Debating Creationism. “Where’s evidence of creation?” “Down under.” “Under what, the flat earth?” “You’re as bad as the witch”
Posted on August 29, 2009 at 2:41 pm by Dr. Jim
Vance Nelson and his Australian buddy John Mackay are taking their creationist cause out in public for two Alberta shows, one in Calgary and another in Red Deer. Hopefully they will get a huge turnout of people who know more about science than they do.
“The Evidence from DOWN UNDER
with Australia’s John Mackay”
Hmm, it seems the evidence from down under supports evolution.
Oh well, it’s not as if evidence ever stopped creationists before.
On with the Show!
Link goes to full size
Here are the times and places
Calgary. Bethel United Reformed Church 730 101 St. SW
Red Deer Crossroads Church 38105 Range Road (32 St. Hiway 2)
At both venues the Home School Family Conference starts at 9:00 AM, Public lecture at 7:00 P. M.
Contact Creation Truth Ministries for more info.
Devoted readers of the Thinking Shop and accident prone surfers will remember Nelson from my post in July, “Know Yer Nuts Part 1“. He’s the guy who runs Creation Truth Ministries and Alberta Dinosaur Museum where he calls himself “Dr. Fossil” (see the previous post on “Dr. Dino’s” (Kent Hovind), mail order college course).
Nelson says he has a 1997 degree in theology from Taylor University College in Edmonton AB although in 1997 that institution was called North American Baptist College (TUC is now defunct but see Taylor College and Seminary). He also claims a biology degree (2002) from Florida, although his website doesn’t provide any information about which college. CreationWiki says that he “has a science degree in 2002 (Bachelor of Science in biology). Vance has also studied concepts relating to creation and evolution at the college level (10 credit-hours directly relating to origin science).” “Dr. Fossil” I presume not.
A fossil, apparently not in need of Vance Nelson’s doctoring.
My pic, from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.
Creation Truth Ministries is a Canadian evangelical organisation run by a husband and wife team – Vance and Korelei Nelson. They have both been involved in proselytising creationism in the UK, including in state education. The Nelsons were part of the team that John Mackay planned to put into Millfield School in Lancashire in the Spring of 2006.
Indeed, the Nelsons went on to teach creationism at a private summer camp which was associated with Mackay’s tour. At the time, CTM’s web site bragged that it was making presentations in state schools, but, in the fine tradition of fundamentalism, failed to inform anyone what schools were involved. Obviously the British public and parents of children at the schools were of no importance to the Nelsons.
CTM appears to be closely allied to John Mackay’s Creation Research International as part of a network of affiliated individuals and organisations. For example, in August 2006 Mackay and Vance Nelson appeared together on religious television in Canada. They worked together in 2005.
John Mackay seems to be an odd duck (for more on ducks, see below). He apparently has a degree in geology from University of Queensland. According to his biography posted on his Creation Research outfit’s website he is a former science teacher who also “lectured in Geology at Tertiary level for Technical Education”. He has for decades been a major figure in the creationist cause in Australia. Here is the youtube video intro to his Web Museum on Evidence Web.
Ancient Great White Sharks were up to 20 meters long, modern ones are only 6 meters long and ”that’s the opposite of evolution.”
In the early days, Makay was involved with Ken Ham Creation Science Foundation. The CFS eventually became Creation Ministries International (Ham eventually went on to start the famously silly Creation Museum in Kentucky). Mackay broke with CSF and started Creation Research in 1987. The splits appear to have been a bit acrimonious. Mackay made horrible accusations against Ken Ham’s secretary at CSF, Margaret Buchanan. Here is how BSCE puts it:
In February 1986 Mackay accused the then personal secretary of Ken Ham, Margaret Buchanan, of necrophilia and involvement in witchcraft. In particular Mackay claimed that Margaret Buchanan had sex with her dead husband’s body.
Mackay attempted, without any agreement or discussion with the rest of the management of Creation Science Foundation, to sack her. No evidence was ever produced about the allegations. Indeed, so serious and unsubstantiated was the matter that Mackay was subsequently excommunicated from his Church (Redlands Baptist Fellowship).
Creation Ministries International posted a discussion of the accusations on its website in 2006.
When his attempt to sack her and take over the ministry failed, due to the Board’s refusal to violate biblical principle, Mr Mackay resigned. This was followed by a campaign of widespread innuendo and slander, involving actual fabrications which if accepted would tend to bolster his claim of ‘demonic infiltration’ of our ministry and thus would tend to undermine public confidence in our ministry. This included the bizarre and incredibly offensive claim that Margaret had claimed to have had intercourse with the corpse of her late husband (!).
Sadly, these horrific sins have never been repented of, nor forgiveness sought, nor restitution offered—despite a Baptist church excommunicating Mr Mackay and urging people to respect this decision in the Lord.
The CMI site has a few other documents about this matter.
Anyway, Nelson and Mackay will be live in Calgary and Red Deer in September.
Nelson did contact me a while back in response to my blog and challenged me to a debate with Mackay. Here is the exchange:
I left you a message at the U of L… hopefully it was the correct number…
Your opponant for the debate would be John Mackay…The date would be Sept. 16th, 2009…The topic would have to be agreed upon…
Please let me know as soon as possible…one way or the other…
Maybe you could get a lecture hall at the U of L? (ellipses in original)
Here is my reply
As you would have guessed, I will have to turn you down. I won’t be able to agree to any additional speaking engagements, especially at the start of a new academic term when the date is prearranged with no explanation. That would have been a deal breaker right there, by the way.
I did pass your request along to a campus email group that includes many scientists and philosophers to see if anyone was willing to fill in. No takers.
Prof. Frink was too busy testing his new digital thermo-evaporative-wind-directionation detection device to debate.
Really, though, this should not be surprising. Why should any of us want to give Mr. Mackay the appearance of legitimacy by speaking at our university? If your views had ANY demonstrable credibility at all they would already be taught there in the appropriate classes and you wouldn’t have to grandstand for publicity. You and Mr. Mackay have already lost the debate with science.
Your side seems to be on the defensive in the hermeneutical and theological debates, too. I am sure you are aware that your views on creation and the young earth hardly represent the view of most educated Christians, who see no fundamental theological problem with a very old earth or evolution. That is, unless you restrict the appellation “Christian” to those who agree with you. Your views on Genesis play virtually no role in the discourses of the majority of Christians who take part in academic study of the Bible. Matters of biblical interpretation are at LEAST as central to your ministry as any scientific issue, and so you should perhaps try to find some theologians to debate with.
Nicked it from Bay of Fundie. Great blog, check it out.
At some point, my buddy Dan (a real scientist, with a real PhD, a real job doing real science, and real publications- lots of ‘em- and real research grants) was sent a copy of the poster above via email. It seems to have been sent by C.T.M. to the Big Valley Creation Science Museum (subject of Know Yer Nuts #2), at which point it was forwarded to Dan’s email address for reasons unknown. I didn’t get a copy but honestly, I’m not that miffed.
Dan then responded to BVCSM and CTM’s email addresses that he wasn’t interested and-to put it mildly-thought the whole enterprise was quite unacceptable. From what I gather, there was a few exchanges with Mr. Nelson and apparently a continuing one with the guy from Big Valley who never identifies himself. Edited to add: He now identifies himself as Harry Nibourg who is the owner of the Big Valley Museum. The Big Valley guy I suspect is the same fellow who calls himself Evolution the Lie Agreed Upon in comments here at the Thinking Shop. I even made a post of one of his tirades.
Just so there are no hard feelings, I thought I would advertise Nelson and Mackay’s two performances here. I’ve also let the Center for Inquiry in Calgary know about them in case anyone there might want to be corrected.
Anyway, I’ve got stuff on the fifteenth (honestly, it’s the Faculty Association picnic), so won’t be able to get to Calgary to see the show. No doubt the actors will be asked to take a bow after.
Hopefully a few freethinking folk will attend and I will be eager to hear their report! If anyone goes and wants to write a guest post on it, just drop me line and we can chat about it.
I did find another interesting article from 2006 in the Financial Times that might give the audience some idea of what to expect. Rob Blackhurst in “Who are you calling old?” describes a Mackay / Nelson event in Birkenhead U.K.
Mackay believes the planet is a mere 6,000 to 8,000 years old, rather than the commonly accepted figure of 4.55 billion years. In this herbivorous “Good World”, there was no death until Adam bit the apple. The first fossils were created 1,650 years after creation, when God inundated the earth with 40 days and 40 nights of rain in retribution for the sin of man.
Concerning another function, a “Home Education for Christian families” deal, he writes:
In the auditorium Dr Diane Eager, a former medical biology lecturer at the University of Canberra, begins the programme of education. … “We blew it,” she says in her soothing Australian accent. “Things have gone downhill – from good to bad to worse.” With the help of a photograph of a rainforest, she describes the paradise we have lost. “There was no disease, violence or death – every animal was vegetarian. There were no weeds or dangerous plants. Water was provided by a gentle mist. There was a constant warm and comfortable climate. There was no need for camouflage because there was no fear. What a good world that would have been.”
I feel myself lulled to sleep. An image of a T-rex flashes on the screen. “If there were no predators, what did T-rex eat in the Good World?” she asks “Why did it have edged, serrated teeth and powerful claws?” No one seems to know. “Because then tyrannosaurus rex could polish off a watermelon, a coconut or any other fruit even if they have tough skins.” There is a collective “Aaaahhh.”
“Ahhhh melons…”Photo nicked from Cells in Culture blog
The article continues by reporting on Vance and Korelei Nelson’s class the next morning in front of a bunch of kids.
Vance, a biology graduate, styles himself as “Dr Fossil”, while Korelei manipulates a felt dinosaur puppet called Rex. At the start of the session everyone shouts the mantra “Creation, Corruption, Catastrophe, Christ” over and over again until they accelerate towards a racehorse canter. …
“How did Noah transport the whales? How did he have space for all living things?” asks Dr Fossil. Rows of desperate arms stretch for the sky. “That’s right. Well done. He took the babies. There’s no reason he had to take the big ones.”
“Did all the animals fit into an ark like this?” asks Dr Fossil while showing a slide of a cartoon ark with a giraffe and elephant poking out of the roof. “No, they didn’t. Remember the smallest version of the ark would have been the size of a world war two aircraft carrier. It was equivalent to 522 railway box cars – each able to carry 240 sheep. You see there’s always another side when people criticise the Bible.” He warms to his theme. “Were those people who say the ark wasn’t real there?” “No,” say the children in unison.
“How do we know the T-rex ate meat? Has anyone seen the T-rex eat meat?”
“NOOOO,” say the children, even more loudly. “That’s right,” says Dr Fossil, “the only person who saw a T-rex was God. Science has to do with observing things. Has any scientist observed this?” “NOOOOOOOOOO,” the children yell. “This isn’t scientific observation,” concludes Dr Fossil, “this is belief”.
Just to clear up that comparison, here is a picture of a WWII aircraft carrier.
Japanese Carrier Akagi in 1942.
Pic. from Wikipedia. length 855 ft beam 102 feet.
Noah’s Ark. Length 450-537.5 feet beam 75 – 90 feet
(at 18 and 21.5 inches per cubits respectively). Hey, why aren’t there dinosaurs leaving?
Oh, and Blackhurst’s article also reports on Mackay’s ideas about the speed of light. It is apparently getting slower, that’s why it seems like the universe is billions of years old.
And if you go, please ask Nelson to clarify that bit about T. Rex’s diet. And ask Mackay if he still thinks that woman was practicing witchcraft. I wonder if those two Alberta churches he is speaking at know about that matter?
And here, you can watch Darkwing Duck defeat the evil Dr. Fossil.
Technorati Tags: creationism, fossil, Vance+Nelson, paleontology, John+Mackay, Darwin, evolution, Creation+Truth+Ministries, Alberta+Dinosaur+Museum, Big+Valley+Creation+Science+Museum, Taylor+University+College, Taylor+College+and+Seminary, science, Center+for+Inquiry