Category Archives: Evolution

WorldNetDaily: It’s a Young World After All

Buffoon Award

We kept ignoring the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™, because when we looked at the blinking letters of the wall display they said WorldNetDaily (WND). Yesterday the durned contrivance had given us a false alarm, which turned out to be a Rev Rives oldie goldie.

But this time it was no mistake. The Drool-o-tron™ had locked our computer onto an article by Joseph Farah, founder, CEO, and editor of WND. The headline is Was world created 6,028 years ago today?

As you know, WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post. So we eagerly read Farah’s column. Then we patted the Drool-o-tron™. This time it had done its job well. Here are some excerpts from Farah’s essay, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:

Was the world created 6,028 years ago today? That’s a question that will drive fans of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking up the wall. I don’t know that it was. I don’t think anyone but God knows the actual day of creation.

But one of the greatest biblical and historical scholars of the 17th century, Archbishop James Ussher, meticulously calculated all the data he could find about the day of creation, and that’s what he came up with … .

Okay, so Farah is a fan of the totally unscientific Ussher chronology, published in the 1650s. That’s what we’d expect from the head of WND. But he’s just getting started:

Do you believe the world is hundreds of millions or even billions of years old as evolutionists do? Or do you believe the Earth is much younger, in line with the biblical genealogies beginning with Adam and Eve? People get annoyed with me when I raise this issue. They say, “Farah, why don’t you stick with politics, instead of science and religion?” They say I jeopardize my credibility in reporting the news and the pressing issues of the day.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What credibility? Let’s read on:

Why do I think it matters how old the Earth is? There are two reasons:

• I take the Bible literally – and seriously. And the Bible strongly affirms a date in the neighborhood of 6,000 years, at least for the age of man, who was created on the sixth day, according to Genesis. If that’s not true, it calls into question the rest of the Bible’s accuracy.

Atheists like Dawkins and Hawking are every bit as dogmatic about their theories of the age of the Earth as I am. They know they need lots of time to give their fairy tales about life spontaneously generating any credibility at all. Godless miracles require time, you know, lots of time.

Lordy, lordy. The man has no mind at all! He continues:

One thing we know for sure: Science can never prove the age of the Earth. Because science requires a methodology of observation and empirical testing that could never be done on an event that occurred thousands of years ago, millions of years ago or billions of years ago. God can, however, prove the age of the Earth because He was there. And someday, when He returns to judge His creation, He might just do that. Until then, we have the detailed historical record He left us with in written form – the Bible.

We don’t need to go on, do we? Oh, all right, but not too much more:

I know what some of you are thinking: “Farah, what about the dinosaurs that were tens of millions of years old? How do you explain that?” Quite simply, I don’t believe it. Throughout man’s history, in every culture, we have stories, pictures and sculptures depicting dragons and leviathans and sea serpents. Are we to believe these were all concocted in man’s imagination? …

But here’s the bottom line: Is it crazier for me to believe the world is around 6,000 years old than it is to accept as scientific fact that it is actually millions or billions of years old? Where’s the proof? Either way.

We won’t answer Farah’s question as to which belief is crazier. Then he gives us a bunch of bible stuff, after which we have some more goodies:

Have you ever considered the fact that there is no reliable history of man before 6,000 years ago? Why would that be? I know there are ancient myths that suggest man is older than 6,000 years. But there is no reliable human history. What could explain that?

Uh, maybe because no one could write back then? No, Farah has a better answer:

The Bible explains it. Man can’t. He can only speculate, imagine, fantasize and proselytize.

Okay, we’re persuaded. The world was created 6,000 years ago. That’s why there’s no written history before then.

We can’t take any more of this. If you can, then click over there and read it all. You might learn something.

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

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Casey’s Evidence for Intelligent Design

The Discovery Institute has a problem — it’s been their principal problem from the beginning: They have no evidence to support their “theory” of intelligent design, which they nevertheless insist is the “best” explanation for the universe, life, and everything.

We’ve previously posted about what they claim is their evidence. For example, in Intelligent Designer or Zeus? we pointed out that Casey’s list of questions doesn’t provide proof, or even evidence, for the existence and alleged activities of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — because the designer is merely one of many supernatural agents who might be responsible. We said:

[C]laiming that the magic designer is the cause of those things is literally no different from claiming that Zeus caused them. If your Curmudgeon presented a long list of Zeus’ alleged accomplishments, it wouldn’t mean that our list is scientific evidence for the role of Zeus in our world. … [T]he Curmudgeon’s “Zeus theory” is every bit as good as ID. Better, really, because ol’ Zeus had an eye for the ladies. That’s a very good quality in a deity.

Earlier, Casey wrote about the Discoveroids’ Top Ten Problems with Evolution. We discussed the first three and easily dismissed them. Today he’s doing it again. That’s to be expected. Repeating clunkers is a time-honored creationist activity.

Okay, dear reader, here are some excerpts from New Book Discusses Scientific and Theological Problems with Darwinian Evolution, which appears at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog. Casey says, with bold font added by us:

A new book, More Than Myth?, features contributions from various pro-ID authors discussing the scientific and theological problems with Darwinian evolution. … Their vision for the book was to show that both Catholics and Protestants can agree that there is scientific and theological evidence showing that intelligent design — rather than Darwinian evolution — is the best way to explain life.

Ah, that was their “vision.” And the most exciting news is that Casey himself contributed a chapter for the book. That’s how you know it’s worth your attention. Here’s the Amazon listing: More than Myth?: Seeking the Full Truth about Genesis, Creation, and Evolution. There are no reviews yet. If you buy it now, maybe you’ll be the first. Anyway, let’s read some more from Casey’s new post:

Though many of the other contributions in the book are theological, discussing ways to interpret the Bible from an “old earth” perspective, my entry is strictly scientific, and only discusses scientific problems with evolutionary science.

Casey’s chapter is “strictly scientific.” BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And note that he discusses only “problems” with evolution. He doesn’t even suggest that there’s any evidence for his designer. He continues:

My chapter’s title is “The Top Ten Scientific Problems with Biological and Chemical Evolution,” originally inspired by my two posts [one of which we mentioned above]. However, the version in the book expands greatly on some of the points there. I list the following problems:

The rest of Casey’s little essay is a list of his problems with evolution. We’ll only mention a few, but before we do so, we must point out that even if these were truly problems (and not merely unanswered questions), what would they mean? To us, they would be a list of research topics, nothing more. You will note that Casey’s catalog of “problems” doesn’t even hint at anything that contradicts the theory of evolution.

But we know you’re eager to see his list, and we’ve kept you waiting too long, so here it is:

Problem 1: No viable mechanism to generate a primordial soup.

Aaaargh!! That’s his number one problem? It has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. Further, there are well-understood mechanisms that could have provided the organic chemical “soup” from which self-replicating molecules eventually emerged. Claiming that the Discoveroids’ designer cooked up the soup is: (1) unnecessary; and (b) no better than claiming that the master chef was Zeus. Here’s Casey’s next goodie:

Problem 2: Unguided chemical processes cannot explain the origin of the genetic code.

Balderdash! There is absolutely no known reason why the formation of DNA molecules is impossible. Moving along, here’s the next item:

Problem 3: Random mutations cannot generate the genetic information required for irreducibly complex structures.

Oooooooooh! Information! That’s the magic pixie dust which only the designer can provide — see Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information.

Okay, that’s enough. If you want to see all of Casey’s “evidence,” go ahead. His post is sitting there, waiting for you. If you find anything that’s worth our attention, please let us know. Meanwhile, we continue to be proud of what we announced four years ago: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow.

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

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Rev. David Rives Recycles an Oldie

There was no escape from the blaring sirens and flashing lights! The Drool-o-tron™ was demanding our attention. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND), and 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 Is evolution science … or religion? What a great question! Many a night we’ve been unable to sleep as we wondered that very thing. Their subtitle is “David Rives says Merriam-Webster makes it clear.”

Wowie — the rev has consulted a dictionary! Hey — wait a minute! Haven’t we been here before?

We searched our archives. Yeah — we wrote about the same thing a year ago, here: Rev. David Rives: Evolution is a Religion. The same video was on YouTube. It’s embedded in our earlier post. We all talked about it. It’s old stuff.

Is WND so desperate for material that they’ll run a headline about an old video from the rev? And why did the Drool-o-tron™ get us all worked up? We’ve been slimed! Big time!

Ah well, we’re already here, so we’ll post about it anyway. If you haven’t seen the video, you can click over to our old post. That way you won’t have to visit WND — unless you want to see the mindless comments that have appeared there.

Let’s look on the bright side. 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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Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information

History is littered with bad ideas. In the realm of politics, bad ideas can kill you; in economics they can impoverish you. In science … well, what can we say about Wikipedia’s list of Superseded scientific theories?

The list is long, the drool is deep. Some of those superseded notions were well intentioned, but simply wrong. They were abandoned with relatively little fuss — like this entry:

Miasma theory of disease – the theory that diseases are caused by “bad air”. No experimental support, and rendered obsolete by the germ theory of disease.

Other items on the list, like Vitalism — the theory that living things are alive because of some “vital force” independent of nonliving matter — were rather goofy from the start. Another example would be Phlogiston theory — proposing that that combustibles contain a substance called “phlogiston” which was released into the air upon combustion. It was superseded by the discovery of oxidation.

And we all remember the Luminiferous aether — which simply doesn’t exist. Some superseded notions still linger in various fringes of society, like flat Earth, the geocentric universe, astrology, etc. You’ll want to review the whole list for laughs.

Why do we mention those things? Because it seems that another one is currently being concocted. Yes, dear reader, you guessed it. We’re talking about the Discovery Institute’s new claim that there’s a mysterious phantasm they call “information” that exists in and organizes the universe, including all living things. Despite certain intentional similarities in terminology, Discoveroid information has nothing to do with information theory, which Wikipedia says is “considered to have been founded in 1948 by Claude Shannon.”

The thing the Discoveroids call information seems vaguely similar to vitalism. No one can detect it with the instruments of science, but the Discoveroids claim they can somehow sense its presence by using William Dembski’s Design Inference, commonly called his Design Filter. We wrote about it here: The Discoveroids and Their Magic Filter.

It’s a good thing they have Dembski, because otherwise they’d never know about this information stuff. Discoveroid information is playing an increasing role in their campaign against the theory of evolution and science in general. Does it exist in a beautifully arranged snowflake? They say no. In an amoeba? They say yes. How do they know? They just do.

Before they invented this phantasmal information stuff, their imaginary designer — blessed be he! — performed only a limited number of tricks. One of those was overcoming the Great Barrier between micro- and macro-evolution. We described that in Discoveroids Dance the Micro-Macro Mambo, where we said:

The imaginary distinction between micro- and macro-evolution depends on a magic barrier between them, which somehow prevents one from gradually becoming the other. That imaginary (and unevidenced and unexplained) barrier says: “A species can mutate thus far and no farther!” It’s the reason creationists give to invoke the intervention of a deity (or an intelligent designer) who is somehow able to overcome the barrier and thus provide the appearance that life evolved naturally over eons, in a long chain of mini steps. Therefore, creationism requires belief in a two-part dogma consisting of: (1) the Great Barrier; and (2) the miracle that breaks through the barrier. … We imagine the designer — blessed be he! — creeps into the genome when no one is looking and, like a sleazy used-car salesman, he resets the invisible mutation-counter from “maximum” back to zero so the creature’s descendants can then continue to mutate to the next level.

What else did the designer do? We’ve forgotten most of the nonsensical claims, but they still insist that he put together the bacterial flagellum. There were one or two other tricks — he mucked around a bit in the Precambrian, and he sometimes adds new features to the genome, which couldn’t possibly evolve because the odds against it are too great — oh, he also fine-tuned the whole universe. Otherwise, the designer didn’t have much of a portfolio. Until now.

The Discoveroids’ latest claim is that the designer makes things complicated. To do that he adds the mystical ingredient of information. It’s something like pixie dust. It’s in your DNA. Without information, DNA is just … well, it’s a big molecule. But when the ghostly goodie of information is added — Shazam! Yes, it’s rather like vitalism, but the Discoveroids don’t want you to notice that.

But what is information? It’s not matter, not energy, not anything you know. It’s information! And it’s a big deal. It permeates the entire universe. Dembski has a new book on it, gushingly described in several Discoveroid posts, most recently here: Bill Dembski’s New Book Is Out and Ready to Order; Pre-orders Are in the Mail. We haven’t read the thing, and in all likelihood we never will, but we notice that it comes with a slogan: “Information all the way down.” Klinghoffer says:

[I]n the end, as at the beginning, there is information. Of course this casts the argument for intelligent design in a fresh and important new light, which is why we’ve been telling you that [Dembski's book] is the next big thing in ID.

It’s good that they keep inventing these new campaigns from time to time. It gives the intelligent designer something to do. Without the Discoveroids, he’d just be another imaginary entity who provides imaginary solutions for imaginary problems. We’ve got enough of those already, and they’re boring. But thanks to the Discoveroids, we now have an endless source of entertainment.

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

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