AIG’s Creation Science Fair

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Answers in Genesis is gearing up for a science fair in February 2009 2010. The rules are here. Note that they are parasitic on the Intel Science and Engineering guidelines with two minor exceptions:

3, All projects should be clearly aligned with a biblical principle from a passage or verse.

The student should be able to explain why the verse or passage selected relates to their project. (Students should read the article “God and Natural Law” by Dr. Jason Lisle for an explanation of this concept.)


* Students should consider the context of the verse(s) they are using.

* The verse chosen does not have to directly apply to the project topic (e.g., Scripture does not directly address radio waves), but may simply relate the project to the Creator of the universe.

* Students should read the article “God and Natural Law.”

and

4. Students should be able, with a clear conscience, to sign the AiG Statement of Faith, which upholds the belief in the creation of the universe in six, twenty-four-hour days about 6,000 years ago by the Creator God as revealed in the Bible.

Translation of the “The verse chosen does not have to directly apply to the project topic” is “However my experiment came out, God did it.”

If it weren’t so hot and I weren’t so tired I’d get indignant. But mostly I’m sad: Those kids don’t have a chance. This is part of Ken Ham’s solution to the Already Gone problem he sees: The abandonment of fundamentalism by young people whose doubts start in middle school and high school. Ham’s solution is simple: Lie to them earlier and more often. Pity he isn’t self-aware enough to realize that those doubts begin to arise when kids learn that Ham and their pastor have been lying to them. And that’s the counter to the Hamster: Let ‘em know they’re being lied to in the plainest possible terms.

Hat tip to Dan Phelps.

69 Comments

(psst…Richard…it’s Feb 27, 2010) You may send this post to the bathroom wall…

6,000 years, hmmm. Has any scholar ever contested the ability to actually count those years using the Bible? I personally have made a halfhearted attempt and always got stumped in the “gaps”. I realize some hedge the estimate a few thousand years. Imagine someone with the authority of the Pope disputing publically the ability to count the years by only using the Bible. Yes, I realize the Catholics don’t contest science’s estimate of billions of years.

After I retired from research, I spent ten years teaching math and physics in a special program for gifted and talented students at a math/science center. It was one of the most enjoyable ten years of my career.

It is absolutely amazing what intelligent and curious youngsters can do when out from under the stultifying influences of typical schools filled with distractions, violence and teachers who are themselves afraid of science and math. Many of these kids were publishing in peer-reviewed research journals before they graduated from high school.

And a few of these came from conservative evangelical religious backgrounds, although not as many of these went as far as most of the others. The conservative influences of their parents put a noticeable damper on their willingness to branch out to colleges and universities their parents were suspicious of.

But here at the Creation “Museum” we see one of the most insidiously deadening tactics to keep young people who are curious about the world around them from ever fully exploring or ever understanding what they can really learn from science. Nothing in the public schools has ever been this despicable.

Ken Ham is a truly evil bastard.

JimNorth said:

(psst…Richard…it’s Feb 27, 2010) You may send this post to the bathroom wall…

Oopsie. What’s a year when the YECs are off by a factor of 750,000? :)

Has any scholar ever contested the ability to actually count those years using the Bible?

What I’ve wondered about for a while is how they bridge the gap after the last “so and so was begot when his father was x years old” in the O.T.

Also there’s the minor nit that it only gives whole number of years, which means any one begat could be off by half a year in either direction. (Though I suppose that on average those would cancel out except for statistical random chance.)

Henry

AC Grayling has the perfect description of the difference between science and AIG-style pseudo-science:

On one side are those who inquire, examine, experiment, research, propose ideas and subject them to scrutiny, change their minds when shown to be wrong and live with uncertainty while placing reliance on the collective, self-critical, responsible and rigorous use of reason and observation to further the quest for knowledge.

On the other side are those who espouse a belief system or ideology which pre-packages all the answers, who have faith in it, who trust the authorities, priests and prophets, and who either think that the hows and whys of the universe are explained to satisfaction by their faith, or smugly embrace ignorance. Note that although the historical majority of these latter are the epigones of one or another religion, they also include the followers of such ideologies as Marxism and Stalinism – which are also all-embracing monolithic ownerships of the Great Truth to which everyone must sign up on pain of punishment, and on whose behalf their zealots are prepared to kill and die.

Hat tip to Glenn Branch.

3, All projects should be clearly aligned with a biblical principle from a passage or verse.

How about John 8:32 “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

4. Students must sign the AiG Statement of Faith, which upholds the belief in the creation of the universe 6,000 years ago by the Creator God

Oh. Well… Umm… Oh, Nevermind.

Has any scholar ever contested the ability to actually count those years using the Bible?

I believe Usher left fairly detailed notes about all his assumptions. I’m sure if one were to examine them carefully there’s some serious room for re-calculation.

But then again, no serious scholar actually cares, and no Biblical zealot wants to question it very deeply (that’s just not what Biblical zealots do you see, once the answer is agreed upon, it’s agreed to agree upon it from there on out).

The abandonment of fundamentalism by young people whose doubts start in middle school and high school.

Here is some data below from fundie sources. According to them, their kids are leaving in droves. Got to be a little careful though, fundies and the truth have been estranged for a long, long time.

Xianity seems to be on the skids in the USA. By my reckoning, between 1-2 million people are leaving the religion every year. Below is data from fundie sources. They know it.

I blame the fundies. When xian becomes synonymous with Liar, Hater, Ignorant, Crazy, and sometimes Killer, who would want to be one? lifeway

Some Young Adults Are Leaving Church What’s their gripe? And what can you learn from this exodus?

By Doug Horchak An April-May 2007 study in the United States found that young adults are leaving Christian churches in record numbers. The primary reason? They find their church irrelevant to their lives and many of its members judgmental or hypocritical.

A survey by LifeWay Research revealed that seven in 10 Protestants ages 18 to 30 who went to church regularly in high school said they quit attending by age 23 And 34% of those said they had not returned, even sporadically, by age 30 …

“‘This is sobering news,’ says Ed Stetzer, director of Nashville-based LifeWay Research, which is affiliated with the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention. ‘It seems the teen years are like a free trial on a product. By 18, when it’s their choice whether to buy in to church life, many don’t feel engaged and welcome,’ says associate director Scott McConnell” (Cathy Lynn Grossman, “Young Adults Aren’t Sticking With Church,” USA Today, Aug. 8, 2007). Barna poll:

Even among young Christians … [half] of young churchgoers said they perceive Christianity to be, too judgmental, hypocritical, and too political. One-third said it was old-fashioned and out of touch with reality.

the difficulty is even greater than merely accurately counting the years … it takes a fair bit of christian “scholarly” acrobatics just to avoid face value contradiction in the inerrant record of the bible:

http://www.theskepticalreview.com/t[…]/954far.html

Ham’s solution is simple: Lie to them earlier and more often.

The more thoughtful among the fundies know they have a problem. 7 in 10 young adults leave the churches.

Their solutions aren’t all that creative.

1. One large group wants to take over the USA, destroy Western civilization, and set up a theocracy. Dembski and the DI say exactly this often. Presumably they can then just shoot, stone, or torch any defectors.

2. Another group wants more brainwashing. As if they don’t spend huge amounts of time brainwashing their kids anyway.

They never get at the root causes. And never will. For starters they could drop their war on science. Science is the basis of modern civilization and why the earth can support 6.7 billion people albeit with some difficulty. They could also quit trying to cram the square peg of 2 pages of bronze age mythology into the round hole of a universe 13.7 billion years old.

Making creationism a litmus test for being a Real Xian seems to have boomeranged on them. The brighter kids figure out which theory is in accord with the data and leads somewhere such as to the 21st century.

Ussher did not not add up the “figures” in the Bible to get 4004BC. From 1ooo years are as a day he like many others before him going back to the 2nd century epistle of Barnabas (12, 3-5)argued that as the earth was created in 6 days it would last 6 days i.e 6 x 1000 years, with 4 days i.e. 4000 years before Jesus and 2000 years after. As Usher worked out on good historical grounds that Herod died by 4BC then Jesus was born in 4BC and hence creation in 4004BC. The world ended in 1996AD if you had noticed.

AIG dont realise this.

See JGCM Fuller Before the Hills in order stood (Geol Soc London Special Publication 190 The age of the Earth)or my mentions of Ussher in my Evangelicals and Science 2008

Ussher was a good scholar for his day and his later chronological work is excellent for the 17th century.

P.S. It goes without saying that AIG is crap.

stevaroni said:

Has any scholar ever contested the ability to actually count those years using the Bible?

I believe Usher left fairly detailed notes about all his assumptions. I’m sure if one were to examine them carefully there’s some serious room for re-calculation.

But then again, no serious scholar actually cares, and no Biblical zealot wants to question it very deeply (that’s just not what Biblical zealots do you see, once the answer is agreed upon, it’s agreed to agree upon it from there on out).

As sad as this summary of the current situation is, it is accurate. For some reason Usher’s estimate was put into Protestant Bibles. It seems to have sort of become part of the Bible for some people even though it was a fairly modern addition.

For some reason guys like they have at AIG do not question the estimate. The ICR’s line used to be “less than 10,000 years old” but I saw something a couple of years ago where they were inching up and less than 20,000 years old had crept in. So for some YEC 6,000 years isn’t set in stone.

We can only hope that this is some type of exponential movement towards the correct estimate. A few hundred years to reach 10,000, and only 30 or 40 years to reach 20,000. It may only be a decade or so before they are OEC.;-)

stevaroni said:

Has any scholar ever contested the ability to actually count those years using the Bible?

I believe Usher left fairly detailed notes about all his assumptions. I’m sure if one were to examine them carefully there’s some serious room for re-calculation.

But then again, no serious scholar actually cares, and no Biblical zealot wants to question it very deeply (that’s just not what Biblical zealots do you see, once the answer is agreed upon, it’s agreed to agree upon it from there on out).

Remember, Sir Isaac Newton finished inventing everything he wanted to in science by the time he was 30 years old or so. Then got himself a sinecure as the chief of the Royal Mint (*) and spent rest of his life trying to prove the Biblical Chronology. Not with much success.

Funny thing is, the fundies hold out Newton as the model scientist who remained a God fearing man of faith despite his fame and name.

If they really truly admired Newton, they would be digging at his Biblical research. They would have founded schools of philosophy based on Newton’s work. But you don’t find any Newtonian Doctrine of Religious Philosophy. Seminaries do not teach anything from that facet of Newton. They have not pursued any of his research in Biblical Chronology. Their actions show that they consider Newton’s religious philosophy to be of no real value.

Essentially they urge scientists to be like Newton, they mean, “Meekly accept our authority and our right to do as we please. Do not challenge us. And if you are really great we will let you have a sinecure someplace or let you into the House of Lords”.

============================================== (*) Newton as the chief of the mint introduced the concept of milling patterns at the edges of coins to foil people from scraping off gold from the edges. Today you find coins in nickel or copper with milled edges!

Ravilyn Sanders said:

Essentially they urge scientists to be like Newton, they mean, “Meekly accept our authority and our right to do as we please. Do not challenge us. And if you are really great we will let you have a sinecure someplace or let you into the House of Lords”.

Actually, they’re more along the lines of “Do not challenge us, do not challenge our authority, and most importantly, do not dare to challenge our (allegedly) Bible-based world view, and we will consider refraining from burning you at the stake like all the other heathens.”

Very well written article; I totally agree. I just want to pull on one side-thread there.

All things being equal, the phrase “No matter how the experiment came out, God did it,” would be completely in keeping with a theistic evolution standpoint, where God exists yet everything happens according to observable and testable natural laws.

It’s not a Science Fair, it’s a “Science” Fair.

Just another Cargo Cult ceremony.

It’s not a Science Fair, it’s a “Science” Fair.

Just another Cargo Cult ceremony.

sorry about that, I got an error the first time, then suddenly they were both there.

A few misc. thoughts…

Ron Okimoto said: For some reason Usher’s estimate was put into Protestant Bibles.

Ron, are you sure? I always thought the dating was an extra-biblical bit of folklore/doctrine, I don’t think its “in” the bible, not even protestant ones.

Stevaroni said:But then again, no serious scholar actually cares, and no Biblical zealot wants to question it very deeply…

Any scholar worth their name washed their hands of the fundies when they declared the 17th-cent, English translation KJV to be the one true official bible.

Ussher didn’t even use the KJV, which was produced during his lifetime. The fact that fundies use Ussher while rejecting the authority of non-KJV sources just illustrates that they pick and choose whatever evidence they want in support of their predetermined conclusion.

Students should be able, with a clear conscience, to sign the AiG Statement of Faith

I actually take this wording as a good sign. I don’t think the “with clear conscience” clause appeared in the science fair document last year. I take it as a sign of increasing desperation that AIG has to start adding “and you must really, really mean it” language into their agreements.

sorry about that, I got an error the first time, then suddenly they were both there.

Poofism!

I take it as a sign of increasing desperation that AIG has to start adding “and you must really, really mean it” language into their agreements.

Ham has a history of conflicts with his co-religionists.

Some Australians said that his cult in Australia had a schism where each side accused the other of witchcraft and incest.

Then the USA AIG schismed from the Australian branch and the Australian AIG sued them.

This is one way that cults die. They become increasingly dogmatic and doctrinaire and people end up leaving on fine points of disagreement and disallusionment with dictatorial rule that is often corrupt. Or they schism for one reason or another.

Ham might be a lot crazier than people think he is and that is saying a lot. He seems to be more than a little paranoid. When the Ohio Skeptics showed up, his goons photographed all their cars in the parking lot.

Ron Okimoto Wrote:

We can only hope that this is some type of exponential movement towards the correct estimate. A few hundred years to reach 10,000, and only 30 or 40 years to reach 20,000. It may only be a decade or so before they are OEC.;-)

Even if it takes longer, YEC will eventually go the way of Flat-earthism and Geocentrism. But Old-Earth-Young-Life will probably sell much longer to the “no-death-before-the-Fall” crowd. On that note…

Ray Martinez, if you’re reading, please enter, then make sure to complain when you’re “expelled.”

The murky goings-on that resulted in the schisms of 1987 and 2005 of organisations that were associated with Ham are difficult to follow, but here’s a summary: http://unbelief.org/articles/creati[…]use-divided/

The gist of it seems to be that each of the three original “leaders” of the cult couldn’t bear the thought of not being Top Dog, but that Ham is slightly more functional than the other two, who really are nickel-and-dime fruit loops. They still have a “ministry” that consists essentially of haranguing mouth-breathers in Ipswich, Queensland, a place that makes upstate Alabama look like Periclean Athens, and where anything can happen, usually between close relatives.

So why did Ham go to America? Same reason John Dillinger robbed banks - “That’s where they keep the money.”

raven said:

Ham might be a lot crazier than people think he is and that is saying a lot. He seems to be more than a little paranoid. When the Ohio Skeptics showed up, his goons photographed all their cars in the parking lot.

One can get a sample of the cultish flavor of his organization by watching their Answers in Genesis programs on the TCT religion channel on TV.

There is little question that this organization is in the business of propaganda. There are plenty of sales pitches for their books and literature at the end of each program. These are aimed not only at individual families, but at schools and churches as well.

Many of these programs employ an intense gallop that excruciatingly details living systems in order to make the argument that evolution could not have possibly produced such complexity and functionality.

Ham is often at the center of the advertising pitches. You can get entire books and lectures by him. You can also get CDs of lectures by the various “Dr. Scientists” in his organization. It’s clear that Ham is in control.

raven Wrote:

This is one way that cults die. They become increasingly dogmatic and doctrinaire and people end up leaving on fine points of disagreement and disallusionment with dictatorial rule that is often corrupt. Or they schism for one reason or another.

Or they go the “evolve” into the DI - via “survival of the don’t ask, don’t tell-est.”

Dave Luckett said:

The murky goings-on that resulted in the schisms of 1987 and 2005 of organisations that were associated with Ham are difficult to follow, but here’s a summary: http://unbelief.org/articles/creati[…]use-divided/

Great article, Dave. Thanks.

raven said:

Here is some data below from fundie sources.

For what it is worth, the Barna Group, while Christian, is not Fundamentalist. That may be a nitpick to most folk reading, but from my experience with the poll group they are dedicated to sound sampling and polling principles and are taken seriously in terms of their data. They have done a number of polls and reports on the disparity between divorce within and outside the bible-belt, where the bible belt folks show a marked increase in their divorce rate. Ditto for teen sex and a number of other social issues. As I understand it, they really are trying to give Christians - that is, those who truly judge only themselves by the bible - the information for self improvement.

Same reason John Dillinger robbed banks - “That’s where they keep the money.”

That was Willie (“because that’s where the money is”) Sutton, only Wikipedia says he didn’t really say it either.

KP said:

I think it would be really hilarious to generate some hypotheses from Genesis (e.g., population genetics of post-Flood species discussed above), actually do some tests that will easily falsify them, and then write up the results for submission to one of their “journals.” I’m sure they would get rejected, but a glut of submissions that directly refute the “natural history” of Genesis would hopefully creep into at least a few of their consciences…

ZOMG!!!

I think I’m getting the vapors! *faints from marker fumes*

DavidK said:

U.S. News just came out with a ranking of states that were deficient in “brain power.”

Not every state in the union can be full of geniuses, right? At least that’s what, at first glance, one might conclude after seeing the results of the “life’sDHA Index of Brain Health,” an assessment that ranks all 50 states and the District of Columbia according to what its creators consider to be factors supporting brain health.

Washington, D.C., and nine brain-healthy states made the top 10 list.

Here are the 10 lowest-ranking states: Indiana, North Dakota, South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Oklahoma, and, in dead last, Louisiana.

Guess which ones support and/or promote creationism.

Actually, I was very suprised to see that an article linked to by the NCSE gave South Carolina an “A” for how evolution is treated in its science standards. Indiana also got an “A”, but the three bottom states on the brain power list all got an “F”.

What they never address is that (Noah’s) Salvage Operation was a near total catastrophe. We now know that 99.9% of the animal life didn’t survive the flood including all the nonavian dinosaurs.

See, I’ve got this all figured out - the problem was that Noah arranged things alphabetically, foolishly putting the tyranasaurs right next to the unicorns…

raven said: Any rescue operation with a 99.9% extinction rate has to be rated as a very poor effort.

…Unless the goal was mass genocide.

stevaroni said:

What they never address is that (Noah’s) Salvage Operation was a near total catastrophe. We now know that 99.9% of the animal life didn’t survive the flood including all the nonavian dinosaurs.

See, I’ve got this all figured out - the problem was that Noah arranged things alphabetically, foolishly putting the tyranasaurs right next to the unicorns…

FYI, zebras survived because at the time they were called aebras. I bet you didn’t know that.

Desertphile said:

Okay, so Rev Ham insists that Christianity in the USA is “collapsing.” How does he explain the 83% of the population being Christians?

.…

that is because he uses an Orwellian definition of the word “Christian” to mean groups of fundies like him. Same thing for some commentators on Fox News claiming that ‘Christians’ are being descriminated against etc.

Is it almost time for the War on Christmas again?

Why’s an Aussie doing a state of the nation, is he naturalized?

Wait, we exiled Jesus, shot down Santa, and genetically modified all Christmas trees so they’d form natural menorahs and you couldn’t get two straight pieces to form a cross. We passed a law saying all holiday-mas ornaments had to be moon-and-crescent balls. What more need we do? Christmas! Gone! First 100 days!

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