Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 46 – Darrow’s Bluff

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary:

The Creation Response Team has been asked to help promote the annual Scopes Festival and Trial Reenactment. All seems to be going great until threats are made to stop the festival and people begin mysteriously fainting. Who wants to sabotage the celebration, and why?

Topics explored in this episode:

  • Scopes Trial
  • Vestigial Organs
  • Two Worldviews
  • Ape-Man Fossils
  • Inherit the Wind

The Study Guide for episode 46 can be found here: jp_vol4_study_guide_epi46

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.

Topics:

Review

There was not much science in this episode.  The show mainly focused on the Scopes Trial and some of the evidence brought forward in that trial.

Scopes Trial

The Story: The characters give some information on the Scopes Trial. The factual, historical information can be found in the Study Guide, wikipedia, and many other places on the Internet, so I won’t go into too much detail here.

John T. Scopes

John T. Scopes

(In short, the state of Tennessee passed a law called the Butler Act in 1925 which prohibited the teaching of evolution in school classrooms.  The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) decided to test this ruling by financing a test case whereby John Scopes, a high school sports teacher agreed to stand trial.)

The characters say that the whole thing quickly changed from a case about the Butler Act to a battle between two worldviews.  Scientific evidence was presented that supposedly proved the Bible wrong (cue the groans from the other characters).

As a way of promoting the Festival, Martha suggests bringing in real scientists to present evidence that refutes the very same information that was presented at the trial.

(1:40-3:35)

The Facts: Martha says that the ACLU decided to ‘fight’ the Butler Act, but I think ‘test’ would be a more accurate word to use.

It is important to note that the Butler Act prohibited the teaching of the evolution of man. Technically, it was not illegal to teach the evolution of animals and/or plants.

Here is an article that introduces readers to the Scopes Trial.  It is lengthy, but does highlight the important issues, I believe.

The scientific evidence did not prove the Bible wrong.  But it did present the idea that the Bible need not be interpreted literally at every point.  This is an important distinction.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Vestigial Organs

The Story: In 1893, Robert Weidersheim published a list of vestigial structures, thought to be leftover structures as man evolved. Zoologist Horatio Newman said in a written statement read into evidence in the Scopes Trial that “There are, according to Wiedersheim, no less than 180 vestigial structures in the human body.”

However, as scientists learn more about the human body, they are discovering that these organs are not useless after all.  (Examples are given in the Study Guide.)

Conclusion: that list of 180 organs is now down to 0.  Every part of our body plays an important role.

(4:00-5:05)

The Facts:

Vestigial does not mean ‘useless’.  Vestigial just means ‘leftover’ and refers to the idea that these structures seem to have lost all or most of their original function through evolution.

Here is a response to the claim that nearly all vestigial organs have been found to have uses.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Two Worldviews

The Story: At the Scopes Trial, it was the battle between Creation and Evolution.

The Players involved:

John T. Scopes – the teacher who ‘taught’ evolution.

Clarence Darrow – lawyer for ACLU (Defence).  Portrayed by the characters as the ‘evolutionist’ who wanted laws to evolve (just as man has evolved).

William Jennings Bryan – lawyer for the Prosecution.  Portrayed by the characters as the Christian who was made to look stupid by the media.

The Study Guide states that the foundations of a worldview are beliefs about the origins of the world and about morality. Creation teaches that God made the world and that our morals come from Him, whereas evolution teaches that the world came about by chance and that there aren’t really any rules to live by – we make up our own.

The characters are indignant with the idea that laws can/should evolve.  Jonathan quotes Deuteronomy 7:11. Grandpa Benjamin affirms this and says, ‘That was the foundation of American thought.  The founding fathers understood that laws could only be based on God’s commandments.’

(9:00-10:15)

The Facts:

The dictionary defines worldview as ‘a comprehensive view or personal philosophy of human life and the universe’.  It comes from the German word Weltanschauung. (I learned something today!)

Based on this definition, evolution can hardly be called a worldview!

Evolution does not address the question of how life (or the world) originated – merely how life changed. So, the charge that evolution says that the world came about by chance is wrong.  (Not to mention that evolution is not a chance process.) Evolution also does not address questions of morality. Evolution is not a philosophy; it is a science.

So, once again, the characters have misrepresented evolution in order to discredit it!

Quoting Deuteronomy 7:11 was, um, interesting.  That verse refers to the 613 laws that God handed down to Moses.  Somehow I don’t think America’s laws are based on those 613 laws.

Laws do change – laws are continually being updated to serve modern situations.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Ape-man Fossils

The Story: The ‘evolutionists’ brought in four ape-man fossils as evidence in the Scopes Trial.  Since that time, scientists have shown/concluded that two were human, one was an ape, and one was a fraud.  So, at the trial there were no fossils presented that were half-man, half-ape.

More information can be found in the Study Guide.

(15:57-16:23)

The Facts: Although the fossils presented at the trial proved to be not ape-men, there are fossils that have been classified under human evolution.

If fossils were the only evidence for human evolution, we might be right to be wary.  However, the evidence for human evolution comes in many forms.

Information on Piltdown Man, Heidelberg Man, Australopithecus, Java Man, can all be found wikipedia and other places on the internet.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Inherit the Wind

The Story: The media turned the court case into a circus.  The movie Inherit the Wind portrayed the evolutionists as intelligent and the Christians as stupid.  And that is still how it is portrayed today.

(5:40-6:25)

The drug that was used to cause people to faint is Rohypnol.  The producers of a remake of Inherit the Wind were worried that the Scopes Festival would tell people the Truth (about Creation) and therefore people were unlikely to go watch their movie.  They were behind the druggings.

(21:00-21:45)

The Facts: Many people think Inherit the Wind is about the Scopes Trial.  Although it had its inspiration from the Scopes Trial, it would be better to describe it as a very much fictionalised account of it.  It could be argued that the main message of the movie is to allow people to think for themselves.  Although the topic under scrutiny in the movie is Creation vs. Evolution, the overall theme is about attitudes and ideas, and as such, very much relevant regardless of the topic.

The Creationists wanted to help out at the Scopes Festival in order to get the (Creation) Truth out.  They got Creation Scientists to speak at the festival.  (Were there any ‘Evolutionist’ Scientists? I doubt it.)   But it is the ‘evolutionists’ who are portrayed as the baddies when they try to sabotage the Festival.

TalkOrigins on Inherit the Wind.

Wikipedia on Inherit the Wind.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Conclusion

The main focus of the show was the Scopes Trial.  The program tried to show that the Scopes Trial made Bible-believing Christians look stupid and caused many to doubt the Bible. Listeners are encouraged to stand firm on God’s Word and learn the scientific evidence that supports the Bible.

At least twice the characters asserted that science agrees completely with the Bible.  This is a claim that is often made in the series but over and over again it has been shown that the writers only present things that support YECism and do everything they can to denigrate evolution.

Vestigial organs were claimed to be not ‘useless junk’ after all. Fossils were shown to be either fully man or fully ape  (or a fraud) and hence the listener is led to believe that there are no transitional fossils that show human evolution.  Presented with incomplete information, the listener is thus led to believe that Evolution is wrong and, therefore, Creation must be true.

The writing was pretty bad.  It was pretty obvious quite early on how the drug was administered.  (‘Here’s your coffee, sir.’)

Even though I have only had a brief taste of what this series has to offer, I think I can emphatically say that I won’t be drinking Vision Forum’s coffee.

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Posted on Friday, March 25th, 2011, in Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Vision Forum, Young-Earth Creation Organizations and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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