Darwin Was Wrong Will Return in a Moment
I took a break from recounting the horrors of the Darwin Was Wrong conference, so I could fit in the Christmas-related posts. As soon as I get a reasonable amount of time (in a day or two), I will resume the tale.
It was worth the diversion. The Atomic Toy article got Stumbled-Upon, and I received my second-highest one-day traffic of all time! (About 8000 hits. The highest was about 14,000 hits way back in 2007 for the AIG Research Paper Winner.)
I know you’re going through creationism-conference withdrawal, so head on over to Robert Madewell’s blog. He also went to a creationism conference and lived to tell about it.
In his first article, he gives a brief recap. His second article is an open letter to the pastor of the sponsoring church. That goes into the most detail of what he heard there. Robert’s experience is fundamentally (ha!) different from mine.
I throw around the term “liar” and “lying” rather loosely in my descriptions of the conference I visited. Many of the statements that all of the speakers made were falsehoods. In most cases, the speakers were lying to themselves as much as they were lying to the audience.
The speakers at Darwin Was Wrong largely misunderstood the science they were presenting to the audience. They were mostly saying things such as:
Atheist scientists say that the Earth is billions of years old, but it isn’t, because their radiometric dating is incorrect.
Darwinists claim that humans evolved from apes, but there are no transitional fossils. Every fossil that they claim is transitional is just a diseased ape.
They are giving a quasi-accurate description of current scientific consensus, and then explaining why they disagree with it.
In Robert’s case, the speaker was (apparently) intentionally misrepresenting the current scientific consensus. He was building straw-man arguments, because they were so much easier to refute than the actual scientific beliefs.
Robert is a little more charitable than I am in this assessment. Robert says:
I am horrified that Dr. Harrub could so blatantly misrepresent science. I can’t say whether it was out of dishonesty or negligence. Doesn’t matter. A man with his credentials should research his claims about his opposition’s claims, before writing a presentation based on them. I think anyone is obligated to do that.
Here is just one example that Robert mentions:
In the lecture The Dinosaur Dilemma, Dr. Harrub claims that a fossil skeleton of a mammal was found that has parts of a dinosaur in its stomach. He then claims that this fossil contradicts the theory of evolution, because science claims that dinosaurs preceded mammals and that these two classes of animals did not co-exist.
Scientists do not claim that dinosaurs and mammals did not coexist. This is something that Dr. Harrub should have known if he had done the barest research beforehand.
Robert says he counted at least ten incidents like this. I say that a pattern of recklessly-false statements about the opponent’s position indicates intentional deception by the speaker.
In my encounters with creationists, I find that most of the ones who try a scholarly approach to refuting evolution use the approach of the speakers at Darwin Was Wrong. They present the scientific side as best they understand it, and then wave their arms around and pretend all of those facts don’t matter.
Only a minority take the approach of Dr. Harrub at the event Robert went to, whereby they make false statements about the scientific side, in order to more easily shoot it down.
Of this latter group, I think very few of them are actually like Dr. Harrub, who is educated enough to know better. This is the true liar of the anti-evolutionists.
The bulk of the people who mis-state the scientific side are simpletons like Ray Comfort. He is an uneducated rube with no intellectual capacity. He can be forgiven for being retarded.