The Discoveroids and Their Magic Book

During his debate with Bill Nye, Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) often referred to his “evidence,” the bible. At one point, according to this Transcript of Ken Ham vs Bill Nye Debate , ol’ Hambo said:

Bill, I just want to let you know that there actually is a book out there that actually tells us where matter came from. And the very first sentence in that book says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” And really, it’s the only thing that makes sense … . An infinite Creator God, who created the universe, matter, energy, space, mass, time and the universe, created the information for life. It’s only thing it makes logical sense.

Later he said:

Bill I do want to say that there is a book out there that does document where consciousness came from. And in that book, the one who created us said that He made man in His image, and He breathed into man and he became a living being. And so the Bible does document that fact. That’s where consciousness came from. God gave it to us.

And near the end he said:

Again, to summarize the things I’ve been saying, there is a book called the Bible; it’s very unique, it’s different than any other book out there. In fact I don’t know of any other religion that has a book that starts out by telling you that there is an infinite God, and talks about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter and the origin of light and darkness, and the origin of day and night and the origin of the Earth and the origin of dry land and the origin of plants and the origin of the sun, moon and stars, the origin of sea creatures, the origin of land creatures, the origin of man, the origin of women, the origin of death, and sin, the origin of marriage, the origin of different languages, the origin of clothing, the origin of nations; I mean it’s a very specific book. And it gives us an account of a global flood in history and the Tower of Babel, and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book?

Like all creationist outfits, the Discovery Institute has no evidence for their “theory” of intelligent design. But for litigation purposes, in their (so far) unsuccessful attempt to bypass the First Amendment and sneak creationism into public schools, they don’t cite the bible as evidence. Instead, they cite the writings of their own personnel. But like Hambo’s book, the Discoveroid books have no scientific value, so it amounts to the same tactic.

A good example appears at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog today: Explore Evolution, Now in Polish. That post 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.

We know, you’re wondering: What’s Explore Evolution? As we’ve mentioned, Explore Evolution is on the Discoveroids’ Recommended Reading List. Here’s the book’s Amazon listing: Explore Evolution: The Arguments for and Against Neo-Darwinism. It was scathingly reviewed by Barbara Forrest — see Explore Evolution: A Stealth Creationist Textbook to Accompany the Stealth Creationist “LA Science Education Act”.

That book was being used in a creationist course at a junior college, but when the news got out, the course was cancelled and the Discoveroids went bonkers — see Discoveroids’ Crazed Reaction to Amarillo College.

Why are we spending so much time on that book? Because the Discoveroids seem to revere it, much as Hambo does his book. And because creationists don’t have evidence for their claims, all they can do is rant, rave, and wave a book around. That’s what we see going on in Klinghoffer’s new post. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Congratulations to our friend Father Michael Chaberek whose Polish translation of the textbook Explore Evolution is out now and doing a truly excellent job of catching the attention of Polish media.

A Polish translation? O the joy! It brings tears to our eyes. Let’s read on:

I don’t claim much knowledge of Polish affairs — cultural, scientific, or political — but check out this link to a 35-minute interview [in Polish] on Poland’s TV-Republika with Father Michael, covering Explore Evolution, Darwinian theory, and how or whether it’s reconcilable with Poland’s majority faith, Catholicism. I don’t speak Polish either, but the demeanor and body language of the interviewer seem to convey respect with a touch of skepticism.

Respectful body language — that’s important! Klinghoffer continues:

Certainly, a TV interview of that length in any language is serious stuff. Besides being a translator, Father Michael is a Dominican priest, a PhD theologian, and a very smart (and nice) guy. He has visited with us at Discovery Institute. I can only imagine he more than holds his own in such a discussion.

How difficult is it for a priest to do well in a Polish TV interview? It’s not as if he had anyone opposing him. Here’s more:

The publisher wanted to get Father Michael together with an opponent for a public panel or debate, but evidently no one on the other side was willing to undertake the challenge.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s one last excerpt:

The original English-language edition of Explore Evolution is a book we recommend to ambitious teachers who want to introduce students to the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, “ambitious teachers” should definitely be using that book in public school science classes.

Anyway, Hambo has his book which crushes all debate opponents, and the Discoveroids have theirs. Same tactic, different books. It must be deeply satisfying to be a creationist.

Copyright © 2015. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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9 responses to “The Discoveroids and Their Magic Book

  1. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.”
    doesn’t tell us where Ol’ Hambo’s god got matter from.

    “God gave it to us.”
    Again this doesn’t tell us where Ol’Hambo’s god got consciousness from. Did he slice a piece from his own consciousness to give it to us?

    Same for Klinkleclapper’s god of course.

  2. michaelfugate

    A good review of EE by John Timmer at ArsTechnica
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2008/09/discovery-textbook-review/1/

    Summarized by this quote:

    But the book doesn’t only promote stupidity, it demands it. In every way except its use of the actual term, this is a creationist book, but its authors are expecting that legislators and the courts will be too stupid to notice that, or to remember that the Supreme Court has declared teaching creationism an unconstitutional imposition of religion.

    So how smart does Father Michael look now?

  3. Again, to summarize the things I’ve been saying, there is a book called the Bible; it’s very unique, it’s different than any other book out there. In fact I don’t know of any other religion that has a book that starts out by telling you that there is an infinite God, and talks about the origin of the universe, the origin of matter and the origin of light and darkness, and the origin of day and night and the origin of the Earth and the origin of dry land and the origin of plants and the origin of the sun, moon and stars, the origin of sea creatures, the origin of land creatures, the origin of man, the origin of women, the origin of death, and sin, the origin of marriage, the origin of different languages, the origin of clothing, the origin of nations. . . .

    Well, the Koran has a few ideas. And even if it did not, what does it matter what the Bible says if it isn’t true? Creationists assume it’s true and then treat the facts the way medieval doctors used to treat in infant to turn it into a dwarf, a pinhead or some weirdly-shaped freak for the royal courts: stuff it into a container (in this case, the Bible) so that as it grows it’s forced into the container’s shape. The only difference is that creationists treat the finished product as though that were its natural shape, while medieval freak-makers didn’t pretend to.

    A perfect example is the following:

    And it gives us an account of a global flood in history and the Tower of Babel, and if that history is true, then what about the rest of the book?

    Suppose it isn’t true? Does that invalidate everything else in the Bible? Every moral message, every verifiable historical event (there are some), and so on? Creationists are so insecure about the truth status of the Bible tat they have to insist that every word is literally true–so once again they try to jam the facts into a container which will reshape them to order.

  4. Well, Hambone, since several cultures with written records spanning the time of the alleged “global flood” didn’t notice it, and since there’s no evidence for the Tower of Babel either, I think that probably does say something about much of the rest of the collection of myths.

  5. Explore Evolution, Now in Polish”

    Copernicus must be rolling orbiting in his grave.

  6. “The original English-language edition of Explore Evolution is a book we recommend to ambitious teachers who want to introduce students to the strengths and weaknesses of Darwinian theory.”

    But nary a word on the [total lack of] strengths and [infinite number of] weaknesses of intelligent design [the Dishonesty Institute’s politically correct term for god]. Just trying to get away with criticizing science and evolution and replacing it with meaningless biblical assertions.

  7. The Bible does not say anything about the origin of matter in those first few verses of Genesis. It says that the creative acts began with there being water and a wind blowing. Among Hebrew scholars, there is disagreement about the first words, which the King James Bible translates as “In the beginning, God created …”. Take a look at several translations, and you will see alternatives like, “When God began to create …” or “In the begnning of God’s creation of …”. The Hebrew grammar makes it difficult to render it literally in English. (Although there is a definite article in Hebrew, it is not used in Genesis 1:1, so it is not literal to say “the beginnng”, and the word for “beginning” is in the construct, which would require translating it as “beginning of”, and there is more.)
    Creation, in Genesis 1, seems to be more like a separation of parts of already existing stuff. And there is nowhere in the Hebrew Bible a reference to creation from nothing.
    And, of course, there is nothing anywhere in the Bible about the creation of biological taxonomy.

  8. I am quite fascinated by the Tower of Babel and “Babel linguistics” among creationists. AIG and most other creationist groups tend to affirm it as a historical event that was responsible for language, but DI is much harder to pin down. I can find articles on discovery.org where they use the story to dismiss climate change (!) and oppose immigration. In the latter case at least, Klinghoffer treats the story as a factual historical event.

  9. Dave Luckett

    What TomS said, with bells and hoopla. To take a trivial example, just have a look at the scholarly debate about where the Hebrew “yeretz” should be translated as “land”, where it should be translated “earth”, and where it should be translated “homeland”. It becomes mind-boggling.

    I would specify, as Eric Lipps implies, that the Bible is anything but unique. Possibly you might say that its particular mixture of tales, folklore, precept, myth, legend, history and poetry, plus some theology (usually implied rather than explicit) is a melange peculiar to itself – but every culture has creation myths, every culture has heroes of old, every people who settled river valleys prone to disastrous flooding has a flood myth, and any one of them which had contact with other cultures told stories about the weird doings of foreigners.

    The Tower of Babel is one of the latter stories, plus myth. That ancient Babylonians built towers (they’re called “ziggurats”) long before the Bible was compiled is fact. That earthquakes occasionally happen in Mesopotamia is fact. The rest is myth. Myth, a story told to explain a fact about the world by invoking supernatural cause.

    Ham thinks the Bible is unique because he’s never sullied what he calls his mind with other sacred texts, nor even with the stories told by other cultures. It’s an assertion floating in a pristine evidential vacuum, and it’s only an expression of ignorance and prejudice. In that soil grow poisonous and ugly weeds – bigotry and intolerance.

    To see those factors operating, you only have to refer to the career of Ham himself. He can’t abide variation in belief. He split in bitter schism from his original church and founded his own “ministry” (which doesn’t actually minister to anyone but Ham and his family) where he abides no rival, and trusts only people that he knows he can dominate. He can’t allow heterodoxy; he’ll even lose the tax credits his Ark extravaganza desperately needs rather than employ people who might differ from his opinions. His bitter intolerance even got him thrown out of two home schooling conferences.

    You look at the picayune squabbles of these sectaries, and compare them with how actual historians and scholars of ancient languages behave, and the contrast is overwhelming. I suppose it’s a reaction peculiar to me that I find myself applying a rule I was taught from my cradle: that you assess on practical results. Do you choose rancorous division, arbitrary assertion, intolerance and imposition of authority, or rational discussion of evidence, acceptance of its limitations, and tolerance of reasoned difference? My father the Presbyterian minister had a way of saying it: “By their fruits you shall know them”.

    The man who originally gave that precept would not have been pleased with Ken Ham.