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Blasphemous Science

The idea of a sun millions of miles in diameter and 91 million miles away is silly. The sun is only 32 miles across and not more than 3,000 miles from the earth. . . . God made the sun to light the earth, and therefore must have placed it close to the task it was designed to do.

Wilbur Glenn Voliva, 1870-1942 (Head of the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Zion, Illinois and leader of the Flat Earth Society)

It seems only fair. From Europe we have received Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, to name but a few and to Europe we are now exporting the learning of the illustrious members of today’s equivalent of yesterday’s Flat Earth Society. News of the exportation of their beliefs comes at an inopportune time coinciding, as it does, with news that one of its leading exponents and the head of one of the institutions of lower education associated with it, has just been charged with bilking the institution of millions of dollars in the furtherance of the Lord’s work.

According to a suit filed by three former professors of Oral Roberts, University, Richard Roberts, the offspring of its founder, spent lavishly from the institution’s coffers in order to remodel his Dwelling Place and repeatedly took private trips on a university plane and engaged in assorted other activities that ill become one occupying as exalted a position as he. But this is not about him and anyway, those are simply allegations in a civil suit that may or may not be proven when the trial occurs. This is about exportation.

On October 4, 2007, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, mustering more courage than many school boards in the United States, condemned efforts to teach creationism in European schools by a vote of 48 to 25. Adopting recommendations of a report prepared by Guy Lengagne, a senior French member of the Assembly, the Assembly decried the advocates of creationism saying they were seeking to “impose religious dogma” and were promoting “a radical return to the past”. In a bit of chauvinism the Assembly pointed out that the notions of creationism were “an almost exclusively American phenomenon”. The Assembly said that denying pupils knowledge of evolution was “totally against children’s educational interests” and that creationists support a “radical return to the past which could prove particularly harmful in the long term for all our societies.”

In Poland, Deputy Minister of Education, Miroslaw Orzechowski, a member of the ultra-conservative league of Polish Families dispensed with the notion of evolution by calling it a “lie”. In Serbia Liliana Colic was “forced to resign after ordering schools to stop teaching the Darwinian theory of evolution if creationist ideas were not also part of the school curricula”. Russia, too, has families making similar demands. Nonetheless, Europe still has a way to go if it hopes to catch down with the United States.

No one in Europe has yet suggested, as the educational leaders of Cobb County, Georgia, did some years ago, that books describing evolution have stickers placed in them advising students to carefully evaluate its tenets before placing much stock in them. (A federal court ordered the stickers removed.) Nor have there been reports that movies have been withdrawn in Europe because they suggested evolution took place as happened in Imax theaters in the South where, among others, the movie “Cosmic Voyage” was removed from the screen.

The description of the movie, nominated for an academy award in 1997, says it “explores some of the greatest scientific theories, many of which have never before been visualized on film.” Through some oversight it failed to include depictions of God creating the world in 7 days and was, accordingly, not shown in parts of the South.

“Volcanoes of the Deep Sea” that the National Science Foundation and Rutgers University had a role in producing was not shown in the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History after an audience that was given a preview of the film pronounced it “blasphemous”. The film suggested that life might have begun in the undersea vents in an undersea volcano. Among the viewers’ responses were: “I really hate it when the theory of evolution is presented as fact” and “I don’t agree with their presentation of human existence.”

Some movie producers have expressed the fear that if sufficient numbers of theaters turn down movies that treat evolution as fact, future production of such movies will be inhibited. That would please those who don’t believe in evolution. If evolution is not presented as fact it may eventually go away. It’s hard to argue with them. They are living proof that not all living things have evolved. They’ve not.

CHRISTOPHER BRAUCHLI is a laywer in Boulder, Colorado. He can be reached at: Brauchli.56@post.harvard.edu

 

 

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