Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Video of my Creation Museum presentation

At long last, here's the video of my presentation about my trip to the Creation Museum - yes, the one that Ken Ham is already blogging about. I do warn you, it's long. My talk is about an hour and then there's about 25 minutes of Q&A. The first couple minutes are a little rocky because I was kind of nervous, but then I get in my groove and I think it's pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Overall I received very positive feedback, even from some of the theists in the room. As you'll see if you watch the Q&A, Pastor Brent Aucoin of the Faith Baptist Church in Lafayette attended. He was nice enough to email me and ask if he could come to the event (of course he could!) and disclosed that he helped with the construction of the Creation Museum (and I can only assume he is the supporter that Ken Ham mentions in the post about my talk). He was very civil, and I thank him for that, but he did repeat the same creationist arguments that we hear over and over again. My favorite part is at the 1:09:00 mark. At the very least, watch it for my friend doing a literal *facepalm* twenty seconds later.

Though, the thing that made my talk totally worth it? My former Human Genetics professor (you can see her behind the Pastor) who's 80-something, super liberal, intelligent, hilariously witty, a fan of Stephen Colbert, a non-theist, and a Holocaust survivor came up and shook my hand for about five minutes straight, saying how we needed more people like me who were brave enough to speak out against this stuff. Coming from someone I respect so much, that meant a lot.

Oh, and the tiny little blip about 50 minutes in isn't us hiding something, it's us changing the tape, haha.


  1. Congrats on finally getting the vid up. =) I’ll watch it first thing tomorrow morning, and perhaps even make a post about it if it’s that good. ;-P

  2. I'm on the Q&A now, and I do have some thoughts.

    1. Jen, you definitely got more confident as you went along, I could hear that as your command of the material and the class grew you became more relaxed and easy-going. It definitely became funnier after the 10 minute mark. You became a hint more active with your hands, and your posture changed, which helps to draw the viewer in.

    2. I could read the slides, most of them, in full-screen mode, so it didn't particularly lack for the inability of me to figure out how to get the slides in easily.

    3. I didn't find you moved around much, and I found the slides themselves not to be particularly engaging. This is partially because most of them where plain white, and partially because I saw most of the pictures already. The presentation itself was put together logically, and flowed well, but it was a tad bit bland to what I'm compared to. Of course, I understand your restrictions of time and everything, being that you're a double-major of two subjects I don't know dick about.

    4. You're handling this Q&A excellently. People are being respectful of even Pastor Aucoin, and you're moderating that debate appropriately. Your command of the material is very powerful, but you're not hitting people over the head with it either. Very well done.

    5. Overall, people seemed to enjoy it, the amount of people who left after the main presentation was quite small and most seemed to have stuck about for the Q&A. Even though it is material I am already primarily familiar with, I think it was an engrossing presentation and I think you achieved all of your goals and objects with this presentation. Putting it online is a great way to spread the word about the "Museum".

    Thanks so much for doing this for us!

  3. Knowing the enemy is a critical step to find a strategically effective move. I think the next step is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of your enemy and then the battle ground. SWOT analysis is the most appropiate tool to use in this situation because it integrates all the essential elements of a war - strengths and weaknesses of the parties involved, the nature of battle ground, etc.

    This reminds me of the conflict between the Black Pearl and the Flying Dutch in the movie, "Pirates of the Caribbean." The Black Pearl beat the Flying Dutch at the end, even though the Flying Dutch is a faster ship with more crewmen. This is possible because the Black Pearl's crewmen are more intelligent. They are able to avoid the strengths of their enemy - the Triple Canon, which is a powerful short-range weapon against most sailors because they tend to try to get close to their enemy ship when engaging a battle.

    In addition, the Black Pearl's crewmen has an intinsic advantage, that is they are free independent clear-thinking individuals. The crewmen of the Flying Dutch, on the other hand, slowly become the part of the ship by slowly mutating into anthropomorphic amalgamation of sea creatures, which degrades their abilities to think clearly and fight in a war. So, at the final battle, the fight isn't a human ship against another but a human ship against another ship full of half-human half-animals. Human wins, just as the Homo Sapiens with fully functional brain beat the Neanderthal evolutionarily backward small brain in history.

  4. Hopefully I'll have some time to watch this tonight. I'm glad to see you got it posted.

    I'll have a more intelligent comment for you after I see it, hopefully.

  5. Can't watch the video. Is it down?

  6. Jen - was this done Tuesday night? If so, that means that you missed Fritz Schaefer's talk on "The Big Bang, God, and Stephen Hawking"? Too bad, I would have loved to hear your comments on that.

    Then again, if it is anything like the talk he gave about 15 years ago, it means it was really dull. I don't remember much, but my impression was that he completely misrepresents Hawking (I think the premise was, "Hawking says we can't know what caused the Big Bang. Therefore, God exists and Jesus died for our sins" or something like that)

  7. I am glad to hear the speech was a good experience for you, I am sorry I cannot watch it right now because I have to leave to get to a job interview in Aurora but I will watch it with much enthusiasm when I get home.

  8. You did a terrific job and engaged the audience well. Congrats on a fine presentation and thanks for putting the video up!

  9. That is a long time to keep a group of people engaged. You did very well and now I really, really want to check out the creation museum. IT HAS DINOSAURS AND PEOPLE!!!!!

  10. I don't know if you saw this yet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GN9zpf5cT0M&feature=player_embedded

    I laughed. Damned Kirk Cameron!

  11. Exceptional job once again Jen; I must say you handled Pastor Aucoin quite well in the Q&A; I will say thought that I was sad he was basically recanting the same rhetoric from Comfort/Cameron as well as most YECs, but I guess it goes without saying that the beliefs of the creation museum lot are rather cookie cutter.

    To the above post by KP, dear non-existent god he's at it again...

  12. I'm setting aside a good 2 hours for you tonight. :)

  13. That sounds dirty, I like it <3

  14. I was thinking the same thing, but I didn't want to comment. I'm *trying* to behave here.

  15. Finally finished it, no excuse for slowness of course.

    It was a good presentation, and yeah, even my blind self was able to read the slides. The pictures that I wasn't able to make out, I recognized from the nightmares of the post previously made.

    Time constraints tend to screw things like that, but you did a damn good job of keeping it together once you got up to speed.

    It was a good watch about the Creation Museum that didn't angry up my blood, which helps a lot. Of course, now I'm wondering what sort of stuff Pastor Tom and Ken Ham are going to be saying about you.

    Clearly, you're the atheist woman they should have been warned about.

  16. Hey All,
    This is the pastor who is apparently repeating the same old "creation arguments" over and over again :). Nobody has to "wonder" about what I am going to say about Jennifer. My God and my world view asks of me to demonstrate love toward all. I do understand as I said in my comment in the Q&A time that a clash of worldviews is occurring between an atheistic worldview and a Christian worldview. Obviously, this clash manifests huge tensions between the two contradictory worldviews. I am all for examining and testing the claims of both—particularly as one who has a scientific background myself. I graduated in 1993 from Purdue with my MS in Aerospace Engineering. I am fascinated by the universe and the more I study it the more I see that the heavens declare the glory of God.

    I personally was treated very civilly by all of you. Thank you. And if anybody wants to understand many of the elements that Jennifer said she didn’t understand about the museum presentations or assertions, I would be open to having coffee with those who had questions.

    Also, I have engaged in public dialogue with a friend who converted from Christianity to Atheism at my blog spot here: http://www.primofide.blogspot.com/

  17. From aerospace to pastor, what a waste of a science degree.

    The echo-chamber argument Christian apologists are having over worldviews, relies on misstating the alternate worldviews and on puffing the partial knowledge of their own.

    The more one studies the universe, the more one comes to understand your God is too freaking small. While hunkering down and the pseudo-teaching you will put your youth through may slow the backdoor loss of the church, it is a losing game. The facts simply aren't on your side.

  18. For me, absolutely, I always find myself simply caught up in the majesty of the natural universe, from the massive galaxy pictures posted by the Bad Astronomer, to the tiny way our molecules work, how bacteria and blood cells and everything works.

    Way better than "Let there be light."

  19. Pastor Aucoin: One cannot apply the term 'conversion' when describing someone ceasing to believe in one religion unless they take up another. The correct term for what your friend did is 'deconversion'; "a friend who de-converted from Christianity".

    You could also say that he apostatised, if you prefer.

  20. Okay, I've finally watched it now; excellent talk, Jen.

    As you've acknowledged, you got off to a bit of a patchy start, but once the momentum got going you did a great job.

    The only thing I really want to say is that I wish you'd been a bit more forceful in the Q&A session at the end. There were a few magnificent opportunities that I think slipped by there...

    Of course, I have the benefit of saying these things from my armchair. If I'd been standing where you were, I almost certainly couldn't have handled it as well as you did.

    Keep up the good work.

  21. Aerospace engineer gives you credibility in biology how?

    As an engineer, would you have designed most animals to have their sex organs and waste ducts so close together or using the same tubes? I am not an engineer and I certainly wouldn't have designed it that way.

  22. As a regular reader and commenter, calling all Blag Haggers. Anyone interested in joining in on an interesting religion/politics discussion on my blog, I'd appreciate it. Us atheists are few and far between, so any backup would be appreciated: http://tragedyoftheage.wordpress.com/2009/09/23/we-must-band-together-with-the-power-of-prayer-to-destory-islam/

  23. I'm wondering if Paster Brent can defend his assertion that they "aren't opposed to reason." If they aren't, why do they so obviously pit "Human reason" against "God's Word"? Why do they (not Jen, this is very clearly the Creation Museum) associate asking questions with Satan?

    These are not activities or attitudes that are consistent with embracing reason.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. To answer the "metaphor" question near the end, Fred Phelps' clan believes that the entire bible is strict law. You see where that gets ya. Anything beyond that is cafeteria christian because there is no set way to determine which is metaphor and which is literal. It's up to the individual. People like myself and probably many others here take that a step further to say that while some of it may be literally true, there is no way to figure out which is which, so it is all worthy of being questioned and investigated.

  26. Just watched again for the facepalm. Haha. I didn't notice it the first time!

  27. Wow; this is certainly the most detail about the museum that I've found in one place. Good for you, and thank you, for the thoroughness of the whole thing.

  28. Love the facepalm! Sorry to be such an embarrassment to Jennifer’s friend.
    I wasn’t aware of that when I was speaking.

    I’m feeling a little witty and sarcastic like Jennifer was on Monday. So…anybody for lightening this up some? You guys act like this is an issue of life and death. But, wait, death is only a concern in my worldview.

    Haewood Jathink: My sex organs and waste ducts are working really well. I have two children and am “regular.”

    Pablo: Sure I could, you are welcomed to take me to Starbucks and I will explain.

    Metaphor Question: If one can recognize metaphors in everyday language and literature then one can recognize metaphors in the Bible. It’s a phenomenon of language and communication. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist. Or maybe it does. I’m glad we have one in this discussion.

    Spontaneous Order: Good thing a wasted degree doesn’t ultimately matter since there is no absolute good or evil, huh?

    Goblinpaladin: “unless they take up another.” Do you believe in unbelief?

    Have a great weekend all. Go Purdue beat those Catholic-theist-based- fighting Irish. I have no ill-will toward you all. Take my jesting in the playful spirit it was intended. Anybody for church on Sunday? :)

  29. Awesome video Jen. As I am always overly detail oriented I'd like to add a couple of things:

    1) the children at the beginning are with a baby Tyrannosaur, not a velociraptor. Additionally, it had blunted teeth.

    2) the children at the beginning even though it was before the fall, had on clothing. This is directly against the biblical account. Epic fail for the creation "museum". Additionally, where in the Genesis did it say Adam and Eve had kids before the fall? They were ordered to be fruitful and multiply after the fall I thought.

    3)On of my favorite points: animals that die in a flood and float around for weeks are not going to be laid down in a state of rigor mortis, unless my understanding of rigor mortis is wrong.

    4)You left out the museum's support of the origin of races used to support slavery. Apparently all the cursed people who were meant to be servants went to Africa, and their future masters went to Europe. There is no reason to pre-suppose this unless you wish to support slavery of Africans by Eurpoeans.

  30. I'll be there watching Purdue surely lose to Notre Dame. Not only does our football team suck, but they have God on their side.

  31. To Brent Aucoin:

    It isn't an atheistic versus Christian worldview. It is YOUR Supernatural Christian worldview versus the view of skepticism and rational thinking. You can try to paint it as "simply different opinions" but you are wrong. I'm sorry to be so blunt, but religious people miss this point all the time. One side starts with evidence and sees where that evidence goes, while the other side starts with a pre-conceived notion of what is true (and in this case, for no good reason) and tries to make all the evidence fit the notion.

    If you are against skepticism, fine, but I'd love to know how you determine how things (like the Bible) are true or not. You seem to be aware it was assembled by men from multiple books. You should also be aware that originally the Old Testament spoke of several gods, not just one. Yet you think the current interpretation is perfect. Why? Seems it all comes down to your faith in the Bible.

    The scientific, rational worldview doesn't accept faith. If evidence comes up that shows supernatural things can happen, science will change to take them in and make them natural by definition (that is the definition of natural will change). If evidence for a god shows up, then it will be studied and accepted/rejected on the basis of evidence.

    Science doesn't say supernatural things can't happen, it just says there's no way to verify them without solid evidence. Provide some and we'll accept your claims.

  32. "Death is only a concern in my worldview"? I disagree. Doesn't your worldview include an afterlife? For atheists, death is the real end, forever -- so it'd be a bigger concern.

    Unless that was sarcastic? Sorry, I can't tell levity from seriousness without emoticons most of the time.

    And about metaphors in language -- I think we can recognize them so easily because it's the language we grew up in; we know how to use it and how to create with it, without thinking too hard. Metaphors don't make literal sense, so we give them a second set of meanings. They can also be very idiomatic so a non-native speaker (or a new speaker) can't tell the metaphor's meaning. Like the cliche "easy as pie"? My dad knew a foreign grad student who always had to have stuff like that explained to him.

    The difference with the Bible is that the metaphors are not only originally from another language but another culture altogether, thousands of years ago. I think it'd take some sophisticated historical linguistic analysis to be able to correctly determine what is metaphor and what isn't, and furthermore what the metaphor exactly was supposed to indicate. Since language is by nature imprecise, and I don't think we're anywhere near close to having all those analyses agree, it's always going to be a matter of interpretation.

    That was a little bit of a ramble, but language is my thing.

    Last thing: "do you believe in unbelief?" An atheist lacks theistic belief -- that doesn't say anything about other beliefs. Atheism is not a belief system to subscribe to, just like you can't sign up for not-a-mailing-list.

  33. I should say... "Can't tell levity from seriousness *on the internet* without emoticons (lolcats work, too, or macros in general) ...

  34. Has anyone on here taken any philosophy classes at all? What about philosophy 206, the most basic? In there, you learn it's rational to believe either way. Can you non-theists prove 100% that there is no God? Can you theists prove 100% there is a God? If you can't prove 100% either way, don't both views take a little faith?

    It seems a little illogical to say one view is not rational or logical. Also, it may or may not make you look like an arrogant jerk.

  35. "If you can't prove 100% either way, don't both views take a little faith? "

    What do you mean by faith? If you mean something like, "belief held despite the lack of material evidence or logical proof" then the answer is no, because atheism isn't a belief, it is the LACK of belief. "Not believing" means there is no belief to be had. No belief means no faith.

  36. Dear Anonymous posting at 7:08 PM:
    Yes, I have taken philosophy classes, and neither can I say with absolute certainty that a supernatural being does NOT exist, nor could I say one does exist. This goes for ANY supernatural being: fairies, Cthulhu, FSM, IPU, Zeus, Freyja, Thor, Woden (Odin), or any others.

    The problem with this is that claiming such a deity exists is where the positive claim lies. It is impossible to disprove the existence of something with absolute certainty, we can only state where such an entity does not exist after completely exploring that area. Positive claims require evidence, the negative is assumed until the claim is substantiated.

  37. Anonymous said...
    Has anyone on here taken any philosophy classes at all? What about philosophy 206, the most basic? In there, you learn it's rational to believe either way. Can you non-theists prove 100% that there is no God? Can you theists prove 100% there is a God? If you can't prove 100% either way, don't both views take a little faith?

    It seems a little illogical to say one view is not rational or logical. Also, it may or may not make you look like an arrogant jerk.

    Perhaps you should re-take your philosophy. Evidence for a naturalistic universe abounds, evidence for a deity or any other supernatural claim is non-existent. Since one claim has positive evidence and the other does not, then one claim becomes more likely than the other. You can rationalize anything, but any critical analysis of the data means you can not accept the supernatural claim and still make a rational decision.

  38. Er, that last post should read "You can not accept the supernatural claim and still say you are making a rational decision."

    This is what I get for commenting in a clean room with two pairs of latex gloves on while using a tough book keyboard. Argh.

  39. "If you can't prove 100% either way, don't both views take a little faith?"

    By that reasoning, every belief requires faith. I can't prove that all this isn't just a dream or hallucination. Nothing can be absolutely proven 100%.

  40. I have a very simple question for you, Mr. Aucuin, with all due respect (by which I mean, none whatsoever) to your beliefs.

    You say that you were involved in the genesis of the Creation Museum. Perhaps, therefore, you can clarify something for me: on which chapter of Genesis is the museum's account based? Genesis contains two discrepant accounts of the creation, one in Chapter 1 and another in Chapter 2, and these accounts contradict one another in many details (to the point where it is logically impossible for both to have been true). Which, by your reckoning, is the true account, and how was this determined?

  41. @Stephan: "
    1) the children at the beginning are with a baby Tyrannosaur, not a velociraptor. Additionally, it had blunted teeth."

    As the resident animal scientist and veterinary technician in da house, I have to disagree. They were baby T-Rexes, but they did have several molars at the sides and rear of their mouths. To add insult to injury, they were even flat molars instead of the "mountainous" molars we see in carnivores.

  42. It's all lies! lies i tell you! it's at 51 minutes that the angel of the Lord God Herself came down from heaven and told Jen (and I quote) "right, that's quite enough of that! Knock it off!"

    Sadly, the glory was too much and it MELTED THE TAPE.

    Seriously, the whole thing was great enough I watched it all the way through to past the facepalm.

    One question - can we get the slide set too?

    and also, how freakin' awesome is it that you've managed to scare AiG so much they won't even mention your name? You're like the female version of a blogging Voldemort.

  43. @pablo

    Having "no belief" is a belief. you have a belief that there is nothing to believe in(which is kind of a paradox). But you have to have some faith in something, even if it's only a small fraction of something. Whether it be a flying spaghetti monster, pirates, or the people who collect scientific data.

    @ strinka

    Exactly. I think you got it. Nothing can be proven 100%. You can't prove this isn't a dream or hallucination. Therefore, you can't prove there is or isn't a God. And so people shouldn't be wagging their fingers at Christians or athiests. Why can't we all just be friends?

    @ mcbender

    Your lack of respect for Aucion shows you have no class.

    @ stephan

    Yes. Evidence for a naturalistic universe abounds. No one is disagreeing with you on that. We all believe in a nature and laws. However, there is no science that disproves the possibilities of anomalies or a God that causes them. If natural law causes the laws of nature. Could there be a different cause that disobeys them? Science has never disproved that. It's never proved it either. So you can't be 100% sure.

    If we as people are to say one way is the way, we are in fact taking some sort of faith because science and reason can't prove it's 100% true. Isn't it a little hypocritical to mock others for having some?

  44. "Having "no belief" is a belief. "

    And "no hair" is hair.

    Bald is a hairstyle?

  45. @ Anonymous (12:56 PM):

    I did not say I had no respect for Mr. Aucuin himself; that is a misreading of my statement. What I said, specifically, is that I give his beliefs exactly the respect they are due, which is none. A person's beliefs and that person are not equivalent, and I shall stand by my prior statement.

    Now, as to the substance of your reply.

    I agree with you that 100% certainty is unrealistic, and I will concede that outside of pure mathematics and logic it is impossible. However, this is a pedantic point and does not imply the conclusions you draw from it. Your entire argument is a non-sequitur.

    The burden of proof always rests on the affirmative claim. Given no evidence to believe something, we must default to the null hypothesis. This is the scientific method, as I am sure you already know.

    The preponderance of evidence against "supernatural" phenomena suggests that the probability of their existence is extremely low. In practice, it is not unreasonable to take the limit and say that there are no such things, however when confronted about this I do not think you will find any skeptic who maintains absolute certainty of the nonexistence of any given phenomenon (Russell's teapot, invisible-intangible-inaudible pink unicorn, ghosts, Zeus, you name it) when pressed. The probability is simply so low as to be considered zero for all practical purposes, and there is no reason to reject the null hypothesis that there is no such phenomenon.

    This is not "faith". "Faith" is the assertion an affirmative claim when there is no evidentiary corroboration to support it.

    On the other hand (and Dan Barker has made this point spectacularly in his book Godless), it is possible to be 100% certain that something cannot exist if it is logically incoherent. He argues, quite convincingly, that the Christian god is self-contradictory and therefore cannot exist. However, this is a quite different point and not immediately related to the above.

    The "you cannot be 100% certain that there is no phenomenon X, therefore it is not unreasonable to believe X is true" argument is a strawman, plain and simple.

  46. Anonymous said:
    Science has never disproved that. It's never proved it either. So you can't be 100% sure.

    Strawman, table for one. When did I ever say anything about being sure, or 100% sure about anything? Science is never 100% sure about anything.

    However, none of the evidence supports the supernatural claims (religion or otherwise) and any time we test claims that should leave evidence (psychic powers, prayer, the natural history as told by Genesis) the supernatural claims fail. Therefore we have a situation where the supernatural worldview has no evidence to support it and evidence against it, but by the description of the "supernatural entitites" we can't say with 100% certainty that they don't exist. However, with the evidence at hand, there is zero reason to accept supernatural claims.

    You can want them to be true, or feel they are true, so you can keep testing them. I'm glad people are out there trying to prove this stuff, it is good for our collective philosophy. However, until they have some evidence to back them up, there is no reason to accept the claims. The supernatural is not 100% ruled out, but it is 100% ruled out of currently accepting it. Again, supply some evidence, and that number will change.

  47. Julie said:
    As the resident animal scientist and veterinary technician in da house, I have to disagree. They were baby T-Rexes, but they did have several molars at the sides and rear of their mouths. To add insult to injury, they were even flat molars instead of the "mountainous" molars we see in carnivores.

    I'm confused, where exactly do we disagree? I wasn't exact about the type of teeth because honestly I don't know that much about the teeth of baby carnivore dinos and I couldn't get that close to the robotic one in the Creation "Museum" to tell what they were.

  48. @ Anonymous (12:56 PM):

    So, all beliefs have the exactly the same validity, since none can be absolutely proven or disproven?

    When you learn something new, how do you determine if it's right or wrong? By flipping a coin?

  49. @Stephan, did you edit your comment? I could have sworn it originally said: "They aren't molars, those are blunted teeth." Anyway, those were definitely molars. Camera zoom confirmed it.

  50. Julie said...
    @Stephan, did you edit your comment?

    Nope, just one of those misreadings we all do from time to time. I read your comment like six times trying to figure out what you were objecting to...so they put in molars. Awesome. When I was there I didn't think much of the teeth until I started reading other people's mention of the evolution of the teeth in other parts of the museum. That place is so hilarious!

  51. "I'm not some hic from kentucky"

    Yea, thanks....>_>

    Freshmen at Eastern Kentucky University

  52. Boy, a lot has transpired since I have been away for the weekend--exploding porn and popcorn dialogue, and blasphemy day (sorry I missed that ; ). Now, several folks asked me direct questions or responded directly about me or to me. So here are my responses.

    @ Alec..Sorry Alec. I am a hic from Oklahoma—that’s probably worse than Kentucky.

    @Anonymous: Yes anonymous, I was being sarcastic in my previous post--a little levity to lighten things up with a point behind each statement. I will mark my “levity” with a winking smile like this ; ) and my serious comment with a : 0 so that everybody knows my demeanor. I am going to post several responses and again, I mean no ill will toward anybody. And to prove it, any college student here in town, involved with this discussion, that doesn’t have a place to go for thanksgiving will be welcomed over my house to play some games and watch some football at thanksgiving.

    Now here is my first piece of levity…
    ; ) Why so serious? I think we should all just dance! Don’t worry about truth and meaning and who is right and who is wrong! It doesn’t matter! Richard Dawkins says… “In a universe of blind physical forces and genetic replications, some people are going to get hurt, and other people are going to get lucky, and you won’t find any rhyme or reason in it nor any justice. The universe we observe is precisely the properties we should expect if there is at the bottom no design, no purpose, no evil and no good—nothing but blind pitiless indifference. DNA neither knows nor cares. DNA just is. And we dance to its music” (Dawkins, A River out of Eden, 133).

  53. @Stephan
    quoting Stephan, “Brent Aucoin…but you are wrong, I’m sorry to be so blunt.”

    ; ) Stephan, you above all have convinced me of macro-evolution. I never thought I would observe a new species of Homo sapiens mutating right in front of my eyes! —A skeptic who is absolutely sure I am wrong about a philosophical issues no less. We will call him Homo skepticusabsoluticus.

    ; ) I’m glad the axioms of logic are “natural” and not “super” natural, could you buy me some natural logic from Wal-Mart? I know you guys would agree that I need some. While you are at Wal-Mart, also buy me some natural “right” because I apparently have been infused with natural “wrong.” I don’t want anybody to be doing any facepalming because of me anymore.

    : 0 Seriously, Stephan, the naturalistic worldview cannot account for absolute right/wrong, axioms of logic, truth/meaning (see Dawkins quote above). Furthermore it cannot find a mechanism for answering the fundamental question, “Why is there something and not nothing?” Nor can that worldview answer the question, “What at the most fundamental level sustains life? In other words, what keeps the chemicals firing in the brain to send the signals to the heart to keep beating?” --Thus, “Why is there life?” The naturalistic worldview not only does not know currently but has nothing inherent within its framework to provide an answer to the question on the origin of life. Richard Dawkins cannot answer the question either (Birhmingham Debate with Lennox and Oxford Discussion with Lennox where he admits this). I wonder if this is why Dawkins might be persuaded to consider some form of a deist type god. (More on that below)

  54. @Mcbender
    ; )Thanks for instructing me about the logical contradiction. In heaven, I am sure Adam, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Habakkuk, Ezra, Nehemiah, Jesus, John, Luke, Peter, Paul, and Mary are all facepalming right now since they all seemed to have missed that—jeesh! …in the very first two chapters of the very first book of the Bible no less! Their intellect must not have evolved to the levels of ours today. Really, if you want a job done right …

    : 0 Seriously --There are cohesive and consistent readings of Gen 1 & 2 which nicely harmonize, I would be happy to email mail you a compelling reading if you facebook me your email address. It is really not a problem. Only a perceived one.

    : 0 Prove empirically for me logical axioms. And also see my comments for Stephan above.

  55. Regarding "Athiesm" as a "faith"...

    ; ) I’m sure glad atheist don’t believe in atheism. That is one less “ism” I have to keep track of among monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, theism, deism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, evangelicalism, Catholicism, liberalism, rationalism, naturalism, Obamaism, conservatism, radical religious fundamentalism, skepticism, humanism, modernism, post-modernism…

    : 0 Seriously, I understand that technically, “Atheism” is lack of belief in the existence of any god(s). However, that does not mean “atheists” are inherently faithless and are pure “objectivists.” If you know your cultural shifts, Post Modernism has moved away from the concept of pure objectivity that was characteristic of the Enlightenment era which resulted in the modernism of the last two centuries (1800’s ish to 1960’s ish). However, culturally, the Enlightenment era has been rejected and we are in new times. Post-Modern thought has gone so far as saying there is no possibility of objectivity. While I do not agree I do believe that everybody starts reasoning from non-provable starting axioms (accepted as self-evident or “faith”). Then the process of warranting the axioms begins. There is not one person in this world who can claim absolute objectivity and to be without bias and to be without any faith system. Atheists while not having a belief in theism do have a faith system that will fall into rationalism or humanism or secularism or materialism or naturalism or ….

  56. ; ) Okay, I think I finally get it with the natural logic Stephan bought me from Wal-mart. See if this is correct for the overall sentiment of atheism … “Isn’t it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there is actually a gardener behind it also? Did I get the logic right? Or should I have said “fairy” instead of “gardener?” I always get those confused, I can’t remember which one is the straw man…you know, “God” / “Spaghetti Monster.” Who can keep this straight? Maybe I should have Stephan buy me some new improved natural logic from a better store than Wal-Mart.

    :0 Seriously now, even Richard Dawkins begins to ever so slightly admit that a case could be made for a Deist (non-personal supreme creator) position….

    “The deist god would be one that I think.. it would be….one could make a reasonably respectable case for that…not a case that I would accept. But I think it is a serious discussion we could have.” (Dawkins, Oxford Discussion; 4:30 mark; http://richarddawkins.net/article,3911,Richard-Dawkins-and-John-Lennox-at-the-Oxford-University-Museum,Richard-Dawkins-John-Lennox)

    “You could possibly persuade me there was some kind of creative force in the universe with some kind of physical mathematical genius who created everything—the expanding universe, devised quantum theory, relativity, and all that. You could possibly persuade me of that. But that is radically and fundamentally incompatible with the sort of god who cares about sin, the sort of god who cares about what you do with your genitals, the sort of god who is interested, who has the slightest interest in your private thoughts and your wickedness. Surely you can see that a god who is grand enough to make the universe is not going to give a (undecipherable ) cuss about what you are thinking about and your sins and things like that. (Dawkins, Oxford Discussion 37:00 minute mark; http://richarddawkins.net/article,3911,Richard-Dawkins-and-John-Lennox-at-the-Oxford-University-Museum,Richard-Dawkins-John-Lennox)

    I am wondering what evidence might lead Dawkins to be persuaded of a creative force in the universe?

    ; ) Is Dawkins still evolving?

    Are we still having fun?

  57. I forgot...

    @ Anonymous
    Thanks for defending me.

    I am no stranger to being attacked for my beliefs and neither are our athiest friends here either.
    ;) So maybe we can find something in common!

  58. This comment has been removed by the author.

  59. This weekend, Ken Ham posted my "report" on Jen's presentation.


    Have a good weekend

  60. Jen -

    Pastor Aucoin clearly interpreted your meeting as a gathering of people much like those teachers and professors characterized by the "Men In White" video at the museum. I hope that you can see how the audience reaction and your glib presentation might have reinforced those stereotypes in his mind.

    I just visited the museum. Apparently it was "Creation Day" which your presentation told me was October 23rd, 4004 BC. I wonder why they weren't having a celebration.

    My impression is that the museum is mocking scholarship in general. A more scholarly explanation of your reaction to some of the displays might have been more appropriate.

    You missed something about the part about how we find marsupials after the dinosaurs died in the flood because they somehow migrate faster. That display is making a case for where the the marsupials appear in the fossil record. But the entire room before that was claiming that the entire paleontological record was formed in the flood. How could marsupials be fossilized if there was not another flood to cover them in hundreds of feet of sand and rock?

    You also missed the planetarium presentation though I understand that would have meant giving more money to the the museum. In there they suggested that the speed of light might have been different in the past. It's a funny circular argument. The speed of light can be equated with the "speed of time" ... if that makes any sense. The speed of light determines how mater interacts via the electromagnetic force. That is, all nuclei, atoms, and molecules are bound together and interact with each other via electric and magnetic fields (and the weak and strong forces, yes - but mostly it's electromagnetic). If you try to muck around with the speed of light you loose all reference to a time frame. You might just as well throw out 24-hour day and substitute it with billion-year day. If you can change the speed of light you can define time however you like.

    It's a nice talk. You handled the Q&A very well.


  61. Paul, I thought the particular stereotypes of the elite, intolerant, academia mindset to which you refer in the “Men in White” video were not very professional. The characterizations can be needlessly offensive. In my opinion, however, I believe that this mindset does exist among some scholars—just as an elite intolerant mindset exists among some religious individuals. Additionally, I do not believe that AIG is mocking all scholarship as you suggest. I would prefer that neither “side” would use condescending mockery to characterize individuals holding opposing views. Having said that, I think humor used judiciously is appropriate—especially when we make fun of ourselves. I really liked Jen’s closing picture of Darwin’s Night at the Creation Museum. I have attempted to use some humor in my several posts here.

    You might want to email AIG and ask them to explain the apparent contradiction you observed between subsequent museum displays about the Marsupial fossil formation. See what they say.

    As far as the variable speed of light (VSL) issue…
    I am not “up to speed” on VSL, but maybe you are aware that secular scientists have recently postulated VSL as a possible solution to the horizon problem in the Big Bang model. VSL would therefore be an alternative solution to inflation theory. VSL has not been widely received by any means. But, creationists are not the only ones curiously exploring possibilities like VSL to push the boundaries of cosmological understanding. Do not many discoveries come when we begin to push the boundaries of what we once thought was not possible. Darwin anybody? (from your perspective ; ) Furthermore, my understanding of AIG’s assertion about VSL was that it was only one of several possible theories being explored. VSL may result in a dead end.


  62. Brent,

    Just getting back to this blog and found your response.

    I'm not up on all of the theories about variation in the speed of light. Some do, I am aware, suggest that some "fundamental constants" may not be so constant. But the changes being suggested are infinitesimal. The effect would be to change the speed of light by a billionth of a billionth of a percent. There's no serious suggestion about the speed of light having been a billion billion times faster in the past.

    I did enjoy the humor of Jen's presentation. What you say about treating people with opposing viewpoints with grace and dignity is right on. The world could use more of that.