Monday, May 21, 2007

Opposing the Creation Museum is Good Science, Not Intolerance

Last week the Campaign to Defend the Constitution (DefCon) launched a petition campaign against the Creation Museum's efforts to teach Creationism as science. Inevitably, Answers in Genesis (AiG), the organization operating the Creation Museum, has accused DefCon of being intolerant and trying to limit the free speech rights of AiG. Mark Looy, the author of the AiG article, says:

So it begs the question: why is a group that purportedly exists to defend the Constitution's First Amendment’s right to free speech wanting to keep people from being exposed to another view?
First, notice the erroneous use of "begs the question". That's a logical fallacy, unlike the phrase "raises the question", which would be the proper way for Looy to say what he's trying to write (Sorry, had to take that jab).

However, DefCon specifically points out that this is not the case:
[Ken] Ham [founder of AiG] is of course free to believe what he wants, but we are also free to voice our concern over Ham’s nefarious campaign to confuse America’s children and undermine scientific understanding.
Contrary to what AiG would like people to believe, it is not intolerance to point out the error in AiG's view of science. DefCon has every right (thanks to the First Amendment) to point out when AiG takes liberties with the truth. As AiG plainly states on their website in an attempt to explain their version of science:
Biblical creationists start with the assumption that the Bible provides an accurate eyewitness history of the universe as a basis for scientific thought. Evolutionists begin with the presupposition that only natural laws can be used to explain the facts.
Nevertheless, AiG never presents any evidence verifying the Bible, which is necessary to make accepting as true it a valid assumption. The simple reason AiG doesn't do this is because there is no evidence to support the historical or scientific veracity of the Bible. Of course, AiG turns around and states that (real) science starts from the assumption that there is no God and that only naturalistic explanations are accepted. While not necessarily true (many real scientists have a theistic world-view), the purely naturalistic presupposition is the only scientifically acceptable one because non-existent things, by definition, leave no evidence. You can't assume something for which there is no evidence, and, therefore, they are not considered. Conveniently, AiG refrains from this inconvenient truth in all its publications.

However, that does not stop AiG from using politically loaded words to get around this problem. As you can see in the quote above, AiG likes to say they are "exposing people to a different point of view". That sounds nice, but science is not democratic. The universe doesn't care what people believe. It simply is, and science seeks to discover its true properties. For example, if a group of scientists sees a clear liquid in a jar, they do not vote on what it is. If they did, the majority might vote for water. However, that does not change reality. If the liquid was originally mineral spirits, it remains so. Instead, scientists actually have to test the substance and and examine the evidence generated. Even though I love democracy, it has no place in the situation I just described.

Unfortunately, AiG doesn't care. They simply want to avoid scientists in general by appealing to the public and gaining their support. They want people to vote on which version of reality to accept, because they know how fickle the masses can be. People tend to vote for what sounds right rather than what actually is right, and AiG is perfectly willing to lie to make sure it happens. That is why people like me oppose the Creation Museum. It's not because we want to censor or take away the First Amendment Rights of Ken Ham and Answers in Genesis. They're free to build whatever they want on their land and believe whatever suits their fancy. We simply want AiG to stop lying and call their building what it really is: a church.

I also recommend you check out this article from Chris Hedges, which further explains why this "museum" is bad for America.


Anonymous said...

And here we go again...

"The evidence is for Creation!"

"No, the evidence is for Evolution!"

Notice atheism really has no evidence at all.

Lord J-Bar said...

Did you even read what I said about the nature of evidence? Something that does not exist leaves no evidence. Therefore, without evidence, nonexistence is assumed. Otherwise, we might as well believe in invisible dragons. That's the atheist position. As long as there's no evidence for a god, then we assume one does not exist. However, if any evidence came to light, then that would change.

Webster said...

You're right that reality is not determined by majority vote. That's why it's illegitimate to appeal to the "scientific consensus" for your reality.

If you don't think there's any evidence for the existence of God, then you haven't really looked.

There are at least three different ways to argue the existence of God, (which any given listener may or may not find convincing):
1 You can argue from first principles, the things that cannot be denied, (like causality, the existence of morals or reality, etc.);
2 You can from the evidence directly to a divine claim, (historical evidence for the Resurrection, fulfilled prophecies, etc.); or
3 You can openly assume its truth, and show how the evidence fits, (Creation Museum).

So, AiG does not directly argue for the reliability of the Bible, but shows how the world makes sense in its light, and lets you decide whether to trust the same authority they do.

You say there's no evidence for God, so you assume there is no evidence, and no God. Others examine the Bible's claims for itself and our world, and find confirmation that their faith in it, and its Author is justified.

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