Guest Contributor posted Entry 3151 on May 28, 2007 02:31 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/3141

by Martha Heil, Editor, American Institute of Physics

Scientists fared well in national news about the opening of the Answers in Genesis Creationism exhibit. The scientific process would not recognize the proposition in the creationism exhibits as science-based, because the displays began with a certain conclusion * that the Christian Bible can be interpreted as literal fact * and then found facts and logic to support that idea. This, of course is not how science works * science begins with observations or hypotheses and leads to conclusions, often unpredictable from the beginning of the experiment.

National newspapers correctly reported that scientists are concerned about this Kentucky attraction because it misrepresents scientific thought, and uses deliberate untruths about science to make a specific point. The Washington Post, New York Times, and the country’s best selling paper, USA Today, all recognized that the displays were unscientific. The national newspapers also reported that scientists were concerned about this museum because of its potential to confuse students as to the nature of science.

National TV, in the shape of an ABC Nightly News report, also correctly reported the scientists’ concerns, although there was a troubling moment in the report when Answers in Genesis’ spokesperson, Ken Ham, persuaded the reporter to use the phrase “secular scientists” instead of simply “scientists”. The implication that all scientists are secular is incorrect: many scientists are people of strong faith. The process of science is outside of the realm of faith, though the discoveries it uncovers often have implications for faith traditions. Such as all the evidence that the earth is over 3 billion years old, and that humans and apes share a common ancestor * the bane of literalist interpretations.

Science didn’t do so well on local TV reports. Most local TV news reports didn’t quote a scientist, but rather focused on the attractiveness of the exhibits, and quoted the director Ken Ham, throughout the pieces. This is troubling because 44% of adults in the US get their news from local TV and the same percentage of them rely on TV news for their science and technology information. This means they would not necessarily see the articles in the national newspapers that showed that scientists are concerned about these displays. TV news reports are short, and often don’t have time to dig in and explore a subject, but the fact that all the local TV news stations missed the views of the scientific mainstream is troubling. Scientists have to work harder to make their views accessible and understandable to this audience. And TV news stations have to ask themselves if the news they report really represent the audience’s views. Many people – scientists, teachers, parents and clergy – in the area of the Creationism museum do not agree that this is a good thing economically for the area, or that it agrees with their faith’s views on science.

Local newspapers had the most thorough coverage of all the viewpoints and events. Reports ranged from economic impact, a report on the rally, views of scientists, breaking news on the museum opening and its construction, and editorials from both sides of the creationism controversy. Most articles correctly reported that scientists are concerned that this will have negative impact on schoolchildren and that the displays aren’t scientific. Especially strong was a Cincinnati Post editorial putting the creation story in the Aswers in Genesis building in the context of many faiths’ creation traditions, and condemning the potential impact on school children. One local story reported that an Ohio Department of Education spokesperson said that school districts will be allowed to decide individually whether public school groups should visit the exhibits.

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Comment #179621

Posted by Torbjörn Larsson, OM on May 28, 2007 5:16 PM (e)

Um, the anonymity of the poster and the *’s may indicate some posting problems. If there are references missing I hope to see them eventually,

PC2:

There are many models of science, and no one is particular good and covering.

The axiomatic view of the post isn’t the best IMO, in reality the process iterates back and forth. But predictions to be tested comes from theory.

The only thing your examples (which are loaded with factual errors) show is that a sufficiently vague dogmatic text can be interpreted post facto, or failing that in cases (“complexity in DNA code”, “mutation rate”) you just make shit up.

We can come up with a similar list of dogmatic ‘predictions’ that you don’t acknowledge. That, in the sense of science, would be failed predictions. Not that failed predictions in themselves are bad, you just chuck the theory and … Oops.

But the bottom line is that it is easy to see for anyone with a minimum of knowledge of how science works that you are confusing the above sense of prediction from theory with your idea of the necessity of preordained dogma to interpret as soon as you know what you want it to say.

Comment #179640

Posted by Admin on May 28, 2007 7:00 PM (e)

Repetitive thread-hijacking effort and responses have been shifted to the Bathroom Wall. Trying to re-hijack will be grounds for permanent removal of posting privileges.

Comment #179658

Posted by IamSpartacus on May 28, 2007 7:41 PM (e)

Well, it seems like there’s already some comedy on this thread that I’d rather not indulge in.

But regarding the new museum: perhaps it’s about time that people of faith have a location to congregate, reflect upon their faith, and even discuss its teachings. Isn’t it great that this physical building was built just for that? In fact, they could even assign one day every week where they all met inside and celebrated their faith.
Other than that, I can’t think of a good reason why this church (ehem, museum) should be built.

Oh, and seeing as we’re into comedy and science, check out
Sin Trek

Comment #179659

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 28, 2007 7:42 PM (e)

Admin wrote:

Repetitive thread-hijacking effort and responses have been shifted to the Bathroom Wall. Trying to re-hijack will be grounds for permanent removal of posting privileges.

Thank you! I, for one, certainly appreciate the quickness of your response.

Comment #179660

Posted by IamSpartacus on May 28, 2007 7:42 PM (e)

Well, it seems like there’s already some comedy on this thread that I’d rather not indulge in.

But regarding the new museum: perhaps it’s about time that people of faith have a location to congregate, reflect upon their faith, and even discuss its teachings. Isn’t it great that this physical building was built just for that? In fact, they could even assign one day every week where they all met inside and celebrated their faith.
Other than that, I can’t think of a good reason why this church (ehem, museum) should be built.

Oh, and seeing as we’re into comedy and science, check out
Sin Trek

Comment #179664

Posted by David Stanton on May 28, 2007 8:02 PM (e)

That does raise an interesting question. Does anyone know what the tax status of this institution is? Have they filed for tax exempt status claiming to be a church or nonprofit organization? At almost twenty dollars per admission that last one might be a hard sell. Of course if they do not claim to be a church they might have to pay taxes like everyone else. At least then some of the money might go toward real education.

Comment #179675

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 28, 2007 8:15 PM (e)

The article about this museum in our local newspaper was not very critical of the distortions of science and religion that are being promulgated there. And the reports I saw on TV were still doing the “balanced” shtick.

There definitely needs to be a major increase in the efforts by the professional scientific societies to get good materials into the hands of the public. When one considers the kind of money the Discovery Institute and other fundamentalist organizations pour into their propaganda (all propaganda, no research), and when we also consider the planning and strategic maneuvering they do to exploit public attention, we in the science community aren’t thinking strategically enough about public education.

If the members of the scientific community are concerned enough about the damage being done, I wonder if they would consider an increase in their membership dues that would be allocated to public relations and education. I think each society will have to consider expanding their outreach to the public in order to deal with the preemptive war the fundamentalists have declared on science. Much of our research funding comes from the public, and it is only fair that the public gets a fair and unbiased account of what that money is accomplishing.

Observing the expenses and the efforts of the fundamentalists are willing to put into their campaigns should give the scientific organizations some estimate of what this is likely to cost each member of each society.

I would be willing to pay extra membership dues for these purposes. How about others?

Comment #179678

Posted by bigjohn on May 28, 2007 8:15 PM (e)

From all of the pictures I have seen the place looks beautiful, but from the content I have a good idea about how it smells.

Comment #179685

Posted by FL on May 28, 2007 8:42 PM (e)

The article about this museum in our local newspaper was not very critical of the distortions of science and religion that are being promulgated there.And the reports I saw on TV were still doing the “balanced” shtick.

Imagine that! News organizations seeking to practice balance and fairness in their reporting of this issue.

Hope that doesn’t bother the members of the evolutionist community too much. :)

Comment #179687

Posted by dhogaza on May 28, 2007 9:08 PM (e)

Imagine that! News organizations seeking to practice balance and fairness in their reporting of this issue.

Implying that those who believe the earth is flat have the same credibility as the rest of us isn’t “practicing balance” or “being fair”.

It’s stupid.

Comment #179690

Posted by creeky belly on May 28, 2007 9:10 PM (e)

FL wrote:

Imagine that! News organizations seeking to practice balance and fairness in their reporting of this issue.

Hope that doesn’t bother the members of the evolutionist community too much. :)

It’s unfortunate, but not surprising, that news organizations fail to grasp that evidence doesn’t have two sides. You can spend 27 million dollars, but that won’t change the fact that the Yabba-Dabba Science is wrong :)

Comment #179700

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 28, 2007 9:24 PM (e)

I wonder if they would consider an increase in their membership dues that would be allocated to public relations and education.

damn fine idea.

a little checkbox to add an additional donation to that endeavor would be easy to do.

It wouldn’t be hard to organize a lobby group to encourage the scientific journals to add that to their membership dues.

now, where to send the money…

gotta be a single foundation responsible for disbursing the cash to worthy endeavors.

get that piece locked in, and you have a plan, I think.

Comment #179702

Posted by Sir_Toejam on May 28, 2007 9:28 PM (e)

…an obvious choice would be to submit the idea to NCSE, and see if they would run with it (if they aren’t already doing something similar).

Comment #179706

Posted by Coragyps on May 28, 2007 9:44 PM (e)

“I wonder if they would consider an increase in their membership dues that would be allocated to public relations and education.”

AAAS already has such a feature - Project 2061, I think it’s called. Focussed on formal pre-college education, but it’s science education.

Comment #179716

Posted by Machi on May 28, 2007 10:47 PM (e)

Check the headline at the Ironic Times:
CREATION MUSEUM GOES BANKRUPT IN SIX DAYS

Comment #179758

Posted by Mike Elzinga on May 29, 2007 12:40 AM (e)

Coragyps wrote:

AAAS already has such a feature - Project 2061, I think it’s called. Focussed on formal pre-college education, but it’s science education.

Yeah, I am aware of the AAAS efforts. I think theirs is the biggest. The American Physical Society is also beginning to acknowledge the need and has made a modest expansion of their effort.

Sir_Toejam’s suggestion that NCSE be the coordinator of such an effort on the part of many scientific societies strikes me as a very nice choice. NCSE has a long record of the tactics of the ID/Creationists, and they may be able to offer good tactical suggestions. Getting additional monies from the scientific societies would also help them immensely.

Still, there are things we seem to be missing. We haven’t done a good job in educating reporters in most of the news media. And we still haven’t aimed much of the education at kids (not well enough in my estimation).

Comment #179760

Posted by snaxalotl on May 29, 2007 1:05 AM (e)

don’t forget that the television coverage is a brief moment in the sun for this dire folly. you’ll probably never see it mentioned on television again but, just like Hovind’s pissy Homer-Simpsonesque papiermache dino park, writers will decide it’s worth a Twainish article from time to time, and these articles will be overwhelmingly intelligent and scornful. Most who know of it at all will know of it as something silly. Maybe it’s the new Heritage USA.

Comment #179774

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 29, 2007 3:31 AM (e)

I wish one of the scientists had suggested that if people visit Ken Ham’s museum, they should stop off at Big Lick State Park to give God equal time. Christians have a choice of Ham’s version of the world at the Creation Museum, or God’s version at Big Lick, which arguably was created directly by God (most Christians would say so).

The contrast between the Hollywood version of natural history Ham shows and real natural history should be highlighted as often as possible.

Comment #179780

Posted by Ed Darrell on May 29, 2007 3:38 AM (e)

FL said:

Imagine that! News organizations seeking to practice balance and fairness in their reporting of this issue.

FL, the “balanced schtick” isn’t balance. Copy editors, and sometimes higher editors, think a story “looks” balanced if there are two sides presented. So, for example, a “balanced” story about malaria would include quotes from someone in favor of letting malaria run rampant as well as those opposed to it.

In stories about evolution, quoting the creationist adds “balance” like quoting those who favor malaria adds balance to a story about malaria. That’s the “schtick” part.

And, yes, you should be shocked that newspapers and other news organizations “balance” stories like that.

Comment #179853

Posted by Peter Henderson on May 29, 2007 9:57 AM (e)

Local newspapers had the most thorough coverage of all the viewpoints and events. Reports ranged from economic impact, a report on the rally, views of scientists, breaking news on the museum opening and its construction, and editorials from both sides of the creationism controversy. Most articles correctly reported that scientists are concerned that this will have negative impact on schoolchildren and that the displays aren’t scientific.

The one good thing to come out of all of this is that most people in the us now know who Ken Ham is and what he stands for.

Forget the ID movement. The major player in the creationist scene, both in the US and in the UK/Europe is now the Young Earth Creationist movement. At least scientists are beginning to catch on to this. I just wish church leaders would realise the folly of following these heretics, and where it will ultimately take them.

Comment #179871

Posted by Jedidiah Palosaari on May 29, 2007 11:51 AM (e)

Even more disturbing is the idea that secular scientists believe one thing, and scientists of faith another. The vast majority of Christian and Jewish scientists in the US support evolution.

Comment #179889

Posted by Admin on May 29, 2007 1:37 PM (e)

It is fortunate that there is so much Bathroom Wall to accommodate the troll traffic.

BTW, Tony, your comment is not deleted, it is here.

Comment #180193

Posted by Dizzy on May 30, 2007 10:01 AM (e)

Anyone have links to the newspaper coverage?

Btw, slightly off-topic but thought this was amusing:

http://www.theonion.com/content/opinion/i_believ…

Comment #180877

Posted by Edwin Hensley on June 1, 2007 7:53 AM (e)

I had my eighth letter defending evolution and exposing the fraud of creationism published in the Louisville Courier-Journal. The letter was in response to an Op-Ed by Martin Cothran of the Family Foundation of Kentucky. Cothran probably used Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution as his source on Haeckel’s embryos and peppered moths. The edited version of my letter omitted my refutation of the embryo arguments and my naming of the state senators from Texas and Georgia. The link to the published letter (third letter, labeled ‘Anti-Science Mindset’) can be found here: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/art…. Since the Courier-Journal link will disappear after 7 days, here is the text of the published letter:

‘Anti-science mindset’
In his May 28 article, Martin Cothran of The Family Foundation of Kentucky repeated two common but false creationist charges and accused Lawrence Krauss and other scientists of possessing “alarmist and dogmatic intolerance.”

It is, however, the creationists who demonstrate dogmatic intolerance.

Cothran’s first error was in describing textbooks as being the scientist’s “professional backyard.” The true backyard of scientists is peer-reviewed scientific journals. Textbooks are produced by publishing companies that do not follow the same peer review procedures.

Cothran cast doubt on moth coloration evolution by noting a problem with one experiment in one location. What Cothran did not tell you is that there have been dozens of experiments on multiple continents published in peer-reviewed journals that all show moth and butterfly melanism is affected by bird predation….

Cothran’s charges of “dogmatic intolerance” should be made against Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis.

In the March 2002 issue of its magazine, Creation, Answers in Genesis admitted, “We accept the Bible’s propositions as true without proof, i.e., as axioms or presuppositions.”

Any organization or individual that accepts any belief without the need for proof or evidence is not practicing science.

Why are Krauss and other scientists alarmed, and why don’t they want to expose kids to every idea in a science classroom?

Recently, state legislators in Texas and Georgia proposed that their states teach children that the earth does not move. They based their beliefs that Darwin and Copernicus are both wrong on a literal interpretation of the Bible, using the Web site www.fixedearth.com.

Attacks on heliocentricity and evolution come from the same anti-science mindset demonstrated by Cothran.

EDWIN HENSLEY

Louisville 40241

Comment #182049

Posted by Joseph on June 4, 2007 4:52 PM (e)

If you believe in macro evolution go to http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.…
and see if you can answer these evidences against it.

Comment #182050

Posted by Joseph on June 4, 2007 4:52 PM (e)

If you believe in macro evolution go to http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.…
and see if you can answer these evidences against it.

Comment #182051

Posted by Joseph on June 4, 2007 4:55 PM (e)

If you believe in macro evolution go to http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.…
and see if you can answer these evidences against it.

Comment #182059

Posted by Sir_Toejam on June 4, 2007 5:22 PM (e)

Joseph -

been there, done that:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/

when you’re done with that, why don’t you try and see just how many of AIG’s other bits of BS have already also been refuted multiple times:

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/index.html

it’s fun! you get to play the match game, and see if you can match the entire AIG list of claims against it.

bet you can.

Comment #182060

Posted by CJO on June 4, 2007 5:24 PM (e)

No need. Walt Brown is perfectly capable of refuting himself.

Joseph of the triple post: you need to get out more if you find any of that compelling in the least. All of those claims and more are dealt with at TalkOrigins. Make a sincere effort to understand the actual evidence with an open mind, and then come back and tell us you believe the Hydroplate Theory[sic].

Comment #182115

Posted by Paul Burnett on June 4, 2007 7:56 PM (e)

Not to get too paranoid, but do you suppose the creationists are deliberately opening a second front with this Creation Museum, just to take media attention away from intelligent design? Particularly now that intelligent design’s cover has been blown by the Discovery Institute’s and all the Christian media’s firestorm of condemnation of Iowa State University’s tenure system. They’re all claiming religious discrimination against Dr. Gonzalez because he believed in something they’ve been saying all along has nothing to do with religion. Gotta go read the Wedge Project document again and see how this would fit in with their strategy.

Comment #182177

Posted by Henry J on June 4, 2007 9:58 PM (e)

Re “Gotta go read the Wedge Project document again and see how this would fit in with their strategy.”

Maybe it’s:
1) Reinforce the faith of the believers, and
2) Get the nonbelievers so aggravated that they give up and leave.

Henry

Comment #182355

Posted by joe on June 5, 2007 8:41 AM (e)

If you believe in evolution answer these questions from Dr. Brown
on his website
http://www.creationscience.com/onlinebook/index.…

It’s under the life sciences section. Just keep going til the next page until you come up them.

He also has another theory for the formation of the earth that answers more questions than plate tetonics does and lists several predictions based on it.

Comment #182358

Posted by joseph on June 5, 2007 8:47 AM (e)

I’ll take that as you can’t prove it wrong. I’ve read all that jargon before. Studied it many times at my universitiy. It don’t add up.
Thanks though.

Comment #182359

Posted by joseph on June 5, 2007 8:50 AM (e)

and sorry about the extra postings, they were accidental.

Comment #182414

Posted by joseph on June 5, 2007 11:48 AM (e)

After reading more of your comments,I understand that ya’ll see this as a battle as Christianity vs Science. Well that’s wrong, I am not the spokesman of all, but I can speak for myself and other Christians I know and we embrace science, if it’s done scientifically. Evolution is not completely science, it requires a lot of faith to be able to accept it all. That’s fine if that’s what you want to believe, but don’t pass it along as science. What most people seem to forget is that this nation is founded by Christians and that a lot of the scientific discoveries from the past were made by Christians. So dont view this as a battle but as an opportunity to learn from each other. That’s basically what science is. People also assume that since we’re Christians, we’re closed minded, which is an ignorant assumption. I believed in evolution once and took it as fact. But as I began educating myself more on the subject, the less factual it became. Some things made sense yes, but there are too many holes to be ignored. Buti will quit here because I know my comments will be taken as stupid, ignorant, or closed minded. But I challenge you to take another look at the facts, you be open minded.

Comment #182454

Posted by Science Avenger on June 5, 2007 1:18 PM (e)

Joseph dissembled thusly:

After reading more of your comments,I understand that ya’ll see this as a battle as Christianity vs Science.

It never ceases to amaze me how IDers/creationists can’t seem to make even one accurate statement about the opposition. Aquinas is turning over in his grave.

No Joseph, the battle is between misrepresenting, manipulative Christians such as yourself, and everyone else. Many of the honest Christians are with us. Ken Miller (a Catholic), not Richard Dawkins, is the norm on the pro-science side of this debate. And I say this as one who falls squarely in the Dawkins camp, but (and here’s the part you guys have such trouble with) my views don’t change the facts.

The rest of your post is nothing more than biolerplate creationist nonsense debunked repeatedly, and is no more accurate than your opening gaffe.