Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Another Young-Earth Conference

I highly recommend this humorous account from Skip Evans about a Young-Earth event he recently attended in Idaho. Judging from his description, it sounds almost exactly like what I experienced in Lynchburg (see here for links to my writings on that subject.)

Skip writes in particular about creationist speaker Carl Kerby:

Like many creationist speakers, he began by assuring his audience that having absolutely no formal background is no hindrance to speaking with authority on scientific topics. What always amazes me about these guys is that a retired air traffic controller like Kerby really believes he can speak as an expert on subjects like astronomy, geology, paleontology, and just about any discipline that contradicts their own interpretation of the Bible.

Kerby established a friendly, humorous rapport with his audience right off the bat with an earthy approach and welcomed digs at those elitist scientists who think only they can understand evolution. “I'm a simple person,” he told them. “It's amazing how simple these issues are.”

And indeed, the absurd statements he made were incredibly simple, and also pathetically uninformed. Because fossils don't come with labels telling us how old they are all radiometric dating is useless.

Later he describes this charming scene:

This young man here was asking Kerby a few questions after the talk. (That's Kerby on the left and his inquisitor on the right. They look like brothers, don't they?) I wasn't quite sure just what the young man was getting at. He seemed to be challenging Kerby but his line of questioning was not clear to me. I'm pretty sure he was trying to ask about the geologic column compared to what we would find if a global flood had really taken place, so I chimed in and rephrased the question more along those lines, “Why don't we ever find modern looking mammals in with dinosaur fossils if they were all just jumbled together in a global flood?” Much to my surprise, Kerby said that we do! He said with folding and other geological shifting, etc, we find the fossil record all jumbled up. I'm pretty sure I heard Homer behind me...“D'oh!”

I wanted to pursue this one a bit further to be sure I actually heard him correctly, but the young man wanted to talk about mass extinctions and asked Kerby if he knew we were in the midst of one now. Kerby took the opportunity to explain why environmentalists irk him. If evolution is a biological fact, he explained, wiping out 50% or more of all species on the earth is no big deal, and apparently environmentally conscious people are just a bunch of hypocrites.

“That is absolutely absurd,” I said and Kerby retorted, “No, it's not. Why?” Since he asked 'why' I took that to mean he actually wanted to hear my explanation. Boy, howdy, I could not have been more wrong. No sooner did I begin to point out that if we are truly losing species at that rate then it is definitely something we should look into when Kerby cut me off again. He simply restated we shouldn't care, and after several attempts to ask to finish my point I realized that, to Kerby, ears are not what you use to listen to someone else's view, they're for storing your bubble gum when you're not chewing it.

The Kerbster really needs to work on his listening skills.

The man that had explained to me why a young earth is important to evangelizing then reiterated the point that evolutionists don't care if a mass extinction is taking place. I asked him to name the biologists he's read that hold that view, and he admitted that he couldn't.

That was exactly he sort of thing I enocuntered in Lynchburg.

There is one place, though, where Skip's experiecne was different from mine:

Then why go? Well, I must say I always come away with a feeling like I've learned something more about creationism, the motives behind it, and the folks who peddle it. But this time I came away thinking quite a bit about the audience and the congregation at North County Chapel.

I must say these are really good people. I've never been to a creationist event where I wasn't welcomed and treated with respect. Maybe that would change if they knew I was not a fellow traveller, but I sincerely hope not. Even the guy who asked to search my backpack was polite and I was not in the least put off being asked to open it up and show him the contents.

Sorry, Skip, but if my experiences are typical then their behavior towards you most definitely would change if they discovered you were not a fellow traveller. Not that they would turn violent or anything melodramatic like that. But the temperature in the room would immediately drop ten degrees and they would continue talking to you only for as long as they thought there was any hope of converting you. What they absolutely will not do is engage any counter argument you offer, no matter how clearly you express yourself.

In this, I must say, they are different from the people I have met at ID conferences.

Now go read the whole thing and look at the pictures!