Monthly Archives: January 2012

ICR: Dogs Are Proof of Creationism

Today we have another stunning example of creation science from the granddaddy of all creationist outfits — the Institute for Creation Research (ICR). They’re the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Before we begin, however, we want to remind you of the curious technique used in creationist thinking — something that permeates all of ICR’s 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.

Today’s article from ICR is Why Dogs Don’t Need Snow Boots. We remember reading something about this, probably when it first appeared here: Functional anatomy of the footpad vasculature of dogs: scanning electron microscopy of vascular corrosion casts, but we didn’t post about it. What brought the matter to ICR’s attention was this from Time Magazine: Dogs Have Built-In Snow Boots, Researchers Find.

Okay, we know you’re eager to get started. Here are some excerpts from ICR’s article, with bold font added by us:

Human feet would quickly freeze if exposed to snow and ice without proper gear, but dogs don’t seem to mind the cold. Since the pads of their feet aren’t protected by fur like the rest of their bodies, it would seem that they’d be especially susceptible to freezing — but they aren’t.

A rational creationist — if such existed — would immediately wonder why dogs have a superior ability to deal with cold, while we humans (the purpose and pinnacle of creation), suffer from frostbite if we walk barefoot in the snow. But that question doesn’t occur to the creation scientists at ICR. They just talk about how wonderful dogs are. They say:

It turns out that dog paws have tiny blood vessels arranged as counter-current heat exchangers. This way, dogs’ internal body heat is not lost through the soles of their feet. Instead, cold blood is warmed right in their paws before it re-enters the main blood supply. Plus, most of the core body blood recirculates back into the body, instead of straight to the feet, to keep the animals’ temperature consistently warm even when walking on ice.

Why — oh why! — weren’t humans designed so well? Let’s read on:

This discovery only adds to the long list of known dog features that identify them as intentionally created creatures, including the dog’s straight back that “better absorbs the power that is generated by the hindquarters when the animal is moving.” Animal anatomist Daniel Schmitt called dog locomotion “an evolutionary miracle in my view.”

With all those advantages, it’s good to be a dog. We continue:

Also, a dog’s sense of smell is so acute that it can distinguish between identical twins, and its hearing is so well-developed that it can hear sounds up to 40,000 cycles per second — twice what human ears can hear. And their ear structure enables them to hear “about 4 times farther than humans are capable of hearing.”

We feeble humans have always admired the abilities of dogs. Now here’s ICR’s conclusion:

Superior dog engineering, from head to toe, should point thinking people to a superior Engineer. [Capitalizaton in the original.]

See what we mean? Why was man given lesser abilities than the dog? If there’s an “Engineer” behind it all, he’s got some explaining to do.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Ray Comfort’s Thoughts on Religious Mysteries

This is about an article by an old favorite of this humble blog — Ray Comfort, one of history’s all-time flamingest creationists. For background, in case you’ve never seen it, here’s Ray Comfort’s famous “Banana video”.

We’ve written about Comfort several times, but not recently. Our last post discussing him was Ray Comfort on Ben Franklin, Darwin, & Einstein, and before that Richard Dawkins on Ray Comfort, and before that Ray Comfort: New Standard of Stupid, and before that WorldNetDaily, Ray Comfort, and Brain Death.

Today, Comfort has an article at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), one of the major sources of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Why Did God Create Mankind if He Knew Man Would Sin?, and it reveals the incredible shallowness of his thinking. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and scripture references omitted:

Ask me who made God, why suffering is in the world, or why God allows evil, and I will answer you quicker than the government gives away our tax dollars. But ask me why God created mankind even though He knew man would sin, and I hesitate.

Comfort claims, without any backup, to have an easy answer to the problem of who made God. This is the first cause issue, sometimes expressed as the cosmological argument, an ancient theological problem which has, to our knowledge, never had a satisfactory answer. We described the problem here: Hey, Ken Ham: “Were You There?”, where we said:

If one begins with the premise that everything has a cause, and then works his way back to God’s being the cause of the universe, the game isn’t over yet. It has just begun. The conclusion that God created the universe isn’t exempt from the premise that brought you to that conclusion. The premise that “everything has a cause” demands that you persevere and seek the cause of God — which leads to the absurdity of an infinite series of earlier gods. The traditional “solution” is that when one gets to the desired moment in the causal chain, he arbitrarily abandons the suddenly inconvenient premise, leaving him with God as an “uncaused cause” — a conclusion which contradicts the premise. Whether one capriciously abandons the premise at the “right” place in the causal chain, or diligently pursues it to an infinite series of gods — the argument is an absurdity. There’s nothing wrong with the premise; but it doesn’t lead to the desired conclusion.

Comfort also claims, again without any backup, that he has an easy answer to the age-old problem of evil, which has bedeviled theologians for millennia. We discussed what we think is one of the best responses here: Francisco Ayala on “Darwin’s Gift to Religion”.

So let’s skip those problems and get to the one that Comfort wants to discuss — why did God create us as sinful beings? He says:

I know the pat answer. God knew that man would sin, but by allowing it to happen He was able to show the redeemed how much He loved us.

That seems vacuous and simplistic enough for a man like Comfort, but somehow it doesn’t satisfy him. Let’s read on:

But that answer seems incomplete to me because the pain of sin is so great, both in this life and in the next. I suspect that I’m missing some information that I probably won’t discover until after I die. But not having the complete answer now doesn’t worry me.

No answer? No problem! Comfort explains why he’s not troubled:

It’s easy for some to paint God as a tyrant because He made man knowing that man would sin. But they deliberately forget that God lavished His kindness on us by giving us life, eyes to see the sunrise, ears to hear the birds, taste buds to enjoy good food, and so many other good things, which we rarely even recognize.

Yes, but the problem remains, because all that could have been given to us without the sinfulness. So what’s the answer? Comfort continues:

But I know something else about this all-wise, all-powerful, incredibly kind God. He is also a God of justice. His very nature demands both perfect justice and perfect love. So what did God do about man’s sin? He gave His life on an unspeakably cruel cross, taking the punishment for our sin, so that we could escape being justly punished in hell.

Maybe so. But that doesn’t explain the eternity in hell being suffered by those who never knew about that when they died — including infants. The blatant lack of justice — for most humans who ever lived — is a problem Comfort ignores. He concludes with this:

Such knowledge of the kindness of my heavenly Father tides me over until He chooses to answer the questions I can’t.

And so we leave one of the greatest creationist thinkers of all time. Now you know what Comfort knows. And so does your potted petunia.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Strange New Law in New Hampshire

This isn’t specifically about creationism, but we suspect that New Hampshire’s new law has no other purpose. We learned about it at the website of radio station 89.3 KPCC-FM in Los Angeles, affiliated with Southern California Public Radio: New Hampshire parents get to nix school curriculum they find objectionable. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A new law recently passed in New Hampshire gives parents the right to file an objection to any course material they find offensive at their child’s public school, and as a result, the school district has to devise an alternative acceptable to the parent. No other state in the nation gives parents this much control over curriculum and the implications have some experts worried.

How did we miss something like that while it was working its way through the legislature? Here’s more:

The new law does not require the parent to justify the reason for the objection, only to state it.

That’s nice. Here’s the rest of the news story:

If a parent believes in intelligent design or creationism, should they be able to prevent their child from learning about evolution? Will the school have to provide coursework that validates its beliefs even if those beliefs are not supported by facts and accepted scientific principles? Will this kind of choice perpetuate stereotypes, or even racism? What if a parent doesn’t want their child to learn about the Holocaust because they don’t believe it happened?

It appears that the radio station had a panel discussion about the bill, but we don’t see any link to a recording. As we said, we suspect this thing is aimed at evolution, and the radio station certainly thinks that’s a possibility.

So we went searching at the website of the New Hampshire legislature. Here’s the text of the new law — it’s HB 542-FN – FINAL VERSION. It adds a new paragraph to the law that lists the duties of the State Board of Education, and it takes effect on 01 January 2012. Got that? It’s already in effect. Here’s what the State Board of Education must do:

Require school districts to adopt a policy allowing an exception to specific course material based on a parent’s or legal guardian’s determination that the material is objectionable. Such policy shall include a provision requiring the parent or legal guardian to notify the school principal or designee in writing of the specific material to which they object and a provision requiring an alternative agreed upon by the school district and the parent, at the parent’s expense, sufficient to enable the child to meet state requirements for education in the particular subject area. The name of the parent or legal guardian and any specific reasons disclosed to school officials for the objection to the material shall not be public information and shall be excluded from access under RSA 91-A. [Emphasis supplied.]

What “objectionable material” do you think they have in mind? To learn more, we continued searching the legislature’s website to see what else we could find about this law. This page, Docket of HB542, informs us that the thing was vetoed by the governor on 13 July 2011 and his veto was overridden.

The governor’s veto message is here: Veto Message Regarding HB 542. We’ll spare you the effort of scrolling around to find it. It says, with our bold font added for emphasis:

I am vetoing this legislation because it does not clearly define what material would be objectionable; it would be disruptive to classrooms and other students; and it would be difficult for school districts to administer.

Current law already allows for parents to remove their children from classrooms for particular lessons on health or sex education. Given the strong moral and religious issues inherent in those subjects, that is appropriate. But this legislation goes far beyond that. HB 542 would allow a parent to determine any course material is “objectionable” and require school districts to work with parents to develop an alternative. This legislation in essence gives every individual parent of every student in a classroom a veto over every single lesson plan developed by a teacher.

For example, under this bill, parents could object to a teacher’s plan to: teach the history of France or the history of the civil or women’s rights movements. Under this bill, a parent could find “objectionable” how a teacher instructs on the basics of algebra. In each of those cases, the school district would have to develop an alternative educational plan for the student. Even though the law requires the parents to pay the cost of alternative, the school district will still have to bear the burden of helping develop and approve the alternative. Classrooms will be disrupted by students coming and going, and lacking shared knowledge.

Just as important, this legislation will fundamentally damage educational quality. Much of the genesis behind this legislation is objections to certain books that have been used in lessons. This is a perennial debate, and teachers and schools have a responsibility to ensure they are using age-appropriate, school-appropriate materials in their classrooms.

The intrinsic value of education is exposing students to new ideas and critical thinking. This legislation encourages teachers to go the lowest common denominator in selecting material, in order to avoid “objections” and the disruption it may cause their classrooms.

Because it is unclear what educational material or programs would be objectionable and the quality of education in the classroom could be impacted, I am vetoing this bill.

Respectfully submitted, John H. Lynch, Governor

Did you notice that the Governor’s message used the word “genesis”? That was no accident.

The Docket Page also informs us that the veto was at first sustained, and then, on reconsideration, the veto was overridden on 30 November 2011 (or maybe on 04 January 2012). So the bill became effective on the first of this year.

According to the veto message, “Current law already allows for parents to remove their children from classrooms for particular lessons on health or sex education.” What else was the legislature thinking about — geometry? In our humble opinion, although there’s no reference to it, this law is aimed directly at the teaching of evolution. What’s going on in New Hampshire?

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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WorldNetDaily’s Craziest Creationism Rant?

Buffoon Award

We were once again awakened by blaring sirens and flashing lights of our Retard-o-tron™. The blinking letters on the wall said WorldNetDaily. As you know, 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 an article by a name that’s new to us — Bradlee Dean — who is described as: “an ordained preacher, heavy metal drummer, talk-show host of the Sons of Liberty Radio, and the founder/executive director of the ministry “You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International” located in Minneapolis. That’s quite a résumé!

Wikipedia has a a fascinating article on Dean’s ministry: You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, which informs us that “[Minnesota Congresswoman Michele] Bachmann has praised the ministry, appearing as a keynote speaker at their fundraisers.” Here’s the ministry’s website, which takes a while to load due to its garish graphics.

Rev. Dean’s article at WND is The Religion of Evolution vs. the Facts. Every paragraph is something we find incredibly amazing, and you’ll want to click over there to read it all. We’ll give you only a few representative excerpts, with bold font added by us:

It’s absolutely ridiculous that I would even have to take the time to expose the theory/religion of evolution (and theory it is), but when it affects the outcome of future generations, it must take precedence. Take a look with me at the absurdities of people who blindly follow its teaching.

And that’s just the beginning. It gets better:

The theory/religion of evolution teaches our kids a mindset that God does not exist (idolatry – the oldest sin in the Bible); that there are no moral absolutes; that some men are better than others; and that we evolved from monkeys. Then we wonder why, after teaching evolution in schools, America has an epidemic of school shootings, suicides, violence, rape and crime.

Yes, it’s all Darwin’s fault. Let’s read on:

If you can convince the people that God does not exist, then the government becomes god. Now what you are seeing today is the modern American government falling in line with the same theory/religion: Away with God and onward with tyranny. How contradictory to our founders!

The Founding Fathers would undoubtedly be horrified by today’s government, but it’s unlikely that teaching evolution would be what troubles them. Skipping a bit, we find this:

Besides this, Charles Darwin himself didn’t believe his theory would stand up to the light of truth. He said in his book “The Origin of Species,” “If it could be demonstrated that an organ exists, which could not have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.” If that’s the case, Charlie, what is the basis for any of your theories? There isn’t one.

Nice bit of quote mining. But when we look at Darwin’s book, in Chapter 6 — Difficulties on Theory, we see that he follows that sentence immediately with this:

But I can find out no such case. … We should be extremely cautious in concluding that an organ could not have been formed by transitional gradations of some kind. Numerous cases could be given amongst the lower animals of the same organ performing at the same time wholly distinct functions … . The illustration of the swimbladder in fishes is a good one, because it shows us clearly the highly important fact that an organ originally constructed for one purpose, namely flotation, may be converted into one for a wholly different purpose, namely respiration. … In considering transitions of organs, it is so important to bear in mind the probability of conversion from one function to another, that I will give one more instance.

That’s enough. And this isn’t the only quote-mined part of Dean’s article, but we’ll let you discover the other.

At the end there are two videos, and we haven’t watched either of them. One is The Theory/Religion of Evolution Against the Facts!, and the other is a performance of the Rev’s band, Junkyard Prophet. Go ahead and watch them if you like, and let us know what you think. As for us, we’re outta here!

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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