Category Archives: Science

Creationist Wisdom #1,048: Ancient Aliens Fan

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Gaston Gazette of Gastonia, North Carolina. The letter is titled Love the human — hate the virus, and it’s the second letter at that link. The newspaper says their comment feature isn’t working.

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 Kenneth. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

I am a [skeptic], agnostic about religion and only wonder about spiritual things because of a few events in my life — Only watched John Edward’s “Passing Over” because my wife did.

That was a weird opening sentence. The word “skeptic” was like that in Kenny’s letter — brackets and all, so we’re skeptical about his skepticism. And we know nothing about that movie — or TV show — or whatever it is. Based on the rest of the letter, we’ll regard Kenny as a creationist. He then says:

I like science fiction and ancient aliens [Groan!] so about 5 years ago, watching alone, I tuned to Oprah where her guest was a scientist whose experiments proved that good and bad human thoughts about identical lab cultures have healing or debilitating powers on other bacteria.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Well, we shouldn’t laugh. If the “scientist” Kenny watched was on the Oprah show, he must be at the top of his field. After informing us about that amazing work, Kenny reveals even more scientific wonders:

Since then [within the last five years], man has determined there is dark matter and energy — even proven black holes. [Wow!] We are pretty sure of these things because of their effects on what we observe — just like the scientist about good thoughts having a positive effect on bacteria cultures and bad thoughts the opposite. Can our thoughts affect a virus?

What a great question! If our thoughts can affect bacteria, why can’t they affect a virus? Then he makes an amazing suggestion:

I would not shut the door to vaccines and other methods of dealing with it but — and the news media can help by reminding us that this virus is bad and needs to die — if we all prayed, meditated, hoped (whatever you wish to call it) that the this virus would die and it worked, it would not only help but open the door to a better understanding of the universe.

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! Kenny ends his letter with this:

What have we all got to lose? I’ve even got a catch phrase = Love the human — Hate the virus.

You gotta admit, dear reader — that was a great letter!

Copyright © 2020. 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

Beware! Scientists Practice Idolatry!

The Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — is on a crusade to save the world from idolatry. A month ago we wrote ICR Says Science Is Idolatry. Now they’re at it again.

Their latest anti-idolatry post is titled Subtle Idolatry in Modern Science. Like the earlier one, it too was written by Brian Thomas, about whom we’re told: “Dr. Thomas is Research Associate at the Institute for Creation Research and earned his Ph.D. in paleobiochemistry from the University of Liverpool.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Engaging in worship seems unavoidable for humans — even the atheistic thinkers who dominate modern science. [What?] Reverence and adoration lie at the heart of worship. Scripture tells us the ancient Egyptians, Canaanites, Israelites, and other cultures worshiped idols. [Foolish people!] They imagined their idols held power and could sway personal, political, or physical events.

But it’s not only people in ancient times. Brian says:

Ironically, some of the scientists who scoff at the way our ancestors gave god-like attributes to inanimate objects follow similar patterns today. [They do?] Each person should examine their heart to root out subtle idolatry.

After that shocker, he tells us:

Even the areligious can fall prey to idolatry without knowing it. Idolatry is so damaging and pervasive that God listed it first in His Ten Commandments. [Brian reminds us with a footnote: “You shall have no other gods before Me”] Modern scientific minds commit idolatry when they revere and adore natural forces for crafting creatures instead of the God of all creation who actually made them.

That means you commit idolatry all the time, dear reader. Don’t deny it; it’s true! Brian continues:

Scientists Mark Hallett and Mathew Wedel authored the academic book The Sauropod Dinosaurs. In it, they wrote:

[Brian quotes from the book, with his bracketed inserts:] From osteoblasts that evolved millions of years earlier to originally give ancient fish protection from sea scorpions, natural selection evolved bioarchetectural marvels of strength and lightness to support vast weight and yet enable flexibility and movement [in sauropods].

These authors replaced the Creator with evolution by natural selection. [Gasp!] Does this differ so much from the ancients who revered their idols’ supposed power over physical events?

There’s no difference — it’s all idolatry! Let’s read on:

Make no mistake — sauropods show exactly the kind of exquisite design that only God could craft. Wedel and Hallett sprinkle design terms throughout their book. They describe “very lightly constructed short skulls,” but who is the constructor? [Yeah, who?] In reference to sauropod vertebrae, they write, “Each elegant, sculpted-looking shape played a part in providing the giant animals with the most support needed with the least amount of bone.” Will the real sculptor please step forward? [It ain’t Darwin!] Terms like “constructed” and “sculpted” imply a purposeful, personal, powerful, and perceptive otherworldly architect. [Right!] The God of the Bible meets all those criteria. Natural processes do not.

It couldn’t be any clearer! Another excerpt:

Has anyone seen or recorded natural processes such as climates and predators behaving like architects or engineers who design and build marvelous buildings or machines? [Of course not!] As an actual Person, God qualifies. Nature qualifies as nothing. [Nothing!] It has no mind, being, or agency, just like all those nothing idols. Thus, whoever ascribes architectural and engineering marvels to nature — whether called natural selection, evolution, or physical processes — robs God of the credit only He deserves.

Feeling foolish, dear reader? Well, you should! Here’s more:

So, what steps can we take to root out naturalism’s idolatrous tendencies? [Tell us, Brian!] When we see words that describe design, we need to keep the real Designer in mind. We need to recognize when scientists make unscientific statements and ask for evidence that shows natural processes can actually perform what naturalists say they can.

That’s good! And now we come to the end:

Finally, direct your expressions of reverence and admiration to the real Maker every chance you can!

That’s great advice. Thanks, Brian!

Copyright © 2020. 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

Triumphant Free Fire Zone

When we began this humble blog back in 2008, creationism was a real threat to our education system. Several states were seriously considering laws requiring creationism to be taught in their public schools. Only Louisiana and Tennessee have enacted the Discovery Institute’s Academic Freedom bill, and those states were probably already teaching creationism. Nowadays it’s rare that some crazed legislator will introduce some version of that law, and even if it happens, their bills never get anywhere.

The Discoveroids had a “documentary” which was being shown in theaters all over the place, and school boards around the country were actively considering adding creationism to their curriculum. See Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. For the end of that story, View the Bankruptcy Court Bids for “Expelled”.

There used to be frequent law suits by creationist professors who felt they weren’t being properly treated by their universities, but those cases never went anywhere — and the creationists (if they didn’t already have tenure) would quietly slip away to join the faculty of some bible college where their “science” was appreciated. For a trip down memory lane, see Eric Hedin Leaves Ball State, Goes to Biola.

The Discoveroids have tried to openly infiltrate academia, but without success. They had their Brief Shining Moment at Baylor back in 1999, and that fizzled. All they have now is a few faculty members who kept their creationism in the closet until they achieved tenure, and even now, they’re not allowed to teach it.

Litigation just doesn’t work for creationists. The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District case was a disaster for them, and so was every other claim they favored that went to trial — like the David Coppedge case.

A couple of years ago we summarized a lot of this in Discovery Institute: A History of Failure, and two years before that we wrote Discovery Institute: 20 Years of Failure

So where are we now? No one can predict the future, but for the moment it looks like the creationists have been beaten. Badly. All they’ve got is their websites, podcasts, vanity press books, and their presumably dwindling roster of major contributors. Well, Hambo’s got the Ark, so he and his family are probably secure, and there’s no shortage of droolers, so all is well for folks like that. Creationists will always find a way to preach, and we have no desire to stop them. Our concern has always been science education, and that seems to be in no danger.

Therefore, we’re declaring another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

Okay, we now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

Addendum: There’s a great new article at PhysOrg that debunks just about everything Discoveroids and a lot of other creationists have ever said. It’s well worth reading: Evolutionary flaws disprove the theory of intelligent design.

Copyright © 2020. 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

ICR Ridicules Cosmology — for Good Reason?

A recent article in Astronomy has creationists running wild. It’s titled Is the Big Bang in crisis? The first two paragraphs will introduce situation:

A series of powerful observations has made it clear that our universe has expanded for billions of years, emerging from the hot, dense state we call the Big Bang. Over the past several decades, new types of precise measurements have allowed scientists to scrutinize and refine this account, letting them reconstruct the history of our universe in ever greater detail. When we compare the results from different kinds of measurements — the expansion rate of the universe, the temperature patterns in the light released when the first atoms formed, the abundances of various chemical elements, and the distribution of galaxies and other large-scale structures — we find stunning agreement. Each of these lines of evidence supports the conclusion that our universe expanded and evolved in just the way that the Big Bang theory predicts. From this perspective, our universe appears to be remarkably comprehensible.

But cosmologists have struggled — if not outright failed — to understand essential facets of the universe. We know almost nothing about dark matter and dark energy, which together make up more than 95 percent of the total energy in existence today. We don’t understand how the universe’s protons, electrons, and neutrons could have survived the aftereffects of the Big Bang. In fact, everything we know about the laws of physics tells us that these particles should have been destroyed by antimatter long ago. And in order to make sense of the universe as we observe it, cosmologists have been forced to conclude that space, during its earliest moments, must have undergone a brief and spectacular period of hyperfast expansion — an event known as cosmic inflation. Yet we know next to nothing about this key era of cosmic history.

That’s a fair summary of where things are today, and it presents an opportunity for creationists — such as the brilliant article that just appeared at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. It’s titled Astronomy Magazine: Big Bang in Crisis?

It was written by one of ICR’s top creation scientists — Jake Hebert. They say he has a Ph.D. in physics, and joined ICR as a research associate the same year that degree was awarded. Here are some excerpts from Jake’s article, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The May 2020 issue of Astronomy magazine asks what might have once been seen as an unthinkable question: Is the Big Bang in Crisis? [Gasp!] The article cites four major problems with the model: 1) that the Big Bang implies that 95% of the universe’s content is unknown to us, 2) the inability of the Big Bang to explain the enormous matter/antimatter imbalance in the universe, 3) the nature of cosmic inflation that was “tacked onto” the model years ago, and 4) contradicting values of the universe’s inferred expansion rate.

Wowie — scientists are actually admitting that they don’t understand the universe! Jake is all excited. He quickly mentions the evidence that supports the Big Bang theory, and then he lovingly recites the issues that are not yet resolved. Near the end of that recital he says:

Moreover, Big Bang theorists acknowledge that, by their own reckoning, they do not know the composition of 95% of the mass/energy of the universe. Or to put it another way, they don’t know what the universe is composed of. [They’re fools!] This one simple fact demonstrates the absurdity [Absurdity!] of their claim that they know how the universe came to be.

Their ignorance is so obvious! Then Jake tells us:

A 2004 open letter published in New Scientist had this to say about the Big Bang:

[He quotes the first paragraph of Open Letter on Cosmology:] Big bang theory relies on a growing number of hypothetical entities — things that we have never observed. Inflation, dark matter and dark energy are the most prominent. Without them, there would be fatal contradictions between the observations made by astronomers and the predictions of the big bang theory. In no other field of physics would this continual recourse to new hypothetical objects be accepted as a way of bridging the gap between theory and observation. It would, at the least, raise serious questions about the validity of the underlying theory.

That’s quite an open letter! Jake is excited and ends his article like this:

Creation scientists heartily agree. [Hee hee!] The scientific problems with the Big Bang model are so great that it should have been abandoned by theorists long ago. What is truly perplexing is why so many Christians insist that the Big Bang was God’s means of creating the universe, when it clearly contradicts the Genesis account in so many ways. [It’s blasphemy!]

While we’re on the subject of articles ending, here’s the end of the article in Astronomy — the one that got Jake all excited:

Scientific revolutions can profoundly transform how we see and understand our world. But radical change is never easy to see coming. There is probably no way to tell whether the mysteries faced by cosmologists today are the signs of an imminent scientific revolution or merely the last few loose ends of an incredibly successful scientific endeavor.

There is no question that we have made incredible progress in understanding our universe, its history, and its origin. But it is also undeniable that we are profoundly puzzled, especially when it comes to the earliest moments of cosmic history. I have no doubt that these moments hold incredible secrets, and perhaps the keys to a new scientific revolution. But our universe holds its secrets closely. It is up to us to coax those secrets from its grip, transforming them from mystery into discovery.

Well, dear reader, who is right? The folks at Astronomy, who seem to suggest that we’re well on the way to understanding the universe, or Jake and his fellow creation scientists, who say that only Genesis tells the true story?

Copyright © 2020. 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