Saturday, October 13, 2007

Arizona Origins Science Association promotes long-discredited nonsense

A friend who took his family to the Arizona State Fair noticed a booth from the Arizona Origins Science Association last night, and so pointed me to their website. A featured link on the front page says:

Have you been taught or indoctrinated?
- Take a test
- View the answers

The test answers show that this group uncritically accepts bad arguments, such as bogus arguments for a young earth (including making up the nonexistent isotope Po 234), claiming that the extinct pig's tooth of "Nebraska man" was ever accepted scientific evidence for human evolution, claiming that because Peking Man and Java Man are now classified as Homo erectus that it's purely "human" and thus not evidence for evolution, claiming that Australopithecus afarensis is no different from a chimpanzee or bonobo, claiming that all radiometric dating methods are based on untestable assumptions while ignoring the internal checks provided by isochron dating and comparisons of multiple methods where their view has no explanation for agreement, claiming that there are no known beneficial mutations, claiming that index fossils and the ages of geologic strata are the only things used to mutually validate each other, and so on.

It's as if they've never seen the website or the index of creationist claims.

The president of the group, Dr. Joseph M. Kezele, Jr., was previously mentioned on this blog as one of the five Darwin-denying doctors in Arizona who has signed on as a supporter of the anti-evolution "Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity."

UPDATE: Of special interest on the Arizona Origins Science Association website are responses to surveys about creationism that they sent to various Arizona churches. I was quite pleased to see that many local churches have given responses that challenge AZOSA's young-earth creationism.

For example, the response from Dale Hallberg, Lead Pastor at Esperanza Lutheran Church, writes a comment on the statement "The Earth is relatively young (ten thousand or less years old)" (PDF) after marking it "D" for disagree: "Get serious!"

Fr. William K. Young of St. Christopher's Episcopal Church, in response to the statement "A person must accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior to be saved from eternal separation from God," marks it "D" and comments (PDF) "If so, God help us all!"

Dr. Roger Miller, interim pastor at the First Congregational United Church of Christ, added an entire page of comments (PDF) on the survey after he had viewed AZOSA's website, and writes (in part) that "Sadly, fundamentalism is, per solid research, a demonstration of limited cognitive complexity capacity. Your work, though spirited and apologetically well intentioned, shows both limited understanding of scripture and archaeology. As an M.D., I would hope you'd spend time working for universal healthcare and lower prescription drug costs and leave the theological work to those so trained and the science to those trained in their fields."

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