Though creationism is supposed to stay out of public schools there are plenty of efforts out there to bring anti-science to kids. In Tampa, for instance, kids can attend a 13-week series called the Answers Academy Creation Study, targeted at homeschoolers, where they will hear insurance agent and homeschooling parent Chris Rushton give them proper religiously based denialist backing to (hopefully) withstand the onslaught of science-based and reality-based education they may encounter elsewhere. Rushton has absolutely no background in science, of course, but as he says: He’s read plenty of the material from Answers in Genesis, starting with Ken Ham’s book The Lie (the title is not intended to refer to its contents). From there, Rushton has acquired most of the necessary falsehoods and talking points to get his class going.
For instance, according to Rushton, there are two types of science: “There’s observational science; that’s the type of science that we can test with our senses: smell, sight, taste, touch. But there’s also what’s called historical science or origin science. That is taking evidences or facts and then interpreting the past. When you look at origin science or historical science, we have the same facts, the same evidence, whether we’re creationists or evolutionists. What’s different is how we interpret the facts. So, we look to see how observational science applies to the information we find in the book of Genesis. If you look at it with an open mind, you’ll see that observational science confirms what’s in the book of Genesis and that evolutionary ideas are not confirmed by observational science.” No, Rushton; historical sciences are observational. Theology isn’t. In the worlds of Ken Ham and Chris Rushton, however, “observational” means “evidence-based”, and evolution, history, astronomy and so on are therefore categorized as “no more evidence-based than the Bible”. Rushton’s contributions are assessed here.
Diagnosis: Not a big fish, but Rushton is one of many people doing their best to spread denialism and anti-science at a local level, and these people are exceedingly dangerous.
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