Category Archives: Intelligent Design

Creationism and Morality, Part 5

We are always being told by creationists that they — and they alone — have a reason to behave morally, while those godless evolutionists think they live in an immoral universe and behave accordingly. We’ve written about this several times before — see Creationism and Morality, Part 4, which links to earlier posts in that series, and also Klinghoffer on Science and Morality.

In Morality, Evolution, and Darwin, we said:

[E]very sane adult you ask will tell you that: (1) he doesn’t want to be murdered, enslaved, raped, or otherwise assaulted; (2) he doesn’t want his property stolen; (3) he doesn’t want to be told lies or be cheated; (4) he doesn’t want his private behavior or his honest and voluntary dealings with others to be restricted; and (5) he doesn’t want his thoughts regulated. Given mankind’s unanimity on the foregoing, would it not be reasonable to conclude that the desire to be free from those conditions is an objectively verifiable attribute of all humans, and therefore any system of morality should be based thereon?

Our rational, non-mystical approach to things avoids David Hume’s Is–ought problem problem because it doesn’t tell people what they should do — that’s left up to them. It only tells them what they should not do.

Along the way, we’ve raised several questions about the creationists’ position which are always unanswered, such as how they can explain:

Abraham’s behavior when God announced His intention to exterminate the populations of Sodom and Gomorrah? Abraham objected and told God that it would be unjust to kill the good along with the rest. And what of Moses’ reaction when God announced His intention to exterminate the Hebrews because of the golden calf incident? Moses argued God out of doing it.

And also:

If evolution were the road to evil, one must wonder how Darwin himself somehow managed to lead such an exemplary life. And where are the headlines screaming: “Another Biology Teacher With 30 Bodies Buried in His Back Yard!” It’s certainly interesting that those who are the most involved with the theory of evolution are the least likely to justify the creationists’ fears.

We thought there wasn’t much else to be said, but today we found Pastor kills himself after mistakenly sending his nude photos intended for his mistress to church members instead. It appears at the website Christian Today, which describes itself as “an independent Christian media company,” located in London. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Pastor Letsego of Christ Embassy in Limpopo, South Africa reportedly hanged himself in shame after he mistakenly sent photos of his genitals to members of his church using the WhatsApp texting service in mobile phones.

According to the online news source Live Monitor, the married pastor intended to send the pictures to his mistress who, it is said, is a member of the same church. Worse, the news source said the pastor sent a message that reads “Wife is away, it’s all yours tonight” along with the photos.

Egad! How is such a thing possible? Then the article says:

Members of the church group who received the photos and message were shocked and outraged. They tried to call up the pastor, who wouldn’t answer. The pastor then left the group. The following day, he was found hanging in his rented church house, Live Monitor reported.

Strange. We would expect that sort of behavior from a biologist — perhaps without the remorseful suicide — but a pastor? Oh wait — the article tells us:

Other pastors have also found themselves enmeshed in extramarital affairs that likewise ended in tragedy.

Really? We’re shocked — shocked! To make it worse, they tell us about two others:

• In June, an Indiana pastor was believed to have committed suicide after he was charged with soliciting sex from a minor, The Christian Post reported. David James Brown, the 46-year-old senior pastor at First Christian Church in Jeffersonville, Indiana, was found hanging inside an Attic Self Storage unit in Marietta, Georgia. Investigators found no evidence of foul play.

• Last year, John Gibson, a pastor and seminary professor of the New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, was also believed to have taken his own life after his name was exposed by hackers as one of the users of the extramarital affair website Ashley Madison.

That’s how the article ends. But observe, dear reader, the fallen preachers they told us about were recent events. They didn’t bother to remind us of some notorious cases from the past, such as like Ted Haggard, Jimmy Swaggart, and Jim Bakker. To be fair, we must acknowledge that most clergymen seem to lead exemplary lives. However, if the creationists’ claims about morality are true, there shouldn’t be any failures among creationist denominations. Also, we’ve never seen creationists present a list of prominent biologists whose conduct is comparable to the fallen preachers.

So we’re left with a mystery. We’re told that creationism is the source of morality, and evolution leads to depravity. But why do the data say otherwise? We’re so confused!

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

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Hambo and the Dinosaur

This seems to happen a lot — we see an article at PhysOrg, scan it, and move on, thinking it won’t be of any interest to creationists. But once again we were wrong. This time we’ll try to learn from our mistake.

The PhysOrg article we thought would be ignored by creationists is: What dinosaurs’ colour patterns say about their habitat. It says:

After reconstructing the colour patterns of a well-preserved dinosaur from China, researchers from the University of Bristol have found that the long-lost species Psittacosaurus (meaning “parrot lizard”, a reference to its parrot-like beak) was light on its underside and darker on top. This colour pattern, known as countershading, is a common form of camouflage in modern animals.

[…]

Dr Jakob Vinther from the Schools of Earth Sciences and Biological Sciences, said: “The fossil, which is on public display at the Senckenberg Museum of Natural History in Germany, preserves clear countershading, which has been shown to function by counter-illuminating shadows on a body, thus making an animal appear optically flat to the eye of the beholder.”

Behavioural ecologist Professor Innes Cuthill from the School of Biological Sciences, added: “By reconstructing a life-size 3D model, we were able to not only see how the patterns of shading changed over the body, but also that it matched the sort of camouflage which would work best in a forested environment.”

You’re wondering the same thing we did: What can a creationist do with that? Prepare yourself to be amazed, dear reader. We have a new blog entry from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the ayatollah of Appalachia. It’s titled Scientists Discover Camouflaged Dinosaur. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us.

After briefly mentioning the discovery, Hambo says:

This dinosaur was buried with skin and even pigments intact. This means it had to be buried extremely rapidly before it had a chance to decay. Of course, the conditions of the global Flood of Noah’s day were perfect for rapidly burying organisms. As the floodwaters washed over the continents, miles of sediment were ripped up and re-deposited in layers, trapping and burying organisms. This explains how we can find fossils with the soft parts still intact. It doesn’t take millions of years to make a fossil!

The fossil was nothing like that! PhysOrg says (with our bold font for emphasis):

Professor Innes and colleagues at Bristol had also been exploring the distribution of countershading in modern animals. But it was no easy matter to apply the same principles to an extinct animal that had been crushed flat and fossilized.

To explore this idea further they teamed up with local palaeoartist, Bob Nicholls in order to reconstruct the remarkable fossil in to a physical model which, they say, is the most scientifically accurate life-size model of a dinosaur with its real color patterns. Days of careful studies of the fossil, taking measurements of the bones, studying the preserved scales and the pigment patterns, with input on muscle structure from Bristol palaeontologists Professor Emily Rayfield and Dr Stephan Lautenschlager, led to months of careful modelling of the dinosaur.

Bob Nicholls said: “Our Psittacosaurus was reconstructed from the inside-out. There are thousands of scales, all different shapes and sizes, and many of them are only partially pigmented. It was a painstaking process but we now have the best suggestion as to what this dinosaur really looked like.”

Contrary to what Hambo says, this wasn’t a dead animal “with the soft parts still intact.” Okay, then Hambo discusses the advantages of countershading, after which he declares:

The Creator perfectly designed this little dinosaur with camouflage to protect it from predators in a fallen world.

Yes, that’s obvious. Then he gives his drooling followers some advice:

When scientists make exciting new discoveries like this, our response should be to praise the One who created everything with such detail and complexity.

Hambo ends the post with a sales pitch:

Our Creation Museum near Cincinnati has many intriguing dinosaur exhibits (e.g., a world-class allosaur skeleton) and puts them in the context of Bible history, not evolution.

So there you are. What do we learn? The lesson is this: No matter what scientists may find, a creationist leader should do three things: First, shout “Goddidit!” Then, if it’s a fossil, toss in a reference to the Flood. Last, and most importantly, stick your hand out and ask for money.

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

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Gorilla Extinction — Why Do You Care?

You will be deeply hurt by the latest post at the website of Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. And you deserve to be hurt!

Their article is Gorillas, Endangerment, and Evolutionary Morality, written by Brian Thomas. He’s described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” This is ICR’s biographical information on him. Here are some excerpts from his article, with bold font added by us:

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) revealed their latest Red List of Threatened Species at their World Conservation Congress in Hawaii on September 4, 2016. There, thousands of scientists and celebrities discussed recently extinct plants and others nearing extinction, but the primate declines grabbed the headlines. Two of the three great-ape kinds are rapidly shrinking. Illegal hunting continues to diminish the now “critically endangered” gorillas and orangutans, while chimpanzees are listed as merely “endangered.” Why should these losses sadden those concerned?

Yeah — why are they sad? A quote from one of the conservationist explains it:

IUCN Director General Inger Andersen told IUCN News, “To see the Eastern gorilla — one of our closest cousins — slide towards extinction is truly distressing.”

Our cousins? Yuk! Brian Thomas ain’t no kin to no monkey! He says:

“Closest cousins” refers to the supposed evolutionary relationship humans and gorillas share by having descended from the same primate ancestor somewhere in the last ten million years. Therefore, in Director Anderson’s view, humans were not made by God in the image of God. Instead, mankind represents a less-hairy hominid that evolved from an unknown ape-like creature.

After ridiculing the conservationist, Brian tells us:

If we are all products of evolution, then what basis do humans have for real morality? Does Inger Anderson’s lament go beyond mere sentiment? On what evolutionary mooring would she base her great distress about great-ape extinction?

Yeah! Every creationist knows that evolutionists have no morality. Brian explains:

The Bible says God made humans in His image, and this includes our shared knowledge of good and evil — an intrinsic knowledge called conscience placed into humans from the beginning. But good and evil have no place in evolutionary thinking, which strictly embraces survival and sees death as a means for the best life forms to survive.

Evolution is really bad stuff, and Brian can’t stop beating up on the conservationist. His assault continues:

So on what moral basis does Ms. Andersen find extinction “truly distressing?” Extinction should cause concern. But that concern comes from a Christian view of the world in which God ordained mankind to care for His creation. Did the actual image of God, including the knowledge of right and wrong and deep-seated emotions like concern or distress, come out of Inger Anderson’s mouth in the same breath as her implicit denial of that very image?

Brian is really pounding away! But it’s a righteous pounding; the conservationist deserves it! This is from the end:

Why should illegally hunting endangered animals distress those who believe that the physical universe is all that there is? That mindset offers no answer beyond personal preference. In contrast, those who attribute lasting value to God’s creations have a real basis for concern.

So there you are, dear reader. Evolutionists are evil, and extinctions shouldn’t bother them at all. Only creationists like Brian can truly appreciate the wonders of creation.

Aside from that, we know the real reason creationists may be distressed at the prospect of great ape extinction. If there were no more of them, creationists could no longer ask: If we evolved from apes, then why are there still apes?

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

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Forget Creationism & Evolution! Meet Fungus Man

This may be the most exciting news we’ve ever told you about, dear reader. It comes to us from an article in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner of Fairbanks, Alaska. The newspaper has a comments feature. Their headline is Fungus Man and the start of it all. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Alaskans love fungi. This was evident one Saturday when author and mycologist Lawrence Millman offered a mushroom walk at Creamer’s Field on one of the wettest days of the yellow-leaf season. “Eighty people showed up in the rain, all eager to learn about fungi,” Millman said by email after returning to his home in Massachusetts. “I dare say the hunter-gatherer instinct is alive and well in Fairbanks.”

That is a strange beginning. Wikipedia has a write-up on Lawrence Millman. They say he’s a mycologist, a biologist specializing in Mycology — the study of fungi. Okay, but where is Millman’s mushroom walk going to take us? You must continue reading, dear reader. All will be revealed. Here’s where it starts to get interesting.

During a lecture at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Millman introduced the crowd to Fungus Man, a character in a Haida myth. Millman showed a drawing depicting a wide-eyed Fungus Man paddling a canoe. Fungus Man guides Raven, who sits in the front of the canoe holding a spear.

According to Wikipedia, the Haida people are natives of the Pacific Northwest Coast of North America. Some live in British Columbia, and some live in Alaska. Okay, at this point we’ve got Fungus Man padding Raven around in a canoe. So what? Here it comes:

As the legend goes, Fungus Man paddled Raven the Creator to the land of female genitalia, “thus making it possible for homo sapiens to appear on our beleaguered planet,” Millman said.

Hooray for Fungus Man! Where would we be without him? Then we’re told:

Robert Blanchette of the University of Minnesota once fleshed out Fungus Man in the journal Mycologia: “Fungus Man originated from a bracket fungus with a white undersurface upon which Raven drew a face … Of all the creatures that Raven placed in the stern of the canoe only Fungus Man had the supernatural powers to breach the spiritual barriers that protected the area where women’s genital parts were located.

You must admit, dear reader, this is much more satisfying than the creation account in Genesis. The article then tells us that some native people have a higher regard for fungi than others. That’s far less interesting than a journey to the land of female genitalia, but it’s still worth mentioning:

… Millman, a frequent visitor to the far north, noted in his lecture that Interior and coastal Alaskans didn’t seem to have the same reverence for fungi as the Southeasterners. … Perhaps, he said, it was because a Yupik translation of mushroom means “that which makes your hands fall off.” Or because some Natives of the far north explained mushrooms as “the (excrement) of shooting stars.”

That’s good to know. This is how the article ends:

“You can quote me as saying that Fungus Man is a far more benevolent deity than the Christian God,” Millman said. “(It’s) a pity no one believes in Him anymore.”

Yes, it is a pity. Of all the gods we’ve ever heard about, Fungus Man may be the most benevolent. It’s too bad Darwin never visited Alaska. The theory of evolution would have been greatly enhanced by this information. It still could be! More research is needed.

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

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