Archive for category Creationism

Of Men and Pterosaurs

So there I was, roaming ‘teh interwebs’ one last time before entering an extended Christmas weekend and going off radar, when I came across a link tweeted by a fellow Skeptic. It referred to something called ‘Project Pterosaur’. Interesting, I thought. I wonder what that’s about? So in the interest of simple human curiosity I clicked on the link.

Oh, and what glories did I behold! This site is the most fantastically bonkers and bewildering woo-stew I have ever seen. I don’t know whether to laugh, cry, vacate the Earth or simply join in the fun these people seem to be having.

The main site is something called objectiveministries.org, and it is an ‘educational resource’ for Creation Science. These kinds of sites are everywhere, the most well-known being answersingenesis.org. They’re all attempts to push very skewed versions of reality onto the public under the pretense that science is some kind of ungodly blight that hides the ‘truth’. This site is no exception. The link above takes you to a particular article on the site, detailing the aforementioned Project Pterosaur.

So, what is this project? I’ll let Dr Richard Paley, the leader of the project explain it in his own words:

“The goal of Project Pterosaur is to mount an expedition to locate and bring back to the United States living specimens of pterosaurs or their fertile eggs, which will be displayed in a Pterosaur Rookery that will be the center piece of the planned Fellowship Creation Science Museum and Research Institute (FCSMRI). Furthermore, the rookery facility will establish a breeding colony of pterosaurs in order to produce specimens that could then be put on display by other regional institutions or church groups.”

Yes, you read that right. Project Pterosaur is an expedition to kidnap living pterosaurs – a clade of creatures the fossil record implies hasn’t existed since the cretaceous period – and put them in a special zoo. Presumably with a big sign saying: “Nur nur! Silly Evolutionists!” Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Man In Ottawa: How to deal with Creationists

MSS-member and recent émigré to Canada Chris Hassall gives us a rundown of how to cope with the Creationist crazy.

When dealing with woo the most profitable tactic is usually simply to expose their quackery by taking apart their arguments. Very few woo-ers have anything more than thin reasoning behind their beliefs; often just enough pseudoscientific babble to provide a veneer of respectability for what is clearly nonsense. However, Creationism is one area in which a substantial publishing industry has grown up around the defence of the topic such that the average Creationist can bury you in books in response to questions. Also, a relatively large number of people are interested in finding a way to harmonise theories of biological origins with theological concepts (principally the creation myths of the Abrahamic religions). Thus we have two potential strategies that have emerged from the fray: confrontationalism and accommodationism. It will soon become clear to which camp I belong… Read the rest of this entry »

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Our Man In Ottawa: Creationism 101

MSS-member and recent émigré to Canada Chris Hassall gives us an introduction to Creationism in all it’s flavours and glory.

While there are many forms of woo that involve a warping of science, that which is closest to my heart is Creationism. While homeopathic practitioners, psychics, claim scientific support (or at least use scientific terms) when arguing their respective cases, no other variety of woo has produced so much spilled ink (as well as money for the authors) as that promulgated by “creation scientists”. I will briefly outline the two most prevalent forms of creation woo with some brief critiques and a quick guide to the leading figures in each of the movements. I’ll finish with a discussion of how we should be dealing with this particular form of woo. Read the rest of this entry »

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Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm Runs Aground

Noah's ArkSo, it emerged last week that a zoo in North Somerset has been criticised for promoting a creationist agenda. The Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm – and the name alone should be setting off alarm bells and red flags in any skeptical listener – claims to represent the natural world as a product of both God and evolution, causing the British Humanist Association to appeal to local tourist boards to cease advertising the attraction.

The BHA have roundly criticised the zoo for undermining the teaching of science – which is a pretty tough charge for the zoo to deny, given that signs around the zoo state that animals hunt and kill food because “man rebelled against God”, and that the “three great people groups” in the world could be descended from the three sons of Bible ark builder Noah.  The bit about three great people groups is especially nice – I can only assume this refers to an absurdly simplistic and offensive generalisation of the whole worldwide gamut of racial diversity. If we’re filling our kids’ heads with nonsense, it’s efficient to try and pack multiple nonsenses into the same punch, I guess. Read the rest of this entry »

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60 Uncomfortable Seconds for Dr. Andrew Parker

In his recent interview in the Metro’s ’60 Seconds’ column on August 4th, Dr. Andrew Parker – a biologist from Oxford University – could have been forgiven if he’d expected a pretty easy ride.  It’s a free paper, it’s a quick interview, it’s bound to be a cake-walk, you might think.  But you might well be wrong…  especially given that his new book is titled ‘The Genesis Enigma: Why The Bible Is Scientifically Accurate’ and claims that Genesis matches the history of the universe so accurately it could only have been written with divine intervention.

As it happens, the interviewer eschews the soft-ball questions you’d expect to find in a quick interview like this, and really pulls no punches – producing what is actually a highly entertaining read.   Read the rest of this entry »

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The View from the Top of the Mountain

Am I paranoid?

Everywhere I look lately, creationism seems to be springing up from cracks in the pavement like the pernicious weed that it is. Back in March, there was a kerfuffle in Hampshire about attempts to push it into the classroom (read about it here), a case worryingly similar to oh so many, from the Scopes trial of 1926 to the Kitzmiller vs Dover School District trial in 2005 (an excellent documentary on this can be viewed here). Every five minutes, random evangelical preachers seem to burst forth from their woo-cocoons to badmouth ‘Darwinists’ and ‘Evolutionists’ as being part of some scientific anti-truth cabal.

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