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A Creationism Lunch Hour

February 28th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 43 Comments

Creation Talk, 5 March

Rumour has it CMI (Creation Ministries International) is visiting Stellenbosch Campus again.

Topic: Evolution: a dark age for science and society?
Date: 5 March 2008
Venue: Sanlam Hall, Neelsie Student Centre
Time: 13:00-14:00

Expect a response on this blog within 72 hours of the event. If anyone would like to contribute, let me know.

(The photo of a poster was contributed by a friend. Thanks!)

Categories: Religion and Science

43 responses so far ↓

  • 1 -M- // Feb 28, 2008 at 9:30 pm

    You might have feed-backs from biologists who will attend this seminar…

  • 2 Hugo // Feb 29, 2008 at 12:26 am

    Sweet. I wish the biologists tonnes of patience and calmness. I predict utter disbelief and frustration, and uncertainty of how to proceed. Suggested reading for the uninitiated: Debates and Globe Trotters, over at the TalkOrigins archive. If you need to rant, um, we can have some beer afterwards. Good luck, may the force be with you.

  • 3 Bertus! // Feb 29, 2008 at 12:15 pm

    Hierdie keer mis ek dit beslis nie.

  • 4 Johan Kruger // Mar 4, 2008 at 1:34 pm

    For preparation, the speaker, Dr. Don J. Batten could be checked out here

    Thanks for the advertising on your blog, Hugo. Btw, still waiting patiently for your visit to CMI’s office in Durbanville. But the coffee is getting cold. Trust that you’re making good progress with the thesis?

    Gary Bates and I are still praying for you πŸ˜‰

  • 5 Hugo // Mar 4, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    Thanks Johan. I’m preparing to print the final version of my thesis to take to the library today.

    I’ve still got that visit in the back of my mind. The thing that will be causing delays: I’m thinking I should prepare for it? Do some research? Alternatively, if any friends with nice specialised knowledge are as crazy as I am, they could always join me. πŸ˜‰

    Are you going to be there tomorrow?

  • 6 Johan Kruger // Mar 4, 2008 at 1:50 pm


  • 7 Johan Swarts // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:14 am

    Wat my nogal gefrustreer het, is dat Batten nooit by die punt uitgekom het nie. Daar is nie een keer oor “a dark age for science and society” gepraat nie.

    Dit was net ‘n afskiet van strooipoppe. Ek wag nou nog om te hoor hoekom dit nou juis “donker tydperk” vir die wetenskap en die samelewing is.

    Hy’t regtig oor sy woorde gestruikel, en gereeld dinge gesΓͺ soos: “x = y…therefore x = y”.

    I mean really.

  • 8 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:15 am

    Was this old earth or young earth creationism seminar?

  • 9 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:21 am

    Good, solid, wholesome and traditional Lions-ate-plants, Kangaroos hopped from the middle east to Australia after Noah’s ark, humans hunted dinosaurs, young earth creationism.

    Yea, excuse my sarcasm. I find the suggestion that God expects us to believe that kind of thing rather preposterous…

  • 10 Al Lovejoy // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:26 am

    hahahahahhahha you people are fantastic!!! Maak klaar jou blerrie thesis Hugo, bliksem……..

  • 11 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Ai, why people fight progress in human knowledge is beyond me. Which of Noah’s children were black? Which were Korean, East Indian, Hispanic? Ah just kidding, some evolution humor.

    Hugo on religions part i don’t think this is a healthy way to go. In school children will learn why the earth is billions of years old and at home conflicting information from young earth creationists will cause them to question the school. Any particular reason why people want to believe in young earth creationism so badly?

  • 12 Al Lovejoy // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Come on boys and girls, really, I mean REALLY HOW exactly did someone who only got EYES on the sixth day and invented coded communication a few thousand years later ever have been an EYE WITNESS. REALLY?????????? Wil ons nou regtig stupid wees?

  • 13 Al Lovejoy // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:36 am

    And why do we have the Black Sea? Does anyone know what NaHSO3 is?

  • 14 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 10:46 am

    Negate, you must know about “kinds”. Variation within “kinds” developed *after* the ark, including the ethnic/race differences. I’m thinking I’m going to have to do some posts about genetics, and the amount of diversity you can find in two specimens. (Much too little.)

    Creationists typically suggest the first humans had “perfect” genes, enabling incest. Due to the original sin, our genes started deteriorating, and diversifying.

    Yes, Negate, rejection of science is one of my big issues. While I’m naive enough to try to pursue a path of “get Shofar to stop rejecting science”, I’m afraid they may be so wedded to creationism that they will go down with it, rather than admit they were wrong.

    The reason they are so wedded to young earth creationism? They want the Bible to be literally correct. Young Earth Creationism is the position of Biblical literalists. They believe that as soon as you say Genesis 1-11 is not historical, not scientific, everything else comes into question as well. They build their whole religion and doctrine on this foundation. A house of cards invites people to pull out one of the bottom cards to see what happens.

    Al, I don’t think creationists would suggest it is an eye witness account. They would probably insist that it is a historical account given to Moses by God. (They often believe Moses wrote the whole of the Pentateuch. That would mean Moses wrote about his own death as well. Hmm… “Inspiration”, yet again?)

  • 15 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:02 am

    Skin color gradually changed to adapt to their new environments, that change cant happen in 4000 years it will take about 100 000. Evolution will tend to use the same sorts of genes responsible for this mechanism that produce these changes in different organisms. I also think your on a impossible quest trying to convince shofar otherwise. Its a real shame.

    I saw a great program about chimps and elephants were they talked about the evolution of reptiles to mammal and the emotional evolution that came with this change to help us survive. It is emotion that distinguishes the mammal from the reptile and that allows the mammal smarter adaption, but this greater emotional dependencies requires mammal to be nurtured much longer. Reptiles at birth discard there children or eat them, while mammals will take care of there children much longer. The one chimps finger was bit my another mother chimp in a fight. Later other chimps came to the young chimp and looked at his finger, touched him, they showed extreme compassion and love. Our genes are pretty much the same than chimps, other animals also rely on love. Its is because of love and physical contact that the neurons in our brain form correctly πŸ˜‰

  • 16 Al Lovejoy // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:48 am

    Do you know that baby chimps in forced captivity die of broken hearts. Nothing vets can do will save them.

  • 17 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 12:13 pm

    With regards to Shofar (and there are Shofarians reading this): I don’t want to fight you on the age of the earth, I would just like to explain why I would suggest distancing yourself from such seminars. If there is interest among any of the Shofar leaders/employees, and you have a recording of the talk, we can sit down and go through the talk. I suggest we bring in some scientists as well.

    We will not argue for an old earth, we only want to explain what was wrong in the seminar, and why it is not something you want to be involved in. I’m sure there is some interest from some of the leaders?

    And next someone will quote something along the lines of “an organisation divided is a doomed organisation”. My point is this: you should learn from the more than 33,000 denominations that already exist: strong doctrinal positions about irrelevant details do not enforce unity, it encourages divisions. I’m happy that you do not take a strong stance on Revelations, that you do not make any comments about dispensationalism
    or the rapture. I would suggest you take a softer stance on science as well.

    If you want an example of how an organisation handles diversity, you can talk to Stellenbosch Gemeente. They are one example of an organisation that looks particularly strong, despite a mix of members ranging from young-earth creationists to “evolutionists”. For example.

    Wishful thinking? Any interest?

  • 18 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Al Yeah i knew that. I saw a thing were they had an experiment. 2 dummy mother were made, on that had food the other who is covered in furry cloth, the chimp spent 95% of his time with the cloth mother, the scientists said it is because chimps like humans seek physical contacts instead of food. I also saw a thing of about 20% of all chimps die because they left there families to early seeking independence and could not handle the stress and thus also die of broken hearts, do you think animals also goes to heaven or place where one would go after death?

    Hugo u said young earth creationism is because of bible literalism, my question is if you take that as literal should you then not take all the other things in the old testament as literal, like the extreme violent laws of the old testament, (slavery and gender discrimination etc) or thus this literalism only stretch to genesis?

  • 19 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    The extreme laws classify as “old covenant”. The New Testament is the “new covenant”. What that means, differs from group to group. Some people argue Jesus came to “raise the bar”, other churches argue that the new covenant is about a value-driven life that no longer needs the law. (Jesus didn’t come to abolish the law, yes, rather to help “get rid” — metaphorically — of the person that needs the law. E.g. through rebirth into a life driven by values instead.)

  • 20 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 12:52 pm

    But i remember a few times in the bible when jesus said all of the old laws should be followed, bible literalism must then take that at face value should they not? I can understand your point of few on this, im just trying to understand a bible literalism mind frame. It kinda feels like they must pick and choose what parts to take literal and what parts to take metaphorical? So the question is, why do they take genesis as a extreme literal account, but when jesus said “not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)” it is not taken to an extreme literal interpretation? We obviously know the answer, you cant take it as literal because you will be jailed. So did societies laws not undermine gods laws on some of these issues?

  • 21 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:01 pm

    Hugo I am saying it like this, because i think the only way to break extreme literal interpretations of the bible is to show people the kinda hypocritical behavior one shows when doing it. A live on a house with mostly Christians, once over a couple of drinks i got into a discussion with one of the woman. I was talking about business ideas, one of then was a strip club, she immediately jumped down my throat gave me a lecture on what the bible says is right and wrong, she called what i said “duiwels” I found this really hypercritical, i know she as premarital sex. Soos hulle in afrikaans se, haal eers die balk uit jou eie oog. Doesn’t that example also then imply to people who take genesis literal but not the rest?

  • 22 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    But i remember a few times in the bible when jesus said all of the old laws should be followed,

    I disagree with that.

    They do take parts as metaphorical. They see Psalms as poetry, containing hyperbole, etc.

    Personally, I see a difference between premarital sex and strip clubs though, I don’t think that quite applies to beams and splinters. But whatever, just my R0,02.

    i think the only way to break extreme literal interpretations of the bible is to show people the kinda hypocritical behavior one shows when doing it

    Pointing out their hypocrisy may put them into defensive mode. I’m more interested in showing them what Jesus taught and his challenges to the purity code. I’m also interested in showing them what Christianity is really about, the way I see it anyway, because once they see that, they are more open to discovering that literalism is not important.

    As such, I think I’ll step out of this conversation now. Direct wrestling with hypocrisy can work for those that aren’t in very deep, but those that are really committed to the fundie worldview don’t respond well to that kind of rhetoric. I will explain that phenomenon as well, where it comes from, where it starts.

    And in the end, people can believe what they want, if they don’t harm other people with it. I care much more about the people that are unhappy, that are being destroyed, emotionally, spiritually, psychologically, by a kind of fundamentalism that their brains simply cannot cope with. I would love to help such people find shalom, peace, heaven on earth. This is another reason I don’t want to get involved in arguments with people that aren’t interested, and prefer to walk through life blindly. (They have eyes, but will not see. They have ears, but will not hear. That’s their problem, we can’t help them.) Wasting time there would detract from the more valuable and worthwhile mission.

  • 23 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Your words makes sense. How confident are you that you could convince them to see jesus in another light? Do you think majority or minority people are the blind ones? What you say is true as long as the blind ones dont hurt anyone everything is fine, but it starts to hurt when the blind one’s force there beliefs into human growth and progress
    (*hmhmh* young earth creationism.)
    and when they fly into buildings or persecute gays or people that are different. I can understand why you don’t think wasting time on this is important, but i do think we can help them, there must be a way? when there is a will there is a way! As i said this a friend of mine laughed, “the only way is if jesus/god comes down himself and talk to them lol”

    Again on topic, perhaps your mission as you put it can be a solution to above mentioned problems. If you get people to think like the humanist jesus and accept diversity it would maybe attract some of the blind ones?

  • 24 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    >Personally, I see a difference between premarital sex and strip clubs though, I don’t think that quite applies to beams and splinters.

    Dink jy het bietjie my punt gemis. Sy vind goed soos strip clubs en The da vinci code duiwels, maar die gebooie wat sy verbreuk ignoreer sy of spreek sy nie aan nie. Ek ondervind dit met baie christene, dat hulle soek wat in die bybel hulle leefstyl of denkwyse pas en die ander ignoreer hulle. Die hipocrite deel kom vir my in dat sy net gedeeltes wat vir haar van toepassing is vir my preek. Die manier van dink maak seker niemand seer nie, dit maak net nie baie sin vir my nie. Miskien kan jy vir my se hoekom mense so ‘n benadering to hul geloof vat?

  • 25 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:18 pm

    How confident are you that you could convince them to see jesus in another light?

    The confidence is a function of the number of people. πŸ˜‰ Some people will listen, some people will not. And what I could do, does differ somewhat of what I would do. Yes, people that are living happy lives and not negatively influencing other people’s lives, are welcome to continue. I’m not interested in upsetting their balance.

    Leadership is another kettle of fish. But also a harder case. Once you’ve based your whole life and career on a particular interpretation, self-preservation instincts will often prevent them from even considering that they were wrong, because of the huge psychological impact it would have to accept you’ve been spreading lies. What I’m curious about then, is how to sketch out a less traumatic path, encouraging holding onto the good. Not that rebirth is ever going to be painless. May Jesus help them…

    So here’s the thing: you can’t save everyone. I believe you need to get a network effect going. You need to teach people how to help other people. This requires continuity, diversity of bridges, acceptance of conflicting views while views develop. This requires the emerging church.

    Apart from the hurdle of my holiday, we’ll hopefully hack this out over the upcoming months, also analysing the root of the problem through use of a case study.

  • 26 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:24 pm

    Miskien kan jy vir my se hoekom mense so β€˜n benadering to hul geloof vat?

    Maybe you’ve heard this one: “Christians aren’t perfect, they just want you to be.”

    People have a need to be “the best” at something, measured against other people. Often people feel better about themselves by comparing themselves to others, using a metric by which they come out on top. This approach to self-worth and status in society was common in Jesus’ time as well. Teachers would criticise other teachers in order to raise their own status. Much like you find in the blogosphere these days. πŸ˜‰

    Jesus taught a different way, knowing that treading on other people to get to the top is a path to hell. (On earth.) That ever-elusive third option, a method of compassionate cooperation, is particularly challenging.

    Excuse me while I refer yet again to e.g. turning the other cheek. (Under the “The Third Option” heading, for those pressed for time.)

  • 27 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:32 pm

    Okay I have something for you to perhaps think of, you said leadership is very important. I’m going to draw an example form a recent movie i have seen, Gabriel. The movie revolves around 7 arc angels and 7 angels of the devil fighting for balance of purgatory. Gabriel is the last arc angel arriving in purgatory to help/save purgatory from evil hands. In the story the angels feel emotions for the first time, these emotions caused one of the arc angels to turn evil and help lead the evil side in purgatory. Gabriel also feels all the emotions(hate,love etc) and come to a realization in the end after defeating all the evil angels. When the evil angels were in control there emotions caused them to control the people. Gabriel realized that if he was left in charge then he would also control the people but for the good side. In the end he decided to kill himself, even though his mission was from god to save purgatory, he realized it about guidance not control. (Gabriel knew by killing himself he would be dead forever)

  • 28 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:41 pm

    Oh, and science. Teach them real science… I’d love to get some scientists to write guest posts. There’s so much that clashes… geology, cosmology, chemistry, astronomy, palaeontology, molecular biology, genetics, archaeology, anthropology, linguistics… it’s kinda crazy, if you think about it.

    We’re on a university campus. If we struggle to get good scientific literacy at a university, what hope is there for a large-scale Bible belt with uniformity of belief? I end up putting most of my hope in the emerging church. There’s a long hard struggle ahead, and yes, as usual, progress will likely happen one funeral at a time*, as children learn new things in schools. (Adults just find it too hard to “become like children” and learn new things.)

    *(and this is where rebirth should enter the picture, for those prepared to open their eyes and see the kingdom.)

  • 29 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    >People have a need to be β€œthe best” at something, measured against other people. Often people feel better about themselves by comparing themselves to others.

    But this is perhaps also a good method of improvement. You can improve allot of positive aspect of your life by comparing them to a opinion leader, yourself or a role model don’t you think? It is not necessary a road to hell. For example if you use jesus and compare your actions against jesus then you are also doing exactly the same. You are taking an opinion leaders life to improve your own. So jesus is your ladder. So it is kinda difficult to see why jesus said if you tred on other people is road to hell. I kinda see it as a road of improvement, it just Perhaps i am misinterpreting the context you are trying to use.

  • 30 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:02 pm

    you said leadership is very important

    Not quite… I would not suggest Gabriel rule the people. I would suggest people take more responsibility for themselves. Some form of leadership will always be present though, so I’m pondering different leadership styles. More of a peer-to-peer kind of leadership would be good. A community (or church) should be “organic”, should be flexible. When it gets highly hierarchical, with too much power in the hierarchy or in individual hands, things usually go bad. (Viva democracy?)

    With regards to ladders, yes, we work together. We work with role models. We give each other a leg-up. But constructive cooperation is the way, helping one another up is the way. The way to get “up there” is not via pushing everyone else around you down.

    If I look at… um… Plato, I can learn from the guy, and I can see where he was flawed and try to improve that. But I’m not going to raise myself by calling Plato an idiot. I’m not going to support my world-view by pointing out and ridiculing all sorts of silly quote mines by scientists, or saying Bill Gates is an idiot because he thought no one will ever need more than 640k memory. Finding flaws is simply too easy. Recognise the good, give credit where credit is due.

    Read this blog post:

    And in the end, yes, balance in all things. Criticism is necessary, the right to criticism should be defended. But criticism isn’t the best way to climb the ladder, especially not when you’re exclusively relying on criticism.

  • 31 Negate // Mar 6, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    What you say makes sense, but is superiority not part of our nature. I think there will always be people pushing people down to reach the top. Business and entertainment is perfect examples of this. The world we live in today is very cut throat environment, but getting back on this topic Allot of creationist would for example call a great mind Like Darwin an idiot correct? So my conclusion is creationist must look at there relevant opinion leaders in order to climb there ladder like jesus etc. For a evolutionist a different set of leaders would be necessary for them to climb there ladder. The point I wanna make is, you only climb over or push down other people that you don’t find important or necessary in your ladder climbing quest. A creationist would push down darwin because he is not needed in his quest and visa verse. So a great deal of respect for diversity is also needed to stop ridiculing. There is always more than one path to even lead one person, so there exist an massive amount of paths for everyone. Do we push everyone down the one path? or do we widen the path, push everyone down the same path again, then we wait for it to clog up again, then we widen it again.. and again… or why not put multiple paths there from the start! So the point is, the church/community should not be organic it would say it has to be dynamic πŸ™‚

  • 32 Hugo // Mar 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Dynamic, organic,… ok… just open to change and adaptation, humble, prepared to learn, prepared to recognise past mistakes and then move on.

  • 33 Ben // Mar 6, 2008 at 11:36 pm

    Hugo I am saying it like this, because i think the only way to break extreme literal interpretations of the bible is to show people the kinda hypocritical behavior one shows when doing it.

    This is definitely not the only way and may not be the most popular way. It is one way, though you have to be careful to keep the person from ‘getting their back up’ and stopping thinking.

    OT: I just started reading ‘Infidel’ by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. The local library book group is reading that book for their meeting on the 11th. It will be interesting to see what a more general public-type group makes of it.

  • 34 Johan Kruger // Mar 9, 2008 at 1:59 pm

    I saw you taking vigorous notes Wednesday luchtime Hugo. Presumably that would form part of the promised response on this blog ‘within 72 hours of the event.’? With the thesis finally behind you, the same friendly reminder as end of last year that time waits for no one. πŸ™

  • 35 Hugo // Mar 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Johan!

    I was wondering if there’s any chance or any way that I could get a hold of the slides from Wednesday’s presentation? Might it be possible for you to email them to me, or make them available on the web somehow? I would love to get the quotes used perfectly right. Thanks!

    My most recent post was made yesterday, precisely because I did promise to get something out in 72 hours. (Actually, it was already more like 77 hours. Oops.) The fact that the feedback will be more thorough than I originally planned is causing extra delays. I will try to share bits and pieces in the mean time.

    (Being more thorough is the one source of delays, the other would be a number of things that are happening in my life right now. For friends that are wondering what’s up in my life (others need not read the rest of this comment): my post-thesis-gut cost me 13 minutes on the Argus — i.e. I was 13 minuts slower than last year, and I wish I could determine how much of that was due to extra weight and how much from lack of fitness. In other news, Google approached me for a job interview. I’m through the phone screening, that was Thursday, so right now I’ve gotta start preparing for the first of two technical phone interviews. If I pass those, it’s off to San Fran for a nasty battery of on-site interviews. The whole process can take a few months. How does one make that tough choice of whether to work in South Africa, at the local company that I have fallen in love with, or go work overseas, for a good and healthy change of scenery?)

  • 36 Johan Swarts // Mar 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    wow, dis awesome van google! πŸ™‚

    keep us updated.

  • 37 Hugo // Mar 10, 2008 at 8:52 pm

    Thanks Johan Swarts. Not that big a chance of that happening though. Many interview, few pass. Of course, if I don’t pass, I’ll just claim I decided I don’t want to work for them, rather than admit to not passing all their interviews with flying colours… πŸ˜‰

  • 38 gerhard // Mar 11, 2008 at 12:58 pm

    hey guys , is anyone interested in the kent hovind’s creationism seminar. 13hours of creationism lies and misrepresentation , am busy watching the 4th installment ‘lies in textbooks’ LOL… think its funny as hell.

    the one guy speaking is south african and shows a totally f’d up ‘scaled’ model of the fetus development stages , basically instead of actually showing the stages it just shows babys scaled to different sizes …. lol
    otherwise i got a couple of gigs worth of docus etc about related subjects too:)

    am in cpt cbd so you are welcome to come fetch a copy from me.

  • 39 gerhard // Mar 14, 2008 at 10:41 am

    no one interested?

  • 40 Hugo // Mar 14, 2008 at 10:53 am

    Nope. We have more than enough access to such baloney here in Stellenbosch. Oh, and I don’t find it funny, it’s too close to home for that, too many people I know fall for that shit. That makes it sad or shocking rather. (43)

  • 41 gerhard // Mar 14, 2008 at 2:20 pm

    oh for sure, it is sad and shocking !!! the only problem is , there is too many things to be sad and shocked about. one thing talking to you has taught me is that no matter how sad and shocked you are about someone else’s idea of what good and right is/means there will most likely be that person pointing the same god darn finger back at you .. i think the only way to fix the sad is to to accept the sad ,which i think someone like you and someone like me are unwilling to do. hence us feeling generally sad about these close to home examples.

  • 42 Do Any Shofarians Care About Science? // Apr 19, 2008 at 11:54 pm

    […] A Creationism Lunch Hour – the announcement. […]

  • 43 Creation Ministries International Strikes Stellenbosch Again — Noah’s Flood? // Sep 28, 2008 at 9:56 pm

    […] A Creationism Lunch Hour – the announcement. […]

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