To: All Msg #110, Jan3193 12:34AM Subject: Genesis Seminar in Pasadena, California A while
From: Broughton, Wayne Jeremy
To: All Msg #110, Jan-31-93 12:34AM
Subject: Genesis Seminar in Pasadena, California
Organization: California Institute of Technology
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Broughton, Wayne Jeremy)
A while ago I posted an announcement about an "Evolution and Creation"
seminar to be presented by the Skeptics Society on February 13, 1993,
here at Caltech. I still plan to attend this and report on it in due
course. Meanwhile, I have put up notices about it around campus.
Imagine my surprise yesterday (Friday) when a couple of feet away from
one of the notices I saw an ad for the "Genesis Seminar", which took
place today at the Calvary Chapel in Pasadena. It was an all-day affair
(9am - 4pm), just like the Skeptics Society seminar will be.
I attended it only for the last couple of hours, which is all I could
really stand of their misinformation and rhetoric anyway. The primary
speaker was Roger Oakland, described as "a former evolutionist and biology
instructor at a Canadian University" who is now on staff as a lecturer
at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, California. Has anyone heard of him??
The views presented were the usual extremist Young-Earth variety (I had
hoped for at least a Hugh Ross version, alas). I first saw part of a film
by Jeremiah Films called "The Evolution Conspiracy: A Quantum Leap Into
The New Age". In typical fashion, excerpts of interviews with various
"experts" were presented, each clearly labelled "Creationist" or "Evolutionist"
after their name in the subtitle, so that the audience member has no
difficulty knowing whom to believe and whom to scoff at (and indeed the
audience members did not seem to be above snickering at what the evolutionists
said). Among the "Evolutionists" were such big names as Sarich and
Don Johanson (I didn't recognize the others, but perhaps biologists would).
The film tried to demolish the fossil evidence for human evolution by
presenting an incredibly poor list of such "fossils" and then examining
each one. They were as follows, in *this* order (with no respect for
Ramapithecus: they noted (I believe correctly) that this is now regarded
as more likely an ancestor of orangutans than chimps and
"Java" Man: they pointed out that the skull cap and leg bones were
found some distance apart, and that human skulls were
found at the same site; notice that this was the _only_
example of Homo Erectus mentioned
"Lucy": they airily dismissed the evidence that Lucy walked upright,
and remarked that she "looks like a chimpanzee"; strangely
enough, they also thought scientists were contradicting
themselves by ascribing some very human-looking footprints
to Australopithecines (what else would a fully bipedal
ape's footprints look like?); again, this was the only
example of Australopithecus mentioned
Piltdown Man: this was correctly described as a hoax that fooled the
scientific community for decades
Nebraska Man: a mistaken identification of a pig's molar as human, which
they pointed out to the great amusement of the audience
Neanderthal: they said something about a few specimens looking "hunched
over, with a brutish appearance", but turning out to
just have rickets or arthritis; they correctly pointed out
that Neanderthals are regarded as a sub-species rather
than directly ancestral (like this is news?)
And that was that!
They spent a great deal of time explaining how evolutionary theory
naturally leads to the New Age movement: "it is now believed that
the evolution of the human body is being overtaken by the evolution
of the human mind", and that evolution leads us to accept Hindu notions
of the oneness of consciousness (how do you like that, Kalki?), and
crystal and pyramid powers, and the attempt to reach higher states
of consciousness and find God within ourselves. A couple of people
labelled "New Age Evolutionists" were presented.
We were treated to a few gratuitous scenes of Hitler and the Nazis,
and their extermination camps, supposedly following the principle of
"survival of the fittest".
And finally the film showed various scenes of nature demonstrating the
design and goodness of the Designer: sunsets (but no deadly hurricanes),
quiet ponds (but no raging forest fires), butterflies (but no Black
Widows eating their mates), and lionesses licking their cubs (but not
tearing apart hapless zebras).
The afternoon ended with Roger Oakland giving a talk entitled "Ancient
Man: Evolved or Created?". I assumed that this would be more on the
evidence for human evolution, but no, it seems "Ancient Man" refers to
civilizations between 2000 and 4000 years ago. I was much surprised to
be told that "evolution" predicts that humans should have been primitive
stone-users then, and was then showered with examples of the great artistic
and technological skills of the ancient Minoans, Egyptians, Babylonians,
Chinese, Indus peoples, and Mayans (and I think the last were a bit late
to be classified with the other groups as "ancient", weren't they?).
One interesting tidbit that Oakland mentioned was that the ancient
"Babylonians" (exactly which Mesopotamian civilization was not made
clear) made batteries and used electricity a little. Does anybody
know what this was referring to? He even claimed that they, or possibly
another civilization, could extract aluminum from bauxite (?) ore,
a process which I thought was only a modern one! Anybody know anything
He also held to the interesting notion that all these classical civilizations
were post-Flood (and so within the last 4000 years), and that all trace
of the pre-Flood civilizations was destroyed when they "fell into the
Earth" during the Flood (ie. God opened the Earth to swallow the wicked
people). He didn't seem to have any Biblical support for this idea but
thought it explained why no human fossils are found in the vast majority
of the fossil record, and even explained the origin of the Atlantis myth.
After the seminar I went to ask him a couple of questions. I asked him
what he thought of Hugh Ross's "Old Universe" version of Creationism; he
felt that Hugh Ross was stubbornly and blindly sticking to "evolutionist"
propaganda for some reason. I wondered whether other versions of
Creationism, such as Hindu Creationism, should also be let into the science
classrooms along with his version, and he (and the pastor) said it was
OK with them so long as the others could provide "scientific evidence"
to back themselves up (based on the quality of their "science", I guess
they would have to let Ted's Velikovskyism in!). Finally, I asked why
there were so many Christian evolutionary scientists (though I didn't
call them CWACKers!) if most scientists accept and propagate evolution
only to support their atheistic beliefs, as he and the film had stated
several times. He said that they had "compromised" with the world's
views, but didn't explain _why_ they would have or why he still argued
that evolutionists were atheists trying to deny personal responsibility
before God, when there were so many counter-examples.
I bought a book from the booktable which I will report on in a future
Wayne J. Broughton "You'll PAY to know what you REALLY
email@example.com think." J.R. "Bob" Dobbs
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank