Monthly Archives: July 2011

AIG’s Jason Lisle Tells Us How To Think

This one is a bit of a classic. It’s by Jason Lisle, Ph.D. Jason is the creationist astrophysicist who functions as a retained servitor, credentialed and compliant, employed by the ever-growing creationist conglomerate of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). Hambo is the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He runs the online creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), and he also created the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum. He is now promoting a new project — a Noah’s Ark theme park named Ark Encounter.

Our last post about Jason’s work at AIG was Instant Starlight & the Lake of Fire. His latest at the AIG website is Fool-Proof Apologetics. Right, fool proof. Jason begins with a question:

[S]ome highly educated people have argued that scientific evidence refutes the claims of the Bible. How can we answer such people unless we know a lot of science?

The rest of the essay is Jason’s answer, telling people how they can stand up to science when they don’t know any science. If you want to be a creationist, you need this information. Here we go, with bold font added by us:

It’s understandable that many Christians feel inadequate to respond to the lofty rhetoric of the academic elite. But this need not be so. The Bible gives every one of us, regardless of age or formal education, the basic tools we need to defend the faith. You don’t need an advanced degree in science or theology. Anyone can do it. We simply have to understand a few basic biblical principles.

It is indeed thrilling that Jason is bringing hope to the hopeless. Let’s read on:

When we defend the Christian faith, we must avoid the temptation to get side-tracked on secondary issues, such as nuances of scientific arguments. The goal is to quickly hone in on the heart of the matter—the debate is ultimately an issue of competing worldviews.

Bear in mind that when Jason says “the Christian faith” he’s not talking about what most people regard as the essential part of Christianity. He’s talking about young-earth creationism, because that’s where science is a “problem.” We continue:

We all have a worldview (a way of thinking about life and the universe) that shapes our understanding of what we observe. But not all worldviews are equal. Non-Christian worldviews always have internal defects. Because they reject the Bible at their foundation, they end up being inconsistent, arbitrary, and ultimately irrational.

Nothing arbitrary or irrational about Jason’s young-earth creationism! We recently wrote about this “worldview” stuff (see: What Is “Critical Thinking”?) and Jason is carrying on in that tradition. Here’s more:

The Bible teaches that genuine knowledge begins with a reverential submission to God [scripture omitted]. So, to have a worldview that is consistently rational, we must begin with God’s Word as the foundation by which we evaluate the facts. Only God knows everything, so only He is in a position to tell us — on His own authority — what our starting point should be. Only the Bible provides a logical foundation for those things that are essential for knowledge.

Are you paying attention? Good, because now it gets interesting:

In order for human beings to have genuine knowledge of any topic, certain things would have to be true, whether we recognize it consciously or not. For example, the human mind has to be capable of rational thought. The universe has to be orderly and comprehensible. Our sensations of the world around us have to be basically reliable.

That’s the only true paragraph in the whole essay. Moving along:

Most people simply take these things for granted. They don’t stop to consider how human beings are able to have knowledge of anything. Most people just blindly assume that our senses are reliable, that the mind is rational, and that the universe is orderly and understandable.

Hey, Jason: Everything that exists is what it is, and that’s why we observe order. How could the universe be anything other than orderly? As for our senses, if they were unreliable, we couldn’t survive. There must have been countless organisms that failed to survive and reproduce for exactly that reason. We’re the descendants of those with functional sensory equipment. Another excerpt:

Few people think to ask, “Why should knowledge be possible?” The answer is not as obvious as it may seem. In fact, without God, we have no reason to expect an understandable universe.

So, although there is a place for discussing scientific details, it is good to remember that science itself is based on a Christian worldview. We must patiently get the unbeliever to realize that he couldn’t even do science if his evolutionary worldview were true.

We’re only about halfway through, but you’ve probably seen enough If you want more, just click over to AIG and read it all. Well, maybe we can skip around and find one or two more gems. This, for example:

In the end, we know that Christianity is true because, if it were not, then we couldn’t know anything at all.

That pagan Aristotle must have been an idiot! Can we find anything else? Here’s one more:

For example, if evolution were true, we should have no reason to depend on our brain to know what is true because our brain is the result of chance mutations.

That’s enough. Thank you, Jason, for that wonderful creationist essay.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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A Texas Evolution-Education Poll

This is something we’ve never done before, but it’s a popular feature at other blogs — calling your attention to an on-line poll.

You can find this one at the website of KIII-TV, “The South Texas News Leader.” We think they’re located in Corpus Christi, Texas. The poll is titled What’s your opinion about teaching the theory of evolution in public schools?

Their options — this will be sooooo difficult for you — are as follows:

• Evolution should be taught in public schools.
• Evolution should be taught along with creationism.
• Creationism should be taught, not evolution.
• I don’t know.

The first and third options aren’t mirror-images of each other. We don’t know if the designer of the poll was being crafty or if his attention span drifted in the time it took him to complete his work. Anyway, give the matter some careful thought, and then let your opinion be known.

Our humble blog doesn’t have the cyber-muscle to change the results in any noticeable way, but don’t let that stop you. We vote in Presidential elections, knowing that our individual choice is all but meaningless. So go ahead and vote in the Corpus Christi Creationism poll.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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“Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: They’re Settling!

We’ve been calling this the Darwin’s Dilemma Exhibition Case. The actual case name is American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center, California Science Center Foundation, Jeffrey Rudolph, et al. It’s sometimes abbreviated AFA v. CSC.

This is a lawsuit filed by the American Freedom Alliance (AFA), claiming that the California Science Center (CSC or “Science Center”) violated both the First Amendment and a contract to rent its theater when it canceled a screening of Darwin’s Dilemma. The AFA is an outfit promoting “the controversy” about evolution — in the interest of what they call “academic freedom.” The film they wanted to show includes appearances by Richard von Sternberg, Jonathan Wells, and Stephen Meyer, all “senior fellows” with the Discovery Institute (the “Discoveroids”), claiming that the Cambrian “explosion” is evidence of intelligent design.

The theater owner getting sued is the California Science Center, along with the two other defendants: the Science Center Foundation (the actual party to the contract for showing the film), and Jeffrey Rudolph, who is president of both the Science Center and the Foundation. The Foundation canceled its contract with the AFA, alleging that a Discoveroid press release (which the Science Center hadn’t approved) violated a contract clause requiring the Science Center’s prior approval of all promotional materials. Technically, although Discoveroids are in the film, and two Discoveroid “senior fellows” were scheduled to conduct a discussion session after the showing of the film, the Discovery Institute wasn’t a party to the exhibition agreement, and they’re technically not involved in the litigation.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE) has many of the court pleadings available online. See: American Freedom Alliance v. California Science Center et al.

Our last update on this case was 29 May ’11. All the background is there if you haven’t been following this. In that post we discussed that the Science Center is moving for summary judgment, and the NCSE archive is loaded with their statements and memoranda in support thereof. They’re all pdf files, as you’ve come to expect. In comments to that thread we mentioned that the creationist plaintiff had started filing pleadings to oppose the Science Center’s motion. That’s where we were at the end of May.

The trial had been set to begin on 25 July 2011, but there hasn’t been a trial. What’s been going on since our last report?

The Science Center and its president have filed a Brief in Support of their motion for Summary Judgment (17-page pdf file). It’s exquisitely detailed, of interest to law junkies. It argues, among other things, that the AFA (the creationist plaintiff) didn’t file under some kind of government claims act, so their breach of contract case is barred. They also argue that the Science Center wasn’t a party to the exhibition contract (that was made with the CSC Foundation). Also, the plaintiff’s constitutional claims (equal protection, etc.) are nonsensical; and the AFA has no claim against the President of the Science Center (due to some kind of governmental immunity); also there’s no evidence of “discrimination” against creationism or violation of the AFA’s freedom of speech.

Another recently-filed pleading is the Science Center’s Request for Judicial Notice. It mentions that the trial date is set for 12 September. We didn’t know the date had been re-set, but now we understand why the trial didn’t start last week. Also, the court had ordered a settlement conference for 24 June. That seemed to be rather routine with the trial approaching, so we didn’t blog about it.

In our last post we had remarked that the Science Center’s motion for summary judgment looked very strong. As we kept up with what was appearing in the NCSE archive, we noticed that the creationist plaintiff had not filed its own motion for summary judgment, which caused us to suspect that their case wasn’t strong enough to justify the bother of such a motion.

Well, we just checked again, and we have some big news: The NCSE archive now has this: Stipulation and Order To Continue Hearings on Motions. That seemed so routine that we almost didn’t bother looking at it — but we did. It says, with bold font added by us:

Whereas, on July 18, 2011, the parties reached a settlement in principal [sic] and are currently preparing the final settlement agreement;

[…]

Whereas, in light of the pending settlement, it would preserve the parties’ and the court’s resources to continue the hearings on the pending motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication for a sufficient time to allow the parties to finalize the settlement agreement;

NOW THEREFORE, THE PARTIES STIPULATE AS FOLLOWS:

The hearings on each of the Defendants’ pending motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication shall be continued to August 8, 2011 …

The stipulation is signed by the lawyers for all parties, and at the end of it there was a form of order for the court, which the judge has signed. It says:

Based on the parties’ stipulation and for good cause shown,

The hearings on each of the Defendants’ pending motions for summary judgment and summary adjudication currently scheduled for July 27,2011shall be continued to August 8, 2011 … .

So there you are. Unless there’s some last-minute flare-up, this thing should be over soon. In fact, it’s probably over now but we haven’t heard the news yet. As soon as we know the settlement terms — if they’re disclosed — we’ll let you know.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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WorldNetDaily: Darwin Derangement Syndrome

Buffoon Award

This is getting to be a weekend feature. We were once again awakened by blaring sirens and lights flashing on the wall display of our Retard-o-tron™. The blinking letters on the wall said WorldNetDaily.

WorldNetDaily (WND) is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus that jolly logo displayed above this post.

We were not the least bit surprised when we were directed to a rant by Ellis Washington — a leading light at WND. The best example of his cosmic-level thinking can be found here, Scripture Trumps Darwin, when he informed us of “the syllogism that was a foundation of Western civilization”:

If A = B, then A + B = C

Today’s bit of brilliance from Ellis is titled Liberal fascism through the ages.

It’s typical of Ellis’ work at WND — a rapid romp through history, uncomprehendingly dropping names and concepts, all the while claiming that his personal likes and dislikes are the essence of morality and brilliance. We’ll skip almost all of it — some of which we agree with — but it’s so much like a storm of confetti that there’s no point in paying close attention. You can click over there to read it all if you’re an Ellis fan. Instead of a tiresome series of excerpts, we’ll get right to his “conclusion.” The bold font was added by us:

The French Revolution (1789-99) was an overt war by liberal intellectuals in France against Christianity, the church, the clergy, and came at the end of the Age Enlightenment (1650-1800) and before the later romantic movements of Darwinian evolution, Marxist socialism and Nietzsche’s relativism and atheism which all led directly to the decline of Western civilization.

That is absolutely breathtaking! Darwinian evolution — somehow grouped with other “romantic movements” like Marxist socialism, “led directly to the decline of Western civilization.” Is Ellis a clear thinker or what? Let’s read on:

The previous intellectual trinity of Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, was replaced with the imposter trinity: Marx, Darwin and Nietzsche (with Sigmund Freud thrown in for good measure).

Any mind that lumps such polar opposites as Darwin’s natural selection together with Marx’s “to each according to his needs” is … well, somewhat muddled. We continue:

Long before the Pilgrims, the Puritans and the founding of America in 1607

We must interrupt that sentence. It was Jamestown, Virginia, that was founded in 1607. The Puritans came later, and they didn’t found America — their Puritan progeny founded Salem — the fruits of which were the Salem witch trials. America was founded much later, a product of the Enlightenment (which Ellis seems to dislike), and it was very much a philosophical and political backlash against the theocratic excesses of the Puritans.

Okay, let’s start Ellis’ sentence again. Actually that sentence is a full paragraph, the conclusion of his chaotic essay. See what you can make of it. The expression in brackets is in the original:

Long before the Pilgrims, the Puritans and the founding of America in 1607, liberalism in all of its myriad of permutations, shadows and disguises infected the history of humanity – from Nimrod’s Tower of Babel (precursor to the United Nations), Baal worship, idolatry, materialism, paganism, witchcraft, doctrine of Jezebel (pagan worship of god through sex), doctrine of Molech (child sacrifice [i.e., abortion]), to slavery, secular humanism, democracy, Darwinism, communism, socialism, unionism, progressivism and living constitutionalism – it’s all liberal fascism, it’s all anti-God, anti-intellectual and Obama is using these pernicious ideas to purposely destroy America and deconstruct the U.S. Constitution so that he, the Democratic Party and its globalist allies can rule into perpetuity.

That’s it. And now, dear reader, here is your assignment. Tell us, please, what “Darwinism” is doing in the middle of that horrendously constructed sentence. We await your input.

Copyright © 2011. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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