Friday, January 21, 2011

Arguments Creationists Should Never Use, As Declared by Creationists

There was an interesting article recently promoted by Creation Ministries International (CMI), a Young Earth Creationist (YEC) organization, entitled Arguments We Think Creationists Should NOT Use.  I found many of the statements to be quite surprising, with some significant implications for the future of the YEC movement.  You can read them below; I intend to talk about their implications in my next post.

For now, I would like to share a rather fascinating story that this article unwittingly brought to my attention.  A few weeks before CMI sent me their article, I had read something suspiciously similar at Answers in Genesis (AiG), the main YEC organization in the US.  In fact, the contents of these two articles were so similar, I had to do a bit of digging.  This is what I found.

Creation Science Foundation was founded in 1980 by Ken Ham, John Mackay and Carl Wieland out of Australia.  Ham left to work for a different group in the US, but eventually founded AiG-US.  In a show of solidarity, Wieland and the other office leaders changed the name of Creation Science Foundation to AiG.  In 2004, this joint Australian-American project brought in 59% of the $22 million spent by Americans on creationist merchandise.  But this solidarity did not last long. 

In 2005, there was a falling out between Ham and Wieland (Mackay had left years ago).  It is a fascinating story, involving high-level power struggles, accusations of necrophilia and witchcraft, underhanded business tactics and inflamed egos.  It began simply enough, when Wieland suggested that both he and Ham had given themselves too much power, and should both be deprived of their ability to fire employees.  This was perceived by Ham as (and perhaps indeed was, I can’t say) a treasonous act by Wieland in a bid to control AiG.  Long story short, the American and UK branches cut off ties with their sister groups.  America/UK stayed on as AiG, while Canada/Australia/NZ/South Africa rebranded as CMI and opened up shop in Singapore, America and the UK.  Copyright issues ensued, and the two companies spent years in the courts.  You can read the full story here

Now let’s bring it back to the articles that got me onto this.  CMI’s article links to a point-by-point response to an objection raised by Kent Hovind.  Hovind, for those of you who don’t know, is the founder of Creation Science Evangelism and Dinosaur Adventure Land.  At the peak of his ministry he was making roughly $2 million per year.  He is currently serving ten years for various tax-related offences.  I saw Hovind give a talk once when I was a kid.  It was one of my childhood highlights.  The man was charismatic and, to a child who knew next to nothing, very convincing.  And hilarious (I still remember his classic joke where he accidentally called National Geographic, National Pornographic.  Get it!?!  Cause of the boobies).

At any rate, in 2002 the yet-to-be-jailed Hovind felt that pre-split AiG was personally attacking him when they published their Arguments article.  This was primarily because the majority of the arguments that AiG said Creationists shouldn’t use were in fact currently being used by Hovind in his public lecture tours.  Hovind wrote a lengthy letter to AiG, to which AiG's frontrunners, Ken Ham (currently of AiG), Carl Wieland (currently of CMI) and Jonathan Safarti (currently of CMI) responded in an article entitled Maintaining Creationist Integrity.  No, the irony is not lost on me.

This response to Hovind, co-written by the two major players in the ensuing court battle, dates the original Arguments article to at least 2002, well before the split.  On their websites, however, both CMI and AiG claim copyright to their version of the article, while failing to acknowledge both the author(s) and the date it was written or updated.

Both articles have different introductions, but are remarkably similar in their content.  Below I show the more detailed CMI’s Arguments, with annotations to denote similarites to AiG’s article.

I certainly can’t prove anything by comparing these articles.  But it does have a scent of unethical conduct about it.  By whom, I am not sure.  Maybe I’m wrong, though.  Maybe CMI and AiG, during their many copyright battles, came to an understanding, allowing one another to publish nearly-identical content without acknowledging the role of either party.

Personally, I doubt it, but miracles do happen.  It is just sad that it had to be in the context of immaturity and hubris by two groups whose mission was to get back to bible-centered living.

The CMI article is divided into two categories, arguments that definitely should not be used by Creationists and arguments that are doubtful and hence inadvisable to use.  AiG adds a third category, ‘Misconceptions’, but it is not obvious to me how a misconception is different from an argument that definitely should not be used.  Wouldn’t ‘women have one more rib than men’ be not just a misconception, but a horrendously bad argument for supporting the literal nature of Genesis 2?

Below is the order of the arguments as published by CMI, followed by a few unique to AiG, and annotated by me as follows:                                                                                 

Bold = AiG and CMI are in agreement
*** = AiG lists this argument as ‘doubtful’
Italics = AiG lists this in a third category, ‘Misconceptions’

Arguments definitely not to use:
  1. Darwin recanted on his deathbed
  2. Moon-dust thickness proves a young moon
  3. NASA computers found a missing day and 40 minutes, proving Joshua’s long day and Hezekiah’s sundial movement
  4. Woolly mammoths were snap frozen during the Flood catastrophe
  5. NASA faked the moon landings
  6. The Castenedolo and Calaveras human remains in ‘old’ strata invalidate the geologic column
  7. Dubois renounced Java man as a ‘missing link’ and claimed it was just a giant gibbon
  8. The Japanese trawler Zuiyo Maru caught a dead plesiosaur near New Zealand ***
  9. The 2nd law of thermodynamics began at the Fall
  10. If we evolved from apes, why are there still apes today?
  11. Women have one more rib than man
  12. Archaeopteryx is a fraud
  13. There are no beneficial mutations
  14. No new species have been produced
  15. Earth’s axis was vertical before the Flood ***
  16. Paluxy tracks prove that humans and dinosaurs co-existed ***
  17. Darwin showed the absurdity of eye evolution in the Origin of Species
  18. Earth’s division in the days of Peleg (Gen 10:25) refers to catastrophic splitting of the continents
  19. The Septuagint records the correct Genesis chronology
  20. There are gaps in the genealogies of Genesis 5 and 11 so the Earth may be 10,000 years old or older
  21. Jesus could not have inherited genetic material from Mary, otherwise he would have inherited original sin
  22. Light was created in transit
  23. The phrase ‘science falsely so called’ in 1 Timothy 6:20 refers to evolution
  24. Geocentrism is taught by scripture and Heliocentrism is anti-scriptural
  25. Ron Wyatt has found Noah’s ark
  26. Ron Wyatt has found much archaeological proof of the Bible
  27. Carl Baugh has numerous evidences of creation
  28. Missing solar neutrinos prove that the sun shines by gravitational collapse, and is proof of a young sun
  29. Einstein held unswervingly, against enormous peer pressure, to belief in a Creator

  1. Canopy theory
  2. There was no rain before the Flood
  3. Natural selection as a tautology
  4. Evolution is just a theory
  5. There is amazing modern scientific insight in the Bible
  6. Laminin: an amazing look at how Jesus is holding us together (this requires some explanation: laminin is a protein that provides support to our cells, among other functions.  Diagrams of it in the shape of a cross were being sent out to churches touting laminin as a biological sign that Christ holds all things together)
  7. The speed of light has decreased over time
  8. There are no transitional forms
  9. Gold chains have been found in coal
  10. Plate tectonics is fallacious
  11. Creationists believe in microevolution, not macroevolution
  12. The Gospel is in the stars (that is, the constellations tell a rudimentary Gospel message)

Unique to Answers in Genesis:

Mitochondrial Eve is only 6000 years old
Stars are closer than we are led to believe

The Intelligent Design Movement is a Christian movement
The Geneva Bible Society used Voltaire’s house to produce Bibles


Keith Shields said...

Does anyone else find it ironic that Creation Ministries International quotes Mythbusters episode #104 (0702), 2008?

chrislantz said...

Great posting. I had never heard of many of these CMI arguments, but I think it's valuable that they identified them as poor arguments (since they are exactly the type of limp responses that camp counselors tell their campers in a bid to sound impressive). It's just way too bad that the integrity of their ministry is completely in jeopardy. Your blog is better, Morris.

Also... that's a nice picture of a plesiosaur. Clearly that's a plesiosaur, right?

Matthew said...

LOL, the picture is indeed purported to be a rotting plesiousaur carcass. I took it from a children's book I have entitled 'The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible' by Paul S. Taylor (editor of Christian Answers Network and the executive director of Films for Christ). The picture was meant to provide evidence that dinosaurs still live today, which somehow proves that they were saved on the ark and evolution is false. The logic is faulty, but I intend to post in the future on this fascinating undercurrent in American society.
At any rate, AiG and CMI wish to disassociate themselves from such fringe Creationist thinking, and acknowledge that the plesiosaur is in fact a rotting basking shark.