Weekend Intellectual Free-Fire Zone #18

This is the slowest weekend for Curmudgeonly news we can remember. But we did find some low-grade material. How about this at WorldNetDaily: Was Jefferson really a profane secularist?

It’s by Ellis Washington, our favorite at WND. He claims that Jefferson and the other Founders were really a bunch of theocrats, which makes them all good guys. Not only that, the Salem witch trials weren’t all that bad. Your teachers have been lying to you.

For your spiritual needs, we have a quote from the Good Book. This is from Proverbs 26:11, King James Version, of course:

As a dog returneth to his vomit, so a fool returneth to his folly.

Okay, you’re on your own. As with all our free-fire zones, 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 © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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14 responses to “Weekend Intellectual Free-Fire Zone #18

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    SC warns: “[b]eware of the profanity filters”

    Which Carroll carefully tests with:
    “[a]nd shun
    The frumious Bandersnatch!”

  2. Frank J got me watching the TMBG videos (I Am A Paleontologist). How many other rock-n-roll bands have a science album?

  3. I just stumbled upon this blog. I don’t know how I have missed it all this time. I also don’t know how y’all can read all of this creationist inanity without forcefully vomiting blood. Great blog. Keep up the good work and maybe creationism will go the way of alchemy one of these days. Just maybe . . .

  4. Don’t disparage alchemy so. It had some content to it, and some of the content OK. And certainly the alchemists were up to date with the best knowledge of the time.

  5. PT says: “I also don’t know how y’all can read all of this creationist inanity without forcefully vomiting blood.”

    There’s worse stuff out there. At least creationism is amusing.

  6. @Tomato Addict

    Thinking you meant someone other than me I had to look up TMBG. Then I remembered the full name from my search for lyrics of “Istanbul.” Which I only knew from the Four Lads’ 1953 version. But I have heard “I am a Paleontolgist” before.

    @PT

    With a name like that, surely you heard of the “Panda’s Thumb” blog. Unlike this one, there the trolls are allowed to hijack threads. Of coruse it takes 2 to tango, so the “feeders” are equally guilty.

  7. TomS: “Don’t disparage alchemy so. It had some content to it, and some of the content OK. And certainly the alchemists were up to date with the best knowledge of the time.”

    Excellent point. Creationism started out like alchemy, and even today the rank and file mostly honestly reacting to the best of their limited knowledge. But the activists are quite another story. Starting with the “scientific” creationism of the mid-20th century, it was all about playing favorites with the evidence and other word games. Then came the “don’t ask, don’t tell what happened when” strategy that sought to cover up the irreconcilable differences between YEC and OEC. Then came the “don’t ask, don’t tell whodunit” strategy following the court losses. And it’s all culminating, as predicted by Godwin himself, in the breathtaking inanity of “Expelled” and academic “freedom.”

  8. Frank J says: “Creationism started out like alchemy, and even today the rank and file mostly honestly reacting to the best of their limited knowledge.”

    I think you’re giving creationism too much credit. The alchemists were actually trying to learn and do things. They never accomplished much, and when chemistry came along the alchemists — to their credit — faded away. I would say creationism is much closer to astrology. Both “sciences” look around, go “Wow!” and start making stuff up. And unlike alchemy, which yielded to chemistry, both creationism and astrology are still hanging in there, despite the manifest superiority of biology and astronomy.

  9. Why is it that astronomers get upset about astrology? After all, astrology doesn’t deny anything astronomical, does it? Yes, astrology is a waste of time, and is thoroughly silly, but astrologers don’t object to teaching astronomy in schools, or insist upon teaching astrology in schools.

  10. “The alchemists were actually trying to learn and do things. They never accomplished much, and when chemistry came along the alchemists — to their credit — faded away.”

    I’d like to think that we can at least credit early alchemists with creating the science of chemistry. Many of the techniques of chemistry and much of the apparatus was developed by alchemists, so we have them to thank for getting real science off the ground, even if their starting premise was false. What science has creationism ever started? What advances to human knowledge has the irrational clinging to ignorance produced? None.

  11. I watched a new Stephen Hawking series last night on Discovery. One of the episodes was focused on the question “Did God Create the Universe”, to which Stephen answers “no”, and explains why. It was the third part of a three part series, the first two being “The Meaning of Life” and “The Key to the Cosmos.”

    I’m eagerly anticipating a Klinghoffer rant in the near future.

  12. Curmudgeon: “I would say creationism is much closer to astrology.”

    You’re probably right with respect to todays rank and file evolution-deniers. After all alchemy was practiced by a small % of well-read people, whereas astrology has its “buyers and sellers” like any snake oil. And like today’s creationism it’s addictive. But my point is that the business of selling creationism has steadily degenerated, from something like alchemy long before Darwin, to “pure pseudoscience” starting with Henry Morris, and becoming even sleazier with the ID scam and it’s current spinoffs.

    And yes, this is yet another of my many complaints for everyone to stop acting like creationists when describing creationism. It ain’t a “kind,” but rather many “species,” each of which evolves, becoming more “fit” – much like antibiotic-resistent bacteria.

  13. TomS: “Why is it that astronomers get upset about astrology? After all, astrology doesn’t deny anything astronomical, does it?”

    Another excellent point. If one calls that belief system of ~200-6000 years ago “creationism” it too didn’t seek to misrepresent what little careful study of nature there was at the time (though there might have been a little, which may have inspired St. Augustine to warn against it). And even today, there’s little to none of that among rank-and-file Genesis literalists. But again, the scam artists who feed them sound bites and keep them begging for more are a whole other “species.” With them it most-to-all about discrediting “Darwinism.” And note how they go out of their way to call it “Darwinism” and rarely “evolution” and never “evolutionary biology.” They know they’re attacking a strawman.

    If and when all horoscopes include a rant at how “Newtonism” is the root of all evil, and astrologers demand that science class include misrepresentations of astronomy and censor the refutations of those misrepresentations, astrology will be comparable to today’s anti-evolution movement.

  14. Frank J>”Thinking you meant someone other than me …”

    Though you didn’t mention them, you did get me thinking about them, so you get the blame Hat-tip. 🙂