Walking Away from Creation Science?

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

A few people may be thinking, “Oh, there he goes again, getting ready to quit.” Not quite quit, but I did get a kind of warning that causes me to reexamine my attitudes and motives.

There have been several occasions upon which I considered walking away. It had nothing to do with loss of faith or lack of evidence. Indeed, this is a great time to be a biblical creationist! Apathetic responses to posts (whether mine or featured from others) from people who claim to support creation have been a big part of it, and I was doubting if I was called to do this after all.

However, the content is science and theology as well as creation science, and those are small niches. There are also what I call CiNOs — Christians in Name Only — who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk. Many professing Christians are biblically illiterate and functional heretics (see the links at “Christian, Find your Bible“). That, plus the fact that I’m a nobody (not having celebrity status is something I’ve freely admitted for years) make for a low number if hits. If I want attention, I’ll write about gaming or something else that’s wildly popular right now and not be doing special interest writing.

To end this segment on background, I’ll just say that after agonizing, seeking counsel, prayer, and so on, I resolved to remain faithful and keep going. The truth is too important, and creation is the foundation of the gospel.

Except…

Something I learned long ago is that anything can be an idol for someone. Obviously, people in Western countries are not fashioning idols out of stone or wood and bowing down to them as their gods. People make other things their gods and ignore the true God of the Bible. Games, sports, relationships, politics, sex, and even church can become our false gods.

People can give such a priority in doing the Lord’s work in one form or another that they forget the Lord. I cannot make creation science into an idol and with it, take undue pride and seek glory to Bob instead of glory to God.

RGBStock / Krzysztof Szkurlatowski

Every once in a while, I get a wake-up call.

There’s a guy (I’ll call him Perse) who posts many creation science links on a few social(ist) media platforms, using various groups and Pages (I capitalize Page because Fakebook does that, and it seems like a helpful distinction). His material is essentially what I call a link mill, sharing content from the big names in creation science but little if any original content.

The other day, Perse posted a link to a video on YouTube. It was “Check this out! a awesome video from Answers in Genesis” that the uploader first had to download from AiG.

Why do that? Although I don’t think AiG would care, it is actually copyright infringement — stealing. When I pointed this out, Perse deleted my comments. After being persistent, he wondered why I had a problem with it, and it was “something that I believe most people would find trivial”.

When I pressed him about deciding what other people would think, he said that I would “cause divisions between brethren who are supposed to be on the same side.” So, stealing is okay because it’s in the name of Jesus? Also, when I made a similar comment on that YouTube channel, my comment was hidden.

From there, he said that I have a problem with him and his content “because I’ve rarely used your content”, and that I have a problem with pride. Well, Perse seems to view my work as competition. If we’re on the same side as he said, why not share the content? Why avoid Question Evolution Day, which was a call to action for biblical creationists everywhere?

Yet I’m the one starting a “needless fight”. This all came about because I asked a question and rebuked the idea that stealing is all right because the end justifies the means. My speculation is that Perse felt convicted and didn’t want to admit it, so he lashed out in anger instead.

While Perse claimed to be glad that I’m doing creation science outreach, he also made several false claims, including appeal to motive. Essentially, he acted like an atheist! Don’t be disunderstanding me here, I’m not calling him an atheist or unbeliever, nosiree. His reasoning and statements were unchristlike. Unfortunately, some of my responses were approaching that same status, and I even declared that he was showing hatred for me.

There comes a time when Christians must correct, admonish, and rebuke one another. Those things need to be done in the Spirit, not from the flesh. A believer can be completely correct in saying something, but when it’s harsh and unloving, it’s likely to be rejected.

My wake-up call was that I began to consider if I have a problem with pride and self-glorification. Sure, an occasional acknowledgement of my work is nice, but I pray almost every day that what I am doing is glorifying to God and edifying to the saints.

Am I achieving my goal in keeping the proper attitude? Frequent praying for that should help. In addition to that, am I making creation science my idol? If that’s the case, I should walk away before I do harm to creation science and be dishonoring to God. I don’t want to be the kind of guy that Perse seems to be.

Yes, we all have sins in our lives, and none of us have achieved perfect sanctification. I get angry when people dishonor God, especially when atheists mock and blaspheme, so I need to work on patience and showing a Christlike spirit. We have to keep working at it through the Word and the Holy Spirit. So, I have to pause, pray, and consider what’s going on. Mayhaps there are believers reading this who will pray for me as well.

Copyright infringement is rampant, and saturates the web, especially YouTube. Sometimes, channels there have arrangements to allow their material to be posted. Although Perse falsely accused me of trying to police it, that would be impossible. It’s up to the owners to issue copyright takedown requests. Many copyright owners leave things alone because of the hassle, lack of financial harm, and gray areas regarding Fair Use.

Also, I admonish Christian writers to use images legally — just because it’s on the web doesn’t make it fair game. (Information on using images and links to several free sites, see “Images on the Web: An Appeal to Caution.”) Arrogance and theft do not belong in a Christian’s lifestyle, you savvy that, pilgrim?

So if creation science becomes my idol and I’m consumed with pride, I pray that I have enough sense to walk away.

“Featured Image” at the top by Vlad Vasnetsov at Pixabay

Cannabis, Cohen, and Copyright Infringement

A drum I keep banging on is about using caution when selecting images for articles, posts, and so on. Best disabuse your ownself of the notion that if a picture is on the web, anyone can use it. In fact, everything is copyrighted, whether registered or not. There are many sources of copyright-free images (several are listed here) to keep people out of trouble, but there are some things to keep in mind.

Marijuana cannabis law Cohen lawsuit
Assembled from graphics at Clker clipart.

Before I get to our lesson from Baron Cohen as Borat, there are a few other things that should be mentioned. Some graphics are borderline legal, such as “memes” and so forth. Many are so abundant that rightful owners have pretty much lost control, and may have trouble enforcing the copyright. Also, a low-resolution image is highly unlikely to cause the owner financial loss.

The Fair Use doctrine in these formerly United States is helpful, but it’s best to stay with the safe images as much as possible. (Also, the gray area of modifications to make derivatives can be difficult as well.) Legal challenges get expensive, even if the user is within his or her rights, so I recommend avoiding Fair Use unless standing on firm ground or it’s absolutely necessary. You can see how the Institute for Creation Research applied Fair Use in the fine print under this article.

Many free image sources do not require attribution, but I have a couple of reasons for doing it. One is to promote the photographer or artist and the site, and another is, I admit, for my own protection. If someone gets a burr under his or her saddle because I used a low-resolution image (usually under 100 kb), the attribution and link show that I acted in good faith. Public domain images are very helpful, but some caution is advised there as well if something is comparatively recent.

A fun fact that I learned from the occasionally-reliable Wikipedia: the word vetted and its derivatives came from horse racing.
“Has yon stallion been vetted?”
“Aye, we brought the vet(erinarian) to check him, M’lud”.

I brought that up to say that people can vet a photo image site.

Even with free image sources, we must be extremely careful to avoid giving the appearance that identifiable people in the pictures or brand names are used to imply the endorsement of something, or that they are presented in a bad light.

By the way, I try to avoid using pictures of children and minors. Miners, sure.

Now (at long last) to the huge illustration. Actually, it’s billboard-sized. Baron Cohen’s image was used by a cannabis company to promote their product, and he’s suing. It’s mighty surprising that someone was that stupid. The slightest bit of research would reveal that permission to use the likeness of a person or character must be obtained. Cohen said he doesn’t even smoke doobies, brother.

While that lawsuit is an extreme example, it should also be a reminder on how we use images in our work. Christians need to use extra care because we want to glorify God and do our best. Also, misotheists and others hate us, and look for any excuse to attack, or even bring legal action to waste our time and money.