Category Archives: Evolution

Intellectual Free-Fire Zone for Kitzmas 2014

Let your hearts be glad! Go forth and tell the world that we bring tidings of great joy! Today is Kitzmas. It’s the ninth anniversary of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

This is the day when we eat, drink, and make merry — because we have much to celebrate. Since the Kitzmiller decision, no school board has dared to take the issue of teaching creationism or intelligent design to court. It’s true that a couple of backward states (Louisiana and Tennessee) have enacted the Discovery Institute’s so-called Academic Freedom bills; and we occasionally see some moronic school board talking about teaching “both sides” of what they imagine are scientific controversies, including the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, but ever since Kitzmiller there have been no court cases about that nonsense. School board lawyers tell their clients that if they do something that’s obviously crazy when they’ve been advised against it, their insurance won’t pay their losses when they lose.

There’s even more evidence about the devastating effect of the Kitzmiller decision. Look at look at this history of Google searches on “intelligent design”: Google trends. It’s gone downhill — drastically so — since Judge Jones’ historic decision. Most of the searches that do show up are probably ours.

To increase our merriment, every year around this time the Discoveroids post a bitter diatribe blasting the Kitzmiller decision, Judge Jones, and the witnesses on the winning side. Such posts are usually written by either Casey or Westie. We always look forward to them because they’re great entertainment; but they’ve avoided the subject this year, at least so far.

Therefore, dear reader, we invite you to raise your glasses and join the Curmudgeon in his favorite drinking song:

Roll me ooooo-ver,
In the Doooo-ver …

To one and all we say: Merry Kitzmas!

And don’t forget — this is an Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. You can discuss pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s interesting and done in good taste. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blaspheme; say what you will. But beware of the profanity filters.

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

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

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Rev. David Rives: Dinosaurs in the Bible

The Drool-o-tron™ is getting a big workout today. We were trying to relax, but its sirens and flashing lights were too demanding to ignore.

The blinking letters of its wall display 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 Job predicted discovery of South American Titanosaur. Wowie — this bible knew about South America! The rev has his own title for the video, which is Behold Now the Behemoth! Dreadnoughtus the Titanosaur.

But before we discuss the rev’s video, we need to be aware of some scripture. In Job 40, verses 15-18 (King James version, of course) it says:

Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as an ox.
Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the navel of his belly.
He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are wrapped together.
His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.

What’s that all about? Did the ancients find some old dinosaur bones and try to imagine what it was?

Oh, you should also be aware of verse 23 of Job 40, which the rev doesn’t mention. Still talking about the behemoth, it says:

Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.

Wow — the behemoth can drink the whole Jordan River! And there’s one more thing you need to know. There’s a newly-discovered dinosaur, Dreadnoughtus, the one mentioned in the rev’s title for his video, whose fossil remains were found in Argentina in 2005. Wikipedia says it’s “one of the largest of all known terrestrial vertebrates, possessing the greatest mass of any land animal that can be calculated with reasonable certainty … .”

What does that Argentine creature have in common with the biblical behemoth that could drink the whole Jordan River? The rev says they’re the same! He quotes some of those passages from Job (not the one about the Jordan, which is nowhere near South America), and then he tells us about the fossil from Argentina. He describes the immense size of that creature, and he says that’s what the bible is talking about. It’s amazing!

You don’t want to miss this one. The rev isn’t wearing his bible-boy suit, just a jacket without a tie, but he’s still the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is almost two minutes long — before the commercial. Go ahead, click over to WND and watch it.

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. Okay, the comments are open. Go for it!

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

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Ellis Washington and Pascal’s Wager

Buffoon Award

Once again, the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™ summoned us to the control room, where the blinking letters of its wall display said RenewAmerica. As you know, RenewAmerica is the latest winner of the Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo which adorns this post.

Our computer was locked into this item: On Pascal’s God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, written by Ellis Washington. Our regular readers are familiar with Ellis’ work. The best example of his thinking can be found here, Scripture Trumps Darwin, when he informed us of “the syllogism that was a foundation of Western civilization”:

If A = B, then A + B = C

In all his recent articles at RenewAmerica, Ellis has been rehashing what he finds in the Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books of the Western World. Most of his essay today is taken from that source. He devotes half of it to reciting some biographical information about Blaise Pascal.

Then he spends several more paragraphs telling us about Pascal’s Wager, which is well described in Wikipedia. Almost everyone knows about criticisms of the Wager, many summarized in that same Wikipedia article, which show it to be generally worthless (see Criticism). Although famous and often cited by the unsophisticated as convincing, the Wager is about as persuasive as a child’s jingle. (If you need a digression, your Curmudgeon once wrote about his own fanciful experience with the Wager — see The Devil’s Jockstrap.)

The last few paragraphs are where Ellis becomes entertaining. That’s when he adds his own thoughts. So we’ll skip his high school report on Pascal and focus only on the original material. Here are some excerpts from that, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Pascal famous “wager” argument is not meant to be an irrefutable proof of God’s existence, but a “pragmatic argument” – a challenge to demonstrate it is rational and logical to be a Christian – that theism and rationalism are not mutually exclusive (as viewed in modern times especially since Darwin’s atheist evolution revolution of the 1860s-1900s).

Ah yes, Darwin’s “atheist evolution revolution.” Ellis explains:

Pascal’s wager account [sic] for the fact that if there may be a God, the believer can anticipate an “infinity of happy life,” whereas if God doesn’t exist, the unbeliever has essentially lost nothing, yet lived a meaningful and fulfilling life.

Right. What does Ellis lose if he chooses to believe, but that belief wrong? Well, he loses the use of his brain for a lifetime. If a life based on nonsense doesn’t represent a loss to Ellis, that’s okay with us. Then he changes the subject and says:

Can happiness in this life be found where there is no real choice? Ask the 11 million citizens living under the communist dictatorship of Cuba President Obama is hellbent on propping up. If Pascal lived in these times I’m certain he would ask: Where can happiness be found in a philosophical, political, economic and legal system like progressivism, evolution atheism, communism and socialism established on the cynical lie by Karl Marx?

You didn’t know that Darwin was responsible for Fidel Castro, did you? Now you know, thanks to Ellis. Let’s read on:

Pascal offers another choice, a real choice writing, “Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.”

Okay. He concludes with this final bit of wisdom, and the bracketed material is in his essay:

However, the road to truth and thus to happiness is paved with many obstacles that the wise person skillfully avoids. “Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehoods so established,” Pascal writes [in the 1600s!], “that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”

So there you are. It seems that Ellis has chosen to accept Pascal’s advice. Perhaps you will follow his example and do likewise.

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

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Is Opposing Ken Ham’s Tax Breaks Anti-God?

We’ve been growing increasingly worried about Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

We recently wrote You’re Either For Ken Ham or Against Him, in which we expressed our anxiety. He was complaining about “attacks” on his Ark Encounter project, and it seemed to us that he sees himself as the embattled champion of God and Christianity, fighting against the forces of darkness.

Hambo’s latest post is yet another that causes us concern. It’s titled Lexington Herald-Leader Versus God! He’s complaining about an editorial in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky.

That newspaper has previously opposed tax benefits for Hambo’s new theme park — see Problem for Ken Ham’s Ark Park? That was back in August, before Hambo was officially notified that the state wouldn’t provide sales tax rebates for his Ark project. At the end of that post we predicted:

He’ll be sputtering mad, foaming at the mouth, and furious at the “anti-God” newspaper. When that shows up — and it surely will — you may be sure that we’ll post about it. Stay tuned to this blog!

And lo, it has come to pass — just as we predicted. Here are some excerpts from Hambo’s latest, with bold font added by us and Hambo’s scripture references omitted:

The Lexington Herald-Leader is one of the major Kentucky newspapers. For years, it has spread untruths and misleading information about Answers in Genesis and our life-size Noah’s Ark project. (The Ark will be built north of the paper’s offices in Lexington.)

He’s just getting warmed up. Let’s read on:

I suggest that the editors of the Herald-Leader have an anti-Christian agenda. It has resulted in inaccuracies in its stories and editorials concerning the Ark project. The paper constantly denigrates the Christian ministry of AiG and regularly attacks the Ark project in order to undermine it to the general public.

Wow — if one dares to criticize any aspect Hambo’s projects, such as arguably undeserved tax benefits, it’s because of “an anti-Christian agenda.” That’s a conclusion that could be reached only by one who thinks Hambo’s enterprises and Christianity are really the same thing. He continues:

In a recent typical anti-Christian editorial against the work of AiG, we read considerable misinformation and downright untruths. Actually, I believe it’s clear that the editors are really shaking their fist at God.

This is the “anti-Christian” editorial he’s complaining about, written by those Visigoths at the Herald-Leader: Few questions for Answers in Genesis. And here are some of the questions that editorial asks:

Why does God need so much taxpayer help?

Really, has God been so lame spreading the good news that AIG must “counter the myths floating around about the Bible-upholding Ark Encounter,” on a digital video board in New York’s Times Square?

Does God need to be defended with the demagogic language AIG and its founder Ken Ham use in the holy war against “intolerant liberal friends,” “secularists,” “Bible-scoffers,” and, the most telling, “agitators outside the state?”

Are those anti-Christian questions? Or — gasp! — anti God questions? It doesn’t seem so to us. Here’s how Hambo reacts:

But the editors should be warned, for Jesus (in the books of Matthew and Luke) quoted from Deuteronomy in stating, “You shall not tempt the LORD your God.”

Wow — what’s going on here? Hambo then spends several paragraphs quibbling about the details of various breaks he has already received, and those he wants to receive in the future. Then he says:

The editorial is just another example that confirms the truth of the Bible in Romans 1, where we learn that those who reject God “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.”

Okay, that’s enough. Perhaps now you can see why we’re increasingly worried about ol’ Hambo. We could be wrong, but it looks to us as if he equates his own business schemes with Christianity itself, and anyone who dares to oppose any aspect of those schemes — like the tax benefits he wants to receive — is literally anti-God. That’s very worrisome.

It’s because of our Curmudgeonly compassion that we feel compelled to offer this advice: Please, Hambo — pull yourself together. You’re not God — really you’re not, and your roadside attractions aren’t the same thing as Christianity. A little humility is what’s needed here. It’ll be difficult, but you really should give it a try.

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

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