Category Archives: Evolution

Rev. David Rives and the Flat Earth

The Drool-o-tron™ found a winner this morning. Its blaring sirens and flashing lights drew out attention to the blinking letters of its wall display, which said WorldNetDaily (WND). Our computer was locked onto WND’s presentation of the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

WND’s headline is Lunar eclipses render ‘Flat Earth Society’ a myth. When you click over there — and we know you will — you’ll see that the actual title of the video is The Lunar Eclipse — Testament to the Spherical Earth, Detriment to the Flat Earth. The video is a full two minutes long, which is unusual.

As if it were news, the rev explains what the civilized world has always known since the days of Aristotle — the Earth is spherical. Even during the Dark Ages, the Church didn’t officially dispute this. That’s surprising because the bible is strikingly consistent in its description of the Earth as flat — even in the New Testament, which was written centuries after Aristotle. We quoted all the relevant passages three years ago in The Earth Is Flat!

The rev refers to the persistent myth that Columbus intended to prove that the Earth wasn’t flat, but he doesn’t mention that the myth comes primarily from a fanciful biography written by Washington Irving — see A History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus.

The rev not only makes it clear that he is no flat-Earther (which makes him a blasphemer because he’s a literalist), but then — get this! — he claims that the bible isn’t a flat-Earth book. He doesn’t have much to back up that outrageous claim, but he mentions Isaiah’s phrase “the circle of the Earth.” It’s often quoted by creationists, because it’s the only phrase in the entire bible that — when taken out of context — appears not to refer to a flat Earth.

But the rev doesn’t actually cite that phrase it or put it context. We know why he’s being so slippery, because we discussed that phrase in our earlier post, where we wrote:

Isaiah 40:22 says: “It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth.” That passage is often misunderstood. The phrase “circle of the earth” actually refers to a disk. There is a Hebrew word for “ball” which was used elsewhere in Isaiah, so although the author had both words at his disposal, he didn’t use “ball” in his “circle of the earth” passage.

For completeness, will give you that passage with the word for “ball”:

Isaiah 22:18 — He will surely violently turn and toss thee like a ball into a large country: there shalt thou die, and there the chariots of thy glory shall be the shame of thy lord’s house.

After casually tossing around that “circle of the earth” phrase, the rev recites the passage just before it — Isaiah 40:21. You need to see the context, so we’ll give you both passages — first the one Rives recited, followed by the one he merely quote-mined:

Isaiah 40:21 — Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?

Isaiah 40:22 — It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

That doesn’t say anything, except that the Earth sits on foundations, and the heavens are like a tent above us, as we grub around like grasshoppers on a circular disk beneath the celestial dome. That’s all the rev has to offer, so we stand by our earlier statement that the bible is unquestionably a flat-Earth book, from beginning to end.

Not only that, but in his attempt to claim that the bible will keep its believers from being flat-Earthers, the rev ignores another passage in Isaiah:

Isaiah 5:26 — And he will lift up an ensign to the nations from far, and will hiss unto them from the end of the earth: and, behold, they shall come with speed swiftly.

Isaiah is consistent with all other bible passages, because the Earth must be flat for all to see that ensign. There are no exceptions in scripture, notwithstanding the rev’s attempt to claim otherwise.

Now go ahead and watch the rev’s video. It’s always fun to see a creationist squirming and sliming around. And Rives does it so well!

As we always do with the rev’s videos, we dedicate the comments section for your use as an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. You know the rules, but please remember — bathroom jokes must be in good taste. Okay, the comments are open. Have at it!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Louisiana LSEA Repeal Hearing Today?

A week ago, based on a news story we found at the website of KATC, the ABC affiliate television station in Lafayette, Louisiana, we posted Louisiana LSEA Repeal Hearing Tomorrow. That was totally wrong. There was no such hearing.

Things may be different now. In The Advocate of Baton Rouge, Louisiana we read Kopplin to continue fight against teaching creationism in public school science classes . Before we get to that, the next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

This is about the latest effort to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA), which became law back in 2008. That law is based on the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act (about which see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws).

Our previous post on this year’s attempt to get rid of the thing was Louisiana’s 2014 Creationism Repeal Effort. This year’s bill, like last year’s, was filed by Senator Karen Carter Peterson, who seems to be one of the few sane members of the Louisiana legislature.

Her bill is Senate Bill 175 (pdf file). Here’s a link where you can monitor the progress of her bill, and here is where you can see the Education Committee’s Agenda.

Okay, we’re all together now. Here are some excerpts from The Advocate, with bold font added by us:

Zachary Kopplin, one of the most visible opponents of teaching creationism in public school science classes, will testify before the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on Thursday in a fourth attempt to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act.

Nothing shows up at the legislature’s website to suggest any such activity in that committee today. That’s how it was when we wrote about the ABC news story a week ago. We’re accustomed to things being messed up in Louisiana, so we’ll do the best we can — but we’re not making any promises. On with the news story:

Kopplin told LSU students he is not hopeful for a more favorable outcome this year and said he has his eyes set on the November 2015 elections when new committee members could swing support in his favor. “Whether we pass or fail tomorrow, it does not really matter because this is sort of ground zero for a much larger fight for science in this country.”

What was Zack doing at Louisiana State University? Let’s read on:

Kopplin was at LSU to receive the Manship School of Mass Communication’s Courage and Justice award, which carries a $1,000 prize underwritten by the Hans and Donna Sternberg Foundation.

[...]

The Courage & Justice award is given to an individual who pursues a “perceived just cause” while displaying courage and ethics in the face of opposition, lack of resources, and substantial time commitment.

That’s splendid. Congratulations, Zack!

There’s not much else in that story about the hearing, but we found another story about Zack and his award in the Daily Reveille, a student newspaper at Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. It’s titled Kopplin to continue fight against creationism legislation. They say:

Kopplin testified before the Education Committee three other times, resulting in three unsuccessful attempts to pass a repeal bill. Sponsored by Sen. Karen Carter Peterson, D-New Orleans, the proposed repeal legislation failed 5-1 in 2011, 2-1 in 2012 and 3-2 in 2013. “I don’t care that they beat us last year,” Kopplin said. “We will be back tomorrow, and we will be back until we win.”

The creationists must really hate Zack. That’s a certain sign that he’s doing the right thing. We continue:

Kopplin said he’s not opposed to creationism being discussed in religion classes or acceptable history courses, but he opposes the idea of creationism as a science because it is based on faith and not physical evidence. Science is just an explanation of how the natural world works,” Kopplin said. “It says nothing about religion or the supernatural. That’s a different area entirely.”

There’s more, of course, but that’s enough to get you to click over there. Now we’ll just have to wait until we find out if this time there really will be a hearing on the repeal bill today. The media have been wrong before. Even if they’re wrong again, we’re delighted to learn the news about Zack’s award. Way to go, Zack!

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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“Your Inner Fish” Episode 3 Tonight

Tonight on PBS will be the third and final episode of Your Inner Fish, hosted by Neil Shubin. He discovered Tiktaalik, and told the tale in Your Inner Fish (Amazon listing).

Episode 3 is titled “Your Inner Monkey.” Oh no! According to the PBS description:

In the final episode of the series, “Your Inner Monkey,” Shubin delves into our primate past. He travels from the badlands of Ethiopia, where the famous hominid skeletons “Lucy” and “Ardi” were found, to a forest canopy in Florida, home to modern primates. En route, he explains how many aspects of our form and function evolved.

We learn that a genetic mutation in our primate ancestors conferred humans’ ability to see in color — but it was an advantage that led to a decline in our sense of smell. The shape of our hands came from tree-dwelling ancestors for whom long fingers made it easier to reach fruit at the tips of fine branches.

Shubin concludes by tracing the evolution of the human brain — from a tiny swelling on the nerve cord of a wormlike creature, to the three-part architecture of a shark’s brain and the complex brain of primates. As Shubin observes, “Inside every organ, gene and cell in our body lie deep connections with the rest of life on our planet.”

But the creationists are certain that they ain’t no kin to no monkey. That’s why they’ll see this as an outrage! They’re convinced that the only thing keeping them sane and rational is the belief that they were specially created. Guess what, creationists — your belief isn’t working!

If you watch the show tonight, this is the place to talk about it. If you don’t watch it, no problem — go ahead and talk anyway.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Kirk Cameron Gets Award for “Excellence”

Strange sounds were coming from the Drool-o-tron™. Its blaring sirens sounded like it was in pain, and its flashing lights were oddly subdued. We were compelled to look at the blinking letters of the wall display — they said WorldNetDaily (WND). The struggling device had locked our computer onto this article: Dr. Ben Carson honors actor Kirk Cameron.

We immediately understood the problem the Drool-o-tron™ was having. We had always thought Ben Carson was one of the good guys. Last year the Wall Street Journal ran an editorial titled Ben Carson for President. But WND had his name in a headline along with Kirk Cameron. Strange indeed!

You know who Cameron is. We’ve written about him several times, for example: Kirk Cameron: World’s Dumbest Human?, and also Kirk Cameron and the Crocoduck. No one can forget his supporting role in Ray Comfort’s famous “Banana video”.

Now WND was telling us that Ben Carson is honoring Kirk Cameron? The mind boggles, and to stop its approaching breakdown, we had to shut off the Drool-o-tron™ while we examined the article. We don’t know what to make of it, but here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

With former newscaster Sam Donaldson serving as Master of Ceremonies, the Carson Scholars Fund recognized Kirk Cameron, Aubrey Chernick and Brooks Robinson at a banquet held April 6 in Woodland, Md.

Founded by the legendary pediatric neurosurgeon, the Carson Scholars Fund “awards students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service with $1,000 college scholarships.” The Fund additionally recognizes three notable figures with the Leadership Award, the Sonya Award and the Power of Excellence Award.

What in the world is going on here? The article informs us:

Actor and producer Kirk Cameron was presented with the Power of Excellence Award, “for demonstrating excellence in his career and becoming a positive role model.”

Aaaargh!! We’ll say that again: Aaaargh!! And yet again: Aaaargh!!

The rest of WND’s brief article is about awards given to other people. None of that interests us. But if you want to know more about the creationist who was just presented an award for “becoming a positive role model,” you can read yet another of our posts: Kirk Cameron (Banana Boy): The Joy of Eggs.

Your Curmudgeon is too dazed to say anything else.

Copyright © 2014. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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