Creationists Visit “Evolution Headquarters”

Two things stand out to me Steve Hendrix‘s article in The Washington Post.

One is how the Creationists from Liberty University feel as out of place and shocked by what they see at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History as many atheists feel when visiting the Creation Museum.

“There’s nothing balanced here. It’s completely, 100 percent evolution-based,” said [David] DeWitt, a professor of biology. “We come every year, because I don’t hold anything back from the students.”

Replace “evolution” with “Creation” and you have the atheists’ mindset.

Two is that the article mentions Creationist paleontologist Marcus Ross:

Otherwise, the 20 students listened attentively as co-leader Marcus Ross, an enthusiastic paleontologist who teaches at Liberty, expertly explained about the world-class fossil collection and told ripping tales of the towering tyrannosaurus rex that was casting skeletal shadows over the group.

“I love it here,” said Ross, who has a doctorate in geosciences from the University of Rhode Island. “There’s something romantic about seeing the real thing.”

The last time (only time, really) I heard of Ross was a couple years ago when an article about him appeared in The New York Times — Ross wrote his doctoral dissertation at a secular school about a time period he doesn’t even believe exists:

His subject was the abundance and spread of mosasaurs, marine reptiles that, as he wrote, vanished at the end of the Cretaceous era about 65 million years ago. The work is “impeccable,” said David E. Fastovsky, a paleontologist and professor of geosciences at the university who was Dr. Ross’s dissertation adviser. “He was working within a strictly scientific framework, a conventional scientific framework.”

But Dr. Ross is hardly a conventional paleontologist. He is a “young earth creationist” — he believes that the Bible is a literally true account of the creation of the universe, and that the earth is at most 10,000 years old.

So that’s what became of him… Ross is now peddling ignorance using a diploma bestowed upon him for work he both defended and refutes.

Ok, one other line was funny…

Why should we be afraid to test our worldview against reality?” asked Bill Jack, a Christian leadership instructor who leads groups across the country for a company called Biblically Correct Tours. “If Christianity is true, it better be true in the natural history museums and in the zoos.”

Nice use of the word “reality” to describe the opposite of your worldview :)

(via The Invisible Pink Unicorn)

  • http://hotchicksdigsmartmen.blogspot.com/ Janiece

    I am dreadfully embarrassed that BC Tours got its start at my own beloved Denver Museum of Nature and Science.

    They kind of suck, and every time I see them, I’m tempted to hit them in the head with a shovel.

    Bad human! Bad!

  • Zoo

    One thing that really disturbed me about that article was the girl who was expecting an APE to be the first type of mammal. If they’re holding nothing back from the students about evolution, why doesn’t she, in “advanced creation studies” already know it would be a “rat” and not something more magnificent?

    I would think that, of all places, they would be learning something about the theory they’re trying to argue against in a university (even at Liberty).

  • http://www.anatheist.net James

    Haha. Yes. Christians and Creationists should spend a little more time studying actual “reality”. Could be good for them.

  • Richard Wade

    “We come every year, because I don’t hold anything back from the students.”

    I wonder if DeWitt “doesn’t hold back” a clear and honest description of radiometric dating and other ways of determining the age of rocks. Sooner or later a lie has to be told if these kids are to be kept in their bronze age world view. A straight out lie about the methods, a lie of omission, a gloss-over or a manipulation of an alleged “conflict” within the scientific community about the methods will be necessary to allow the students to keep their archaic beliefs safe and snug within that little zone of manufactured doubt.

    But that is the basic goal of Liberty University: not to teach young people how to discover what is actually in the world around them, but how to endlessly reaffirm what they already believe is in the world around them. And if some lies have to be told, well, we’ll just call it fudging a little for the sake of their souls.

    These kids are being educationally handicapped. Very little of science will make sense for them as they grow up in a world that will increasingly demand a robust understanding of science from anyone wanting to contribute to society’s progress. I feel very sad for them and for the society they will burden.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    “Why should we be afraid to test our worldview against reality?”. I can think of several reasons. The big bad world is scary and gods make it comfortable. The conclusions to the testing of reality indicate that there is no loving god and that makes church a pointless exercise. Many Christians are indoctrinated into believing that morality stems from gods and they fear a world where this is not the case.

    The sad thing is that this needn’t be the case. Science and faith are not completely incompatible if you are willing to adjust your view of faith to accommodate evidence. So sad.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    The Liberty graduates, with their “education” will be known for saying two things:

    “What would jesus do?”

    and

    “Would you like fries with that?”

  • Luther Weeks

    Jeff,

    That is true until the Whitehouse is take over again.

    Then they will be appointing the U.S. Attorneys, making environmental regulations etc.

    And if a few years when we are taken away for heresy and we will be expected to call the “Your Honor”.

  • absent sway

    I was fed propaganda as early as third or fourth grade saying that radiocarbon dating is unreliable. Ah, the memories come rushing back…

  • Dennis N

    “There’s something romantic about seeing the real thing.”

    Isn’t it much more romantic and awe inspiring to think about the depth of time that these fossils come from? These animals ruled the Earth 65,000,000 million years ago, but they think it was a mere 6,000 years. In America, there is a belief that religion is beautiful and deep, but you can see that they really do miss out on how beautiful reality actually is.

  • http://peacefulatheist.wordpress.com Lily

    When I first became an atheist, I happened to be living in DC. Several days a week, I would go to the Natural History Museum after work and “meditate” (for lack of a better term) on the depth of time and the magnificence of life. For a brand-new atheist searching for meaning and something to hold on to in reality, there was no better place for discovering the romance and beauty of evolution.

  • http://twitter.com/ann_nguyen Ann

    Isn’t the term “creationist paleontologist” an oxymoron?

  • http://mattstone.blogs.com Matt Stone

    I am continually amazed with this talk of ‘creation museums’ in America. My online Christian friends sometimes speak of them as well (with much embarressment and frustration) but I just don’t get it. How many of them actually exist?

  • Jay

    Replace “evolution” with “Creation” and you have the atheists’ mindset.

    Uh, no. The complaint that atheists (and other intelligent and informed people) have about the Creation Museum isn’t that it’s not balanced, that it’s 100% Creationism-based, but rather that it’s fraudulent — that it grossly contradicts and is contradicted by known fact. And that the curators know better — that many intentionally dishonest acts are required to perpetrate such a fraud.


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