The Skeptical Teacher

Musings of a science teacher & skeptic in an age of woo.

Evolution & Creationism Clash on Facebook

Posted by mattusmaximus on February 1, 2010

In another example of the science vs. pseudoscience battles that rage across the Internet, there is currently an interesting clash between evolution and creationism taking place on Facebook.

In mid-January, a group of fundamentalist creationists started a page on Facebook titled “We can find 1,000,000 people who don’t believe in Evolution before June” and it started to gather hundreds, then thousands, of fans within days.  Needless to say, this caused a bit of a stir among those of us who actually like science.

In response, a group of pro-science types started another Facebook page titled “We can find 1,000,000 people who DO believe in Evolution before June”.

Now what’s interesting about all of this is that the creationist page started off ahead because it got a jump start.  If my records are correct (they start at January 14th, 2010), the creationist site was at about 3000 when the evolution page got started.  But the creationists didn’t stay ahead for long – by about January 18th the evolution page passed the creationist one in fan number, and since then has left the creationists in the proverbial dust.  In fact, a good skeptical friend of mine put together a nice graph of the population of each page as a function of time…

The vertical axis is the number of fans, and the blue series denotes the population of the evolution page whereas the red series denotes the population of the creationism page.  To date (February 1st), the creationist page is at 26,300 whereas the evolution page is at 115,400!  I wonder if this is the result of natural selection on the Interwebs? 😉

Long story short: the evolution Facebook page is kicking the crap out of the creationists, but we shouldn’t get complacent because we know how sneaky they can be.  Remember, the goal is to make it to 1,000,000 members by June, and we’re well on our way having already gotten over 10% of the way there.  But we won’t make it by resting on our laurels.

So, to keep this explosive population growth going, I suggest we all spread the word and take a page from noted evolutionary biologist P.Z. Myers when he blogged about this over at Pharyngula. And, one last thing, let’s take a bit of advice from P.Z. on something about the word “believe”…

Don’t get all pedantic and academic over the word “believe,” either. We know that the nature of our belief in evolution is very different than the creationists belief in their god: we have a provisional, non-dogmatic acceptance of the overwhelming evidence for a powerful theory. It’s just that that phrase is ponderous and pretentious when “belief” is a simple English shortcut to the meaning.

Amen, brother! 🙂

8 Responses to “Evolution & Creationism Clash on Facebook”

  1. M G Kizzia said

    This is all just a head game. In our curent culture the conclusion is a no-brainer. Sadly, it tells us nothing, scientifically or theologically, about which position may be correct…if either.

  2. While this is disturbing, I agree, I don’t put much store in the power of faddish beliefs like “intelligent design.” A few years back nobody had even heard of this shoddy, repackaged version of the cosmological argument. Now millions subscribe to it as their answer to where life came from. It occurs to me that this sort of conviction is two inches deep and a thousand miles across. And what will these folks believe in next week, aliens as the source of all living organisms on the planet? How about ghosts? Or alien ghosts? This is the consumerism of belief. The real enemy is a culture of banality. And even science particpates in that. Ever seen the Discovery Channel? It is misnamed.

  3. Skeptical of Skeptics said

    This whole “evolution vs creationism” thing is a waste of time. Who cares if more people accept evolution or not? So what if the Facebook evolutionists are more active/numerous? Does it matter, like, at all? Why are evolutionists and self-ascribed skeptics evangelizing their “beliefs” (so to speak)? It doesn’t make sense.

    If you’re going to end up in the dirt either way, why should you care what others think? So what if everybody is an extremo-fundamentalist creationist? Seriously.

    “For the progress of hunamity!!” What do you care about the god-dang progress of humanity? Humanity is doomed either way.

    That’s what absolutely boggles my mind about Atheists. If you truly think that there is nothing besides this material world, what are you doing wasting it by obsessing over such trivial and ultimately insignificant things?

    Besides, you so-called champions of science and reason should know better. Human knowledge is still very limited. Science is progressing, no? There may be discoveries in the future that today’s scientists have never dreamed of. What is today’s “pseudoscience” may become tomorrow’s science. Hey, it’s happened before, hasn’t it? It is foolish to think we have the whole picture. Besides, is it even possible to have the whole picture?

    Look, this whole “evolution vs creation” is mostly a “science vs Christianity” thing anyway, isn’t it? It’s only the guys who go “The dinosaurs were only put to test our faith!!” who you have a real problem with, right? Evolution vs Creationism is misleading name, since it is entirely possible evolution is a created mechanism, along with everything else in the universe.

    Regardless, science shouldn’t be about protecting one theory to the bitter end. Science should be about finding the truth, WHATEVER that may be. I say, if you truly have faith in what you believe, be that evolution or creation, then you shouldn’t be afraid of what observations lead us to conclude, let alone a worthless Facebook “feud.”

    • Rather I would say that if there is naught but what is here, then that makes the “here” and its dominance all the more important. Still, there is no end to the debate. There is no middle ground.

      • Skeptical of Skeptics said

        How significant can a temporary existence be?

        The debate is long over. The truth is out there. The question isn’t whether you can find a nice, easy truth you will like. The question is whether you are willing to change yourself to fit the truth that exists.

      • Here has a way of sticking around long after we’re gone.

        But your further argument is just another way of continuing the debate. This is my point: theists know that God exists, a-theists know that God does not exist. It is not a debate between believers and non-believers. The debate rests on epistemological assumptions about a particular existent. If I say I don’t really care whether this particular existent IS or NOT IS, then I’m accused of waffling. And this doesn’t even provide as much traction as agnosticism, which is a refusal to make up one’s mind about the matter, but not a refusal of the debate as such (so, a waffler on one point, but really decided as to the continued validity of the debate). I prefer to be a waffler all around. Yes, I’m an atheist in that I think no God exists, but then, I don’t care about the ISness of God. It is unimportant, unrevealing. Rather than your quite brusk dismissal of the universe, I would say: How significant can a disputed existent be? By the way, notice that no one disputes the existence of the universe. Well, maybe Buddhists.

  4. […] by mattusmaximus on February 12, 2010 In a recent entry I informed you of a clash on Facebook between two pages, a creationist page & a pro-evolution page – each promoting the goal of gathering […]

  5. Lars said

    Well, now it seems Facebook has sided with the creationists, shutting down the discussion board of the evolution page, and giving non-answers when asked why.

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