Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Creation 'Museum' a lesson in being Defensive

Back in college we discussed ‘Defense mechanisms’ in Psych and Management classes. The reason was recognizing when people are being defensive, you stand of better chance of dealing with it, rather than just dealing with their behavior. Here are a few examples that might take you back to your college Psych classes.

  • Denial – refusing to accept an external reality because it is too threatening.
  • Distortion – a gross re-shaping of external reality.
  • Projection - attributing one's own unacknowledged unacceptable/unwanted thoughts.
  • Repression - memory lapse or lack of awareness of one's own situation and condition.
  • Regression: Temporary reversion of the ego to an earlier stage of development.
  • Rationalization: Where a person convinces of a position based on faulty and false reasoning.
Any of these ring any bells?

Well if you need to see defense mechanisms in action you really need to travel to the Creation ‘Museum’, I was there just a couple of weeks ago and while I had planned this long drawn out post about . . . well everything . . . I kept looking for some common theme that would help me make sense of the place. I hit it when I realized that what I was looking at was an exercise in defensive behavior. I saw Denial, Distortions, Projection, and lots and lots of Rationalization. My wife caughht it before me, which is pretty normal. She made a comment about Ken Ham living in a world of denial. It really didn’t sink in until I started looking at the photos I took and spent more time reading the plaques that accompanied many of the ‘exhibits’ and it really hit me, the whole ‘Museum’ is a defense mechanism. It’s designed to keep the real world at bay while kennie and his pals entrench themselves even deeper into their own world. I mean take a look at this:

This is a replica of the Burning Tree Mastodon, one of the most complete mastodon's discovered right here in Ohio.

Here is the write-up from the plaque.

In case you can't read the text, especially the right side, here is a blow-up of it:

Without any support whatsoever he [kennie ham] hits you with the nebulous 'kind' that God created, hits it with a date of 'about' 6,000 years ago, and the mythical 'Genesis Flood' as if they were fact.

If you do just 30 seconds of research you will find that there is a lot of evidence that this particular mastodon lived over 11,000 years ago. Just check out this site "BURNING TREE MASTODON" from the Newark campus of Ohio State University and lists 20 scientific documents supporting their information.

What I also find funny is the AIG website (http://www.answersingenesis.org/museum/docs/030717_mastodon.asp) about the Burning Tree Mastodon doesn't mention anything like what was on the plaque.

Are you getting the same feeling I'm getting. Kennie needs to deny, distort, and rationalize his position. So without any scientific support at all, he just makes it up as he goes along.

We then come to the central theme for his 'museum', the 'same facts different views' argument, as if they are equal points of view. Here is the biggest self-delusional aspect, he actually expects people to accept that when one of his pet 'Creation Scientists' says something, and a real scientists disagrees, they are equal points of view. That is not true!

Let me explain this. When a scientist says a fossil is 70 million years old, they are not just offering an opinion, they are offering so much more. It's not the fossil itself, it's the rock the fossil was found in, it's the chemical analysis of the fossil and the rock. It's the placement in the geological strata. It's the type of fossil and the region it was found in. Can you see why there were over 20 scientific documents about the Burning Tree Mastodon? It's not someone uncovering it and offering an opinion, it's a period of study from multiple scientists in more than just the Paleontology discipline. And what do you have on the side of the Creation 'Scientist'? An opinion based on a religious point of view that allows them to deny, distort, and rationalize.

Need more? How about the Dinosaurs playing next to a kid? Do you think I am kidding? It's in the main area while you wait to get in line for the 'Museum' hike. Now how is this possible? Of course we have NEVER discovered a fossil that could support this position. And how does kennie rationalize why the kid isn't 'lunch'? Well because everything, and I mean everything, was a vegetarian up until Adam messed things up.
So in reality it doesn't matter to kennie what the evidence shows, he will simply deny, distort, and rationalize it all the way he wants. Even when it disagrees with the text in the Bible. Like where did Cain's wife come from? I recall this unnamed woman being from the "Land of Nod". Does kennie mention this? Nope. Since Adam and Eve are the parents of all humans, Cain's wife was his sister. But that raises a whole 'nother issue, inbreeding. How does kennie deal with it? Let's distort and rationalize. (BTW this next photo is a cut and paste from three photos. I wanted to get all the text readable)

More in another post, but I wanted to get the defensive stuff off my chest. :-) Next up Noah's Flood and kennie's whine against the rest of the religious world! Here are links to my first two posts about the Creation 'Museum', aka ken ham's folly.


  1. Cain's wife was his sister. But that raises a whole 'nother issue, inbreeding. How does kennie deal with it? Let's distort and rationalize.

    In my past experience with Creationists -- they typically cordon off anything that throws kinks in their thinking into the "well, those bad things didn't happen until after the fall."

    I've also heard "they were genetically perfect so the imperfections didn't arise until many generations later" -- which of course begs the question "what exactly constitutes genetic perfection?"

    One thing I find curious about this particular explanation is that MANY things (dinosaurs being vegetarians, inbreeding, death, etc.) would obviously require a GIGANTIC biological change in how life at large functions (Dinosaur digestive systems, teeth, would have to be changed overnight). How is this somehow a more reasonable explanation than a gradual accumulation of genotypic changes? Did parasites exist in the garden of eden, were they spontaneously created after the fall?

    As usual, they are taking advantage of a scientifically illiterate constituency.

    Two things I always found interesting regarding the Great Flood myth:
    First is the Aardvark. Aardvarks eat two things: Ants & Aardvark Cucumbers. Depending on which version of the flood myth you follow (not surprisingly, the bible has internal conflicts regarding the duration of the flood, see bottom) it could be as short as a month or two to five or more months. Regardless -- even 40 days is long enough for produce to rot without proper refrigeration. So when the Aardvark Cucumbers run out, what's left?

    I suppose a Creationist could counter by saying that the modern restricted diet is the result of natural selection, and that the aardvark's would be able to eat other vegetation on the ship -- but given the diversity of other vegetation available in the aarvark's modern habitat, why would its diet be so restricted now? How does that provide a selective benefit?

    Second is the elephant. An elephant's diet is GIGANTIC, and its digestive tract is so inefficient that it only really extracts about 1/5th of what it eats (largely because it eats a predominantly dried grass diet, and cellulose is notoriously hard to digest) -- not only that, but it MUST eat a wide array of different grasses.
    Depending on whether or not this would be classified as a "clean" or "unclean" animal -- there were either 2 or 7 elephants onboard... if we take a conservative 40-day voyage (rather than the lengthier Genesis 8:3 150 day voyage) we can estimate the amount of food necessary to feed those elephants. (An elephant in captivity will eat ~100lbs of food or more, PER DAY). With two elephants at 40 days, that's ~2 tons of dried grass that must have been collected. Even if you starved them for half the time, you've still got a literal ton of grass to collect and store. (seven elephants at 150 days would be an astronomical 52.5 TONS of dried grass buffet).

    My biggest complaint regarding the flood myth, however, is the whole issue of baraminology. How do you distinguish "kinds"? Foxes, wolves, and dogs all share a common ancestor genetically (all part of the "Canidae" Family) -- but no reasonable person would call a fox a dog and vice versa (wolves/dogs overlap a little more).

    Even moreso -- what is the "kind" of a microscopic organism? It's incredibly myopic to classify them as all being the same since they are invisible to the naked eye -- there is a huge amount of genetic variation among some microbes than between us and ostriches.

    Flood duration: http://www.ethicalatheist.com/docs/duration_of_flood.html

  2. There has evidently been some pretty heavy duty evolving in the 4000 years since the flood. Wonder why we don't see now.

  3. Aaron, one of the more interesting ideas about the Flood was that the animals entered into a state of suspended animation and didn't require food or waste management. ROFL, just another rationalization to explain the extreme illogic of Noah's Ark and the logistical problems it would have had.

  4. Scripto, an interesting point. With all the evidence for evolution, with only 4000 years to work with, we should be seeing visible speciation events before our eyes. Now that would be a scary thought. I can see it now . . . "Oh what a nice litter of puppies, and their mother is such a proud bovine, isn't she?" :-))

  5. Elephants don't have split hooves. Nor do they chew their cud. So elephants would be unclean.

    The entire process of trying to insist on rapid, massive evolution post-Flood in order to defend an anti-evolution viewpoint is interesting but not unique when looks at the general phenomenon. Flat-earths and geocentrists both try to defend their views based on appeals to common sense but have since then constructed all sorts of strange ideas to explain away data they don't like leaving systems far more counterintuitive than what one started with. There seems to be some similarity here...

  6. What was s'posedta happen when all those vegetarian animals kept breeding? Perhaps they practised abstinence, too. We'll not bother to mention that those critters have neither the dentition nor the digestive tract for such fare.

    I haven't seen that place since there's a cover charge (as I understand it), and I refuse to put a dime into their pockets; however, I did catch Brother Bailey's Pageant of Moral Superiority and Creation Science Island Jamboree at the last Cinci Fringe Festival, so I'm all full up!

    I see less humor in this stuff, though. These people are scary, and it seems whatever they have is catching. When Oscar Wilde said "Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone", he must have forgotten about religion -- willful ignorance is more like a coconut.

  7. Ted - it gets better. According to the images on some of the Roman frescoes the cat kind must have differentiated within a couple thousand years. And then stopped. Lions and tigers and cheetahs. Oh my.

  8. (I'm writing from memory here so bear with me.) I don't see how 4000 years wouldn't be enough time to go from mammoths to modern elephants. In dogs it only takes a few hundred years to get completely different sizes and looks. I also don't see any reason for bashing on the flood or on the Biblical dates considering that the Bible has only been proven right again and again by science. Archeology has confirmed the existence Pontius Pilate, the Roman who condemned Jesus. It has confirmed the presence of Egyptian chariots in the Red Sea. It has confirmed the locations of many Biblical cites. And etc etc.

    There is so much evidence for a global flood that it becomes "Denial" to ignore it. Just one example i'll mention is the existence of fossilized trees that transverse many layers of rock. Considering that there are supposed millions of years between each layer, im not exactly sure how these trees just stood there without rotting for all that time. The Mount St. Hellens eruption (one of our favorites I'll admit) caused hundreds of layers of sediment to be layed down in a matter of days... not millions of years...

    Considering that ALL evolutionary dates are based on completely unprovable assumptions, (many which have been shown to be inaccurate)it starts becoming a matter of faith to trust in them. (The K/Ar method giving millions of years for 50 year old lava flows for example...) Ya, sure there is weight in the fact that 20 papers have been published on the age of mammoths or etc, but if all those papers are using the same dating method, which is inaccurate, then you'll end up with 20 inaccurate papers.

    Anyways, those are some of my thoughts. I'd like to hear any of your comments...

  9. So, C-A, what you are telling me is that because Denver exists, then a nuclear bomb went off during a Super Bowl just like in a Tom Clancy novel?

    A few hundred years, and even the short 30 years is enough time for many evolutionary changes. But 4000 years is pretty short for large scale changes. the evidence supports that it tool hundreds of thousands of years for many of the changes to have occurred. You do realize that there is no evidence of homo sapiens before about 300,000 years ago? That there is no evidence of dinosaurs after about 60 million years ago. At least none of the larger dinosaurs. Birds are being studied as the modern genetic relatives.

    As for the flood, or I should say the Noachiam Flood. Let me be plain-spoken. There is NO evidence of a single world-spanning flood event 4000 years ago or at any time. Gee they found the remains of Roman Chariots in the Red Sea. You know they found them in England too, does that mean the event happened, you just screwed up the geography?

    You really need to work on your 'evidence'. Yes, Mt. St. Helens laid down and amazing amount of sediment very quickly. Most geologists agree that there is a superficial likeness to other geological formations. However how many of those formations were gone a year later? 10 years later? Sore compare that to the Grand Canyon like other Creationists have tried. It's only a skin-deep comparison. The best examples was the North fork of the Toutle River. However normal erosion and weathering removed most of it. Grand Canyon is still here.

    As for your 'unprovable assumptions' on dating. Please get better educated on radiological dating and the evidence that supports those methods. They go well beyond Potassium-Argon.

    Plus if you understood the process that no one method is used for confirming the date of a sample. It's a combination of methods that support specific dates. Sure Samarium-neodymium is only accurate to +/- 20 million years, but that is over a scale of 2.5 billion years. Accurate enough for what we are talking about.

    If you need a laugh you might check out http://www.theonion.com/articles/sumerians-look-on-in-confusion-as-god-creates-worl,2879/

  10. You say that a few hundred years, or even thirty is enough time for evolution to occur. I'd just correct you on that by correcting the use of the term "evolution". Variation within genetic info is not evolution. Going from peppered moths, to black moths is not an example of "new info" being added to the genome. All it is is selection for or against info that is already present. The same thing applies to the so called "superbacteria". But hey, lets go with your argument. Lets even assume that radiometric dating works. You said that 4000 years is too short for large scale changes. If that is true, it makes it pretty darn hard for evolutionists to explain how we evolved from our Homo erectus/ergaster brothers in less than 30,000 years considering that there have been over 80 fossils dated less than 30,000 years, several even being as young as 6000 years. There simply isn't enough time there for the evolutionary scenario.

    Contrary to what you said though, there are in fact anatomically modern fossils that are completely indistinguishable from Modern Homo sapiens that have been dated as far back as 4 Mya. That fact entirely discredits the alleged branching off from Astralopithecines 3.5 Mya.

    Also, two examples of modern dinosaur finds. A large carcass was pulled up in Japan a few years back by a local fishing boat. There have also been fossil finds of dinosaur bones that still contained red blood cells that weren't fossilized. That for sure means that they were around a lot more recently than 60MYa. Carbon dating is only "accurate" to 30-40 thousdand years anyways.

    Hey, they may have found Egyptian chariots in England, so what. The important fact here is that they found them these chariots in the one specific location in the Red Sea where the banks weren't too steep too cross. If there was one location that the water could have been properly parted so that the Israelites could cross, it would have been there. Consequently, the fact that they discovered the presence of these chariots right where the Bible indicated they should is more than just coincidence... Especially since they are deep under water.


  11. You say that there is NO evidence of a world wide flood. So how do you explain sea shell fossils in the highest mountains? Again, how do you explain the fossilized trees traversing many layers of sediment? How do you explain round rocks eroded by contact with other rocks, found in the middle of the desert? How do you explain fossil graveyards where hundreds of animals are piled together as flood currents would have accomplished... and the list goes on...

    As far as my research goes, many of the mount St. Helens formations are still relatively intact. But even if they weren't it wouldn't be overly important. What's important is not so much how fast they eroded, what's important is that they formed literally overnight. In this case, it may have been that the conditions weren't ideal to preserve what formed, but the possibility is still there, and that is what is significant. You say it's only a skin deep comparison but I'm not really sure how you came to that conclusion. If we consider that this small eruption caused such vast damage and landscape deformation, just think about what a global flood could do. It's phenomenal. The comparison isn't skin deep. It's fundamental. -- On a side note. If we were to go with the uniformitarian views where only the processes that are currently witnessed are the ones that worked these past 4 billion years, we are faced with a lot of problems. First, the current rate of erosion is just a few millimeters per year. Seemingly no big issue. However, if we apply that rate and multiply it for 4 billion years, we would be left with no mountains because kilometers of land would have been reduced. Not only that, the oceans would have accumulated much of the salt from the various continents which would make them many many times more salty than they currently are.

    As far as radiometric dating is concerned, I am quite familiar with the process. However, ALL the methods are based on three unprovable assumptions. Namely, that the decay rate of isotopes is constant, that the sample being dated was a closed system with no contamination, and that the initial concentrations of isotopes in any given sample is known. You say that the methods independently confirm each other. That is false reasoning though. Its like me saying that I know that there is a sale at the market because Sue and Bob told me. However, Sue got her info from Bob, and Bob got his info from Sue. They aren't independent confirmations.

  12. Oh, and no, Im not saying that because Denver exists, then a nuclear bomb went off during a Super Bowl just like in a Tom Clancy novel because in that case your using extremely superficial similarities.

    However, if that Tom Clancy book actually claimed to be absolute truth. And then backed up those claims in every verifiable way, I'd at least be far more inclined to believe it. Since it does neither though, then it doesn't really apply. (Also, the claims it makes would have to be more than just vague and applicable to anything...)

  13. Actually C-A variation within a species IS evolution. What it is not is speciation. Going from peppered to black moths is an example of Selection, which is certainly part of evolutionary theory. How do you think breeding programs for healthier animals and drought-resistant plants work? It's all part and parcel of the theory of evolution. You can draw imaginary lines if you wish, but it's all part of the same Theory of Evolution.

    Go do a little research on what 'new information' really means. Look at something easy, the tracing of the gene for pure blue eyes, like mine. Look at other websites, not just those that pander to you narrow beliefs. How about the change in diet that occurred when adults became capable of digesting milk. Look up Richard Lenski's E. Coil experiment and see how a group of E.Coli developed a completely new ability to digest a new food source. Hell, go do a study of the sightless fish in caves and learn not just that they lost their sight . . . but the genetic changes that caused it to happen. In all of these cases, and millions of others, genetic information changes, increases in most cases, but there have been examples of decreased. A lot goes into how you measure the changes. How many chromosomes do we have? How many do Chimpanzees have? That number certainly shows changing genetic information when a geneticist can point to where two previously separated chromosomes joined up. Is that an increase or decrease in information?

  14. They found chariot remains at any number of locations, including many where you would not expect to find them. Oh and did the dating techniques agree with the Exodus? Or I should say did it agree with one of the number of historical Exodii described in the Jewish Tanakh? Spaced over a much longer time-frame than the Christian bibles version of Moses. Oh and while we are at it, WHICH Christian version of the dating for Moses? There have been a number of interesting guesses.

    You approach the evidence convinced that the Bible is really just a science text book. pretty lousy way to treat it.

    So what's next? the old Lady Hope saw? Thermodynamics? The tornado in the junkyard? All you are doing is re-stating common anti-evolution arguments that have been proven in error time and time again. If you really want to understand science don't just grab a fossil and make foolish claims. Learn WHY the fossil is dated the way it is, how the rock around the fossil contributed to our understanding, how the geological strata also contributes, how the geographical region also has part of the answer, how the physics in multiple dating methods supports all of the otehr answers. And finally how multiple other findings in the same regon, in the same strata level, and dating to the same time period all go into supporting the answers.

    If you really want to understand how silly you sound, don't take my word for it, read up on St. Augustine. "It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation."

    He was talking about you and I, and I am the one doing the laughing. You can figure out which role you are placing yourself in.

  15. Gee, so there is evidence of flooding around the world. What a shock. There is also evidence of mountains that were once under the sea and seas that have moved as the continents shifted. You do realize that almost every human civilization occurred near rivers and seas? It might come as a shock, but these things flood quite often. Just look at the news from today in Rhode Island. What I said was there is no evidence of a single world-wide flood event. Not one piece. Oh there is lots of flood events, all regional and happening over centuries and millenia of time. Sorry, Noah is a nice story, but he's just that, a story. Go visit the Creation Museum and you can debate kennie ham about whether or not dinosaurs were on the ark and how it was OK for Cain to marry his sister. Have fun with that.

    You need to study more geology. Uniformism is only one part, Catastrophism is another. There is room for both when addressing specific geological formations. But you cannot point to one event and claim that proves the world-wide flood and the Young Earth. Because, to put it simply, you are in error. The proof doesn't support it, only your theological desires do.

  16. You can whine all you like about radiological dating. Clearly you need to stay awake next time in Physics class.

    Oh, I am using superficial similarities, yet when you point to a ancient city and claim that since the city existed, the bible is the inerrant Word of God? Oh Pot, see that Kettle?

    The Bible doesn't claim to be the absolute truth, its people like you who make that claim. The Bible is a good book. It may even be a Great Book. But I am not the one who wants to treat it like it was a science textbook. That's your job.

  17. Well, I see that this is getting personal. Frankly I'm not surprised, although that wasn't (and isn't) my intention. ALl I want is reasonable discussion. I'll admit I came on a bit hard though. Anyways...

    I don't have much time to write but I just wanted to talk about the term evolution, and where it's applicable. You reemphasized that variation within a species is evolution. Just to clarify, are you thinking of variation as being mutations to the genome or simply as something along the lines of a brunette (who contains red head genes) giving birth to a red head? In the former case, yes, mutations are what allegedly cause evolution and so it could be termed "evolution". In the second case though, such variation wouldn't be evolution because the woman had the genes for red heads in the first place. The case of the peppered moths is not an example of evolution. Evolution is the process of a creature increasing the information in its genome by way of mutation. For the peppered moths, both populations were present from the beginning. That means that although they were selected for (or against) as the theory of evolution demands, they weren't increasing their genetic information by way of mutations. It isn't that we started with black moths and then they evolved new colors. So in that respect it isn't a case of evolution and the term doesn't apply.

    The development of drought resistant plants and etc is an example of the same thing. All thats being done is the selection of specific genes (expressed in their phenotype) which are already present from the beginning. It's the same thing that pigeon breeders will do to get faster birds for example. The plants aren't evolving into new super plants with new abilities. All thats being done is artificially selecting plants that do better and then breeding them with other plants that do better to get a "concentration" if you will, of beneficial genes in one new strain. In the end you get a drought resistant plant because specific traits (which were already existent) are heavily selected for. The lines I'm drawing aren't imaginary, they are real. There is a limit for how long you can select a trait. You can't breed stronger squirrels indefinitely and end up with a strain of oxen... There is a barrier that can't be crossed.

    I'm out of time here but check out


    in response to Richard Lenski's E. Coli experiment. These E.Coli didn't develop new abilities, all they did was lose certain functions. Again, this demonstrates that the only real thing that mutations cause is devolution. I'll write more later....

  18. CA, the definition used most often in biology textbooks is something like "the change in the inherited traits of a population of organisms through successive generations". Variation within a species, that is the spread of alleles within a population is a perfect example of evolution, as is part of the Theory of Evolution. No matter the source of the alleles, mutation, gene expression, horizontal gene transfer, it's evolution when the alleles are spread within the population.

    One of the saying mu first biology teacher taught me was "Individuals mutate, populations evolve." It really drove home the point that an individual doesn't evolve. But an individual can mutate -- that is have genes that are not part of the parents' set of genes.

    There are a number of causes and in each human offspring the number of mutations run in the hundreds. Please note I didn't say each generation, but in each offspring. Sexual reproduction is not a perfect process, or all male children would be carbon copies of their father and all females carbons of their mother. We know that is not so and we have known it for longer than Darwin has been around. What we didn't know was why. Many people think 'mutation' is some overwhelming change that automatically bring death to the offspring. That does happen, but mutations of that sort don't get spread across a population. It's the other mutations that become part of the population, and everyone you know, including yourself, is a mutant. Sometimes I think people read too much X-Men and not enough Biology.

    Natural Selection is nothing more than one of the mechanisms that cause certain alleles to spread within a population. Traits that offer either a survival advantage or a reproductive advantage will become more prevalent within the population. Artificial Selection, to use Darwin's term for it, is another. But the question to look at is where did the alleles being selected for comes from? A oprevious ancestor mutated and provided the genetic material now being selected for.

    Another interesting example is Blue Eyes. Pure blue eyes have been traced back about 8,000 years. Before then there were no blue-eyed humans. How does something like that happen? Mutation. Whether or not it was a survival improvement, or a reproductive one, blue eyes sreap through the population of Northern Europe and came to the United States.

    Interestingly enough the presence of blue-eyes is on the decrease in the US. Prior to 1950 most people married and bore children within their ethnic group. In those groups blue-eye alleles spread pretty wide. But since 1950 the population of the US has changes and the number of people marrying across ethnic lines has gone up dramatically. Thus we are seeing less instances of blue-eyed children.

    Another interesting study, just like Lenski's. Lenski's E.Coli experiment had a number of cultures started from two sources. While all the groups exhibited evolutionary adaptations, one in particular grew a completely new capability, the ability to metabolize citric. Wonderful stuff.