Creationist Wisdom #1,008: The Rev Has Proof

This one is about Secular humanism, a philosophy that seems to be despised by all creationists. Wikipedia says:

Secular humanism is a philosophy or life stance that embraces human reason, secular ethics, and philosophical naturalism while specifically rejecting religious dogma, supernaturalism, and superstition as the basis of morality and decision making.

That sounds reasonable, but not to the writer of today’s letter-to-the-editor — it’s actually a column — which appears in the Murray Ledger & Times of Murray, Kentucky. The title is The religion of humanism: a self-created universe, and we don’t see any comments feature.

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. It’s John McKee, described as Evangelist of the West Murray church of Christ. We’ll give you some excerpts from the rev’s column, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Okay, here we go:

Secular Humanists pride themselves in accepting only what can be established scientifically. Yet they begin with the premise that a Supreme Being cannot exist [Gasp!] and they cling desperately to that assumption with the greatest of religious fervor despite what the scientific evidence suggests.

Ooooooooooooh! The rev has scientific evidence. Eagerly, we proceed with his column. He says:

According to Al-Ghazali, a 12th-century Muslim theologian [an unexpected authority], sound logic demands that whatever begins to exist has a cause, the universe began to exist [It did?], therefore, the universe has a cause. The law of cause and effect has been understood and validated for centuries. But what scientific evidence currently available to us indicates that the universe had a beginning?

We know there’s evidence for the so-called Big Bang, the start of the expansion of the visible universe, but whether that was literally the beginning of everything, and nothing existed earlier is an open question. The rev thinks otherwise, and he tells us:

The universe is expanding. [True.] Regardless of your opinion regarding the big-bang theory and the age of the universe, the fact that the expansion of the universe has been measured proves it cannot be eternal. [Not necessarily.] In 2003, three leading scientists, Arvind Borde, Alan Guth and Alexander Vilenkin were able to prove that any universe that has, on average, been expanding throughout its history cannot be infinite but must have a past space-time boundary. An expanding universe had a beginning.

*Groan* The expansion had a beginning. As for what, if anything, was going on prior to the expansion, that remains an open question — at least for your Curmudgeon. The rev continues:

The universe is “running down.” The second law of thermodynamics states that, unless energy is being fed into a system, that system will become increasingly disorderly.

Creationists love to cite the second law of thermodynamics — without comprehension — and then run wild with it. Let’s see what the rev does:

Given enough time, the universe will inevitably stagnate in a state of heat death. If the universe were eternal, that state of disorderly equilibrium would have already happened an eternity ago. The fact that we are in a state of disequilibrium, where energy is still available to be used and the universe has an orderly structure is evidence that we are on a finite timeline that had a beginning.

He’s stating the obvious. We know that the expansion of the visible universe hasn’t been eternal. It started about 13 or 14 billion years ago, and it hasn’t had nearly enough time to arrive at a state of heat death. We don’t know whether it will then re-collapse into another singularity and start expanding again, or what. But the rev seems certain that he does know, so let’s see where he’s going. Here’s another excerpt:

The scientific evidence we have available suggests that the universe began at some time in the distant past. There has never been a greater “effect” than the sudden appearance of all matter, energy, time and space. A secular humanist is free to believe that the universe came into existence out of complete nothingness and without a cause [Huh?], but such a belief is a tenet of his faith which has no basis in science. I am unable to muster enough faith to join his religion.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The rev doesn’t have enough faith for that — but he does have enough to believe Genesis, as we shall now see:

The Cause [with a capital “C”] sufficient to account for the creation of all matter, energy, time and space would have to be a source of indescribable power, will and intellect and would necessarily be outside of and independent of His own creation. Jehovah God as described in the Bible is the best possible fit for the attributes suggested by the evidence.

Yup — that fits the evidence. And now we come to the end:

David the Psalmist wrote, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and their expanse is declaring the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1). The more scientists learn, the more evident David’s observation becomes.

Okay, dear reader, now that you’ve read what the rev has to say, are you ready to give up your silly secular humanism? If not, why not?

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Legislation in Ohio

This is in the Colulmbus Dispatch of Columbus, Ohio: Ohio House passes bill it says will protect students’ religious liberties at school. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The Ohio House on Wednesday approved legislation that would protect student rights to religious expression in public schools, including prayer, school assignments, artwork and clothing. Lawmakers passed House Bill 164 by a vote of 61-31 and sent it to the Senate for consideration.

Sponsor Rep. Tim Ginter, R-Salem, said his “bill is not an expansion but a clarification (of) what students can and cannot do in religious expression.” He added that the measure was “inclusive legislation that will positively enhance liberties.”

Here it is at the website of the Ohio Legislature: House Bill 164. The thing is 17 pages of mind-numbing stuff. You have to cruise all the way to the bottom of page 15, where it says, with our bold font:

Sec. 3320.03 . No school district board of education, governing authority of a community school established under Chapter 3314. of the Revised Code, governing body of a STEM school established under Chapter 3326. of the Revised Code, or board of trustees of a college-preparatory boarding school established under Chapter 3328. of the Revised Code shall prohibit a student from engaging in religious expression in the completion of homework, artwork, or other written or oral assignments. Assignment grades and scores shall be calculated using ordinary academic standards of substance and relevance, including any legitimate pedagogical concerns, and shall not penalize or reward a student based on the religious content of a student’s work.

Okay, back to the newspaper, which tells us:

The bill, dubbed the “Ohio Student Religious Liberties Act of 2019,” would require schools to:

• Give student religious groups the same access to school facilities for meetings and events as secular groups have.

• Lift bans limiting student expression of religion to lunch or non-instructional periods.

• Abolish any restrictions on students from engaging in religious expression in completion of homework, artwork or other assignments.

Newsweek also has an article on it: New Ohio Law Lets Students Give Wrong Answers on Tests for Religious Reasons, which says:

The Ohio state House of Representatives has passed the Student Religious Liberties Act, which prevents teachers from penalizing students for giving incorrect answers on tests or other schoolwork if those facts would conflict with their religious beliefs. … In practice, this means that the extremely broadly-defined “religious expression” can be present in the content of an essay, test or other assignment and the teacher cannot grade down or otherwise correct the student for it.

[…]

The bill's sponsor, Republican representative and ordained minister Timothy Ginter, has a history of attempting to write his religious beliefs into legislation.

That’s pretty much the news. Now the thing now has to pass the Ohio Senate. We’ll keep an eye on it.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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What Should We Call the Big Bang?

We sympathize with this article at PhysOrg: Top cosmologist’s lonely battle against ‘Big Bang’ theory — and no, it’s not about the TV show. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

James Peebles won this year’s Nobel prize in physics for helping transform the field of cosmology into a respected science, but if there’s one term he hates to hear, it’s “Big Bang Theory.”

Here’s Wikipedia’s write-up on Jim Peebles. He’s the real deal. PhysOrg says:

The leading explanation for the universe in its earliest periods has held sway for decades, with Peebles’ early work investigating cosmic background radiation helping to cement many of the details. But “the first thing to understand about my field is that its name, Big Bang Theory, is quite inappropriate,” the 84-year-old told a rapt audience at an event honoring US-based Nobel Prize winners at a Swedish Embassy event in Washington on Wednesday.

It is indeed “inappropriate.” As you know, the expression “Big Bang” originated as a term of derision, coined by Fred Hoyle, who preferred what he called the “steady state” theory. Hoyle is known around here for his opposition to evolution, dismissing it by claiming that it’s as improbable as a tornado in a junk-yard assembling a Boeing 747.

Okay, back to PhysOrg, which quotes Peebles some more:

“It connotes the notion of an event and a position, both of which are quite wrong,” he [Peebles] continued, adding there is in fact no concrete evidence for a giant explosion. The Nobel committee last month honored Peebles for his work since the mid-1960s developing the now prevalent theoretical framework for the young universe.

PhysOrg continues:

But he is careful to note that he does not know about the “beginning.” “It’s very unfortunate that one thinks of the beginning whereas in fact, we have no good theory of such a thing as the beginning,” he told AFP in an interview.

Right! Contrary to the babbling of creationists, the so-called Big Bang was not the beginning of the universe. No one knows what was going on before things started to expand. Let’s read on:

By contrast, we do have a “well-tested theory of evolution from an early state” to the present state, starting with “the first few seconds of expansion” — literally the first seconds of time, which have left cosmological signatures referred to as “fossils.”

Yes, but “evolution” is already being used for something else. Skipping a bit, here’s another excerpt:

“We don’t have a strong test of what happened earlier in time,” said Peebles, a professor emeritus at Princeton. “We have theories, but not tested. Theories, ideas are wonderful, but to me, they become established when passing tests,” he continued. “Theories of course, any bright physicist can make up theories. They could have nothing to do with reality. You discover which theories are close to reality by comparing to experiments. We just don’t have experimental evidence of what happened earlier.”

Right again. Here’s more

One of these theories is known as the “inflation model,” which holds that the early universe expanded exponentially fast for a tiny, tiny fraction of a second before the expansion phase. “It’s a beautiful theory,” said Peebles. Many people think it’s so beautiful that it’s surely right. But the evidence of it is very sparse.”

And now we come to the end:

Asked what term he’d prefer over “Big Bang,” Peebles replies: “I have given up, I use Big Bang, I dislike it. But for years, some of us have tried to persuade the community to find a better term without success. So ‘Big Bang’ it is. It’s unfortunate, but everyone knows that name. So I give up.”

If Peebles can’t come up with a better name that other scientists will use, it’s probably hopeless to try — but we’d really like a better name. A couple of years ago in Discoveroids and the Big Bang we said:

It wasn’t “big” (when it began) and it didn’t go “bang,” so we prefer to call it the “Great Expansion” — but we seem to be alone in that.

We know it’s hopeless to try renaming a well-known theory, but we can still think about it. What name would you prefer to use, dear reader, instead of “Big Bang”?

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Our Last Phillip Johnson Post?

Since we posted Discoveroid Phillip E. Johnson Has Died, how many times has the Discovery Institute posted about him? Thirty? Forty? More? We have no idea. Anyway, their tsunami of Johnson posts may be coming to an end. They just posted this at their creationist blog: Memorial Symposium for Phillip Johnson. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Following a private memorial service on November 23, Discovery Institute is pleased to host a brief public symposium in honor of the late Phillip E. Johnson — U.C. Berkeley law professor and Center for Science & Culture program advisor, who passed away earlier this month.

If he was an advisor to the Discoveroids, he certainly deserves a symposium. They say:

You are invited to join us at the First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley from 4:00–5:30 pm on Saturday, November 23, to hear brief (10–15 minute) tributes from intelligent design scientists [What kind of scientists?] and scholars who have been directly impacted by Phil’s life and have since become the ID torch-bearers for our generation.

Ooooooooooooh! Torch bearers for intelligent design — that’s like being a drum-beater for the Time Cube. The Discoveroids tell us:

Among those speaking will be [Here comes a list of intellectual giants:] Stephen Meyer, Michael Behe, Jonathan Wells, Douglas Axe, Paul Nelson, and others. The presenters will share their unique perspectives on the impact of Phil’s work and subsequent growth of the ID research program in their respective fields of research.

Sounds thrilling, huh? Here’s the rest of it:

There is no cost or registration to attend this symposium [No cost? Wow!], but seating is limited and will be provided on a first-come-first-served basis. Please find more information here. [Link omitted.]

You don’t want to miss out on what’s likely to be the greatest creation science symposium the world has ever seen. When you sign up to attend, tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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