Debating Creationism. “Where’s evidence of creation?” “Down under.” “Under what, the flat earth?” “You’re as bad as the witch”

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”


Click the combatants to go to Bay of Fundy's post.

Click the combatants to go to Bay of Fundy's post.



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).


On why T. Rex went extinct from

On why T. Rex went extinct from



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.

All Sorts 075A fossil, apparently not in need of Vance Nelson’s doctoring.
My pic, from the Royal Tyrrell Museum, Drumheller.

Nelson and Mackay have caught the attention of the British Centre for Science Education. They have this to say about Nelson.

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:

Hi Jim,

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

Mr. Nelson,

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.

kang-fsmBoFundyNicked 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.

Go see where it came from. It isn't a dare, but you might be interested.

Go see where it came from. It isn't a dare, but you might be interested.

Ok, its from “Life According to Lyssie”

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.”

trexmelondrawing“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.

Full scale model in Hong Kong

Full scale model in Hong Kong

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.

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21 Responses to “Debating Creationism. “Where’s evidence of creation?” “Down under.” “Under what, the flat earth?” “You’re as bad as the witch””

  1. Debating Creationism. “Where’s evidence of creation?” “Down under.” “Under what, the flat earth?” “You’re as bad as the witch” : Says:

    […] See the article here: Debating Creationism. “Where’s evidence of creation?” “Down under.” “Under what, the fla… […]

  2. Dan Says:

    Ancient Great White Sharks were up to 20 meters long, modern ones are only 6 meters long and ”that’s the opposite of evolution.”

    Ooookay. Evolution is a force that makes things longer. (He might have have got this idea from some spam he received.)

    No wonder they think it is easy to disprove. Dragonflies are smaller now. Cycads are smaller now. Molluscs are smaller now. Sloths are smaller now. Reptiles are smaller now. Bison are smaller now. Cats with big teeth are smaller now. Wow, this is easy. Ergo, evolution false. Brain smaller, too.

    One question – when he says “ancient” sharks, he means sharks 6,000 years ago? Even evolutionary biologists don’t see things as changing that quickly. Mackay is a super-evolutionist, and without a day in class!

  3. Dr. Jim Says:

    And chickens used to be the size of big dinosaurs. THAT’s the OPPOSITE of evolution, too!

  4. Dan Says:

    “Vance, a biology graduate”

    He claims “BSc in Biology” in Florida in 2002, on his museum website.

    Which accredited institution granted the “BSc in Biology” that is claimed?

  5. Al Says:

    Evolution makes things larger? OK why are remains of rhinos, etc. that are found on some islands of Indonesia much smaller that the existing species?

    Speed of light decreasing? How would any creationist know? That would require a SCIENCE experiment to be performed and analysed. And science is the tool of the devil.

    Since dinosaurs survived the flood and were well-known to be herbivores, it’s a good thing Hannibal and others used war elephants. Don’t want no stinking, wimpy veliciraptors or T. rexes in MY army!!!

    Given the level of education and government regulation in Florida, the BSc could easily come from a state-recognized university called Redneck U (Everglades Campus).

    I’m no biologist, but would Noah have to take all the freshwater organisms onto the Ark, after all, the river banks and lakes would overflow into the sea and the increased salinity would be deadly to those creatures. But, on the other hand, wouldn’t the saltwater organisms suffer from 40 days and 40 nights of freshwater decreasing the salinity of the seas? Perhaps the biologist could explain this to me.

    P.S. How could a woman have intercourse with a dead male? Unless, of course he died of an overdose of Viagra.

  6. Dan Says:

    “Speed of light decreasing? How would any creationist know?”

    Well, that’s easy to prove their hypothesis. The top 10 possible creationist arguments…

    1. We used the speedometer on our van to test it, on consecutive Mondays.

    2. Long ago people used huge cameras with bright flash explosions to make Daguerreotype photo images. Later they used Brownies (not the Brownies that cause disease; the Brownie camers). Later they used ASA 64 Kodak film. Then 100 became more popular. Then 200. Then ASA 400 and even 800 by tourists who didn’t know any better. Then the came out with digital cameras. First the photos were 2 megapixels (mega means 6000), then they were 4 MP, then 8 MP, and now most cameras are 12 MP. Now even a phone can do it. Why? This is because light is speeding up. I mean slowing down. It’s a trendline, so it proves our idea, scientifically.

    3. The sun is moving closer to the earth (the true cause of global warming), and therefore the light is moving faster, because gravity sucks it in a bit faster. This is based on the inverse-square law of gravity and distance, which stupid evolutionists forgot about, just like they forgot the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and lost that debate, too.

    4. We sprayed hard water on a teddy bear and it got hard. This is not exactly about the speed of light but we just want to point it out as a scientific accomplishment.

    5. Robert E. Hopkins, the ‘Father of Optical Engineering’, refuses to debate us on this point. Why? Because we are right, and he is well aware of the need to suppress our superior science. Also, he’s dead.

    6. In the late Devouring Age, which was actually 2,000 years ago, light shining on rock was so energetic (and fast) that you can still see shadow stains in the rocks. And it is slower now.

    7. At the time of the Big Bang, the galaxies were actually moving away from each other millions of times faster than now, but the speed of light was millions of times faster, and therefore light from the farthest stars started out only 6,000 years ago. Also the red shift is a evolutionist theory that has no basis. Wait. Wait. Forget that part about the Big Bang.

    8. A non-creationist scientist once suggested that the speed of light may have slowed down by 0.1%, and this is qualitatively consistent with our theory that it has slowed down by a factor of millions of times.

    9. The speed of light slowed down, and the proof is that they keep this fact out of the textbooks.

    10. God’s ways are not our ways.

  7. Al Says:

    Thanks for clearing up the physics for me. All my high school physics students know I have very little biology knowledge. Perhaps you can clear some things up for me on that subject.

    “There were no weeds or dangerous plants. Water was provided by a gentle mist.”
    What about all the water plants, cattails, rice, etc., that need their roots in water? And who the heck ordered monsoons? How many people die each year because of flooding during monsoon season?

    “There was a constant warm and comfortable climate.”
    Comfortable for whom? A polar bear and a panda require different temperature conditions. Maybe the species slowly changed over time because the conditions changed?

    “There was no need for camouflage because there was no fear.”
    So tigers didn’t have striped then but do now. And of course they were also as cute and cuddly as good ol’ Hobbes.

    I’m glad I are finally getting a gooder science education from the internet.

  8. Dan Says:

    “…would Noah have to take all the freshwater organisms onto the Ark, after all, the river banks and lakes would overflow into the sea and the increased salinity would be deadly to those creatures.”

    That’s easy to explain. They rode along in rising flood waters right into the sea, but in freshwater ice cubes. Melting was slower back then.

    This seems quite plausible. See the evidence below. The wooden thing that Ham is sitting on is an ice cooler. Japheth is pulling up a bucket of water to put in the ice tray. Shem’s wife is at the door saying “Anyone want to take a break? We made popsicles.”

  9. Dan Says:

    “What about all the water plants, cattails, rice, etc., that need their roots in water?”

    **Hellooo? Ziploc bags?

    “There was no need for camouflage because there was no fear.”

    **Well, it was pretty benign back then – serpents actually handed out free fruit.

  10. Dan Says:

    Hey, waaait a minute…………. uh-oh.

    Aren’t those lions both males?

    This is a real dilemma. How will they be able to use that in science classes in Alberta if it is both pro-Biblical Science, and pro-gay?

  11. Al Says:

    I’ll concede that all of your explanations are Intelligent Design-compatible and correct EXCEPT for the Ziploc bags. Where the bleep are they mentioned in Genesis? Such an important task should have been assigned to someone who recieved an honourable mention in at least 1 verse!

    “This is a real dilemma. How will they be able to use that in science classes in Alberta if it is both pro-Biblical Science, and pro-gay?”
    That was why Bill 44 was such an important piece of legislation.

  12. Dan Says:

    Here you go.

    1 Samuel, 21:5

    “And David answered the priest, and said unto him, of a truth women have been kept from us about these three days, since I came out, and the vessels of the young men are holy, and the bread is in a manner common, yea, though it were sanctified this day in the vessel.”

    That “vessel” is a bread bag, and “holy” should have been translated as holey. This means Ziploc Breathable Vegetable Bags, which naturally are what the ancients used to cover plants on the Ark. Here is a pic. I rest my case.

  13. Lyssie Says:

    Hey Hey! Thanks for posting the picture from my blog with the link. I’m a bit of a stats freak and I love to see my stats take a boost. 😀 Plus, I just think that Raptor Jesus thing is too funny for some reason. Also, I really liked your post, by the way.

    • Dr. Jim Says:

      You’re welcome! I saw it and had a really good laugh. I will have to check out the rest of your collection!

      Best wishes

  14. Green Eagle Says:

    Leaving all the rest aside (and how I wish we could,) wouldn’t any normal person’s willing belief comes to an end at the suggestion that some guy and his family built, all by themselves, a wooden ship the size of an 850 foot long aircraft carrier? In the first place, there were only a handful of totally wooden vessels ever built over three hundred feet long. These would have required massive manpower and an immense amount of money to build. Secondly, where in the world, let alone in the Mideast, would someone find trees large enough to provide the structural timbers for the thing?

    The British navy had a couple of warships in the 350 foot range, and they were extremely unseaworthy, even with a crew of several hundred experienced sailors. The whole thing is completely unbelievable, and isn’t worth a second thought, except for laughs.

  15. Dr. Jim Says:

    They obviously had different kinds of wood back then, and with brontosauruses to help (see the Flintstones) it wouldn’t have been much of a chore. Something to do with the changing speed of light. Or squirrels. Or something. There is, of course a Log-igcal explanation… I like cabbages.

    the whole damn thing is so bogus as to make one’s brain hurt. And to think that Creation Truth Ministries is a registered charity with the Canadian Revenue Agency is enough to make one scream.

  16. Carnival of the Godless #125 -- a Nadder! Says:

    […] LORD shall send thee those wishing to argue before thee in public, whose words are full of error and evoke laughter from their […]

  17. Michael Says:

    Very refreshing to see such a candid email reply! There was a similar email from Dan Dennett about not participating in a Templeton talk that did its rounds in the blogosphere a few months ago which was also great.

  18. Dr. Jim Says:

    Thanks! There’s not point beating around the bush, burning or otherwise.

  19. Dan Says:

    “Secondly, where in the world, let alone in the Mideast, would someone find trees large enough to provide the structural timbers for the thing? ”

    If I understand the concepts of the creation museum people, dinosaurs might have dragged the really big logs there from Africa. It was in their best interests, because they needed the ride. The creation science theory that dinosaur footprints line up in the same direction because they were trying to outrun the flood may yet be be replaced by the competing hypothesis that they were dragging big logs. The line tightens and everyone walks in the same direction, right… that’s proof.

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