From: James J. Lippard
To: All Nov-08-93 11:15AM
Subject: Creationist Seminar
Organization: University of Arizona
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (James J. Lippard)
Yesterday I attended a creationist seminar put on by David McAllister,
the pastor of the Tucson Community Church. It went for about 3.5 hours,
and was held in a large rented room at the Sheraton El Conquistador.
I would guess that about 150 people were present. I was told in advance
that no time would be available for questions, so I decided to make a
small flyer to hand out. I didn't know what would be covered, exactly,
but I assumed it would be the usual young-earth creationist stuff. I
slapped together a two-page flyer which rebutted a few young-earth
arguments, misconceptions about evolution, and problems for the flood.
Citations to *creationist* literature pointing out problems in creationist
arguments were used as frequently as possible, as were references to
Christian critiques of YEC. Of the things I put on my flyer, everything
was mentioned in the seminar except Setterfield's speed of light decay.
I brought some materials with me to show to creationists, such as DeYoung
and Rush's September 1989 _Creation Research Society Quarterly_ article
debunking the shrinking sun argument. I showed this article to McAllister
during a break, and he had the honesty to tell the people at the seminar
that he had seen it, and that they should cross it out of their workbooks.
He did the same for the Paluxy River mantracks claim. Unfortunately, he
went on to say that those claims don't matter because of the weight of the
rest of the arguments. If I had had all of my files there, he would have
had to tell the seminar participants to cross out everything.
During intermissions, I had some interesting conversations with some of
the church members in attendance. One guy in particular seemed fairly
skeptical of young-earth claims, and wanted to know more about radiometric
dating methods. (Bruce Salem: He was an electrical engineer.) I've
send him a copy of Dalrymple's paper on radiometric dating and creationist
Passing out my flyers at the end of the seminar resulted in some unproductive
discussions with hardcore church goers. They basically wanted me to give
them all the evidence for evolution on the spot, or admit that I had nothing
but biased, unfounded interpretations. When I gave flyers to some couples
that were leaving, there were two events that stood out. One man refused
to allow his wife to take one, saying to her "You don't want to read that."
Another woman did take a flyer, and said, "Well, I should probably read what
the other side has to say, too."
Jim Lippard Lippard@CCIT.ARIZONA.EDU
Dept. of Philosophy Lippard@ARIZVMS.BITNET
University of Arizona
Tucson, AZ 85721