Category Archives: Science

Klinghoffer: Science Is Evil

Slasher

A truly twisted item was just posted at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Sexual Harassment in Academic Science Offers an Unexpected Lesson About Censorship on Evolution.

It was written by David Klinghoffer, a Discoveroid “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), who eagerly functions as their journalistic slasher and poo flinger. The graphic above this post is in his honor. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis. He begins with a timely reminder:

Tomorrow at close of business we will close nominations for this year’s Censor of the Year (COTY) award — send your nomination today by clicking on the orange Email Us button at the top of this page. The award, to be announced in time for Darwin Day on February 12, is of course intended in a somewhat lighthearted spirit. But serious matters lie behind it.

Klinghoffer mentions that award at the end, but his post is primarily about other things. He says:

Young and vulnerable researchers with iconoclastic ideas about Darwinian evolution can face threats of career devastation if they open their mouths imprudently.

Klinghoffer is reminding us of the horrors revealed in Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, Ben Stein’s shabby, anti-evolution and pro-creationism “documentary.” That Wikipedia link discusses a lot of the well-deserved criticism the film received, and its eventual sale by a bankruptcy court. For more information, see Expelled Exposed, a superb source of information maintained by our friends at the National Center for Science Education.

Klinghoffer doesn’t mention that wretched film, but the “evils” he’s talking about are dealt with there, so we had to refer to it to put his post in its proper context. We’re reminded of what Michael Corleone said: “Just when I think I’m out, they drag me back in again!” Anyway, let’s read on:

If you wonder why academia is so perilous for free thinkers on evolution, the answer is complicated. One part of the answer, though, gets short shrift. It has less to do with philosophy or ideology — obvious things — and more to do with power and privilege.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Like theocracies, academia is “perilous for free thinkers.” That’s because, in the Western world, “power and privilege” has passed from preachers to teachers.

Then Klinghoffer talks about some article he found that doesn’t mention the Darwin debate, but it talks about scientists harassing their students. He gives us what he says is a quote from Katie Hinde, an evolutionary biologist at Arizona State University, “whose research usually focuses on lactation biology, but she’s done some work on sexual harassment in the sciences.” She’s clearly unbiased. Klinghoffer says she wrote about “an entire academic culture organized around professional privilege and imbalances of power and multiple harassers and assaulters are navigating these landscapes targeting vulnerable trainees.”

Sounds horrible. Klinghoffer tells us:

Of course this set of circumstances is not unique to science — it may help to account for parallel problems in the clergy, for example.

That was surprisingly even-handed; however, it was only a brief lapse. Klinghoffer continues:

But there is something about entrenched rank, pecking orders, and privilege as you find them in academic life that leads to some very unhealthy results. One side of the coin is sexual, but only one. The “culture of quiet” extends to protecting ideas, the ideas that fueled the careers of the scientists at the top.

Aha — those professors are protecting their ideas and careers. Here’s more:

This is a reality we deal with constantly at the Center for Science & Culture — that enforcers wish to hurt dissenters, who, unless they’re very lucky and somehow protected, are well advised to self-censor at least until they’ve made it to the top themselves. To call the phenomenon sadistic would not, in certain cases, be too far off the mark.

Egad — it’s sadistic! Then he tells a chilling tale, but it’s one that can’t be verified:

Even having reached a seemingly untouchable level of acclaim, many remain quiet. Several years ago I happened to meet a very distinguished scholar in a field relevant to evolution — not biology but still relevant — a man well on in years and heaped up with professional praise. I’ll say no more by way of identifying him. It emerged from the conversation that he was a Darwin doubter and I asked him to give me a statement to that effect that we could publish here. He refused. Even he, a man nobody was going to hurt, was afraid to be candid. It’s that entrenched.

What a ghastly situation! In his final paragraph, Klinghoffer returns to the topic of the Discoveroids’ censorship award:

An irony of our Censor of the Year award is that some egregious censors cannot be publicly identified — precisely because we protect the innocent and their identities. It occurs to me that as a nominee, perhaps, the culture of academic science itself would not to be inappropriate. Just a thought.

So there you are, dear reader. We mentioned before that your Curmudgeon’s nomination is reality. That’s because reality — when properly studied without interference from religious fanatics — always censors nonsensical beliefs. But Klinghoffer says that “science itself” is the problem. That’s why they struggle so heroically to destroy it.

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

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ICR: An Interview with Jason Lisle

Our readers remember Jason Lisle. He’s the the creationist astrophysicist who used to be employed by Answers in Genesis (AIG), ol’ Hambo’s online ministry. For reasons which have never been explained, he left AIG a couple of years ago to become director of whatever it is that they call research at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.

Back when he was at AIG, we wrote several times about Jason Lisle’s “Instant Starlight” Paper. That was Jason’s solution to the Distant Starlight problem. The problem — for young-earth creationists — is that the light we see from distant sources required literally billions of years to reach earth, yet the creationist’s universe is only 6,000 years old.

Jason hasn’t written much at ICR, so many of us have been wondering what he’s doing there. We have some answers from the latest post from ICR: Planetarium Unlimited. It begins with this introduction:

The following are excerpts of an interview with ICR’s Director of Research and astrophysicist Dr. Jason Lisle about ICR’s plans to build a new creation science museum and state-of-the-art planetarium.

Wowie — ICR is going to build a creation science museum and a planetarium — just like Hambo! That’s big news!

We’re not told who conducted the interview — the questions and answers only have initials preceding them. Jason’s answers start with JL, of course, and the questions come from someone identified only as BT. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

BT: We’re here to talk with Dr. Jason Lisle about this museum, but let’s first get to know him. What got you started on space stuff?

JL: I’ve loved outer space since I was a little kid. I remember seeing these beautiful images…of star fields, stunning colors of these nebulae, it’s artwork of God. There’s something kind of spiritual about it. My dad had an interest in astronomy and his dad before him, so they kind of paved the way for me.

Isn’t that lovely? From now on, we’ll substitute “Question” for the unknown BT, and we’ll use “Jason” instead of JL. Let’s read on:

Question: Was there a challenge to your Christian faith as you prepared academically?

Jason: I went through the secular program all the way through …. There currently are no Christian schools that will give you a truly biblical six-day creation view of astronomy. So I had to go through a secular program if I was going to get a degree in astrophysics.

Most of astronomy, a lot of it is really just good science. Sometimes they’ll get into the storytelling aspect of it, “We think that millions of years ago this star formed.” Well, once you’ve talked about that you’ve left the realm of science, and I knew that — I recognized that it’s not something we can observe and test and repeat in the present. That really didn’t bother me — I could distinguish the storytelling from the genuine science.

Psychologically, it’s a little bit of a drain because you’re with a group of people, and most of them have a very secular worldview. And so the way they interpret the evidence is somewhat consistent with their worldview — and there’s a pressure to conform to what other people believe. But that’s a psychological pressure.

We’ve often wondered what goes on in the minds of creationists when they somehow get science degrees, so that’s an interesting insight. The interview continues:

Question: I hear from the world that some of the strongest arguments against biblical creation’s timeline come from the stars. If the stars are so far away — and they are — and the light travels at this speed — and we assume it does — then they have to be billions of years old in order for that light to have reached here. Is there a quick way to answer that or not?

Jason: One assumption … is that light travels the same speed in all directions … . The bottom line is: the speed of light, when it’s directed toward an observer, can be as fast as infinite. Using that definition, which Einstein agreed was one acceptable definition, it takes no time at all for the light from distant galaxies to reach the earth. So of course it can happen in the biblical timeframe. It’s hard to explain that in a quick soundbite answer. The fact is, physics — as we understand it — does allow for instantaneous light travel.

[*Groan*] It’s true that the One-way speed of light can’t be measured, but for Jason to be correct, either we’re in the center of the universe, toward which light always travels at an infinite speed (for some reason), or else light somehow knows when it’s coming our way. We’ve discussed all that before, so we won’t mess with it this time around. Here’s more:

Question: Wow, that’s a real game changer. [Hee hee!] Will you be able to incorporate that kind of information in our new museum and especially in the new planetarium? First of all, what is a planetarium?

Jason: A planetarium is basically a hemispherical dome where you can project images, generally images of the night sky; and in the past that’s all they could do. They could project images of the star field. The old-style approach was quite limited. Today, there are no limitations on what we can do. Modern projection systems are digital, which means we can project anything on our planetarium dome. We can leave the earth and travel into outer space, visit these other planets — and it looks like you’re there because it’s surrounding you on all sides. It’s really exciting.

Jason’s planetarium can do anything! That should make creationism shows a lot easier. Moving along:

Question: What other features would you want to put in those planetarium shows?

Jason: A lot of stuff that confirms biblical creation. There are many issues that demonstrate the universe can’t be anywhere close to the secular age of billions of years. For example, the internal heat of some of these planets. Most planets actually give off more energy than they get from the sun. Some of the big planets, like Jupiter, they’re made … mostly of hydrogen and helium gas, and yet Jupiter gives off twice as much energy as it gets. That’s also true for Saturn and Neptune. That’s a big problem in the secular view, and most people aren’t aware of that. That’s something that we’ll showcase in the planetarium.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! It’s going to be a young universe planetarium. Another excerpt:

Question: Who cares if the stars are billions of years old or just thousands of years old — what difference does it make?

Jason: If the whole universe is thousands of years old then it means the Big Bang cannot be true. It means evolution cannot be true in terms of … molecules-to-man evolution. It blows away the secular worldview. If it could be demonstrated that the universe were billions of years old then it means the Bible’s not true. These issues do matter — they affect our worldview.

No problem. Jason’s fantasy planetarium show will “prove” that the bible is true. On with the interview:

Question: And if the Bible’s right about history, then it’s right about important other matters.

Jason: Jesus made that point in [scripture quote]. He’s making the point that if we don’t trust the Bible on earthly matters — things we can in principle test scientifically — if the Bible got those details wrong, why would we trust it on how to inherit eternal life?

A lot of Christians don’t realize they have a double standard. They’re rejecting the Bible on some issues, and they’re accepting it on others. Their children see that inconsistency, and then they walk away from the church. And then people ask, “Why are our children walking away from the church?” Well, they can see that Mom and Dad don’t really believe the Bible in some areas, and that leads young people to think it’s not really trustworthy. Why should I trust it in matters of salvation if it can’t be trusted in matters of Earth history?

Jason’s right — it’s all or nothing! There’s more to the interview, but that was the fun part. It’s good to see Jason putting his education to productive use.

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

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Rev. David Rives — Evolution of Stars

The Drool-o-tron™ has been quiet lately, but suddenly it aroused us with its sirens and flashing lights. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). The Drool-o-tron™ had found the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

Our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: Stars cannot form without ‘miraculous’ input. That’s something we couldn’t ignore! The actual title of the video is “Why you should believe in creation, and not evolution.”

The rev tells us that the term “evolution” refers to a number of things, and in this video he’s going to discuss stellar evolution. He talks about the theory that gas clouds contract to form stars. But — get this! — no one has ever seen it happen! Not only that, but gas in a vacuum is static. It doesn’t contract! It requires a miracle to form stars! That means stellar evolution is nonsense!

Jeepers — he’s right! We can’t think of any reason — none at all — why a gas cloud would contract. This video is amazing!

The rev is really dressed up for this one. He’s wearing one of his bible-boy suits with a red necktie. He’s the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is longer than usual. It lasts for almost two and a half minutes — before the commercial at the end. It’s one of the rev’s best. Go ahead, click over to WND.

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

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

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Answers in Genesis: There Is No Ninth Planet

When we wrote The Sun Has Another Planet? last week, it didn’t occur to us to speculate about a possible creationist reaction. They’re not very keen on astronomy, because that topic isn’t discussed much in the bible. According to the first chapter of Genesis, King James version, of course:

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years:

15 And let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so.

16 And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.

17 And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth,

18 And to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good.

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

The Earth was created earlier and it isn’t described as a planet. Planets are so unimportant that they’re not even mentioned during creation week, and there are only a couple of trivial references to them elsewhere in the bible. So we had no idea what — if anything — the creationists would say about this potential new discovery. But now we have a reaction from the creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo), the Australian entrepreneur who has become the ayatollah of Appalachia. Their headline is Have Astronomers Found a New Ninth Planet in the Solar System?.

It was written by Danny Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University — an impressive credential indeed. Here are some excerpts from his post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Many people were disappointed a decade ago when the International Astronomical Union demoted Pluto from its status as a planet by defining, for the first time, what a planet is. There were at least two reasons that Pluto was removed from the group of objects that we call planets.

[…]

But now many Pluto fans are sure to be encouraged by the January 20, 2016, announcement that two astronomers think that they have evidence that there is a ninth planet after all, a sort of replacement for Pluto.

We won’t bother discussing the reasons that Pluto was reclassified, but we have never understood why so many people were upset by its demotion to dwarf planet status. Anyway, Danny then tells us:

To understand this new ninth planet, we ought to review the discovery of planets in the outer solar system. There are five planets that appear as bright stars to the naked eye. In fact, all five are visible in the early morning sky in late January and early February 2016. These planets have been known since ancient times, which is why our names for them are those of gods in the ancient Roman pantheon. The first modern planet discovery was in 1781, when the German-English astronomer William Herschel (1738–1822) stumbled upon an object while surveying the sky with his telescope.

Ah yes — the seventh planet — the one that dare not speak its name. Then, after describing the subsequent discovery of Neptune, Danny says:

[I]n 1930, Clyde Tombaugh (1906–1997), a young assistant at Lowell Observatory, found a faint object orbiting beyond Neptune’s orbit. Again, following the custom of naming planets, they chose the Roman god Pluto.

We know all that, but AIG’s regular readers probably don’t. Finally, Danny gets around to describing the recent discovery of what may be Planet Nine. We discussed that in our earlier post, so we’ll skip to Danny’s conclusion section:

Does this planet actually exist? Only time will tell. At such great distance from the sun, it would be extremely faint, requiring the largest telescopes in the world to find it. And, like the search for the previous ninth planet, the location is not well defined, so the search probably would take many years. It is not likely that valuable time on the largest telescopes would be dedicated to this search. It may be that other hypotheses may be developed that will equally explain the data.

You’ve got to be wondering: Where’s the creation science? Here it comes:

One thing that I must note is that this explanation requires millions of years to perturb the TNOs [trans Neptunian objects] into their orientation. From God’s Word, we understand that the world is only thousands, not millions, of years old. Therefore, I consider it unlikely that this hypothetical ninth planet exists.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! And now we come to the end:

Publication of this article [in the Astronomical Journal: EVIDENCE FOR A DISTANT GIANT PLANET IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM] suggesting a hypothetical ninth planet probably has generated more coverage than it merits. For those who still fret over the loss of Pluto as the ninth planet, this potential new planet could restore the order that they once knew. However, it is likely that with time this story will fade.

So there you are, dear reader. The creation scientists at Answers in Genesis say that there is no ninth planet — not if its discovery depends on the universe being older than 6,000 years. If you’re one of those still mourning over the demotion of Pluto, you’ll just have to get over it.

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

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