In April, Grace Bible Church in Bozeman, Montana will be hosting the free-to-attend Creation Conference 2010: Fact Over Fiction – Countering Myths in Biology, organized by the Montana Origins Research Effort (MORE). MORE is:
a group of individuals, both scientists and laymen, that have come together to learn about scientific support for six-day literal creation and the global flood of Noah’s day. This group will conduct field trips to local and regional areas of geologic interest and will conduct one or more research projects to investigate issues of flood geology. MORE will also sponsor, plan and conduct creation science seminars open to the public that will disseminate current findings from the creation science community to the glory and magnification of God and His holy scriptures.
One of the founders of MORE, meteorologist Michael Oard, should be well-known to readers of the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, as he has many times expressed his views – not only on evolution but global warming – as letters to the editors. Here are some examples. From Nov. 19. 2004:
I am writing in response to the AP article about “embarrassment” in Georgia over the evolution dispute. The dispute is over textbooks and stickers calling evolution “a theory, not a fact.” The article is similar to many other diatribes and should really be an embarrassment to the AP writer.
First, evolution was never defined. Some scientists define evolution as “change with time.” Others think of evolution as proved by the variety of dogs, the finches on the Galapagos Islands, bacterial resistance, etc. These are examples of what is called “microevolution.” We observe these changes, and they are properly part of science. They are easily explained as adaptations within kinds. The real debate is whether we can extrapolate these findings and conclude one kind over time became another kind (molecules to man evolution or “macroevolution”). This is not observed today nor, because of the universal gaps in the fossil record, can it be inferred from the fossil record. So, macroevolution cannot be claimed as indisputable fact, only a supposition, because true science is based on observations. Historical science is based upon past records and beliefs about our origins. Because of this, creation or intelligent design is equally if not more valid.
Second, notice that the writer did not give any scientific evidence for evolution. He appealed to authority, ridicule and questionable anecdotal statements. Maybe the reason this issue is still around today is because the same arguments were used in the 1800s. Staunch evolutionist Steven Jay Gould contends in his book “Times Arrow, Times Cycle” that the geological assumption of uniformitarianism won the day over catastrophism, not by force of logic but through propaganda. Uniformitarianism later paved the way for the theory of evolution.
The AP writer apparently is not well informed about the origins debate, which should be an embarrassment, but of course how can he, since evidence against evolution is constantly being suppressed. A true scholar looks into both sides of a dispute as does a good journalist. The book “Evolution: A Theory in Crises” by evolutionist and religious agnostic Dr. Michael Denton is a good place to start. Another is the Web site: http://www.answeringenesis.org.
From Feb. 14, 2005 (in response to this letter by MSU paleontology student Bobby Boessenecker, who has written many letters defending evolution education):
The letter to the editor in the Feb. 8 Chronicle by Montana State University student Bobby Boessenecker highlights the reason why we need an alternative to the dogmatic teaching of evolution on the subject of origins. The student displays many common misunderstandings and logical fallacies, beginning with the definition of science.
Science is about observable features and processes occurring today. Professor David Kitts says in the journal Evolution (1974, volume 28, p. 466): “Evolution, at least in the sense that Darwin speaks of it, cannot be detected within the lifetime of a single observer.” If macroevolution cannot be observed, it is not science. Hypotheses about the past are history.
We do observe tremendous variety today within different types of animals, but this is not evolution. It is just the shuffling of existing genetic information. We do not observe information being added, causing one kind to “evolve” into another kind, i.e., cats into dogs.
Real science in the fossil record consists of the fossils, only. “Descent with modification” is aninterpretation of these observations based on multiple assumptions about the past.
What we do observe, however, is that the fossil record is composed of large gaps between higher groups of organisms. Observations of genetics, mutations and natural selection mean that evolution, if it occurred in the past, must have been exceedingly slow. Logically, we should find millions of transitional forms. There are precious few claims of transitional forms. This observational evidence from the fossils record is contrary to evolution.
A truly objective education is to teach both sides of the origins debate. As it stands right now, only one interpretation of data is allowed and the other is censored. There is plenty of evidence against evolution. It is necessary and scientific to examine all of the data and not be satisfied with a superficial examination.
From Dec. 29, 2005:
After reading the many letters to the editor on the creation-evolution issue in the Chronicle, I believe more and more that the controversy needs to be taught in the public schools. One of the main reasons is because of the abysmal ignorance on the subject. The evolutionists do not seem to know or even understand the intelligent design or creationist position. They bring up many straw men and false arguments.
The evolutionists think that by taking some classes on evolution or reading some of the many books on evolution will be enough to show the “bankruptcy” of the anti-evolution position. This would work only with those who know little about the issue.
I have found the opposite is the case.
I have been extensively studying the issue for more than 30 years. I became interested after graduate school when I had time to delve into the subject at more than a superficial level. While spouting “evolution is a fact” on college campuses, the evolutionary hypothesis is really bankrupt.
Ninety percent of the reading I do is from evolutionary sources. I have even read Richard Dawkins’ “Blind Watchmaker,” which I found logically flawed. Many of the evolutionists are simply expressing their faith and what they have been taught.
The charge of creationists being intellectually lazy is laughable. Tell that to the thousands of creationist scientists of several generations ago, like Robert Boyle, Michael Faraday, Kepler, Newton, Maxwell, etc.
For those who cannot see any evidence for intelligent design, try meditating on the workings of the cell and think about how chance could have produced the first cell in the “soupy sea.” The cell is only the first step. We are composed of billions of cells that all work together. Even long-time agnostic philosopher Anthony Flew has admitted there is a creator because of the complexity of the cell.
Now that we know the general position on matters of MORE and what we’d likely find at the creationism conference – various talks on dinosaurs, Noah’s Ark, DNA, mutations, flood geology, wonders of the cell, the origin of life, and ape-men and even one titled “Darwinian Evolution: Religion of Death” mixed in with prayer sessions and story and song times – I want to highlight something on the conference’s website.
Do you notice anything interesting? Here’s a close-up:
It’s a quote from Charles Darwin. Nothing to worry about here. Wait, hasn’t that quote been taken out of context before by, um, the intelligent design think tank Discovery Institute, to promote their anti-Darwin Day campaign, Academic Freedom Day. See here:
Fresh on the heels of Darwin Year, Discovery Institute announces the launch of the 2nd Annual Academic Freedom Day in honor of Charles Darwin’s birthday, February 12, 2010. Yes, it’s that time of year again, and Discovery Institute is gearing up for the celebration by supporting what Darwin supported: academic freedom. Academic Freedom Day couldn’t come at a better time, as academic freedom is threatened around the country. We have seen Darwinists launch cyber attacks on a pro-ID conference website in Colorado and engage in an illegal coverup in the censorship of a pro-ID film in California. It’s time like these when Darwin’s own words should instruct everyone on how to have an open and honest debate over evolution and intelligent design. In On the Origin of Species, Darwin wrote, “A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.” This quote is the cornerstone of the Institute’s Academic Freedom Day efforts. [emphasis mine]
Fair enough, except that the Discovery Institute is not being fair to Darwin, at all. And neither is the Montana Origins Research Effort.
John Pieret and John Lynch both note how the DI uses this quote elsewhere. Here is the quote as the DI and MORE use it:
A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.
It does indeed come from the introduction of the first edition (1859) of On the Origin of Species, and here it is in context:
This Abstract, which I now publish, must necessarily be imperfect. I cannot here give references and authorities for my several statements; and I must trust to the reader reposing some confidence in my accuracy. No doubt errors will have crept in, though I hope I have always been cautious in trusting to good authorities alone. I can here give only the general conclusions at which I have arrived, with a few facts in illustration, but which, I hope, in most cases will suffice. No one can feel more sensible than I do of the necessity of hereafter publishing in detail all the facts, with references, on which my conclusions have been grounded; and I hope in a future work to do this. For I am well aware that scarcely a single point is discussed in this volume on which facts cannot be adduced, often apparently leading to conclusions directly opposite to those at which I have arrived. A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question; and this cannot possibly be here done.
Darwin is stating that in the book you are now reading – Origin – he cannot properly offer all the facts he has in support of evolution. He originally planned to publish a much longer book titled Natural Selection (which was later published in 1975) but was hurried into publication when he found out Alfred Russel Wallace had come up with the same theory of natural selection. Darwin is not, as the DI claims, saying that all sides are equal concerning debate over evolution. Once again, creationists resort to the tactic of quotemining Darwin or his supporters to their benefit (see here and here).
Back to the creationism conference in Bozeman. The talk titled “Darwinian Evolution: Religion of Death” will likely address the claim that acceptance of evolution, and hence Darwin himself, supports eugenics, the Nazis, slavery, abortion, and so on. On one hand they appeal to Darwin for the issue of academic freedom (“Darwin, Darwin, he’s our man, if no one can show them Darwinists, no one can!”), yet on the other denigrate the man for the ills of society past and present. Let’s remember kids, there was no slavery or genocide before 1859.
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