Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A few tips for creationist tract makers

Now I really hate to sound like I am putting down other Christians, I'm not and try hard not to; what I am doing is helping out my fellow Christians who happen to be creationists make tracts so they'll look more credible. And one way is to mend their gospel tracts. The gospel tracts I am referring to are the ones directed at mainly atheistic evolutionists. Often they have things in them which would probably cause the audience these Christians are trying to reach to dismiss them as ingorant bible-thumping bumpkins, and that is rarely a good thing. So this is to help out those evangelical tract-makers who want to send high quality tracts to their client churches.

The one I am reviewing is from A.C.T.S. ministries and interestingly enough it is actually much better written then most creation/evolution tracks put out by Way of the Master or Living Waters ministries (Ray Comfort and Kirk Camoren's ministries) but it still has a lot of the things which I find would not impress the average biology student.

Consider the introduction;
"Please don't put this down until you have read it thoroughly. We've taken
the time to share these truths with you and ask that you keep an open mind just
as you did when embracing darwinism

Please understand that all the scientific theories about the origin of
life, as taught in the public school system, have been proven by science,
history and the fossil record to be wrong. Evolution, Big Bang and others just
don't fit.

Please, read on and we believe you will conclude that Mr. Darwin was not a
bad man, but he was very wrong"

Now whats wrong with this introduction? Two things;
1. It calls evolution "darwinism," I know this is a minor point, but most evolutionary apologists do not like this term. Darwinism is a group of ideas and notions not necessarily connected to evolution so it should not be used when referring to evolution. When a creationist says "darwinism" most evolutionists other then myself take that to mean the creationist thinks evolution is some sort of cult which its not (some evolutionists even go as far to think creationists think that they worship Darwin as their deity which unfortionately some creationists do) and the creationist is dismissed as an idiot (yes as rediculous as it sounds many evolutionary apologists do make that big of a deal about it) and being seen as bigger idiots then they are already stereotyped is the last thing creationists need.
2. Never, ever say the Big Bang talks about the origin of life. It does not, it doesn't even talk about the origin of the universe only what happened afterwards (that the universe expanded and stars and galaxies were formed, etc.). Most creationists speak of evolution as an umbrella term referring to a veriaty of naturalistic explanations concerning origins whether cosmological, biological, or geological. Most educated creationists understand that they are studied in different fields and apply to different topics but they use the word "evolution" to refer collectively to naturalistic origins scenarios. However to the evolutionists' ears this sounds like you can't tell the difference between cosmology and biology. And just from the very first few sentences of your tracts you will be dismissed as a scientific ignoramus.

In then next section they talk about transitional forms between humans and apes. The problem with the next section is that the first part is a bit of an argument from personal incredulity (I can't imagine apes evolving into humans because they're to different) you want to watch out for that one. An argument from personal incredulity is basically stating you lack the of the ability to imagine something happens proves it did not happen; it is not a good argument and simply makes you look illogical and at best, unimaginative. If you want to make anymore then a comedic impression on an evolutionist leave those arguments out.

The next is to actually research your arguments before you use them. The second point of the tract consists of them talking about how radiometric dating is false. They simply give a few examples of radiocarbon dating giving off wild results. All the of the stated examples (a freshly killed seal being dated at 1300 years old, a living mollusk being dated at 2300 years old, and a shell on a living seal being dated at 27,000 years old) even if these count they only disprove radiocarbon dating, which only is used to date thins younger then 60,000 years. It does not disprove the accuracy of Potassium-Argon dating, Rubidium-Strontium dating or other methods used to date rocks that are actually millions of years old. Also all the examples can be explain by natural processes (because of more C14 in certain deep waters sea creatures can get more C 14 then usual thus making them look much older then they actually are). I should also add radiocarbon dating has been used to date the dead sea scrolls to have been written before Jesus' time, this means that we know from comparing the dead sea scrolls to modern day bibles that Christians didn't alter the text to make it appear more consistant with the New Testament.

In their third point about the fossil record the conclude by saying most scientists have abandoned Darwin's theories. This is simply not true, and shouldn't be propogated; yes a small number of scientists do oppose Darwin but they make up less then 1% of the scientific community, thats hardly most of the scientific community. If you say this the evolutionist may think you are lying (creationists have a rather nasty stereotypical trate which is lying) and your tract will be ignored.

Final suggestion, at the end of a tract, don't immediately launch into a discussion on the ten commandments and how your going to hell and need to be saved. The evolutionist reader whether atheistic or not will take this as a scare tactic (which is especially bad if you have a really bad tract going along with it) and dismiss you as religiously motivated scaremongers. Instead I would suggest simply ending it with the suggestion of there being a God and that God possibly being the God of the bible, then directing them to a source for more information. It makes you sound less like a cult and more like an evangelist.

Now to A.C.T.S. ministries I'd like to say keep up the good work but try to do a better job with your creation/evolution tracts.

And to Way of the Master; shape up.


Eugene said...

Interesting point of view, but I doubt anyone who understands anything about evolution will ever be converted by a creationist tract. Also how honest can you expect them to get? To the point of admitting they are wrong? Take the problems with carbon dating for instance - here is a great video that addresses those very creationist objections:

If you try to be intellectually honest and scientifically factual in a tract promoting creationism then I honestly don't know what that will leave you to print!

Created Rationalist said...

True, but it is also true that creationists may come up with different arguments and one may even succeed in convincing someone. This is advice for them to keep from using bad arguments along any good arguments (assuming they have any) so we evolutionists will not think they are the average run-of-the-mill creationist

Eugene said...

I just don't think creationists really need different arguments, the ones they are using now seem to be serving them just fine. Despite the fact that we live in the information age something as nonsensical as Young Earth Creationism (and I grew up YEC myself) is gaining ground around the world. It doesn't matter how much nonsense they put in a tract, they can (and do) print outright and obvious lies and they will still convince some. Though maybe "convince" is too strong a word, since even though most creationists will tell you they are former "evolutionists" who turned to YEC after "looking at the facts without bias", you know that's not why people believe in creationism. People believe in creationism because of their faith.