More attention for Ken Ham

Tonight on Anderson Cooper (CNN, 10pm ET), we’re apparently going to get a preview of Ken Ham’s shiny new pseudo-scientific creation “science” “museum”. Tune in for a good laugh!

(via DefCon Blog)

Gaaaah! I managed to watch it for 20 minutes before giving up on it. It was one big load of religious tripe, with all the emphasis given to glowing candles, bible verses, and fawning credulity over creationists, religionists, anyone who believes. They showed Ken Ham preaching lying, lots of shots of creepy animatronic dinosaurs, and countered it all with about 15 seconds of Michael Novacek of the AMNH pointing out that there was no evidence for any of it. They had someone from the Family Research Council and Americans for Separation of Church and State in a dueling heads argument — the FRC bot was hammering on ‘teach the controversy’, even if it is wrong; in the only effective skeptical moment, the fellow from ASCS grilled her on her personal beliefs about the age of the earth, and she ran away from the question. Anderson Cooper was useless, interested only in perpetuating the argument by giving the drone lots of slack.

I gave up when they built up to the “big scientist answers it all” moment, and it was … Francis Collins. Dear god, I’ve decided that man is an idiot.


  1. Steve_C says

    Our liberal media at work.

    I think Anderson Cooper is usually a pretty hard interviewer…
    I doubt this will go beyond being a puff piece. Journalists never bone
    up on the science before these kind of things.

    I want to hear just one question “Where’s the evidence for any of this? The earth is billions of years old.”

  2. MK says

    Did you happen to catch F. Collins article on CNN online? Also, a sneak peek at the Creation Museum! CNN, Cable Nincompoop Channel.

  3. mndarwinist says

    Can anyone tell me why creationists, including Collins, get so much air time? Collins gets to say on CNN why he believes in God. How about the statistical majority of members of National Academy of Sciences, who don’t? And why does the “flinstones-is-a-documentary” museum deserve any attention?

  4. says

    Are you sure it’s tonight? I thought I saw this a couple of days ago. Or am I doing that damn oscillation along the time coordinate thing again?

  5. H. Humbert says

    Well, their previous video on the museum was nothing but a puff piece.

    The reporter claims the musuem uses science to back up the bibical creation story–no mention of distorting science to do so. He also repeats the lie that creationists simply want both sides presented fairly so that people can make an informed choice.

    It’s terrible journalism, even by CNN’s standards.

  6. Ahcuah says

    So, when are we going to do a field trip? Do you think we could get thrown out, en masse?

  7. Vreejack says

    A visit to the museum might be entertaining, but I’d only do it with a group; I’d feel like an idiot laughing by myself.

    Ken Ham is like a poker player who throws down his cards–three hearts, a diamond and a space–and says “flush, I win,” while one of the other guys at the table says “that’s the way we always play” and the host insists on hearing both sides of the story.

  8. JohnTheStudent says

    I suspect this will be worth watching. I have been very impressed with Cooper for some time now. He’s much smarter than all those other people on the news networks (Paula Zahn, Glenn Beck for gods sake!) His interview with Randi and Sylvia Browne’s flackie was very good. He’s fair, but he doesn’t like bullshit and he’s smart enough to recognize it, which is too much to ask of others apparently.

  9. says

    On the other hand, didn’t Anderson Cooper tag team with James Randi to do that take down of Sylvia Browne? So there’s some small cause to hope, at least.

  10. BC says

    The statements in the promo were pretty absurd. He says that they want people to hear about evolution, but also want people to hear about creationism. Of course, that’s *NOT* what a lot of creationists want, and it’s *NOT* what AIG wants people to hear – they want people to hear creationism, and only creationism. To say that they want people to hear about evolution AND creationism is false, unless their definition of “hearing about evolution” is “evolution is a pack of demonic lies”.

    Second, they say that children get enough education about evolution in their schools, books, media, etc. They don’t. A lot of schools don’t teach evolution at all – because they’re afraid of creationist parents throwing a fit. Children don’t learn about evolution through books or the media (with the possible exception of PBS) unless they go out and find that information. A lot of people (even non-creationists) think that humans and dinosaurs lived at the same time because they see the Flintstones or some caveman movie.

    Also, he says that dinosaurs and humans are shown together because the museum is dedicated to the creationist view, not the evolutionary view. Actually, it’s not the “evolutionary” view that humans and dinosaurs didn’t coexist. It’s the six-day creationist view that they coexisted, the view of everyone else (evolutionist, old-earth IDists, day-age creationists) that humans and dinosaurs didn’t coexist.

    He also says that the creationist museum “uses science to support the Biblical view”. Of course, that’s another example of “let’s pander to the conservative Christian worldview by claiming science supports them”.

    The thing is that conservatives bitch about the ‘liberal’ media, but the reality is that media is bending over to soft-pedal anything that conflicts with conservative Christian views of the world.

  11. says

    I just saw the CNN piece. The creation science museum thing was just silly, but the interview with the Family Research Council and Alliance for the Separation of Church and State was the good bit. The Family Research Council woman got totally pwned by both the other guest and Cooper. She got asked, point-blank, repeatedly, if she believes the earth ios 65 million or 6000 years old. She never answered. She further got asked if she wanted taught things that have been definitively proven false by science. She said, “Sure. Teach the debate.” She wants to “teach the debate” about things that have been settled by science years ago and about which there is no debate.

  12. tinisoli says

    Of course Charmaine Yoest has no interest in having science education that teaches all sides of every scientific issue. I wish they’d taken the time to draw that obvious fact out of he, but I doubt she would’ve given in. (And I don’t think she would’ve answered the age-of-Earth question, either. She would’ve screeched on about “putting all the evidence on the table,” whatever that means.) She’s too good at lying, and obviously she’s learned to time her blurbs so that she gets in a few jabs that will please the lunatics before she’s knocked out cold by reality. The Francis Collins segment was nothing new, but I’m far less worried about people like him who simply want to drape God over the universe than I am about people who home school (brainwash) their children because they despise and fear science and “Darwinianism.”

  13. Ex-drone says

    Sadly, Anderson gave way too much time and credibility to the Creationists without allowing their claims to be challenged. He was evidently pandering to the demographic that CNN are trying to steal away from the Fox Noise Network.

    I was particularly peeved that Sanjay Gupta shrugged his shoulders on scientific studies on prayer. I would have thought that a surgeon could do the following basic research:

    American Heart Journal, vol 151, issue 4, pp 934-942 (April 2006)

    Study of the Therapeutic Effects of Intercessory Prayer (STEP) in Cardiac Bypass Patients

    Conclusion: “Intercessory prayer itself had no effect on complication-free recovery from [coronary artery bypass graft] CABG, but certainty of receiving intercessory prayer was associated with a higher incidence of complications.”

  14. wicker says

    Although I thought before that Anderson Cooper is an idiot, I was quite disturbed by that show.
    Despite all their setbacks in courts, it looks to me like the IDiots and YECs are actually winning the public debate.
    maybe it’s time to leave the US and start somewhere else from scratch (maybe a different planet).

  15. says

    Journalism is the business of telling people what they want to hear. When Cooper’s audience wants to hear that traditional religion is hogwash, he’ll happily tell ’em it is. Until then, accurate reporting would violate CNN’s effective mission statement.

    By the way, I’m not denying there is such a thing as objective journalism. I’m just pointing out that it is decidedly a niche market.

  16. says

    Actually, tinisoli, he did put that question to her, directly, and repeatedly. As you expected, she started talking about “putting the evidence out there” at which point she was interrupted and asked to answer the question yes or no, and this went back and forth a couple times. He did draw her out, and she pointedly failed to answer. Anyone watching that clip knows she got killed. If I was the head of the FRC, I’d have her fired as spokesperson. Her agenda was laid bare and naked in front of all viewers when she failed to answer the age of the earth question and when she said yes to teaching things that have been proven false and about which there is no scientific debate.

    The scary part was the interviews of the parents who are home-schooling their kids. Those poor kids.

  17. says

    Wasn’t Francis Collins the guy that was opposite Richard Dawkins on MPR the other day? Well we already knew that CNN had a pro-belief bias.

  18. Observer says

    The best part was seeing Charmaine Yoest get a smackdown from Mr. Boston (can’t recall his first name) from the ASCS. Until the very end Mr. Boston never interrupted her, whereas she got anxious in the beginning, she lost her composure, whereas he knew exactly what he wanted to say and said it succinctly. From a “debate” perspective, I’d certainly want to be on his team.

    Anderson Cooper was a wimp – when Boston was poking her to answer the question about the age of the Earth, Cooper should have stopped it right there and asked her, “Charmaine, why did you sidestep my question about people living with dinosaurs? Can you answer that?” At least she would have had to give a reason why she didn’t want to answer it (of course, we all know the stock ID answer).

    Mr. Gunn, you’re right – she’s a bad spokesperson for the annoying Family Research Council, and I have to say that her whole ID-regurgitating demeanor and expression on her face made her look clueless. Ever feel like you just want to smack someone? (I wouldn’t really, but you know the feeling.)

    I watched all of it, and I have to agree, too, that Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s soundbites about prayer left much to be desired. There was also the “dinosaurs should be minerals” guy whose name I forgot. If they’re not going to allot the time to do these “specials” thoroughly, then don’t do them at all. Fluff, I say.

    (Though, keep up the good work, Mr. Boston.)

  19. Chuck says

    Say whatever you want about Francis Collins: that he is trying to have his cake and eat it too, that he gives no good reasons for believing in a a cosmic despot, that he is making an incredibly illogical leap by accepting science and religion. All of that granted, you can hardly call the man a creationist. He spends much of his book combatting creationism and defending Darwinian evolution. The chapters on God do not logically proceed from the chapters on evolution, but he hardly defends young earth creationism or intelligent design creationism. His book is inferior to anything by atheist scientists on evolution, of course, but he is still not a creationist.

    It also seems unbecoming for a professor of biology at a great university like UM to call a distinguished colleague (come on, his contributions to sequencing of the genome was an achievement, no?) an idiot. Collins may be wrong, but he’s no idiot.

  20. CJ says

    It also seems unbecoming for a professor of biology at a great university like UM to call a distinguished colleague (come on, his contributions to sequencing of the genome was an achievement, no?) an idiot. Collins may be wrong, but he’s no idiot.

    The capacity to sequence vast lengths of DNA was a technological achievement by, primarily, commercial interests and had nothing to do with Collins.

    Personally, I’ve always thought the HGP was over-hyped and while it may not have been much ado about nothing, it was much ado about not so much-a statistical analysis of the rates of discovery for gene function before and after HGP would be interesting.

    At any rate, I put Collins in the idiot category many years ago with his rather blythe commentary on his responsibility regarding the scientific fraud perpetrated under his nose.