AIG Creation AntiScience Fair

| 29 Comments

Last month I was a judge at a regional science fair for middle- and high-school students, and it was great to see aisle after aisle of smart and hard-working kids doing interesting and careful science. A few weeks later, at a Science Cafe where I was presenting, I had the chance to talk with (and coach a little) two of them who are going to nationals. Those kids are bright shining examples of what we want public education to produce.

On the other hand, there’s the creation science fair. PZ has recently posted on a creation science fair in Minnesota, but now they’re going big time: Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is hosting one next year. (Added in edit: I see PZ has posted on this one already this morning, too.)

There’s a catch, however: In order to enter, kids have to agree with AIG’s Statement of Faith.

Among other things, that requires that kids sign on to these principles:

The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the Earth and the universe.

and

The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.

and

By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.

Those, of course, are the antithesis of science. Having kids sign on to presuppositions that reject the evidence that has been accumulated over centuries is the height of science denial, and it is a fraud to label the exercise “science.”

One of the main things defenders of honest science can do is actively and continuously support science education, particularly at the K-12 levels. Get to know the science teachers in your kids’ middle school and high school. Volunteer as a judge at local and regional science fairs. Go to parent-teacher conferences and board of education meetings with appropriate questions about what’s being taught. Volunteer to give a talk or lead a discussion on science in a church or YMCA or public library. Write coherent and cogent letters to newspapers. Start a Science Cafe, or volunteer to give a presentation in one. Above all, don’t sit around waiting for an engraved invitation: get out there and support science education!

Hat tip to Dan Phelps, tireless Kentucky science supporter

29 Comments

“The account of origins presented in Genesis is a simple but factual presentation of actual events and therefore provides a reliable framework for scientific research into the question of the origin and history of life, mankind, the Earth and the universe.”

wow, what weasley language. So any science that they finally accept will allow them to still claim that oh, Genesis already said that in “simple” language.

I do wish we could put these poor ignorant people on reservations so that they wouldn’t be bothered by science at all. They could happily live in mud huts and suffer all of those God willed diseases that the rest of us happily use medicine for.

vel -

wow, what weasley language. So any science that they finally accept will allow them to still claim that oh, Genesis already said that in “simple” language.

Actually, that’s what I WISH they’d do, approximately.

Quit denying science and then privately accommodate their religious faith to reality, however they see fit.

I actually support their right to have an entirely private loony tunes anti-science “science fair”. As long as no-one has to to pay a dime in taxes to support it and everyone else has the complete right to reject and ridicule it.

I also, of course, strongly support the right of others to extremely vigorously critique this event, and draw extensive attention to the gross inaccuracy of their ideas.

Richard: I e-mailed Dr. Rosenhouse a while ago on this one :

http://www.answersingenesis.org/eve[…]on-college-3

which I thought would be right up his street. Jason’s reports from the 2005 mega-conference are legendary, in my opinion, and essential reading in how to debate/argue with YECs. Not sure if he received ny e-mail or not, but on thinking afterwards, the criteria for attending this nonsense might be that he would either have to be a student or a teacher. Would be interesting to get Jason’s thoughts on this one.

“By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

This doesn’t even make any sense. FIrst they say that no evidence can be valid if it doesn’t conform to their preconceptions, then they remind you that evidence must be interpreted. Well, which is it? Is the evidence invalid or is the interpretation invalid? If the evidence is invalid, then what differnece does it make what interpretation you have? However, if the evidence is declared invalid because of an a priori interpretation, then why bother with any evidence? They seem to be arguing against their own position!

Evidence can only be invalid if there are concerns about the collection methods, the experimental design, possible systematic biases and problems with reliability, precision, accuracy, sample size and statistical significance. Evidence cannot be invalid because it does not support a particular interpretation of a religious text. The conclusions drawn from the interpretation of the evidence might be rejected if they don’t conform to preconceived notions, but that doesn’t make the evidence invalid.

Of course such nonsense is the absolute antithesis of actual science. The single most important thing to learn about science is that one does not marry the conclusions, one marries the data. Certainly your interpretation can always be found to be in error, but if you report your methods and observations in sufficient detail and document your results adequately, one should never be able to call the actual evidence into question. If they aren’t teaching their students this lesson, they are doing them a grave disservice.

If only creationists could learn that they must still explain the evidence, regardless of their preconceptions, then perhaps they would stop attempting to explain away or ignore the evidence that they find inconvenient. Well, one can hope anyway.

From AIG:

2. You can meet Answers in Genesis staff scientists.

Presumably the staff “scientists” will be judging. If not, it would be useful to have information on who is. Kentucky has the only law in the country that protects the teaching of straight-up creationism in public school science classes. My experience and general impression is that criticizing teachers for injecting creationism in the biology class, or for not teaching evolution, is taboo among the state’s teachers. I’m wondering if this could be an opportunity to learn something about what is happening at the bluegrass roots.

This is great. I’ll have to see if my son wants to enter. He could flood a box with dirt and water, throw in some mammal-like toys and dinosaur toys, and then drain the water. I’m sure that the dinosaurs (both large and small) will end up near the bottom of mud with mammals near the top – unless some unseen Satanic force mixes them up.

bk said:

This is great. I’ll have to see if my son wants to enter. He could flood a box with dirt and water, throw in some mammal-like toys and dinosaur toys, and then drain the water. I’m sure that the dinosaurs (both large and small) will end up near the bottom of mud with mammals near the top – unless some unseen Satanic force mixes them up.

If I recall correctly (my visit there with a group from Ohio Citizens for Science was years ago) there’s actually a display something like that at the Akron Fossils and Science Center which is a poor man’s Kentucky Creationism Museum associated with “Truassic Park,” a creationist themed amusement park. They had a sandbox that one could slosh a bucket of water at and recreate the Grand Canyon. The most fun there was an outdoor play area where one used big rubber bands anchored to fence posts to loft water balloons at cutouts of dinosaurs. :)

Turns out they’re having a “Creation Fair” this May:

The Creation Fair is a week-long, family and group-oriented event, with keynote speakers, crafts and games for the children, and a series of booth-by-booth displays of various creation evidences alongside the usual displays already at the Science Center.

Gack.

…I’m sure that the dinosaurs (both large and small) will end up near the bottom of mud with mammals near the top – unless some unseen Satanic force mixes them up.

You mean like getting drunk and dropping the box on the way to the fair?

And then a few minutes ago this from AIG pops up in my email box:

Reach kids! Save on more than 50 items for children

[growl]

I wonder if prizes will be awarded to students who ignore the data from their experiment and merely affirm the hypothesis they started with.

Among other things, that requires that kids sign on to these principles:

{snip}

The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event, worldwide (global) in its extent and effect.

Being a Science Fair, you’d have thought that it would be nice to say something like “Should demonstrate that The great Flood of Genesis was an actual historic event..”

That effort might actually involve some science.

Sadly, this fine point will undoubtedly be lost by all the young entrants diligently building their little ark dioramas according to the instructions in Genesis.

Peter Henderson said:

Richard: I e-mailed Dr. Rosenhouse a while ago on this one :

http://www.answersingenesis.org/eve[…]on-college-3

which I thought would be right up his street. Jason’s reports from the 2005 mega-conference are legendary, in my opinion, and essential reading in how to debate/argue with YECs. Not sure if he received ny e-mail or not, but on thinking afterwards, the criteria for attending this nonsense might be that he would either have to be a student or a teacher. Would be interesting to get Jason’s thoughts on this one.

Thanks for consuming the last hour for me… I didn’t know about that and just killed 60 min. reading Jason’s accounts from ‘05… I still can’t say I understand why these AiG people have to go to such lengths to bend, stretch, distort and lie about the science to make it fit with Genesis. The “not bothering with science at all” seems like so much less work. I guess that’s all that’s left when you can’t cover for the Genesis canards any further (e.g., nobody’s going to be able to explain where Cain’s wife came from or how he managed to populate an entire city just a few verses after it was down to him, mom, and dad in the entire world; Gen. 4).

DS:

FIrst they say that no evidence can be valid if it doesn’t conform to their preconceptions, then they remind you that evidence must be interpreted.

They have unintentionally overloaded the word “evidence”, using in two different senses. What I think they meant to say was, allegations and observations and measurements and the like must be subjected to interpretation (i.e. run through a Genesis-filter) to vet them for compatibility. If they are found incompatible, then they are not evidence, and should be disregarded.

RBH Wrote:

One of the main things defenders of honest science can do is actively and continuously support science education, particularly at the K-12 levels. Get to know the science teachers in your kids’ middle school and high school. Volunteer as a judge at local and regional science fairs. Go to parent-teacher conferences and board of education meetings with appropriate questions about what’s being taught. Volunteer to give a talk or lead a discussion on science in a church or YMCA or public library. Write coherent and cogent letters to newspapers. Start a Science Cafe, or volunteer to give a presentation in one. Above all, don’t sit around waiting for an engraved invitation: get out there and support science education!

I second Dick’s comments.

I am the director of the regional science fair where Dick was judging last month, and I run the Science Cafe that featured Dick as a speaker a few weeks ago. (Thank you, Dick!)

Contact me if you wish to contribute as a science fair judge or a Science Cafe contributor, or if you wish to get your own Science Cafe started. I can help.

In particular, if you’re in Ohio, we need judges at the State Science Day in Columbus on May 9. I’d also like to add you to my judges’ mailing list for our regional fair in March next year. And we’re looking for Science Cafe speakers for 2009-10.

For those in or near Nevada, the International Science and Engineering Fair needs judges in Reno on May 13. (The two students that Dick met at his Science Cafe will be competing at this event.)

Contact me at [Enable javascript to see this email address.]

Brian neglected to give the URL for the Science Cafe in Marion. And the Harding Hotel is an impressive place!

And sometimes I am an idiot: Brian linked to the URL in his post. Ah, well.

Today class we are going to learn how to do math. Now math is very important, without it you cannot function properly in everyday life. The important thing to remember is that the answer is always 7. If you remember that you will always be OK. You will be able to balance your check book and keep track of your mortgage and your investments. You will be able to do statistics and test hypotheses. You will be able to discover the secrets of the universe. Just remember the answer is always 7, no matter what. OK, that does it for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, in fact just about all of algebra and geometry. Tomorrow we will do trigonometry and calculus. It’s not really all that hard, just remember the answer is 7, no matter what anyone tries to tell you. Even if you get another answer. it can’t possibly be right so don’t sweat it. If you just put down 7 then you get an A. If you put down anything else you will flunk and then you will go to hell.

DS said:

Today class we are going to learn how to do math. Now math is very important, without it you cannot function properly in everyday life. The important thing to remember is that the answer is always 7.

Actually, the answer is 42.

In our church, anyway. You Sevenists are clearly heathens, but lets hide our differences for the moment and generally agree that ‘the answer is always a single number’.

But you Sevenists better watch out when we Fortytwoists gain REAL power…

Ken,

Just do the math man. The answer is 7. If you disagree you are just plain wrong. I can prove that the answer is 7 because that’s the answer I always get and I am the fig newton of mathematicalness. The holy book clearly states that the answer is 7, it is not open to interpretation. Why can’t you see the light man? Single digits rule, double digits are the work of the devil. There is no way that you can get double digits by just multiplying single digits together. Where does the new information come from? If you accept 42 what’s next, 43, 44? Where will it end?

I will pray for you.

Your brother in 7.

(The above should not be taken as derogatory of any particular religious belief, just presuppositions regardless of evidence in general).

“By definition, no apparent, perceived, or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. Of primary importance is the fact that evidence is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information.”

Corollary: The scriptural record is evidence. Therefore, the scriptural record is always subject to interpretation by fallible people who do not possess all information. QED.

DS said:

Ken,

Just do the math man. The answer is 7. If you disagree you are just plain wrong. I can prove that the answer is 7 because that’s the answer I always get and I am the fig newton of mathematicalness. The holy book clearly states that the answer is 7, it is not open to interpretation. Why can’t you see the light man? Single digits rule, double digits are the work of the devil. There is no way that you can get double digits by just multiplying single digits together. Where does the new information come from? If you accept 42 what’s next, 43, 44? Where will it end?

I will pray for you.

Your brother in 7.

(The above should not be taken as derogatory of any particular religious belief, just presuppositions regardless of evidence in general).

42 = 2 * 3 * 7

ie the product of the first three prime numbers. 5 is obviously not prime, because it is the number of point on a pentacle, so it is intrinsically evil.

DS said:

Ken,

Just do the math man. The answer is 7. If you disagree you are just plain wrong. I can prove that the answer is 7 because that’s the answer I always get and I am the fig newton of mathematicalness. The holy book clearly states that the answer is 7, it is not open to interpretation. Why can’t you see the light man? Single digits rule, double digits are the work of the devil. There is no way that you can get double digits by just multiplying single digits together. Where does the new information come from? If you accept 42 what’s next, 43, 44? Where will it end?

I will pray for you.

Your brother in 7.

Clearly, you are one of those misguided Single Integer Calculators (SICs) as opposed to those of us who correctly know the answer, the Double Integer Calculators (DICs). Now, clearly either the SICs or the DICs are incorrect, but in time I’m certain we can persuade you from the error of your ways.

Right now, what both SICs and DICs must agree, however, is that we cannot surrender any ground to those “Mathmatists” who insist on determining actual results, instead of logically accepting the True Already-Revealed Determination - TARD (which is clearly 42). We need to stay together under the Big Tent. Mathmatists point out that we don’t agree, but really, the difference between 7 and 42 is no greater than, say, 6,000 to 4 billion, at least while we’re all under the Big Tent. Here, both SICs and DICs will be led by their TARDs until the evil Mathmatists are defeated. Then, and only then, can we join together, sing praises of joy, and happily persecute you as the heretics you are.

Until that Blessed Day, 42 be unto you.

- K.

Ken,

You get the tarp and I’ll get the rope and pegs. Together we can build a big tent that will never collapse. Trust me, I have done the calculations, the load coefficient for the main supports is only 7. Now if it were 42 we might have a serious problem, but if you don’t ask I certainly won’t tell.

DS said:

Ken,

You get the tarp and I’ll get the rope and pegs. Together we can build a big tent that will never collapse. Trust me, I have done the calculations, the load coefficient for the main supports is only 7. Now if it were 42 we might have a serious problem, but if you don’t ask I certainly won’t tell.

Great, DS! Hey, we could hold our own Science Fair under it! Anyone can attend, as long as they first sign the Sacred Conclusions Unchallenged Manifesto (SCUM)! Remember, “answers first, calculations second”.

- K.

I was a special-awards judge at the regional fair at John Carroll University (a Jesuit school) in Cleveland a few weeks ago, and I, too, was highly impressed at the enthusiasm and dedication of the students. After reading report after report about the kind of silliness going on in Texas and Louisiana, I was delighted to find that this rot hasn’t made too many inroads in our fair state of Ohio.

Wasn’t it in Ohio, a few years ago, that the governor (Taft?) packed the state BOE with about 8 creationists in order to get the “right” sort of curriculum approved? As I vaguely recall, it didn’t quite work and later on the governor “explained” that he had absolutely no idea these BOE appointees were all creationists! My goodness, who would have even considered it?

What has long puzzled me is why AIG and their like bother to fight their battle on our territory.

Science will not be a useful explantory tool in a case where demonstrably nearly everything of significance that happened in a particular epoch was a result of extra-natural divine activity.

The “fact” that the kinetic energy released by all that water descending from the heavenlies would have rendered the surface of Earth a place where live steam was a predominant gas is irrelevant – if God wants to flood the place, he will do so by his own methods, and the so-called “Laws” of physics don’t enter into the picture.

Likewise, the widespread dispersion of various organisms after the Flood is clearly the result of their having traversed the single, very small continent that existed at the time, which then split into other land masses that expanded during and after the time of Peleg, “when the land was divided”. There is no difficulty with the source and disposition of the energy required to move continental masses of rock thousands of miles in a few decades. Any deity capable of creating those masses can push them around as may strike its fancy at any moment.

As for the capacity of the Ark (and the ability of a handful of humans to attend to the metabolic and sanitary needs of an indeterminately large quantity of organisms), the important thing to remember is that it was up to Noah to obey, and up to God to provide the means for that obedience to bear fruit. (Poof! has so very many useful applications.)

Since people lived for lengths of time that no longer are common (Adam was still alive shortly before the Flood), the problem of repopulating the Earth is a non-starter. With a fertile period of several hundred years, each woman is capable of bearing at least a hundred children; population problem solved.

Given that plain old ordinary miracles take care of all of the alleged problems with [our version of] the Scriptural account, why bother tangling with this whole “science” monstrosity?

(Disclaimer: there was a period in the deep past when I accepted all of the propositions above.)

I don’t know, but I’ve suspected that AiG is doing battle with the enormous cachet science has developed among The Common Man In The Street, who doesn’t know jack about science but DOES know that gnomes in white coats in think tanks somewhere keep producing better and better flat-screen TV sets. So the goal is to leverage and piggyback off the reputation science has gained by finding ways to represent stone-age myths and fables as “scientific.”

Now, it doesn’t need to be TOO scientific, because T.C.MITS (The Common Man In The Street) wouldn’t know good science from nonscience. But even that guy is going to get a mite restive and impatient with any explanation that starts out with “God did it that way” and never goes further.

So AiG isn’t really fighting their battle on our territory - they’re simply borrowing our jargon and peculiar locutions to reinforce what they’ve always believed. Our problem is, this sleight-of-hand makes their claims SEEM like Bad Science, which we’re constantly trying to correct, which is exactly like cutting water into chunks with a sharp knife.

I can tell that you’re putting lots of effort and time into your blog and detailed articles! I am deeply gets interested each and every single bit of facts you post here (you will find not many quality blogs left .

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on April 29, 2009 1:57 PM.

Francis Beckwith’s Letter to The Editor (Updated!) was the previous entry in this blog.

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