Virginia is for lovers…of similar skin tone and opposite sex who don’t touch each other’s genitals with anything other than their own »« Margaret Thatcher is dead

The ark builders

Apoplexy is such an antique disease. I’d hate to die of it, just because is so unfashionable, but every time I read one of these stories about Answers In Genesis, I feel an attack coming on.

Yeah, they’re working on building a replica of Noah’s Ark. It’s all part of their plan for defrauding the public. The author talked to people at the existing creation “museum”, and hit one of those points that spike my blood pressure.

When I was at the Creation Museum I got talking to Greg Duck, an industrial courier who was visiting from Texas. He said his favourite part was a video where a creationist paleontologist who is digging alongside one of his peers says: “I start with the Bible. My colleague does not. We come to different conclusions because of our different starting points.” Duck said: “That is tremendous perspective.” I asked him if he believed in creationism. “Oh yeah,” he replied. “You’ve got to follow the facts.”

It’s the first lie the Creation “Museum” hammers at you: ‘we’re all using exactly the same evidence, it’s just that we’re using that same evidence plus the bible.’ Yet the reverse is true.

What AiG doesn’t tell you is that there is a vast and consilient array of facts that demonstrate that a dinosaur fossil, for instance, is over 65 million years old. We’ve accumulated all these methods that lock together to agree on the age; and these are the same methods that lock together to support modern technology. They provide for a gigantic library of facts tested and reinforced by reality that testify to the age of the earth.

The Bible has one brief poetic passage on its first page that gives a cursory, non-specific, unverifiable assertion by authority that the creation was brief and teleological, with no date specified. Some Christians, not all, have interpreted those passages to mean the earth is less than 10,000 years old. In fact, historically fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have accepted the old age of the earth; this demand that it must be 6000 years old is a fringe belief that was made mainstream by fanatics in the 1960s. It requires actively rejecting the majority of the data, the testimony of the rocks and stars, in order to make a completely nonsensical claim.

The gullible courier is not following the facts. AiG has to hide the facts and lie about their determination in order to make this utterly outrageous claim that they are taking the totality of the information into account.

Besides being built on lies, their intent is simply vile. They are true believers in Old Testament morality.

Marsh, the ark designer, has similar concerns. He said he had watched humans “become more sensual, more dangerous, more self-centred” – just as they did in the licentious society punished by the biblical flood. As a reminder, before park visitors reach the ark they will walk through a stucco-walled sin city filled with the evils of pre-flood society, which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting. On the other side will be a Tower of Babel and a ride themed on the plagues unleashed on Egypt, among them a river of blood and swarms of locusts. “We basically have retribution through this whole thing,” Marsh said.

Shouldn’t it bother us all that the basis for their arguments about morality are built on fear of a retributive event that didn’t happen? That we’re supposed to quiver in fear of a godly wrath that is nothing but a falsified myth?

Comments

  1. says

    They start with the same facts. The only difference is how they use them. Science is bogged down because of this weird instance on using all of the facts. Science is slow and messy. And it’s always demanding that you go out and find more facts. It’s a never ending cycle of greed.

    Creationism is far more efficient, because they pre-sort their facts and whittle away the unusable facts. (99% of facts are just useless facts about how the world actually works). And once they determined a nice pleasant set of facts to work from, they don’t have to waste time trying to find more facts. If it was good in 1850, it’s good now. There’s no need to waste money building expensive labs. If they want to find the Higgs Boson, you don’t build a billion dollar particle collider; just throw two bibles at each other really fast. If the Higgs particle doesn’t poof into being, it just means that this Higgs Boson was a false God particle and you are going to hell because you tried looking for it. See Creationism is far better.

  2. says

    Are there any valid tests for “sensual, dangerous, and self-centered?” Has anyone attempted to apply these objectively? I’m pretty sure we’ve been humping, killing, and looking out for ourselves for ages. I’d say that eliminating slavery must have subtracted more than enough points from our sensuality, dangerousness, and egotism columns to counter for a few all-night raves.

  3. sundiver says

    Okay, build it. Using only Bronze-Age technology. Then FLOAT the fucking thing. In the ocean. With Ham and his coterie of mental midgets. See how long it floats in moderately rough weather. See why no sea-going wooden vessel longer than 400′ has ever been built. See Ham and company desperately call for help. See the boat sink. See the Coast Guard charge Hammy and Co a few thousand dollars for having to rescue their dumb-asses. See all the folks with more than two adjacent brain cells laugh themselves sick. Won’t happen but it’s an amusing thought-experiment.

  4. Moggie says

    richardhart:

    An industrial courier is just a fancy name for truck driver, isn’t it?

    A truck driver called Duck? I bet the guy really hates limericks.

  5. blf says

    I say fact, they say fact, we don’t speaks the same language.
    I say evidence, they say what’s dat?, we don’t speaks the same language.
    I say fraud, they say you, we don’t reasonings the same.
    I say book of bad myths, they say Evilution!, we don’t reasonings the same.
    They say a dog ate it, I mutter I’ve lost homework that way, we don’ts have the same humors.
    They say bow and believe, I pulls out my FSM and says Ok, we don’ts have the same humors.
    They say the orb is 6Kyo, I ask where did you learn such big words?, we does irony differentlys.
    They say fossils are lies, I say I never met one I didn’t like, we does irony differentlys.
    When they pulls out the ropes and guns and start to look for a lynching tree, I runs aways. I don’t does that shite…

  6. CaitieCat says

    An interesting phenomenon: read holytape’s second paragraph again, and this time substitute (as I did accidentally the first time I read it) the letter “r” for the letter “c” where it occurs in “facts”.

    It allows the believers’ argument to retain all the weight and dignity and ability to pass the “sniff test” of its current evidence, while also being funny as hell (if you’re a sniggering 12-year-old, which I apparently am).

  7. marcoli says

    Rest easy, the Ark project will probably fail. The more animatronics and staging they commit to, the more likely it will go over budget. The more lavish and expensive the park becomes to build and maintain, the higher will be the entry fees. Successful theme parks rely heavily on repeat visitors from a very very large customer base. I see its future failure for a combination of reasons, and it makes my blood pressure go down.

  8. UnknownEric is GrumpyCat in human form says

    A truck driver called Duck? I bet the guy really hates limericks.

    Especially if he’s from Nantucket.

  9. thumper1990 says

    …licentious society punished by the biblical flood. As a reminder, before park visitors reach the ark they will walk through a stucco-walled sin city filled with the evils of pre-flood society, which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting.

    Cage fighting? Since when did cage fighting count as “licentious”?

  10. raven says

    The Ark park may never be built.

    It sounds more like a bunch of kids in fantasy land playing grownup right now.

    AIG itself is losing money and the attendance at the Creation pseudomuseum is down several years in a row.

    I doubt they care if they lose money though and the Ark park ends up like Jim Bakker’s theme park. It went bankrupt and he went to jail. Scammers get the money up front and run. If it all collapses later, well, didn’t you read the prospectus? It says there were risks.

  11. UnknownEric is GrumpyCat in human form says

    which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting.

    And reruns of Everybody Loves Raymond.

  12. blf says

    [B]efore park visitors reach the ark they will walk through a stucco-walled sin city filled with the evils of pre-flood society, which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting.

    Now that actually sounds fun & entertaining. I can see the amphitheater / sadium / colosseum filling up now. Especially if they do that oldie-but-goodie, feeding the lions.

  13. swampfoot says

    What AiG doesn’t tell you is that there is a vast and consilient array of facts that demonstrate that a dinosaur fossil, for instance, is over 65 million years old.

    Sometimes (this is probably gonna sound nutty) I wonder if the massive amount of evidence that exists somehow makes it easier for certain people to disbelieve it? Maybe a corollary to the Big Lie hypothesis? (A “Big Truth” hypothesis?) Not sure how to unpack this idea, which could mean that it’s shit.

    Maybe people who refuse to examine evidence feel that they are standing up to some huge, unjust arbitrary authority and “going against the grain” and acting “edgy” to deny things that are empirically provable?

    Or it could be that people are just dumb, I guess.

  14. raven says

    On the other side will be a Tower of Babel …“We basically have retribution through this whole thing,”

    For fans of bible trivia, the fundies not only lie about science, they lie about what their magic book says.

    NIV Genesis

    6 The Lord said, “If as one people speaking the same language they have begun to do this, then nothing they plan to do will be impossible for them. 7 Come, let us go down and confuse their language so they will not understand each other.”

    The gods confused people’s language, because they were afraid of them Afraid they would cooperate and become powerful.

    And like always, the incompetent gods’ fixes didn’t work. These days, instead of piling bricks up, we have robots around Saturn and on Mars.

    The gods are right to fear humans though. When we stop believing in them, then they die.

  15. robro says

    before park visitors reach the ark they will walk through a stucco-walled sin city filled with the evils of pre-flood society, which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting

    What’s this!? Sounds prurient. Is this one of those “living museum” sorts of things? A little porn, a little black leather, some S&M, and then the Ark. This could give children all kinds of bad ideas.

  16. Reginald Selkirk says

    “I start with the Bible. My colleague does not…”

    If you want to be a competent scientist, you need to be prepared for the possibility that you starting position may be wrong. My favourite example: the Michelson-Morley experiments. Their starting point was that “the ether” existed, and that it would have a directional effect on the speed of light.

  17. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati says

    An industrial courier is just a fancy name for truck driver, isn’t it?

    Either that or a bike messenger minus the sexy.

  18. jamessweet says

    I don’t remember anything about cage-fighting as a reason for the flood… I thought they started with the bible?

  19. kantalope says

    The trip through Hooker-land alone will be worth the price of admission, I’m thinking.

    Many, many patrons never make it to the ark…History repeats.

  20. Crip Dyke, Right Reverend Feminist FuckToy of Death & Her Handmaiden says

    @Jamessweet

    Leviticus (33:3-4):
    3 Man shall not engage in MMA with man, under any rule set or league affiliation, save where blood and death result under open sky, unconstrained by wall or wire; it is an abomination.
    4 The men who engage in MMA are unclean, and must be purified by blood or rite; women and trans* MMA fighters, however, are awesomely cool. The breath of Lashon Hara shall never besmirch their names or the Lord, they God, will ensure that thou art ridiculed by a great Horde!

  21. says

    In fact, historically fundamentalist and evangelical Christians have accepted the old age of the earth; this demand that it must be 6000 years old is a fringe belief that was made mainstream by fanatics in the 1960s.

    I’ve heard this many times, but how true is it? A look at Wikipedia, gives a list of many, many people who accepted young earth creationism, from Eusebius to Maimonides to Isaac Newton to Martin Luther. These aren’t particularly fringe elements of religion. Granted, most educated people began accepting an ancient earth with the Enlightenment and the scientific revolution, but that would make the modern creationist movement a resurgence, not something brand new.

  22. unclefrogy says

    you know if they were to include the base materialism of our modern consumer society in the ” stucco-walled sin city” they might even make some money on the merchandise and the rents from the venders.

    Come to the!
    GRAND HOLLY EASTER SALE
    at the
    ARK PARK AND MALL

    find the latest fashions and fabulous deals on the newest technology
    buy that wedding ring right here at our own jewelers and wed in the the

    BIBLICAL CHAPEL………………..

    uncle frogy

  23. hexidecima says

    always good to see the Christians lying more and more. It’s also highly amusing that they want to have a part of their amusment park with “sin”. I wonder, will the plague ride show that people were killed by this god, people who had no choice in the matter. One can tell that these Christians certainly do get off on sadism.

  24. corkscrew says

    David Gerard @1: Seconded. Beautiful prose by PZ.

    I don’t comment very often, but that word tickled my brain in precisely the right way. It sounds like a Harry Potter dueling spell or something.

  25. coralline says

    Fatboy @ 26:

    Newton was about the fringiest of Christians for his time. Not even being a Trinitarian? Pfaugh!

  26. roro80 says

    Moggie #7

    A truck driver called Duck? I bet the guy really hates limericks.

    …and my OJ just came through my nose. Ouch.

  27. fastlane says

    Hrm, I had a summer job once that was described as ‘industrial messenger’. That’s what they called the high school kids they hired to push shopping carts around delivering reams of paper (code) to the programmers at IBM.

    Back in the day, I think it was called ‘working in the mailroom’, but we gots ourselves fancy titles. :D

  28. daniellavine says

    Fatboy@26:

    Sure, if you go back far enough in history that there was no reliable scientific data on earth’s origins — or, indeed, such a thing as “science” at all — you could find smart people who believed all kinds of crazy things. I don’t think that’s the least bit remarkable.

    But if we’re talking about the origins of the modern US creationist movement they are not Isaac Newton or any of the other people you mentioned. This is a real historical phenomenon that a lot of people have researched. If you’re having trouble try typing “origins of modern creationist movement” in the small box at the upper right of your web browser.*

    *For IE and FF.

  29. weatherwax says

    #6 “That plague of boils ride is going to be a real hoot.”

    Certainly better than the plague of hemmeroids ride.

    (And yes, there was a plague of hemmeroids in the OT)

  30. stevem says

    The Tower of Babel there? No mention of the WTC being the modern Tower of Babel that Gawd smote down with those two planes? 9/11/2001 being doomsday, and all? He should be telling us of more modern ‘miracles’, not the old Ark story. Phooeey.

  31. says

    Coralline – Maybe Newton wasn’t the best person to pull from that list, but what about the other three I listed, or follow the link to see how many others there were.

    daniellavine – I’m somewhat familiar with the origins of the modern creationism movement. I’ve heard of Morris and Whitcomb and their flood geology, among others. My point was that what they’re doing isn’t brand new.

    What PZ wrote sounds an awful lot like what I hear coming from accomodationists on a regular basis – young earth creationism is something new, and most Christians have always accepted that Genesis wasn’t meant to be taken literally. But from what I’ve seen, other than a relatively short stretch starting about the time of James Hutton, most Christians thought the Earth was only a few thousand years old and that species were specially created. It was the commonly accepted interpretation of the Bible for centuries. The only reason Christians began changing their interpretation was because knowledge learned through science forced them to, not because there’s anything in the Bible indicating the Earth might not be young. And even after educated Christians began accepting an old earth, they still didn’t abandon all the stories from Genesis. Noah’s flood was still a respectable idea for a while (e.g. the young William Buckland).

    I’ve also always been curious as to what was the opinion of the masses in those times. There was no Pew or Gallup to go around asking people their opinions. What we’re left with are the writings of the educated class. But I wonder what the average person on the street thought about these things.

  32. glodson says

    I’ve also always been curious as to what was the opinion of the masses in those times. There was no Pew or Gallup to go around asking people their opinions. What we’re left with are the writings of the educated class. But I wonder what the average person on the street thought about these things.

    Who cares? It isn’t because the question isn’t interesting, it is because it is of no relevance here. The reaction that is creationism is in direct response to the fact that we have evidence over the origins of species. It is a direct response to the elimination of the need for a god to explain our existence.

    It isn’t about what people thought in the past. It is about what the evidence we have in the hear and now says. No flood, no garden of Eden, no Adam and Eve, none of that. If people thought it was literal or not in the past is not germane to the issue at hand now.

  33. daniellavine says

    Fatboy@37:

    What PZ wrote sounds an awful lot like what I hear coming from accomodationists on a regular basis – young earth creationism is something new, and most Christians have always accepted that Genesis wasn’t meant to be taken literally. But from what I’ve seen, other than a relatively short stretch starting about the time of James Hutton, most Christians thought the Earth was only a few thousand years old and that species were specially created. It was the commonly accepted interpretation of the Bible for centuries. The only reason Christians began changing their interpretation was because knowledge learned through science forced them to, not because there’s anything in the Bible indicating the Earth might not be young. And even after educated Christians began accepting an old earth, they still didn’t abandon all the stories from Genesis. Noah’s flood was still a respectable idea for a while (e.g. the young William Buckland).

    I’ve also always been curious as to what was the opinion of the masses in those times. There was no Pew or Gallup to go around asking people their opinions. What we’re left with are the writings of the educated class. But I wonder what the average person on the street thought about these things.

    1. Obviously nothing I said in my previous comment contradicts what you say here about young earth being the common belief for centuries or that the bible itself doesn’t say anything about an old earth. Go ahead. Read my comment again. I think you’ll see that it’s completely consistent with these ideas.
    2. Nonetheless, there is plenty of evidence that many believers before the 19th century were not fundamentalists. I already mentioned Aquinas as an example. He may have believed in a young earth but he at least said if there is clear evidence of an old earth that should trump the bible.
    3. Since the age of the earth wasn’t even close to being discovered until the 19th century we’re talking about fundamentalists and evangelicals from the turn of the century to the 1960’s. You gave four examples but not one of them was relevant to the period or milieu under discussion. Was there a lot of antipathy to the idea of an old earth in that community at that time? I don’t know but you’ve said nothing to convince me that it would be so.
    4. You have an incredibly Eurocentric perspective. There have been thousands of different cosmologies created by different peoples over the last few thousand years. There have been far more human beings on earth who didn’t believe the biblical account — hadn’t heard of it at all, in fact — than those that have.

  34. says

    Fatboy, it’s pointless to talk about any people believing in a Young Earth before Hutton proposed Deep Time, and that was in the late 1700s.

  35. culturesclashing says

    Isn’t their building a ‘replica’ Noah’s Ark really a good thing?

    I mean doesn’t it just shove in their faces all the problems of fitting all the animals in as well as their food/ect if they actually go and build the thing?

    I would add the addition of it breaking up in the water under it’s own weight but they’d never actually try that.

  36. John Small Berries says

    The Bible has one brief poetic passage on its first page that gives a cursory, non-specific, unverifiable assertion by authority that the creation was brief and teleological, with no date specified.

    And it has a second brief poetic passage in the very next chapter that disagrees with the first brief poetic passage on a number of particulars, which has forced the “biblical inerrancy” crowd to undertake all sorts of mental contortions to reconcile the two.

    The silly book doesn’t even agree with itself, let alone with demonstrable reality.

  37. bastionofsass says

    As a reminder, before park visitors reach the ark they will walk through a stucco-walled sin city filled with the evils of pre-flood society, which he has decided will include prostitution, torture and cage fighting.

    Thank goodness these were evils of the “pre-flood society” and the flood ended them. Prostitution, torture and cage fighting…*shudder*

  38. says

    ….“We basically have retribution through this whole thing,” Marsh said.

    That creeps me waaaay out. I don’t think I ever want to be in physical proximity to this guy. He seems to, um, enjoy his work a wee bit too much, if you know what I mean….