Image via WikipediaA friend of mine sent me an e-mail telling me about a Creationism seminar being taught by Dr. Brad Harrub, PhD to be held at the Collierville Church of Christ in Collierville, TN. (I'm sorry, but this story is a rare departure from Mississippi.) This e-mail wasn't from an online atheist buddy informing me of a nearby attack on science, but a member of this church wanting to inform me about the latest in attacks on god. I even gave my friend a ride home after the meeting. I hope the church sends me a "thank you" card for taking care of one of their own.
The lecture was titled "Atheism’s Attack on America". I eagerly wanted to know how much destruction that I have wrought on America. I dare say that America will never recover from the devastating blow that all atheists have dealt to her core values of baseball, apple pie, and Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. Go ahead. Name one The Four Seasons song without looking it up. If you can't, then the atheists have already won.
All atheists are trying to say is "There's probably no god," and "Church and state shouldn't influence each other." The first point is debatable, and we love to argue with others over it. The second point is not, and we will work to ensure it. If there is one value that atheists have tried to change it's the value of thinking for one's self independent of any religious dogma. But therein lies the issue: shall we decide between man's wisdom or god's wisdom? If you've been following this issue any, then you know that we spend a great deal of effort trying to convince people that there probably isn't a god, therefore there probably isn't any divine wisdom to be found. Stop worrying and enjoy your life.
Who's this guy kidding? The entire Collierville Church of Christ, that's who, as well as every other church where he has given his "Origins" seminar. Dr. Harrub gives this talk around 40 times per year and can give the talk at your next event for $1200. At this seminar, no minds were changed. In fact, everyone in the room (including myself) was more firmly grounded in their original positions. That's how you know that the seminar is a complete failure. The information is misrepresented, the Christians accept it uncritically, and the atheists do their best to correct the misinformation in the question and answer period.
You are probably wondering what atheists are guilty of doing. Dr. Harrub flashed a quote on the screen. "Let me control the textbooks, and I will control the state. -Adolph Hitler (2)." After we took god out of our textbooks, our country has become more immoral. We can show this by looking at the dramatic increase in crime and teen pregnancy rates and by completely ignoring ever changing socio-economic factors. You or I may think that the simple removal of god from textbooks by atheists because of an evil German dictator to harm American values is a proposition that only a madman would maintain. You might even call it hate speech toward atheists. But Dr. Harrub also points out that our textbooks have evolution and evolution just isn't true (3).
Yes, Dr. Harrub is a creationist, which means he's among the 0.14% of scientists who believe in Creationism (4). In order to prove his point, he has to misrepresent the theory of evolution anyway he can. He has a PhD in Neurobiology from the University of Tennessee. He had to understand the cornerstone of biology to advance in his studies and complete his dissertation, so I have no doubts that he realizes that it's all a misrepresentation. He paraded the classic perceptions of transitional humans: Piltdown man, Nebraska Man, and Lucy and others. Some of these fossils have been discredited by other scientists (5). Others, such as Lucy, Dr. Harrub had to weaseled this on his own to discredit the fossil.
Oh, then the question and answer session came, and it was dominated by atheists who were rightfully angry at the hate speech. The atheists corrected his slides on church and state cases. They defended themselves to the church as having morals. One person pointed out that we, as Americans, enslaved one race of people and nearly exterminated another while our children were learning about god in the public schools during the 19th century, so his thesis is bunk. And yes, the atheists defended the theory of evolution. As the questions dragged on, one person asked Dr. Harrub about why he thought homosexuality was immoral and his answer was for the same reasons that rape is immoral (which I found horribly offensive). The issue of morality was a major point of contention. Dr. Harrub asked one of the atheists where he gets his morals, and he answered that morals primarily come through the avoidance of pain and suffering. Dr. Harrub then asked if it was moral to beat small girls who are unable to experience physical pain due to a neural disability (6). Tensions were very high. There was one church member who was mocking all of the questions on morality by cocking his index finger and thumb as if it were a gun and pointing it at various people in the room (complete with making the shooting sound). The atheists asked why god would command genocide in the Old Testament. Dr. Harrub said that god would never command such a thing, and we would never be able to provide Bible verse to support a claim. I found the passage, so that makes Dr. Harrub a liar.
1 Samuel 15:2-3 - Thus saith the LORD of hosts, I remember that which Amalek did to Israel, how he laid wait for him in the way, when he came up from Egypt. Now go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.
The atheists in attendance left on a higher moral ground than the speaker. I was proud to tell others in attendance that I was an atheists in the church.
(1) is a used car salesman for Jesus. Anyone who plays this fast and loose with the truth always has a backup career.
(2) By the way, I can find no credible source to back up this quote, but I have found hundreds of Christian apologetics sites repeating it. It's probably a fabrication.
(3) Dr. Harrub showed slides of quotes on evolution from popular biology textbooks. One of those textbooks was written by Kenneth Miller, a devout Roman Catholic who has written plenty on evolution/creationism controversy. I wanted to ask Dr. Harrub why he was quoting a Roman Catholic as an example of why atheists are attacking America.
(5) Science is awesome because scientists are actively critical of every other scientist. Only the best ideas should be allowed to survive. Dr. Harrub is being critical of science, but he should also know that his criticisms have been dealt with many, many times. If he honestly believes that he has a legitimate point to make on the theory of evolution, he should make his point the proper way: by aggregating research data, writing a paper, passing peer review and discussing the paper at a conference. I encourage every Christian creationist reading this message to encourage this of Dr. Harrub. His details can be found on his contact page. Be polite if you contact him.
(6) I'm not making this up.
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