Review: Jonathan Park: Ep. 52 – Battle of the Worldviews, Part 2

This is part 2 of a two-part review. Part 1 can be found here.

For more Jonathan Park reviews, click here.

Plot Summary:

Sparks fly in the remote Burgess Shale of British Columbia as the Explorer’s Society and CRT face off in a battle of worldviews over the dawn of life. While chasing after Shadow, Jessie finds herself stuck in an ice crevasse. Shannon Hunt of the Explorer’s Society attempts to rescue Jessie, but also falls into the ice cave. Now it’s up to Jonathan to get help as a friendship forms between Jessie and Shannon. As night falls, wolves begin to gather, and Jessie begins to show signs of hypothermia. Will Jonathan make it back before time runs out? (Taken from here.)

Topics in this episode:

  • Burgess Shale
  • Persistent Morphological Isolation
  • Creation vs. Evolution
  • Tree vs. Orchard

The Study Guide for this episode can be found here: jp_vol5_study_guide_epi51-52

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:

Burgess Shale

The Story:
Both evolutionists and creationists are fascinated by the amount of fossils found at the Burgess Shale. Evolutionists are fascinated by the variety of organisms found there. Some of the creatures are still around today, but many of them have already gone extinct. Katie worries that this could be considered evolution, but her mom assures her by saying that if we saw these creatures slowly evolving into other animals, then Creationists would have  problem.  But, as it is, we see fully-formed creatures that seemed to just become extinct.

Katie says that Dr Park (dad) said that there is a sudden explosion of fully-formed animals with no transitional fossils and wonders if Creationists believe that the Burgess Shale shows what happened during Creation Week.  Her mom says no, Creationists believe that the layers were laid down much later by the Flood.  The fossils are only a sample of the creatures that existed at that time; they happened to be caught and deposited at the Burgess Shale.

(5:10-6:21)

The Facts:
The ‘no transitional fossils’ is an oft-repeated claim by Creationists. Contrary to what this show presents, there ARE transitional fossils.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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Persistent Morphological Isolation

The Story:
Dr Park says that the Burgess Shale is strongly in the Creationists’ court for many reasons – one of them being Persistent Morphological Isolation. Morphology is the study of the form and structure of an animal. Isolation means to be separated; the fossils that are seen at the Burgess Shale are so completely different from each other that we don’t see any animal evolving into others.  This is important because this is the first time the animals appear in the fossil record.  If evolution were true, they would have evolving from common ancestors. They should look similar to each other; they shouldn’t be such large gaps between different body types and plans. Persistent means continuing.  Evolutionists have to claim that this huge variety of animals all had to evolve very quickly in 5-10 million years. But, we have not seen them continue to evolve in the 500 million years since then.  They persistently stay isolated.  Dr Park asks, ‘Why would they change so much in 5-10 million years and then so little in the next 500 million?’

(9:53-11:22)

The Facts:
Morphology does refer to the study of the form and structure of animals. However, I tried looking up Persistent Morphological Isolation and my search yielded no results on this topic.  Not even young-Earth Creationist websites.

Dr Park is making an argument from incredulity.  Just because something seems incredible, does not mean that it could not have happened.

Evolutionary biologists propose that evolutionary processes happen in quick spurts followed by long periods of nothing much happening.  It is not a slow, steady, gradual process.  This idea is known as punctuated equilibrium. The subject of punctuated equilibrium was briefly mentioned and scorned by Dr Park  in Episode 26.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Creation vs. Evolution

The Story:
While the CRT were busy trying to rescue Jessie and Dr Hunt, the Explorer’s Society were able to get a lot of filming done and it looks like the Explorer’s Society is going to win the first round.  Dr Park wonders if it is possible for one last filming session before they have to leave.

When the two teams meet up, one member of the Explorer’s Society says that he feels that their team have made a solid case for evolution. Jonathan mutters, ‘That’s not good!’

(17:35-18:41)

The Facts:
There is NO need for that comment from the Explorer’s Society and certainly no need for that remark from Jonathan!  No matter which side wins whichever round, it is not going to make any difference whatsoever in the scientific community because ‘battling it out’ on a TV show and letting a studio audience decide is not how science is done.

If Jonathan has serious objections to evolution, then he needs to study hard, join the scientific community (CRT won’t cut it!) and do some serious research, and publish his results in peer-reviewed journals.

The implication here seems to be that there are only two sides: Evolution and Creation, when there are actually more than two sides.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Tree vs. Orchard

The Story:
Evolutionists say that all life started out with a single cell and then as time went on, simple organisms became more complex and ‘branched out’ into the variety we see today.  This is like a tree.

Creationists would say that the beginning was more like an orchard where there were created kinds.  Over time, each kind would show different variations. One kind can never become another kind.

Dr Park contends that as we look at the fossil record at the Burgess Shale, we see distinct fossil kinds and not simple fossils evolving into more complex ones.  This is a point in the Creationists’ favour.

(20:00-20:58)

The Facts:
Merely looking at the fossils and then trying to see which model it fits (based on preconceived ideas) can hardly be called good science!  The analogy here of a tree vs an orchard is really too simplistic and ignores evidence from other scientific fields.

According to the wikipedia article on Common Ancestor, ‘There is strong quantitative support, by a formal test for the theory that all living organisms on Earth are descended from a common ancestor.’ There is strong evidence for common descent.

This volume of Jonathan Park was produced in 2007 and in 2009, Pat Roy was still using this ‘Tree vs. Orchard’ analogy when discussing the difference between evolution and creation.  You will need to scroll down to the comments section to read his and other people’s comments.

[Click here to return to list of Topics.]

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

Conclusion

This episode spent a lot of time on the ‘adventure’ story and not a lot on discussing science.  The Creationists are portrayed as being able to fit the observations to their model of Creation and the Flood. Through over-simplifying what evolutionary biology is (not to mention other scientific fields), the Creation Response Team seems to win convincingly.  The filming segments always end with the Creationist having the last word. The Study Guide says “Evidence best fits the Creation Response Team’s position.”  Therefore, I found it interesting that in the program, the TV studio audience voted for the Explorer’s Society.

<< Previous: Ep. 51 | List of Reviews | Next: Ep. 53 >>

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Posted on Thursday, April 14th, 2011, in Creation vs Evolution, Jonathan Park, Jonathan Park Reviews, Vision Forum. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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