The cover of the National Geographic magazine 2015 issue shown above describes some common anti-science conspiracy theories, but it also lumps creationism in too.
Creationism often gets lumped in with many anti-science conspiracy theories. But is that really fair?
Here I compare 8 conspiracy theories with creationism and see how closely they really stack up.
1. Evolution Denial
What is evolution?
Evolution very broadly speaking, is asserted as a catch-all term that describes the general tendency of life on earth to be constantly dynamically changing and responding to its environment. In a more narrow sense, the theory of evolution or ‘the modern evolutionary synthesis’ is a theory that purports to explain how the diversity of all life can be traced back to a single universal common ancestor.
Evolutionary biology also broadly captures a very large range of disciplines including genetics, molecular biology, archaeology, palaeontology and more.
The typical evidence given that evolution is true is stuff like:
- The famous tiktaalik fossil, which is supposedly a ‘transitional form’ between sea and land dwelling creatures
- The ‘millions’ of other transitional forms
- The vanishingly small number of examples of beneficial mutations
- Natural selection
- The general similarity of the genetic makeup of many organisms, and that organisms that are taken to be more closely related tend to be more genetically related
- The general tendency of fossils to appear in geologic strata in, more or less, increasing complexity
- The existence of vestigial organs (organs which appear to have no function, or their function has become redundant)
- Organisms which appear optimised for survival and competition
And stuff like that.
Not surprisingly, creationists are by definition, the beating heart of evolutionary skepticism. When the scientific establishment target’s ‘conspiracy theorists’ who challenge the evolutionary dogma, they are literally talking about creationists.
So what’s the deal?
I’m sure you’ve heard of terms like natural selection, adaptation, genetic mutations and other stuff like that.
Don’t these things prove evolution is true?
No they don’t. Why this is true is the subject of many a future blog post. But just quickly,
Creationists believe that the fundamental evolutionary processes like natural selection, genetic mutations, genetic drift etc. are all legitimate processes and that all life does adapt to a changing environment. In fact these processes are crucial to a sensible model of creation that is consistent with what science and the Bible says, just as they are crucial to evolutionary biology.
As countless creationists before me have explained, the problem is not one of evidence, it’s one of worldview.
So why do creationists believe evolution is false?
Oh lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of reasons.
Here’s just a morsel of examples:
Creationists point to the massive irreducible complexity of life especially in Genetics and Neurochemistry and immunology. Some things exist in nature that in principle, could not have been produced through successive modifications over time, pretty much at all, let alone through completely undirected unguided processes like natural selection because if you change any one part of them, the entire system breaks down.
Creationists point to the ‘obvious’ design like qualities of living organisms that demonstrate that they simply can not have arisen through a process guided only by natural selection and random mutations. Organisms which are stunningly well designed with mind boggling degrees of complexity and suitability for their environments. Adding to that, many organisms appear to have been over designed. Some organisms have abilities and functions which are far over and above what’s merely required for survival of the fittest.
Creationists point to biological features that exist which the theory of evolution simply would not have predicted, but is instead forced to contrive some ad-hoc theory to explain. Altruism is a fantastic example. Why do some organisms, especially humans sacrifice enormously for the sake of others? Bee’s and ants are two simple examples. Evolutionists have theories about how these organisms might have evolved altruism, but the question is not ‘how does evolution explain this?’, the question is ‘if evolution was true, is this what we would have expected as a result?’
The belief that all of life evolved from a single common ancestor could hardly be more at odds with a Biblical Creation model.
2. Big Bang Denial
“It took quite a bit more than seven days to create the universe as we know it today” – Oh you just had to go there didn’t you.
The Big Bang, more or less, involves the idea that the universe began as a singularity (small object) of infinite heat and density, which very shortly afterwards expanded very, very quickly (faster than light), and the result of this expansion was time, space, matter and the laws of physics that govern the universe.
Note: Technically the Big Bang does not try to explain how the universe ‘began to exist’, but simply explains how it evolved from the moment the singularity expanded; much like the theory of evolution does not explain how life began, but how it evolved from the moment life started. From my experience this is something that even many atheists do not know. For many the Big Bang is their rescuing device, it’s how we came to be.
Even as I acknowledge that the Big Bang is a false theory, it’s still really fascinating to think about. Before the hypothetical Big Bang, there was nothing. You might be tempted to think that if you ‘went in any direction, you wouldn’t find anything’, but there was nothing, there was no direction to go. This is impossible to really imagine or conceive. I get the appeal, it’s an awe-inspiring concept.
Creationists reject the belief that the universe began ‘from nothing’ without an all-powerful creator God.
Creationists point to the fact that the Big Bang, in principle is an utterly untestable claim.
Creationists argue that discussions about the conditions before the Big Bang are in principle not scientific discussions, because the scientific method is governed by the laws of physics that would have to have been set in place shortly following the Big Bang.
Creationists point out that Big Bang cosmology must defy some of the known laws of physics, at least in the very initial stages, in order to be plausible. This includes matter travelling faster than the speed of light, the law of entropy and the conservation of matter and energy.
Despite the fact that there are a whole lot of unknowns with respect to the Big Bang, and the obvious problems above, most of humanity is still amazingly confident that the Big Bang is true.
So much so that creationists are really out on a limb on this one. Creationists fundamentally reject that planet earth is more than approximately 6000 years old. We argue the universe was created by God within six, 24-hour earth days. I can totally understand why that would be incredulous when the vast majority of the scientific community argues that earth is 3-4.5 billion years old, and the universe is ~14 billion years old. I know, I know!
That’s why it’s important to really dig deep into these issues for yourself and take a look at the evidence. Believe it or not you don’t have to have a PhD in astro physics to understand some of the basic, and powerful evidence that earth is young… I mean, the basic and powerful evidence that might give you good reason to doubt that evolution and the Big Bang are unequivocal scientific fact!
I think anyone who doesn’t have some deep-seated emotional aversion to Christianity could at least look at the arguments and say “Hey, that’s actually a pretty fair point”… But what do I know really?
3. Climate Change Denial
What is Climate Change?
Climate Change is a buzz word, loosely associated with the general phenomenon that earth’s climate is constantly and dynamically changing. Colloquially it refers to the observation that the average global temperature appears to have been steadily increasing over the last few decades also termed global warming. Technically these are two different things, but they get used interchangeably in ordinary discussion.
The fundamental claim of the climate change model is that humans are generally responsible for the increases in average global temperature more or less since the industrial revolution (but especially in the last few decades).
So what affects the global climate?
- Volcanic eruptions
- Continental drift (continents literally moving around across earth’s surface)
- Burning fossil fuels
- Earth’s rotation around the sun
- Tidal changes
- Cow farts
- and lots and lots of other things
What are some of the proposed ‘effects’ of rising global temperature?
- A rise in the global average temperature (duh)
- A rise in the average temperature of earth’s oceans
- Melting ice and rising sea levels
- Extreme weather events (tsunamis, hurricanes, sharknado’s, the passover, etc.)
- Ocean acidification
- Volcanic eruptions
- public hysteria
- mass extinctions
- the apocalypse! (pretty much)
What is taken as evidence of ‘human induced climate change’?
- tree rings – are used to estimate climate cycles over ‘ancient time’
- ice cores – scientists measure changes in the atmosphere using ice cores
- sea floor sediments
- Modern direct estimates of atmospheric changes
- Modern direct estimates of global atmospheric temperature
- Modern direct estimates of rising global Carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere
Make no mistake, climate change and global warming are a source of some really intense melodrama.
So what do creationists generally believe?
So unlike the previous two points, there’s nothing critical about being a creationist and where you stand on climate change.
Climate change is not logically in conflict with a 6000 year old created earth. It’s just a grandiose claim that has many implications for society, and creationists generally make an effort to be sensible about science and scientific claims, so it’s in our interest to sniff out a rat.
Having said that, much of the theory behind Climate change and how certain estimates are calculated is governed by assumptions or beliefs about the age of the earth.
Consider this quote from the NASA website:
Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.
– via Climate Change: Vital Signs of the Planet
If you make reasonably good estimates of the earth’s past climate using these methods, and then extrapolate back over millions of years, when in fact it’s actually only thousands of years you’re definitely going to underestimate the speed at which those changes occurred, by a huge margin. If you take those same changes and extrapolate them over a few thousand years, then compare that to the measured changes over the last century, the difference will be nowhere near as dramatic, or catastrophic.
The reality is, if you believe the Bible is the Word of God and the earth is only about 6000 years old then you have very good reason to be skeptical of the global warming and climate change fear mongering for many of the same reasons that you would be skeptical of biological evolution and an old earth. However, you also have good reason to care deeply about this beautiful planet and everything in it, but to exercise that concern in a sensible biblical way that does not resort to ‘idolatry’.
4. The Flat earth
Hoo boy, the old flat earth myth… it’s a doosey.
I really hesitate to be coy about people and their strange beliefs, because as a creationist I understand exactly what it feels like to be the punch line of every joke, because you see something that seems really obvious to you but most of the world seems to be missing…
But the flat earth idea is honestly in a league of it’s own.
The flat earth myth – no beating around the bush – is the zany idea, that still exists in the 21st Century, that the earth is flat, is at the center of the universe (or is kind of the only ‘thing’ in the universe, or, I dunno it’s a really, really weird idea) and that really obvious proofs like literal photographs of earth from space are somehow photoshopped fakes.
Flat earthers generally believe that space travel has never actually taken place, many of them at least doubt the existence of man-made objects in space like satellites (despite the fact that they probably rely on wireless internet connections to peddle their beliefs, and probably some of them use GPS to navigate in their car, and probably have location tracker options on their smart phone apps switched on)… strewth.
They believe that the spherical earth ‘hoax’ has been used by NASA and the Government to fool the entire planet in undoubtedly the most elaborate and sinister conspiracy ever constructed.
Something to do with making a little extra money by funding a non-existent space program, so that they can use the money for other things… like public education where they can perpetuate the myth of a flat earth and the fake moon landing, to make more money… or something to that effect.
So what do creationists believe about it?
Not much needs to be said here. Creationists – I will say, informed creationists – very sensibly reject a belief in a flat earth on the basis of virtually irrefutable evidence.
Starting with the best and most obvious of all, which is literal photos of earth from space.
Flat earthers argue that these photos are fake for various reasons.
Except that the Government are not the only people taking photo’s of the earth!
Flat earthers argue that a photo is ‘useless as evidence’, which is utterly ridiculous to be honest. They argue that the ‘grandiose’ claim that the earth is spherical requires more evidence than simply… taking a photo of it from space. But that means none of the photos of earth, that have ever been taken, are real photos…
Think about what you have to believe about the world we live in to push this idea…
You have to believe that every single one of literally millions of photographs of earth, for the last several decades, from space have been perfectly photoshopped to the point where not a single one has ever been even remotely demonstrated to be fake.
You have to believe that this great photo shopping enterprise is carried out by what can only be a massive underground army of high-resolution digital graphic artists who are so good at their job that they have never even once made a mistake that can be detected, but are somehow cheaper to employ and keep silent than an actual Government space program.
You have to believe that not a single one of these superhuman photo shoppers has ever sold out the Government or any of a number of other agencies responsible for these ‘photographs’ by simply blowing the whistle and producing clear evidence that these photos are fake.
You have to believe that every single one of the potentially hundreds of thousands of people involved in this insidious conspiracy have more to gain from hiding the truth than they do from blowing the lid off.
“I photoshopped a picture of earth to make it look round. The Government paid me to do it… the earth is definitely flat, here’s the proof” – said no one ever
Finally, you have to believe that there are enough people on earth happy and willing to utterly and deliberately lie to the entire planet about something which doesn’t really appear to have any obvious religious, political, social or economic advantage over telling the truth, without losing too much sleep over it. You have to ignore the basic and paradoxical human tendency to be dumb honest, to make mistakes or subconsciously leak the truth.
What about all the other agencies besides the Government who don’t really have a vested interest in ‘controlling the population’ or whatever?
Yes, but in order for those corporations to make a profit, generally their products have to work.
What incentive is there for a company like SpaceX to get in kahoot’s with the Government and build fake rocket ships, in the name of some a worldwide conspiracy to hide the truth of a flat earth from everyone when, as already admitted, they are in it for profit by directly competing with NASA in the market?
One of Elon Musk’s stated goals is to colonise Mars!!! Strewth.
Some other simple points to consider about the shape of earth also include:
- Satellites orbiting the earth which:
- Depend on the reliability of a spherical earth and the laws of relativity and gravitation in order to work properly
- Make your phone work
- Allow GPS to work
- For goodness sake, these satellites would literally fall from the sky if gravity worked the way flat earthers believed!
- Actual international flight across the arctic zones (as opposed to flying off the edge, or being turned back by the military patrols preventing people from seeing the edge of the earth… wow!)
- The fact that almost every other celestial body in space that we’ve seen is spherical, and the reasons for why that is, such as Einstein’s general theory of relativity
- The fact that we can use telescopes (which have been calibrated to focus on objects at certain distances) to see distant stars and planets and calculate their distances from earth, and their orbits
- The lack of any actual, hard positive evidence for a flat earth
Fair enough, flat earthers have no shortage of elaborate explanations for all of these things. But the sheer mental gymnastics and cognitive biases required to deny the existence of human space travel, satellites and other really properly basic things that we all take for granted every day defies credulity.
You must adopt of a level of skepticism that rivals Descartes.
On a final note:
I do think it’s ironic that creationists are often compared to ‘flat earthers’. This demonstrates two things:
- The sheer desperation of the critics and their attempts to destroy the credibility of creationism.
- That in their eyes, actually, creationists are not realistically as ignorant and blatantly unscientific as those who believe in a flat earth, given that the joke takes this to be hugely insulting to creationists.
I’ve no doubt that there are some who do equate creationists with flat earther’s, but they are a special breed of anti-Christian bigot.
There’s so much more I wanted to say, so maybe I’ll just say that I’ll probably write a whole post about this in the distant future somewhere.
Onto the next conspiracy.
5. Vaccinations are bad
What is the vaccination controversy?
The anti-vaccination movement, more than anything, claims that vaccinations may cause autism. This is a subject of ongoing controversy, at least by some.
So far as I can tell, it is more or less a debate between clinical scientists and researchers working within testable repeatable biological science to develop vaccines to help millions of people from contracting highly virulent pathogens like chicken pox, small pox, tuberculosis and annual flu strains (which in severe cases can definitely be fatal in infants and the elderly), against a comparatively small but vocal group of concerned and sincere, but otherwise scientifically uninformed soccer mom’s and political activists.
A vaccine is basically a concentration of ‘dead’ (non-virulent) pathogen particles injected into the body which will stimulate a natural immune response in the recipient, in order to preemptively protect them against the possibility of a live infection at some point in the future.
As with Climate Change, there is nothing critical about your views on vaccines that is influenced by your belief about creation or the age of the earth. Vaccinations could in theory cause autism and be extremely dangerous, even if the earth is young and created. But creationists who look at the evidence objectively and attempt to come to sensible conclusions, will tend to fall in the pro-vaxx camp.
But creationists happily endorse the validity and value of objective science and the scientific method. So long as there is good reason (and there is really good reason) to believe that vaccine development is based on rigorous, repeatable, testable science, and has the potential for enormous good then creationists are in general very happy to endorse it.
However, it is undoubtedly true that many individual creationists (and other Christians) have their own opinions about this. But so far as I know the majority of scientifically creationists recognize the great benefit to humanity that vaccines have provided.
In fact many of the underlying theories that are critical to the clinical model of vaccines provide a good case for Biblical creation. The immune system is one of the best evidences of irreducible complexity, and the use of vaccines to stimulate the immune system and fight pathogens is a wonderful example of that irreducible complexity in action! Not to mention human ingenuity in taking advantage of natural phenomena to great effect.
For more information about the anti vaccination movement check out this absolutely brilliant series of posts by fellow creationist blogger and scientist Dr Jay L Wile (no affiliation). It is an extremely thorough series of posts that is sensitive to the minds and sensibilities of those who have fallen for the lies of this dangerous movement.
6. GMO’s are bad
What is GMO?
A Genetically Modified Organism, or GMO, is fairly self-explanatory. Organisms which have had their genomes modified artificially in some way.
OK let’s skip the jibe. Yes technically all food produced agriculturally for the last couple thousand years is genetically modified. Farmers have been artificially selecting for the best crops for a long time. Kind of like how humans have been choosing who they (or their children) date and marry based on personality, looks, the length of their hunting spears (get your mind out of the gutter!), and other such things since the beginning of time.
But that’s not really what we mean is it?
What we’re really concerned about is mad scientists using clever laboratory trickery to synthetically insert particular sections of DNA into foreign organisms to allow those organisms to grow and develop in a particular kind of way. So things like making corn sweeter, larger, more resistant to pesticides and stay edible for longer, things like that.
So what’s the big deal about GMO’s then?
Here I think is a good summary of the main criticisms of GMO’s
- The health effects are ‘unknown’
- GMO foods are unlabeled
- Genetic engineering reduces genetic diversity
- GMO’s do not produce higher yield
- Enormous biotech firms have a poor track record
The most important point to raise here, is that none of the above points offer any really hard (or soft even) evidence that GMO’s are actually bad. They have a similar veil of mystery and scare mongering of other conspiracy theories like the flat earth to prey on your uncertainty.
Can I point out an obvious question, if GMO’s are so evil because they are in everything (they’re not actually), then why isn’t the clear evidence of its dangers more… clear? C’mon guys.
I know, I know, it’s the long-term health risks that are the issue, but we don’t know what the long-term risks are yet. We have at least some idea of the long-term health risks of chronic social media use and smart phone addiction, but I suspect that many of these naysayers are not so up in arms about that right?
So what do creationists believe about it?
Once again, there’s nothing about GMO’s that is prima facie for or against creationism and probably more so with this topic than any of the others, there’s likely to be a larger variety of opinions.
But as I’ve said, creationists in general tend to trend toward good solid science (and a good plain understanding of the Bible). In fact creationists have a vested interest in thinking really sensibly about topical scientific issues, because it’s bad enough being called an unscientific ignoramus without actually being one.
What this means I think for GMO’s more than anything else on this list is that being a creationist does not make you obligated to take a particular position on this topic.
But creationists also have the unique benefit of being relatively open to the possibility of bad science, or other kinds of shenanigans if there is good warrant for it.
What I mean is, if there really was any particularly good reason to be concerned about GMO’s creationists would probably jump right on board.
Personally I love corn. It’s delicious and I’m happy to eat it.
Here’s a couple of interesting resources both for and against, none of which really amounts to solid academic research, but they provide a good overview. Read at your own risk!
http://naturalsociety.com/top-10-worst-gmo-foods-list/ – Christian?
https://foodrevolution.org/blog/former-pro-gmo-scientist/ – a sensible sounding critic!!
https://www.quora.com/Is-Monsanto-evils – Great Quora answer about Monsanto.
https://gmoanswers.com/ask/why-gmo-so-bad – brilliant sensible post/website about GMO’s
7. Stem Cells are bad
What is the Stem Cell controversy?
That question really is just this question: What are stem cells?
The simplest answer goes something like this:
- All human beings (and all of life as we know it) are made of cells
- Human beings have a lot of different types of cells… red blood cells, skin cells, nerve cells, bone making cells, white blood cells, muscle cells and more
- One special kind of cell we have are stem cells
- Stem cells, generally speaking are cells that are ‘undifferentiated’ which means they are kind of like precursor cells that give rise to other types of cells mentioned above
- Stem cells, are very special cells
- There are different types of stem cells
- The cells that form in the early stages of a human embryo are one kind of stem cell called embryonic stem cells
- Embryonic stem cells (and other kinds of stem cells) are used for all kinds of scientific research
- Stem cell research does have the means to greatly advance scientific knowledge of humans and medicine and other things, except…
- Embryonic stem cells are fully formed, fully genetic human cells with the same properties and potential for life as any life growing inside of a mother
It is quite a simple connection between creationists being Christians, therefore being pro-life, therefore being against stem cell research. This is not on the grounds of science or scientific skepticism, it is on the grounds of ethics, just like the abortion debate.
Note: I just want to make explicitly clear I’m talking about ’embryonic stem cells’. Other stem cells don’t have the same potential for life, they’re more limited in their biological scope and application, and are more like other cells (ethically speaking) so using them for scientific research is no problem.
The reality is if you are a Christian, then by extension you really are against embryonic stem cell research, for the same reasons that you are against abortion – because they are little humans, just like any ‘foetus’ growing in a mother’s womb. If you’re not a Christian and your pro-abortion, or ‘pro-choice’, then whatever, I guess it makes no difference to you.
Creationists so far as I am aware stand united on this.
I will admit that I don’t have any particular emotional reaction to the idea of stem cells being used in scientific research. But that’s precisely why we don’t allow our emotions to drive the way think about these kinds of issues, even issues of morality. Whatever my ’emotional’ reaction to the idea is irrelevant to the plain fact that the death of an embryonic stem cell, is the death of a human life.
8. The Moon Landing was faked
So again very self-explanatory.
Skeptics believe that the moon landing was set up by NASA in yet another diabolical cash grab. Some argue that it was an attempt to distract Americans from the crisis of the Vietnam war. Whatever the reason, the idea is that it was all staged in an elaborate studio performance by paid actors and a production crew. Just like the amazing earth photo shoppers, none of them have ever come forward to testify to the truth of this hoax. But that’s an argument from silence, and we hate to be accused lowering ourselves to their standards now would we?
I hesitated including this one because it didn’t seem all that relevant to creationists.
But it’s an interesting one and one that follows a similar line of reasoning and motivation to that of some other conspiracies here. Much like the flat earth theory (who by definition are forced to believe that the moon landing was fake), it relies very heavily on arguments from silence and burden of proof fallacies. All of these conspiracy ideas (and I’ll admit creationism to some extent is not immune to this) capitalise on a very human tendency to want to uncover the scandal, be skeptical of large vaguely defined entities like ‘government’, ‘corporations’ or ‘the scientific establishment’ and use the general public’s lack of direct knowledge to fuel the fire of uncertainty.
So what do these space travel skeptics cite as evidence for the hoax. Let’s briefly cover a few of the most popular ones:
ML Skeptics argue that some of the photographs of different sections of land on the moon have identical backdrops. Which might sound impressive if the backdrops weren’t tens of kilometres away and would likely look almost identical from different locations, if the cameras happened to point towards those backdrops right? And I’m guessing that there are even better explanations if I spent more time thinking about it than what it took to type…
All of the photos taken on the moon contain little crosshairs in them used as a frame of reference for the photos. In some photos they appear to sit behind certain objects. So you can either explain this by the quality of the photographs that were taken, on the moon, in 1969, or on this phenomenon only occurring on non-original copies of the photographs… or you can explain it by a massively elaborate, highly funded, staged moon landing. Obviously an elaborate hoax is the more likely option…
The ‘C’ Rock
The unexplained object (in the reflection on the Astronauts helmet)
The lack of stars
If you can see anything on the moon, it’s because the sun is shining, which means it’s bloody day time on the moon, when they’re taking the photos… go outside right now and ask yourself if you can see any stars in that bright blue sky? I feel like there might be more to this one, because it just seems so stupidly obvious to me that you wouldn’t see stars in the photograph
Slow motion walking
This one is interesting, because the burden here is now on the skeptic to explain why the astronauts appear to be moving around in low gravity, and jumping really high, rather than exploiting some apparent anomaly in the image or film.
So obviously NASA just played this footage back at half speed right? Nice and simple, but what about the high jumping?
Oh of course they used wires! Isn’t it obvious. NASA obviously went to the trouble of simulating moon-like gravity for the astronauts, but were somehow a lot more careless when it came to the other obvious proofs like sloppy photoshopping of cross hair layers and stuff… Hoax is definitely the simplest explanation here too.
The Van Allen Radiation Belt
So the idea here is that there is a radiation belt near the outskirts of earth’s atmosphere that would’ve blasted those astronauts (and of course, anyone else ever since who broke through the barrier, including the scientists who at this very moment are cruising around the international space station) with massive radiation and burned them to a crisp.
I’m sorry but I shouldn’t have to really explain to anyone the unreliability of this kind of here-say. I’ll just say this:
Hypothetically if NASA could send men to the moon… I mean, just for the sake of argument people, I’m not saying it really happened, but lets just let our imaginations run wild for a second. hypothetically, if NASA had the technology to send men to the moon, I’m guessing they have the technology to protect these brave space warriors from the radiation blasts at the surface of the atmosphere… I mean, and I’m just spit ballin here, it would seem within the realm of possibility right?
Oh no, NASA also forgot the fix the shadowing effects of the multiple flood lights that were filling their studio.
Lack of an impact crater
Apparently the moon lander didn’t leave a hot nicely shaped crater on the ground as it landed, which is crazy because in every cartoon I’ve seen, space ships have powerful rockets blasting away underneath them as they land on foreign planets. C’mon NASA it’s like you’re not even trying!
The waving flag
Alright we’re dragging on and even I’m getting sick of the sound of my own voice, let’s just say that for my money, that flag doesn’t even look that ‘floppy’. It looks like it’s meant to be quite rigid, and just kinda has a lot of bends and kinks, probably because it was folded up prior to being ceremoniously plugged into the surface of the moon… An incredible testament to the ingenuity of mankind. But I’m happy to be proven wrong on this point.
As you can see every example above except one regards the nature of the photographs/video footage taken while on the moon, and attempts to cast doubt on the veracity of the footage. As I said before, a lot of arguments from silence and a lot of burden of proof fallacy (that photo looks fake, you prove me wrong!).
Well firstly, this is a question for the flat earthers – I’d like to know why the government has done such a stellar job in producing perfectly doctored images of a round earth for decades, but did such a shoddy job of taking photographs of its own faked moon landing? C’mon NASA, what were you spending all that money on if you couldn’t even get the damn photo’s right?
All bad jokes aside, it seems sensible to me that if you were going to fake a moon landing, you would make more of an effort to avoid simple atmospheric and lighting errors when making your fake photos right?
It seems far more likely to me that the photo’s were taken by astronauts, standing on that big beautiful moon, who simply weren’t thinking about whether or not individuals would come along and try to claim that they weren’t really there, so they didn’t give a second thought to the shape, length and direction of the shadows, or the composition of the dust underneath the lander or the reflection on the helmet of the guy saying ‘cheese’ on the moon.
A man named Bart Sibrel has apparently been trying to prove the moon landing was a hoax since he was 25! In the linked article he apparently claims to have unedited sound reels of the astronauts being told exactly what to say, and how to say it etc. etc.
But if you’ve been trying to prove it false since you were 25, and have failed, at some point you have to wonder why that is.
Once again, creationists in general would very sensibly reject the claim that the moon landing was fake, and again I think creationists stand united on this also. Considering especially that some of them have either visited NASA personally, or literally worked in the US military space program. Yet again this is not a critical origins issue. In fact to be quite frank I don’t really care.
The more you think about man landing on the moon, the more awe-inspiring you realise that it is. A truly ‘giant leap for mankind’… but if someone came forward with literal unequivocal evidence that it was a complete hoax, I’d probably think ‘well what do you know?’, but that’s really not going to happen, especially considering that space probes have recently re-visited the moon and taken photographs of the landing site, complete with footprints, rover tracks and… wait for it… a jet propulsion crater (well what-da-ya-know!).
More general thoughts
OK, I definitely got a little snarky at some points there, and it’s not really my intention with this post to marginalize these conspiracies, it was only my intention to clarify where creationists tend to stand. Creationists are, after all, often regarded with the same level of contempt and disregard as these other conspiracy theories (which was my motivation for writing this very post).
What critics fail to see is that not all skeptics are made equal. Conspiracy theorists tend to get lumped into the same boxes for the same reasons – ‘illogical’ ‘anti-science’ ‘crackpots’ ‘ignorant’ etc. etc.
This ignores the differences in the underlying mentality, philosophy and assumptions of various conspiracy proponents (not to mention the quality of the evidence).
For example, it must be properly understood that creationists are in general very science friendly, and that in the process of everyday scientific progress on matters non-critical to origins, creationists are virtually indistinguishable from secular scientists.
There is a distinct lack of academic honesty about many of the very valid criticisms that creationists raise regarding evolution, the big bang and other related subjects.
By contrast, the collection of incongruent arguments required to maintain a belief in a flat earth or fake moon landing itself defies belief.
There is a clear contrast between creationism, and the majority of conspiracy theories which tend to rely on the existence of some totally unrealistic, massive, systematic, institutionalised global conspiracy headed up by some well organised collective, whether it’s the Government, or Big Pharma or the illuminati or the Jews.
“We also remind our readers that CMI is primarily pro-Bible, not anti-establishment for its own sake.”
Creationists stand in stark contrast to many of these other beliefs in that, our resistance to Evolution and the Big Bang is not because they are the result of some deliberate and synchronised world power attempting to deceive anyone. Creationists have no doubt that virtually everyone who accepts evolution and the Big Bang as scientific fact are totally sincere. There’s no worldwide conspiracy. Creationists look at the same data, and the same science as secular scientists… there’s no big coverup. There’s just a difference of worldview.
One of the fundamental questions I had when I became a Christian, was ‘if evolution is not true, which seems so obvious to me and other creationists, does the vast majority of the world and scientific community believe it?’
It’s beyond the scope of this blog post to try to answer this question, but I certainly wasn’t going to resort to some global conspiracy, or surrender my belief in almost all of the fundamental laws of the universe and my understanding of the basic fabric of reality itself.
Creationists are not inserting some ad-hoc contrivance for why Evolution is being propped up to fool the masses. We simply argue that:
- The Bible is God’s word and is true
- That the scientific evidence when assessed objectively is not explained by the theory of evolution
- That instead, when you view the science through a creationists world view, you see that there is virtually no science that is inconsistent with a plain understanding of Genesis and the rest of the Bible
When you understand that the creationists fundamental starting point is a plain reading of the Bible (the whole Bible), much of the positions we would take on these issues becomes somewhat predictable.
For those issues which are not critical to, or directly relevant to beliefs about our origins, or are clearly mandated in scripture, then organisations like Creation Ministries International describe it as a ‘wisdom issue‘, where Christians have the liberty to disagree, or otherwise decide for themselves.
Finally, no matter what you believe, it’s important to understand that you’re not necessarily irrational because you’re an anti-vaxxer, or you believe in a flat earth (or a round one). For any one of these popular ideas, you can justify your belief with at least some kind of reasoning, however flawed.
What’s far more important than the reasons you have for believing any one thing, is your openness and willingness to assess the evidence objectively. That I think is something that separates creationists from many of these other conspiracy theories. Of course creationists have their biases just as much as anyone else, but I think we have a vested interest in objectivity, more-so than any moon landing skeptic, or evolutionist for that matter.
Wisdom is the ability to change your mind when you know you should.
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