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ABC News Nightline: “Touring with the Bible” Bill Jack, a worldview expert who is a close friend of Answers in Genesis, went under the camera last night on a Brian Rooney-hosted Nightline exposé attempt on creationist tours of secular museums.
The segment, just under ten minutes long, followed a tour at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, where Jack and associate Rusty Carter presented a biblical analysis of origins science to a large homeschooling group. A good portion of the segment is standard secular fare that will merely bore those of us who have “heard it all before” (for example, contrasting the Bible’s age for the earth with the age “science” [no qualifying adjective] gives). However, we thought we would quickly overview some of the interesting spots.
Rooney stumbles severely on what should be easy math
Unsurprisingly, one of the points Nightline attacks is the idea that certain dinosaurs, “with those enormous ripping teeth,” were originally created to eat plants. Focusing on Bill Jack’s humorous answer (that T. rex would have had to fast and pray for the Fall to overcome his hunger), the program ignores such research as How Did Defense/Attack Structures Come About? and Creation’s original diet and the changes at the Fall.
Most frustrating is a section examining the timeline Jack and Carter reference for pre-Flood humankind. Alleging that it is “pretty hazy,” Rooney stumbles severely on what should be easy math (ironically, it is during his attempt to expose what an animation labels “biblically correct math”). Here is a short transcription of the scene:
ROONEY [voiceover leading into interview segment]: Their timeline for their 6,000-year history is a little hazy.
CARTER: Before the flood, there was a period there in which we believe people lived to be 800, 900 years old, almost 1,000 years old.
ROONEY: So how long was that, how many generations of 800-year-old people did we have?
JACK: I haven’t thought of that.
CARTER: Without doing the math, I think there’s about six or seven [cut off by Rooney’s voiceover].
ROONEY: In doing the math, that would take about 5,600 hundred years during which people lived roughly eight hundred years. [The “biblically correct math” animation multiples 800 (years) by 7 (generations), arriving at 5,600 years, far more than what the Bible allows between creation and the Flood.]
The problem, of course, is that generations overlap; for example, if a man who lived to be a hundred fathered a child at age twenty who also lived to be a hundred, they would together only span 120 years, not 200. Apparently Rooney or his researchers were so eager to ridicule the creationists that this otherwise easy concept was lost on them.
The program also shows Jack pointing out how many museum exhibits are largely artist’s renditions of supposedly prehistoric scenes rather than objective science without any interpretive layer.
The problem, of course, is that generations overlap.
Another frustrating scene begins when Jack gives—on a children’s level—an overview of how paleontologists and geologists use circular thinking to establish dates for fossils and rock layers. However, Rooney attacks Jack and Carter for “turning their backs,” literally, on radiometric dating. “We can’t cover everything,” Jack protests, to which Rooney responds, “That is the basis for how they judge how old things are.” Jack doesn’t balk, however, and responds accordingly and accurately: “All dating methods are based on assumptions.”
Yet immediately following Jack’s protest that dating methods are based on assumptions, Rooney carries instead this allegation to the Denver Museum curator Kirk Johnson: “They just dismiss it. They say, well, it’s not very accurate.” Johnson responds, “They have no clue how accurate it is,” apparently stereotyping either all creationists or simply Jack and Carter as ignorant.
Most of the rest is stock creation-versus-evolution debate material and presuppositional concepts misunderstood or ignored by Rooney and Johnson. One disappointing moment is that Jack does not take Rooney to task when he asks why human and dinosaur fossils aren’t found in the same sedimentary layers. Jack labels it as “one of the problems for creationists,” perhaps pointing out after that brief video clip that both creationists and evolutionists have such “problems.” Even so, there are good answers to this question that we hope some viewers will eventually hear (e.g., read Why Don’t We Find Human & Dinosaur Fossils Together?).
We are always saddened to see media outlets “get it wrong” and do a poor job hiding their biases, but regardless we thank God for every opportunity to get the creation/gospel message out to the culture! We pray that God will use this even in the minds of those that ridicule to ultimately lead them to the truths of His Word.
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