Category Archives: Evolution

Discoveroids: More on SETI & Intelligent Design

This is post about the Discovery Institute and SETI (the search for extraterrestrial intelligence ). It’s been difficult to write, because it involves so many Discoveroid twists and back-flips.

To familiarize you with a few of the all-over-the-place positions that they’ve taken just within the last six months, see, Casey: There’s No Alien Life Out There, and then Discoveroids: SETI and Intelligent Design (the SETI search for intelligent signals is just like the Discoveroids’ search for intelligent design), and most recently Discovery Institute Opines on Alien Intelligence (Earth is unique, so probably there’s nobody else out there).

Now they’re at it again. Their latest effort is SETI Whisperers Betray Their Dependence on Intelligent Design. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

A concern shared by many people today is over whether or not it’s wise to send messages into deep space. If aliens receive our missives, how do we know they’re friendly and won’t take an unhealthy interest in our planet? Any number of science fiction films describe the catastrophic results of an unfriendly visit by extraterrestrials. Maybe they will come to serve man — in a soufflé. Lately, these and other anxieties have been the subject of lively chatter on sites like BBC News, Live Science, and Universe Today .

Here’s a link to one of those articles so you can see what the Discoveroids are talking about. It’s from BBC two weeks ago: Scientists in US are urged to seek contact with aliens. Okay, back to the Discoveroids:

Insiders call sending messages, as opposed to receiving them, “Active SETI.” All kinds of questions come to mind. Who should speak for Earth? Who should be the representative for earthlings when aliens land and say, “Take me to your leader”? Would it be better to remain silent? Or is the barn door already open? Are they, even now, meditating on the implications of old episodes of I Love Lucy?

The debate does have that flavor. Let’s read on:

Undoubtedly, SETI insiders appreciate the publicity over this controversy, since keeping funds flowing for SETI projects has been a challenge after fifty years without a word from the other end of the line.

The Discoveroids can appreciate that. They too need to keep the funds flowing, despite their total failure to accomplish anything. So in some twisted way, they see SETI as a bunch of kindred souls. They say:

It’s not that anybody knows there are listeners out there. “This is the only really important scientific field without any subject matter,” astrophysicist David Brin says at Live Science. “It’s an area in which opinion rules, and everybody has a very fierce opinion.”

The Discoveroids are enjoying the fact that another endeavor besides theirs exists without data. But the analogy breaks down, because there is some data supporting SETI. We know that life exists — at least here — and we know that there are likely to be millions, perhaps billions of planets in the galaxy. Also, SETI has a comprehensible methodology, and its results, if there are any, will be verifiable. So SETI isn’t at all like the evidence-free “science” of the Discoveroids and their fanatical insistence on the existence of a transcendent intelligent designer. The Discoveroids’ article continues:

Advocates of intelligent design may chuckle. Communication with alien intelligence, after all, presupposes ID. We’ve discussed this in regard to signal reception: listening and eavesdropping on ET [link to a Discoveroid article]. The whole premise of SETI is that human minds can distinguish between intelligent and natural signals, even without knowing anything about the identity of the senders.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Detecting an obviously artificial signal is the same thing as noticing that a microbe has a flagellum. Here’s more:

This dependence on ID works both ways. In sending messages outward, SETI scientists (or politicians) assume that the aliens have minds not unlike ours, and are (like humans) capable of distinguishing informational signals from natural processes. So the scientists who work on SETI are intelligent design advocates in spite of themselves.

[*Curmudgeon pauses to recover from a particularly painful episode of head-desk*] Okay, then they mention the often-expressed statement that, when alien life is discovered, certain religious sects will have a lot of re-thinking to do. Indeed. And the Discoveroids will be foremost among them, considering their faith in the uniqueness of life on earth, based on their claim that the designer — blessed be he! — created this place as a Privileged Planet.

Now watch what they do with that re-thinking problem. It’s the climax of their essay:

This discussion is going to go on for a while. Let’s give a friendly counter-jab, then, right back at them, and ask, “Is your naturalism ready to meet ID?”

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! The Discoveroids are asking: If SETI actually identifies an alien signal from out there, are you prepared to abandon the natural world and accept the Oogity Boogity of intelligent design?

They’re trying to have it both ways. If we find no aliens, they win, because we’re the unique creation of the designer. But if we do find aliens, it’s because we used their intelligent design “science” in the search.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #530: More Proof of God

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Democrat News of Fredericktown, Missouri. It’s titled Biblical reference to stars. The newspaper has a comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote her by using her full name. In fact, her full name isn’t given. At the end of the letter, the newspaper says: “Jennie is a long-time resident of Fredericktown, an eclectic gatherer of stories, information, and experiences to share with whoever would like to read them.” So we’ll call her Jennie. Excerpts from her letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

There’s an overwhelming amount of amazing information in the book of Job. The reason I am zoning in on this particular area is because I just learned the meaning of another jewel that proves God is from the beginning, Creation of everything and prove [sic] to be true by modern studies of Celestial Science.

Jennie’s letter is short, but we’re including it in our collection because her argument is very original. She says:

As time passes “new” information is revealed. Not because it is really new, but because we become able to comprehend more, due to scientific study, and new technology, etc. The verse I am referring to occurs in Job 38:31, part of Gods [sic] answer to Job concerning the vast realm that exists between Himself and mankind.

Then she quotes Job 38:31:

Canst thou bind The cluster of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

We checked. It’s different in the King James version, which says:

Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?

We don’t know what bible translation, if any, uses the expression “cluster of Pleiades.” Let’s get on with Jennie’s letter:

I never knew what God was talking about in this verse of scripture, or the enormity of His revelation. Just think on this; who, but God, from the beginning could have known, that this particular cluster of stars, the Pleiades, are gravitationally bound together? Could anybody except God make such a thing happen?

The bible says the Pleiades are “gravitationally bound together”? Well, okay. Let’s read on:

The constellation of Orion, the hunter, wears a band (belt). That’s cool, but what I found out just blew me out of the water.

Ooooooooh! What did Jennie find out? She tells us:

The stars that make up Orion’s band are very far away from each other and all of them various sizes.

So what? Jennie explains:

We see them in order around his waist, fitting perfectly into the constellation the same as they did the day they were made.

Ooooooooh! That’s amazing! Here’s the end of her letter:

We see them with our eyes, because that is what God intended. This is just another affirmation for us from our God and creator. Amen.

Well, it was original.

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

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Kent Hovind Trial: First Two Days

The Pensacola News Journal of Pensacola, Florida has a report on the trial’s first two days. We assume the trial is in Pensacola because a federal courthouse is conveniently located in what had been the home of Hovind’s creationist “ministry” and his Dinosaur Adventure Land, which are among the properties confiscated by the feds to pay Hovind’s back taxes.

Our last post on this topic was Hovind Trial: Flood of Drool Hits Pensacola. The next few indented paragraphs provide background information, which most of you can skip:

The principal defendant has a writeup in Wikipedia: Kent Hovind (a/k/a “Dr. Dino”), which describes his 2006 conviction for tax evasion.

Hovind contested the original tax charges against him, and lost. Then he appealed and lost. He’s been in prison for eight years, during which he also contested the seizure of his property, and was unsuccessful in that. He had his day in court. Now he’s being charged with fraudulently trying to stop the feds from selling property that the courts have already determined was lawfully taken from him.

He filed lis pendens documents attempting to cloud the government’s title to the confiscated property. Here’s a link to the text of the indictment. Hovind is a martyr to two different groups of people, and his behavior suggests a certain similarity between them — see Creationists and Tax Protesters.

Hovind ‘s co-defendant is John Paul Hansen, who seems to have been providing Hovind with advice in these matters. Hansen is also facing mail fraud charges in connection with the lis pendens filing on the real estate that the government had seized.

Okay, the Pensacola News Journal has this headline: Hovind’s ‘fight’ continues in court. An icon will get you to comments after the story.

Their article may be the worst example of courthouse reporting we’ve ever seen. They don’t mention that jury selection was swiftly accomplished on Monday, and they also don’t mention that the lawyers made their opening statements to the jury on Tuesday. Instead, they write up the events described in the opening statements as if they were testimony and evidence actually presented in the trial. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

For years, Pensacola evangelist Kent Hovind and his trustee Paul John Hansen have been stubbornly resisting a court-ordered forfeiture of more than $400,000 worth of Hovind’s property. Their struggles — dozens of filings that appeal, question or protest the government’s right to sell the land — have landed the duo in front of a federal judge facing decades on charges of fraud and contempt.

Yes, we know all that. Let’s read on:

During the first day of testimony in their trial Tuesday, Hovind and Hansen’s defense attorneys told jurors that while the actions of the men may have been ineffectual — perhaps even ill-advised — they were not illegal. “Every single step of the way Mr. Hovind and the people of his church fought to hang on to his property,” Hansen’s attorney Christopher Klotz said. “Mr. Hovind is a notorious fighter. He has fought every single step of the way, and he has a right to do that.”

As we said, this is wretched reporting. A lawyer’s opening statement to the jury is not testimony. He’s merely telling the jury what the evidence is going to show them. Anyway, the news story continues:

Much of the day Tuesday was spent laying out the background of the case. The litigation is essentially over 10 pieces of Pensacola property that housed Hovind’s family, his Creation Science Evangelism ministry and his Dinosaur Adventure Land theme park. The government seized the land to settle a $430,400 debt after Hovind was convicted in 2006 of failing to withhold employee wage taxes and structuring bank withdrawals to skirt reporting requirements.

If opening statements were on Tuesday, then it’s obvious that the jury was selected on Monday. Such things usually occur swiftly in Federal courts. Those judges don’t let lawyers turn trials into a circus. Here’s more:

Hovind and trustees of his ministry have been appealing ever since, and the government was eventually granted an injunction barring Hovind and his ministry interest from filing claims, liens and other motions on the property. Instead of heeding the injunction, Hovind questioned its legality and filed a “lis pendes” [sic] — a motion that warns potential buyers the ownership of a property is under dispute. He also brought in Hansen — a Nebraska-based “student and scholar of church law” — to act as trustee of the properties.

The government alleges the men committed mail fraud and conspiracy to commit mail fraud through their filings. Hovind also is charged with contempt of court for violating the injunction, and Hansen is charged with contempt for failing to travel from Nebraska to Pensacola (at the government’s expense) for fingerprinting.

Yup — that’s a summary of what the feds intend to prove. Moving along:

Thomas Keith, Hovind’s attorney, essentially told jurors his client’s current charges were the result of him lawfully disagreeing with the powers that be. “He has the truest belief that he was wrongfully sentenced and convicted, and he’s been fighting it, lawfully, in every legal way that he thinks he can. … It’s not illegal to file motions in court, and that’s what he’s doing.”

Generally, filing motions isn’t illegal; but Hovind’s objections had all been dealt with, and he allegedly violated an injunction by persevering in his antics. Another excerpt:

Assistant U.S. Attorney Tiffany Eggers read transcripts of a phone call from Hovind to his daughter in which Hovind reportedly discussed his lis pendes [sic]. “Have you ever taken a step into dog crap and it gets stuck on your feet and it’s really hard to get off?” he reportedly asked. “That’s what a lis pendes [sic] is.”

Charming. One last excerpt, from something said by the attorney for Hovind’s co-defendant:

There is a mountain of evidence, but I expect you’re not going to find one shred of evidence that Mr. Hansen acted with the intent to defraud anybody, or take anything that didn’t belong to them, or deny the government of the $430,400 it was owed,” Klotz said. “He just did what he thought he had to as a trustee.”

So there you are. Now the actual testimony begins. We hope the reporter does a better job in the future. If not, no problem. Your Curmudgeon will be here to set things straight. Stay tuned to this blog.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #529: Proof of God

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Duluth News Tribune of Duluth, Minnesota. It’s titled The proof of God is evident all around us. It doesn’t look like the newspaper has a comments feature.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. We found a professor with his name at the University of Minnesota Duluth, but it’s a common name and the professor probably isn’t our man. We’ll use only the writer’s first name, which is Tom. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

It is amazing how many News Tribune readers write in denying the existence of God. This includes the Feb. 14 letter, “Existence of God can’t be proven.” They say there is no proof. The Bible says the heavens declare the glory of God.

The bible says the heavens are proof? Actually, when carefully studied with modern instruments, the heavens declare the Big Bang. But Tom has an ark-load of other evidence to offer. For example:

Well, just look at the sun rise over Lake Superior some morning or watch it set in the evening. Or how about the northern lights? Or when there is a sky full of stars? Or what about the beauty of our North Shore? That sounds like nature declaring something!

See? We told you Tom had evidence. Let’s read on:

How can anyone deny his existence? How about the birth of a beautiful baby?

Yeah — how about that? Tom continues:

Fools say there is no God. They say there is no proof. Time and time again science proves the accuracy of the Bible.

Can’t argue about that! Not with Tom, anyway. Here’s more:

If there is no God, then why do people get upset over nothing? Isn’t it illogical and foolish to get so worked up over something or someone that isn’t there or doesn’t exist?

Your Curmudgeon isn’t upset about God. It’s ghastly reasoning that bothers us. Moving along:

The Bible says God has set eternity in the hearts of men and women. This is why people get upset. Deep down, they know God is there. Their pride and arrogance get in the way.

Admit it, dear reader. Put aside your pride and arrogance. Deep down, you know Tom is right. And now we come to the end:

The Bible says there will be scoffers and mockers before Jesus comes back. Jesus is the only way to the father. Receive him now before it is too late. By all these doubting letters I read, it sounds like he is on his way.

Okay, dear reader. You’ve been warned. Now it’s up to you.

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

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