Other Names for Noah?

A couple of years ago we wrote Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology. It’s been viewed almost 8,000 times, so we were concerned when one of our top ten reasons was recently called into question.

Our reason number 9 was:

Why has Noah been forgotten? Except for those cultures that have been exposed to the tale of the Ark as found in the Old Testament, no other people on Earth remember the name of Noah — the father of us all. It is absurd in the greatest degree to think that nations which routinely preserve the names of their great kings, warriors, and heroes, have somehow forgotten about Noah, to the point where they don’t even remember his name or the fact that he once existed.

No one ever informed us that we were mistaken about that, so we were surprised by a recent post at the website of the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis, the on-line ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It was written by ol’ Hambo himself: The Flood of Noah: Legends & Lore of Survival.

It’s a promotion for a new children’s book about the Flood. We were going to ignore it because it’s the usual creationist material, but then one paragraph caught our attention. Describing the book’s contents, Hambo says:

We then are given some of the names of Noah and his wife in the different cultures’ Flood accounts from around the world. Quite a few of the accounts have the name of Noah, or a very similar name like Nuah, Noe, Noeh, Nol, or Nu’u. Why would cultures as far away as China, Ireland, and Hawaii have similar names for the patriarchal figure who survived a great Flood unless there was an actual worldwide Flood with human survivors and the account was passed down almost universally?

How could we have been unaware of those other names for Noah? So we looked some of them up. The first one, Nüwa, according to Wikipedia:

is a goddess in ancient Chinese mythology best known for creating mankind and repairing the wall of heaven. Depending on the source, she might be considered the second or even the first Chinese ruler, with most sources not putting her on the role, but only her brother and/or husband Fu Xi.

Sorry, Hambo, but she ain’t Noah. Not even close.

Then there’s the last name in Hambo’s list, Nu’u, of whom Wikipedia says:

In Hawaiian mythology, Nu’u was a man who built an ark with which he escaped a Great Flood. He landed his vessel on top of Mauna Kea on the Big Island. Nu’u mistakenly attributed his safety to the moon, and made sacrifices to it. Kane, the creator god, descended to earth on a rainbow and explained Nu’u’s mistake.

Huh? We searched further. Hawaiian Mythology by Martha Beckwith gives a few different versions of the story, one with no boat at all, and states that the natives’ legend was intermingled with stories told to them by missionaries. That guy ain’t Noah either.

We searched for Hambo’s other names for Noah — Noe, Noeh, and Nol — but we couldn’t find them. If you know who they are (or were), dear reader, please let us know.

For the moment, we intend to stick with our top ten reasons. If there really is another legend about Noah and the global flood out there — one that isn’t the result of missionary influence — we’ll make an appropriate notation in our original post.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Casey Admits the Designer Is the First Cause

We always enjoy it when the Discoveroids try to impress us with their deep thoughts. They’ve done it again and posted the results at their creationist blog. To our great delight it’s written by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, who is also one of the Discovery Institute’s deepest thinkers.

Before we look at Casey’s post, keep in mind that the Discoveroids already emerged out of their closet, pranced around wearing ecclesiastical garb, and confessed that their “scientific” designer — blessed be he! — is transcendent. That means their designer exists beyond time and space, in that inaccessible and incomprehensible realm known only to the gods.

How much farther can they go before they officially abandon all pretense of being anything other than another pack of creationist — i.e., religiously motivated science-deniers? They never had too many people fooled in the first place, but if there were anyone left who thought that maybe — just maybe — they were thinking scientifically, that’s all over now.

Casey’s new article is Can We Escape the Need for a Transcendent First Cause? R.C. Sproul Argues “Not a Chance”! Ah, not only transcendent, but also the First Cause. That’s also known as the cosmological argument, a subject that can fill a small library all by itself.

If the “necessity” of a First Cause were a genuinely persuasive argument, we’d all be persuaded and theology would be more like math than what it is. The First Cause is an attractive argument for many, and it’s certainly an enduring one, but it’s pure apologetics. Nevertheless, it’s now being given central prominence by the Discoveroids, which means that their scientific charade is over.

Casey’s article is not what one would expect from an allegedly scientific think tank. It’s a gushingly favorable review of a book by two non-scientists, whom he describes as seminary professor and Christian author R.C. Sproul, and Keith Mathison, professor of systematic theology at Reformation Bible College. Their book is Not a Chance: God, Science, and the Revolt against Reason (Amazon listing). Casey says, with bold font added by us:

[T]he parts that will interest our readers the most explore the evidence that the universe arose due to purposeful intelligent design, and a First Cause, rather than unguided chance processes.

See what we mean? Their magical intelligent designer is now being identified as the First Cause. Casey then tells us:

Delving into physics and metaphysics, Sproul and Mathison argue that chance is not an explanation of anything. In fact, they argue, when we appeal to “chance,” that actually means we are ignorant of the true causes at work.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! No, not at all. For example, when we speak of mutations operating “by chance,” what we mean is that although we know what mutations are and how they occur according to the laws of chemistry, the variables are so numerous that we can’t predict what mutations will occur or when they will occur. But we understand their occurrence. Hang on, dear reader. It gets better:

As they write, “chance has no power to do anything” and “the chances of chance doing anything are nil.” Because chance can do nothing, and because it violates the law of non-contradiction to claim you “created yourself,” they conclude that it’s logically impossible that the universe simply popped into existence.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! No sane person thinks that “chance” is a force that does things, and certainly no one claims that “chance” created the universe. If Sproul and Mathison are arguing against such a wild idea, their entire book is a battle with a strawman. But Casey is impressed. We’ll skip several of his quotes from the book, after which he says:

So how did the universe come to be? In a passage that is very helpful for framing the issue, they note that there are only four options for explaining the origin of the cosmos:

Option 1: The cosmos is an illusion; it doesn’t exist.
Option 2: The cosmos is self-existent (and eternal).
Option 3: The cosmos is self-created.
Option 4: The cosmos is created by something else that is self-existent.

Casey and the theologians wisely reject Option 1. They also reject Option 3 because “it is formally false. It is contradictory and logically impossible.” That leaves Options 2 and 4 because, “if something exists then whatever exists is either ultimately self-existent or created by something that is self-existent.” For the meaning of “self-existent” we must refer to one of Casey’s quotes from the theologians, who (Casey claims) wrote:

A self-existent being, by its very nature, must be eternal. It has no antecedent cause, or else it would not be self-existent.

Ah, it must be self-existent because [*cough, cough*] otherwise it wouldn’t be self-existent. All clear? Right! Let’s move along. Casey then asks the Big Question:

So which is it: Is the cosmos self-existent, or was it created by something else that is self-existent?

We haven’t had this much intellectual excitement since … we can’t remember when. Casey then quotes Sproul and Mathison some more, after which he declares:

Thus, no matter how you answer this question, or what you call your answer, you can’t get away from the need for a first cause that sounds a lot like God.

But Casey, what if you’ve been calling your answer the “intelligent designer”? Haven’t you just given your whole game away? Yes, you have. Hey, he quotes the theologians again and then flat-out admits it:

This being has all of the attributes we normally ascribe to God. As Sproul and Mathison write, “From a scientific, metaphysical, or philosophical perspective it doesn’t matter what you call it. What matters is the concept or the reality, not the name or the word used to indicate it.” (p. 179) But if the being has all of the attributes we ascribe to God, who can protest if you use the name “God”?

Are we surprised? Not at the divine nature of the Discoveroids’ designer, but we are surprised at the open admission thereof, which contradicts all the Discoveroids’ earlier (litigation motivated) denials. Casey ends his essay with another quote from Sproul and Mathison, which begins:

Why is there something rather than nothing? “In the beginning God created the heavens and earth” (Gen. 1:1). This is the answer revealed by the Creator himself.

Casey, say hello to Ken Ham. Hambo, say hello to Casey and his buddies. You guys have a lot to discuss.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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ICR: The Mind of Brian Thomas

Many of the articles we find at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — were written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him.

That’s what we’re told about him. But do we really know him? How do such people become creationists and end up working for a place like ICR? Now, at last, they’ve posted an article that gives us some insight — Creation Conversion: The Turning Point.

There’s an introductory paragraph, and then the rest seems to be written by Brian himself. The intro says:

Seeing creation as God’s handiwork is a spiritual blessing, and not seeing it is a form of spiritual blindness. For some, the revelatory turning point of seeing the earth and universe as recent creations comes as a shock. Science Writer Brian Thomas had this experience.

Okay, dear reader, here comes the shocking turning point, in what seems to be Brian’s own words. He says, with bold font added by us:

When I was both a Christian and an evolutionist, I believed that science had proven fossils were millions of years old. A friend named Kurt, who was discipling me in Christ, asked me to explain this:

Pay careful attention. This is the question that Kurt put to Brian:

Fossils are dated by their rock layers, but then the rock layers are dated based on the age assigned to the fossils they contain. Could I refute this assertion? I had no good answer, except I thought it was just not possible that so many smart scientists could all make that same mistake.

The mythical circularity of strata and fossil dating is possibly one of the dumbest clunkers in the creationists’ inventory. It’s true that old fossils are found in old strata, but the age of fossils and strata aren’t assigned arbitrarily to make one consistent with the other. To claim otherwise is like claiming that people are arbitrarily designated as being of advanced age because they reside in retirement homes.

TalkOrigins has an article that discusses the alleged circularity problem: Radiometric Dating and the Geological Time Scale, and we mentioned it in The Lessons of Tiktaalik.

How did Brian handle this profound intellectual challenge? Let’s read on:

My friend repeated his question about a week later, and I tried to ignore it, along with his other challenges. Millions of years was simply too fundamental a belief for me to willingly question it. But for five weeks he kept asking me to explain the use of circular reasoning in dating fossils. Frustrated, I asked him to stop bothering me.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Brian couldn’t handle it. He continues:

So, he made me an offer. He would stop asking me if I would read Dr. Henry Morris’ book Scientific Creationism. I agreed, thinking that I would return to show him all the errors in the book and easily silence his challenges.

[...]

It took me several months, between school assignments, to read it all, but by the time I finished I was shocked to discover that the problems with evolution and its dating methods were insurmountable. One reason so many smart scientists could be wrong was that their secular beliefs frame which questions they are even willing to ask.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That was the big turning point. Thereafter, Brian became a creationist true believer. Here’s the end of his essay:

God will not force us to see His truth, but He does reward the seeker with new vision and a renewed mind. It is our prayer that God uses ICR’s resources, and those of other biblical creation ministries, to help cast down every argument that hinders knowing God and to open the eyes of this generation to biblical creation. We want all generations to have a creation conversion!

It’s an inspiring tale. And here’s the best part — if Brian could do it, you can too! So go forth, dear reader, and free you mind of the errors that lead all those scientists astray. Your reward will be eternal.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #479: Three Pillars of Truth

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the High Point Enterprise of High Point, North Carolina. The letter is titled ‘Cosmos’ attempts to counter intelligent design.

Yowie! It’s been months since we wrote about Cosmos: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson. We thought the series was great, but like everything else that offers people an opportunity to gain some knowledge, there are those who become (and remain) enraged that anyone would dare such a thing.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Clayton. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I’m responding to the renewed 13-part series “Cosmos” aired on U.S. television and around the world to counter creationism and intelligent design, but which has deepened the problems for evolution theory.

Lordy, lordy. This promises to be a great letter. We can’t stop now. Come on, Clayton, don’t hold back:

“Cosmos” was produced by Seth MacFarlane and hosted by Dr. Neil Tyson, both outspoken atheists. MacFarlane was asked by the Los Angeles Times what he was hoping to get out of “Cosmos.” MacFarlane replied, “We’ve had a resurgence of creationism and intelligent design ‘theory’. There’s been a real vacuum when it comes to science education.”

We haven’t checked that quote, but it’s probably true that since the original Carl Sagan series, there hasn’t been anything like it until the Tyson series came along. Does Clayton disagree? Let’s read on:

There has indeed been a real vacuum in scientific education created by the evolutionists themselves by substituting their three pillars of truth: imagination, speculation, and exaggeration instead of empirical (scientific) evidence.

We haven’t run across that “three pillars” claim before. Is it original with Clayton, or did he get it from come crazed creationist website? It doesn’t matter. He continues:

With the ever-increasing knowledge through modern technology in biology and all other disciplines of science, the evidence overwhelmingly supports intelligent design and also confirms the accuracy of the biblical record, resulting in many evolutionists’ renouncing their faith the evolution theory. It is poorly supported with real scientific evidence and is greatly exaggerated.

We don’t need to say anything about that paragraph. It speaks for itself. Here’s more from Clayton:

One excellent example of exaggeration is found in Tomoton Stiftung’s book “Pro Evo” which is mailed to college students and others. Pages 16-17 state “The evolution from hydrogen up to man can already be explained and proved. … The processes from hydrogen to protein can … already be reproduced in the laboratory.”

We’re not sure, but Clayton may be referring to this: Pro Evolution: Guideline for an Age of Joy (Amazon listing). We never heard of it, but Clayton doesn’t like it. Why? Stay with us:

The truth is that scientists have yet to produce the right combination of amino acids to produce just one favorable protein — the building blocks of a living cell.

Oh dear. That’s not quite true, Clayton. Well, nobody starts with hydrogen, but nevertheless, see, for example: Self-assembling anti-cancer molecules created in minutes. And Wikipedia discusses the subject: Protein biosynthesis. Anyway, now we come to the end:

One of the most fundamental laws of biological science is that life can only come from life itself; it cannot come from dead matter. The same is true of knowledge (intelligent design). In the beginning, God created …” (Genesis 1:1).

We’re grateful to Clayton because we had forgotten about that “most fundamental law” of science — uh, creation science, that is. We’re also grateful to be reminded that like every variety of creationism, intelligent design is ultimately inspired by Genesis. Great letter!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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