Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 3 – Adventure on the Aucilla River, Part 1

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary

The Eagle’s Nest Gang witness a theft in an art museum and go on an adventure to track the thieves down.

Jonathan is encouraged by the Brenans to be a ‘big brother’ and a friend to the Brenans’ neighbour, a little boy called Billy (who is in a wheelchair).  Jonathan is unsure how to respond.

Angela Brenan is tracked down by a man who wants her help finding underwater artifacts in the Aucilla River that will point to evidence for the Biblical account.  Angela is unsure how to respond.

Topics in this episode:

  • Tell Hamoukar
  • How Different ‘Races’ and Languages Arose
  • Different ‘Races’?
  • Aucilla River
  • Atheists Have No Purpose in Life
  • Evolution is a Chance Process
  • Creation Seminars
  • Promoting Young-Earth Creationism

The Study Guide for episodes 3-4 can be found here: jp_vol1_study_guide_epi3-4

Background Information

The Jonathan Park CDs are produced by Vision Forum Ministries.  Through these CDs, VF hope to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’.  [Which raises the questions, ‘What does “in harmony” mean?’ and ‘What do they do with scientific evidence that is not in harmony with the Word of God?’]

Tagline: This is our Father’s world, God created it; we can explore it, so live the adventure!

So, without much further ado, let’s take a look at the third episode, Adventure on the Aucilla River, Part 1.

Topics in this episode:

Issues

Tell Hamoukar

The Story:

Robert Wilson, the curator of the museum tells of an archaeological find in Syria, in Tell Hamoukar.  ‘This lost civilisation looks like it had a complex form of government and an advanced society. Before now, it was thought such sophistication didn’t occur until much later….This means that man was much more complex earlier than previously thought.’ (1:10)

The Facts:

In May 2000, a Syrian-American expedition team did indeed uncover a large archaeological site in Tell Hamoukar, in northeastern Syria.  This site has led scholars to believe that cities in this part of the world – not “man” – emerged much earlier than previously thought. In fact, more was found out about Tell Hamoukar in 2006:

‘Robert Wilson’ in the story is not a Creationist; nevertheless the character is painted in such a way that makes it easy for Creationists to attack his views. At the end of the story, Mr Wilson is revealed as being ‘in’ on the museum theft.  So, the non-Creationist has two points against him.

Problems:

The ancient city of Tell Hamoukar is believed to be about 6000 years old, ie, it was around in 4000 BCE.  Some YECs believe that the world is only 6000 years old. If this is true, then the world’s population in 4000 BCE would not have been big enough to have several cities in the Near East and other civilisations in other parts of the world.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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How Different ‘Races’ and Languages Arose

The Story:

Jonathan wants to know how all the people in world ended up looking so different from each other.  Dr Park reads Genesis 11:3-9 (the account of the building of the tower at Babel) as an explanation of how people ended up being in different parts of the world.  Jonathan asks THREE times how people ended up looking so different from each other.  Dr Park explains that the people that looked the same and spoke the same language stayed together.  He also uses an analogy of a box 20 crayons and using sets of five crayons, one can create different colours for different people.  People who looked the same stayed together and moved to the same place and over time, those genetic traits stayed. (From 9:08-11:30)

The Facts:

Dr Park’s speech left me more confused than enlightened.  I feel Dr Park does not really answer Jonathan’s question.  But, since he is a vertebrate paleontologist and not a geneticist, I will have to forgive him.

(Ironically, at the end of his talk with Jonathan, Dr Park says he thought his explanation was ‘excellent’.  So much for humility.)

Problems:

YEC traditionally date the Great Flood to c. 2350BCE.  According to Genesis 10:24 and counting up the years in Genesis 11:9-18, the incident at Babel occured 110 years after the flood, ie c. 2260BCE.  Just how quickly can eight people (Mr and Mrs Noah; Mr and Mrs Ham; Mr and Mrs Shem; and Mr and Mrs Japheth) populate the earth in 110 years?  How big would the world’s population be?

According to Genesis 11:1, the whole world spoke one language in 2250 BCE (about 4250 years ago).  Yet, Egyptian hieroglyphics were used 5000 years ago and Jiahu symbols dated to 6600 BCE were found in China.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Different ‘Races’?

The Story:

Dr Park emphatically says that we are all one race and that is why we can never say that one group is better than another. (11:50)

The Facts:

True. The following is taken from the wikipedia article on Race.

As a biological term, race describes genetically divergent populations of humans that can be marked by common phenotypic and genotypic traits.[5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12] This sense of race is often used in forensic anthropology analyzing skeletal remains, biomedical research, and race-based medicine.[13][14][15][16].

Race, however, has no official biological taxonomic significance — all humans belong to the same hominid subspecies, Homo sapiens sapiens[17][18]. Nor is there scientific basis for any racial or ethnic hierarchy[19][20].

I wonder if the reason why Dr Park takes pains to say ‘we can never say that one group is better than another’ is because of the YEC belief that Evolution promotes racism.  The truth is, evolution does NOT promote racism.  Here is more information on that.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Aucilla River

The Story:

Mr Franklin Harvey Ash tracks down Angela Park and solicits her help.  The college he works at (and Angela’s alma mater) is going to abandon the Aucilla River project and he needs her help as she was one of the original students who worked on an underwater archaeology project studying Paleo-Indian cultures at the Aucilla River.  Mr Ash is hopeful that if Creationists take on the project then the world will have first-hand evidence for the Biblical account. (From 15:00-15:40)

The Facts:

The Aucilla River is in Florida and is “a rich source of late Pleistocene and early Holocene animal bones and human artifacts, and is the subject of the Aucilla River Prehistory Project, which includes the Page-Ladson prehistory site.”

“Scientists have discovered evidence of ancient past Indian civilisations at the Aucilla River,” says Mr Ash.  Yes, indeed. Paleo-Indians refer to the first peoples who entered and inhabited the American continent during the he final glacial episodes of the late Pleistocene period.  Indians have inhabited North America for over 10,000 years.

Problems:

Neither Mr Ash nor Angela ever mentions how long scientists believe Indians have inhabited North America.  Angela is careful to say, however, that Creation Scientists believe that there was an Ice Age that lasted for a few hundred years after the Flood and that after Babel, people crossed over on land or ice bridge to finally settle near the Aucilla River. (15:22)  Although the dates and routes taken by the early peoples are disputed/debated, it certainly is not four thousand years ago.

Mr Ash is not being an objective scientist.  His purpose for attempting to keep the project alive is to prove that Young Earth Creationism is right.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Atheists Have No Purpose in Life

The Story:

While giving his testimony (20:46 onwards), Mr Ash says that he went through a difficult time in his life.  He later realised that ‘if there is no God, we have no purpose in life.’ (21:36)

My Gut Reaction:

As a Christian, I find this incredibly sad, arrogant and offensive.  And contradictory.  Mr Ash already said that before he found God, his purpose for living was because of his wife.  So, even unbelievers can and do have a purpose in life.  Believers may argue that it is not as fulfilling, but to dismiss it as ‘no purpose’ is demeaning and rude.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Evolution is a Chance Process

The Story:

“If you truly believe that evolutionary chance is what created the universe, then there is no real purpose in life.” (21:41)

The Facts:

Major FAIL!!!  Evolution is NOT a chance process.

I’ve already addressed the ‘no purpose in life’ sentiment, so I won’t talk about it again.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Creation Seminars

The Story:

Mr Ash became a believer after attending a Creation Seminar.  The speaker was talking about the impossibility of the evolutionary origin of life and ended his talk with an ‘altar call’. (22:00-22:40)

My Gut Reaction:

Need more information about the content of the talk before I can comment.  If the speaker was talking about evolution being a chance process and how impossible it would be for everything to be as it is today, then he and his listeners need to know that Evolution is NOT a chance process.

I am not a big fan of using Creation Seminars as a way to win souls for Christ.  If anything, I think they only serve to bolster other YECs’ faith in YECism.  I can’t imagine Creation Seminars being a very popular or effective way to preach the gospel.  In fact, the gospel (ie Good News) of Jesus makes no mention of a belief in a literal reading of Genesis.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Promoting YECism

The Story:

Mr Ash’s purpose for working on the Aucilla River project is to find evidence that will build the Christian’s faith and challenge the unbeliever. (23:10)

My Gut Reaction:

Mr Ash is not being an objective scientist.  He has an agenda.  What will he do if he finds evidence that does not point to a young earth?

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Bible verses quoted

1 John 3:18 18My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

Genesis 11:3-9

1 Thessalonians 5:9-10

9For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

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Advertisement

Angela Brenan, the homeschooling mom of Jessie and Ryan, comes on to tell us how she has found Vision Forum’s Adventure catalogue to be a wonderful resource for materials that will help strengthen her children’s faith.  You can find out more from www.jonathanpark.com

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Conclusion

Once again, the people at VF have written a story that is very well done with wonderful voice actors, sound effects and an engaging story.

The science content presented is partly true and not entirely accurate.  Information that agrees with a literal reading of the Bible is included, and information that does not agree is omitted.  Also, not enough details are given about the scientific findings, and we are not encouraged to investigate further.  But, since Vision Forum’s aim is to ‘provide children and adults with scientific evidence that is in harmony with the Word of God’ they have fulfilled their aim.

<< Previous: Ep. 2 | List of Reviews | Next: Ep. 4 >>
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Posted on Monday, August 9th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Evolution, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Religion, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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