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More Proof

Entry 482, on 2007-02-26 at 16:24:44 (Rating 4, Science)

I have just listened to a podcast interview with Dr. Brad Harrub, a well known Creationist who is currently visiting New Zealand. He has qualifications in anatomy and neurobiology, but according to the interview, has "dedicated his life to spreading information about creationism".

I expected the arguments presented by such as obviously intelligent person to be quite persuasive, maybe even enough to make me take the possibility of Biblical historicity more seriously. But, oh how disappointed I was!

He used the same old arguments which have been shown to be invalid years ago. He cherry picked the data, he ignored awkward questions, he used circular arguments, he made inaccurate statements, and he didn't follow up his statements with facts or evidence. It was really an embarrassingly incompetent display. All I can say is that if this is the best Creationists can do, it just provides more proof that the Bible is false.

The interviewer did quite a good job of picking up on the invalid arguments. She had just interviewed Richard Dawkins a week ago so maybe he had prepared her with a bit of exposure to reality and skeptical thought. Great work Richard. You're a real inspiration to us atheists!

Here's an example of the nonsense Harrub was espousing (I've paraphrased this but preserved the original meaning)...
Question. How old is the Earth?
Answer: The scientific and Biblical evidence point to a young Earth less than 10,000 years old.
Question: What's the Biblical evidence?
Answer: The genealogy of Adam to Christ can be used to deduce this.
Question: So you're basing the age of the Earth on the Bible?
Answer: Yes.
An aside: (Interviewer: Why are you smiling at me like that? Harrub: Because I... Interviewer: Can you detect skepticism? Harrub: Just a touch.)
Question: We're told Adam lived to 900 and something...
Answer: Correct...
Question: Doubters say they make that up but you say that is true.
Answer: Exactly, the Earth was different then...
Question: do you have any evidence of people living to 1000 years?
Answer: I have an inspired book which I can prove is the word of god.
Question: How can you prove that?
Answer: Looking at scientific accuracy in the Bible.
Question: Such as?
Answer: Circumcising males on the eighth day [goes into a lengthy explanation of why this is useful but which really proves nothing since it could easily have been discovered through trial and error].

It really just got worse from there. He played with the words from Psalm 19 which says the Sun orbited the Earth and tried to tie this into the Sun orbiting the center of the galaxy... it was pathetic! Then he said we could walk through all the fields of science and show how the Bible already knew about modern discoveries, but didn't give any examples (if they were anything like his first example I'm not surprised he neglected to mention them).

He claimed we could scientifically prove the existence of Jesus, then mentioned the examples which have been discredited, or brought into extreme doubt, years ago: the Bible, Tacitus, Josephus, etc. What nonsense. There is no convincing historical proof at all. Unfortunately the interviewer didn't question him on this. On the other hand, he did employ the old standard trick these people use which involves throwing so many claims into the discussion that they can't all be properly discredited.

The interviewer used the fact that the Bible was written over many centuries (and after the alleged time Jesus existed) to question the Bible. Harrub somehow used this to prove the veracity of the Bible. Does he really think there are no contradictions there? That went on to a discussion of the inflexibility of the Bible as compared with the self-correcting nature of science. Through some sort of sophistry he tried to show that this supported the Bible too!

He said he wanted creationist ideas presented in schools, and that teaching science was really just "indoctrinating". If he can't see the irony in that he must really be living on another planet! Just unbelievable. I've really got to ask in these cases if these people are just good liars, or have they really fooled themselves into believing this stuff to an extent where I would suspect a psychological problem.

I could go on, but it was obvious from the beginning that Harrub had decided what he wanted to believe and was prepared to pick the facts that support that, and change facts around when they didn't suit his version of reality. So a leading supporter of creationism just gave me more proof in support of atheism!

I discuss a lot of this stuff (Genesis, lack of historical evidence for Jesus, etc) on my web site here.

Link at: http://owen2.otago.ac.nz/owen/XuOtherPhilosophy/Religion.html


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