Tomorrow Is Kitzmas — Here’s a Free Fire Zone

Mars is red,
Uranus is blue,
Ever since Kitzmiller,
Intelligent Design has been poo!

That’s right, dear reader — Kitzmas is coming! Tomorrow, 20 December, will be the thirteenth anniversary of the decision on 20 December 2005 by Judge John E. Jones III in the case of Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District. It was a triumph of law and science over theocracy and ignorance.

There are still idiots who get elected to school boards, but since the Kitzmiller decision, no school board has dared to take the issue of teaching creationism or intelligent design to court. Why? Their lawyers tell them that if they do something that’s obviously crazy when they’ve been advised against it, the school district’s insurance won’t pay their losses or legal fees when they lose.

So what have the Discoveroids been doing — besides cranking out creationist books and podcasts? Well, to mark the occasion, they usually post a rant about the Kitzmiller decision, claiming that it was a travesty — but they’ve never taken the issue to court again. Instead, they try to convince state legislatures to pass laws allowing schools to Teach the Controversy, but only Louisiana and Tennessee have enacted such laws.

So intelligent design, which is creationism disguised as a scientific theory, is legally dead. But like voodoo, flat-Earth, and numerous other cult beliefs, it lives on in the hearts of true believers. And it provides our readers with an endless source of entertainment.

To begin your merriment this Kitzmas season, we are declaring 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 © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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24 responses to “Tomorrow Is Kitzmas — Here’s a Free Fire Zone

  1. Michael Shermer has an interesting article to appall the Creationist in your life: “Why is There Something Rather than Nothing?”

    And Climate Denial Crock of the Week has an interesting article (largely citing a Paul Krugman op-ed) on the politics of climate-science denial.

  2. @reakthog
    Why is there something rather than nothing?
    A theist can say on this topic, that I know that God is the creator of all that exists, yet I do not know why there is anything, rather than nothing. The ways of the Lord are mysterious. I thank the Lord for creating my loved ones. And I don’t knw why they are destined to die, but I trust in the Lord. So, too, I thak the Lord for creating this wonderful world of nature, and I enjoy learning about it, but I have no idea why the Lord created such a wonderful world, let alone why there are those ugly parts.

  3. You might enjoy reading Shermer’s essay.

  4. Michael Fugate

    “Practically speaking, a life that is vowed to simplicity, appropriate boldness, good humor, gratitude, unstinting work and play, and lots of walking, brings us close to the actually existing world and its wholeness.”
    Gary Snyder

  5. Here’s a question I’ve never seen asked: why is there only something rather than everything?

  6. @Matt
    For example, there can’t be both an irresistable force and an immovable object.

  7. Karl Goldsmith

    Jerry Coyne tweeted Creationist paper gets into a Springer journal. “A brief history of human evolution: challenging Darwin’s claim”

    The author of the paper even quotes Harun Yahya, that is how bats**t crazy it is,

  8. Karl Goldsmith

    A moron posted this on twitter, the link included for evolution news. “Not answers in genesis, but even evolution sites over and over indicate the lack in the fossil record. In fact, over 600 doctoral scientists have indicated the lack of evidence to support the ToE.”

  9. Karl Goldsmith

    It is really nice to see that to celebrate the science of ID and twenty years of the wedge, the IDiots have a religious Tour of Israel planned for 2019.

  10. Karl Goldsmith

    I see the IDiots are shilling another new book by one of their own “Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion” All the Amazon reviews seem to be creationist friends of the IDiots.

  11. It reminds me of the claim that over 500 doctoral dissertations were written on Piltodown.

  12. TomS I would think an all-powerful god could do anything he wants.

  13. @Matt
    Exactly.
    Because of that, we cannot point out any one result as being the one that we can expect of God.
    We can’t say that such-and-such is easier for God. Or that it is more appropriate for his goals, for what can we know about his goals?
    Explanations are constraints on the possibilities.

  14. @TomS: “Why is there something rather than nothing?
    A theist can say on this topic ….”
    Quite a few theists do say on this topic “because God”. That’s followed by arguments from definition, which have to show that this god is the only something to which the question does no apply. What they always forget is that in this scheme this god is supposed to have created the entire shenanigan out of ….. nothing.

    @KarlG quotes a moron: “over 600 doctoral scientists ….”
    The Scientific Dissent from Darwinism List contains nowadays about 1000 names. If the moron wants to count them for him/herself, it’s easy to google. I did a rough estimation.

  15. The Shermer article contains a few flaws. The most important one is that it doesn’t distinguish philosophical nothing from physical nothing. WIth physical nothing we can mean something like vacuum – but vacuum is something, not nothing. Probably easiest to understand this distinction (and why it matters) is assuming quantum fields. They provide probabilities to elementary particles; these probabilities say how likely it is that we find those particles at any given point in spacetime (yeah, this is quite a simplification). Physical nothing then means all quantum fields having the value 0. The Big Bang changed that (neglecting the multiverse hypothesis). The apologist will then ask who created quantum fields. Why are there quantum fields rather then nothing?
    The funny thing is that all arguments that exempt a god from this question also can apply to quantum fields, including “existing beyond space and time” (whatever that means). Plus all well known problems (at least known on this nice blog) pass by as well. For instance everything TomS writes about the problem of a Grand Old Designer (blessed be MOFO!) designing stuff (species, life, information, DNA, cell, you name it) also applies to said Grand Old Designer designing quantum fields.
    IDiocy is just apologetics, as we all know. What not too many unbelievers realize is that many rebuttals of IDiocy can be used against theism in general as well.
    Like my great compatriot the apostate Ferdinand Domela Nieuwenhuis already wrote 125-150 years ago: deriving a divine world from our concrete world requires a salto mortale. Every “empirical” argument for a god (creacrap/IDiocy, the Cosmological Argument, Fine-Tuning, “why is there something rather than nothing”, Paley, you name it) contains some variation of this salto mortale. Predictably no apologist ever has even tried to justify it. Kierkegaard already realized it and recognized the Leap of Faith.
    Not pointing this out is the second flaw of Shermer’s article.

  16. One of the few non-empirical arguments for god (ie not depending on a salto mortale) is the ontological one. As always with god-arguments there are many variations. Shermer summarizes it as

    “we can conceive of an absolutely perfect being means it must exist because existence is a necessary feature of perfection,”
    It has been spoofed quite often, but spoofs are no proofs. They may suggest that there is something wrong but don’t point out what exactly.
    When you see it it’s pretty simple. An absolutely perfect being is also perfectly good. Or perfectly bad. So according to the ontological argument not only a perfectly good being must exist but also a perfectly evil one. That means two gods – who are both supposed to have perfect power. That’s impossible. The ontological argument defeats itself.

  17. The climaterocks article contains a well known fallacy: correlation means causation.
    Nope.
    Climate change denial is strongly correlated to trumpism but cannot have caused it. Trumpism is a form of populism and populism is almost as old as Universal (male) Suffrage. Populist elements can be found in the GOP at least since Nixon. Our dear SC’s favourite (that guy who showed that acting too bad for Hollywood still can be good enough for the White House) was also a populist.

  18. @FrankB
    “Populism” is a euphemism for a strong trend in the USA. I don’t think that people outside the USA realize how pervasive it is. It is becoming clear that the good old days are disappearing and only one candidate explicitly appealed to that fear. Things like evolution, gay rights, climate change, are seen as part of the imposition of the majority upon the comfortable old days when everybody knew their place. The recent administration made it clear what that majority would look like.

  19. TomS So God CAN do anything and everything, he just chooses not to?

  20. @Matt
    I suppose that someone would say that God can do anything as long as that is not contradictory, but to do everything is entails contradictions. God can make either X or not-X, but not both.

  21. TomS I can think of many non-contradictory things that don’t exist that would make life so much better, that would eliminate so much suffering.

  22. @Matt
    I am not an apologist for theism.
    With that being understood, I note that your last comments are irrelevant to what I said.

  23. TomS Obviously x and not-x can’t exist together. My question is about all the possible x’s that can exist but do not. Theists feel thankful to god that he created something rather than nothing. So I want to know why he stopped at something. Where are all the other possible x’s (cures for disease, unicorns, etc.)?

  24. @Matt
    I don’t want to give the impression that what I am saying is representative of any theists. Your questions are the obvious questions which sceptics ask, and earlier I gave a conceivable response. (“Why is there something and not nothing” is an illegitimate question for either theists or non-theists.).)Is there anyone who would like to suggest what a apologist for theism would say about my response?