Conversation with a Creationist

www.insightete.com

This is what happens when you keep old emails around. I dug into my archives and came up with these. It’s an email exchange with creationist Steve Rudd. I got into this indirectly a few years ago when somebody forwarded an email to me at skeptic@ntskeptics.org:

John,

I find this very very very hard to believe, so I have sent a request to the
State of Victoria, The Library of the State of Victoria and others. This
just keeps getting thicker and thicker.

—–Original Message—–
From: Steve Rudd [mailto:srudd@bible.ca]
Sent: March 11, 2002 7:31 PM
To: byoung119@cogeco.ca; george_mallory@hotmail.com
Subject: The certified credentials of Dr. Don Patton Ph.D.
Well, George,

As you can see. you were 100% wrong and were deceived by that liar Kuban in his article “matter of degree”.

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/patton-degree-phd.htm

Just for the record, Kuban has seen this and been sent this many times, but is dishonest.

So now what are you going to do?

I expect you to post the info at:

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/patton-degree-phd.htm

to your skeptics club in texas, retract your error and slander and apolagize to patton.

Steve Rudd

I’m guessing the “George” is the George Mallory, one of the original recipients. The link to patton-degree-phd no longer exists. The “skeptics club in texas” referenced is likely The North Texas Skeptics. I do not know “George,” and as far as I know he has never been associated with the NTS.

Additionally, I have copied and pasted directly from the emails quoted. The only editing I have done is to fix line breaks to make for readability and to remove irrelevant text, such as mail headers.

The “Kuban” referenced is “A Matter of Degree: Carl Baugh’s Alleged Credentials,” by Glen J. Kuban. A copy is posted on the Talk Origins Archive:

Don Patton’s Alleged Credentials

Since early 1989, Don Patton, a close associate of Carl Baugh and leader of Metroplex Institute of Origins Science (MIOS) near Dallas, has claimed a Ph.D. (or “Ph.D. candidacy”) in geology from Queensland Christian University in Australia.[33] However, QCU is another unaccredited school linked to Clifford Wilson. [34] When questioned about this at a recent MIOS meeting, Patton indicated that he was aware of some problems relating to QCU, and was withdrawing his Ph.D. candidacy.[35]

However, the printed abstracts of the 1989 Bible-Science conference in Dayton, Tennessee (where Patton gave two talks) stated that he was a Ph.D. candidacy in geology, and implied that he has at least four degrees from three separate schools.[36] When I asked Patton for clarification on this during the conference, he stated that he had no degrees, but was about to receive a Ph.D. degree in geology, pending accreditation of QCU, which he assured me was “three days away.”[37] Many days have since passed, and Patton still has no valid degree in geology. Nor is the accreditation of QCU imminent. Australian researcher Ian Plimer reported, “PCI, QPU, PCT, and PCGS have no formal curriculum, no classes, no research facilities, no calendar, no campus, and no academic staff….Any Ph.D. or Ph.D. candidacy at QPU by Patton is fraudulent.”[38]

With surprising boldness, Carl Baugh recently appeared on a radio talk show in Texas claiming the same degrees discussed above, plus a new “Ph.D. candidacy in paleoanthropology from Pacific College.” Baugh complained that critics were now attacking his credentials and those of other fine creationists, including “Dr. Don Patton.”[39]

What got the NTS linked was an item that appeared in the September-October 1989 issue of The Skeptic, the newsletter of the NTS and an additional item that appeared in the April 1995 issue by Virginia Vaughn:

If you missed the March public meeting of The North Texas Skeptics, you missed a very interesting presentation by a Grand Poobah of Creationism, er, I mean Creation Science. Dr. Don Patton is a colleague of Carl Baugh of Paluxy River “man track” fame and is a leader of the Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS). Patton had a Ph.D. from Queensland Christian University (QCU) in Australia.

QCU is not accredited in any field of science from the Australian Vice Chancellor’s Committee, the Queensland Board of Education or the Federal Department of Employment, Education and Training. QCU has no formal curriculum, classes, research facilities, calendar, campus or academic staff, according to an article in NCSE Reports.1 Dr. Patton reportedly had to write a paper and received his Ph.D. in the mail. After he graduated magna cum postage, he began carrying business cards inscribed “consulting geologist,” which may be a bit misleading.

The footnote [1] points to:

Glen J. Kuban. A Matter of Degree: An Examination of Carl Baugh’s Credentials.NCSE Reports 9(6):15-20, 1989.

See, it doesn’t take much to get us involved. There were subsequent emails:

Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 13:18:14 -0500
To: skeptic@ntskeptics.org
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Greetings to skeptics!
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000

Steve Rudd here,

You have continued to slander Dr. Patton on your website and spread false statements, slander and libel about the validity of his degree. I suggest you remove such materials (check with your consulting fellow skeptic attorney why.) immediately. In addition, I suggest you post a formal notice of retraction on the main front page stating you were flat out wrong about
Patton’s valid Phd.

http://www.bible.ca/tracks/degree.htm

We have a letter from Jan Williamson on a private page on our site that you obviously have never seen. Kuban has seen this letter, but is… well… how do you like to hear us say is? … EVIL!!! He is beyond hope, but I have my eye on you now.

Steve Rudd
official webmaster for Dr. Patton
Canada

“EVIL!” That is something. Also this put me on alert that Steve Rudd had his eye on me now. I’m sure I responded to this note from Steve Rudd, but I can’t find the outgoing mail in my archives. I guess that means I will not be able to run for President in the future. Anyhow, Steve Rudd responded to my response, and his response included critical text from my response.

Date: Tue, 19 Mar 2002 15:47:34 -0500
To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Greetings to skeptical BELIEVERS!
Cc: dpatton693@aol.com
In-Reply-To: <3C978A7B.EFA0A515@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000

Hi John!

Great you replied and if you are personally acquainted with Don my job will be easy, for you will know he is as smart as he is honest and ethical.

>Don does not admit to having a B.S. of any kind. He
>admits that his “Ph.D.” is not in geology.

Why would he not admit something he never claimed in the first place? I bet you could get him to admit he never worked for NASA too!

> He admits it is from an organization that we know does not have the
> authority to issue Ph.D. degrees.

Really? He admits this? I think not, where did he admit this and when? Need his email to tweak your remembrance? On the contrary, this kind of misinformation is unbecoming someone who has met Don personally, especially since I have talked to him by phone many times (remember I am his official publicist on the net) and he has never said any such thing to me, but in fact says JUST THE OPPOSITE and has always said his Phd is valid from a fully accredited school. Did you not read the letter on our site from Jan Williamson?

>Now, if Don will write to me and say something like “John, since I spoke
>to you
>last I have finished my studies at Princeton, and I now have a Ph.D. from that
>fine institution,” then we will loudly proclaim that Don Patton has a
>legitimate Ph.D. And we will call him Doctor. Actually, you can substitute
>any recognized college or university for “Princeton” in the previous.
>Princeton is just the first that came to mind.
>
>We wait to hear the glad news from Don in the near future.

John, the above paragraph (I am trying to be gracious here… really!) is just, well… unbecoming even for a skeptic. You see John, skeptics are skeptics because they have no real answers to their questions. I provided you with first hand authoritative letter from the very office that regulates phd granting where Don got his degree. So if you have read this letter, you now have the following choices:

1. be skeptical about the authenticity of the letter (I have her current
email and phone number-call her)

2. read it again.

3. retract the slander

4. admit you are no longer a skeptic, because the information was presented
to convince… your new title is deliberate deceiver.

5. Proclaim your faith in light of scientific evidence to the contrary (Jan’s letter)

Now I am absolutely amazed that you make such ridiculous claims that Don said:

>He admits it is from an organization that we know does not have the
>authority to issue Ph.D. degrees.

So John, you have FAITH that someone taught you that the school did not have the authority to issue Pd.D’s.

What is the source of your faith? I AM SKEPTICAL!

Just in case you have lost it, here is the faith destroying link:
http://www.bible.ca/tracks/degree.htm

Steve Rudd
Canada

cc dpatton693@aol.com

I have previously described my conversation with Don Patton regarding his college degrees:

All kidding aside, Mr. Patton’s academic accomplishments are not to be sneezed at. Disbelieving the rumors that he did not possess even a bachelor’s or master’s degree, I approached him in person to set the record straight. I was impressed when he informed me he had been able to bypass these way stops and obtain a Ph.D. directly. Lest you consider this a minor accomplishment, I make this observation: Although I do not, myself, possess a Ph.D., I work with a number of very bright people who do. And do you know what? Not one of them has been able to accomplish that standing without first obtaining a bachelor’s plus a master’s. What do you think of that?

For Don Patton’s claimed academic background, you may go to Steve Rudd’s own Web site:

  1. Florida College, Temple Terrace, FL (Bible) 1959-1963
  2. Austin Peay State University, Clarksville, TN (Geology) 1973-1974
  3. Indiana Univ./Purdue Univ., Indianapolis, IN (Geology) 1974-1976
  4. Pacific School of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Australia (Geology) 1989-1991
  5. Pacific School of Graduate Studies, Melbourne, Australia (Education) 1992-1993
  6. Ph.D. in Education granted 12/10/1993 (Pacific School of Graduate Studies)
    (A brief history of the Pacific School of Graduate Studies in Melbourne, Australia, click here.)

Here Steve Rudd is calling it “Pacific School of Graduate Studies,” but the name “Pacific College of Graduate Studies” seems to be the correct name. It does not take much reading to see that no Bachelor’s degree is mentioned. Now examine the “Ph.D. in Education granted 12/10/1993 (Pacific School of Graduate Studies)” For that some research is useful:

So, what about the grand old PCGS? Is or was this a real institute of higher learning, accredited to bestow advanced college degrees? Steve Rudd provided me with an interesting letter. It says:4

Following a reprint from Steve Rudd’s letter I had an additional comment:

This is enlightening. It seems to say that the PCGS was given just twelve months to grant the listed degrees. Presumably PCGS no longer has this privilege, else I expect Steve Rudd or others would have remarked on the fact. Also, what does this have to say about the prospects for a 1993 PCGS cricket season?

There is additional irony. The letter bears a stamp: “RECEIVED 24 DEC 1993.” According to Rudd (see above), grand old PCGS awarded Patton’s degree two weeks prior.

Here is part of that letter:

letter

After responding to Steve Rudd I obtained the following reply:

To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>

From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Re: Greetings to skeptical BELIEVERS!
In-Reply-To: <3C97C267.65A0C245@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319153432.02bd5240@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000

John, thanks for replying.

I asked Don if he knew you and he surprised me to say that he did and that you and him were having a debate.

Even more surprise, was that he spoke highly of your integrity. Really! He said that you are a different cut from others who oppose creation and would back off when presented with facts.

>I guess my point here is, that most Ph.D. programs will not admit anybody
>who does
>not have at least a B.S. degree. I find it odd that someone has a Ph.D.
>without
>first getting a B.S. or equivalent. I am sure it has been done, but it’s odd
>anyhow.

Yes, but remember that 8 years of university education before he got his Ph.D. Did you miss that fact? For a grand total of 10 years!

>Yes. Don told me (and others) the source of his Ph.D. We tracked it down and
>found it is not authorized to grant Ph.D. degrees. Your Web site shows
>this to be
>Pacific School of Graduate Studies in Australia. Although I don’t recall this
>whether this is the name Don gave me, I will accept this as the
>organization in
>question. I do not believe this organization is authorized to grant Ph.D.
>degrees. If my information is not correct, please advise me. Name, also, the
>Australian government agency that has authorized this institution to grant
>Ph.D.
>degrees.

John I have dealt with these kinds of silly matters before and I want to say that I do believe Don was right about you. Your one sentence says it all:

>> If my information is not correct, please advise me. >>

Ok, that is what I like to hear. I will supply it.

>My current information is that this school does not have authority to
>grant Ph.D. degrees. However, I have read the letter on your Web site,
>and I will follow through.

>As I have implied so far, I am willing to be convinced. In any case, we
>will make
>the appropriate corrections to our Web site.
>
>Best regards,
>
>John Blanton
>The North Texas Skeptics
>http://www.ntskeptics.org

This is the best thing that has happened all week!

Ok, I am sure you can be convinced.

First, I just got a letter back from Jan Williams, the current Australian controller, here is what she said

(ps this was a private letter and I am going to trust that you keep it
between me and you)

========
private below: do not forward to anyone or post on the net. Don Patton also
got a copy of this from Jan today.
=======

Mr Rudd

Thank you for your two emails, dated 18 and 19 March 2002. I apologise for
the delay in responding, but I wished to consult with the Manager, Higher
Education Division, before replying.

Please find responses to each of your queries in the order in which they
appear on the 19 March email.

You wrote: “But I have now uploaded a scanned copy of the original letter written by a Jan Williamson. She, I assume cannot be you, unless this is your maiden name and you got married to a Williams.”

The letter dated 17 December 1993 was written by Jan Williamson, who was Assistant Director, Higher Education Co-ordination at that time. She is no longer employed by the Department of Education & Training. The current Director, Higher Education Division, is Dr Terry Stokes.

You wrote: 1. Did you write the letter on our site from the Department of Education with the official seal of the state of Victoria dated 17 December, 1993?

As indicated above, I was not the author of the letter.

You wrote: 2. If not do you know Jan Williamson.

I can confirm that Ms Williamson was Assistant Director, Higher Education Co-ordination at that time.

You wrote: 3. If you are Jan Williamson, why the name change? (married)

This question is not relevant to this matter.

You wrote: 4. From both the Dec 17, 1993 letter by Williamson AND your current letter to George below, it is clear that the Pacific college of graduate studies was fully accredited at the time Dr. Patton was awared his Phd.

The email response sent indicated that Pacific College of Graduate Studies was granted an interim accreditation period only, which meant that recognition of the courses was current only until 30 June 1994. Beyond that time, the College would have to apply for accreditation and the authorisation to conduct courses under section 11 of the Victorian Tertiary Education Act 1993.

You wrote: 5. How can you say at the end of your letter to George, ” There was no record of a Pacific College of Graduate Studies, although it may be the same organisation referred to above.” When “Pacific college of graduate studies” is the name used on the official letter dated Dec 17, 1993.

At the time of the response, the records referred to identified the organisation as “Pacific College Incorporated”. Since then, however, more complete records have correctly identified this organisation as being Pacific College of Graduate Studies.

I hope that this response will prove helpful with your enquiries.

Jan A WILSON
Administrative Officer
Higher Education Division
Office of Training & Tertiary Education
Phone: (03) 9637 3211 Fax: (03) 9637 2720
Email: wilson.jan.a@edumail.vic.gov.au

—–=======end letter from Jan====

So John, there you have all the information you need.

1. the letter on our site that Pacific College of Graduate Studies was fully accredited to grant Don’s degree written by Jan Williamson

2. The letter today from Jan Wilson also confirms this fact.

=======
But there is more.

A preacher named Keith Camp <campkw@conwaycorp.net> had Don patton to his church near little rock ARk in 1996 or 7. He had some professors at the university send the same lies “don’s phd is fake” throughout the university. Keith like me, being honest, investigated it himself. He contacted Jan Williamson by phone, so I asked Keith:

> Keith tell me, was Jan Williamson receptive? Was she supportive? Did she
> confirm or deny the validity of Dons Phd? What did you talk about?

Keith replied just an hour ago:

Yes, as I remember she was polite and confirmed her letter. In fact, she pulled her original copy from her file as I was with her on the phone. She told me that the rules for accreditation had changed since the letter but that all degrees awarded by Pacific College of Graduate Studies before the changes in policy were legit. I also had talked with a Dr. Clifford Wilson (then pres. Of PCG) and he told me that the school did not reapply for accreditation under the new policy rules because Australia’s Dept. of Education required that eastern religions courses had to be offered for all schools that offered doctorates in religious studies. That was confirmed to me by a staff member of Creation Science Foundation in Brisbane,Australia; I called them to check on Dr. Clifford Wilson. He’s legit too.

For what it is worth, I thought I put in the mail to you some correspondence I had with the local university here (University of Central Arkansas, UCA) over their unprofessional treatment of our presentation with Don. I’ll put it in the mail tomorrow.

Keith

=======

end email from keith today that is also private between you and I.

However, you can write Keith yourself to verify this.

So John, I know it is time to purge all the statements on your skeptics site about Don’s (and Carl Baugh too) degree.

Kuban has been very evil in all this and his 1988 “matter of degree” is very full of blatent lies.

After purging your website, I am going to call upon you to write a letter to a number of other organizations to get them to remove their copies of this article.

I will not publish anything you write me without your express permission. I expect the same from you.

Steve Rudd
Canada
905-575-8437

Steve Rudd’s closing remark that he expects me not to publish what he wrote to me notwithstanding, I made no prior commitment to him, and I am publishing what I have.

Additionally, it would appear that PCGS was granted permission to award degrees on a provisional basis and that during this provisional period they issued a number of degrees. After an examination of PCGS facilities and faculty the provisional permission was revoked. I decline to honor degrees PCGS awarded during this provisional period. Further, I hold that PCGS took advantage of this provisional period to award degrees in exchange for money. The name for this kind of operation is “diploma mill.”

I received another reply from Steve Rudd:

To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Re: Greetings to skeptical BELIEVERS!
In-Reply-To: <3C988087.F0A41209@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319153432.02bd5240@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319222109.02ab5450@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000

This email is also private and not for distribution.

Greetings to John,

>Being skeptics, we will follow up and confirm this.

I wouldn’t call myself a skeptic, but would also confirm it and have.

>If this turns out to be true, we will not purge anything from the newsletter
>archives, because those archives preserve a history of those past
>times. We will,
>however, print any necessary retractions, and we will provide pointers in the
>archives to the retractions so that people researching the archives will be
>directed to the latest information.

That is a must. thanks

>Unfortunately, you have forwarded your notes to a newsletter editor, which
>is sort
>of like posting them on a public sign post. Anything you have told me and
>anything
>you tell me in the future will be candidate for inclusion in a future news
>article. Specifically, all this correspondence is being shared among the
>members
>of the Board of Directors of the North Texas Skeptics, who are ultimately
>responsible for what gets published under our name. Some of these members are
>being assigned the task of verifying this information. I hope that is OK
>with you.
>
>Best regards,
>
>John Blanton

Well John, no it is not ok, my emails are private, I sent them privately to you from me. It is unethical to post my private emails regardless of your own private rules.

If I sent my emails to a list or posted them on a public place that is my business. but if you privately reply to me and I return email that is private, it is against the law to publish such.

I outright reject that my private emails to you are public materials. The email address is:
John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
That means “skeptic” is private to “John Blanton”
If it said
public list<skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
that is different.

Now I know you need to verify this, but using my private emails is not suddenly legal, when in fact I have expressly told you otherwise and not to use them.

So for all my future correpsondence is not permitted to be published even if I continue to send it to John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>. You cannot unilaterally over ride my privacy rights because you invent some little rule. Further, informing me either before or after the fact still does not change anything.

Obviously you personally forwarded my mail to a public list of some kind or a group of others and I asked you not to.

I do not consider this ethical and I reject your reason for trying to justify why your private email address is the same as posting it to the net.

This email is also private and not for distribution.

Steve Rudd
Canada

Steve Rudd is calling me unethical for posting his words on a public forum. That is so interesting. I consider it unethical for a person to claim college degrees he does not have, and I also consider it unethical for another person to misrepresent such a person. There seems to be a whole bunch of “unethical” going around.

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 16:41:14 -0500
To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Re: Greetings to skeptical BELIEVERS!
In-Reply-To: <3C98A94F.ABF06C6@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319153432.02bd5240@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319222109.02ab5450@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320095815.02a4c460@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status: 801b
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
X-UIDL: u9i0cf.qv1.37kbpqa

Such is evil, deceptive illegal and immoral.

Send me your private email address.

At 09:22 AM 3/20/02 -0600, you wrote:
>Quick note, Steve.
>
>Everything you send to me is liable to be published. If you have secrets
>to be
>kept don’t send them to me. We are a news organization among other things.
>
>I apologize if there was some misunderstanding previously.
>
>Best regards,
>
>John Blanton
>The North Texas Skeptics
>http://www.ntskeptics.org

Steve Rudd wanted my mailing address. I gave him the address at which I received all mail for the NTS.

Date: Wed, 20 Mar 2002 23:43:35 -0500
To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Re: Greetings to skeptical BELIEVERS!
In-Reply-To: <3C995706.DB1F4C0F@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319153432.02bd5240@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319222109.02ab5450@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320095815.02a4c460@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320164026.02a45840@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=”us-ascii”; format=flowed
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000

Ya Right! As If.

Your home address right?

Everything I send there is private just between you and I … Right?

>Here it is:
>
>P.O. Box 111794
>Carrollton, TX 75011-1794
>
>Best regards,
>
>John Blanton
>
>Steve Rudd wrote:
>
> > Such is evil, deceptive illegal and immoral.
> >
> > Send me your private email address.
> >
> > At 09:22 AM 3/20/02 -0600, you wrote:
> > >Quick note, Steve.
> > >
> > >Everything you send to me is liable to be published. If you have secrets
> > >to be
> > >kept don’t send them to me. We are a news organization among other
> things.
> > >
> > >I apologize if there was some misunderstanding previously.
> > >
> > >Best regards,
> > >
> > >John Blanton
> > >The North Texas Skeptics
> > >http://www.ntskeptics.org

I forwarded to other NTS board members the most recent note I sent to Steve Rudd.

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 07:06:31 -0600
From: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
X-Mailer: Mozilla 4.7 [en] (WinNT; U)
X-Accept-Language: en,ru,zh-TW
MIME-Version: 1.0
To: Greg Aicklen <aicklen@ieee.org>, Golla <golla@ieee.org>,
Elizabeth Hittson <hittson-ranch@juno.com>,
Curtis Severns <president@ntskeptics.org>,
Danny Barnett <dannybarnett@yahoo.com>, Virginia Barnett <vvaugh@yahoo.com>,
Pat Reeder <CReeder443@aol.com>, Mike Selby <mlselby@attbi.com>,
Steve Graf <SGRAF2@aol.com>, Keith Blanton <NewRadical@attbi.com>
Subject: Continuing correspondence with Steve Rudd
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
X-Mozilla-Status: 8009
X-Mozilla-Status2: 00000000
X-UIDL: 16O2fS79u3NZFnx1.0

Here is a copy of the continuing correspondence with Steve Rudd. I hope it does not bore you stiff.

You will note that at times this gets a little bizarre. I have to say that prior to getting involved with the NTS I must have been very naive. I did not know such people existed. This is sort of like walking through a carnival house and seeing something completely unexpected at every turn.

jb

===================

Hello, Steve:

No. This is the postal address of The North Texas Skeptics. This is the address through which all NTS business is conducted. Everything I do related to skeptical issues is done on an unpaid volunteer basis, and this business is conducted through designated NTS communication
channels. The Web site, this e-mail address, and the P.O. Box are the principal official channels.

This correspondence is official business of the NTS and will be shared among the members of the NTS Board of Directors, since we all have legal obligations with respect to NTS business. There cannot be any private correspondence.

One of the principal aims of the NTS is to disseminate valid information to counteract false beliefs and other nonsense. In this respect, we constantly seek information from all sources, just as I am seeking information from you. However, this information is of no value to users
of our services if we are not free to provide it to them. That being the case, we must tell all correspondents that information they give us is liable to being published.

If there is information you have that you do not feel comfortable sharing with the public, you should not provide it to us. I hope this clears up any misunderstandings.

Best regards,

John Blanton
The North Texas Skeptics
http://www.ntskeptics.org

I forwarded another of my Steve Rudd notes to the board.

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 08:30:16 -0600
From: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
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To: Greg Aicklen <aicklen@ieee.org>, Golla <golla@ieee.org>,
Elizabeth Hittson <hittson-ranch@juno.com>, Steve Graf <SGRAF2@aol.com>,
Mike Selby <mlselby@attbi.com>, Curtis Severns <president@ntskeptics.org>,
Danny Barnett <dannybarnett@yahoo.com>, Virginia Barnett <vvaugh@yahoo.com>,
Keith Blanton <NewRadical@attbi.com>, Pat Reeder <CReeder443@aol.com>
Subject: Sorry to keep bothering you with all this…
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If you don’t want to get any more of this correspondence, just drop me a
note and let me know. I am sending it to you because, as Board members
(and newsletter editor) you are involved in this business.

In case you haven’t been following this closely, Steve appears to be the
person who maintains Don Patton’s Web site. From the URL, I guess the
site is in Canada, so I don’t think Steve is local. Could be wrong.
Hey, have I ever been wrong before?

Anyhow, keep skeptical.

jb

===================
Hello, Steve:

Thanks for the kind note of advice.

Well, I have been wrong before, but I do believe that mail sent to me does not carry any privacy protections. If I had made any prior promises to the contrary then that would be a different matter.

The issue of invalid degrees advertised by creationists is a matter that stretches back over a decade, so you will not mind if I take whatever time is required to settle this particular point.

And thanks for the advice on how to conduct myself in the future. I assure you I will take it to heart.

Best regards,

John Blanton
The North Texas Skeptics
http://www.ntskeptics.org

Steve Rudd wrote:

> John, Greetings!
>
> You say:
> >That being the case, we must tell all correspondents that
> >information they give us is liable to being published.
>
> John, You have a legal guy on your team… a lawyer. I am not a
> lawyer, but
> if you ask him, I could sue your but off and win hands down because
> publishing my private email to you or even your skeptics org. is
> patently
> illegal and violates copy write laws, especially in light of the fact
> that:
>
> 1. you never told me ahead of time that my personal email to you was
> considered by you as public.
>
> 2. I flat out warned you in each email it was private.
>
> You know, being a skeptic is not a crime, but skeptics must be ethical
> and
> moral and abide by laws.
>
> Here is some free legal advice:
> Post a warning on your site that any mail sent to your skeptics
> address is
> considered public. But this is still not enough, you are not permitted
> to
> post private stuff sent to you as I did, until after you have warned
> them
> it is public.
>
> I got your PERSONAL email address from the George guy whom you wrote
> about
> Don a few days ago.
>
> The bottom line in all this is the fact that you now have all the
> proof you
> need to take immediate action to purge the false information about Don
> on
> you site.
>
> A single phone call or email to Jan will verify 100% that the letters
> are
> authentic.
>
> your mission: Are the letters authentic or frauds.
>
> You know, they are authentic even before you confirm them.
>
> So I suggest you take action before the debate or it simply will not
> go
> well for you in the debate.
>
> Being more blunt, if you, after me notifying your entire little band
> of
> skeptics, the contents of information I have sent to you personally
> and on
> our website, you still have not posted a retraction… you will be
> called
> upon at that time, in public to make a public retraction.
>
> If you want to debate facts of science post a formal retraction. If
> you
> want to waste Don and Your time discussing proven lies you and your
> organization have been been either innocently or knowingly publishing,
> then
> don’t make the retraction.
>
> You will not be able to claim you are looking into it because you will
> have
> had over two weeks to confirm the letters authentic and you will be
> shown
> to be less than honourable.
>
> So consider carefully, how you plan to conduct yourself.
>
> Steve Rudd

Steve Rudd followed up with another note.

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 09:09:28 -0500
To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: Re: Reply from The North Texas Skeptics
In-Reply-To: <3C99D933.ABB8E621@ntskeptics.org>
References: <5.1.0.14.2.20020319131248.02be7d40@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319153432.02bd5240@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020319222109.02ab5450@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320095815.02a4c460@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320164026.02a45840@bible.ca>
<5.1.0.14.2.20020320234214.029dda80@bible.ca>
Mime-Version: 1.0
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John, Greetings!

You say:
>That being the case, we must tell all correspondents that
>information they give us is liable to being published.

John, You have a legal guy on your team… a lawyer. I am not a lawyer, but if you ask him, I could sue your but off and win hands down because publishing my private email to you or even your skeptics org. is patently illegal and violates copy write laws, especially in light of the fact that:

1. you never told me ahead of time that my personal email to you was considered by you as public.

2. I flat out warned you in each email it was private.

You know, being a skeptic is not a crime, but skeptics must be ethical and moral and abide by laws.

Here is some free legal advice:
Post a warning on your site that any mail sent to your skeptics address is considered public. But this is still not enough, you are not permitted to post private stuff sent to you as I did, until after you have warned them it is public.

I got your PERSONAL email address from the George guy whom you wrote about Don a few days ago.

The bottom line in all this is the fact that you now have all the proof you need to take immediate action to purge the false information about Don on you site.

A single phone call or email to Jan will verify 100% that the letters are authentic.

your mission: Are the letters authentic or frauds.

You know, they are authentic even before you confirm them.

So I suggest you take action before the debate or it simply will not go well for you in the debate.

Being more blunt, if you, after me notifying your entire little band of skeptics, the contents of information I have sent to you personally and on our website, you still have not posted a retraction… you will be called upon at that time, in public to make a public retraction.

If you want to debate facts of science post a formal retraction. If you want to waste Don and Your time discussing proven lies you and your organization have been been either innocently or knowingly publishing, then don’t make the retraction.

You will not be able to claim you are looking into it because you will have had over two weeks to confirm the letters authentic and you will be shown to be less than honourable.

So consider carefully, how you plan to conduct yourself.

Steve Rudd

Steve Rudd followed up with another note.

Date: Thu, 21 Mar 2002 12:42:07 -0500
To: John Blanton <skeptic@ntskeptics.org>
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: SELECTIVE SKEPTIC
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John, Greetings!

I am going to let the privacy matter drop for now. Just don’t quote anything I have sent you and you will have no problem.

You can confirm the information from Jan and the preacher directly, that is why I sent it to you.

My words, (fully of typos etc) are not permitted to be published.

My last advice is simple. If you are not prepared to settle this matter before the debate, then it would be quite unprudent for you to bring such up at the debate.

As for suggesting this is a matter that has spanned a decade you are right. But that is because Kuban is evil and won’t remove his knowingly false information, slander and lies about Patton’s degree. Notice it was written in 1988. He has seen the letter from Jan in 1993, every year since then. He is not honest. But I actually still think you are.

This is why I am actually expecting you to do a full investigation of one matter:

Is the Phd valid or not. You know the answer right now is that it is.

When you finally come out of the closet and are required by truth and justice to come on side with us (we will be referring to your retraction as proof that independent proof that Kuban is evil.) and post the retraction on your site.

You are the one who, through carelessness, have NOT BEEN SKEPTICAL when it comes to what your fellow evolutionists say. Therefore I am going to give you a new title.

I hereby confer upon you, by the power vested in me, as God’s Jedi Knight, the title of: “SELECTIVE SKEPTIC”. For you pick and chose, based upon personal bias, whom you will be skeptical of.

Steve

and still private and unpublishable.

Again Steve Rudd insists that I not publish what he has told me. This is a concession I cannot make. Not much got settled, and Steve Rudd sent another note:

Date: Mon, 08 Apr 2002 16:16:56 -0400
To: skeptic@ntskeptics.org
From: Steve Rudd <srudd@bible.ca>
Subject: John, John, John
Mime-Version: 1.0
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Prudence would have guided you to delete the entire reference:

Creationist Don Patton

Debate with Don Patton 30 March 2002
Don Patton’s Use of Out of Context Quotes
Don Patton’s Phony College Degree

http://www.ntskeptics.org/issues/patton/degree.htm

Even a skeptic can be convicted with solid hard facts. You are in a very difficult position, but I think the only honest thing to do it come out defending Don regarding the slander that Kuban has knowingly created. I know you are a man of honour. Even though you were, well, how do we Canadians describe the battle of 1812 when we fought against the USA and won? … WAMPED. Yes you were wamped in the debate with Don. That’s ok, you could not help that. But your carte blanche acceptance of Kuban is initially excusible because you wouldn’t expect a scientist and a fellow evolutionist to knowingly engage in satanic deception regarding Don’s
degree… and you have been muddied by his deception because you swallowed the bait so hard you bit off the end of the rod. But I am a fisher of men… (its in the Bible) and my job is to remove the hook to salvage the fish so I can set you free in the waters of salvation. You need to make a VERY public retraction on your site AND notify talk-org website and Kuban himself of what you now know to be true.

In truth I would rather remove your hook than fillet you alive!

Steve Rudd

private between you and I
I was encouraged that your site did honor my request last year and not post my comments.

Something bigger is at your door. Fix the doorbell.

So, that’s a bit of drama. Steve Rudd’s comments stand for themselves.

To sum it up, we noted for years that Don Patton, Carl Baugh and a number of other Young Earth Creationists tended to inflate their resumés. Sixty years ago creation was more likely to be a given, and it was science that had to establish the facts of biological evolution. With renewed emphasis on teaching modern biology, the creationists needed to push back, and they pushed from a position of weakness. People advocating for science tended to have advanced degrees in the discipline, and they published in peer reviewed science journals. Creationists tended to be lay preachers, often will little above a high school education. Lacking the initiative or the ability to obtain legitimate advanced degrees, these creationists either fabricated them by attaching letters to their names or else by obtaining degrees from spurious sources.

Those days may be gone with the advent of the Old Earth Creationists. These are pushers of the Intelligent Design movement. Intelligent Design advocates tend to have legitimate Ph.D. degrees, sometimes in the biological sciences. Even these 21st century creationists remain stymied by the inability to publish anything resembling positive results in legitimate science journals. Not embarrassed by lack of education, the modern creationists find it necessary to fabricate peer-reviewed publication. It’s always something.

I considered whether there would some concern with my willingness to publish Steve Rudd’s mail. There should be none. Here’s a similar situation: A public official is misusing public funds, and people are complaining. Somebody tells you this is really not the case, and gives all manner of reasons why it’s not the case. Then this person tells you not to repeat these explanations to anybody else. You know these explanations are not true. These explanations were made for purposes of deception. You should be under no obligation to keep the conversation private. The person making the excuses is participating in a subterfuge and should have no expectation of privacy. To keep quiet would be to become a party to the subterfuge.

A few years after all of this I entered my name into a Google search and came up with this:

John Blanton, head slanderer for the North Texas Skeptics

Atheist, evolutionist, humanist, Bible hater, North Texas Skeptics staff.

John Blanton is on staff for the North Texas Skeptics and through this organization is directly associated with: Curtis Severns, Daniel Barnett, Elizabeth Hittson, Greg Aicklen, Jack Hittson, Joe Voelkering, John Blanton, John Brandt, John Thomas, Keith Blanton, Laura Ainsworth, Mark Meyer, Mark Meyer, Mel Zemek, Mike Selby, Prasad Golla, Ron Hastings, Tony Dousette, Virginia Barnett.

[Retrieved 14 March 2015]

I don’t feel guilty that a number of my friends got swept up in this. This is sort of a badge of honor. Sometimes your personal merit is exposed by the kind of people who denounce you. If it’s any consolation, Steve Rudd’s lack of diligence is shown by his reliance on outdated sources. Most of those in the above list are no longer associated with the NTS, and five others are no longer alive. Living in the past can present its challenges.

MIOS

Old NTS Logo

This comes under amusement only. I attended a number of meetings of the Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS), a young Earth creationist group in Dallas. Usually the programs were presented by Don Patton, maybe one of the leading YEC proponents in the North Texas area until the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) moved there from Santee, California, in 2010.

This is one of the times the program was presented by David Bassett, who seems to have had some scientific training, though he never allowed it to interfere with his Christian faith. I originally posted this in the September 1997 issue of The Skeptic, the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics.

Living Dinosaurs at MIOS

by John Blanton

We sort of lost touch with MIOS (Metroplex Institute of Origin Science) while I was preoccupied with other matters, so on February 4th I dropped in for their monthly meeting. David Bassett was their speaker for the night, and the subject was “Living Dinosaurs.” David heads up the science department at the Ovilla Christian School south of Dallas. His talk centered on the idea that (if I may paraphrase) “Evolutionists tell us that dinosaurs have become extinct, but since they existed up into modern times, the evolutionists must be all wet and so is evolution itself.”

David Bassett presented a number of cases he said argued for the existence of dinosaurs in recent times. Winged dinosaurs, he said, are evidenced by many instances in literature. He exhibited an illustration of the hilt of Beowulf’s sword, which showed a winged serpent-like critter, an obvious reference to a pterodactyl or a pterosaur. Beowulf, who lived from 495 slew Grendel, who was likely a modern dinosaur-like beast. He also cited many references to “flying snakes,” which were surely sightings of the same animals. Further, the February 8, 1856 “Illustrated London News” showed a live pterodactyl found in France, and 1886 and 1890 issues of the “Tombstone Epitaph” contained a photo of a pterosaur and told of some local riders who encountered and killed a pterosaur that had an 8-foot long head. Finally, Basset cited Carl Baugh’s reports on pterodactyls in New Guinea last year (see the related story on the Creation Evidences Museum in the September 1996 issue of The Skeptic).

Bassett did express some concern about these flying pterosaur sightings. Creationists have concluded that the dense atmosphere preceding The Flood made it possible for these huge creatures to fly, so how could they have been flying in the 19th century!

The recovery by Japanese fishermen in 1977 of the remains of a plesiosaur is further proof that the supposedly extinct dinosaurs are still among us. Japanese scientists, who are not so hung up on evolution as American scientists, pleaded for the preservation of their find. However, the fishermen could not stand the stench and deep-sixed their catch after taking photos. The Loch Ness Monster is an additional example of a living plesiosaur. In fact, the 35 to 45- degree north latitude is the lake monster’s home ground from June through August. They winter in the Indian Ocean.

Additionally, there is the remarkable evidence of living dinosaurs in the Congo region. Although Polaroid photos of these specimens were ruined by the awful climate there, Bassett did have a copy of a copy of an audio tape that was made by a recent expedition. On this tape we could clearly hear the popping sound made by the dinosaurs as they bellowed just a short distance away in the forest. The high atmospheric pressure in this region accounts for the viability of these ancient species. The pressure there is 1.3 to 1.5 times normal atmospheric pressure. This is because of the dense vegetation, which keeps the air quite humid. Of course, water vapor is denser than dry air, David Bassett told the audience.

When he is not contributing to the science education of students at Ovilla Christian School, Bassett works the front desk at Carl Baugh’s Creation Evidences Museum near Glen Rose. Check it out. Also, while at the MIOS meeting I took the opportunity to purchase a copy of D. Russell Humphreys’ recent book Starlight and Time. Humphreys is a legitimate Ph.D. working at Sandia National Laboratories, and his book explains how we can be seeing light from stars and galaxies millions of light years away while the universe is less than ten thousand years old. Watch for a review in a coming issue of The Skeptic.

NBC’s Mysterious Origins of Man

This has got to be about the fifth in my series of posts on the TV documentary NBC’s Mysterious Origins of Man. I previously posted on the postulations of young Earth creationists Carl Baugh and Don Patton. I also made the observation that everybody appearing in the video, including narrator Charlton Heston, discuss these absurdities with an absolutely straight face. Nobody is laughing.

Don Patton gave his rundown on the Burdick Print, an apparent rock carving that Patton described as “definitely in the Cretaceous limestone.” Others have given the artifact a longer journey to its current location:

According to John Morris, the Burdick track (the right-foot slab) was purchased “years ago” by Burdick from a Rev. Beddoe of Arizona, who in turn had purchased the track from the late Pessee Hudson, proprietor of a knick- knack store in Glen Rose. Morris added that “many things were purchased in that store, including some of George Adams carvings.” Morris continued, “tracing the print proved impossible, but it was reported to have come from a tributary south of Glen Rose (1980, p. 117).

As mentioned before, the citation is to a book by young Earth creationist John Morris.

I commented that the Burdick Print lacks features I expect to find in a real footprint made in soft mud. When a foot pulls out of the print some of the loose matter is torn away, leaving a ragged perimeter. This feature is not apparent in the Burdick Print. As if to lend me a helping hand, the video next shows that very thing. This is from a sequence showing a human foot making a print in soft mud and then moving on. You can see the foot lifting off at the top of the picture.

HumanFootpring

Readers are invited to compare a real human footprint with the Burdick artifact.

We next move to another of my favorite items, The Finger. I have seen this before. The following was originally posted in The Skeptic, the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics in the September 1997 issue:

Modern dinosaurs at MIOS

by John Blanton

In August at the meeting of the Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS) Dr. Don R. Patton, geologist, spoke on the subject of “Topsy-Turvy Fossils.”

Undergraduate geology texts are deceitful regarding the geological column, according to Patton. He said that the texts implied the existence of an actual column of material containing every sedimentary layer from geological time. In fact, he correctly points out, no such column exists. Geologists acknowledge that any boring into Earth’s crust will not produce a column containing a complete time record. The time record of any single boring would have to be completed by merging it with the record from other borings. This is because no single spot on the world’s surface has continually accumulated sediment and also because very often erosion removes top layers of sediment before new sediment is added to the column. Patton is one of the many creationists who employ this tactic to debunk the geological argument for an old Earth.

The meeting notice quotes from The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins: “If a single, well-verified mammal skull were to turn up in 500 million year-old rocks, our whole modern theory of evolution would be utterly destroyed.” Patton contends that this has happened, and he used the example of the “finger” fossil from the Carl Baugh’s Creation Evidences Museum to illustrate (Figure 1). Local creationists contend this fossil was found in Comanche Peak limestone and that it indicates human existence during the time of the dinosaurs.

 

This item also shows a photo of the famous finger.

finger

The photo is from the Creation Evidences Museum website, which link has since expired. The museum’s current site has a link to the finger artifact, but that link is also broken.

Dr. Dale Peterson displays a CAT scan (computer aided tomography) of the item.

FingerScan

Not being a certified medical practitioner, I only notice this fossil seems to be missing any internal structure that resembles bones of the human finger. A few others agree with me.

The alleged fossilized finger promoted by Baugh and associates is more likely just an interesting shaped rock or concretion. I was allowed to personally examine the “finger” several years ago, and saw nothing in it to suggest it is a fossil of any sort. Nor do I know any mainstream scientist or regards it as a fossilized finger. Contrary to the suggestions in the NBC show, it does not show bones in the CT scans. The dark area in the center of the scans are not well defined and are likely due to differences in the density of rock at the middle of the concretion, or the greater mass of rock the rays passed through at the center than the edge of the rock. Last, a key point that Baugh did not reveal in the show is that the “finger” was not found in situ, but rather in a loose gravel pit some distance from Glen Rose. Therefore, like the Burdick print it cannot be reliably linked to an ancient formation, and is of no antievolutionary value, even if it were a real fossilized finger.

Narrator Charlton Heston seems to have been unaware of the history of “the finger,” because he informs us “the limestone layer that preserved these artifacts is reportedly dated at 135 million years old.” This may not be the first time Heston has been clueless about something regarding science.

Next up, some mysterious metallic spheres found in Klerksdorp, South Africa. I investigate this stuff so you don’t have to.

NBC’s Mysterious Origins of Man

This is about my fourth post in a series about the TV documentary NBC’s Mysterious Origins of Man. The show came out in February 1996 and was hosted by actor Charlton Heston. It’s one of those pseudo documentaries that are popular with viewers—lots of exciting stuff but little of any substance.

My previous post told of geologist Virginia Steen-McIntyre. She worked at an archaeological site in Mexico in 1966 and published results concerning human artifacts dated 250,000 years old. She mentions in the video that her career was ruined as a consequence.

Charlton Heston was no longer a young man in 1996, but he still projects a strong presence in the video. The wisdom of Moses is projected in his voice as he intones the awful facts of Steen-McIntyre’s case:

According to McIntyre, because she stuck to the facts all of her professional opportunities were closed off. She’s not worked in her chosen field since.

By “since” I am going to have to assume Heston means except for her subsequent publications, including one in 1981:

In 1981, the journal Quaternary Research published a paper by Steen-McIntyre, Fryxell and Malde that defended an anomalously distant age of human habitation at Hueyatlaco. The paper reported the results of four sophisticated, independent tests: uranium-thorium dating, fission track dating, tephra hydration dating and the studying of mineral weathering to determine the date of the artifacts. These tests, among other data, validated a date of 250,000ypb for the Hueyatlaco artifacts.

[Some links deleted]

As I mentioned in the previous post, that’s about the high point of this documentary. Next we get down to the good stuff.

We next meet one of the most outlandish frauds to ever insult the place of my birth.

CarlBaugh

This is an image of Carl Baugh, anthropologist, from the video. Actually, Baugh really is an anthropologist. In the same sense that I’m an astronaut.

Carl Baugh has been on the creationism scene in North Texas for three decades, and he operates a Creation Evidences Museum outside Dinosaur Valley State Park near Glen Rose, just a few miles from where I was born. Back when Baugh was beginning to make a name for himself Glen Kuban contributed an analysis to the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics, which I reproduce here in its entirety:

A follow-up on Carl Baugh’s science degrees

by Glen J. Kuban

I wish to bring to light some additional information regarding “man tracker” Carl Baugh’s alleged scientific degrees.

As pointed out by the authors of a recent Skeptic article, [1] the College of Advanced Education (CAE), from which Baugh claims a Ph.D. in anthropology, is not accredited, and has no science courses or facilities. Don Davis, administrator of CAE and pastor of the Baptist Church that houses it, told me that it is a “missions” school only. Davis explained that the degree was given through CAE, “under the auspices” of Clifford Wilson in Australia.[2] However, the reason for this curious arrangement was not explained, and the connection to Clifford Wilson (explained below) only further undermines the legitimacy of Baugh’s degree.

A copy of Baugh’s diploma (dated 1987) indicates that CAE is the “Graduate Division” of International Baptist College (IBC). As mentioned In the recent Skeptic article, IBC is incorporated in Missouri, but it is not certified there to grant degrees in any subject. Furthermore, IBC evidently is just as lacking in science facilities and classes as CAE. The phone receptionist at IBC stated that it was a correspondence school for religious studies based on tapes by Jerry Falwell.[3] Even more interesting, the letterhead of IBC listed Carl Baugh himself as president.[4] Thus, it appears that Baugh essentially granted himself a science degree from his own unaccredited Bible school.

Pacific College, Inc. (a.k.a. Pacific College of Graduate Studies) from which Baugh claims a masters degree in archaeology, traces to creationist Clifford Wilson in Australia. Wilson is the principal officer of PCI, which is a religious school with no accreditation or authority in Australia to grant degrees. [5]

Moreover,Wilson is (or was) a close associate of Baugh, [6] and evidently was a partner of Baugh in IBC. Wilson’s name was listed as “Vice President, International Studies” on the letterhead of IBC,[7] and the location of IBC was given as Australia on a plaque displayed at Baugh’s first “man track” site.[8]

Thus, all of Baugh’s alleged science degrees appear to trace directly or Indirectly back to himself and/or his partner Wilson, and to their own unaccredited Bible schools or “extensions” of them.

Last, it may be noted that there is no evidence that Baugh has even an undergraduate degree in any field of science. Not having a science degree is not a crime; however, misrepresenting one’s credentials is another matter. Baugh’s frequently claimed degrees in science appear to be as dubious as his “man track” claims, and ought to be of serious concern to his fellow creationists.

References

[1] Thomas, John, Ronnie Hastings, and Rick Neeley, “A Critical Look at Creationist Credentials,” The Skeptic, 3:4, July-Aug. 1989.

[2] Don Davis, personal communication, December31, 1989.

[3] Phone conversation, July 5, 1986.

[4] A letter from Carl Baugh to me, dated March 10, 1983, was written on International Baptist College letterhead.

[5] According to Australian paleontologist Ralph E. Molnar (personal correspondence, October, 1986), Pacific College of Theology was amalgamated with Pacific College of Graduate Studies to form Pacific College Incorporated. Australian Barry Williams stated that PCI appears to be a small, private Bible college headed by Wilson (correspondence to Ron Hastings, March 30, 1989). Ian Plimer, professor of geology at the University of Newcastle and member of the Australian Research Council, determined that PCI is unaccredited and stated, “Any ‘degrees’ from this ‘College’ are illegal in Australia (correspondence to Ron Hastings, March 1989).

[6] Wilson worked alongside Baugh on some Paluxy “man track” excavations, and coauthored a 1987 book with Baugh entitled Dinosaur (Promise Publishing, Orange, CA). Baugh’s supposed degrees are listed on the back of the book.

[7] Immediately under Baugh’s name on the letterhead (reference 4) was Wilson’s name and title, obscured with “white-out” but clearly visible when held to light.[8] In 1982 the metal plaque was mounted on a large rock at the “man track” site, but later was removed (reportedly by Wilson).

[8] (Reference missing in the original)

The previous article referenced was the July and August issue of the same year. I have written some stuff on Baugh, and I need to post it here. Watch for it in a few days. On one of the occasions I visited the “museum” in hopes of running into Baugh, I asked the person in charge about Baugh’s supposed degrees. I was informed that the “museum” made no claims for Baugh’s academic credentials.

Baugh’s enterprise in this video is the existence of human footprints in the Cretaceous limestone at the base of the Paluxy River in Somerville County, Texas. This area has long been known for dinosaur prints, but the claim is now that there are human prints in the same layer, even adjacent to dinosaur prints. This is a formation that is 115 million years old, 50 million years before dinosaurs went extinct and over 110 million years ago before anything resembling humans walked.

 Footprints

 What Carl Baugh, anthropologist, wants to tell you is these are 16-inch footprints left by people back when this limestone was soft mud. What geologists and real paleontologists want to tell you, and so do I, is these do not even look like human footprints. The best going idea is these prints, following along with the obvious dinosaur prints, are imprints of the dinosaur metatarsus.

But wait. “Dr.” Baugh has one more thing to show you. Here we see the very personage of Moses, Charlton (from my cold, dead fingers) Heston, look directly into the camera and tell us without a catch in his voice and without a wince in that famous face, “But Carl Baugh is in possession of one of the most compelling prints ever found.” And here it is:

BurdickPrint

It’s called the so called Burdick Print, named after Clifford C. Burdick, an early proponent of the man tracks claims:

According to [young Earth creationist] John Morris, the Burdick track (the right-foot slab) was purchased “years ago” by Burdick from a Rev. Beddoe of Arizona, who in turn had purchased the track from the late Pessee Hudson, proprietor of a knick- knack store in Glen Rose. Morris added that “many things were purchased in that store, including some of George Adams carvings.” Morris continued, “tracing the print proved impossible, but it was reported to have come from a tributary south of Glen Rose (1980, p. 117).

The citation is to Morris, John D., 1980, Tracking Those Incredible Dinosaurs and the People Who Knew Them, San Diego, CA., Creation-Life Publishers.

A big fan of the Burdick Print is young Earth creationist Don Patton, who now appears in the video. I have mentioned Patton already in two of my previous posts.

DonPatton

Here we have a geologist weighing in. I know that because I have a business card from Don Patton. It says, “Don Patton, Ph.D.,” and on the next line it says geologist. It is obvious to the most casual observer reading this that Don Patton has a Ph.D. in geology. Please spare me.

I have attended Patton’s presentations during which he showed us, as he does in the video, that this is not a carving. Creationists researching this artifact have made saw cuts (see the photo above) to expose the inner structure. Several cuts have been made, but Don has resisted showing any but the cross section shown below.

BurdickPrintCrossSection

What he is pointing to, Don explains, are compression layers formed when the “foot” pressed down into the soft material. Whether these compression layers show up in any of the other cross sections we may never learn. This does, however, add a layer of mystery to the topic and also to the documentary.

If Carl Baugh, anthropologist, and Don Patton, geologist, do not bring enough credibility to this narrative, we are next introduced to a real doctor. At least now we have somebody with a college degree looking at this.

DalePeterson

Dale Peterson, M.D., says he first saw the “print” when he visited Glen Rose in 1984. At first he thought it was too perfect to be a human print, but after closer examination he is now convinced it is. He points out significant anatomical features.

Never haven taken a course in human anatomy, I could only examine my own feet. The first thing I notice is the print is 15 inches long. My feet are considerably shorter. At its widest the print is seven and a half inches. Not so my feet. The print also has a mound in the middle where the human arch should be. When a human foot steps into soft clay it does not leave a mound in the middle. Also, when a human foot continues its stride and pulls out of the print, it takes some of the soft material with it, leaving a jagged perimeter—missing from this artifact.

And nobody is laughing. Baugh, Patton, Peterson, and most of all Charlton Heston are telling all of this with a straight face. I call that just short of wonderful. This is Academy Award material.

I will continue this narrative in a future post with another of the stories from the video. The story of Atlantis is coming, so be patient.

NBC’s Mysterious Origins of Man

RiseOfMan

Yesterday I reposted something I wrote 18 years ago—a review of a documentary from 1996 featuring Charlton Heston. I’m going to follow up with analyses of the various segments of that program. I have watched this a number of times—I made a video tape back when it first came out, and I have dubbed the tape to DVD. Still, I will draw much of my comment from Internet postings.

The Mysterious Origins of Man was a television special that originally aired on NBC on February 25, 1996. Hosted by Charlton Heston, the program argued that mankind has lived on the Earth for tens of millions of years, and that mainstream scientists have suppressed the fossil evidence for this. Some material included was based on the controversial Forbidden Archeology, a book written by Hindu creationists Michael Cremo and Richard L. Thompson about anomalous archeological finds reported mainly in early scientific journals. It also included interviews with the following people: creationist Carl Baugh on the Paluxy tracks; Richard Milton, author of Shattering the Myths of Darwinism, on Lucy; Neil Steede on Incan ruins; and Graham Hancock, author of Fingerprints of the Gods, on Atlantis. It was produced by B. C. Video Inc.

[Some links deleted]

Heston begins the first narrative by citing the theory of biological evolution. The transcription is my own, so there may be some typos:

  • Before the 19th century Western man looked to the Bible for an explanation to his origins.

He goes on to give an accurate explanation of biological evolution and traces the origin of man up to the emergence of our modern species “over 100,000 years ago.” When they dig, archaeologists find human artifacts. They find modern artifacts (shows some pottery) near the surface. More primitive artifacts (shows a stone spear point) are found deeper, representing a more ancient origin.

However, he points out, people have found human artifacts that defy preconceptions. “Archaeologists call them anomalous artifacts.” He then introduces Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson and their book:

Forbidden Archeology: The Hidden History of the Human Race is a 1993 book by Michael A. Cremo and Richard L. Thompson, written in association with the Bhaktivedanta Institute of ISKCON. Cremo states that the book has “over 900 pages of well-documented evidence suggesting that modern man did not evolve from ape man, but instead has co-existed with apes for millions of years!”, and that the scientific establishment has suppressed the fossil evidence of extreme human antiquity. Cremo identifies as a “Vedic archeologist”, since he believes his findings support the story of humanity described in the Vedas. Cremo’s work has garnered interest from Hindu creationists, paranormalists and theosophists. He says a knowledge filter (confirmation bias) is the cause of this suppression.

Forbidden Archeology has attracted attention from some mainstream scholars as well as Hindu creationists and paranormalists. Scholars of mainstream archeology and paleoanthropology have described the work as pseudoscience.

[Some links deleted]

We meet Credo and Thompson, who explain why modern society is not aware of the true history of humanity.

  • Thompson: The basic body of evidence that we’ve uncovered in this book suggests that human beings of modern anatomical type have been existing for many millions of years in the past.
  • Credo: I think we’re talking about a massive cover up. As I’ve said, over the past 150 years these archaeologists and anthropologists have covered up as much as much evidence as they’ve dug up, literally.
  • Thompson: Basically what you find is what we call a knowledge filter. This is a fundamental feature of science. It’s also a fundamental feature of human nature. People tend to filter out things that don’t fit. That don’t make sense in terms of  their paradigm or their way of thinking. So in science you find that evidence that doesn’t fit the accepted paradigm tends to be eliminated. It’s not taught. It’s not discussed. And people who are educated in scientific teaching generally don’t even learn about this.

Heston presents the studies by J.D. Whitney:

Discoveries of various artifacts in California’s Gold Country caused a stir as there were rare human fossils also discovered along with the gold. The state geologist [o]f California, J.D Whitney reported these significant artifacts to the scientific community in the 19th century.

The artifacts found on the surface were hard to date but those discovered from deep mine shafts were easier to place a date to. They were Pilocene in age as stated by Whitney but modern geologists think that they are from the Eocene age. Deep shafts were dug in Table Mountain in Toulumne County. Whitney also examined Dr. Perez Snell’s personal collection of artifacts from Table Mountain.

His collection consisted of spearheads and other implements. The exact positions of most of the discoveries were not known. One of the owners of the Valentine mine was Albert G. Walton who found a mortar, 15 inches in diameter, 180 feet beneath in the gold bearing gravels. A fossilized human skull piece was also discovered. However in 1902, Willain J. Sinclair disagreed with Walton’s claims because he was not able to find the Valentine shaft. He also said that Valentine shaft may not be the mortar’s original position as many of the drift tunnels in neighboring mines are connected to the Valentine shaft and the mortar might have found its way there.

The documentary only mentions the claims by Whitney and does not touch on the various dissenting views of modern scientists.

Thompson, and also Cremo, are right in one of their assertions. When somebody brings out something that flies in the face of a vast body of knowledge, then people—scientists included—give it a hard second look, whereas findings that agree with common knowledge do not suffer a great burden of proof. Comments by Cremo and excerpts from his book are available on-line.

Cremo’s and Thompson’s assertions suffer from a great similarity to some well-documented missteps in this field. Many of these are documented in a page in Wikipedia about out-of-place artifacts. Here is a excerpt:

  • Coso artifact: Thought to be prehistoric; actually a 1920s spark plug.
  • Malachite Man: Thought to be from the early Cretaceous; actually a post-Columbian burial.
  • Wolfsegg Iron: Thought to be from the Tertiary epoch; actually from an early mining operation. Inaccurately described as a perfect cube.

I previously attended presentations by young Earth creationist Don Patton, and Malachite Man was one of his topics. The Talk Origins archives have a brief account of the Malachite Man controversy, which I will post here in its entirety:

Claim CC111:

Ten modern human skeletons have been excavated from fifty-eight feet deep in the Lower Cretaceous Dakota Sandstone, which is dated as 140 million years old and is known for the same dinosaurs as in Dinosaur National Monument.

Source:

Patton, Don, n.d. Official world site Malachite Man. http://www.bible.ca/tracks/malachite-man.htm

Response:

  1. The skeletons are the same bones as the discredited Moab man bones, apparently with skeletons from eight nearby Indian burials added (Kuban 1998).
  2. All details given in the account are apparently false. The bones were found fifteen feet deep in soft, unconsolidated sand. They were clearly intrusive (i.e., buried there long after the sediments were laid down). The Dakota Formation is approximately 90-115 million years old, straddling the Early and Late Cretaceous. Dinosaur National Monument is in the Morrison Formation, which is Jurassic (Kuban 1998).
  3. The people making claims about Malachite Man have not been cooperative in supplying information that might be used to verify their claim. This would be surprising if they thought their claims could actually be verified.

Links:

Kuban, Glen J. 1998. The life and death of Malachite Man. http://members.aol.com/gkuban/moab.htm

References:

  1. Kuban, Glen J. 1998. (see above)

In his presentation I attended Don Patton told how the skeletons were found in the sandstone. I was suspicious of the way Patton unfolded his narrative, so I drilled down a little. Were the bones found in native sandstone, or were they found in loose sand. He truthfully would not commit to their being found embedded in sandstone. I cannot tell if this video was made before or after our conversation, but it may that Patton still holds to his original claim.

The unfortunate fact that Cremo and Thompson appear to be just faces of the Don Patton coin gets the NBC documentary off to a bad beginning. If it’s going to start off like this, where is it going to lead. Unfortunately the story is not all uphill from this, as I will show in subsequent posts.

You haven’t watched the video? You can get a copy of the DVD from me, or you can watch it on YouTube. My copy is at higher resolution.

MIOS

Recently I’ve been thinking about the old days when I would attend meetings of the Metroplex Institute of Origin Science. (MIOS). The newsletter archive of The North Texas Skeptics has a collection of items I wrote about these meetings, and I’m thinking some new readers may be interested in what goes on at a young Earth creationist (YEC) group. This appears to be the first MIOS item I ever posted. It’s from the July/August issue of The Skeptic:

NTS Logo

By John Blanton

The Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS) is a local group that claims scientific validity for creationism. At every MIOS meeting there is at least one Skeptic, and we try to keep you informed of their latest claims and developments.

The April MIOS program was billed as a discussion by vice chairman Don Patton on “The Laws of Thermodynamics (devastating evidence against a naturalistic explanation of life, evolution, the universe.)” We were less than devastated.

Don, making use of a high quality, computer-generated slide presentation that would be the envy of a lot of corporate executives, ran up most of the arguments creationists use under this heading:

  1. Things do not get better on their own, they get worse (implying, we were led to understand, that life might spontaneously get shabby and even disappear from this Earth, but it would not develop and thrive on its own).
  2. Life forms represent thermodynamic systems which, according to the famous second law of thermodynamics, must not decrease in entropy (implying that developing life forms represent an increase in organization and a decrease in entropy, something which should not happen without an outside source adjusting the system with his finger).
  3. The information needed to construct a living creature (said information being contained within the genetic material of the life form) is simply too complex to have been formed by accident from the disorganized elements in the atmosphere and the oceans (implying that life forms did not originate spontaneously from a lifeless environment).

Don’s first point is unarguable, since it really does not make any scientific claims. It is just Murphy’s law working.

Don’s second point (as he stated it in his presentation) ignored the correct statement of the second law, which pertains to closed systems. I agree that if any life form is put into a closed box without any interaction with the universe outside of the box, that life form will (given time) decline and fail.

Don’s third point seemed groundless to the Skeptics sitting in the audience. He depicted the spontaneous creation of the genetic code for a specific, highly developed life form as being improbable to the point of being non-existent. None of us disagreed (although Don’s math seemed a little off, I could not follow it closely enough to tell what I was seeing), but none of us had considered that a life form would get started so dramatically. David Dunn took such strong exception to this numerical razz-ma-tazz that he rebuked Don Patton severely during the question and answer period and called him a liar, which accusation Don took quite calmly, to his credit.

John Thomas (who has a degree in physics) and I (with only a couple of B’s in thermodynamics) talked to creationist Clyde McKnight afterward. Clyde exhibited a thorough comprehension of the scientific aspects of the evening’s program, and later that week he sent me a copy of a paper from Physical Review that illustrated the tie-in between the classical second law of thermodynamics and Claude Shannon’s information theory. I pondered how a man, who so had effortlessly put his hand on this technical paper, could hang onto conclusions that are in conflict with his scientific training.

At the May MIOS meeting, chairman Rich Summers announced that MIOS was planning to hold a debate on creation science with delegates from the NTS at one of their future meetings. “We enjoy a debate,” he stated. So do we, Rich. No program was billed for the May meeting, but, after discussing organizational matters, vice chairman Don Patton announced startling revelations concerning the “Burdick Track.”

The “Burdick Track” is a fossil track that was removed from the Glen Rose limestone in the 1940’s by a local inhabitant and kept in his possession until he passed away. It is not supposed to be one of the fake tracks carved in the limestone to attract tourism during the 1930’s. In any event, the implication is that this is the track of a human foot and that it demonstrates that people and dinosaurs lived at the same time. This was the fossil that would put the lie to scientific geology and, thereby, to evolution.

So that was it. Evolution was dead. Killed not by layer after layer of Permian sediment deposited on top of Jurassic stone, not by a fossil australopithecine skull lodged in the petrified jaws of a tyrannosaur, not even by the bones of a jawed fish embedded within a mass of Cambrian rock. No, modern geology, evolution, even large bodies of the sciences of physics and astronomy had been done in by a piece of stone that’s presumably been kicking around somebody’s garage for over forty years. Text books would have to be rewritten, research papers would have to be withdrawn (many posthumously), and geologists and biologists would have to find other lines of work. Provided this really were a human footprint in Cretaceous limestone.

In response to questions about the authenticity of this track, MIOS has had the fossil sectioned (using a lapidary saw) to demonstrate that the material under the pressure points of the footprint exhibits signs of being compressed (signs which are not likely to be there if the footprint were carved). On this night, Don was showing photographs of the fossil and the new cross-sections. Being a Skeptic, I was a little hard to convince. NTS Secretary Mark Meyer was sitting with me in the audience, and I told him, “That doesn’t even look like a human footprint” (it was much wider near the toes, making somewhat triangular in appearance). Wrong again, Mr. Skeptic. Don next threw up a photo of a man with a foot that looked very much like the print. Well, what could I say?

The most startling revelation came after the meeting. I could contain my curiosity no longer. Where did this fossil come from? Is there a left foot to go with this right foot? Is there even a whole trail of footprints? Alas, there was no answer. Don just had the piece of stone (now several pieces) and no field notes from the 40’s to guide paleontologist to the site. There must be some scientific data on this remarkable piece of evidence.

“How old is this footprint?” I asked finally.

“About 110 millions years.”

I was astounded. “You think there were people back then?”

“Oh, no. I don’t believe that.”

“Then who made the footprints in that 110-million year old rock?” I finally got Don Patton to admit that he really thought the rock was only 4500 years old and that the various layers were laid down about twelve hours apart by the daily tides during the great flood (maybe I’m in the wrong business).

Later Mark and I talked to Clyde McKnight about methods for dating rocks. While we indicated we thought radioactive decay methods provided the most reliable approach to computing the age of rocks, Dr. McKnight discounted them completely. He expressed the opinion that radioactive decay rates in times past had been much faster, making the rocks appear much older than he thought they ought to be.

MIOS has since published the photos of this fossil in their newsletter Dino Trax, which is available for interested people at NTS meetings.

I consistently come away from these meetings wondering, “Where is the science in creation science?” I see an undocumented fossil that may or may not be a human footprint being touted as the death knell of biological evolution. I see a pop-culture presentation that purports to refute evolution using well-respected laws of physics. I see postulated historic events or even variations in physical laws being invoked to account for conflicts between hypotheses and data. And I see no real research being performed, no papers being published, nothing concrete being proposed. I invite MIOS vice chairman Don Patton to deliver to our hands, for our study and comment, any statement of scientific principle that has been derived from creation science and by which they are willing to stand.

MIOS

I posted this nearly twenty years ago in The Skeptic, the newsletter of the North Texas Skeptics. It’s interesting. This was before the World Wide Web came into its own, so there was no opportunity to Google topics and expand on them, and there weren’t any Web pages to link to in the newsletter. Besides, this was in the days before the newsletter was posted on the Web. It’s hard to believe twenty years have gone by so quickly.

MIOS was alway an interesting topic. I attended a number of Don Patton’s talks during those times past and obtained an inside peek into the world of Young Earth Creationism. I will post more MIOS articles in the weeks to come.

Creationism’s youth kick

By John Blanton

The Metroplex Institute of Origin Science (MIOS) is a young-Earth creationist group based in Dallas. They hold monthly meetings on the first Tuesday of each month at the Ridgewood Recreation Center on Fisher Road. MIOS Chairman Don Patton hosts this lecture series, which usually consists of a talk by Patton or some invited speaker. October’s topic, however, was a video presentation of a talk given by Russell Humphreys, a Ph.D. physicist working at Sandia National Laboratories in New Mexico.

The young-Earth creationists stick to the literal time scale of creation in the Bible, thereby implying the Earth and the universe are in the order of 6000 years old, certainly less than 10,000 years old. Humphreys stated up front in his presentation that Christian fundamentalists need to demonstrate this very elementary tenet of Genesis, or else they will be unable to defend the more subtle biblical principles. Humphreys’ talk bore down on five points that he considers severely limit the age of the Earth.

In his pamphlet, “Evidence for a Young World,” he cites 100 such examples, but he apparently finds these five the easiest to explain. Some of his examples would be better left in the filing cabinet for the sake of his young-Earth argument, but others raise thorny and quite legitimate issues for mainstream science to answer. I’ll go over the main points of these arguments and will just discuss some of the more interesting explanations from mainstream science. For a more thorough discussion of both sides of the issue the reader is referred to Authur Strahler’s excellent book Science and Earth History the Evolution/Creation Controversy:1

1. Galaxies Here’s the rub. Look into the sky and you see spiral galaxies; clouds consisting of billions of stars spinning about a common center in a pinwheel formation (see Figure 1). Measurement of the rate of motion of the individual stars discloses a troubling concern. The stars near the center of the galaxies are moving at such a rate that they will circle the center more quickly than stars farther out. A quick mathematical analysis will show (and Humphreys has done so) that after a few million years a spiral galaxy gets “wound up” by this process. The spiral shape completely disappears within a half billion years, leaving us to wonder what happens in the remaining fifteen-plus billion years of the universe. Why aren’t all galaxies wound into flat disks by now, especially the Milky Way galaxy where we now are and where we have been for over four billion years? Young Earth creationists will assert that these galaxies have been in existence much less than four billion years, maybe even less than 10,000 years. Of course this misses the question of why the galaxies got wound into a spiral in the first place, a process that ought to take at least a million years.

Galaxy
Figure1. Spiral galaxy photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope

Strahler cites a work by Steven Dutch2 explaining that even spiral galaxies are approximately flat disks of stars and that the spiral features are bands of new stars that shine more brightly in the blue spectrum, giving the overall galaxy its spiral appearance. Even with this explanation the spiral galaxy argument will continue to provide fuel for the creationists for years to come, since the new star explanation will not be easy to understand by the population at large.

2. Comets are another favorite for creationists. They would like to remind you that a 5-billion year-old solar system should present a very stable structure. It should not look like something that has just been born or that is about to die soon. Roll the clock back a few million years, and you should see the same thing you see now. The problem is that comets always seem to be dying, witness Shoemaker-Levy 9. Why are there still any comets left after five billion years?

Good question, and I wish I had thought of that one. Mainstream science can only postulate mechanisms for the creation of new comets to replace the ones constantly being destroyed. One proposed explanation is the so-called Oort cloud, a region of comet material thought to lie in a region 10,000 to 100,000 astronomical units out from the sun. Needless to say, creationists get a good belly laugh when you try to propose something like this. That’s probably how it will stay until mainstream science is able to provide experimental evidence to support either the Oort cloud hypothesis or else some worthy alternative.

3. Erosion Humphreys also likes to talk about erosion of the continents and the sediment that should result from this erosion. He states that with current rates of erosion the North American continent, for example, should be washed flat in fifteen million years. Yet there stand the Rockies (and even Comanche Peak). Humphreys asserts it’s safer to believe the continents were formed a few thousands years ago. Then there was a great flood that fairly well shaped the landscape as we see it now. Since the flood erosion has been going on much as we see it today.

4. Salt Humphreys’ fourth topic was salt in the sea. This is a classic creationist argument, and it goes something like this: Rivers wash salt into the oceans, but nothing seems to wash salt out of the oceans. Evaporation removes water from the oceans, and some it winds back up on land through rainfall. If this process has been going on for millions of years, then the oceans should be a lot saltier.

5. Population Perhaps Humphreys’ weakest argument was the one he finished up with, and it’s based on people, or population. Here is what he had to say about that: Mainstream science asserts that the stone age of civilization lasted about 100,000 years. Given the estimated average human population for that period about four billion people should have died during this time. The question Humphreys poses is, “Where are all of their graves?”

. . . . . O.K.

Following the video presentation, Don Patton fielded a few questions. He seemed to make some reference to the decaying speed of light conjecture, and I asked him if he was talking about Barry Setterfield, so we got off onto that subject. Setterfield has asserted that the speed of light was much faster in the past than it is now (it’s quite fast even today). This provides creationists with a way to explain why we can now see things millions of light years away if the universe is only a few thousands of years old. I cautioned Don against standing behind this thesis, since it is absolutely indefensible, but he still wants to stick with it. If you want to read up this subject some more, once again see Strahler’s book.

Patton’s lack of scientific acumen on the Setterfield conjecture and other topics seemed to bother others besides me in the audience. Glenn Morton stood up and reminded those in attendance that he is a creationist who once published in favor of the young Earth. He now renounces that position because the evidence is too much against it, and he urged others to abandon the idea. A problem he mentioned is that after you teach this concept to your children and then send them to college where they will learn otherwise, their loyalty to your other teachings will be threatened. One cheerful member of the group offered a solution: “Don’t send them.” In a subsequent phone conversation, Morton offered to debate against the young Earth argument if the matter comes up. That opportunity may come soon.

Prior to the meeting I had sent Don Patton a letter inviting him to address the NTS early in 1995, and at the meeting Don expressed his willingness to do so. We previously invited MIOS to give a presentation back in 1990, but Patton declined at that time, saying he didn’t think a 45-minute format gave sufficient time to explain the science of creationism. MIOS had initially agreed to the 1990 program, but that was before they consulted with Patton. Since we didn’t get word of the MIOS withdrawal until the day of the meeting we were left without a speaker. However, MIOS member Ron Huffman, not knowing of Patton’s cancellation, showed up, and we persuaded him to talk on the subject. It was a good presentation, and we had a lively discussion. Hopefully we will have another one this coming February.

MIOS is not the only creationist group based locally, but they are the only group with regular meetings open to the public that I know of. Early in October I received in the mail a notice that Kent Hovind would be presenting a creationism conference over a three day period at the Canyon Creek Baptist Church in Richardson. I took this as an invitation and showed up the first night, sitting in the very front row. This is the first I heard of Hovind, who seems to have a thriving, nationwide creationism conference business. Hovind is quite an interesting piece of work, and I will cover his presentation in the next issue.

References:

1. Strahler, Arthur N., Science and Earth History – the Evolution/Creation Controversy, (Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY).

2. Dutch, Steven I., A critique of creationist cosmology, Journal of Geological Education, vol. 30, pp. 27-33 as cited in Strahler.