Creationist Wisdom #129: Bad Arguments Rejected!

FOR your weekend contemplation, we bring you something interesting from Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of creationist wisdom. Every now and then they surprise us.

For example, they have long had this posted at their website: Arguments that should never be used. There, AIG lists a few of the absolute worst, and most easily debunked creationist arguments. There’s also this: Darwin’s Deathbed Recantation: It’s Dead!. Those hoary claims nevertheless widely circulate at other creationist websites, and we encounter them all the time. We must applaud AIG for at least making an attempt to clear out some of the most idiotic clutter.

Well, today they’ve done it again. They have this new article at their website: Far Out Claims About Astronomy. Here are some excerpts, with bold added by us, except for subtitles:

Of all people, Christians should uphold the highest standards of excellence in their science, questioning all quirky claims and avoiding hasty conclusions, such as the examples described in this article.

Ordinarily, considering the source, that would be just too ironic. But it’s an appropriate introduction to this one article. Let’s read on:

Moon Landing Conspiracy: Some people deny that the U.S. Apollo moon landings ever occurred. Instead, they consider the landings part of a grand conspiracy to deceive the Soviets during the space race of the 1960s. This bizarre claim quotes a few details out of context, while hiding mounds of contrary evidence. Its supporters are guilty of the confusion and deception that they ascribe to others.

The same could be said of creationism in general, but at least AIG is correct on this one point. We continue:

NASA’s Discovery of the Missing Day: It is an urban legend that NASA computers verified the “long days” recorded in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Kings 20:11. According to this popular story, scientists noticed that today’s positions of the sun and moon were not quite where they belonged, but they can be corrected by making allowance for the biblical events.

This story was never reasonable. Modern astronomers cannot know the exact positions of the sun and moon prior to these biblical events. So it is impossible for computers to calculate changes from such unknown positions.

It’s amazing that the “missing day” legend still makes the rounds. Even NASA has refuted it.

We’ll let you click over to AIG so you can read what they say about “Too Little Moon Dust” and “The Shrinking Sun.” Here’s one more:

Decay of the Speed of Light: If the speed of light was faster in the past, this might help explain how we could see distant stars in a young universe. Three centuries of data are available, however, and light speed appears to be constant at about 186,000 miles/second (299,300 km/sec). We can speculate about a large-scale change of light speed in the past, but evidence is lacking. In addition, any alteration of light speed would affect several other constants of nature, but evidence of these changes is also lacking.

We have more evidence than that. See How Old Is The Creationists’ Universe?

Here’s the conclusion to AIG’s article:

Guided by the truth of the Bible, Christians should be careful to investigate every claim before jumping to conclusions. As the Apostle Paul said, God’s people should always strive to “approve things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:10).

So once again, AIG is striking at least a few of the most useless claims from their creationist inventory. Now if only they’d get to work on the rest of them.

Copyright © 2010. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #129: Bad Arguments Rejected!

  1. “Even NASA has refuted it.”

    That would just make NASA part of the conspiracy, wouldn’t it? 🙂

  2. If you’re of a glass-is-half-full attitude, this kind of thing shows that Creationism is grudgingly giving way to the advance of science. For instance, look at this item on the blog of the big guy himself at AiG–

    http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2010/03/22/the-typical-evolutionist-straw-man/

    In particular, Ham says: “As I often say, ‘Darwin was right about natural selection and right about speciation, but totally wrong that they are mechanisms to change one kind into another. There can be great variation within a kind—but there are boundaries to each kind. Darwin thought the changes/speciation he observed were evidence of molecules to man evolution—but he was actually looking at the phenomenal variety God created within the genetic makeup of each kind.’”

    Ham has conceded so much here to Darwin, even with some face-saving bafflegab about “kinds” and mysterious, never observed boundaries between them and some sort of “front-loaded” capacity for intra-species variation, that I have to wonder why he even bothers being a Creationist. He’s accepting evolution to such a degree that there isn’t much left to dispute. His granddaddy would have been aghast to hear such heresy. Then he complains about evolutionists not keeping up on the latest mutations and adaptations in the ever-evolving Creationist doctrine: “It’s about time evolutionists started telling the truth about what creationists really teach.” That the leading edge of Creationist thought has already half-surrendered to science, and the rank and file who believe Darwin was a wicked man who made evolution all up would be horrified to find out that their leaders in the fight have conceded that Darwin was mostly right?

  3. Deklane says:

    Ham says: “As I often say, ‘Darwin was right about natural selection and right about speciation, but totally wrong that they are mechanisms to change one kind into another. There can be great variation within a kind — but there are boundaries to each kind. …”

    Right. The mysterious, never observed boundaries. Fortunately, the mysterious, never observed Designer (blessed be he) is always around to overcome that difficulty.

  4. The mathematical equivalent to Hambone’s
    “-boundaries to each kind . . . ” argument is:

    1+1=2, but 1+1+1 does not equal 3.

  5. The mathematical equivalent to Hambone’s
    “-boundaries to each kind . . . ” argument is:

    1+1=2, but 1+1+1 does not equal 3.

    Well, since you mention it, I’ve always thought Creationism is the biological analogue to denying the Peano Axioms….

  6. retiredsciguy

    Curmy,
    Thought you’d be interested in this letter that appeared in the March 13 edition of Science News magazine:

    “Creationists Evolving —
    I’ve been following the arguments of creationists, now intelligent designers, for years. Eugenie Scott makes an important point about scientists becoming engaged citizens in her commentary “Accept it: Talk about evolution needs to evolve” (SN: 8/1/09,p. 32). She reflects on how creationists have had to evolve in their arguments in order to survive. Is it ironic that they have become perfect examples of evolution?
    Patrick Dunn, Mishawaka, Ind.”

  7. retiredsciguy says: “Is it ironic that they have become perfect examples of evolution?”

    I think they only “evolve” in an attempt to get around inconvenient court cases.

  8. retiredsciguy

    Here’s the link to the Science News letter.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/56608/title/Letters

    And no, I’m not the author of that letter. Sure seems to fit your post perfectly, though.

  9. retiredsciguy, thanks for the link. That letter is 2nd from the bottom, in case anyone else goes there.

    I doubt that AIG is “evolving.” What I think is going on is that they’re dropping a very few of their absolutely worst arguments, the ones that are easily refuted, so they’re not really not giving up anything. They’ve got plenty more to sling around. What they achieve by doing this is the appearance of being reasonable. It’s really quite clever.

  10. I think it is interesting that they’ve given up the “faster speed of light” argument. I mean it wasn’t coherent to begin with, but it only leaves the Omphalos argument behind, and the idea that God is a great deceiver is a little harder for the true believers to swallow.

  11. Albanaeon says:

    I think it is interesting that they’ve given up the “faster speed of light” argument.

    They can still claim that on Day One — or whatever — the light was created in transit. at the same time the stars were created, so that Adam could immediately behold the wonder of the heavens. That beats the lightspeed argument, because it can’t be refuted.

  12. Yep, can’t be refuted and makes God the biggest liar ever. Move over Loki. Make way Crow. This guy can make the ENTIRE Universe one huge deceit! Top that! Even better, it violates number 8 (or 9) of his own Big Ten, since the entire universe is now bearing false witness…

  13. Oh, and let’s not forget that its stated several times in their “literal bible” that God does NOT lie. So… Hoist by their own petard, maybe?

  14. Deklane: “If you’re of a glass-is-half-full attitude, this kind of thing shows that Creationism is grudgingly giving way to the advance of science.”

    A self-described cynic like me says the same thing, but adds more, which makes all the difference.

    As you probably know, the DI concedes even more ground to science, such as ~4 billion years of common descent (either admitted outright or not challenged directly). But I see these “concessions,” particularly the DI’s version, as strategic, anything but admissions of defeat. While Kent Hovind attracts the most extreme element, AiG’s “honesty” appeals to a larger subset of Biblical literalists, and possibly some OECs who dismiss their age disagreements (by a factor of ~700,000 no less) as trivial. Meanwhile the DI can accommodate YECs, OECs, Flat-earthers and non-Biblicals. Even some who accept evolution but whose political allegiance to its opponents is stronger than their commitment to science.