Category Archives: Intelligent Design

How Could Creationism Seem Reasonable?

Creationists are forever telling us that we can’t know what happened in the distant past because we weren’t there and we can’t re-create the past in the lab. Well, okay, but we nevertheless have a load of clues that anyone can see, and they consistently tell us the same story. That “story” (which includes geology and evolution) can lead to predictions about other clues we should find — which we do — see The Lessons of Tiktaalik. We can also make predictions about things we shouldn’t find, which we don’t — see Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils?

Because there’s no news to write about today, we’ll ask you to consider an unusual question: Under what circumstances would a belief in special creation be justified? We have one scenario that we’ve mentioned before, and you may have others.

Imagine a ship of interstellar explorers who have some kind of malfunction and manage to land on a distant and uninhabited planet. But all the adults are killed in the landing, and only a few of the youngest children emerge from the wreckage. They survive for a while on the ship’s supply of food, and after that runs out they find plants they can use for food in the alien landscape, and they can eat clams they find along the shore.

So the children survive. They mature and reproduce. Their numbers grow, but the resulting population has forgotten the ship that brought them to this world, and they have no idea that they are alien visitors. They know nothing of their origins, or science, or anything else. But the world allows them to survive, and it seems to be their natural home.

Over many centuries, the descendents of the castaways develop civilization. In due course, science emerges. Naturally, they wonder about their origins. Except for their sudden arrival, the rest of their story is similar to ours as we emerged from our savage origins. But what they learn is nothing like what we have learned.

They explore their world — which they think has always been their home — and they realize that besides themselves, there are no land animals other than insect-like creatures. In the oceans, there is no animal life — except shellfish and creatures like lobsters. Not only are they the only mammals in the world, they’re the only vertebrates. Nothing else is remotely like them. When they discover DNA, they can see that they are utterly unlike everything else in the world.

Even if they conclude that all the other life on their world is related, they’re strikingly different. So what would they conclude about their origins? It’s understandable if they imagine that they were specially created. Indeed, it would be amazing if they reached any other conclusion.

But what can we say about creationists here on Earth? Unlike the interstellar castaways, we can see that not only is all non-human life on this world related, but we too are related to the other creatures. We even see animals that are closely related to us — not only in their form, but also in their DNA. Under those circumstances, how can anyone ignore the evidence and insist that special creation is the answer?

Yet the creationists exist, and they wander around as if they were alien castaways on this world, utterly blind to the evidence that says otherwise. It’s totally inexplicable, but that’s what we’re dealing with.

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

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Rev. Michael Bresciani Exposes the Darwin Fable

We found another wild creationist rant at a website we’ve never visited before — American Clarion, which describes itself like this:

We feature contributors from around the country with their own unique perspective on issues from local to global focus, but always with a mind to American principles and the Judeo-Christian values that made this country the greatest in human history.

The article is Evolutionists: Political Correctness is not the Missing Link, and there’s a comments feature at the end. It was written by Michael Bresciani.

We’ve encountered Bresciani’s writing a few times before in RenewAmerica. The last time we wrote about one of his essays was Rev. Michael Bresciani — Science Fairy Tales. American Clarion doesn’t provide any information about him, but RenewAmerica says “Rev. Michael Bresciani is a Christian author and a columnist for several online sites and magazines.”

So you’re in for a wild ride, dear reader. And maybe the rev will drop in to comment here, as he has done before. Here are some excerpts from his latest essay, with bold font added by us:

If you can’t prove you came from an ape or a baboon (primate), you are still free to make a monkey of yourself. This may be the war cry or the dictum of the evolutionist, but the science is not settled and proof is sparse even today.

When making sweeping and detailed assertions of what happened billions of years ago, you are not practicing science, you are speculating. Without empirical proof, repeatable observable phenomena or even a missing link or two – quite simply you are shooting blanks even though you may sound like a munitions expert.

The rev is confused about “proof.” Science can decisively disprove an hypothesis, by producing evidence which clearly contradicts it, but accepted theories are never really proven — but they’re overwhelmingly supported by verifiable evidence and contradicted by none. As for what happened billions of years ago, what more can we say that hasn’t already been said so many times before? Past geological events leave evidence, which we can and do discover, and after the accumulation of an abundance of such evidence, its interpretation is no longer speculation. Let’s read on:

We don’t have to feel dumb for not believing in evolution because with the best in creation science burgeoning with new material daily, it is becoming quite clear that believing in the Darwin fable, may be the dumbest lie, the cruelest hoax, and the most un-provable scientific theory ever laid on a generation.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, rev — see Where Are The Anachronistic Fossils? Then look at A Few Questions for Creationists. He continues:

We have a plethora of hoaxes to draw from like: Piltdown, Nebraska, Java and Orce man are just a few but let’s not forget the arthritis plagued and most loved of all Neanderthal man who initially was put forth as a missing link. Lucy and Ida are the latest rage for the speculators, but already have fallen into disrepute.

Yes, rev, Piltdown Man was a hoax, and it was exposed by scientists, because Piltdown Man’s existence was inconsistent with Darwin’s theory — see Piltdown Man: The Creationists’ Savior. The others weren’t hoaxes. Nebraska Man, for example, was a mistake, swiftly recognized and corrected. Here’s more from the rev:

It is estimated that after accounting for disasters, asteroid strikes and deadly pandemics, the lowest number of homos sapiens or pre-humans that could be born in the billions of years used in the evolutionist narrative, there should be enough skeletal remains to reach to the moon and back, Odd that only a dozen or so have been put forth as proof and over three quarters of those have been revealed as hoaxes.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Hey, rev – humans haven’t been around for billions of years. Aside from that, fossils are quite rare. How many creatures conveniently die in a bog or a glacier so their remains will be preserved — and then found, notwithstanding geological upheavals? Not too many. Ah well, moving along:

The questions that Darwinists are stumbling over today, come from science not the bible. But evolution is entrenched in modern secularism and academia. It is the status quo and the only narrative allowed in the halls of higher learning.

The rev has no idea how science works. It’s the dream of every scientist to find evidence that will overthrow an earlier theory and make him the proud author of one that is better. Here’s the end of the rev’s essay:

To be fair, considering what Darwinists’ call proof, it is obvious that the theory of evolution has no bearing on anything.

Way to go, rev! Great essay!

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

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Thomas Aquinas Joins the Discovery Institute

This is the latest episode of the Discovery Institute’s creepy practice of retroactively recruiting dead people in order to add prestige to what’s going on in their Seattle ministry. They have an illustrious roster of long-deceased members, and occasionally they find a new cadaver they can dig up for display in their gruesome gallery. It’s a bizarre activity but it’s safe, because the dead can’t complain about the ignominy of being displayed in the Discoveroids’ Hall of Ancestors.

Here are links to their earlier body-snatching episodes, starting with Thomas Jefferson, and then Alfred Wallace (because of some foolishness he wrote in his dotage), and then Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and then they really got carried away when Charles Darwin Joins the Discovery Institute, and then James Clerk Maxwell, and then — this one was also rather audacious — Superman, and then William Jennings Bryan (of all the carcasses they’ve stashed in their cellar, only Bryan’s belongs there, because he would have voluntarily joined the Discovery Institute), and most recently Abe Lincoln.

Today we bring you another ghoulish episode in the invasion of the Discoveroid body snatchers — this time their victim is Thomas Aquinas (1225 – 1274). We saw this one coming, because the Discoveroids have previously praised Aquinas’ 13th Century pre-Enlightenment thinking. A month ago we wrote Discoveroids: All Theology, All the Time, about a Discoveroid post by Michael Egnor gushing over Thomas Aquinas’ Five Proofs of God.

The Discoveroids’ latest post is Hylomorphism as a Metaphysic for Intelligent Design Science. It was written by JT Bridges, introduced by an editor’s note as “a professor of philosophy at Southern Evangelical Seminary in North Carolina.” This is Bridges’ first appearance at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog, and he brings Aquinas with him — a strange addition to an allegedly scientific think tank. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Catholic theologian Thomas Aquinas is popularly known for his “Five Ways” of demonstrating God’s existence. [Reference to Egnor’s post of last month.] But Aquinas in many of his writings also provides a detailed philosophical account of God’s created order and man’s ability to know it. In doing so, Aquinas offers insights in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of nature, and epistemology that bear on how one might give a philosophical justification for the conclusions arrived at scientifically by ID theorists.

Exciting, huh? Aquinas’s 13th Century religious writings somehow support the Discoveroids’ “scientific theory” of intelligent design. Query: Can you think of any genuine scientific theory that anyone attempts to justify like that? No? That should tell you something. Anyway, let’s see what Bridges has to tell us:

Given Aquinas’ obvious theistic position and his classical empiricism it likely seems strange to many people when they hear some contemporary Thomists critiquing intelligent design on various grounds. As someone who sees a deep coherence between Aquinas and the modern design movement, I think these criticisms are misguided (part of my doctoral dissertation shows how ID and Thomism are compatible). I also think that such claims of incompatibility are unfortunate because they miss the ways in which Thomistic philosophy and ID science can be mutually informative.

Very, uh … medieval writing style. Appropriate to the subject matter, however. Let’s read on:

Here I’d like to focus on one of those ways — how Thomistic hylomorphism can provide a philosophical foundation for the insights of modern design theorists. Further, once one sees the nature of hylomorphism, it provides another sound critique of the design theorists’ arch nemesis, philosophical naturalism.

All right, we give up. Tell us, bible college boy — what’s “Thomistic hylomorphism”? Bridges gets around to that eventually. Meanwhile, he continues:

As Intelligent Design (ID) science has matured over the past several decades, it has gone through several phases of growing pains both as a scientific paradigm and as an idea in the culture. One facet of this growth that interests me as a philosopher is the recent discussion over ID and the metaphysics of information prompted by William Dembski‘s Being as Communion: A Metaphysics of Information.

Ooooooooooh — information! We’ve written about that — see Phlogiston, Vitalism, and Information, where we said:

It’s something like pixie dust. It’s in your DNA. Without information, DNA is just … well, it’s a big molecule. But when the ghostly goodie of information is added — Shazam! Yes, it’s rather like vitalism, but the Discoveroids don’t want you to notice that. … It’s not matter, not energy, not anything you know. It’s information! And it’s a big deal. It permeates the entire universe. The concept is discussed in the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims: Information cannot be created by either natural processes or chance, so there is a law of conservation of information..

Oh, that TalkOrigins entry says: “Normally, physical laws get to be considered laws after they are tested and verified by independent sources under very many various conditions. For Dembski to claim a new physical law without any testing whatsoever is hubris of the highest magnitude.” Anyway, Bridges is all excited about information. Here’s more from his exciting essay:

First things first: What is hylomorphism? From two Greek words “hyle” meaning “matter” and “morphe” meaning “form,” hylomorphism is a view of natural objects as being a unified composite of form and matter.

Form and matter? M’god — he’s going all the way back to Plato’s Theory of Forms which, according to Wikipedia: “asserts that non-material abstract (but substantial) forms (or ideas), and not the material world of change known to us through sensation, possess the highest and most fundamental kind of reality.” That’s the essence of mystical thinking, so of course it’s related to intelligent design. Skipping a few paragraphs of medieval jabbering by Bridges, he concludes with this:

It is possible, then, to understand ID science through the lens of Thomistic hylomorphic metaphysics.

[…]

There may be other metaphysical systems within which ID science could find its home. The above is an account of how Aristotelian-Thomistic hylomorphism is one of those systems.

So there you are — wherever that is. The “theory” of intelligent design has come home, where it has always belonged. And Thomas Aquinas is now one of the Discovery Institute’s founding fathers. Everything is as it should be.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #525: Evolution Leads to Hell

You think you’re pretty smart, don’t you? Well let’s see if you can handle this one. Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Marietta Times of Marietta, Ohio. It’s titled An argument for creationism.

There’s no author’s name and no comments feature, so we don’t know what this thing is, but we’ll treat it as if it were just another letter — but it’s so much more! Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

A few weeks ago while reading an article entitled Spirituality and Science on the Focus On Faith page, I recalled the following Bible verse. “keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions (empty philosophies) of science falsely so called.” (I Timothy 6:20) … . Therefore, while meaning no offense, I must address both the vain babblings and pseudo science found throughout said article.

Throughout the letter, the author has lots of scripture quotes and references (which we’ll omit from now on), and he also inserts his own — often weird — definitions of terms, which is something we haven’t seen before. Then he says:

In that article the definition of spirituality was explained as dealing ‘with the sacred (respected) and transcendent (inspiring) and is not necessarily the same as religion’. With this definition in mind, spirituality is basically a personal philosophy of life rooted in nature, social commitments and good deeds, having little connection to religion, and definitely very little, if any, connection to God and Christianity!

Judging from the author’s definitions, he doesn’t understand English very well. How can spirituality deal with the transcendent, yet be “rooted in nature”? We won’t worry about it. Let’s read on:

The aforementioned article stated that open-minded people discover enlightened spirituality through facts discovered in the field of science, although they assume there are no final answers or inerrant truths to be found. As I continued reading, the reason for their assumption was made quite clear, and I quote – “An example of how science enriches (improves/enhances) spirituality is the case of evolution.”

Oh dear — evolution! Now it gets interesting. The unknown author continues:

There’s the answer! Many spiritual seekers are gladly walking lockstep with a false scientific theory that reeks of humanistic and atheistic babblings. Evolution was built on nothing but bones, rocks and fossils, and is in a continual state of flux due to its ever-changing timelines, erroneous carbon dating techniques, wrongly categorized skulls and bones and proven hoaxes.

Good, huh? Here’s more:

Not one transitional fossil has been unearthed to acknowledge the process of past evolution. No wonder there are no answers or indisputable truths. Evolution is simply a theory despite the scientists who endorse it! Evolution is anti-God, anti-Christ, anti-God’s Word and anti-common sense!

We like a letter-writer who doesn’t hold anything back. Moving along:

But? there is a doctrine, NOT a theory, that will provide final answers and inerrant truths for those who are seriously seeking genuine spiritually far beyond some personal philosophy.

Oooooooooooh! What is this wondrous doctrine that provides final answers and inerrant truths? Brace yourself, dear reader:

This doctrine is Creationism! Creationism is the unyielding, steadfast fundamental doctrine of genuine biblical Christianity, yes, Christianity, not religion! Unlike evolution, creationism unlocks the ‘mystery’ of creation, and discloses astounding scientific facts that only God, the Architect of all of creation, could have known thousands of years prior to them being discovered, and proven 100% accurate!

[*Curmudgeon weeps tears of joy*] Another excerpt:

Creationism and evolution are heaven and hell apart. Creationism has a loving, but just God! Evolution has the Big Bang.

[*Curmudgeon’ tears are uncontrollable*]

God created man with whom to share a relationship. Evolution made man by accident. Creationism offers Heaven and everlasting life. [Scripture quote.] Evolution has nothing to offer except eternal damnation.

We can’t take much more of this. Let’s skip to the end:

We need to stop searching for fossils and digging for bones! Instead, we must dig for and uncover inerrant truths in the rich ‘soil’ of God’s Divine Word! There we will find the Savior, Jesus Christ who will lead us to Heaven! Belief in evolution leads only to Hell!

So there you are, dear reader. Now let’s see if you can handle The Truth.

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

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