Defending Darwin (Again) on PBS-TV

Creation Museum Featured on The News Hour with Jim Lehrer Last Night (March 28, 2005)

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A future Creation Museum was prominently featured in a 15-minute science report on America's PBS-TV's The News Hour with Jim Lehrer last night (Monday).

This report, Creation Conflict in Schools, investigated how some biology teachers in the U.S. are handling the hot debate over the theory of evolution, creation and intelligent design. It followed right behind another recent nationwide news broadcast, The NBC Nightly News …with Brian Williams (shown on the evening of March 25) in which AiG's future Creation Museum was shown as a “vacation destination” possibility for Christians.

The PBS program, which gave AiG only about a one-hour advance notice of its airtime, featured Danville, Kentucky high school students, a biology teacher who teaches evolution to his students by making and flying paper birds, interviews with AiG president and founder, Ken Ham, as well as interviews with anti-creationist leader, Eugenie Scott and representatives from the Intelligent Design Movement.

PBS correspondent Jeffrey Brown, who spent hours at AiG's headquarters a few months ago, emphasized how the focal point for the creation/evolution debate is the classroom. Brown pointed out that evolution is “under attack” (19 states are experiencing challenges to the teaching of evolution at the local and state levels) as “religious conservatives” in the U.S. lead a national debate on what children should be taught.

Those interviewed include the following:

  • Several high school students from Danville, Kentucky public schools who expressed their views on the origins of life (some stood up for creation)

  • Numerous biology teachers

  • Edward Larson, a Pulitzer winning author on the history of the creation/evolution debate, who tied the evolution/creation debate to having a conservative Republican president in office

  • Biologist Chris Barton of Centre College in Kentucky who said, “Without evolution, it's very, very difficult to make any sense out of what we see in the biological realm.”

  • Eugenie Scott, leading anti-creationist and executive director of the National Center for Science Education, who proclaimed, “We cannot use supernatural cause in science and still call it science.”

  • Stephen Meyer director of the Seattle-based Intelligent Design think-tank, the Discovery Institute, who said of the Intelligent Design Movement, “We are challenging the rules of science. We're seeking the best explanation of the phenomenon, whatever that might be. Follow the evidence wherever it leads.”

  • Ken Ham, AiG president (who is sometimes referred to in the PBS transcript as “Kevin” Ham; ironically, Ken recently said to another reporter, “I don't care what you say about me, just spell my name right.”)

“The Bible is not just a book of stories. It gives us a history, that relates to the dirt, that relates to bones, it relates to people, it relates to every aspect of reality,” said Ham in a segment filmed in front of a Wednesday night audience at Calvary Baptist Church in Covington, Kentucky on February 9. The PBS correspondent mentioned (and showed on the screen) that Ham's message won a standing ovation from the audience.

The Creation Museum was also highlighted in several clips where Ham explained the museum's purpose. While PBS did accurately report that the museum would be one way to counter the 1987 Supreme Court ruling that declared that creation science was a form of religion and could not be taught in the classroom, they inaccurately reported that “Ken Ham is one of the leaders of the latest efforts to get the Bible's view of history, so-called ‘creation science’ into the classroom.” AiG certainly does not promote this view. Likewise, we believe it is counterproductive to mandate that evolutionists teach alternative ideas, who will probably do it poorly.

On the broadcast, Ken instead remarked that: “Clearly the purpose of the Creation Museum is to equip Christians to have answers to defend their faith in today's world. Because let's face it, what's taught through the public schools and much of the secular media, it's really an attack on the Bible's history. It's really saying the Bible is not true. And many Christians just don't know how to handle those sorts of questions.”

When Brown asked why you couldn't use dating methods to scientifically prove that dinosaurs and people lived at the same time, Ham responded by saying that “when you use dating methods, whether its radiometric dating methods, whatever sorts of dating methods that you use, they're all based on assumptions concerning the past-assumptions concerning initial conditions.”

Brown asked Ham what today's evolution fight is really about. Ham remarked by saying that it's part of a larger “cultural struggle” between Christian and secular Americans. “It is a conflict of worldviews. And that's why the emotionalism. And that's why right now, you have this chasm in this culture.”

Of course, the secular media allowed the evolutionists to get the last word. The program ended with biology teacher, Michael Lauer, showing the Kentucky state science standards in which he wrote in the word “evolution” in the standards on display in his classroom (the Kentucky Department of Education had dropped it to avoid offending some in the state; Answers in Genesis opposed that change which is discussed in the web article “Defending Darwin (Again) on PBS-TV.”).

The full transcript and audio file of the program is available from the PBS website, Online NewsHour.


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