Category Archives: Evolution

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

Another Ark Replica — And It Sails!

A few years ago we wrote Hey, Ken Ham: A Dutchman Builds Noah’s Ark, in which we reported:

A faithful reproduction of Noah’s ark, using the dimensions in The Bible, has just opened to the public in The Netherlands. It was constructed by the Dutch creationist and millionaire building contractor Johan Huibers, after he dreamt that Holland would be flooded once again. … [T]he mammoth effort took him and his team of five just over four years to finish.

Hubers’ ark is back in the news. In USA Today we read Noah’s Ark replica could travel to Brazil this year. They have a comments feature. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

A massive replica of Noah’s ark could travel from the Netherlands to Brazil this year. The ark, which was created by Dutch carpenter Johan Huibers, will stop at several port cities in Brazil and make four stops along the coast of the U.S., according to the Ark of Noah Foundation, which is working to raise funds for the ark’s journey.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We wonder what ol’ Hambo thinks of this. His land-locked Ark will forever be stuck in Kentucky, where it’s being built by, shall we say, considerably more than a team of five. Let’s read on:

The modern ark, dubbed “Johan’s Ark,” is a fully-functioning replica of Noah’s Ark, as described in the book of Genesis in the Bible. It is Huibers second ark and has been open to visitors in the Netherlands since 2012.

Why would anyone bother going to Kentucky to see Hambo’s ark, when a trip to Holland would probably be far more enjoyable? The news story ends with this:

“Once in Brazil the Ark will be using techniques that include virtual and augmented reality to tell original different biblical themes and stories in an interactive and challenging way,” the organization said in a statement.

Here’s a link to that statement. It’s a press release from the Christian Newswire. Among other things, it says:

Noah’s Ark will be in Fortaleza for the 2016 Olympic Games and Rio de Janeiro for the Paralympic summer games.

A trip to Brazil also seems like more fun than going to Kentucky. It looks like ol’ Hambo’s got some serious competition.

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

More Goodies From Mary Lou Bruner

Mary Lou Bruner

Mary Lou Bruner

Our last post about Mary Lou Bruner (pictured above), who will be in the May runoff election for what had once been Don McLeroy’s seat on the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE), was Mary Lou Bruner Opposes the Experts.

We are pleased to see that Mary Lou is back in the news again. At the website of television station WOAI, the NBC affiliate in San Antonio, Texas, we read Front-runner in TX Board of Education race called ‘fringe’ and ‘wacko’. Hey — that’s no way to talk about a lady! Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

The unusual views of Mary Lou Bruner have been bouncing around the news in Texas and nationally for several months.

[…]

Her controversial facebook posts are no longer visible to the general public, but because they’ve been posted by a group called The Texas Freedom Network, Bruner has found herself trying to defend and explain views even some of her Republican supporters admit they were surprised to hear.

Then they gives us some of Mary Lou’s most memorable comments. We’ve mentioned some of them before, but they’re worth repeating:

President Obama was a gay male prostitute when he was younger to support his drug habit.

Dinosaurs may have become extinct because the dinosaurs on (Noah’s) Ark ‘may have been babies and not able to reproduce. It might make sense to take the small dinosaurs onto the ark instead of the ones bigger than a bus.’

• Many people believe the Democrat Party had JFK killed because the socialists and Communists in the party did not want a conservative president.

• “The GLBTQ agenda is one of the big reasons liberals want 3-year-old and 4-year-old children to attend public school Pre-K programs. The federal government wants to indoctrinate the little children” who will “become confused about their sexuality” and “rebellious.”

Climate change is not only a hoax, it was a hoax that was Karl Marx’s idea.

Much of what happens in the world is controlled by a secret group known as The Illuminati.

Some of those were new to us. We’ve never heard that climate change was Marx’s idea, and we had no idea that the Illuminati are so powerful Let’s read on:

Bruner, a retired schoolteacher, took 48% of the vote in a 3-way Republican Primary in March. Because she didn’t get a majority, she faces a May 24th run-off with second-place finisher Keven Ellis, a chiropractor and president of the Lufkin School Board.

We knew that. Here’s the rest of the news story:

The winner will face Democrat Amanda Rudolph in the general election in November. Because of her strong showing in the primary and the strength of the Republican Party in that part of Texas, Bruner is said to be the front-runner in the race.

Your Curmudgeon delights in the antics of creationists in public office, so we say: Go, Mary Lou!

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