Monday, May 28, 2007

Response to Lawrence Krauss runs in today's CJ

My response to the intemperate call to squelch the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky by Case Western Reserve's Lawrence Krauss ran in today's Courier Journal.


David Charlton said...

I read your column in the Courier, and while the critics and supporters of the museum will continue their debate, I think there is little doubt that Young Earth Creationism is bad science and bad theology. Critics of evolution love to point out that it is merely a "theory," although the use of the word "theory" in scientific circles does not carry the meaning of uncertainty. Outside of Creationist circles I don't think you would find a scientist who has any misgivings about evolution. I wonder if, some years down the road, the proponents of Young Earth Creationism will discover their error as did those who opposed Galileo. Regardless of how strongly the church disputed his ideas, the church was wrong.

solarity said...

One of the great things about this country is that people are free to spend their money in furtherance of their eccentricities. The creationist museum may not reflect "good science" as we know it today but, so what? Challenges to the conventional wisdom are almost always good, if for no other reason than the intellectual exercise that results therefrom.

Martin Cothran said...


I don’t necessarily disagree with all your points. In fact, I did not defend the young earth creationist view in my piece, in large part because I do not agree with it. My point was that if you are going to disagree with someone, you should state your reasons why their position is wrong, not try to read them out of polite society.

I think evolutionists are making a big mistake by thinking that anyone who disagrees with them is an ignorant rube. Not only are they mistaken, but they don’t look very good saying it. If a view (such as evolution) is as solidly grounded as evolutionists claim it is, then it has nothing to fear from the Ken Ham’s of the world—and it doesn’t need to be enforced by burning dissenters at the rhetorical stake.

Also, a comment on your assertion that “outside of Creationist circles I don't think you would find a scientist who has any misgivings about evolution”: Either you are including under the term “Creationist” everyone who disagrees with evolution, in which case your statement is circular (and therefore meaningless), or you are not, in which case it is false.

If you mean by “Creationist” someone who disagrees with evolutionism, then it is a little like saying, “outside of atheist circles, it is hard to find people who disbelieve in God.” Well, yes, of course, because you’re talking about the same bunch of people. On the other hand, if you are saying that there are no people who have misgivings about evolution who are not creationists, I think that is clearly factually inaccurate. These ( are just some examples the numerous scientists who question fundamental aspects of Darwinism and who are not necessarily creationists.

Also, I think you are oversimplifying the case of Galileo. It wasn’t just the Church that opposed Galileo—it was the scientific establishment of his day that still held to the older Aristotelian model of cosmology, which was geocentric. Galileo feared his colleagues as much or more than he feared the Church. In fact, the evidence did not then support Galileo’s heliocentrism. It was only later that the parallax shifts that Galileo’s theory assumed became observable. They were not observable at the time he challenged the church.

The case of Galileo is not only a poor analogy for modern evolution, but is actually a counter-analogy. The case of an overaggressive and somewhat reckless scientific thinker who did not have the evidence on his side and was opposed by the scientific establishment of his time is a paradigm that would better fit the Ken Hams of the world than the scientific establishment of our day.

Unlike Galileo, however, I, like you, seriously doubt that Ken Ham’s theory will prove out.

I agree with your assessment of Ken Ham in terms of science and theology. But I wonder how the people who see Ken Ham as a caricature of Christianity miss seeing the demonstrations and sky-banners denouncing his museum as an equally preposterous caricature of modern scientism.