The Ultimate Creationist Challenge!

Look what we just found in the Guardian: Creationist stakes $10,000 on contest between Bible and evolution. We don’t need to make any comments. A few excerpts will be sufficient, and then you can click over there to read it all:

A California creationist is offering a $10,000 challenge to anyone who can prove in front of a judge that science contradicts the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.

This is your chance to make a fast $10K — if you have the courage to accept the challenge. Here’s more:

Dr Joseph Mastropaolo, who says he has set up the contest, the Literal Genesis Trial, in the hope of improving the quality of arguments between creationists and evolutionists, has pledged to put $10,000 of his own money into an escrow account before the debate. His competitor would be expected to do the same. The winner would take the $20,000 balance.

That sounds fair. Let’s read on:

The argument would not be made in a formal court, but under an alternative dispute resolution model known as a minitrial. Mastropaolo said he would present the argument in favor of a literal interpretation of the creation story once he had found a willing scientist to argue that a non-literal interpretation of Genesis is more scientific.

Okay, dear reader. That’s enough to stimulate your interest. Go ahead and read the article. Then accept the challenge — if you dare! Oh wait, here’s one more excerpt to really get you going:

“They [evolutionists] are not stupid people, they are bright, but they are bright enough to know there is no scientific evidence they can give in a minitrial,” Mastropaolo said.

Now let’s see who is foolhardy enough to step forward. Anyone? Anyone?

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30 responses to “The Ultimate Creationist Challenge!

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    Simple enough. Just ask Mastropaolo to name the person who was there to witness the creation, and pass the info on to the writers of Genesis.

  2. Uh, this guy made a challenge of $10,000. Why must the challenger put risk an equal amount? Never heard of a challange like that. Would it be possible to get one judge Jones from Dover fame to hear the case?

  3. Kent Hovind always had a $250K challenge going — with no takers because he would be the one to decide who won. And don’t forget Harun Yahya’s Eight Trillion Dollar Challenge.

  4. Does that specify United States dollars?

  5. Lewis Thomasonn

    Do you have to bring an eye witness to the big bang to win?

  6. Reality isn’t a popularity contest.

  7. Charles Deetz ;)

    “Starlight.” Now gimme my $10K!

  8. Yeah, how much time would you have to present your data before the judge? An hour or what?

    The Bible says that land and sea animals were created on different days, so any land-sea transition is impossible.

    Sirenians. They clearly evolve from land animals to fully aquatic animals, and we have transitional fossils all the way. The earliest proboscideans look like the earliest Sirenians. Of course the proboscideans evolve into elephants. We have a lot of transitionals for that.

    For seals/pinnipeds: puijilia.

    For whales: many, you all know those.

    From the sea to the land: Tiktaallik.

    And as for Earth being old, you’ve got a ton of radiometric data. Carbon 14 dating going back 60,000 years in the 60,000 pairs of annual layers in Lake Suigetsu.

    Tree ring dating from Bristlecone Pines.

    Potassium-Argon dating of the Hawaiian Islands, showing how they formed sequentially, and the older ones are more eroded.

    Virtually every strata in the Grand Canyon refutes the Global Flood. It’s technical, but there’s no way water could have carved the vertical walls of GC strata like the Redwall Limestone. If the dirt were soft like pudding, as creationists say, it would slump when water carves out a vertical wall.

    White cliffs of Dover. 1,000 foot thick layer of chalk made of trillions of tiny fossil skeletons of plankton. No way to grow that much plankton in a week or two.

  9. Charles Deetz ;)

    Diogenes, you are smart, posing smart arguments. They already dispute fossils, dating techniques, and the Grand Canyon. You’d have to prove the technology and then the evidence.

    I have pondered the tree ring data as being accessible by a creationist. It is simple, visible, and logical. As soon as the rings go past 10,000 years, you win.

  10. They already dispute fossils, dating techniques, and the Grand Canyon. You’d have to prove the technology and then the evidence.

    For most of the issues I raised, I already know and have studied the creationist counter-arguments. For most of the issues I raised, the creationist counter-arguments are laughably pathetic, so bad that a rebuttal need not be overly technical.

    Creationists have written much on tree rings, and it’s all trash. “Maybe the Bristlecone pines grew five rings a year for 1,000 years”, that kind of thing. No scientists has ever seen a Bristlecone pine grow more than one ring a year. Other species of pine, yes, not bristlecones. Even some creationists admit this is non-workable.

    The two exceptions, where I haven’t seen a real creationist counter-argument, are:

    Puijilia. I know of no mention of it by creationists.

    Sirenians. I know of only one mention: Georgia Purdom of AIG once said Sirenians couldn’t have evolved from land animals cause the Bible says so. But, she did not address the transitional fossils, and possibly has never heard of pezosiren.

  11. When he says “the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis”, which literal interpretation is that? A literal interpretation like that of Augustine? “Baraminologists”? Geocentrists? “Arkeologists”? Paradise Lost?
    If we could just get a detailed description of what happened and when, according to “the literal interpretation of the book of Genesis”, that would be some achievement.

  12. One indication of the amateurish level of this challenge is that the level of proof isn’t not mentioned. In a court case there are two levels of proof required: preponderance of the evidence (used in civil cases), which is just more likely than not and beyond a reasonable doubt a much higher standard (used in criminal cases). Needless to say the “reasonable” part of reasonable doubt might be an issue for creationists. There is potentially an even higher standard beyond any shadow of a doubt (Were you theah?). In which case there would be no way to win.

  13. Besides, who ever heard of going to court to find out what really happened?

  14. Troy says: “There is potentially an even higher standard beyond any shadow of a doubt (Were you theah?). In which case there would be no way to win.”

    I think that’s it. Ordinarily, how difficult is it to disprove Genesis? Genesis says that in the beginning there was heaven and earth. Then light. Then day and night. And that was Day One. Plants were created on the third day. The sun, moon, and stars were created on the fourth day. Okay, we can stop there. Any 12-year old kid knows you don’t get light without stars, and there’s no day and night without the sun. Thus, Genesis can’t possibly be correct. You rest your case.

    Does that mean you win the $10K? No. The creationist will say that you weren’t there, so you don’t have any idea what it was like back then. You haven’t proved anything. That’s the end of the trial, and you not only don’t win, but you lose your $10K.

  15. The only way to do such a debate would be to stipulate that all arguments for a recent six-day creation (and the contra position) must be based solely on non-biblical, independent evidence. The bible should be excluded entirely, such that the creationism side must present actual, non-theological evidence that the earth and the universe are the same young age, that life was supernaturally created in the diversity that we see today, and so on. In other words, it should be possible to recreate the Genesis account of creation based on the evidence presented, rather than the other way around – if not, then creationism loses.

  16. Actually, the rules do specify a preponderance of evidence as the burden of proof.

    One other thing in the rules require is that the winner pays the “court” (actually the arbitration) costs and also specifies that there will be a bailiff and a court reporter. If its, say, a three day “trial,” the fees would easily eat up the $10,000.

  17. Uh, guys, who gets to pick the judge? How could either side determine the impartiality of the judge?

    No matter how convincing my evidence is, I wouldn’t risk $10,000 on just the “hope” the judge is fair. And as John Pieret points out, it’s just not worth it, especially when you consider travel/lodging, etc.

  18. retiredsciguy asks: “How could either side determine the impartiality of the judge?”

    If he’s impartial, then he’s probably an idiot. Aside from that, no one person can “decide” such things, even if both debaters have chosen him. All he could decide is who gets the dough. That’s like flipping a coin. The whole idea is ridiculous.

  19. “you don’t get light without stars”
    Actually, SC, there was light before stars. That light is red shifted to background microwave radiation now, but at the right age of the universe, it would have contained plenty of light in our visible range.

  20. jimroberts, yeah, that’s true. No Earth at that time, however.

  21. A California creationist is offering a $10,000 challenge to anyone who can prove in front of a judge that science contradicts the “literal interpretation of the book of Genesis.”

    Which translation, which edition, which language, which translator?

    The winner would take the $20,000 balance.

    Actually, according to his conditions, the winner would only make $10,000, with the remaining $10,000 the winner’s out of pocket wager.

  22. docbill1351

    Ah, the Kangaroo Kourt of Kansas, 2005. Remember it well. Steven Meyer, his own self, testified and had a very difficult time bringing himself to say that the age of the Earth might be, maybe, perhaps, who know, I dunno, I’m not a geologist, go figger, wild guess, I’d say, oh, likely, give or take, what some people say is 4.5 billion years old or not depending on other people.

    What a moron.

  23. The trick in any Bible debate is to get your opponent to make definite statements about what he is arguing. Nail down the goalposts at the very start, or the “debate,” can only ever be a pointless, circular argument. If you can get someone to try to defend a specific thing, you can produce evidence, and all they have is blather & Bible verses.

  24. Ceteris Paribus

    @Artor: Your strategy of trying to firmly nail the Bibliophile to his own cross sounds reasonable enough. But in the real world of reason vs dogma it is actually the starting point of a “pointless, circular argument”.

    Consider Robert Ingersoll’s comments on the Trinity:

    “Christ, according to the faith, is the second person in the Trinity, the Father being the first and the Holy Ghost third.

    Each of these persons is God. Christ is his own father and his own son. The Holy Ghost is neither father nor son, but both.

    The son was begotten by the father, but existed before he was begotten–just the same before as after. Christ is just as old as his father, and the father is just as young as his son.

    The Holy Ghost proceeded from the Father and Son, but was equal to the Father and Son before he proceeded, that is to say, before he existed, but he is of the same age as the other two.

    So it is declared that the Father is God, and the Son and the Holy Ghost God, and these three Gods make one God. According to the celestial multiplication table, once one is three, and three time one is one, and according to heavenly subtraction if we take two from three, three are left. The addition is equally peculiar: if we add two to one we have but one. Each one equal to himself and to the other two. Nothing ever was, nothing ever can be more perfectly idiotic and absurd than the dogma of the Trinity.”

    Or, to paraphrase a Southern humorist, arguing with a Creationist is a lot like sitting on a bar stool with a never ending supply of salted peanuts in front of you. No matter how fast you try to eat them, you can never seem to get ahead of them.

  25. According to Genesis 1, the Sun, Moon, and stars were placed in the firmament in order to give light to the Earth and to mark the passage of days, etc. Also, according to Genesis 1, this happened on day 4. This was, of course, noted long ago, and a partial reconciliation given by some ancients said that the Sun was created earlier, and only placed on day 4. I would have to hear what today’s “literal interpretation” has to say about such things before attempting to show that it has problems.

  26. Ceteris Paribus

    @TomS: The Genesis day/night conundrum was neatly resolved by this old bible school riddle:

    Q: Which is older, the night or the day?
    A: The night is one day older.

    In the end, a person trying to get ahead of a theologian in a debate is in the same unfortunate place as Achilles trying to race a tortise which was given a head start. Zeno’s paradox says Achilles can never close the gap.

  27. I should make myself clearer. I know better than to try to argue interpretations of the Bible. I know that one can manufacture an interpretation to support one’s position, no matter what that position is. Rather, what I am trying to say is that if one wants to demonstrate that “the literal interpretation” has a problem, the first thing that one needs is a fixed target.

  28. (Luke 4:5) – “And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.”
    (Matt. 4:5) – “Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple,”
    (Luke 4:9) – “And he led Him to Jerusalem and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple…”
    (Matt. 4:8) – “Again, the devil took Him to a very high mountain and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.”

    It doesn’t matter where he was standing, because he was standing on a fixed point on the Earth, there is no way he could see the whole world at one go, especially in the Southern Hemisphere. The civilizations of the South America, for example, would not have been visible.

  29. This one is easy:

    Water before the sun = ice. Yet said waters were not ice. (Genesis 1:2; 1:3)

    So, prove, dear Mr. Creationist, that water can exist in liquid form without a source of heat. All the BB light/radiation there is wouldn’t work to clear up this obvious fiasco.

  30. I think that we all agree that such a ‘challenge’ is horse pucky, but in reality what we need are just a few pithy points for personally engaging the Genesis YEC-types. This one seems easy because the good doctor uses the word contradict. All one has to do is ‘literally’ read Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 and it is clear that the two accounts of the order of creation contradict one another. Of course YEC’s twist like pretzels to demonstrate how both versions are correct, using selective hermeneutics as needed.