Monthly Archives: October 2011

WND: “Occupy Wall Street” & Charles Darwin

Buffoon Award

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 directed to this story: Behold, the Occupy Wall Street messiah! We never heard of the author, but that doesn’t matter. To our surprise this thing is more than an ignorant attack on Darwin, it also appears to be a film review. Yes, WND offers cultural guidance for their brain-dead readers. Here are a few excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references deleted:

Here’s something both tea partiers and the Occupy Wall Street gang can agree on: When wealthy, powerful interests get the keys to Big Government, nobody wins. But just because we can agree on the problem, doesn’t mean we can agree on the solution

Okay, he says the tea party people and the leftist vermin in the “occupy Wall Street” movement can agree on the problem (your Curmudgeon has profound doubts about that), yet disagree on the solution. Let’s get to WND’s analysis of the situation:

The occupiers believe the solution is to … well … they haven’t exactly agreed upon that just yet. But give them time; it seems their answer is to make Big Government bigger, under the delusion, frankly, that a socialist government … will somehow be too big for moneyed interests to control? Not that that’s a logical conclusion, but that seems to be where this is going.

Yes, that’s where the “occupy Wall Street” hippies are going, but where is this article going? Let’s read on and perhaps we’ll find out:

It’s just the kind of fallacy that is easily embraced by inexperienced and idealistic young people who have been subjugated to the indoctrination of academia. So it seems fitting that in the new film, “In Time,” where every character is exactly 25 years old, Hollywood would unveil a radical, messianic socialist to take on the evil rich people and fulfill the mostly young occupiers’ wildest dreams.

At last we get to the movie. Here’s a Wikipedia article on it: In Time. It sounds like one we definitely plan to miss, but that’s not important. The WND review continues:

In the future of “In Time,” humans have been genetically modified to live to exactly 25 years old, before a clock implanted in the forearm ticks down every person’s last year of life. People can buy, sell, earn, borrow and gamble for more time, however, creating a form of currency that is literally life and death. In this future world, the very rich live in posh circumstance for centuries, while the poor live day-to-day – literally – in the slums.

Stupid premise, stupid movie, and typical of Hollywood. But why does WND bother with it? Bear with us, all will be reveaaled:

Throughout “In Time,” however, the dog-eat-dog world of capitalism is treated as a zero sum game (an economic lie believed and perpetrated by the political left), where there are only so many minutes to go around, and one man becomes rich only at the expense of another man’s life. In such a world, “In Time” identifies the enemy, even names it point-blank, as “Darwinist capitalism,” defined in economic terms as “survival of the fittest” and “only the strong survive,” literally.

That’s in the movie? Aaaargh!! What does WND say about it? Surely they’ll object to the movie’s misrepresentations and defend the free enterprise system! Let’s find out:

Even many tea partiers, at least many Christians in the bunch, would agree that Darwinism is an enemy to ethical society, and an amoral Darwinism in economics gives excuse to irresponsible greed.

Aaaargh!! WND agrees with the film’s insane premise! This is flat-out madness! But then it gets worse. Starting with their acceptance of Hollywood’s false and vile characterization of economic freedom, WND proposes what they say is a “better solution” than the dumb one the movie offers:

But though we may agree upon the enemy, “In Time” presents the solution in the form of a radical socialist neither Christian nor tea partier could support.

Aaaargh!! Only the Christians and the tea partiers have the true solution. And now, dear reader, here’s the crescendo, the climax, the insane conclusion to the WND movie review:

But let’s introduce a bit of truth into this Hollywood fantasy: Redistributing wealth from the rich to the poor is not “sharing,” it’s government-sanctioned theft.

The Bible is an advocate of real sharing, voluntary sharing; in fact, it commands it, commends it and exemplifies it ([deleted scripture] which is far from the communist mantra many make it out to be). But the biblical purpose of government is to punish evil and commend the good [deleted scripture], not to steal people’s property in order to create socioeconomic equality.

So while we may agree that Darwinist economics, greed and a society devoid of ethics are the collective “bad guy,” the solution presented by “In Time” cannot be commended by a Christian worldview.

Going through this thing has really hurt your Curmudgeon’s brain this morning. This film review has within it more flat-out craziness than we’ve ever encountered in any other article. The “problem,” which the WND film reviewer says the “occupy Wall Street” people and the tea party people both agree on, is the hideous evil of Darwin. The wrong solution is socialism, and the right one is the bible. Stupid premise and two equally stupid solutions.

The result is the frightening dichotomy we’re written about before, with one political party being socialist and the other theocratic. WND provides evidence that our vision of a nightmare future isn’t just in our own imagination.

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

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Big Bang: Not Accelerating After All?

There are three reasons why we probably shouldn’t post this: (1) it’s off topic; (2) it’s loaded with math; and (3) it may be all wrong. Nevertheless, if it’s not wrong it’s important, so we’ll tell you what we know.

This is about some work by Dr. Arto Annila, a physics professor at the University of Helsinki. He’s written a paper, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, and available (at least the abstract) at the website of the Wiley Online Library. It’s titled Least-time paths of light. He says that the Universe is expanding uniformly — not at an increasing rate — and that all observations to the contrary can be explained without invoking dark energy and dark matter.

This is potentially of enormous importance, especially since the Nobel Prize in Physics for 2011 was recently awarded to Saul Perlmutter, Brian P. Schmidt, Adam G. Riess “for the discovery of the accelerating expansion of the Universe through observations of distant supernovae.” According to the press release announcing the Prize:

The teams used a particular kind of supernova, called type Ia supernova. It is an explosion of an old compact star that is as heavy as the Sun but as small as the Earth. A single such supernova can emit as much light as a whole galaxy. All in all, the two research teams found over 50 distant supernovae whose light was weaker than expected – this was a sign that the expansion of the Universe was accelerating. The potential pitfalls had been numerous, and the scientists found reassurance in the fact that both groups had reached the same astonishing conclusion.

Now, just as we’ve all been getting used to the idea that the universe is expanding at an ever-increasing rate, and will probably never collapse in a Big Crunch, somehow resulting in another Big Bang — thus ending the idea of an eternally-oscillating universe — along comes Dr. Arto Annila with a different interpretation of the data. So we’re intrigued, even though we don’t pretend to follow all of the arguments.

The most coherent explanation we’ve found is at the website PhysOrg: A second look at supernovae light: Universe’s expansion may be understood without dark energy. We’ll give you a very few excerpts, and then we’ll leave it up to you to decide what you make of it all. PhysOrg says, with bold font added by us:

The well-known problem resulting from these [Type 1a supernovae] observations is that this expansion seems to be occurring even faster than all known forms of energy could allow. While there is no shortage of proposed explanations – from dark energy to modified theories of gravity – it’s less common that someone questions the interpretation of the supernovae data itself.

In a new study, that’s what Arto Annila, Physics Professor at the University of Helsinki, is doing. The basis of his argument … lies in the ever-changing way that light travels through an ever-evolving universe.

[...]

“When the supernova exploded, its energy as photons began to disperse in the universe, which has, by the time we observe the flash, become larger and hence also more dilute,” he [Dr.Annila] said. “Accordingly, the observed intensity of light has fallen inversely proportional to the squared luminosity distance and directly proportional to the redshifted frequency. Due to these two factors, brightness vs. redshift is not one straight line on a log-log plot, but a curve.”

As a result, Annila argues that the supernovae data does not imply that the universe is undergoing an accelerating expansion.

We understood everything up to that last sentence. Let’s read on:

As Annila explains, when a ray of light travels from a distant star to an observer’s telescope, it travels along the path that takes the least amount of time. This well-known physics principle is called Fermat’s principle or the principle of least time. Importantly, the quickest path is not always the straight path.

[...]

The principle of least time is a specific form of the more generally stated principle of least action. According to this principle, light, like all forms of energy in motion, always travels on the path that maximizes its dispersal of energy. We see this concept when the light from a light bulb (or star) emanates outward in all available directions.

Okay. So far, so good. We continue:

Mathematically, the principle of least action has two different forms. Physicists almost always use the form that involves the so-called Lagrangian integrand, but Annila explains that this form can only determine paths within stationary surroundings. Since the expanding universe is an evolving system, he suggests that the original but less popular form, which was produced by the French mathematician Maupertuis, can more accurately determine the path of light from the distant supernovae.

Now we’re lost, and that seems to be right at the most important point. Here’s one more excerpt:

Using Maupertuis’ form of the principle of least action, Annila has calculated that the brightness of light from Type 1a supernovae after traveling many millions of light-years to Earth agrees well with observations of the known amount of energy in the universe, and doesn’t require dark energy or any other additional driving force.

He’s the first to think of this? Maybe so. We certainly didn’t think of it. Wait — we have to add this from the article:

Annila added that these concepts can be tested to see whether they are the correct way to analyze supernovae and interpret the universe’s expansion.

So there you are. There’s much more in the PhysOrg article, so of this interests you, click over there and check it out. Then let us know what you think. Hey, we’re talking about the fate of the universe!

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

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Ken Ham Has Hot News for Creationist Women

At the personal blog of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), we find some thrilling news for all you creationist ladies. We’re not exaggerating — this is really, really thrilling.

As you know, ol’ Hambo is the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He runs the online creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. He also created the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Hambo’s blog article is titled Another First for AIG. We know you want to learn the news, so here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, and Hambo’s links and scripture references omitted. He says:

AiG speaker and researcher Dr. Georgia Purdom has a special announcement; she wrote the following:

We must interrupt to give you some background information on Dr. Georgia Purdom, who received her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from Ohio State University: Her bio page at AIG’s website says:

To our knowledge, Dr. Georgia Purdom is the first female Ph.D. scientist engaged in full-time research and speaking on the Book of Genesis for a creationist organization (i.e., which accepts Genesis as literal history, including a young earth).

[...]

She is a peer reviewer for Creation Research Science Quarterly and has attended several creation conferences held by AiG and the BSG (A Creation Biology Study Group). She is also a member of the research team for the GENE project being conducted by the Institute for Creation Research. Dr. Purdom helped design several exhibits for the Creation Museum and serves as an instructor for the online apologetics classes offered through AiG.

[...]

Another one of Dr. Purdom’s keen interests is the Intelligent Design Movement. … Regarding the IDM, she commented that: “On the surface, IDM looks very attractive to Christians in that it supports the existence of God through science alone, while leaving out the Bible. It seems less controversial because a ‘god’ is not named and therefore, could be taught in schools in opposition to evolution. Many Christians are not educated about the IDM and the implications that it is teaching, which I think are problematic.”

Dr. Purdom heard first heard Ken Ham speak several years ago when she was a student at Cedarville University (in Central Ohio). She soon had a dream of being able to work in creation studies, especially after noticing that there were not very many women engaged in even part-time creation research and lecturing.

Quite a woman! Okay, now that you know a bit about her, here’s what Hambo’s blog quotes her as saying:

I am thrilled to announce that next year Answers in Genesis will host the first-ever Answers for Women Conference at the Creation Museum. We have a great lineup of topics and speakers including our special guest speaker, Mary Mohler (wife of Dr. Albert Mohler, President of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary). She will be speaking on the topics of biblical womanhood and memorizing Scripture.

How wonderful! Let’s read on:

Stacia McKeever, an AiG curriculum writer and my personal good friend, will be speaking on understanding disabilities from a biblical perspective. Stacia is speaking from her personal experiences as a mother of a child that suffers several mental and physical disabilities. Her view on this has been such an encouragement to me, especially as it concerns the sovereignty of God.

That too should be a stimulating speech. We continue:

I [Georgia Purdom] will be speaking on the importance of Genesis to biblical authority (of course!), understanding death and suffering from a biblical perspective, and the biblical answers to racism in relation to the adoption of our daughter from China. These presentations are very personal for me because I will be sharing several difficult experiences from my own life.

No one will want to miss that! Here’s more:

The registration cost includes free admission to the museum, a planetarium showing, lunch on one day, and a special drama performance by AiG’s Geri Campbell on the story of Gomer.

The story of Gomer? He was one of Noah’s grandsons. That should be interesting.

There’s not much else that ol’ Hambo has to say, but as part of the Curmudgeonly service, here a link to more information, and how you can sign up for this history-making event: Answers for Women Conference. It’s scheduled for Thursday, 19 April 2012 to Friday, 20 April 2012. Registration costs only $99, but if you sign up early you can get a discount.

Make your plans, ladies. Mark your calendars. This will be an event to remember!

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

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ICR: Multiple Proofs of Creationism

Today we’re going to catch up on some recent lessons in creation science from the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. They’ve published several goofy articles recently that follow their usual formula, but none of them, alone, has inspired us to post.

So what we’re going to do is combine a few of their articles into one collection of silliness. We’ll give you a few excerpts from each article, with bold font added by us and ICR’s footnotes and scripture links deleted.

Before we begin, however, we want to remind you of the curious technique used in creationist thinking — something that permeates all of their creation “science.” First they start with some research done by real scientists. As with tests of the Shroud of Turin, they’ll uncritically accept selected findings — even if they’re previously denounced the methodology — but only if those findings fit with their preconceived conclusions. Then they “analyze” their selected data, using what we call the Creationists’ Scientific Method. It works like this:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

Okay, we know you’re eager to get started. The first article is Mercury’s Surface Looks Young . Here we go:

NASA’s Messenger spacecraft mission to Mercury has given scientists the opportunity to learn more about the properties of the solar system’s innermost planet. After supposedly billions of years since its formation, the planet should be dead, or geologically inactive. New data from Messenger, however, show that Mercury remains active and is still generating surface features.

NASA has a few articles at their website about their recent Mercury fly-by. You can find them here: Mission to Mercury. We didn’t notice any that proclaimed evidence for creationism, but what does NASA know? Here’s one more excerpt from ICR’s Mercury article:

But if Mercury was created, then its volatile and non-volatile constituents would have been formed on purpose. And if Mercury was created only thousands of years ago, as the Bible clearly indicates, then it could easily have plenty of residual energy.

[...]

Mercury’s active geology is the exact opposite of long-age predictions — but it is just what one would expect if Mercury is only thousands of years old.

Although ICR is thrilled to receive the testimony of Mercury, we caution them to remember what it says in the Good Book (King James version, of course) in Isaiah 14:12:

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Devil or not, that was fun! Here’s another: Earth Hit the 7-Billion Mark Too Late . ICR says:

The world’s population will reach seven billion on October 31, 2011, according to the United Nations, and media outlets are heralding the issue of overcrowding on the planet. How long did it take for this many humans to be born? The evolutionary version of human population growth presents a fantastic scenario to answer that question. In this imaginary long-ages history, the population did not grow at all for millions of years before suddenly taking off only a few thousand years ago.

[...]

As the late Dr. Henry Morris, founder of the Institute for Creation Research, asked, “How could it be that the planet only now is experiencing a population crisis — why not several hundred thousand years ago, soon after man first appeared on earth?”

It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that this clunker is dealt with in TalkOrigins’ excellent Index to Creationist Claims. Here it is: Human population growth indicates a young earth. Go ahead and read it. Here’s ICR’s conclusion:

But the current world population aligns completely with biblical history, with no added stories. Using census records from the last 400 years and a bit of algebra, and assuming a natural logarithmic growth, eight Flood survivors 4,500 years ago produce 7 billion people almost exactly. This is powerful evidence that biblical history is accurate, and man-made evolutionary history is not.

Yeah, okay. Here’s the last ICR article we’ll discuss today: The Miracle of Water. Yes, dear reader, water proves creationism. Here’s what ICR says:

The earth is the only known planet with huge bodies of water. Seventy percent of its surface area consists of oceans, lakes, and seas surrounding huge bodies of land. The few other planets that have water contain only moisture floating as vapor on their surface or small amounts of ice or liquid water on the planet itself, not large bodies of liquid water as on earth.

Wow — that’s amazing! They give a few more 9th-grade science facts about water and its effect on our climate, concluding with this:

This is one more “stunning” demonstration that the “Lord by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.”

We’d like to give you more, but we have exceeded our self-imposed Stupid Quota for the day. Don’t despair — there’s always tomorrow.

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

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