What is an example of the +quot;religious beliefs+quot; that creationists want to teach? I

Master Index Current Directory Index Go to SkepticTank Go to Human Rights activist Keith Henson Go to Scientology cult

Skeptic Tank!

>What is an example of the "religious beliefs" that creationists want to teach? It was clearly shown in the Arkansas case that the creationist "model" (they can't call it a theory because it isn't) is exactly the Christian creation myth (i.e. Genesis), and no other. The timeframe was taken from the bible, the idea of a catastrophic flood was taken from the bible, etc. It was quite clear that there were religious motives behind the sponsoring of the bill, too: [Paul] Ellwanger's [the man who drafted the model act which became the Arkansas law] correspondence on the subject shows an awareness that Act 590 is a religious crusade, coupled with a desire to conceal the fact... "I view this whole battle as one between God and anti-God forces..." "It would be very wise ... not to present our work in a religious framework..." Mr. Ellwanger's ultimate purpose is revealed in the closing of his letter to Tom Bethell: "Perhaps all this is old hat to you, Tom, and if so, I'd appreciate your telling me so and perhaps where you've heard it before -- the idea of killing evolution instead of playing these debating games that we've been playing for nigh over a decade already..." (Borrowed from Gordon Davisson) Whether you are sincere or not, the people that you are backing sure as hell aren't. Do you support the above? It is clearly religion. >As for the content of thier (and my) beliefs, it is "We think that xxx >is true because we see yyy." If all creations are wrong, and yyy doesn't >support xxx, that makes creationist view bad science, not religion. It is BAD SCIENCE backed by religion. Bob, you may not [yourself] believe that it is religious, but it is quite clear that the main supporters of the "equal time" bills DO know it. >>But nowhere near as bad as the religious fundamentalist lobby (which spouts >>lie after lie after lie). > >Examples? Examples of half-truths, out-of-date references, and plain bad calculations from creationist literature (you asked for it!): [1] In a calculation of the amount of dust entering the earth's atmosphere from space, Slusher (Age of the Cosmos, 1980) uses obsolete dust-influx figures ranging from 3.6E6 to 256E6 tons per year. These are estimates, far out of date, while the MEASURED value is about 2E4 tons per year. Dalrymple adds "Considering that good satellite data on meteoric influx were available before Morris and Slusher published their papers, they obviously have been highly selective in their choice of obsolete data." [2] Morris (What is Creation Science?, 1982), cites a discovery of natural Plutonium-244, which indicates that the plutonium was formed at about the same time as the solar system, rather than at the time the galaxy was formed. A note is made in the article that the half-life of that isotope is 80 million years. Morris refers to the article and indicates that it shows an age of 80 million years for the solar system. Dalrymple comments, "What Morris and Parker have listed as an 80-million year age for the solar system is simply the half-life of Plutonium-244. Clearly, they do not understand either the content or the significance of the discovery reported in the brief news article that they cite as their source of documentation." [3] Barnes (Physics: A challenge to 'geologic time', 1974), says: "Some scientists claim that radioactivity in the earth would alter [Kelvin's] limit upward, but none has given any clear analysis of how much it would alter Kelvin's value. Kelvin was well aware of radioactivity, as demonstrated by the fact that he wrote several papers on it. That did not appear to him to alter the problem at all. He was working from an actual measured thermal flux gradient and a knowledge of thermal conductivity of the crustal rocks and was still confident that he had shown that the earth's age does not exceed 24 million years." Dalrymple says, "The first statement is simply untrue. There is a large volume of literature on the subject of the thermal state and history of the earth; most beginning geology texts treat the subject. The remainder of Barnes' paragraph is also wrong. Kelvin's last published remarks on the age of the earth were in 1899, four years before Rutherford and Soddy published their findings of the energy available from radioactive decay. [i.e. Kelvin knew about radioactivity, but he did not know that it generated heat; Barnes is being misleading]" [4] Morris and Parker (same as [2]) list a geological study of the mid- Atlantic ridge, which they claim supports a young earth. The study itself just indicates that the ocean floor is young near the plate- building areas, and does not support Morris at all (it indicates an age of 5 million years, which is far beyond the creationist timespan). [5] Morris (The Young Earth, 1974; The Scientific Case for Creation, 1977) lists an "indicates age of the earth" of 100,000 years from "formation of C14 on meteorites"; he references a report by Boeckl. Dalrymple comments, "Boeckl's report, however, was about tektites, not meteorites. Tektites are small globules of glass whose origin has been the subject of much debate, but is now thought to be from meteoric impacts on the earth. Boeckl was attempting to establish the cosmic ray exposure age for these objects to determine their residence time in space. To do so, he ASSUMED a terrestrial age FOR THE TEKTITES of 10,000 years to make his calculations. Boeckl did not calculate an age for the earth, nor did he produce any data that could be used to do so; Morris even has the number wrong (10^6 rather than 10^5)." [6] Morris (Scientific Creationism, 1974), attacks radiometric dating (in particular K-Ar dating), as follows: "The so-called branching ratio, which determines the amount of the decay product that becomes argon (instead of calcium) is unknown by a factor of up to 50% Since the decay rate is also unsettled, values for these constants are chosen which bring K-Ar dates into as close correlation with U-Pb dates as possible." Dalrymple says, "Slusher makes similar comments (1973, 1981). This statement would have been true in the 1940s, but it was certainly not true when Morris wrote it. By the mid to late 1950s, the decay constants and branching ratio of K40 were known to within a few percent from direct laboratory counting experiments. It would not have taken much time or effort for Morris to find that out, but I suspect that he was not interested. Instead, he apparently chose to pick obsolete information out of old literature to represent the current state of the field." [7] Slusher (Critique of Radiometric Dating, 1973), claims that C14 radiation is so weak that it is not even applicable for 10-15k years, as even "the best of instruments" cannot measure it. Dalrymple adds, "That statemtent was as untrue in 1973 as it is today. Modern counting instruments, available since 1960, are capable of counting the activity of C14 in a sample as old as 35k years. In laboratories which are shielded against cosmic rays, that limit is easily extended to 50k years. New techniuqes using accelerators and mass spectrometers now hold the promise of extending C14 dating to 100k years or more. Slusher is simply wrong." [8] John Moore (Questions and Answers on creation/evolution) states that "The method involving the decay of rubidion-87 into strontium-87 is considered to unreliable that it has been discarded." Dalrymple says, "The truth, however, is just the opposite; the Rb/Sr method is one of the most widely used techniques available." There are several more examples (I could probably reproduce 50 more if you want), but I think you get the idea. Dalrymple sums it up as follows: "The examples I have shown you are typical. Their brand of science invariably falls short of even the minimum standards of scholarship, accuracy, and objectivity necessary for true, rational science. I think that the creationists' attempt to portray their obsolete, inaccurate, and mis- understood data, their illogical and misleading arguments, and their erroneous conclusions as true science is both unfair and deceptive. I think it will be a sad day for civilized humanity if science, that magnificent field of objective inquiry whose only purpose is to decipher the history and laws of the physical universe, is allowed to fall victim to the intellectual fraud of the creation science movement." > Bob Bales References: Dalrymple, G. Brent, paper presented at the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (66th annual meeting), April 1982. Dalrymple, G. Brent, paper presented at the 63rd annual meeting of the Pacific Division, American Association for the Advancement of Science (4/84). Dalrymple, G. Brent, US Geological Survey open-file report 86-110, titled Radiometric Dating, Geologic Time, And The Age of the Earth: A Reply To "Scientific" Creationism (To be published soon in a book from Wm. Kaufman & Co publishers). -- Chris


E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank