Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 49 – The Explorer’s Society, Part 1
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The Creation Response Team is using their last funds to help with a video project at Niagara Falls. That’s when they meet the Explorer’s Society, an evolutionary team known for their outstanding contributions to science since 1850. And now the Society’s daredevil, Jack, is going to ride a jet-ski over the falls, unless a jealous saboteur is successful at stopping him — at any cost! Join the adventure as the CRT saves Jack and challenges the Explorer’s Society on the national TV show, “Battle of the Worldviews!”
Topics in this episode:
- Creation Message
The Study Guide for episodes 49-50 can be found here: jp_vol5_study_guide_epi49-50
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.
The Story: Dr Park and Jonathan speak at a church spreading the (young-Earth) Creation message. They give a brief history of geological studies to the pastor afterwards.
Nicholas Steno wrote a book entitled Forerunner in 1669 and the official start of the study of geology started about 200 years ago. This is when people started questioning the Bible – in the late 18th century; men began publishing books that doubted Biblical ages.
Dr Park concludes by saying that two views of geologic formation developed: quick, water catastrophes or gradually over long periods. In time, scientists who held to the latter view of millions of years took over the field of geology and Christians (sadly) followed instead of just trusting God. Jonathan then says that it is ironic that there is now so much evidence to show that those original geologists were right; rock layers and fossils point back to Noah’s flood.
WHY is Dr Park telling churches about (young-Earth) Creation (and by default, finding fault with evolution)? If he thinks there are problems with evolution, then he should go about it via the proper channels, ie, the scientific community. Telling churches the problems with evolutionary theory will do nothing to change scientific opinion, because that is not how science is done. Dr Park is not acting with integrity.
Proper science is done by studying the evidence and then making conclusions. Scientific findings that cause people to ‘question the Bible’ or to ‘doubt Biblical ages’ affords the opportunity to study the Bible more closely, and should not be seen as a reason to dismiss those scientific findings altogether. Scientists don’t automatically accept/reject something just because it agrees/disagrees with the Bible because, once again, that is not how science is done. This should NOT be seen as undermining the Bible in any way. The Bible stands on its own.
Using the Bible as the final authority on scientific matters and telling people that science fits completely with the Bible (a statement that has appeared more than once in the Jonathan Park series) is dangerous to the faith. The Church learned a lesson with the heliocentrism/geocentrism controversy: verses which were thought to support geocentrism had to be read and interpreted in a different light when the evidence for heliocentrism could no longer be denied. Unfortunately, YECists are doing it now with the Creation/Evolution debate by insisting on a rejection of findings that do not agree with their interpretation of the Bible, eg, theories that involve evolution in any form. There is overwhelming evidence in support for evolution and this insistence by YECists is causing many people to walk away from the faith or have difficulty becoming Christians. This is hardly the outcome that YECists are hoping for, considering that their mission is to build people’s faith and to spread the ‘Creation Message’!
This segment was difficult to listen to because Dr Park and Jonathan are appealing to emotion as they relate past scientific developments and lament on how it caused Christians to doubt and just follow the crowd instead of taking a stand (for the Bible). The message seems to be that Christians ‘just’ need to trust the Bible more than mainstream science: In the end, the scientific findings will match the Bible, so we mustn’t doubt or lose faith.
This is not how science is done, so I will not talk about it anymore.
[Click here to return to list of Topics.]
The Story: Dr Park explains that uniformitarianism is the idea that the present holds the key to the past. Scientists look at the way things are now and assume that things were the same in the past and from there draw conclusions. Jonathan recites 2 Peter 3:3-7 to show that uniformitarianism is wrong. More information can be found in the Study Guide. (14:24-16:00 and 18:15-19:50)
The Facts: Saying that 2 Peter 3:3-7 is a warning about uniformitarianism is a common tactic by YECists. Not everyone interprets these verses the same way, and in fact, there are many who disagree strongly with the YEC interpretation. But as this goes into theology, I will leave it to the interested reader to explore this issue on his own. Just type in “2 Peter 3:3-7 uniformitarianism” in your search engine to get yourself started on this interesting topic.
In any case, it will be later revealed that scientists today no longer subscribe to uniformitarianism.
[Click here to return to list of Topics.]
This show focused on information about Niagara Falls and the concepts of uniformitarianism and rates of erosion and how scientists use these concepts to make calculations about the age of Niagara Falls. The material is presented in a way to lead the listener to believe that mainstream scientists work with a lot of assumptions which greatly affect their conclusions. These conclusions don’t agree with the Bible and this can cause many Christians to doubt their faith. (Better to ‘just’ trust the Bible!)
The Explorer’s Society is, upon first introduction, seen as brash and pushy, creating a negative first impression in the listener’s mind. Nevertheless, the two groups do interact and get along later on in the show. The most interesting quote from one member of The Explorer’s Society came at 20:23-20:25: ‘I guess my beef with these Creationists is their claim that evolution and the Bible are in conflict. And yet, there are thousands of evolutionary scientists like myself who believe in God.’ I hope this idea will be picked up and expanded on later on in this volume (I have not listened to it all yet).
Overall, the episode seemed to build distrust and wariness of mainstream scientific findings by showing how scientists are always refining their conclusions. The Study Guide specifically says, “The Bible is the truth. When a ‘new discovery’ seems to contradict the Bible, it is usually best to – wait and see‚ because in the end the Bible will always been shown to be reliable.” It is statements like this that can cause an intellectually honest person have a crisis in faith or to hold back from becoming a Christian.