Creationist Wisdom #736: Science Excludes Truth

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, the state capital. It’s titled Bible lesson for Dec. 10, and the newspaper has a comments section.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a preacher — at least we think he’s a preacher. It’s L.G. Parkhurst Jr.. His website is The Parkhurst Group. At the bottom of the site’s home page he’s described like this:

Louis Gifford (L.G.) Parkhurst, Jr. received the BA, MA, and MLIS degrees from the Univerity of Oklahoma and the MDiv degree from Prinecton Theological Serminary. He has written the weekly Bible Lesson column for The Oklahoman newspaper since 1989.

He certainly qualifies for full-name treatment, and because of his divinity degree we’ll refer to him as rev. What we found is his column, so technically it’s not a letter, but it belongs in our collection. We’ll give you a few excerpts from rev’s wisdom, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, and some bold font for emphasis. Okay, here we go:

The Bible teaches truths about the universe and us that science cannot discover from inside a test tube, under a microscope, or at the end of a telescope no matter how advanced.

How true! Then the rev says:

Modern science excludes God from its experiments, investigations, and conclusions.

Gasp! What a narrow, limited point of view. It’s outrageously exclusionary! After that important insight, the rev tells us:

From the Bible, we learn that God creates everyone in the image of God.

The rest of the column is filled with other things we learn from the bible, which you’ll want to read for yourself. Here’s the end of it:

The Bible teaches us the most important truths about God and ourselves; truths that do not change but reveal deeper meaning with study and prayer; truths that will make an eternal difference if we live according to them.

Well, dear reader, if that’s not enough to make you realize how little you learn from your ever-changing science books, there’s probably no hope for you.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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A Documentary About Hambo’s Ark Encounter

The history of our age wouldn’t be complete without a documentary describing one of its most bizarre features — Ark Encounter, the creationist tourist attraction built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia.

We are pleased to announce that such a documentary is in the works. You can read about it in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, and they have a comments section. Their headline is Film about Ark Encounter to highlight Americans’ strange connection with science. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Filmmakers Clayton Brown and Monica Ross make documentaries about contemporary science, but about three years ago, they decided to explore what Brown calls “America’s troubled, strange, confusing relationship with science.”

One idea was climate change. The other, Brown said, was evolution. “The story of evolution denial and creation science is one that largely hasn’t been told,” he said by phone from Chicago, where their company, 137 Films, is based. “As we circulated through our various scientific networks, we found a lot of scientists don’t fully grasp the extent to which the American public resists evolution.”

A worthy undertaking Then the Herald-Leader says:

So where better to start than Grant County, where Australian creationist Ken Ham was in the process of raising a purported $100 million to build a 500-foot-tall wood replica of the Noah’s Ark described in the Bible. It also has lots of dinosaurs, which Ham contends lived alongside humans at the time.

Indeed. Wherever you find Hambo, there is Ground Zero for “America’s troubled, strange, confusing relationship with science.” Continuing:

For three years, Brown and Ross followed the construction of Ark Encounter, which opened this past summer, and the result, “We Believe in Dinosaurs,” is in the final stages. The filmmakers have started an Indiegogo campaign to raise money for finishing the project.

If you want to help, here’s a link to the fundraising effort: We Believe In Dinosaurs . They’ve raised over $29K of the $50K they need. Okay, back to the news story:

The film focuses on three people: an artist named Doug Henderson, who creates the dinosaurs and the other elaborate exhibits in the Ark that attempt to explain how a literal interpretation of the Bible’s story of creation is scientifically plausible; David MacMillan, a former creationist who no longer believes in those explanations; and Dan Phelps, president of the Kentucky Paleontological Society, who has been an ardent critic of Ark Encounter, its sister Creation Museum, and the public tax dollars that have helped support them. (Phelps is fond of calling Ham the “Ayatollah of Appalachia.”)

Hey — catchy phrase! The news story continues:

Both Clayton and Ross — whose past works explored the Higgs boson particle and the search for “cold fusion” — emphasized that the film does not mock Ark Encounter supporters as much as try to understand their point of view from a secular mainstream perspective.

That sounds a bit mushy, but if Dan Phelps is involved, we’re not worried. Ol’ Hambo is worried, however. We’re told:

“The filmmakers’ recent public comments have revealed that they were not telling the truth when they insisted that AiG would be portrayed in a fair and accurate manner,” Ham said. “Therefore we don’t expect their finished film to feature the straightforward reporting on the Ark and Creation Museum that we were assured we would receive. It looks like their film will be more of a mock-umentary than a documentary.

That’s a good indicator. The documentary should be a much-needed work. This is how the article ends:

The filmmakers hope to raise about $50,000 to cover the editing and post-production costs so they can get the final product out by summer. They have high hopes that it will be distributed widely. Their first film, “The Atom Smashers,” was shown on PBS, and the second, “The Believers,” is streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu.

“At the end of the day, we want everyone to see the film,” Brown said. “We’re not trying to do a gotcha.”

We wish the producers well, and hope to see ol’ Hambo driven to new heights of fury by the final product.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Caesarean Birth & the Natural Selection ‘Legend’

This has been all over the news lately. Here’s a BBC story on it from a few days ago: Caesarean births ‘affecting human evolution’. You’ve probably read about it already, so we’ll only give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The regular use of Caesarean sections is having an impact on human evolution, say scientists. More mothers now need surgery to deliver a baby due to their narrow pelvis size, according to a study. Researchers estimate cases where the baby cannot fit down the birth canal have increased from 30 in 1,000 in the 1960s to 36 in 1,000 births today.

And here’s the evolution angle:

Dr Philipp Mitteroecker, of the department of theoretical biology at the University of Vienna, said there was a long standing question in the understanding of human evolution. “Why is the rate of birth problems, in particular what we call fetopelvic disproportion – basically that the baby doesn’t fit through the maternal birth canal – why is this rate so high?” he said.

“Without modern medical intervention such problems often were lethal and this is, from an evolutionary perspective, selection. Women with a very narrow pelvis would not have survived birth 100 years ago. They do now and pass on their genes encoding for a narrow pelvis to their daughters.”

That makes sense. Let’s read on:

It has been a long standing evolutionary question why the human pelvis has not grown wider over the years. The head of a human baby is large compared with other primates, meaning animals such as chimps can give birth relatively easily.

The researchers devised a mathematical model using data from the World Health Organization and other large birth studies. They found opposing evolutionary forces in their theoretical study. One is a trend towards larger newborns, which are more healthy. However, if they grow too large, they get stuck during labour, which historically would have proved disastrous for mother and baby, and their genes would not be passed on.

“One side of this selective force – namely the trend towards smaller babies – has vanished due to Caesarean sections,” said Dr Mitteroecker. “Our intent is not to criticise medical intervention,” he said. “But it’s had an evolutionary effect. “

Here’s a link to Dr Mitteroecker’s paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Cliff-edge model of obstetric selection in humans. You can read it online without a subscription.

As you can imagine, this has attracted the attention of creationists. A good example is at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: An Evolutionary Explanation for Higher Rates of Birth by Caesarian [sic] Section? It was written by Klinghoffer. He briefly discusses the issue and quotes a bit from the BBC article. Then he says, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

[I]f they’re right, it’s nothing more than microevolution. Douglas Axe, author of [link to something by Axe], tweets a point that the report doesn’t get into:

Here’s the brilliant tweet from Axe:

Long-standing evolutionary question: Why hasn’t human pelvis become wider? Human brain was a snap. Why not pelvis?

Yeah — what’s the intelligent designer’s purpose here? He’s only doing half the job. Klinghoffer says:

Good question. What’s the answer?

So Axe replies with another tweet:

Yet another example of the stark contrast between natural selection of legend (all powerful) and the humble reality.

Huh? What does that mean? If natural selection were real, it’s supposed to happen instantaneously? Somehow, Klinghoffer understands what Axe is saying, and he concludes:

The legend of natural selection holds that unguided forces fundamentally generate and shape the most marvelous objects in biology, up to and including the human brain. Don’t believe every legend that you hear.

So there you are, dear reader. Caesarean births are proof that natural selection doesn’t work. Of course, the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — doesn’t seem to be paying attention to the situation either. Oh, wait — it all goes back to the bible. In Genesis 3:16 (King James version, of course), after Adam & Eve sinned, it says:

Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Feathered Dinosaur Tail Found in Amber

Eeveryone knows that creationists hate even the idea of transitional fossils. Despite abundant evidence — we always link to Wikipedia’s List of transitional fossils — they continue to deny the existence of transitionals.

Their denial is because transitionals would be evidence of what they call “macro-evolution,” which they say is impossible. They reluctantly acknowledge what they call “micro-evolution,” but those are trivial variations within a species. They insist that without supernatural aid and the addition of a magical substance they call “information,” no species can evolve into another.

A good example is feathered dinosaurs, which indicate the evolutionary relationship of birds and dinos. Here’s an old post in which we discussed the Discoveroids’ denial of a feathered dinosaur: Discovery Institute: Transitional Fossils? No Way! The other creationist websites have similar articles.

To the great discomfort of creationists everywhere, PhysOrg has this new article: Amber specimen offers rare glimpse of feathered dinosaur tail. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Researchers have discovered a dinosaur tail complete with its feathers trapped in a piece of amber. The finding reported in Current Biology on December 8 helps to fill in details of the dinosaurs’ feather structure and evolution, which can’t be determined from fossil evidence.

This is the published paper: A Feathered Dinosaur Tail with Primitive Plumage Trapped in Mid-Cretaceous Amber. You can read it online without a subscription. We’ll continue with PhysOrg:

While the feathers aren’t the first to be found in amber, earlier specimens have been difficult to definitively link to their source animal, the researchers say.

“The new material preserves a tail consisting of eight vertebrae from a juvenile; these are surrounded by feathers that are preserved in 3D and with microscopic detail,” says Ryan McKellar of the Royal Saskatchewan Museum in Canada. “We can be sure of the source because the vertebrae are not fused into a rod or pygostyle as in modern birds and their closest relatives. Instead, the tail is long and flexible, with keels of feathers running down each side.” In other words, the feathers definitely are those of a dinosaur not a prehistoric bird.

That’s no problem for creationists. They’ll just say he’s lying. Hey — get this:

The study’s first author Lida Xing from the China University of Geosciences (Beijing) discovered the remarkable specimen at an amber market in Myitkyina, Myanmar in 2015. The amber piece was originally seen as some kind of plant inclusion and destined to become a curiosity or piece of jewelry, but Xing recognized its potential scientific importance and suggested that the Dexu Institute of Palaeontology buy the specimen.

Serendipity sometimes plays a role — without a designer.

There are some neat details in the article; you’ll probably want to read it for yourself. We’ll quit here, beaming with anticipation at the reaction of the creationists.

Addendum: As expected, the Discoveroids quickly posted about this finding. They say It’s a bird.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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