Monthly Archives: May 2012

WND: Rev. David Rives — Leap of Faith

No day is complete without without a strong creationist message, and that’s why we’re so dependent on our Retard-o-tron™ (yes, we bought another after our last one blew out).

This morning 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.

So we followed the electronic pointers and the Retard-o-tron™ led us to another video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries. The last time we brought you a David Rives video was Beware the Big Bang.

Thr rev’s latest is Evolution demands ‘leap of faith’ — and it doesn’t start with a commercial. It’s just 1.5 glorious minutes of fact-filled creationism from our favorite rev. You won’t want to miss it.

Well, what are you waiting for? You’ve got 90 seconds to spare. Click over to WND and watch the rev’s video. Do it now! Or would you prefer an eternity in the Lake of Fire?

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

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The New Theory of Improvident Design

We have a new post by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist of all 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).

Casey is the only Discoveroid who isn’t a “fellow,” so a couple of years ago your Curmudgeon compassionately remedied that cruel insult (see: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow). His latest post at the Discoveroids’ blog is Thank Darwin for Dysteleology! Evolution Can’t Lose.

Casey’s post is a continuation of an old theme, namely that intelligent design doesn’t need to be all that intelligent or well-designed. The last time we posted about it was The Designer Can Be Sloppy, and that links to some earlier posts on the same topic. As we said then:

It’s now Discoveroid doctrine that their intelligent designer doesn’t have to produce anything better than evolution does, which is pretty much an admission that their “theory” is not only unnecessary but also ridiculous.

And as we always say whenever they make an excuse for the magic designer’s less-than-perfect handiwork:

We already know that evolution isn’t perfect — its results need only be good enough to achieve survival. But surely the magical designer is better than mere evolution. If not, who needs it? If poor design is nevertheless the handiwork of the great celestial designer — whose name dare not be spoken — then how, pray tell, does an ID “researcher” know when he’s looking at evidence of ID?

Another interesting aspect of this “sloppy design” loophole is that it flatly contradicts an earlier Discoveroid dogma — the designer’s miraculous works have been claimed to be flawless, which is why the Discoveroids insist that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. The last time we wrote about that was Junk DNA Dismay, and that links to our earlier posts on the subject.

But the Discoveroids desperately need the “sloppy design” doctrine. It serves the same purpose as the “sin cursed world” of the young-Earth creationists, upon which the YECs rely to justify anything that doesn’t fit into a providentially-created universe.

Anyway, let’s turn to the new Discoveroid blog article. Casey says, with bold font added by us and some of his links omitted:

A short article in Science, The Burdens of Being a Biped, argues for evolution based on considerations of dysteleology. It claims that “A brief tour of the body reveals a number of design flaws.” The problem, the article says, is that humans are built upon a quadrupedal body plan that wasn’t “designed” to walk upright. This supposedly explains why we commonly suffer from back and other problems related to our bipedal locomotion.

Sounds reasonable. Everyone knows our bodies are far from perfect. Were it otherwise, most physicians would be out of business, and there would be no need for dentists. Let’s read on:

So when natural selection fine-tunes a structure, that’s evidence for evolution. But when “imperfect evolution” has “left us with vertebrae that break more easily, weaker bones, and feet prone to heel spurs and sprained ankles,” that’s also evidence of evolution. Dysteleology is great: evolution can’t lose!

Uh huh. We all talk like that. Actually, we don’t. Functional biological structures aren’t “fine tuned.” They’ve been tested in the arena of nature to be sufficient for survival, and thus to primitive observers they may seem fine tuned, but the reality is that they’re adequate, nothing more. And their adequacy is limited to a narrow range of conditions. Don’t believe it? Then just test them — any of them — with heat or pressure, or any other factor that exceeds their evolved capabilities and watch what happens. It isn’t pretty. Okay, let’s continue:

There’s no question that we all face the prospect of bodily ailments we wish we could avoid. But Science has succumbed to the fallacy of arguing for evolution by citing undesirable design. In fact, undesirable features of our anatomy and physiology are no more a proof of evolution than they are a disproof of intelligent design.

Wrong, Casey. Sloppy design of any degree is consistent with evolution, but it most definitely contradicts the concept of an intelligent designer. Here’s more:

Of course it’s possible too that humans suffer from unique ailments having nothing to do with evolution. Maybe our unique problems stem from the fact that we’re one of the only fully bipedal mammals — by far the largest one, at that. In other words, we’re a unique species, so it’s not surprising we suffer ailments “that no other animal does.”

Huh? Surely the celestial designer — blessed be he! — would have taken special care in crafting our unique species. Or if one is more scripturally inclined, in making us “in His image.” The literal Genesis folks can always use original sin as an excuse for physical flaws. The Discoveroids have no excuse, except their growing acceptance of exceedingly tolerant design specifications. Moving along:

There may be an additional explanation for why humans have so many back problems — and it too has nothing to do with evolution. It may, however, have something to do with error or incompetence — that is, on the part of the design’s user, rather than the designer.

Ah yes. There’s nothing wrong with the design, but we don’t know how to use it. Great excuse! But it won’t work. We expect our man-made products, if they’re well-designed, to work perfectly — right out of the box. And they do, or we demand our money back. Surely the intelligent designer should be sufficiently competent to meet those reasonable expectations.

After purporting to quote from the Science article about how our bones are less brittle when we get proper exercise, Casey concludes with this:

So, our bodies work best when they get lots of exercise — but that’s exactly what we lazy folks in the Western world aren’t getting enough of. If our bodies were “designed” to get more exercise, maybe the cause of many ailments isn’t “design flaw,” but user-error. Seems like when used properly, our bodies aren’t so poorly designed after all.

Sorry, Casey. Nice try, but that still doesn’t do the job. Some of the most damaged spines and knees and ankles are those of professional athletes, and they were very well exercised at the time of their injuries. The young-Earth creationists have a better excuse — it’s all Adam & Eve’s fault. But if you Discoveroids want to tout your new theory of improvident design, that’s okay with us.

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

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David Coppedge Trial: JPL’s Defense Brief

The judge’s decision is expected in the next few weeks in the trial of the suit filed by David Coppedge, the creationist who claims he was wrongfully demoted and later fired by his employer because he was promoting Intelligent Design (ID) on the job. As you recall, he used to work as a computer technician for Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), which is part of Caltech. He also maintains a creationist website: Creation-Evolution Headlines — which was recently moved here.

The Coppedge team has already filed their Plaintiff’s Post-trial Brief. It’s 25 pages of Coppedge’s lawyer putting the best face he can on his case. We mentioned it a while back, but we didn’t think it was important enough to really bother with. If you want to see it, it’s available in the archive maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), located here: NCSE’s Coppedge archive. The pleadings are all scans of pdf files.

Today we bring to your attention JPL’s Post-Trial Defense Brief. The stamp on the first page says the court clerk’s office got it on 29 May, so that’s why it was just added to the NCSE archive. Coppedge’s brief was filed on 08 May, so we’re guessing that the court’s rules give the defendant about 20 days to respond to the plaintiff’s brief. Anyway, that’s what it looks like. There may even be another round of reply briefs, If so, the judge’s decision won’t be known until after all of that.

We have no idea what the California trial procedures are, but we assume that these briefs are submitted not only on paper but also as computer files, so the judge can use parts of them in composing his own opinion. There’s no reason why the court should have to laboriously re-type all those statutory references, case citations, etc. Further, if the judge thinks certain paragraphs are well-reasoned, he may just cut and paste them into his decision. That sort of thing happened in the Kitzmiller case, and we understand it’s routine in Federal trials. It’s likely to be the same in California’s state trials too. No one should be surprised that after the winning side’s arguments are adopted by the court, parts of its brief may show up in the court’s opinion.

If that happens here, as it probably will, be prepared for high-pitched squeals of outrage from the Discoveroids. Casey still hasn’t stopped complaining that Judge Jones (who presided over the Kitzmiller case) “plagiarized” the winning side’s brief.

As we started reading JPL’s 24-page brief, we realized that we are not an unbiased observer. To us, every paragraph is pure gold, and it makes no sense for us to copy huge chunks of it here. JPL’s lawyers did a good job, and the document should be read in its entirety.

But if you want a quick summary, take a look at their table of contents. It starts on page 2 (at least as we view the document). Each section heading is written in complete sentences, and reading through that tells the whole tale. You really don’t need any more, and then you can just sit back until the judge issues his opinion.

It’s useful to compare JPL’s table of contents to the same thing in the Coppedge brief. It’s hard to believe that these lawyers are talking about the same trial. Coppedge argues, in effect, that he was engaged in a lonely struggle for intellectual freedom against the brutally biased forces of Big Science. JPL’s summary, on the other hand, tells of a troublesome employee with a long history of causing discord and other problems, and who was let go for perfectly understandable reasons — his skills were obsolete.

If you want to be entertained, read JPL’ section about “Witness Credibility” on page 15. Great stuff. Also, read their section on Coppedge’s “Damages” (what he’d be entitled to receive if he won), starting on page 19. It’s very illuminating. But hey, it’s all good, and it’s only 24 pages. Go for it.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #250: Ignorant and Evil

This is our second letter-to-the-editor today, but it’s a quickie. It appears in the Gadsden Times located in Gadsden, Alabama. The title is Evolution not a fact. We’ll give you a few excerpts, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. As we usually do we’ll omit the writer’s name and city. Here we go:

There is a wealth of information to show that evolution is not a fact, or even a good hypothesis. But newspapers usually ignore this information and print articles like “Scientist: Evolution debate soon will be history.”

The letter writer is talking about remarks recently made by Richard Leakey, which you can read about here: Evolution debate will soon be history. Back to the letter:

This [Leakey's prediction] probably is true, but not because evolution has been proven to be true. It will happen because: 1. Scientists who believe creation are not given a voice; and 2. The public in general wants to be rid of God, and evolution is the best way to be rid of Him.

Do we detect a creationist persecution complex? Let’s read on:

Evolution is not a true science. Science is “the observation, identification, description, experimental investigation and theoretical explanation of natural phenomena” (Webster’s). There is no way to observe, identify, describe or experiment with something that occurred millions of years ago. Archeology and related sciences can tell us much about the past 6,000 years.

Ah, another genius who gets his information either from scripture or the dictionary. His dictionary tells him that science excludes the past, except that archeology somehow goes back as far as Genesis. Great dictionary! We continue:

If America was not so interested in getting rid of God, people like Leakey would be laughed out of town. The idea of digging up a bone and saying it is millions of years old is too ludicrous for debate.

Now he explains why it’s ludicrous:

How do you know that fossil is that old? Because of the rock it came out of, stupid. How do you know that rock is that old? Because of the fossil that was in it, stupid. Mock science will never produce the truth, and fondling bones will never help humanity.

So far this guy is a fairly typical creationist. That is, he knows nothing. But he distinguishes himself with his next sentence because it’s the worst we’ve ever seen from one of these people:

Leakey would bless humanity if he stuck to flying his airplane.

The letter-writer must be very proud of that. Leakey lost his legs when a plane he was piloting crashed in 1993.

The final paragraph is a religious rant that begins: “Darwin’s desire to destroy Christianity will never entirely succeed.” No doubt. With righteous guardians of the faith like today’s letter-writer, his world is secure.

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

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