On Thursday November 24th, 2011, two friends and myself attended a talk that the churches on our base in CFB Cold Lake, AB were hosting at the base theatre. The company is called Creation Ministries International (CMI). We had been made aware of their talk a few days earlier with a flier in a friend’s mailbox. We decided to go, mainly to see what they were about, and maybe to ask questions. We spent the couple of nights leading up to the talk going over their website reading up on their topic of the talk. It is called Genesis: The Missing Piece of the Puzzle. We combed through our personal science books and the Bible. Also, we watched a video about the “great flood”.
By the time of the talk, we felt quite confident that we had enough information to answer any of their questions. I had even received an email from Dr. Michael Shermer (The Believing Brain, Skeptic Magazine) with an excellent question (Sadly, we never got to ask his question).
The speaker was Calvin Smith, A very polite and charismatic individual. He remained consistent to CMI’s beliefs. He said they were Christian apologetics that defend the Bible against science. He made it clear that atheists are the enemy. His talk was a PowerPoint presentation that very much centered on the fact that they, as Christians, must take the Bible as true through and through. If not, then Jesus died for no reason, and their whole belief structure would crumble. He gave no evidence to any truth behind the stories in the Bible. Any science he “refuted” was dealt with briefly, usually by changing the subject or saying that believing that would mean the Bible was wrong. He spent a bit of time using quotes from Richard Dawkins and bashing him, and also pigeonholing atheists in the same old “Atheism is a religion, they have no morals, etc…” way.
At the end of his presentation, he opened the floor up for a Q&A session (5 questions). I was able to ask a very brief question centered on Leviticus and the Bible’s many contradictions.
Mr. Smith came up to us after the talk. We spent the next two hours in an informal debate, with 80% of his arguments being reduced to the conversation stopper word…faith. Mr. Smith would ask me questions, mainly moral based, which were easy enough to answer using studies done by scientists like Michael Shermer, and Paul Zak. His knowledge of real science was pretty poor when asked specific questions (To his merit, he admitted when he was out of his league). I will admit, that I am no scientific genius (or genius of any sort) and some of his questions I had to answer with “I don’t know”. Many of the arguments became circular almost to the point of frustration.
They have another talk on the same topic coming up in Edmonton on 11 March 2012 at the River City Church at 6pm. This is a great opportunity to see what many Christians and those who are not scientifically literate are being told is science, and to ask questions.
Questions that the CMI had listed on their flier before the talk (grammar theirs):
Does God exist?
What about Evolution?
Was Darwin right?
How can a loving God allow suffering & death?
What about the age of the Earth?
Do dating methods prove the earth is millions of years old?
Who was Cain’s wife?
How did Noah fit all the animals into the Ark?
Was there really a worldwide flood?
Does any real scientists believe in creation?
Are there missing links?
Can a day mean millions of years?
What about Natural Selection?
Where did the different races come from?
What about distant Starlight?
Are UFO’s real?
Did God use Evolution?
The similarities between human & monkey DNA?
What about the Ice Age?
Were Adam & Eve real people?
Who cares what I believe about origins?
Don’t fossils take millions of years to form?
What about Dinosaurs?
Resources used for researching the talk
- Used their belief and talk specific pages
- You Tube
- Calvin Smith, Richard Fangrad, and Dr. Emil Silvestru “Noah’s Flood” www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRBubkg5O-s”
- Paul Zak “Trust, morality, and oxytocin” www.youtube.com/watch?v=rFAdlU2ETjU
- Richard Dawkins
- The Magic of Reality
- The Greatest Show on Earth
- Michael Shermer
- The Believing Brain
- Bill Bryson
- A Short History of Nearly Everything
- Penn & Teller’s Bullshit
- Pretty much any episode on religion
- The Bible
- My awesome fiancée (A real live scientist!)
- Common sense, critical thinking, and a few pints!