Sunday, August 23, 2009


Making Gaines

Jim Gaines gets mail.

His column in the Bowling Green, Kentucky Daily News excoriating Ken Ham's Monument to Ignorance drew predictable ire from the "Bronze Age science is good enough for me" crowd. Happily, Jim now reports that most of the reaction was positive. Still:

For criticizing Ken Ham, I am accused of "attacking Christianity and all who believe the Bible is the inspired word of God."

I must apologize. I did not realize that Ken Ham was numbered among the prophets, or that his cartoonish interpretation of the Bible was accepted as, well, gospel by the 2 billion or so Christians on the planet. If that was true, however, one would think his attendance numbers would be a bit higher. Where else can you go see a prophet nowadays?

Seriously, though, I'm very tired of seeing crackpots like Ham hide behind respectable Christians, claiming that they're all being persecuted because one person making ludicrous assertions also claims to be a Christian.

He also has a nice response to this canard:

I also got the old argument that it takes as much faith to accept scientific conclusions as it does to believe in religious assertions. This demonstrates a feeble grasp of the nature of science.

One of the foundations of rational, empirical investigation is that anyone is, theoretically, able to check the facts for themselves. That's why scientific research is published in detail, though few except scientists themselves read the technical journals wherein such results are laid out for critique. While complex genetic experiments and archaeological investigations are beyond the reasonable ability of most people, real scientists' conclusions are repeatedly verified by numerous researchers, often rivals seeking to best one anothers' work, not find agreement.

Evolution is scientifically accepted because it has withstood 150 years of that criticism, and only grown stronger as more research has been done.

"Creation science" has done none of this. It starts from an unquestioned text, ignores discordant evidence, mangles its textual foundation to conform to what remains, and then ... just stops asking. Any contradictions? It's a miracle, now shut up. Any unexplained lapses in your story? Goddidit. Quit thinking about it, or you'll be numbered among the heathen.

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