Monday, August 27, 2007

The answers about Answers in Genesis-part 2

To the quote mines we go- part 1

Is Answers in Genesis, probably the site most highly-regarded by young-earth creationists and much used as a source by Marcsana, a reliable and reputable source that is above quote mining?

Um- no.

To start with, AiG touts the book That Their Words May Be Used Against Them – Quotes from Evolutionists Useful for Creationists, a 500-page book of nothing but hundreds of quotes, without context or information. It’s clear from the title of the book what its purpose is- and that purpose is most definitely not careful, thoughtful scholarship. Indeed, of the four quotes from scientists that I discussed in my first installment on quote mining, all four appear in this book! Undoubtedly, many of the creationist quote mines in existence are drawn totally from this compendium. No scholastically-responsible organization would promote such a book; this is even lower than a Cliffs Notes of creationism in scholarship.

This book-shilling takes place on AiG's own quote mine page. To explore all of the problems here would take a book- not only are the usual out-of context quotes offered here, there are quotes over a century old, quotes from sources that have nothing to do with evolution at all,
vicious personal attacks
Both of these statements [on atheism]1,2 were made by an arch-enemy of creationists, scientist and science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. His irrational atheism, the reason for his opposition to creationism, showed quite plainly in these two statements that the argument over creation/evolution is not about facts. When it comes to science, Asimov claimed to be interested in reducing the lack of knowledge, but when it comes to God, Asimov preferred to remain ignorant. And let’s not forget that this is exactly what Asimov was—deliberately ignorant. He was always interested only in the facts which suit him, not in all the facts, as is plainly shown in these two quotes.

and even quotes from mass murderers .

The first link on this page, after the book sale, is “99 Quotable Quotes.” A quote mine within a quote mine! The vast majority of these quotes have absolutely nothing to do with science and are not from scientific sources, unless one considers the Satanic Bible or News of the Weird works of science. I will take a look in my next posting at some of the ones that sound even marginally scientific.

In addition. AiG also has a series of webpages, variously called “Quotable Quotes” and “Quotes to Note,” featuring the latest quotes they have mined, again, with no context or explanations. In many cases, the true origin of these quotes is impossible to track down- many are said to be from lectures, often given in another language.

Many of the quotes that AiG cites are remarkable in their lack of context. Without any explanation or background, these quotes are so innocuous- or so true- as to puzzle non-creationists as to their reasons for inclusion- are they objectionable simply because they mention evolution or the political machinations of creationists? These are a few such quotes, presented in their entirety as they are on AiG's webpages.:

From “99 Quotable Quotes.”
43 “Human beings are made up mostly of water, in roughly the same percentage as water is to the surface of the earth. Our tissues and membranes, our brains and hearts, our sweat and tears—all reflect the same recipe for life, in which efficient use is made of those ingredients available on the surface of the earth…”
“But above all we are oxygen (61 percent) and hydrogen (10 percent), fused together in the unique molecular combination known as water, which makes up 71 percent of the human body.
So when environmentalists assert that we are, after all, part of the earth, it is no mere rhetorical flourish. Our blood even contains roughly the same percentage of salt as the ocean, where the first life forms evolved. They eventually brought onto the land a self-contained store of the sea water to which we are still connected chemically and biologically. Little wonder, then, that water carries such great spiritual significance in most religions, from the water of Christian baptism to Hinduism’s sacred water of life.”

Al Gore, “Earth in the Balance”, pp. 99-100
45 “Human evolution, of course, is responsible for our very long period of childhood, during much of which we are almost completely dependent on our parents. As Ashley Montagu first pointed out decades ago, evolution encouraged the development of larger and larger human brains, but our origins in the primate family placed a limit on the ability of the birth canal to accommodate babies with ever-larger heads. Nature’s solution was to encourage an extremely long period of dependence on the nurturing parent during infancy and childhood, allowing both mind and body to continue developing in an almost gestational way long after birth.”

Al Gore, “Earth in the Balance”, p. 229
59 “As for the claim that evolution is an unproved theory, that’s nonsense, Evolution is a fact, established with the same degree of confidence as our ‘theory’ of disease, and the atomic ‘theory’ of matter. Yes, there is lively debate about the particular evolutionary mechanisms that caused particular changes, but the existence of evolutionary change is not in doubt. Our own bodies provide walking evidence.”

Jared Diamond, “Who Are the Jews?”, Natural History Vol. 102, No. 11, November 1993, p. 19
60“Actually, there is superabundant evidence for animals evolving under our eyes: British moths becoming darker since the Industrial Revolution (industrial melanization), insects evolving DDT resistance since World War II, malaria parasites evolving chloroquine resistance in the last two decades, and new strains of flu virus evolving every few years to infect us.”

Jared Diamond, “Who Are the Jews?”, Natural History Vol. 102, No. 11, November 1993. p. 19,

From Quotable Quotes:
The problem won’t go away—we face a highly organized, well financed effort to legislate creationism—religious doctrine—into public education. … individuals opposing this effort to introduce theology masquerading as science into biology classrooms desperately need the help and support of professional biologists

Wayne A. Moyer
Executive Director
National Association of Biology Teachers (U.S.A.)
in Bio Science March 1980
Taken completely out of context, as AiG did, these quotes, if anything, support the theory of evolution. Of course, in many cases, AiG has convoluted arguments elsewhere on their site that attempt to refute the premises behind some of these quotes. But, standing alone without background, explanation, or reason, these quotes in and of themselves seem like statements of reason, not the ranting of the disillusioned.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Since you are trying so hard to discredit AiG (and creationism in general), I decided to demonstrate the disgusting history of evolutionary theory. I won’t be doing a comprehensive study here, but I will be doing this in installments. This installment will focus on two parts. First, I’m going to write about the Scopes trial which will be followed by a defense of AiG.
The evolutionary community has a bizarre idea about what a fact is. Am I saying every single evolutionist is this way? Absolutely not. I’m discussing a general sense. There are many places to begin this argument, but I’m going to write a little about the Scopes trial. Let’s start from the beginning. In March of 1925, Tennessee passed a bill called the Butler Act. This made it illegal to teach “that man descended from a lower order of animals.” (De Camp, L. Sprague, The Great Monkey Trial, Doubleday & Co., Garden City, NY, pp. 2, 63-64, 1968) When the young American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) heard about this, they wanted to challenge the law. They had yet to win their first court victory. (Larson, Edward J., Summer for the Gods, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, p. 65, 1998) Newspapers carried the ACLU’s press release: “We are looking for a Tennessee teacher who is willing to accept our services in testing this law in the courts.” (De Camp, p.8) In the town of Dayton, a mine manager named George Rappleyea saw the story in the Chattanooga Times. In order to get the town some publicity, he met with a school board chairman, a local lawyer and others. The plan was to persuade a teacher to say that he’d taught evolution. Enter John Scopes. He was a fill in for the biology teacher and only taught the last two weeks of the year. He taught algebra and physics as well as being athletic coach. He never took the stand. Moreover, he privately admitted that he’d never taught evolution. (De Camp, p. 432) So right from the start, there was a lie. John Scopes didn’t even teach it!
So what was said about evolution? The ACLU had leading scientists of that day put their testimonies into the transcript. Here are just a few:
“The most ancient English human relic has been called the dawn man of Piltdown.” —Professor Horatio Hackett Newman, Zoologist, University of Chicago. (The World's Most Famous Court Trial, second reprint edition, Bryan College, Dayton (Tennessee), 1990, p. 278)
In 1953, this was shown to be a hoax.

“The kind of evidence everywhere discoverable may be illustrated by the gill-slits in the embryos of higher vertebrates like reptiles, birds and mammals.” —Dr Winterton C. Curtis, Zoologist, University of Missouri. (ibid pg. 257)

Embryonic recapitulation was thrown out forty years ago. There is a residual form of this theory left, but it doesn’t in any way look like what they were describing then. In fact, speaking of fraud and deception, let’s consider Ernst Heinrich Philipp August Haeckel who frequently used deceptions to push evolutionary theory which earned him the nickname “Darwin’s Bulldog on the Continent” among others. His fraudulent drawings of embryos are no exception. For more on Haeckel and how bad of scholar he was, please see this article.

“There are, according to Wieder-sheim, no less than 180 vestigal [sic] structures in the human body ... . Among these are the vermiform appendix ...”. —Professor Horatio Hackett Newman, Zoologist, University of Chicago. (ibid pg. 268)

Scientists now know that the vast majority of these organs have important functions including the appendix.

“... the course of evolution of the horse family (Equidae) ... . One could hardly ask for a clearer or more conclusive story of evolution that this ...”. —Professor Horatio Hackett Newman, Zoologist, University of Chicago. (ibid pg. 276-277)

But, as David Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History) stated in 1979: “... some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information ...”.( 'Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology', Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol.50 No.1, January 1979, p. 25.) The horse argument has lost some of its zip in modern day thinking.

For more on horse evolution, see also:

Also, for more general info about the Scopes trial, see:

This is only a little bit of what I would want to say regarding this topic. And there is much more yet to come. It seems that “fact” in evolutionary language is also something that evolves. But since this isn’t the definition of a fact, then let’s examine what a fact should be. A fact is indisputable. In fact, the only time the word fact can mean something less solid is when it refers to something doubtful. For example, “the facts in her story are questionable.” Evolutionists are too quick to claim facts before all the data is in and their history is replete with examples that I’m going to carve out.

Let’s talk about AiG. I was unaware that making money was a sin. Your first post on them was ridiculous. There is nothing in Scripture that even remotely indicates that making money is a sin. A more interesting study would be how much people get paid in secular equivalents of those jobs in multi-million dollar companies. Your argument about their finances holds no water.
And their “quote mine?” You’re going to have to do better than that to discredit the science. You said, “Of course, in many cases, AiG has convoluted arguments elsewhere on their site that attempt to refute the premises behind some of these quotes.” I would like some examples of how convoluted these arguments are. I will be brief about quote mines for now since I promised a longer post on this later. But I am going to say this. When you get rid of the quotes, you still have the science that needs to be dealt with. Not all creation scientists use quotes and many of them have the same conclusions. In the end, the focus is on the science.

Not all the quotes are designed to be about evolution. Many of them are to show how evolution has affected the thinking of modern man. In the 20th century, it is estimated that 100 million people died at the hands of communism which held to evolutionary thinking. Evolution removes the grounds for morality. If you don’t like that statement, tough. That’s the insinuation of evolutionary thinking. Before I proceed, am I saying that evolutionists can’t be moral? Of course not! Many of them are more moral than some Christians; you yourself appear to be very moral. What I’m saying is that there are no grounds for it. Anyone can make up his or her mind about what is and is not truth. As a result, no evolutionist can say that Hitler was wrong or Stalin was wrong. If evolution is a series of undirected processes where the strong survive and the weak perish, then where is room for morality? If we die and that’s it, where does morality come out to play? It doesn’t. In the end, what Hitler did doesn’t matter. What Stalin did was irrelevant because we will all die in the end and NOTHING will be remembered. Many of the quotes that are placed there are not for evolution. Many are there that show where evolution can go philosophically. So the satanic bible is not used a source for evolution; it is used to show where the influence of evolution reaches to. Your example of a “vicious attack” wasn’t fair either. As a “constant student,” so to speak, I would say that I myself know nothing. When I read that quote, I didn’t see an attack. I saw an honest, philosophical appraisal of science. Read what was written after the quotes.

Lastly, I could care less whether or not you like AiG (not in a rude way, I promise). It sounds like you don’t care for how it’s run and you don’t like the quote mining (at least some quotes are out of context…many are fine just the way they are. Used responsibly, quotes are good and you did teach me to not be so liberal with quotes. Thank you, by the way.). Anyway, you don’t have to like the leadership. But the scientists who either work for AiG or who write for them on occasion have wonderful cases in science to be dealt with.

This is my very brief, in-a-nutshell defense of AiG. There may be more to come depending on where this goes.