Category Archives: Evolution

Creationist Wisdom #793: The Bible Is True

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Rome News-Tribune of Rome, Georgia. The title is Science vs. religion complicated question , and the newspaper has a comments section.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Ira. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

To solve a problem, the problem must first be clearly defined. The phrase “science vs. religion” fails on several accounts. As a minimum, it doesn’t identify what science or what religion.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yeah, it makes a big difference if we’re talking about astronomy or biology, and if we’re contrasting that with Christianity or Hinduism. Then he says:

Science is founded on the ability to test and observe. For example, if one states that water at sea level boils at 212 F, the statement can be tested any number of times. While this is a simple example, the principle applies even to the most complex scientific statement.

That’s a bit simplistic, but we’ll let it go. However, for more rigorous usage we recommend the definitions is provided by the National Academy of Sciences: Definitions of Evolutionary Terms. There’s also this: Scientific Hypothesis, Theory, Law Definitions. The National Center for Science Education has definitions right here.

After that beginning, Ira tells us:

But when one wishes to determine when something first came into existence (origin), who observed it and how can one test it? For origins, one can only observe evidence in the present and interpret such evidence as to its meaning for the past. Plus, one must first establish suppositions by which the evidence is to be interpreted.

[*Groan*] Ira is repeating one of the most common creationist distortions — Ken Ham’s re-definition of science itself. See Creationism and Science, in which we discuss ol’ Hambo’s bizarre distinction between historical and observational science, with the result that science — as defined by him — can’t tell us anything about the past. But it’s easily rebutted — see The Lessons of Tiktaalik. Ira continues:

The op-ed by George B. Reed Jr. published in the Aug. 5 issue of Rome News-Tribune fails to recognize the nature of science and misrepresents the problem he writes about, and he uses several straw man arguments.

Ira is probably talking about this: An old controversy revisited. It’s the sort of thing that would infuriate a creationist, so Ira attempts to debunk it. Now the fun begins:

He [Reed] states, “the Bible was never intended to be a scientific or archeological document.” True, it is a history document. He writes, “it (the Bible) was written in the symbolic, pre-scientific language of the day, and in parables, allegories, myths, etc.”

Here’s Ira’s rebuttal:

It was written primarily as historical narrative, it does not include myths, and being the word of God, wherever it touches on any scientific topic, it is truth.

[*Begin Drool Mode*] Ooooooooooooh! [*End Drool Mode*] It’s The Truth. Let’s read on:

He [Reed] includes the canard “They all (Old Testament writers) seem to have written from a flat-earth perspective.” This red-herring has been refuted many times by both Jewish and Christian scholars.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! See The Earth Is Flat! Another excerpt:

Then Mr. Reed offers a solution to the problem of “science vs. religion:” He states: “Science tells us what, when and how; the Bible tells us who and why.”

Ira doesn’t like that either, as he explains in the rest of his letter:

He fails to recognize that the Bible tells us what, when, how, who, and why and that for origins, science cannot tell us what, when, how, who or why — it can only spin scenarios based on naturalism.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Naturalism is so inferior compared to super-naturalism!

Well, dear reader, there you have it. The good people of Rome, Georgia now have much to think about. And so do you.

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Eclipse Mania — The Discoveroids, Part 5

As the total solar eclipse of 21 August approaches, the Discovery Institute is in an increasingly uncontrolable frenzy. Their latest is The Impact of Solar Eclipses for History. It has no author’s by-line.

Unlike the Discoveroids’ recent series on the eclipse, this one is only nominally about the astronomical event. It’s primarily using the eclipse to repeat what is probably the central dogma of creationism. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

When the sky goes dark at mid-day, people notice. Because some observers wrote down what they saw, and because the clockwork of the heavens is so precise, historians can nail down important dates for chronological research.

Then they discuss several past eclipses that have been recorded by people at the time. None of that is of interest at the moment, so we’ll ignore it. Near the end they get around to being flaming, hard-core creationists:

Some of the ancient eclipses occurred near in time to battles or plagues, leading kings to mistakenly read divine support or displeasure with their activities. Today we understand eclipses very well. We no longer fear them, or comets, or other astronomical events as bad omens. Some scientists use the progress in knowledge about eclipses as support for the “god-of-the-gaps” position: i.e., as scientific knowledge progresses, the “god hypothesis” becomes increasingly superfluous.

We think they meant to say that scientists use our increasing knowledge to refute the “god of the gaps” argument — which is described nicely by Wikipedia here: God of the gaps. But the Discoveroids — like all creationists — rely on the god of the gaps. It’s the heart of their “conclusion” that all things which are unexplained (or unlikely) were purposely designed. What can they say today to rescue their fundamental principle? They tell us:

That argument, however, cuts both ways. [Hee hee!] The more we understand about probability, the less plausible it sounds to appeal to “coincidence-of-the-gaps” thinking when multiple, independent factors appear to converge on design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! They continue:

The chance hypothesis has been falsified by the discoveries of modern science.

Really? Where’s their evidence? They don’t give any evidence. Instead, they merely declare the standard creationist position as if it were the logical conclusion of their post:

It is no longer tenable to appeal to coincidences recklessly for cosmological fine-tuning, the earth’s habitability, the origin of life, the origin of multicellularity and sex, the origin of complex body plans, the origin of consciousness, and the origin of reason and morality. Each of these provides positive evidence for intelligent design. Collectively, they render the chance hypothesis improbable by many, many orders of magnitude.

Stunning, isn’t it? For rebuttal, we’ll merely give you some excerpts from our prior posts. In Common Creationist Claims Confuted we said:

The typical “odds” argument is easily rebutted. Here’s how we do it: There are 52 playing cards in a deck. The odds against the sequence resulting from a good shuffle are — as the mathematicians say — 52 factorial. You need to multiply 52 x 51 x 50, etc., and keep going until you get to the last card. That’s what factorial means. Fifty-two factorial is a big number. It works out to be 8.06581752 × 1067. That’s 8 (and a tad more) times 10 to the 67th power, a far larger number than the creationist usually quotes (or makes up) to “prove” that the odds are against evolution. For comparison, 52 factorial is much larger than the estimated number of stars in the universe, which is “only” 1021 (source: this NASA webpage). But there are decks of cards all over the place; and each of them is arranged in an extremely improbable sequence. Further, as we explained three years ago, the algorithm of evolution can easily defeat those odds. See The Inevitability of Evolution (Part III).

In William Dembski’s Design Inference we said:

[V]irtually everything is improbable. Consider our favorite example — your own existence. How improbable is that? Human conception is preceded by the release of roughly 20 million sperm per milliliter, and the number of milliliters varies with age and other factors. The average for a healthy young male is estimated to be 300-500 million spermatozoa, per, ah … event. To be on the conservative side, let’s say that a specific human zygote has less than a one-in-100 million chance of being conceived. And that’s for one particular fertile moment for the female. A month earlier or later, the zygote will be different. In other words, dear reader, considering the odds against your turning out to be precisely you, it’s obvious that your existence is quite improbable. Nevertheless, there you are.

The same improbability analysis applies to the conception of each of your parents, and their parents, and so on, going back as far as you care to go. The odds against the whole multi-generational drama is a factorial computation, with the mathematical conclusion that your existence is so very improbable as to be virtually impossible — by Discoveroid reasoning.

And in Creationism’s Fallacy of Retrospective Astonishment we said:

Long chains of natural causes and consequences happen all the time. In fact, that’s what reality is made of. Thus we present our own Rule of Reality: If each event in a causal chain is a natural occurrence, then the historical totality of the whole chain of events is also natural — and not at all impossible. This is a chronological corollary of that well-known principle: The whole is equal to the sum of its parts.

[…]

Although there’s no evidence that we’re the product of any impossible events, each of us is the result of a unique series of natural occurrences. Our existence will never be repeated. We’re irreplaceable. Priceless. This is why — contrary to the endlessly repeated claims of the creationists — the theory of evolution places a far higher value on individuals and all of humanity than creationism, according to which we could be wiped out and started up again on a whim.

So there you are, dear reader. Contrary to the endless claims of creationists, improbable things aren’t miracles — they’re the stuff of which reality is made. But creationists don’t like reality — they prefer Oogity Boogity!

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Answers in Genesis: Behold the Bombardier Beetle

This is about a very impressive article from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It’s titled Bombardier Beetle–The Arsenal Insect, and it was written by Karin Viet.

The last time we wrote about her brilliant creation research was Answers in Genesis: Behold the Giraffe. If that one didn’t convince you to be a creationist, this certainly will. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. It begins dramatically:

The sinister toad closes in on the beetle. Instead of a futile attempt to scurry away, the beetle waits, as though surrendering. Just before the toad’s tongue flicks out to snag its victim, the beetle fires its cannon. Pop! Pop! Pop! Out shoots burning gas. The emissions fire in pulsation, 500 times per second, but the defensive attack is complete before one second passes. Rather than getting a tasty snack, the defeated toad hops away with a mouthful of noxious gasses. The bombardier beetle’s tail end is equipped with twin “spray nozzles” (or gland openings) to shoot its gaseous ammunition.

The bombardier beetle is an old favorite of creationists. It’s even in the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims — see The bombardier beetle cannot be explained by evolution. It must have been designed.

Karin pays no attention to sources like that because she knows The Truth. She devotes several paragraphs describing the wonders of the beetle. We’ll skip most of it until we come to this:

Creationists have frequently pointed to the bombardier beetle as an example of divine design. While God originally proclaimed his creation “very good” [scripture reference], Adam’s sin brought death into the world, so God equipped the bombardier beetle with an intricate defense structure.

Ah, so that’s how it happened! Yes, it makes perfect sense. Then Karin says:

Evolutionists have counterattacked with imaginative ideas of how such an elaborate defense mechanism could have evolved. Evolution supposedly progresses from primitive life forms to higher life forms. Because evolutionists postulate that the changes from “goo-to-you” happen through slight, successive modifications over millions of years, the “theory” of evolution cannot be tested.

Jeepers — evolution can’t be tested! After that stunning fact, she tells us:

Any design can be explained away by picking it apart into supposed steps. The supposed steps cannot be proven or disproven because no one can go back in time and record the alleged evolution of one animal kind to another.

Our teachers lied to us! Karin continues:

Evolutionists and creationists both have the same evidence, but they interpret that evidence through their different worldviews. Evolutionists base their beliefs on human reasoning that the design in this world could have happened through small, upward modifications over billions of years.

Human reasoning? The fools! Let’s read on:

Biblical creationists base their beliefs on God’s revelation, the Bible, which says he created the heavens and the earth with creatures fully formed and functioning according to their kinds. Both evolution and creation require belief in the unseen. Yet in cases like the bombardier beetle, perhaps more faith is needed to believe this complex creature evolved.

Yes — evolution requires more faith than creationism, so it must be rejected! Another excerpt:

Evolution is a convenient smokescreen for people to live as if the Creator, Law-Giver, and Judge did not exist. If God created us, we are obligated to live according to his standards for his glory. Yet we have all fallen short of God’s glory, rebelling against Him to go our own way in unbelief and disobedience [scripture reference].

You must repent, dear reader. Abandon your sinful ways!

The rest is bible stuff, so we’ll quit here. All in all, that was a most impressive post from AIG. Wouldn’t you agree?

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Creationist Wisdom #792: The No-Brainer

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the West Central Tribune of Willmar, Minnesota — site of The Great Willmar, Minnesota Raid, a famous bank robbery by the Machine Gun Kelly gang on July 15, 1930. It’s titled Thinking outside the science box. The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature. The thing is dated 26 July, but it just popped up today. Your Curmudgeon’s blog isn’t the only website suffering from Google indexing problems.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Phil. This isn’t his first appearance in our collection. The last time was Creationist Wisdom #681: Two Letters, when he said:

Evolution is religion masquerading as science. It takes a lot of “faith” to believe in that kind of “religion.” … I look forward to the day when American universities and big media will be released from the theocratic tyranny of Evolutionism’s religious “thought police” … .

Excerpts from Phil’s latest letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

One of the publications I subscribe to is the prestigious “Science” magazine published weekly by the American Association for Advancement of Science. A lot of smart people publish their works it.

Phil subscribes to Science? That’s unusual for someone whose letters find their way into our collection. He says:

However, when you go to the third page you will see a list of people, starting with the editor in chief, of over 100 people and their job titles. Next to that, there is a list of about 200 people on the board of reviewing editors. At the bottom, in very small light gray print, it says: “Science serves as a forum for discussion of important issues related to the advancement of science by publishing material on which a consensus has been reached as well as including the presentation of minority conflicting points of view.”

Does Phil have a problem with that? It seems so. He tells us:

The biggest thing in science today is genome biology. The rate of technical advancements is just mind-boggling. You would think with all that evidence resulting from trying to figure out how such a truly massive array of molecular machinery even works would be a no-brainer supporting intelligent design.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Yes, intelligent design is indeed a no-brainer. Phil continues:

Yet where are the “minority conflicting points of view” on intelligent design? I’ve not seen them. The magazine seems hell-bent on pushing macro-evolution in almost every issue, no matter how stupid it looks.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Great, huh? But wait — it gets better::

The same can be said for young age versus old age of the Earth. There is actually more evidence for a young Earth than for an Earth billions of years old, yet that evidence is never presented.

Gasp — this is an outrage! And now we come to the end:

The education establishment today is supposedly teaching kids about critical thinking. And they probably do; just as long as they don’t start thinking outside the confines of the politically correct science box.

Will the editors of Science take heed of Phil’s letter? What do you think, dear reader?

Copyright © 2017. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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