The photo and link below will bring you to the latest episode of American Atheist's news and video program Atheist Viewpoint.
This the second of two shows that I taped with my friend and colleague, Dr. Tyson Gill earlier in the year.
While the first episode focused on science education and science funding. This newest episode, led by the program's always gracious host, Dennis Horvitz, focuses on the separation of church and state.
I hope you enjoy both programs.
Also, I will be placing a link in an upcoming post about a new Facebook site dedicated to my new book from the Humanist Press, Atheists in Their Own Words: How Non-Believers Make the World Safer, Richer and Kinder, which is due out later this year.
Thursday, March 6, 2014
Sunday, March 2, 2014
|Creation Museum: Humans and|
Dinosaurs Living Together
National Public Radio (NPR) is reporting that the Nye/Ham debate has helped the Creation Museum raise the sixty-two million dollars (that's $62,000,000.00) in bonds to build their "Ark Park." The Ark Park will include a life-sized Noah's Ark and other biblical displays. The bonds prior to the debate were classified as "junk status" and their financing was in deep jeopardy.
Ham is calling this "Miracle funding" and from my and many other's point of view is exactly why we shouldn't debate these evangelical ideologues in the forum of the Nye-Ham debate. Ham is essentially the Christopher Hitchens of the Creationist movement. So while both men remained poised and cordial, Ham came off to his admirers as confident and equal to "The Science Guy"
So now the junk bonds are sold and Ham gets to continue the delusion and spread creationism. And as we in the Freethought community look at Ham's views as dangerous to understanding the universe and our place in it, his wrong and archaic ideas grow stronger among both his followers and funders.
My point has always been that we do not have to meet these ideological challenges on every front and every time in such a public fashion as the Nye-Ham debate because we've already won the "debate." Did we in the Freethought movement already forget John Scopes or the Kitzmiller legal decisions?
All Nye ultimately did, which was certainly not his intention, was help legitimize Ham's museum and point of view. Nye helped Ham build Ham's resume and his gravitas. This does nothing for our cause, except slow it down, which is counter productive and counter intuitive.
Before the debate, the Ark Park wasn't getting built because investors saw the danger in spending real money on fake ideas. Now with the funding of the bonds secured, the park will become a physical place for people to visit and remain stymied in poor ideas which leave rationality behind with every ticket purchase. All because of the debate.
While I cannot speak to Ham's goals, I do think his motivation was never to actually win the debate but to just equalize and push to legitimize his extreme point of view. For Ham and his followers: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.
So in the end Ham won not on the field of ideas but in fulfilling his ideology and master plan for the Museum.. We in the Humanist and Freethought community will soon forget this debate as it appears we've forgotten Scopes and Kitzmiller and we'll move on from a reactive rather than proactive stance. But Ham will continue to use this single event, this single debate, as a constant fundraiser and will profit from DVD sales way into the future.
And in the end, we have gained nothing while Ham and his ilk have gained a level if relevancy and respect they didn't have before. We have nothing to be proud of, nothing to celebrate and frankly nothing to feel self-congratulatory about because these debates do not help our cause.
Last Thursday, I was invited to serve on a panel with learned colleagues to discuss the debate. My point then as it is in this post, is that we should stand by our ideas and convictions.
I will always - and all of us should - stand for reason, reality, secularism and science. We need to push this agenda both socially and politically. And we should do this through our own actions and collectively through the organizations which support our ideas and way of life.
But I am imploring that we do not become fodder for building other people's resumes. Especially those people who really do not care to be persuaded towards reason but who use such events for their own non-humanist agenda.
Since we in the Freethought movement like to say we make our decisions based on evidence, the Nye-Ham debate is a clear and very real case where we gain nothing and where Mr. Ham and his supporters gain 62 million dollars.
|Dr. Tyson Gill|
By Dr. Tyson Gill*
[Editors Note: Dr. Gill has distilled Ken Ham's arguments down to 12 points. Each of Ham's points can be easily refuted, as Tyson points out, by using both logic and reason to see through the fog and ignorance that proponents of creationism and Intelligent Design offer.]
1. Some scientists are creationists.
Yes and some clergy are child-molesters. What does that prove except that some people are crazy?
2. Science has been hijacked by secularists.
It’s clearly the other way around, with creationists desperately trying to gain legitimacy by hijacking science.
3. Observational science is legitimate but Historical science is not.
There is no such distinction except within Ken Ham’s addled brain. Science is science.
4. If we were just random how could we have logic without god?
This is a centuries-old argument that is unworthy of a first-year philosophy class. The universe is not random and logic has no need for god when it has physical laws and mathematics.
5. You didn’t observe the past directly so you can’t know anything about it.
So then Ken can’t know anything about his family history by looking through a photo album – since he didn’t observe the events directly. We can and do know a tremendous amount about the past. We can observe the past directly just by looking into space or at all the evidence like little photographs just lying all around us.
6. You can't know that what is true today was true in the past.
Actually we do know that the laws of chemistry and physics apply always and everywhere and there has never been any iota of evidence to suggest otherwise.
7. Interpretations depend upon your presuppositions.
And the scientific method is the only method we have to eliminate those presuppositions. Science doesn’t start by proudly proclaiming its presupposition that the bible is the irrefutable source of all truth.
8. Can you name one piece of technology that could only have been developed starting with a belief in molecules to man evolution?
This is another red-herring, an invalid diversionary question. But sure we’ll play this game. How about clones, genetically modified foods, transgenic plants and animals, hybrid species, designer bacteria, and an exploding number of patents for new life forms? The list goes on and on.
9. Man is not the ultimate authority. God is.
Science agrees that man is not the ultimate authority. It claims that verifiable and reproducible facts are.
10. The bible predicts things and we see them actually confirmed.
Mad Magazine has made far more correct predictions.
11. You can't prove any instance of a new trait appearing that wasn't already there.
If Ken did a simple Google search of popular articles, he might find “10 Astounding Cases of Modern Evolution” reported by Popular Science. There are thousands of examples including the sudden development of new survival traits amongst bedbugs in New York City here. But this is another red-herring since most changes are incredibly tiny and only accumulate into observable traits after exceedingly long periods of time.
12. Dating methods don't agree.
But any differences are minuscule compared to the vast disagreement with biblical estimate of 6,000 years.
Paleolibrarian.info good friend and colleague, Dr. Tyson Gill, is the author of “Belief in Science and the Science of Belief: A Guidebook for Fact-Based Thinking,” available on Amazon.com. He has taught science in Africa for the Peace Corps and spent many years in India.