Re: Sunday School II: The Evolution Conspiracy

Steven Schimmrich (schimmrich@earthlink.net)
Fri, 06 Feb 1998 10:31:20 -0500

At 08:24 PM 2/5/98 -0800, David Fenske wrote:

>The never-ending battle continues:
>
>In a recent post, I mentioned a creation vs. evolution class being taught
>at my church, which I have been attending. This past week, we watched the
>video "The Evolution Conspiracy," which features a number of creationists
>(including John Morris, I believe, son of Henry?) and several evolutionists
>(none of whom were familiar to me, but they seemed to have decent
>credentials). Some comments:

John Morris is the son of Henry Morris. He has a PhD in geological
engineering and likes to pass himself off as a geologist although his research,
as Glenn Morton has documented, has little if anything to do with geology.

>1) The video was slick. The creationists would make a point, and then they
>would cut to an evolutionist putting his foot in mouth, or contradicting
>himself. When you just sit and watch it, it is very convincing. Everyone
>I talked to afterwards thought it was great. One young woman was going to
>buy it.

It probably reinforced what they already wanted to believe. I will hand
it to the young-earth creationists, they really do know how to put on great
dog and pony shows (I've seen a few myself).

>I wonder at the evolutionists who appeared in the film. Surely they
>realized that their presentations would be edited and that the final
>message of the film would strongly contradict their position. I wonder
>then, why they let themselves be interviewed? Did they have any say in how
>their parts appeared in the final product?

Just curious, do you know that names of the evolutionists in the film?
There's no law against just calling them up and asking (they're probably
just college professors and easily accessible :).

>2) One of the big points made has to do with the lack of transitional
>forms. The creationists claim there are none. Aside from the pages on the
>ASA and on Glenn's site, does anyone know of any good source which
>documents and discusses transitional forms? Which transition is the best
>documented?

I realize some on this list hate this place, but there is a very good essay
on transitional vertebrates on the Talk Origins archives written by a zoology
PhD graduate student. It's at:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-transitional.html

This essay does have references to the primary literature.

Another recommended online essay is that written by geologist Keith Miller
at the ASA web site:

http://asa.calvin.edu/ASA/index.html

Most of the criticisms by young-earth creationists of the supposed lack of
transitional fossils is argumentation against a straw man of the creationist's
own devising since they don't understand what evolutionists mean by the term
"transitional fossil" (one thinks of Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis, whom I
saw giving a talk at a church in Champaign, Illinois a couple of years ago,
where he mocked evolution by saying we never see cogs or dats -- transitions
between dogs and cats).

>3) RE paleontology, the claim is made that most of the hominid fossil finds
>involve only 1 or 2 bones, with the rest being made up. The strong
>impression is given that evolutionists create most of any given fossil, and
>that many of them are outright frauds (Piltdown Man, Java Man). Can anyone
>refute this? For instance, how many complete skeletons do we have for the
>various fossil men (and women)? Also, with neanderthal, they claim that
>the first finds were individuals with rickets, which made them stooped
>over, but really they're just like us. Surely by now there are many good
>fossils... is it not true that neanderthal display some distinct
>differences from Homo Sapiens? Does anyone know of a good source on the
>topic of fossil man? (Glenn, does your book address any of these aspects?)

Again, I would recommend an essay on the Talk Origins archive:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/fossil-hominids.html

It's written by an amateur, but I think it has a good summary of what's
known, refutes many creationist claims, and does list references to the
scientific literature.

By the way, a visit to any library will reveal a dozen fairly recent books
about Neandertals (they're a hot topic right now). Also, last year (or was
it two years ago now?), the National Geographic Magazine had a series of
articles on human evolution as well that you might want to check out.

>Regarding the early cases of fraud, I have always been under the impression
>that other evolutionary scientists brought these cases to light. Is this
>correct?

Absolutely true. In my opinion, they're examples of how science works and
how it is self-correcting. Stephen Jay Gould wrote an article about this
very point when discussing the creationist claim about Nebraska man being
created from a fossil pig tooth. He documents how the creationist claims
were quite misleading. Unfortunately, I can't remember the title of the
article but could probably dig it up if you're interested.

>4) Is anyone aware of a critical treatment of this film? Essay, review?
>
>I must say that the film did such a good job of making scientists in
>general look suspect, that I doubt any objection or critique would have
>carried much weight. Seems to me that a well-produced and interesting
>video from the other side (e.g., the ASA!) would be a very useful tool.
>And I must say the internet resources are extremely helpful. Tonight I
>spent several hours printing out essays from Glenn's, Steve Schimmrich's,
>and the ASA site. The best articles will be given to my SS teacher in the
>event he's interested.
>
>Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome.

I think ASA needs to put together an online archive of FAQs similar to
the ones written by Roger Weins and Keith Miller. FAQs written by Christians
would not face some of the same criticisms that people level against the
Talk Origin FAQs.

- Steve.

--
   Steven H. Schimmrich              Assistant Professor of Geology

Physical Sciences Department schimmri@kutztown.edu (office) Kutztown University schimmrich@earthlink.net (home) 217 Grim Science Building 610-683-4437, 610-683-1352 (fax) Kutztown, Pennsylvania 19530 http://home.earthlink.net/~schimmrich/