Jason Rosenhouse posted Entry 1236 on July 20, 2005 01:34 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/1234

With the Intelligent Design (ID) proponents sucking up all the anti-evolution oxygen these days, it is easy to forget that the young-Earthers are still around. No doubt motivated partly by a desire to remind everyone they're still here, they have organized the Creation Mega Conference this week at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. That being just down the road from my digs in Harrisonburg, I decided to check it out. Over the next few days I will be posting several blog entries describing my experiences there.

You should also check out Ronald Bailey's account for Reason magazine. Judging from this first entry in the series it seems he is mostly giving a straight description of some of the goings-on at the conference. I will be focussing more on the specific claims made during the talks.

Also, if you would like a description of the conference that is more charitable than the one I am going to provide, check out the conference blog.

Now, on to the conference!

Sunday, July 17. Afternoon.

I was in good spirits as I left Charlottesville, VA. I was coming off a tolerably successful weekend of chess at the Charlottesville Open (Three wins, Two losses), and managed to pick up a few rating points if not any money. Route 29 loomed up before me, presenting me with a fateful choice.

Go North, and before too much longer I'd be back in Harrisonburg. South would take me to Lynchburg, and several days of exasperating creationist propaganda.

South it was. Tooling down Route 29, I was struck by the beauty of the region. Lynchburg is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the scenery managed to take my mind off my nervousness about the conference itself. But as pretty as the scenery was, I was also struck by just how isolated Lynchburg is. It's sixty miles from Charlottesville to Lynchburg, and in that stretch of space you encounter almost nothing in the way of civilization. The sort of extreme Biblical fundmentalism represented by the conference speakers can only survive in such isolated little burgs. I would soon find that a recurring theme in the conference presentations was the protection of their children from “the wisdom of the world.” The word “wisdom” is definitely meant ironically here.

I arrived in Lynchburg without incident and located my host for the next few days; the Sleep Inn. Check-in went smoothly. The nice person at the desk pointed me towards the Liberty University campus. I decided to walk.

Sunday, July 17. Evening.

As I approached the main entrance of the campus I saw a large sign saying, “Changing Lives One Degree at a Time.” I found that amusing, since it seems to me that most Liberty students choose the school out of a desire to avoid having their faith challenged; which would inevitably happen were they to go to a real university. If you truly believe in a young-Earth and world-wide global flood, then almost anything you hear in a science class will challenge your faith. Nearly all of their students are fundamentalist Christians to begin with. In other words, a Liberty education is about not changing your life.

It was rather hot and humid and I was sweating quite a bit when I managed to locate the Vines Center, which was the main facility for the conference. The building is covered by a large silver dome, giving it the appearance of a spaceship stuck in the ground.

I go inside, let my eyes adjust to the dim lighting, and locate the conference registration table. I waited my turn, paid my $150 (!!)registration fee, and received my conference package. A complete schedule of the presentations. A notebook. Promotional material for various creationist groups. A copy of Ken Ham's subtly titled book The Lie: Evolution. Ham is the President of Answers in Genesis, co-sponsor of the conference.

I already had a copy of Ham's book, and had read it a few years ago. My brother, thinking he was being amusing, got it for me as a birthday present. The second paragraph of the book's introduction says, “My parents knew that evolution was wrong because it was obvious from Genesis that God had given us the details of the creation of the world.” One of the presenters at the conference expressed the same thought more directly: “God said it, that settles it.”

They're refreshingly clear and honest on this point. They have little use for the various politically correct subterfuges used by the ID folks in presenting their case. Unlike the ID people, YEC's are open about their religious motivations.

On the other hand, it tells you something about the way the conference presenters and attendees approach this subject. They hate the fact that they must wage this war on science's turf. They want to be able to cite the authority of scripture and have everyone else take them seriously. It is already a major defeat for them that they must argue in scientific terms.

That is why many of the scientific assertions they make are jaw-droppingly ignorant. That is why they are able to stand in front of audiences, and, without apparent shame, speak with great confidence on subjects they obviously know nothing about. That is why one of the rallying cries I heard several times during the conference was, “It doesn't take a PhD!” Getting it right is not something that is important to them. Vicotry over the enemy is what's important. If achieving that victory means playing fast and loose with the facts then so be it.

I trudged back to the hotel and took advantage of the free HBO.

Monday, July 18. Morning.

There are already quite a few people milling around as I return to the Vines Center. It's 7:30 in the morning, and Jerry Falwell is scheduled to kick off the festivities in forty-five minutes. I pass the time by browsing through the tables of books and DVD's for sale.

I've been reading creationist literature for years but it still makes my blood boil to see so much of it in one place. You could open virtually any of these books to a random page and find grotesque distortions and malicious caricatures of modern science. I picked up the book Refuting Evolution 2 by Jonathan Sarfati (one of the speakers at the conference). I opened it to a random page, which turned out to be the beginning of Chapter Five. Here's the first sentence of the chapter: “When they begin to talk about mutations, evolutionists tacitly acknowledge that natural selection, by itself, cannot explain the rise of new genetic information.” Natural selection by itself? What does that even mean? This is like saying, “When they begin to talk about mass, physicists tacitly acknowledge that gravity, by itself, can not explain the motions of the planets.”

Sometimes the rot extends to the titles of the books: I note one tome called Vestigial Organs are Fully Functional, as if vestigial and non-functional were the same thing.

Over at one table a DVD is playing. On the screen is a handsome young man lecturing to a roomful of obviously enthralled students about the nature of geology. With a bemused tone he says that modern geologists insist that various geologic processes unfold over millions of years. “But how do they know that? Was anyone there to see it happen? Has geological science been going on for millions of years?” The video is galling for many reasons: The utter lack of respect for the work geologists do, the patronizing tone of the speaker, and the fact that no one really believes that if you didn't see something happen then you can't speak with confidence about it, immediately come to mind.

People start taking their seats and Jerry Falwell approaches the platform. Golly! He's famous. I've seen him on television.

He describes the conference as an historic event, and claims around 2000 attendees. My own informal count says that's a plausible number. He then asserts that all the polls show that 2/3 to 3/4 of Americans agree with AiG on this issue, which is total nonsense. The polls have consistently shown that the percentage of people accepting the Young-Earth position is just under fifty percent.

He boasts that the debate is being won by the church. He says that despite having the media, Hollywood and academe against them, the church of Jesus Christ returned George W. Bush to the White House. And this is about science, right?

Then he launches into the standard pitch about creation being necessary to redemption. If Genesis is unreliable, then how can they be confident that the crucifixion account is true.

Evolution implies humans are worthless animals that have no value except to PETA. Laughter.

If God could create an adult Adam with apparent age, why couldn't he do the same with the universe? (I suppose He could have, but why would He?)

Then things got surreal. He boasted about the loyalty oths addressing both creation and eschatology that Liberty faculty are expected to sign. He was proud that Liberty had maintained its ideological purity despite their growth over the years.

Which is amusing, since he and people like him routinely lambast real universities for being ideologically rigid. Modern university science departments are as good an example of a true meritocracy as you're likely to find. Falwell and his ilk hate this fact, because they know their peculiar beliefs can not survive in such an evironment. So they rail about left-wing bias in universities and try to force these schools to hire their intellectual disciples.

In public, they talk about fairness and academic freedom and open-mindedness. In private, that goes out the window. And why not? By dissenting from their view of things you are risking an eternity in Hell. What's a little rhetorical inconsistancy compared to that?

Falwell closed on a suitably dramatic note, exhorting his adoring listeners that they had the truth, the inerrant word of God on their side. They should ignore the loud voices from the opposite side. Indeed. The moment they stop ignoring them is the moment they realize that they have been lied to about science.

Next up: Ken Ham.

To be continued.

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Comment #38750

Posted by Chris Hall on July 20, 2005 5:04 PM (e)

I’m a little perturbed, how come this conference stated on the sabbath? Have these people no respect for the Lord’s day?

Comment #38751

Posted by H. Humbert on July 20, 2005 5:13 PM (e)

Nice write up. Lynchburg is a bit of a drive for me, but I was considering taking a trip down there for amusement purposes. However, for $150 I can find my amusement elsewhere.

Comment #38752

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on July 20, 2005 5:15 PM (e)

You mean they charge people to listen to some of their painful speakers?

D:

Comment #38754

Posted by IAMB on July 20, 2005 5:28 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'quote'

Comment #38755

Posted by John Hinkle on July 20, 2005 5:32 PM (e)

With a bemused tone he says that modern geologists insist that various geologic processes unfold over millions of years. “But how do they know that? Was anyone there to see it happen? Has geological science been going on for millions of years?”

Hmm. It would be equally difficult to prove that anyone was around during Biblical times to “see it happen.” Which is a more accurate “historical document”, the geology of the Earth or the parables and fictions in the Bible?

It wouldn’t be so bad if creationists kept to themselves; they could be dismissed as over-zealous religionists. But no. It’s inconceivable to them that other moral values can exist, and that people can live perfectly normal lives outside of their belief system. Why is that?

Comment #38756

Posted by bill on July 20, 2005 5:34 PM (e)

Dang! For a small fee I’m sure they would have let the Darwinist Pressure Group, Delta Pi Gamma, set up a recruiting booth. We could have had a kegger and everything.

Comment #38757

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 20, 2005 5:51 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #38760

Posted by Tim on July 20, 2005 6:13 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #38761

Posted by KiwiInOz on July 20, 2005 6:27 PM (e)

BT GQ - May I suggest a double helix instead of the racing stripes and flames on the PT Cruiser.

Comment #38762

Posted by shiva on July 20, 2005 6:44 PM (e)

HI Jason,

Great work! AiG and CRS are there at the Mega2005. What happened to the Institute for Creation Research? And have the disclaimery folks sent any friendly observers to the event. And wonder what the Isaac Newton of information is doing with such an important event going on with him univited.

Comment #38765

Posted by jorge on July 20, 2005 7:01 PM (e)

Syntax Error: mismatched tag 'b'

Comment #38766

Posted by Mike Walker on July 20, 2005 7:02 PM (e)

Ken Ham’s speech is available on the conference’s web site if anyone cares. If nothing else, it’s a good summary of why they believe their mission is so important.

However, all that sprang to mind for me was the following paraphrase:

“Never before has so much been said for so long about so little.”

If you are at all familiar with Ken Ham’s speaking style, you will know exactly what I mean.

Comment #38767

Posted by steve on July 20, 2005 7:09 PM (e)

Maybe he’s busy at an Information Theory conference. There are several each year, and clearly they would invite the Isaac Newton of their field.

Comment #38768

Posted by Mike Walker on July 20, 2005 7:11 PM (e)

And wonder what the Isaac Newton of information is doing with such an important event going on with him univited.

The “Isaac Newton of information” is a sell-out for not supporting the “Biblical” account of creation. He would not be a welcome guest amongst this crowd.

Comment #38770

Posted by Mike Walker on July 20, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

Oh, and great stuff, Jason - looking forward to the rest!

Comment #38771

Posted by Dave Carlson on July 20, 2005 7:13 PM (e)

Mike Walker wrote:

If you are at all familiar with Ken Ham’s speaking style, you will know exactly what I mean.

Oh, yes. I used to watch Ken Ham videos in Sunday School as a youngster.

“Werrrrrrrrrrreee yooooooooooooou therrrrrrrrrrre?”

Comment #38772

Posted by C.J.O'Brien on July 20, 2005 7:15 PM (e)

Fig Newton!
Sheesh, I keep telling you people, it’s “The Fig Newton of Information Theory.”

Comment #38773

Posted by steve on July 20, 2005 7:22 PM (e)

I’d say he’s the John L. Sorenson1 of ID.[hr]
1 http://www.rickross.com/reference/mormon/mormon33.html

Comment #38774

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on July 20, 2005 7:28 PM (e)

BT GQ - May I suggest a double helix instead of the racing stripes and flames on the PT Cruiser.

Sounds good. I wonder if Professor Steve Steve would come along? He could ride on the dashboard and watch for police.

Comment #38775

Posted by Mike Walker on July 20, 2005 7:45 PM (e)

I just read Ronald Bailey’s account on the first day at the conference. He comments on the starring role dinosaurs enjoy on the Answers in Genesis stage, but he doesn’t explain why.

Ken Ham spells it out. He believes that of all the tricks, propaganda and subterfuge evolutionists have used to woo adults and especially children across to the “dark side”, none has been more effective that the lowly dinosaur.

His belief is that if they can “take back” the dinosaurs for creationism then the people will follow.

Comment #38776

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on July 20, 2005 7:53 PM (e)

The various speakers all start with the same conclusion and work backwards to show that different fields of science are incorrect. I’d like to see someone do an analysis of how compatible the various flavors of wackytude are with each other.

Comment #38777

Posted by Bayesian Bouffant, FCD on July 20, 2005 7:55 PM (e)

C.J. O'Brien wrote:

Fig Newton!
Sheesh, I keep telling you people, it’s “The Fig Newton of Information Theory.”

Can the first use of that title be traced?

Comment #38782

Posted by Hyperion on July 20, 2005 8:25 PM (e)

I’d like to see someone do an analysis of how compatible the various flavors of wackytude are with each other

Real simple: Just look at the past 5,000 years of middle-east history. My answer is not very compatible.

His belief is that if they can “take back” the dinosaurs for creationism then the people will follow.

So it’ll be Ken Ham riding a T. Rex through the Capitol Rotunda leading the charge to put religion back into the schools?

Comment #38783

Posted by steve on July 20, 2005 8:42 PM (e)

It’s a very clever point, Kent Hovind does it too. Visitor’s to Hovind’s fourth-rate creationist amusement park report pleasure that their kids can play with dinosaur-related things without being exposed to that ‘millions-of-years-ago’ junk.

http://www.wehaitians.com/darwin%20free%20fun%20for%20creationists.html

(crossing my fingers and hoping PT doesn’t break that link)

Comment #38785

Posted by catherine on July 20, 2005 9:33 PM (e)

“The polls have consistently shown that the percentage of people accepting the Young-Earth position is just under fifty percent.”

Good god (interjection, not faith-based belief), that’s dreadful. I knew a large percentage believe that God created them directly, but didn’t know so many are YEC’s. This is enough to end it all now. As for reclaiming the dinosaurs for themselves, my fantasy is all the YEC’s - well at least Falwell and Ham and the leaders, achieve their wish and meet a T-Rex in real time. Oh, naughty, hateful fantasy!

Comment #38787

Posted by RBH on July 20, 2005 10:10 PM (e)

BB asked

Can the first use of that title be traced?

The first mention Google finds of it is here on PT in May, though I know I stole it from someone else and used it online (on Infidels I thought, though a search there turns up nothing … hmmmmm) at least a year ago.

RBH

Comment #38792

Posted by David Tisdale on July 20, 2005 11:57 PM (e)

By Creationist logic, if you haven’t seen your parents having sex, you mist be adopted.

Comment #38794

Posted by Coz on July 21, 2005 1:04 AM (e)

I have been reading far too much about this subject recently (three Michael Shermer books in 3 weeks). Its not good for my brain.
I was going to gloat about the fact that here in Oz we have mostly escaped this crap but no, we have our own freakweasels.
From the conference site -
“Tim Lovett from Australia spoke to a large crowd this afternoon about the size and stability of Noah’s Ark. He challenged the audience to memorize the dimensions of the Ark in cubits - 300 x 50 x 30. Was it a short cubit or a long cubit? Lovett believes the longer cubit was more likely.”
sigh….

The quote section is pretty special too.
““We [society] seem to be more interested in an illusion of reality rather than reality.” - Dr. Kevin Anderson, Director of VanAndel Creation Research Center.”

Comment #38797

Posted by Mike Walker on July 21, 2005 1:17 AM (e)

I was going to gloat about the fact that here in Oz we have mostly escaped this crap but no, we have our own freakweasels.

That’s not the half of it. Ken Ham in the man in charge of this freak show–and I’ll give you one guess as to where he comes from…

Comment #38798

Posted by ndt on July 21, 2005 1:24 AM (e)

Geez, Jason, what kind of masochist are you?

Comment #38799

Posted by Wesley R. Elsberry on July 21, 2005 1:57 AM (e)

By Creationist logic, if you haven’t seen your parents having sex, you mist be adopted.

Close, but not quite there yet. If you haven’t seen your parents having the particular round of sex that resulted in you, you must be adopted. Subsequent sexual encounters of your parents are simply simulation experiments and can’t tell us anything about the original event.

:-)

Comment #38805

Posted by fh on July 21, 2005 3:42 AM (e)

perhaps obvious –
simulation or stimulation experiments?

Comment #38807

Posted by steve on July 21, 2005 4:21 AM (e)

You fools to methodological naturalism. Sex is naturalistic. By limiting yourself to such naturalistic fantasies, you unfairly discriminate against Stork Theory.

Comment #38812

Posted by Bob on July 21, 2005 7:14 AM (e)

Delta Pi Gamma? I don’t know how the gamma functions here, but, at least in Tennessee, Delta Pi = -0.14159…

Comment #38813

Posted by Nick on July 21, 2005 7:20 AM (e)

Hello Jason,
Why would anyone want to spend 150.00 and drive all the way down here to hear something that they don’t believe in…doesn’t make sense…unless they are searching? Wishing you well and I sincerely hope you find what you are looking for.
Nick

Comment #38824

Posted by Diane on July 21, 2005 9:36 AM (e)

I can’t wait till they try and tie federal funding to mandtory teaching of this “science”
And we wonder why other countries are ahead of ours in math and science!

Comment #38834

Posted by SEF on July 21, 2005 11:25 AM (e)

other countries are ahead of ours in math and science

That’s why the US is doing all this missionary work in other countries - to try to bring us all down to its level (of poor morals and poor education). Otherwise the competition might be too much. Speaking on behalf ;-) of what I consider to be the saner members of the UK, I’d rather you kept your religious proselytisers to yourselves. We thought we’d got rid of many of the worst of them from Europe a few centuries back by getting them to volunteer to ship themselves to your country. :-D It’s not fair marketing them back to us like cheap plastic toys in the cornflakes or MacDonalds etc.

Comment #38835

Posted by Frank Schmidt on July 21, 2005 11:52 AM (e)

The “Isaac Newton of information” is a sell-out for not supporting the “Biblical” account of creation. He would not be a welcome guest amongst this crowd.

I disagree. He would be treated as a war hero, bloodying himself in the battle with the enemy (i.e., scientists).

Prof. Fig is a member of the faculty at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville. As such, he is required to subscribe to the Abstract of Principles, which states

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments were given by inspiration of God, and are the only sufficient, certain and authoritative rule of all saving knowledge, faith and obedience.

and the Baptist Faith and Message

Therefore, all Scripture is totally true and trustworthy.

Now I know that Prof. Fig “accepts the age of the earth” but does he really? I have seen no evidence that this alleged statement, if true, is any more meaningful than Bill Harris’ statement in Kansas that the Earth was “really old.” It’s a subterfuge, pure and simple, meant for political reasons. Never leave the C out of IDC - it is the source for the movement’s motivation, adherents and financing.

Comment #38836

Posted by Alan on July 21, 2005 12:13 PM (e)

Schadenfreude, SEF.

I’m disappointed.

Comment #38839

Posted by Kyle on July 21, 2005 1:30 PM (e)

I know I’ve paid money to see movies I expected to be bad and got what I expected. I don’t really think that I was searching for a greater movie within.

Comment #38840

Posted by SEF on July 21, 2005 1:32 PM (e)

That’s the problem with religious fundamentalists - they do so enjoy blowing up other people’s stuff and also the opportunity for stoning people, flogging them, crucifying them and hoping to get to watch them burn for eternity in hell. That’s why we really don’t need any more of them around here and why it’s so disappointing, to those of us who don’t find it to be fun or funny, that the US hasn’t done more to control the excesses of its own population but has instead in past decades encouraged and funded some of the religious (and political) extremists attacking the UK and is now exporting more religious fundamentalism through its largely uncritical media too. They are such cheap and shoddy versions of religion and yet much of the US population still seems to be taken in by them. At least some of the original bunch going into the US had higher moral and intellectual standards.

Comment #38841

Posted by Steve Reuland on July 21, 2005 1:35 PM (e)

They’re refreshingly clear and honest on this point. They have little use for the various politically correct subterfuges used by the ID folks in presenting their case. Unlike the ID people, YEC’s are open about their religious motivations.

Well, the ID people are also open about their religious motivations. Various reports we’ve had about their own conferences make that much clear.

I think it’s probably more accurate to say that the YECs are more open about their religious dogmatism – their unwillingness even to consider the possibility of being wrong. Most of the ID people seem pretty dogmatic as well, but they bend over backwards to deny it.

Comment #38842

Posted by Steve Reuland on July 21, 2005 1:45 PM (e)

Then things got surreal. He boasted about the loyalty oths addressing both creation and eschatology that Liberty faculty are expected to sign.

And I’m sure the irony was lost on him. I really wish the founding fathers had made the word “Liberty” into a registered trademark and thus prevented those who were diametrically opposed to the concept from comandeering the term.

Comment #38847

Posted by ts on July 21, 2005 2:49 PM (e)

Well, the ID people are also open about their religious motivations. Various reports we’ve had about their own conferences make that much clear.

That’s like saying that Trent Lott is open about being a racist.

Comment #38848

Posted by ts on July 21, 2005 3:00 PM (e)

Schadenfreude, SEF.

This word is almost always misapplied. Schadenfreude is laughing at someone who slips on a banana and breaks his back.

Comment #38866

Posted by Alan on July 21, 2005 8:11 PM (e)

A malicious satisfaction in the misfortunes of others.

Comment #38867

Posted by Alan on July 21, 2005 8:20 PM (e)

Such as felt by us in Europe when seeing your problems with the Southern Baptists etc.

Where are you based TS?

Comment #38875

Posted by ajp on July 21, 2005 9:58 PM (e)

re: the note to Jason concerning his motives.

Asked and answered.

Comment #38917

Posted by SEF on July 22, 2005 9:11 AM (e)

Alan wrote:

Such as felt by us in Europe when seeing your problems with the Southern Baptists etc.

Ah, I see. You are operating under the delusion that they aren’t already in Europe and haven’t been all along. You’re wrong. No wonder you can’t see why you were wrong about the rest of it though given your false premise.

Comment #38925

Posted by Alan on July 22, 2005 9:53 AM (e)

Oh contraire. I am operating under the belief that the relatively recent phenomenon of creationistists and right wing politicians working together may have swung the last presidential election. Nowhere in Europe exists a comparable problem. Not to say we should not be concerned and alert to developments.

I accept you may have not have been engaging in Schadenfruede but that is beside the point. The original allegation from ts was that I did not undestand its meaning. That was always the (trivial) point I was making to him. Why you wished to quibble about, I don’t know.

Comment #38952

Posted by roger tang on July 22, 2005 3:09 PM (e)

I used to watch Ken Ham videos in Sunday School as a youngster.

“Werrrrrrrrrrreee yooooooooooooou therrrrrrrrrrre?”

That begs a smart ass retort from me….”Excuse me, Dr. Ham. Gil Grissom, Las Vegas, here……

Comment #38980

Posted by Jon Becker on July 22, 2005 6:23 PM (e)

I’m surprised Jerry hasn’t lead his followers to NW Missouri, near the town of “Far West”.

This is where the Biblical Garden of Eden was discovered by Joseph Smith Jr., founder of the Mormon Church. Not only did he locate the position of the Garden, but the Altar of Adam not far away. It had been used by Indians but it was first built by Adam.

You should also know that the American Indians are actually the descendents of Jewish tribes that crossed the Atlantic ocean around 600 BC. Unfortunately, they became savages in America and lost their culture and language.

Too bad there weren’t any Adam and Eve mugs, T-shirts, baseball caps or matching Fig-Leaf costumes for Halloween at the Mega Conference. I would like to buy some of these myself.

Comment #39009

Posted by rs on July 22, 2005 10:33 PM (e)

If one has to witness geological change in order for it to be true,couldn’t the same argument be used for the existence of God?

Comment #39012

Posted by steve on July 22, 2005 11:05 PM (e)

You should also know that the American Indians are actually the descendents of Jewish tribes that crossed the Atlantic ocean around 600 BC. Unfortunately, they became savages in America and lost their culture and language.

Yep. That’s because of their addiction to the PlayStation 6, which they invented thousands of years ago. Once they got addicted to Grand Theft Auto: Tenochtitlan, nothing could save them, not even their superweapon, known as Thor’s Hammer, which they got from the Asgard, of course.

Comment #39031

Posted by Marek14 on July 23, 2005 12:53 AM (e)

If one has to witness geological change in order for it to be true,couldn’t the same argument be used for the existence of God?

Not really, if one is convinced that he HAD witnessed God.

Comment #39040

Posted by SEF on July 23, 2005 3:55 AM (e)

Yes, superior rationality/sanity and honesty are the disadvantages scientists have in that religious lying game. However, those same things are also the advantages which science has over religion in the discovering reality science game.

Comment #39088

Posted by Heywood J. on July 23, 2005 5:25 PM (e)

The polls have consistently shown that the percentage of people accepting the Young-Earth position is just under fifty percent.

That’s still incredibly scary. If nearly half of Americans seriously believe this mumbo-jumbo, every industrialized nation is going to pass us by pretty quickly.

You just can’t have such a preponderance of ass-backward critical thinking and remain competitive, much less innovate anything.

Comment #39185

Posted by Michael Buratovich on July 23, 2005 10:42 PM (e)

Chris Hall,

Falwell spoke on Monday morning. I went to the conference and saw the whole sheebang. Unless Monday is now the Sabbath then I think there is no problem.

MB

Comment #39351

Posted by pzm on July 25, 2005 6:22 AM (e)

so glad someone went to this so the rest of us didn’t have to. thank you so much

Comment #39355

Posted by ts on July 25, 2005 7:38 AM (e)

“If one has to witness geological change in order for it to be true,couldn’t the same argument be used for the existence of God?”

Not really, if one is convinced that he HAD witnessed God.

Or if arguments simply don’t matter as far as what one believes. The problem here is a projection of one’s own standards onto those who don’t share them. We use arguments to determine what to believe; they use arguments only for political purposes or to rationalize already held beliefs.

Comment #39356

Posted by SEF on July 25, 2005 7:39 AM (e)

No, the majority always were pretty stupid and ignorant by the standards of the innovating minority. That has not changed (apart perhaps from improving just a tiny bit). The real difference is that now, more than ever before, the stupid and ignorant (and insane) are being permitted to have power and a voice, regardless of how inane their output on the internet and other media is, instead of being held to decent standards or ignored by their betters. This is one of the results of having a more tolerant society which carelessly includes tolerating incompetence and dishonesty too and of having not merely the lip-service version of free speech but the mechanism for it.