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Creationism Museum Opening in Kentucky 1166

Posted by Zonk
from the see-where-you-are-wrong-is-everywhere dept.
Noel Linback writes "A new creationism-espousing museum is opening in the state of Kentucky. According to a New York Times article the museum depicts humans and dinosaurs living together in traditional 'diorama' style exhibit. 'Whether you are willing to grant the premises of this museum almost becomes irrelevant as you are drawn into its mixture of spectacle and narrative. Its 60,000 square feet of exhibits are often stunningly designed by Patrick Marsh, who, like the entire museum staff, declares adherence to the ministry's views; he evidently also knows the lure of secular sensations, since he designed the Jaws and King Kong attractions at Universal Studios in Florida. For the skeptic the wonder is at a strange universe shaped by elaborate arguments, strong convictions and intermittent invocations of scientific principle. For the believer, it seems, this museum provides a kind of relief: Finally the world is being shown as it really is, without the distortions of secularism and natural selection. '"
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Creationism Museum Opening in Kentucky

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  • My favourite quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by toby (759) * on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:49PM (#19285633) Homepage Journal

    "It's a great place for children who are in public school and haven't really decided what to believe yet."

    Who ya gonna believe! GOD or some hairy liberal professor! [scienceblogs.com]

    Welcome to the 21st Century, America!

  • Almost funny... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by John3 (85454) <john3NO@SPAMcornells.com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:54PM (#19285699) Homepage Journal
    Ken Ham (President of Answers in Genesis, sponsor of the museum) would be amusing to watch if he wasn't so scary. There was a segment in the documentary "Friends of God" which showed Ken speaking to a group of children [youtube.com] about dinosaurs and evolution. His logical argument to the children was that since scientists weren't around 4,000 years ago but god was then we have to believe god and not the scientists.

    "Intelligent Design" groups have been running tours through legitimate museums, providing their own narrative in order to dispute the information provided by the museum displays. Maybe after this museum opens some atheist tour group so do the same thing...take tours through Ken's "museum" and provide scientific narrative to dispute his biblical nonsense.
  • Re:About the Bible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by arthurpaliden (939626) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @05:54PM (#19285701)
    You are aware of course that the Bible, as we know it today, was a govenment project........
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:01PM (#19285737) Journal

    "...and by Enlightenment philosophers, who chipped away at biblical authority"
    - emphasis mine

    I always question that phrase; who gave the bible authority? I'm reasonably certain of my history, and in this case, it was mankind who gave the bible any authority at all, if it really has any.

    That question is more important than the question of what truth's if any, does it hold.

  • by User 956 (568564) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:03PM (#19285761) Homepage
    What I don't get is, why do creationists have such an obvious hatred for science, and yet they have a compulsion to explain their own beliefs using scientific-sounding words and scientific-looking venues?

    That's what's so absurd about this whole thing. Nearly everything in that museum is owed to real science. From the depictions of ancient creatures and people, to the actual robotics and materials used in their construction.

    You can't pick and choose which parts of science you like, and which parts of science you don't like. Talk about the ultimate hypocrisy.
  • Best Protest (Score:5, Interesting)

    by moehoward (668736) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:12PM (#19285857)

    The best way to protest this is to get a couple thousand people to show up there and laugh for 5 minutes on queue. I recall a similar protest was done in India some years ago and it is brilliant.

    Just laugh as hard as you can at them for 5 minutes. Rinse. Repeat.
  • by jkorz (1088471) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:21PM (#19285935)
    http://www.genesispark.org/genpark/ancient/ancient .htm [genesispark.org]

    Do a little reading before you post. There are even fossilized dinosaur tracks with human footprints going through them. http://www.bible.ca/tracks/tracks.htm [bible.ca]
  • Re:About the Bible (Score:2, Interesting)

    by microsoft_hater (1101657) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:22PM (#19285939)
    You're both joking, but you're absolutely right. Christopher Hitchens once said in an interview: "Yes, and the Seventh-Day Adventists, who descended from the Millerites. I can see that Scientology now enjoys charitable status as a religion, which I think is a real triumph. I can't get over that. You can set some idea of what it would have been like to live in third-century Nicea when Christianity was being hammered together - an experience I am very glad I did not have. Religious diversity is confused with pluralism. Because of multi-culturalism and what is called "political correctness," religion has a certain protection that it couldn't expect to have if it was a state-sponsored racket like the Church of England." Not that it's cool to be an apologist for oil wars or anything, but the guy *really* likes the Kurds...
  • by DeeVeeAnt (1002953) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:29PM (#19285989)
    It always amazes how these people underestimate the scale and beauty of "god"'s creation by so many orders of magnitude. Apparently their god would not have been subtle enough to make life which could adapt to a changing world? There is nothing in any science which confirms or denies god's existence. Imagine if they had won over the astronomers, we would have been stuck with a tiny god who could only manage one little planet, and one star. Now we know about the vast beauty of the stars and galaxies spread across the sky. Surely if you are going to believe in a creator, this sort of knowledge can only increase your respect for it? There I go again, trying to apply reason to religion. But why doesn't it ever work?
  • by Belacgod (1103921) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @06:33PM (#19286033)
    Very well said. Furthermore, the arguments presented in the Bible are not logical arguments, which would lose their force if combined with shoddy reasoning. The Bible is a series of stories that advocate particular moral choices, and seek to make those moral choices attractive. If you find those moral choices attractive, it doesn't matter that the imperative to do them doesn't come coherently from the text, because the imperative to do them comes from yourself, and the Bible is only a way to encourage yourself to follow them, inspiration rather than command. Some may find the Bible inspiring enough to change their actions and principles to coincide with it, but they're not being convinced by any sort of logic--they're being convinced by the emotional attractiveness of the Bible's principles. That's what religion is--a set of explanations of the world and moral principles that derive their force by making us feel good when we follow them. It's not necessary to accept every part of your chosen religion to get the benefit of it--you just have to like it enough to be inspired to act accordingly. Clearly the Creationist Museum operators have taken a very different part of Christianity to heart than Conigs has.
  • by localman (111171) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:17PM (#19286435) Homepage
    ...is a recognition from both sides that evolution is not in opposition to the bible or Christianity. Many (most?) Christians know this already, but there are a few (like the folks that made this museum) who haven't figured it out yet. There are also many non-Christian evolutionists who think that evolution is counter to Christianity. I was raised a Christian, though I am no longer one, but I don't see that evolution contradicts the bible.

    The bible is full of events natural events that science has gone on to explain but which we don't fret about. Every time someone falls to the ground they were being pulled by a magical force which science later called "gravity". Does knowing the way in which gravity works, and the ability to predict its effects contradict the bible? No: people assume that God created gravity and that is the method by which he keeps people stuck to the Earth and the planets and stars in rotation. What about disease? When it was discovered that bacteria and viruses cause disease, and that we could control the effects to a large degree, was the bible's absence in describing the physical mechanism of disease a sudden point of contention? No.

    So why is it that natural selection, an obvious, elegant, and indeed predictive theory (see drug resistant pests) seen as something else? Why can't natural selection be the mechanism by which God brought forth first the plants, then the animals, and then man, as described in Genisis?

    He does not need to be a "God of the Gaps" filling in only that which we don't know. He can be God the architect, designer of all that which we do know, and also that which we have yet to discover.

    Personally, I don't believe in God, but most of my family does. I am continually surprised that they struggle so hard with evolution.

    Cheers.
  • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:27PM (#19286513)
    Yes, every time evolution comes up, the same arguments against it are presented. Despite the fact that those same arguments have been discredited time and time again (if one would but do some basic research).

    #1.

    The only thing that has ever been observed is minor changes within a kind of animal over time: adaptation.


    No, DNA mutations have been observed. Most of these mutations have NO adaptation value AT THE POINT IN TIME THAT THEY OCCURRED. Changes to the environment AFTER those mutations caused them to become advantageous.

    #2.

    No real evidence has ever been discovered (or much less reproduced) that one kind of animal can bring forth an animal of a different kind: i.e. a fish giving birth to a frog.


    Yes, it has. The easiest example is a colony of fruit flies. Split them into two sub-colonies and within a dozen generations they will no longer be able to inter-breed between the colonies. They have become two different species.

    Your fish/frog example is flawed because there is no reason to believe that one those different animals could achieve gestation within each other. Modern fish came from animals that were ALMOST identical to modern fish. Modern frogs came from animals that were ALMOST identical to modern frogs.

    #3.

    The idea that a complicated organism can "evolve" one part at a time is just idiotic, no matter how many people believe it.

    And yet the evidence seems to support that theory.

    And not only that, but the theory of evolution is the basis of our entire medical science now. And that seems to work, also.
  • by NMerriam (15122) <NMerriam@artboy.org> on Saturday May 26, 2007 @07:43PM (#19286645) Homepage

    The catholic church is NOT mainstream Christian thought. The catholic church on many occasions killed anyone who opposed them, their teachings are not Christian and aren't considered so by anyone other than themselves.


    You do realize that the vast majority of Christians outside the USA are Catholic, right? They're not exactly some obscure sect of Christianity. Protestantism is, by any reasonable definition of "mainstream", NOT mainstream Christian except in the USA and a few other places.
  • by Wavicle (181176) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:08PM (#19286875)
    Everybody used to think that the earth was flat and that everything revolved around the sun.

    No, the educated have for thousands of years known the earth was a sphere.

    The bible clearly contradicted both of these theories and later science caught up with the bible.

    So how high was that mountain in Matthew 4:8 where all the kingdoms of the world could be seen? I'd think that a little difficult if the earth were a sphere.

    Same thing with sanitation.

    Oh you mean the one that says if you have an STD wash in running water, but otherwise use stagnant water? (You should really be careful about reading literal translations of Hebrew euphemisms.)

    No real evidence has ever been discovered (or much less reproduced) that one kind of animal can bring forth an animal of a different kind: i.e. a fish giving birth to a frog.

    Wow, you're fond of lying, aren't you? You must hate yourself. Not only has speciation been observed, but evolution doesn't say that a fish would give birth to a frog.

    You might also want to read how the fossils and rock layers are dated (spoiler: they are used to date each other... circular reasoning).

    I thought you just said you hated lying... And yet you just did it, again, right there. (Spoiler: Geological dating has gold standards. Reference fossils always depend on radiometric geological dating.)
  • by tftp (111690) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:21PM (#19286957) Homepage
    Personally, I think God framed the humans.

    Here is another example. Let's assume I am programming my new robotic dog. I explicitly code a statement that says to not bark. Then I run the code. The dog runs around and then barks. What options do I have now?

    1. Throw the dog out of the window, declare that it knowingly offended and denied me, and make a law that all dogs of this type must be manufactured with intentionally built-in defects, from now and forever, as a punishment for the sin of this specific dog that I built myself from the ground up.
    2. Admit that my code has a bug, find the problem, fix it and rerun the code to see if it now works properly.

    A secondary test is to tell which action fits a wise man and which action fits a spoiled brat.

  • My own idea. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by prelelat (201821) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:44PM (#19287161)
    The question of creationism has always puzzled me. When I was younger I believed in it whole heartedly. Now that I'm older I have had to rethink my beliefs which I think everyone should do regardless of what you believe, you should always re-evaluate everything. But I don't think that the percentage of people that believe in Creationism are going to be compelled by a museum. I mean personal beliefs usually have some kind of variation between others (different religions and your own ideas), but I guess if you're in an organized religion they might be quite similar. I just don't think you can have a museum on Creationism, I think peoples efforts would be better spent on a museum of Religion. This would be more beneficial to everyone knowing the history of theirs and others beliefs. Knowing what is actually true about someone else's religion could help them to understand others as well.

    What I purpose is a place where you can go and be educated on every belief. I myself think that atheism requires just as much faith as a person who believes in god. Who are you to know for a fact that something intelligent didn't create everything, something had to come from somewhere no one knows so why it is that it has to be nothing. Frankly I haven't seen much come from nothing I haven't seen any proof of that so I don't know why people think that it takes less faith to believe that there is no god than it does to believe that there is. Frankly you will never convince someone who has a strong faith to switch in either direction. That is why I think that it fits in as well, I'm sure that there are a lot of people on Slashdot that will disagree with me. I've met quite a few in my travels and at work when the subject comes up. But I think that we can all agree that people generally need to make the decision themselves, be it one way or another.

    Back on topic I think it would be better to give a whole history of different beliefs such as Greek/roman gods, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Atheism, and much much more. I think it would be more educational for people and help them with clarity on their own beliefs. I guess when I was younger I was exposed to all the differing views on everything so that I could make a more educated guess at the time in what I believe. Not that it would help much because I always wonder as I think most of you must.

    Of course this is all just my opinion, I'm pretty sure someone will disagree or say it wouldn't work or that it's no different than what is proposed. I just think it would be a good idea in my own head.
  • by maspatra (1031940) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @08:58PM (#19287273)
    It's pretty well established that the large flying dinosaurs were long extinct before the dawn of human beings; remember it took a long time since the extinction of dinosaurs before anything even remotely resembling homonids started appearing.

    What's more likely is that tales of dragons grew out of another animal--namely pre-existing reptiles, snakes and crocodilians. All primates have an innate, instinctual fear of snakes--in fact it's been argued that primate eyes evolved the way they did because of snakes. (Do a google search on "primate evolution snakes"--there's some interesting stuff to be read) As for fear of the crocodilians, that's a no-brainer--they're big, hungry, and can tear off your leg. While I don't know about western dragons, I read an article several years ago that argued quite well that stories of Chinese dragons grew out of crocodiles.

    But it makes sense--you want to think up a scary animal, make a big honking version of an animal that people are already instinctually afraid of--snakes. And make 'em fly too for good measure.
  • by Firethorn (177587) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @09:51PM (#19287669) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I actually encountered a guy like this - He said that the bible was infallible, I asked him about translation errors, and he said even the translation was perfect - so I asked which translation he read. He didn't even know that there are dozens of translations into english alone. He couldn't even name which one it was. But it was still infallible - written by god, Yessir.
  • The God Delusion (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:29PM (#19287969) Journal
    A good book by Richard Dawkins who wrote 'The Selfish Gene'. Here's a summary:

    Richard Dawkins on why religion sticks: "There is no such thing as a Muslim Child. There is a child of Muslim Parents. There is no such thing as a Christian Child. There is a child of Christian Parents.

    My specific hypothesis is about children. More than any other species, we survive by the accumulated experience of previous
    generations, and that experience needs to be passed on to children for their protection and well-being. Theoretically, children might learn from personal experience not to go too near a cliff edge, not to eat untried red berries, not to swim in crocodile-infested waters. But, to say the least, there will be a selective advantage to child brains that possess the rule of thumb: believe, without question, whatever your grown-ups tell you. Obey your parents; obey the tribal elders, especially when they adopt a solemn, minatory tone. Trust your elders without question. This is a generally valuable rule for a child. But, as with the moths, it can go wrong.

    Natural selection builds child brains with a tendency to believe whatever their parents and tribal elders tell them.
    Such trusting obedience is valuable for survival: the analogue of steering by the moon for a moth. But the flip side of trusting obedience is slavish gullibility. The inevitable by-product is vulnerability to infection by mind viruses.

    Sociologists studying British children have found that only about one in twelve break away from their parents' religious beliefs."

    Remember the old consistency thing. People are loathe to change their mind:

    "It would be a severe disadvantage, for example, when hunting or making tools, to keep changing one's mind, so under some circumstances, it is better to persist in an irrational belief than to vacillate, even if new evidence or ratiocination favors a change."

    Douglas Adams: "Religion . . . has certain ideas at the heart of it which we call sacred or holy or whatever. What it means is, 'Here is an idea or a notion that you're not allowed to say anything bad about; you're just not. Why not? - because you're not!' If somebody votes for a party that you don't agree with, you're free to argue about it as much as you like; everybody will have an argument but nobody feels aggrieved by it. If somebody thinks taxes should go up or down you are free to have an argument about it. But on the other hand if somebody says 'I mustn't move a light switch on a Saturday', you say, 'I respect that'.

    Why should it be that it's perfectly legitimate to support the Labour party or the Conservative party, Republicans or Democrats, this model of economics versus that, Macintosh instead of Windows - but to have an opinion about how the Universe began, about who created the Universe . .. no, that's holy? . .. We are used to not challenging religious ideas but it's very interesting how
    much of a furore Richard creates when he does it!

    Everybody gets absolutely frantic about it because you're not allowed to say these things. Yet when you look at it rationally there is no reason why those ideas shouldn't be as open to debate as any other, except that we have agreed somehow between us that they shouldn't be."

    Andrew Mueller: "Pledging yourself to any particular religion 'is no more or less weird than choosing to believe that the world is rhombus-shaped, and borne through the cosmos in the pincers of two enormous green lobsters called Esmerelda and Keith'."

    Sam Harris: "We have names for people who have many beliefs for which there is no rational justification. When their beliefs are extremely common we call them 'religious'; otherwise, they are likely to be called 'mad', 'psychotic' or 'delusional' . . . Clearly there is sanity in numbers."

    Richard Dawkins: "The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodth
  • by Man On Pink Corner (1089867) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:44PM (#19288105)
    It's frightening to see how, in 4 years, the creationism vs evolution has become, in both parts, an accepted "debate".

    It's depressing as hell, too. I thought this "debate" was won 70 years ago, but apparently the stupidity gene refuses to die out.
  • by wrf3 (314267) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:56PM (#19288199) Homepage
    Frostalicious remarked So basically you believe in the literal truth of the Bible...
    I don't think you know me well enough to really know what I believe. For the record, however, I hold that parts of the Bible are literal, parts are metaphor, parts are allegory. I might even allow that parts are fiction, i.e. a story used to communicate some truth about God and/or man.

    So are missionaries behaving improperly?
    Depends on their behavior. But to the question I think you're asking, all Christians are commanded to share the Gospel (literally "good news"), just as we are commanded to leave the results up to God.

    Is one supposed to spontaneously discover Christ unprompted?
    Well, this assumes that the only way someone can discover Christ is through human agency. It's certainly one way, but God is quite capable of speaking for Himself. I have friends who work in the Middle East. God is doing things there that they couldn't possibly do via direct revelation of His Son.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday May 26, 2007 @10:58PM (#19288215)
    "But here steps in Satan, the eternal rebel, the first free-thinker and emancipator of worlds. He makes man ashamed of his bestial ignorance and obedience; he emancipates him, stamps upon his brow the seal of liberty and humanity, in urging him to disobey and eat of the fruit of knowledge." - Mikhail Bakunin
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:18PM (#19288397)
    This hits the same nail as the question "Can God create a stone so heavy that he himself can't lift it?" And there is even an answer to both, this and your question, that does not contracdict the omni- qualities of God.

    Since God is a singular entity (at least in monotheistic religions), there cannot be two. So if God created an identical clone of himself, both clones would immediately become one again, since both of them would be omnipresent, thus everywhere, taking up the same metaphysical "room" and become identical. Thus it becomes impossible for God to fight his clone, simply by the fact that he is himself, even in all possible fractions and instances.

    It's hard to explain it in English, but I hope it makes sense.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Saturday May 26, 2007 @11:52PM (#19288605)
    This was probably the best answer for the problem to date. Thank you.

    So God wants us to choose. Him or not him. Freely. There is no force involved, he wants us to choose his path, of course, but he would rather see us choose the wrong path than force us on the right one.

    Could someone please tell the fundamentalists?
  • Re:The Famous Moths (Score:4, Interesting)

    by oaklybonn (600250) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:05AM (#19288707)
    I did take some time to read that document, and I also took some time to look into its author. To quote this page [don-lindsay-archive.org]:

    Rev. Wells decided in 1976 to "devote my life to destroying Darwinism" since it is incompatible with the beliefs of the Unification Church (the "Moonies"). He subsequently earned two Ph.D.'s (in theology and in biology) as a preparation for battle. Wells has indicated elsewhere that he is an "old-earth" creationist. He agrees that speciation has happened, but disputes common descent, and wants an ongoing role for God.
    Please read some of the reviews and rebuttals of of Reverend Wells other book, and see for yourself how its possible for someone to have a PhD in biology and yet still not understand how science works. I'm not a biologist, so I won't attempt to rebut the page you linked to - but you owe us all the favor of continuing to research what he writes, if you're going to cite it as cannon.
  • by localman (111171) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:07AM (#19288721) Homepage
    Good point. I wonder how long the debates went on about their discoveries... a solid theory of evolution has only been around for 150 years or so. Maybe just like the earth-centered universe we'll all eventually come around.

    Funny related story: my grandfather was a pastor at a Christian church. At some point in the sixties, I think, he had an guest preacher come by -- a very old Italian fellow. For his sermon, he focused on how ridiculous it was that scientists claimed the earth was round. He read passage after passage from the bible that demonstrated that the earth was flat, and he had a good laugh since it was so obvious that it was flat. The scientists, he said, were fools. Again, this was in the 1960's.

    My poor grandfather had to dedicate the entire sermon the following week to undoing the damage. He found several passages in the bible that implied the earth was round, and he preached about that. He also bought the old fellow, the guest preacher, a globe.

    Aside from the obvious ridiculousness of believing the earth is flat at that point in time, I find it extra amusing that both men were able to support their completely contradictory ideas from the same book.
  • by southern yank (1092881) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @12:39AM (#19288899)
    Kids often visit museums. If you're looking to influence young minds and you can't get into schools, museums are the next best thing.
  • Re:The God Delusion (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:05AM (#19289065)
    Research into the Dead Sea Scrolls suggests that Jesus may have never existed.

    According to John Allegro [johnallegro.org], one of the first Dead Sea researchers, the early Christians were organized around secret rites and rituals.

    Jesus was a retelling of the "Teacher of Righteousness."

    Allegro: "Alas, the scrolls make no mention of the Nazarene teacher by name, indeed, the whole gospel tradition of a wine-bibbing associate of paws (paul's?), pimps, and quizzlings, a friend of Roman officers, and an advocate of paying taxes to the enemy, has no parallel at all in what little we can glean from the scrolls, about the manner of life of Jesus' Essene counterpart, the so-called Teacher of Righteousness."

    Even if there was a sectarian Jewish teacher living in Palestine during the first part of the first century called Joshua, or Jesus, he had nothing at all to do with the crucified Christos of Paul's theology, thus had no part to play in the formation of that distinctive amalgam of faiths that eventually swept the world.

    Anyway, put that in your dinsoaur diorama and smoke it.
  • by The Famous Brett Wat (12688) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:35AM (#19289237) Homepage Journal

    Hello. I'm a creationist, and I read Slashdot. My field of expertise is computing, but I also have a graduate degree in philosophy which included "philosophy of science", and I like a good argument. I would like to address point #3 briefly.

    In your first paragraph (of point #3) you point out a strong correlation between belief in intelligent design and certain religious views. You are appealing to the prevailing Slashdot bias against organised religion when you do this: the correlation says absolutely nothing in and of itself as to whether the idea is true or false. C. S. Lewis described that form of argument as "Bulverism": dismiss the argument on the basis that the person raising it has particular motives for doing so. "You just say that because you hold religious view X." I can't argue against this, because it isn't an argument.

    I will point out, however, that Intelligent Design and Creationism are not the exclusive property of theists. Sir Fred Hoyle and the "panspermia" proposal are an example of a prominent scientific atheist and a naturalistic intelligent design theory (limited to chemical evolution in scope). His ideas were not accepted, of course, and I wonder whether his audacity in questioning such sacred cows (and providing quotable material to the infidel creationists) didn't cost him Nobel Prize recognition in the end. Still, he started a meme that may yet bloom and grow: "seeds of life" [space.com].

    I don't mean to imply that such contrary ideas are common among practicing scientists: they are not. But is that because the ideas are profoundly and obviously wrongheaded, or simply because it's professional suicide for anyone less renowned than Sir Fred Hoyle to confess public doubt in evolution? Science is an old boys' club: break the social taboos and you'll be shunned -- a process otherwise known as peer review. If you think that science is a dry, dispassionate, truth-finding machine (rather than a thoroughly human, political, and perception-driven process) then I can only assume you've never submitted a research paper through a review process. Just about anyone who has (regardless of field, I'm sure) will have had the experience of getting back reviewer comments and thinking, "FFS, did you even read what I wrote?" If you have an argument that seems sympathetic to creationism, you won't get published in a bastion of evolutionary thought no matter how damn good your argument is: it will be dismissed as "creationist rubbish" on the first skim-read.

    Moving on, you spend considerable time talking about "Naturalism". I have a really big problem with science being synonymous with philosophical naturalism, and I can summarise that problem very easily. Assume, for the sake of argument, that some sort of supernatural being did, in fact, create the natural world using a supernatural process (by which I mean that it flagrantly violated known laws of physics, such as mass/energy conservation). Does this not leave the whole process of naturalistic science as one of pursuing falsehoods? The true explanation (a supernatural creator) is ruled out a priori by the method of investigation. Naturalistic science (as it relates to origins) would be the process of finding the most credible falsehood about the origin of things.

    Perhaps you can address that issue for me: if science is necessarily naturalistic, then how do we know that a naturalistic explanation like "big bang + evolution" is true, as opposed to a credible falsehood? Why do scientists such as yourself disparage supernatural proposals as though they were false, when you are yourself not in honest pursuit of truth, but of credible naturalistic explanations?

    The last point you cover is that of falsification. This is a subject dear to my heart in my capacity as a lover of philosophy. Rather than attempt to refute your argument or point out deficiencies in "falsification" itself, however, I think I have a better question. I

  • by howlingmadhowie (943150) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @03:16AM (#19289785)
    a few problems with this idea:
    god defines what the right path and the wrong path is.
    god would be free to install in us a different moral imperative more fitting to his definition of right.
    god tries to coerce us into doing what he has defined as good by threatening us with hell.

    all in all, it's just one huge logical mess.
  • Re:Falsification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tomfrh (719891) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @07:44AM (#19290967)
    It HAS been tested -- undergrad students (and even high school students) routinely run experiments in which they allow various traits to evolve in micro-organisms.

    Creationist folk argue that this is a case of microevolution, much like the breeding of dogs. To prove macroevolution is true they demand to see a transitional fossil, e.g. a mudskipper with monkey paws or something.
  • Re:Falsification (Score:2, Interesting)

    by neomunk (913773) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:40PM (#19293119)
    I personally think that since we know enough (not everything, but a good decent working approximation) about biochemistry that it is entirely possible to now do enhanced speed evolutionary experiments in a simulated environment. In fact, I know such research has been going on for longer than -I've- been alive already.

    I myself, being passively interested in self-adapting systems have been mucking around for years with various AI, AL (artificial life), machine learning and genetic algorithm programs. You can experience the wonders of evolution for yourself if you're willing to stare at a screen for hours on end. This IS slashdot, many of us do that already. :-)

    Seriously though, if you're really interested in at least seeing the very basics of evolution at work, I'd suggest a good start to be NetLOGO. It comes with a nice allotment of pre-built experiments for you to study and watch. Adaptive systems can effect very complex behaviors with very simple rules, and you can see that happen yourself if you really care.

    After NetLOGO you might wanna have a look at framsticks. Framsticks is basically an evolution simulator. Not true biochemical evolution (though I do think work has been done to make a biochemically accurate framework for framsticks) but a decent framework for macro-effects of biological evolution.

    Basically we already know that the mechanisms of life can (DO) change over time, and it's not too hard to grasp that the ones that work better survive longer. Since all life reproduces, it's probably a good assumption, though not 100% accurate, that the longer an organism lives, the more it reproduces. I cannot possibly fathom why such a simple system can draw so much ire.

    Oh, here are links to the programs I referenced.
    http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/ [northwestern.edu]
    http://www.frams.alife.pl/ [alife.pl]

    With framsticks (if memory serves, it's been a year) you need (unless you're a text mode superstar) the shareware package. It's not annoying bother you alot shareware, and though it IS slightly crippled, IFIAK all the crippling is done on things like rendering your creatures in a full OpenGL world. It DOES render them for you, just not in a beautifully crafted world. Again, I may be wrong, or things might have changed.

  • by tukkayoot (528280) on Sunday May 27, 2007 @01:53PM (#19293223) Homepage
    Attacks on religion, religious thought, and religious people are, of course, perfectly acceptable. It doesn't matter if we offend Christians as long as no atheist feelings are hurt.

    I'm not concerned with feelings, Christians, atheists or otherwise where public understanding and scientific literacy is concerned. If someone's presentation of scientific theories, or logical statements of fact are offensive to some Christians, that is just too bad for the Christians, just as it is just too bad for atheists that we (at least those of us who live in the United States) have to endure the incessant, grating displays of piety that religious people are so enamored with (though that's something I'm more annoyed at than I am personally distressed about).

    I am a Christian, although honestly I think exhibits of dinosaurs and humans living together are just as laughable as you. Do I think the Earth and everything on it was created in a literal 7 revolutions of our planet? Not even close. 4.5 billion years sounds good to me. Does that mean I need to go protest/attack those who think otherwise? Nope! They can believe what they want to on this subject because I don't think this is an issue of salvation.

    As I said in another post, what really gets me riled up is the presentation of ideas that you describe as "laughable" as being somehow scientifically or academically credible, when they are anything but. It's deceptive and is, as I've said, it seeks to actively undermine and degrade science by employing a scientific facade to fool the ignorant and gullible. It's just bad for Kentucky residents' scientific literacy and in my opinion, the lack of critical thought and scientific literacy in the public at large is a serious problem.

    Do I think humans and monkeys share a common ancestor? Once again, no. Can I prove that I'm right? No. Can you prove that I'm wrong? No. We each have our own belief in this case. You can try to build your side up as the side of reason and science, but it's based on just as much assumption as you say mine is. Neither of us has proof, so we fill in the blanks with what we've each reasoned as the most logical answer.

    I can say that my side is built on the side of reason and science, simply because it is. Of course, you could say your own position is more reasonable (and from your point of view it may be, if you rate the Bible as being a very credible source of knowledge about the nature of the universe) but it certainly isn't as scientifically well-supported. That doesn't prove outright that I'm right and you're wrong about whether or not humans and other animals share a common ancestor, but logically one would have to conclude that I am at very least, more likely to be correct on this point.

    So just listen: This museum is not an attack on your beliefs in science any more than it's an attack on my beliefs. It's a presentation, albeit rather extravagant and fancy, of their beliefs. Your beliefs still get plenty of attention, whether in schools, TV, movies, magazines, etc. Get over yourself, you arrogant jerk. You and I both disagree with them, yet somehow I can continue to live my daily life without the need to feel offended that someone somewhere may disagree with me. And lay off this crap about wanting to save the children. If it were up to you, they would be spoon-fed evolution from day 1, nothing else. How's that any different or better? At least with religion in the home and evolution in school they get more than just one viewpoint.

    Where to begin?

    Although I find the Creation Museum offensive in that it is an affront to what I think museums should generally be about -- presenting accurate information about the subject matter and that they should strive for some degree of scientific legitimacy when treating that concern science, like biology (origin of species, the history of the world's ecology), geology (age of Earth) and cosmology/physics (age and origins of the universe) ... I do not find a
  • Re:C-14? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by RobertLTux (260313) <robert&laurencemartin,org> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @04:54PM (#19294457)
    (for details from my viewpoints talk with any of the AIG team)
    the big problem with Radio-X dating is that if you have a chunk of rock and then date it using [method] you will get a number pick another [method] and you will get another number. Chain this out for a bit and you may land up with X methods and X+Y numbers all from the same chunk of rock

    carbon dating has the problem that a sample drawn from a guy said he had been dead for x thousand( or was it million) years , when he was informed the man in question was surprised.

    Radio-X dating is about as reliable as statistics for the time frame in question (BC 5000 and earlier)
  • by mateomiguel (614660) <matt_the_gradNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Sunday May 27, 2007 @10:53PM (#19296889)
    Its not Tree of Knowledge, as in knowledge was bad. Its the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, a very specific kind of knowledge, as in knowing that there is an alternative to Good is bad. Its a recurisvely-named tree. It is the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Don't eat of it, or you will gain the knowledge of Good and Evil. Evil is going against the command of not eating from the tree. So if you go against the command of not eating the tree, you will know what evil is.

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