Ken Ham Tells Us How To Vote

The US Presidential election is little more than a month away, and some of you may be confused about which candidate you should support. Fortunately, help is on the way from the wisest man on the planet.

Yes, we’re talking about Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum, and for building an exact replica of Noah’s Ark.

Hambo’s article is Voting and the Ark. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

How should Christians approach voting in this strategic election? As I thought about the upcoming election, it dawned on me that the reasons we built the life-size Ark in Northern Kentucky are based on the same principles we should apply when we vote.

Uh, we need a bit more information than that. Hambo says:

Christians are to affect the world for good as we apply Christian principles, teach God’s Word, and preach the gospel. We need to remember that, as Christians, we are really citizens of the kingdom of heaven, not the earthly kingdom in which we temporarily live. However, as citizens of a different kingdom, we still should do whatever is possible to affect our present earthly kingdom so that the truth of God’s Word and the saving gospel can impact as many souls as possible.

Yes, of course. Heaven is far more important than national security, the economy, immigration, or any other issue. After some bible references, we’re told:

Noah was righteous before God. His example is a reminder to us today that we all need to judge our hearts and behavior against the absolute authority of the Word of God. When voting, we need to judge candidates against God’s Word.

Right — not the Constitution or any other Earthly standard. Here’s more advice:

We should not vote for someone solely because they are an Independent, Democrat, or Republican. Christians should judge what candidates believe, say, and do against the absolute authority of the Word of God and vote accordingly.

After more bible references, Hambo continues:

God ultimately will determine who becomes the next president of the US. At the same time, Christians need to be responsible citizens and use the legal means at our disposal to put those in power whose beliefs most closely align with the principles in God’s Word.

Right — what we really need is a President who is just like ol’ Hambo! After several paragraphs praising the ark “replica” he built, Hambo closes with this:

Yes, the Bible does come to life at the Ark Encounter, and we are reaching guests with biblical answers and the gospel message. But we need you to join this effort and be salt and light, including casting your vote for those who will allow Christians to have as much religious freedom as possible so we can present biblical truths. Let’s be like Noah and proclaim the truth of God’s Word to this spiritually needy nation.

That was very inspirational, but he didn’t tell us the candidate who is his favorite, nor did he even mention any of their names. We’ll have to watch and see which candidate visits Hambo’s ark. Maybe one of them will. Then we’ll know how to vote. Oh yeah!

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

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The Discoveroids and Frankenstein’s Monster

There have been several headlines the last day or so about a human baby conceived from the DNA of three parents. We found an article about it in Nature that you can read without a subscription: ‘Three-parent baby’ claim raises hopes — and ethical concerns. They say:

A reported world-first in fertility therapy — a baby boy conceived with a controversial technique that mixes DNA from three people – has made headlines across the world. But with no way of verifying the claim because the specialists behind the procedure aren’t releasing data until October, some researchers are questioning the ethics of the procedure. In particular, they ask why the US-based team behind the operation chose to carry it out in Mexico, a country with less-clear oversight of human embryo modification than, for instance, the United Kingdom or the United States.

Researchers at the New Hope Fertility Center in New York City told New Scientist — which broke the news on 27 September — that they had conducted the procedure for a Jordanian couple, and that the baby boy was born in April.

[…]

[T]he boy’s mother has a rare disease called Leigh’s syndrome, a neurological disorder caused by faulty mitochondria, the cell’s energy-producing structures. The couple lost two children to the disease before asking the clinic’s help.

In an attempt to create embryos without the mother’s faulty mitochondria, the clinic’s team transferred the nucleus of the mother’s egg cell to the egg of a donor with healthy mitochondria — a technique known as spindle transfer — and then fertilized it with the father’s sperm, the team reports in the abstract. Zhang’s team modified five embryos, one of which was implanted into the mother and survived to birth. That baby inherited nuclear DNA from both parents and mitochrondrial DNA from the donor.

You can click over there to read the rest. We hope the baby grows up to be healthy, and that this new procedure may become accepted for use in such cases. But not everyone shares our attitude. For your entertainment, we now give you an example of a different view.

You are about to travel into another reality, a reality not knowable by evidence and reason because it isn’t bound by the laws of nature, but by the wonders of Oogity Boogity! It’s a journey into the realm of miracles and mysticism, where all you need is faith. Oh look — there’s a signpost up ahead. It says: “Welcome to Seattle, Home of the Discovery Institute.” Your next stop — The Drool Zone!

The Discoveroids’ creationist blog features this new post: Three-Parent Baby Shows No Limits to Science Hubris. It’s written by Wesley J. Smith. We don’t hear much from him, but he’s a Discoveroid “Senior Fellow” and a lawyer. His specialty is “Human Exceptionalism,” Discoveroid code for “In His Image.” The bold font was added by us for emphasis:

Fertility doctors have brought a baby to birth from an embryo created artificially with the biological substances of two women and one man. That could be illegal in many places, so the American doctors went to Mexico to do the procedure.

[…]

More importantly, what are the potential longterm consequences to this child? We don’t know. Indeed, this child will have to be followed for potential health problems going forward. Even if there is no untoward consequence to the baby — which all should hope — this was unethical human experimentation.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] It was unethical experimentation! Then Wesley says:

The doctors fled to Mexico to flee regulatory oversight. Yet “The Scientists” blame the regulators: [big quote from an article in Science: Unanswered questions surround baby born to three parents]. In other words: Let us do what we want or we will do it anyway!

What scoundrels! How dare they try to give that woman a healthy baby? After that, Wesley ends his post by pronouncing a stern moral judgment upon those who intervene with the designer’s plan:

In truth, those who circumvent the rules should be shunned, not praised. And they expect us to trust them? No.

Society needs to have an important and in-depth debate over how and whether to permit these nature- and potentially family-altering techniques to go forward, and if so, under what circumstances. But instead “The Scientists” presume the right to decide for themselves what is ethical in science. There’s a word for that: hubris.

Ever since the 1818 publication of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein, we’ve seen frightened people and their preachers screaming about scientists who dare to “play God” by meddling in the unknown, experimenting in their infernal la-BOR-a-tories, and attempting things that man was not meant to know! And here we see the Discoveroids feeding the fears of the ignorant, playing the role of science censors, and longing for the power to launch a new Inquisition.

We haven’t heard the end of this. For further developments, stay tuned to this blog!

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Creationist Wisdom #721: Flood & Old Earth

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Star Press of Muncie, Indiana — the home town of Ball State University. The title is Argument in favor of great flood. The newspaper has a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. This guy writes a lot of letters-to-the-editor — we posted about one recently: #715: God and Slavery, and that links to an earlier one — but he still doesn’t qualify for full-name treatment. His first name is Kevin. Excerpts from his new letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I’m not likely to visit the recently opened “Ark Encounter” exhibit in Kentucky, but that’s not because I disbelieve the historicity of Noah’s ark. On the contrary, I fully accept, as any true Christian should, the Genesis account of Noah’s ark and God’s judgment on human wickedness.

Yes, any true Christian should. But then, why won’t Kevin visit ol’ Hambo’s ark? He explains that later. First, he defends the Flood:

There is plenty of archeological evidence that a vast flood covered the whole area of early civilization.

Where might we find this archeological evidence? In Egypt, perhaps? Mesopotamia? Ethiopia? Kevin doesn’t tell us. Instead, we get this:

Furthermore, every branch of the human race has a story about a great flood from which only a few people escaped. If the flood described in Genesis did not actually occur, why did all ancient cultures after Noah’s time have a story about a great flood?

Maybe it’s because people often settled along rivers, and rivers occasionally flood? Even so, none of these ancient flood tales are synchronized, nor to any of them mention Noah — except one. We discussed all this in Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology. But Kevin is a believer. He tells us:

Not surprisingly, there are slightly different versions of the flood story, but the universality of the tradition supports the Bible-based view that a great flood did occur many thousands of years ago, before mankind became spread out over the earth. It is not a myth.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:

Jesus regarded the Noahic flood as a historical fact, and that’s good enough for me.

Okay. Let’s read on:

The people who created the “Ark Encounter” exhibit are young-earth creationists. They believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old and that dinosaurs co-existed with humans.

That shouldn’t bother a Flood believer. But it does bother Kevin, which makes his letter very strange. Kevin is an old-Earth Flood believer, perhaps the first we’ve ever seen. Then he denounces the young-Earthers while simultaneously defending the bible:

Such views are absurd and contrary to scientifically established facts, but there is nothing in the Bible, properly interpreted, that undermines science.

Uh, what about the Flood? Oh, Kevin says that’s real history. Then what about the bible’s numerous statements that The Earth Is Flat, and that The Earth Does Not Move? Kevin doesn’t mention those things. Instead, he ends his letter with this:

And nothing that scientists have discovered undermines the Bible.

Now there’s a provocative statement! We’ll leave it to you, dear reader, to refute Kevin’s claim — if you can.

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

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Oklahoma Theocracy — Coming Soon?

Almost two months ago we wrote Oklahoma May Become a Theocracy, in which we talked about State Question 790 — Oklahoma Public Money for Religious Purposes. It will be on the 08 November ballot in Oklahoma. If approved, State Question 790 would repeal Section 5 of Article 2 of the Oklahoma Constitution, which currently prohibits public money from being spent for religious purposes.

The state Constitutional provision which may be eradicated now says:

Article II: BILL OF RIGHTS, Section 5: No public money or property shall ever be appropriated, applied, donated, or used, directly or indirectly, for the use, benefit, or support of any sect, church, denomination, or system of religion, or for the use, benefit, or support of any priest, preacher, minister, or other religious teacher or dignitary, or sectarian institution as such.

As we mentioned before, 38 states have such a provision in their constitutions. It wisely keeps preachers from attempting to grab taxpayers’ money to support their ministries. The Founders of the US were mostly in agreement that the official, government-endorsed religions of their states were an impediment to liberty. That was the motivation behind Thomas Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom. Oklahoma may throw that away, opening the floodgates to religious conflicts in the legislature.

We’ve been watching for press discussions of the issue. There haven’t been all that many, although some newspaper editorials have spoken out against State Question 790. We found something of interest today in Baptist News Global. We don’t know where they’re located, and they don’t have a comments feature. They don’t allow their content to be copied without permission, but they do allow a link to their articles along with a copy their first paragraph. We shall endeavor to comply.

Their headline is BJC’s Walker says Okla. ballot question poses danger to religious institutions, and their first paragraph says:

A Baptist expert on religious liberty termed a ballot initiative repealing Oklahoma’s prohibition against using state funds for religious purposes “a dangerous road” toward the intermingling of church and state.

From here on, we’ll describe the contents of their article, without quoting it. The “Baptist expert” they’re talking about is Brent Walker, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty. Wikipedia has a write-up on them. It says the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) is an education and advocacy association in the United States with a number of Baptist denominations. Also:

The BJC restricts its activities to a small number of issues relating to religious liberty and the separation of church and state: church electioneering, civil religion, free exercise, government funding, political discourse, public prayer, and religious displays. On all of these issues, the organization supports a balanced approach that broadly interprets both the free exercise and no establishment clauses of the First Amendment.

Although the BJC works with 15 different Baptist organizations, that list doesn’t include the Southern Baptist Convention, a large creationist denomination. As we know, creationists seem to have an insatiable desire to exercise political power to legitimize their beliefs and have them taught in government-run schools.

Okay, back to the Baptist News Global article. It tells us that Walker thinks State Question 790 would be harmful. For example, if churches started receiving state funds, they could lose their exemption from laws that prohibit employment discrimination. Interesting, but we doubt that it will cause creationists to abandon their desire to control the state legislature.

There was once a time when Baptists were delighted with separation of church and state — but that was long ago, when they were a tiny denomination. Here’s a link to Jefferson’s famous 1802: Jefferson’s Letter to the Danbury Baptists, which sets forth his understanding of the First Amendment. He wrote:

Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should “make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.

Will all that be thrown away in Oklahoma? It depends on how organized and fanatical the creationists are in that state. We shall soon found out.

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

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