NSF Funds Misleading Cartoons on Origin of Life
A slick new multimedia website called Exploring Life’s Origins made its debut this month. Dazzling artwork and vivid animations are highlights of the site.
The journey begins with a timeline of life’s evolution in which the viewer can drag a marker through billions of years of evolutionary progress. Controversial theories about the formation of the planets and the moon, the alleged Late Heavy Bombardment, and the origin of earth’s crust and atmosphere are presented in vivid artwork. Evolution and long ages are immune from falsification on the site, if and when controversies are admitted; e.g., “it appears that life evolved within a short billion years after Earth’s formation.” Of the Cambrian Explosion, the caption says that a sharp increase in diversity occurred in a relatively short time span, but the cause is unknown.
The centerpiece of the site is a series of colorful animations of molecules coming together to form the first living cell. The site gives prominence to the RNA World theory, though, surprisingly, the links page includes a reference to Robert Shapiro’s sharp criticism of it (see 02/15/2007). Once the building blocks are assembled, animations show the ingredients of protocells coming together with little trouble at all. The site makes all its visuals freely available to educators.
Where did this website come from? A look at the About page shows that the animator is Janet Iwasa, a National Science Foundation (NSF) Discovery Corps Postdoctoral Fellow, working in collaboration with Jack Szostak from Massachusetts General Hospital and the Museum of Science. A click on the link for the NSF site reveals that Janet received a $200,000 3-year grant primarily to “present chemical evolution in a clear and engaging way” to the general public. As could be expected, the pro-evolution blog Panda’s Thumb is thrilled.
A picture is worth a thousand blurs. Visualization is one of the most powerful, attractive and deceptive means of propaganda. For years we have presented technical reasons why these origin-of-life schemes do not work, mostly with admissions from the evolutionists themselves. Recently, for instance, the treatises by Robert Shapiro and Leslie Orgel take opposite sides on the leading theories and essentially falsify each other. Pigs don’t fly, Orgel said. Well, with animation, they can! Clever artwork can make anything seem real. Mountains of contrary evidence are almost powerless against the propaganda power of misleading visualizations.
Think of the thousands, perhaps millions, of public school students who could be subjected to the seductive mythology of chemical evolution with these videos. How many teachers will tell them about the problems? Damaging cross-reactions, the implausibility of a genetic code arising from repetitive crystals (10/30/2007), the thermodynamics that drive reactions toward disorder, the problem of chirality (see online book), and a dozen more falsifying facts that militate against the story are glossed over in these visuals. There is not one stage of the evolutionary timeline that is not subject to severe objections. Gaze into the crystal ball of Iwasa’s miracle visions, though, and it suddenly seems so real.
What’s real is that evolutionists are enraptured by imagination, not evidence (see 01/17/2007 commentary). Their faith rests on visions that could never come true in the real world. This isn’t the science lab; it’s Disneyland. It’s Journey into Imagination with Figment. Fun. Amusement. Entertainment. Escape. Fantasy. Virtual reality, conveyed by intelligently-designed false fronts backed by humans managing computers and machinery to create the illusion that impossible things happen every day (see 06/27/2005 commentary). What they fail to remind you is that when it’s over, you have to re-enter the real world, get into your car, and drive home. Then you have to balance your checkbook and realize what a fortune you just spent on titillating your imagination instead of getting any useful work done.
Disney loves to advertise the power of imagination, as do evolutionists (see 04/17/2008 and examples in the Baloney Detector under visualization). The difference is that the Disney company knows their imagineering is just for show, but the evolutionists believe their visions are real. They confuse their imagination with science. That’s a very dangerous delusion. Now, empowered with hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars, these Priests of the Magic Kingdom are on an evangelistic crusade to spread their gospel of imagination to the next generation of impressionable students.
Disraeli warned that error is often more earnest than truth. It will take some earnest reality checks to snap this crowd out of their hypnotic state. Do your duty to prevent a whole generation of amusement-addicted, imagination-inebriated zombies from overrunning the world. Want to get really mad about what’s happening with visualization in school? Read this.