POI Monuments to Misinformation

Monuments to Misinformation | The Ark Experience & Creation Museum

June 09, 2020

A short drive south of Cincinnati, OH, lie two well-funded, well-executed museums dedicated to the telling of biblical “history.” The Creation Museum and the Ark Experience came about through Answers in Genesis, a Christian Apologetics organization, and its founder and CEO, Ken Ham.

While the modern science-based community always found fault in these propaganda factories’ notions about the age of the earth (6000 years), and the theory of evolution (it’s wrong) — among myriad other beliefs — the Ark Encounter brought a new layer of controversy to the table when it was granted land, cash, and tax kickbacks by local government and the state of Kentucky at taxpayers expense.

A documentary calledWe Believe in Dinosaurs looks at some of the issues surrounding these facilities through the eyes of both believers and skeptics.

Joining Jim Underdown on this episode of Point of Inquiry are Rob Boston, Communications Director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Dan Phelps, President of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, and Monica Long Ross, one of the co-directors of We Believe in Dinosaurs.

Below are photos from Underdown’s trips to the “The Creation Museum and the Ark Experience:

[pdf-embedder url=”https://pointofinquiry.org/wp-content/uploads/sites/30/2020/06/UnderdownArkTrip.pdf”]



This Week’s Music

“Bon Journée” by Chad Crouch / CC BY-NC 3.0

“Idle Ways” by Blue Dot Sessions / CC BY-NC 4.0

Jim Underdown Hello, everybody, welcome to another episode of Point of Inquiry. I’m your host, Jim Underdown. 

Today, we are going to take a look at a topic that makes me a little crazy. The Creation Museum just south of Cincinnati, Ohio and Kentucky and the Ark experience a little farther away in the same area. Our two massive monuments to mis information. They are dedicated to explaining the literal truth that they say is literal truth of the Bible history. The Old Testament. And there’s so much wrong about what goes on and these things that I can’t even begin to. And capsulize it here. I’ve been to both of these places. And it did make me a little nuts to reach into my wallet to pay the entry fee used to both. But it was for work. So I had to see these places, you know, up close and personal to understand what they were. We’ll talk about the quality of these institutions. The dinosaurs in them look good. The displays are good. There’s animatronics. The ark in the Ark experience is huge. It’s over a football field, long football field and a half long. They did a good job on it. Too bad. It’s just. It’s wrong. All of it’s wrong. So that’s a problem. But the reason I’m talking about this and decided to do an episode devoted to this. I saw a documentary called We Believe in Dinosaurs. And they they do a nice job of talking about what the issues are surrounding both of these these museums. The Ark Encounter at least got a bunch of state funding to build the thing. They got a land grant and some cash and some kickbacks for sales tax. So is it OK for your tax dollars to be funding Christian evangelical fundamentalists religious projects, even if it does bring in tourist dollars? No, I don’t think so, especially because everyone who gets hired at these places has to be one of them. You can’t even be like a liberal Baptist or Catholic or someone who doesn’t believe that the Earth is 6000 years old. You have to be point for point on board with the Ken Ham and answers in Genesis program. So we, the taxpayers, especially you, the taxpayers in the state of Kentucky, are funding a facility that very few of you even qualify to work in. So today I brought in three people who were involved with the making of the documentary We Are Dinosaurs. Monaca Long Ross is one of the two directors of the film. 

Also Rob Boston, who is communications director for Americans United for Separation of Church and State. 

And Dan Phelps, who is president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society. 

Everybody, welcome to Point of Inquiry. We are here in different parts of the country during the Kofod lockdown to talk about one of my favorite topics, the Creation Museum and the Ark experience. 

And the reason we’re talking about this is, I mean, besides the fact that these monuments to misinformation are out there and existing. I just saw a short documentary that aired on PBS called We Believe in Dinosaurs. So one of our guests today here is Monica Loung Ross, who is one of the directors of We Believe in Dinosaurs. Welcome, Monica. 

Monica Loung Ross Thank you. Good to be here. So you had two directors on this project? We did. I’m the co-director and Clete Brown is the other director. 

And yeah, we work as a team. This is our third feature film together. 

Jim Underdown Fantastic. Well, I. I’ve watched the toys. So you have one huge fan out there, at least. Also joining us, someone who was featured in the documentary. 

Well, first of all, his name is Dan Phelps. And are you still the president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society? 

Dan Phelps That’s correct. We have the media lately, but or so please leave different, smaller organizations. 

Jim Underdown So we are to understand that you are an actual geologist who had a part in the documentary and might even have something to say about the age of the Earth. 

Dan Phelps Oh, here’s my background. I’m a I’m a geologist. Investors degree in geology is really for logical society right now. Teaching Portela to college level and require some state government or military or some of those major parties feel as though they were in touch with me over the years. 

Jim Underdown Yeah. How did you find Dan anyway? 

Monica Loung Ross Monica When we were talking, we cast a wide net and when we were first looking for voices in and around Kentucky and we decided we wanted Kentucky voices, we didn’t want to bring in people from outside. This was a local story. The opening of the Ark. 

And we wanted it to be not to be other people dictating to this state, but talking within the state, within the problem. So we were in Cincinnati, as you know, just 20 miles from the Creation Museum. So we had gone up to Cincinnati and talked to science is there. And we were trying to locate scientists in Kentucky. And most it’s very difficult terrain for scientists to to walk through, because if they they told us if they mentioned the Creation Museum, they were going to get a lot of negative feedback from maybe their donors. And people went there because the Creation Museum and let’s say the Cincinnati Natural History Museum are all there within the same circle. So nobody would talk on camera. And the scientists actually were the ones, not the creationists. They were eager to talk, but the scientists themselves were having difficulty going on camera and saying. And more than once, someone said, older than Phelps killed off. Dan was known as writing letters to the editor and actively trying to deal with the tax issues in Kentucky when it came to the Creation Museum. So he was a known entity and people kept. So, of course, we got a hold of Dan Phelps and Dan was willing to go on camera, one of the few and and and to participate in the film in a very active way and to openly say that he opposed the tax incentives and the building of the ark. And really, we we tried very hard to get some other scientists to say that they talk about evolution. They would talk about their own museum, they would talk about their science, and they would not mention religion, creationism, the R in hand, none of the issues that were in the film because they were afraid. Which is another telling thing. 

Jim Underdown I’m kind of curious about that, actually, because it seems these are people who run museums or are there in academic settings or what is their fear of blowback from talking about those issues? 

Dan Phelps Well, they have a reason to reflect the foul ball. 

Oh, well, there’s going to be an example. A few years back, there was a GM employee. Who was the almost the intern level? Absolutely. Very, very low level. He commented on a newspaper article. How many newspapers and online version of stories? 

The feedback section. 

You said something about the creation of New Zealand and a little icon next to them says that he was from the Cincinnati Museum and they live in shit crazy. 

I’ll probably get this guy fired. 

And then an entire blog post dedicated to this guy. And really, he was just a low level boy at the center of attention like a one sentence criticism of the Creation Museum. 

And fortunately, he didn’t get fired or anything, but he showed you how to keep an eye out for any criticism from the system, museums that are already in the universities of the area, too. 

I have a friend hall at Georgetown College, which is located just north of Biloxi, Georgetown. 

And as of college, affiliated with the Baptist Church. And at least that time it was and is gone all biology there. And he criticized the Creation Museum. 

And, of course, he was subject to the fire blog post. 

Jim Underdown So is it obvious? Is it obvious that Ham is orchestrating these letter writing and other intimidation campaigns? 

Dan Phelps Oh, yes. You know, he’s he’s said several times I’ve published over the years back when I have the Allosaurus fossils donated to survival for Rock of the white supremacist SNL press release, pointing out they receive the they are also responsible from the Confederate white supremacist. 

And also said that they basically weren’t willing to do any sort of research on us. We also learned their statement of faith. 

Lawder, all of the answers to this was employers are required to SA and AM with really wild on that and published in the entire blog post. 

Horrible. Phelps effectively won the usually the first day look them up as a blog post. But you and Paul, who is the Phelps, was very complimented by all he said. But they also were rather ones that really you didn’t think they were too nice. 

Monica Loung Ross Yeah. And the museum can’t. He has to dedicate time and effort to countering this. And they also have donors that are on the fence or are creationist to some of their children’s programs, they said. And so they had to spend a great deal of time of counteracting that. So it’s understandable that they are careful about it. 

Dan Phelps There’s a famous ice cream company in the Cincinnati area that actually sponsors and of Natural History Museum. 

They also are major donors to the Creation Museum. 

Jim Underdown OK, well, this might be a good time to bring in Rob Boston, who was communications director at Americans United for Separation of Church and State. 

Rob, this here in these sorts of I call it intimidation because it has this ring of Scientology going after its enemies. And that’s got to bother you? 

Rob Boston Yeah, absolutely. And we’re familiar with a little bit of that ourselves. I blogged about Ken Ham and I’ve written about to Mark Corrigan, the very critical one. Of course, our organization was very concerned about any tax money ending up in the coffers of such an evangelistic enterprise. And of course, Ken Ham came after us, too. Now we’re an independent nonprofit organization. We’re supported by donations members. We don’t have to worry about having a government over us. 

That’s going to come down on us. If we say something Ken Ham doesn’t like. 

But to me, it’s just fundamentally depressing that people who work at colleges and universities and public science museums feel that they can’t criticize and have any creationism or are they going to have something happened to them? And that’s that’s not how it ought to be. 

Jim Underdown Right. Right. Well, let’s go back to basics a little bit for people who haven’t. And I hope that’s the vast majority of the world’s population visited either one of these places that the first of the two museums is the Creation Museum, which opened in two thousand and seven, I think. OK, so maybe Monica. I mean, describe the Creation Museum for people who haven’t been there. 

Monica Loung Ross Well, in their words, they are a state of the art and museum, and they they certainly do use technology and they have a great many technical, technological things going on that make it look like a mainstream museum. They say they cover biblical history. I notice that in looking them up again and read reading their summary of what they’re about. They don’t mention science, which you think is very interesting. They say they have a planetarium in the back area of the gardens. They talk about their zip lines and certainly about they’ve got new new pro-life display in there. But they certainly can’t have exhibits that counter the theory of evolution, which and and then all science is related to the flood and into Genesis. So it’s a science museum, a biblical history museum. It has animatronic dinosaurs where where a title comes from. And what we were interested in is how they use dinosaurs. They have a dinosaur statue in front of it. When you go in, they have a hall filled with animatronic dinosaurs and can handle the calls. Dinosaurs, missionary lizards. He is using dinosaurs to bring children in. Not that other museums don’t use dinosaurs to bring bring families in, but they are trying to be equal to the Smithsonian. As as George Purdum’s says in the film, they want to be a world class museum. They want to think they think that God and they’re their customers just or visitors deserve a world class museum. And they’re giving it to them. So it is it’s, of course, that creationism is a young earth, 6000 years old. OK. And a source, a man lived together. 

Jim Underdown Yeah, I remember one of those displays because, I mean, they have all these dioramas and, you know, there’s these little dinosaurs running around in the forest and primitive man right there with them. 

Monica Loung Ross Children. Yeah. There’s a young girl who’s right there with her pet dinosaur. 

Jim Underdown OK. So just. Can we set the record straight? They missed those two creatures cohabiting the forest by how much? How many years? 

Dan Phelps Sixty five million. But they also have display’s claiming the dinosaurs reporter Reavie braggarts that they were early dinosaurs. 

You want the look at certain parts of them. Usually referred to these times in the form of Noah’s Ark or third parties ever mentioned. Or really. Yes, I can really use this, this monster box to the changes that are really dragging dinosaurs I think. 

Monica Loung Ross And I think their dragon connection is. Is there proof that in all cultures and in mythology and in the Chinese iconography, you find dragons and dragons show that human beings were seeing dinosaurs and that those stories came down and that human beings wouldn’t be telling these stories of dragons unless they had seen them. So that must be dinosaurs. So that’s that’s the logic. 

Dan Phelps That’s exactly what they do. They end up really the last of the dinosaurs, the extinction ages. 

So they will take the story of fables and claim that Grindley Grendel’s mother with Donald Surahs in the field, Wolf Whitfield was killed by the fire breathing dragon. 

They claim that is possibly a pterosaur. Well, he’s lying in repose. So, yeah, this is crazy. So he will have to describe some of their beliefs about dinosaurs. Prehistoric life? 

Jim Underdown Well, it’s using the the credibility of science and culture and history to connect the dots between fundamentalist beliefs. Now, if if this stuff was happening in the middle angels and Grendell really existed, shouldn’t there ought to be a body with some still intact skin and bones and DNA lying around somewhere? 

Dan Phelps Well, that’s a good question as well. We don’t have an answer. OK. 

Monica Loung Ross An organization called Answers in Genesis. And they work very hard. They come up with answers. 

Jim Underdown Right. 

I mean, that’s it seems to be that’s what these both of these museums are really about, is try to make fundamental as fundamental as biblical assertions are believable in the 21st century. Is that fair to say? 

Dan Phelps You see him, boy, younger. 

Basically, the whole framework of nobody seems to convince him. A place where those bushes go. You’ll leave your questions for me for two or more. 

Monica Loung Ross And I think I think that one thing we discovered was that there’s a great deal of fear going on here. Fear of losing their kids to a secular world. And that’s because we were there to listen and not mock anyone. The tone of the film is not mocking. Right. We were there to reveal that this is real pressure on science. And this is a group that is not isolated. And I told the viewers in Kentucky when we screened it there, you’re not alone. This is a nationwide problem and this is a pressure on science that is growing from religious at really religious freedom that they’re asking for. But it’s really religious privilege to put things like creationism in classrooms. He is ignoring the pluralistic nature of of the student body, enough of the citizens of the United States. And so this and as Rob can speak to the erosion of church and state, but underneath it all, there is a great deal. We’re talking about them using all these things. But there there is a great deal of fear. There is a real fear of losing their children to a secular world. And and they’re they’re pulling out all the guns here with science museums and science curriculum and giving out to all the home schoolers and to organizations and appealing, because I know that a good deal of the people who are going to come there are not believers, but they’re hoping to find a core of a little chink in our armor, especially in our kids, to put that in there. So they are they’re proselytizing, which they say is we had this kind of feedback and screenings that that is their religious right to proselytize. And then we are not saying they don’t have a right to. I don’t think any of us are saying they don’t have a right to build a Noah’s Ark or the Creation Museum. It’s these erosions of separation of church and state and this call for religious privilege. That is a problem. 

Dan Phelps Yeah, exactly. 

Basically, people if they didn’t have all the their expertize in this, I would still oppose them. This is just educational reasons, but I leave them alone. Will students lose? They receive the tax incentive for the sake of tourism. 

They receive two hundred, nearly two hundred acres and they both go. They got 200000, nearly two hundred thousand dollars cash. There was a problem with real estate deal. 

And the Charlie. 


Apparently know the grand finale, basically because local Sunni, Shia and Sunnis who blew up look coming revealed from the property we bought Sujiatun Project to actually do or really nearly two hundred thousand dollars in cash also for two prices. There are other perks, additions to the interstate. All three of equals transportation. Why love a billion dollars? And that was nicely for the city with a love of freedom for the interstate. It wasn’t necessary. Just wasn’t the hard part. Was one of those solely to be backed up onto the interstate? People would actually be just didn’t. 

Jim Underdown Well, this has brought this will abroad. Americans united into this case is this intermingling and these special favors, I would call them, given two answers in Genesis to get these things built. Why is this a problem, Rob? Why? Why why shouldn’t they get some money that that’ll bring in local tax dollars and and tourists? 

Rob Boston Well, this is essentially the state subsidizing evangelism, subsidizing Ken Ham’s version of Christianity, subsidizing fundamentalism. 

And as the other guests have noted, we wouldn’t have had a problem with the decision to build the Ark Park instead of a privately funded. But Ken Ham was very aggressive in trying to get all of this access to various forms and subsidies. And at the same time, he was making it clear on employment applications that were out there, you had to be a fundamentalist Christian, you had to be, you know, anti-abortion, you had to being anti-gay rights. 

You had to have all these political and religious views. They weren’t even going to hire you. So here is a taxpayer funded, know, alleged amusement park getting all these subsidies. Yet they’re discriminating on who they hire. What’s really frustrating about this is that as we were involved in this process over several years, can have just continually lied about what was really going on there at different times. If it suited them politically, they would claim that they weren’t going to discriminate in hiring. But in fact, they did. 

And to this day, Ken Ham insist that they didn’t really get public funding to build your park. And of course, they did. The main form was a tax rebate. When you go into the park and you buy your ticket or if you buy souvenirs, you buy some suit, you pay a state sales tax on that. 

Well, once a year, all those state sales taxes, instead of staying in the coffers of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, are given back to our encounter. That’s a state subsidy. That’s that’s taxpayer support. No, about how you slice it. 

Dan Phelps But that is one point eight to five million for a year or two years. So two billion dollars. 

Rob Boston That’s a nice little deal. 

And, you know, we what would happen this matter when the court we weren’t involved in a litigation because what happened actually is that Ken Ham sued himself. 

He was denied access to these funds when the state found out that he intended to discriminate in hiring. So they denied him access to the funds. His lawyers sued, arguing that other types of tourist attractions in the state had received the support and that they should be able to get it, too, even though they’re clearly a religious enterprise. Now, a federal judge actually agreed with them, and our attorneys felt that that decision was vulnerable and maybe on appeal we could have overturned it. 

But what happened is in 2015, a guy named Matt Bevin was elected governor of Kentucky and a Republican and an ally of Ken Ham. They’re actually in the map, Evan, carrying out the Ark encounter with Ken Ham. So he was a political ally in office now. 

And one of the first things madcap Matt Bevin did upon taking office was to end that litigation, stay out of it and said we’re just going to let this funding go through. 

Jim Underdown How can he do that? I mean, isn’t it? Does he have the power to dismiss a case? 

Rob Boston Well, the the challenge had been brought by your park, your car in one case, so it would have been the state that appealed that that decision. 

Oh, and state my benefit. 

Dan Phelps I do actually go it 30 years. And right now, I’m wondering, with the corona virus to look for its people, other discriminating employers would be very interesting to be searching for the future. You know, it’s. 

Jim Underdown Well, first of all, I mean, you have to admit anyone who’s been to both these parts and boy, I hated to reach into my pocket to pay that ticket price, but of course, I have my own inspective on there. But it’s in a way, it’s really well done. The dinosaurs at the Creation Museum are fantastic. They are Smithsonian quality. The guy who helped design all these things was at Universal Studios doing design work. Right? I mean, so they they spent the money and you could see it looking at kids who don’t know any of these other bigger issues going on. A kid just wants to see a big dinosaur and then think, that’s cool. And there’s that in spades there. 

Monica Loung Ross Is indeed. And Doug, who is this is one of the designers we feature one of the three people and Doug is in there. He’s a very talented designer. There’s no design. There’s no question of that. He’s very talented and he still corresponds with the back and forth on these events and interests and magic and doing magic with digital effects. And so they they talk to each other. And he was very open and he’s very passionate and he’s very likable in the film, which shows what we’re up against. It’s a you know, that’s one thing we wanted to reveal is what does accretions look like? And yes, they are sophisticated and they use they will use it. As we noted, they use social media very well. They do advertising. They have billboards all over the United States. They have commercials all over the United States. I’ve heard from California and Hawaii and all over the United States of seeing a Chris Mooney join, come to the asking car owner kind of commercials. They use technology well in their in in their both museums. And so, absolutely, there is money being spent. There are several there are many other creation museums or creation rooms at places across the United States. There are other places that have they have funding going on because they want their own creation museum. So it is it’s spreading because the Creation Museum in looks doesn’t look so, so appealing and so professional that people are getting inspired by that. So absolutely, they they they they spend their money. 

Jim Underdown Yeah, we are. I would point to that. There is a creation museum just north of San Diego that I’ve also been to, and it’s like glass display cases with three by five note cards. 

And I mean, it’s it’s it’s looks like somebody’s somebody’s seventh grade class put it together compared to these things in Kentucky. 

And Monica, you mentioned the billboards, which was part of the documentary, because there were all local Freethought groups who who protested the opening of at least the Ark encounter and had put together some money for a billboard against it, but they couldn’t find any billboard companies to post it. What happened there? 

Monica Loung Ross It’s very it’s very sensitive. This is an area that say that they tried to they they did a go fund me or one of the programs, and they raised the money. Ten thousand dollars to get this billboard. They called up various organizations. And when they told them what was going to be on it, I mean, they were pushing the apple with its incest in a genocide. They were turned down and then they they got a company that said that they put it up on their movie Billboard. They got it behind a truck and then went around and they were going to pull it in front of the Ark of the day on the opening day. But the driver. Was Ben said he was afraid for his life, which maybe he just wanted to get out of it. 

I don’t know, exaggeration, actually. Maybe, maybe not. You know Kentucky better than I do then. 

And so there was fear and so great. They just made a big banner and they put it up at the at the site where where they were having the protest. But, yeah, they they got turned down. 

And they went to Cincinnati to someone out, you know, an area that they thought was outside of. But it’s not very far away. And we found people afraid of ending up in Cincinnati. So, yeah, that happened. But but the Creation Museum put up don’t say you cannot say this vote, which were big, a big billboard campaign talking about the tax incentives, which they they tend to represent things as we I’m speaking as a creationist or Ken Ham, we are David and the rest of the world. The culture out there is is is Goliath. So they tend to portray themselves as as under threat. And when they do that, then they use that as a funding campaign kind of thing in it. And it’s worked very well for them. So, yes, this is what we’re up against there for such underdogs. 

Jim Underdown Why is everybody afraid to cross them? 

Monica Loung Ross Well, that’s a question. Like I said, when the science people. I think they just don’t want to go there. They it takes time out of their research and their science or their their own museums. The one incident at the Science Center in Cincinnati took it took resources to try to repair that and repair their relationship with the community. So they just and some scientists we ran into just said, I think this is ridiculous. I don’t think I’m going to I’m I’m not even there. Take a moment of my time to to you know, and I’m not going to give Can-Am any more time. So, you know, I disagree with you even making love. And so there was that kind of push back to you. And I think I think that I applaud both Rob’s organization and Dan for doing what they’re doing, because now we have so much science denial and we’re in the middle of a pandemic and we have science denial and this weird relationship with, you know, trusting my gut instead of trusting my scientific facts and alternative facts. All that is going on. And so I think the film is very relevant to that, actually, and into the world of science denial. So I applaud that scientists are starting to realize that they’ve got to start up and they’ve always known that they had to do outreach to the community. And I’m not saying scientists haven’t known this, nor science. We have a wonderful science education organization and they are actively trying to do this. 

Rob Boston But I think standing up against even the can hands of this warehouse as America United is done is is something that we need to do this fall off of that sort of if you project this incident with the Ark encounter sort of looks at the larger culture, it’s it’s important to understand that this wasn’t just a fight over one museum, a big vote in Kentucky in a small town. 

This battle is played out across the country in public school classrooms every year. 

And we like organizations in the thick of that. And then what’s frustrating about it is if we go to court, we win. We thought that the teaching of so-called intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania. 2005, we won that case. But still we run into incidents where our schools, science teachers are telling us that they’ve been intimidated or are afraid to discuss evolution in front of us, won’t even say the word or they’re teaching it in such a way that it cast doubt on it. And that’s watered down. So no one should ever get the impression that, you know, because we look at these attractions and a lot of the sectors are kind of silly that the average American agrees with that. In fact, in this country, if you look at us, as opposed to countries like Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Western European nations, the public acceptance of creationist ideas is always much higher, like in the mid forties when they take polls. So we have a lot of work to do in this area. 

Jim Underdown And we do. Yeah, this flight has been going on in one way or another for our whole history, really, hasn’t it? I mean, since just after the government was created in the still in the 17, Ondrej, they’re fighting about whether or not to have paid. Chaplain working for Congress? 

Rob Boston Right, exactly, I mean, the separation of church and state, while a lot of people think all that since you are, you know, that that’s part of our fundamental principles here in the United States. 

Has always been a very vocal cohort of individuals who don’t agree with that, who believe that their particular version of Christianity is the one true faith and therefore everybody should live under its rules. 

We’ve had these constant attacks on separation of church and state from day one. You’re right about that. And unfortunately, right now, considering the situation we’re in with the federal court system, we’re losing a lot of these fights. And it worries me because I think we’re in danger of seeing this principle as protector of our right to believe or not believe, as guided by our individual conscience, is being seriously eroded right in there. 

Jim Underdown The their side, it seems I mean, even in and in my history with our secular movement has gotten more sophisticated as time goes by. 

Even Dan mentions in the movie. I mean, Ken Ham’s got P.H. Day scientists. I’m putting air quotes up when I say scientists. Dan, you had a good quote. You said, Just because you have a PJAK page that just tells you you can do science, it doesn’t say or you have the ability to do science. It doesn’t say you actually do it or something along those lines. 

Dan Phelps Thankfully, I mean, a lot of the folks, the faith lawyers have gone through these programs and done the hard work this year. People are so important to have written a dissertation. They’ve shown that they’ve been doing some research and then they will join answers in Genesis. 

And the first thing they have to do required is the blue state will say, oh, gosh. 

And the other activities are those. 

So it basically says that you have to accept Google Earth was created in six literal four days. 

At least 6000 years ago, Noah’s flood was a historical event that happened about twenty three feet EBC. And there’s just a whole laundry list of things that you don’t agree with. You can’t work there just the way it is. 

So they basically table serves their shoulder to the science. They’re not doing science. 

Jim Underdown But I did just blows my mind. I mean, how do you get a appendage day in molecular genetics and then end up at answers in Genesis? 

There’s no credible molecular geneticist in the country believes anything that comes out of hand can hands mouth. So what are they doing? They just keep their mouths shut during their whole educational process. 

Dan Phelps Right. Many of these folks, when they go to school, they specifically go with the intention of getting their degree. 

So it will be more credible in the fight against couples evolution. 

One of the intelligent design creationists is name is Jonathan Bowles. 

He is a member of the Unification Church, Lewis. And he’s on record as saying that he basically he went off rupiahs, the apology to AIDS, the cause of Reverend Moon. 

Is money creation is there? Very, very similar loans getting their service to reach is not virtually for you. Some of those songs I know personally, I love interest, food and songs as a way of refuting what you would sue over. 

I was just interested in fortunes, geology, all sorts of stuff. It was just of interest, duplicity, a jihad that you search to get a degree of sorts. Do these people. It is. 

Monica Loung Ross And I think the other thing is, is that David David talked about this with science in the film, but he’s topolice about because he got a degree undergraduate degree in physics and he just avoided biology and he envoy, you know, that. 

And so on another page at the museum told us that he went to Harvard, got his degree from Harvard. 

He said that as long as he stayed in the present and avoided dead time and he made a concerted effort not to take those courses. 

And he said his supervisor at Harvard didn’t know that he was a creationist and that that basically he told us the story that the his supervisor at Harvard said, I have another student in here who objects to animal research and she will not do any of the mouse research or any anything involving animals. And he said, I’m going to treat you both the same. You are a creation is. She is. And we’re going to make room for you. You’re going to pick out your studies. I, I found that quite incredible. But that is what he told us. And he said he did blood research for cancer, cancer research. And now a study that was in the present time and wrote his dissertation on it and did not do anything within time. And as amazing as that sounds, that is by us listening. You see, we hear this. And so, yes, that that is going on as well. Not only do we have biology teachers in high schools, as Robert was saying, who are reluctant and we talked to several of those who are reluctant to say the E word, and they they talk about changes over time. But if they say evolution, they may indeed have at least one parent or one student disrupt their classrooms and they avoid that. And I talked to a young teacher in California who be older teachers, the more seasoned teachers, and told her, run out of time. Just don’t do evolution. You’re going to have pushback and it’s going to be a mess in your classroom. She went ahead and she’s teaching it. And as Eugenie Scott, who is the head of the national organization, the Science Education. She said that was the that’s the reluctant group. And if they’d only go ahead and do it, they’d find out how little push back there is. And she’s not getting pushback and she’s glad she went ahead and did it. But there’s still teachers who advise that. So there is. That’s where we are. And if if if someone could go to harbor and get a degree in molecular biology and graduate by being open creationist, I. I don’t I don’t know what to say about that. That is that is a difficulty. It’s an acceptance level that’s growing in the country, as is science denial, right or wrong. 

Jim Underdown Right. And so it’s endemic in the whole system, especially in some places where religious belief is so high. We are at the Center for Glary has a program called Thai’s the Teachers Institute for Evolutionary Studies. 

And the specific purpose of that program is to help teachers in certain places, give them the tools to teach evolution, specifically teach evolution, which I mean anywhere. Any biologist, any real biologist knows that evolution is the single unifying theory that makes all biology makes sense. And you can’t understand the biological world without understanding evolution and genetics. And both of those areas. Sorry. I’m on a soapbox here. It’s meant to be crazy because, I mean, they show these institutions are specifically designed to completely deny 200 years of of good, good science or getting better and better science. It just makes me nuts that they’re so anti I. What is apparently the truth? 

Rob Boston Well, that sounds really interesting about this situation, though, Jim, is that since we have a decentralized public education system in this country, schools subject to local control, things can just vary so wildly depending where you are. 

I live in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, D.C., and I have two grown now grown children. 

And I never had to worry about what they were going to be taught in a public school science class, because we do it right here. We wouldn’t accept it any other way. But I’ll tell you what, I can point my car at just about any direction, drive about 50 or 60 miles and find it much different situation and those public schools. 

And that’s I mean, that’s just unacceptable. We can’t have a two tiered system where some kids are going to learn actual science and facts and others are going to be taught like this doesn’t really exist. 

And we just need to be very clear about the idea that this has to be something that pervades the entire public school system and isn’t just something you can learn because she has a luxury to live in a suburban area or a well financed district. 

Monica Loung Ross We had a lot of the money in, it appears, briefly in the film. He is now working for the Creation Museum, a curriculum developer in science. And he taught science in Wyoming, some county in Wyoming. And I don’t. He didn’t say where where. He said he he has always been a creationist. And he was very thankful that he had an understanding principle where he was allowed to freeze creationism and evolution as equal in the classroom. So that exists and it is a problem in this country and perhaps here in Kentucky in futility. 

Dan Phelps So do you actually think our schools are doing a fairly decent job locally, teaching evolution, global, somewhat different models in schools and supercheap? So there you go. One generally in any direction. I’ll tell you, I guarantee you either evolution in school or in some cases creationism is actually, oh, universally mentioned earlier. 

These guys will get their degrees. Oh, some of your friends receive Phyllis’s. 

There are some lecturers basically over at that point, but most of these folks don’t publish really real scientific journals. Won’t be read up on the other filter here is they actually inserted Jesus. Jealousy’s actually does their own in-house scientific journal. The answer is researcher. 

And the answer is of struggle versus do. 

Also, the answers in Genesis Elaman paper literally publish. They actually have very specific criteria that actually go below computer. 

The paper review process of a truce. And they basically say the papers will be against the creation of wood. Is it consistent with the universe, the whole universe? And ultimately, it says editor in chief, don’t be afraid to reject the paper. 

If it does not properly sort of criteria, every conflict suit the best interest of Jesus. Judge Parsons will stand and goes. That its face. 

All right, Milton. Any sign to the journal Science on the publication of a scientific paper based thali statement of faith or appearance to any sort of thought? There’s no such an evolutionary equivalent to this. 

Jim Underdown Right. And in fact, I mean, we believe this is one of our monitors. I mean, yes, it’s difficult to overturn established science in the country. 

And there’s you know, people get their back hair up a little bit about challenging accepted notions. But if you come up with the goods and overturn something, you get a Nobel Prize. You, dear. 

Your name is remembered in one hundred years. So science can change. 

Well, Ted. 

Dan Phelps Many of you at least published in the journal Legal People don’t accept your ideas, at least that’s out there to be looked at, examined, both writing, criticized, possibly criticized or challenged or whatever else. 

Jim Underdown Dad, I think you should you should submit a paper to the AIG. Research people say what they say for you. 

Dan Phelps Some just the sort of played the trick on their own by civility. They say for Famous or Slaughterers Journal. 

Does the paper a few years back could publish something like revenue? The real thing is this is such an incestuous group of people is or is either is and all know each other in the very heart of this little bit of paper. So Santarelli their views. 

If you do they say legitimate, there will be a lot of that be rejected just because it differs from their goals together. 

There are instructions, the authors, for their supposed scientific journal. 

Monica Loung Ross How many scientists do you know that are associated with AIG and the museums? Isn’t it just. Is it 10? Is it? 

Dan Phelps Well, it depends on what you mean by some HDD, who they claim to be scientists they call as a sign. 

There’s a list on their Web site. Oh, or is people with a. Phil. A lot of you are outside of the field of study. 

Monica Loung Ross You’re engineers. 

Dan Phelps There is in there some time. So people are very good. Scientists want to study. They’re totally out of it in terms of what they are writing about. 

Monica Loung Ross I think it’s important to say that we have all these scientists who agree with us and that we point out to people that when you set up a succession assessment that I started thinking about it, that there is a it really a very small group that they rely on over and over again to support their science. It’s not like we have a million scientists and you have two million scientists. It’s not like that. 

They have a dozen a handful in certain fields, ideology and fairly ecology. 

Dan Phelps Don’t like three people that basically they would usually roofs filling their geologists for, you know, certain people, those two for creation research. They do it fully. For Brazil, there’s a three paleontology. 

Well, if you watch your users, Jewesses weekly YouTube videos. 

So firstly, it’s a failure of policy or is all. So in some firms to improve people’s spirit to literally tens of thousands of people as well. 

Jim Underdown But it doesn’t matter because as we saw in the film, Ken Ham gets up in front of the large group of of his constituents and says, if you have any questions about these tough scientific issues, talk to one of our P.H. scientists. I don’t know. I can understand what they’re saying. 

And also, he’s just painting this picture of their experts in the know. 

Being able to support this stuff. But if you pull back the lens on that, like you just said, it’s just a tiny percentage of the world’s geologists or biologists or any scientist, really. 

Dan Phelps Of course, if they were correct, they would only be one person. 

It would only mean one person if you were really doing science to demonstrate the conventional science is wrong. In the 1930s, famously about Nazi Germany. There was a publication put out something like 50 physicists against against a relative. The Jewish relativity theory advanced. 

It was supposedly worked. Well, if they were really scientists, they really do want a little. So you don’t need a number of people. 

You need evidence. You need to publish and show that your evidence is valid. There’s been little research and there are ways of actually falsifying your research. You don’t just as well. We have so many people on the sides of that or we have all these fugitives or people or does it mean. You don’t have evidence in our pollution. 

Rob Boston So every time this comes up, I think about remember the big fuss back in the 90s over cold fusion? 

Many scientists announced a standard island out there was heralded as a breakthrough. But there was one drawback, though. Other scientists can replicate what they were doing. That’s a problem. That’s not. I’m just I’m just a layperson. I’m not a science guy. 

But even I know that if you if you’ve got something that’s really wonderful and great. Other scientists working independently have to be able to do the same experiment and reach the same result. And if they can’t do it. 

Monica Loung Ross I’m sorry about science, and I have to say that prior to we believe in dinosaurs, we made the film The Believers. Which was exactly about cold fusion. 

And that when we did The Atom Smashers, which was our first film we had, we realized and we were covering how careful science is that it is the scientific method. 

It is slow as we’re learning in the pandemic. You have to wait for it. And and it has to play out. And that when I ask one of our scientists, our businesses at Fermilab, who is in the film. 

And he was so careful that I said, you know, as a filmmaker, as a string maker, I said, don’t you ever have a eureka moment where you jump up and down and say, you know, we got it? And he said, oh, no, we don’t want to have a cold fusion incident here. So that led us to our second film, The Believers, is what is a cold fusion incident? What happens? And we got to talk to Martin Fleishman, who was one of the two scientists from Salt Lake City, from the University of Utah, who had come out and was on TIME magazine or having found cold fusion and how it couldn’t be replicated. And then after three months, it went down and they ran away to Europe. Martin back to England, because they’re their whole careers were in ruins because of that. So that led us to that. Your. And you were part Americans. 

United was part of the Dover court case right back. 

What’s the bug in our ear about doing a film about it, about religion and the pressures of religion and science going head to head. So one film leads to another film to another thing. And I think films influence. And thus the film about cold fusion was what was called the believers. And this is called We Believe in Dinosaurs. So it’s all related to how science works and whether it can be replicated and what is science and and and generally what after Americans relationship with science, which is often conflicted and weird. We love our technology, but we fear scientists. 

So and now we’re at a pandemic where they all seem to jump off each other. So I I’m interested in you bringing up those people because to us in our three films, they kind of mesh. 

And that’s that’s the truth. And what is the scientific method? And getting people to understand that the creationists turn it upside down. They have the answer and then they work backwards to find the proof that proves the answer instead of the other way around. 

Jim Underdown That’s right. That’s a real science is supposed to work with record replicate replicability and peer review. And that’s what makes stand the scientific method. 


Well, we’ve been using that method at the Center for Inquiry since the 70s. 

Skeptical Inquirer has just a little bit of experience with people making wacky claims, not being able to back it up. But we sure appreciate you making this film. And Rob and Dan, your work in fighting some of these wacky ideas and stepping over the line between church and state. And we appreciate you doing. 

Thank you for listening. Point of Inquiry is a production of the Center for Inquiry TFI as a five or one C three charitable nonprofit organization whose vision is a world in which evidence, science and compassion rather than superstition, pseudoscience or prejudice guide public policy. Do you care about science and skepticism? Then please do share this episode to help spread the word about Puli and the topics we discussed today. You can visit us at point of inquiry at O R.G.. 

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Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown

Jim Underdown is executive director of Center for Inquiry–Los Angeles, and the founder of the Independent Investigations Group.