|Evolution in the News - February 2007
|by Do-While Jones
We hope you will compare Discover’s review of the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum with our review of the Field Museum of Natural History.
Answers in Genesis is about to open their Creation Museum. Bruno Maddox, a writer for Discover magazine, was given a pre-opening tour and wrote a two-page review of his experience in the February, 2007, issue of the magazine.
The first two paragraphs set the tone for the article.
Pondering from the vile comfort of the Marriot in Hebron, Kentucky, … A creationist group called Answers in Genesis … has decided to spend $27 million building a creation museum only minutes away from this unlovely spot. … Yet the museum’s founders have chosen to set it in one of the few places on Earth that could plausibly have been designed by chimpanzees. … Exiting the Marriott into a hall of filthy light, I make a mental note to bring this up with someone. 1
Granted, ad hominin attacks are hallmarks of evolutionary arguments, but this is the first time an evolutionist has stooped so low as to attack a city and hotel.
[The museum is] a rather groovy modernist structure that looks from the outside like a topflight NBA arena as imagined by the makers of The Flintstones. The exterior is rendered in an oddly tasteful, faux-prehistoric faux stone, as is most of the interior—though the cave effect is somewhat compromised by a dizzying profusion of top-of-the-line plasma TV screens.
I eventually get to meet with Ken Ham, a fearsome, chin-bearded Australian whose brainchild this whole project is. 2
When we reviewed the Field Museum of Natural History, 3 we did not attack Chicago, or the place where we stayed, or the colors of the banners outside the museum, or the personal appearance of the museum director. We discussed the exhibits!
Yes, we make fun of the silly things evolutionists believe, but we don’t make fun of the evolutionists themselves. Perhaps the closest we have ever come to a personal attack was in our “Chimps Are Like Us” essay 4 in which we discussed the claim that there is only 4% difference between chimps and humans. That essay began with side-by-side pictures of a chimp and a famous (but unidentified) evolutionist with the caption, “Four percent difference!” We never made fun of her or even mentioned her name. We simply made fun of the silly notion that there is only a 4% difference between a chimp and a human. We examined all the different ways evolutionists calculated the difference, and the absurd conclusions they made based on those calculations.
On the other hand, evolutionists have to talk about architecture and personal appearance because science isn’t on their side. It is significant that nowhere in the two-page Discover article is there any criticism of any of the exhibits in the museum. That’s because they can’t mount any logical, scientific argument against the exhibits.
Two hours into my tour of the Creation Museum, I am visited by the startling realization that I, so hard-core an atheist as to make Richard Dawkins look like the Virgin Mary, have yet to actually, um, disagree with anything I’m seeing. 5
It must have hurt him to make that admission because he begins to backpedal in the next sentence.
Now, don’t get me wrong. Patrick Marsh and his creationists have some decidedly wacky—I would go so far as to say demonstrably false—ideas. They believe the universe is only 6,000 years old. They believe that dinosaurs and humans lived not only contemporaneously but in blissful harmony. 6
If that is so, then why doesn’t he demonstrate the universe is more than 6,000 years old? If you want to read about decidedly wacky ideas, just read the latest evolutionary conjecture about how the universe (or perhaps multiverses) began. Why doesn’t he make a side-by-side comparison of scientific and historic evidence that dinosaurs and humans did/didn’t live contemporaneously? It is because there is good evidence that they did live together. 7
Presumably he tried to argue with Ken Ham, because he says,
After losing several arguments to Ham, I head to the next-door office and start losing them to one Dr. Jason Lisle, a fresh-faced 32-year-old astrophysicist. 8
Why are evolutionists so obsessed with personal appearance? Maybe it is a way to avoid issues.
If he truly wanted to understand the creationist position, how could he have made the following statements?
The disarming and unexpected thing about the Answers in Genesis folks, however, is this: They don’t pretend to be right. … the message being, as it will be explained to me many times before I leave, that everyone’s view of reality is inescapably colored and distorted by that person’s “starting assumptions.” In other words, truth is an illusion and no one can ever really know anything. 9 [italics his]
They don’t pretend to be right? No one can ever really know anything? The usual accusation is that creationists are so dogmatic that they always think they are right. Ken Ham’s whole philosophy can be summed up this way: If you have questions about life, you can find the answers in Genesis.
Yes, conclusions can be distorted by assumptions. It is a message preached by Answers in Genesis, which can be traced back to the Institute for Creation Research, where Ken Ham once worked. But that doesn’t mean no one can ever really know anything. It means that one needs to examine assumptions carefully before coming to a conclusion.
People often project their own ideas and motives upon others. Evolutionists are the ones who believe one can’t really know anything for sure. Their mantra is that “science is self-correcting.” They use this argument every time one of their cherished beliefs is shown to be wrong. Evolutionists won’t be upset when the current theory about dark energy, dark matter, or anything pertaining to the origin of the universe is rejected because we will never know the truth. To them, truth is just the currently accepted majority belief, which is subject to change at any time.
Ken Ham, on the other hand, believes that truth is unchangeable, and knowable. Ken Ham thinks he is right. How anyone could spend any amount of time with Ken Ham and think that Ken is unsure of his beliefs is baffling.
Maddox must be projecting his own ideas on creationists when he says,
Every day brings fresh claims from the world of mainstream science, claims that must be weighed, then tortured to fit the framework of creationist belief or discounted with some sort of scientific-sounding explanation. 10
That’s exactly what evolutionists do! But, rather than just make the claim, as he does, we back up our claim with examples.
Ever since Darwin’s day, evolutionists have struggled with the fossil record, trying to torture it into the framework of evolution. Darwin recognized that the fossil record was not consistent with his theory, but tried to explain it away with “gaps.” When further exploration failed to fill those gaps, modern evolutionists came up with a scientific-sounding explanation called “punctuated equilibrium.”
Ken Ham, on the other hand, has said on numerous occasions, “If there was a world-wide flood, what would you expect to find in the fossil record? Millions of dead things in rocks laid down by water all over the world. What do you find in the fossil record? Millions of dead things in rocks laid down by water all over the world.” The fossil record fits perfectly in the creationist framework, but doesn’t fit the evolutionary model at all.
That’s a general example, but there are specific ones, too. Nature recently published the description of a juvenile Australopithecus afarensis fossil designated DIK-1-1 discovered in Ethiopia. The Nature article contained strong evidence that A. afarensis lived in trees. But the popular news media tortured the evidence to make it appear that more proof had been discovered showing that this creature walked upright, trying to make it fit their evolutionary framework. Since we didn’t have to fit the evidence into an evolutionary framework, we had no trouble reporting the facts. 11
Currently evolutionists are trying to figure out how to get Homo floresiensis (the “Hobbit”) to fit with their ideas of human evolution. Since they struggle trying to get the facts to fit their beliefs, they assume creationists must, too.
Maddox admits he had some preconceived notions.
I thought I was going to meet people who love God and therefore hate science. What I found instead were people who love God but who have a pretty serious crush on science as well, and thus find themselves in the Fitzgeraldian nightmare of waking up every day and trying to believe in both. 12
He thought people who love God hate science because that’s what he has been brainwashed to believe. There is no conflict between Christianity and science. There is a conflict between Christianity and evolution because there is a conflict between science and the theory of evolution. Creationists don’t suffer from the inner turmoil he imagines. But, because he imagines that creationists have this problem, he comes to this erroneous conclusion:
They will—they must—spend their lives, and brains, trying to think of ways that patently false ideas can be made to seem, if not actually true, at least not quite so patently false. 13 [italics his]
No, that’s what evolutionists do. Evolutionists have to think of ways that patently false ideas, such as the natural origin of life, can be made to seem not so patently false. How can someone who loves science believe that chemicals randomly formed all the necessary organic molecules, and came to life by chance? That’s the real Fitzgeraldian nightmare!
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Bruno Maddox, Discover, February 2007, “Blinded by Science”, page 28, https://www.discovermagazine.com/magazine/2007/february
2 ibid. pages 28-29
3 Disclosure, December 2001, “A Field Trip to the Field Museum” and Disclosure, January 2002, “Darwin’s Scorecard”
4 Disclosure, October 2005, “Chimps Are Like Us”
5 Bruno Maddox, Discover, February 2007, “Blinded by Science”, page 29, https://www.discovermagazine.com/magazine/2007/february
7 For examples, see Disclosure, October 1998, “Unicorns, etc.”; Disclosure, September 1999, “We Dug Dinos”; Disclosure, June 2000, “Paluxy Tracks”; Disclosure, May 2002, “Dinotopia”; Disclosure, June 2004, “The Age of Dinosaurs”; Disclosure, April 2005, “Surprising Dinosaurs”;
8 Bruno Maddox, Discover, February 2007, “Blinded by Science”, page 29, https://www.discovermagazine.com/magazine/2007/february
11 Disclosure, October 2006, “Little Lucy”
12 Bruno Maddox, Discover, February 2007, “Blinded by Science”, page 29, https://www.discovermagazine.com/magazine/2007/february