I think it’s wonderful that atheists have a forum they can visit where they are reminded that Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind, Chuck Missler, and other “interesting” ministry leaders do not speak for all Christians.
And unlike the websites run by those ministries, there is no fear of informative posts and no need for 24/7 censorship. Anyone who visits the Facebook pages of the best known Young Earth Creationist ministry leaders will be amazed at how quickly a comment which is not 100% paying-homage to the “YEC celebrity” is purged and the commenter banned. A couple of years ago on the old Bible.and.Science.Forum email newsletter we had a friendly contest entitled “Survival of the Fittest” where for a given set of four experimental comments posted to various “creation science” ministry staff Facebook pages, readers would estimate how many of the four comments averaged a survival time of more than one hour.
We had done the posting-to-YEC-websites experiment several months before and were playing around with interesting ways of presenting the results to our constituents. We posted each of the three sets of four comments so that our readers would have several days within which they could vote and submit their estimates on that particular set. Then on April Fool’s Day [Sorry, we hadn’t deliberately planned it that way. Honest.] we posted the “survival stats” for each comment and the readers with the very best “scores”. Most importantly, we posted the “punchline” of the entire experiment: To our surprise, *NOT EVEN ONE of the twelve comments managed to survive for an average of sixty minutes!
These weren’t rancorous comments. They weren’t even necessarily anti-YEC. They included comments like these:
(1) “I was frustrated that Mr. ____'s article was so critical of the atheist scientist’s blog but didn’t provide a clickable link so that I could easily read it and understand what Mr. _____ was talking about. Why not provide clickable links?”
(2) “I looked up the definition of Uniformitarianism online and I didn’t see how Mr._____'s definition fits within the meaning of the term as used by modern day geologists. Why such a radical difference?”
(3) “Isn’t ‘one animal turning into another kind of animal’ a straw man definition of evolution? I took two semesters of biology when I was in college and that doesn’t fit at all the definition we were taught. So I’m confused. Can you explain the difference?”
(4) "The article says that Uniformitarianism is hopelessly flawed. Yet almost all of the 101 Evidences for a Young Earth extrapolate into the past the present day observed rate of some process. So those are Uniformitarian arguments So how can I know when Uniformitarian arguments are valid and when they are invalid? Can you please explain the difference?
I wish I had the list at hand because those four that I can still remember do not capture the wide variety of 12 comments we used in the experiment. Yet, we were all surprised at just how extreme was the fear and vigilance behind the rapid censorship on YEC webpages. We wondered how many readers of the deleted comments (and the banned posters) were thinking, “That’s a good question. I’m curious to learn the answer to that as well.” Were most readers aware of their censorship? Were many of them curious as to why the comments were considered so dangerous?
Likewise, I’ve wondered if atheists who are accustomed to such Young Earth Creationist websites visit Biologos and are amazed at the contrast. To what do they attribute any such differences? Do they consider a non-censorious atmosphere a strange aberration? Or do they realize that millions of Christians reject the science-denialism of so many Young Earth Creationist ministries?
I don’t know.