Friday Night Free Fire Zone

The good news is that the creationists aren’t doing anything of any significance, but the bad news is that we need to entertain ourselves. We therefore declare another Intellectual Free Fire Zone.

But first, we do have a couple of items for you. The first is a letter-to-the-editor that doesn’t qualify for our collection. It’s in the Register-Guard of Eugene, Oregon, and it’s titled Intelligent design evidence exists. The newspaper has a comments feature. Here’s the letter — the whole thing except for a reference to some earlier letter that triggered it:

There’s overwhelming evidence of intelligent design and, even though micro evolution is a strong, established fact, there’s no evidentiary support for macro evolution.

That said, the people who support creationism also don’t follow evidence and are supporting a faith-based idea.

One can look at the bloody mayhem caused by religion and rightfully object, but to deny the evidence of intelligent design isn’t intelligent.

That’s it. Now you know why it’s not in our collection.

The second item is at the website of something called All Christian News. Their headline is Pastor Tries to Walk on Water Like Jesus, Then Drowns in Front of His Congregation. They say it’s about a preacher “on the West Coast of Africa.” One excerpt should be sufficient:

Pastor Franck Kabele, 35, told his congregation that he was capable of reenacting the very miracles of Jesus Christ. He decided to make it clear through way of demonstration on Gabon’s beach in the capital city of Libreville.

[…]

According to an eyewitness, Kabele took his congregation out to the beach. He told them that he would cross the Kombo estuary by foot, which is normally a 20 minute boat ride. Sadly by the second step into the water Kabele found himself completely submerged. He never returned.

That’s all we’ve got. Now we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

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

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Klinghoffer: Science Is Evil

Slasher

A truly twisted item was just posted at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Sexual Harassment in Academic Science Offers an Unexpected Lesson About Censorship on Evolution.

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. He begins with a timely reminder:

Tomorrow at close of business we will close nominations for this year’s Censor of the Year (COTY) award — send your nomination today by clicking on the orange Email Us button at the top of this page. The award, to be announced in time for Darwin Day on February 12, is of course intended in a somewhat lighthearted spirit. But serious matters lie behind it.

Klinghoffer mentions that award at the end, but his post is primarily about other things. He says:

Young and vulnerable researchers with iconoclastic ideas about Darwinian evolution can face threats of career devastation if they open their mouths imprudently.

Klinghoffer is reminding us of the horrors revealed in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein’s shabby, anti-evolution and pro-creationism “documentary.” That Wikipedia link discusses a lot of the well-deserved criticism the film received, and its eventual sale by a bankruptcy court. For more information, see Expelled Exposed, a superb source of information maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education.

Klinghoffer doesn’t mention that wretched film, but the “evils” he’s talking about are dealt with there, so we had to refer to it to put his post in its proper context. We’re reminded of what Michael Corleone said: “Just when I think I’m out, they drag me back in again!” Anyway, let’s read on:

If you wonder why academia is so perilous for free thinkers on evolution, the answer is complicated. One part of the answer, though, gets short shrift. It has less to do with philosophy or ideology — obvious things — and more to do with power and privilege.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Like theocracies, academia is “perilous for free thinkers.” That’s because, in the Western world, “power and privilege” has passed from preachers to teachers.

Then Klinghoffer talks about some article he found that doesn’t mention the Darwin debate, but it talks about scientists harassing their students. He gives us what he says is a quote from Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Arizona State University, “whose research usually focuses on lactation biology, but she’s done some work on sexual harassment in the sciences.” She’s clearly unbiased. Klinghoffer says she wrote about “an entire academic culture organized around professional privilege and imbalances of power and multiple harassers and assaulters are navigating these landscapes targeting vulnerable trainees.”

Sounds horrible. Klinghoffer tells us:

Of course this set of circumstances is not unique to science — it may help to account for parallel problems in the clergy, for example.

That was surprisingly even-handed; however, it was only a brief lapse. Klinghoffer continues:

But there is something about entrenched rank, pecking orders, and privilege as you find them in academic life that leads to some very unhealthy results. One side of the coin is sexual, but only one. The “culture of quiet” extends to protecting ideas, the ideas that fueled the careers of the scientists at the top.

Aha — those professors are protecting their ideas and careers. Here’s more:

This is a reality we deal with constantly at the Center for Science & Culture — that enforcers wish to hurt dissenters, who, unless they’re very lucky and somehow protected, are well advised to self-censor at least until they’ve made it to the top themselves. To call the phenomenon sadistic would not, in certain cases, be too far off the mark.

Egad — it’s sadistic! Then he tells a chilling tale, but it’s one that can’t be verified:

Even having reached a seemingly untouchable level of acclaim, many remain quiet. Several years ago I happened to meet a very distinguished scholar in a field relevant to evolution — not biology but still relevant — a man well on in years and heaped up with professional praise. I’ll say no more by way of identifying him. It emerged from the conversation that he was a Darwin doubter and I asked him to give me a statement to that effect that we could publish here. He refused. Even he, a man nobody was going to hurt, was afraid to be candid. It’s that entrenched.

What a ghastly situation! In his final paragraph, Klinghoffer returns to the topic of the Discoveroids’ censorship award:

An irony of our Censor of the Year award is that some egregious censors cannot be publicly identified — precisely because we protect the innocent and their identities. It occurs to me that as a nominee, perhaps, the culture of academic science itself would not to be inappropriate. Just a thought.

So there you are, dear reader. We mentioned before that your Curmudgeon’s nomination is reality. That’s because reality — when properly studied without interference from religious fanatics — always censors nonsensical beliefs. But Klinghoffer says that “science itself” is the problem. That’s why they struggle so heroically to destroy it.

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

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Is South Dakota’s Creationism Bill Dead?

We found a cryptic article at the website of radio station KELO in Sioux Falls, South Dakota with this headline: Bill allowing interpretation in South Dakota classes fails.

Is that the bill we recently wrote about in South Dakota Creationism: New Bill for 2016? The article doesn’t mention the bill number, nor does it mention its sponsors. It says, with bold font added by us:

The South Dakota Senate Committee on Education today killed a bill sponsors say was intended to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.

Okay, but what’s the bill number? They don’t say, but they tell us:

The bill failed four to three. It was sent to the 41st day of the 38 day session.

Okay, some bill was killed. Was it the one that concerns us? The lack of information from that radio station is very frustrating, but that doesn’t stop your Curmudgeon. In our earlier post about the creationist bill, we said:

You can follow the progress of the new bill here: Senate Bill 83. Nothing’s happened yet except that it was referred to the Senate Education Committee on 25 January. The South Dakota legislature convened on 12 January, and they’re scheduled to adjourn on 29 March.

So we followed that link and were informed that Senate Bill 83, the creationist bill we had written about, was “Deferred to the 41st legislative day, Passed, YEAS 4, NAYS 3.” Hey — that’s the same fate as the bill mentioned by the radio station.

So we’re not certain. This could be a false alarm, or maybe we scooped everyone else. Time will tell.

Addendum: Another radio station, SDBP in Vermillion, South Dakota, says that it’s Senate Bill 83. Here’s their story: Science Bill Dies In State Committee. So we got it right.

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

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Would You Make a Creationist Wedding Cake?

There’s no news out there of interest to us. Times like this are when your Curmudgeon is likely to get into trouble by straying off topic. Nevertheless, we’ll take the risk. Consider this to be one of our creative challenges.

The challenge will combine two separate topics. First — creationists are always claiming that evolution is a religion. Okay, we’ll play with that. The second thing is that when creationist business owners are asked to do something that is legal, but which violates their religious beliefs, they’ve been known to refuse — for example: Religious freedom or discrimination? Gay wedding cake at center of Colorado Appeals Court case.

We don’t care about gay marriage, but we can use that Colorado scenario. Suppose you’re a professional cake baker. You make cakes for weddings, graduations, whatever. You’re also convinced that the theory of evolution is good science, and creationism is nonsense. You’re locally known for that because of your writings and your speeches. Fine. Now let’s put you in a situation somewhat like the one that the Colorado baker faced.

A couple comes into your store, holding hands. They tell you they’re getting married and they want you to bake a cake for their wedding reception. In order not to distract you with an irrelevancy, they’re not a same sex couple. However — just to make this fun — each of them weighs about 500 pounds. You can’t imagine what their private moments are like, and you don’t want to think about it. So it’s a more-or-less traditional marriage, although their mutual attraction makes no sense to you. No problem, right? But wait — now we’ll make it interesting.

They tell you that they’re creationists, and they hate the theory of evolution. Further, they know that you’re an “evolutionist.” Additionally, they tell you that they want the icing on their cake to be decorated with an illustration of Adam & Eve, together with a dinosaur, all happily together in the same scene. They know you charge extra for special decorations, and they say that they’re willing to pay your price.

How will you handle this situation, dear reader? They’re a strange couple, and the cake they want would be clearly contrary to the theory of evolution. Creationists imagine that such a cake violates your religion. Well, whatcha gonna do — and why? Will you bake the cake they want? Or will you refuse and face the consequences?

You know the rules: You must avoid profanity, vulgarity, childish anatomical analogies, etc. Also, avoid slanderous statements about individuals. Feel free to comment on the entries submitted by others — with praise, criticism, or whatever — but you must do so tastefully.

There may not be a winner of this contest, but if there is, your Curmudgeon will decide, and whenever we get around to it we’ll announce who the winner is. There is no tangible prize — as always in life’s great challenges, the accomplishment is its own reward. We now throw open the comments section, dear reader. Go for it!

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

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