Canadian Press on Answers in Genesis Creation Museum, part 1

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Back to the fundamentals
Book Review
by Kurt Kleiner
The Globe and Mail Weekend (Canada), page D8
April 5, 2008

Brett Grainger’s grandfather was a fundamentalist preacher who became convinced that he knew the exact date of the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. So on Sept. 11, 1988, he and his wife put on their best clothes and sat down to wait. The day wore on, Jesus didn’t come and, finally around dinner time, Grainger’s grandmother went into the kitchen to cook a roast. She had put it out to thaw that morning – just in case.

Grainger grew up in Huntsville, Ont. as a member of the Plymouth Brethren, a fundamentalist Protestant group, and he later went on to study fundamentalism at Harvard University and to write about religion as a journalist. He has combined research and personal experience to write a fascinating, readable and sympathetic study of Christian fundamentalism.

Grainger sees fundamentalism is an entirely modern phenomenon, one that was born as a reaction against the modern world, but that has also been shaped by it. “Contrary to conventional wisdom, fundamentalists are not interested in returning to a premodern age,” he writes. “They are among the most adept pupils of modernity, copying and recasting its designs for their own purposes.”

In chapters on the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky., or the Holy Land Experience theme park in Orlando, Fla., he shows how fundamentalists employ sophisticated technology, marketing techniques and rhetorical tactics to promote their views.

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Canadian Press on Answers in Genesis Creation Museum, part 2

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Thinking about fundamentalism
by Robert Fulford
National Post (Canada), page A21
April 5, 2008

The Creation Museum, which opened last spring near Cincinnati depicts dinosaurs among the animals sharing the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve. The “young-earth” creationists behind the museum believe God made the world, all of it, about 6,000 years ago. Instructors explain that most dinosaurs were wiped out by the Flood and the two Noah crammed into the Ark later died because the post-Flood environment wasn’t dinosaur-friendly.

The museum’s theologians differ from “old-earth” believers who speculate that a “day” in Genesis could mean millions of years. And neither faction embraces intelligent design, the idea that creation evolved under detailed divine guidance. For those who think of fundamentalist Christianity as a monolith, the Creation Museum serves as a reminder that evangelical religion contains many disparate opinions even on a question like planetary history.

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Dr. Who Meets Dr. Richard Dawkins

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OH LORDY! Doc meets famous atheist
by Peter Dyke
Daily Star (UK), page 17
April 8, 2008

BBC bosses are braced for a backlash from religious groups after inviting a famous atheist to guest star. Author Richard Dawkins penned the controversial best-seller The God Delusion which claimed that anyone who believed in a supernatural creator was bonkers.

Now Doctor Who executive boss Russell T Davies, 44, – a well known atheist – is to have Dawkins on the show.

He will make a guest appearance as himself in the two-part finale of the series called Journey’s End where the Doc (David Tennant, 36) faces his deadliest threat from Dalek creator Davros.

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Creation Museum Archaeopteryx Reconstruction: Does It or Doesn’t It Have Teeth?

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A few evolutionist bloggers have been chattering on about the Answers in Genesis Creation Museum’s Archaeopteryx reconstruction. Abyssal’s Web Log makes a number of interesting claims in a posting titled Creationist Museum Lies About Archaeopteryx. First, we’ll point out that there is no evidence that Abyssal was ever at the museum, and thus has not actually seen the Archaeopteryx reconstruction. How so? He states:

“The Creation Museum had a model of a life restoration of Archaeopteryx present in their Garden of Eden exhibit…”

The model is actually in the Dinosaur Den exhibit. There is no Archaeopteryx in the Garden of Eden exhibit. Both exhibit areas are some distance apart from each other. The Dinosaur Den exhibit opened July 4th — 5 weeks after the official Museum opening. Since Abyssal has not had the opportunity to actually see, up close and in person, AiG’s reconstruction, his other points are just typical pajama blogger off-the-cuff comments. But, it seems that Abyssal is just parroting accusations made by Chris over at Duae Quartunciae in Jurassic Pigeon at the Creation Museum!

Back on May 26, 2007, Chris wrote a short but rambling screed about the Creation Museum opening, in which he took exception to the Museum’s Archaeopteryx reconstruction. Of course, like Abyssal, Chris has not been to the Creation Museum. (He lives in Australia.) Chris dug up a March 28th blog posting by Ken Ham, in which Ken posted a picture of a Buddy Davis reconstruction. Hhhmm. March 28th? Is it possible that Chris saw a photo of a reconstruction still being worked on? For an exhibit not opened until a month after the Memorial Day 2007 Museum opening? Is it typical of evolutionists to pontificate about things they’ve never seen? Perhaps all of the above. We shall see…

Both Chris and Abyssal seemed to be obsessed with the idea that Buddy’s reconstruction is missing teeth and that he substituted a beak, rather than a reptile-like jaw. Remember, they’re both looking at a low resolution image of a photo looking up at the model and taken outdoors (notice the pine trees behind the model?) Take the image from Ken’s blog and load it into your favorite image editor. Magnify the image several times. Take a look at the mouth/beak/jaw area. Can you see the teeth?

In case your eyes aren’t any better than mine, click on the image below to see Buddy’s reconstruction as actually displayed at the Creation Museum:

Conspiracy theorists may claim AiG’s blog posting and the above image aren’t of the same reconstruction. Keep in mind the differences in angle, lighting, indoor vs outdoor setting, and the resolution. Look closely at the branch in both pictures. It’s the same branch, and the feet are in the same position — still taking into account camera angle differences. Below is a smaller-sized image of AiG’s March 2007 blog posting with another recent photo of their Archaeopteryx model:


Apparently these guys are not birders. They need to turn off the computer, buy a good pair of binoculars and a bird feeder, then sit out on the back porch. A few hours looking at real birds in the backyard might sober them up a bit!

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Awesome Article at AiG’s New Online “Answers Research Journal”

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Answers in Genesis’ new online technical journal, Answers Research Journal, went live this month. Drs Georgia Purdom and Joseph W. Francis report on the Microbe Forum held at Answers in Genesis headquarters on June 26–29, 2007. Dr Andrew Snelling, ARJ editor-in-chief, has an article on “Catastrophic Granite Formation: Rapid Melting of Source Rocks, and Rapid Magma Intrusion and Cooling”. And, Dr. Alan L. Gillen, from Liberty University, wrote on “Microbes and the Days of Creation”. All articles are available as .pdf downloads, while only two are currently available as .html documents. The purpose of ARJ:

Answers in Genesis is excited to announce the launch of its online technical journal, Answers Research Journal. ARJ is a professional, peer-reviewed technical journal for the publication of interdisciplinary scientific and other relevant research from the perspective of the recent Creation and the global Flood within a biblical framework. All published papers may be freely copied, downloaded, quoted, and distributed for non-commercial and non-sale purposes …

Response to the January launch has been interesting to say the least. As of Jan. 26, running a search on Google for “Answers Research Journal” gives 170 results (minus duplicates). Buried in these results you will find two notices of ARJ on Nature.com, home of the prestigious British science magazine, Nature. The first mention was posted by a Nature Neuroscience associate editor, Noah Gray: CALL FOR CREATIONIST PAPERS: at the Answers Research Journal on Action Potential., the Nature Neuroscience blog The second mention is in the Nature News section and also appears in the January 28 print edition of Nature: Creationists launch ‘science’ journal. One can only imagine the invectives Nature and these authors will get from evolutionists fuming over the free advertising given to Answers Research Journal!

Now, of course, we’d be remiss for not mentioning some of the dumber screeds from the pro-evolution blogging community. Top prize for Open Mouth, Insert Foot goes to Evelyn Is Not Real at Ray Bradbury’s Love-Camel blog for ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Christian Scientific Research Journal. In a rather brilliant piece of analysis, ‘Evelyn Is Not Real’ (ironically, this is the name of a song from a Louisville, KY band … just down the road from Answers in Genesis) is particularly bent out of shape over Alan Gillen’s use of the word ‘awesome’ in his ARJ article:

Being the curious, inquisitive scientist that I am, I mosied on over to the website and downloaded a free article. I really was somewhat curious to see how ‘scientific’ it would be. I downloaded ‘Microbes and the Days of Creation.’

Interesting…

I would have to say that the paragraph entitled ‘The Master Craftsman’ takes the cake. I wonder if I could get away with using the word ‘awesome’ in my next discussion section of a manuscript?

Take an example from the paper:

“The Almighty did some of His most awesome work in the first six days of the planet’s existence.”-ARJ, 2007, p. 10.

So maybe I should try something like “The transcriptional E-box repressor, Snail, did some of its most awesome repression of E-cadherin in the earliest stages of cellular development.”

Well. That’s interesting. True scientists don’t use the word “awesome” in their publications. NOT! “Evelyn,” aka Michael Buckland from Vanderbilt University Medical Center, needs to improve his research skills before he completes his post-doctoral work. Mike, try running a search on the Nature website for “awesome”:

Search results for: awesome
Results 1 -10 of 194
You have searched for “awesome” – all of the words ,in Nature

Take out book reviews, news, and a few other categories, and there’s still quite a few papers using “awesome.”

Awesome!

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Houston Chronicle Slams Institute for Creation Research

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Faith-based science
Editorial
Houston Chronicle (Texas), page B10
December 28, 2007

State recognition of a creationist institute’s degree would undermine science teacher credentials.

Visitors to the Institute for Creation Research Web page can quickly deduce that the organization, founded in California and recently transplanted to Dallas, is a Christian group dedicated to spreading the doctrine of divine creation of the world and challenging the teaching of evolution as fact in public schools.

An advisory committee to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board recommends that the group be allowed to confer master’s degrees in science education for teacher candidates. This indefensible action would be the equivalent of allowing an institute of faith-healers to issue advanced medical degrees. It would devalue the credentials of all science teachers and misrepresent to the public the capabilities of teachers with questionable diplomas.

The institute’s statement of purpose leaves no doubt about its mission. According to its founders, it was formed “to equip believers with evidences of the Bible’s accuracy and authority through scientific research, educational programs, and media presentations, all conducted within a thoroughly biblical framework.”

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Creationist school offers a degree of controversy
by Melissa Ludwig
Houston Chronicle (Texas), page 1, 8
December 19, 2007

Science teachers are not allowed to teach creationism alongside evolution in Texas public schools, the courts have ruled. But that’s exactly what the Dallas-based Institute for Creation Research wants them to do.

The institute is seeking state approval to grant an online master’s degree in science education to prepare teachers to “understand the universe within the integrating framework of Biblical creationism,” according to the school’s mission statement.

Last week, an advisory council made up of university educators voted to recommend the program for approval by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, sparking an outcry among science advocates who have fended off attempts by religious groups to insert creationism into Texas classrooms.

“It’s just the latest trick,” said James Bower, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas at San Antonio who has publicly debated creationists. “They have no interest in teaching science. They are hostile to science and fundamentally have a religious objective.”

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Il creazionismo è (quasi) scienza

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by Massimo Gaggi
Corriere della Sera (Italy), page 28
December 21, 2007

In pochi giorni le autorità scolastiche del Texas hanno costretto alle dimissioni la direttrice dell’agenzia per l’istruzione scientifica, accusata di «tifare» per l’evoluzionismo anziché assumere un atteggiamento neutrale tra darwinismo e teorie creazioniste, e hanno autorizzato l’Istituto di ricerca sul creazionismo a tenere corsi post-laurea e a distribuire «master» in educazione scientifica. Se il 24 gennaio il «board» dei provveditori ratificherà – come è assai probabile – questa decisione, nel grande Stato americano l’abilitazione necessaria per insegnare verrà concessa a docenti che considerano scienza anche la teoria del «disegno intelligente». Che è basata su convinzioni religiose e non su evidenze scientifiche.

Dopo l’offensiva in Kansas e Pennsylvania, i tentativi di inserire l’intelligent design nei testi scolastici di scienze e l’apertura, in Kentucky, di un grande museo nel quale si cerca di dimostrare che il contenuto del libro della Genesi è pura scienza e che l’universo è stato creato, in sei giorni, solo poche migliaia di anni fa, la battaglia del creazionismo riesplode ora nel Texas: il secondo Stato più popolato degli Usa (dopo la California), nel quale perfino il governatore Rick Perry lo considera una «valida teoria scientifica».

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Washington Post Op-Ed Offers Wishy-Washy Crevo Theology

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Michael Gerson (see Wikipedia entry), offers us a confusing opinion piece about how to think of creation, evolution, and science. He’s portrayed as an evangelical Christian (attended Westminister Christian Academy in a St Louis suburb and Wheaton College) who was President Bush’s speechwriter for about 5 years. Most likely his confused views of science and theology were learned at neo-evangelical Wheaton College, long known within creationist circles as a bastion of old-earth compromise.

CP

Divine Evolution
by Michael Gerson
Washington Post (DC). page A35 (Op-Ed)
December 21, 2007

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the Earth. Or not. And so the debate on origins continues.

This spring, west of Cincinnati, a $27 million Creation Museum opened its doors, complete with a display showing dinosaurs entering Noah’s Ark. Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is pressed repeatedly on his views of evolutionary biology, rather than health-care policy or Iran. According to the Pew Research Center, about 70 percent of evangelicals believe that living things have always existed in their current form.

I have little knowledge of, or interest in, the science behind this debate. Can gradual evolutionary changes account for the complex structures of cells and the eye? Why is the fossil record so weak when it comes to major mutations? I have no idea. There are unsolved mysteries in Darwinian evolution. There is also no credible scientific alternative.

But whatever the scientific objections, it is the theological objections to evolution that are weakest. Critics seem to argue that the laws of nature are somehow less miraculous than their divine suspension. But the elegant formulas of physics, and the complex mechanisms of evolution, strike me as an equal tribute to the Creator.

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