Creationist Wisdom #499: Creationism Is Science

Things are wild in Lincoln, Nebraska, the state capital. That town’s newspaper, the Journal Star, has been running a whole series of letters for us. It all started with one we wrote about here: #496: Strange Analogy.

That creationist letter resulted in a rational and well-informed response — Science over Creationism. We didn’t write about the sane letter, but it seems to have stirred things up in Nebraska. It soon provoked another letter that we did write about — see #498: Grand Synthesis. And now there’s yet another in that same newspaper.

Today’s letter-to the editor is titled Science in intelligent design. There’s a comments section at the end with 15 comments so far, but the newspaper makes you answer some annoying questions before you can see them.

Today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, so we won’t use his full name. His first name is Garrick. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

This is written to respectfully challenge the letter submitted Dec. 6 by Norman D Smith, Denton, titled “Science over creationism.”

That letter certainly did awaken the droolers among the readers of the Journal Star. Garrick says:

The problem I have with Smith is that he uses scientism rather than science itself to make the case for evolution. This is a common strategy that the supporters of evolution resort to in presenting themselves as those who speak for science while those who support a creationist view are dismissed as “religious.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Garrick denies that his creationism is religious. He’s merely opposing “scientism” — whatever that’s supposed to be. Let’s read on:

The fact is that many serious scientists maintain that the evolutionary model fails to explain how complex life forms came into existence. The fossil record does not contain a single verifiable example of a transition species that could be described as a missing link between ape and man.

Egad — Garrick has seen through the fraud! He continues:

The reality is the evolutionary model requires that random mutations have the “creative power” to refine and improve existing life forms unguided by any intelligent power.

That seems to be a cornerstone of creationism. A mutation can’t have any effect by itself. It needs to be guided by an intelligent power. Our teachers lied to us! And if you find that to be a stunning revelation, wait until you read Garrick’s next disclosure:

Such an idea is at odds with every established norm of science, where statistically improbable events are excluded a priori.

[*Curmudgeon swoons*] And so we learn of another postulate of creation science. Here’s more:

When attempting to refute the alternative theory of intelligent design, evolutionists state that the theory is false yet fail to provide specific, coherent and logical arguments to support this view.

Sorry, Garrick, but the burden of proof is the other way around. Take a look at our Advice for Creationists. Those who advocate a “theory” have the burden of presenting evidence that supports it, and in the case of of intelligent design, that has never been done. Moving along:

Many examples could be presented to show how evolution has claimed certain fossils provide the elusive missing link, but none withstand close scrutiny.

It’s been just one Piltdown Man after another. And now we come to the end:

I recommend that those who are willing to pursue an objective, unbiased approach to understanding origins will find that evolution is simply a theory that cannot stand up to close scrutiny.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Great letter, Garrick!

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

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Ohio’s 2014 Creationism Bill — It’s Dead

Creationist bill, road kill

We only posted once before about this year’s creationism bill in Ohio — that was Ohio Creationism: New Bill for 2014. Ohio is one of those unfortunate states where the legislature is in session all year long, which is why this news is popping up so late in the year.

The bill was House Bill 597, which was primarily aimed at killing the Common Core standards. It was sponsored by state representatives Andy Thompson, who runs Bird Watcher’s Digest, and Matt Huffman, a lawyer.

Thompson had said that one of the bill’s clauses would prevent teachers and schools from only presenting one side of a political and scientific debate — global warming, for example — without also presenting the other side. He also said the bill gives districts and teachers the freedom to teach religious interpretations of scientific issues as they deem best, which allows intelligent design and creationism to be taught alongside evolution, as well as varying views on the age of the earth and whether dinosaurs and people existed at the same time.

Our friends at the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) have a new article about this: Antiscience bill dies in Ohio. They report that the bill has died, and they refer to this article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: Bills to rein in testing and the Common Core are dead – could rise again in New Year.

The Plain Dealer article is about two bills, and it’s a bit chaotic because it describes the wild gyrations of the legislature during the final days of this year’s session. Limiting our excerpts mostly to Thompson’s creationism bill, it says, with bold font added by us:

Bills to block the Common Core standards in Ohio and to limit testing of students have both died in the state legislature. The business of both houses is winding down for the year this week, with neither bill able to go up for further debate or vote. But both are likely to return after the New Year — in some form.

If there’s a creationist in the legislature, he is certain to try the same thing, year after year. They never learn and they never quit. Here’s more:

“Repeal will be high on the agenda next year,” said State Rep. Andy Thompson, a Marietta Republican and sponsor of House Bill 597, which would have killed the Common Core for the state. “Count on it.”

We believe it. Skipping the stuff about the testing bill, we come to the creationism news:

This bill — one that had an unusual path toward having committee hearings this fall — brought even more political maneuvering in the House last week. The end result? The bill did not gather enough votes to pass and two attempts to attach it to other bills to force a full House vote failed. One of those efforts was thwarted by House members passing a “blocking amendment” to cut it off.

Those maneuvers are then described in detail, but we’ll ignore that. Well, here’s one interesting item:

As reported previously, HB 597 did not go through the House Education Committee because committee Chairman Gerald Stebelton supports the Common Core. Thompson’s bill to block the Common Core last year, HB 528, died in Stebelton’s committee without even a committee vote after one (very long) hearing.

Aha — Stebelton blocked Thompson’s creationist bill last year. But this year Thompson slimed around that problem by picking a more friendly committee. The news continues:

So Thompson’s new bill, 597, went through the House Rules and Reference Committee, which held hearings and passed it for House consideration. Early last week, Thompson and supporters pushed for a vote on the bill and to attach it to other bills, but House leadership wouldn’t allow it.

So in spite of the slime, Thompson’s new bill failed anyway. Well, there’s always next year. And get this:

Stebelton, who is leaving office because of term limits, said the bill did not have broad support. And he said House leaders did not want the bill attached to other legislation, which would endanger the other law.

Maybe Thompson can try the House Education Committee next year. There are several more paragraphs about all the slipping and sliding and sleazing that went on, but in the end, Thompson’s bill died. Here’s one more excerpt:

Asked for comment or clarification on what happened, Thompson declined to comment.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Why would anyone ask a creationist what happened in the past? Oh wait — in this case, Thompson was there. But he still doesn’t have a clue.

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

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Who’s Afraid of an Asteroid Strike?

Imagine that you’re watching one of those low-grade disaster movies. The plot is typical — a gigantic asteroid is headed toward the Earth, and some heroic characters are about to take off in a rocket, change the asteroid’s course, and save the Earth.

You’ve seen it before? We all have. Now let’s give it an extra twist. A mob of religious fanatics, led by a raving, wild-eyed preacher, is gathering outside the launch site to prevent the ship from blasting off. Why? Because the preacher says the ship’s mission is blasphemy. He also says that God will protect us; and if he doesn’t, we should accept what comes as the inevitable penalty for our sins. He and his drooling followers are ready for Judgment Day.

Then, at the preacher’s command, the religious lunatics storm the gate and begin throwing rocks and swinging clubs at the outnumbered spaceport guards. Will the ship launch? Will the brave astronauts be able to save the Earth? Or will the howling crazies succeed in blocking humanity’s only hope of survival?

Okay — freeze that. But keep it in mind as we take a look at the latest blog article from 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.

Hambo’s latest is Will Asteroids Wipe Out Humanity? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us, and Hambo’s scripture references omitted:

More than 100 “scientists, physicists, artists, astronauts and business leaders from 30 countries” have signed a declaration that seeks to “solve humanity’s greatest challenges to safeguard our families and quality of life on Earth in the future,” according to one of the signers of the declaration. The reason for this declaration is because, as one of the scientists backing the plan puts it, “The more we learn about asteroid impacts, the clearer it becomes that the human race has been living on borrowed time.”

Those who signed the declaration are concerned that a massive asteroid impact on Earth could be doomsday for mankind. So they are seeking for governments to work together because, as one of them says, “finding hazardous asteroids early through an accelerated search program is the key to preventing future destructive impacts.” The goal is for early detection of these asteroids so that there is enough advanced notice to use current technology to “deflect dangerous asteroids through kinetic impactors and gravity tractors,” according to a NASA astronaut.

This is pure nonsense to ol’ Hambo. He scoffs:

What fuels this fear that humanity is doomed to destruction by an asteroid, artificial intelligence, or some other catastrophe? Well, according to the starting point of those most concerned about humanity’s demise, life arrived here entirely naturalistically and Earth has existed for billions of years. There is nobody ordering, sustaining, or upholding the universe beyond the unfeeling laws of physics. There is even a popular dinosaur extinction proposal that claims the dinosaurs were wiped out by a massive asteroid impact. So if an asteroid destroyed much of life in the past, what is to stop it from doing it again?

But Hambo is a man without fear of such things. Let’s read on:

When you start with God’s Word instead of man’s word, you get an entirely different perspective on humanity’s future. According to the Bible, God is upholding the world by His powerful Word. We are not alone in this universe at the mercy of blind natural laws. Also, we do not need to fear a natural calamity wiping out mankind. Scripture tells us how humanity will end — when Jesus Christ returns to Earth in judgment.

So don’t worry about asteroids. Hambo continues:

Also, according to the biblical worldview, dinosaurs were not wiped out by an asteroid impact 65 million years ago. They were created on Day Six along with Adam and Eve. But many of them were buried in the global Flood of Noah’s day around 4,300 years ago. After the Flood, dinosaurs died out for the same reasons that many species go extinct each year … . They should remind us of God’s judgment on sin in the past and His coming judgment on sin in the future.

Not only are asteroids nothing to worry about, there isn’t anything to worry about. Hambo says:

[W]e do not need to fear man’s doomsday forecast about humanity’s future because we serve a God who sees the end from the beginning. This should give us peace and hope as we await His coming.

But what if Hambo’s wrong? No problem! There’s still nothing to worry about. Hambo has more good news:

And one last point to ponder. If there’s no God and life is just a result of naturalistic processes, then, as I said to Bill Nye during the debate, when people die they won’t even know they existed. So ultimately, if everyone died and all life were wiped out, why does it matter anyway? After all, from a naturalistic worldview life is ultimately meaningless and purposeless!

Okay, that’s enough. We now return you to that movie with the crazy people storming the launch pad. Hey — what made us think of that movie?

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

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Scotland Refuses To Ban Creationism

We have news from Scotland where, as you know, the government has been considering a petition of the Scottish Secular Society (SSS) to ban teaching creationism in government school science classes. Specifically, they want Education Secretary Mike Russell to issue guidance to publicly-funded schools and colleges to prevent the teaching of creationism and related doctrines as viable alternatives to established science.

Today we have news of the result. The HeraldScotland of Cambuslang, just outside Glasgow, has this story: Schools creationism ban rejected by Scottish Government. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The Scottish Secular Society (SSS) criticised the response to its petition with the Scottish Parliament calling for new government guidance on the issue in publicly funded schools. The society believes schools should not be allowed to present the belief that the universe originates from acts of divine creation as a viable alternative to established science. The SSS petition was lodged after it emerged members of a US pro-creationist religious sect had been working as classroom assistants at a primary school in East Kilbride, South Lanarkshire.

We wrote about that situation in East Kilbride last year — see Creationism in Scotland — Update. Back to the news story:

Tim Simons, Head of Curriculum Unit at the Scottish Government’s Learning Directorate, has written to the parliament’s petitions committee that there are no plans to introduce ban guidance called for by the SSS. Mr Simmons said: “I can (therefore) confirm that there are no plans to issue guidance to schools or education authorities to prevent the presentation of creationism, intelligent design or similar doctrines by teachers or school visitors. The evidence available suggests that guidance on these matters is unnecessary.”

Yeah, unnecessary. One should be wary of any government agency that calls itself the Learning Directorate. He also said:

: “I can confirm that there are a number of policies and safeguards in place to ensure that children and young people receive a broad and balanced general education. Safeguards include; school managers having oversight of curriculum planning and resources; local authorities with robust complaints procedures, independent school inspections and the development of curriculum materials through a collegiate approach that provides for early identification of any inappropriate material.”

Everything’s under control in Scotland. No worries! Let’s read on:

The SSS said it is “deeply disappointed by the Scottish Government’s response to evidence presented to the Public Petitions Committee”. Spencer Fildes, Chair of the SSS responded to the submission: “The Scottish Government has responded with what they claim are workable ‘safeguards’ that are already in place, yet we have presented clear evidence to the contrary.”

One last excerpt:

Professor Paul Braterman, co-petitioner, said: “This language blurs the crucial distinction, built into the wording of our own petition, between learning about creationist worldviews, and being taught that such worldviews are tenable. The SSS fear this will bring Scottish education into disrepute.”

So there you are, lads and lassies. Will the resulting drool engulf Scotland? Egad — there’s nothing worse than drool-soaked haggis. We’ll have to wait for further developments.

We note, however, that this is a good lesson about centralized government control of education (or anything else). One can never be certain that the right people will be running things — but one can always be certain that the wrong people will be grasping for control. Decentralization is sloppy, but it has its virtues.

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

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