Monthly Archives: August 2011

Ken Ham Attacks Intelligent Design & Behe

We always like to see creationists squabbling among themselves about the silly details of their anti-science ideology. We have a good example today from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), 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.

Ol’ Hambo’s article is Intelligent Design Is Not Enough. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

No doubt you have heard of the Intelligent Design movement. This is not a Christian movement but is made up of a group of scientists and other academics who are against naturalism and teach that there is some “designer” behind the universe and life. They don’t name the designer, however. Those within the movement have various beliefs about the origins issues — some believe in billions of years and even evolution. Some are Christians, but some are not. Some may be young earth creationists.

If you’re uncertain about the precise meaning of Intelligent Design, we posted the “official” definition. We also critiqued it and provided our own definition. See Discovery Institute: Intelligent Design Redefined. Let’s read on:

Dr. Michael Behe is one scientist from this movement with whom many would be familiar. His book Darwin’s Black Box is well-known. Although Behe is ardently against naturalism and teaches that there is a designer behind life, Behe does not take a stand on a literal Genesis. In fact, one could really call Behe a type of Theistic Evolutionist.

Ohhhhh! A “Theistic Evolutionist.” Hambo doesn’t like them — they’re theistic, but they’re evolutionists! We continue:

One of the points I have made over and over again through the years is that when one takes man’s fallible ideas of evolution and millions of years and adds those to Scripture, he reinterprets the clear words of the Bible and undermines biblical authority.

Yes, Hambo makes that point “over and over again through the years.” And no one cares. Here’s more:

Recently, Michael Behe’s son was interviewed for an article for The Humanist Magazine. Think about what I have stated above as you read excerpts of this sad interview with Leo Behe as he shares how he became an atheist even though he grew up knowing the ID arguments.

We’ve known about that interview — it’s here if you want to read it: The Humanist Interview with Leo Behe. We briefly considered posting about it, but we decided it would be a cheap shot. Behe’s creationism can be criticized easily enough on its merits (or lack thereof), without discussing his family.

Hambo, however, is made of sterner stuff. He quotes extensively from young Leo’s interview, and then he says:

This serves as a reminder for parents (and fathers in particular as spiritual head of the house) not to compromise the Word of God. It further reminds us of the need for quality apologetics resources, such as what Answers in Genesis produces, so parents can teach their children how to defend the Christian faith, answer the skeptical questions of this age, and stand boldly and uncompromisingly on the authority of the Word of God.

Hambo blames Behe for young Leo’s atheism, suggesting that if Behe had been a better father and taught his son to adhere to a literal Genesis, then the boy would have turned out all right. Ol’ Hambo is definitely a class act.

He concludes his article with this:

We need to pray for the Behe family. I hope they will consider a visit to our Creation Museum and meet with us.

Yeah, that should straighten the boy out. Stay classy, Hambo!

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

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Creationist Wisdom #201: Evolution Is Slavery

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Coloradoan of Fort Collins, Colorado. It’s titled We have let ourselves become slaves of state.

Great title, huh? We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and as we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Here we go, with a bit of bold font added for emphasis.

“We hold these truths self-evident, that all men are created … by their Creator … with inalienable (God-given) rights …” – Primary founding statement in the United States Declaration of Independence.

You know we’re off to a good start when the letter-writer begins by quote-mining Jefferson’s elegant prose about “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God.” But that’s just the beginning. It gets better:

Can we explain how a nation founded on such a statement can exclude the creation and God from its education, its science and its government actions?

Your Curmudgeon can explain it. The Declaration isn’t the law. State education is required to be secular by virtually all state constitutions, and the federal government is prohibited by the First Amendment from establishing religion. That’s not too complicated, is it? As for excluding the letter-writer’s “creation and God” from science — that’s just too easy. Let’s read on:

Thirty-five years ago, it was proven, included in scientific journals, and never refuted, that all granite in our planet contains an effect called “Polonium Halos” by its discoverer, Dr. Robert Gentry, which could only exist under two conditions, that the granite (and thus the Earth) was created instantaneously, cold. That’s right, no heat, no millions of years, instantaneously and at room temperature. Education, science and government judges ignore it and declare God banished from their circles.

Lordy, lordy — polonium halos. We haven’t run into that one for quite some time. It has long been listed and debunked at the TalkOrigins website: Index to Creationist Claims. See Claim CF201: Polonium haloes indicate a young earth. We continue with the letter:

Dr. Michael Behe, one of the, if not the foremost, microbiologists, along with many others, have proved that even the most elementary living cells have micro machines of vast ability and irreducible complexity of many parts, a fact that even Darwin said would make his theory of evolution null and void. Yet evolution is still foisted as the truth, and science, education and government ignore these facts and more, much much more.

We won’t waste your time on that clunker. It too is debunked at the TalkOrigins website. See Claim CB200: Some systems are irreducibly complex. Here’s more from today’s letter:

Why is this in a nation that says it was created by God in its foundation? Simple, for both macro and micro science to deny God makes man, and specifically the men in charge, gods in their own minds and the rest of us without God-given rights, slaves to the State and surfs to these self-proclaimed and in-control kings and princes of America.

Aaaargh!! God is being denied by both “macro and micro science” to make gods of politicians and to make us their slaves. What can we say to that? It’s true that the government has grown way too large and meddlesome, but somehow we doubt that state-mandated creationism is the solution. Moving along:

All over our capital city, all over the writings of our founders, the establishing of a Christian worldview nation with Christian and biblical education as a mandatory part of our education system

Yeah, yeah — the Founders intended this country to be one big happy Sunday school. Sure. See Is America a “Christian Nation”?

Now we’ll jump to the end of the letter, and this is where it gets really creepy. Oh, the open bracket is in the original, so we left it as it appears:

“If government becomes destructive of these rights, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it [those responsible…” – Third part of that foundational statement of the Declaration of Independence.

Does the letter-writer mean to encourage a holy war against evolution? Click over to the Coloradoan, read the entire letter, and reach your own conclusion.

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

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Treasures from Answers in Genesis

It’s been a while since we took you on a tour of the gift shop of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. AIG is the online ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the creationist Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He also brought you the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Our last visit was The Noah’s Ark Collector Kit. We don’t see those items now, so if you missed out — that’s too bad. Perhaps you’ll act more swiftly this time around. Here is just a small sampling of the creationist wonders that can be yours at the AIG gift shop.

First there’s the Tower of Babel Wall Chart, described as follows:

The Tower of Babel helps to explain much, much more in our world today than just our differences in language. This exclusive wall chart … lists seven specific topics that can be explained by the historical event at Babel. From striking similarities in human genetics to a wide variety of skin tones and the order of fossil layers to archaeological discoveries of stone tools, the Tower of Babel is the proper starting point for understanding human history and the many differences in our world.

Then there’s the Origin of Species Wall Chart. The description says:

Many of Charles Darwin’s observations were scientifically accurate, at least in their narrow scope and apart from their wider implications. The problem is that he took his observations a step too far. This exclusive wall chart breaks down four major areas from Darwin’s book and sheds biblical light on them: variation, struggle for survival, “law of variation,” and natural selection.

Want more? They also offer the Our Cursed World Wall Chart. We know you want this! It’s the perfect gift for that special someone. They describe it like this:

Our sin cursed world. The evidence is all around us, but is hard to understand and find any hope without a biblical mindset. Highlighting eight effects of the curse on our world — cosmic pain and aging, conflict, thorns, disease, suffering, carnivores, venom, and death — this exclusive wall chart … is a great overview on this important theological topic.

The last item we’ll tell you about today is the Scopes Trial Wall Chart. Here’s the description:

This exclusive wall chart … details many historical inaccuracies of the popular play Inherit the Wind, which presented Christians and the Bible inaccurately. Sadly, this is the only version of this historical turning point that many see. It is time people separate Hollywood from history by knowing what truly occurred in the famous “monkey trial.” They must not allow a fictitious Hollywood portrayal to shape their understanding of the events or shake their faith in the accuracy of God’s Word.

These posters would be a great way to decorate your home or office. And don’t forget — there are many more creationist treasures available from AIG. Go ahead, click over there. You can take care of all your birthday gifts, Christmas shopping, and other creationist needs. Tell ‘em the Curmudgeon sent ya. Ol’ Hambo may give you a discount.

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

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“Darwin’s Dilemma” Case: The Empire Strikes Back

Last night we posted The Full Story about the settlement of what we’ve been calling 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.

As you might have expected, this morning there is a new barrage of posts (well, two posts) from the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).

We’ll deal here with both of them. Our excerpts will omit their links and add bold font for emphasis. The first is AP’s Coverage of California Science Center’s $110K Payout for Censorship Predictably Misses the Mark by 150 Years. Here we go:

Big surprise. The MSM [mainstream media, we assume] missed the real news. The news here is that a state-run museum censorsed a film because they had contempt for the film’s pro-ID viewpoint.

Uh, not quite. That was the creationists’ position in their complaint, but the settlement clearly stated that neither party admitted any liability, and there was no court decision on the creationists’ allegation of “viewpoint discrimination” — or VD. Then the Discoveroids say:

The cost of such censorship reaches six figures — $110,000 to be exact. That’s a legitimate news story.

The “cost of censorship”? Actually, it’s more like the cost of litigation. As described by the CSC, “the settlement is a means to avoid the costs of further proceedings.” Let’s read on:

The AP story claims that the California Science Center is claiming that Discovery Institute issued “false and misleading press releases” in “an effort to drum up controversy.”

Yes, and the court record indicates that such was indeed the case. We continue:

Maybe the scientists and scholars at the Science Center haven’t noticed, but evolution is an inherently controversial subject. Ask any presidential candidate.

Yeah, and while you’re at it, ask the candidates the shape of the earth — most of them think it’s flat. Okay, now here’s the second Discoveroid blog posting: Series of Costly Case Settlements Warns Darwin’s Bullies: Stop Censoring Intellectual Freedom. Let’s get into it:

“Three case settlements this year show that it is a costly mistake for intolerant academic elites to suppress the viewpoints of Darwin-critics,” said Casey Luskin, an attorney and policy analyst with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture. “The growing trend is that those who discriminate against intelligent design face stiff penalties.”

Casey Luskin? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Casey mentioned “three case settlements this year.” The CSC case is one. What are the other two? The Discoveroids tell us:

In January, the University of Kentucky paid over $100,000 to settle astronomer Martin Gaskell’s claim that he was wrongfully denied employment for doubting Darwinism.

We posted a few times about the Gaskell case, and we remember it well. He had no contact with the Discoveroids, yet the Discoveroids claimed the Gaskell settlement was a “Victory for Academic Freedom.” Our last post was Discovery Institute Claims Victory in Gaskell Case, in which we said:

The Discoveroids are claiming victory in a race they never ran. Verily, they are the top contenders for this year’s Rosie Ruiz award — an award that only your Curmudgeon bestows.

[...]

You can read [the settlement agreement] for yourself: Release and Settlement Agreement. It’s a 6-page pdf file. The university pays $125K, everyone releases everyone else, and no one admits doing anything wrong.

After gloating about “their” victory in Gaskell, the Discoveroids tell us:

Soon thereafter, Applied Mathematics Letters paid thousands of dollars and publicly apologized to avoid litigation after it wrongfully withdrew mathematician Granville Sewell’s peer-reviewed paper critiquing neo-Darwinism.

We didn’t write much about the Sewell situation, but we mentioned it here: Discovery Institute’s Long March to Respectability. Sewell’s article, allegedly with a creationist slant, had been accepted for publication but was then retracted. He threatened to sue, and the journal paid $10K to buy him off.

We’d all like to see such things fought to the bitter end, take no prisoners, scorched earth, all that good stuff — like Kitzmiller — but that depends on available resources and the willingness of insurance companies to go along. Sometimes an inexpensive settlement is the prudent way to go. If such incidents are then ballyhooed by the Discoveroids as “their” litigation “victories,” well, as long as their financial patrons are happy they’ll keep their jobs. But filing suits over grandiose principles like “viewpoint discrimination” and then settling for legal fees doesn’t amount to a legal groundswell. Some might think it amounts to a shake-down.

Those are Casey’s “three case settlements this year” — the CSC case, the Gaskell employment case, and the Sewell situation. Now we’re all supposed to tremble when a creationist pounds on the door and demands a seat at the table. Right. We’re trembling.

Then the Discoveroid article dips into history and mentions some ancient controversies — the Richard von Sternberg mess (see Sternberg peer review controversy), the Guillermo Gonzalez tenure dispute (that’s Expelled! star Guillermo Gonzalez, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” who failed to get tenure at Iowa State University and who now teaches at some bible college), and the creationist “research lab at Baylor University” which was shut down. Regarding Baylor, we think they’re referring to the remnants of Intelligent Design’s Brief Shining Moment.

Impressive, isn’t it? Actually, it’s not; but the Discoveroids imagine themselves to be like Wyatt Erp. You wouldn’t want to provoke a shoot-out with him, would you? No, of course not. But with Casey? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Anyway, here’s the end of the Discoveroid article:

“The CSC settlement puts another high price tag on Darwinian censorship of the ID viewpoint,” said Joshua Youngkin, Program Officer in Public Policy and Legal Affairs. “The going penalty for viewpoint discrimination against ID is about $100,000, though successfully defending freedom of ID expression is priceless.”

It’s quite a bit less than $100K if you average in Sewell’s payoff of $10K, but we’re not grading the Discoveroids on math. Even if we did, it wouldn’t lower their average from where it already is.

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

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