An Idiot’s Guide to Intelligent Design

Here’s an amusing bit of fluff from the Discovery Institute: Meyer, Axe: “Five Major Problems with Macro-Evolution”. Ooooooooooooh! 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]:

There’s something very clarifying about seeing an argument laid out in crisp bullet points. For your weekend enjoyment, here are Stephen Meyer and Douglas Axe [both Discoveroids] on Frank Turek’s radio program. The interview was recorded following the 2016 Royal Society meeting.

We wrote about that meeting. The Discoveroids weren’t invited, so they staged their own conference instead, and claimed it was a big success — see The Discoveroids’ Cambridge Conference. As for Frank Turek, we wrote about him once before — see Atheists Can’t Function Without God. He was described as “a Christian speaker, author and apologist.” What were those intellectual giants talking about on Turek’s radio show? Klinghoffer says:

They hammer home the “Five Major Problems with Macro-Evolution

That link is about the radio show that discusses the Discoveroids’ creationist conference. It tells us:

• the main topic was whether naturalistic mechanisms can produce new body plans and new organ types

• no one disputes micro-evolution: beaks changing size, antibiotic resistance

• many of the naturalistic scientists admitted the problems with current naturalistic theories, but they don’t want to embrace the need for a designer

• none of the proposals that were debated solved the real problems with macro-evolution

Some of these problems have actually gotten worse for naturalistic evolution as our scientific knowledge has grown.

Those are probably the “crisp bullet points” Klinghoffer mentioned as being “very clarifying.” But to clarify things even more, he then presents some bullet points of his own, which he claims are the five major problems with macro-evolution:

• Problem #1: the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record
• Problem #2: the origin of information (e.g., in protein molecule)
• Problem #3: need for favorable early mutations (for body plans)
• Problem #4: the problem of epigenetics
• Problem #5: the universality of the design intuition

That’s all Klinghoffer says — except for promoting some books by Axe and Meyer. Those “major problems” are clunkers we’ve discussed before (except for Epigenetics), and we won’t bother with them now. But one general point should be made. None of those “problems” is evidence for the existence or methods of the Discoveroids’ intelligent designer — blessed be he! They are merely a list of phenomena (some imaginary or absurd, like “information” and “design intuition”) the Discoveroids attribute to the designer’s unobservable, untestable, and incomprehensible activities.

Anyway, Klinghoffer said he posted that for our weekend enjoyment. He has fulfilled his purpose.

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

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Creationist Wisdom #926: Moon Landing? Trivial!

Today’s letter-to-the-editor (or column, or something) appears in the Morung Express of Nagaland, a state in Northeast India. It’s titled Man on Moon, and we don’t see a comments feature.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure — at least we don’t think he is — we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Khreituonyil. 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!

After several paragraphs describing the first Moon landing in July of 1969 he says:

This article is not against the moon-landing. Far from it, I acknowledge the splendid achievement of man in general and America in particular. However, through this article, I wish to bring to the forefront some of the fallouts of this amazing achievement. Today we make a great deal about man walking on the moon. There are songs, poems and movies composed and made as tributes to this amazing achievement. But in the process, we seem to have totally taken for granted the first steps taken by a man named Adam on the planet called earth thousands of years [Hee hee!] before Armstrong was even born. I guess we have had enough of the first walk on the moon and so today I want to ponder over the first walk on the earth.

Yeah — phooey on the Moon landing. He’s going to talk about something far more important. Here it comes:

We naturally make a great deal about the first walk on the moon because it was an amazing achievement. But I feel compelled to think that when the first man Adam took his first steps on earth, it also must have been a sight. Nobody was watching him on TVs, no news reporter was covering this story and nobody was applauding and cheering on as Adam walked his first steps. All those who were watching silently were probably the stars, the planets and the other celestial bodies besides, of course, the Creator God. And as Adam took his first steps on earth, the one who felt the happiest and the proudest was God because He had created a masterpiece out of nothing. God saw that it was good and complimented Himself over his wondrous creation.

Yes, it was quite an achievement. Khreituonyil tells us:

The first man on the moon Armstrong was elevated from one celestial body to another and no doubt it was a marvelous achievement. But the first man Adam was not transferred from anywhere but was created out of nothing and made to walk on a planet where no being had ever treaded before. [Wowie!] Everything was new for Adam. He was the first one created in the image of God and he was the first one who could think, feel, talk and walk like God Himself. In a way, it was like God had created another God when He created Adam because He put all His ingredients in him. God wanted Adam to have an independent existence and think and comprehend independently. And this was where the potential fallout also lies.

Fallout? You know what’s coming next:

Armstrong was not supposed to stay on or live on in the moon. But Adam was initially created to live on forever as long as he understood the purpose of his creation and paid the due respect and reverence to his Creator. But Adam being created in the image of God with the ability to think, feel and communicate independently like God Himself, pride, arrogance, ambition and selfishness crept into his heart and he began to think that he might even be able to survive without his creator.

After telling us about the Fall, he continues:

But since the first man to walk on the earth was created in the image of God Himself, the Creator did not wish his most priced creation to just disappear into the dust without any chance of reunion with the Creator. And so the Creator Himself took the form of a man, came into the world and walked upon the planet earth as a man 2000 years ago and changed the course of human history.

You know the story. Let’s skip that and read on:

Yes indeed, it is astonishing to know that a mere mortal was able to walk on the moon in 1969. But it is much more awe inspiring to know that man was created in the image of God out of nothing and was given the opportunity to walk on the planet earth with the stars, the planets, the celestial bodies, the angels and God as witnesses. But the wonder of wonders is to know that the Creator God Himself took the form of a man and walked upon this planet some 2000 years ago to bring light and life back into a fallen world.

Indeed, it was amazing. Another excerpt:

So rather than focusing on and talking about the first walk of man on moon even though it was a remarkable achievement of man and science, I prefer to meditate on the first man to walk on the earth because it takes my imagination to a whole new arena with which I can connect myself.

He can really connect with Adam. Here’s more:

Similarly rather than spending myself focusing on the success of a man-made mission in 1969, I prefer to spend my time and energy meditating on the walk that the Creator Himself took on planet earth some 2000 years ago because I feel enriched, enlightened and fulfilled whenever I do so.

And now we come to the end:

[W]hich one is actually more inspiring and touching, man walking on the moon in 1969 or God walking on earth 2000 years ago?

Great question! Well, dear reader, which one is more inspiring?

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

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Hambo Has a New Enemy — PETA

This one is completely off the scale of our Bizarre-O-Meter™. As you might have guessed, it’s from Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

Ol’ Hambo just posted this at the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), his creationist ministry: “Bring Home the Bagels”: PETA Urges People to Drop “Anti-Animal” Speech. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Also, we’ve deleted his numerous scripture references. Get ready for a wild ride, dear reader. Here we go!

Instead of saying, “beat a dead horse,” animal activist group PETA wants you to say, “feed a fed horse.” They also want to change “kill two birds with one stone” to “feed two birds with one scone,” “take a bull by its horns” to become “take a flower by its thorns,” and “bring home the bacon” to see the salty pork product exchanged for bagels. Why? To “remove speciesism” from daily conversation.

Hambo rarely defines his acronyms. PETA is People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. He links to this amusing article in the Washington Post: PETA wants to change ‘anti-animal’ sayings, but the Internet thinks they’re feeding a fed horse. Then he says:

Their tweet declared that these common sayings are “anti-animal language” that we should stop using. Along with an image of the offending sayings, and their suggested replacements, they tweeted,

[PETA’s tweet, which we haven’t verified:] Words matter, and as our understanding of social justice evolves, our language evolves along with it. Here’s how to remove speciesism from your daily conversations.

You may agree with us that PETA is a bit over-the-moon with their recommendations, but wait ’til you see Hambo’s reaction. He proudly tells us:

Now, here’s what I tweeted in response to PETA,

Evolutionists believe plants, animals, and humans are all relatives. In a shocking turn of events, PETA’s making racist statements [Huh?] about our plant relatives and insists we eat them instead of our animal relatives.

What’s he saying? He explains:

You see, PETA’s ridiculous statements come from their evolutionary worldview. [Groan!] They believe we’re related to the animals so they don’t want anyone killing any of our “relatives,” other species (of course, you don’t see them campaigning to save E. coli or mosquitos!). But in their view we’re also related to soy beans, fig trees, and daffodils. In my “debate” at the Ark Encounter with Bill Nye, he said we’re all related to bananas. (Remember that the next time you’re eating a banana.) So why do they urge people to avoid “anti-animal” language regarding animals and not plants, considering they believe we’re related to both?

Brilliant! Hambo has exposed PETA’s hypocrisy. He continues:

But remember, God’s Word clearly teaches that humans are special, made in God’s image. No animal was made in God’s image — only human beings. The evolutionary worldview is inconsistent. As Christians, we have a worldview that explains why we eat both plants and animals.

He elaborates on that with lots of scripture references that we’ve eliminated, but which you may want to check out for yourself in order to fully understand the authority behind what he declares:

Originally, we were created to eat plants but, after the flood, God gave us permission to eat everything. In a fallen world, the sad reality is that there is death, and animals can now be part of our diet because our Creator has given us permission to eat animals. And, we do have the responsibility not to cause undue suffering to animals in our care, whether they be pets or food stock. This is fully consistent with a biblical worldview as stewards of God’s creation having both dominion and compassion.

Then he rants about evolution and his usual adversaries:

And the truth is that, by far, the majority of teachers present evolution as fact to their public school students. [The fools!] Science textbooks used in these schools promote evolution as fact. Most teachers who reject evolution are afraid to even mention any of this, as they’re fearful they’ll be fired because of bullies like AU [Americans United for Separation of Church and State], FFRF [Freedom From Religion Foundation], etc. AU is fearful that even one teacher somewhere might teach kids the truth about evolution — that it’s a belief not confirmed by observational science.

He concludes with this:

So, grab that bull by its horns and enjoy a delicious steak if you desire. And as we would say in Australia: “Starve the Lizards and Stone the Crows!” [What?] I’m thinking of suggesting to PETA that it start a “Save the Tapeworm” program!

So there you are. Hambo didn’t have enough adversaries before, so now he’s added PETA to the roster. We’d like to end this with some clever phrase about animals that might upset them both, but we can’t think of anything appropriate. Can you, dear reader?

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

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The Discoveroids and Apollo 8

Many of you are old enough to remember the Apollo 8 mission, launched fifty years ago on 21 December 1968. And everyone has seen the Earthrise photo the astronauts sent back to Earth. It was the most dazzling thing anyone had ever seen — until the Apollo 11 mission landed astronauts on the Moon in July of the following year.

It shouldn’t surprise you that the Discovery Institute is seizing the moment. This just appeared at their creationist blog: Apollo 8 and Intelligent Design, Then and Now. It has no author’s by-line. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

Public violence, politically motivated and otherwise, is a common occurrence. Sports figures stage public protests against racism. Women rally against exploitation and abuse. Young people push for radical cultural and social changes. Belief in God is declining. Americans are deeply and bitterly divided. These summary headlines certainly describe 2018, but they would just as well apply to 1968.

As 1968 came to a close, one event did bring people together not only in America but also around the globe — Apollo 8. Apollo 8 was notable for several reasons. It was the first manned mission to the Moon (setting the stage for a landing less than a year later). It was the first time humans viewed Earth completely as a sphere as well as the far side of the Moon. And, it proved that the barely tested Saturn V could do the job of sending men to the Moon and bringing them back home safely.

You’re wondering when they slip in the creationism, aren’t you? It’s coming. They say:

Apollo 8 was launched on December 21, and its three-man crew made several rounds of the Moon three days later. What we most remember about astronauts Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders, however, is what they did on that Christmas Eve.

The Discoveroids mention the Earthrise photo and then tell us:

To mark the event’s significance, the crew had decided, after much deliberation, to read the first ten verses from Genesis. Borman’s final statement on the broadcast was, “And from the crew of Apollo 8, we close with good night, good luck, a Merry Christmas and God bless all of you — all of you on the good Earth.” The reading, and the reverent silence that followed, went out over a live telecast to an estimated one billion viewers, the largest single audience in television history until that time.

Very scientific. The Discoveroids continue:

In his book about the Apollo 8 mission, Genesis: The Story of Apollo 8: The First Manned Mission to Another World, Robert Zimmerman notes that the astronauts had not chosen the words as parochial religious expression but rather “to include the feelings and beliefs of as many people as possible.” Indeed, when the majority of Earth’s citizens look out at the wonders of nature or Apollo 8’s awe-inspiring Earthrise image, they see the majesty of a grand design. [Yes, oh yes!] But a very different opinion holds that our Earthly existence is not only rather ordinary but in fact insignificant and purposeless. [Gasp!]

How is that possible? Let’s read on:

Few know of the mission’s long-term effects on its three crewmen. For Frank Borman and Jim Lovell, seeing the distant Earth from lunar orbit strengthened their conviction that human beings existed for a purpose. From a quarter million miles away, Lovell told the world on Christmas Eve, 1968: “The earth from here is a grand oasis in the big vastness of space.” For Bill Anders, however, who took the Earthrise photo, this same view had the opposite effect. [What?] The Earth, so tiny and isolated within the cold emptiness of space, suggested a lonely purposelessness. Having abandoned the Catholic rituals that he had once held dear, he later described his vague impression that had begun in lunar orbit: “We’re like ants on a log.”

Anders was obviously a Darwinist. Another excerpt:

Even in a crew of three, two opposing interpretations of the world emerged. For some, like Anders, we exist for no purpose. [The fool!] For others, Earth is a precious jewel in the rough. Its broader context helps reveal its design.

Anders somehow couldn’t see the clear evidence of design. What do the Discoveroids make of this puzzling situation? Here it comes:

Apollo 8 did bring our splintered country together for a while, but 50 years later we are more divided than ever. Perhaps another big NASA project, like a return to the Moon, will bring us back together again. But, it will also be short-lived. Our deepest divisions, no doubt, stem from how we view our place in the cosmos. As long as we disagree on this question, we will disagree on many other downstream questions.

Yes, intelligent design is the biggest issue of all! And now we come to the end:

There is one big difference between 1968 and today. Simply stated, there is much more evidence for intelligent design today [Hee hee!], from cosmic fine-tuning and a cosmic beginning to the digital code in DNA and molecular machines. Some (especially those who hold the reigns of power) continue to reject the evidence. [It’s so sad.] However, we have hope that the dam of censorship will break, and that more people will give up their blinders.

So there you are, dear reader. When everyone accepts the Discoveroids’ “theory” of intelligent design, all our problems and disagreements will fade away. Won’t that be wonderful?

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

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