Hey, Creationists: More Evidence for an Old Earth

From time to time we talk about evidence that is a problem for those who insist that the Earth is only 6,000 years old. For example, see Can Noah’s Flood Explain Banded Iron Stripes? Wikipedia has articles on other evidence, such as Dendrochronology (tree ring dating), which can demonstrate a chronology going back over 11,000 years, and Ice core chronology can go back hundreds of thousands of years. The TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims has more information, such as ocean sediments.

We have some more trouble for creationists today from Physorg: Study of stalagmites in caves in China reveals 640,000 years of Asian monsoon history. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A team of researchers with members from China, the U.S., Austria and Singapore has used their analysis of stalagmites in a cave deep in central China to map over 640,000 years of monsoons in Asia. In their paper published in the journalNature, the team describes their analysis of the cave formations, what they found and how they were able to use what they learned to better understand other world events over the same time period.

This is the paper in Nature: Earth science: An extended yardstick for climate variability, but you need a subscription to read it. We’ll stay with PhysOrg. They say:

The annual monsoon season in Asia is a major event, bringing rains that are used to grow crops for an enormous number of people. Because of its importance, scientists would like to know more about it, such as what might happen as the planet heats up. To learn more, the researchers looked for a way to look back at what has happened in the past, and to do that, they ventured to the mountains in central China and descended into Sanbao Cave — there stalagmites have been growing up from the cave floor for hundreds of thousands of years, carrying with them, a history of the factors that led to their growth.

What can the creationists do to wiggle out of that? They’ll probably ignore it. Let’s read on:

The stalagmites grow at different rates depending on how much rain falls and leaks through the mountain above and down into the cave — during heavy rains, such as occur during monsoon seasons, layers of calcium carbonate build up, holding information about the air and rainwater at a particular point in time, which scientists can analyze to gain a good measurement of climate conditions. They can also look for dissolved uranium, which can be used to date the layers of stalagmite buildup. Together, the two sources of information can be used to create a climate timetable for past monsoon seasons, going back as far as 640,000 years — the most detailed and accurate monsoon record to date.

Two different lines of evidence, both pointing to the same result. Can creationists claim that the Flood was responsible? Sure they can. They’re good at reality denial.

There’s more in the PhysOrg article, but we’ve copied enough. Now we’ll wait for the creationist reaction — if there is any.

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

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Ken Ham Rants About “Biased” Ark News

You may recall that we recently wrote A Summary of Ark Park Financial Gimmicks, using information from the Cincinnati Enquirer of Cincinnati, Ohio, just across the border from Northern Kentucky where Ken Ham’s creationist empire is located.

It was about the amazing financial history of Ark Encounter, the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Today, to our delight, ol’ Hambo has a response printed in Enquirer. The headline is Taxpayer funds not used to build ark. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

It’s become clear that changes within the Enquirer leadership have led to a very different editorial slant. While we have appreciated the fair coverage our Creation Museum and Ark Encounter have generally received in the paper over the years, the June 28 article on our soon-to-open Ark Encounter only manifested the growing bias the paper has against biblical Christianity.

Observe that Hambo equates his business interests and biblical Christianity. In his mind, they are identical. Then he says:

The anti-Ark article was riddled with errors and misrepresentations. Here are just a few, with more pointed out on our website.

We’ll have to be a bit selective here, but you can read the whole rant if you like. Okay, here are Hambo’s rebuttals of the newspaper’s numerous “errors and misrepresentations”:

Taxpayer/public funds were NOT used in any way to fund the construction of the life-sized Noah’s Ark opening July 7 in Williamstown.

Not directly, but as we mentioned, the anticipation that there would be millions in tax rebates certainly helped to make the bonds seem more attractive. Let’s read on:

All funds (bonds and donations) to build the Ark Encounter have come from private supporters of the Ark project.

That’s not entirely true — well, it is true, technically, but it gives a false impression. The press never mentions this, but as we discussed a couple of years ago in Ken Ham — Looking for More Tax Breaks, the bond issue originally failed to raise the minimum required, so the closing date had to be extended. Even then, they were still short of selling the necessary minimum amount of bonds. To avoid a financing failure, AIG had to step in and buy between $2.5 million to $3 million of the ark bonds. So the funds did come from private supporters, but not the way Hambo would have preferred.

The list of the newspaper’s “errors and misrepresentations” continues:

Yes, the Ark Encounter has the opportunity through Kentucky’s tourism incentive program to receive a future rebate of sales taxes that it generates at our theme park up to $18.25 million over a 10-year period after it opens. (And as the writer did correctly state, the right of the Ark Encounter to participate in this program was upheld in federal court.)

Ah yes — the legendary court victory. But as we keep reminding you, it didn’t happen that way. Early in the case, long before the trial began, the judge issued a temporary injunction preventing the state from denying the tax goodies. That is sometimes done to preserve the status quo in order to prevent damage being done until the case can be decided. At that point, the Governor stepped in and caused the state to withdraw from the case. It wasn’t a court victory on the merits of Hambo’s case; it was an embarrassing incident of lexus interruptus. Here’s more from Hambo:

It’s disappointing to see such a hit piece with numerous misrepresentations about our privately funded project.

Yeah — privately funded. No government help at all. Hambo finishes on a jubilant note:

Regardless, we are excited about the positive impact the Ark Encounter will have on our community, the Enquirer’s June 28 article notwithstanding. Even as this paper throws a wet blanket on our family theme park, the community will be celebrating next week.

If the community will be celebrating Noah’s Ark, life must be horribly dull in Northern Kentucky.

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

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Klinghoffer: Requiring Evidence Is Fascism

Slasher

The Discovery Institute seems to have a never-ending grudge against Neil deGrasse Tyson. They posted a number of rants about him when the television series Cosmos: A SPACETIME ODYSSEY was being shown.

This just appeared at their creationist blog: #Rationalia? Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Authoritarian Daydream. It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. The graphic above this post is in his honor. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Dr. Tyson of Cosmos fame has come in for mockery after proposing a “virtual country” called #Rationalia.

A “virtual” country? That means it’s a suggestion for an internet phenomenon, not a real country. What’s Klinghoffer’s problem with that? He quotes something that looks like a tweet from Tyson:

Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.

Seems harmless enough — but not to Klinghoffer. He says:

He’s even got some pictures of friends posing in what looks like a mash-up between police mug shots and The Hollywood Squares. That’s Dawkins at two down, three across, as a “Citizen of #Rationalia.”

Egad — one of the dozen people in the composite pic at Klinghoffer’s post is Richard Dawkins! He’s another of the Discoveroids’ numerous adversaries. Let’s read on:

Look, I know Tyson for all his popularity is not exactly a serious thinker, for better or worse, so I wouldn’t take this too seriously. It doesn’t, by itself, represent a move to authoritarianism on the part of the New Atheist or “skeptic” community.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! How could Tyson’s cyber country ever represent “a move to authoritarianism”? Klinghoffer continues:

It’s merely a daydream for Tyson, but as daydreams go, it is disturbing. “A one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence,” if it were imaginable in practice, would be a formula for scientistic quasi-fascism.

“Scientistic quasi-fascism”? Can Klinghoffer be serious? Well, such a policy would certainly exclude creationism, so we can understand the Discoveroids’ concern. Here’s more:

The problems are obvious. Who would weigh the relevant “evidence”? What about questions — the vast majority in government — that turn upon the application of values once the “evidence,” whatever there may be, is available?

Values? BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Science is a process for learning about reality. Values are the province of moral philosophy. Moving along:

What about questions — extremely common — where the “evidence” is ambiguous?

That’s not unusual in science. In such cases, we look for more evidence. Why is Klinghoffer having so much of a problem with this? Another excerpt:

Tyson’s imaginary republic is an invitation to arbitrary, undemocratic rule.

Science isn’t a democracy. It isn’t arbitrary either. Klinghoffer’s post is truly bizarre, and it isn’t over yet:

Absolutely, follow the evidence where it leads, as you understand it, in your own intellectual and spiritual life. But to picture imposing that on others is a dictator’s impulse.

There’s so much wrong with that paragraph that we won’t even bother to expound on it. It would take too long and it isn’t necessary. Hey — if Klinghoffer wants to follow the evidence as he understands it in his spiritual life, he’s free to do so — wherever that leads him. But we don’t want to go there.

There’s more to Klinghoffer’s rant, but we’ll quit here. It’s fun to see how Tyson affects him.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #694: Creationist Geologist

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Cincinnati Enquirer of Cincinnati, Ohio, just across the border from Northern Kentucky where Ken Ham’s creationist empire is located. This is their headline: Creationists are real scientists, and the newspaper has a comments section. The first few comments aren’t favorable to the letter’s contents.

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 is an exception. The letter is from John Whitmore, professor of geology, Cedarville University. According to Wikipedia, that’s an independent Baptist school known for its adherence to the Christian tradition. Whitmore certainly qualifies for full name treatment. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

I’m sure I’m not the only reader getting tired of reading articles that claim creationists can’t be real scientists [reference to some earlier article]. It happened again in both Monday’s and Sunday’s paper, with Bill Nye “The Science Guy” attacking the Ark Encounter of the creationist group Answers in Genesis.

As everyone knows by now, Ark Encounter is the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. Whitmore is a big fan of ol’ Hambo, and he’s getting tired of articles claiming that creationists — like him — can’t be real scientists. He says:

To cite just one example that completely demolishes this wrong charge, I point out that the brilliant inventor of the MRI scanner, Dr. Raymond Damadian, is a creationist and ark booster. His remarkably designed invention has helped save countless lives.

Hambo often mentions Raymond Damadian. As we’ve said before, a creationist can be an architect, dentist, physician, or a number of other things. Many seem to be engineers. But they can’t function effectively in those occupations without using knowledge, skills, and technologies that are clearly non-biblical. Genesis had nothing to do with Damadian’s work. Had he confined his efforts to the “science” in the bible, he couldn’t have accomplished anything — except perhaps making some kind of improved horse-drawn chariot. Okay, let’s read on. Whitmore tells us:

Furthermore, I should add that as a scientist with a Ph.D. in paleontology, I am a creationist. I accept the biblical account of Noah’s Flood and believe that geology confirms the account. In fact, I just returned from the Grand Canyon and have published many articles about its geology.

Indeed, Whitmore has published many articles. A search on his name at Hambo’s website produces 91 hits. The letter continues:

Nye, who is not a scientist, and the other ark critics should know better.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! This is how the letter ends:

Meanwhile, I look forward to visiting the ark again. I have personally observed its progress and can’t wait to see the completed project.

That was a great letter! Perhaps, dear reader, you should consider changing your opinions about Hambo’s ark project.

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

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