More from the Discoveroids — Proceed If You Dare!

Vault of Horror

Welcome, dear reader, to the Discovery Institute’s vault of … well, of something. Regarding that graphic at the top of this post, who among us doesn’t look back with fond nostalgia on the golden age of horror comics? Titles such as the one pictured above were eventually banned, but in your Curmudgeon’s case the ban came too late — much too late. MMMRRRRUUUHAHAHAHA!

To enhance the ambiance, click on this: Sound of evil laughter. Now you’re ready to proceed — if you have the courage!

We were reminded of our beloved comic books when we saw the title of the Discoveriods’ new post at their creationist blog: Tour, Meyer on the Multiverse, and More. It’s brief, and it has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

On a new episode of ID the Future [Ooooooooooooh! A Discoveroid podcast!], Rice University synthetic organic chemist and inventor James M. Tour continues his conversation with Stephen C. Meyer, director of the Center for Science & Culture. Download the podcast or listen to it here. [Link omitted!]

We warned you to proceed only if you have the courage. Four days ago we discussed a different podcast by Tour and Meyer. That was Is This the Discovery Institute’s Greatest Podcast?, and there we gave you biographical information about those two. There’s no need to repeat it here, so we shall proceed — for the bravest among you who are still with us. The Discoveroids say:

In this third of three episodes [Ooooooooooooh! This one is the climax!] featuring the two researchers [Researchers?], Tour draws from questions sent in by listeners to his own podcast.

How exciting! The Discoveroids then tell us:

These include questions about the multiverse, quantum cosmology, the possibility — and theological implications — of life on other planets, the Big Bang, and what intelligent design thinking has to say about viruses and bacteria.

Ooooooooooooh! They answer all the big questions! And now, for those few who have not yet run away screaming, here’s the Discoveroids’ final paragraph:

The episode is excerpted from an extended interview from Tour’s excellent new video series The Science & Faith Podcast: Follow the Evidence. [Link omitted!] There you will find the full Meyer interview in video form as well as episodes featuring Henry F. Schaeffer III, John Lennox, and others.

If you have viewed the Discoveroid podcasts, dear reader, let us know what you learned. But if you have descended hopelessly into insanity — well, we warned you.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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28 responses to “More from the Discoveroids — Proceed If You Dare!

  1. Are they just giving up on what I will call “local” evolution, that is, evolution of the vertebrates, the common descent of humans as primates and mammals, mammals in their place in the tree of life with the other tetrapods, etc.? And evolution still going on throughout the world of life, ever since the last few hundred million years?
    We all know that a description of “intelligent design” is conspicuous by its absence, let alone any theory of ID.
    But are they giving up on finding problems in local evolution?

  2. Michael Fugate

    “Follow the evidence” – sure. Why would you need to follow something when you are already there. The belief comes first, any “evidence” is post hoc and carefully shifted so only that matching the belief is presented.

    If you want to see one of the most pathetic attempts by a scientist to justify Christianity – look here:
    http://www.leaderu.com/offices/schaefer/docs/questions.html

    This of course doesn’t say anything about either Christianity or science, but is does say that scientists are often not very philosophers, historians, or theologians…

  3. From MichaelF’s link: “If Jesus did not rise from the dead, his closest friends were an extraordinary compulsive group of liars.”

    I like this one, because it literally screams for a Godwin.

    “If Hitler was wrong about Aryan superiority, all the German soldiers fighting at the Eastern Front – especially the members of the Waffen-SS – were an even more extraordinary compulsive group of liars.”

    And that’s unthinkable, isn’t it? <Isn't it?

  4. Michael Fugate

    This guy is a world-renown chemist with supposedly 1000s of publications and he pulls out a quote from FF Bruce. All one can say for this is it is an argument from authority – as are all the other quotes – they aren’t valid arguments at all.

    Here is Schaefer’s quote:

    The grounds for accepting the New Testament as trustworthy compare very favorably with the grounds on which classical (Greek, Roman) scholars accept the authenticity and credibility of ‘reliable’ ancient documents.
    —F. F. Bruce (1912–), Distinguished English academic classics scholar, University of Manchester

    The quote comes mostly from the preface of Bruce’s book “The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?” 5th ed.

    But Bruce was born in 1910 and died in 1990. Schaefer’s article was written in 2001. Bruce’s title at Manchester U.: Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis. He only briefly taught classics, but spent the bulk of his career as a Bible Scholar. As far as I can tell his DD was honorary. He believed that the Gospel had to be historically true for Christianity to be true – he believed Christianity to be true, so how could he come to any other conclusion about historicity? He spent an entire career convincing himself that he was right from the start – so much for following evidence…

  5. The Vault of Horror was one of the titles published by EC Comics – note the
    EC logo – originally Educutional
    Comics. The Wikipedia article is very interesting. Very interesting. One of the original titles was Picture Stories From
    The Bible. The only enduring title was Mad Magazine.
    The Wikipedia article has some interesting history of the conflicts with censorship.

  6. chris schilling

    There must be life on other planets, because what the hell planet are Schaefer and Bruce from? (Planet Apologetics, located somewhere in the Orion Nebula).

    Any “scholar” who takes the New Testament as “trustworthy” by comparing it to classical Greek and Roman documents needs their head examined. Would Schaefer give credence to any scholar proposing to take Greek and Roman mythology entirely at face value? Of course not, and nor should we take his.

    Apologists love to claim there’s as much evidence for Jesus Christ as for Julius Caesar. But who in their right mind now claims for the latter personage divine status, or that he actually went around performing miracles?

  7. Michael Fugate

    Why do we need faith? Why is believing in gods without evidence a requirement?

  8. chris schilling

    I guess Schaefer must be one of those “intelligent idiots” you sometimes hear about.

    #12 on his bizarre list of ‘Questions Intellectuals Ask About Christianity’ has this unmatched pearler, with reference to a Buddhist monk: “But sincerity or intensity of faith does not create truth.”

    Not when it comes to other faiths, apparently. Oddly enough, (evangelical) Christianity is exempt from this otherwise reasonable objection.

    Put that in your crack pipe and smoke it, folks.

  9. I don’t claim divine status for Jesus, aka Yeshua bin Yussif the Galilean, but I do believe that there is ample historical evidence that some such person existed. Somebody said those words, in Palestine in the first half of the first century, for them to be written down in the second half. And there is nothing extraordinary about the story itself. Holy men were ten a penny. One of them getting the idea that he was the Messiah of Israel is all but inevitable, as was the Roman reaction. It happened with others, as Josephus informs us.

    Strip out the miracles, sure. We see stories about miracles accreting around any extraordinary person in our own day. That’s inevitable, too. The central miracle of the whole story, the Resurrection, is the least credible of all of them, once you read the accounts. Nobody saw it; it is clear that nobody claimed it had happened, at first. The story just grew up, as stories do. As a great narrativist remarked, “The tale grew in the telling”.

    Nevertheless, whoever he was, why or how he did what he did, this man was truly extraordinary. What he said, what he taught, has an astonishing and unique stature. I read the Torah, and was disgusted by its casual brutality; the Talmud, and while admiring its humane amelioration, despaired of its endless pettifogging; the Qu’ran, and was repelled by its violence, constant threats and crude delight in causing suffering, while demanding that the Messenger of Allah (piss be upon him) got his end away as often as he wanted, in any orifice that appealed to him. The same motivation applies to the book of Mormon, that confection of lies whipped up by a practiced con-man and satyriasist. The Buddha’s reaction to suffering was to learn to be indifferent to it; other religions hardly notice it at all.

    Jesus stands not merely head and shoulders above those, but also above any other I have ever found. If it were not for the demand of his followers that he be deified, I’d be glad to call myself a Christian. I don’t know if there is a god at all. I can’t for the life of me follow the transaction called the Redemption: God sacrificed Himself to Himself, or else He could not forgive humans for being human. Say what?

    But when I read “by their fruits you will know them”, or “the merciful shall receive mercy”, or “bless those that curse you”, or “forgive others, that you might be forgiven”, or “he who is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone”, I read something I know to be pure gold, and so far above the standard for the time and place as to be something I can almost accept as a miracle in itself.

    All right, you can say that as I approach my end I am approaching my beginning, only in fear this time. Maybe so. But all the same, while I don’t believe this man was God, I do think that if anyone could forgive my being mistaken about them, it would be him. I know no more than that, and will have to be content with it.

  10. Dave L., your take on Christianity is a lot like mine.

    In a conversation years ago among faculty members at Loyola University in New Orleans, Poet Miller Williams passed along a term for people like us. A guy he knew said he could no longer believe in the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection and all the other mystical and supernatural elements of Christianity, but he still felt obligated to follow the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus. He called himself a secular christian, a christian with a lower-case “c.” I immediately adopted that term for myself.

  11. @ChrisS: “Any “scholar” who takes the New Testament as “trustworthy” by comparing it to classical Greek and Roman documents needs their head examined.”
    Actual scholars don’t trust classical Greek and Roman documents any more or less than Biblical sources.

    @DaveL: “this man was truly extraordinary”
    Indeed, Jesus of Nazareth stood up for the weak and vulnerable in a (Roman) society that was brutally macho. That could be a reason to label him a socialist.

    “also above any other I have ever found”
    Here I disagree. I like Franciscus of Assisi better, who extended is love to animals as well. Jesus like all jews had an irrational dislike of pigs.

    @Retired Prof: “he still felt obligated to follow the moral and ethical teachings of Jesus”
    Depends. Set in his historical, geographic and cultural context Jesus stood out indeed. However this context has changed enormously last 2000 years and hence his moral and ethical teachings should be questioned like all old ones. As far as his teachings are still relevant it might be very well the case that they are not that extraordinary anymore.

  12. PS: I deliberately used the word “extraordinary” and not “unique”. Lots of Jesus’ teachings can be found in (other) contemporary sources. Bertrand Russell gave several examples in History of Western Philosophy and explicitely refers to

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

  13. Francis of Assisi could not have existed without Jesus of Nazareth; and if socialists really did give all they possess to the poor, rather than take all others possess and give it to nobody, I’d have a great deal more time for them.

  14. There are many different kinds of socialism. Antagonism between brands of socialism is famous.

  15. Michael Fugate

    I am not a big fan of apocalyptic fantasy which Jesus supposedly promoted. Creationists like to talk about beginnings and endings, but it doesn’t affect your average person. Too many yammering about end times and that rests squarely on the New Testament – silly and distracting.

  16. @DaveL proclaims: “Francis of Assisi could not have existed without Jesus of Nazareth”
    Thanks, I never realized Jesus was a necessary condition for the conception of the embryo that would become Franciscus of Assisi. Did he physically help Franciscus’ parents or spiritually? Both?
    Still that doesn’t mean Jesus was more likable. Einstein could not have “existed” without Newton, still understood quite some more about physics.

    @TomS: Not to conservatives like DaveL, who dream of 19th Centruy patriottic glory. According to them all kinds of socialism lead to the Gulag, including socialism a la Archbishop Romero and a la christian anarchists. It’s quite like all kinds of Darwinism inevitably leading to moral deprivation according to creationists.
    Also note that DaveL raises the bar higher for socialists with “give away all they possess” than for christians.
    He’s so easy to provoke that it’s almost no fun.

  17. Michael Fugate

    One big Christianity fail, was the lack of any ecological component, but if the world ends tomorrow there’s no point. Oops!

  18. Michael Fugate

    To follow up I would take a local indigenous religion over the global cosmopolitan ones any day.

  19. Dave Luckett notes

    if socialists really did give all they possess to the poor, rather than take all others possess and give it to nobody, I’d have a great deal more time for them.

    I’m no authority on socialism–but don’t you mean ‘Christians’ in that sentence? Vide Matthew 19:21

    Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

  20. Congratulations, FrankB, your thesis was accepted cum laude, and your PhD in missing the point is in the mail.

  21. @Megalonyx
    It is puzzling, if everyone followed that advice, to whom would they sell their stuff? Wouldn’t the bottom drop out of the price for art work by Leonardo if all of the owners were to sell them?

  22. @Dave Luckett

    You say “…I do believe that there is ample historical evidence that some such person existed. Somebody said those words, in Palestine in the first half of the first century, for them to be written down in the second half.” No, all we have evidence for is that somebody in the second half of the first century CLAIMED that someone said them in the first half. That is certainly not “ample” evidence for me.

    Was there a Jesus? Is he a conflation of many itinerant rabbis? Is he wholly imaginary? Does it matter? Surely what matters is the supernatural aspect of the whole story, and for that we have not a whit of evidence. Claims, of course, are merely claims, not evidence.

  23. @Megalonyx
    You quote Jesus: If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.
    Who are “the poor”, to whom you give? Suppose you are rich and give away all you have: you are now poor. You then follow Jesus. So the poor are the followers of Jesus, who have given their all to the movement. We see the same scam continued in Acts, for instance in the story of Ananias and his wife. I cannot see any great moral value in this.

  24. I am “Anonymous” answering Megalonyx. I do not know why I was not named. If I am still Anonymous, I hope that the mighty hand from above can intercede for me.

    [Voice from above:] It’s a cosmic mystery.

  25. @ jimroberts: I wasn’t quoting Jesus, I was quoting the New Testament book attributed to Matthew which in turn purports to quote Jesus. I do not recognise, still less endorse, any ‘great moral value’ in that quote, merely noting its similarity to the thumbnail definition DaveL offered for socialism (a definition which I also don’t recognise, but that is by the by)

  26. Would the socialists here care to define what they mean by “socialism”? After we have mopped up the customary blood spilled over that, we may have some accepted value that we can then discuss. Or most likely, not, but it’s worth a try.

  27. Ann Kah, you also miss the point. There is no disagreement that the words in question were written down in the second half of the first century, and therefore originate from some time before that. The speaker was evidently Jewish, but the words are, for their time and place, prodigious. Somebody said them there. Why would we refuse to believe it was a man called Yesua? It’s at least as likely as any other explanation. The alternative is a seamless deception entered into voluntarily by a number of writers, for no apparent purpose, smacking very much of conspiracy theory.

    I am reminded of the old chestnut – forty years of study brought a great classicist to the opinion that the Iliad and the Odyssey were not by the poet Homer – but by another ancient Greek of the same name.

  28. Charley Horse X

    One of my favorite lines….”Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool”. Often claimed to be a quote from Voltaire. There is no proof of that.