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Monday, July 2, 2012

Creation museum redux

How has everyone been?  Not a lot going on in my small part of the world.  Been pretty quiet, but I kinda dread the 4th of July because, hey we're in the bible belt, and never mind that we haven't had rain in 2 weeks and the grass is a tinderbox.  Everyone around here starts setting off fireworks on the 1st.  I don't have a problem with fireworks, I love setting them off myself.  But if people could at least make an attempt not to set their neighbors house on fire this year, that would be swell.  Thanks.  As usual, there are a few things I wanted to talk about today, so I'd better jump right into it.

I saw an article today on MSN.com about a study stating breast milk kills HIV.  This is a study done at  University of North Carolina's School of Medicine.  The title of the article demonstrates a major problem when it comes to the mass media reporting on research.  First of all, according to a synopsis of the study, which can be found at http://news.unchealthcare.org/news/2012/june/breast-milk-kills-hiv-and-blocks-its-oral-transmission-in-humanized-mouse/ they mostly show that breast milk can block oral transmission of the virus.  As a matter of fact, their title for the study is  "Breast milk kills HIV and blocks its oral transmission in humanized mouse"  MSN makes it sound as if a cure has been found, and all you have to do is find a lactating woman.  The study only shows that transmission to the baby may be prevented if the mother is HIV positive and decides to breastfeed, not that it is a cure.  With article titles like this, is it any wonder that conspiracy theories keep cropping up?  If nothing else is announced from this study, shortly, we'll be hearing "They have a cure for AIDS, but  (insert your favorite shadow government here) is suppressing it."  They also have an article stating that a Scotsman could be the "grandson" of Eve.  Yes the biblical Eve, not the one from 1991 with Gregory Hines.  (If that doesn't date me)  Basically the article , which comes from The Telegraph, states that his mitochondrial DNA, which is passed from the mother, only has 2 mutations from the first woman that lived in the British isles 30,000 years ago.  I'm a little worried that they are actually using biblical references to garner peoples attention, which given the fact I'm writing about it, it seems to have worked.  Damn it, I got pulled in. 

Now for the Creation museum, Part II
Last time I wrote a little rant about the billboards that have been going up everywhere for a creation museum in Cincinnati.  I decided to check out their web site.  One of the first things I found was that Ken Ham, a young earth creationist of some note from Australia, is speaking there as well as being the president of the museum. They have a short article about him on Wikipedia.   Ham is the head of AiG, or Answers in Genesis, a fundamental christian, right wing, conservative group.  They are some of the loudest voices screaming Teach the Controversy!  concerning evolution and climate change.  there is no real controversy, given that most researchers and scientists agree on evolution and C.C., they just differ on their opinions on the details.  The creation museum has an exhibit on  Australopithecus afarensis, or better known to the layperson, such as yours truly, as Lucy.  (Besides, Lucy is easier to fit on a name tag)  According to their website:

"As a part of our fifth anniversary celebration this weekend, the Creation Museum has opened a new high-tech exhibit designed to expose the scientific bankruptcy of the evolutionary interpretation of the famous so-called ape-woman “Lucy" Perhaps more than any other fossil, Lucy is presented as “exhibit A” for evolutionists in their attempt to show that humans evolved from an ape-like ancestor. Through the scientific research of the Creation Museum’s Dr. David Menton (PhD, biology, Brown University) and the artistic talents of Doug Henderson and his crew, the museum has created a stunning holographic refutation of Lucy. (The technical name for this Lucy creature found in Africa is Australopithecus afarensis.)  “I expect that scientists, both evolutionists and creationists, will make a trip to the Creation Museum to see this exceptional exhibit, not only because it refutes Lucy as an ancestor of ours, but also due to its use of remarkable holographic technology,” declared Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis and the museum."
The picture they have with their "holographic technology" which appears to be a simple overlay, appears to be a lowland gorilla with a hip joint and skull shown "holographically".  The info they give doesn't explain how a pretty display can refute the hypothesis that A. afarensis is an ancestor, or what the "scientific bankruptcy" is.  Also, reading through some of their articles, I caught the phrase concerning their patrons of "sacrificial giving" .  Does this have something to do with goats or virgins and a volcano?  Nope.  Apparently, their ticket sales just barely allow them to break even, so they ask for donations, but re-title it.  They also have a link to an article called Farewell to Lucy.  I'm not going to put a link to it here, partly because I'm afraid my computer will explode if i put a link to B.S. like that.  The bit I read before the aneurysm struck, was talking about the jaw structure being more ape like than human.  Of course its going to be more ape like.  Evolution is an extremely slow process, so the changes are going to minor.  A massive, all encompassing change to several body structures at the same time would be a detriment rather than an advantage.  I appreciate them being skeptical of the evidence and wanting proof, but to just say "Nope, looks like a monkey to me, and god didn't make me from a monkey." just seems a little irresponsible, especially when they are touting this as the definitive proof, and that their evidence will completely prove evolutionists wrong.  What some creationists seem to be doing is a reverse scientific process.  They go in with a hypothesis, and make the facts fit their ideals.  The hypothesis should be the mutable part of the process, not the facts. Something funny that they put on their site was a fossil hunt that they held which included  "This area is rich in fossils, and many were found, including lace corals, lamp shells, sea lilies, snails, a trilobite, and an abundance of horn corals"  This is in Cincinnati Ohio, roughly 500 miles from the nearest seacoast , and has been land-locked for a while, at least since I was a kid.  I also found the statements "Natural selection is not evolution." and "You’ll also uncover the truth about antibiotic resistant bacteria."  I don't think I even need to discuss these, but if you fine folks want me to get more in depth on these, let me know, either in the comments or you can e-mail me at skepticalokie@gmail.com .  They also have several movie that they show.  One basically tries to make a connection between dragons and dinos, and asks the question "Did dinosaurs walk with humans?"  The other one, I just have to put their description of it on here, and hope I don't get into trouble.  The name of this artistic masterpiece is "Men in White"  (I thought only porn and Mel Brooks did the bad spoofs of popular movies years after they came out.  Coincidence?  I think not.)

Meet Wendy. This intelligent young woman has heard the constant barrage of evolutionary ideas about the world, but the more she thinks, the more she sees that what she’s been taught doesn’t make sense. She ponders some of the most important questions of life: What is the truth about where we came from? Is there meaning? Is there really a God, or did this all just happen by chance? Suddenly, Gabe and Mike, two contemporary angels, “descend” to help her. Get ready to join Wendy, and experience the exciting truth of Genesis like never before! Prepare for some fun—and some surprises. Prepare to believe. 

Keep in mind kiddos that this is only a review of 1 creation museums website and some of the pieces they link to.  I have yet to go to a creation museum, and outside of hearing about their experience on "Oh No, Ross and Carrie", I haven't heard anyone elses experience. And I recommend you check out their podcast, it's pretty good, and you just might learn something, and isn't that what it's all about.  That and brats and Guinness (hint hint to those who know what thats about)  If anyone in Oklahoma is interested in going to Texas and checking that one out, drop me a line.  I promise, the banishment should be lifted by now.  Next week, I'll be talking about bigfoot and possibly another cryptid thats kinda close to my clavicle, or maybe my spleen. I know this one has once again been kind of long, but thank you for letting me rant about some of the oddball stuff that gets trapped in my head, and especially thanks for joining me in that small, dark place between my ears.  Until next time, be good, be nice, and be skeptical.

Thanks,
The Skeptical Okie.