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1. AP: “New exhibit details human origins“
In New York City, a new 9,000-square-foot (836 m2) exhibit hall at the American Museum of Natural History is the latest effort to woo the public into accepting evolution. The exhibit focuses on bringing together pro-evolution interpretations of the fossil record and of genomic science.
In addition, the new exhibit, which replaces the “Hall of Human Biology and Evolution,” includes casts of more than 200 fossils and artifacts and lures visitors in with “a host of technology and interactive features” in addition to dioramas. The exhibit “introduces genomics concepts and shows how close our DNA is to that of other primates such as bonobos and chimpanzees,” and will showcase a vial containing the actual DNA extracted from a Neandertal fossil.
Although the exhibit will certainly go a long way toward indoctrinating students and adults, it is, in a way, a compliment to the rising creation movement and the soon-to-open Creation Museum; major secular museums may now feel an increased need to expand their pro-evolution operations in an attempt to counter this rise and the Creation Museum that will open this May.
2. LiveScience: “Charles Darwin's Big Blunder Revealed”
We’ve got to admit it: the headline of this article had us curious for a minute—which of Darwin’s “big blunders” would be revealed? As it turns out, the so-called “big blunder” was simply his omission of a preface for the original edition of On the Origin of Species(1859), an omission which some interpreted as Darwin’s refusal to acknowledge his intellectual predecessors.
And indeed Darwin, whose name is nearly synonymous with evolutionary theory, owed much to scientists and non-scientists who went ahead of him.
Interestingly, the article references Charles Lyell, the lawyer-turned-geologist who advanced uniformitarian ideas of long ages and slow, gradual processes that are crucial within evolutionary theory. Strangely, Lyell was not acknowledged by Darwin, who later claimed he simply “forgot all about” Lyell’s ideas. The article quotes historian Curtis Johnson, who explains that Lyell’s book Principles of Geology “anticipates evolutionary thought” and argues that Lyell should have been at the top of Darwin’s list to thank. We agree; evolutionary theory owes a great deal to old-earth ideas, and creation compromises are very often linked hand-in-hand with unbiblical, evolutionary ideas.
3. USA TODAY: “The Bible vs. science”
There’s usually little doubt, when an opinion piece is headlined as this one is, that the author is no friend of creation research. This article, from USA TODAY, upholds the trend.
The first mistake comes six paragraphs in:
The stakes seem even higher to some on the creationist side. If their rhetoric is any indication, nothing short of the existence of God hinges on their ‘proving’ that the canyon was not the result of gradual geologic processes, but of Noah’s flood.
The author, Tom Krattenmaker, a regular religion columnist with this national paper, seems to be arguing that we creationists believe in a sort of inductive, evidential argument for God: we [somehow] “prove” the Grand Canyon’s Noachian origin, thereby [partially] “proving” the Bible, thus “proving” the existence of God. Not quite; the author has it backward. Instead, a belief in God and His Word comes first and then come the conclusions that result from that belief (for example, that the Flood described in Genesis would have massively altered the geology of the earth).
The author is misunderstanding the words of Tom Vail, author of Grand Canyon: A Different View, when he writes “[I]f we’re right, if the Grand Canyon is the result of a global flood and the Bible is true, then there’s a God. And if there’s a God, then there’s a God that they might be [answerable] to.” In this passage, Vail is not explaining creationist thought, but rather characterizing the naturalist’s thought process.
Krattenmaker then decides to trip himself with a logical fallacy:
Vail’s point, however, begs a question that he and like-minded creationists might not want asked. If they’re objectively wrong about the genesis of the Grand Canyon and other geologic matters—you’ll be hard-pressed to find a mainstream scientist who says they aren’t—must they concede that God does not exist?
Even ignoring the fact that Vail is merely characterizing naturalist thought rather than explaining creationist logic, Krattenmaker has committed a glaring logical error: he has denied the antecedent. In other words, he's taking this argument (which can be thought of in the form If P, then Q):
If [the Grand Canyon is the result of a global flood and the Bible is true], then [there is a God].
… then saying that if the antecedent (conditional) is false (that is, if the Grand Canyon were formed over millions of years), the consequent (conclusion) must be false—that is, If not P, then not Q. This is a logical fallacy akin to arguing that if a particular tomb doesn’t belong to King David, then King David cannot have existed. Krattenmaker is trying to portray creationists as arguing “if the Grand Canyon wasn’t caused by the Flood, there is no God”; rather, creationists are simply arguing that naturalists try to avoid recognizing God’s existence by avoiding signs of His Word’s truth.
Krattenmaker adds that “[n]o amount of scientific evidence will convince an ardent creationist of the validity of human evolution or that the Earth is billions of years old.” He apparently is unaware of a basic philosophical tenet of creationists: scientific evidence by definition cannot exceed the bounds of Scripture, which clearly teaches creation ex nihilo a few thousand years ago. Yet Krattenmaker marches on in his ignorance:
Nevertheless, the question frames a problem with the stance of the anti-science creationists that threatens not only their version of the world‘s origins, but also the credibility of their religion itself. Because by attempting to marshal empirical evidence in support of their beliefs, they enter the debate on the scientists’ terms—terms that cannot possibly work in favor of a literal reading of the Bible. By playing in this arena, haven’t the creationists already lost the argument?
Creationists are not trying to use evidence to prop up our beliefs: our basic belief—our presupposition—is the truth of the Bible; this needs no support. We are simply showing how the “evidence” (rock layers, fossils, etc.) fits within the framework of our presupposition. Besides, Krattenmaker’s idea of entering the debate on so-called scientists’ (actually naturalists’) terms basically means leaving the Bible out of the debate and agreeing with naturalists’ uniformitarian assumptions!
Krattenmaker then takes his arguments to a personal level, referencing the Creation Museum and also one of its consultants Dr. Kurt Wise. Throughout the rest of the piece, Krattenmaker commits similar mistakes—for example, saying that “mainstream scientists” don’t believe in creation—yet this is impossible, for if a scientist believes in creation, he or she is instantly considered “out of the mainstream”! Krattenmaker also alleges that creationists are “ultimately … not interested in science” (ignoring the long history of creationist scientists). He asks:
How many Americans are ready to accept the proposition that science has made a colossal error interpreting the fossil and geological record and—more radical still—that the validity of Christianity depends on proving it?
Yet Krattenmaker must be unaware of the fact that the “science” he’s referring to is founded on naturalistic assumptions that are incompatible with the Bible in the first place! His conclusion is that creationists should “[l]et science be science, and let religion prevail in the vast areas where science has little or nothing to offer.” This hackneyed notion forgets that many scientists (e.g., Richard Dawkins) want their form of atheistic science to pervade all of life.
Krattenmaker ultimately returns to his misapprehension that such efforts as the Creation Museum are attempts to prove the Bible with science. We have pointed out before that we make no attempts to prove Scripture; it is our starting point, our foundation. Rather, the Creation Museum and books like Grand Canyon: A Different View articulate how our observations are consistent with Scripture.
4. PhysOrg.com: “3-D model shows big body of water in Earth’s mantle”
A new 3-D model of the earth’s interior indicates that there could be a significant underground water reservoir, perhaps as large as the Arctic Ocean, in the earth’s mantle. The new model, developed by Washington University professor Michael E. Wysession and a former student, analyzed seismogram data and determined that there is “a large area in Earth’s lower mantle beneath eastern Asia where water is damping out, or attenuating, seismic waves from earthquakes.”
5. AP: “Ancient boy’s skeleton sparks evolution debate”
In an ongoing battle covered in previous editions of News to Note (see August 19, 2006, item #8 and September 16, 2006, item #4), Kenyan bishop Boniface Adoyo is vocally opposing a new display at the National Museum of Kenya that will display supposed apeman fossils, such as that of “Turkana Boy.” As we previously said, we understand—and agree with—Bishop Adoyo’s opposition to evolutionary indoctrination. However, we strongly disagree with the idea that so-called “missing link” fossils should be censored or hidden away; rather, our goal would be that a biblical explanation of origins (including the truth about “apemen”) accompany the fossils.
In an odd revelation, this AP story reveals that Bishop Adoyo “believes the world was created 12,000 years ago, with man appearing 6,000 years later. He says each biblical day was equivalent to 1,000 Earth years.” It seems Adoyo is applying 2 Peter 3:8 to the interpretation of Genesis 1, yielding a strange reading that is neither plain nor lengthy enough to accommodate evolutionary ideas.
6. ScienceDaily: “Conscience, Religion Alter How Doctors Tell Patients About Options”
A University of Chicago study, published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, discovered (or perhaps merely confirmed) that “[m]any physicians feel no obligation to tell patients about legal but morally controversial medical treatments or to refer patients to doctors who do not object to those treatments.” The study, which examines such issues as doctors’ willingness to suggest abortion and distribute contraceptives, raises an important question: if a naturalistic, evolutionary origin of humans is continually taught to tomorrow’s doctors, and if these doctors accept these views and adopt “evolutionary morality,” what solutions will they be prescribing?
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