Creationist Wisdom #912: Time To Fight Back

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (it’s a column, really) appears in the Scott County Times of Forest, Mississippi (population 5,987). They have a comments feature. The column is titled Everyone has religious freedom, unless you’re a Christian.

Unless the letter-writer is a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name — but today we’ve got a journalist. It’s James Phillips, described as their news editor, “responsible for assembling and producing the editorial content of the newspaper.” Here are some excerpts from his column, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Being a Christian in this country that was founded in Christianity [Huh?] is not so easy these days. The mob of people and special interest groups that are attacking every core American tradition, moral and value have one sect of people, and one religion, right in their crosshairs, and that is Christians. After being the guiding force in this country since the first settlers arrived in 1607 Christians, and everything we believe, are under attack like never before.

No one is attacking Christianity. As for James’ understanding of history, he’s a bit muddled — see Is America a “Christian Nation”? Then he says:

The first wave of attacks on Christians and prayer started subtly with pre-game prayers at high school football games around the country. This is where atheist and other non-believers began wrongfully crying about the separation of church and state and threatening school districts with civil lawsuits. Rather than standing firm against the detractor’s [sic] school district officials, afraid of costly lawsuits, buckled and started appeasing these individuals. Now look where that has led us.

Yeah — the school district officials stopped prayers at games. That’s horrible! The journalist tells us:

This is the United States of America, a country founded on Christian principles. [No, the founding principles were based on the Enlightenment.] You have to look no further than the number of churches in this country, Christian churches outnumber all others better than 175-to-1. So tell me this, what do you expect? [We don’t expect theocracy!] Other religions in this country are allowed to worship and believe as they see fit without interference from Christians or big brother. Why is Christianity the only religion that must fight to practice and opine what we believe?

We’d like to see the journalist’s reaction if there were Muslim prayers at high school football games. Anyway, he continues:

When I was learning my way through school I was taught that my ancestors evolved from monkeys. [Gasp!] Without a doubt, I knew better than that, and I have never even remotely agreed with Darwin [Hee hee!], but I didn’t go out and hire a lawyer when my high school teacher taught the theory of evolution.

So James is a creationist theocrat. Okay, let’s read on:

We Christians are just sick and tired of turning the other cheek while our courts work to strip us of our rights. We were taught to pray before eating, before we go to sleep and any other time we feel the need during the day. The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing. Now a handful of people and their lawyers, along with politically charged judges are ordering us to cease praying.

The journalist is free to pray all day long, but the public school system can’t officially have prayers at school events. Why is that so difficult to understand? Ah well, let’s see another excerpt:

It is far past time for the majority to rule again. [Hooray for theocracy!] It’s time we tell them, you don’t have to pray, you don’t have to say the pledge of allegiance, you don’t have to stand for the anthem and you don’t have to believe in God or attend services that honor Him. That is your right, and we respectful people will honor your right. But you are no longer going to take our rights away. We are ready to fight back.

Wow! Here’s more:

Thankfully, we finally have a president who believes in God and this country above all and is willing to fight for us — and with us.

Don’t count on it, James. Trump doesn’t appear to be a theocrat.

And now we come to the end, in which James gives us his killer argument — which you will recognize as Pascal’s Wager:

I have absolutely zero doubt when it comes to my faith. And when it comes to the biggest wager in life I would much rather go through my entire life believing in God and living my life accordingly only to find out there is no such being. What did I loose [sic] by being a better person, nothing. How about the flip-side of that wager? You go through your entire life believing there’s no God, and live your life accordingly, only to find there is a God and you must stand before him and answer for your actions and lifelong denials. That is not a position I wish upon anyone.

All I have to say is; God, help us all, and if that offends you, good luck, God bless and just sue me.

So there you are, dear reader. James is angry — really angry. Our advice to him is: Learn to live with it, James.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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Self-Published Genius #81: Bible Science Lab Book

Get ready to learn about the latest addition to our series about Self-Published Geniuses, where we bring you news of authors with a vanity press book in which the author claims to have made paradigm-shattering discoveries, and announces his work by hiring a press release service.

The press release is titled Christian Author Louise Barrett Derr’s Book Brings Readers to Appreciate the Science Behind God’s Creation. It was issued by WebWire. Their website says: “WebWire distributes your business, organizational and personal news releases and press releases on and over the Internet.” Here are some excerpts from the press release, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Is it possible to teach science from a faith perspective? Can a student appreciate faith and science at the same time? Retired teacher Louise Barrett Derr would answer “yes.” [That’s wonderful!] Derr expounds her answer by publishing a Bible activity book titled “Experiencing Bible Science: A Lab Book for the Young at Heart” (WestBow Press, 2011).

Aha — they say it’s published by WestBow Press. We Googled for them. Yup — their website says they’re a religious vanity publisher. Okay! We’ve got a vanity press book and we’ve got the author’s press release. It qualifies for our collection. Back to the press release. It says:

The book is aimed at students “young at heart” of any age, as the author puts it, and its purpose is to help them discover science in the Scriptures.

A noble purpose indeed! Then they tell us:

The first in the “Experiencing Bible Science” series, the book is divided into four sections: “Earth”, “Sky”, “Water” [That’s three of the four Classical elements], and “Other Activities”, which contains additional projects that can be adapted to help students know more about the science found in the Scriptures. The activities mostly follow the inquiry approach style and through them, the author encourages students to reflect on the wonders of creation as they reveal God’s glory.

The press release continues:

To relate the world of the Bible to the natural world, students undertake activities that mirror conventional science activities at school but with an emphasis on the Scriptures. Students obtain the items they need to perform a particular science activity, follow the procedures, record their findings and observations, link their results to their hypothesis, and wrap up their conclusion.

Sounds great! But what items are needed to do bible science? It seems to us that nothing is needed except a loin cloth, and maybe a shepherd’s staff. Let’s read on:

Students are encouraged to wear an old white shirt for a lad [sic] coat. “This stimulates them to realize they are having experiences related to science,” said the author in the book’s introduction for parents and teachers.

Great idea! So we looked for the book at Amazon — and here it is! The cost is only $31.95 in paperback. What a great deal!

Hey — you’re probably wondering about the brilliant author. The press release tells us:

Louise Barrett Derr received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from UNC-Chapel Hill. For twenty-six years, she taught in North Carolina public schools. Mrs. Derr developed and presented her curricula for science and for gifted children at numerous state and national teacher’s conferences. This motorcyclist, private airplane pilot, and scuba diver enjoys gardening and nature study. She has previously been active in Boy Scouts and the Civil Air Patrol. Traveling in twenty-three countries around the world has given her a desire to see people everywhere and discover the science in the Scriptures.

Not only that — we’re also informed that the author has her own website where you can obtain even more information!

Okay, dear reader. That’s all we can find about this great book, but it’s more than enough. Go ahead — buy it! Tell ’em the Curmudgeon sent ya.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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ICR: Design by the Creator

Today at the website of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom — we see another example of what we call the Creationist Scientific Method:

1. Select a conclusion which you hope is true.
2. Find one piece of evidence that possibly might fit.
3. Ignore all other evidence.
4. That’s it.

ICR’s article is titled Sorghum and Bacteria Cooperative Design. It was written by Randy Guliuzza, about whom we recently posted ICR Has a New Book that Rebuts Darwin. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

The drought tolerance of a popular grain, sorghum, makes it an important global food crop. A recent study finds that sorghum manipulates soil conditions to promote a beneficial change in the microbes living on its roots when water is scarce. The complex systems conferring such tight cooperation between plants and microbes point to a wise Creator for their origin far more reasonably than the mystical scenarios invoking strong “positive” and “negative” selection events offered by the researchers.

This is the “mystical” research Randy’s talking about. It’s in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Drought delays development of the sorghum root microbiome and enriches for monoderm bacteria. You can read it on-line without a subscription. Okay, back to Randy. He describes the research:

When sorghum detects the onset of drought it responds by adjusting its root metabolism accordingly. The sorghum roots release an increased range of carbohydrates and amino acids into the soil, as well as secondary metabolites which may include reactive oxygen species. The normally dominant microbes (Proteobacteria, Bacteroidetes, and Verrucomicrobia) are poorly suited to these changed conditions, which lead to a rapid decrease in their population. However, another community of microbes which are normally present in small numbers, the Streptomyces strains of Actinobacteria, are particularly suited to the new root products — and just so happen to naturally be better suited to drought conditions as well — and take over the primary colonization of the root system. The researchers suspect that the Streptomyces also release antibiotic compounds which help suppress the normally dominant microbes in the community.

Remarkably, sorghum detects the recolonization by Actinobacteria and, through an unidentified mechanism, adjusts its metabolism again so there is an “increase in relative root-to-shoot resource allocation.” The researchers concluded, “This colonization is correlated with increased root biomass, specifically under drought stress.” In short, the result was sorghum developed drought-fighting deeper roots and a greater root mass.

Interesting. The world is crowded with living organisms. Often they don’t interact, but sometimes their existence in the same environment is cooperative — see Symbiosis, or dependent — see Coevolution, or parasitic, or totally detrimental, as in the case of bacteria that cause fatal diseases.

What does Randy make of the relationship between sorghum and those microbes? He tells us:

How does the microbe-plant relationship happen? Evolutionists who reject any engineered relationship between microbes, plants, and animals [The fools!] are forced to appeal to totally mystical explanations. [Huh?] They must claim that the organisms all somehow co-evolved together — an explanation that the evolutionists cannot demonstrate.

What else can you expect from evolutionists? They’re a bunch of mystics. Randy continues:

[E]volutionists believe that the diversity of life results from random genetic mutations coupled to mystical selection events that are arbitrary with respect to a goal — any given functional trait is achieved by chance processes. [Absurd!] But a biblical explanation [Yes!] is design-based and organism-focused and expects organisms to function according to engineering principles.

It’s so obvious! Let’s read on:

We know that engineers may design one distinct entity like a radio to work together with another entity like a radio transmitter into a completely separate system called a communications system. An engineering-based explanation describing the relationships of microbes, plant, and animals would expect to find autonomous entities with innately designed adaptive capacities, entities that were originally designed to work together as parts of larger, non-violent, cooperative systems.

That’s how it’s done! Well, unless organisms don’t interact at all, or are detrimental to each other — but none of that is mentioned. This is Randy’s thrilling conclusion:

ICR is leading the way in explaining the interactions of an organism to its environment as distinct entities working together as elements of a larger system. This approach shows a higher level of design which demonstrates significant forethought and wide-ranging designed control and, thus, more glory to Nature’s Creator, the Lord Jesus.

That was thrilling. Don’t you agree, dear reader?

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Discoveroids: What Are They Saying?

Take a look at this one which just appeared at the Discovery Institute’s creationist blog: Denton, Gilder: The Biology of Surprise. It was written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Michael Denton and George Gilder are both Discovery Institute Senior Fellows [Wowie!], and each has a new book out, respectively Children of Light and Life After Google.

We’ve written a few times about Denton’s book — see Discoveroids: More About Denton’s New Book. Gilder’s work somehow escaped our notice, but here it is at Amazon. Then Klinghoffer says:

Having highlighted today a pair of excellent interviews with them [links omitted], I wanted to point out something others have probably noticed as well, a telling point of overlap in their views.

He explains the “telling point of overlap”:

Denton is a biologist, and Gilder is a technology guru and polymath. Their intellectual paths have been quite different. But whether thinking about the limits of Darwinian theory [Hee hee!] or the equally severe limits on artificial intelligence, both emphasize surprise.

That seem to be a key point, so pay attention. He continues:

One of Gilder’s standout insights, derived from information theory, is that information, including biological information, is characterized by surprise. That is also a quality that separates human creativity from machines churning through algorithms. What is creative always comes as a surprise.

Where is this going? Let’s read on:

Denton, meanwhile, came to doubt Darwinian theory, with its reliance on natural selection to explain biological invention, because life is replete with what he calls “non-adaptive order.” [Huh?] That is, structures that don’t serve any conceivable specific adaptive purpose but instead seem to have been selected for other reasons, such beauty, elegance, or personal taste.

Ah yes. Consider, for example, your divinely designed elbow. A shabby process like Darwinism could never develop something so wonderful. Here’s another excerpt:

Yet Darwin’s evolutionary mechanism is just a blunt recipe, an algorithm, and it can only select what is immediately functional. [How crude!] This is at odds with the evidence of life, which appears to be guided as much by visionary design, full of surprises, as it is by function. [How wonderful!] Recognizing that was a blow to the young Denton’s confidence in Darwinism.

Young Denton was so perceptive! Here’s more:

Watch this short documentary video, The Biology of the Baroque, that features Denton and his thoughts on this theme. It could be retitled The Biology of Surprise.

The video is embedded in Klinghoffer’s post. You can click over there to watch it — if that’s your pleasure.

There’s nothing else to Klinghoffer’s post — which brings us to the question we asked in our title. Perhaps you can answer for us, dear reader: What are they saying?

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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