Monthly Archives: July 2009

Kent Hovind Update

EVERYONE remembers Kent Hovind, one of the most unrestrained creationists in the game — until the feds convicted him of tax evasion. We’ve written about him before. See: Kent Hovind: Creationist Role Model, and WorldNetDaily on Kent Hovind.

Well, he’s back in the news again. We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Feds can seize Dinosaur Adventure Land, which appears in the Pensacola News Journal. The bold font was added by us:

A federal judge has cleared the way for the government’s seizure of a creationism theme park in Pensacola. A ruling this week says the nine properties that make up Dinosaur Adventure Land, and two bank accounts associated with the park will be used to satisfy $430,400 in restitution owed to the federal government.

A sad ending to a glorious creationist enterprise. Let’s read on:

Kent Hovind, who founded the park and his ministry, Creation Science Evangelism, is serving 10 years in federal prison as a result of a tax-fraud conviction for failing to pay more than $470,000 in employee taxes in a long-running dispute with the Internal Revenue Service. Kent Hovind was found guilty in November 2006 on 58 counts, including failure to pay employee taxes and making threats against investigators.

Look what those Darwinists did to that great man! At least the ministry website is still up there to inspire young minds: Creation Science Evangelism. We continue:

He claimed no income or property since he was employed by God and said that his ministers were not subject to payroll taxes.

Sounds reasonable. We’ll skip the middle of the article. Here’s the end:

Kent Hovind made a series of quick transfers to conceal his ownership of the properties at risk for seizure, according to court documents filed by the U.S. attorney’s office.

Eric Hovind [Kent’s son, who has managed the park since his father’s incarceration] was not available for comment Friday. His secretary said he could not be reached until Monday.

If ever anyone was “expelled,” it’s poor ol’ Kent Hovind.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Islamic Creationism in Africa

IF you were intrigued by our earlier article, Darwin & Evolution: The View From Africa, then we have an even bigger treat for you, dear reader: Nigeria police claim victory over radical sect.

This is from the Associated Press, and the word is that AP is very fussy about people copying their material. Therefore, we’ll excerpt just four sentences from their story — those which are of particular interest to us. We added the bold font:

Nigerian officials said Mohammed Yusuf, the leader of the sect some call the Nigerian Taliban, was killed after being captured Thursday night at the end of a four-day manhunt.

[…]

A university graduate, Yusuf had discounted Darwin’s theory of evolution, claimed the world cannot be round because the Quran does not say that and credited Allah with creating rain.

[…]

Officials said Yusuf was found Thursday in a goat pen at his in-laws’ home in the northern town of Kernawa.

[…]

Leading Nigerian rights groups accuse security forces of killing bystanders and other civilians before and during the Wednesday siege of Boko Haram’s compound. … [Boko Haram] means “Western education is sin” in the local Hausa language.

It’s comforting to know that creationism is a grand and glorious international movement. Teach the controversy!

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Evolution, Creationism, and Global Warming

HOW many times have you seen the Dems smugly congratulating themselves about being intellectually superior to all those primitive, knuckle-dragging Republicans? After all (the Dems tell each other) those awful Republicans are a bunch of creationists, and — gasp! — they even deny global warming! How dumb can they get? (They say this, while cheering Obama’s economic policies.)

That’s their position. But if you bear with us, you’ll see that that when you dig down a bit, there’s not much consistency to it. Before we’re done with this post we’ll explain why — at least in our opinion — there’s no rational relationship between evolution and global-warming (GW). Evolution is good science, and GW may be good science also, but … well, as we said, stay with us here.

There are people who deny both evolution and GW. You’ll find them in both parties, probably — alas! — more among Republicans; but those two positions are politically in conflict. The mentality that denies both evolution and GW, as if doing so were some kind of clever intellectual package, is so messed up — both scientifically and politically — as to be beyond hope.

We’ve been waiting for some pro-evolution commentator to clear the situation up, but it never seems to happen. So your Curmudgeon will step in to fill the void.

Our readers already know that evolution is good science, and we’ve never hesitated to express our opinions about creationism (see: Ignorant, Stupid, Insane, or Wicked). But we may seem to be superficially on the “wrong” side of the GW issue. We freely admit that we lack sufficient knowledge of climatology, so we’re almost always silent about our GW opinions. Our scientifically un-informed attitude is to be exceedingly skeptical of GW. This isn’t because of our scientific knowledge, but because of the political company that GW keeps. That’s not scientific and we know it, which is why we stay out of the debate.

We summarized our position on GW once before, here, but we’ll repeat it to have it all in this one post: If you want to skip the next few indented paragraphs, that’s okay.

For at least a century there has always been a political faction in the US that seeks to increase governmental control of the economy, to the detriment of property rights and ultimately to the detriment of individual freedom. The justification for such movements varies with the times, like the width of neckties. In rough historical sequence the justification for government growth (aside from war) has morphed from the Marxist forces of history to workers’ rights, the necessities of the Great Depression, worker safety, product safety, consumer protection, environmental pollution, the War on Poverty, racial equality, women’s rights, unemployment, for the children (that’s obscure, but it had its day), social justice, income disparity, et cetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum.

No matter what the justification, or the “crisis” of the day, the solution is always the same — more taxes, more regulations, more controls, and less freedom. With each passing phase in this long process, the adherents to the justification of the day have been fanatically convinced of the righteousness of their cause, unaware that they were mindless pawns in a much larger game.

We may have it wrong this time. Perhaps the world really is gradually warming, and maybe we really are to blame. But in the absence of a solid understanding of the science, we see the global climate “crisis” in the historical context of a long series of dubious justifications for increasing government power at the expense of individual rights. We can’t help but notice how the same old activists who previously took up the cause of earlier “crises” seem to fit so comfortably into ranks of global warming alarmists and “save the planet” activists.

Anyway, if there really is a problem, we don’t like the proffered solutions. We’ve seen them many times before, and they’ve never yet solved any problems. Free markets will deal with the situation far better than governmental bureaucracies. That’s our view of things. But we freely acknowledge that it’s not a scientific opinion.

Addendum: We said much of this in the “comments” section, but we like it well enough to tweak it a bit and add it here:

There’s an analogy (a weak one) between today’s global warming gang and the former nuclear disarmament gang — and also the former nuclear winter gang. Both of those older movements had some science going for them. They were hot stuff during the Cold War. Yes, bombs are bad, yes, radiation sickness is nasty stuff, yes, we wouldn’t want to be nearby when a bomb exploded, and yes, a lot of bombs might cause a new ice age, however … we can’t disarm in a dangerous world. Interesting science, but the science was being used to generate fear, which was then exploited for a partisan political purpose. As we said, this kind of argument is an ongoing technique.

So we favor evolution because it’s good science; and we’re dubious of GW because we don’t trust Al Gore and his friends. And yet we think we’re being consistent. Stay with us a bit longer and all will be clarified. Well, here’s a hint: Teaching evolution doesn’t interfere with anyone’s freedom — no more than does teaching astronomy — but the GW advocates have a political agenda.

It’s true, of course, that the creationists are indeed anti-science, and they too have a political agenda. They have an array of views about private behavior that they want to impose on others (see: Creationism and In-Your-Underwear Politics), and this is a great embarrassment to traditional Republicans. We’ve addressed this before, here: Open Letter to the Republican Party.

But the Dems are also anti-science. There’s no way to deny their anti-scientific objections to nuclear power, oil-drilling, or anything else that conflicts with their environmentalism. And they’re always asking why we spend money on the space program and weapons research — or national defense in general. After all, they argue, who needs science, engineering, or a strong military, when that money could be better spent on food stamps?

So neither party has a clear, pro-science attitude, and they’re both politically confused. How then, do we make sense out of this mess? It’s simple.

The key issue that cuts through everything is freedom. An advocate of freedom should oppose both the theocracy of the creationists and the socialism of the GW gang. We’ll keep an open mind on the science of GW — it may be real. But even if there is an actual climate problem, we’re not open-minded about the proposed governmental “solution.” If free enterprise can’t solve the situation, then it can’t be solved — and we’re toast. So be it.

That’s our position, which — although politically consistent — pretty much leaves us on our own. That’s okay. We’re don’t mind.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Transparent Aluminum, Really — Thanks, Scotty

THIS is way off topic for us, but it’s too interesting not to mention. The news is from Oxford University: Transparent aluminium is ‘new state of matter’. Here are just a few excerpts, with bold added by us:

Oxford scientists have created a transparent form of aluminium by bombarding the metal with the world’s most powerful soft X-ray laser. ‘Transparent aluminium’ previously only existed in science fiction, featuring in the movie Star Trek IV, but the real material is an exotic new state of matter with implications for planetary science and nuclear fusion.

Here’s a link to a site about the movie, Star Trek IV, The Voyage Home. Back to the news from Oxford:

In this week’s Nature Physics an international team, led by Oxford University scientists, report that a short pulse from the FLASH laser ‘knocked out’ a core electron from every aluminium atom in a sample without disrupting the metal’s crystalline structure. This turned the aluminium nearly invisible to extreme ultraviolet radiation.

More:

Whilst the invisible effect lasted for only an extremely brief period – an estimated 40 femtoseconds – it demonstrates that such an exotic state of matter can be created using very high power X-ray sources.

Professor Wark added: ‘What is particularly remarkable about our experiment is that we have turned ordinary aluminium into this exotic new material in a single step by using this very powerful laser. For a brief period the sample looks and behaves in every way like a new form of matter. In certain respects, the way it reacts is as though we had changed every aluminium atom into silicon: it’s almost as surprising as finding that you can turn lead into gold with light!

That’s all we’re going to copy. If you’re interested, click on the link to Oxford and read it all.

Copyright © 2009. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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