Yes, I do know him and we are working on a few projects together. I will send him an invite later today. End of the semester duties call at the moment.
Ha ha, no invite needed. I forgot he is already here!
Edit: So David joined us 7 minutes ago, that was about 1 minute before I wrote my response. And bonus, I earned my “first emoji” badge for my response. So proud
I somehow missed where a community college was mentioned. Patrick, how was a community college involved in the high school students’ visit to the Ark Encounter?
I also didn’t notice any mention of the particular high school courses/classes which visited the Ark. The article mentioned “college prep”. Is that a specific course at the school? If not, was this a “field trip” for which all students planning to go to college could choose to sign up?
I remember when the high school in my Midwestern community started a Intro to Religious Studies class, probably around 1972 or so. The local newspaper published a story about the teacher and how she structured the course. Field trips to a Jewish synagogue and an art-filled Roman Catholic cathedral were described. I don’t recall any controversy about this. The visits were clearly educational and sounded like a good idea. Indeed, the synagogue’s rabbi talked not only about the history of Judaism but explained the Holocaust and the legacy of anti-Semitism. The visit was really an education in tolerance and mutual understanding.
I’ve never visited the Ark Encounter but from what friends have told me about their experience, one can gather the information from all of the exhibits, the signage, and even the video presentations from on-line sources. (Obviously, the “ambiance” and full impact of any such tourist attraction probably requires a first-person visit.) However, if one’s objective is to understand a particular religious tradition, a visit to their most cherished shrine is certainly a reasonable way to do that. Nevertheless, in the case of the Ark Encounter I’m not entirely convinced that a visit by high school students is the best use of their time. Students can go to a Jewish synagogue and a Roman Catholic cathedral on a weekday without experiencing a hardcore recruitment exhibit and video. If it was a field trip by a college-level religious studies course, I would be not so concerned----because we probably wouldn’t be talking about minors.
Welcome @David_MacMillan, I really enjoyed your two articles! Thank you for joining us here. Can you tell us some more about yourself?
Hey, glad you enjoyed it. I grew up creationist, used to write for AiG, went to college, got a degree in physics, and started writing about creationism thereafter. AiG does not like me very much.
It seems you are also a law student. What area are you hoping to practice in. We have a lot of questions about law come up often. See this question about the consequences of Dover:
Also, though you need not answer, we are always curious about peoples personal views on religion. If you are a Christian, what type of Christian are you? If you are an atheist, what archetype are you (https://discourse.peacefulscience.org/t/seven-atheist-archetypes/759)? I am also curious how you found your way out of YEC?
I’m planning on starting law school next fall, yes, but I’ve worked in law firms for over a decade. The legal aspects of the whole creationism nonsense are of particular interest to me.
Personally, I’m somewhere between agnostic and liberal Anglican.
I found my way out of YEC because I tried to prove YEC and failed. I was a rather ardent supporter of creationism, and organizations like AiG encourage budding apologists to go deep, get a hard science degree, and then come back and be full-time creationists. So that’s what I set out to do, more or less.
During my undergrad, I gradually developed the research skills to be able to evaluate creation “science” at a more granular level. Slowly but surely, I found that the deeper I looked, the more evolution checked out. I tried to learn everything about biology I could, in the hopes of finding the smoking gun that would blow it all to pieces, and eventually I found myself convinced.
Okay, I’m going to make another thread in a moment to ask some legal questions. You aren’t fully trained yet, so I’ll trust you to pass on questions you can’t answer. Maybe you can find someone who can answer.
There’s a tricky line between “religious or cultural experience” and outright brainwashing. The Ark Encounter is completely the latter.
The level of brainwashery implicit in the Ark Encounter and the Creation Museum is equivalent to taking high school students to a Scientology expo, getting them all audited, and providing them with authoritative pamphlets on the dangers of modern medicine. I am all about expanding student cultural experience, but religious dogma packaged as authoritative scientific fact simply cannot be permitted to stand.
I’m not sure I buy that. In what way is it brainwashing? What makes it brainwashing (whatever that is) rather than just being stubbornly and self-deceptively wrong?
The problem, imho, arises because religious dogma is packaged as reasonable scientific skepticism. Educators have a responsibility to filter the information being presented to students.
It would be wrong to take students to a “Museum of vaccine injuries” on the supposition that it counted as a “religious experience”.
Brainwashing might apply from the standpoint that followers are indoctrinated into a particular frame of belief, but at an early age rather than against their will (as implied with brainwashing). Science become an “attack on belief” rather than a way of learning about the world.
Here is today’s news. It seems like everyday there is a new case to fight in church/state separation.
And another one:
Wishing ill, at christmas too, on the Museum and ark will not save evolutionists.
When Ham introduced these things i thought it was wrong. I thought YEC creationism should argue before interested audiences and do loads of research etc etc.
I was wrong. Hams attractions have been a fantastic, popular, famous, educational, SUCCESS.
Its unbelievable how spatial presentations affect the public in America. (I know loads of Canadians who have visited too)
in fact its made more of an impact all the dull museums otherwise.
I understand its millions have gone and millions more to go.
its not really kentucky but on the Ohio border. yet still its not close to disney world. all the mote impressive how it has won its audience.
The Aussie Ham had a great idea and not far from Walt Disney in these concepts.
remember it was the great oppression and censorship that made creationists do a end run.
Sometimes the good guys win.
these places represent the most active christians in the nation. Evangelical protestants.yet any Christians will enjoy and be uniquely educated.
Come on y’all. put down the pitchforks. have folks here visited???
Who let Byers on here?!
Robby: yes, I have been. I helped build the Creation Museum, remember?
And I consider myself a Christian, and I thought it was despicable, so…no. It is not true that “any Christians will enjoy and be uniquely educated.”
FFRF and other groups need to be more specific and targeted in elucidating exactly why trips to the Ark Encounter and similar venues ought to be opposed.
There is no constitutional bar to students being educated about world religions. We should encourage student exposure to a wide range of religious and cultural experiences; visits to mosques, synagogues, temples, and monasteries could form a meaningful facet of such a pedagogy. Enunciating this policy is important and, I argue, necessary.
The balance that must be struck rests between venues which serve a primarily proselytic purpose and those which serve a primarily educational purpose. There is a Franciscan monastery a few blocks from my house that would provide a fantastic educational opportunity to students with virtually no proselytic content other than a few of the passages engraved in stone in multiple languages. In contrast, a monstrosity like the Ark Encounter serves an openly and avowedly evangelistic purpose. Compounding this impropriety is the fact that the Ark Encounter presents its obvious proselytism in the guise of supposedly scientific criticism which runs contrary to the established and understood consensus of modern scientific synthesis.
The argument is not, “The Ark Encounter is religious, therefore it is not a suitable educational venue.” Rather, we should be arguing, “Any educational value provided by the Ark Encounter is outweighed many times over by its openly proselytic and pseudoscientific content; public support of the Ark Encounter would constitute gross endorsement of religion and egregious educational malpractice.”
I tend to think that exposing any captive audience to lies without telling them “these are lies” rises to the level of brainwashery. Etymologists may respectfully disagree.