Coffee House

Dan Walker’s creationism shouldn’t disqualify him from breakfast TV

11 February 2016

5:48 PM

11 February 2016

5:48 PM

According to the Times, Dan Walker, the new BBC Breakfast presenter, is ‘a creationist’. A ‘senior BBC figure’ is quoted as saying that this ‘nutty’ belief would make life difficult for Walker if, say, he had to present a story about a 75,000-year-old fossil. How could he if he thinks the earth is less than 10,000 years old? Rupert Myers goes further in the Telegraph: ‘Creationists cannot be trusted to report objectively,’ Myers claims, ‘or to interact reasonably with their interviewees and with the public’.

Before jumping to conclusions, it’s worth saying that Dan Walker’s beliefs aren’t publicly known. Anyone who thinks God made the world is a ‘creationist’ in some sense. If Walker thinks the earth is less than 10,000 years old, that is more noteworthy: but then we only have the word of that ‘senior BBC figure’ to go on.

I badgered his spokeswoman, but she would only say that ‘Dan is a Christian who believes that God is behind creation’. If that is all he believes, then the Times story doesn’t amount to much.

He may believe in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean he rejects the evidence about the age of the earth. St Augustine, one of the greatest of biblical interpreters, said 1500 years ago that if something in the Bible obviously doesn’t align with the known facts, then it can’t be meant as a bald factual statement. He also warned Christians not to imagine that the Bible was a scientific treatise – if they did, he said, people would laugh at them.

[Alt-Text]


When Darwin’s Origin of Species came out, some Christians panicked that it might disprove the Bible. John Henry Newman, Britain’s best-known Catholic priest, disagreed: he said that he had no idea whether Darwin was right, but if he was, it would just go to show that ‘the Creator, millions of years ago, gave laws to matter… Mr Darwin’s theory need not then to be atheistical, be it true or not; it may simply be suggesting a larger idea of Divine Prescience and Skill’.

You can believe God made the world and still accept scientific findings. This is commonly forgotten, as in the BBC’s 2006 Horizon survey, which asked people whether they believed either that ‘human kind’ had evolved over millions of years and ‘God had no part in the process’, or that ‘God created human kind pretty much in his / her present form at one time within the last 10,000 years’. The possibility that God’s plan of creation might include evolution was off the table.

Dan Walker could have done us all a favour here. He is open about his faith – ‘Everything I have comes from God’, he said in a piece for a Christian website – and it plays a big part in his life: he once missed the Wimbledon men’s final because he thinks his Sunday should be given to God. But without asking him to become a one-man apologetics service, couldn’t he tell us whether he thinks the earth is under 10,000 years old, or whether he thinks it’s probably a lot older, or whether, to be honest, he hasn’t thought about it that much? If Christians were a bit more frank about these things, they could do more to show that Christianity is comfortable with science.

As for the principle that irrationality should disqualify you from the breakfast TV sofa, this wouldn’t just apply to Christians. There are people who believe there is no such thing as free will but still beat themselves up about their mistakes; who think you shouldn’t believe anything that isn’t scientifically proved, but constantly (and admirably) act based on unprovable ethical principles; who think human beings are just sacks of chemicals, but still devote their lives to helping them.

Then there are all the irrational things which people of all faiths and none, and practically everyone at times, believe about our own lives: that hard work will make us happy, or that we can solve our problems by rationalising them, or that we don’t have any weaknesses and all our difficulties are the fault of other people. All very strange ideas.

But the mere fact that someone holds irrational beliefs doesn’t make them a bad presenter. Dan Walker is eminently qualified to be a breakfast TV host, whatever kind of creationist he turns out to be.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.


Show comments
  • Zanderz

    I never read the comments in any religious article – they always fill with atheists using their ‘superior logic’ to try to prove God doesn’t exist. And if they can’t do that, they’ll pick apart every little word from the comments looking for a hook to hang their ‘superiority’ on.

    • pobjoy

      I never read the comments in any religious article

      You’ve answered quite a few.

      • Zanderz

        Yes, historical. I really can’t see the point now.

        • pobjoy

          Why did you choose this thread to say so?

          • Zanderz

            Strange question. Why does anyone comment? (rhetorical). I’m getting shades of:

            “And if they can’t do that, they’ll pick apart every little word from the comments looking for a hook to hang their ‘superiority’ on.”

            Bye.

            • pobjoy

              You’re a bit of ordure, Zanderz.

              • Zanderz

                QED

                • pobjoy

                  They can’t resist reading on.

  • THX11384EB

    Just look at those dead eyes.

    • pobjoy

      A brief glimpse is plenty.

  • pobjoy

    ‘Rupert Myers goes further in the Telegraph: ‘Creationists cannot be trusted to report objectively,’

    Absolutely true, Rupert. Except that it should be ‘Young-Earth Creationists’, and none of this heresy about 10 000 years. It’s either 4004 BC, or it’s perfidious compromise with the worldly. It either means what it says, or it doesn’t. Let us be perfectly clear about that.

    But where’s the difference between six-day creation in 4004 BC, and “This is my body” as reason to believe that a child abuser can turn bread into God? Would you work for someone who believes that, Rupert?

    Perhaps you will let us know, one way or another.

    • Grant Melville

      It should be noted that Genesis 1 doesn’t describe a six-day creation. It describes the creation of the heavens and the earth in verse 1, their wasted and empty form (resulting from events which are not described) in verse 2, and then for the remainder of the chapter, the six-day process of preparing the earth for human habitation – six literal days: “And there was evening, and there was morning – the first day” &c (Genesis 1 v 5).

      Between verse 1 and verse 2, something occurred. Isaiah 45 v 18 tells us so: “For thus saith Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it, — not as waste did he create it: he formed it to be inhabited…” God did not create, in verse 1, a wasteland. He created an area for habitation, which became uninhabitable. There’s no doubt in my mind that the intervening space between verse 1 and 2 could be filled by a vast expanse of time, during which the earth passed through upheaval and turbulence, the creation and extinction of species.

      • pobjoy

        Isaiah 45 v 18 tells us so

        In instructing the Israelites, Isaiah referred to the ‘final result’ of creation. the land of Canaan, as described in Deut. 8:8.

        Any sort of literalism is complete misapprehension of early Genesis.

        • Grant Melville

          The scripture seems quite plain: “Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it”. The prophet is speaking here about the creation of the heavens and the formation of earth. Interpreting that as referring to the land of Canaan is quite a leap, don’t you think? And isn’t it significant that the scripture here says that God “formed the earth and made it”? The ‘formation’ occurred in Genesis 1 v 1, and the ‘making’ occupies the bulk of the chapter. I have no difficulty in accepting the word of God at face value. I’m not about to bend the scriptures to suit science, and I don’t see any need to.

          • pobjoy

            The scripture seems quite plain

            Neatly trimmed bits of it seem plain, to the ignorant. Isaiah 45 v 19 explains v 18.

            ‘I did not require the people of Israel to look for me in a desolate waste.’ GNB

            • Grant Melville

              “For thus saith Jehovah who created the heavens, God himself who formed the earth and made it, he who established it,–not as waste did he create it: he formed it to be inhabited:–I am Jehovah, and there is none else. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I said not unto the seed of Jacob, Seek me in vain: I am Jehovah, speaking righteousness, declaring things which are right.”

              The context doesn’t alter the meaning – in verse 18 we have the prophet making reference to God as Creator, one whose hand is evident in the creation. This is followed by verse 19, touching His dealings with His earthly people – He hasn’t spoken in secret, the creation, the heavens and the earth, declare Him. Further on, the scripture speaks about idols which are not able to save, in contrast to the Almighty God who is Creator.

              • pobjoy

                The context doesn’t alter the meaning

                The context starts at 44:21.

                Beware the cultist!

                • Grant Melville

                  Again, the context simply confirms what’s said in Isaiah 45 v 18: God’s creating of the heavens and the earth is mentioned several times in the section from chapter 44 v 21, and none of these references are limited to the land of Canaan simply because the word is primarily addressed to the children of Israel. It’s an affirmation to the Israelites of God’s creatorial (and general) power, that this is the God that they have to do with. I don’t see why any of this should present a difficulty.

                • pobjoy

                  In instructing the Israelites, Isaiah referred to the ‘final result’ of creation, the land of Canaan, as described in Deut. 8:8.

                  Any sort of literalism is complete misapprehension of early Genesis.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    From Flat Earther to religious fanatic, when a person’s opinions label them as gullible Muppet, it’s time to walk away.

  • rdgerv

    “He may believe in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean he rejects the evidence about the age of the earth.”
    If that’s true, than he dosen’t believe the Bible!! Plain and Simple!

    • Jackthesmilingblack

      The Holy Bible, aka The Jewish Book of Fairy Stories.

  • theot58

    Dan Walkers Christian beliefs are being scrutinized in an absurd manner.

    If he was a atheist or a Muslim – it would be OK but because he is a Christian its a problem.

    What is this world coming to.

    Regarding Evolution:

    The evolution battle is often MISrepresented as science against religion – this is baloney!
    The real battle is between good science and Darwinism.
    When macro evolution is scrutinised using the scientific method, it crumbles.

    The scientific method demands observation, measurement and repeatability, macro evolution has none of these; all it has is circumstantial evidence which is open to interpretation.

    Ask yourself: What evidence is there that our great .……great grandfather was a self replicating molecule or simple cell?

    Dr John Sanford (Geneticist and inventor of the GeneGun) said :
    “The bottom line is that the primary axiom [of Darwinian/Macro evolution] is categorically false,
    you can’t create information with misspellings, not even if you use natural selection.”

    • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

      Oh, for crying out, stop trolling!
      You post this exact same rant on any forum you have access to and as far as I can see have been doing so for years.
      Change the record. It’s boring.
      https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=he+evolution+battle+is+often+MISrepresented+as+science+against+religion+-+this+is+baloney!+The+real+battle+is+between+good+science+and+Darwinism.&oq=he+evolution+battle+is+often+MISrepresented+as+science+against+religion+-+this+is+baloney!+The+real+battle+is+between+good+science+and+Darwinism.&aqs=chrome..69i57.580j0j7&sourceid=chrome&es_sm=119&ie=UTF-8

      • theot58

        Richard – you are right about me posting similar rants over a long period of time.

        I am passionate about this issue because I am very disturbed that trusting students are being deceived daily by this evolution myth.

        The consequences of teaching Darwinina/Macro evolution as a scientific fact are subtle but very destructive.

        The core assertion of Darwinian/Macro evolution, that from simple and chaotic beginnings all life-forms emerged by an unguided, purposeless process, is NOT harmless. The inescapable inference is that since we emerged from a random, unguided, purposeless process, then we are purposeless and of no inherent value.

        If the scientific evidence supporting Macro evolution was strong I would shut up – but evidence is weak as. It is completely circumstantial and is INTERPRETED to support the evolution myth.

        Many evolutionists have publicly abandoned evolution; here is one example.

        Dr. Richard Lumsden (1938-1997) was a professor of parasitology and cell biology at Tulane University in Louisiana (a self-proclaimed evolutionist and Christian ridiculer) relates that after giving a lecture at Tulane University on the theory of evolution, one of his best students began asking him questions about evolution which he later realized had caused him to doubt his long-held evolutionary worldview.

        Check out his personal testimony https://youtu.be/s91-ABJ49ho

  • anna

    In the middle east, Christians are being killed, raped and driven into exile. Meanwhile, a TV presenter whines that he’s being ‘persecuted’ for his beliefs, when in fact, he’s simply been asked how he squares his creationist beliefs, if indeed he holds them, with the much more widely accepted theory of evolution. This is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask.

    It can be argued that evolution has not been completely proved; but the difference between creationists and evolutionists is that if evolution were proved to be wrong, scientists would show humility before the evidence and re-consider. Creationists say, ‘It’s in the Bible so it must be true; please do not wave contradictory evidence in my face,’

    • Grant Melville

      Personally, I don’t see where the issue lies, because no established science disproves the fact that God created the universe. As a Christian, I don’t see how solid science could possibly contradict the Bible. I don’t believe in the theory of evolution, most particularly where it applies to the human race – but the theory isn’t solid science by any means. The earth is clearly very old indeed, and there have clearly been successive populations of flora and fauna on the earth – the fossil record shows that. I have no difficulty in believing that the hand of the Creator was responsible for crafting each ecosystem and every creature, down the millennia. What the fossil record doesn’t show is the gradual series of changes and adaptions that evolution requires – and in fact other science claims that the earth, though it’s very old indeed, isn’t old enough to allow for all these adaptions at occur and for the earth to reach its current state. Every real discovery of science confirms, rather than disproves, the Biblical account of the origins of the universe. I can record Mr William Kelly’s book on the subject, ‘In The Beginning’. Interested readers might also find that Mr T.W. Carron’s book entitled ‘Evolution: The Unproven Theory’ provides food for thought.

      • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

        I don’t see where the issue lies, because no established science disproves the fact that God created the universe.
        The issue lies in the fact that creationists claim scientific support for their religious dogma. Of course science cannot prove or disprove the assertion that God created the universe. That is not the nature of science. However, when specific claims are made by creationists of flaws in evolutionary theory, it is perfectly valid to criticise those claims. We seen some of the standard creationist arguments in the dialogue here. We have seen the claim that soft-tissue preservation refutes the age of the earth, that there are flaws on the methods we use for dating the geological record, for the immutability of “kinds” and so on. All those claims have been utterly refuted over and over again, in some cases by demonstrating that they are based on outright lies about the evidence.

        And yet creationists persist in promoting them in the apparent belief that it doesn’t matter that they are based on lies provided they support their cause.

        I oppose creationism because I despise such blatant dishonesty.

        • Grant Melville

          Yes. I feel that Christians, some of them very genuine people, have formed (or being drawn into) elaborate ideas and notions which aren’t at all drawn from the Bible – such as the idea that the earth is young. So many pointless and purposeless battles are fought over misconceptions like that. People think they’re defending the truth against infidelity, but really they’re fighting for the supremacy of one man-made notion over another. It’s a false position for a Christian to be in, quite frankly, and no possible good can come of it. Our time would be infinitely better spent studying God’s word than fighting about science.

        • JabbaPapa

          The issue lies in the fact that creationists claim scientific support for their religious dogma

          Atheists falsely claim scientific support for their own (anti-)religious dogma.

          • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

            Even if this were the case (and I doubt very much that you can provide any evidence to support your assertion), do you think this means that it’s okay for creationists to lie about science?

            As a matter of idle curiosity, do you think that the devout religious believers who are opposed to creationism are atheists?

            This is not an issue of religion v, science. it is an issue of science not because scientists say so, but because that is what creationists demand. The fact that they accuse anyone who argues against them of being atheists shows very clearly that their claim for scientific legitimacy is itself a lie.

            • JabbaPapa

              creationists

              Given that I have quite explicitly stated my disagreement with your use of this word, I am unlikely to respond to questions that are entirely predicated upon my accepting your misuse of that and related vocabulary.

              I doubt very much that you can provide any evidence to support your assertion

              There is plenty of evidence in just about every “religion” thread of this website.

              • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                Given that I have quite explicitly stated my disagreement with your use of this word
                Given that contrary to your apparent belief you are not the sole arbiter of the meaning of words, that I am using the word “creationist” in the sense for which it used by organisations and individuals calling themselves “creationist”, that such individuals and organisations make explicit claims for the scientific legitimacy of their religious dogma, why don’t you answer my question rather than demand that the English language be redefined for your personal benefit?

                So, give me a clear example of an atheist claiming scientific support for their “atheistic dogma’.
                The sweeping generalisations of which you are so fond merely serve to emphasise the point that you can’t do so.

                • JabbaPapa

                  Given that contrary to your apparent belief you are not the sole arbiter of the meaning of words

                  Nor are you, mate, no matter how many links you might decide to post to articles of the online OED.

                  why don’t you answer my question

                  Why can’t you accept that your own views about “creationists” are unlikely to be universally acceptable, and that others are liable to have a different comprehension of that philosophical term than you have ?

                  So, give me a clear example of an atheist claiming scientific support for their “atheistic dogma’.

                  The sweeping generalisations of which you are so fond merely serve to emphasise the point that you can’t do so.

                  Oh good grief, and let’s all pretend that your sweeping generalisations about “creationists” are non-existent …

                  I continue not to be your research assistant — I’ve described to you the location of the evidence ; how you choose to interpret that evidence is your own affair, not mine.

                • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                  Nor are you, mate, no matter how many links you might decide to post to articles of the online OED.
                  I’m not claiming to be. However, i suggest that the OED is a better resource for defining the meanings of words than the unsupported assertions of an internet troll posting under a pseudonym.

                • JabbaPapa

                  a) I am not an “internet troll”

                  b) my use of a pseudonym is predicated by the existence of certain extremely malicious individuals who take their anti-religiosity to the extreme of seeking to cause harm in people’s personal lives (as several friends have been the victim of)

                  c) the actual OED is a multi-volume dictionary costing thousands of pounds, not this silly little online ersatz version

                • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                  a) I am not an “internet troll”

                  I suggest that others are better placed to make such a judgement than you are.

                  b) my use of a pseudonym is predicated by the existence of certain extremely malicious individuals who take their anti-religiosity to the extreme of seeking to cause harm in people’s personal lives (as several friends have been the victim of)

                  Which is no doubt a convenient excuse for you, as it allows you to remain anonymous and avoid any responsibility for the nonsense you post. As a matter of idle curiosity, how many different identities do you use?

                  c) the actual OED is a multi-volume dictionary costing thousands of pounds, not this silly little online ersatz version

                  No, the actual OED is now on-line, and you can purchase an annual subscription for about £200 and about $300 in the USA; Although the free on-line version has limited access, it is based on the full version. According to its editors, it is unlikely that any future versions will be available in printed form.

                  http://public.oed.com/how-to-subscribe/

                  I suggest that to any reasonable person the free version can be considered a more reliable source for information than your unsupported assertions. will

                • JabbaPapa

                  I suggest that others are better placed to make such a judgement than you are

                  In reality, I am not subjected to your prejudiced notions.

                  Which is no doubt a convenient excuse for you, as it allows you to remain anonymous and avoid any responsibility for the nonsense you post

                  Oh, why don’t you just sod off with your unsubstantiated claims ?

                  As a matter of idle curiosity, how many different identities do you use?

                  Also spracht sockpuppet.

                  You have expressed your familiarity of several “years” with some individual, despite the number of your own posts under this identity during that period being extremely small.

                  So.

                  How many socks have you been maintaining yourself, you hypocrite ?

                  No, the actual OED is now on-line, and you can purchase an annual subscription for about £200 and about $300 in the USA; Although the free on-line version has limited access, it is based on the full version. According to its editors, it is unlikely that any future versions will be available in printed form.

                  Thank you for confirming your general ignorance regarding Dictionaries of English.

                  Subscriptions costing hundreds of pounds annually naturally cost thousands overall, just in case you were incapable of making basic sums.

                  Still waiting for you to type out “I was wrong” in any of these threads where your position has been demolished by facts.

                  I suggest that to any reasonable person the free version can be considered a more reliable source for information

                  I am not responsible for your idiotic biases.

                • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                  .How many socks have you been maintaining yourself, you hypocrite ?

                  I only post under my own name. That’s because I take responsibility for what I write, and don’t hide behind pseudonyms like a moral and intellectual coward.

                  Calling me a hypocrite merely serves to emphasise your own failings.

                  Thank you for confirming your general ignorance regarding Dictionaries of English.

                  i suggest that the evidence shows rather clearly that I know more about them, and the definitions of words than you do. Calling others ignorant when the deficiencies in your own knowledge are exposed hardly adds weight to your arguments.

                • JabbaPapa

                  i suggest that the evidence shows rather clearly that I know more about them, and the definitions of words than you do

                  That is because you do not understand the subject.

                  So come on then — HOW exactly does someone inactive for years have familiarity with posts made by someone he dislikes during that period ?

                  I only post under my own name

                  I don’t believe you.

                • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                  That is because you do not understand the subject.
                  Ands we should believe that you do because…..?

                  So come on then — HOW exactly does someone inactive for years have familiarity with posts made by someone he dislikes during that period ?
                  I have no idea what you are talking about. I have been pretty well constantly active in forums where creationism is involved for several years.

                  don’t believe you.
                  Do you think I give a flying *** what you belive

                • Sanctimony

                  You wouldn’t, would you … you ghastly fraud and humbug !

                • Sanctimony

                  You are corresponding with the ultimate Walter Mitty and a completely
                  deranged fantasist who is incessantly trumpeting her perceived
                  intellectual brilliance.. she is a frustrated nonentity, squatting in a
                  trailer park in France and venting her spleen and poison on the
                  internet…. just for some background music….

                • http://plesiosaur.com Richard Forrest

                  How amusing, and what an excellent demonstration of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of creationism.

                  I post under my own name.

                  I have a modest track record of research and publication in the field of vertebrate palaeontology, which anyone with a modicum of intelligence and access to the internet can check for themselves. I have even appeared on TV a few times enthusing about my specialisation, which is that fascinating group of marine reptiles called plesiosaurs.

                  I take responsibility for what I write.

                  And here we have a moral and intellectual coward hiding behind a pseudonym descending to fatuous and petty insult, false accusations and lies rather than address the implications of their shoddy and dishonest dogma.

                  I wrote “amusing”. Perhaps a better term is pathetic.

                • Sanctimony

                  Oh, why don’t you just sod off with your unsubstantiated claims ?

                  The benchmark of the intellectually barren… when you don’t have a reasoned answer and need to resort to common abuse and violence…

                  You, JabbaPapa, epitomise and empty and didactic intellect… driven by your innate need to assert yourself by trying to shout down anyone at variance with your hysteriocal diktats….

                • Sanctimony

                  You are a troll… you also have multiple sock puppets… the most recent of which was the Woman in White….

                • JabbaPapa

                  The definition of interwebs peace : Comment by Sanctimony blocked

                • Sanctimony

                  She’s not ‘mate’…. she’s a ghastly hermaphrodite who, until recently, masqueraded as the Woman in White…. for white, read sh…

Close