AN organisation is to tour Ireland with an event teaching children that dinosaurs and humans existed on Earth at the same time.There are no such things as “alternative” facts. There are scientific observations about observable phenomena that generate hypotheses. If several thousand of these hypotheses support a particular model, then a theory explaining the phenomenon is generated. That is how we have gravitational theory, cell theory, plate tectonic theory and, yes, evolutionary theory.
The ‘Prehistoric Preachers Dinosaur Roadshow’ is hosted by Creation Ministries, which promotes the belief that the world is only around 6,000 years old.
The fundamentalist Christian organisation says the roadshow - to visit four venues across the north during May before moving to five locations in the Republic – will teach the “true history of the world to young and old alike”.
Children are offered the chance to sit on life-size replicas of dinosaurs and take home an “educational free gift”.
However, it has been warned that the message that dinosaurs did not die out 65 million years ago flies in the face of conventional understanding of natural history, with one critic dubbing the claims put forward by organisers as “dangerous alternative facts”.
Facts are instances in which so many concurrent observations have been made that support a particular understanding of some natural phenomenon that it is regarded as a near certainty. Everyone on the planet agrees that marble is a rock. No one has ever observed marble behaving in such a way that makes one suspect that it is not. Therefore, it is a FACT that marble is a rock.
Theoretical constructs, on the other hand, are open to examination and change. Young earth creationism is a theory that the earth was created six thousand years ago and that modern science supports this. That can be critically examined. When it is, however, it is found that no hypotheses that are constructed to test this theory have been found that DO support it. Put simply, the theory has no empirical justification. Further, it is found that the primary advocates of this theory put it forth from a religious and not a scientific perspective.
But you knew this.
The problem is in calling these“alternative facts.” They are not. They are scientifically unsupportable statements made about observable phenomena and that is what they need to be called.