Category Archives: Evolution

Ken Ham’s Ark Will Get State Tax Funds

You know all about the suit filed against Kentucky to obtain state funds for the religious theme park being built by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. He’s the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia, famed not only for his creationist ministry, Answers in Genesis (AIG), but also for the infamous, mind-boggling Creation Museum.

As we reported in Ken Ham’s Ark Wins First Round in Court, Hambo prevailed over the state’s motion to dismiss his suit, and then — to our surprise — Governor Matt Bevin decided that the state wouldn’t proceed any further. So the case was over and Hambo had his victory.

But there was a bureaucratic matter that needed to be dealt with. Because Hambo’s organization is a religious ministry, he had been fighting the state’s decision not to provide him with tax funds. That administrative decision had to be overturned. And it just happened.

This is the headline in the Lexington Herald-Leader of Lexington, Kentucky, the second-largest city in the state. State awards $18 million tax break to Noah’s Ark theme park. They have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

A state agency remade by Gov. Matt Bevin last week has approved $18 million in tax breaks to a Grant County amusement park that will feature a “life-size” Noah’s Ark. The $92 million Ark Encounter project, owned by the same company as the Creation Museum in Petersburg, is scheduled to open July 7.

Bevin “remade” the agency? So it seems, and by an odd coincidence, the bureaucrats are now favorably disposed toward ol’ Hambo. We’re told:

The tax break allows approved tourism sites to recover as much as 25 percent of their investment through a rebate of state sales taxes paid by visitors. The theme park also will receive tax breaks from Grant County and the city of Williamstown. The state also designated $11 million in road funds for an expanded interchange off Interstate 75.

Verily, the blessings of heaven are descending upon ol’ Hambo — at state expense. Let’s read on:

Last week, Bevin reappointed one previous member of the authority board and added four new members.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Thanks, gov! But hey — we know about the court case, but still, is Noah’s Ark the sort of thing government should be supporting? Silly question. In Kentucky, that’s no problem. The Lexington Herald-Leader informs us:

Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, has said previously the project will hire only Christians but won’t discriminate among denominations.

Oh — they will discriminate in hiring, but they won’t be discriminating among denominations. In Kentucky that makes it okay. Here’s one last excerpt:

“It is extremely unfortunate that the state is giving tax incentives to an organization that will discriminate against Kentucky citizens,” said Daniel Phelps, head of the Kentucky Paleontological Society and a longtime critic of the project.

Phelps is obviously one of those evolutionist secularists Hambo’s been telling us about. Well, Hambo showed him who’s running things in Kentucky.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Discoveroids: No Thinking Without Intelligent Design

Today we have yet another example of the Great Creationist Coalescence (the GCC) of various creationist outfits. The last time we wrote about this was Discoveroids Adopt a Ken Ham Doctrine, and that links to several earlier examples.

This time the Discovery Institute is embracing a modified version of another of Ken Ham’s bizarre notions — that logic is impossible without the bible because “The laws of logic flow from the biblical worldview” — see Creationism and Logic, Part 3.

At the Discoveroids’ creationist blog we find Lawyer, Scientist, or Animal? Choosing Between Evolution and Human Reason. It’s by Sarah Chaffee, a new Discoveroid staffer. We’ve been calling her “Savvy Sarah.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

In a post for the NPR [National Public Radio] blog 13.7, UC Berkeley psychologist Tania Lombrozo asks, Is the Mind’s Approach More Like a Scientist or a Trial Lawyer? She praises advances toward greater scientific objectivity, suggesting this holds promise that humans can overcome their natural biases. But the case for scientific objectivity only makes sense in a context where we can trust our reason. And guess what? That’s an assumption more compatible with intelligent design than with an evolutionary framework.

The NPR article doesn’t mention intelligent design, but like all Discoveroids, Savvy Sarah sees evidence for their “theory” everywhere they look. She says:

Lombrozo asks whether we tend to reason like scientists — that is, examine the evidence and draw conclusions based on it — or more like trial lawyers — cherry-picking data to fit our case.

Actually, a good trial lawyer knows how to think, and he recognizes when he has a weak case, but it’s his job to present what little evidence he may have in the best way possible. In that sense, he might behave like an apologist, but he knows what he’s doing and will admit that he does it. Anyway, let’s read on:

Lombrozo places her confidence in science — a human endeavor — to reveal truth about the universe. Is that confidence justified? Well, it depends. Judging from her earlier blogging, Lombrozo seems to be in favor of materialistic evolution, but that same viewpoint undermines our trust in reason, or ought to do so if you’re consistent.

What? Evolution “undermines our trust in reason”? What madness is this? Savvy Sarah quotes a couple of Discoveroids — always a smart thing to do — and then tells us:

Darwinism, in other words, undermines itself as a scientific idea. It asks that we trust the theorizing done by human minds, yet tells us those minds are a step away from irrational animals. How did trustworthy reason “evolve” ex nihilo? Materialists sidestep that conundrum.

Yes, dear reader — if you ignore the scientific method of gathering data, proposing and testing hypotheses, and rejecting demonstrably false ideas, then (and only then) you’re a fool to believe that your monkey brain is capable doing any useful thinking. Savvy Sarah continues:

But if study of the universe reveals evidence of intelligent design, we may have reason to trust our minds after all.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Here’s her conclusion:

Under materialistic evolution, we are neither scientists nor trial lawyers — but animals. Under ID, at least there is the chance of human beings exercising right reason and, on that basis, making real scientific progress.

So there you are, dear reader. The Discoveroids have adopted another of Hambo’s arguments. The Great Creationist Coalescence is continuing.

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

Klinghoffer, Neil deGrasse Tyson, & Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall

Lisa Randall

This involves the interplay of a few different websites, so we’ll try to make it coherent. The Hayden Planetarium recently hosted the 2016 Isaac Asimov Memorial Debate on the subject “Is the Universe a Simulation?” They have a link to a video of the entire debate, which is two hours long. Neil deGrasse Tyson was the host and moderator, and Lisa Randall was one of the panelists.

Although the topic was a bit esoteric, it attracted some news coverage. For example, the Atlanta Constitution had this headline: Neil deGrasse Tyson believes we could be living in Matrix-like simulation. The newspaper said:

Tyson, who has posited his beliefs about interplanetary life in the past, is open to the simulation possibility and offered a thought experiment. Humans might be the most intelligent life on Earth but the smartest human might only have the brain capacity of a toddler compared to alien life. “That is not a stretch to think about and if that’s the case, it is easy for me to imagine that everything in our lives is just a creation of some other entity for their entertainment,” Tyson said. “The day we learn that it is true. I will be the only one in the room who will say, I’m not surprised.”

A wee bit hypothetical. Nonsensical, really, but fun nevertheless. However, it seems to have upset PZ Myers, who posted We have a term for that, Neil deGrasse Tyson: “Intelligent Design”. PZ said:

Neil deGrasse Tyson led a debate on whether the universe is a simulation. He took the affirmative side. He agrees that there’s no way to prove it one way or the other, but he claims that the probability that we may be part of a simulation “may be very high”. Aargh. Facepalm.

[…]

I am disappointed to say that Tyson gives the worst argument in favor of the simulation hypothesis. It’s the idea that of course there could be super-intelligent beings, and of course what super-intelligent beings would do is create us.

Okay, PZ is disappointed. Now the fun begins. At the creationist blog of the Discovery Institute, this just appeared: Neil deGrasse Tyson Says Chances of Intelligently Designed Universe “May Be Very High”. 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. We’ll give you a few excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

[O]f course he [Tyson] was referring to the odds that the universe is an artificial computer simulation by advanced aliens. And that, as opposed to picturing an intelligent designer in more traditional terms [hee hee!] or (as ID theorists prefer) simply leaving open the question of identifying the designer, makes the hypothesis compatible with science? It seems so.

The panel discussion wasn’t remotely about intelligent design, yet Klinghoffer is criticizing Tyson for being a sloppy thinker about that subject. Amazing, huh? Let’s read on:

Fellow atheist P.Z. Myers is appalled [quote from PZ/s blog]. But no. While a simulated universe would indeed be intelligently designed, by definition, Myers has not correctly identified an ID argument.

Klinghoffer is frustrated because PZ doesn’t understand the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design. He attempts to clarify our thinking:

In simplest terms, the case for ID is twofold, negative and positive. First, all known theories of undirected origins fundamentally fail to makes sense of the scientific evidence. [Hee hee!] Second, a theory of directed origins makes good sense of the evidence, conforming to what we already know about the operation of intelligent causes. Therefore as a provisional matter, we’re justified in inferring design as the best explanation, the best available explanation, of what we see.

The Discoveroids don’t like evolution, so they say Oogity Boogity is the next best explanation. Simple, huh? Here’s more from Klinghoffer:

If Tyson had said: Theories of the universe as non-simulated fail while theories of simulation succeed — then that would be reminiscent of arguments for ID. Of course he would need to suggest some ways his idea could be tested.

But Tyson said nothing like that, because he isn’t crazy. And except for the Discoveroids, everyone knows that their “theory” can’t be tested.

At the end, Klinghoffer actually approves of something PZ said, which may be the first time that has ever happened:

P.Z. congratulates Harvard physicist Lisa Randall, another participant in the debate:

[Klinghoffer quotes from PZ’s blog:] Lisa Randall is the voice of reason who says she thinks the question is only interesting if we have a way to test it. You go, Lisa Randall. That’s how a scientist should think, and she finds the whole argument hilarious.

Randall is always worth quoting. Even Klinghoffer appears to agree with her — but for a bizarre reason. He says:

And she’s right. In the context of ID, despite atheist counterclaims, the fact that the design hypothesis is testable is one thing that makes it of intense scientific interest.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We can imagine Klinghoffer at the panel discussion. When it’s over, he climbs out of the audience and creeps close to Lisa to show his approval — but then, when she realizes who it is, she cringes and quickly moves away.

So there you are. A panel discussion where Tyson’s entertaining remarks were blown out of proportion, and now the Discoveroids are trying to use the thing to legitimize their mystical view of the universe. Well, why not? What else have they got?

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

The Big Bang Disproves Atheism

Buffoon Award

We’ve observed before that creationists have a limited répertoire. Their “scientific” arguments all boil down to two oldie-goldies: (1) William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — if something looks designed, then by golly it is designed; and (2) the God of the gaps — anything not yet fully understood is “best” explained by a supernatural agency. Other than that, they rely on character attacks, claiming that scientists, especially those accursed evolutionists, are immoral atheists, doomed to spend eternity in the Lake of Fire.

So when another example of this appeared at the website of WorldNetDaily (WND), we weren’t impressed. As you know, WND was an early Buffoon Award Winner. We’ve described them as a flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. It’s in their honor that our jolly Buffoon logo adorns this post.

Here’s what WND recently posted — and they proudly label it as an EXCLUSIVE: Why atheists are ‘fools’. The thing has attracted over 460 comments. The article was written by Matt Barber — probably not the British actor with the same name, because another website that published the same “exclusive” article described this Matt Barber as: “an author, columnist, cultural analyst and an attorney concentrating in constitutional law. Having retired as an undefeated heavyweight professional boxer, Matt has taken his fight from the ring to the culture war.”

When we first saw it, we scanned the beginning:

They say there are no atheists in the foxhole. Even fewer when death is certain. None once the final curtain falls. God’s Word declares, “The fool hath said in his heart ‘there is no God’” (Psalm 14).

At that point, having seen the same sort of thing hundreds of times before, we clicked away and continued searching for more entertaining material. But then it started showing up at other websites, and our clandestine operatives were urging us to blog about it. So we took another look, and yes — as long and goofy as it is, the article has its moments. So here are some additional excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

In my experience it is something common among atheists: an inexplicable, incongruent and visceral hatred for the very God they imagine does not exist. Indeed, Romans 1:20 notes, “For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” Yet excuses they make.

Nothing new, right? But it gets better. Let’s read on:

Psalm 19:1 likewise observes: “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” The manifest intentionality and fine-tuning of all creation reveals design of breathtaking complexity. The Creator is of incalculable intelligence and infinite splendor. As I see it, atheism provides a case study in willful suspension of disbelief – all to escape, as the God-denier imagines it, accountability for massaging the libertine impulse.

It’s all about your libertine impulses, dear reader. Barber continues:

In the case of the atheist, or the “freethinker,” as they paradoxically prefer, that which is unbelievable is that somehow everything came from nothing – that there is no uncaused first cause; that God does not exist, even as knowledge of His being is indelibly written on every human heart and proved by all He has made.

Be they theist, atheist or anti-theist, on this nearly all scientists agree: In the beginning there was nothing. There was no time, space or matter. There wasn’t even emptiness, only nothingness. Well, nothing natural anyway.

Does that describe how anyone with a scientific education thinks about the Big Bang theory? No, of course not — but it’s how creationists imagine we think. Here’s more:

Then: bang! Everything. Nonexistence became existence. Nothing became, in less than an instant, our inconceivably vast and finely tuned universe governed by what mankind would later call – after we, too, popped into existence from nowhere, fully armed with conscious awareness and the ability to think, communicate and observe – “natural law” or “physics.” Time, space, earth, life and, finally, human life were not. And then they were.

Then he quotes from a creationist who describes the “impossible” fine tuning of the physical laws of the universe, and alleges that it had to be by divine intention. Assuming that such is The Truth, he criticizes those who don’t agree:

Secular materialists claim it can’t be – that such explanation is a “God of the gaps” explanation and, therefore, must be banished from the realm of scientific inquiry. They demand that anything beyond the known natural is off-limits. Atheists attribute all of existence to, well, nothing. It just kind of happened.

When we think about the creationists’ “God of the gaps” approach to things, we should keep in mind that it’s always their first and only “explanation” for everything. Yet, over the centuries, that “explanation” has failed as a rational cause for the rising and setting of the Sun, the regularity of the seasons, the diversity of the biosphere, the occurrence of disease, and everything else to which it has been applied. At this point, all they’ve got left is the universe itself, and they’re beating that drum incessantly. But why would an “explanation” that has always failed in every other instance somehow be correct this time? They don’t say, they just preach.

Okay, moving along, Barber tells us:

And so, they have “reasoned” themselves into a corner. These same materialists acknowledge that, prior to the moment of singularity – the Big Bang – there was no “natural.” They admit that there was an unnatural time and place before natural time and space – that something, sometime, somewhere preceded the material universe. That which preceded the natural was, necessarily, “beyond the natural” and, therefore, was, is and forever shall be “supernatural.” Reader, meet God. In short: the Big Bang blows atheism sky high.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The article goes on and on. There’s lots of quote-mining too. Click over there to enjoy the whole thing. It’s a textbook example of creationist thinking. Their “explanation” has always been silly and unnecessary, but this time they know it’s right. And you, dear reader, are a hell-bound fool!

Copyright © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article