Escape from the Creation Conference (2 of 2)

Statue of triceratops with a saddle from the Creation MuseumThis is the second of two posts about the Reality-Distortion Zone that is a Creationist conference.  Read the first one here.

The second lecture was by a science teacher.  He injected more than a dozen Bible quotes and Christian imagery into what was otherwise a decent astronomy lecture.

The irony was lost on him.  He used videos, animations, presentation software, a PC.  He showed Hubble photos of galaxies and satellite photos of solar flares.  He lauded the Apollo program.  This was science revealed to us by technology built on science.  He made a good case—science delivers!

One video took us on a five-minute trip through the universe, accelerating from Earth past the solar system, Alpha Centauri, our galaxy, and our local group of galaxies to eventually take in the entire universe.  And the ancient prescientific desert tribe that made up the Genesis account was stuck back there on Earth 3000 years ago, trying to make sense of things with their Iron Age worldview.

There was yet more unacknowledged irony when he emphasized the size of “God’s creation.”  The Bible says, “[God] also made the stars” (Gen. 1:16).  That’s it.  That’s all the Bible says about the 99.9999999999999999999999999% of the universe1 that’s not the earth.  Makes you think that the authors of Genesis didn’t know about the vastness of the universe.

He played the audio of Apollo 8’s famous Christmas Eve 1968 reading of Genesis 1:1–10.  According to that passage, here’s what God was up to on the second day:

And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.”  So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it.  And it was so.  God called the vault “sky.”

See if that sounds like this: “[They] envisioned the universe as a closed dome surrounded by a primordial saltwater sea.  Underneath the terrestrial earth, which formed the base of the dome, existed an underworld and a freshwater ocean.”  This was the cosmology of the Sumerians, who preceded the Jews by centuries.

To me, the Apollo reading of this prescientific view of nature doesn’t sound majestic but is meaningful only as it highlights what we’ve discarded.

The speaker made the obligatory slam of Continue reading

I Survived the Creation Conference (1 of 2)

Noah's ArkI attended the 2011 Seattle Creation Conference and made it out to tell the tale.

The slogan of the conference was, “Dedicated to glorifying God through the scientific study of His Creation and refuting the false claims of Evolutionism.”  (Is it just me or does that last phrase betray a presupposition?)  There were prayers galore, sometimes both opening and closing a single lecture.

If the speakers were confident that science will eventually support the biblical view, they could let the science speak for itself.  They could show confidence that science will lead us to the biblical answer.  The question, “If Science and Scripture diverged, which one would you follow?” came to mind, but the answer was obvious.

This was a young-earth Creationism conference.  “Young earth” means: the earth is less than 10,000 years old.  “Creationism” means: evolution is nonsense.  There were probably some old-earthers there too, but I’m pretty sure that I was the only one stupid enough to accept the scientific consensus on evolution.

The remainder of this post is about lectures by Mike Oard from Creation Ministries International, who spoke for two hours on Noah’s flood.  (Let me add that everyone was polite, including me, so I’m attacking the “science,” not the speakers.)

Oard began with a couple of Bible quotes to justify using reason.  It’s odd to need such a justification in a conference “dedicated to … scientific study,” but OK.  One quote was, “Examine carefully; hold fast to that which is good” (1 Thes. 5:21).  I suspect that the last phrase was seen as license to pick and choose.

He stressed that, while some Christians imagine this to be a local flood, it was global.  I enjoy seeing Creationists attack each other, but Continue reading