Report on the 2005 Mega Creation Conference, Part Two

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Monday, July 17. Morning.

After Falwell came David DeWitt, who directs the Center for Creation Research at Liberty University. He made only a few brief remarks, emphasizing Liberty's adherence to a literal interpretation of the Bible from “Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21” In particular, they believe Adam and Eve were real people and that God created in six literal days.


It was the conclusion to his remarks that struck me, however. He was contrasting Liberty's theological purity favorably against the weak-kneed, compromised theology of various other, allegedly Christian colleges. You know the one's I mean. Those are the Christian colleges that present biology and geology in serious way; the ones that suggest that ideas like evolution or the geological column are actually pretty nifty. Wheaton College was singled out for particular derision. It seems that in a survey of Wheaton students, a majority indicated that they were more confused on the subject of origins after going through Wheaton's curriculum than they were before. DeWitt described this as sad. Happy, apparently, is the fate of Liberty's students, who described themselves as less confused on the subject as a result of their education.

After Falwell's theatrics, DeWitt was a bit dull. They wisely got him off the stage quickly. Ken Ham was up next. Say what you want about him, he is never dull.

The keynote presentations were going on in a large collisseum. The speakers stood on a stage at some distance from the nearest audience members, but their charming mugs were projected onto several large screens for the beenfit of the attendees. Spearate screens displayed whatever Power Point slides the speaker chose to use. As Ronald Bailey observed in the article I linked to in my last post, the presentations were very slick and very professional, more so than what you often see at real scientific conferences.

But, then, the explanation for that is not hard to see. At scientific conferences, the purpose of the presentations is to transmit facts and ideas to the audience. Glitz and flash are not viewed as important. But in creationist conferences, the point is to fool people into thinking that something of great import is being delivered from the stage. They want to provoke the reaction, “How could they be wrong? Their presentation is so slick!”

I've tangled with Ham before, so I pretty much knew what was coming. His talk was entitled “Rebuilding the Foundation.” It was mostly a cheerleading talk, with very little scientific content. His rallying cry was &ldquo.We're taking them back!”

Here's a list of the things Ham described as needing to be retrieved by the Christian community: Christian Institutions, History, Creation, Chemistry, DNA, Marriage, Dinosaurs, Animal Kinds, Biology, Genetics, The Meaning of Death, Physics, Geology, The Grand Canyon, People Groups, Education and Genesis 1-11.

Somehow I was reminded of Steven Wright's line, “You can't have everything. Where would you put it?”

There were a few other choice nuggets in the talk. He outlined the “Seven C's” approach to history: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. To which I add an eighth C: Clever! There was also the casual suggestion that natural disasters and events like 9-11 are the result of human sin.

Ham closed his talk by imploring the audience to buy lot's of books and DVD's from the concessions in the from of the hall. But I don't mean he simply said, “Please visit the bookstore during the break between the talks.” Not at all. He went on for fifteen minutes desribing in great detail the various titles that were available. In fact, virtually every talk I attended concluded with five to ten minutes of pleas to buy lot's of stuff. Every time you thought they were finished hawking their wares, they'd rattle off a whole new series of products you were expected to buy. It reminded me of the old saying that television is a series of advertisements occasionally interrupted by programming just interesting enough to keep you watching until the next commercial. The actual presentations were the programming; the advertisements were the point of it all.

Exit Ham.

At this point there was a thirty minute break. After that there were parallel presentations going on, one in the “Basic” track, the other in the “Advanced” track. Goodness! What to do?

Let's consdier the options. The advanced talk for the morning was entitled “Refuting Compromise” by Jonathan Sarfati. I was mildly interested in seeing Sarfati since he is an excellent chess player. But the compromise he has in mind involves those Christians, most notably Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe, who have made their peace with the great age of the Earth. This didn't seem like something I could get worked up over.

And how could I resist the basic talk, entitled “What's the Best Evidence That God Created?” by Carl Kerby? You might try to anticipate the answer to that question before I come to it a few paragraphs from now.

My one concern about the talk, that it would be dull and ponderous, was put to rest right at the start when Kerby, in a tone more appropriate for an audience of five-year olds (basic indeed), informed us that this would be a fun talk. He began by discussing stars. They blow his socks off! The beauty, the colors the order! He's in awe! As am I, albeit for different reasons.

He then informed us that - surprise! - he was neither deep nor complex. This was a common refrain in this talk, at the conference generally, and in most creationist presentations. It's standard anti-intellectualism. If you think too much you get confused. It's obvious to everyone that there is a God. Only by many years of advanced study at a Godless university could you presume to reject something so clear.

He then showed us a picture of an elaborate sand castle and said, Dembski style, that the castle was obviously designed. But how much more complicated is a star than a sand castle! Like, QED, dude.

We were maybe five minutes into the talk at this point. It was around here that I got the sinking feeling that this talk was not going to get any better. From here Kerby launched into a list of some of nature's oddities. It was standard creationist fare, point to some random structure in some obscure little critter, gush about how complicated it is and how all the parts had to be there before it could function, scoff at the idea that such a thing could have evolved, bask in the cheers and laughter of the delighted audience. Creationists of a bygone era relied on such banalities as the human eye or bird wings, occasionally whipping out something more esoteric, like the defense mechanism of the bombardider beetle. Richard Dawkins gave a good description of the style of argument here:

Creationists mine ignorance and uncertainty, not as a spur to honest research but in order to exploit and abuse Darwin's challenge. “Bet you can't tell me how the elbow joint of the lesser spotted weasel frog evolved by slow gradual degrees?” If the scientist fails to give an immediate and comprehensive answer, a default conclusion is drawn: “Right then, the alternative theory, 'intelligent design', wins by default.” Notice, first, the biased logic: if theory A fails in some particular, theory B must be right! We are encouraged to leap to the default conclusion without even looking to see whether the default theory fails in the very same particular. ID is granted (quite wrongly as I have shown elsewhere) a charmed immunity to the rigorous demands made of evolution.

Notice, second, how the creationist ploy undermines the scientist's natural - indeed necessary - rejoicing in uncertainty. Today's scientist in America dare not say:

“Hm, interesting point. I wonder how the weasel frog's ancestors did evolve their elbow joint. I'm not a specialist in weasel frogs, I'll have to go to the University Library and take a look. Might make an interesting project for a graduate student.”

No, the moment a scientist said something like that - and long before the student began the project - the default conclusion would become a headline in a creationist pamphlet: “Weasel frog could only have been designed by God.”

Kerby produced a typical creationist menagerie of nature's oddities: The cave Weta of New Zealand, an insect which has “anti-freeze” blood to allow it to survive the cold winters of its native habitat; the Moloch Lizard; the congregating behavior of Emperor penguins, some exotic species of frog then went by too quickly for me to write down, the human body and so on. Kerby has an online version of the talk in PDF format here. The examples used in this online version were not necessarily the same as those used in his presentation at the Mega Conference, but I think you will get the idea.

In every case the argument was the same: The complex system in question could not have evolved gradually because it could not have functioned until all of its parts were in place. No, strike that. It was positively laughable to think that such a thing could have evolved. Utterly ridiculous! You'd have to have no brain at all even to entertain the notion!!

After each example Kerby would ask the audience, “Is this the best evidence that God created?” To which the delighted audience would reply with an emphatic No! So what is the best evidence that God Created? Have you guessed it yet?

It's the Bible! Duh! The best evidence that God created is that He told us He created. And then Kerby closed his talk with a chilling but typically clear expression of creationist logic: “Do not let evidence fuel your appreciation of God. Let your appreciation of God influence your view of the evidence.”

But what really bugged me about the talk was not the extreme shallowness of Kerby's thinking. No, I'm used to that. What bugged me were his incessant imprecations that we be humble before the glories of nature.

Humility? How dare these people talk about humility! You know what scientists do when confronted with nature's complexity? First they spend five years or more in graduate school, living in near-poverty, having no life, studying all the time while being used as cheap labor by the university, just to get a PhD. Then they go out into a job market that presents the very real possibility of unemployment as the reward for all that hard work. If they're lucky they'll land a post-doc, and bounce around the country for a while struggling to find a permanent position. Even if they are lucky enough to land a permanent position they could very well find themselves in some two by nothing town in the middle of nowhere. They spend years trying to get a research program off the ground, scrapping for grant money, and fighting with ornery referees to get their research published.

And why do they do that? They do it because they know that's what it takes if you want to understand nature's complexity just a little bit better. That's what it takes to make the tiniest dent in the sum total of human ignorance.

That's humility.

What isn't humility is having a used car salesman give you a brief description of some complex system, conclude after five seconds' reflection that it could not have evolved, and then decide that only an omnipotent God could be responsible for such a critter. That's not humility, that's supreme arrogance. That's pride and sloth all wrapped up into one.

Though the talk was held in a large classroom, there was no question and answer period after the talk. In fact, none of the presentations had Q&A's. Later in the conference Ham would mention that they felt it was impractical to have such sessions, which was total nonsense. It would have been trivial to set up microphones in the aisles for those talks held in the collisseum, while the talks in the classroom wouldn't even have required microphones. In fairness, however, most of the speakers hung around after the talk to take questions on a more intimate basis.

I didn't bother this time. For some of the later speakers I did go up at the end. Myahem ensued but that will have to wait for the next installment.

Next Up: Dr. Emil Silvestru on “Rocks Around the Clock: The Eons That Never Were.”

To be Continued

4 TrackBacks

You really must read Jason Rosenhouse's reports on the 2005 Creation Mega Conference, Part 1 and Part 2 (with more to come). What struck me is the elaborate set up for presentations, with multiple projectors and video feeds of the speaker…y... Read More

Jason at The Panda's Thumb is providing a series of incredibly fascinating posts about his time at the Creation Mega Conference in Lynchburg, Virginia (home of Liberty University, Falwell's institution). They're coming in parts, so read there or keep a... Read More

Lindsay Beyerstein at the Washington Monthly registers her annoyance with the History Channel's ad campaign for Ape to Man, a new documentary series on the history of hominid evolution, evolutionary theory, and the evidence substantiating it. Beneath a... Read More

Jason at The Panda's Thumb is providing a series of incredibly fascinating posts about his time at the Creation Mega Conference in Lynchburg, Virginia (home of Liberty University, Falwell's institution). They're coming in parts, so read there or keep a... Read More

212 Comments

He then showed us a picture of an elaborate sand castle and said, Dembski style, that the castle was obviously designed. But how much more complicated is a star than a sand castle!

He apparently doesn’t know anything about star formation.

Please type faster Jason. I’m left hanging for the next installment! It’s almost as bad as waiting for the monthly feedback update in TalkOrigins.

Cheers.

I didn’t bother this time. For some of the later speakers I did go up at the end. Myahem ensued but that will have to wait for the next installment.

Oh boy I am looking forward to this.

His rallying cry was “.We’re taking them back!” Here’s a list of the things Ham described as needing to be retrieved by the Christian community: Christian Institutions, History, Creation, Chemistry, DNA, Marriage, Dinosaurs, Animal Kinds, Biology, Genetics, The Meaning of Death, Physics, Geology, The Grand Canyon, People Groups, Education and Genesis 1-11.

“Taking them back”? But only the first item on the roster could possibly be considered as ever having been theirs at any time previously (and that only if you consider Falwell, Ham, et al as somehow being legitimate heirs to that legacy, moreso than those currently in proprietorship)…

Don’t those guys have a rule against coveting other people’s stuff?

What isn’t humility is having a used car salesman give you a brief description of some complex system, conclude after five seconds’ reflection that it could not have evolved, and then decide that only an omnipotent God could be responsible for such a critter. That’s not humility, that’s supreme arrogance. That’s pride and sloth all wrapped up into one.

You hit the nail on the head. These guys think they are working so hard for “the glory of God” and yet they can’t hold a candle to the low-paid, hard-grafting scientists who struggle their whole careers in the hope of nudging humanity an inch or two further along the road to understanding this wonderful universe.

I can tolerate pseudoscientists most of the time–they can sometimes be an entertaining diversion–but when they pour such scorn on the established sciences they are beneath contempt.

At scientific conferences, the purpose of the presentations is to transmit facts and ideas to the audience. Glitz and flash are not viewed as important. But in creationist conferences, the point is to fool people into thinking that something of great import is being delivered from the stage. They want to provoke the reaction, “How could they be wrong? Their presentation is so slick!”

The university I attend hosted a scientific conference recently, and as a “student assistant” I got to see how these things are actually run. Money, of course, rules all; the budget is limited by how much the conference can reasonably charge. We provided (rented) PCs and projectors, and I learned the First Law of Presentations is, never, ever, assume someone else’s computer has enough mips to run your powerpoint animation. (Only first-time presenters dared to try it, with poor results.)

These creationists don’t seem to have our money worries, either.

The first paragraph of comment #38880 is a quote. Obviously, I haven’t got the hang of Kwickcode formatting yet.

While their basking in pride (the bad kind) and bathing in the vanity of ignorance, as noted above, anger me no end, what allows me to retain the slimmest thread of communion with these kinds of people, as humans equal in every essential way to myself, is the clear, soft harmonic of fear that sounds in everything they blare out at the world. The pitiable fact is that those not simply butt-ignorant have NO faith, which requires, like humility and most nobler qualities, a constant sense of doubt, and the certainty that you will never be able to confirm the faith you have. These are bullies, slavish fools, maniacs, and a few simple thieves, whistling in the darkness they fear. Would that they would help carry a light!

Boy, this thing must be a nice little earner! Take 2000 people, multiply by $150 each, add on the merchandising profit, you’re talking big bucks.

Even as undergrads, we knew that if we didn’t have all of the facts or understand the experiment quite thoroughly, the best thing to do was to do a fancy write-up with lots of eye-wash (back then, this meant using Leroy lettering where most folks would hand-write, because computers and power point were off in the future). That’s one reason Jack Chick comic books are much less offensive than “Unlocking the Mystery of Life.”

Jason, As an attendee of the Mega conference, so far it is obvious that you’ve managed to successfully mock Christians and toss around ad hominems. You do well.

But I, nor any other Christian, really expects you to connect with the likes of Jerry Falwell, Carl Kerby, or Ken Hame—men who were delivering Christian messages to Christian audiences. Now what I do want to see is comprehensive responses to the actual scientific arguments presented in the technical lectures like: Hubble, Bubble, Big Bang in Trouble Creation and Cosmology Our Created Moon Design, Intelligence, and the Word of God Noah’s Ark: Current Research and Investigations Molecular Evidence for Creation ***Helium Leaks Show the Earth is Young*** Genesis and Geology: Evidence and Impact The Ice Age: Only the Bible Explains It

As of now you’ve complained about creationist anti-intellectualism, but the real test for this malady is whether you continue to concentrate on people rather than the scientific arguments. We poor creationists might make you shake your lofty head and sigh, but that still won’t change the fact that well-qualified scientists are blowing holes in the old earth paradigm. Or would prefer to simply entertain your readers?

Specifically, you’re going to have to address irreducible complexity with more than a ‘wave-it-all-to-the-side’ quote in typical Dawkins fashion. The problem is not that you’ve received improper time to study irreducible complexity, its that evolutionists are so sure that they will have an answer in the future, despite the undermining of the very Darwinian mechanisms themselves. How great is thy faithfulness! Please respond to Dr. Dewitt’s last lecture.

KR,

Seriously, how many times do we have to refute creationist lies and propaganda before it will all be over? I have a better idea, why don’t *you* open up any issue of Science, find the first article about evolution or the big bang or whatever, and try to refute that.

Good luck!

Very good, Jason, and thanks for taking the time to do this. I think your remarks about humility were excellence. [/cheerleading]

KR illustrates exactly why they can continue selling long-discredited literature and people keep buying it. They are saying things KR types want to hear, and calling it “science”. If KR knew anything whatsofriggenever about the science, he’d be mortified to ask these questions. That’s just painting a sign on himself that says “ignoramus”.

But it really is kind of a shame that known flagrant falsehoods are described as a “Christian message”. KR needs to get out a little more, and discover that one can distinguish one’s ass from one’s elbow and still be Christian.

Jason’s anthropological “look at the practices of this wierd cult” approach is exactly correct. There is no science here. There can’t be. This is a PR event, a commercial event, and a pep rally for the determinedly ignorant. As such, it’s both hilarious and a sad commentary on the damage organized idiocy can wreak.

KR might do well to reflect on Duane Gish’s history of admitting (when backed into a corner) that a claim he made was shown to be false and he knows it was shown to be false. And then the very next week, before a new audience, he repeats the same claim. Clearly, refuting such claims on the merits is a waste of time. More appropriate to focus on the neurological causes of profound self-deception. Like the self-deception that the topics covered in this conference have anything to do with science. Thanks for the $150, pitch the sales literature (sold at high profit) for half the lecture, toss around jargon intended to mean whatever the audience needs it to mean.

Understand, I have nothing against economic enterprise. If I had a guaranteed high-paying audience of guaranteed doofless suckers, I’d fleece them too. And they’d thank me for it! Come again next year, same time, same fee (plus a cost of living increase, of course).

KR, I think the reason that Mr Rosenhouse doesn’t debunk claims almost as old as the Young Earth is that most of the people on this site are aware of at least TalkOrigins, and long time readers will have seen the very same issues raised and refuted again, and again, and again. We’re all familiar with these ideas and why they’re so blooming horrible, and merely noting which ones appears marks out how poor the science is in the conference.

Speaking of which, irreducible complexity was massacred by its very proprietors, for pity’s sake. The demands for evidence have been shifted so far (after it was shown time after time that irreducible complexity was not a problem for evolution,) that an irreducibly complex system as Behe and Isaac Newton Dembski now define it is indistinguishable from any other. It’s rendered a meaningless concept.

-Schmitt.

KR -

I don’t see any “ad hominem” whatsoever in the article above. Quite the contrary. I see a lot of valid and well-reasoned criticism. Do you know what the term “ad hominem” - which has been overused on the internet to the point of cliche - actually means?

I’d particularly like to point out the non-Christian nature of this conference, as Rosenhouse emphasizes. Presenting inaccurate material for profit, arrogance, ridicule of people who believe differently (including other Christians) - where’s the Christianity?

Why don’t you explain one of the items on your list in some detail, and see what responses you get?

KR Wrote:

Now what I do want to see is comprehensive responses to the actual scientific arguments presented in the technical lectures like:

::chortle::

Was there a photo of a Abraham riding a dinosaur taken from Dinosaur Adventure Land ? What about the baby-woolly-mammoth-vaccuum-cleaner that quips “It’s a living” ?

All of the pseudo-science crack-smokery presented at that conferrence has been thoroughly debunked elsewhere.

Why don’t you explain one of the items on your list in some detail, and see what responses you get?

Because it’s a waste of time. People will produce explanations KR doesn’t want to hear, facts KR will deny, context KR doesn’t care to recognize, and general disagreement with comfortable convictions. All of which leaves everyone frustrated: KR because everyone is denying the plain truth so obvious to any Believer, and everyone else because they are only irritating the pig.

And, ah, *Dr Rosenhouse, sorry.

-Schmitt.

KR -

Evidently you aren’t aware that refutations of every item on your list have been issued and reissued dozens or hundreds of times, by actual scientists. And by “scientists” I mean people with degrees in the sciences, granted by actual accredited degree-granting institutions.

This is yet another case of wilfull ignorance on your part. The evidence is already out there. This website and Pharyngula (and others) refute these silly claims on a daily basis.

Your refusal to acknowledge demonstrated, documented scientific truth does not constitute anybody else’s failure to present the proper evidence to you. The evidence is already out there, everywhere around you. Refute it or don’t; it’s your choice.

PR events like the one described here are not scientific conferences. No science is presented. No new arguments were offered. It’s the same tired nonsense peddled to the same wilfull refugees from enlightenment. Go to talk.origins and then post your specific refutations here. Don’t expect others to do your work for you.

I’m not holding my breath.

KR

My own particular area of work is Quaternary Science - i.e. the ice ages (amongst other things). I would spend some time knocking down the idea that only the flood explains the ice age, but fits of laughing prevent me from doing so. My colleagues might also spend some time doing so, but unfortunately they are still in shock after reading the suggestion that only a global flood can explain the ice age.

Of course, Michael Oard is welcome to change our mind on this issue. He only has to submit his research for peer review. Unfortunately he has not yet done so - maybe he isn’t sure where to send his research. I happen to know the editors of a major Quaternary science journal and members of the editorial board on a couple of others. I would be more than willing to pass on their contact details.

These people give religion a bad name.

Dear KR -

Consider the statement:

“Do not let evidence fuel your appreciation of God. Let your appreciation of God influence your view of the evidence.”

This one sentence is very telling. Whatever kind of endeavor this statement advocates, it is NOT science. If you agree with this statement, you ARE NOT practicing science.

If your research is guided by this principle, it is NOT scientific research. Keep it OUT of the science classroom!!!

That’s it, end of story.

Hey Jason, thanks for offering a report about the Megaconference to those of us not able to attend. Even a PT-flavored report is better than nothing at all, quite honestly.

He outlined the “Seven C’s” approach to history: Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Confusion, Christ, Cross, Consummation. To which I add an eighth C: Clever!

I’ll go ahead and add the ninth one: Correct!

So what is the best evidence that God Created? Have you guessed it yet?

It’s the Bible! Duh! The best evidence that God created is that He told us He created.

And that is correct too, although honestly, I have never really appreciated that particular evidence until my later years.

As wonderful as the natural world can be, as wonderful as science can be as a tool to help humans explore that natural world, it all starts neither with the natural world nor with the tool of science. It starts with God’s own revelation to humanity–the historical and truth claims of God and God’s Word, the Bible.

U.S. Senate Ways and Means Committee Chairman: “Dr. Carver, how did you learn all of these things?”

Dr. Carver: “From an old book.”

Chairman: “What book?”

Carver: “The Bible.”

Chairman: “Does the Bible tell about peanuts?”

Carver: “No sir, but it tells about the God who made the peanut. I asked Him to show me what to do with the peanut, and He did.”

I can’t speak for what’s going on at the esteemed Wheaton College, but I can see Dr. Carver’s simple words as a potential antidote to whatever’s ailing them.

No need to give up on the scientific method at all—simply make sure the cart (Science) ain’t in front of the horse (Scripture). I would guess that the Wheatonites will eventually get things worked out if they’ll follow that principle.

**********

I want to express sincere appreciation for your eloquent paragraph about what professional scientists have to go through in order to obtain their PhD credentials, find employment and funding, and establish acceptance among their peers. I would never belittle such dedication to “understand nature’s complexity just a little bit better.”

But if the topic at hand is supposed to be “humility”, then Dr. Carver again has a few words well worth considering:

God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain, I am helpless.

Now that, Jason, is humility. Fresh out the oven, down-home, hickory-smoked, the way Grandma made it. Genuine humility. No cart-before-the-horse stuff. Carver, not Dawkins, points the way.

Notice, too, the complete absence of any boy-it’s-sho-nuff-rough-on-us-po’little-poverty-level-aspiring-scientists-these-days tone.

Oh, I acknowledge the things you mentioned in regards to todays’ required hoop-jumping by aspiring scientists, but perhaps Carver’s humble and radical dependence and reliance upon God for results, can provide some help to some science folks out there who may be stressing about jumping over assorted financial/academic/other hoops.

Maybe Dr. Carver knows something that the angry, caustic Dawkins, whom thou quotest, doesn’t know at all.

FL

Ref (both quotations): America’s God and Country: Encyclopedia of Quotations, by William Federer.

FL:

So, do you suppose Carver decided to follow the Creationist advice to let their conclusions dictate their evidence? There is a qualitative difference between following the scientific method and subsequently thanking God for your ability to do so, and making stuff up because you THINK that’s what God wants.

Can you see this difference?

FLl wrote

Oh, I acknowledge the things you mentioned in regards to todays’ required hoop-jumping by aspiring scientists, but perhaps Carver’s humble and radical dependence and reliance upon God for results, can provide some help to some science folks out there who may be stressing about jumping over assorted financial/academic/other hoops.

Do you seriously mean that Carver didn’t do anything? God did it all, and Carver just sort of sat around the lab and field like a lump? If so, why on earth the veneration for Carver? He was just a passive tool, a robot in God’s hands.

RBH

“God is going to reveal to us things He never revealed before if we put our hands in His. No books ever go into my laboratory. The thing I am to do and the way of doing it are revealed to me. I never have to grope for methods. The method is revealed to me the moment I am inspired to create something new. Without God to draw aside the curtain, I am helpless.”

It’s amazing that the world still has problems with Christians being able to work with God in this divine way. Christians, I beg you – work with God to cure, hunger, poverty and suffering. You’ll convert LOADS and LOADS of people that way – I’d have no doubts at all.

It wont matter that theism is negatively correlated with IQ when half the team is divine.

Look at Dr. Carver’s record of scientific accomplishment. I see no evidence of “Devine Assistance” (DA) [I’m claiming that one as my own].

It doesn’t look like this Carver (? George Washington Carver, 1864-1943) received any information or instruction he couldn’t have got for himself. IE he made up an imaginary conversation with another person in order to think what a saner mind would have been able to think and simultaneously recognise itself as thinking.

More to the point he got it wrong. The “purpose” of the peanut is clearly to bring death and suffering to a great many humans via choking incidents and allergies.

Why would Christians want to attempt a scientific propping up of the Noah myth, when, if literally true, it makes their god go up in a poof of smoke?

If god is all-knowing, surely he should have seen that humans were becoming evil and intervened in some other way to prevent the tragedy. And certainly he could have seen that the flood would not, in fact, be at all effective in reducing evil evil (the thoughts of humans are still “continually evil” at the end of the biblical flood story).

If god is all-good, surely he could have employed a method of removing evil from the world that did not involve the agonized drowning of infants and animals.

If god is all-powerful, there must have been some way for him to remedy the problems he saw (in fact, the problems he caused, since god’s will must be providential) apart from global plumbing problems. The woman on “I Dream of Genie” could have solved the problem with less mess.

And quite apart from the theological suicide of trying to prove the Noahic flood story literal, it further pisses away religious credibility when any energy whatsoever is expended defending a patently absurd story. Come on. What are we, five years old?

That KR would even include anything about the Genesis flood in his list shows just how infantile and out of touch reality these people really are. But hey, from my perspective, that’s great. The quicker religious beliefs are exposed as the frightened nonsense that they are, the faster we can get on with the real work of discovering how to live better in this world.

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This page contains a single entry by Jason Rosenhouse published on July 21, 2005 8:20 PM.

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