Reviewing Beginnings Part One: Religions And Age

Remember my first review of Creation Science Evangelism’s website?  Well, part two is coming soon, but for now, let’s dissect the long, antiscientific creation seminar “Beginnings”, also by CSE.  Now, Beginnings is seven parts long, plus an introductory segment.  I’m cramming the introductory segment and the first part, The Age Of The Earth, into one article, leaving only six more parts to this epic saga.  Let’s start with the introduction: They’re Both Religions.

Okay, we’re done with the thank-you bit and a snazzy multicolored opening sequence (did I mention that CSE has some admittedly awesome special effects?), and now Eric Hovind is welcoming us, and he says that today, we’re gonna be talking about religion and science.  There is a table on either end of the stage, one with the word religion on it, and the other with the word science on it.  On the science table is the word evolution, which is apparently made out of oversized building blocks.  This will come in handy later.  Oh, Eric’s talking again.  He says that most people think that religion and science don’t mix.  He makes a point of this, saying some people think that if you’re a religious scientist, you better keep those opinions to yourself.  He goes on saying that most people also think that science is based on hardcore, unquestionable facts (not true, if you know anything about the definition of science), but religion is just a bunch of, eh, thoughts and feelings and such.  But then Eric says that we can easily see the limits of science, which I don’t think I’ve seen yet.  Oh, but then he lists the fundamental questions of life onscreen, like “Who am I?” and “Where am I going to go when I die?”, and states that science does NOT have the answers to any of these questions.

Eric says that, the way you answer those questions depends on your worldview.  He goes on to say that some people think that, wow, a big bang made this world from absolutely nothing!  He decides to get the facts wrong and a text box at the bottom of the screen calls this the “Evolutionary Worldview”, which, as we’ve discussed earlier on Confronting Creation, is NOT part of evolution.  It’s part of cosmology, or astrophysics, not Darwinian evolution.  Eric continues by saying that evolution says hey, there’s no design, no designer, and that we should just kick back and do what we want with our lives, because in essence, we ARE our own God, so we don’t answer to anybody when we die.

So, there’s the incorrect evolutionary worldview.  But wait!  There’s another way to look at the universe!  Some people say, hey, look, design, and thus, a designer!  Now that just makes no sense, jumping from possible design to definite designer like that.  That’s like saying hey, look at all the chemicals made to produce the extremely complex strawberry milkshake!  Thus, primordial milkshakes!  Moving on now.  This worldview is creationism, and it says that God is God, and that in the end, everybody gets judged equally.  Now, Eric’s pulling up a couple of onscreen timelines.  Let’s look and see what happens.  On the creationist timeline, six thousand years ago-creation in six days.  About four thousand years ago, a massive flood (that’s right, it’s the wave pool of doom!) drowned and wiped out almost everything on Earth, just because God was annoyed with sin in the world.  Then, about two thousand years ago, Jesus Christ, and then right up until man!  Pretty straightforward, huh?

Now, here’s the evolution (or rather astronomical) timeline: twenty billion years ago, Big Bang that created the basic universe, all ready to become what it is today!  Of course, according to Eric, we don’t know what exploded, or when.  And sure, Big Bang theory is still evolving (though only in principle) as new evidence occurs, but the creationists say that in the beginning the universe was created by a deity out of nothing.  So, is a massive explosion creating the universe out of nothing a really big stretch?  Then, about four billion years ago, the Earth itself formed.  Then, three billion years ago, eureka!  Life!  Granted, microscopic life, but isn’t life, no matter what form, a real amazing thing?  And now, after a few billion years of filling niches and dying off, here we are!  Then, Eric puts on a big, sarcastic show that really sounds like something out of a Martin Short Epcot film, and it isn’t O Canada.  Eric then answers the four fundamental questions from both the evolution and creationism world views, which I think is to just break down the evolutionary worldview into a self esteem issue.

That’s when Eric just goes completely unscientific here.  He shows us the whole Frog Prince story, and then says that if he told somebody that story could really happen, he would be thought of as a lunatic.  But then, he says that the textbooks say that frog+evolution=prince.  Not true, not true in the least.  Evolution says, microbes evolve into fish and arthropods, fish evolve into amphibians, amphibians evolve into reptiles, reptiles evolve into mammals and birds, and humans are mammals.  It’s a gradual process that has produced many examples of transitional fossils.  So Eric uses the whole Frog Prince thing to mock evolution, although in their responses to Kent Hovind’s arguments against evolution, Talkorigins clearly reviewed this.

Eric then defines science as observable and testable, then questions if evolution is really part of science, since we can’t observe it, nor can we test it.  Of course, that depends on how Eric defines observable.  Sure, you don’t see a Velociraptor evolving into a California condor on a regular basis, but you could see that kind of principle in the fossil record, via transitional fossils like Microraptor and Archaeopteryx.  That’s when Eric goes through the often-debunked “six kinds” misconception, showing that since the first five kinds of evolution are not observable or testable, they are clearly religious faith, not in any way science, which leaves microevolution on its own.  So, let me get this straight-if it’s not testable, and not observable, than it’s religion, not science.  There are a lot of casinos in Las Vegas, and most casinos have slot machines.  Now, as far as I know, nobody has ever hit the jackpot in every slot machine in every casino in Las Vegas in a row.  Sure, you can test it, but can you observe it?  Highly unlikely.  So does that mean that if I think that could happen, but it isn’t observed, do I believe in Everyslotmachineineverycasinoinvegasism?

By the way, Eric says something really funny.  He indirectly asks “If man came from ape, why are apes still around?”.  That argument makes no sense, because evolution says that man and ape had a common ancestor, but the two split to fill different niches.  As Talkorigins once said, that’s like asking why Europeans are around, since most Americans and Australians are descended from Europe.  Eric keeps going on like this, be it mocking the Big Bang theory or saying that we live inside a sentence (which he says is, in fact, a quote from the Bible).  And then Eric says it boils down to this: in the beginning, it’s either God or dirt, but they’re both religion.

Wow.  That was unscientific.  You know, aside from some of the evolutionary timeline, virtually everything Eric Hovind says has been contradicted by modern science.  Now, let’s visit the world of the young-earth creationist, a world where there can be creation, mass extinction (the fatal dam-breaker), and rebirth in just six thousand years.  Where’s the evidence for this, you ask?  I’m asking the same question, too, so let’s see what YEC ambassador Kent Hovind has to say about it.

Kent Hovind, born in Tennessee, has apparently taught high school science for fifteen years.  Now, I don’t have a problem with that.  What I have a problem with is his insistence that the Bible is literal and scientific, and that evolution is a false, godless religion with absolutely no scientific basis.  The Bible apparently says that the earth is six thousand to ten thousand years old, so Hovind defends that belief with apparent science, most of which has been disproven.  But what exactly has been disproven, and why?  To find out, I’m gonna watch some of this seminar and report back to you with some of the worst “evidences” for a young earth.  Catch ya on the flip side of modern science!

At the eighteen minute mark, I have heard absolutely NOTHING about young earth arguments.  Instead, Hovind tells us about his family, his life, and how he was tricked out of a breakfast banana at age six.  Then, he teaches a couple of kids from the audience the scientific way to shoot a rubber band.  Okay, so maybe this guy isn’t so bad, but let’s wait and see what he pulls out of his sleeve (there might be some stuff in his bolo tie, too)…

Okay, so I am currently getting swamped by all of the evidence Hovind is producing against evolution (read: the Big Bang), but I find none of it valid.  I’m looking for young-earth arguments here, man!  Throw some at me!

Well, I’m about fifty minutes in and, just as I’m writing this, we are nearing the young-earth segment, but not before Hovind decides to blame the Columbine shootings on evolution, JUST BECAUSE the shooters were strong supporters of that theory!  I ask you, does that really prove anything?  Actually, it tells you that Hovind just jumps to conclusions here, blaming evolution for crime rates, drug abuse, etc, etc, ad infinitum!  I wouldn’t be surprised if he blames the rise of the Nazis on Darwinian evolution!  Oh, wait, that’s later on in the seminar.  Won’t be getting to that part for a while, though.

Yes!  Yes!  I’m taking a break to wait for Part B of the seminar segment (this is gonna be a LONG review), and to recap, Kent is actually chatting young-earth, though admittedly, it’s mostly just about people’s opinions.  Hovind says that tests either say: the Earth is billions of years old, or the Earth is thousands of years old.  Now, he says, one is wrong, which is true, but he mostly just leaves us hanging.  We all know what is answer is gonna be, though.

Well, it’s Part B, and Hovind is tossing young-earth arguments left and right, mostly targeting astronomy.  He makes a point of the moon: since the Moon is gradually falling away from Earth’s gravitational pull, had the Earth been billions of years old, well… there would have been some trouble for long-necked dinosaurs, and the Roche limit would have taken effect.  But Talkorigins, being a totally awesome website, has the counterargument.  According to the site, the Roche limit would have taken effect on the moon one to two billion years ago, which is plenty of time for evolution to happen!  Plus, the Moon isn’t necessarily moving away from the earth at a gradual rate, which makes it much harder to track!

About twenty minutes until the end of this seminar, and so far, I’ve heard about Earth’s rotation, the Lost Squadron, and lots of others stuff that might be true but have little scientific basis.  Talkorigins has two anti-creationist indexes, one of which is just repelling Kent Hovind arguments, including squadrons and rotations!  But here’s a funny thing-Kent claims that the ENTIRE fossil record is baloney, doesn’t exist.  Like I said before in my post about transitional fossils, it makes no sense, since most scientists are respectable and honest people!  And on the Earth’s rotation, the speed of the planet’s turning is about 0.005 seconds a year.  Trace that back about 4.6 billion years ago, and that just adds up to a 386-day year, which is really no problem at all.

Finally, Kent closes by stating some of the clearest (read: least relevant) evidences for a young earth: the Methuselah tree, the Great Barrier Reef, stalactite formation, Niagara Falls, and so on.  Then, he ends with some get-saved-or-if-you-are-do-something talk, and cut to a video on HOW to get saved.  And that ends the first in a five-part review of the Creation Science Evangelism seminar series Beginnings.

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