How The AFA Spins Creationist Propaganda

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Apparently, right now as I write and post this, there is an exciting webcast taking place! I got an email alert as it started. That’s a classy way to attract audiences. I thought I’d just share with you exactly how the American Family Association is working to protect the American family. For reasons beyond my understanding, it has something to do with resisting scientific literacy. That’s assuming, of course, you buy the premise that the AFA has anything to do with “families.” Maybe The Family. Read through this email with me, won’t you?

Webcast: Deserting Darwin: The Galapagos Re-Discovered

What do you get from that title? There seems to be a suggestion that people who support Darwin should abandon Darwin. Because understanding science is like a big game of Red Rover? Before we even read any of the description, it’s easy to see that these people don’t understand science. It’s about what we understand, not what we believe. It’s even more rich to think that they are somehow going to disprove evolution by replicating Darwin’s research? Who knows. (I ironically omitted the question mark after “knows” to emphasize my sardonicism, amplified pretentiously by this unnecessary parenthetical rife with polysyllabic vocabulary.)

I’d like to call your attention to a very important radio/Internet simulcast tomorrow night.

Thanks for sending it to me a day late. Maybe they don’t understand how time works? That would require understanding the earth’s rotation as it orbits the sun, and I know a few Bible verses that counter that claim.

It’s called, “Deserting Darwin: The Galapagos Re-Discovered”. Our special guest will be Doug Phillips, President of Vision Forum. Both he and host Crane Durham will be discussing the significance of two anniversaries in 2009. One is the 200th birthday of Charles Darwin and the other is the 150th anniversary of his work, “On the Origin of Species”. Together these represent a decisive shift in thinking about human origins and the age of the Earth. As part of the broadcast you’ll hear from Dr. John Morris of the Institute for Creation Research as well as experts in law and apologetics.

That sounds pretty straight forward, but read it again. Yes, it is those anniversaries, and yes, Origin of Species did shift how we think about human origins and the age of the Earth. But wouldn’t you want biologists (like Darwin was) to discuss Darwin’s research? Instead, the special guest is the President of a Christian organization, accompanied by a “Dr.” from a Christian pseudoscience organization, and lawyers and defenders of faith. There isn’t one person there with any credentials to actually discuss the “significance” of these anniversaries.

This isn’t surprising, but I think there’s something about the fact that they can present it in a way that almost makes it sound legitimate that I just find incredibly disconcerting.

As a special bonus you’ll be able to view the latest film from Vision Forum entitled, “The Mysterious Islands”. In this beautiful documentary, Doug Phillips traces Darwin’s voyage with a team of Christian scientists and investigators to ask a penetrating question – are these Islands a laboratory of evolution, or a testimony to God’s marvelous creation?

Note that it is not an interesting documentary, or an enlightening documentary, or even an educational documentary; it’s “beautiful.” So some Christian scientists and investigators are going to ask a question. Is that the whole movie? They just ask the question. It’s totally an unanswerable question and no credible scientist would ever ask it. I reckon this movie would be like those I Spy books for kids. It’s just pointing and looking in awe. Look at that turtle! Look at that finch! WOW! How “marvelous.” Our work is done!

I hope you’ll make plans to join us for this important two-hour webcast, “Deserting Darwin: The Galapagos Re-Discovered” tomorrow (Tuesday) night, December 8th beginning at 8:05 (EST).

Sincerely,

Jeff Chamblee
Producer, “Deserting Darwin – The Galapagos Re-Discovered”

Nope, sorry, I’m going to spend that time ridiculing you.

I know, I know, this is all par for the course for the AFA. There’s nothing new or even all that interesting here. Personally, I just think it’s funny, and I hope this post made you smile; that was my sole intent. The one thing I don’t want to happen is for us all to get desensitized to this absurdity. We need to be reminded that there are forces at work (with many followers) undermining scientific literacy. Every single piece of propaganda like this just seems to confirm our nation’s social dysfunction.

One thing is for sure: my family feels more supported than ever. Thanks AFA.

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There are 15 Comments to "How The AFA Spins Creationist Propaganda"

  • Scott says:

    Thanks Zack for your take on the title and samples of this movie.  I am glad to hear you have an open mind about evolutionary possibilities that don’t follow your beliefs.  I try to do the same as well because it ultimately does not matter what we think, but what actually happened so I am always trying to learn more

    God Bless!

  • ZackFord says:

    Thank you for your polite passive aggressiveness! I actually totally agree, which is why I have no beliefs, and I do understand what actually happened based on empirical evidence. I also don’t treat possibilities and improbabilities like they’re one in the same.

    Trust me, friend, if you want to learn more about what actually happened in regards to evolution, ignore anyone who promotes “creation,” “design,” “Christian,” “God,” or who tries to suggest evolution is merely something you “believe” in. (None of them are legitimate scientists.)

    Take care!

  • Scott says:

    “Trust me”…Trusting you would mean that I would need to have faith in you and there is only 1 being that I have faith in which is why none of this ultimately matters in regards to this discussion, but simply to satisfy my own selfish personal curiosity. 

    I would also ask you to continue to keep an open mind and to not exclude certain people because of their unfortunate religious name tags.  Fact is it really does not matter beacause we either believe in God or we don’t.  I have plenty of empirical evidence that makes me the former.

    God Bless!

  • ZackFord says:

    Trust and faith are quite different. You needn’t have faith in me; I exist either way. The same cannot be said for your 1 being, for whom there is no empirical evidence, merely faith.

    If you are truly curious, then think outside of what you believe. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding, I promise.

    Take care!

  • Henry Morris says:

    ZackFord and Scott — have either of you seen the movie?

  • Scott says:

    “The same cannot be said for your 1 being, for whom there is no empirical evidence, merely faith.”  This is the first truly wrong thing that you have said.  In fact I do trust and have faith that he exists…and exists wether Zack Ford says he does or does not.  I also have trust and have faith that Zack Ford exists, because of that belief.  I have conversations with God in a similar manner as this that does require Faith and an open mind.  Does not mean that they have not happened.  EVERYBODY can do the same.  You see we are not as different as you would hope us to be and I believe even that is a miracle.  I have more friends that believe in the way that you believe than I do that believe in the way that I believe…I am even married to one of them, but when you really, really know something to be a fact than that is what is satisfying to the soul and perhaps the way it was supposed to be for me.  With that said you may feel the same love, comfort and confidence that I do and if so be thankful.  

    By the way, my empirical evidence exists in the monumental amount of miracles that have happened in my life and others close to me that confirms everything that matters.  Actual things that have happened and have seen with my own eyes that can only be explained by there being 1 true God.  Examine your life like only you can and you may even find some of those miracles.  

    With prayers (or thoughts) that we both keep open minds,

    your friend,

    Scott 

    p.s. My curiosity does not exist in a “whether or not” scenario, but  in a “I want to hear other opinions” It is the purest form of curiosity.

    Think outside of what you believe.  It’s not easy, but very rewarding.  I promise!

    God Bless!

  • Scott says:

    No, I have not watched it yet.  I found Zack’s Site while looking for it.

  • Henry Morris says:

    The video can be ordered from here…
    http://store.icr.org/prodinfo.asp?number=DMIO1

  • ZackFord says:

    Scott (and perhaps Henry too), I consider myself an educator and a doer of good deeds (even if my tact isn’t always widely appreciated). That said, I feel I owe it to you to explain to you that your way of thinking is flawed. In fact, your comments, Scott, epitomize what we know as the scientific illiteracy that plagues our nation. I say this not to insult you, offend you, or even cast judgment upon you, but because you need to be aware that you are a victim in this inadequacy. Largely, it is not your fault that you have been educated this way; it is the symptom of poorly communicated scientific learning and a cultural aversion to science and critical thinking skills. What concerns and saddens me most is that it might even be too late for you. While I will respond to your comments in the hopes of expanding your thinking, I worry that my efforts will be in vain and that the potential for your thinking to grow is permanently bridled. Please prove me wrong.

    Scott, in your comment, you describe your empirical evidence as miracles you have witnessed or experienced. You need to understand that as real and awesome and inspiring as you have perceived those to be for you, they do not constitute any kind of empirical evidence. Empirical evidence, by definition, cannot rely solely upon a single observation. “Evidence” is only empirical when it can be tested, measured, and replicated objectively.

    When you experience something you “cannot explain,” you make the assumption that there is meaning behind every confluence of events, that everything and every combination of things that happens can be explained. This is an assumption that is supported by your beliefs, but that in fact rejects empiricism entirely. That is because this way of thinking implies that the nature of our universe is not constant. It leaves no room for circumstance. It leaves no consideration for possibility and probability. Further, these events are not replicable or measurable beyond your personal experience of observation. Your classification of them as “miracles” further reveals the inherent subjectivity of your conclusions. All of this demonstrates how unscientific your thinking is on these matters and how your personal experiences do not constitute any sort of “empirical evidence.”

    If you compare me and God, it’s easy to see the difference. It does not matter what you believe; I exist. In fact, I would exist whether you had ever stumbled upon my blog or not. You have the measurable evidence of my blog, my pictures, and the fact that I respond to you. It’s objective evidence, because any other person can perceive my existence in exactly the same way. If you are not convinced my content is input by a real human or that I am actually “Zack Ford”, you could travel to my home in Pennsylvania in person. You (or anyone, and that’s important) could meet me, interact with me, confirm my identity documentation, test me, etc. You could empirically prove my existence, but that is only because any other person could arrive at the same objective conclusion.

    Your conversations with God are the opposite. To truly be empirical, it is not enough for you alone to have experienced it as “real.” God is not a being that can be measured and perceived objectively. You couldn’t test his reflexes. You couldn’t document how he communicates (make a recording?) or any aspect of his physical being (take a picture?). If your God were real, I should be able to perceive him right now for myself. I shouldn’t need guidance or practice or convincing; I should be able to investigate on my own and record my own results. But the concept of a god does not have definable parameters, so there can be no empirical evidence for his existence. He is only measurable by your faith, as I said in my previous comment. (I hope this makes more sense now.)

    I, by no means, wish to disregard experiences or feelings that you have had. I am sure that the love, comfort, and confidence you feel is real enough to you that it doesn’t matter if it is empirically real or not. But please understand that faith, by definition, is not empirical evidence. It is also important to note that not all differing opinions are deserving of the same merit. Your conclusions about God and the miracles performed in your life only have legitimacy from your own perspective; they do not adequately define or explain anything objectively.

    As for the video in question, I have no intention of wasting my time watching it, as I grant no merit to its premise. There is absolutely nothing that could be in that video that would testify objectively or empirically to “God’s marvelous creation.” Such claims would only constitute self-fulfilling prophesy to those who already assume an unprovable assumption. Like your personal belief in God, they would not adequately define or explain anything outside of that shared perspective, and thus they would bear no true scientific credibility or empiricism whatsoever.

    That is why it is inaccurate to describe a “belief” in evolution. There is objectively observable, measurable, replicable, testable evidence for evolution regardless of what is believed. Just as my existence is constant regardless of whether you believe in me, so too is evolution’s.

    Just as another example, consider when you ride in a motor vehicle. The sequence of events and body of knowledge invested in the existence and operation of that vehicle might be beyond our knowledge. I know very little about the mechanics or engineering of such a vehicle. I was not a part of the design process, the manufacturing process, or the distribution process. When I drive my car, I am putting my trust into every individual whose expertise and skills went into its production, as well as into every individual who designs or maintains the traffic system, as well as into my own driving skills and the driving skills of every other person operating such a vehicle. There are a lot of things we might not “know” about our cars, but that does not mean that driving a car has anything to do with faith. There are no supernatural forces at work. I need not believe in anything to feel safe driving my car. It is trust in knowledge and the skills of my fellow humans that is important, not any faith in a higher power or meaning or explanation.

    I’ve written this long comment in the hope it might help you understand the flaws in what you have presented. Nothing I’ve written represents any opinion on my part. I can’t stop you from “disagreeing,” but please note that any “different opinion” you offer will, I fear, only further illustrate your apparent scientific illiteracy. There is a lot here, and I hope you really take some time to think about what I have shared. Perhaps read it more than once and process it. Really see if you can incorporate it into how you already think about the world. If, in the end, you are unable to, you have my deepest apologies on behalf of a society that has deprived you of independent critical thinking skills.

    Best wishes.

  • Henry Morris says:

    Soooo…have you, Zach, actually seen the film that started this post?

  • ZackFord says:

    Henry, if you had actually read my previous comment (which I spent quite some time writing on your behalf), you would understand that I had not seen the video, why I will not bother to watch the video (especially if I have to pay ICR for the privilege), and how to correctly spell my name.

    I am always delighted when people are reading and commenting on my site, but please do not attempt to chastise me on my own site without actually taking the time to comprehend what I have written. Thanks.

  • Henry Morris says:

    My apologies Zach, er Zack.  Time is precious, and reading long posts are not a good us of it.  I have not seen the film either, and was curious to your take on it.  Since you have not viewed the object of your critique, there is nothing more to discuss.  Thx.

  • ZackFord says:

    Henry, your comment disappoints me, as it means you’ve not taken the time to listen to any of the points that I have made.

    Since you’re so busy you can’t read a few paragraphs, I’ll make this short and sweet:

    I’m not going to waste time or money watching a movie that’s premise has no merit. There is no such thing as evidence for the “beauty of God’s creation,” nor is there such a thing as Christian science. I’m sure there is a lot of pretty footage, but that’s not enough for me.

  • Scott says:

    Zack, I appreciate your comments and general concern for my education on this matter.  Although you may believe it “to late for me” I know it is not to late for you to see things in a different light.  You have not opened your heart to different possibilities like I have.  You have proven that by simply choosing not to listen to anything that does not fit in your box.  Just like people that surrounded Darwin in his studies there were people that unequivically came to different conclusions even though they walked in each others footsteps…as is certainly the case here and now we have done the same. 

    Jesus lived here on earth.  He was the son of god.  We have evidence of that, you just choose not to believe it.  You are exercising your God given right to free will.  That is how it was meant to be.  As Darwin quoted in his autobiography, this is “certainly a damnable doctrine”  Because of that you are in my prayers forever.

    If you want to continue the discussion could you address these questions for me?  Where do you find worth and strength?  Will people be able to prove that you existed 2000 years from now because this blog will be stored on a server or by some other means?  Do you have faith that your mother loves you or do you just take her at her word?

    Think about how many things in your life require faith/belief.  Things that you can’t determine by equating or determining the half life of.  It does not change the fact that they exist.  It is maybe just not in your area of expertise.  Take some time to determine if you know everything to be true on the subject or just what you believe to be true because someone else said so.  As you stated I do” illustrate Scientific illiteracy” which is how this conversation started in the first place.  I have however through public education including my undergraduate learned what you would call the basics of science which included a perfect score on the science portion of my pre-college entrance exam.  This does not make me a scientist or expert on the subject, but in my 34 years have been able to come to a logical conclusion.  It does not surprise me that it is differnet than yours.  Your previous response is as hostile and dismissive as the religious fanatics that will not listen to possibilities.  The world is full of them so pay as much attention as possible, because one thing I am certain of is that we are all flawed and even potentially wrong.  That includes you and I.  Exercise some flexibility by watching this movie or educating yourself in some way to the opposing view points.  Any good educator would since that is how you see yourself.  Maybe you will learn something.  Is someone else’s opinion a waste of your time?  You have proven that it is not the case by responding to my previous posts so I thank you.

    With prayers,

    Scott

  • ZackFord says:

    Scott,

    I am open to all possibilities, but I most definitely discriminate based on rationality and my understanding of the universe. Not all ideas are valid.

    We have evidence of that, you just choose not to believe it.

    This is wrong. Evidence does not require belief. Evidence is replicable and researchable. There is no evidence for God or for Jesus being the son of God. If there were, it would not matter what I believe. It would just be true. Unfortunately, it’s only true if you believe. That is not empirical; that is not evidence. If you do not understand that, that’s the evidence of your scientific illiteracy, not your score on an exam.

    I will happily answer your questions.

    Where do you find worth and strength?

    Anywhere and everywhere, but most importantly, from within. I am able to motivate myself and propel myself. My life is finite, I will die eventually, and so I want to make the most of it. I get a lot of strength from friends, family, and colleagues, as well as from interactions like this one which energize me to continue the work that I do. I learn from the experiences that I have had in my life and look forward to every opportunity for a new experience. Ultimately, I think I find the most worth in making a difference in this world. If everyone truly worked on behalf of the common good instead of working to defend archaic beliefs and institutions, we would live in a very different world.

    Will people be able to prove that you existed 2000 years from now because this blog will be stored on a server or by some other means?

    It’s quite possible. While I like to think my writing is fresh and innovative, I’m not sure it will be worth remembering 2000 years from now. But certainly there will be enough evidence that they could look back and see that yes, I did exist, and yes, I did write things on a blog. Clearly, neither of those things require faith or supernatural intervention.

    I don’t doubt that a man named Jesus existed 2000 years ago, but walking on water, changing water into wine, rising from the dead? Those things do require supernatural explanation, which is why I don’t believe they actually happened. The Bible is no more proof those events happened than The Lord of the Rings is proof that a couple of hobbits were able to defeat Sauron.

    Do you have faith that your mother loves you or do you just take her at her word?

    No, I do not have faith. I trust in my mother based on 24 years of observation and experience; I have very good reason to believe her when she says she loves me. If, however, she were to do something that violates that trust (it would take quite a bit, but I can’t say it would be impossible), I might have to reevaluate my conclusion.

    I agree that I am not an expert on everything. Far from it! But there is nothing in my life that requires faith or belief. Nothing. I have trust in the work of inventors, researchers, etc. who do or did have expertise that I don’t. I have hope, but that merely reflects a psychological understanding that life is more enjoyable with an optimistic attitude. I have no faith or belief.

    Are you willing to believe me when I say that?

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