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  1. #1
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    Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    By GREGORY KATZ,AP
    Posted: 2008-02-09 21:12:08
    Filed Under: Science News, World News
    LONDON (Feb. 9) -

    After the Sunday service in Westminster Chapel, where worshippers were exhorted to wage "the culture war" in the World War II spirit of Sir Winston Churchill, cabbie James McLean delivered his verdict on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

    "Evolution is a lie, and it's being taught in schools as fact, and it's leading our kids in the wrong direction," said McLean, chatting outside the chapel. "But now people like Ken Ham are tearing evolution to pieces."

    Ken Ham is the founder of Answers in Genesis, a Kentucky-based organization that is part of an ambitious effort to bring creationist theory to Britain and the rest of Europe. McLean is one of a growing number of evangelicals embracing that message - that the true history of the Earth is told in the Bible, not Darwin's "The Origin of Species."

    Europeans have long viewed the conflict between evolutionists and creationists as primarily an American phenomenon, but it has recently jumped the Atlantic Ocean with skirmishes in Italy, Germany, Poland and, notably, Britain, where Darwin was born and where he published his 1859 classic.

    Schools are increasingly a focal point in this battle for hearts and minds. A British branch of Answers in Genesis, which shares a Web site with its American counterpart, has managed to introduce its creationist point of view into science classes at a number of state-supported schools in Britain, said Monty White, the group's chief executive.

    "We do go into the schools about 10 to 20 times a year and we do get the students to question what they're being taught about evolution," said White, who founded the British branch seven years ago. "And we leave them a box of books for the library."

    Creationism is still a marginal issue here compared with its impact on cultural and political debate in the United States. But the budding fervor is part of a growing embrace of evangelical worship throughout much of Europe. Evangelicals say their ranks are swelling as attendance at traditional churches declines because of revulsion with the hedonism and materialism of modern society.

    "People are looking for spirituality," White said in an interview at his office in Leicester, 90 miles north of London. "I think they are fed up with not finding true happiness. They find having a bigger car doesn't make them happy. They get drunk and the next morning they have a hangover. They take drugs but the drugs wear off. But what they find with Christianity is lasting."

    Other British organizations have joined the crusade. A group called Truth in Science has sent thousands of unsolicited DVDs to every high school in Britain arguing that mankind is the result of "intelligent design," not Darwinian evolution.

    In addition, the AH Trust, a charity, has announced plans to raise money for construction of a Christian theme park in northwest England with a 5,000-seat television studio that would be used for the production of Christian-oriented films. And several TV stations are devoted full-time to Christian themes

    "People have walked away from God; it's not fashionable," said congregant Chris Mullins, a civil servant. "But the evangelical church does seem to be growing and I'm very encouraged by that. In what is a very secular society, there are people returning to God."

    School curricula generally hold that Darwin's theory has been backed up by so many scientific discoveries that it can now be regarded as fact. But Mullins believes creationism also deserves a hearing in the classroom.

    "Looking at the evidence, creationism at the least seems a theory worthy of examination," he said. "Personally I think it is true and I think the truth will win out eventually. It's a question of how long it takes."

    Terry Sanderson, president of Britain's National Secular Society, a prominent group founded in 1866 to limit the influence of religious leaders, fears the groups advocating a literal interpretation of the Bible are making headway.

    "Creationism is creeping into the schools," he said. "There is a constant pressure to get these ideas into the schools."

    The trend goes beyond evangelical Christianity. Sanderson said the British government is taking over funding of about 100 Islamic schools even though they teach the Quranic version of creationism. He said the government fear imposing evolution theory on the curriculum lest it be branded as anti-Islamic.

    Brasseur said recent skirmishes in Italy and Germany illustrate the creationists' tactics. She said Italian schools were ordered to stop teaching evolution when Silvio Berlusconi was prime minister, although the edict seems to have had little impact in practice. In Germany, she said, a state education minister briefly allowed creationism to be taught in biology class.

    The rupture between theology and evolution in Europe is relatively recent. For many years people who held evangelical views also endorsed mainstream scientific theory, said Simon Barrow, co-director of Ekklesia, a British-based, Christian-oriented research group. He said the split was imported from the United States in the last decade.

    "There is a lot of American influence, and there are a lot of moral and political and financial resources flowing from the United States to here," he said. "Now you have more extreme religious groups trying to get a foothold."

    In some cases, the schools have become the battlegrounds. Richard Dawkins, the Oxford university biologist and author of last year's international best-seller "The God Delusion, "frequently lectures students about the marvels of evolution only to find that the students' views have already been shaped by the creationist lobby.

    White, the director of the British Answers in Genesis, is well aware that the group's school program is contentious. The group has removed information about it from its Web site to avoid antagonizing people.

    The group operates a warehouse with $150,000 worth of DVDs, books and comics promoting creationism, but he says he only sends speakers and materials into schools that invite Answers in Genesis to make a presentation.

    He says that when he is asked to speak to science classes, he challenges the accuracy of radioactive dating which shows the world to be thousands of millions of years old and says that the Bible is a more accurate description of how mankind began. He personally believes the Earth is between 6,000 and 12,000 years old.

    "Usually I find the discussion goes on science, science, and science and then when the lesson is finished one or two students say, 'Can we talk about other things?' and I sit down with them and usually they want to talk about Christianity," he said. "They want to know, why do you believe in God? Why do you believe in the Bible? How can you be sure it's the word of God?"

    Dawkins feels the effect. He said he is discouraged when he visits schools and gets questions from students who have obviously been influenced by material from Answers in Genesis. "I continually get the same rather stupid points straight from their pamphlets," he said.

    White is getting ready for a visit by Ken Ham, who will preach at Westminster Chapel this spring. Meanwhile he is pleased that small groups of creation science advocates now meet regularly in Oxford, Edinburgh, Northampton and other British cities.

    "The creation movement is certainly growing," he said. "There are more groups than there were five years ago. There are more people like me going out speaking about it, and there's more interest. You have these little groups forming all over the place."

  2. #2
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    I wonder if this surge in European evangelical Christianity may be a response to the increasing levels of Islamic fundamentalism. It certainly seems like Europe may be in for some culture wars in the coming decades.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    i just find it sad really, going to schoolchildren to spread a "scientific" idea is just the same as saying that they need an audience that most likely wont be able to argue back.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by kazza View Post
    I wonder if this surge in European evangelical Christianity may be a response to the increasing levels of Islamic fundamentalism. It certainly seems like Europe may be in for some culture wars in the coming decades.
    Actually, the Christian fundamentalists and the Islamic fundamentalists are very close on this issue.

    Hopefully when these two groups get politically strong enough.
    The Theory of Evolution will be put in it's place in Europe.

    Not a fact. Just a theory, like any other theory.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawud View Post
    Actually, the Christian fundamentalists and the Islamic fundamentalists are very close on this issue.

    Hopefully when these two groups get politically strong enough.
    The Theory of Evolution will be put in it's place in Europe.

    Not a fact. Just a theory, like any other theory.
    lmao, you are actually quite right. due to science being tentative, the theory of evolution is just and shall always remain a theory just like the germ theory or the theory of relativity but above hypotheses, philosophies and lies such as cdesign propontentism, last thursdayism or spontaneous generation

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Dawud View Post
    Actually, the Christian fundamentalists and the Islamic fundamentalists are very close on this issue.

    Hopefully when these two groups get politically strong enough.
    The Theory of Evolution will be put in it's place in Europe.

    Not a fact. Just a theory, like any other theory.

    Nice to see both are as stupid as each other.
    I am currently reading --- White Jazz - James Ellroy

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by kazza View Post
    I wonder if this surge in European evangelical Christianity may be a response to the increasing levels of Islamic fundamentalism. It certainly seems like Europe may be in for some culture wars in the coming decades.
    Yes, the equation balances, as it ever does. Good insight as always, Kaz. :)

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    Godeskian is offline I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    lmao, you are actually quite right. due to science being tentative, the theory of evolution is just and shall always remain a theory just like the germ theory or the theory of relativity but above hypotheses, philosophies and lies such as cdesign propontentism, last thursdayism or spontaneous generation
    I should point out that evolution is also fact. It has been observed, both in nature and in labs. It is both fact and as you said theory.

    Of course it's a theory in the scientific sense, and not in the hardcore religious nutball sense, which makes all the difference.
    Close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Godeskian View Post
    I should point out that evolution is also fact. It has been observed, both in nature and in labs. It is both fact and as you said theory.
    very true but people can get confused when they read this:

    The fact of evolution is that speciation occurs, people get sick from the flu every year and 48% of my little gram negative babies(e.coli) which i was growing evolved an immunity to penicillin.

    The theory of evolution is that all different species we see today evolved by these mechanisms based on evidence such as the fossil records, homologies between species, vestigial traits and a butt-load of shared genes.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godeskian View Post
    Of course it's a theory in the scientific sense, and not in the hardcore religious nutball sense, which makes all the difference.
    i think its really just a lack of understanding on their part, the scientific use of the word theory is different from the layman and dawud plus many cdesign propontestists most likely aren't aware that theory is as high as scientific principles can get

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    Godeskian is offline I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    very true but people can get confused when they read this:

    The fact of evolution is that speciation occurs, people get sick from the flu every year and 48% of my little gram negative babies(e.coli) which i was growing evolved an immunity to penicillin.

    The theory of evolution is that all different species we see today evolved by these mechanisms based on evidence such as the fossil records, homologies between species, vestigial traits and a butt-load of shared genes.
    Shrug, I've never understood why people are confused when they read this. It's not exactly rocket science.


    dawud plus many cdesign propontestists most likely aren't aware that theory is as high as scientific principles can get
    I think that's a large part of it, but I also think it's the equivalent of saying that because we don't have a fossil from every living thing that's ever died, the entire fossil record can be ignored in favor of 'God did it'.

    It's aking to saying that if you put together 99 pieces of a 100 piece puzzle, that you can't figure out the big picture and should instead pray to divinity for answers.
    Close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Godeskian View Post
    I think that's a large part of it, but I also think it's the equivalent of saying that because we don't have a fossil from every living thing that's ever died, the entire fossil record can be ignored in favor of 'God did it'.

    It's aking to saying that if you put together 99 pieces of a 100 piece puzzle, that you can't figure out the big picture and should instead pray to divinity for answers.
    well at least its better than the "if we came from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?" type of question

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    Godeskian is offline I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    well at least its better than the "if we came from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?" type of question
    That sort of question generally just proves that the asker knows nothing of evolution that they haven't read off a creationist website.
    Close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.

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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by Godeskian View Post
    That sort of question generally just proves that the asker knows nothing of evolution that they haven't read off a creationist website.
    Which is incredibly sad and frustrating because most creationists also claim(or at least imply) having studied evolution

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    Godeskian is offline I have taken all knowledge to be my province.
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    Which is incredibly sad and frustrating because most creationists also claim(or at least imply) having studied evolution
    They lie. Frequently and often and repeatedly.
    Close your eyes, but keep your mind wide open.

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    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work...
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    Which is incredibly sad and frustrating because most creationists also claim(or at least imply) having studied evolution
    With an open-mind?
    Vasudeva

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    coontie is offline Vashudeva; Ferryman - doing the work...
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    Re: Creationists Seek Foothold in Europe

    Quote Originally Posted by coosjoaquin View Post
    well at least its better than the "if we came from monkeys, how come there are still monkeys?" type of question
    Probably Cromagnons were used in the hybridization process...
    Neanderthals lived parallel to Cromagnons, but died out, as well as some intermingling with Cromagnons.Of course here, we're talking [hybrids] intervention by E.T.s. Seems like this might still be goig on. Will be the only way to quickly remove the violence tendency from the majority of present humanity.
    Vasudeva

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