The big creationism machine… There are people who teach it, there are people who hear and learn it, and then there are those that facilitate the transaction.
Irrespective of whether creationism is true or false, I’d hope my series of posts on the Batten seminar could serve to demonstrate why Batten’s teachings are misleading and based on falsehoods. If you disagree, then go ahead and challenge the points I made. So far I have not received any responses in defence of Batten’s lecture.
Here is the complete series of Batten-related posts:
- A Creationism Lunch Hour – the announcement.
- Creationists and Liars – a general piece about quote mining and two logical fallacies, things used in the talk
- Creationists Believe Lions Originally Ate Plants – bleh, I don’t think much of this post. Just me ranting about “no death before the fall”. Mostly written due to my frustration at fumbling questions at such seminars.
- Incorrect Creationist Calculation: Likelihood of Formation of a Particular Protein – A piece debunking Batten’s final calculation, his attempt at a “climactic end” for his seminar. Explains some of the probability elements of mutation and natural selection, i.e. evolution.
- Batten #1: “Defining” Evolution?
- Batten #2: Transitional Fossils and Quote Mining
- Batten #3: Science versus Wishful Thinking
- Batten #4: Intelligent Design and ATP Synthase
- Batten #5: Junk DNA, Vestigial Organs, Kinesin, Intelligent Design
- Batten #6: “Information”
- Batten #7: Natural Selection
- Batten #8: The Incorrect Calculation
- Batten Seminar Coverage in Die Matie – A letter by Kenneth and Maud, and an article by Ivanka van der Merwe.
- Batten Seminar Coverage in By
- Batten Seminar Coverage in Die Burger
- More Batten Seminar Coverage in Die Matie – three letters: a creationist’s response to Kenneth and Maud’s original letter, and two letters responding to that one
- Future Post 2? – Future Posts will be made as necessary, this post will be updated to include the full series.
Such nonsense lectures are not limited to Batten. Gary Bates’ seminar last year was worse. Much worse. (OK, that depends on how you measure. There was less abuse of hard-to-grasp science, but more pure tripe.) I could give it the same treatment as Batten’s seminar, but would that really be of any use to anyone?
Now we have Shofar organising such seminars on Stellenbosch University campus. They associate themselves with tripe, they are evangelising ignorance. Shofar would do well to not get involved with such anti-science nonsense.
Also interesting to note, from Batten’s biography, it seems Batten does not believe in current day miracles:
I came to see, after considerable prayer and study, that evolution is really a belief system parading as science. It is an alternative religion designed to banish the creator God to the realm of abstract philosophy only.
It seems he believes that if you accept evolution, all that is left of God is abstract philosophy. Shofar, on the other hand, believes God makes himself known personally, performs miracles, etc. Is it necessary for them to associate themselves with CMI’s misleading and dishonest lectures? (And just for the record, he is wrong about evolution, it is not a belief system. But anyway, this post is not the place to discuss that.)
The point is this: whether creationism is true or not, false or misleading teachings should not be encouraged. I’d recommend Shofar stops inviting CMI creationists to give embarrassing lectures. The name of the person at Shofar who organises these talks is De Villiers. Would it be worthwhile to sit down with him and discuss these seminars in great depth, explaining why they are giving Shofar a bad name? If De Villiers stops organising such seminars, will someone else simply take over? De Villiers, if by any chance you end up reading this, what do you say?
Shofar’s theology is intimately connected to young-earth creationism. However, not all attendees and new members are expected to immediately accept the young earth viewpoint when they join. Obviously Shofar would want everyone to feel welcome there, and to attend regularly. Over time, they can then try to win them over to the unscientific viewpoint…
A Completely Crazy Wishful-Thinking Idea
I had an idea, that I think is completely silly. However, I thought I’d put it out here, and see if there’s anyone else that is interested in proving it isn’t silly…
My curiosity insists on wondering how many Shofarians care about science, and realise that accepting science makes it impossible to accept a young earth stance. I then wonder how many of these people would actually be prepared to stand up for what they believe, despite being a minority group that could feel oppression from their peers. (Sounds like early Christianity, does it not?) Thus…:
Never mind evolution and all that stuff, if you are a Shofarian and you know that the earth is much, much older than ten thousand years, with a most likely age of a couple of billion years, please consider joining the Facebook group: Members or attendees of Shofar that are not Young-Earth creationists.
What would be the point of that group? It would be to break down stereotypes. In particular, the stereotype of all Shofarians being anti-science young earthers. Hopefully it could make Shofar more aware that their congregation has diverse viewpoints, and ideally more aware that the seminars they are organising are nonsense. It can also create a support group for people that like being a member of the Shofar community, but want to point out that that does not mean they also reject science.
If such a group were to be successful, We’d have to hack out some ground rules: It must not be a place to debate the age of the earth. It must not be a place where “young-earth holier-than-thou, real Shofarians” come to try to convince the scientifically minded Shofarians to “get with the program”. Like Paul’s advice to the Thessalonians, to avoid being socially dislocated and “persecuted” by other Shofarians, I’d also have to advise such Shofarians to not make any waves. It would not be about fighting Shofar’s official position. After all, membership is subject to submission to authority on matters pertaining to church doctrine.
If it happens that, by taking a pro-science stance, you are forced to forfeit your membership, well, then we’ll have good reason for the creation of a support group for “persecuted” ex-Shofarians. Pick up your cross and carry it with pride.