Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 25 – The Winds of Change, Part 1

For more Jonathan Park reviews,  click here.

Plot Summary:

Jonathan and Thad take refuge during an electrical storm. The intense heat from a dangerously close lightning strike forms several fulgurites. The boys want to put them on display in the Brenan Museum of Creation, but two men will stop at nothing to steal them because of the belief that they posses mysterious new-age powers. (Taken from here.)

Topics include:

  • Fulgurites
  • New Age Movement
  • Home Schooling
  • Complexity of the Human Genome
  • Gaia Hypothesis and Anthropic Principle
  • Logical Fallacies

The Study Guide for episodes 25-26 can be found here: jp_vol3_study_guide_epi25-26

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!

NOTE: The producers of this series neglect to reference their information in any form.  No references is ever given either on the CD or in the Study Guide for ANY information presented in the series.  Even the voice actors of the series are not given any credit anywhere.  We only know that the series is a production of Vision Forum Ministries.

This particular episode actually contains almost NO science at all.  Most of the program was spent talking about the New Age movement and how it is incompatible with Christianity.

Topics in this episode

Issues

Fulgurites

fulguriteThe Story: Jonathan and Thad are caught in a severe lightning thunderstorm.  When they take shelter, they find some fulgurites.  Some men also see the fulgurites and are keen to get their hands on them to sell in their New Age store.  New Age teaches that fulgurites have special healing powers: they supposedly activate the Kundalini powers and amplify prayers.  (2:00-4:33)

The Facts: Fulgurites are natural hollow glass tubes formed in quartzose sand, or silica, or soil by lightning strikes. Yes, it is true that some New Age adherents believe that fulgurites have special powers.

NOTE: The New Age characters are ‘baddies’.  Of course.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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New Age

The Story: The adults explain to the children what New Age is.  Basically, New Age philosophy has taken ideas from very old religious traditions (Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, etc) and combined them into a modern religious philosophy. The most important thing to remember is that truth is relative and is based on experience rather than on God’s Word or empirical evidence.

There’s more talk about how strange the New Age beliefs are and how important it is that we be on guard.

(5:50-7:24)

The Facts: New Age is such a broad topic that it would be impossible to condense it into two 25-minute episodes.  The basic outline of New Age given here is more or less correct.  However, I believe it is more correct to call New Age a spiritual and/or a quasi-religious movement rather than a religion because there really is no one unified belief system within New Age.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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The Story: Evolution is the foundation of New Age beliefs.  Grandpa Benjamin says that he has heard New Agers say, ‘Evolution isn’t just part of what we believe, it is what we believe.’

There is more talk about the seven stages of evolution as espoused by New Agers.   In particular, mention is made about Conscious Evolution and Spiritual Evolution.

(7:25-8:25)

The Facts: I am very confused by Grandpa Benjamin’s claim.  I have looked for a statement from New Age websites that address this and cannot find this statement at all. The Study Guide is no help; no reference is given.  So all we have is Grandpa Benjamin’s word.

Biological Evolution is a fact.  That New Agers have latched on to this and extrapolated that there is Conscious Evolution and Spiritual Evolution does not negate the fact that biological evolution has happened.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Home Schooling

The Story: Dr Park tells Katie and Jonathan that he and Mrs Park have made the decision to pull them out of (public) school to home school them instead.

He persuades them by saying that the world is filled with darkness and that it is out to hurt and destroy them.  It is the parents‘ responsibility to teach the children (Deuteronomy 6:6-7).  Being in public school, they were always having to unlearn and relearn things to fit a Biblical worldview.

Jonathan says, “It would be nice not to have to listen to all that evolution stuff.”

(15:55-18:15)

The Facts: Oh, this was painful to listen to.  And I am a home-schooling parent!

By the way, this has nothing to do with science.  I just thought I’d put it out there, so you know.  This is simply an opportunity from Vision Forum to promote home schooling.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Complexity of the Human Genome

The Story: Jim Brenan says that we are living in one of the most interesting times in scientific history.  For the first time, we are seeing the complex language of the human genome.  Microbiologists are learning about all the intricate molecular engines that are working throughout our bodies. (21:00-21:20)

The Facts: True.

The characters fail to mention that the person in charge of the Human Genome Project was Dr Francis Collins.  Dr Collins is a Christian, who also happens to believe in evolution.  He wrote about his belief in the bestselling book The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Gaia Hypothesis and the Anthropic Principle

The Story: The Gaia Hypothesis says that the earth is alive and guiding evolution and that the earth designed all life on our planet.  This is similar to the Anthropic Principle which states that the universe is evolving itself.

In order for the universe to be real, it had to evolve living beings to experience it.  This goes back to the idea that truth depends on experience. (21:45-23:00)

The Facts: There is too much information out there to fully investigate this.  The wikipedia articles warn readers that the information found there may not be neutral.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Logical Fallacies

I really do not have the time nor the energy to invest in addressing each and every claim about the New Age mentioned in this episode.  In fact, I am quite annoyed that Vision Forum decided to talk about New Age at all!  This is NOT science; this is a platform to spout more anti-evolution sentiments.  Furthermore, the series uses poor logical arguments to do so.

NONE of the characters actually examine the New Age claims/beliefs in any way.  The New Age beliefs are mentioned and are then ridiculed.

The Story: After Dr Park outlines some ‘weird’ New Age ideas, Angela concludes by saying, ‘Just goes to show how strange things become when we accept evolution and reject the Creator.’ (8:24-8:31)

The Facts: This is using Appeal to Consequences.

  • If one believes in evolution, then all sorts of strange beliefs will follow
  • ‘Strange beliefs’ are undesirable
  • Therefore evolution is False

It is also using Appeal to Fear:

  • Either Evolution or Creation is true.
  • Evolution is ‘scary’ because it leads to all kinds of weird beliefs.
  • Therefore, it is better to believe in Creation.

Accepting evolution does not mean that one will eventually end up rejecting the Creator.  A person can accept evolution AND believe in a Creator.  They are called Theistic Evolutionists.

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Quote: ‘It is amazing how strange things get when someone is confronted with undeniable evidence for a Creator, but will not accept that He exists.’  (23:13-23:21)

Facts: This is an Appeal to Consequences.

  • If one rejects Creationism, then all sorts of strange beliefs will follow
  • ‘Strange beliefs’ are undesirable
  • Therefore it is better not to reject Creationism
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Quote: Design is irrefutable evidence that there is a Creator.

Facts: False. This is an Argument from Design aka Teleological Argument.

[Click to return to list of Topics.]

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Conclusion

The only scientific information in this episode was about fulgurites.  The rest of the show was spent ridiculing New Age ideas, promoting home schooling, and the adventure story.

The show is riddled with logical fallacies.  It might be a good idea to listen to the show and try to identify them.

<< Previous: Ep. 24 | List of Reviews | Next: Ep. 26 >>
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Posted on Tuesday, November 16th, 2010, in Creation vs Evolution, Home Schooling, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Logical Fallacies, Science, Theistic Evolution, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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