Rev. David Rives: Germ Theory Is Biblical

The Drool-o-tron™ is still on the job. We were trying to get some work done, but its sirens and flashing lights were too demanding to ignore.

The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). 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 Bible command tied to microbiology?, and it has a tantalizing sub-title: “David Rives reveals God’s wisdom beating science by millennia.” Wowie! But the rev has his own title for the video, which is Break the pot! We had to take a look.

The rev tells us that Leviticus 11:33 (King James version, of course) says:

And every earthen vessel, whereinto any of them falleth, whatsoever is in it shall be unclean; and ye shall break it.

Then the rev explains why the pot must be broken, which anticipates the germ theory of disease by thousands of years! That’s amazing! Leviticus 11 also has lots of dietary rules about what can and can’t be eaten, but the rev doesn’t waste your time with any of that.

You don’t want to miss this one. The rev is wearing his bible-boy suit, and there’s no doubt about it — he’s the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is his usual 90-second presentation — before the commercial. Go ahead, click over to WND and watch it.

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 © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #527: Two for One

We can’t remember writing about a situation like this before. We’re writing about three letters in The Citizen of Auburn, New York, the first of which generated two creationist responses.

Here’s the original letter, which appeared on 10 February: Religion nothing more than a placebo, written by Thomas Hanley. We don’t know anything about him, and his letter wasn’t that good, but he certainly stirred things up in Auburn. He made a big chronological blooper (which went unnoticed by those who responded), and it was this:

As far as the “overwhelming majority of Americans” believing that there is a god, at one time the overwhelming majority of Americans believed the sun revolved around the earth. Science came to the rescue and trumped the religious dogma of that time.

Anyway, there are two responses that now appear in that same newspaper. All three letters have a comments feature at the end. We don’t know who any of the letter-writers are. The creationists don’t appear to be politicians, preachers, or other public figures, so we won’t embarrass or promote them by using their full names. Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

The first response is Stand up for your belief in God. It was written by Jimmy, who seems to have written an even earlier letter that triggered the Thomas Hanley letter. He says:

It never ceases to amaze me how those who preach there is no God can show such anger, hatred and disdain toward something they don’t even believe exists. Thomas Hanley ridicules people of faith as the “Witless Majority,” convinced that we must beg God for favors.

Jimmy is amazed. Then he tells us:

I doubt there is anything Mr. Hanley can say that will convince believers there is no God, just as I’m sure we’ll never convince him that there is. Science can’t prove or disprove the existence of God, nor can it explain the purpose of life or why we are here.

Yes, those are terrible failings of science. Now here’s his killer argument:

In order to know for certain that God doesn’t exist, one must possess infinite knowledge. But no human has infinite knowledge. To have infinite knowledge, you would have to be God himself, and how can you be God and atheist at the same time?

Good point! And here’s another:

If Mr. Hanley is correct that God doesn’t exist, then when we die we’ll simply be thrown in a box six feet under, never having known the true purpose of life or having discovered the answers to life’s many mysteries, and that will simply be the end of it. But, if by some chance Mr. Hanley is wrong and God does exist, what then?

That’s enough. Now we’ll move on to the next letter, written by John. It’s titled U.S. founded on religious freedom. John says:

I write this letter in response to Thomas Hanley’s unsubstantiated atheist arguments about the existence of God. There has been no proof that God does not exist, scientific or otherwise. The reason for this is that man was the last thing that God created, therefore no missing link has been found to connect man with the theory of evolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! So that’s why there’s no missing link! We’ve never encountered that argument before. Let’s read on:

Oh, by the way Mr. Hanley, I don’t know what school you went to but a theory is an assumption, a speculation. It is not supported by scientific fact. Sorry to burst your bubble.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! He continues:

If it weren’t for the people seeking freedom from religious persecution, who helped settle this country, you wouldn’t be able to voice your atheistic views.

Yeah, those pilgrims were fanatical about religious freedom — see Salem witch trials. Here’s more:

God isn’t a man in the sky. God realized that his creation, man, was imperfect and that man needed a set of rules to live by to live in peace and thus handed down The Ten Commandments. Do you not agree that if all mankind followed the Ten Commandments there would be peace on earth? What other being would have sought to right our imperfections with the perfect set of rules to do so.

Yet another original argument. John is good! Here’s how he ends his letter:

May God have mercy on your soul. Oh, that’s right, you don’t believe you have one.

Wow — that was an amazing put-down! We hope things calm down in Auburn, New York. We can’t handle any more of this excitement.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #3

Our last post in this series was The Laws of Nature Don’t Change, #2. That was about electromagnetism, which — according to telescopic observations — hasn’t changed in 10 billion years.

The first post in the series mentioned supernova SN1987A, which undeniably indicates that lightspeed hasn’t changed for more than 168,000 years, so there’s no way the universe we observe could be only 6,000 years old. But it was mostly about a demonstration that the mass ratio between electrons and protons has remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years.

Why do we bother with such things? To defend what’s written in Genesis, creationists declare that scientists don’t know what they’re talking about, because the constancy of the laws of nature is an arbitrary, unverifiable assumption. See The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Creation Science. After all, they say, you don’t know what things were like back then. Were you there?

Well, we weren’t there, but we can see things that were there, because the light from distant stars is just now reaching us, and it can tell us how things were a long time ago.

As we’ve said before, if the laws of nature haven’t changed, then radiometric dating methods are accurate, geological forces currently at work were behaving the same in the past, the speed of light wasn’t wildly faster in the past to get distant starlight to Earth almost instantaneously, and the waters of the Flood couldn’t suddenly come from and then go to somewhere, somehow. That means the universe described in Genesis is utterly impossible. Therefore, whenever we learn of evidence that the laws of nature haven’t changed, it’s worth mentioning.

There’s a great new article in PhysOrg — Distant quasar spectrum reveals no sign of changes in mass ratio of proton and electron over 12 billion years. We’ve written about that ratio before, but at that time the evidence was that it had remained the same over the past 7.5 billion years. Now there’s evidence that it’s been unchanged for another 4.5 billion years. That’s getting close to the start of the universe. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A team of space researchers working with data from the VLT in Chile [that’s the Very Large Telescope] has found via measuring the spectrum of a distant quasar by analyzing absorption lines in a galaxy in front of it, that there was no measurable change in the mass ratio of protons and electrons over a span of 12 billion years. In their paper published in the journal Physical Review Letters, the team, made up of two members from VU University in the Netherlands, and two members from Swinburne University of Technology in Australia, describe their findings and what it might mean for helping to explain dark energy.

Here’s a link to the paper: Constraint on a Varying Proton-Electron Mass Ratio 1.5 Billion Years after the Big Bang. Without a subscription, all you can see is the abstract, so we’ll stay with PhysOrg:

Some theories suggest that dark energy, the mysterious force that has the universe continuing to expand, might be a field that evolves over time — if so, that might mean that some of the constants we take for granted, such as gravity, the speed of light, etc., might actually evolve as well. In this new effort, the researchers sought to test that idea by looking to see if the mass of protons or electrons (both of which are considered to be fundamental constants) and the ratio that describes their mass difference, changed over the course of billions of years.

We’re not terribly interested in dark energy, but if their observations can puncture a claim of the creationists, that’s good enough for us, so we need only one more excerpt:

Their measurements showed no deviation (with a precision of 10-6) from the current constant, suggesting that the ratio has remained constant for at least 12 billon years.

Creationists like ol’ Hambo and his flock now have two choices: (1) ignore these observations; or (2) mention and dismiss them as the desperate ravings of secularists. Either way, ol’ Hambo is going to stick with his claim that “historical (or origins) science” is worthless, because it’s based on arbitrary, unverifiable assumptions, and the only way to really know what things were like long ago is to read the bible.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #526: Quoting a Quote-Miner

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Sheboygan Press of Sheboygan, Wisconsin. It’s titled Even biologists not sold on neo-Darwinian view. An icon at the start of the letter will get you to the newspaper’s comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is David. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Mr. Lester Williams recently wrote in a letter to the editor about evolution: “We know that this is true because there is much empirical evidence to prove it.”

This is the letter David is talking about: Faith and science are mutually exclusive. It’s pretty good, but David doesn’t like it. Here’s what he says:

Perhaps he [the earlier letter-writer] would like to hear what some evolutionary biologists have to say on the subject.

We’d be much more interested in seeing some evidence that disproves evolution, but if quotes are all David has to offer, we’ll take a look. You probably already know what’s coming, and you won’t be disappointed. Here it comes:

English biologists Mae-wan Ho and Peter Saunders are quoted in the book, “Darwin’s Black Box,” by Dr. Michael Behe, Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, as follows: “It is now approximately half a century since the neo-Darwinian synthesis was formulated. A great deal of research has been carried on within the paradigm it defines. Yet the successes of the theory are limited to the minutiae of evolution, such as the adapted change in coloration of moths, while it has remarkably little to say on the questions which interest us most, such as how there came to be moths in the first place.” (p.28).

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! David gives us a quote from a creationist book by Discoveroid Michael Behe. We’ll ignore it and read on:

On page 29 of the same book, Dr. Jerry Coyne, Professor of Ecology & Evolution at the University of Chicago, is quoted as saying, “We conclude — unexpectedly — that there is little evidence for the neo-Darwinian view. It’s theoretical foundations and the experimental evidence supporting it are weak.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’re not going to chase down that quote either. We’re confident that Coyne isn’t being quoted accurately. Oh, all right, we’ll look it up. It’s number 4.10 in the TalkOrigins Quote Mine Project, and you’ll have to scroll down to find it. David continues:

Dr. Lynn Margulis, Distinguished University Professor of Biology at the University of Massachusetts, was quoted on page 26 of the same book: “History will ultimately judge neo-Darwinism as a minor 20th Century religious sect within the sprawling religious persuasion of Anglo-Saxon biology.”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s David’s third quote from Behe’s magic book — and they’re all in pages 26-29. Great research! We Googled around briefly, and apparently that quote isn’t quite her position — see Lynn Margulis on Evolution as a Religious Sect. She’s no longer around to defend herself — see NCSE’s article from 2011: Lynn Margulis dies, which says: “Her proclivity for such unconventional evolutionary mechanisms allowed her to be steadily misrepresented by antievolutionists hoping to convince the public that evolution is a theory in crisis. But Margulis firmly rejected creationism … .”

Here’s the end of David’s letter:

I do agree with Mr. Williams [the earlier letter-writer] on one thing, though: “You can believe what you want, but your belief does not make it true.” Amen, brother.

So there you are, dear reader. David has Behe, and we have reality. Which is right? It’s so difficult to decide.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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