GOE’s most-read stories of 2014

Fireworks over Paris, France (photo by Magnus Manske, via Wikimedia Commons).

Happy New Year, dear readers! We hope this post finds you bright-eyed and clear-headed this Jan. 1 morning, ready to tackle the new year head on and make all of your dreams come true. But, if you happen to be feeling a little under the weather today, for some inexplicable reason, then by all means, read on. For I am offering Tyler Francke’s Patented, Sure-Fire Hangover Cure™: a long list of numbers and website links.

This year, No. 2, was a good one for our little blog. We made a splash with our interview on the Bad Christian podcast, got on Ken Ham’s bad side again (though, evidently, not enough to get him to actually talk to us in a forum in which we can respond and dialogue with one another), and got mentioned in several major publications, including being named one of Portland Monthly’s “100 Reasons to Love Portland.”

Numbers-wise, we registered nearly 300,000 views last year, a pretty darn respectable number for a one-man show like this, and nearly triple our traffic for the previous year (though, to be fair, GOE didn’t officially launch until April of 2013). Though we’re well aware that many blogs could claim far more, we think that number is pretty significant, because every view represents a small step forward for the perspective we support and share with many others: That there is absolutely no conflict between honest science, passionate faith and good theology, and anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong (and probably trying to sell you something).

Our 10 most-read stories are largely what you would expect. The Ham-Nye debate was prominent, as was our favorite creationism flash in the pan of 2014, Joshua Feuerstein. Without further ado, here’s the run-down:

1. Why Bill Nye’s debate with young-earth creationist Ken Ham is probably a mistake | Published Jan. 2, 2014

2. Theory of evolution disproven by video posted on Facebook | Published June 6, 2014

3. The best memes from the Bill Nye-Ken Ham debate | Published Feb. 6, 2014

4. Review: ‘God’s Not Dead’ (because we made a movie about him) | Published March 24, 2014

5. A meme about Mr. “Dear Mr. Atheist” Joshua Feuerstein | Published June 13, 2014

6. #HamonNye debate: Bill Nye won, and Ken Ham made Jesus look bad | Published Feb. 5, 2014

7. Ken Ham tells the truth | Published Oct. 17, 2014

8. Sorry Christians, but we don’t get to just ‘not believe in’ evolution | Published Feb. 20, 2014

9. How Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis could prove that they’re right (and why they won’t do it) | Published July 16, 2014

10. How the flap over Gungor shows everything that’s wrong with Ken Ham’s theology | Published Aug. 12, 2014

While your head clears, also take a moment and check out Karl Giberson’s excellent write-up in The Daily Beast, looking back at 2014’s top “achievers” and “achievements” in science denialism (how he managed to trim the list to only 10, I’ll never understand).

Though the review covers more than the evolution-creationism debate, our friends at Answers in Genesis, Discovery Institute and World magazine did claim the top three spots. A hearty congratulations to those guys. Very well deserved!

We wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday, and look forward to another wonderful and productive year for God of Evolution.

Tyler Francke is founder of God of Evolution and author of Reoriented. He can be reached at tyler@godofevolution.com.

  • HE

    Congratulations on getting so many people to your site! I love your blog and I’m glad so many people are interested in what you’re saying, as it’s very necessary in the evolution “debate” which can fell like a creationism/athiesm debate at times! Happy new years!

    • Hey, thanks, HE! Glad you like the site. I appreciate your comment. Happy New Year!

  • Drew

    You said……..”That there is absolutely no conflict between honest science, passionate faith and good theology, and anyone who says otherwise is simply wrong (and probably trying to sell you something).”
    Creationists would agree with that statement

    • Maybe, though — presuming by “creationists,” you mean young-earth creationists — I would disagree with them about what constitutes “honest science” and “good theology.” As would most scientists. And most theologians.

      • drew

        In like manner, they would disagree with you. Basically because they put biblical authority ahead of “scientific” authority.

        • Or maybe it’s because they put their own preconceived notions ahead of both.

          • Drew

            To which I could reply “pot calling kettle black”. Doesn’t achieve anything tho’.
            So, a serious question – Can you explain how life began.

          • To which I could reply “pot calling kettle black”.

            Well, you can say whatever you like, but the one with actual evidence (of how the young-earth view is at odds with both science and scripture) usually has the slight edge over empty assertion.

            So, a serious question – Can you explain how life began.

            No one can explain how life began. I believe that God was ultimately responsible for the origin of life, as I imagine you do, too. But as for the natural process he may have used, we simply don’t have enough evidence to say at this point, and therefore, the appropriate position to take is that we simply don’t know. Young-earth creationists also have little to no material evidence for their position on that question; the difference between us is that I’m willing to admit it.

          • Drew

            Correct in the material sense, BUT YEC’s say God explained how He did it and therefore material evidence, per se, is not required. As I said previously, creationists accept the authority of scripture.
            Second question. Life had to begin as a single cell – How many ‘cells’ came in to being at the start – How did a single cell become two cells, . Your not going to say they had a fully functioning reproductive process are you?

          • Correct in the material sense, BUT YEC’s say God explained how He did it and therefore material evidence, per se, is not required.

            That is not an explanation. That is a belief, same as mine. The difference is that I admit my belief is a matter of faith, and my interpretation a matter of reasoned opinion, while young-earth creationists — with a few exceptions — arrogantly assert both their beliefs and interpretations to be fact, or at the very least, the only appropriate position for “true Christians.”

            And, for the record, even if one interprets the first two creation accounts in Genesis literally, that still does not explain how God “did it.” In Gen. 1, God simply declares the earth or the sky or the sea to bring forth life, and it happens. The physical process, if indeed there was one, is not explained. In Gen. 2, God forms man from the dust of the ground, and woman from his rib, and the beasts and birds (again) from the ground, but the process is again rather vague.

            It seems all that we can really say for sure is that God is the responsible party, which, like I’ve already said, I would agree with, even without interpreting the passage literally.

            Second question. Life had to begin as a single cell – How many ‘cells’ came in to being at the start – How did a single cell become two cells, . Your not going to say they had a fully functioning reproductive process are you?

            I refer you to my previous answer. I believe God is ultimately responsible for all of creation and everything in it, but in the absence of clear physical evidence, I can’t say exactly how something happened in the distant past. Nor can you.

          • Drew

            You say “That is not an explanation. That is a belief,….”
            I would say it is both. God’s word explains how He did it and I believe it is true. He does not need evolutions naturalistic explanations to create. He is beyond that and has the power and authority to do/create what He wishes, how He wishes and without having to explain to those He has created.
            You say you accept God ‘did it’ but to do that you have to disagree with the naturalistic evolutionary assumptions initially made popular by Darwin, and promulgated by his adherents to the present day.
            Another question then. Modern genetics has shown that life could not spontaneously come into being NOR “evolve” into something more advanced (by evolve I mean bring into being new information), it is just too too complicated. Is your explanation ‘God did it’?

          • God’s word explains how He did it

            No, it does not, as I pointed out before. At best, according to your literal interpretation, the Bible explains some of the materials he used and the vague time frame in which he operated.

            He does not need evolutions naturalistic explanations to create. He is beyond that and has the power and authority to do/create what He wishes, how He wishes and without having to explain to those He has created.

            Of course he doesn’t need a natural process. He can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, with or without a natural process. But consider this: He also does not need a natural process to bring rain upon the earth, and indeed, the Bible does not describe such a process, it simply says the rain comes from God in the same way that it says all life was made by him. However, we know today that there is indeed a natural process that causes rain, which we call the water cycle. Because there is a natural process, does that mean God doesn’t really “send the rain,” as the Bible says he does? Of course not. It is no different with evolution. I am simply suggesting that he may have used a natural process (and the evidence strongly suggests that he did), and if he did, it would not exclude his involvement any more than the natural processes involved with precipitation, or the fetal development of a new human life preclude God’s involvement in those miracles.

            You say you accept God ‘did it’ but to do that you have to disagree with the naturalistic evolutionary assumptions initially made popular by Darwin, and promulgated by his adherents to the present day.

            No I do not, as I believe I’ve demonstrated above.

            Modern genetics has shown that life could not spontaneously come into being

            It has shown no such thing. It is simply an open question.

            NOR “evolve” into something more advanced (by evolve I mean bring into being new information), it is just too too complicated.

            This is most certainly not true. Biologists have identified and demonstrated several mecahnisms by which new genetic information can arise naturally. I would be happy to share the research, if you’re interested.

            Is your explanation ‘God did it’?

            Since your premise is so deeply flawed, the question that follows it is basically moot, but I will tell you that none of this would fall outside the philosophy I expressed to you before, that, in all things, I believe God to be the ultimate cause and creator, but as to the specific natural processes he may or may not have used, I reserve judgment in the absence of clear evidence.

            For the record: In the case of evolution, there is no such absence. The evidence is quite clear, convincing and overwhelming.

          • Drew

            Sorry Mr Franke but I cannot accept your answer.

            “God’s word explains how He did it” It is Clearly stated how He does it and gives a clear time frame. The fact you won’t take God’s word at it’s face and obvious meaning is your problem.

            Glad you agree He doesn’t need natural processes. Your use of rain I consider a false argument as it has nothing to do with evolution.

            You say you don’t disagree with the naturalistic assumptions of evolution> I find that very strange. The whole point of Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism is to demonstrate that Naturalism gives all the explanation needed for life and the cosmos without the need of a creator. YOU AGREEWITH THEM??????? Of course you don’t, but you have to exercise mental gymnastics to justify your position.

            I’ll treat as one point; genetics and evolution. Latest findings in genetics are that the complications of new information being being generated are impossible. e.g.for every beneficial mutation there are a minimum of 1 million (1,000,000) non-beneficial. The complications of genes and cells show that for it all to work together the various components would have to be completed and working all at the same time.

            “For the record: In the case of evolution, there is no such absence. The evidence is quite clear, convincing and overwhelming.” In that case, please show me some

          • Drew

            Lastly
            Can you give me any biblical proof to support long ages and evolution.

          • Larry Bunce

            The Bible was not written by or for people with modern scientific knowledge. The Bible does say that a thousand years is to God as a single day, or a watch in the night– clearly not the same as time is experienced by humans. Claiming that Genesis gives a scientific account of how God created the world is as mistaken as claiming that modern science disproves the existence of God. If God created the world, He also created all of the natural law that science has discovered, and keeps everything running according to those laws. Saying that events that we can determine how they happened are not caused by God is to deny God a place in the world. Crediting God only for gaps in our knowledge means that we will diminish God when those gaps get filled in by science.
            For its lack of scientific understanding, Genesis got the order of creation roughly right according to the evolutionary account. I find a God who could create laws of chemistry that allowed life to form much more wondrous and worthy of praise than one who merely conjured life into existence.

          • Drew

            “The Bible was not written by or for people with modern scientific knowledge”

            The bible was written by people inspired by God to write His words 2 Tim 3v16. So, written by God for people of all times, by a God who is Omniscient. To suggest He would write something which could have different interpretations dependent upon Man’s knowledge is absurd, or to imply He would have no understanding of Man’s increased knowledge so didn’t take that into account when He inspired His word. Or do you suggest – due to scientific ‘advancements’ – Man could have a completely different understanding of the bible in 1,000 years time.

            As for the 1,000 years, I’m surprised this argument is still put forward; 2 Pet 3v8
            “But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.”

            Ps 90 v4 “A thousand years in your sight are like a day that has just gone by,”
            The word used to describe the time is ‘LIKE’. In other words, to ascribe time to God is meaningless. He is ETERNAL therefore time has no meaning as He is outside time (As His people will be in Heaven)
            Ref Natural Laws. As God created them, the same time as He created everything else, shows He is not bound by them. As The Creator laws obey Him.
            Genesis is an historic account. It tells us how He created, and the time He took.
            Your last sentence I TOTALLY disagree with. HOW MUCH MORE MAGNIFICENT IS A GOD WHO CAN CREATE SOMETHING AS WONDERFULLY AND INTRICATELY MADE AS YOU AND ME, and the COSMOS, BY HIS SPOKEN WORD, IN AN INSTANT. Much Much more magnificent than a God who has to take billions of years to achieve the same thing

          • It is Clearly stated how He does it and gives a clear time frame. The fact you won’t take God’s word at it’s face and obvious meaning is your problem.

            And your problem is that you naively and quite incorrectly interpret that which was clearly intended as allegory to be literal history.

            Glad you agree He doesn’t need natural processes. Your use of rain I consider a false argument as it has nothing to do with evolution.

            Thanks for demonstrating your utter inability to follow the premise of a simple and straightforward argument. I will keep this in mind in future attempts at dialogue and will not waste my time attempting to explain the basic principles of my viewpoint.

            You say you don’t disagree with the naturalistic assumptions of evolution> I find that very strange. The whole point of Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism is to demonstrate that Naturalism gives all the explanation needed for life and the cosmos without the need of a creator. YOU AGREEWITH THEM??????? Of course you don’t, but you have to exercise mental gymnastics to justify your position.

            It’s very simple — at least to most people. Again, God is supernatural and above all of nature; ergo, a natural explanation for anything, whether it be the rain or evolution, does not preclude God’s involvement because he is not confined to the natural realm.

            I’ll treat as one point; genetics and evolution. Latest findings in genetics are that the complications of new information being being generated are impossible. e.g.for every beneficial mutation there are a minimum of 1 million (1,000,000) non-beneficial.

            This is completely untrue. Virtually all mutations occur in non-coding strands of DNA and therefore have no effect on the organism. For those mutations that do have an effect, they tend to be deleterious more often than beneficial, but the odds are not even remotely as large as you’ve stated here. For example, this study indicated that 1 out of every 150 newly arising mutations in bacteria is beneficial. So, not sure what your source was for the “1 in a million” ratio, but it was off by a factor of several thousand.

            “For the record: In the case of evolution, there is no such absence. The evidence is quite clear, convincing and overwhelming.” In that case, please show me some

            Here you go: Basic, clear and quite accessible.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evidence_of_common_descent
            http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

          • Drew

            Naïve to take the bible at it’s obvious meaning? What is naïve by understanding ‘one day’ = 24 hours? God made Eve from Adam’s rib, what is that an allegory for? Clearly demonstrating that Adam and Eve were created at different times. Not came into being through corresponding evolutionary trails.

            We can be abrupt can’t we. Shouldn’t you be more gracious, and extra clear in your explanations, for those not as intellectually endowed as yourself?

            I would consider creation outside ‘Natural Rules’. At the time of creation God put the rules in place but He is not bound by them

            Genetic mutations, my authority was John Sandord who is internationally renowned in that field.
            SEE: creation.com/geneticist-evolution-impossible

            Your links: talkorigins, I would not look at as they are so anti anything (as they state) but evolution, that nothing on that site could be called fair or impartial.
            Wikipedia, a page of statements and no proofs so I will have to take time to go through the links given.

          • Naïve to take the bible at it’s obvious meaning?

            No, it’s naive to ignore the obvious meaning — that the text is a complex and deeply symbolic account of theological truths — in favor of a simplistic interpretation that is beneath the comprehension level of most children.

            God made Eve from Adam’s rib, what is that an allegory for?

            You honestly see no symbolic significance to woman being made from the side of man? You don’t see how that could maybe imply that men and women were made to be “side by side”? Or that we are incomplete without each other? Seriously? This is not even that difficult.

            We can be abrupt can’t we. Shouldn’t you be more gracious, and extra clear in your explanations, for those not as intellectually endowed as yourself?

            No.

            I would consider creation outside ‘Natural Rules’. At the time of creation God put the rules in place but He is not bound by them

            Oh, OK. Well, then that explains why nothing in creation looks remotely like it should if the young-earth creationists’ interpretation is correct.

            Genetic mutations, my authority was John Sandord who is internationally renowned in that field.

            Interesting! So an offhand remark on a creationist website that bad mutations outnumber good ones “perhaps by a million to one” trumps actual, peer-reviewed, evidence-based scientific research that shows that comment is absurdly incorrect?

          • Drew

            I actually said “Lastly
            Can you give me any biblical proof to support long ages and evolution.”
            As I said, I will check out one of the non biblical links you gave

          • Forgive me.

            “Lastly Can you give me any biblical proof to support long ages and evolution.”</blockquote

            Is that the only standard for demonstrating that a scientific precept is true? If so, can you please give me any biblical proof to support the existence of quasars, black holes and extrasolar planets? How about single-celled organisms? Protons? Neutrons? Electrons? Quarks? Neutrinos? Plasma, perhaps? How about electricity? Or gravity? Please, tell me, where does the Bible explain gravity, because I know quite a few physicists who would appreciate the help.

            The point is that there is a lot of science that isn't talked about in the Bible, because sharing scientific truth was not the point of scripture. It is about sharing the theological and spiritual truths which we could not know any other way.

            If you want to believe the theory of evolution isn't true because it's not in the Bible, then be my guest. But you should at least have the decency to be consistent in your beliefs, give up your computer and your Internet access, and go back to living in the Dark Ages, because that's the only way to truly have a life that reflects the same scientific perspective as the authors of scripture.

          • Drew

            Ref link you gave

            All pasted from Wikipedia with my comments below.
            “Evolutionary biologists document evidence of common descent through making testable predictions, testing hypotheses, and developing theories that illustrate and describe its causes”
            I find the words “predictions…hypotheses…theories.” less than convincing

            “Comparison of the DNA genetic sequences of organisms has revealed that organisms that are phylogenetically close have a higher degree of DNA sequence similarity than organisms that are phylogenetically distant.”
            Creationists would expect this. Sign of a creator

            “Further evidence for common descent comes from genetic detritus such as pseudogenes, regions of DNA that are orthologous to a gene in a related organism,
            but are no longer active and appear to be undergoing a steady process of degeneration from cumulative mutations.”
            “2 points on this. “no longer active” Evidence is apparently mounting that the term ‘redundant DNA’ is a misnomer, it is being found not to be redundant.
            Degeneration is again the model that creationists expect to see

            “Fossils are important for estimating when various lineages developed in geologic time.”
            The fossil record is still massively incomplete. Still waiting for ‘the common link’ to be found. For example, why have we no intermediate fossil showing apes with a developing opposable thumb,or, with an intermediate hip joint showing how apes developed a human upright stance.

            Geologic time. This question came up before for me in another discussion re Radiometric dating. Evidence has been shown how false dates have been given to things. Volcanic flow dated thousands or millions of years and it has actually been
            seen flowing in the last 30 or so years ago.
            Soft tissue dated to 500 million years of age??????
            I looked up Radiometric dating in an online dictionary. It told me assumptions had to be made in the working out of dates.
            I then looked it up on a secular university website, which said
            ‘A fundamental assumption for dating a fractionation event is that the system has remained ‘closed’ since the event. This means that there has been no exchange of parent or daughter isotopes with the environment. Many processes, such as hydrothermal alteration, diagenesis or weathering can result in ‘open-system behaviour’ rendering any dates suspect. Open system behaviour can be modeled in certain circumstances, see: Closed System and also D/A in archaeological Bone.’
            I then read an article by an Astrophysicst (yes, a creationist) who listed 3 assumptions that are made in dating things.

            Because of these varied facts and sources I find dating of things at billions
            of years suspect (to say the least)

            From my look at the evidence you cite (or the website you directed me to)
            I still have not found definitive proof of evolution.
            I don’t claim great expertise but I find enough evidence presented, that I can comprehend, to convince me of the that the bible is historically accurate and evolution was promoted in the 19thC to attack faith and belief in God

          • I find the words “predictions…hypotheses…theories.” less than convincing

            Then you have no idea what these words actually mean, or how the scientific process operates.

            Comparison of the DNA genetic sequences of organisms has revealed that organisms that are phylogenetically close have a higher degree of DNA sequence similarity than organisms that are phylogenetically distant.”

            Creationists would expect this. Sign of a creator

            Sorry…why, exactly? Why would creationists expect that some phylogenetically closer organisms would have a higher degree of DNA similarity than phylogenetically distant organisms? If everything has the same creator, and evolution was not a factor, wouldn’t we see the same level of similarities among all life? Why would some organisms being genetically similar, and others being not at all similar, be evidence of everything having the same creator? Seems to me more like evidence of a gradual divergence over a long period of time.

            “Further evidence for common descent comes from genetic detritus such as pseudogenes, regions of DNA that are orthologous to a gene in a related organism,

            but are no longer active and appear to be undergoing a steady process of degeneration from cumulative mutations.”

            “2 points on this. “no longer active” Evidence is apparently mounting that the term ‘redundant DNA’ is a misnomer, it is being found not to be redundant.

            Degeneration is again the model that creationists expect to see

            Yes, and no doubt this “mounting evidence” can be found on some web page of the lovely creation.com site, correct? And why would creationists expect to see degeneration? Oh, that’s right, because of “the curse” (cue scary music). Though I can’t say that I really remember Genesis 3 saying much about “genetic detritus” and pseudogenes being part of the punishment for human sin…

            Geologic time. This question came up before for me in another discussion re Radiometric dating. Evidence has been shown how false dates have been given to things. Volcanic flow dated thousands or millions of years and it has actually been

            seen flowing in the last 30 or so years ago.

            Soft tissue dated to 500 million years of age??????

            I looked up Radiometric dating in an online dictionary. It told me assumptions had to be made in the working out of dates.

            I then looked it up on a secular university website, which said

            ‘A fundamental assumption for dating a fractionation event is that the system has remained ‘closed’ since the event. This means that there has been no exchange of parent or daughter isotopes with the environment. Many processes, such as hydrothermal alteration, diagenesis or weathering can result in ‘open-system behaviour’ rendering any dates suspect. Open system behaviour can be modeled in certain circumstances, see: Closed System and also D/A in archaeological Bone.’

            I then read an article by an Astrophysicst (yes, a creationist) who listed 3 assumptions that are made in dating things.

            Because of these varied facts and sources I find dating of things at billions

            of years suspect (to say the least)

            Blah blah blah. Two words: starlight problem.

            From my look at the evidence you cite (or the website you directed me to)

            I still have not found definitive proof of evolution.

            There is no such thing as “definitive proof” in science. You asked for evidence, and I provided it to you. It is clear, convincing and overwhelmingly persuasive evidence for anyone who is not completely closed to it from the outset and who is capable of grasping somewhat complicated scientific concepts.

            I don’t claim great expertise

            Well, that’s a relief.

            but I find enough evidence presented, that I can comprehend, to convince me of the that the bible is historically accurate and evolution was promoted in the 19thC to attack faith and belief in God

            What a brilliant idea! Yes, those mean atheists conspired to attack faith and belief in God by promoting a scientific theory that — if true — does not in any way preclude faith or belief in God! Wait, that doesn’t make sense, does it?