Klinghoffer Thinks Stephen Hawking Is a Fool

The Discovery Institute has a history of posting rants about Stephen Hawking — for example, see Egnor: Stephen Hawking Is “Sophomoric”, and before that Food Fight: Klinghoffer v. Stephen Hawking, which links to others.

Today, David Klinghoffer, upon whom the Discoveroids have bestowed the exalted title of “senior fellow” (i.e., flaming, full-blown creationist), is battling his old foe again. His new post at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog is Dr. Hawking’s First World Problem: What If Aliens Call!?. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Here from Stephen Hawking is a First World problem if ever there was one: If aliens call, do we pick up?

Then he quotes from this article in The Independent: Stephen Hawking warns that humanity should not respond to aliens in case they kill us all , which says:

If we actually end up discovering aliens then they’ll probably just wipe us all out, Stephen Hawking has said. When we made contact with any aliens it would probably be like when the Native Americans first met Christopher Columbus. And, in that case, things “didn’t turn out so well” for the people being visited, Professor Hawking has said. … It’s far from the first time that Professor Hawking has warned about the risk of chatting to aliens.

After that, Klinghoffer tells us:

Sometimes I wonder if Dr. Hawking is being manipulated to say these things or does he really lie awake at night worrying about the “risk of chatting to aliens”? He seems to spend a lot time of “warning” about a diverse list of threats.

He then links to several articles, in which Hawking has warned about the risks of artificial intelligence, Brexit (the UK’s departure from the European Union), global warming, and the extinction risk inherent in humanity’s failure to expand its domain to other planets. The Discoveroids think Hawking is a nervous Nellie. Klinghoffer continues:

But back to the “chatting to aliens” dilemma, he says of Gliese 832c, “[T]he planet could have Earth-like temperatures with an abundant liquid water, and where there is water, there is very often life.” There is? Very often?

Wikipedia has a write-up on Gliese 832 c. It’s a newly-discovered extra-solar planet that is “located approximately 16 light-years (4.93 parsecs, or about 151,400,000,000,000 km) away in the constellation of Grus, orbiting the star Gliese 832, a red dwarf. The planet has an Earth Similarity Index of 0.81, one of the highest Earth Similarity Indices for any known extrasolar planet. It is in its star’s habitable zone. To date, it is the third closest known potentially habitable exoplanet to Earth.”

Like all creationists, Klinghoffer doubts that intelligent life exists anywhere other than on Earth, because their mystical designer — blessed be he! — created us right here on The Privileged Planet. That means Hawking is worried about nothing. He’s a fool!

Klinghoffer ends his post with a smugly superior dismissal of Hawking’s fears:

Meaning no disrespect to the oracular physicist, how does he know this? And if receiving a return call from aliens is a sensible thing to fear in such apocalyptic terms, along with Brexit, global warming, [etc.], why search for a signal, “scan[ning] the nearest million stars for signs of life,” to begin with?

If only Hawking paid attention to the Discoveroids, he wouldn’t go around behaving like an idiot.

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

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Ken Ham Offers Hope, Meaning, & Purpose

Answers in Genesis (AIG) — the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — has often written that atheism (which it equates with evolution and every other scientific theory they don’t like), is a religion. A typical example is Atheists Follow a Dogmatic Faith, where we quoted AIG saying:

Chief among these elements of blind faith is your belief that God does not exist. Since you could never prove the nonexistence of God without possessing all knowledge (in which case you would be God), this is a tenet of your system that is held by blind faith.

They’re doing it again today in a new post of which ol’ Hambo is co-author, along with Avery Foley. AIG says she holds a masters of arts in theological studies from Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, which certainly qualifies her to write for AIG. The article is titled Atheism: Hopeless, Meaningless, Purposeless. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

[W]hen I call atheism a religion on social media, many atheists get very upset. They hate having atheism referred to as a religion or a belief system. But that’s exactly what it is. One of the definitions of religion is:

A cause, principle, or system of beliefs held to with ardor and faith.

Hambo’s done that before. Other creationists do it too. It’s the fourth definition of religion in the Merriam-Webster dictionary, which you can see here. AIG skips the more commonly-used definitions given earlier, such as “the service and worship of God or the supernatural,” and “commitment or devotion to religious faith or observance.” The last time Hambo used that 4th definition, we said that your Curmudgeon’s devotion to the principles of the US Constitution would also be a religion — which of course it isn’t.

So far, Hambo has just been repeating himself. But then he says:

Below are some of the tenets of this belief system. Notice that none of them are scientifically proven (and even go against science!) — that’s where atheists’ faith comes in. They accept these assertions based on faith that they are true.

• There is no God or gods.
• There is no supernatural.
• Everything is the result of naturalistic processes over time.
• Life evolved from a single-celled organism.
• Death is the end — when you’re dead, that’s it.

Well, dear reader, can you deny Hambo’s claim that none of those things has been scientifically proven? Of course you can’t! Aha — then he’s gotcha! Hambo believes the opposite of each proposition, so who’s the religious fanatic here? Then he asks:

Is atheism a good alternative religion? Does it provide its followers with hope, meaning, and purpose, something human experience shows we all crave? Or is it a religion devoid of hope, meaning, and purpose?

That’s a powerful question. Does your godless science offer you hope, meaning, or purpose, dear reader? Hambo then spends several paragraphs expanding on those points. Here’s just a bit of it:

Hope? Consider this: according to the atheistic religion, there is no God and death is the end. … We won’t remember we ever lived, and eventually no one else will either. … Not only is each individual human rushing headlong toward the grave, so is our very universe. Our species, just like every other species, is destined for extinction. … This is certainly a bleak and hopeless perspective.

Meaning? “Why am I here?” is a question that every human wants answered. We innately know that our lives have some kind of meaning. But where does it come from and what is it? Does atheism give the answer? … In an atheistic view, our lives have no real meaning. We are just the result of random, chance processes over millions of years, and it’s just an accident of nature that we happen to be here. How’s that for meaning for your life?

Purpose? Does atheism offer a sense of purpose for our short lives? To put it simply, no it doesn’t. You see, in an atheistic worldview it doesn’t matter how we live or what we do, because there is no ultimate standard for right and wrong and because everyone’s fate is the same — death. … Atheism offers no purpose to life because no matter how you live or what you do, your fate is the same: death.

We’re only about half-way through Hambo’s post. The rest of it is bible quotes, which Hambo says offer you hope, meaning, and purpose — the very things your science doesn’t provide. So there you are, dear reader. Which religion is the better one? It’s your decision.

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

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The Intelligent Designer & Wisdom Teeth

One of the glaring design gaffes we mentioned in Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer was: “Our teeth are troublesome — they decay, they don’t replace themselves, and there are too many of them for the size of our jaws.”

From time to time, creationists make silly attempts to deny the obvious — for example, in Discovery Institute Justifies Vestigial Organs, we discussed how the Discoveroids attempted to justify vestigial organs, including wisdom teeth, by saying:

Just because we don’t know something’s function doesn’t mean there isn’t one. … An ID advocate would be curious to investigate and discover the function, not dismiss the whole question out of hand. He or she would start with the assumption that if it’s there, it probably has a function.

The issue is back in the news today. At the News OK website, run by the The Oklahoman of Oklahoma City, we find this headline: Wisdom-tooth extraction presents challenges for people of faith. They have a comments feature, but there aren’t any comments yet. Here are some excerpts from the article, with bold font added by us:

For many teens, the extraction of four healthy teeth is a ritual of high school, much like getting a driver’s license or going to the prom. But some people question the wisdom of pulling wisdom teeth, saying that it’s a traumatic procedure that may be unnecessary. … And deciding whether to subject their child to surgery can be an especially tricky dilemma for people of faith who reject the reason dentists give for the need: the shrinkage of the jaw through evolution over millions of years.

That’s one of the many crises a creationist must face when dealing with the real world. Then the article says:

From a creationist viewpoint, wisdom teeth are valuable gifts from the Creator and should not be removed if healthy, wrote John D. Morris, president of the Institute for Creation Research in Dallas.

Should not be removed if healthy? Why would they ever be unhealthy? No answer. The article is loaded with conflicting advice from dental authorities about removing wisdom teeth before it becomes necessary, and the risks of the procedure at any time. This isn’t a blog about dentistry — nor will it ever be! — so we’ll skip all of that. Scanning for some creationism, we come to this:

Scientists say that’s because our jaws are significantly smaller than those of our ancestors, largely because of what we eat. The transition from diets of meat and roughage to refined grain removed a lot of work our teeth and jaws used to have to do. This affects not only wisdom teeth, but our teeth’s alignment (meaning orthodontists have jobs because we started cultivating grain).

That’s Lysenkoism! Now that Stalin is dead, what scientist would say something like that? Eating differently from our ancestors won’t, by itself, alter the jaw size of our progeny. It might allow small-jawed individuals to survive long enough to reproduce, but it wouldn’t remove large-jawed people from the gene pool. Oh, wait — the mystery is explained:

For people who believe in the Bible’s account of creation, changes due to diet offer a plausible explanation for the wisdom-tooth dilemma, since they reject the idea of macroevolution.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Creationists will say anything, as long as it isn’t evolution. The article continues:

“Creation science says, God doesn’t make junk,” said Frank Sherwin, a zoologist and researcher with the Institute for Creation Research and co-author of [who cares?] and other books. “There’s a perfectly good reason for those teeth coming in, and it’s to grind the groceries, as it were,” he said. “When individuals who are maturing into adulthood have a diet that stimulates mandible development, they chew on material that stimulates the jaw to become more robust. Maybe the most robust thing we eat today is a Big Mac,” Sherwin said.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! If you chow down on dinosaur meat, like your ancestors used to do before the Flood, you would need those wisdom teeth, and your jaw would grow large enough to accommodate them.

The rest of the article is about dentistry, and that doesn’t interest us at all, so this is where we’re going to quit. Some may find the creationist viewpoint to be entirely satisfactory. Not your Curmudgeon. We’ll stick with our decision to give the designer — blessed be he! — our Buffoon Award. It’s well deserved.

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

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Rev. David Rives — Carbon-14 in Diamonds

The Drool-o-tron™ summoned us with its sirens and flashing lights, and the blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). It had found the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

Our computer was locked onto this headline at WND: How diamonds disprove evolution. That looked interesting — especially since diamonds were never alive. We had to take a look.

The actual title of the rev’s video is “C-14 in Diamonds.” The rev says that C-14 decays rapidly, so it can’t be used to date things that are supposed to be millions of years old. Evolution, however, requires millions of years. So why do diamonds, which are supposed to be billions of years old, have C-14 in them? Diamonds must be young — and so is the Earth! That means evolution makes no sense.

The TalkOrigins website has an article on Carbon-14 in Coal Deposits. It explains that there are various ways C-14 can contaminate coal samples. The article doesn’t discuss diamonds, but we assume the same factors would be applicable. To be candid, however, your Curmudgeon doesn’t know much about C-14 in diamonds, so perhaps you, dear reader, can assist in debunking the rev’s video. We’re not particularly worried, because there are other isotopes with far longer half-lives than C-14 that are routinely used to date old rock formations, but the video doesn’t mention any of those.

The rev is wearing the same gray bible-boy suit without a necktie that he was wearing for the last couple of videos. It seems that he does several of them at the same time. But it doesn’t matter what he wears. He’s the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! This video runs almost four minutes 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 © 2016. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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