|Volume 10 Number 9||www.ntskeptics.org||September 1996|
We have previously seen Baugh on national TV on Nova's God, Darwin, and Dinosaurs and on NBC's now famous Mysterious Origins of Man. Back when scientists and engineers were earnestly planning the Super Collider a local daily had him on to explain why probing the universe within was such a waste. All of his literature lists him as "Carl Baugh, Ph.D.," and he also claims an M.A. in archeology from Pacific College of Graduate Studies. The Skeptic has previously discussed Carl Baugh's alleged degrees, including his association with the College of Advanced Education in Irving, Texas. More recently a video tape on sale at his museum mentions a Ph.D. in education from Pacific College but makes no reference to the College of Advanced Education.
A previous visit to the museum several years ago showed it to be a converted double-wide mobile home sitting on several acres in rural Somervell county outside Glen Rose. Inside were exhibited the numerous artifacts and natural fossils that have become so famous through Baugh's promotions, while outside, near the museum office was the site's most prominent feature. Reclining on the ground was a huge, metal cylinder that appeared to have been scavenged from an oil refinery. Photo coverage in the Dallas Times Herald had shown Baugh standing inside the tank and describing plans to duplicate the conditions he says existed previously on the Earth. Presumably the tank was to become a hyperbaric chamber in which plants and animals would live in twice normal atmospheric pressure.
Carl Baugh was not present on my first visit in 1992, but a woman in charge on that day demonstrated to us the museum's collection and attempted to explain the Earth's history according to Baugh. Without Baugh's gift for gab, the story fell a little flat, but we were still able to obtain some of the intended flavor.
Follow-up visits in June of this year turned out to be worth the effort. Although Baugh again was not present in person, he still manifested his presence through the workings of modern technology. The interior of the museum has been thoroughly remodeled with new and expanded exhibits, and Baugh speaks to visitors as a recorded voice, and the recording operates spotlights in the room, highlighting in turn the particular features being discussed. What a story he has to tell. Here is a synopsis created from my notes, with some of my interpretations within brackets. My apologies to Mr. Baugh if I have missed some of his finer points:
Day 1: Electrolysis by the spirit of God moving on the waters separates water into its components, oxygen and hydrogen.Carl Baugh's fascination with hyperbaric chambers has previously been mentioned. Located at the rear of the exhibition area is a working chamber, which museum operator Doyle Roberts says is kept at 13 psi above atmospheric pressure. It's about 30 inches in diameter and 7 feet long with numerous viewing windows, and Baugh's presentation states it is the world's first hyperbaric biosphere. We are told that the lives of fruit flies have been extended, and the molecular structure of snakes has been altered; simply by placing them in the chamber. Additionally, near the chamber there is a large aquarium containing two full-grown piranhas, which are affected by the electromagnetic energy of the chamber. This chamber has gained the attention of scientists at NASA.
Day 2: Oxygen and hydrogen crystallize into a spherical "canopy" around the Earth. The canopy glows a magenta color under sunlight [producing a light that is very beneficial to things living on the planet].
Day 3: Robert Gentry has previously demonstrated that granite was created in about 0.164 second. The evidence for this is the presence of pleochroic halos [which indicate the prior existence of short-lived radioactive isotopes in the stone at the time it was formed]. [Arthur Strahler discusses this subject in his excellent book Science and Earth History.]
Day 4: God stretched out the heavens. The fabric of the universe was stretched out in a manner which, according to Einstein's equations and the equations of quantum mechanics, caused a few hours time to give the appearance of millions of years. Russell Humphreys, a Ph.D. physicist working at Sandia National Laboratory has published equations that demonstrate that if the dimensions of the universe were stretched in this manner, then millions of years in outer space would be equivalent to only thousands of years on Earth.
Day 5: There is still a pinkish glow on the Earth. The canopy 10 miles above the Earth's surface has compressed the air to produce this effect. Also, the Earth's electromagnetic energy is stronger and there is no UV radiation [because of the canopy] to cause free radical damage, allowing living organisms to express their optimal genetic information.
Day 6: The fabric of the universe continued to stretch out.
Hundreds of years later: From science we know that the thought processes of man in discord can affect nuclear decay. The discord and violence in man during this time would disrupt the nuclear reactions within the Earth, causing enormous heating and causing 70-mile-high fountains of water to burst through the granite crust and to penetrate and disrupt the canopy above the Earth. This would result in the rain that drowned all but Noah's family and the animals on his ark. Also during this time the creator bowed the heavens, further stretching the fabric of the universe. [There is some mention of the Moon bringing the waters into resonance, but I could not follow the explanation.] Baugh also reminds the audience of the quantum interconnection between all parts of the universe. [See Roger Penrose for more on this.]
About 200 years after the flood was the Peleg episode during which the Earth expanded and divided. There was a 10% expansion in the Earth's radius due to internal thermonuclear reactions. During the original creation and during the Peleg episode the continental land masses were thrust upon each other producing the ice ages, which lasted 100s of years instead of 1000s of years. This and the previous episode of thermonuclear expansion are confirmed by geophysics. Since the canopy was gone, the Earth's electromagnetic field could not be contained, and it dissipated into space. Likewise a portion of the Earth's gravitational attraction was lost, and there was [and has been since] a smaller oxygen ratio resulting in compromised and shorter-lived life forms. Also, the spring 1995 issue of Scientific American contains a report that in 1500 years all of the Earth's electromagnetic field will be lost unless there is a return of the creator. [Since Scientific American did not publish a spring 1995 issue, I have had a hard time tracking down this reference.]
Finally, there will be in the future a millennial sphere in which people will live in utopia. Music will play in the heads of the inhabitants.
The museum's other major attractions include artifacts that have become hallmarks of the Carl Baugh phenomenon:
The future of the Creation Evidences Museum is as interesting as its past. An exhibit near the museum entrance describes plans for an expanded and permanent facility northeast of Glen Rose. The project will require the purchase of 42 acres of land at $10,000 per acre and will involve the construction of a modern building measuring 500 feet long, 86 feet wide, and 52 feet high, roughly the dimensions of the legendary Ark of Noah. The facility will feature a 100-foot-long hyperbaric biosphere and a Hall of Creation, a 750-seat auditorium. Donations are being solicited for the project.
No mention is made about the future of the existing hyperbaric chamber shell still resting on the grounds of the museum. When I first visited the site and toured the inside of the tank, I noted that it was far from being a hyperbaric chamber in its then current state. A number of circular openings had been sawed or flame-cut in the shell to let in light. Screw holes had been drilled adjacent to the openings to facilitate the installation of protective coverings, but at time only clear plastic sheeting was in place. The plastic sheeting is now gone. In order for this structure to become a hyperbaric chamber, it will have to be modified to become pressure tight, which means at the least that pressure flanges will have to be welded to these new openings, and appropriate view ports will have to be installed. Additionally, the State of Texas will have to inspect the finished product and issue a pressure vessel certificate before the operators will be allowed to increase inside pressure more than about a few pounds per square inch. This is not likely to happen, considering the deteriorated state of the tank. The only improvement I note since my first visit four years ago is that the tank now rests on a concrete slab instead of lying on the ground.
The museum is open on week days and on Saturdays until about 3:30 p.m. Admission is two dollars. To get there, go to Glen Rose, and from the intersection of highways 144 and 67 go west on 67. Outside Glen Rose, on the right, is a road sign showing the way to the Dinosaur Valley State Park. Head toward the park, and after two to three miles you will cross a bridge and see the museum on the right. Do make sure you save time to visit the state park, as well. The park museum has exhibits that tell the geological history of this region, and in the Paluxy River bed there are real dinosaur footprints for you to see and touch. Be prepared to go hiking and wading.
1. Hastings, Ronnie, Rick Neeley, and John Thomas, A Critical Look at Creationist Credentials in The Skeptic, Vol. 3, No. 4. July-August 1989.
2. Kuban, Glen J., A Follow-Up on Carl Baugh's Science Degrees in The Skeptic, Vol. 3, No. 5. September-October 1989.
3. Strahler, Arthur N., Science and Earth History, p. 138. Prometheus Books, 1987.
4. See also Morris, Henry M., The Genesis Record, p. 260. Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, 1990.
5. Others besides myself may wonder how believers can reconcile this hammer with known archeology. The hammer was discovered in Texas, which is on the North American continent where there is no known evidence of human habitation prior to about 15,000 years ago. Also, the design of the hammer does not seem to match any artifact of the advanced civilizations that existed on this continent prior to 1492. In fact, the design is unlike any I have seen dated prior to the industrial revolution. It appears to be straight out of the 19th century. Furthermore, the hammer is alone. Its technological companions: anvils, horseshoes, hinges, nails, even iron knife blades and cooking utensils are missing from the geological record in North America.
6. Local creationist Don Patton has long touted the Burdick Track in his lectures and writings. When asked about it recently he recounted that it was obtained from Cross Creek, a tributary of the Paluxy River, south of Glen Rose. It was not found embedded in the stone base of the creek, he said, but was in a piece of stone from a layer higher up that had fallen into the creek. Patton has compared the Burdick Track to existing prints (dinosaur and otherwise) in the Paluxy river bed, to human prints discovered by Mary Leakey, and to prints he has produced in wet concrete and which photographs he is not exhibiting. All of this appears to do nothing for the case of the Burdick Track, because it only points how unlike any real print this article is.
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That Martian meteorite. Despite warnings from skeptical scientists that declaring this rock to be proof of life on Mars was highly premature (one university had already examined a piece of the same rock and concluded that it exhibited the opposite of what they would consider signs of life), NASA scientists rushed to a press conference to breathlessly announce that "WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!" This is appallingly bad science, but that's beside the point. The press conference had the desired effect: After years of public ennui over boring space shuttle missions, suddenly we were inundated with exciting stories about alien life (usually illustrated with scenes from the recent documentary, Independence Day) and the necessity to explore the cosmos. Ray Walston, former star of My Favorite Martian, noted with refreshing disgust that he had rejected a plea from CBS News to join top scientists in discussing life on Mars. Within 24 hours, President Clinton was proposing a manned flight to Mars to see if there is any life up there (or better yet, any night life), and NASA administrators were happily calculating how many more tens of billions of dollars they would need added to their budget to tackle this urgent mission.
Personally, I am in favor of funding space research, but is it really necessary to start using hype techniques more worthy of P.T. Barnum in order to get the public interested, then later have to admit you jumped the gun? Isn't that a bit counterproductive in the long run?
Next case: Tobacco. As H.L. Mencken once said, the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the public clamoring to be led to safety from a series of hobgoblins, and this year's bogeyman is the evil weed, Mr. Butts. With overall illegal drug use up 78% among 12- to 17-year-olds since 1992, and teen cocaine use alone up by 166% in the same period, anyone with the slightest logical thinking ability must wonder how declaring nicotine to be a drug is going to keep teenagers from trying it.
Don't get me wrong: I'm a non-smoker whose father smoked heavily and died of cancer, and I hate cigarettes with a great seething passion. But transferring billions of dollars from tobacco companies to lawyers and bureaucrats is not my idea of a positive social development. The hysterical overstatement about the dangers of second-hand smoke is becoming as loud and shrill as a Mariah Carey concert, and some of the EPA studies backing it up are even less scientific than the bilge coming out of the Tobacco Institute (Talk about fighting smoke with smoke!)
We now have people who think they can stand on the far side of a basketball arena from a smoker for five minutes and catch emphysema as if it were an airborne virus. I actually heard an anti-smoking zealot call a radio talk show last week and vehemently insist that nicotine is twice as addictive as heroin (In that case, why not let the tobacco companies replace the nicotine in their cigarettes with heroin? I bet they'd be happy to oblige!) In announcing the reclassification of tobacco as a drug, President Clinton came out with a statement that would have raised howls if Dan Quayle had uttered it. He said it was necessary to take this action, even though he admitted that the scientific evidence "was clearly unclear."
What is clearly clear is that in an election year, "scientific evidence" is becoming as scarce as Ted Koppel at a political convention. My hobby is history, and my occupation is current events, but apparently, today's uplifters have no interest in either. America already tried banning an unhealthy substance legally available to adults back in the 1920s with a noble experiment called Prohibition, and it was an utter failure. It didn't prevent anyone from drinking alcohol: it just insured that the alcohol was impure, unregulated and untaxed, and it vastly enriched mobsters, smugglers and bootleggers.
If that example is too far in the dim past, then let's look at freon. This easily-produced coolant was blamed for ozone depletion and global warming, even though there was scant evidence for such a claim. But since politics are unfazed by evidence, the government mandated that all cars made after 1995 must use an alternative coolant, even though the alternative was known to be carcinogenic; thus we traded a theoretical threat of skin cancer for a definite threat of lung cancer. And of course, freon had to be banned outright, even though allowing the old freon-based car A/C systems to disappear by attrition would have removed them from circulation just as quickly.
And what was the result of the freon ban? The price of freon has been artificially inflated from a dollar a can to over $20 a can. Poorer Americans (those who can't afford to buy a new car, no matter what the EPA orders) have seen the cost of a simple A/C service soar from $25 to over $120. Of course, freon is still readily available, since it's being manufactured everywhere in the world except here (and is leaking out at the exact same rate, with the same effect on the ozone layer, whatever that may be). In fact, the A.P. just reported that freon is now one if America's most smuggled items, and mobsters are making a bundle on it. Just like Prohibition.
If it were up to me, all the cigarettes in the world would be flushed down a giant toilet, but I'm a realist. If cigarettes were banned outright, what would be the result? If you answered, "America would be flooded with more cigarettes than ever, the mob would be richer than ever, the loss of tax revenue would cause the deficit to balloon, and ordinary Americans would suffer," then you are far too logical to be a politician, or, apparently, a voter. But don't worry: I have great confidence that no matter which party wins on November 5, a deal will be cut to deposit a few billion dirty tobacco company dollars into a few pressure groups' bank accounts, and the clamor over the tobacco hobgoblin will start dying down, sometime around, oh, I'd say . . . November 6.
As you'll recall from my last column, Guccione waged a massive publicity campaign to trumpet the September issue of Penthouse, which he claimed contained the first genuine photos of a space alien. Guccione said he got them from a "mystery woman" whose father took them for the military in the 1940s, and he was so convinced of their authenticity, he paid between $50,000 and $200,000 for them.
Well, they've now been published, and as Hard Copy (of all sources!) reported, professional UFO investigators immediately recognized them as the exact same photos which had already run in a British UFO magazine and which have floating around the Internet for over a year. They are pictures of a dummy alien made for the Showtime movie Roswell. The prop alien was donated to a UFO museum in Roswell, New Mexico, which is where the photos were obviously taken. In the background, you can even see the bars of the hospital bed in which the dummy alien is displayed. At least they managed to crop out the tourists and the UFO postcard rack.
Guccione's response was classic. He suggested that his photos were the real item, and the people who made the prop alien might have based it on them! This would have been difficult, since he also claimed they were unveiled for the first time ever in the September '96 Penthouse. Perhaps he should swallow his losses and take comfort in the fact that it's hardly the first time a naked body made mostly of plastic has appeared in Penthouse.
From my local paper, the Waxahachie Daily Light, comes the story of a 33-year-old security guard who was charged with theft for using his employer's business line to make $1,700 worth of long-distance calls to psychic phone services. Wonder what they told him? "I see a change of jobs in your future . . ."
Remember all that brouhaha about a cross in a California park? Well, a federal court has ruled against a Christian group that sued the city of San Jose to remove a 10-ton sculpture of the Aztec serpent god Quetzalcoatl from a city park. The court ruled that since nobody worships Quetzalcoatl anymore, a statue of a giant snake has no religious significance. Except that it does bear a striking resemblance to Robert Tilton.
Madonna moved out of her Los Angeles mansion, reportedly because she thinks it is haunted. Jay Leno commented, "Know what that means? All that screaming and moaning? It wasn't her!"
Speaking of haunted houses, the A.P. reports that Elvis Presley fan Phyllis Collas moved from New Jersey to Memphis to live in a house near Graceland that Elvis bought for a friend in the 1960s, and now, she claims that Elvis is haunting her house. The proof: The TV changes channels, seemingly by itself. Doors slam, and the toilet seat banged down by itself. Banana-nut muffins disappeared in the night (a dead giveaway!). There's a foggy smear on the patio door that some people think is shaped sort of like Elvis (the older, fatter Elvis, I assume). Most convincing of all, a local school for psychics conducted an "energy scan" and declared that Elvis' ghost was indeed visiting. They knew it had to be Elvis when they heard a ghostly voice moan, "Boo! . . . Boo! . . . Boo suede shoes, baby! . . ."
Finally, this just in: Bob Guccione has paid $200,000 for Phyllis Collas' patio door.
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In a previous issue one of our columnists belabored the group of atheists in San Diego who sought the use of a local park for an Easter sunrise gathering, a use previously given exclusively to local Christians. It turns out the atheists showed religious leanings parallel to, but quite apart from, those of the Christians, and this was deemed notable. In a subsequent issue a published letter pointed out perceived inconsistencies in the original piece, and the writer sought to make clear the position of the atheists. Now a third letter as on the subject has arrived, and we are making plans to publish it if we can fit it into available space. And it goes on.
Of course I, as well as you, find all of this quite fascinating. It's the kind of stuff that fills our otherwise shallow lives and makes for great Sunday supplement reading. I don't need to pick on religious issues either; there are a number of others that will do. A good example would be the silly extremes of political correctness, which has already had its fifteen minutes of fame. My question now is, "What does all of this have to do with The Skeptic and with the NTS?"
Granted, the NTS is devoted to countering modern society's infatuation with hair-brained concepts and logical disjunctures, and don't these fit the bill? Certainly these topics provide excellent examples of fuzzy thinking, but then screwball logic permeates just about all fields of human discourse to some extent. I think it unwise to use faulty thinking as a lone criterion for the inclusion of any topic. What, then, does merit consideration?
Belief in the paranormal [whatever that means] gets an obvious nod. This can include religious issues whenever religious doctrine extends to contradiction of known facts or physical law. Faith healing, creationism, and spirit channeling come to mind. Egregious lack of scientific rigor can earn our attention, as with the case of the EMF controversy, graphology, and polygraphs. And, naturally, old fashioned superstition (e.g., astrology, numerology, and belief in alien abductions) is a legitimate topic. Have I covered everything? Certainly not. Otherwise we could just close up shop and go into crystal healing or something equally profitable.
The final arbiters are you, readers. Keep in mind, that the NTS is run by those who show up for the January meeting, and The Skeptic prints what you send in. Let us hear from you. However, keep it short—300 well-chosen words should suffice. We don't promise to print everything, but we will be letting you know what we find out.
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