Pharyngula

A couple of gems from AiG

Our silly little friends at Answers in Genesis have said a few more stupid things. Hey, why aren’t you surprised?

The first is predictable and ridiculous: they have discovered the PR about finding a function for the appendix. The creationists are so happy! It confirms that Darwin was wrong (although I showed that it does no such thing, and Darwin’s infallibility is not a point of dogma with us anyway), and they get to claim that it’s not a vestigial organ again, because there is evidence that it has some subtle function. Only it still is vestigial: functionality isn’t part of the definition.

They also don’t understand the paper, since, as I warned, creationists should run away entirely from it. Its conclusion of functionality is derived almost entirely from a phylogenetic analysis. This paper cannot be used to vindicate creationism in any way. But I’ll make another prediction: it will be cited repeatedly by creationists in the future, because how you arrive at a conclusion doesn’t matter to them — only that you get a result that fits their preconceptions.

The second matter AiG brings up is something of a sore point with me. They don’t like Dawkins’ recent article, “Creationists, Now They’re Coming for Your Children”. The nonsense in the AiG article is just more of the same ol’ babble, and I suspect it was written by Jason Lisle, because it simply repeats their mantra of ‘same evidence, different interpretations’. They take exception to Dawkins writing about the fact of evolution, which they dispute; they claim they use the same evidence to come up with their belief that the earth is 6000 years old. This is completely false. AiG relies on selectively using only a tiny fraction of the evidence, and ignoring everything that contradicts their preconceptions.

That’s not what galls me, though. That’s all AiG ever does. No, it’s that they don’t notice that their own website confirms Dawkins’ title: the creationists are coming for your children. You have to read Ken Ham’s blog for a truly appalling example.

The bulk of it is a letter from some visitors. I include the whole thing below: I was disgusted by it.

Thanks so much for a day we will cherish. We are the family from Ohio [who came with] with Marine, our French exchange student with us who had received Christ a year ago. She gives her permission for you to share with supporters about how awesome God works. I pray that the testimony I leave with you about Marine encourages you.

In the summer of 2006 my wife, Karen, was excited about an ad in the local newspaper. She wanted to host a French student for a one-month cultural exchange. I was not as excited. I put it to prayer, and God gave a peace in the matter. We contacted the agency and let them know of our interest. They provided the information on some students for us to choose from. We again took the matter to prayer.

Karen and I agreed not to tell each other who we believed ‘the one’ was until we both knew. We then sat down and revealed our choice. We both chose Marine, and it was reaffirmation from God to us. Karen contacted the agency just before the deadline. ‘I’m sorry,’ the woman said. ‘But we only have one student left to place . . . her name is Marine.’ We laughed–and knew it was meant to be.

Marine came as a 15 year old agnostic from Paris, France to rural Ohio. We had been praying that she’d see Christ in us and receive His salvation while with us. Saturday night came (her first week with us), and we shared that as a family, we go to church together. She responded, ‘No thank you.’ We prayed and my wife cried.

It probably wasn’t the most tactful thing to do, but the next morning we said, ‘O.K., we’re going to church together as a family today.’ She agreed. I guess we really didn’t give much of an opportunity for her not to agree.

The month went very well. Marine grew close to our family, and she grew fond of visiting church. She even bought a crucifix necklace, but hadn’t received Christ as her Savior. We fervently prayed for her and her family. Marine invited us to visit her family the next summer in Paris. The next summer we packed up the family and headed to Paris.

The week-long visit to Paris was almost up, and Saturday night came. Marine said, ‘I know tomorrow is Sunday and you go to church.’ I said, ‘No that’s o.k., maybe I can just share with you the information we brought for missionary friends of ours in France. (Our missionary friends live only 30 minutes from Marine, and we brought many French Bibles and some French gospel literature to leave.) What an opportunity to share the gospel! I had frequently read Ephesians 6:19-20 in preparation to have boldness to share.

The next day we shared the gospel. The seed had been planted with them.

Last summer Marine returned to America with her step-sister for another visit. We went to Washington D.C. and had a ball. Towards the end of the visit our church was having Vacation Bible School. Karen asked the girls if they would like to help with crafts, etc. (as she and our children would be there all week). The girls eagerly helped.

The week was based on the Creation Museum’s ‘Seven C’s of History’. The gospel was clearly given. By late in the week Marine said, ‘I have some questions for Pastor Drew.’ Thank God! We knew what this meant. Karen and I and our kids had been praying for the Holy Spirit to move. Marine received Christ after a thorough explanation and questions and answers. She came out and said in wonderful English, ‘My name is now in the Lamb’s Book of Life. We all busted out in tears. Praise God.

Her sister also trusted in Christ two days later. How awesome is our God? He is awesome!

Marine came back this summer to Ohio for two months. Yesterday we spent a wonderful day at the Creation Museum. As my wife and I were looking in the bookstore of the museum I smiled and said, ‘Isn’t this cool? God took Marine from being an agnostic to joyfully looking through this store with an armful of Christian books trying to decide which ones to get.’ God indeed is good.

May God bless you and the Creation Museum. God used His truth and AiG’s Seven C’s of History to change a life and bring Him glory.

–Scott, Ohio

Whoa.

I’ve done a little work with the American Field Service in my area, and we hosted a girl from Italy for a year. I am frankly horrified that someone would bring in an exchange student and slam them with religious proselytization; it’s a tough situation for these kids, who are isolated from familiar friends and family, who are often unfamiliar with the region and weak on the language — the goal of the foster family should be to provide a safe house for the student, not to prey upon their vulnerabilities.

Here’s the difference. They brought in an agnostic girl, and practically the first thing they do is put pressure on her to conform, praying over her and crying when she chooses not to go to church. Imagine yourself in that situation; it’s goddamned evil to do that to a young person. When our Italian daughter came to us, she told us she was Catholic, so we…wept and told her she was a gullible dupe? No. We showed her where the Catholic church was (just a few blocks down the street), and told her that when the weather was bad we’d help her get there.

That’s what decent people would do, anyway.

Consider this a warning to any European families planning to put their kids in one of the exchange programs (they really should be a good opportunity for everyone): screen the host parents carefully. You can express any preferences in writing, and you can legitimately demand that any host family take a hands-off attitude towards your child’s religious beliefs or lack thereof. AFS, at least, sets up independent advisors to the student who can field any concerns, and if your student finds themselves in a miserable situation, they can ask for a new host family.

The kind of behavior Scott from Ohio was engaged in is disgraceful, and is the kind of thing that can seriously damage exchange programs. I don’t know that I would have let my kids into an exchange program with some backward country where they were likely to get indoctrinated by lunatics, that’s for sure.

I’m embarrassed by the actions of my fellow Americans. I feel like telling everyone outside the US that maybe you should have second thoughts about participating in exchange programs with us.