The Time Cube Is Gone!

Time Cube

We were stunned to find this at the technology website Gizmodo Australia: RIP, Time Cube. Your Curmudgeon is in deep shock at the implications of that headline, so we’ll just give you some excerpts, with little of our customary banter. They say, with bold font added by us:

Time Cube is no more. The internet’s most interesting website has disappeared, and it’s a genuinely sad day around the world — or is that four sad days simultaneously?

What? We hastened to link on The Time Cube, and saw … nothing! Just a blank screen. What’s going on? Gizmodo tells us, with the strike-through in their version:

Time Cube is was the brainchild of Gene Ray, the Greatest Philosopher and Greatest Mathematician — whose personal website, The Wisest Human, has also lapsed.

Egad! We hastened to the Wikipedia entry on the Time Cube. The first sentence says:

Time Cube was a website created in 1997 by Gene Ray …

Was a website”? We looked at the “history” of that Wikipedia article, which discloses that it was edited today “noting death of site.”

Let’s read on from the Gizmodo article. After describing the “theory” of the Time Cube and the — ah — unique appearance of the website, they tell us:

We attempted to contact Gene Ray to discuss the website, but all methods using technology developed using the Standard Model of particle physics have so far failed.

Well, dear reader, that’s the news. We have no idea what happened. Maybe it’s just a technical glitch, and that venerable site will be restored. We shall keep you advised of any developments as we learn them.

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

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AIG: How Noah Built the Ark

The creation scientists at Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — have embarrassed your Curmudgeon.

Why are we embarrassed? They have revealed a shocking lapse in our thinking. When we wrote about the Top Ten Reasons Noah’s Flood is Mythology, which has received over 13,000 pageviews, it never occurred to us to ask: How did one man and his children, living in Mesopotamia sometime between the Sumerian and Babylonian empires, build such a contraption?

AIG has just posted How Could Noah Build Something So Large?, which answers the question we failed to ask. Their article has no author’s byline. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Imagine that you had never studied ancient monuments and had never heard of Stonehenge in England. How would you respond to someone who told you that long before the advent of modern machinery, ancient people moved 30-foot-tall, 25-ton stones a distance of 20 miles and arranged them in precise alignment with the sun on the summer solstice?

We would respond that it obviously required a lot of people, a lot of animals, a lot of rope, a lot of time, and a lot of trial-and-error. Then they ask the same question about the Great Pyramid, after which they say:

If these incredible structures weren’t around anymore and we only had some historical records of them, very few people would believe that they had ever been built because we have been taught to believe that early people were incapable of such feats. So how could Noah build an enormous Ark?

That’s not a very good analogy. According to the bible, Noah seems to have worked alone, with only his sons. There’s no mention of anyone else. In Genesis 6 (King James version, of course), we’re told:

13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.

14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

15 And this is the fashion which thou shalt make it of: The length of the ark shall be three hundred cubits, the breadth of it fifty cubits, and the height of it thirty cubits.

16 A window shalt thou make to the ark, and in a cubit shalt thou finish it above; and the door of the ark shalt thou set in the side thereof; with lower, second, and third stories shalt thou make it.

[…]

22 Thus did Noah; according to all that God commanded him, so did he.

That’s all we’re told — except in Genesis 7 it says: “Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth.” But AIG somehow knows more. They say:

He had some advantages over the builders of Stonehenge and the Great Pyramid. Since people in his day had such long lifespans, think of the amount of knowledge and skills they could acquire.

Yeah, they probably had the internet. Let’s read on:

Also, Noah built the Ark during what was likely the technological peak of the pre-Flood world, and although we do not know the extent of their innovations, we do know they worked with iron and other metals (Genesis 4:22).

According to creationists, the Flood occurred about 4,000 years ago, and we know the Iron Age began around 1,200 BC, perhaps a bit earlier. We won’t quibble. Maybe Noah lived at the dawn of the Iron Age. But we have no information about what AIG says was “the technological peak of the pre-Flood world.” AIG continues:

The Flood wiped out Noah’s world, and, other than the knowledge and advancements Noah’s family brought on the Ark, society endured a technological “reset.”

What does that mean? All the imaginary technological wonders in Noah’s time have been lost? What were they — besides the spear and the loincloth? And more to the point: how can AIG assume that such technology existed? The bible doesn’t mention any of it. But Hambo’s creation scientists must know what they’re talking about. They wouldn’t just make stuff up.

There’s only one more paragraph to the AIG article:

Yet within a few centuries and hampered by another near-technological “reset” with the language confusion at Babel, ancient people produced incredible structures that still amaze us today, such as the wonders of the Great Pyramid and Stonehenge.

So there you are. Within a few short centuries, Noah and his immediate family were sufficiently prolific that they produced enough people to not only build the Pyramids, but also Stonehenge. And if they could do all that, why not the Ark? After all, they had sophisticated technology from the pre-Flood world. Sounds reasonable to us.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #606: Home Schooling

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Tyler Morning Telegraph of Tyler, Texas — nicknamed the “Rose Capital of the World.” It’s titled Home schooling is a parent’s privilege. The newspaper had a comments feature when we first saw this thing — but it seems to have been removed.

Technically, what we found isn’t a letter-to-the editor. It’s an editorial, but with no byline. We’ll treat it as a letter, and refer to the writer as The Editor. Excerpts will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Home schooling is “shockingly under-regulated,” Slate magazine warns. Yes, it is – and we like it that way. Slate’s salvo against teaching children at home has all the predictable angles.

We’re not provided with a link to the Slate article, but he’s probably talking about this: The Frightening Power of the Home-Schooling Lobby. Then the Editor gives us a quote:

“Some of these families, and almost certainly a majority of (Home School Legal Defense Association) members, have religious motivations for choosing to home-school; many use alternative textbooks that teach creationism instead of evolution and offer a Christianity-centered view of American history,” Slate writes.

We found some of the Editor’s quotes in the Slate article, but not that one. Perhaps it’s been revised. Anyway, the Editor responds:

The horror! Here’s what Slate magazine doesn’t get. First, parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children’s education. Parents may choose to enroll their children in a public school or a private school – or they may choose to educate their children themselves. The Texas Supreme Court upheld this principle in Leeper v. Arlington, a 1985 case that validated home schooling in this state.

Perhaps so. Let’s read on:

Second, let’s look at charges leveled by Slate and other opponents of home schooling. Slate says parents might do a poor job of educating their children. Some parents, the magazine points out, don’t even have a high school education themselves. This argument might carry a little more weight if we couldn’t point to countless public (and private) schools that are already doing a poor job of educating children. Unfortunately, Texas graduates many, many young men and women who haven’t been well-served by their schools.

Huh? He’s saying that the public schools are bad, so it’s okay if home schools are bad too. That’s not much of a defense. The Editor continues:

Still, it’s a concern. But statistics allay those fears. They show that home-schooled children do just fine on standardized tests.

Maybe some of them do. We’ll skip to the end:

The fact is that home schooling has proven to be a blessing for many, many families. Sure it’s unregulated – and that’s one of its advantages. Parents – not the government – are in charge. As they should be.

The Editor has a point. It’s one we once wrote about in Do Creationists Have the Right To Be Ignorant?, where we said: “If they want to be ignorant, then let them be ignorant. They’re happy, and they have the right to drool.” But of course, they don’t have the right to force their ignorance on the rest of us.

We’re still not certain of our position on this subject. What do you think about home schooling, dear reader?

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

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Ashley Madison and Creationism

Everyone has heard about the Ashley Madison data breach. As Wikipedia describes it:

In July 2015, a group calling itself “The Impact Team” stole the user data of Ashley Madison, a commercial website for people seeking extramarital affairs. The group copied personal information about the site’s user base, and threatened to release users’ names and personally identifying information if Ashley Madison was not immediately shut down. On 18 and 20 August, the group leaked more than 25 gigabytes of company data, including user details.

Why is your Curmudgeon posting about such a thing? What possible relevance does it have to The Controversy between evolution and creationism? The relevance is that we’re always being told by creationists that their religious beliefs are the only source of morality, and Darwin’s theory of evolution inevitably leads to ghastly behavior. They never, however, provide any evidence for that outrageous claim; they merely assert it.

In Debating Creationists: The Big Lie we asked:

Where are all the evil biologists? 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.

Today we have some evidence. The Ashley Madison situation offers us an opportunity to test the claims of the creationists. That, not prurience, is why we’re posting about this shabby situation. What have we learned so far?

Look what we found at the website of Christianity Today: ‘My Pastor Is on the Ashley Madison List.’ It has this subtitle: “Too many Christians have been caught using Ashley Madison, many of them pastors and church leaders. What now?” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Based on my conversations with leaders from several denominations in the U.S. and Canada, I estimate that at least 400 church leaders (pastors, elders, staff, deacons, etc.) will be resigning Sunday. This is a significant moment of embarrassment for the church — and it should be.

Four hundred church leaders? We might expect a handful; there are always a few scoundrels in any large group — but four hundred? Wow! Let’s read on:

To be honest, the number of pastors and church leaders on Ashley Madison is much lower than the number of those looking to have an affair. Yet, there is still much that we must consider in the midst of the embarrassment.

Yes, that’s true — there are far more people on the Ashley Madison list than those 400 preachers. Which brings up an interesting question: How many scientists were on the Ashley Madison list? And specifically, how many biologists? If what the creationists claim is true, a very large percentage of scientists — and certainly most of the biologists — would have their names there. But nothing like that has been disclosed — at least not yet. The article continues:

Also, to be clear, in situations like these, we must confirm all things. Not everyone on the list signed themselves up. Among those who did, the sin and circumstances will be different. Many likely signed themselves up and didn’t actually go through with adultery. Regardless, though, trust has been shattered and hearts have been broken. But before we assume a name on a list means adultery has taken place, we must confirm all things and seek the full truth.

Suppose your preacher said: “Yes, I signed up, but I didn’t actually follow through and do the deed.” Does that excuse him?

The article goes on at some length about how a church and its members should deal with such a problem. There’s a lot about forgiveness and repentance. We’ll skip all that because it’s not our concern.

We assume that the usual creationist websites are looking carefully at the Ashley Madison list to see if any “Darwinists” are on it. If there are (there may be some, one never knows), we’ll certainly hear about it. They’ll say that those names “prove” their claims about evolution and immorality. They’ll also say it’s Darwin’s fault. That’s nonsense, of course. But they’ll never admit that the presence of hundreds of preachers on the list disproves their self-righteous claims.

The number of preachers on the Ashley Madison list may grow, and the number of scientists on that list is so far unknown. If we learn of any further developments, we’ll let you know.

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

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