Archive for January 8th, 2006

Creationists say fossil discoveries back their theories

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

I admire what these folks are trying to do, but I have to believe that with the scientific community not even willing to look at other possibilities than evolution, it’s going to take the return of Christ to change their minds, if even then. But none the less, glad they are trying.

Most paleontologists look into the mouth of an allosaurus and see a prehistoric eating machine with a jaw full of flesh-tearing teeth.
Peter DeRosa peers into that mouth and sees the hand of God.
Working from a business park about 80 miles north of Tampa, Fla., DeRosa and his family are hammering away at two bedrock principles of modern science: evolution and the notion that Earth is about 4 billion years old.
The DeRosas are part of a small but growing band of creationists using dinosaurs – the icons of an ancient Earth – to argue that the world is only 6,000 years old.
The DeRosas’ tool of choice? The fossilized bones of Ebenezer the allosaurus and other creatures cramming their makeshift laboratory.
“It’s very clear in Scripture. God’s word is true,” said DeRosa, 22. “Everything we’ve found supports that.”
The DeRosas run Creation Expeditions, a ministry that relies on dinosaurs to spread what they say is the infallible word of the Bible. The family operation includes Peter, his brother Mark, sister Leah, and parents Pete and Linda.
The DeRosas have no formal training but have studied dinosaurs and fossils for more than a decade.
They lecture at private schools, churches and anywhere else that will have them. Several times a year, they conduct digs in Florida and out West, serving as guides for others – usually Christians – interested in dinosaurs. They charge $500 per person for five-day excavations. They also take in contributions from religious groups and other sponsors.
The DeRosas’ digs have produced impressive results. They have uncovered a 22-foot-long allosaurus – a smaller relative of the T. rex – and a 15-foot-tall edmontosaurus, a plant-eating, duck-billed dinosaur.
The DeRosas and their movement, in essence, are trying to turn science against itself. By digging up fossils and interpreting their finds, some creationists hope to convince others that evolution and a 4-billion-year-old Earth are nonsensical notions unsupported by the data.
They maintain, for example, that they’ve found organic plant matter buried with fossils indicating the animals died only a few thousand years ago. Some say they’ve found human footprints next to dinosaur tracks, a claim the vast majority of paleontologists consider preposterous.
Organisms didn’t evolve, they say – they were created by God largely as they appear today.
The vast majority of scientists consider the movement badly misguided, or worse, intellectually dishonest. Creationists, scientists say, aren’t doing real science.
They are starting with a conclusion – that the Bible is 100 percent accurate – and gathering evidence to support that idea. True science, they say, actively looks for problems with a hypothesis. And over the years, a tremendous amount of research has been conducted specifically to find major flaws in the theories about evolution and the age of Earth. The fundamental principles of both have held up.
“The evidence is overwhelming,” said Skip Pierce, the chairman of the biology department at the University of South Florida. “These theories are essentially established fact.”
Described most famously by Charles Darwin in 1859, the basics of evolution are fairly simple. The theory holds that all life evolved from earlier, generally more primitive forms.
Organisms survived based on how well-suited they were to their environment. Beneficial traits passed on from parents – genetic variations in speed, size or eyesight – gave some offspring an advantage over competitors. Those offspring – with their unique inherited traits – stood a better chance of surviving and reproducing.
Darwin suggested that over millions of years those incremental changes reach a point of no return. At some stage, the organism changes so much, it can no longer breed within the species.
If its inherited differences are adaptive, it can evolve into a new species.
“Its explanatory power is just incredible,” said Peter Harries, a USF professor who studies ancient marine animals. “And the data that has been accumulated to support it is enormous.”
Meanwhile, the DeRosas push ahead with their ministry, chipping at evolution as patiently as they chip stone off the skull of Ezekiel, the duck-billed dinosaur they uncovered out West.
There is no chance that any scientific find will sway their views, they say, because the Bible’s account of history is complete and unerring. They even reject as “lightweight Christianity” the newer notion of intelligent design, which holds that some higher power created Earth and the universe but does not necessarily give credit to the Christian God.
“We know who the creator is,” said Pete DeRosa, brushing dust off the massive skull. “It’s the God of the Bible. It’s Jesus Christ. It’s our Lord.
“We won’t find anything contrary to that.”
That line of thinking doesn’t really bother biologist Skip Pierce. He just doesn’t think faith should pass for science.
“If it makes you happy, fine,” Pierce said. “But calling it science is just misleading.”

Dawkins: Religion equals ‘child abuse’

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Another nutcase who is more than happy to spout hate against Christians while comparing one of the worst mass murders in history to the standard rank and file Christian. Read about it below. This guy is really in for problems when Jesus comes back and proves everything he says to be wrong.

Controversial scientist and evolutionist Richard Dawkins, dubbed “Darwin’s Rottweiler,” calls religion a “virus” and faith-based education “child abuse” in a two-part series he wrote and appears in that begins airing on the UK’s Channel 4, beginning tomorrow evening.
Entitled “Root of All Evil?,” the series features the atheist Dawkins visiting Lourdes, France, Colorado Springs, Colo., the al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem and a British religious school, using each of the venues to argue religion subverts reason.
In “The God Delusion,” the first film in the series, Dawkins targets Catholicism at the pilgrimage site in Lourdes. “If you want to experience the medieval rituals of faith, the candle light, the incense, music, important-sounding dead languages, nobody does it better than the Catholics,” he says.
Dawkins, using his visit to Colorado Springs’ New Life Church, criticizes conservative U.S. evangelicals and warns his audience of the influence of “Christian fascism” and “an American Taliban.”
The backdrop of the al-Aqsa mosque and an American-born Jew turned fundamentalist Muslim who tells Dawkins to prepare for the Islamic world empire – and who clashes with him after saying he hates atheists – rounds out the first program’s case for the delusions of the faithful.
In part two, “The Virus of Faith,” Dawkins attacks the teaching of religion to children, calling it child abuse.
“Innocent children are being saddled with demonstrable falsehoods,” he says. “It’s time to question the abuse of childhood innocence with superstitious ideas of hellfire and damnation. Isn’t it weird the way we automatically label a tiny child with its parents’ religion?”
“Sectarian religious schools,” Dawkins asserts, have been “deeply damaging” to generations of children.
Dawkins, who makes no effort to disguise his atheism and contempt for religion, focuses on the Bible, too.
“The God of the Old Testament has got to be the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous, and proud of it, petty, vindictive, unjust, unforgiving, racist,” he says. Dawkins then criticizes Abraham, compares Moses to Hitler and Saddam Hussein, and calls the New Testament “St Paul’s nasty, sado-masochistic doctrine of atonement for original sin.”
John Deighan, a spokesman for the Catholic Church, took issue with Dawkin’s denunciation of religion, telling the Glasgow Sunday Herald, “Dawkins is well known for his vitriolic attacks on faith, and I think faith has withstood his attacks. He really is going beyond his abilities as a scientist when he starts to venture into the field of philosophy and theology. He is the guy with demonstrable problems.”
Madeline Bunting, a columnist for the Guardian, who reviewed the series, wrote: “There’s an aggrieved frustration that [atheist humanists] have been short-changed by history – we were supposed to be all atheist rationalists by now. Secularization was supposed to be an inextricable part of progress. Even more grating, what secularization there has been is accompanied by the growth of weird irrationalities from crystals to ley lines. As G.K. Chesterton pointed out, the problem when people don’t believe in God is not that they believe nothing, it is that they believe anything.”
‘Dawkins, perhaps best know for his much-cited comment that evolution “made it possible to be an intellectually satisfied atheist,” appeals to John Lennon in a commentary he authored for the Belfast Telegraph on the eve of his program’s premiere: “Religion may not be the root of all evil, but it is a serious contender. Even so it could be justified, if only its claims were true. But they are undermined by science and reason. Imagine a world where nobody is intimidated against following reason, wherever it leads. “You may say I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”