Monthly Archives: June 2012

Weekend Intellectual Free-Fire Zone #20

We’ve had to scramble around, but we only found one news item worth mentioning. At PhysOrg, they report the results of a poll that Americans favor Obama to defend against space aliens. They say:

With Obama facing re-election in November, 65 percent said Obama would be more adept than Romney to respond to an alien invasion, with women and younger Americans more likely than men and over-65s to agree with that prospect.

Among the findings were:

Thirty-six percent of respondents said they were certain that unidentified flying objects exist. Eleven percent were confident they had spotted a UFO, and 20 percent said they knew someone who claimed to have seen one.

Aside from that, we’re still waiting for a ruling in the Coppedge case. Some little things have been showing up in the court docket, but they don’t seem important. The last item is this:

06/27/2012 at 03:45 pm in Department 54, Ernest Hiroshige, Presiding. Exparte proceeding – Completed

That means nothing to us. The way the courts are behaving lately, we have no idea what will happen, but we’ll know, soon enough.

Otherwise, the 4th of July is coming and our kind of news is scarce, so you’re on your own.

As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

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

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Discoveroids’ Guide to Creationist Activism

This is a great post 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).

It’s by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist. Now that he’s a famous creation science author, with a book he co-authored with two other Discoveroids and published by the Discovery Institute Press, he’s answering his fan mail — just like a real celebrity.

He tells us about it in his latest post: What Can YOU Do to Support Intelligent Design? That title is certainly an attention-grabber. Casey says, with bold font added by us and his links omitted:

Recently a family e-mailed me wondering what they could do to support intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How bizarre is that? Can you imagine, dear reader, a genuine scientist getting an email asking: “What can my family do to support the theory of relativity?” Anyway, assuming Casey really did receive such an email, which we doubt, his post contains his answer.

First he advises staying “informed” by reading the Discoveroids’ website and keeping up with their other online activities. Then he suggests “ways that you can reach out to others.” That activism advice is the bulk of his post. Here his first suggestion:

Start your own ID blog, or participate in other ID blogs like Uncommon Descent. It’s always good to have pro-ID voices on the Internet, although I’ll warn you that lots of Internet ID-critics just want to shout you down and call you nasty names, so it’s not uncommonly the case that you’d be wasting your time by engaging them.

That’s good advice. The world could always use another creationist blog. But sensitive bloggers must watch out for all the nasty “anti-ID” people out there. Casey goes on:

Become a voice for academic freedom in your local community. One easy thing you can do is sign the Academic Freedom Petition. You can write letters to the editor to local newspapers, calling on them to stand up for good science education and provide corrections to misinformation or biased reporting on this issue.

We like the suggestion to write letters to the editor. Those things are always entertaining. Casey continues:

Another constant need is to ensure that your local public libraries, secondary school libraries, and university libraries have up-to-date copies of intelligent design books.

Up-to-date creationism books? What’s the difference between a new one and some ancient clunker that’s been around for a century? They’re all the same. Oh wait — the newer books are by Discoveroids, and they get the royalties. Here’s more:

You might consider starting a local organization to increase awareness about intelligent design. A great way to do this is to start an Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Club. These extracurricular clubs are affiliated with the IDEA Center (which is a distinct organization from Discovery Institute), but they can organize events on local college campuses or in communities to show videos or bring speakers to educate the public about the issue.

We thought the IDEA clubs were extinct. The last time we wrote about them was more than three years ago: Discovery Institute: IDEA Clubs Flopped? Moving along:

Besides IDEA Clubs, if you know university students who are interested in ID, you can encourage them to get involved with Discovery Institute’s Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design. And if you know pre-college students who are college-shopping, encourage them to consider how the school they’re going to attend deals with topics like the origins of life and of human beings.

That’s great advice! Yes, encourage students to go to creationist seminars and creationist colleges. Another excerpt:

Finally, another way you can make a difference is to advocate for positive changes in education in your local school or community. If you have kids, find out how their schools cover evolution. For public schools, we recommend that they teach the scientific evidence for and against Darwinian evolution … .

Yes, get involved in school board politics! Casey concludes with this:

Feel free to do your own brainstorming and/or look for opportunities within your personal sphere of influence to educate people about intelligent design. Heck, you could go through our recommended booklist and give appropriate ID books to friends for Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, or other holidays.

So there you have it — Casey’s guide to creationist activism. Print it out. Tape it to your refrigerator door. Do your part to support intelligent design and make the world a dumber place.

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

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A Few More Questions for Creationists

A month ago we posted A Few Questions for Creationists. Now we have a few more. None of this material is new to our regular readers, but it’s worth the effort to compile these into a couple of convenient posts.

Let’s start with scriptural literalism. Yes, we know the Discoveroids will wiggle out of our first two questions, claiming that they’re not that kind of creationist. No problem, the other questions apply to them as well as to young-earth creationists.

1. The bible is quite explicit that The Earth Is Flat! So our question is: Besides being a creationist, why aren’t you also a flat-earther?

2. Also, scripture makes it very clear that The Earth Does Not Move! Why don’t you reject the solar system?

3. Turning to the alleged evils of Darwin’s theory — it supposedly leads to Hitler and all that, despite the total absence of Hitlerian references to Darwin — why isn’t it also true that creationism leads to the depravity of outspoken creationists like Jimmy Swaggart? If creationism is based on morality (and evolution is based on a rejection of all that is good and moral), then why are there any creationist scoundrels like Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker?

4. If humans are intelligently designed, why is there any need for occupations like optometry and dentistry?

5. If humans are the crowning glory of creation and our DNA is the designer’s handiwork, why are there several species on Earth with genomes far larger than that of a human — in some cases several times bigger? The genome of the amoeba is much bigger than a human’s, and there’s a plant with a genome an astounding 50 times bigger than ours (see A Japanese Plant Has the World’s Biggest Genome).

We won’t go around asking creationists these questions (see Debating Creationists is Dumber Than Creationism), so this post is only for rhetorical purposes. But if anyone does ask these questions, don’t expect any coherent answers. There aren’t any.

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

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Discovery Institute: Casey & Klinghoffer

How many famous pairs of people can you think of? We’re not talking about romance or even historical reality. We mean working pairs whose names are always spoken of together — couples like Bonnie & Clyde, Butch & Sundance, Sacco and Vanzetti, Antony & Cleopatra, Orville & Wilbur, Batman & Robin, Leopold & Loeb, Dagwood & Blondie, Bill and Hillary, the Lone Ranger & Tonto …

Now we can add to that illustrious list because we have identified another coupling. We found it among 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).

Yes, you’ve guessed it. We’re talking about Casey & Klinghoffer. Think about it — even the juxtaposition of their names even has a certain ring to it. Casey, as you know, has suddenly risen to academic fame as one of the co-authors of a new creation science book. We first wrote about it here: Discovery Institute: Casey’s New Book!

And you all know about David Klinghoffer, whose creationist oeuvre we last described here, and upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” — i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist. His name has some of the resonance of Red Skelton’s Clem Kadiddlehopper.

We suspect that their names shall henceforth be forever linked, professionally. It’s because of this new post at the Discoveroids’ blog: In Science and Human Origins, Casey Luskin Reveals the “Big Bang” of Human Evolution.

This is beautiful, really. Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid senior fellow, praises Casey’s book. Casey is a Discoveroid, as are the book’s other co-authors. And the book is, of course, published by the Discovery Institute Press. Further, the news of this appears at the Discoveroids’ blog. As they say in creationist circles, what are the odds of all those things coming together as the result of blind, undirected, randomness? There is meaning here — deep meaning.

But now that we’ve told you about Klinghoffer’s post, there’s not much else to say. The best we can do is select a segment or two that we find particularly noteworthy. After that you’re on your own. Okay, here we go, with bold font added by us:

Luskin’s chapter is in some ways the centerpiece of Science and Human Origins. His subject is paleoanthropology and the mystery of the “Big Bang” in human evolution, a term that aptly describes the emergence of our genus Homo some two million years ago, preceded by ape-like australopithecine predecessors that may or may not be our ancestors.

Ooooooh! Casey’s chapter is the centerpiece. Let’s read on:

Luskin has done the hard work of gathering for a non-specialist readership what the specialists in the subject actually say. In fact, he writes, “the fossil evidence for human evolution remains fragmentary, hard to decipher, and hotly debated.”

Ooooooh! Casey has done the hard work. We continue:

Casey Luskin is telling a story that was already told by anthropologists, though the media and scientists themselves, when they speak for public consumption, labor to obscure this.

Ooooooh! Casey is too important to do his own research. He’s rehashing the work of others. Truly, he’s a great Discoveroid!

There’s not much else to Klinghoffer’s review. This makes … what? … about seven or eight posts about Casey’s book that have appeared at the Discoveroid blog? Maybe ten? We’ve lost track. Anyway, this one is notable for the extra-ordinary intellectual compatibility of personalities, and if you click over there you should find it profoundly satisfying at that level. We certainly did.

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

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