I recently made a visit to Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky. The museum’s tagline is “Prepare to believe.” Believe what? The museum presents the Genesis account of literal, 6-day creation and attempts to cast doubt on the theory of evolution (on a side note, they also make a hard sell for Christianity). The museum is a beautiful place, but unfortunately their approach is anything but scientific at every turn.
The main problem with AIG’s approach to science is that they start with the assumption that the Bible is absolutely, literally true. Wearing these tinted glasses, every shred of scientific evidence must be interpreted through the Bible.
For example, while visiting the museum I had the chance to speak briefly with Dr. Jason Lisle, who holds a Ph.D in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado and is employed by AIG. Here are a few excerpts from Dr. Lisle’s bio, located at AIG’s website (bold added by me):
“Most astronomers and astrophysicists today believe in a secular, naturalistic origin of the universe – a big bang that allegedly happened billions of years ago. Few are willing to accept what the Creator Himself has said about the beginning of all things as recorded in the pages of Scripture, and as confirmed by scientific evidence. Answers in Genesis speaker and researcher Dr. Jason Lisle is one of those few astrophysicists that stand on the authority of the Word of God…
…He grew up in a Christian home, and was taught to respect the absolute authority and accuracy of the Bible, and to be discerning about what is taught in secular schools. These critical thinking skills helped Jason to spot the fallacious arguments that are often used in the universities to supposedly prove evolution…
An important consideration is the fact that the origins debate is a matter of competing worldviews. Worldviews control how we interpret the evidence; thus, creationists and evolutionists can draw different conclusions about the same evidence. Most scientists are not consciously aware of their own worldview, and how it influences the conclusions they draw. This realization made it easier for Jason to see that intelligent scientists, including his own professors, can draw erroneous conclusions when it comes to an issue of origins science, even while they are brilliant and successful in their own narrow field of research. Dr. Lisle is convinced that when the evidence is interpreted in a consistent fashion, it consistently confirms biblical creation…
…In graduate school, Dr. Lisle developed a passion to share the message that God’s Word is true from the very first verse…”
Dr. Lisle is absolutely correct in saying that one’s worldview controls how one interprets evidence. However, if Dr. Lisle insists that his worldview is correct, no matter what evidence may be presented to the contrary, he’s not doing science the right way.
In a lecture titled Answers Academy: Big Problems with the Big Bang (visit this page to stream MP3), Dr. Lisle said, “If the Big Bang were good science, we would still have to reject it in favor of Scripture, because Scripture is never wrong.” To hear it for yourself, visit this page, click play, and go to 00:08:28.
Wow! Talk about putting the cart before the horse. If your worldview is immune to science, I’m sorry, but it’s not based on reality.
Dr. Lisle has also published a paper (in AIG’s own research journal, Answers Research Journal) which proposes a solution to the distant starlight problem. This “problem,” which, incidentally, is only a problem if you’re a young earth creationist, consists of this question: if the universe is about 6000 years old, then how can we see light from stars that are millions or billions of light years away?
Dr. Lisle’s solution to this problem is simple: light travels toward the earth at an infinite speed. His solution is called the Anisotropic Synchrony Convention (click to read the paper). The Sensuous Curmudgeon has written about this paper in several posts, and I highly recommend reading through the comments section in this post for an interesting discussion on Dr. Lisle’s paper.
The reason I mention this paper is that it’s yet another example of the twisting and turning that’s necessary to fit the world around us into an entirely inflexible worldview. It seems that the only reason to propose this convention is to make the world match a creation story written thousands of years ago by people who had no understanding of what stars are and how far away they are, and by gosh if my worldview requires that an Iron Age creation story be true, then science be damned!
I’m not saying that Lisle’s proposition is unscientific, because I’m not an astrophysicist and it’s not my place to debate that. However, he reflects the attitude (of Answers in Genesis and young earth creationism in general) of forcing science into an inflexible worldview, rather than adjusting one’s worldview based on science.
By Dr. Lisle’s own admission, good science should be rejected in favor of Scripture, and this is entirely backwards.
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- Moving the blog…
- Evolution comic
- What if God disappeared?
- Our universe is finely-tuned for our existence, but that doesn’t mean it was made for us
- The self-correction of science proves that science doesn’t correct itself, according to the Discovery Institute
- The purpose of stars is to give light on the earth. Of course.
- Should we have faith in the Bible or in science?
- The flaw in Answers in Genesis’ approach to science