Posts Tagged ‘Creationism’

My Thoughts on Creationism

Before I begin this post, I have an announcement to make. It is the end of March and two things have happened.

1. I finally took my Christmas tree down. I put it up in December before I left for China and was too lazy to take it down when I got back. Eventually, I grew so used to seeing it that it blended in with the rest of the furniture until mum came to me and reminded me that it was there. Epic fail!

2. My Teen Vogue horoscope did not come true. I have no idea how I got a subscription to it. One day in the mail I got a sample issue and one of those little cards to fill out to get a subscription and… I didn’t fill it out and Teen Vogues kept coming. I usually just flip through it to laugh at the horoscopes and the last one said that the end of March would be the most romantic time for me the whole year. Well, I’m still boyfriendless. Epic fail!

And now onto more profound news…

I apologize for making such a long blog post that probably doesn’t look like it’s worth reading. I imagine that as you scroll down your attention is already slipping from fear of having to read all that junk. If you do read all of that, all the better, but at the very least watch the video at the bottom. It will most likely anger you without my profound explanation of why it so deeply pains me.

In Break the Science Barrier, Richard Dawkins filmed a scene in the Oxford Museum in a room filled with fossils and other treasures of science. He called the museum a “spiritual home” for him, saying that it was a wonderful place where you could find fascinating things and expand your mind.

Indeed, I as well have a bit of my own “spiritual home” in a museum. Every other weekend, I volunteer in the Space Odyssey exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. You know what? I love that museum with a passion, and not just for the free food that they occasionally leave in the volunteer lounge. Every time I go there, I have an absolutely splendid time.

The moment you walk in the door, the first thing you see are plesiosaur fossils hanging from the ceiling, and a T-Rex. Upstairs, they have even more fossils in Prehistoric Journey. Further into the museum, they have another ancient creature hanging from the ceiling, this time a fin whale. There’s a small mummy exhibit, a gems and minerals hall filled with shiny crystals and eye candy, an IMAX theater, and the Space Odyssey exhibit and planetarium where I volunteer, but most of the rest of the museum is devoted to diorama halls with taxidermied animals. It’s great fun just to walk through it.

But, I gain even more enjoyment out of volunteering there. DMNS is unique in that it has a small army of volunteers to keep the place from dying with the salaries of staff members. But also, the volunteers function as educators in the exhibits. It provides visitors with a much more interactive visit having an actual person to learn from. Sometimes, I’ll put things in vacuum chambers for them. Other times, I’ll give them a short tour of the Solar System using a computer program that has pictures of all the planets and some of their moons in three dimensions.

It really is quite a wonderful feeling sharing knowledge with other people. Occasionally, I’ll take out the spectroscopy cart. Some people may remember their Chemistry classes when the teacher sent electrical charges through little gas tubes and then gave you a spectroscope or little glasses. In case anybody needs a refresher, what happens is that when you have a lot of energy the electrons in the atoms will jump to a higher level of orbit, and when they come back down they release photons of light at different wavelengths depending on how far the electron fell. The spectroscope or little glasses function as a prism and break down the light released into the wavelengths which it is being released at. If you have, say, Helium, you’ll see two red bars, a yellow bar, a turquiose bar, a blue bar, and an indigo bar. Every element has a different pattern of bars.

I like to start by asking them if they’ve ever wondered how we know what the stars are made of. Of course they wonder how we know. You can’t exactly go to one… they’re millions of light years away! But, if you look at the light they’re emitting through a spectroscope, you can look at the pattern of bars and tell what is inside. I’ll explain this to them, and turn on a hydrogen or helium gas tube and hold up a short chart of elements and their patterns to let them try to guess. With younger children, it’s pretty much just pretty lights and that’s fine, but older children, even adults, will often have sudden moments of understanding.

“That’s so cool…” they say, and they don’t just say it the way you say “that’s so cool” when your friend gets a new cell phone. When they say “that’s so cool” it’s almost as if there’s an entirely different definition because their voices are so saturated with awe and wonder. I suspect that they’re not just saying it because of the pretty lights, but as a way of remarking about how amazed they are that they can understand it. I think that they’re remarking about how simple spectroscopy really is, and how cool science is when you understand it with little effort.

I absolutely love hearing them say it and seeing their eyes light up. It feels like I should be thanking them as they walk away to their planetarium show.

Another wonderful feeling I get is when I go up to Prehistoric Journey. I’ve heard that in some museums, they show dinosaur fossils with little or no mention of evolution. That’s not the case in DMNS. Evolution is everywhere in that exhibit. I love seeing families take their children there. After watching parents turn to their children and say that the universe is 6,000 years old every time I show them a 4.6 billion year old meteorite far too many times, it is deeply refreshing to see them turn to their children at a model of Lucy and say “did you know that humans used to look like that?”

Well, actually that statement is slightly scientifically inaccurate… but I won’t be too nit-picky. I love that exhibit because it educates people about evolution, the true story of how life got on Earth. But… then I saw this video on YouTube.

After watching that, do you feel angry? Annoyed? I assure you, it’s probably nothing compared to what I feel. Those poor children… those cute, poor children… You can tell that they are genuinely interested in science, but they’re having one of the greatest scientific truths kept from them.

I walked through Prehistoric Journey yesterday, recognizing all those places where those poor, poor, sweet children were being lied to and… it honestly brought tears to my eyes. Like I said, DMNS is for me as the Oxford Museum is for Richard Dawkins… a spiritual home. Mine has been invaded and is being tarnished by lying bigots.

We (the volunteers) are told that if somebody ever tries to argue with us about the age of the Earth, we are never going to get anywhere and should therefore get out of the argument as quickly as possible. The next time a parent turns to their child and say “the Earth is 6,000 years old!” I will do that, but not before I make this statement:

It is certainly your right to believe that, and it’s certainly your right to teach your child whatever you want, but I think that it ought to be your child’s right to know the truth, and at the very least it ought to be your child’s right to know that when I say that the Solar System is 4.6 billion years old it’s not a statement of faith but a statement backed up by evidence. Now, if you’re interested in knowing how I know that…

Update:

And in case anybody else decided to infer from my post that I am somehow a fascist, you can see the e-mail I sent to James Randi.

The Denver Museum is NOT ignorant of the BC tours, nor is it choosing to
remain ignorant. I took the opportunity to ask about BC tours after I saw
the video and blogged about it
(https://splendidelles.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/creationists-are-pure-evil/).

They are very aware of BC Tours and they despise them very much.
 
I once asked one of the staff members what I should do if a visitor insisted
on saying the Earth is 6,000 years old. That's when he first told me about
BC Tours, and how when they showed up, everybody would say "they're here" in
a spiteful manner.
 
Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do. The museum is a public
institution and people can go there and have their own tours if they wish,
so long as they don't harass anybody in the exhibit. That's the only time
when they're allowed to kick the creationists out.
 
They were able to get them to stop putting the museum logo on their website,
and got one of the "tour guides" to stop wearing a lab coat because they
want to make it clear that BC Tours do not represent the museum.
 
If there was anything more the museum could do, they would... But, to
protect our freedom of speech, we have to protect theirs.

I Feel Satirical

This is in response to the 12 counties in Florida that now have anti-evolution resolutions.

I want to express my admiration for those concerned parents and school board members in their continuing fight against scientific orthodoxy, who have been applying pressure on the school boards in Florida to allow their children the right to hear all sides of the story.

We must take this as an opportunity to further the cause of ridding schools of scientific orthodoxy, and continue fighting the enemy and their constant attempts to push their bleak, materialistic view upon our children.

As a student in a Chemistry Honors class, I am appalled to find that our textbook is laced with references to atoms.

The atomic theory of matter is called the atomic theory of matter for a reason. It’s only a theory, not a fact…

They claim that they’ve conducted numerous experiments to prove the existence of atoms, but how can they be sure that their experiments are correct? Satan could be fooling them into thinking that the results they’re getting are true. After all, evidence is subjective.

And yet, my textbook and teacher continue to prat along about these atoms as if there were mountains of empirical evidence for them!

I propose that we teach, instead, Empedocles’ alternative theory of the four elements (earth, air, water, and fire), or, at least, give equal time to Aristotle’s four elements and the atomic theory of matter. After all, this is America! The land of the free! We are a democracy, and we should treat all things with equality, including scientific theories.

While I’m at it, I find it absurd that they still teach the germ theory of disease in Biology classes. Equal evidence can be given that diseases are induced, not by pathogens, but by demons and spirits, as mentioned in the Bible. Just as the evil minions of scientific orthodoxy are pushing God out of the creation, they’re pushing evil out of the cause of disease.

Our children must be aware that if they succumb to the influences of Satan, they will be punished with disease. If they believe that it’s not their fault that they are ill, our society will fall into anarchy, just as if they believe they are animals, they will behave like animals.

So what if you can see bacteria underneath a microscope? You still have to prove that it’s the bacteria that cause the disease. For all we know, God could have just put the bacteria there because He was bored… just like how he left vestigial appendages in us and other animals. He is probably testing our faith.

And in Astronomy, I can not help but notice that they teach us the heliocentric (sun-centered) model of the Solar System. There’s no end to the thirst of the evil minions of scientific orthodoxy’s conspiracy to push God, philosophy, evil, and the divine status of man out of the science curricula of our children.

While all these “scientists” make fun of creationism for not standing up to common sense, my common sense plainly tells me that the sun revolves around the earth and not vice versa!

Instead they give us this outrageous model that says that the earth is moving! How is it that when I’m in a moving car, I can feel myself moving, yet here I am on this planet, and I feel perfectly stationary?

Plus, if our children learn that they are not at the center of the universe, just think what effect that will have on their self-esteem! If they do not believe that man is the center of the universe, they won’t feel all chosen-by-God and special anymore!

These hypocrites need to be put in their place!

March onward, soldiers of God. Rage against scientific orthodoxy. Rage against it!

Intelligent Dark Age Ideas

I was looking forward to Darwin Day this 2008… Until… Until I visited the website for a documentary coming out on Darwin Day called Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

http://www.expelledthemovie.com/

In the intro, the slogan “Big Science has expelled smart new ideas from the classroom” fades in and out of my screen.

You might have guessed it… It’s a documentary about “Intelligent Design.” In the slogan, Intelligent Design = Creationism a smart new idea. It’s the “theory” that God an “Intelligent Designer” put all life on the planet in its present form. Doesn’t sound like Creationism to me…

Anyway… it’s the part where they call Intelligent Design a “smart new idea” that bothers me. Basically, Intelligent Design’s argument is that things in nature are irreducibly complex and they can not imagine how it could possibly have evolved through natural processes. So, instead of trying to find evidence of how things like the flagellum might have evolved, they gave up, and said that God an Intelligent Designer did it. What sets this apart from Creationism is that they don’t jump the gun and say that the Intelligent Designer was God. In fact, it could have been as equally likely that it was an alien!

And how could an alien complex enough to design life have come about?

I always love it when they say that since the universe exists, it had to have a causal agent, but even though God exists, “God just is”… That’s seriously what they say. Oh, but ID isn’t about God! Bad example.

But despite the fundamental problems with it…

The main argument of the movie is that “Big Science” is suppressing Intelligent Design because it challenges Evolution. While it is true that scientists are adamently opposed to teaching ID in the schools, there’s a good reason for it.

Scientific theories require evidence.

What has Evolution got?

Fossil records. I even had the pleasure of walking through a pretty damn complete fossil record when I walked through an exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science today.

What evidence does ID have?

They like to point to things like the bacterial flagellum, a mechanism bacteria use to propel themselves, saying that it’s so complex that take any part away and it won’t work… Well… they debunked that… Take a few of the proteins that allow the rotary movement in the flagellum, and you get the exact mechanism other species of bacteria use to inject toxins into cells. With enough evidence, irreducible complexity fails. And what evidence do they have that the Intelligent Designer actually exists?

ID is not accepted in the scientific community because… here’s the shocker… it’s not scientific!

But look. The last time science worked the way ID works was in the Dark Ages. Back then, all the gaps in knowledge were explained by “God did it, God did it, God did it.” Why were people dying from the Black Death? Because witches were doing it of course! As a result, hundreds of cats were slaughtered, and as a result of Dark Age science, the only means of controlling the spread of the plague was eliminated. Then, something wonderful happened, and science no longer had to go to supernatural explanations to explain phenomena. Of course if you fill in all the gaps with “God did it, God did it, God did it” you’re going to make yourself look like an idiot and your reputation as a scientist won’t be all that great. Would you hire a doctor who thought disease was caused by demons?

Intelligent Design is not smart. It’s not new. It’s Dark Age thinking with a new name.

But, I’m going to go see the movie anyway. But here’s the thing, I’m going to buy a ticket for another movie to get in, and go to another theater so that I see it and the bastards don’t get my money. I can think of better ways to spend my Darwin Day… but to debunk, you must know. I’ll post my review so remember to check back…