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Skeptimedia

Skeptimedia is a commentary on mass media treatment of issues concerning science, the paranormal, and the supernatural.

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Why isn't this child abuse?

April 9, 2008. Nightline took a tour with Bill Jack and another young earth creationist named Rusty Carter as they tried to indoctrinate a group of schoolchildren with Biblical stories that they say imply such things as that Tyrannosaurus Rex was a vegetarian until The Fall (when Adam and Eve sinned) and that just about everything scientists have discovered, even Christian scientists, is wrong. They call their enterprise B.C. Tours (Biblically Correct Tours). But this indoctrination doesn't take place in Sunday school. It takes place in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. The museum does not sponsor the anti-scientific tour, but it tolerates it. Ken Ham wasted his money building a "Biblically correct" Creation Museum. He could lead tours of schoolchildren in any science museum in the world and lie to the kids about science and the exhibits. I was dead wrong when I wrote last year about Ham's creation that:

Fortunately, for those of us who like our science straight there are thousands of real museums of science, natural history, anthropology, archaeology, technology, history, and so on. One dopey Ham Land is not going to change the world any more than an alien abduction theme park is going to change space travel. The time to worry will be when the local public schools bring busloads of kids to Ham Land for a science outing.*

If you can't bring the kids to Kentucky for a bucketful of lies, take them to any science museum in the world and tell them whatever stories you want. The kids are too inexperienced, ignorant, and trusting to know you are trying to brainwash them to think like wandering sheepherders who roamed the hills of the Middle East several thousand years ago. Take a look:

I especially like the lie about circular reasoning because of the irony of being told by someone who knows what he knows because the Bible is the word of God and he knows that because he thinks it says so in the Bible. Bill Jack is standing right in front of a display that explains how fossils are dated by radiometric dating while telling the children that non-creationist scientists date fossils by the sedimentary layer in which they are found and they date the layer by the fossils. Apparently, they don't teach the children to read at their Christian school. Someday, however, these kids will grow up and some of them may return to this same museum after they have cleansed themselves of the propaganda taught them by their religious teachers and mentors. Most of these kids will not always be under the deleterious guidance of these miscreants. Some of them may even learn to read and think for themselves.

The only honest answer given by Bill Jack or Rusty Carter during their interview with Nightline was when they were asked why dinosaur and human fossils have never been found together in the same sedimentary layer: "Okay, there are several problems for the creationist. There's no doubt about that. One would be that."

You would expect to find dinosaur and human fossils in the same sedimentary layer if they existed at the same time, as these creationists think. They accept the story told by the ancient Jews that says that's how things came about. They reject the scientific account, based partly on  radiometric dating, that says that dinosaurs went extinct about 65,000,000 years ago, long before humans evolved. You would also expect to find dinosaur and human fossils in the same sedimentary layer if there had been a universal flood, as these creationists think. They accept as literally true a story about such a flood told by the ancient Jews, who plagiarized the story from the ancient Babylonians. All the scientific evidence from sedimentology is against there ever having been a universal flood (Prothero 2007: pp. 58 ff). Not that science matters to these hidebound Biblical literalists. They don't seek the truth. They seek to cast doubt on any claim, scientifically worthy or not, that they don't think is consistent with their ridiculous reading of texts they consider inerrant.  They call real science "a fairy tale" and the fairy tales they believe in they call science. But their worst sin is their attempt to indoctrinate a generation of children to think like they do. Why aren't they arrested for child abuse?

new see also 'We don't have to be afraid of the real evidence' – Creation Museum A trip to the Creation Museum seems like harmless fun until you see the eager schoolchildren streaming through its doors. Posted in The Guardian by Neil Denny

Abusive parents are considered "normal" and "good" as long as they do it in the name of religion. [/new]

further reading

Evolution: What the Fossils Say and Why It Matters (2007) by Donald R. Prothero. Columbia University Press.

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