Rev. David Rives — The Eclipse Is a Gift

We had shut off the Drool-o-tron™ because of the coming eclipse, but for some reason we switched it back on. It immediately alerted us with its sirens and flashing lights. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). The Drool-o-tron™ had once again found the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

Our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: Solar eclipses: Random coincidence or God’s design? The actual title of the rev’s video is “Solar Eclipse: God’s Design.”

The rev tells us that although the Sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it’s 400 times further away, so they appear the same size. No other planet in the solar system has total eclipses, and we’re here just at the right time to see them. Wowie! Is that an accident?

No! In Genesis, we read that God created the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. What better way could there be to declare His glory? The eclipse is a gift from our creator.

The rev is wearing his dark blue bible-boy suit, and he’s the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is less than 3 minutes long before the commercial at the end. 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 © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 5

As the total solar eclipse of 21 August approaches, the Discovery Institute is in an increasingly uncontrolable frenzy. Their latest is The Impact of Solar Eclipses for History. It has no author’s by-line.

Unlike the Discoveroids’ recent series on the eclipse, this one is only nominally about the astronomical event. It’s primarily using the eclipse to repeat what is probably the central dogma of creationism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

When the sky goes dark at mid-day, people notice. Because some observers wrote down what they saw, and because the clockwork of the heavens is so precise, historians can nail down important dates for chronological research.

Then they discuss several past eclipses that have been recorded by people at the time. None of that is of interest at the moment, so we’ll ignore it. Near the end they get around to being flaming, hard-core creationists:

Some of the ancient eclipses occurred near in time to battles or plagues, leading kings to mistakenly read divine support or displeasure with their activities. Today we understand eclipses very well. We no longer fear them, or comets, or other astronomical events as bad omens. Some scientists use the progress in knowledge about eclipses as support for the “god-of-the-gaps” position: i.e., as scientific knowledge progresses, the “god hypothesis” becomes increasingly superfluous.

We think they meant to say that scientists use our increasing knowledge to refute the “god of the gaps” argument — which is described nicely by Wikipedia here: God of the gaps. But the Discoveroids — like all creationists — rely on the god of the gaps. It’s the heart of their “conclusion” that all things which are unexplained (or unlikely) were purposely designed. What can they say today to rescue their fundamental principle? They tell us:

That argument, however, cuts both ways. [Hee hee!] The more we understand about probability, the less plausible it sounds to appeal to “coincidence-of-the-gaps” thinking when multiple, independent factors appear to converge on design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They continue:

The chance hypothesis has been falsified by the discoveries of modern science.

Really? Where’s their evidence? They don’t give any evidence. Instead, they merely declare the standard creationist position as if it were the logical conclusion of their post:

It is no longer tenable to appeal to coincidences recklessly for cosmological fine-tuning, the earth’s habitability, the origin of life, the origin of multicellularity and sex, the origin of complex body plans, the origin of consciousness, and the origin of reason and morality. Each of these provides positive evidence for intelligent design. Collectively, they render the chance hypothesis improbable by many, many orders of magnitude.

Stunning, isn’t it? For rebuttal, we’ll merely give you some excerpts from our prior posts. In Common Creationist Claims Confuted we said:

The typical “odds” argument is easily rebutted. Here’s how we do it: There are 52 playing cards in a deck. The odds against the sequence resulting from a good shuffle are — as the mathematicians say — 52 factorial. You need to multiply 52 x 51 x 50, etc., and keep going until you get to the last card. That’s what factorial means. Fifty-two factorial is a big number. It works out to be 8.06581752 × 1067. That’s 8 (and a tad more) times 10 to the 67th power, a far larger number than the creationist usually quotes (or makes up) to “prove” that the odds are against evolution. For comparison, 52 factorial is much larger than the estimated number of stars in the universe, which is “only” 1021 (source: this NASA webpage). But there are decks of cards all over the place; and each of them is arranged in an extremely improbable sequence. Further, as we explained three years ago, the algorithm of evolution can easily defeat those odds. See The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III).

In William Dembski’s Design Inference we said:

[V]irtually everything is improbable. Consider our favorite example — your own existence. How improbable is that? Human conception is preceded by the release of roughly 20 million sperm per milliliter, and the number of milliliters varies with age and other factors. The average for a healthy young male is estimated to be 300-500 million spermatozoa, per, ah … event. To be on the conservative side, let’s say that a specific human zygote has less than a one-in-100 million chance of being conceived. And that’s for one particular fertile moment for the female. A month earlier or later, the zygote will be different. In other words, dear reader, considering the odds against your turning out to be precisely you, it’s obvious that your existence is quite improbable. Nevertheless, there you are.

The same improbability analysis applies to the conception of each of your parents, and their parents, and so on, going back as far as you care to go. The odds against the whole multi-generational drama is a factorial computation, with the mathematical conclusion that your existence is so very improbable as to be virtually impossible — by Discoveroid reasoning.

And in Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment we said:

Long chains of natural causes and consequences happen all the time. In fact, that’s what reality is made of. Thus we present our own Rule of Reality: If each event in a causal chain is a natural occurrence, then the historical totality of the whole chain of events is also natural — and not at all impossible. This is a chronological corollary of that well-known principle: The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

[…]

Although there’s no evidence that we’re the product of any impossible events, each of us is the result of a unique series of natural occurrences. Our existence will never be repeated. We’re irreplaceable. Priceless. This is why — contrary to the endlessly repeated claims of the creationists — the theory of evolution places a far higher value on individuals and all of humanity than creationism, according to which we could be wiped out and started up again on a whim.

So there you are, dear reader. Contrary to the endless claims of creationists, improbable things aren’t miracles — they’re the stuff of which reality is made. But creationists don’t like reality — they prefer Oogity Boogity!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Answers in Genesis: Behold the Bombardier Beetle

This is about a very impressive article from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It’s titled Bombardier Beetle–The Arsenal Insect, and it was written by Karin Viet.

The last time we wrote about her brilliant creation research was Answers in Genesis: Behold the Giraffe. If that one didn’t convince you to be a creationist, this certainly will. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. It begins dramatically:

The sinister toad closes in on the beetle. Instead of a futile attempt to scurry away, the beetle waits, as though surrendering. Just before the toad’s tongue flicks out to snag its victim, the beetle fires its cannon. Pop! Pop! Pop! Out shoots burning gas. The emissions fire in pulsation, 500 times per second, but the defensive attack is complete before one second passes. Rather than getting a tasty snack, the defeated toad hops away with a mouthful of noxious gasses. The bombardier beetle’s tail end is equipped with twin “spray nozzles” (or gland openings) to shoot its gaseous ammunition.

The bombardier beetle is an old favorite of creationists. It’s even in the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims — see The bombardier beetle cannot be explained by evolution. It must have been designed.

Karin pays no attention to sources like that because she knows The Truth. She devotes several paragraphs describing the wonders of the beetle. We’ll skip most of it until we come to this:

Creationists have frequently pointed to the bombardier beetle as an example of divine design. While God originally proclaimed his creation “very good” [scripture reference], Adam’s sin brought death into the world, so God equipped the bombardier beetle with an intricate defense structure.

Ah, so that’s how it happened! Yes, it makes perfect sense. Then Karin says:

Evolutionists have counterattacked with imaginative ideas of how such an elaborate defense mechanism could have evolved. Evolution supposedly progresses from primitive life forms to higher life forms. Because evolutionists postulate that the changes from “goo-to-you” happen through slight, successive modifications over millions of years, the “theory” of evolution cannot be tested.

Jeepers — evolution can’t be tested! After that stunning fact, she tells us:

Any design can be explained away by picking it apart into supposed steps. The supposed steps cannot be proven or disproven because no one can go back in time and record the alleged evolution of one animal kind to another.

Our teachers lied to us! Karin continues:

Evolutionists and creationists both have the same evidence, but they interpret that evidence through their different worldviews. Evolutionists base their beliefs on human reasoning that the design in this world could have happened through small, upward modifications over billions of years.

Human reasoning? The fools! Let’s read on:

Biblical creationists base their beliefs on God’s revelation, the Bible, which says he created the heavens and the earth with creatures fully formed and functioning according to their kinds. Both evolution and creation require belief in the unseen. Yet in cases like the bombardier beetle, perhaps more faith is needed to believe this complex creature evolved.

Yes — evolution requires more faith than creationism, so it must be rejected! Another excerpt:

Evolution is a convenient smokescreen for people to live as if the Creator, Law-Giver, and Judge did not exist. If God created us, we are obligated to live according to his standards for his glory. Yet we have all fallen short of God’s glory, rebelling against Him to go our own way in unbelief and disobedience [scripture reference].

You must repent, dear reader. Abandon your sinful ways!

The rest is bible stuff, so we’ll quit here. All in all, that was a most impressive post from AIG. Wouldn’t you agree?

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 4

The madness continues. Our last post in this series was Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 3. The latest from the Discovery Institute is Solar Eclipses and Life, which has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In previous posts in our solar eclipse series [links omitted] we touched on safe viewing methods, the mechanics of solar eclipses, and a couple of surprising coincidences. We also explained why the solar eclipses we enjoy from earth’s surface are the best in the solar system.

Wowie — we’ve got the best view in the solar system! Then they say:

The solar eclipse coincidences have been noted by astronomers, but most have treated them as mere coincidences. Some scientists are troubled by them. The popular British science writer and astronomer John Gribbin comments on solar eclipses in Alone in the Universe: Why our Planet is Unique:

John Gribbin is real. Here’s the Amazon listing for that book. This is what the Discoveroids say is a quote from it:

At the present moment of cosmic time, during an eclipse, the disc of the Moon almost exactly covers the disc of the Sun. In the past the Moon would have looked much bigger and would have completely obscured the Sun during eclipses; in the future, the Moon will look much smaller from Earth and a ring of sunlight will be visible even during an eclipse. Nobody has been able to think of a reason why intelligent beings capable of noticing this oddity should have evolved on Earth just at the time that the coincidence was there to be noticed. It worries me, but most people seem to accept it as just one of those things.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] The Discoveroids tell us:

Yet other scientists consider these coincidences as pointing to a deeper truth.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] A deeper truth! What could it be? The Discoveroids continue:

The basic idea is that meeting the requirements for the habitability of the Earth for observers makes it more likely that solar eclipses are possible. [List of factors.] Thus, the players for a solar eclipse are on stage while the audience is watching in their comfortable theater.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] Then they ask a surprisingly lucid question:

Since there appears to be a physical basis for the solar eclipse coincidences, does this not remove the need for a design explanation?

We don’t have to wait very long for the Discoveroids’ answer. Here it is:

Not at all! It seems surprising on the chance hypothesis that the universe would be setup in a way that the most habitable locations would also be the best places to observe total solar eclipses. But this makes sense on the hypothesis that the universe is designed so that observers can enjoy total solar eclipses.

Yes — oh yes! — the universe was designed so we could enjoy the show! It’s the only possible explanation. It reminds us of the intelligent puddle proposed by Douglas Adams, which you can find here:

Imagine a puddle waking up one morning and thinking, “This is an interesting world I find myself in — an interesting hole I find myself in — fits me rather neatly, doesn’t it? In fact it fits me staggeringly well, may have been made to have me in it!”

Now that we’re all convinced of the Discoveroids’ theory, your Curmudgeon will give some advice that you won’t find anywhere else — certainly not at NASA’s eclipse page, where they have dozens of links to information.

We gave this advice before — in Supermoon Tomorrow: Aaaargh!! — and it protected you from harm. The same advice is even more applicable now that we are all threatened by the solar eclipse. For obvious reasons, we’ve changed a couple of words:

Werewolves! Vampires! Zombies! Volcanoes! Earthquakes! Floods! The rapture! Armageddon! The return of the ancient aliens! This may be the end of the world, as foretold in ancient scrolls and contemporary crop circles. Doomsday is upon us! For those of you who are wise enough to reject the false teachings of secular, materialist scientists, we herewith offer our Curmudgeonly advice, the result of years of solitary research. These five steps may save you:

1. Stay indoors and avoid looking directly at the Sun.

2. If you have a basement or storm cellar, get into it and don’t come out until daylight returns. Otherwise, crawl under the bed and stay there until it’s over.

3. During the eclipse — total or partial — turn off all electrical appliances, lights, computers, etc. Don’t even use a flashlight.

4. If you have a hoodie, wear it and don’t take it off until the eclipse is over.

5. Avoid all carnal temptations, because at such times one is especially susceptible to the Devil’s influence.

If you follow our advice and if your heart is pure, you might survive the eclipse.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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