Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 41 – The Red Menace, Part 2

This is part 2 of a two-part review.  Part One can be found here.

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary:

Evolutionists have made an amazing fossil jellyfish discovery in Mosinee, Wisconsin. Many are calling it a miracle. The Creation Response Team travels to the site to show the world how these fossils are evidence for Noah’s Flood. But when they arrive in town, strange things begin to happen. Could they have accidentally stumbled across a plot to overthrow the United States government and take over the little town of Mosinee? (Taken from here.)

The Study Guide for episodes 40-41 can be found here: jp_vol4_study_guide_epi40-41

Topics in this episode include:

  • The US Government
  • Jellyfish Fossils
  • Communism
  • More on Jellyfish Fossils
  • Making Assumptions

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.

Review

In this episode, we learn that the threat to the country is the plan to make it communist.  The RED Menace, get it??  So the topics now get include ideology.  As per ALL their episodes so far, the writers and producers make no mention of their sources.  The listener is often left scratching his/her head wondering, ‘Where in the world did they get that from??’ Some digging around is required.  So, let’s go.

Topics:

The US Government

The Story: Dr Park explains that America’s founding fathers knew that God is in control and that  the USA’s three-branched government – the judges, the lawmakers and the President – is reflected in Isaiah 33:22. The founding fathers knew that they had to rely completely on the Creator.

Jim then says that until recently, US leaders openly acknowledged that. ‘In 1892,’ he says,  ‘the Supreme Court declared, “Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. In this sense and to this extent, our civilizations and our institutions are emphatically Christian.”‘

(3:30-4:12)

The Facts: The proper names for the three branches of the US government are:

The President leads the executive branch of the federal government, which consists of several people including the Vice-President, the Secretary of State, the Cabinet, and other executive departments and agencies.  Although it is true that the three branches of the US government can be summarised as being the judges, the lawmakers and the President, I think it is a bit of a stretch to say that it is in any way similar to the judges, lawgivers and the kings of the Old Testament.  It appears to be yet another attempt by Vision Forum to endorse something by finding a Bible verse to support it.

Jim’s quote is often cited as coming from an 1892 case, but it is actually from an 1883 Illinois Supreme Court case, Richmond vs. Moore (it’s no. 3 in that article).  Nevertheless, it is important to see the quote in context.  After doing some searching, I found one:

Our government is unlike the British government, as that government combines the ecclesiastical and secular powers. Its constitution is based upon the union of church and State, and it claims and exercises the power to enforce the faith and doctrines of the established church, by statutes imposing penalties for failing to perform religious duties and requirements, and compelling all to contribute support to the State church; on the contrary, however, a total severance of church and State is one of the great controlling foundation principles of our system of government. The spiritual welfare of our people is left entirely to the hierarchy of the various churches. The government protects all alike in their religious beliefs and unbeliefs. It is no part of the function of our government to prescribe and enforce religious tenets. The great purpose of the formation of our system of government is to protect the people in the enjoyment of their temporal and spiritual rights, and to prohibit crime, vice and wrong to any portion of the community, and to pass and enforce laws for the promotion of the temporal interests of the people, and, as far as possible, secure their temporal welfare and happiness. Although it is no part of the functions of our system of government to propagate religion, and to enforce its tenets, when the great body of the people are Christians, in fact or sentiment, our laws and institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise. And in this sense, and to this extent, our civilization and institutions are emphatically Christian, but not for the purpose of compelling men to embrace particular doctrines or creeds of any church, or to support one or another denomination by public burthens, but simply to afford protection to all in the enjoyment of their belief or unbelief. But the State has the unquestioned power to suppress crime, vice and immorality, even if such acts are claimed to be the exercise of religious belief.

As one can see, the part that is often quoted leaves out some important words before and after (bolded). When one sees the quote in context, it appears that the meaning is quite different.  I found this fuller quote here.

Nevertheless, the 1892 case of Church of the Holy Trinity v. United States which the quote is often attributed to has the reputation for stating that the US is a Christian nation.  What is meant by ‘Christian nation’ can be found here.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Jellyfish Fossils

The Story: Dr Park, Jonathan and Jim go to a quarry to investigate the jellyfish fossils to see if the evidence fits the evolutionary theory or whether it fits the Flood story better. Dr Park goes on to say that evolutionists believe that the jellyfish fossils come from the Upper Cambrian period more than 500 million years ago.  Evolutionists believe the Cambrian period in the fossil record shows many fully-formed animals with no transitional fossils beforehand.  Continental drift is also believed to have happened quickly during this period; theoceans were shallow and widespread.  Evolutionists also believe that Mosinee, Wisconsin was near the equator surrounded by islands, lagoons, sandy islands and enclosed bays.  The climate was a tropical paradise, and heavily populated with jellyfish.  Not many predators had evolved yet, which means that there weren’t many animals to disturb the sand they were buried in.  Evolutionists believe that the jellyfish swam to the sandy shores as they migrated, hunted for prey and reproduced. Waves, possibly from strong storms, would have washed them up on shore. Then more waves covered them with coarse sand. Whitey Hagadorn, a paleontologist is quoted; in short, the jellyfish fossil site in Wisconsin is interesting because jellyfish have no bones and teeth to fossilise.

(5:28-7:30)

The Facts: The discerning listener should be able to notice right away that these characters are not being objective; rather, they have an agenda.  The characters present the evolutionary story and then point out the problems with that theory, including quoting some mainstream scientists (in this case Whitey Hagadorn) who don’t know all the answers.

The term evolutionist is actually not used by the mainstream scientific community.  The characters in the Jonathan Park series use this word often to alert the listeners that the views espoused are unBiblical and are thus to be discredited.  Vision Forum and the Institute for Creation Research present only two views: Evolution and Creation. Once the evolutionist view have been discredited or called to question, it is only ‘logical’ to accept the Creationist view. The claim that there are only two models is addressed here.

The Upper Cambrian refers to the layers of rocks found in the Late Cambrian period (about 500 mya).  It is incorrect to say that the Cambrian period ‘shows many fully formed animals with no transitional fossils beforehand.’  This claim was made by Henry Morris  and Jonathan Wells and is refuted here and here.

More information about jellyfish fossils from a mainstream scientific source can be found here and here. Whitey Hagadorn gets a mention!

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

*****************************************************************************************

Communism

Communism Red Star

Communism: The Home of Poverty, Misery and Much Death

The Story: Martha and Katie explain communism to Ryan:

America’s founders knew that God was the rightful ruler of every nation and that governments must stick to the Bible. Sadly, many other countries have been led by tyrants. Tyrants are people who want absolute power. They want to run their government without being accountable to their people, or even to God.

Under communism, these rulers make the God of the Bible illegal. They claim to own everything and they seize anything they want from people who work very hard. And they try to control every person, and every thought. And they pretend that they can solve every problem and meet every human need.

But their ideas are so opposed to the Bible. They get everything backward – even good and evil. They punish good people and reward the bad. Communist rulers all through history are people who ruin their countries with poverty, misery and much death.

They forgot that the Creator is in control of all things. Psalm 33:12 says “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.”

(8:00-9:10)

The Facts: Here we have the move from science into ideology. The above exchange contains some truths with some whopping lies thrown in.  Hmm….I seem to recall someone in the Bible often accused of doing just that….Sorry, I digress.

Yes, it is true that many countries have been led by tyrants. The implication that all communist rulers are tyrants who punish the good and reward the bad and have brought nothing but ‘poverty, misery and much death’ to their countries is an opinion and not a fact.

There are many schools of thought of communism. Under Marxist communism, religion is seen as a negative and countries that follow that flavour of communism tend to be atheistic and even antireligious.  But not all strains of communism are like that.

Communism can briefly (hah!) be defined as ‘ a sociopolitical movement that aims for a classless and stateless society structured upon common ownership of the means of production, free access to articles of consumption, and the end of wage labour and private property in the means of production and real estate.’ (Taken from wikipedia)

The key aims of communism seem to be:

  • classless (no wage labour)
  • common ownership (no private property)
  • free access to articles of consumption

I seem to recall Jesus talking about everybody getting the same wage in The Parable of the Workers and the Vineyard. Also, the early disciples practiced common ownership in Acts 2:44-45. So, it would appear that some of the more important elements of communism were endorsed and practiced by Jesus and the early church.

Here is an interesting quick look at Christian Communism.

Once again, a Bible verse is quoted in an effort to support Vision Forum’s views.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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More on Jellyfish Fossils

The Story: The men talk more about jellyfish fossils and how the evidence seems to support a worldwide flood better.

(15:50-17:48)

The Facts: Young-Earth Creationists are very intent on finding evidence for a worldwide flood.  It could be said to be the backbone of all their arguments.  No global flood and their whole premise falls to pieces.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

*****************************************************************************************

Making Assumptions

Square Peg in a Round Hole

Hey, look! The evidence fits perfectly!!

The Story: We find out that there is no communist takeover threat after all. It was all an elaborate hoax and act to get the people of Mosinee to see what life under communism would really be like. (Phew!)  The characters realise that they fit all their observations into their theory incorrectly.  This is same thing that can happen in science.  Evolutionists and Creationists can look at the same data and come to two totally different ideas.  To know which one is correct, we need to ask ourselves which one fits the facts better.

My Reaction: So far, so good.

The Story (cont.): Dr Park continues saying that in the case of fossils, we almost always see evidence of a mass inundation of water, evidence of currents and mass graveyards where tons of animals were buried together in a jumbled mess.  Does that better match the idea that animals were dying and fossilising slowly, or does it better talk about a huge water catastrophe?  (A: water catastrophe.  Duh!)

Most importantly, we need to base our ideas on Truth, and Truth comes from God’s Word.

The Facts: Once again, the word ‘evolutionist’ was used.

While scientists agree that some fossils were caused by a massive inundation of water, i.e. flooding, there is simply no evidence of a worldwide flood.

Scientists look at all available data to draw their conclusions. Creationists base their conclusions on the Bible first and then fit the evidence around their conclusions. Consider, for example this statement from the Institute for Creation Research:

The creation record is factual, historical, and perspicuous; thus all theories of origins or development that involve evolution in any form are false.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

*****************************************************************************************

Conclusion

I started writing this review quite a while ago, and it has taken me a long time to finish it.  The misinformation contained in here and the thought that many people are listening and accepting it as truth depressed me. I have to thank my friend Otter for encouraging me not to give up.  He sums it up beautifully at the end of his blogpost when he stresses the importance of asking the simple question, ‘Is it true?’  I would strongly urge all listeners to ask, ‘Is it true?’ when listening to Jonathan Park.  Asking this question continually and checking up on the information presented will go a long way to furthering one’s understanding of the issues.

This episode contained a quote that is often quoted incompletely and misattributed.  The description about communism was just plain weird. ‘Problems’ with mainstream scientific findings were presented and quickly discredited in favour of young-Earth Creationism.  This leads me to believe that Vision Forum does not really care about scholastic integrity, but is only interested in propagating information that will further their cause.

If listeners take the time to ask ‘Is it true?’ and make the effort to check out the facts, they will quickly find that much of the information presented here is incomplete, inaccurate, or just plain wrong.  Everything that is presented in this review is available on the internet.  Anyone can access this information.  AND it’s all free.

Upon finding out that his assumptions about the attempt of a communist takeover were wrong, Dr Park exclaims (22:33-22:36), ‘I feel like a real idiot!’  I only wish he and others like him could see and recognise the assumptions they are making about the scientific evidence that they are examining.

<< Previous: Ep. 40 | List of Reviews | Next: Ep. 42 >>

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Posted on Tuesday, March 1st, 2011, in Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Vision Forum, Young Earth Creationism and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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