A “national embarrassment”

by and Dr Jonathan Sarfati

12 February 2005

In one of several recent salvos lobbed by the secular media at AiG–USA and its future Creation Museum, a commentary on the online news service of USA Today (an American national newspaper) declared last week (February 4) that the museum near Cincinnati, Ohio, USA is a “national embarrassment.”

The USATODAY.com commentator also stated or implied that people who believe creation and reject evolution are “gullible,” “ignorant,” of “low intelligence” and tell “lies.”

The author, Andrew Kantor, is just one of many secular journalists recently who has openly attacked creationists/Christians in a mocking and snide way, using ad hominem arguments and fear tactics. Kantor’s attack is just another  attempt (and a quite feeble one, as we will show) to undermine the Bible’s credibility and the Christian faith as a whole. The author, by the way, describes himself as a “technology writer, pundit, and know-it-all who covers technology for the Roanoke [Virginia, USA] Times.

Here is our summary of some of the illogical content that can be found in his commentary: evolution (molecules-to-man) is fact and is science; if one doesn’t believe evolution, one has rejected science; technology is built on good science; not believing evolution means one can never develop technology; so, if students aren’t taught molecules-to-man evolution as fact, or that dinosaurs lived millions of years before people, then the world is doomed.

Here is Kantor’s alarmist scaremongering in his own words:

If we still had an Aristotelian view of the world — four elements: air, earth, fire, water — we’d never accept chemistry. Without chemistry, materials science disappears, and with it an untold number of better cars, safer packaging, more-fuel-efficient airplanes and who knows what else.

If we didn’t accept quantum mechanics, we never would have realized how electron orbits worked, or how those electrons give off photons as they ‘drop’ from one energy level to another. So we wouldn’t have lasers. No lasers, no CDs. No DVDs. No laser surgery. No fiber optics. Thomas Edison couldn’t have made a light bulb without understanding oxidation.

It’s a shame that Kantor couldn’t mention the incredible MRI technology, since that was pioneered by the creationist Dr. Raymond Damadian.

Let’s respond by looking at the very subject fields Kantor mentioned above and, with supreme irony, challenge his assertions point by point:

  • It was actually the creationist Robert Boyle who fathered modern chemistry and demolished the Aristotelian four-elements theory. He also funded lectures to defend Christianity and sponsored missionaries and Bible translation work.
  • Lasers depend on electromagnetic radiation theory, which was pioneered by creationist James Clerk Maxwell. More specifically, Einstein, who first proposed the stimulated emission of radiation that’s the basis of lasers, frequently acknowledged his debt to Maxwell.
  • The creationist Wright brothers invented the airplane after studying God’s design of birds.
  • Oxidation was discovered by Antoine Lavoisier, who was beheaded under the rabidly anti-Christian French “reign of terror” on the grounds that “the Republic has no need of scientists.” This is an unambiguous example of persecution of science by an atheistic/deistic régime.
  • Most creationist physicists have no problem with quantum mechanics, which has nothing to do with evolution. [Update, 2011: see Should creationists accept quantum mechanics?]

Kantor’s demonizing doesn’t stop there. In his view, if you want your student to be a scientist, then do not take him to the Creation Museum. In referring to AiG’s future museum, Kantor states: “Worse, every kid whose parents take him to places like that [the Creation Museum] can probably be scratched from the list of ‘America’s future scientists.’”

I guess that means that the list of Ph.D. creation scientists on our website should be deleted, for if a person doesn’t believe in molecules-to-man evolution, he can’t be real scientist, says Kantor.

It must also mean that our newest staff scientist, Dr. Jason Lisle, who recently received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado can’t have a real Ph.D. And of course, we had better scratch Newton, Pascal, Joule, Pasteur and the other creationist founders of modern science!

Well, regardless of what Kantor thinks about himself and his scientific expertise, there is a great gap in his self-proclaimed “know-it-all” knowledge. The reason for this gap comes back to what has happened in the public schools and universities. It’s also notable what he can’t say about himself―that he has any science qualifications! (His own website lists only a B.A. in philosophy.) This shows up not only in the ignorance of science history as above, but also in the following blunders:

Evolutionary theories (steady state, punctuated equilibrium, etc.) explain all the evidence we have for evolution; gravitational theories (general relativity, quantum gravity) explain the ton of evidence we have for gravity.

The opposite of punctuated equilibrium is gradualism; steady state is the opposite of the big bang theory (the favorite theory among evolutionist astronomers). And quantum gravity is still theoretical, as Astronomy Today says

Not yet observed in nature, quantum gravity is the long-sought missing link between Einstein’s General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, the two incongruous pillars of modern physics.

So Kantor is evidently not above a large dose of fancy-sounding bluff. Nor is he above distortion:

And then there are national embarrassments like Cincinnati’s Answers in Genesis Museum (to be fair, located just outside the city). Such institutions use fake ‘science’ to convince gullible people of silly things. They show petrified wood (a few thousand years old) next to old bone (millions of years old). The objects look similar, so they’ll say ‘See, dinosaurs were here a few thousand years ago!’

This is blatant dishonesty. Rather, we will show petrified wood where we know, from eyewitness evidence, that it formed quickly. Therefore, where we have no eyewitness evidence of its formation, it is also reasonable to assert that it probably formed quickly, too. Note that we do not claim that we have proved that the petrified wood is young; rather, we have disproved the claim that it needs millions of years.

The evidence for dinosaurs living more recently has nothing to do with any parallel with petrified wood. Rather, one strong support for a younger age is the presence of red blood cells and sizable hemoglobin fragments in T. rex bones (see Sensational dinosaur blood report! and reply to critic) and Identification of proteinaceous material in the bone of the dinosaur Iguanodon “dated” to 120 million years old (Connect Tissue Res. 2003; 44 Suppl 1:41–6.).

Kantor’s claim is also ironic because it is similar to a blind spot on his website:

Thermodepolymerization — or ‘thermal depolymerization’ — is a process that converts stuff into oil. And by ‘stuff’ I mean just about anything: garbage, medical waste, animals and animal parts (e.g., cows with mad-cow disease, or offal from chickens that have been made into McNuggets), used computer parts, tires, and so on, seemingly ad infinitum.

This is not just a theoretical process. It is real, out-of-the-lab stuff happening on an industrial scale. It’s being done by ConAgra Foods in Carthage, Missouri — at one of the company’s Butterball Turkey plants, where up to 200 tons of turkeys are being turned into oil every day.

Once more: This is real stuff. Garbage is being turned into oil by a process that’s safe, clean, and in use today.

Essentially, thermal depolymerization or TDP mimics a process the earth itself uses to ‘process’ what gets buried and break it down. Over millions of years, heat and pressure break the bonds that hold these waste products together. TDP accelerates the process.

Of course, since TDP is proof that oil can form rapidly, it logically follows that there is no need for millions of years to form oil in the earth either, provided the conditions are right!

Public schools and the big flaw in Kantor’s thinking

Recently an activist judge ruled that the school board in Cobb County, Georgia, USA, had to remove a sticker that had been placed in public school biology texts (see The sticker didn’t stick). That sticker stated

This textbook contains material on evolution. Evolution is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things. This material should be approached with an open mind, studied carefully and critically considered.

Of course, evolutionists don’t want their viewpoint challenged at all. The leading atheistic anti-creationist Eugenie Scott even admitted as much:

In my opinion, using creation and evolution as topics for critical-thinking exercises in primary and secondary schools is virtually guaranteed to confuse students about evolution and may lead them to reject one of the major themes in science [cited in Where Darwin Meets the Bible—by anti-creationist Larry Witham, Oxford University Press, 2002].

So let’s not let kids learn there are problems with evolution, because they might end up not believing it! Then they could no longer be “intellectually fulfilled atheists,” to cite atheistic evolutionist Richard Dawkins.

Here is the problem Kantor and numerous others like him have: generations of students have been taken through a public education system where Darwinian evolution/millions of years has been presented as fact. Students aren’t taught to think critically about what science really is or isn’t. Kantor himself can’t distinguish between operational science (what one can observe and repeatedly test in the present) and historical science (one’s beliefs about the past that can’t be tested directly). This is the biggest flaw in his commentary.

We should always watch for this fallacy when the secular media claim that denial of evolution would lead to denial of all science. To illustrate, Kantor is in effect claiming that if we believe that a car was designed intelligently and didn’t arise from its material components, we wouldn’t be able to figure out how it runs. See also Naturalism, Origin and Operation Science.

Anti-Christian organizations such as the ACLU and judicial supremacists who legislate from the bench (like the activist judge in Cobb County) are infecting and hampering generations of students by not allowing them to be taught to think critically and understand science correctly. Students don’t even know that the technology we have today came from a Christian basis, when people understood there is a God who doesn’t change and thus there are God’s laws that govern how things work.

Also, it is the anti-Christian propagandists like Kantor who are the real gullible ones, for they have been brainwashed by the education and media with a false understanding of science (because they have not been taught to think critically but have been indoctrinated in evolutionary humanism) and thus are making irrational statements about science and technology.

For instance, Kantor states, “if we don’t teach them about evolution, genetics and DNA, they won’t understand how cells work, how diseases spread or how bacteria evolves. And they won’t be making the kinds of great leaps in medicine we all hope to see.”

Frankly, he is extremely mixed up and confused on this point. It’s like dealing with a cult member—you have to engage in deprogramming before you can even get a person to see logic.

Kantor needs to understand that creationists and evolutionists all study and understand the same genetics, biology, physiology, physics, chemistry, etc. We all have the same operational science—the difference is the beliefs we have about the past concerning origins.

And Kantor needs to read our articles on bacterial resistance and diseases to understand that the processes involved have nothing (nothing whatsoever) to do with Darwinian evolution. When one understands what is happening at a molecular level, the processes involved are the opposite of what one needs for molecules-to-man evolution. In fact, the science of genetics (invented by the creationist Mendel, by the way) and an understanding of disease confirms the Bible’s account of history and is evidence against Darwinian evolution.

Lastly, DNA itself is the world’s best information storage system, and the information points to an intelligent source―see DNA: marvelous messages or mostly mess? This is exactly the reasoning behind the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI); if scientists could detect a signal with real information content coming from space, then this would be regarded as proof of an intelligent sender (see Refuting Evolutionch. 9).

It is true that the Creation Museum is going to be one of those “national embarrassments.” It will be an embarrassment to the secular education system (and secular media) that have not taught students to think critically and have indoctrinated them in a false understanding of science and origins. Kantor is a product of such a system. In fact, we fear for the future of technology when generations with people like Kantor become the leaders in this culture. By his “reasoning,” he would have suppressed Newton because he wrote more about the Bible than about science!

The Creation Museum will do what the education system should have been doing all along—teaching people how to think, explaining science correctly and presenting the truth about who we are and how the universe came into being!

To read the USATODAY.com article, go to Good technology requires good science behind it.

Published: 6 February 2006