Granville Sewell — the Best Discoveroid Thinker

The Discoveroids have a new essay up at their creationist blog. It’s by Granville Sewell, who is highly regarded for arguing that Mt. Rushmore Is Designed, Therefore …, and also for telling us about Two Darwinist Fallacies. One of those two “fallacies” is the also subject of his latest essay, which we’ll get to in a moment.

Granville isn’t a Discoveroid “fellow,” but they publish him, and Wikipedia informs us that he’s a signatory to the Discovery Institute’s “A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism” petition. Perhaps the most important thing about Sewell is that he’s very keen on using the Second Law of Thermodynamics as an argument for creationism — see Discovery Institute Gives Us Their Best Argument.

Okay, you know what we’re dealing with. Here’s Granville’s newest offering: Why Evolution Is Different. He says, with bold font added by us:

In the current debate between Darwinism and intelligent design, the strongest argument made by Darwinists is this: In every other field of science, naturalism has been spectacularly successful, so why should evolutionary biology be different?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Observe, dear reader, how Granville attempts to transform the “debate” — which doesn’t exist except in the minds of creationists — into a controversy about naturalism. Presumably, that’s in contrast to the superlative explanatory power of supernaturalism — which explains nothing, other than by declaring things to be miracles. Science doesn’t deal with the supernatural. That’s not because science is inherently atheistic, but because there’s nothing about miracles which the methods of science can examine. If you don’t understand that, see Bring Me An Angel Detector!

When creationists declare something to be a miracle, they are saying that it’s impossible to have happened by natural means. In some cases — especially involving biology — what science is able to do is demonstrate a plausible natural mechanism by which the thing may have occurred. That’s sufficient to negate the assertion that the phenomenon in question is impossible and must therefore be a miracle. What creationists do then is dismiss the natural explanation as “inadequate” and insist that a miracle is the “better” explanation. Really, that’s their whole game. Watch, you’ll see. Granville tells us:

Many people believe that intelligent-design advocates just don’t understand how science works, and are motivated entirely by religious beliefs. Well, I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind with the following discussion, but I hope it will at least help ID critics understand why some of us who do understand how science usually works, and who are not religious fanatics, feel that evolution is fundamentally different from other scientific problems, and requires a fundamentally different approach.

Okay, Granville, we’re listening. Tell us why evolution is fundamentally different:

Below is a set of pictures of a neighborhood in Joplin, Missouri. The first was taken just before the May 22, 2011, tornado hit. The second was taken right after the tornado. [Photos omitted, but they're just what you'd expect.] Fortunately, another tornado hit Joplin a few days later, and turned all this rubble back into houses and cars, as seen in the third picture. [It's a duplicate of the first picture.]

Granville is attempting to be creative, by giving us his own version of Fred Hoyle’s junkyard tornado that assembles a Boeing 747. Let’s read on:

If I asked you why you don’t believe my story about the second tornado, you might say this tornado seems to violate the more general statements of the second law of thermodynamics, such as “In an isolated system, the direction of spontaneous change is from order to disorder.”

We wouldn’t bother to give such a polite response, but mentioning it allows Granville to discuss the second law of thermodynamics, which he regards as his “best” argument against evolution. He continues:

To this I could reply, Joplin is not an isolated system, tornados receive their energy from the sun, so the decrease in entropy in Joplin caused by the second tornado is easily compensated by increases outside this open system.

[*Sigh*] There are times when we still wonder: Do the Discoveroids really think like that? Or do they know better, but have so little regard for their followers that they’re confident they will be impressed by such arguments?

Granville’s next argument leads us to believe that he really does think like this. It’s about a civilization of intelligent beings who evolved and built cities, but then their star went supernova. Granville describes the results:

[A]ll the intelligent beings died, their bodies decayed, and their cells decomposed into simple organic and inorganic compounds. Most of the buildings collapsed immediately into rubble. Those that didn’t crumbled eventually. Most of the computers and TV sets inside were smashed into scrap metal. Even those that weren’t gradually turned into piles of rust.

Yes, when your sun goes supernova, it will have that effect. BWAHAHAHA! What’s Granville’s point in this second scenario? He tries to explain it, but we can’t make any sense of it. Maybe you can. He concludes the whole mess with this:

Can you not now at least understand why some of us feel that evolution is a fundamentally different and much more difficult problem than others solved by science, and requires a fundamentally different approach?

No, Granville. We don’t understand it. But if your supernatural approach to things makes you happy, that’s fine with us. However, if you want to remain happy, we suggest you stop trying to convince competent scientists that you have anything to offer — other than a philosophical wrecking ball.

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

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John Oller Litigation Update — 02 Sep 2014

Of all the creationist litigation cases we follow, this one has been the least visible. Our last update was almost a year ago, on 18 Nov 2013. Here’s some background information, which most of you can skip:

In late December of 2011, John Oller filed a federal civil-rights lawsuit against the the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, where he was (and apparently still is) a professor. The complaint alleged that faculty members of the university’s Communicative Disorders Department discriminated against him and marginalized his position because of his beliefs on creationism and also because he taught about an alleged connection between autism, mercury and vaccinations.

Oller’s lawyer is John B. Wells, who is affiliated with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) — the same outfit that was involved in the David Coppedge case. They have a press release (from January 2012) about Wells’ representation of Oller: ADF files suit in federal court to defend professor’s academic freedom.

After some initial press coverage, and a favorable mention by Ken Ham — see Ken Ham Supports John Oller’s Lawsuit — everything’s gone dark, and we seem to be the only blog following the case. Here’s a link to the docket of court pleadings in Oller v. Roussel et al. Most of the pleadings require a subscription, but you read a few of them. At the time of our last update, a jury trial was scheduled to start on 21 Jan 2014.

Then Oller filed an Amended Complaint (a 35-page pdf file) in the last week of October, and the defendants filed their Answer to the Amended Complaint. It’s an 8-page pdf file. Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), who have access to the pleadings that we can’t see, informed us that among a couple of dozen items filed on 01 November 2013 is an order that mentioned a final trial date of 19 May 2014.

After that, all we could see was Oller’s Motion for Summary Judgment, which includes his response to an earlier motion for Summary Judgment filed by the Defendants, and then the Defendants filed their Answer to Oller’s Amended Complaint. That was followed by someone’s Motion for Continuance, late in November of 2013. That’s it. And it’s worth mentioning that the Discoveroids have never posted to indicate their solidarity with Oller in his quest for “academic freedom.”

Since then we occasionally look at the docket. It shows that the last batch of documents was filed late in June of 2014, but we can’t read any of them. It’s difficult to believe that nothing has happened since. So what’s going on?

We may have had a break in the long silence. One of our clandestine operatives, whom we believe to be well informed, tells us:

As of August 22, Judge Haik has dismissed all plaintiff’s causes in summary judgments. To be seen if plaintiff will appeal.

Wow — that means the case is over. Unless there’s a successful appeal by Oller, there won’t be any trial. But why hasn’t there been any news about this?

We don’t post about things we can’t verify, and we may regret breaking our rule here, but we’ll take the risk because this is too good to ignore. Besides, it’s been far too long since we’ve had anything to say about this case. We’re hoping that the court docket will soon reflect what our operative says (it doesn’t now), or maybe our friends at NCSE will chime in with their own information. If we’re wrong, we’ll admit it. Until then, we’ll have to wait. Stay tuned to this blog!

Addendum: The 22 August 2014 order was found by one of our commenters. It’s here: Memorandum Ruling. All of Oller’s federal claims were dismissed, and without those, the court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear his state claims. So this case is over, unless Oller appeals.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #465: Form and Power

This is more than a coincidence, dear reader. When one considers the odds against finding two letters-to-the-editor for our collection in the same newspaper, two days in a row, the conclusion is inescapable. Yet that is exactly the situation with which we are confronted. Make of it what you will.

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia — proudly known as “The Gateway to Southern West Virginia.” The letter is titled Scientists believe in things they can’t see.

We don’t embarrass letter-writers by using their full names, unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures. Today’s letter-writer is a mystery man, so we’ll use only his first name, which is Albert. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

At this time, scientists are starting to test out the theory that this 3-dimensional world of ours is an illusion and that the world is actually a 2-dimensional hologram.

We recall seeing some mention of that at PhysOrg about a week ago. Ah yes, here’s the article: Do we live in a 2-D hologram? New Fermilab experiment will test the nature of the universe. The title is wildly misleading. The research is an attempt to discover whether spacetime has any detectable structure. Albert doesn’t say anything about that research. Instead he leaps to something else:

Scientists are also saying they “believe” the universe is made up of 96 percent dark energy and matter. They cannot see or feel this dark energy or matter but they say they can see its effect on the expansion of the universe.

What’s Albert’s point? We can’t “see or feel” lots of things, but we know about them because of the predictable consequences of their existence. Oh wait — we should have seen it coming. He says:

We need not then despair that God cannot be felt or seen in a more concrete way then His effect on the world around us.

Aaaargh!! Come on, Albert. Supernatural interventions aren’t detectable, and the consequences of such things aren’t predictable — certainly not in the way science can detect and predict the effect of unseen natural forces. Surely, even you realize that.

No, Albert doesn’t realize that. He thinks he has data, and he presents it for our consideration:

We can see Him not only in His creation but also in the government of America, which is a product of Christian growth over 2,000 years. [Aaaargh!!] We see in America and Western governments the influence of Christian values of loving neighbor and enemy. [Aaaargh!!] These are values that have been Divinely revealed and not a product of natural evolution where an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth would be the norm. [Aaaargh!!]

But that’s not all there is to Albert’s evidence. Like a good scientist, Albert shows what happens when his unseen force is removed:

As Christianity is forced out of the public arena, we are now seeing a rise in a pre-Christian culture of brutality not seen in centuries.

Having made his case — as surely as one can demonstrate the Big Bang — Albert then provides us with some thoughtful advice:

As a government founded on Christian values, America must not have the form of religion, love and tolerance, but deny the power thereof: God!

Yes, oh yes! Government doesn’t need only the form of religion. It must have the power! You know that that means, don’t you? Sure you do. Now we come to the end of Albert’s letter:

Jesus said that only by prayer and fasting can some demons be driven out, and it may be through this that the conversion of those who are now bringing war and misery to the world can be brought about.

We can start with prayer and fasting. But if that isn’t enough to drive the demons out of you, dear reader, there are other ways to do the job. BWAHAHAHAHAHA!

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

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Creationist Wisdom #464: Scientists and Atheists

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Register-Herald of Beckley, West Virginia — proudly known as “The Gateway to Southern West Virginia.” The letter is titled Atheists are looking in the wrong place.

We don’t embarrass letter-writers by using their full names, unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures. We can’t figure out who this guy is, so we’ll use only his first name, which is Jerry. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I am not highly educated or even half-smart. To all those that believe in evolution I would like to ask, why did the process stop with our state of being as it is now? For example, why not eyes in the back of our head to see behind us, or even the ability to do without food or water? Why do we not keep evolving?

Jerry may not be educated, but he certainly knows how to ask probing questions. And not only about biology. He’s upset about cosmology too:

Those that believe in the Big Bang Theory. I have a rock in my driveway; can you give me universe out of it? (Probably not.)

Well, there goes the Big Bang theory! Let’s read on:

So many people will put so much faith in theories or beliefs of other men but find it so hard to believe in God’s word. Those who have faith in evolution or the Big Bang keep searching for the truth. They will not find it until they find God.

Note that Jerry regards “atheists” and “scientists” as if they were same thing. That’s the source of his profound insights. He continues:

I John 4:3 speaks of these people as being the spirits of the Antichrist.

Those infernal scientists! Here’s more:

Our prisons are full of those who turn their back on God’s word.

Really? We looked at the US Justice Department’s statistics on the characteristics of prisoners, both state and federal. They have data on prisoners’ race and gender, but we can’t find anything on the religious affiliation of the prison population. And there’s no clue as to the number of biologists, cosmologists, or other scientists in prison. Anyway, moving along:

Our country’s leaders are turning their back on God. I bet our forefathers would be very ashamed. When they devised the Constitution, they added the words, “One Nation Under God.” Why do we not govern with this in mind anymore?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Jerry has never read the Constitution. Nor has he seen our post on this subject: Is America a “Christian Nation”? But he’s got a lot of momentum going. Here’s the letter’s thundering climax:

In God We Trust is printed on our currency. But still our government officials rule to the contrary. In forgetting these beliefs, I think it is leading to the decay of this blessed country. There is no fear of the United States anymore. Could it be because there is a decline in the fear of the Lord?

Jerry has it all figured out, which is why his letter is such a fine addition to our collection.

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

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