Friday, March 03, 2017

Real Scientists v. Fake Scientists, Place your Bets!

I have many friends who are Young Earth Creationists. They generally don't give a rat's derrière what science says and are not afraid to say so. It's all good. I can respect that.

I am also good with people like the Kurt Wise, Ph.D. (Geology, Harvard) of several years ago (when he was the science-guy at Southern Seminary, either just before or just after Dembski) who blatantly held to a position of cognitive dissonance: He would agree that all the scientific evidence points to an old earth, but he chose to believe in a young earth because he believed that is what the Bible taught. (He seems to have changed his tune, moving closer to the dark side--but that's still the model.)

The dark side, which I can not tolerate, are those charalatans at Answers in Genesis and the Institute for Creation Research who have made a cottage industry of bald-face lying. Ken Ham and the Morris clan fleece the flock by feeding (and more often selling) them the garbage notion that science done correctly supports a young earth. You know what they do. It is a powerful business model. Make up a lie, wrap in sciency language, and sell it (literally) as the real deal. It is utterly repulsive.

A current manifestation of this is the recently released movie Is Genesis History?

This film has been critiqued on BioLogos by Christians who are real scientists. They begin their review with this note:

EDITOR'S NOTE: The film Is Genesis History? has created something of a splash among conservative Christian communities. It is a documentary hosted by Del Tackett, who is known to many Christians as the host of Focus on the Family’s Truth Project, which was used as a small group curriculum by many churches a decade ago. Tackett purports to go on a journey to discover whether a literalist interpretation of Genesis yields a historically reliable account of earth’s history. The film is beautifully produced and no doubt will be held up by many as a model of Christian scholarship. And we do not question the good intentions of the filmmakers, but of course we believe their conclusions to be seriously flawed.

They do not question the good intentions of the filmmakers. That is my only point of disagreement.

Here is an exceprt of the BioLogos critique:

Just minutes into the film, we find ourselves in the Grand Canyon with Dr. Steve Austin, a young-earth creationist geologist. Here we are told that the layers are flat with no erosion or significant channels, that geologists have abandoned long ages for the canyon formation since it couldn’t be stable over millions of years, that remnants of giant lakes are found that once dammed water before failing and violently carving out the canyon, and that a massive erosional feature near the bottom of the canyon, known as the Great Unconformity, has been observed all over the world. A bit later in the film, we are informed that the layers of the canyon preserve a succession of marine ecosystems, each washed in and deposited by flood surges. Conclusion? “The only explanation that makes sense is a global flood!”

Many who watch this movie will think: “These men are Christians and scientists, so it must be true!” Yet it doesn’t take much digging to discover that evidence of erosion between layers in the Grand Canyon is abundant, including now filled-in river channels as much as 400 ft deep. The so-called “abandonment of long ages” actually means that while some geologists think the carving took over 70 million years, others think it formed over a shorter period of about 6 million years. The giant lakes turn out to be speculation, with no actual evidence of their proposed size. The global presence of the Great Unconformity exists only in Dr. Austin’s mind.

And perhaps worst of all, when mentioning those sequential layers of marine fossils laid down by flood surges, they conveniently leave out the fact that in a vertical mile of catastrophically deposited sediments, there is not a single fossilized bird, mammal, dinosaur, flowering plant, or even a grain of flowering plant pollen. This looks remarkably like evidence of rising and falling oceans at a time when birds, mammals, dinosaurs, and flowering plants did not yet exist. How does an earth-scouring watery cataclysm, with a miraculous removal of all traces of these organisms, provide “the only explanation that makes sense”?
Good work BioLogos!

Hat Tip: Ed Brayton

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