Self-Published Genius #42: Darwin Dissenter

We have another addition to our series about Self-Published Geniuses, where we bring you news of authors with a vanity press book in which the author claims to have made paradigm-shattering discoveries, and announces his work by hiring a press release service.

This author’s press release is titled New Book Doubts Darwin on ‘Darwin Day’. It was issued by Christian Newswire, which describes itself as “the most effective way to get your press release into the hands of reporters and news producers.”

In addition to the press release, we need more to confirm that the book qualifies for our collection. Was it published by a vanity press? It seems so. Although the press release doesn’t disclose that information, we learned at Amazon that the publisher is something called Athanatos Publishing Group. Their website says:

Author should be able to establish that there is a high likelihood that on his own efforts alone he will be able to sell 300-500 books within an 18 month period. (Ie, a pastor with a congregation, a professor assigning the book to his students, an average joe with a mailing list of 500 names, etc). Also, while some marketing will be provided, including press releases and web page construction, the author should plan on rolling up his sleeves to promote his own book. In fact, the willingness to promote one’s own book is a huge factor in our decision making process.


At this time, there are no advances or stipends available.

As mentioned above, we have a hybrid approach to publishing. The era of the self-publisher is upon us and traditional publishing houses haven’t kept up very well. The way things were done in the past will probably give way to a new model into the future.

Okay — we’ve got a vanity press book and we’ve got the author’s press release. Let’s find out what it says, with some bold font added by us for emphasis:

February 12th is the anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, but not everyone agrees ‘Darwin Day’ lives up to the hype. Charles Darwin is known for his theory, along with Alfred Russel Wallace, that natural selection could account for all of the biological diversity observed on the planet. It was quickly seen as finally answering William Paley’s argument from design, put forward in his book, “Natural Theology.”

What kind of book-selling press release is this? It sounds like a Discovery Institute blog article. Ah well, let’s keep going:

But Darwinism’s grip has loosened considerably, and not just for philosophical and theological reasons. Science itself conspires against it, and scientists themselves are increasingly willing to rethink it. One hundred and fifty years later, evolutionary biologists are writing, “There are winds of change in evolutionary biology . . . Many biologists feel that the foundations of the evolutionary paradigm . . . are crumbling.”

This is definitely Discoveroid material. Let’s read on:

One of those scientists is Dr. Wayne Rossiter, an assistant professor of biology at Waynesburg University. Rossiter is willing to give Darwin his due, but in the course of his own work, he has learned that there are questions that Darwinism can’t answer, and that the science at the frontiers of evolution biology might well be suggesting a view of life more akin to Paley’s, than Darwin’s.

Whoa — hold on! We remember the name Wayne Rossiter. Where was it? Oh yeah — it was in a Discoveroid blog article — from a couple of months ago — one of the last written by Casey: In Shadow of Oz, Biologist Wayne Rossiter Critiques Theistic Evolution. Casey was gushing about another of Rossiter’s books.

Just for fun, we checked the Discoveroids’ list of signers to their Dissent from Darwinism. Yup — Rossiter is on the list.

All right, we know what we’re dealing with. The press release continues:

As others are celebrating ‘Darwin Day,’ Rossiter and his brother, Brian Rossiter (whose background is in theology), are challenging its foundations, releasing a book titled Mind Over Matter: The Necessity of Metaphysics in a Material World.

This is the book at Amazon: Mind Over Matter: The Necessity of Metaphysics in a Material World. There are no reviews yet. Hey — it’s only $9.00 in paperback!

Here’s one last excerpt from the press release:

The Rossiters confront the belief that every aspect of life can be reduced to purely naturalistic causes and provide a guide for those defending the proposition that “belief in transcendent intelligence is not only rational, but is completely consistent” with the world as we encounter it.

Well, dear reader — what are you waiting for?

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Discovery Institute’s Thrilling New Enterprise

You probably recall the Discovery Institute’s failed effort (under Casey’s leadership) to establish a nationwide, campus-based anti-science movement they called IDEA Clubs (IDEA = Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness). Wikipedia still has an article on them, which ends by saying:

As of 2015, the press/media contact lists a San Diego State University email address as its sole contact. The email address denotes assignation to an employee of SDSU, a publicly funded university, which does not have a chapter at its school.

After that catastrophe, we assumed the Discoveroids had learned their lesson. But one of our clandestine operatives, code-named “Gumbo Girl,” brought to our attention the amazing news that the Discoveroids are trying to start another string of creationist clubs — this time called the Science & Culture Network. A more accurate name might be “Anti-Science & Bronze Age Culture Network,” but it’s their network, so they get to name it.

There’s a website for the Discoveroids’ latest grandiose scheme: Science & Culture Network, which says:

Science & Culture Network Chapters are local/regional affiliated groups dedicated to supporting the mission of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture (CSC) to advance the understanding that life and the universe are the result of intelligent design. If you are interested in the requirements for organizing an official chapter, please contact Janine Dixon the CSC’s Educational Outreach Coordinator [email address].

How many chapters does their “network” have? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They say that Houston is the only one. But it looks like a good one. Our clandestine operative pointed us to this Discoveroid fund-raising website, which says:

The Houston chapter of the Science & Culture Network (SCN-Houston) has committed to help raise funds for the general needs of the Center for Science and Culture (CSC) at Discovery Institute.

It’s always nice when the kids send home money to support the old folks in their decrepitude. Hey, who is Janine Dixon, their Educational Outreach Coordinator? We’ve never run into her name before. The only time she wrote anything for the Discoveroids’ creationist blog was this recent post: Houston Chapter of the Science & Culture Network Launches BIG with a Screening of Living Waters. It’s about another of their creationist revival meetings.

Janine’s name pops up about a dozen times in a search of the Discoveroids’ blog, but after looking at a few of the hits we got, they’re just references to her as someone to contact. A generation ago, she probably would have been described as a switchboard operator. Oh, wait — she did write something else — back in 2013: Twenty Intelligent Design Resources: A Christmas Shopping List. Somehow that escaped our attention.

Wait — there’s a biographical blurb at the Discoveroids’ website: Janine Dixon, Staff, which informs us:

She has a BA in political science and an emphasis in business, and she has been working in development and outreach at Discovery Institute since 2006. Before coming to Discovery Institute, she worked with the National Association of Evangelicals in Washington, DC.

Hey — that’s great training for a job with the Discoveroids. Well, dear reader, if you want to start your very own chapter so you can be part of the Discoveroids’ great intellectual enterprise — and raise money for them! — you know who to contact. Janine is waiting to hear from you.

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ICR: Not Enough Time for Evolution

Creationists have a very limited répertoire, and as a result, we often see them repeating the same nonsense over and over. So it is today with the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Their latest post is Living Fossils Found off Australia’s Coast. [*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh — living fossils! [*End Drool Mode*]

It was written by Brian Thomas. He’s usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. Here are some excerpts from his brilliant article, with bold font added by us:

The Deep Down Under project explores “relict faunas,” living creatures with eerily similar counterparts among some of the world’s oldest fossils. Deep-sea researchers used a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to look for life around Osprey Reef off Queensland’s coast. They found some surprises including animals known only from faraway places and long-gone times.

That project has a website: Deep Down Under. Brian says they found some surprises. What were they? He tells us:

Their ROV also captured an image of a chambered nautilus, with its beautifully curved shell, scavenging a fish carcass. Some of the lowest layers of sediments with any kind of fossil — called the Cambrian System, supposedly some 500 million years old — have virtually identical fossil shells.

A chambered nautilus? Wait a minute. Brian recently wrote about them — see ICR: “Living Fossils” Prove Creationism. In that one, Brian said:

According to this secular story, nautiluses avoided evolving upward — they haven’t gained a single new feature. … [T]hese “ancient” fossil creatures look like their modern counterparts — just as if they were created to reproduce according to their kinds. … But what are the odds that these creatures could have persisted unchanged for half-a-billion years?

And we said:

Creationists are always telling us about the impossible odds against evolution, but now they’re turning it around and asking about the odds of something not evolving. They imagine that stasis is an evolution-killer because they believe that the theory of evolution requires the sudden, tsunami-like, simultaneous transformation of one entire species into another. This is a clumsy variation of the age-old clunker: Why are there still monkeys?

Does Brian have anything new to say today? In a way, yes. It’s a subtle variation of what he said before. Let’s read on:

The evolutionarily accepted time span for Cambrian sediments, and thus the timespan encompassing creatures fossilized within these sediments like crinoids and nautiluses, ranges from 485 to 541 million years. How could chambered nautiluses and sea lilies (crinoids) fail to evolve over half a billion years?

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How could they have avoided it? Brian criticizes the scientific explanation:

Supposedly, placid places in the ocean’s depths can somehow keep creatures from evolving into different kinds over countless spans of time. However, evolutionary geology teaches that sea floors were completely replaced hundreds of millions of years after the Cambrian rocks were laid. So, even according to evolutionary world history, the sea floor of long ago was not the “nice stable environment” seen today.

Yeah, okay. Then he gives us the creationist explanation:

Flood geologists acknowledge these processes happened fast, as part of the Earth-reshaping violence accompanying Noah’s Flood year.

Yes, that’s what they say. Now here’s the fun part, right at the end:

If Noah’s recent Flood deposited Cambrian rocks and fossils, then the creatures they recorded would have had no time to evolve. No wonder they look just the same in today’s mysterious ocean depths.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Okay, sea creatures survived the Flood and they’ve had no time to evolve since then. But what about life on land? If the Flood happened around 4,000 years ago, and the only land-dwelling creatures that survived were a few hundred (or maybe a few thousand) “kinds” on Noah’s Ark, then there wasn’t enough time for them to evolve into the millions of species we see in the world today.

Brian’s post is yet another example of what we call the Creationist Scientific Method:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

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A Discoveroid Version of “Inherit the Wind”

Buffoon Award

We never expected anything like what we learned in a new article by written by John West,whom we affectionately call “Westie.” He was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post. Westie is vice President of the Discovery Institute, which makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy.

Westie’s article is In a Plea for Genuine Academic Freedom, New Play Turns Inherit the Wind Topsy Turvy. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

You probably know the basic plot of the tired old film and play Inherit the Wind. For teaching Darwin’s theory of evolution in a small Southern town, freethinking biology teacher Bertram Cates gets prosecuted by Christian fundamentalists.

Yes, we know. The play and later the film are based on the Scopes Trial. The trial scenes were accurate — especially the part where Darrow got to examine Bryan. We know, because the transcript of the trial had been published long before the movie was made, and we have a copy. They’re available at Amazon. Westie has ranted about the play and the movie before — see John West: More Scopes Trial Revisionism.

What news does Westie have for us today? Let’s read on:

Loosely based on the infamous Scopes trial, Inherit the Wind is much more propaganda than history, yet it continues to shape popular culture’s understanding of the debate over Darwinian evolution. So congratulations to Los Angeles-based playwright and actor Matt Chait who has turned Inherit the Wind on its head.

[*Groan*] Someone has re-written the play so that the creationists are the good guys. Westie continues:

In his new play Disinherit the Wind, Chait takes the characters from the first play, reshapes them, and places them in a radically different environment. As he notes, “The names of the characters are the same as those in the original play, although their roles are quite different.”


No longer set in a parochial Southern town, the story now takes place in modern multicultural Los Angeles. Bertram Cates is no longer a pro-Darwin high school teacher. Instead, he’s a brilliant neurobiologist at UCLA who is sceptical [sic] of Darwinian materialism. And the zealots who are trying to burn him at the stake aren’t Christian fundamentalists, but fanatical Darwinists.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We won’t go on much longer with this alternate version of reality, but we can’t leave this out:

There is one new main character in the play who isn’t inspired by Inherit Wind: a dogmatic Darwinist named Robert Hawkins, described as a zoologist from Cambridge University. Hawkins is obviously a stand-in for former Oxford University biologist Richard Dawkins … . Some of the best scenes are the ones with the self-important Dr. Hawkins.

Okay, that’s enough. Westie provides a link so you can watch the whole play — if you want to. Your Curmudgeon won’t bother, but if you care to view it and then give us your impressions, please do so.

This play will be a wonderful compliment to that dazzling documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. We can expect that some demented public school teachers will insist on showing both to their science students. Hey — why learn about reality, when fantasy is so much more fun?

Addendum: The play is available at Amazon. The publisher is something called CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform. We looked them up. Yes, they’re a vanity press. Are you surprised?

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