But now, I get to scoop PZ by posting my take-down of a creationist interviewed by Nature, apparently as part of a "let's-meet-some-European-asstards" theme they're running.
The relevant Nature article is here or here as a PDF (subscription probably required).
Basically, Nature asked Peter Korevaar a few questions. Here's the abstract of the mini-article:
Peter Korevaar is head of the physics and cosmology working group of Germany’s Studiengemeinschaft Wortund Wissen, one of the largest creationist groups in Europe. He holds a PhD in astrophysics and now works at IBM in Mannheim. Quirin Schiermeier asks him about his group’s aims.I'll go through the questions, put in Dr. Korevaar's answers, and put in my reactions.
What are your main goals?
We are a Protestant group. We want to do accurate and honest scientific work under the premise that God has created the world. Scientific naturalism as we know it doesn’t allow for a creator who can interfere with the physical world. Evolution should be taught in schools, and creation discussed along with it.
No surprises there. Nature wouldn't have interviewed him if they weren't a bunch of well-spoken cranks, at least. The truly lunatic don't do interviews well.
I question their ability to "do accurate and honest scientific work" under an expressly-theistic premise. One of the key points of the creationist movement is they want Religion (well, just their religion, really) acknowledged as the supreme form of knowledge - divine revelation is never to be challenged or questioned in the light of scientific discovery. If science contradicts scripture, it is science that is wrong. This is fucking stupid, and if you're trying to do scientific research with that as a guiding principle, you're never going to learn anything. You probably won't even learn how fucking stupid you are.
Yes, evolution should be taught in schools. No, creationism should not be discussed along with it, except as the introduction to the unit, along the lines of "there are many stories and myths to explain life on earth. They are all wrong." This is the standard US-derived "fair time" argument, which is bullshit considering the amount of work that has gone into, and continues to go into, evolutionary biology, work that has never gone into any creationist thought. Creationism isn't science, and never will be science as long as it relies on waving your hands and announcing "yes, god is pretty mysterious".
How would you describe your relationship with scientists?
You don’t have to agree on everything to do good, accurate science together with [noncreationist] scientists. We use the same methods as other scientists, namely falsifying and verifying hypotheses. We don’t want to put anyone down. We would very much like to have an open discussion with evolutionary biologists about the issues at stake. But we feel constantly misunderstood. Scientists — and the media — always say we are dilettantes, Christian fundamentalists. This is mean. ‘Fundamentalism’ is immediately associated with Islamic fundamentalism: read terrorism. Fighting against these prejudices is extremely hard.
OK, he's right: you don't have to agree on everything.
Why did Nature put "noncreationist" in editor-brackets to modify the word "scientists"? Are there creationist scientists who can actually be described as real scientists? Perhaps, but they're certainly vanishingly rare. His statement about methods is contradicted by his first answer - I know he didn't come right out and say the science vs. scripture thing, but there's no room in theology for hypothesis testing. If your god is everything, then testing anything is testing theology - verbotten!
Blah blah we feel bad being called names. So what? I don't associate the word "Fundamentalism" with just Islamic fly-planes-into-buildings type religious nuttery - I include all religious nuttery, regardless of prophet's name or scriptural language as fundamentalism. You call your book the literal, revealed truth? You're a fundie. He could try publishing research if he wants to be taken seriously as a or by another scientist.
What about evolution?
Microevolution, the adaptation of species to their environment, is an observed scientific fact, which we of course do not deny. But macroevolution, the gradual process of development of new species, is a mere conclusion, there’s no observational evidence for that.
False dichotomy, fuck off. The whole micro/macro thing is a construct of creationists. TalkOrigins.net arguments, with definitions of terms here. Also: "is a mere conclusion"? WTF does that mean? If I arrive at a conclusion by inference and experiment, is it "a mere conclusion"?
How would you compare your group with creationists in the United States?
We are aware of other creationist groups in Europe and the United States. But we don’t collaborate too much with any of them. The US debate is more aggressive, there is more foul play from both sides. This is not helpful.
I'm glad they don't cooperate with the yanqui cretins, much. This will probably change, since pretty much everyone is getting in on the global village thing. Thanks again, internet (NB: the benefits of the 'net still outweigh the costs). He's probably right that the "debate" is more aggressive, and probably more rude, in North America.
Do you advocate intelligent design?
There’s an open question about how the many complex structures observed in the Universe came into being. Intelligent design gives an alternative answer to this question. We can subscribe to most of its arguments.
No. Particular mechanisms for the formation of particular phenomena are, of course, open questions - are there any "closed" questions? Oh, right, I'm not allowed to question your foolish belief system because it's a religion. Anyway, no, ID is not a viable alternative answer to any such question - it's just "goddidit" writ large, with flowery handwriting.
Overall, I'm actually pretty impressed by Dr. Kolevaar's interview skills. I understand that creationist organisations typically choose or train well one individual for media contact work, but I avoid reading the dribblings of ID groups or the insane ravings of YEC* groups. Most of my contact with creationists is on-line, where I find mostly stupid, poorly written doggerel and no hint of underlying sophistication.
While I'm at it, here's a nice collection of evidence of evolution occurring.
*Young Earth Creationist
Update. I just did a bit of reading over at the Panda's Thumb, apparently some of the early pioneers of the modern synthesis used the terms "microevolution" and "macroevolution" in a reasonable way. So the words themselves are not inventions of the creationists, but the idea that they are somehow incompatible concepts, and that one can accept one happening but not the other, is still fucking stupid.