Category Archives: Evolution

Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark — Solved!

Archimedes' screw

The last time we addressed this issue was Waste Disposal on Noah’s Ark. In that memorable post, we compared the task facing Noah with one of the legendary twelve labours of Hercules — cleaning out the Augean stables, which had not been cleaned in over 30 years, and over 1,000 cattle lived there. Hercules had to divert two rivers to clean out the stables. With rigorous mathematical analysis, we concluded that mucking out the Ark was only half as burdensome as the job assigned to Hercules, but it was still an impossible task.

Today, dear reader, you’re in for a treat. After years of solitary study, your Curmudgeon proudly announces that he has solved the Ark’s waste disposal problem! Yes, we’ve done it. Through the centuries, the greatest theological minds in the world have struggled with this, but your humble Curmudgeon has found the solution.

Well, what is it? As the image above this post suggests, the answer is Archimedes’ screw. Wikipedia provides a description:

Archimedes’ screw consists of a screw (a helical surface surrounding a central cylindrical shaft) inside a hollow pipe. The screw is turned usually by a windmill or by manual labour. As the shaft turns, the bottom end scoops up a volume of water. This water will slide up in the spiral tube, until it finally pours out from the top of the tube and feeds the irrigation systems. The screw was used mostly for draining water out of mines or other areas of low lying water.

The intellectual breakthrough came to us in a blinding flash of inspiration. If Archimedes’ screw works with water, it should also work with fresh animal waste. Assuming the device was installed when the Ark was built, all Noah had to do was turn the handle, and the muck would be lifted from the bowels of the Ark to the top deck, and then automatically dumped over the side. Nothing to it! It was so simple, Noah probably assigned the task to his wife.

Yes, we know — you’re thinking that Archimedes lived in the 3rd century BC — long after the Flood. That’s true, but as the Wikipedia article informs us, Archimedes probably didn’t invent the device which bears his name. It was known to earlier cultures.

So there you are. The problem of poop removal from the Ark has baffled creation scientists for centuries, but your Curmudgeon has figured it out. We have solved one of the world’s greatest mysteries, and you’re reading about it here, on our humble blog. Verily, this is a day to remember.

But there’s no need to worry — we still have the rest of our Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology.

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

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Ken Ham in the Australian Press

This comes from the website News.com.au, which doesn’t further identify itself, but it seems to be the online presence of several Australian newspapers. Wikipedia says it’s an Australian news and entertainment website owned by News Corp Australia, which is one of Australia’s largest media companies. That’s all we know, but it’s enough.

Their headline is Creationist preacher Ken Ham to ‘prove’ dinosaurs roamed with Adam and Eve. It has a comments feature, and most of the comments are rational. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

Outspoken creationist Ken Ham is once again raising the hackles of scientists, claiming he is on the verge of proving dinosaurs were roaming the earth only a few thousand years ago.

It’s good to see that the press on the underside of the Earth is proudly tracking the career of their native son, Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo). As you know he’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

Then they tell us:

The former Queensland science teacher, who took on celebrated American scientist Bill Nye in a notorious public debate on creationism last year, who opened the $40m Creation Museum in America and is currently building a Noah’s ark in Kentucky, says he will soon unveil evidence that dinosaurs once lived peacefully alongside Adam and Eve.

Everyone knew that Bill Nye shouldn’t have agreed to that debate. Other than Hambo’s silly roadside tourist attractions, it’s his only claim to fame. Let’s read on:

Together with creation scientist Dr. David Menton, Mr Ham says he will soon publish findings that he suggests will be world-changing — and dispel current evidence that dinosaurs roamed the earth over 65 million years ago.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! What are their “findings,” and in what peer-reviewed journal will they be published? The news story continues:

It is understood Mr Ham will claim that a bunch of donated Edmontosaurus bones are only a few thousand years old, based on the fact that they still contain remnants of bone marrow. Soft tissue surviving in dinosaur bones isn’t an entirely new idea — a Tyrannosaurus Rex bone with soft tissue still present was discovered a decade ago.

This is an old story, debunked long ago. Nevertheless, Hambo has been promoting it for years — see Dinosaur Fossils Found with Hot Red Meat? Here’s more:

Ken Ham routinely dismisses findings of palaeontologists, geologists, and other scientists who look at evidence to determine what Earth must have been like before recorded history. Mr Ham has asserted that scientists cannot claim to have proof of their theories if they weren’t there at the time to observe those theories in action.

Ol’ Hambo is forever sneering at what he calls “historical science,” by asking Were you there? He claims that only eye-witness testimony — the kind he finds in the bible — is reliable. We discuss that under the section “Operational” science vs. “Historical” (origins) science in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Moving along:

Bafflingly, in a new post on the pro-creationism website Answers In Genesis, Ken Ham now asserts that Dr. David Menton can indeed look at fossilised dinosaur bones and determine things that happened before either of them was born — as long as it supports his own ideas.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Even the Australian press can readily see the absurdity of Hambo’s arguments. Maybe they’re not so proud of their native son. We looked, but couldn’t find the article at Hambo’s website that they’re talking about. It doesn’t matter. We already know what it says and why it’s wrong. But Hambo’s drooling fans will gobble it up anyway. Here’s the rest of the article:

Tens of thousands of creationists flock to Mr Ham’s hi-tech Hollywood-style Creation Museum in Kentucky each year where they can see animatronic Adam and Eves interacting with a peaceful looking T.Rex, among other attractions.

Yes, the creationists are traveling the back roads of rural Kentucky to drink from Hambo’s magical fountain of drool. It’s not the yellow-brick road to Oz, but the wizard at the destination is just as authentic.

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

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Discovery Institute Attacks Zack Kopplin

Slasher

It was only two days ago that we posted Discovery Institute Attacks John Glenn. Today they’re on the attack again. Their new target is Zack Kopplin who, although he’s not yet 22 years old, already has a writeup in Wikipedia, which describes him as “an American political activist, journalist, and television personality from Louisiana. Kopplin has campaigned to keep creationism out of public school science classrooms and been involved with other separation of church and state causes.”

Zack is well-known to readers of this humble blog as a tireless campaigner against the infamous and insidiously-named Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA). The LSEA was based on the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act, and it seems to be their only accomplishment, except for a similar law subsequently enacted in Tennessee. For our discussion of such legislation, see the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws.

The Discoveroids just posted this at their creationist blog: Letter to a Young Darwin Activist’s Parents. It 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. The elves in our art department provided the graphic above this post in his honor. As we discuss Klinghoffer’s latest, keep in mind this disclaimer, which is adapted from the wording of the LSEA:

This post shall not be construed as being disrespectful of the Discoveroids.

Okay, here are some excerpts from Klinghoffer’s post, with bold font added by us:

What follows is an open letter to Zack’s father and mother, though it is applicable to others as well, young and old.

Isn’t that sweet? Klinghoffer is writing this for Zack’s mommy and daddy. Here’s what he says:

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Kopplin,

I hope this finds you both well.

On occasion, my wife and I have received notes directed home from a teacher about issues with our children’s behavior in school. I’ve always been grateful to hear what was going on, from another adult’s perspective, since moms and dads are often not the first to know. With that in mind, I’m writing to you about your son Zack.

Charming, isn’t it? Klinghoffer is writing as one concerned parent to another about a problem child. Let’s read on:

Zack, at age 21, is from what I’m able to tell spending a great deal of time as an “activist” trying to overturn the Louisiana Science Education Act (LSEA). In this capacity he does some freelance writing for Slate and other publications, which I assume does not pay the bills. My concern is that Zack, a bright young person, is being used by what I’ll call the Darwin Lobby in a way that is not to his long-term benefit.

We won’t excerpt too much from Klinghoffer’s rather long letter. That would deprive you of the thrill of clicking over there to experience it for yourself. Also, we find his letter to be genuinely vomit-inducing, and even your Curmudgeon has a limited capacity to endure such things. But we’ll give you a few more excerpts. This is a good one:

[F]or several years my colleagues and I have tried to help Zack and other activists in understanding both about the science behind the evolution debate and, more specifically, about the provisions of the LSEA, which he has persistently misrepresented to the public. So when it comes to science and science education, we may be the closest thing to a teacher in your son’s life at the moment — not that we’ve been very successful in educating him. That is one reason I am getting in contact with you now.

Klinghoffer only wants to help the lad! His parental letter continues:

[W]hether a reasonable person supports or opposes LSEA, the law is not about advancing “creationism,” any more than Discovery Institute is a “creationist think tank.”

Isn’t this great? Here’s more:

It suits the purposes of the Darwin Lobby to confuse these matters. That explains why they have fastened onto Zack. The National Center for Science Education, for one, makes a specialty of sowing misinformation, which may be why they honored your son with a Friend of Darwin award.

Those creepy Darwinists are abusing the lad, and Klinghoffer thinks that’s terrible! He’s trying to help Zack by warning his parents, before it’s too late and Zack’s life is totally ruined! Okay, we’re jumping to the end. Here’s how Klinghoffer concludes his letter:

My suggestion? Have a talk with your son about his education, and about an unfortunate reality of the world, that zealots with a political agenda will try to use an enthusiastic person like himself to their own ends, which may not include a high regard for truth telling. If I were his father, I would want to see my boy buckle down, get his degree, prepare for a career, do something useful with his life, and something honorable.

Sincerely yours,
David Klinghoffer

Your Curmudgeon isn’t going to say anything, but we suspect that some of you might have something to say.

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

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Ken Ham Advocates Intelligent Design

This is a surprising rant from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. He’s famed for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and for the mind-boggling Creation Museum.

As so often before, ol’ Hambo is angry. We imagine that once again he’s red in the face, foaming at the mouth, and rolling around chewing the carpet. He just posted this on his blog: Oldest Stone Tools?

But before we discuss ol’ Hambo’s latest, we need to know what he’s upset about. That’s reported at the PhysOrg website: Oldest-known stone tools pre-date Homo. They say:

Scientists working in the desert badlands of northwestern Kenya have found stone tools dating back 3.3 million years, long before the advent of modern humans, and by far the oldest such artifacts yet discovered. The tools, whose makers may or may not have been some sort of human ancestor, push the known date of such tools back by 700,000 years; they also may challenge the notion that our own most direct ancestors were the first to bang two rocks together to create a new technology.

Interesting, huh? Here’s one more excerpt about how the age of the tools was determined. They quote geologist Chris Lepre of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Rutgers University, who dated the artifacts. He’s a co-author of the paper about the discovery, which was published in Nature: 3.3-million-year-old stone tools from Lomekwi 3, West Turkana, Kenya. This is what he said:

[A] layer of volcanic ash below the tool site set a “floor” on the site’s age: It matched ash elsewhere that had been dated to about 3.3 million years ago, based on the ratio of argon isotopes in the material. To more sharply define the time period of the tools, Lepre and co-author and Lamont-Doherty colleague Dennis Kent examined magnetic minerals beneath, around and above the spots where the tools were found.

The Earth’s magnetic field periodically reverses itself, and the chronology of those changes is well documented going back millions of years. “We essentially have a magnetic tape recorder that records the magnetic field … the music of the outer core,” Kent said. By tracing the variations in the polarity of the samples, they dated the site to 3.33 million to 3.11 million years.

Now let’s see what ol’ Hambo thinks about this. You can already guess that he doesn’t like that stuff about 3.3 million years. That’s blasphemy! He begins by making a couple of obvious creationist points:

1. The fallible dating methods based on assumptions are not discussed — just presented as supposed fact

2. Man’s evolutionary ideas continue to change.

Ol’ Hambo is horrified at the way science keeps revising itself when new data is found. Scripture is so comforting — it never changes! Now here’s where Hambo gets interesting, and we added some bold font for emphasis:

3. Scientists recognize evidence of deliberate design in stone tools — but not in DNA!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s a Discovery Institute argument. In fact, the Discoveroids posted about this yesterday — see Stone Tools Are “Most Important Discovery” in a Half Century — and a Score for Intelligent Design, in which Klinghoffer said, with our bold font:

The tools don’t look like much — see here for a gallery of images. If you stubbed your toe on one, wandering the badlands of West Turkana, would you look down in wonder or kick it aside? Most likely kick it aside. This is not Paley’s pocket watch we’re talking about. The discrimination that they are tools was made via a design inference, and the media coverage is clear about this — they just don’t call it by that name.

Ah yes, William Dembski’s Design Inference. Klinghoffer’s essay was so predictable that we ignored it, but now ol’ Hambo is using the same argument. He says:

Interesting how they recognize the evidence of design looking at stone tools: “I have seen some of these artifacts in the flesh, and I am convinced they were fashioned deliberately.” Of course, when these same evolutionary scientists look at DNA, the most complex information system and language system in the universe, they conclude it was not fashioned deliberately but happened by natural processes!

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hambo sounds just like Klinghoffer. Here’s one last excerpt from ol’ Hambo’s rant:

I’m reminded of when I’ve often had someone at a conference come to me and say something like, “But the Bible is not a scientific textbook!”

I then answer, “I’m glad it’s not a scientific textbook like the ones used in public schools and universities, as they change all the time. But the Bible is primarily a textbook of historical science — it is God’s infallible historical science that doesn’t change! It is an infallible scientific textbook.

The bible is “an infallible scientific textbook.” Hey, that one is a keeper!

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

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