Field Trips To A Creationist Zoo Upsets Secularists

The government in the UK approved public school kids of visiting the Noah Ark Zoo farm. Michael Marshall at New Scientist says the educational resources appear “absolutely fine”  with all it’s animals (including big ones like rhinos and giraffes), and it accepts school parties with kids of all ages. But the world starts coming to an end for Marshall is when the zoo advocates a creationist position.

He writes from the zoo’s website…

“Darwinism has no explanation of how the atoms and all the laws of nature should just come to “be there”, no adequate theory of how life with its highly complex DNA suddenly appeared, and no evidence to show that single-celled life forms evolved into the much more complex forms of the later fossil record.  It also cannot explain how consciousness, instinct, free will, and sexual reproduction came into being.”

In other words, it has no “viable” explanation, many assumptions and predictions have been falsified with new discoveries. Any theorist can make a guess on what happened in the unobservable past but that doesn’t necessarily make it factual. When any other theory becomes so-complex as evolution, red flags go up!

Marshall gets mean like a bully, full of arrogance when he writes…

“Criticising a family-run zoo that introduces small children to the wonder of animals feels a bit like kicking a puppy – but in this case we might have to.”

This wasn’t the end of a secularist anger and fear as another piece in LiveScience appeared in print just recently…

“The Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm in the UK has a presentation about 30 reasons why man is not descended from apes. Given the establishment believes in creationism, that presentation is no surprise. But that school children would attend the place has some educators alarmed. Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm, near Bristol, was recently awarded a “quality badge” by the Council for Learning Outside the Classroom.”

In the United States the government has funded an imam behind a plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero which is something that doesn’t happen with every other religion who wants to build one of their ‘holy’ places and certainly we haven’t seen secularists upset over that.  But like Marshall’s argument against the zoo Robert Roy Britt is full of bluff and fluff and he wants to undo what many parents teach their kids. Not surprising he uses the excuse he doesn’t have the time so he doesn’t really explain his position using science. But here is some of what the zoo states that has angered secularists…

“In the animal kingdom the animals closest to human beings in bodily appearance are the great apes. Perhaps, then, we should not expect apes to differ much in their genetic make-up…”

“The connections between genes, their position in the chromosome, and the machinery for regulating them can be as significant as the code itself. Consequently it is meaningless to quantify the differences in terms of a precise percentage…

This has also been apparent from attempts to count the number of genes. The human genome consists of approximately 21,000.  But bread mould has half as many, the sea anemone Nematostella has only 3,000 less and the tiny crustacean Daphnia pulex has 39,000 – almost twice as many as human beings. Or one could simply count the number of nucleotides (information bits, like letters of the alphabet) that go into the code. Human beings have about 3.42 billion nucleotides, the green puffer fish 0.34 billion and the marbled lungfish a record-breaking 130 billion.

That does not mean that the biology of the lungfish is 40 times more complex than ours, or that it is evolutionarily 40 times more advanced. It does mean that we have a lot more to find out about the mind-boggling complexity of the genome – even of ‘simple’ genomes – and that the insistence that it all came about by chance is about as unscientific a conclusion as one could imagine.

“To rub further salt into such absurdities, even just a 1% difference between man and chimp would mean 34 million points of difference. Over the 6 million years that their genomes supposedly diverged, each would have undergone 34 million mutations, equivalent to almost 6 a year.”

“While some were inconsequential, most, it is thought, were selected and incorporated into the genome because they conferred an advantage as men and chimps struggled for survival. But that this is how the differences arose is dogma, not science.  And implausible dogma: there is no obligation to believe it just because others do.”

Future Bill In Florida Requires Teaching Intelligent Design

If this bill which is supposed to be introduced, this coming March 2009, and is passed into law, we will certainly see another Dover type case where a judge is going to decide what the science standards are. Special interests groups who are proponents of evolution, would like to see bills like these go away, never attempted again, after the 2005 court case which was about the validity of intelligent design being a science.

Currently, Florida’s public schools are moving on as normal even with this bill in the works…

“In classrooms, little has changed since the Board of Education’s evolution decision, said David Campbell, a science teacher at Orange Park’s Ridgeview High who helped write the new science standards. School districts will put them into practice over the next few years, giving students time to incorporate the knowledge as they take the science FCAT exam in 11th grade. In addition, textbooks need to be developed and paid for, and teachers need to be trained, though he wonders where the money will come from for that.”

Cottle called the controversy over evolution a “strange component in the culture wars.” He said he’s met biology teachers who are constantly challenged by students who refuse to accept evolution, which – far from being “just a theory” – is accepted by the vast majority of scientists.

“It’s like students have been put up to it by their pastors,” he said. “And I’m sure there are cases of religious students feeling harassed because they’re being asked to study this.” Jacksonville News

What does Cottle think, students are mindless or what? Is why some evolutionists want to teach weaknesses in evolution at the college level because they feel it wouldn’t affect them as much as at the lower grades? A poll conducted in the UK, said 51 percent did not believe in the theory of evolution, and out of those, only a small portion were churchgoers. So the vast opposition towards evolution in the UK is coming from secularists.

I applaud students who dare to question evolution. I don’t feel as though students are going to an assembly (church) where the Pastor decides this week or month, he”ll  have the members of the local assembly who are students display disbelief in evolution. What I do believe is happening, science is progressing, it’s finding things that gives the vast theories of evolution a problem, and it also points to a designer rather than naturalism. Students of the past never had such access to information as they do now. So instead of being force fed something they do not believe in, they stand up for what they believe in.

The bill should require teaching the weakness of all scientific theories including evolution. I understand requiring intelligent design, as a way to allure more students who are wary of evolution to a more acceptable (but not totally accepted) alternative.

Thomas Nagel’s Take On Teaching Science

Discussing one of the most controversial topics of our time, Nagel who is a self proclaimed atheist, weights in on his thoughts concerning the teaching of intelligent design within public schools.

“Most importantly, the campaign of the scientific establishment to rule out intelligent design as beyond discussion because it is not science results in the avoidance of significant questions about the relation between evolutionary theory and religious belief, questions that must be faced in order to understand the theory and evaluate the scientific evidence for it…”

Thomas Nagel argues that excluding ID from discussion in the public schools hinders teaching evolution in a responsible way. Nagel is a promoter of “natural teleology.” The concept consists of phenomena which is guided not only by natural mechanical forces but that they also move toward certain goals.

You can see a growing number of scientific papers that advocate such a concept. All it’s doing is replacing an intelligent designer with an unthinking process. Other than that, it’s very similar to that in the intelligent design movement.

However, Nagel takes the most popular stance in the hardcore secular science community…

“The contention seems to be that, although science can demonstrate the falsehood of the design hypothesis, no evidence against that demonstration can be regarded as scientific support for the hypothesis. Only the falsehood, and not the truth, of ID can count as a scientific claim. Something about the nature of the conclusion, that it involves the purposes of a supernatural being, rules it out as science.”

In a nutshell, science according to Nagel can only destroy ID but yet it has no ability prove intelligent design. It’s a typical double standard in the world of secular science. The limitations of science which can’t handle the task of proving God, it certainly has no ability to disprove God either.

“The problem cannot be just that the idea of a designer is too vague, and that nothing is being said about how he works…”

Another double standard, in secularism it is believed gaps will be eventually filled with new data. But what generally happens with this pattern as seen in different scientific papers, answering one gap opens another gap, the cycle is endless.

Creationism like intelligent design, also believe in future data  revealing more of the designer’s signature in the creation. Just like famous well-known artwork, the designer is not observable, but the study of the art’s contents can be eventually recognized as the work of a certain artist. It’s also a good way to know the real art from the counterfeit.

Thomas Nagel is a respected atheist even with theists, he is more fair minded than many of his counterparts. However, his bias against religion and Christianity are still there. Since he believes naturalism has goals, he is more open to the idea of discussing intelligent design in the classrooms. He also doesn’t seem as threaten by the prospect of alternatives to Darwinism as many of his other counterparts are.

Political Special Interest Claims No Weakness In Evolution

A special interest group called; 21st Century Science Coalition wrote an opinion piece in response to the Texas State Board of Education revising the science curriculum standards for Texas public schools. In there they state the following…

“Unfortunately, evolution opponents are uninterested in updating the standards to reflect this expanded knowledge. They instead want standards that divert class time from this well-established scientific discipline to cover thoroughly discredited arguments about “weaknesses” of evolution.”

“For instance, they claim that an incomplete fossil record disproves evolution. Yet they ignore the millions of fossils (yes, millions) that clearly illustrate a history of evolution.”

I’ll get into the fossil debate in just a moment, but wanted to draw your attention to this particular comment which I find interesting and on target.

Daniel Bolnick, a leader of the pro-Darwin only “Texas 21st Century Science Coalition,” recently published an op-ed in the Waco Tribune which provides some good lessons on how to argue for “evolution” to the public: Be extremely dogmatic and vague about the evidence.” -Casey Luskin

Well now let’s take this fossil argument. According to Dr. Peter Wellnhofer, Curator of the Bavarian State Collection of Paleontology states; “I would say the specimen numbers go at least in the hundreds of thousands of years or close to a thousand or so, or something like that. So we have a farily good record of pterosaur fossils and pterosaurs fossils.”

So what does the fossil evidence say about these flying reptiles…

“When the pterosaurs first appear in the geological record, they were completely perfect. They were perfect pterosaurs.”  -Dr. Viohl, Curartor of the famous Jura Museum, Eichstatt Germany.

One has to wonder which fossils are the author in 21st Century Science Coalition talking about? Was he so pressed for space, that he couldn’t name a few fossils? No! It appears  they like to use massive volume for evidence without going into details, but that in itself is not evidence. Even other critics who are evolutionists themselves, don’t buy into the “massive volume” argument!

“Thousands of papers are published every year claiming evidence of adaptive evolution on the basis of computational analyses alone, with no evidence whatsoever regarding the phenotypic effects of allegedly adaptive mutations.” Evolutionary Biologist Drops Bombshell On Positive Selection

Evolution is based on faith in a maze of opening many gaps while filling very few of them. This particular  evolutionary biologist admits there is no evidence for positive selection, but yet he still believes in the concept. So if evolutionary scientists continue to believe in such unproven concepts, does that mean there is no weakness? Absolutely not! Nothing could be further from the truth.

None of their arguments they claim to be rebutting were even taught in the public schools with the allowance of teaching “weakness.” If there was, this same special interest group and others like it would of been in an uproar over it.

But the arguments in which they oppose has been conducted mainly outside the public schools. Legally that is, but even with court rulings against teaching creationism or ID, we know there are teachers in public schools around the country who present both sides (either creationism or intelligent design) but it’s only like 1-3 hours of class time which is hardly taking away time from other subjects.

Parents who pay taxes own the public schools better believe they have a say in the way children of being taught, more so than special interest groups who claim there is no weakness in evolution, it’s quite the contrary. While it’s true some of the members of special interests have kids of their own, average parents are not getting paid for their opinions nor are rewarded with government grants if their opinions are accepted.

Anyway, as new discoveries have been found, so does new issues crop up that show a weakness in the evolutionary hypothesis.

The Battles Over Teaching Science: Creationism vs Secularism

Despite various court rulings against creationism and intelligent design, about 1 in 8 public schools devote  1 to 3 hours worth of time teaching half the lesson which contain positive aspects of intelligent design or creationism. The other half of the lesson teaches skepticism on both. It’s unknown if the survey which was conducted last May 2008, included the same approach towards evolution, teaching one half as fact and the other as invalid. I would guess, most likely not.

Contrary to special interest groups and militant atheists in general, teaching an alternative to secular evolution doesn’t mean the total elimination of the hypothesis being taught in public schools. I quite frequently read such accusations. However, these accusations are false with no evidence to support their claim. Because the vast majority of creationists and intelligent design advocates do not endorse what evolutionary advocates are doing now with their hypothesis which is no alternatives allowed!

What is the most misleading statements in this particular battle is that Creationism or ID is not a science therefore it cannot be taught in the public schools. I believe it’s just more of an attack upon Christianity than anything else. The reason being is because even if Creationism or ID was believed to be a science among the skeptics, they would still argue it cannot be taught in the classroom because of the church/state clause ruled back in 1947 by the US Supreme Court.

Another misleading argument in the battle for teaching creationism or intelligent design in the classroom. “We would all go back to the stone age” as one blogger pointed out to me. When discussing this subject, there was an interesting quote that came to mind in a review of a book called; “The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life” published in Nature which stated the following…

“To some extent these excesses are not Mindell’s fault, for, if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits.  Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say.  Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably.  But hasn’t evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding?  Not very much.  Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of ‘like begets like’.  Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties.  Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all.”

Going back to the so-called; “stone age” comment, if intelligent design is taught in the public schools, is a claim that unfounded with no merit whatsoever. So is Jerry Coyne a liar saying that evolution has no real value when it comes to the causes of the progress of man? Jerry Coyne by the way, is a staunch evolutionist and anti-creationist who believes science cannot contribute to religion but only destroy it. The answer to the question is a resounding “no”. His observation is not a lie, even though he’s wrong about believing in the evolution hypothesis, he is however right about how useful evolution really is in the progress of man. He concludes, In the end, the true value of evolutionary biology is not practical but explanatory”

People like Jerry Coyne need the Lord, he is obviously deceived and he believes in a secular belief which is not even practical to him, but explanatory which he praises as quite an accomplishment. The battle for teaching science will wage on and Christians must be aware of what is happening with this particular battle (as well as other battles) and defend the precious truths of the Bible.