Category Archives: Science

WorldNetDaily: The Junk-Science of Evolution

Buffoon Award

We almost missed thiis one, but thanks to the ever-vigilant Drool-o-tron™, with its blaring sirens and flashing lights, we were compelled to notice the blinking letters of its wall display, which said WorldNetDaily (WND). As you know, WorldNetDaily (WND) is the flamingly creationist, absolutely execrable, moronic, and incurably crazed journalistic organ that believes in and enthusiastically promotes every conspiracy theory that ever existed. WND was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo displayed above this post.

Our computer was locked onto WND’s latest article, Why do Christians follow evolution-based diets? And look at WND’s subtitle: “Exclusive: David Lightsey examines books’ claims about foods allowed by Scripture.” Wowie — it’s an exclusive! You can’t find this information anywhere else!

But who is David Lightsey? WND informs us:

David Lightsey, M.S., is a food and nutrition science adviser with the National Council Against Health Fraud as well as Quackwatch, combating nutrition and health misinformation on a national level. He is also a voting member with the Creation Research Society and an adjunct college professor in nutrition. He is a well-seasoned junk-science spotter (30 years) with appearances on NBC “Dateline,” “CBS Evening News,” etc.

That might be the most impressive résumé we’ve ever encountered. David proudly uses “M.S.” as a title, to let us know that he has a master’s degree — in something, from somewhere. He’s a voting member of the prestigious Creation Research Society, and he has appeared on television. This guy obviously knows what he’s talking about, so we’ll jump right in. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

According to many New York Times best-sellers over the past few years, many of the myriad of diseases that afflict man would subside or be eliminated if we just ate like our purported paleolithic ancestors. For example … . Similar books touting the popular Paleolithic, Caveman and Eat 4 Your Blood Type diets have all made the best-sellers lists in the past, all providing similarly misguided advice.

We’ve all seen such promotions. What of it? David says:

It is understandable why this type of dietary nonsense has become so popular. According to a recently published Gallup poll – May 22, 2017 – 57 percent of the U.S. population believe in some form of evolution, which illustrates the growing science illiteracy of Americans.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! You gotta love WND! After that, David tells us:

The obvious initial reason is quite simple. The restricted foods are all clearly allowed by Scripture and have been part of man’s diet since the beginning of time.

We think he means six days after the beginning of time, but let’s not quibble. David continues:

Since evolution is based upon the initial premise of abiogenesis, which is biologically impossible, the various food restrictions based upon evolutionary theory are senseless.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Let’s read on:

Regardless of the obvious arguments opposing evolution and any promoted lifestyle associated with it, let’s look at some specific well-established health reasons why various foods should not be excluded.

We’re going to skip over most of David’s article, because it’s a discussion of things like sugar, dairy products, legumes, and grain. Maybe what he says makes sense, maybe it doesn’t. Your Curmudgeon isn’t a nutritionist, so we’ll leave it up to you to read and evaluate David’s advice if you care to do so.

This is the stunning conclusion of David’s article:

The take-home message here is very simple. Making food choices based upon the junk-science of evolution is misguided.

So there you are, dear reader. WND warns you to avoid making food choices based on the junk-science of evolution. Sound advice indeed!

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

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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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Rev. David Rives — The Eclipse Is a Gift

We had shut off the Drool-o-tron™ because of the coming eclipse, but for some reason we switched it back on. It immediately alerted us with its sirens and flashing lights. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). The Drool-o-tron™ had once again found the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

Our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: Solar eclipses: Random coincidence or God’s design? The actual title of the rev’s video is “Solar Eclipse: God’s Design.”

The rev tells us that although the Sun is 400 times bigger than the moon, it’s 400 times further away, so they appear the same size. No other planet in the solar system has total eclipses, and we’re here just at the right time to see them. Wowie! Is that an accident?

No! In Genesis, we read that God created the Sun, the Moon and the Earth. What better way could there be to declare His glory? The eclipse is a gift from our creator.

The rev is wearing his dark blue bible-boy suit, and he’s the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is less than 3 minutes long before the commercial at the end. Go ahead, click over to WND and watch it.

As we always do with the rev’s videos, we dedicate the comments section for your use as an Intellectual Free Fire Zone. You know the rules. Okay, the comments are open. Go for it!

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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