Traditional Pre-Kitzmas Free Fire Zone

Mars is red,
Uranus is blue,
Here’s a Free Fire Zone,
Just for you.

There’s not much news to blog about. Perhaps the creationists are depressed because they know it’s only two weeks until Kitzmas. This year will be the eleventh anniversary of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District.

The Discoveroids always put up a post explaining why it was an incompetent decision, but those were usually from Casey. He’s gone now, so we’ll have to see who takes over that job.

Speaking of the Discoveroids, this is when they start posting about their Top Ten accomplishments for the year. This year’s list — if they have one — should be very entertaining. They have nothing to show for their legislative and courtroom efforts, or for their efforts to penetrate the academic world — except for bible colleges, where where creationism has always been entrenched. As for what they call research, well … let’s see what they tell us. They’ll probably brag about their books and videos. What else have they got?

As for politics, the only hard-core creationist selected so far for Trump’s cabinet is Ben Carson. He’ll be Secretary of Housing and Urban Development — where neither creationism nor his neurosurgery career will be relevant.

There’s also the impending End of the World, due to the expected collision with Planet Nibiru, but there’s nothing we can do about it, so why worry?.

That’s all there is, so we once again need to entertain ourselves. We therefore declare another Intellectual Free Fire Zone. 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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47 responses to “Traditional Pre-Kitzmas Free Fire Zone

  1. Can anybody even remotely tell me what Carson’s unique talent is for the HUD job? I mean, appoint him surgeon general and it’s terrible having him anywhere near anything but HUD?

  2. “As for politics, the only hard-core creationist selected so far for Trump’s cabinet is Ben Carson.”

    And don’t *ever* forget that his VP is a hard core creationist and an anti-science loon in general.


    http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2016/08/mike-pence-wants-creationism-taught-in-public-schools/

  3. YECs sometime make a point of the Earth rotation slowing down too much for the Earth to be older than the Young Earth.
    In the recent issue of Proceedings of the Royal Society A, Hohenkerk et al. present a study of ancient records, starting from 8th century BC, Babylonia, then China and others. It shows a slowdown by about 2 milliseconds per century.
    I am just going on various news reports. I haven’t seen the article.

    Of course, it could have start changing just before the ancient Babolonians were watching.

  4. As for politics, the only hard-core creationist selected so far for Trump’s cabinet is Ben Carson.

    That’s leaving aside Mike Pence and Betsy DeVos.

    There’s a good piece here on the education system we might expect: https://stephenpruis.wordpress.com/2016/12/06/the-demolishing-of-public-schools-for-fun-and-profit/

  5. @Zetopan & realthog: Thanks for jumping in there, guys. I’m glad you beat me to it, because you both did a much better job of exposing these two creationists than I would have done.

    Don’t forget — Pence is heading up the transition team. No wonder Carson and DeVos have been named. To make matters worse, Pence is not only a creationist; he is very much a theocrat. Someone previously commented on this blog the opinion that Pence’s idea of public service is as a means to impose his religious views on the entire citizenry. He would love to see the US under a form of “Christian Sharia Law”, the US Constitution notwithstanding.

  6. GreenPoisonFrog asks

    Can anybody even remotely tell me what Carson’s unique talent is for the HUD job?

    Sure: he’s got intuition!

    Qualifications? We don’t need no stinkin’ qualifications! Welcome to the Brave New Inverted World being wrought by the populists of the Alt-Luddite, wherein the title “expert” is a term of abuse, and Intuition, religious dogma, and tribal prejudice easily trump (pun intended) such irrelevant fripperies as data, evidence, knowledge, logic and reason.

    All those thousands of scientists publishing research on climate change? Bah! All crypto-communist enemies of the people! Better to listen to the handful of sponsored shlls telling us not to worry, after all that feels much better!

    All those hundreds of thousands of scientists subscribing to ToE as the foundation of biology? Evil materialist Satanists who doubtless eat pizza at Comet Ping Pong while plotting to Abolish Christmas! Far better to listen to the fringe of ‘dissenters from Darwin’! I mean, why put yourself through all the work of studying complex reality when it’s so much easier to decide things by means of your God-given intuition? If only the DI could get a referendum on the question, Darwin would be out of the educational system by popular vote.

    So I think our Curmudgeon is wrong to suppose that the Discoveroids are “depressed” at the moment; I do not doubt there is more cheer in their dingy offices than at any time since Kitzmiller, and all thanks to this year’s retrograde political developments–not just in the USA, but also Europe–which are throwing us back to the joys of the 1930’s.

    Future historians may well record 2016 as the sunset of the Enlightenment and the murky dawning of an Age of Intuitionment

  7. Further to above question about Carson’s “unique talent”:

    Just look at how all those foolish ‘expert’ archaeologists failed to intuit that the Pyramids of Giza were in fact grain silos built by the Biblical Joseph–a newly-minted fact that did not escape the uniquely talented Ben Carson.

    More on Carson’s unique talents.

    But let’s not shower all the glory on Carson alone here. All kudos to The Donald for elevating men of such intuition to postions of power!

  8. @Megalonyx
    It is not “newly minted” that the Pyramids were for grain storage. The idea goes back many hundreds of years. Obviously, when there was litte known about them other than that they were big and old and in Egypt.

  9. @ TomS: Thanks; I stand corrected. I had not realised that misconception had a far lengthier pedigree–right back to Gregory of Tours, I now find.

    So I should have written that Carson’s ‘unique talent’ in this instance was for resurrecting ‘facts’ that were held to be false by vast numbers of ‘experts’. 🙂

  10. Ceteris Paribus

    Hey we don’t even need ‘unique talents’ in the US any longer. The minimum age to run for President was set at 35 years. But in this post-factual world, even a 3 year old can just make stuff up. So a 3 year old should be eligible to run for Pres. [provided of course that he/she does not have a felony record]

  11. Ceteris Paribus proposes

    a 3 year old should be eligible to run for Pres. [provided of course that he/she does not have a felony record]

    –and that he/she wasn’t born in Kenya to jihadi communist transgender feminazi satanist parents, of course.

    If that isn’t in the Constitution already, it will be soon.

  12. So the US has elected a preening narcissistic blowhard as president. Whilst this means that the next four years are going to be both unstable and alarming and given the power and reach of the US potentially very dangerous for the world, at least there is a chance we may all be around in 2020 and thus able to get rid of him. However Britain is f**ked regardless. If trump doesn’t do for the UK as part of a general conflagration, Brexit will and in the longer run its destructive effects are far more certain. The future is not very bright for the UK at all. No wonder we Scots want out!

  13. GreatScot! observes

    If trump doesn’t do for the UK as part of a general conflagration, Brexit will and in the longer run its destructive effects are far more certain. The future is not very bright for the UK at all. No wonder we Scots want out!

    Alas, I fear you’re likely correct in this.

    Full disclosure: I was relieved by the result of 2014 Scottish Independence Referendum, but on the selfish grounds that, absent the Scots, the FUK (Former United Kingdom) would be an unbearable and perpetual Tory-fiefdom of Little Englanders.

    But that has happened anyway, so I (who, after 40-odd years living in the UK, only naturalised as a Brit earlier this year) have new sympathy for the SNP. Certainly, Nicola Sturgeon was the only British politician who demonstrated any insight in the wake of the June 23 debacle.

    The only thing about Brexit of which I feel certain is: whatever form it takes, it will be as unsatisfactory to a large portion of those who voted Leave as it will be for us 48% who voted Remain, for there never was a coherent plan on what ‘leave’ meant or would entail. And I do not doubt it will soon be acknowledged as the greatest British blunder in international relations since Suez.

    And even more unfortunately: the hard-core UKIP wing of the Leavers won’t be content even if a ‘hard’ Brexit results; Farage and Nuttall are now quite open about their intent, not only to remove the UK from the EU, but to demolish the EU ‘project.’ After all, they now need the EU to unravel in order to justify their own nationalistic agenda.

    A bumpy road ahead for the Britain Formerly Known as Great…

  14. In the spirit of the Kitzmas season, Douglas E has kindly provided us with a great example of a Dover tactic affectionately known as the literature bluff. If you recall at Dover the plaintiffs’ attorneys, to show that the immune system evolved and therefore was not irreducibly complex, dropped a stack of scientific papers and books on the table to in an attempt sway certain naive and impressionable minds.

    Douglas E has done the same thing by providing this article from Seth Shostak hoping to avoid answering my question: why does ID need to provide a mechanism for the rise of the cell when SETI is not required to explain the construction of a device that generates a detected radio signal from a presumably intelligent source.

    Simply providing an irrelevant scientific paper (or even 50) is not the same thing as providing an answer. Merry Kitzmas everyone!

  15. To the question of Carson’s qualifications to head HUD:

    According to Ben himself, he’s qualified because he was born in the Inner City and raised by a single mother. (I suppose that’s less confusing than being raised by a double mother, but I don’t understand why he consider’s it a qualification for anything, let alone running a government department of tens of thousands of employees and a budget of many billion$.

  16. Ah, Mega, at least you Tommies don’t face the prospect of a Great Blonde Leader getting most votes. Yet?
    This cozy place

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torentje

    may be occupied within a couple of months by someone compared to whom President The Donald is your friendly, but somewhat confused grand-uncle.

  17. Shostak explained the difference; you don’t accept that; I do. Of course Seth is not the only one who understands the difference – we could indeed put together a stack of papers, but here would be a good place to start:
    http://undsci.berkeley.edu/article/id_checklist

  18. Kevin, Kevin, Kevin. Wrong again. Bebe was on the stand and said that there was no explanation for the evolution immune system. The plaintiffs provided him with a stack of scientific material that explained the evolution of the immune system and asked Behe if he had read any of scientific material. Behe admitted that he hadn’t read any of it and was basing his statement without doing any research.
    As far as SETI is concerned, no one can explain why “SETI is not required to explain the construction of a device that generates a detected radio signal from a presumably intellegent source” because that is not what SETI is doing. It may be what you think SETI is doing, but you’d be wrong again, again.

  19. I suppose one possible positive with the complete inexperience of the Trump appointments is that they might do little more than delegate to underlings in the department. This would be a common practice if one is over their head. One doesn’t need to look too far back in history to see where this failed: Katrina and incompetent FEMA chief Mike Brown (not to mention underachiever-and-proud-of-it George W. Bush.)
    Just to add to the list of crazy creationists (/Dominionists) in the cabinet don’t forget about Sarah Palin (not announced yet but expected) as well as Rick Perry (possible but less likely than Palin).
    Another interesting thing to watch: Trump is very trigger happy when it comes to firings. While disloyalty is punished the harshest, failure and unbecoming actions also seem get one quickly dispatched as well.

  20. Oh, joy. Trump has just nominated a climate-change denier, Scott Pruitt, as head of the EPA.

  21. michaelfugate

    KevinC is not fooled. The immune system did not evolve because Michael Behe says it did not – even though Behe has no history of research on immune systems. How did Behe come to this conclusion KevinC? Divine revelation?

  22. michaelfugate

    realthog, I read that piece and I am still wondering how Judeo-Christian infused traditional capitalism is different from just plain ol’ capitalism. Was capitalism better in the 1830s, the 1860s, the 1890s, the 1920s?

  23. KevinC, who complains that SC doesn’t blog about the things he thinks are important and demands answers to all his questions but is conspicuously quiet on matters like the DI’s obsession with Hitler and eugenics and once called eveybody in here atheists and should be ignored so maybe he’ll go away, asks “Why does ID need to provide a mechanism for the rise of the cell?”

    Indeed! But you should go bigger: “Why does ID need to provide a mechanism for anything?”

  24. @michaelfugate

    I wondered much the same thing, and advanced to myself the tentative hypothesis that Bannon’s just a plain ol’ racist fundagelical [REDACTED]hole, much in the same mold as most of the other Trump nominees.

  25. I would put money on Dr. Tom Price (appointed to head HHS) being a creationist. He belongs to a so-called medical organization that believes shaken baby syndrome is caused by vaccination, that abortion causes breast cancer, and that there is no relationship between HIV and AIDS.

  26. @Mark Germano notes
    “KevinC, who complains that SC doesn’t blog about the things he thinks are important”
    And that bothers you, Mark? Well it should. Anyone who does a survey of what the Curmudgeon deems newsworthy and what ENV has posted for the past 3 months will develop an appreciation of TSC’s cherry-picking prowess. But hey, it’s his blog; he can post what he wants. But just as Klinghoffer observed recently about the Royal Society’s guest list at the conference on evolution, I would say the Curmudgeon’s silence is as significant as it was to Sherlock Holmes of the dog that did not bark in the night.

  27. Twas the night before Kitzmas

    Twas the night before Kitzmas and all through the schools
    Not a deity was stirring according to rules
    The science books used by the students were fair;
    Creationist faith-based ideas found nowhere

    The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
    The theory of evolution in their heads;
    And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
    Were glad to be done with creationist crap

    When from my smartphone there arose such a clatter,
    I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
    Away to my email I flew like a flash,
    In hope that the message was not just more trash.

    The news from Discovery Institute showed
    A silly idea no respect should be owed
    When, what to my glossed over eyes should behold,
    A faith-based idea that’s repeatedly told

    A bespectacled writer with whom few agree,
    I knew in a moment it must be Behe.
    More rapid than eagles his fallacies they came,
    And he argued, insisted, and yet had no shame:

    “Flagellum, Designer, Complexity, Paley!
    Intelligence, Rushmore”; he thinks this crap daily?
    To continue to read I cannot; too banal,
    Now trash away! trash away! trash away all!

    Anybody else wanna give the remaining 8 stanzas a shot?

  28. Yikes, I’ve never been quote mined. I’m flattered?

    “…and demands answers to all his questions but is conspicuously quiet on matters like the DI’s obsession with Hitler and eugenics….” I could have added Ann Gauger’s groundbreaking work on if all humans are descended from a single breeding pair from about 10,000 years ago.

    I was simply pointing out the double standard, but thanks for the lesson on, and providing an example of, cherry-picking.

  29. Very nice, Matt. I tried some poetry three years ago: The Night Before Christmas Eve.

  30. michaelfugate

    Isn’t ENV the epitome of cherry-picking?

  31. @Matt
    Splendid! Many thanks.

  32. Twas the night before Kitzmas (continued)

    It’s been hell on earth due to Republican blight
    For Darwinists, Kitzmas has become their sole point of light
    And given the pre-inaugural success of The Donald
    My sage advice would be to not bet on gold

  33. Tomato Addict, I’ll be blogging about that a bit later. Phelps is a good man.

  34. KevinC, inspired by the Muse of Poesy, gives us a quatrain in the rhyme scheme AABB, and with the highly original (indeed, unique) metre of 12/14/15/11.

    Even more pioneering, he boldly attempts to rhyme an amphibrach (“The Donald”) with an anapest (“bet on gold”)–but what do foolish ‘experts’ know? In the wonderful Alt-Luddite World of the DI, if it looks like a rhyme, then by jingo it is a rhyme!

  35. It’s been hell on earth due to Republican blight
    For Darwinists, Kitzmas has become their sole point of light
    And given the pre-inaugural success of The Donald
    My sage advice would be to not bet on gold

    Try singing that, Bob Dylan!

  36. KevinC, who believes in Creation,
    Offered verses for our delectation;
    But his lines fail when scanned
    As they should not, if Planned;
    So his poem’s a Random Mutation.

  37. There once was an intelligent designer
    Who designed an Anthropic Principle
    But even at that
    He couldn’t design life
    Without breaking all of the rules

  38. I just remembered an old post: The Curmudgeon’s Poetry, which has a few from me, including one that begins:

    O I’m the Intelligent Designer,
    Of the universe. What could be finer?

    Some others were added by readers in the comments.

  39. michaelfugate

    As plane parts that before the wild tornado fly,
    When they meet with a designer, unite on high;
    So a designer is needed tis true,
    At least for an airplane, but then what else is new.

  40. @Mark Germano gushes “Yikes, I’ve never been quote mined. I’m flattered?”
    Darwinists have used and abused the concept of quote mining for so long, they’ve forgotten what it means. Wikipedia, trusted source of the Curmudgeon, defines quote mining as “The practice of quoting out of context … in which a passage is removed from its surrounding matter in such a way as to distort its intended meaning.” Because I pulled text from your comment that was part of a list of disparate items, there was no possibility of you being taken out of context. Back to the drawing board.

  41. Or, as E.C. Bentley might have put it:

    KevinC
    Writes verse that is free,
    Though strict rhyme and scansion
    Are his intention.

  42. You’re right, Kevin, I used the term incorrectly. So, I guess you win. Your amazing argument made me forget that you didn’t really address what I brought up. It’s like every intelligent design proponent’s superpower, but you are especially good at it.

  43. Actually Mark, my only superpower is being able to detect the sounds of silence. 😉
    Merry Kitzmas!