crashing darwin's birthday

February 5, 2009

PZ Myers has unearthed an interesting conference scheduled for Darwin’s birthday and by interesting, I mean disturbing. Essentially it’s an Answers in Genesis meeting in Santa Ana, CA at which three of the least qualified people to talk about Darwin and the theory of evolution will be doing just that. One of them is Dr. David Menton, an ID apologist that has been caught lying about transitional fossils and basically ripping off Cuvier with the exception that Cuvier was an actual scientist who invented the idea of extinctions and the practice of comparative anatomy of which Menton makes a mockery.

charles darwin

The second charming fellow anyone ages 11 and up can meet for the low, low price of free, is a geologist who decided to abandon geology and claim that carbon dating is nothing more than a science fiction fairy tale. Dr. Andrew Snelling is one of AiG’s pseudo-scientists who claim that our planet is just 6,000 to 10,000 years old. And according to some investigative analyses, he seems to have been publishing papers on rock formations over 2.5 billion years old from the headquarters of a Christian fundamentalist institution, totally contradicting his claims for both the CSF and AiG without a hint of regret. How much trust could you have in a theory which isn’t even being supported by one of its key proponents when the boss isn’t looking?

The third participant and ringleader of this three ring circus is none other than Ken Ham. Yes, the creationist menace from down under will be doing his act of trying to link evolution to the racism of the 1800s and not one, but two sessions of effective proselytizing in today’s world. The very same guy who rakes in $178,991 a year to attack scientific theories that don’t adhere to the Book of Genesis and who flatly states that he’s not interested in listening to anyone who disagrees with him. Expect the alter ego of Dr. Snelling (the actual geologist with a degree from a reputable university) to be on its best behavior while the mighty crusader for Biblical truth is spreading his message of pseudo-science and denialism to anyone who’s interested.

Oh and I should also mention that there’s been a long running dispute between Ham’s U.S. and Australian associates over money and power because the nature of this debate really captures his mission. Answers in Genesis and all its partners and affiliates follow the Gospel According to Cash. Their goal is simple. To raise money and to do it by using religion and creating a sort of holy war for the faithful without who’s donations, all those evil eugenicists, atheists, racists and amoral scientists hopped up on Darwin juice will take over the world. You can almost feel a vague sense of sympathy towards the “thinkers” at the Discovery Institute. At least their group was established with a genuine intent to undermine science education rather than a crutch for a money raising venture. Its president, Bruce Chapman, still earns $157,332 per year, but hey, at least according to Charity Navigator, his think tank is much better ran than AiG.

From my standpoint, looking at these numbers, I can’t help but feel that this whole situation is a little unfair. I write quite a bit about creationism and evolution. Where’s my six figure salary? But wait, hold on a second. I’m don’t agree with the idea of an intelligent designer mysteriously creating everything out of thin air being called a valid alternative to evolution. I get it now. I’m one of the thousands of heretics the Ken Hams and Bruce Chapmans of the world are trying to defeat with their righteous campaign of pseudo-science and disinformation.

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