Monday, July 02, 2007

When you can't convince unreason



(Update: July 6th with additional quotations)
Flamewars are unbecoming. Mostly. Sometimes I just can't help myself.

I feel torn. In my twenties I used to think that "boots and all" was the best debating tactic when closely held principles were at stake. Now, in my thirties, I wonder if my debating reserve is now more a function of my mortgage, my more-than-full-time job, or a little more life-experience. Could it be a loss of idealism and a lack of care? That last prospect gives me the shudders. God save me from a lack of care.

But sometimes you just have to throw the towel in. Sometimes, the degree of ignorance you encounter in a debate makes progress impossible. Perhaps this is the lesson I am now slowly learning in my thirties: When to leave people to their own delusions. As Edith Sitwell once said "I am patient with stupidity, but not with those who are proud of it." Perhaps I should be more mindful of the question of whether giving vacuous ideas oxygen by arguing against them does more harm than good.

I refer, in this instance, to my enduring, horrified fascination with Young Earth Creationism. This vein of Creationism is, in fact, more than just the logically broken, medievally minded, simplistic, bibliolatrous notion that the Earth is 6000 years old. No, what is worse is its deeply offensive claim that those who do not support Young Earth Creationism (and their advocates) are apostates; less enlightened and less effective as Christians than the "true" Church that remains faithful to a literal reading of Scripture; even that opponents are "tools of Satan". Oh, and those in the tent of Deceived Christianity include Anglicans, Catholics, and those in the Salvation Army. No wonder that many questing and intelligent seekers are permanently put off believing in Jesus! In this age, Young Earth Creationism is the primary engine causing Christianity to be rejected among those who are seeking spiritual truth, and yet who can plainly see through Science that Creationist claims about the natural world are patently false.

I maintain a strong position in opposing those who tarnish Christianity with such casuistry, and without apology. Perhaps worst in this field is Kent Hovind, who pushed all kinds of Creationist quackery until he was finally sentenced to ten years prison for tax fraud earlier this year. His wife will now also be sent to prison for the same offences.

Well, Kent maintains a blog, even from prison. And what a magnet it has become to people who share his views! When I read it, my palms itch. It's a tragic circus of the absurd, the credulous and the angry.

Thus, I belatedly arrive at my purpose for this essay. I have trawled the gibbering insanity so you don't have to. What do Creationists really believe? What do they believe when they apply the same degree of skepticism to other propositions as they do to their basis in their belief in the age of the Earth?

What I present below is a quick and non-exhaustive snapshot of who believers in Young Earth Creationism find themselves as fellow travellers with. It's scary, and it's sad.

All the quotes I present below (including spelling mistakes) are quoted verbatim from the comments to the various postings on Kent Hovind's blog. Where links are included I am using Google's index to present the URLs where that phrase is used. So...

What do a lot of people who believe in Young Earth Creationism also believe?

1. That The United States Government does not exist.
• "It is an established fact that the United States Federal Government has been dissolved by the Emergency Banking Act, March 9, 1933. The receivers of the United States Bankruptcy are the International Bankers, via the United Nations, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. The receivers of the Bankruptcy have adopted a new form of government for the United States. This new form of government is known as a Democracy, being an established Socialist/Communist order under a new governor for America"
• "
Since the dropping or the gold and silver standards and the complete floating of the dollar 'lawful money' has ceased to exist".

2. The IRS is an illegal entity and no one has to pay tax! Yay!
• "So has Dr. Hovind commited any wrong? YES! He is serving Jesus and that royally disses the devil (the god of this world) off ...He has done no evil becuase the IRS is 100% illegal anyways!"
(Oh, and the IRS are demonically inspired.)
• "Don’t we have enough against us with satan and his demons which include certain irs agents?"

3. The U.S Government was responsible for the 9/11 attacks, as part of a sinister plot to create a despotic state, just like Pearl Harbour (which was, of course, also a conspiracy).
"The gov’t’s story of 9/11 is impossible according to the laws of physics, and therefore was likely an inside job a la Hitler and the Reichstag fire."
"I’m guessing you are one of those scoffers that the Bible told us about that would pop up in the last days, the type that doesn’t allow himself to be so confused like the rest of us Christians, with the facts. As for 9/11 there are only 400 physicists and engineers that all say that it was impossible for a building to pulverize itself by the damage done by the planes and the puny fires. How do you explain building 7 being reported as collapsed 1/2 hour before it fell and the testimonies of all the eyewitnesses who heard explosions prior to the collapse? How about the picture of a melted core column that looks like it wa cut at a perfect 60 degree angle with luke skywalkers laser sword? Yeah the planes did it.Forget the eyewitnesses cause they were there and you weren’t so you know more than those who were there. OK so good is evil to you?"

4. The U.S Government are involved in a conspiracy to keep Hovind in jail, or worse, simply because he is a Christian. His theft of $600,000 in taxes had nothing to do with his conviction.
• "You know why he’s REALLY in prison. It has nothing to do with taxes! This is not a political free feral. As Christians we are at war with all those who want us silenced. My family finally found out the status of Dr. Hovind. He’s in solitary confinement and the government is trying to put him in prison overseas. There is only one reason for this, THEY WANT HIM DEAD!"
• "I heard of your arrest. And as I had suspected, it was for the unconstitutional non-law of the Federal Income Tax. And as I had also suspected, many disinformers would use that to discredit you and your works. On wikipedia, youtube, or just any where that you are mentioned, they keep using the lie that you had broke a law."
"(Hovind) has taken a stand for the work of God to not be a tax collector"

5. Don't vaccinate your kids. The Government is trying to kill them.
• "They will try to kill your kids through vaccinations and if that doesn’t work, they have other ways."

6. The Government is poisoning your food. With soy. Don't eat the soy!
• "They poison our food with chemicals, give us soy to drink and eat. They put it in most of our packaged foods."

7. The Government has a cure for Cancer but hush it up because of "big money".
• "Cancer is being cured all over the world. There is a cure today yet in America there are those who are doing their “research” to find a “cure” and it has already been found. But it is a big money making project for them NOT to find a cure for cancer in America."

8. The Government is poisoning your drinking water. Don't drink the water!
• "They contaminate our drinking water with flouride and clorine. Even our toothpaste has flouride and it has been outlawed in many parts of the world."
"there is a poison warning on all flouride toothpaste tubes that has only shown harm rather than benefits."
• "other countries refuse to use flouride or treat with that well known poison"


9. Canola oil is toxic. Don't eat Canola oil!
"Many places are using Canola Oil to cook the foods that we eat. Canola oil is toxic."

10. Actually, everything, everywhere is a conspiracy. Do you need proof? Look out! behind you!
• "Kent Hovind knew about this information" (and is in prison because of this)
"This nation is being run by a CRIME SYNDICATE, of which the Bushes and Clintons are part and parcel"
• "G.W. Bush drunk blood out of a skull, sat in a coffin naked, and swore occultic oaths to an extremely powerful secret society which he has continued to rely upon for favors up until this day"
• "The Bush clan got their family fortune from the Opium Trade back in the 1800s"
• "The Bush clan is one of the world’s ranking Illuminati bloodlines."
Apparently, the Clintons are just as bad:
• "The Clinton clan is partners in crime with the Bushes. When Clinton was Arkansas’s governor, and Daddy Bush was president, TONS of cocaine was being smuggled in nightly into the Mena, Arkansas Airport by CIA black operatives."
"I admit to being slow, dull, and dumbed down by western institutions to which I have been exposed: but it only just really occurred to me that the reason a lot of people come here is because they have sold their very own moral souls to a beast of biblical proportions and they want submissive Y.E.C. to come to them cowering, begging to lick the blood from their very own Gestapo issue knee high black boots and swell their faltering confidence in their shameful decision to sell all that they have and ever will have to a foreign faceless and alien power."

11. Hovind was right to ignore all letters demanding payment of taxes because (silly IRS), they wrote his name in UPPER CASE. Everyone knows that if your name is written in UPPER CASE it's not actually referring to you, but a legal fiction involving the same sequence of letters. (BTW: Cheques sent to Hovind spelling his name in UPPER CASE were always summarily banked.)
• "...alternatively, he might have simply tendered a affidavit declaring that he is not the PERSON named on the documents before the court but that he was there to represent that entity."
(to which one response was, seriously: "I want to faint. How can Kent Hovind stand alone against our entire country’s misunderstanding? Somebody needs to write a book. This is HUGE!")

12. And yes, so we have the complete set: The moon landings were fake.
• "I found this video on whether we really even went to the moon at all. What a deception it could be."
"I have finally sat down and watched a serious documentary about the photos and film/ video evidence of the moon landings - and you can now put me down as one who believes there are questions to answer - many photos / video was filmed on earth [maybe all of it] - there is no doubt some filming was a mock up made on earth - the question is why? it is the same question dave von kleist asks about 911"

13. People opposing Kent Hovind without question are children of Satan, apostate deceivers, Jesus denying mockers and God-haters. Your sincerity as a Christian is irrelevent and void if you take a Christian brother to task over faulty doctrine, regardless of how damaging it is to the Body of Christ.
• "You’ve taken Satan’s number"
• "You are spiritually blinded and a child of Satan."
• "It IS the time of the Apostate church folks. The End is getting near."
• "Most of the persecution meeted out on Gods People in the bible was done by the so called religious rulers. Many reasons for this,but afew I can think of-/ Hatered of God word/ Shows up their evil deeds" (spelling mistakes in original)
• "Remember ye the words which were spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit."
"Just remember when it is time to receive your mark on your right hand or forehead, we tried to warn you. Jesus Christ is the truth and we have tried to show you the truth to wake you up from your demonic stupor, but I’m thinking the real reason behind your scoffing is your love of sin. Forsake it before it is too late for you, it is a delusion, and does not last forever but life in Christ does. Hell awaits all you scoffers... God is angry at the wicked every day Ps. 7:11b and you are but a breath and a heartbeat away from his eternal wrath."
"You are again calling Jesus a liar, yet you claim to follow him. Further, you again publicly ridicule your “fellow brethren,” whether some are strong or weak in the faith."

14. Spelling. Creationists Don't believe in spelling. Or Logic. Or Reality.
Take, as one small example, one random but representative example of Creationist Logic:
• (speaking of the plain meaning of a phrase)
"Is the question “Do you understand the charges?” the same as “Do you comprehend these accusations?” I suggest that there is a profound difference between these two simple questions"
(tortured logic excised, but this poster eventually "interprets" this phrase as actually meaning)
"Do you presume to take a maritime commercial material liability onto your trading vessel in the form of the persona you are presuming to take possession of?".
This, then being a partial justification for Hovind to regard the Court's authority as null and void. I think "yes" would have been perfectly sufficient an answer to the original question.

And the spelling mistakes? Far, far too many to list.
• “Jesus made this sacrafice so that we, as sinners, could have eternal life… Jesus didn’t sound all that humble when he turned the tables over in the sancuary. The biggest problem in America today is our 'sancuaries'”
• “The catechism of the catholict church they give it to children.”
• “I am apalled at this convinction…”
“flouride”
(a lot of people are concerned about this dangerous chemical. Must remember not to bake with it)
“…There is no constition right not to be”
• "A couple manage to mis-spell Hovind. (Hoving, Howind)"
Lastly, I especially regard it as telling when people describe themselves as “Christions”. Hallelluyah!

15. Guns. Yep. Lots of guns.
"PS. I’m big on the second amendment too. I carried to church this morning, and I’ve got a loaded gun in my back pocket as I’m typing this!"

This list is a sample, and I believe a fair one, of the tenor of support for Young Earth Creationists. Well, these quotes are drawn from a longer narrative involving impenetrable quantities of doublespeak and an assumption of greater knowledge of constitutional and taxation law than two centuries of polity.

From my reading, there is a substantial overlap between these views and those of Hovind himself. Hovind believes, for example:
  • The pyramids were not built by the Egyptians.
  • The notion that UFO's were "Satan's transport" should not be dismissed out of hand.
  • The 666-barcode argument is valid and a concern.
  • The Protocols of the Elders of Zion is worth endorsing and selling at Hovind's seminars. (quote: "Be sure to read PROTOCOLS OF ZION [sic] call [sic] my office if you cannot find a copy."


  • Sonar is part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • A fighter pilot "escorted" the second plane into the twin towers on 9/11. (reference: Hovind DVD Seminar, #5 I think)
(Update: July 7. As I've been Pharyngulated, I thought I'd enhance this article with a few Hovind quotes. This article started as an analysis of Hovind's supporters. Let's hear from the man himself!)
  • "Four people have called me from Arkansas and Missouri, to report seeing customers at the grocery store pay for purchases by scanning their hand."

  • "There is much empirical data that conclusively proves vaccinations can be harmful, and in many cases fatal, and should therefore be avoided. [.....] There is also a book available through CSE which provides in-depth information concerning the dangers of vaccinations and how they destroy our God-given immune system. "


  • "Democracy is evil and contrary to God's law."
  • "CALLER: You think the 9/11 conspiracy has bigger implications as to it relates to a One World Government? HOVIND: Absolutely. That's the whole purpose."
  • "I think when somebody does study this and realises that a ball falling from the top of the Twin Towers would fall in nine and a half seconds and the Towers came down in ten and a half seconds. Something's wrong."
  • "There is about four or five [feathered dinosaurs] that have been found. They're all fake. They're coming from China. These Chinese guys who make 40 cents a year. [...] They're faking them. They spend years forging these things."
  • "We just had a report from a missionary. I talked to him today for 45 minutes. He's going over and I'm going over with him for sure this time. They have located a pterodactyl, several pterodactyls, a apatosaurous and a plesiosaur. All on the north-east side of the island of Indonesia."
  • (advice to the mother of a cancer patient): "If you do nothing with cancer your life expectancy is somewhere between 6 and 10 years. If you take chemo your life expectancy is between 1 and 2 years... I think the last thing I would do would be to take the medical profession's approach."
  • "The Bird Flu is mostly hoax."
  • "Satan is going to work towards reduction of the population and lowering cholesterol is good way of doing that."
  • "AIDS was purposefully developed in a Maryland laboratory to wipe out population."
With thanks to this site for the above info.

Oh, how I could go on. I want to pose this question: If these are the kinds of beliefs, and the kinds of supporters, that stubbornly refuse to be separated from Young Earth Creationism, then what does that say about the rigour of Young Earth Creationism itself? Is it, on this analysis, likely to be based on a genuine search for truth, or merely on the reinforcement of benighted prejudice?

It is these people- the scared, hayseed conspiratorialists that provide the backbone, the funding, and the moral support for Young Earth Creationism, and the Creationists are happy to take their money and their devotion without ever challenging them on the more fringe beliefs they hold. Apparently it is more important to convince infidels to believe in your model of radioactive decay than it is to convince your Christian brother to get his kids inoculated against the measles. This willful blindness has made corrupt organisations like Answers in Genesis rich. Christians should do more to expel these teachings from their midst. As a Christian, who has seen this kind of rubbish preached in my own Church (although not to the extent seen here), I just can't apologise to those who think we should be "softly, softly" with nitwits like these. Anyone who supports a Young Earth Creationist ministry such as AiG or CMI, or ICR is damaging the cause of Christ by encouraging people to base their faith in Jesus on demonstrable lies.

So, do we continue to argue with such people? A quote I read years ago sticks with me:
"Reason's weakness is its belief that it can convince unreason". Is there any point in wading into such debates and enduring the ignorant flack that follows? Is there any benefit to be gained?

I'd like to think so, but I'm no longer sure. Your views are invited (as indeed are additions if I have missed any of the stranger beliefs that Creationists share).

-Nathan Zamprogno

50 comments:

Joel Baltaks said...

That was quite an entertaining read, in a way. Well presented and researched... I'm sure you're influencing many people - just the reasonable ones. It's not surprising that there are always a few people with some weird ideas, but it's very worrying if the leaders or majority of a group share weird (unsubstantiated) ideas.

It's just so difficult to think (reason) for oneself rather than spout opinions subconsciously gleaned from persuasive sources.

Nice post, Nathan!

Justin Warner said...

It makes me sad that you've spent yet another large post on ridiculing those who I would have thought you'd call your brothers/sisters in Christ. Yep, we get it. You think they're wrong. Science supports your viewpoint. It doesn't support theirs. Some of them are a bit crazy. They're still people and deserve some respect regardless. More so, from us who call ourselves followers of Christ.

You know, at one point science supported the hypothesis that the sun circled around the earth daily. I mean, it's clear to any intelligent person that it rises in the east, goes up and over the meridian and then goes down in the west. Only ignorance would object! But it all depends on the scope of your ability to observe, doesn't it? What we can see now may be more limited then we are able to know. So perhaps some humility would be well-placed, just in case. For me, that goes for both sides of the debate.

Tam said...

While I'm reasonably confident that I have neither the intellect nor the background knowledge to argue my point conclusively, however, I would like to add that this quote:

"If these are the kinds of beliefs, and the kinds of supporters, that stubbornly refuse to be separated from Young Earth Creationism, then what does that say about the rigour of Young Earth Creationism itself?"

could quite easily be applied to most religious movements. The one that comes to mind is the pentecostal movement (who I have no personal vendetta against, and still support what I know of as their core values) and the pastor who was in the recent documentary, ('Jesus Camp' I think?) charged later with something or other. Child abuse or something similar? I know you know the one I mean.

My point being is that there will always be radicals in any movement who taint. Unfortunately it is these people who get the most press and not those deserving of honour.

NOTE: My mistake. The pastor I was referring to was Ted Haggard, charged with buying drugs and associating with a male prostitute.

Another case coming to mind is the allowing of gay marriages within so called christian churches. Clearly the bible speaks out about this...

Anyway, I think my point is made, albiet a bit scattered...

Raydar said...

Well your position on the 12 points or more that a lot of YEC's believe is probably wrong, you do have the right to say what you believe. The only one I can remotely agree with is canola. I used it once in frying some fish and the smell it left behind was terrible! I'll stick to peanut oil from now on.

Anonymous said...

Are you saved? Do you read the Holy Bible? Do you attend a church that preaches Jesus?

As for all the so-called conspiracy theories you mock; have you done the research, studied the Word of God? I fear you are under total mind control, just like 99.5% of the public. Seek God. Kill your tv, radio and newspapers. Say no to Hollywood etc. for your entertainment. When I did these things and submitted myself to God's will, the blinders started coming off. God will give you revelation of His Word.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Regarding the previous commenter:
Thank you for so eloquently confirming my point. Linking this or that conspiracy theory to the Gospel message is a sure way to taint the message with lunacy.

CreationCd said...

It's easy to talk about people behind their backs where they can't defend themselves.

Come over to cseblogs.com and see if Baliset hasn't already had all his questions answered by the people he's quoting.

6 Months ago Carl Maychurch and Frank Zindler themselves quit posting there because their accusations and objections were being answered.

Also you might let Kent Hovind defend his position against critics with his Answers to Critics videos.

http://www.3bible.com/video.php

Anonymous said...

Ummmm, not to rain on your parade, but the IRS is an illegal organization. They are not supposed to have the power to tax private citizens on income according to the Constitution and Supreme Court rulings. Corporate taxes are another matter of course.

Matt the heathen said...

Great post.

Shap said...

Wow, it looks like plenty of fellow christians are coming out of the woodwork to defend this guy, just because he's a 'fellow christian'?

Maybe you guys should pray for Mr. Hovind instead. He is a convicted criminal, and an anti-semite. These facts are not disputed.

Instead of criticizing reasonable people for pointing out the lunacy of a religious fundamentalist, maybe you guys should take a look in a mirror.

I mean, Hitler was a christian, you wanna come to his defense? Just because somebody follows christ, doesn't make them infallible. I'm not trying to compare Hovind to Hitler, but the guy is a criminal, and many of his views are utterly indefensible by any rational human being.

Anonymous said...

Do we continue to argue? I have never seen it do any good. They are immune to factual information and rational discussion. They got to be Young Earth Creationists in the first place by being poorly educated, gullible, incurious and stubbornly tribal (loyal). These same traits doom them to be manipulated by opportunistic charlatans and delusional nuts like Hovind for the rest of their lives.

Shap said...

Oh - and for Justin Warner:

Religion told us that the Sun revolves around the Earth. It's mentioned in the bible (which, by the way, is never wrong)

Science was responsible for proving that the Earth, in fact, revolves around the Sun.

Nice try, though. Better luck next time.

J-Dog said...

To All: WARNING! That 3bible.com video was made by the CIA, and will turn you AWAY from Jesus Christ!

Jo Hovind has been turned by the FEDS and is working for THEM now!

and if I was a poster named "anonymous" or "Justin Warner", I would move - their on to you to, and yor lines are all tappped to.

Anonymous said...

Great list, Nathan! People with beliefs that whacked out should be exposed for the cranks they are. When that kind of thing is left politely alone, it starts to look more and more mainstream, and more easily passes for normal. Kent deserves to do some jail time for what he did, and he deserves to be ridiculed for what he says. Mainstream Christianity has let itself be outflanked by the extremists for too long; it's overdue to take back its religion, just as real conservatives need to take back their party from the neocons.

Leon

John said...

It certainly was an entertaining read, but, sad to say, the screwball beliefs of some followers isn't a valid criticism of the movement. Of course the evidence that Hovind himself believes some of this crap is damning, but there are plenty of people who believe true things who also believe nonsense.

One thing I just can't resist:
since "feral" refers to domesticated animals which have escaped and become wild, isn't "free feral" redundant?

Anonymous said...

does the fact that i think you people are ALL looney tunes mean i'm under mind control? cuz if that's mind control, i don't wanna be not-mind-controlled, or however you'd say it. good. grief. it's like watching children arguing over who's imaginary friend is better. "Mine has wings!" "Well, mine shoots lasers from it's bum!"

blah. blah. blah.

Anonymous said...

The reason people stop commenting is because you fundies refuse to listen. You never bother to verify anything and even when your fellows admit that what you are spouting is lies you continue to spout them.

You have never bothered to examine anything hovind has said. You are a bunch of trolls who refuse to come out into the sun because you would be turned into stone by the truth.

As for science supporting the sun circling the earth guess what that is the nature of science. Science is the search for truth and whatever is the best explanation is accepted after a rigious review.

Creationism is not science. Nor does it withstand any rigious review it often doesn't let itself be examined.

Kent Hovind is a fraud plain and simple.

Now people with any sense would trust someone who was a teacher and professor of biology, psychobiology, and geology for over 20 years. Yet somehow cretins I mean creationists would rather trust a known anti-Semite, tax dodger whose friends are in prison as well as being banned from doing any business in several states.

Guess old Kent didn't tell you that those tax evaders whose books he promotes went to prison over the stuff they tell you to do.
Anyone who has ever botered to examine the tax evader claims knows they full of shit and could only come from the most functionally retarded religious loons that ever came from an incestous belief system.

Anonymous said...

Wow, just look at all the creationist and conspiracy loons crawling through the comments. If you point out that the earth isn't flat or that the moon isn't made of cheese they go crazy like you just insulted their mom or something :-)

Jan Aquarius said...

Nice bit of work, Nathan.

What I cannot understand is why there is such a huge collection of lunatics in this country that is so advanced in the sciences. Is it a kind of mindset that is peculiar to the socio-political environment of the United States, as opposed to that in the older European states, where this kind of lunacy is still not so egregious?

Anonymous said...

Yes, how dare you talk about people behind their backs by putting your results on a web page for all the world to see? Taking the exact quotes of these people and letting their words speak for themselves? What gall. For shame, Nathan. For shame.

As a great fan of irony, some of the comments to this post were some of the finest I've ever come across. (Especially the comment that accused you of being less-than-Christian for writing this essay, after you made a point of exposing the anti-Biblical silliness of that exact same tactic.)

I thank you for your efforts on this. As a non-Christian participant in the Reality Wars, it's often easy for me to forget that there are aware Christians out there who are pained by the highjacking of their faith (or its name, anyway) by the misguided and/or the dishonest. Hopefully you'll continue to find it worthwhile to fight that darkness and continue participating in the debate.

-Alan

Scott said...

Nice post!

Well, it's clear enough that those people will continue to live in their self-created universes. I find it humorous that they speak of things like 'taking the blinders off' and discovering real truth, yet adhere to a very subjective and focused reality that espouses paranoia and denial of objective observation.

SWE said...

In answer to your question, Nathan, I think it depends on the amount of energy one has. It's great to stir the pot once in awhile since human beings generally need to be reminded that life exists outside of our own personal comfort zones. But at some point you you just have to let stupid be stupid.

My strategy (which has mixed success) is to throw something out there, beat my head against the wall for awhile, step back and rest, and head back out again. Because nobody can bear up under the onslaught of Christian Love full-time.

Matt said...

Regrettably, the current tenor of this comment thread seems to answer your original question: there is no convincing zealots of that other than which they already believe. Support for their beliefs will be cheerfully embraced, while evidence against their beliefs will be dismissed unconditionally.

As for the notion that they nonetheless deserve respect...well, as people, they do deserve some basic regard. Their ideas (especially the more conspiritorial ones) which you have listed deserve none whatsoever and should be regarded with unalloyed contempt.

And it's that part that baffles me. There's no possible benefit to belief in the notions provided in your post. None. Some of the beliefs are actually harmful (no fluoride in mah water! no vaccinations in mah kids!), and these are ideas that should be opposed at every turn.

But if you disagree, will they listen? If they listen, will they understand? And even if they understand, will they change?

Andrew said...

To Justin: People are sometimes worthy of respect. Their beliefs are open to criticism and if silly enough, ridicule. Are you saying that because someone believes in the same god as you, that their belief in plaid leprachauns cannot be scoffed at? It might be cute and endearing from a child, but from an adult it is... disturbing.

And actually, science did not support the idea of an orbiting sun. The ancient Greeks and others knew it. It was the pre-enlightenment church who denied it and prosecuted those who stated otherwise. Bruno anyone?

You, Justin, are just as uninformed as the people quoted by Nathan. Arrogant ignorance is not to be respected.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Some follow up commentary I have posted subsequent to this essay on the cseblogs.com site:

The sentencing of Mrs Hovind to jail time is, of course, a tragedy. It’s a tragedy in the sense that a family has now been torn apart because of pride and poor judgement. I feel the most compassion for the Hovind grandchildren, who will have to now reconcile the loss of both their grandparents for part or all of their precious younger years. I hope that their fate is of as much importance to us here as any other thing, regardless of our differences.

I would remind all those who will be expressing their indignation and their sense of injustice of a simple fact: All this was avoidable. If only the Hovinds had sought Godly wisdom. If only they had paid their taxes! If only they had not entertained foolish notions such as that U.S Citizenship was not good enough for them (Kent renounced his. Are you proud of him for that?). Or that a letter addressed to them in ALL CAPS somehow denoted something other than what common-sense should have told them (Kent claimed, and crackpots here are echoing the fable that your name in ALL CAPS denotes some kind of legal fiction that isn’t you. Ignoramuses!)

No one, no one at all can argue that what they did was either Godly or wise. If their possessions are forfeit and they both end up in prison when they had every chance to preach and teach within the law and live honourably, then by no stretch can that be considered wise. You stretch credibility to breaking point to suggest anything else. They aren’t martyrs. They are solely responsible for the fate they are now living.

I’ll happily go out on a limb here and say that the Hovinds could only grow into such delusions and act upon them because there was a ready echo among their supporters to goad them on. Moreover, after participating in the debate here for some time, I would say that such people are well represented here. I’m talking about those among you who think vaccination, or fluoride, or soy, or canola is an attempt of your government to poison your kids. That 9/11 was a US conspiracy. That the moon landings were faked. That a cure for cancer exists but is being covered up. That the U.S Government was dissolved in 1933 and only exists now as the puppet of Skull and Bones because your Illuminatus President “drank blood from a skull”.

I am quoting, verbatim, from comments made to this very site. Don’t squirm, it’s what you yourselves have said.

I’m not suggesting everyone here shares the whole set of these wacky beliefs, but it explains a lot about the Hovind’s fate when they have friends like you.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Also:

I could have scarcely have hoped that the responses to my challenge (and yes, it is a challenge to the contributors to this forum and not mere invective for my personal gratification) would have so amply reinforced my point.

In turn:

No, I am not a "Catholict", or even a Catholic. Assemblies of God In Australia for 19 years.

No, I do not believe you are a "heretic" if you don't believe in Evolution. This stands in contrast to many here who regard literal 6000 year ago, 6 day creation as co-equal in importance to a belief in Jesus as Lord for not only salvation, but as evidence of divine rather than diabolical motivation.

No, I am not a U.S Citizen, but I admire the founding principals of your nation and it's Christian basis. Citizens within the British Commonwealth need not style themselves as British Subjects (and certainly not as English ones) but I am very proud of our British (and again, Christian) heritage while retaining a robust Australian patriotism. My suggestion, in your July 4th celebratory week, is to suggest that Kent's spurning of U.S Citizenship for mere financial expediency says a lot about whether he's worth supporting by U.S Patriots.

I am chastised for ridiculing "fellow brethren". Let's choose a historical analogy from Church history. In the early centuries of Christianity there scores of heresies... Valentinism, pelagianism, docetism, nestorianism. To confront each of these errors, which were doubtlessly believed with sincerity, and arrive at what we now regard as orthodox doctrine, of necessity involved argument, and probably some personal grievance was engendered in the process. Was this rule, to "go easy" on fellow believers enough to negate the need to call a spade a spade?

There is plenty of Scriptural justification to Christians to confront error. I think I'm correctly motivated, and so do you. However, I happen to be right, based on a reasonable belief that George Bush did not order 9/11, fluoridation of drinking water is not a form of mind control, etc.

This, then, leaves the question of the "spirit" of my motivation. Again, I profess to be a sincere Christian, and to argue otherwise is ad-hominem and irrelevant to the debate. Perhaps when a Christian brother points out you're being gullible it causes more discomfort than regular "secular" criticism?

Next: It may have *once* been clear to "any intelligent person" that we lived in a geocentric universe, but that was precisely because an intelligent person interprets *all* the available evidence to reach the most reasonable conclusion. At that time in history, before the telescope or the codification of mathematics of motion among gravitating bodies, it was an entirely reasonable conclusion. Now, with more evidence, a different conclusion is inescapable. The current evidence concludes the Earth is Billions of years old, and only wilful ignorance of that evidence can conclude otherwise.

Moving on: edwatson provides a bravura confirmation of my central challenge. Let's dissect.
I am in a "demonic stupor" who "loves sin" and "Hell awaits scoffers" like me who should "forsake (my) delusions" because "God is angry at the wicked" while I take "sick pleasure to watch and lecture" you, and this is because, anyone?
- Vaccination is bad,
- Fluoridation is bad (and can someone, just once, *please* spell that correctly?)
- Soy is bad,
- 9/11 was a conspiracy.

I could almost rest my case, but for the contribution of Australian Philip-George... oh my...

I call his bluff. After wondering about this for a while I challenge my fellow Aussie, the 46 year old Mr Muir from Melbourne to admit he has been pulling our leg all along. Surely he wanted to see how much of his asinine doublespeak this forum would take before twigging that it was all calculated nonsense. Where to begin?

Muir starts by asking, simply enough
> 'Is the question “Do you understand the charges?” the same as “Do you comprehend these accusations?”'

Rather than answer with the short, obvious and correct answer of "yes", Muir tortures logic to end up with:

> “Do you presume to take a maritime commercial material liability onto your trading vessel in the form of the persona you are presuming to take possession of”

???!!! Bring the straitjackets. I think "yes" was the better answer, don't you think? Surely this is offered in jest?

Muir is happy to call himself a casuist. Here's where he reveals himself as a prankster, clear to anyone with a dictionary:

"Casuist: A person who uses clever but unsound reasoning, esp. in relation to moral questions. A Sophist"
(A Sophist additionally being "A person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments")
(with thanks to the good old Oxford American)

Yes. That fits Mr Muir nicely.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Also:

To CreationCD:
I stand by every word you have expertly Googled on me. Yes, I have appeared on TV and Radio and have been trenchantly critical of Young Earth Creationism. Yes, I am angry at Creationist's presumption to speak on my behalf, and regard the internecine war between AiG and CMI (which I did not start, but merely comment upon) as unsurprising in the least.

Yes, I am employed at a Christian School but emphasise that I voice here my own opinions and not that of my employer. I presume all you here are doing as much?

Yes, our Christian School says, in its "Teaching of Origins" policy:
"Some Christians (often described as "young earth creationists") believe that certain dating procedures and catastrophic processes support the idea of a young earth. However, the balance of physical evidence does not appear to support a young earth. We do not believe that scripture helps us to decide how old the earth is."

I am a hearty supporter of our Christian School's stance and regard it as enlightened and harmonious with Christianity. You will probably regard it as "compromised" or "dangerous" or "deluded" but how dare you: at least we don't go around foaming at the mouth claiming the Government flies planes into buildings.

CreationCD asks "two Koalas swam to Australia from Turkey, without eating along the way…, do you actually know any creationist that teach this?"

Yes. Kent Hovind. So do both of the biggest Creationist organisations: Answers in Genesis and their (former) Australian Parent, CMI:
http://www.creationontheweb.com/images/pdfs/cabook/chapter17.pdf

"One would not have expected some of this surprising array of creatures to have crossed the ocean, but they obviously did... This again would mean several centuries for animals to disperse, in this instance without the necessity of land bridges."

And this, despite:
"...severe practical limitations on our attempts to understand
the hows and whys of something that happened once, was not recorded
in detail, and cannot be repeated. Difficulties ...result from our limited understanding... Because of this, the patterns of post-Flood animal migration present some problems and research challenges for the Biblical creation model."
and
"Some problems are more difficult to solve. For instance, there are creatures that require special conditions or a very specialized diet."

A classic case of faith trumping proof, even when there is an admission of the implausibility of the claims.

Yes, I am a member of an Assemblies of God Church but largely agree with CreationCD on the doctrinal issues he raises over Pentacostalism. Having been in this Church for 19 years (including on the staff), my wife and I have started enjoying increased fellowship among friends from a local Baptist church and may at some point move over, our first change in fellowship in our lives.
Irrelevant, but I'm happy to be open to establish my bona-fides.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

Lastly, this the subject of water fluoridation:

The American Dental Association:
"Since 1950, the ADA has unreservedly endorsed the fluoridation of community water supplies as safe, effective, and necessary in preventing tooth decay."

The Centre for Disease Control:
"CDC has recognized the fluoridation of drinking water to prevent dental decay as one of 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century. Over the past 60 years, optimal fluoridation of community drinking water has been a major factor for the decline in rates of tooth decay."

The U.S Surgeon General:
“Community water fluoridation continues to be the most cost-effective, equitable and safe means to provide protection from tooth decay in a community. A person’s income level or ability to receive routine dental care is not a barrier to receiving fluoridation’s health benefits. Water fluoridation is a powerful strategy in our efforts to eliminate differences in health among people and is consistent with my emphasis on the importance of prevention.” Vice Admiral Richard Carmona, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.S., 2002-2006"

To answer a previous question: All Australian drinking water is fluoridated, and has been since the 1950's. Australians, if I might say so, seem a good deal healthier and less prone to "mind control" than Americans.

I think what this boils down to is the idea that "Your right to be heard does not include the right to be taken seriously."
If you want to live in paranoid fear of your own Government, legal system, and doctors, fine.

Just don't drag us along with you.

marty said...

Bravo!

On another note, some stupid code is causing the comments page to refresh over and over, making it hard to make a comment. I had to write this in notepad and paste it in. If you get that, hit the stop key.

Justin Warner said...

shap said:
"Religion told us that the Sun revolves around the Earth. It's mentioned in the bible (which, by the way, is never wrong)

Science was responsible for proving that the Earth, in fact, revolves around the Sun.

Nice try, though. Better luck next time."

Ptolemy wasn't an astonomer? Because it was he who first fleshed out geocentricity, known as the Ptolemic system. You'll note that Wikipedia's description of him says he was "...a Hellenistic mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and astrologer who lived in Roman Egypt" as opposed to "some unscientific religious nut who believed scripture in the face of science."

The same (however somewhat more progressed) science Ptolemy practiced later proved his hypothesis false, but at the time the limits of his ability to observe told him the sun circled the earth.

Oh, and you're an arrogent tool. Just needed to add that. Nice try though. Better luck next time.

Justin Warner said...

One more (thanks Nathan for letting these through thus far):

To everyone who thinks my first comment was "Christians shouldn't question other Christian's beliefs about stuff", it's not that at all. I just don't agree with the idea that someone's beliefs, no matter how crazy, need to be publically demolished in a blaze of spite. You hear what they say, and think "wow, that's messed up" - what then compels you to take the step of public ridicule? Where is the need? They're people, and ridicule is unnecissary.

I know Nathan offline and we've hung out on numbers of occasions. We disagree on stuff, and that's OK. But I would be phenominally mortified if he posted a rant like this about me and my beliefs, be they far more moderate then this Hovind guy. Why is it necissary? To further a personal crusade? Convince people "you're right, and he's wrong"? Improve the image of science in the eyes of the religious "fundys"? What does it achieve? How many people who believe these things that most would identify as untrue will change their minds due to this sarcasm-loaded post? Who are you appealing to, because to me, it reads like an opportunity to laugh at someone else's expense with your "buddies" who sympathise with your cause. Yep - I agree this guy's beliefs are over-the-top. But why not just leave him be? Most will identify the problems you and I both see in his teachings, and will steer clear. Those that don't are not going to be swayed by this kind of post, are they? Honestly?

I'm happy to go away now if everyone is happy to pretend like I wasn't here. I'm done with all of this... Obviously fact trumps compassion, and the most important thing in life is making sure everyone knows just how right you are. I'm not really into that.

Nick said...

"Ptolemy wasn't an astonomer? Because it was he who first fleshed out geocentricity, known as the Ptolemic system. You'll note that Wikipedia's description of him says he was "...a Hellenistic mathematician, geographer, astronomer, and astrologer who lived in Roman Egypt" as opposed to "some unscientific religious nut who believed scripture in the face of science.""

You're accidentally undermining your own point here, I think.

Ptolemy derived the geocentric model through research and analysis, and devised a theoretical model to explain the movement of things like shadows and celestial bodies. Even though it didn't reflect astronomical reality, the model was a useful means of understanding a natural phenomenon. Now, before you claim special pleading, look at other discredited theories that were technically incorrect but still useful models: for example, Newton's law of gravity and laws of motion, the phlogiston theory, and all the atomic models leading up to the present. The geocentric model is still useful today for local calculations; you don't need to account for the revolution of the Earth around the sun if you want to calculate your car's acceleration.

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church in the time of Galileo Galilei simply declared geocentrism to be true by fiat, refusing altogether to acknowledge any competing views like Copernican heliocentrism (which, incidentally, has also been superceded by a more general system where the sun revolves around the galaxy's center).

Ptolemy's derivations and the Church's declarations are fundamentally different. There's a vast difference between a flawed scientific model and a religious tenet that flies in the face of reailty. Science is concerned with models, not Universal Truth; it acknowledges when it gets something wrong, as the history of astronomy (and all the other sciences) shows. Religion too often refuses to allow any sort of debate, even in the face of a preponderance of contrary evidence.

Anonymous said...

The other comments here scare me. To think that these people live in first world countries with advanced technology, but fear fluoridation as mind-control, boggles my mind.

I thought science was going to get rid of superstition...

grendelkhan said...

You know, the soy-makes-you-gay meme has percolated all the way up to WorldNetDaily. Why, it's practically mainstream.

Justin Warner said...

Hi Nick
I appreciate what you're saying, but my original point was more about the fact that science is continually advancing, and more often then not ideas or models that are held to be true due to the limits of our observations are later shown to be completely false, or at least substantially lacking. Ptolemy's geocentricity being case-in-point. Useful, yes. An acurate description of the universe? Not at all.
"The Church" (organisation) of the day obviously liked the idea of geocentrism - they just didn't want to let it go when science advanced because it had become dogma. Mind you - just to play the other side of the argument for a moment, it is entirely plauible (albeit completely unlikely) that if the universe is found to have finite boundaries, that the earth *could* be the center of the universe, and everything else just kind of wobbles around it. Again - that would be a case of our current limits of observation not giving us the full picture. Mind you, I don't actually think this is the case.

I'm a Christian - I'm not a young earther, but neither am I convinced that current scientific understanding is adequate to know the age of the earth for sure. I don't staunchly believe that God created two literal humans called Adam and Eve and the entire human race sprung from there, but nor am I willing to accept Dawkins' accertion that the evolution of man can now be considered fact (cue flames, but I do have my reasons). He may be right, but at the moment I don't think there's adequate proof to say he's not wrong.

However, my whole issue is less about facts and more about humility. We've all been wrong before. The most established of knowlege has fallen on it's head before fresh discovery. You yourself acknowledged science will accept when it gets something wrong. Therefore, let's keep our knowledge in perspective, and following on from that, let's not go out of way to ridicule those who disagree - no matter how crazy their ideas. A simple presentation of your opposing thoughts (sans sarcasm, belittling, etc.) is all that is required to convince those who are willing to listen. Those that aren't are not going to have their mind changed through ridicule - it will just make them dig their heels in all the more.

Anyway - that's my reason for being in this debate at all. If my science or history (or spelling) is less then accurate, I apologise. But unless you can demonstrate that science has never been wrong, my point still stands. Humility is more important. You might just be wrong.

MpM said...

There have been several comments regarding science that so qualifies the discipline, as to leave more room for alternatives than truth allows.

"I'm a Christian - I'm not a young earther, but neither am I convinced that current scientific understanding is adequate to know the age of the earth for sure."

You do not need to be convinced. The evidence is available. Either you read the body of evidence and know, or you pick snippets and form intelligent but uninformed opinions. Both acknowledge the data, but the latter leaves room for comments as above.

Do scientists know the date the earth was formed? No, but the evidence shows an age of 4.6 billion years. Might new data show 4.7 - maybe. The point is, the evidence says the earth isn't 20 million years old, or 4 million years old, or 6,000 years old. I know the age of the earth.

Data told Galileo that the earth was not the center of the solar system. He did not have enough data to correctly determine the true planetary orbits. Does this lack of complete data make him wrong? No. Take the data and evidence he generated, and there are some things he knew - helocentric solar system- and some things he predicted, near circular orbits. Newton built on that data... and so on.

It is a process that is well known and proven. Get evidence for point a, predict point b. Experiment, get more evidence until you prove b. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO PROVE B FOR A TO BE CORRECT! In other words, I do not have to know how the first life in earth started, to know how it developed, (Evolution), nor do I need to know the day the earth was born, to know it is approximately 4.6 billion years old. If the current science is off by 2%, that does not lead to "know the age of the earth for sure." What does the comment even mean? To the minute? To the milisecond?

You might desire to put facts in the same bucket as faith... i.e. God is a mystery - the world is a mystery.
You may. There is nothing stopping you, but you are wrong. Evolution, the age of the earth, the speed of light, and gravity, are all MEASURABLE. Yes, there are differing opinions on new developments... but either know the evidence - the proof, or get off the pot.

P.S. Belief has more to do with desire, what a person wants to be true, than it does with knowledge. Again, nothing wrong with it, so long as it is not applied to data.

Anonymous said...

How many have you led to Jesus Christ? A handful? Personally I agree with most of Mr Hovind's statements, and if you earnestly want to find out the details of his arguments you need to go no farther than to your personal computer: The majority, if not all of his claims can be verified easily if you take the time to do the research. You support evolution in spite of all the evidence for a recent Creation, you support evolution in spite of the societal and moral consequences of that creed. Just because you have a flair for putting words eloquently, drooling over your dictionary for expressions most people don't use; it doesn't make your opinion higher than mine or his or hers. I think you are a fake Christian. What do I mean by that? I would like to hear you confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. That he was the lamb of God that was crucified and thus sacrified to cover our sins. That Jesus Christ is eternal, that he created the universe, and that his earthly body was resurrected from the dead on the third day. Anyone can say "I'm a Christian", but what do you really believe and why. I believe in God because of all the physical evidence of a young earth, and I believe in Christ because of the necessity of a Saviour since we've all sinned. I believe in Christ because if the earth is young then evolution could not have taken place and there must've been a Creator and that Creator must have an awareness, a personality, a will. What is God's will? Is it the will of Allah, that we kill each other? Well, the moslems believe in an old earth so their book can't be right. And the Hindu religion is too far from logic and reality. The only faith that fits into this young earth span is the old Hebrew religion. So should I become a jew? Well, their ancient book speaks of a Messiah. So who is he? Apparently the life of Jesus Christ is very consistent with the old Hebrew predictions in the Torah. Hm. Exceptionally consistent even. Additionally his teachings are timeless and apply even to our modern lives. The first Adam, the last Adam. Oh yes this makes perfect sense. I am a sinner and I need to change my ways - for myself, my brethren, and out of gratitude for God's loving gesture of sacrificing himself for his children.

What's your agenda?

/Mattias

Nathan Zamprogno said...

To the previous commenter:

(quote) "I think you are a fake Christian... I would like to hear you confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God the Father. That he was the lamb of God that was crucified and thus sacrified to cover our sins. That Jesus Christ is eternal, that he created the universe, and that his earthly body was resurrected from the dead on the third day."

Fine. I do so confess to precisely that creed, with all my heart. Am I still a fake Christian?

You precisely prove my point. Reasoned criticism is not evidence of a lack of salvation. Publicly warning people to reject lunatic beliefs that are offered up as having the same authority as Scripture does not make me a "fake Christian". If you are so insecure in your own faith that you need to invoke that argument, then you have already lost.

You suggest nearly all Hovind's claims (including the ones I have highlighted are easily verifiable). This is an incredible statement. Living dinosaurs! Government mind control! Global conspiracies!

Rather than argue with you ad-infinitum point by point, all I can offer is this statement: You are a first class dupe; someone whose ignorance crosses over the line from eccentricity and into positive danger- to yourself and the society you live in. If you believe people like Kent Hovind then you'll believe anything. You detract from the sum of human knowledge. You deserve to be scorned and laughed out of any public forum you raise these beliefs in. Jesus loves you, and I'm sure you're saved, but with beliefs like yours you should know that you damage the body of Christ every time you open your mouth.

Some may regard my approach as harsh, but mouth breathing dolts like you deserve to be laughed at.

shaun marksbury said...

I'm a firm believer in Young Earth Creationism, but I don't hold to any of the points you listed. Yes, I've seen them all before, and yes, I know some YEC's who believe some of them. (I also know "Old Earthers" who also believe them, for that matter.) I simply don't see YEC as necessarily equatable to conspiracy theories. Likewise, most of the YEC's I rub shoulders with are like myself, not believing every kook theory to come down the pike, and are logical beings themselves - some are even scientists (a biologist and paleoanthropologist comes to mind at the moment).

So, I would like to set the record straight for those readers that did not catch your non-inclusive language: we are not all oddballs. (Unless YEC is enough to qualify a person as an oddball - then all the rest doesn't really matter!)

Just one more point, because someone mentioned the geocentric model of the solar system was held by many in the church. We must understand this in the tide of history. When the ancient Greeks experienced their scientific "renaissance," few were actually seeing past the conventions of their day and proposing heliocentric models. Remember, Aristotle's arguments for a GEOcentric model won the debates of his day. So, when Copernicus came along, the church simply accepted Aristotle's explanation because they felt they found biblical support for it. In essence, the church felt the weight of both scientific and spiritual evidence favored geocentricism because it initially accepted the Aristotelian science of the matter (basically, the seeming inability of a sphere to move through space without its surface contents sliding off one side due to inertia, among other points). (Oh, and by the way, the church has never collectively believed the earth is flat, to my knowledge. Geocentricism was its only blunder - it proved itself worthy in many other fields of science.)


Is it possible that YEC is wrong? Of course. But name calling and assumptions is not helping anyone. And we must remember, for all this discussion, that the Gospel is the single most important doctrine of Scripture which must be defended and preached. Christ died and rose again to reconcile a wayward people to God. This is the most significant and powerful message for humanity, not "the earth is/is not 6,000 years old." So, at the end of the day, may we remember this above all else.

Thanks,

Tam said...

While I'm not a YEC, nor an Old Earth one (not really sure where I fit), I've often wondered why does evolution suggest the non-existence of a creator?

Genesis outlines the creation process , though not in a hugely detailed analysis, and perhaps non-literary either. While the earth was created in 7 days, there is no defintiion of a day besides seperation of light and dark.

This being the case, isn't it entirely plausible that 'evolution' was merely the way God chose to create the animals? For Him anything is possible, and while it states that He created them, there is no specific mention that they were created from dust as was man.

Science has shown (as far as I understand anyway) that evolution occured, and many species have been tracked using fossils concerning their evolution.

While I personally believe that the 'missing link' will never be found, I do hold the belief that for God anything is possible, and that I will never (while I'm alive on this earth) understand Him completely. In other words, if He chose to use a method that we humans have labeled evolution in the creation of the world, why should we as Christians discount it?

Justin Warner said...

@MPM
"Data told Galileo that the earth was not the center of the solar system. He did not have enough data to correctly determine the true planetary orbits. Does this lack of complete data make him wrong? No."

It's interesting that you've selected Galileo who produced a limited explanation of what is now more well-defined knowledge then Ptolemy who I discussed in my comments earlier. Data told Ptolemy that the earth was the center of the universe, a hypothesis we now know to be completely false. Is his data and model useful and correct? Well, yes - but the hypothesis he drew from that data and model was unequivocally incorrect. Completely wrong. Going back through the development of theories we now hold to be established knowledge and highlighting those involved in its discovery is not a good argument, especially when their theories were in opposition to the science of the day.

You’ve said there is clear evidence for the age of the earth. OK – I’m entirely open to that being the case. However, show me evidence that lacks assumptions on the part of the observer. For example, radiocarbon dating assumes a reasonably constant level of carbon isotope 14 forming in the atmosphere, and in 2001 someone found levels twice as high as the current levels in calcium deposits in caves in the Bahamas. This adjusts their knowledge (citation). The technique is still useful and the new data helps make it more useful in the future – however, it casts doubt on the underlying assumption, which is that 14C levels have been roughly consistent throughout history.

So – let me put it to you simply: What evidence have you observed that has satisfied you that the earth is 14.6 billion years old? And honestly – I have no firm view on this, so I’m happy to be shown. My concern is that I see a rising trend that people are viewing scientific theory as being the truth. It’s not the truth – it’s a best understanding. You say that you can be sure due to evidence that the earth is 14.6 billion years old. I’d say that based on inference and assumption, theories have been formed about the age of the earth that make sense based on our present ability to observe. Future advances in that ability may radically alter that understanding, as they have repeatedly in the past.

I find this comment interesting:
“Evolution, the age of the earth, the speed of light, and gravity, are all MEASURABLE.”

Problems with the other mentioned measurements aside, I’m wondering how evolution specifically is measurable. I’m happy to be wrong, but my understanding is that the element of chance involved in evolution makes it unpredictable – ie: put a family of mice in a controlled environment that will sustain them for a couple of billion years, and you may or may not see significant genetic change. Well obviously you won’t see it, but I think that’s part of the problem really. People want answers within their lifetime, and they’re willing to accept substantial leaps in logic to get them. What evolution as a theory needs is a controlled experiment showing absolutely that a tracked genetic family is able, and more so that it will, produce a genetically-definable new species in a finite, albeit very extensive period of time. If it doesn’t, then our current understanding is not adequate. While ever such experiment does not exist, for me to say “yes, 100%, man evolved from less-complex life forms” takes as much faith as for you to believe me if I say “we were created from pixie-dust by fairies.” While current observation supports the former being more probable, it is still far from certain. And certainty is what you're claiming you have.

Anyway, as always I might be wrong. I just think to say there is evidence that 100% verifies that the earth is 14.6 billion years old (+/- 0.5 billion years) is at this point a bit of a stretch. Especially since we’ve been observing stuff like this for what, maybe 0.0001 billion years? I don’t understand how you can say we can know this for sure.

Anonymous said...

Mattias: "I believe in God because of all the physical evidence of a young earth, and I believe in Christ because of the necessity of a Saviour since we've all sinned. I believe in Christ because if the earth is young then evolution could not have taken place and there must've been a Creator..."

So, in other words, you NEED a young earth, and you NEED the necessity of a savior, and you NEED evolution to have not taken place,,, all in order to believe in Christ?

Your faith appears shaky.

If evolution is true, and the earth is billions of years old, and if perhaps someone suggested that original sin measurable tangible thing,, you won't believe in Jesus Christ as God?

I think the mystery of true faith would be that you don't need all the "because" clauses.

Your dependence on all or your becauses makes it sound more like you can't be open to scientific observation, lest it fundamentally shake your belief in God.

People ask Nathan why he "ridicules" YECs. Understand, that it is the kind of thinking that Mattias is displaying here that drove the Church to imprison scientists and conduct the inquisitions and so on. It's a dangerous. The Church didn't just "accept" geocentrism; it NEEDED it, just as Mattias needs YEC now.

Mattias, the fact that the Church came around on the subject should say something.

Hovind's and Mattias's way of thinking is in fact still dangerous. Look at how it impedes medical research, for starters!

Anonymous said...

After reading your article, I must commend you for being an "open-minded" Christian. Its most definately hard to find those in the USA. Specific points to applaud:

You question things. Any intelligent person has to know that priest, politicians, and philosophers don't know everything. Just because some of the other posters here heard it from their backwoods Arkansas padre that their interpretation of the scriptures is correct, doesn't mean that they are right.

You are a Christian AND you debate your own religion. Most excellent. Just like someone after the truth. Not afraid of people who say that questioning makes you a "fake Christian" or some other nonsense.

So, after that...my take:

I'm not much of a Christian, I have to admit. I was baptized as such, maybe I'm a lax Christian. hmm. Anyways, what drove me from the church was all the hypocrisy from people. They preach, they don't practice. They love to quote scripture when it does them good to win an argument, but not if it works the other way.

Why are do so many Christians have blinders on the logic, reason, and common-sense, yet claim the opposite?

-Dan

Anonymous said...

At Fri Jul 06, 04:21:00 AM EST, Shap said...
Wow, it looks like plenty of fellow christians are coming out of the woodwork to defend this guy, just because he's a 'fellow christian'?

Maybe you guys should pray for Mr. Hovind instead. He is a convicted criminal, and an anti-semite. These facts are not disputed.

Instead of criticizing reasonable people for pointing out the lunacy of a religious fundamentalist, maybe you guys should take a look in a mirror.

I mean, Hitler was a christian, you wanna come to his defense? Just because somebody follows christ, doesn't make them infallible. I'm not trying to compare Hovind to Hitler, but the guy is a criminal, and many of his views are utterly indefensible by any rational human being.


Yeah, Kent is in prison just like all those other criminals were sent to prison like: Peter, Paul, Timothy, John, etc...he is in good company I'd say. You may want to take a look at your own salvation and check and see if you are truly a biblical christian. A good barometer to measure it by, is to see how the world likes you. Are you being persecuted, jailed, talked bad about in the worldly newspapers, or the TV news. I think not. What seperates you from the world. They accept you as one of their own. there is little difference between you and the world. Now, Kent is as a different story altogether.

SME said...

Ah, this is too good.
My hometown Baptist Church actually donated hours and hours of Hovind's VHS crap to the public library, to poison more young minds against science.
Watch out for that canola oil! (it actually is hazardous if you spill it on the floor...)

Dirty Hairy said...

Thanks for stopping by ol' Science Fail and leaving a link. I liked this page a lot and it really speaks volumes about Hovind and the people that seemingly agree with him.

Nathan Zamprogno said...

I found this quote recently. It encapsulates the sentiment I was trying to convey:

"Against stupidity, the gods themselves contend in vain."
Friedrich Schiller, 1801.

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