Category Archives: Evolution

Creationist Wisdom #452: Preacher in Fiji

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Fiji Times, a daily English-language newspaper published in Suva, the capital of the Republic of Fiji, a country comprised of more than 332 islands located northeast of New Zealand. The letter is titled: Did we come from monkeys?

We don’t like to embarrass people (unless they’re politicians, preachers, or other public figures), so we usually omit the writer’s full name and city. But there’s no problem with this one. The letter-writer is Pastor Kory Mears of the Nausori Baptist Church. We’ll give you a few excerpts from the rev’s letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

In 1859 with the publication of the famous book Origin of the Species Charles Darwin would forever change the way our modern world looked at the issue of origins. His theory concluded that the biblical account of creation was false, that there was no intelligent designer, and that our universe and life was nothing more than a series of accidental mutations over billions of years.

You see, dear reader, why it’s so important to read these letters. Where else would you learn that Darwin’s book was titled Origin of the Species? And you probably didn’t know that it was also about the origin of the universe. Then we’re told:

Christians who still believe in the biblical account of creation are often accused of “ignoring scientific evidence” and accepting creation with “blind faith”. But this statement is simply not true. In fact, there is a growing body of scientists, both Christian and non-Christian, who have found the theory of evolution to have gaping holes and scientifically impossible explanations that require a huge amount of “blind faith”.

Wow — evolution has “gaping holes” and “scientifically impossible explanations” that require a huge amount of “blind faith.” Compared to that, creationism looks pretty good! Let’s read on:

One of the many “giant leaps” proposed by evolutionists is that living matter spontaneously evolved from non living matter. Their theory is that at some point in the distant past, there was no life on Earth just non living matter. It is hypothesised [sic] that there existed on Earth a “primordial soup” with just the right chemicals and atmospheric conditions and that life was “spontaneously generated”

Well, it’s not quite that big a leap. Abiogenesis — we don’t like that term, but it seems here to stay — suggests that the process began with the perfectly natural appearance of self-replicating molecules, which, by their nature, became abundant, and things gradually progressed from there. We continue:

Mind you, no scientist has ever been able to prove this theory by experiment or observation in a laboratory. We are just told to “accept it” with no evidence. Sounds like blind faith!

Blind faith? Egad — we can’t have any of that, can we, Rev?

Then the rev spends a few paragraphs lovingly telling about the views of Fredrick Hoyle, who is esteemed by creationists for his Junkyard tornado argument. The rev claims, quite correctly, that the spontaneous generation of just a single amoeba is wildly improbable, and from that he assumes that life couldn’t have begun by any natural process.

Then the rev tells us how much data can be stored in a strand of DNA, and he says:

The odds that DNA spontaneously generated with that level of complexity is so ridiculous that it is virtually impossible. But those are just the odds of spontaneous generation. Add to that, the odds that trillions of accidental mutations over time would give us the amazingly complex living systems of today, and you are really living on “blind faith”.

The rev is refuting the imaginary Theory of Spontaneous Assembly of Very Complex Molecules from Start to Finish from Utterly Isolated Atoms (TSAVCMSFUIA). That’s included in our Compendium of Curmudgeonly Concepts. Even that’s not the rev’s biggest objection to evolution. Here’s more:

But what is so significant is that if the theory of evolution is true, then the Bible cannot be true. The book of Genesis, which gives us God’s account of the creation of the universe, the earth, living matter and mankind, would all be false if the theory of evolution is true.

We can’t allow that! Moving along:

The theory of evolution has been responsible for a massive decline in morality in the world. Once you convince a society that there is no God, that all religion is fiction or a coping mechanism, you also destroy the basis for morality.

That explains why Darwin was such a savage brute. The final few paragraphs of the rev’s letter are a promotion of something called the Creation Science Conference, where:

You will be presented with evidence that reveals a wise, intelligent creator is responsible for the grandeur of the universe, not some unexplainable “Big Bang.”

We’re not told where that wonderful conference will be. But even if you have to fly to Fiji, it’ll be worth it. Great letter, Rev!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Ken Ham — Looking for More Tax Breaks

Noah's Ark (by Edward Hicks, 1846)

Noah’s Ark (by Edward Hicks, 1846)

You know all about the proposed Ark Encounter project. It’s the latest creationist extravaganza of 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.

The last time we wrote about this was Ken Ham’s Latest News About the Ark. That was a few weeks ago. There’s still been no ground-breaking. Instead, ol’ Hambo staged a symbolic “Hammer and Peg” ceremony inside the Creation Museum.

We have some news today from the Courier-Journal of Louisville, Kentucky (not far from ol’ Hambo’s Creation Museum). Their headline is: Tax incentives sought for Noah’s Ark theme park. BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Why does Hambo need tax incentives? Surely, it’s enough that his project is divinely inspired. Anyway, here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Ark Encounter will return to Frankfort [the state capital] on Tuesday to seek — for a second time — state approval of tax incentives for its proposed Noah’s Ark theme park in Grant County. Three years ago, the group won approval of incentives for its entire $172.5 million project, but because of funding problems it withdrew that application and now is seeking approval for a $73 million first phase of the biblical theme park.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s the secularists’ fault!

And it [Hambo's outfit] expects preliminary approval Tuesday from the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority and plans to break ground next month. “We can begin construction as soon as we get preliminary approval,” said Mike Zovath, Ark Encounter’s project coordinator. “And we expect to get that because the project fits all the criteria for the tourism act.”

What kind of tax incentives is Hambo looking for? Let’s read on:

Ark Encounter is applying to participate in a program that allows eligible tourism attractions a rebate of 25 percent of the sales tax they collect on admission tickets, souvenirs, food and other things over 10 years. For this application the rebates would be as much as $18.25 million.

Sweet deal! The droolers visit the Ark, buy their tickets, pay the sales tax, and ol’ Hambo’s group gets a kick-back from the state. We continue:

The incentive program’s rules say that if preliminary approval is granted, the authority would then select a consultant — at Ark Encounter’s expense — to study the project to see if it meets the program’s criteria, including that the project get at least 25 percent of its visitors from out of state after four years and having an overall positive impact on the state budget.

We can (to some extent) understand that Kentucky would pay a kick-back for sales taxes collected from out of state droolers, but if they’re only going to be 25% (or whatever) of those who visit the ark, then why doesn’t the kick-back apply only to that portion of the taxes collected? Here’s more:

Ark Encounter, a venture of Answers in Genesis, which developed and runs the controversial Creation Museum in Boone County, cleared all of those hurdles and won final approval from the authority in May 2011 for its entire proposal. Under the incentive program’s rules, it had three years to start work. But as that deadline approached, it withdrew its application for the entire park and re-applied — seeking approval of just the $73 million first phase.

In other words, ol’ Hambo didn’t succeed in meeting the original deadline, so he’s starting all over again. Moving along:

The project was delayed, Zovath said, “because funding was slower than we’d anticipated. It was all about funding.” Sufficient financing was in hand by early this year for the first phase, he said. Construction of other phases on the 800-acre site is still planned over the next 12 years.

We’re shocked — shocked! — that funding was slower than anticipated. But now they’re ready for the first phase. Another excerpt:

Zovath emphasized the first phase includes the feature that consultants say will draw the crowds — the 510-foot wooden ark. “That’s the main feature, the main attraction,” Zovath said.

Okay, but everyone wants to know — when will the ark start generating ticket sales … ah, we mean, when will it be open for visitors? We’re told:

He said the park will open about two years after construction begins. “We should open mid-summer of 2016,” he said.

It’s gonna take two years to build the thing? It’ll be difficult waiting that long. But will the state come through with the tax goodies? That’s not yet certain. The next part of the story is about some wicked group that seems obsessed with separation of church and state. They may start litigation to prevent the tax incentives. Oh, after that there’s some information about ol’ Hambo’s bond issue:

The Ark Encounter website says $14.8 million has been raised so far toward a goal of $29.5 million.

Last year Williamstown offered $62 million in bonds on behalf of the Christian group. The city isn’t responsible for repaying the unsecured bonds, which are to be repaid from park revenues. Partly because of a lackluster response to the offering, the bond sale was extended late last year.

Zovath said, “We needed to hit a certain target — about $45 million in project funds from the bonds. … We hit that target in late February.” In order to reach the target, Zovath said Answers in Genesis itself bought “probably between $2.5 million to $3 million” of the bonds.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Ol’ Hambo had to buy some of his own bonds in order to keep the whole thing from collapsing! But we’re still confused. First they say they raised $14.8 million. Then they say they raised $45 million from bond sales. Which is it? Or is it both?

Nothing is very clear, but the big thing right now is getting the state to come through again with the tax incentives. And ol’ Hambo may have to deal with some lengthy litigation along the way. Will the ark ever get built? Stay tuned to this blog!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

The Insanity of “Social Darwinism”

The bizarre subject of “social Darwinism” has been discussed around here before. For example, see Banquet at Delmonico’s — Spencer and Social Darwinism, where we defined it and described its origin. It was developed by Herbert Spencer, who coined the phrase “survival of the fittest” (which Darwin never used).

From that misguided beginning, the creationists have found enough ammunition to condemn Darwin and his theory of evolution for virtually all the ills of society — for example, see Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part VI, and also Ellis Washington: Driven Mad by Darwin, and also Discovery Institute: Beyond Despicable.

That’s enough background. Now let’s turn to what prompted today’s post. We found this at the National Review website: Ryan’s Anti-Poverty Plan . It’s attributed to “the Editors,” and it says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

President Obama famously accused Representative Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) of “thinly veiled Social Darwinism” for one of his budgets.

That was a couple of years ago. We remember it well, because we wrote: Is Barack Obama a Creationist?, in which we said:

One of the typical creationist arguments against Darwin’s theory of evolution is to raise the specter of what they call “social Darwinism,” a term that is as unconnected to biology as “social plate tectonics” is to geology or “social quantum mechanics” to physics. … The slur of “social Darwinism” is both nonsensical and squalid — which is why it’s such a favorite of creationists.

[...]

What this tells us is that Obama sees fiscal conservatives as “Darwinists,” and he sees his own policies of ever-expanding government as the opposite — which we all know is creationism. This isn’t the first time your Curmudgeon has commented on the apparent relationship of free-enterprise and evolution (see Evolution, Intelligent Design, and Barack Obama), but it’s the first time the President has confirmed our thinking.

[...]

We can’t help but conclude that Obama sees himself more than a community organizer — whatever that really is. Now he thinks he’s the intelligent designer of America’s economy.

Some of you didn’t like what we wrote, but that never restrains a true Curmudgeon. Anyway, National Review goes on to praise Paul Ryan’s new budget proposals. They make sense to us, but we won’t bore you with any of that. What we really want to talk about is the old slur of social Darwinism.

The expression “social Darwinism” is misleading not only because it’s based on a false conception of the theory of evolution, but because it’s an equally misleading label for the free enterprise system. The enemies of reason and freedom score two propaganda points every time they play the social Darwinism card.

Free enterprise is not like the law of the jungle, where predators (i.e., the rich) pounce upon and devour the poor. Donald Trump doesn’t lurk in alleys looking for winos from whom he can steal to add to his fortune. If you don’t achieve success, it’s not Darwin’s fault, and no one is plundering you.

Okay, let’s sum it all up. Is Paul Ryan a social Darwinist? No, of course not. Is Obama a creationist? He behaves as if he were the intelligent designer, but who knows what he thinks? Is this a slow day for news? Indeed it is.

Hey — we just had a sudden thought: Astrology is social astronomy. Well, why not? It makes as much sense as social Darwinism.

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Scientist Fired for Finding “New” Dinosaur Fossil

It looks like we have yet another creationist lawsuit to watch. We learned about this one from the Los Angeles CBS website: CSUN Scientist Fired After Soft Tissue Found On Dinosaur Fossil. They say, with our bold font:

Attorneys for a California State University, Northridge scientist who was terminated from his job after discovering soft tissue on a triceratops fossil have filed a lawsuit against the university.

It appears that CBS is getting the story from only one side of the controversy, so we need to exercise caution in reaching any conclusions. It’s extremely doubtful, in our humble opinion, that anyone would be fired for discovering a fossil. We’re also told:

While at the Hell Creek Formation excavation site in Montana, researcher Mark Armitage discovered what he believed to be the largest triceratops horn ever unearthed at the site, according to attorney Brad Dacus of Pacific Justice Institute.

The Pacific Justice Institute? They like to handle creationist cases. We’ve run into them before — see Caldwell Litigation Against UC: Dismissal Affirmed on Appeal. Wikipedia has an article about them: Pacific Justice Institute. They seem to be the right outfit for a case like this. They have a press release about it at their website: University Silences Scientist After Dinosaur Discovery. It says:

When examining the [triceratops] horn under a high-powered microscope back at CSUN, Armitage was fascinated to see the soft tissue. The discovery stunned members of the scientific community because it indicates that dinosaurs roamed the earth only thousands of years in the past rather than going extinct 60 million years ago.

According to court documents, shortly after the original soft tissue discovery, a university official challenged the motives of Armitage, by shouting at him, “We are not going to tolerate your religion in this department!”

Here’s a copy of the complaint that was filed: Mark Armitage vs. Board of Trustees of the California State University, et al. It’s a 21-page pdf file. We haven’t read it yet. Okay, back to CBS:

Armitage’s findings were eventually published in July 2013 in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.

Really? It was published a year ago and it hasn’t been in the news until now? CBS gives this link to the published article: Soft sheets of fibrillar bone from a fossil of the supraorbital horn of the dinosaur Triceratops horridus. It was published in Acta Histochemica, which is indeed a peer-reviewed journal.

So what happened after that? It’s not clear at all. The only thing we hear from the other side of the case is this:

CSUN spokesperson Carmen Ramos Chandler told CBSLA Armitage was a temporary hire between 2010-2013 and worked as an electron microscopy technician. She could not comment on the lawsuit as university officials had not yet received the complaint.

So all we have is the plaintiff’s side. The poor guy found a fossil, published about it, and then … Ka-Boom-O, he’s expelled! Could there be any more to the story? We strongly suspect that there is, but we’ll have to wait and see how the case progresses. Oh wait — CBS adds this at the end of their story:

The discovery is the latest in several recent – and controversial – soft tissue finds by archaeologists: researchers last November claimed the controversial discovery of purported 68-million-year-old soft tissue from the bones of a Tyrannosaurus rex can be explained by iron in the dinosaur’s body, which they say preserved the tissue before it could decay.

We’ve had posts about soft tissue alleged to have been found on dinosaur fossils before, for example: Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat? Those never amounted to anything. But this could be the case that finally brings down the horrid house of Darwin. Stay tuned to this blog!

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

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article