nervous system is found in the Cnideria.

[Jones] "found Behe's testimony wholly unconvincing, noting that irreducible complexity was not evidence against evolution, and that the biochemical systems touted by Behe were not irreducibly complex anyway. Behe's credibility was damaged also by his admission that ID's definition of science was so loose that it could encompass astrology, and by his fatal assertion that the plausibility of the argument for ID depends upon the extent to which one believes in the existence of God."
~ Jerry Coyne, The Great Mutator, in The New Republic


Creationism only Flourishes Amidst Ignorance

I found the following example of ignorance amongst the comments on an article about the museum-of-delusion constructed by oxymoronically labelled Answers in Genesis. Those who are so ignorant as to believe in creationism are not really interested in answers, but I want to vent!

"To all of those evolutionists out there: Can you tell me ONE instance of an organism that proves that NEW information was ADDED to its DNA? NOT a LOSS of genetic info that leads to an environmental advantage, but an actual ADDITION of NEW information to the DNA?"

First, there can be no proof outside special philosophical syllogisms and mathematics. Only the ignorant or emotionally-uncertain demand proof. However, there is abundant evidence, throughout organisms from prokaryotes to humans of the addition/alteration of segments of DNA. There is so much evidence that one could not list it all. See for yourself – running a PubMed search for "DNA evolution" yielded 53983 hits (5/27/07). Of course, not all of these scientific articles will directly address this creationist challenge, so I Googled "DNA evolution" and got 47,100,000 hits. Some of these will be websites set up by creationists as ignorant as the author of that stupid question, but many will provide an accurate answer.

Creationist are correct in stating that DNA contains information, so any alteration of a DNA sequence, even if it is only a single nucleotide polymorphism (point mutation), comprises evidence of the addition of new information to DNA. To ask for "proof" of the addition of new information to DNA is beyond ridiculous. Any organism that develops a malignancy does so because of alterations in their DNA. Childrens' DNA is not identical to that of either parent because of an alteration in their DNA. The diversity of DNA, which is demonstrably currently continuing to evolve, is evidence of addition of information to DNA. No need to go on–there are billions of examples.

"Answers in Genesis' website explains that this is the big obstacle for evolutionary belief. What mechanism could possibly have added all the extra genetic information required to change a one-celled creature into a multicelled organism, then other more "complex" organisms?"

This, of course, is why Answers in Genesis is misnamed. (There are no accurate answers to questions in Genesis, which was, is, and always will be an allegorical creation myth. Nor are there any answers in AiG–merely delusions.)

Again, science has documented abundant evidence regarding mechanisms, which include prokaryotic gene-swapping mechanisms (HGT), serial endosymbiotic transfers, and a variety of internal-mutation mechanisms (duplication, etc.). The very first soft-bodied multicellular organisms died without leaving any fossil trace around 1 billion years ago. It is utterly unreasonable to expect that this step in evolution can ever be exactly replicated. However, the molecular biological mechanisms of cellular adhesion that exist today were likely the same mechanisms that allowed the first co-operative assemblages of specialized cells (the colonial theory providing the likeliest explanation). Serial endosymbiotic transfers rendered this step possible, and the oxygen produced by the first prokaryotes to practice oxygenic photosynthesis both drove and enabled such assemblages.

"Natural selection can’t explain it as natural selection involves getting rid of information."

Natural selection operates to increase the frequency of favourable alleles and reduce unfavourable alleles in populations. The amount of information is much the same following selection for the organisms best equipped to survive and produce viable progeny within a particular environment. Only utterly unfavourable mutations will be removed, while neutral and favourable mutations will persist. Natural selection has never been regarded as a mechanism for the alteration of DNA itself.

"A group of animals might become more adapted to the heat by the elimination of those which carry the genetic information to make thick fur. But that doesn’t explain the origin of the information to make thick or thin fur."

Nor, as above, do any evolutionary biologists claim that natural selection, which can only operate on already existent alleles, is the mechanism for producing the genes.

"As a Biological Sciences major in college . . . "

Now this is truly very sad! This poser-of-stupid-questions is better educated than your average creationist, yet clearly does not comprehend even the basics of molecular or population genetics. This sort of ignorance is the reason that critics decry anti-science, deceptive-pseudoscience displays that merely entrench such ignorance.

"I was also disappointed and angry to discover that several of the big "evidences" for evoution given to us in school were NOT true, and that these are still taught to students today as truth."

Where did this person attend college? Presumably a small southern college and not one of the better universities. The above is a truly ridiculous statement. Evidence is evidence is evidence. Scientific theories are formulated on the basis of evidence, which translates to saying that scientific theories begin with the facts. The evidences for biological evolution are FACTS. Whether or not a particular theory best explains the facts is a different question, and this is the entire point of the scientific method.

"It is time students were taught all the facts about evolution, not just the ones that fit the THEORY best! I pray the AiG museum will open a lot of eyes to the deception carried on by the biologists promoting evolution."

The voluminous facts about biological evolution are conveniently ignored by those who believe in creation, in biblical literacy, and in some non-existent necessary-connection between morality and religious dogmatism. The author of the ridiculous comment that I have quoted is clearly incapable of comprehending the facts. As to manipulating information to fit theories, the AiG museum is a transparent example of the sort of distortion of facts that is necessary in order to support an utterly ridiculous two- thousand-plus-year old theory (YEC). Although they do not admit this explicitly, creationist attacks on science implicitly indicate that they are aware that scientific facts disprove the claims in Genesis–proof may not be possible, but disproof is possible. Genesis IS disproven. Dinosaurs did not coexist with hominids, rather the dinosaurs predated hominids by 60 million years. No number of deceptive lie-orama displays will ever alter that fact.

I'd further suggest to the author of the stupid-question that his or her inability to understand something does not render that thing invalid. It merely means that he or she really ought to obtain some education. Given that an ABC News poll indicates that "60 percent of Americans believe God created the world in six days" (a fallacious argumentum ad numeram argument for creationism, incidentally), then it is clear that far too may Americans exhibit a lamentably low standard of science education.

More mutterings about the stupidity that is creationism:
ɷ Myths Revered and Myths Exposed
ɷ un-designed intelligences
ɷ Judge Jones Rules
ɷ The Wedge Document

Elsewhere: Gallup Poll on Evolution, which reveals that the overwhelming majority of religious fundamentalists are ignorant of evolution : comment on Pharyngula : Religion—our maelstrom of ignorance: "Maybe we need to start picketing fundamentalist churches. Maybe it's about time that we recognize religious miseducation as child abuse."