Sunday, March 31, 2019

#2166: David Rives

David Rives, son of Richard Rives and head of David Rives Ministries, is a creationist in the grand tradition of ridiculous crackpots like Ray Comfort and Carl Baugh, whose TV program “Creation in the 21st Century” (on the Trinity Broadcasting Network) Rives seems to have inherited. Rives’s output, in particular his series of short videos, is regularly featured by the WND, for instance in WND's video series The Heavens Declare, where Rives goes through all the usual talking points in apparent favor of a 6000-year-old universe, such as the old and thoroughly refuted creationist take on the bombardier beetle (which Rives seems to think, in line with the teachings of standard creationist cryptozoology, is evidence for the historical accuracy of descriptions of large fire-breathing dragons in the Bible), with a recurrent focus on irreducible complexity. He also thinks that all modern scientific discoveries were predicted by the Bible, mostly because the ones that weren’t are just atheist conspiracies anyways. Here, for instance, is Rives claiming that gravity only makes sense in the context of the Bible.

You can follow the link here to see Rives attack evolutionists on the grounds that dictionaries distinguish astronomy from astrology – “God is behind the stars, not in them,” Rives inform us. Take that, atheists and evolutionists. Of course, Rives is not particularly fond of astronomy either, and has argued for instance against the Big Bang; according to Rives “good science” backs up the six-day creation account in the Bible, and “bad science” contradicts it – “good scientific practice” is the set of methods that give you the answers you’ve already convinced yourself are correct – and besides, the Big Bang theory has unanswered questions: only the Bible has all the answers. Here is Rives explaining further why Big Bang is science fiction (it’s only an atheistic theory) because good science is supposed to be observable and repeatable; evolution, as he sees it, is faith, not science – no, he doesn’t have the faintest idea what science is. (Hint: science istesting hypotheses about the unobserved through observable data derived from the hypotheses – that’s the whole pointof scientific inquiry – and it’s the observationsthat must be repeatable, not the events or circumstances your hypothesis is about.) Then he explains how Galileo, Kepler, and Newton all relied on a Biblical perspective; science should apparently have stopped there (Kepler, of course, also relied on astrology; Rives doesn’t mention that). And in the brief video “Billions of Earths in the Galaxy” Rives argues against elitist, smartypants astronomers who claim to have found “earth-like” planets elsewhere in our galaxy, pointing out that even astronomers admit that even the closest one is supposed to be 13 light years away, which according to the “Rives Theory of Relativity” (no, seriously: he calls it that) would take us more than 200,000 years to reach with any spacecraft. And what does it mean? At best that astronomers don’t know what they are talking about; at worst apparently that they are deliberately trying to sow doubt about the Bible. 

Elsewhere, Rives likes to argue against evolution based for instance on standard creationist misunderstandings (or lying) about the Cambrian explosion. Here is Rives on mutations, which are obviously bad for us because they are so random and therefore an argument against evolution (yeah, that one again – he really, really doesn’t get that natural selection bit of the theory of evolution). And here is Rives claiming that clam fossils in Kansas are irrefutable proof of a global flood because they were found “nearly 1000 miles from the nearest ocean” and “2500 feet above sea level.” Oh, ye stupid secular scientists: clams on dry land! What do you say to that? Surely the evolutionist explanation for them relies purely on dishonesty. At least his reports from his, uh, study trip to South Africa are rather fascinating in a train-wreck sort of way.

As for his TV show Creation in the 21th century, it is based on the observation that “[t]heologians have long questioned the dogma of Darwinian evolution, particularly when its adherents have trumpeted the theory as evidence God is no longer needed to understand the universe. But in recent decades the classic, Darwinian narrative of man descended from primordial ooze through the process of random chance and mutation has drawn criticism from another, perhaps more surprising sector: from the world of science.” Of course, the idea that evolution proceeds by random chance is precisely a fundamental misunderstanding frequently made by creationists that real scientists have criticized rather severely, but that’s not what Rives has in mind, of course. The show features “interviews with top scientists around the world discussing the controversial topic of creation science” – “top scientists” here of course being used according to Rives’s personal definition of “science”, which has little to do with science.

Diagnosis: Good grief. As feeble as you could possibly imagine, but apparently that is the key to success with this particular audience, and Rives seems to be on the ascendance to something resembling stardom in the creationist circus.

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