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Aug 29 2013

What do you get when a creationist visits the Galapagos?

I think it’s an anti-Darwin: instead of observations, you get pretty pictures; instead of insights, you get a cloud of murk and lies. Georgia Purdom of Answers in Genesis visited the Galapagos, and now she’s coming out with a book of religious apologetics.

After my return, I started thinking about writing a book on the Galápagos Islands. I wanted people to see that what we think about how and when the Galápagos Islands formed and how the wildlife changed over time has to do with a person’s starting point or worldview. The Galápagos Islands both past and present are a display of God’s majesty in His creation and His mercy in preserving life in a fallen world instead of an “icon of evolution.” I also wanted people to appreciate the diversity and beauty of the wildlife and landscape that is unique to the Galápagos through the 2000-plus photos I had taken.

If you should ever see this book, think about Purdom going to the Galapagos on a sight-seeing trip and learning absolutely nothing, and compare it to Rosemary and Peter Grant who spent decades there, documenting patterns of change in the bird populations of Daphne Minor. I learn something from the Grant’s work, while Purdom’s delusions will just make the world a stupider place.

Give the Purdom book a pass. Get the Grants’ How and Why Species Multiply: The Radiation of Darwin’s Finches instead.

27 comments

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  1. 1
    tierra de antilopes

    That quote is begging for Comic Sans…

  2. 2
    Sam N

    Disappointing. I thought you were gonna say someone who accepts evolution, Darwin as an example, no?

  3. 3
    Ogvorbis: Still failing at being human.

    An entire book of someone sticking rhetorical fingers in her ears and shouting “Lalalala I can’t hear you!” accompanied by pretty pictures.

    Naw. I had enough of that when the kids were toddlers.

  4. 4
    nowimnothing

    Huh, I figured creationists would be ok with the Galapagos in general, micro-evolution and all that BS.

    But I guess it is associated with Darwin therefore it must be some devilish trickery.

  5. 5
    timgueguen

    I was hoping that the answer would be “A creationist bitten by a tortoise.” But thinking about it that would be a horrible thing to inflict on a poor tortoise. Imagine how long it would take the creationist taste to get out of its mouth.

  6. 6
    mothra

    I was hoping for ‘A creationist bitten by a barnacle.”

  7. 7
    ppb

    I enjoyed reading the Jonathan Weiner book The Beak of the Finch about the Grants’ work with finches. Anyone who thinks Creationism is science should read this book to see what real science looks like.

  8. 8
    Ichthyic

    Disappointing. I thought you were gonna say someone who accepts evolution, Darwin as an example, no?

    actually the creature known as the modern YEC is just that, modern.

    there wasn’t anything like the combination of extreme authoritarianism and invented religious dogma that drives these modern creationists in Darwin’s time.

    Darwin was a believer before he did his voyage, but he wasn’t anything like these creatures.

  9. 9
    Cat's Staff

    The people living on the few inhabited islands are creationists, thanks to the missionaries. Maybe she hung out with them, instead of talking a science tour.

  10. 10
    DLC

    Do YECs even know that their time frame of approximately 5700 years is just someone’s guesstimate, based on the number of begats in Genesis ? Of course it is impossible to convince them of anything rational, but I really wish some of them would just stop and think for a while.

  11. 11
    gussnarp

    I like how god put all these unique and beautiful lifeforms on a little island to languish unseen by his most precious creation, man, for almost all of our existence, even by YEC standards. I imagine they also all swam there, but thereafter remained isolated, after the flood?

  12. 12
    heliconia

    The pedant in me is delurking to point out that the island where the Grants study finches is Daphne Major, not Daphne Minor.

  13. 13
    lclane2

    This book should be perfect for those who want to know what it would have been like to visit the Galapagos in the 18th century.

  14. 14
    jimmyfromchicago

    They wanted me to serve as the creation biologist on the expedition and explain the amazing flora and fauna from a biblical view. Since this is every biologist’s dream come true, I agreed to go!

    Explaining flora and fauna from a biblical point of view is “every biologist’s dream come true”? No. No, it isn’t.
    ———

    I wanted people to see that what we think about how and when the Galápagos Islands formed and how the wildlife changed over time has to do with a person’s starting point or worldview.

    They keep using this argument–we’ll never know whether creationism or evolution is true, so one is as good as the other–and it’s so fundamentally dishonest. For one thing, to believe it you have to be willfully ignorant of the massive amounts of evidence that contradict the “creationist worldview.” For another, they do not for a minute believe that both viewpoints are equally valid; they believe they’re right, and only a turning away from Christianity in the West–together with a vast academic conspiracy–is the only reason creationism isn’t still accepted today.
    ——–
    The best part is that this is a coffee table book.

    The result was a gorgeous coffee-table-style book that showcases breathtaking photographs along with solid content that gives readers a view of the Galápagos beginning with the truth of God’s Word.

    So, despite going on a trip that was “every biologist’s dream come true,” she wasn’t inspired to do any actual science.

    The book will be available for purchase this fall so keep checking our website for the official release.

    As usual with creationism, it’s all about pushing products on the gullible flock.

  15. 15
    DLC

    jimmyfromchicago @ 14 :

    The best part is that this is a coffee table book.

    Oh, cool. so I can use it to prop up the short leg of my coffee table ? At least then it will have some practical use. Good to know.

  16. 16
    anchor

    What a deep thinker. Quite a departure from all those folks who visited that amazing place who knew how to pay attention to their eyes, starting with Darwin.

  17. 17
    david23

    Had the pleasure of going down to the Galapagos a few years ago. In talking with our guide it turns out that a number of creationists do even bother getting of the boat. These people just want to be able to say that they have been to the Galapagos to give them selves a position of authority on the subject. If you have a chance to go the Galapagos I suggest a minimum of ten days anything less is a waste.

  18. 18
    bortedwards

    I filed it under speculative fiction four words in when she says “I started thinking”…

    And indicative of nothing, but I google-imaged her out of curiosity, and apart from one picture, she has *the exact same* expression on her apparently at all times. It’s creepy!

  19. 19
    fabianocaccin

    His mercy in preserving life in a fallen world

    A single swallow, it is said, devours ten millions of insects every year. The supplying of these insects I take to be a signal instance of the Creator’s bounty in providing for the lives of His creatures.

    The Devil’s Dictionary

  20. 20
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    I wanted people to see that what we think about how and when the Galápagos Islands formed and how the wildlife changed over time has to do with a person’s starting point or worldview.

    Indeed. A person with a worldview which finds intellect, critical thinking and honesty to be laudable puts some fucking work in and comes to the conclusions drawn by Darwin in The Voyage of the Beagle. A person who’s worldview revolves around defending the pack of lies they have been raised on regardless of what further lies, manipulations and cognitive dissonance may be involved comes to the conclusion that “[t]he Galápagos Islands both past and present are a display of God’s majesty”.

  21. 21
    Rey Fox

    The best part is that this is a coffee table book.

    Well, there’s only so many times one can repeat “Goddidit”, so once they padded out the page total with pictures (which I somehow feel are going to be about Instagram quality), they figured they might as well print it up all big and glossy.

  22. 22
    mbrysonb

    She’s right, in a way: what you think about a question really is partly due to the viewpoint you start with. More specifically, if you start with a viewpoint as rigid and inflexible and blinkered as dogmatic biblical literalism, you’re stuck with it, and you can’t learn much about the world at all. All you can do is feebly marvel at all the things ‘God did’, one by one by one. The idea that what you’re seeing is part of a much richer story which explains and connects these things to a history of life and to basic processes that are key motifs in that history is ruled out because it doesn’t fit with the book. The price of her bad choice of starting point is the uselessness, dullness and empty repetitiveness of her world view (reminds me of a few sermons I’ve heard, come to think of it). She should consider starting over again…

  23. 23
    sadunlap

    @ mbrysonb #22

    what you think about a question really is partly due to the viewpoint you start with. More specifically, if you start with a viewpoint as rigid and inflexible and blinkered as dogmatic biblical literalism, you’re stuck with it, and you can’t learn much about the world at all.

    I read that Louis Agassiz visited the Galapagos in the last few years of his life. He found it agreed with his theory completely. Once you create an explanation which does not require testing against evidence and rational inferences then you can justify belief in pretty much anything. I’m not a “Popper-azzi” but without a falsifiable hypothesis – an explanation that could be disproven if it were not true – anything you want to be true can be true.

  24. 24
    keljopy

    Ugh…when I was in the Galapagos, the tour guide was talking about the cacti and the different species on different islands and how they evolved to fit different niches. A Polish couple (I can’t even remember now which one of them it was that said it, but the other agreed) decided to comment “yeah, but they’re all still cacti”…the guide, speaking English as a second language missed the snark but it gave me flashbacks of answers in genesis and “kinds” and “microevolution not macroevolution” bs. I really wanted to smack them upside the head and say wtf are you creationists even doing here on a biologists dream trip, trying to ruin it for the rest of us.

  25. 25
    Lofty

    “yeah, but they’re all still cacti”…

    ..as the islands have only existed on the Earth’s surface for millions of years, not billions. What a surprise, eh? Damned creationists and their lack of a deep time sense.

  26. 26
    mbrysonb

    Quine made the point better: you can believe what you like, come what may, if you’re prepared to make the necessary changes elsewhere in the ‘web of belief’. But it isn’t inquiry when you do it that way– better to model what we do on everyday observation, where we actually agree on most of what we can observe (and often resolve disagreements successfully too). And the result of doing it persistently, carefully, more precisely, in greater detail & so on is science.

  27. 27
    David Marjanović

    I enjoyed reading the Jonathan Weiner book The Beak of the Finch about the Grants’ work with finches. Anyone who thinks Creationism is science should read this book to see what real science looks like.

    Seconded.

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