Crazy Theories In The Creation Museum

Paul visits Ken Ham’s creation museum and shares with us the top 7 baseless theories for which the museum did not even pretend to adduce evidence:

Just visited with the family. Tickets for one day were more than an annual family pass to a real science museum. And we had to pay extra for the planetarium show.

Everyone at the museum was very nice. And the displays were quite beautiful.

I’ve never been to a museum which presented so little information in so much space. The sum-total of the entire display space probably wouldn’t need a 10-page paper to explain everything in detail.

I kept looking for information at the petting zoo about the viability of the hybrids. There was none. I tried the “walking tour via cell phone” number to see if the were going to say anything interesting. It had just the speech about “kind” that you mentioned. After you listen to a section of that speech you can dial “10″ to hear the conclusion. Don’t bother.

Here’s my list of the top wild theories presented without any evidence:
1. The speed of light was different in the past.
2. Oceans should be saltier than they are now since the rate at which they accumulate salt is constant and should have, over billions of years, turned them into solid crystals of salt.
3. All of the layers of sediment in the paleontological record were put down in the flood. This one is amusing because just after that we learn that marsupials filled the earth first after the flood because they could carry their young and move faster. And this is why we find marsupials in the fossil record just after the dinosaurs went extinct. Excuse me? How did they get into the fossil record if there was no flood to dump thousands of feet of sediment on them?
4. Radioisotope dating must be wrong because the numbers disagree when different techniques are used. Several numbers were given showing dates for some material using different methods. They looked something like this:
850 (+/- 100) million years
1040 (+/- 120) million years
800 (+/- 60) million years
Anyone familiar with scientific measurements would conclude that these numbers are in good agreement. The errors given (that’s the plus and minus) part say that the measurement can only be considered to be approximate within that range above or below the number given. A measurement different by two or three times that “error” would be comparable. Such measurements are difficult to do perfectly. If you gave a blind man a straw and told him to use it to measure the length of a football field you would be pleased if he reported 80 yards. The answer is correct plus or minus 20 yards. The display wanted you to draw the conclusion that the numbers must all be wrong. In fact, for such a measurement they are all in excellent agreement.
5. I’m not a member of a racial minority here in the US. So perhaps it’s a little too big of me to be offended on behalf of others. I did appreciate that Moses and Abraham did appear to be Jewish. They were short, had large noses, and engaging eyes. Every other mannequin in the place (and character in the video dramas) was a white European. Noah’s daughters were rather gaunt-looking fashion models.
6. The animation of the flood waters covering the earth shows them shooting a few thousand miles into space. This is just a pet peeve about distance scale. I know what the artists were trying to show in that animation. If you compare the scale of the water spouts to the size of a continent you’ll easily see that the flood waters were being launched into a very high orbit.
7. The magnetic fields of the earth are decaying therefore they can’t have been around for billions of years protecting the earth from solar radiation. They like the theory that the speed of light can change, but they haven’t done their homework about the models of of the Earth’s core. Why couldn’t that have changed also?

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Paul

    Someone pointed me to this quotation today. It’s particularly relevant to this discussion.

    “Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience. Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.” — St. Augustine (A.D. 354-430)

  • http://www.creationmuseum.org Mark Looy

    Just about every claim Paul has made about our science in the Creation Museum is untrue, i.e., we don’t say what he says we say. And with some points, Paul wants to see problems where they don’t even exist. In fact, the museum was attempting to communicate OPPOSITE points with the visuals — e.g., about the scale of the Flood jets and the varied features of Noah’s descendants! Our museum depicts Adam and Eve as middle brown in skin shade, not as “white Europeans”; now, to give Paul the benefit of the doubt, perhaps the photos he took were with a flash, and after viewing them he got the mistaken impression that Adam and Eve are portrayed as “white Europeans,” when it was Paul’s flash that changed their skin shade. It’s remarkable that a reviewer can post something in public like this and not get his facts straight. Disagree with our viewpoints all you want want, but please be accurate. — Mark Looy, CCO, The Creation Museum

    • George

      It is telling that Mark chooses to harp only on the characterization of the exhibits as “white European biased”. That appears to me to be one of perhaps two claims that can be addressed without any science.
      Mark,
      Here lies a perfect opportunity to correct Paul on his errors in “just about every claim”, itemize them and address each one individually and substantively. This is a subject I am personally quite interested in, and I must admit that I feel I’m only getting one side of the story. So please…tell your side so that I can see where Paul got it wrong.
      I want so desperately to believe you, but I cannot if you won’t give us the opposing argument. You work at the museum. Perhaps you could include pictures of the errors in “just about every” claim? Maybe shots of your text boards that contradict the observations of Paul?
      I’m sure Dan would be more than willing to give you a counterpoint post to dispel these spurious accusations about Creation Science.

  • Paul

    Mark – Thanks for your response. I’m really pleased to see that your museum is following this blog.

    I looked back at our photos and I did find a Chinese manikin at the archeological dig exhibit.

    Skin tone is difficult to judge by itself. Lighting may have been an issue. I may have assumed that being naked in the garden Adam would have been tanned. His facial features, like most of the other manikins, are European. Then again, so are mine. I may be a poor judge of such things. None of them was blond either. Or did I miss one?

    Please don’t think that I’m accusing you of being racist. Churches have always depicted the Biblical characters with sketches drawn from their own experience. In Mexico you find that Jesus looks a little Mexican. In Africa it’s not unusual to find a depiction of a black Jesus. My overall impression of the manikins is that Adam and Eve and the rest of the lot (no pun intended) seemed like one of “us.” It made me really curious to know what a black man going through the museum would think. (Ok, I’ll admit it. The pun really was intended.)

    Can you say more about the distance scale of the flood jets? You’re trying to illustrate the massive scale of the flood. I understand that. And it’s very vivid. However, the water in your simulation shoots a thousand miles above the clouds. The scale is not plausible. Just 40 miles puts you well into space. In fact, 20 miles puts you well above any weather systems. It’s a nice graphic. Drawing the water just a mile deep everywhere probably wouldn’t have looked like very much; barely noticeable from space. You’d probably look at it and say, “Hey, aren’t those coastlines shrinking?”

    I failed to take a picture of the display showing inconsistencies in various methods of radioisotope dating. Is that information available somewhere online? I’m not sure that I remembered the numbers correctly.

    Can you say more about your other objections to my observations?

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  • http://www.creationmuseum.org Mark Looy

    When someone writes to declare, for example, that our museum says that “the speed of light was different in the past,” and we don’t teach that, we can’t produce a photo of an exhibit that would counter this error — there is just no such “text board” to produce. Similarly, we do not say that “all of the layers of sediment in the paleontological record were put down in the flood.” That’s just a wrong statement — we don’t say that. Furthermore, I am not the one who has to produce the photos — the onus is on Paul, who made the claims. If Paul had truly gone through our exhibit on the origin of people groups, he would have known that we believe Adam and Eve were middle brown in skin shade. Readers of this blog can tour the museum for themselves and see how (in)accurate Paul was — I will not waste the time of our PhD science staff here to write more, as has been requested. We’ve already shown areas where Paul was flat-out wrong. Mark

  • Jeff Eyges

    I will not waste the time of our PhD science staff

    What’s wrong with this statement?

  • George

    Mark,
    You keep on harping on the observation and not on the “science”.
    Perhaps Paul is just inferring the speed of light change to make your claims plausible?
    I’m sure he will clarify.

    It doesn’t change the fact that you could clarify your positions on “just about every” claim here yourself and you choose not to, just expect us to buy the “wrong once…wrong always” argument you put forward.
    I don’t have a PhD so I don’t expect you to stick your crack PhD team on me. I’m sure working at the creation museum has equipped you with all the necessary faculties to tackle this task yourself.

    Besides, if your PhD staff spent less time answering blog posts and more time researching basic science….

  • JackC

    Scalzi has a huge number of photos online – quite a number of the mannequins there, and I am hoping to find one or two of the mentioned displays.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/scalzi/sets/72157603091357751/

    Happy hunting.

    JC

  • Paul

    Gentlemen, show a little respect please. Mark was good enough to read this blog participate in this discussion. Just imagine how you’d feel walking into a Bible study at your local mega-church. Personal attacks on him and on the museum staff are not helpful.

    Mark – There is no printed display which suggests that the speed of light was different in the past. A change in the speed of light was suggested in the planetarium show. It was mentioned as one of the many theories which could explain why light from stars 13 trillion light years away could have reached earth in only 6000 years.

    I’m very sorry if my objections seem silly. Perhaps you have an FAQ which addresses questions like mine? You’ve taken on many such questions in your displays (e.g. Why don’t we find dinosaur bones along side human bones?)

    Again, thank you for joining this discussion.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Can you remember where the other claims were made which do not show up on specific displays?

    • Paul

      Dan – That’s a good thought.

      1. The speed of light claim was in the planetarium show.

      2. The claim that oceans should be saltier if they were really billions of years old is in the Men in White show.

      3. The idea that the entire geological column was formed in the flood was several rooms full of displays showing how the fossil record was created by the flood waters. But, again, there was very little text explaining anything. As Mark suggested, I may have interpreted it incorrectly.

      4. The poor conclusions drawn from statements of scientific measurements was on a poster in the hallway leading to the Men in White show.

      5. My impression of the European features on most of the manikins was a general impression of all of the manikins in the place. Though I did very much like the fact that many of the Biblical characters looked Jewish. You don’t usually see much care taken to do that. Martin Luther didn’t look very much like the images we have of him. But he did seem to be German.

      6. The flood waters animation was a graphic running on a multi-screen display in the flood section.

      7. The mention of the decay rate of the earth’s magnetic fields was in the planetarium show. Though my memory is failing me a little on this point. It might have come up in the Men in White show.

      Mark – Does the museum make scripts from these shows available?

      Paul

  • Jeff Eyges

    Paul, speaking for myself – you came over to Pharyngula and asked people to participate in this discussion. You know who we are. What did you expect?

    • Paul

      Jeff – lol
      No, I have no idea who you are. I didn’t do much background research when I posted to this blog. I found an interesting writeup and I responded to it.

      Is this a blog where people are just cruel to each other for no reason? If that’s the case, perhaps I should just take my ball and go home.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Relax, Paul, my blog does have a different tone than Pharyngula’s, I think. But I wouldn’t criticize the more aggressive tone at Pharyngula (though I don’t usually share it) because Pharyngula is a place where the combat with the creationist leaders is a serious business. Those conflicts are high profile and in some ways, for their influence on the broader dialogue, are relatively important to the future of the “debate” with creationists. Myers has a need to be aggressive because it’s the frontline of a serious cultural and intellectual war and he draws a lot of the people most committed to this struggle as commentators. And it’s an important blog for everyone to rally. So, yeah, it’s a more antagonistic place because it’s really a central community for the anti-creationist forces on the internet.

      And, as I’ve said a couple times here, I’m grateful that community exists as a resource for someone like me to draw on when I get the creation museum COO showing up and accusing you of misrepresenting his museum.

    • Daniel Fincke

      Sorry for the confusion, Jeff, I was the one who came over to Pharyngula to seek out some help confirming Paul’s account. This is my blog and I liked Paul’s comment and so made it into this blog post and then when the accusations were being lobbed, I sought the expertise of Pharyngulites. And I’m grateful you guys have come over and contributed. I apologize for the appearance that you were being treated inconsistently by the same person.

    • Paul

      Dan – Am I quoted on Pharyngula somewhere? Or did you just link back to here?

  • JackC

    Paul visited the “museum” and shared the thoughts above – which are being questioned by Looy. It looks as if the blog owner, Daniel may have been the Pharyngula visitor.

    Paul, not at all certain about THIS site, but if you are not of stout heart, Pharyngula may not be your cuppa. ;-) (though I will not necessarily say “for no reason” – many really do call down the Wrath justifiably.)

    BTW: PZ (blog owner at Pharyngula) has been to the “museum” as well – he was no where near as nice as you were about it.

    JC

    • Daniel Fincke

      Yes, that’s right, JC, I’m the blog owner and I wanted to figure out if I should stand by Paul’s account or suck it up and capitulate to Looy. You can understand why capitulating to the Creation Museum was not my first preference and why I wanted to seek other knowledgable sources.

  • Jeff Eyges

    I apologize for the appearance that you were being treated inconsistently by the same person.

    No, no, my mistake.

    You may want to read a few of PZ’s posts about the Museum, including his description of the Pharyngulites’ group trip:

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/the_creation_museum_1.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2007/05/the_creation_museum.php

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/08/the_creation_museum_science_fa.php

  • Daniel Fincke

    Paul, thanks for the run-down of the non-display places that you encountered these theories. I trust your word over the creation museum’s and am happy to stand by your account and my decision to post your remarks prominently as I did (even if you meant to make a much less controversial and lower profile set of observations!)

  • Paul

    I think that I found a web page with the radioisotope dating information that I mentioned.
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v1/n1/radioactive-dating

    I can’t say for certain that this is the same data that was listed on the poster at the museum.

    The age measurements for the Cardenas Basalt Lavas look very consistent to me. Most methods of dating give ages that are within one or two “standard deviations” from each other. I have no expertise using any of these methods so I can’t comment further on which measurements should be trusted more. There is a measurement that seems very inconsistent with the others. AiG would like you to conclude that the entire theory of radioactive dating is wrong. The scientific method would call for the results to be independently verified and the techniques reviewed critically.

  • Paul

    Here’s a page explaining AiG’s reasons for questioning the speed of light:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/does-starlight-prove

  • Paul

    The museum on the earth’s magnetic field:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/creation/v13/i4/magnetic.asp

  • Paul

    Here’s a video of the museum’s flood animation:

    Make your own conclusions about the distance scale of the “flood jets.” (Hint: they reach a high orbit.)

  • Paul

    The formation of rock layers is mentioned here:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v2/n4/geologic-evidences-part-one

    And here:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/am/v4/n2/folded-not-fractured

    The theory of marsupials being found in the fossil record after the KT event is espoused here:
    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/how-did-animals-spread

  • s.k.graham

    To: Mark Looy,

    I have visited your “museum” and I would like to address your counter-claims. It may well be the case that you do not make the *exact* claims as stated by Paul. However, he does fairly well characterize the impression I came away with.

    Regarding the racial characteristics of Adam and Even — they certainly looked like white Europeans to me — maybe they had good tans, but one could not mistake them for African, Semitic, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander… you get the picture.

    You may not claim that 100% of sedimentary layers were layed down by the flood, but everything that you do say about the flood would require that the overwhelming majority of sedimentary layers were created by the flood.

    You may not specifically claim that the speed of light has not been constant throughout history, but you certainly strongly suggest that various physical constants might have changed over the course of history, thereby accounting for apparent discrepancies in the age of the universe.

    In order to have a 6000 year old universe, it is certainly necessary to invent some sort of magical effects that have no evidence — the apparent distance to the stars must be accounted for by a changing speed of light, or perhaps the light rays were created mid-transit, or we must imagine some sort of bizarre distortion of cosmic distances. All of these things would be possible for an all-powerful creator… but then you can make up any old crazy thing to force the facts to fit your Genesis hypothesis.

    Instead of trying to force the facts to fit your myths… why don’t you just admit that the obvservable facts do not back you up and state flatly that you take on faith that your magical omnipotent God created everything as per Genesis, but then magically made everything look like the universe is 13 billion years old, like the earth is 4 billion years old, like billions of years of evolution account for the diversity of life as we know it. Or perhaps your God did not do this but allowed a free-willed Satan to create the illusion to deceive us. Or whatever. Maybe we all live in “The Matrix” and God is just the “Master Control Program” (to the geeks out their: yes, I am aware that I mixing references to two quite distinct movies).

    Your Creation “Museum” is nothing but a monument to the denial of reality.

    • Paul

      I stand corrected. The current estimate of the age of the universe is only ~13 to 14 billion years. Not 13 trillion.

      Sorry about that.

  • JackC

    This is a very confusing comment system ;-)

    OK – I have read a few of those links concerning radiometric dating, light speed differentials and others. My head hurts. Please stop!

    My, how the phrases “perhaps”, “it could be that” and “it is even possible” get horribly over used on those pages.

    I don’t think I will ever understand how these folks are able to rationalise their statements into legitimacy. It doesn’t really surprise me, but it is just unbelievably… nutty.

    JC

    • Paul

      JC – Sorry about the information blast from AiG. You are correct to say that they seem to go to great lengths to suggest other possible interpretations.

      In all fairness, scientists really do talk like this. Knowing that measurements are not perfect we speak of the systematic and random uncertainty of any measurement. Scientists rarely speak in absolutes. This infuriates lawyers who want to read some “reasonable doubt” into such statements. There always is some doubt. Count the number of kids in a classroom, measure the weight of your pencil, estimate the density of the earth’s core – you’ll always be able to give some reason why the answer is not perfect. (The kids were moving around, you used the same pencil to write down the answer and rubbed off some lead, insufficient data for a precise model.) It’s not hard to imagine ways to improve these measurements. (Tape the kids to their chairs, get another pencil and a better balance, dig a hole.)

      Al Gore’s movie, for example, did not do this. He spoke in absolutes. If a scientist were speaking you would have heard things like, “within the limits of our current models,” “unless other mechanisms for energy transfer develop,” and “based on our current understanding.” But Al Gore’s bold statements were also refreshing, in a way. He summarized the current consensus view of global warming clearly in no uncertain terms. He’s not a scientist. But he communicated the information very well. And most everything Gore said is correct.

    • JackC

      I wasn’t referring to scientists as using those waffle words, but the AIG folks, specifically the pages linked. Being an Engineer (computer) myself, I am quite fond of the phrase “Engineers [Scientists] NEVER speak in Absolutes!”

      OK – yeah – I am a little odd at times… ;-)

      Of course, when a Scientist says something along the lines of “Perhaps another way of looking at the [X]“, they then go about developing their hypothesis using accepted methods, usually in painful detail. They do not simply make a postulate, then assume that being true, I have then proved my point, move on. This is widely what AIG and those of similar mindset do and it spins my head.

      Regarding Looy’s (trying HARD not to type “Hooey’s” … REALLY!) response to the original post, I definitely agree that misrepresentation should not occur, but if items ARE misrepresented (some may have been), they need to be addressed directly – not with a wave of the “I am not going to be bothered to correct you – you are just wrong” hand.

      The AIG crowd certainly does NOT use Science in any recognisable manner. This “museum” follows suit using only the merest bits of Science when it properly suits their purpose, and making up their own rules when it does not. They postulate such things as light behaving in some manner differently in the young Universe, then proceed on that assumption to “prove” that all the other cosmologists are perforce wrong. When called on it, they generally respond “That isn’t what we say at all!! In fact, we say the EXACT OPPOSITE! If you only understood SCIENCE, you would see this!” Of course, we understand that is their method.

      This does not allow us to derive our own “facts” concerning them however and where necessary, we too need correction. I believe we beg for it. If we are wrong, show us where. Looy has not done this, though had he, it would have been (I suspect) respectfully received, perhaps even followed up on and admitted. Well, here maybe. Not on PZs board perhaps – but there, we would have the photo evidence to back it up. Well… maybe. Some folks are just downright ornery.

      I prefer to look and read though, and reading that AIG stuff was – almost more than my brain could take. I voluntarily listened to Rob Bell once as he singlehandedly ignored nearly all of known science and created his own little reality – with enough “certainty” in it to cause his network of staunch believers to understand that he had it all worked out. I nearly screamed from mental trauma, and I am VERY glad a friend studying Physics was not viewing the train wreck with me. The Farce is strong with these folks.

      Yes, Al Gore did a superb job relating the urgency of the AGW issue and it is truly a shame that his political baggage veritably forces a large group to deny the reality simply because it was Gore that said it. It is one item I happen to follow somewhat closely myself.

      JC

  • http://www.creationmuseum.org Mark Looy

    It’s been somewhat humorous but also sad to watch the back-pedaling going on as people have been trying to defend the writer (Paul) who made various false claims about the alleged theories that he contends are presented inside the Creation Museum, but are not there. At the risk of inflaming this debate even more and devoting too much of my time knocking down straw men, let me point out that we were accused of teaching that “all of the layers of sediment in the paleontological record were put down in the flood” of Noah’s time. Someone then writes to defend Paul by saying that the museum teaches that the majority of the world’s sedimentary layers were laid down by Noah’s Flood (which is indeed what we believe). Now, there is a world of difference between “all” layers and a majority of the layers. We see such layers being formed today (and quickly, I might add) — see http://www.answersingenesis.org/docs2/4305news5-17-2000.asp

    It was a flat-out wrong statement that was made about our museum. Now, if I wrote that all evolutionist biologists are atheists, you would vehemently object to that wrong statement, right?

    Then people offered opinions to help defend the original contention that we depict the biblical characters in the museum as white Europeans. The original person who posted this claim is not so sure himself now about his accusation and is calling on others to come to his aid. To be clear: we have taught in two books, three DVDs, several articles, and in a large exhibit inside the museum that the different people groups that we see today descended from Noah and his family in the Middle East, and as we have stated time and time again “Noah and his family were probably mid-brown, with genes for both dark and light skin.” Our website of OneHumanRace.com has much on this topic, including the following article about skin “color”: http://www.onehumanrace.com/docs/skin_color.asp . And Adam IS depicted in the museum with a skin shade similar to what you would see in the Middle East today (as are other museum characters, like the animatronic Noah). It’s frustrating that as an organization that has racial reconciliation and combating racism as a part of our outreach, we are accused of wrong things like this. C’mon guys.

    Then there is the remarkable comment from the host of this site: “I trust [Paul's] word over the creation museum’s and am happy to stand by your account.” So, this blog’s host will not demand the primary source evidence from Paul that might back up the claims on what we supposedly teach and decides to keep Paul’s posting up, but won’t believe a primary source (me) about what’s in our own museum or in our teachings as an organization. (Remember: what I write can easily be examined against what we publicly declare on our websites, in the museum, etc.)

    This is becoming a waste of time. I point out errors, people back-pedal and say “but …,” move the goal posts, etc. This on-line debate will only go on and on and on. I prefer dealing with more serious people who might be willing to use their critical-thinking ability and examine what they really believe about evolution — and to be accurate in their assertions. As a former evolutionist myself, I hope they do. Mark, CCO, The Creation Museum

    • Paul

      Mark,

      Thanks for coming back.

      If the museum’s mission is outreach and education please point us to more resources which could address these questions. Are there more than those which I found on your web sites?

      I’d like to suggest that we drop the racial debate. That seems to be holding up discussion of some of the other issues. You’ve stated that the museum has taken some care to present diversity in the characters from the Biblical record. We’ll let your open invitation for others to explore the museum and draw their own conclusions be the final word on that.

      I’d also like to not debate the distance scale of the flood jets. It’s a beautiful animation. It serves its purpose well. Scientists are always scaling things and colorizing things to make the information easier to interpret. That’s all that has been done to make that animation. It’s not terribly important.

      Are there any other terms under which you will agree to talk with us? I’ll apologize for the title of the blog. Dan likes to sensationalize just a bit. The word I used was “wild” and not “crazy.” I’ve already asked that any comments made should show some respect for you and not stoop to petty insults and personal attacks. I’m sorry that readers may trust my account above yours. You’re a sheep among wolves here. Readers know perfectly well who you are. They have no idea who I am. There is no reason one opinion should be trusted over the other. But on the subject of petty insults I’ll have to ask you to clarify your statements about backpedalling on certain issues. You speak as if you are laughing at certain authors on this page. I’ll be happy to join you in that. But please say what you mean.

      Assuming you’ll agree, :)
      Let’s try a simple question to continue our discussion. Have you reviewed the planetarium presentation with my concern in mind? That is, might a reasonable guest be lead to conclude that the museum is suggesting that the speed of light was different in the past? Is there a way that the museum’s perspective on this might be presented to avoid such confusion? Fundamental to all of these questions is, of course: What is it that the museum is trying to teach about the speed of light and the distance scale of the universe? If I missed the point of the presentation and the online materials, please help me by clarifying your position.

      Sincerely,
      Paul

  • Terri

    I’ve been following this blog with interest. I’ve especially appreciated the museum’s CCO’s input, and I hope he continues to respond, even though he deems it a “waste of time.” After all, is he not the museum’s spokesperson? (The museum web site indicates as much.) But I wish he would respond to some of the questions/issues which in my opinion are far more important than mannequin skin color and semantics about “all” vs. “the majority” of the sedimentary layers. For instance, Paul claims the museum puts forth the theory that the speed of light was different in the past. Mark flat out denies this. Paul produced a museum web page link that, to my lay eyes, sure looks like it’s saying the speed of light was different in the past: “Some people have proposed that light was much quicker in the past.” Mark, it bothers me that you haven’t addressed this with anything beyond blanket statements that Paul is wrong and you are right. Or are we simply back to more semantics? Paul used the word “was,” the museum uses words like “could have” and that makes Paul wrong? I have to say, that’s a nit-picky argument that I don’t find very persuasive.

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  • Paul

    I was really hoping that Mark Looy would continue the conversation we started here. Academically his theories are fascinating. If they will hold up to scientific scrutiny I’d like to through a few questions at them.

    I’ve read more of the resources from the museum’s web site now. And I think that I’m understanding a little more about the perspective presented in the museum. Some of this text would be useful as part of the museum displays.

    Someone with the museum will correct the following statement if this is a misrepresentation:
    All of the geological features of the earth were formed in the flood and the following period (perhaps 1000 years) of great volcanic and earthquake activity.

    I have one question to throw at that. And let me be perfectly clear about my reason for doing so. Children learn creation theories like Ham’s in church and in grade school. And then they go off to college and are met with data that do not fit into this worldview. Information which cannot, by any stretch of the imagination, be funneled into a universe just 6000 years old. When they come to that place, they will think that they’ve lost their faith.

    Question: What caused the geologic features that we see on other planets and their moons?

    Paul

    • JackC

      I don’t believe Looy is interested in a “conversation” – he has “The Truth” and there is to be no discussion.

      Which really is a shame, however expected.

      I don’t find the ideas presented particularly “academically interesting” at all – other than perhaps psychologically. It IS rather fascinating to me how one can bend Reality so far as to cause it to line up with a particular belief. The simple fact that someone makes an absurd statement does not in any way lend credence to that statement.

      The concepts contained within the building Looy works from (I am really not willing to call it a “museum” other than perhaps in the ancient sense of “House of the Muse” with all the attendant concepts therein) do NOT stand up to any scientific inquiry, unless of course, you completely redefine scientific inquiry. This is, of course, what they do.

      Your question concerning geologic features simply allows the Creationist to fall back on a total misunderstanding of Understanding, and say “God did it. God did it all.” and proceed from that assumption to make up wild conjectures (“It is inconceivable to think that the Creator which created all the Heavens could not have created all that you see on other worlds…”) – and thereby redefine Science to their purpose.

      Luckily, Science and Knowledge will have none of it.

      Your point of young people being taught this as “fact” is the precise point. The issue is that this thinking negates critical thinking. It negates understanding in place of blanket statement. It negates curiosity and creativity. It is the opposite of Science and Understanding. It shows an entirely failed sense of wonder and ability to question. It also shows a very poor sense of imagination.

      JC

    • Paul

      JC

      Societies have been built without science and knowledge. And societies have languished while all the best science and knowledge was shut up in ancient libraries that no one could read.

      Science likes to question theories. I think that Looy, et. al. have a marvelous sense of imagination. The theories may have little to do with the facts around him, but they’ve contrived amazingly detailed narratives from a few sketchy Biblical details.

      For example, the museum questions the Big Bang on the point of the hyperinflation theory. In order to make all of the math work, the standard model of the origin of the universe calls for a brief period of time where the exploding universe expands faster than the speed of light. This was necessitated by a need to explain how the original dense universe ever managed to get large enough before its own gravity would crush it back down instantly. So, good scientists invented a wacky idea: Suppose that everything we know about the laws of nature was somehow suspended for those few brief moments and some mysterious other force that we have never measured just pushed things apart. Sure, we can write mathematical equations to explain how such a force worked. But it’s a guess, a supposition. It’s not based on any fact or measurement. No data that we have goes back further than the point of last scattering; when the universe was cool enough for atoms to form — the microwave background.

      AiG would like to have a period in history when light traveled faster than it does today. I don’t think that the math works out for that. But suppose that you called some other mysterious force into existence to make it so. Is that so different than the theory of hyperinflation. Well, yes it probably is. But calling the theory of hyperinflation to task in this way is interesting. And it is science.

      There is one presumption in your statements that I’d like to examine: We’re lucky to have science and knowledge. Tell that to the polar bears, the sea corals, and the marsupial tigers.

      I’ll throw you another bone. Here’s a scientific theory:
      The overpopulation of humans on the planet is causing great harm to the environment. The demand for scientific solutions to human needs is only increasing the population. Therefore our children should be taught to shun scientific knowledge as a poor religious world view. Vaccinations should be avoided. Hybrid crops should be banned. The use of fertilizers and pesticides should be stopped immediately. The resulting wars, plagues and famines will quickly bring the human population back in check. Ergo, theories like those advocated by AiG should be taught in schools.

      Now, I think that’s a perfectly evil theory. But it certainly seems to be based on scientific knowledge. If you’re advocating knowledge with out compassion, then I’m not on your side. If you’re saying that knowledge can only do good, then I think you’ve made a serious break with reality. What about science could call a theory either good or evil?

      Paul

  • Jeff Eyges

    Paul,

    There is a world of difference between proposing a novel hypothesis and running it through falsifiability, peer review and so forth – and saying, “Goddidit, and if you don’t accept that, you’ll burn in hell for all eternity.”

  • Jeff Eyges

    You know, I’ll present it a little differently.

    The scientist says, “Here’s a new idea. We’ll run it against what we now know about the laws of physics, and see if stands up.

    The creationist says, “I have a 3,000 year-old book that tells me everything I need to know. If I observe something that seems to contradict what the book says, I’ll ignore it, because the book must always be right.”

    And before you tell me they don’t say that, let me preempt you. Marcus Ross is a young earth creationist who conned the folks in the Earth Sciences Dept. at U Rhode Island into giving him a PhD two years ago. He views creationism and legitimate science as “competing paradigms”. He now teaches his students at Liberty U about the “gaping holes” in evolutionary and cosmological theories, and has stated publicly that even if the evidence did support evolution and an old universe, he would refuse to believe it, as that isn’t what the bible says. And he is only one example out of many.

    These people have no imagination, apart from an imaginative ability to deceive themselves, and what they are doing is theology, not science.

  • JackC

    It appears that only a couple replies “in situ” are permitted. Odd, but I can work with that.

    Paul – I fear you conflate Science (that endeavour by which we come to understand the Universe around us) with any ability to know anything. It is rather obvious (and simplistic) to understand that science as we know it today has a long development road – and that there was a time (well documented in fact) in which Science as we know it today did not exist in the form we now consider it.

    That little fact in no way means that no one “before science” could come to understand anything by using methods that we today recognise as scientific. Societies develop for many, many reasons and do not require any “science” to do so (save perhaps for the knowledge that being near water is better than not being near water, etc.)

    A great deal of what we now know of as Science was developed within a religious construct. The Vatican to this day maintains a very nice observatory. Before we had an organised way to evaluate claims made, Religion was “it”. Knowledge was Religious Knowledge, and much of science sprang from that base – and eventually realised the necessity to leave it behind.

    Questioning the Big Bang is legitimate – but proposing an unsupported hypothesis for the sole purpose of causing your result to agree with your prior conclusion is not. By all means – postulate a method by which light can travel over what we now see as the speed of light – Einstein did a similar thing with measurements in his thinking about Relativity.

    You may not, however, place the postulate, assume it’s truth and then proceed to prove everything else incorrect by reference to your unproved postulate. Well – you MAY – but you will be laughed at and properly ridiculed. Such is the endeavour of the likes of Looy and Ham.

    If you wish to postulate that “everything we know about the laws of nature was somehow suspended”, doing so is not sufficient. You must show HOW that happens, provide a mechanism and show evidence that is observable to all that such has happened. Until then, it is merely a postulate.

    And you provide a nice example. Hyperinflation is not a “theory” (as understood in science) – it is a MODEL. A hypothesis if you will. It has not yet graduated to the high status of Theory. There are others and they are all competing for a position of dominance. Hyperinflation HAS received a big boost from WMAP measurements, but that does not mean it is now The Truth. It merely has gained some ground.

    Hyperinflation (and the others) all attempt to model the beginning of the universe and their validation is found in observation.

    Note that this is quite different from developing a model of the universe which is caused to come into agreement with concepts (decidedly NOT measurements) one already possesses. That may be a model, but it is one easily dismissed.

    Note also the apparent misconception that the universe “expanded into something” – one of the most difficult concepts to come to terms with is – the big bang IS the Universe. It is not expanding into itself. Light does not yet even exist, therefore terms like “it expanded faster than light” are basically meaningless. It is the attempt to take a commonly understood term and confuse it in a condition in which it does not apply.

    You certainly can call the hyperinflation model into question (as many have) and yes, that is certainly science, however to then proceed directly to “this proves my ancient wisdom of this particular book” is merely a joke. THAT, my friend is NOT science.

    I have no idea what you are going on about regarding Science, Technology and Polar Bears. I can only assume that you feel that Science is somehow responsible for Global Warming (rather than the discovery and understanding of it) though I will grant the point with regards to Technology. Neither has a standard of ethics (particularly) to govern it, and since it is only recently that we have uncovered what our particular brand of Technology is doing to us (and the polar bears, etc.), I do not understand how you wish to place the blame on Science for that. I would place it on wanton disregard for Societal concerns over material ones, but that is just me. It is also particularly interesting to point out that historically, it is the Religious among us who decry the Science behind AGW and dismiss it’s effects. Some accept the science, I grant, but the great majority simply do not understand what is happening. And they are equally blind to the Science which accompanies it.

    The “theory” you present is not anything of the kind. It is a postulate. It is a collection of words with very little support. It is a position statement setting up a strawman, but a Theory it is not.

    I recently watched a video where the concept was stated that the particular evils you place in your hypothetical scenario are quite definitely those present when one takes a religious position, rather than a rational one. the point was made that to avoid such a scenario, what our children need to be taught is RATIONAL THINKING – and that is all. All flows from that. If one is rational, one knows what course to take for the benefit of all. I have done this three times now and my children are quite the better for it. I can only hope that the influx of rational thinking is not a limited commodity.

    JC

    • Paul

      Jack,

      All very well said. Yes, I was using the term theory a little too causally. Hypothesis or postulate would have been better. But you may be splitting hairs between “science” and “technology.” Even the science which recognizes global warming may suggest a reaction to it that will only make things worse. Remember that good fellow who used science to solve the problem with ammonia refrigerants? He was a brilliant chemist. The companies he founded made lots of money. The refrigerant he came up with was efficient, inexpensive to produce, non-toxic, and chemically inert. It was a marvelous solution to a problem. Nobody gets killed by leaks from their refrigerators anymore. Except for one thing. When CFC’s drift into the upper atmosphere and condense on high altitude ice crystals which form in the spring when they’re just starting to get a little sunlight over the poles, they catalyze the destruction of ozone. Who could have foreseen that?

      Perhaps we’re still working without a good definition of science here. What would you suggest?

      I agree completely about the presentation from the AiG folks. They seem to disregard any burden of proof. So often they seem to be saying, “Another theory exists, so there.” It’s great to be confident of your position. But how many museum placards can one really print that say, “So there!”?

      Chances of Looy coming back to chat are small. I hope that he’s still following this blog. I’d like to say, “Great, you have another theory! If you’re not afraid of science, then let’s act like scientists. Let’s talk about that theory some.” I would very much like to have that conversation.

      Paul

  • JackC

    Just a quick one – Paul, I am a little under the weather and haven’t read your reply yet. Don’t want you thinking I have run away! I may be clear enough tomorrow to get to it.

    Nothing exciting, just a lovely bad throat and a bit of a cold. Mostly exhaustion.

    JC


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