Discovery Institute: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part IX

It is indicative of the intellectual vacuum at the Discovery Institute that they always return to their outrageous Darwin-Hitler claim — which we debunked in the early days of this humble blog — see Hitler and Darwin. Hitler never read or even mentioned Darwin. Not long after that we showed that the WWII leader who actually did read Darwin wasn’t Hitler, it was Winston Churchill.

Nevertheless, the Discoveroid propaganda campaign has never stopped. The last time we wrote about one of their Darwin-Hitler posts was almost two years ago: Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Part VIII. We’ll repeat what we said at the start of that one:

You know what the Discoveroids have been saying: No Darwin, No Hitler. That is, without Darwin and his theory of evolution, there would have been nothing like Hitler. It’s just that simple. And just that stupid. But you can’t blame them. Were it not for their bizarre Hitler claim, all they’d have is their “scientific” arguments for intelligent design. One is a god of the gaps argument. The other is William Paley’s watchmaker analogy — which was popular in the days before Darwin.

They’ve had a few Hitler posts since then, but we’ve ignored them. Now they’re at it again. The latest post at their creationist blog is The Rest of the Story — Eugenics, Racism, Darwinism. It was written by Sarah Chaffee (whom we call “Savvy Sarah”). We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis.

She begins by discussing an article by Jason Jones and John Zmirak, of whom we know nothing, about Margaret Sanger and eugenics. Despite their implications, with which Savvy Sarah readily agrees, Darwin’s work had nothing to do with eugenics — see Racism, Eugenics, and Darwin. Nevertheless, Savvy Sarah points out that Sanger and her movement thought:

… they were genetically superior to the rest of the human race, [and] found in Charles Darwin’s theories an ideal pretext and a program: to take the survival of the fittest and make it happen faster, by stopping the “unfit” from breeding. … Instead of seeing the poor as victims of injustice or targets for Christian charity, the materialism these elitists took from Darwin assured them that the poor were themselves the problem — that they were inferior, deficient and dangerous down to the marrow of their bones.

Aha — Sanger and her gang imagined that they were Darwin’s chosen people. Then Savvy Sarah says:

Jones and Zmirak bring up some harrowing examples, among them the observation that Sanger’s friend Lothrop Stoddard was a leader in the Massachusetts Klu Klux Klan and wrote a book Hitler called his “bible.”

Even more evidence! Hitler allegedly liked a book by Sanger’s friend, who was a Klansman, and this too is Darwin’s fault. After that she tells us of yet another Darwin-Hitler connection:

A speaker Sanger invited to a population conference, Eugen Fisher, had operated a concentration camp in Africa imprisoning natives. Jones and Zimrak note, “It was Fischer’s book on eugenics, which Hitler had read in prison, that convinced Hitler of its central importance.”

All of this convinces Savvy Sarah that the Darwin-Hitler connection is iron clad. Nevertheless, she dimly senses that not many agree, so she ends her brilliant post with this:

They say that history is written by the victors. With evolutionary theory holding sway in the media and academia, it’s little wonder we rarely hear about these connections and events.

So not only was Darwin the inspiration for Sanger, her Klansman friend, and of course Hitler, but the global evolutionist conspiracy has kept this a secret. Now that the Discoveroids have figured it all out, maybe Darwin will be banned from our schools, in recognition of the evil his theory has wrought.

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

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ICR Proves You Can Trust the Bible

In this one post we will discuss two different items from the creation scientists at the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom. Neither alone is worth our time, but the two of them — well, you can decide for yourself.

The first is There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness, written by James J. S. Johnson, J.D., Th.D. He has two middle initials, which is very classy, and he not only has a law degree, but he’s also a Doctor of Theology. He’s described at the end as “Associate Professor of Apologetics and Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Creation Research.” Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

After the fact, historic causes routinely leave behind physical effects, often with observable characteristics such as fingerprints, tire-tread impressions, or DNA. These can provide reliable inferences about what occurred at a specific location and time. However, for complete accuracy, there is nothing like a reliable eyewitness.

[*Groan*] It’s common knowledge that testimony from eyewitnesses is often the least reliable evidence — because of bias, unreliable memory, and other personal failings. Wikipedia has an article on the unreliability of Eyewitness testimony.

Most of Johnson’s post is about someone’s memory of the long ago sinking of a German battleship. Nice story, but we’ll skip it. Right near the end he gets around to creationism, and says:

But what about the mixture of marine animals and dinosaur remains? How would land-based reptiles get buried in the same (later hardened) mud layers as squid, shrimp, mussels, lobsters, scallops, oysters, clams, sturgeon, flounder, herring, and orange roughy fish? Can we know anything about what caused these physical effects?

He provides the answer in his final paragraph:

In a word, yes — but only if we rely on Genesis 6–9, the inerrant report given by the global Flood’s perfectly reliable eyewitness, God Himself. He inspired Genesis, and we hear Him clearly say throughout the Genesis narrative, “I know. I was there.”

That was the first ICR article. The second is Who Wrote the Bible?, by Brian Thomas, usually described at the end of his articles as “Science Writer at the Institute for Creation Research.” If you want to know more about him, see The Mind of Brian Thomas. His new article begins with this:

I recently encountered a young man with no confidence in the Bible. His high school teacher taught him that a cluster of Catholic clergy cobbled the Scriptures together long after the events they describe — events like the Lord Jesus rising from the dead and the apostles traveling the world to proclaim His resurrection. Was his teacher right?

The teacher may have been referring to the Development of the Christian biblical canon, which did involve a lot of text selection and rejection, but Brian never mentions that. Instead he says:

The Dead Sea Scrolls rank near the top of a long list of Bible-confirming archaeological discoveries. … When compared with modern texts, the Dead Sea Scrolls reveal virtually no differences after 2,000 years of Bible transmission. The few spelling changes and such did not alter the basic content of any verse. This disproves false stories about church authorities who supposedly sullied Scripture in its collection or transmission.

According to Wikipedia’s article on the Dead Sea Scrolls, some are Old Testament verses, most are writings not in the bible at all, and none are from the New Testament. They indicate that scribes faithfully copied earlier texts; but we don’t see any reference to the author of the original texts.

Brian continues:

Another archaeological discovery also confirms biblical integrity. Archaeologists recovered third-century scrolls from Ein Gedi, Israel, in 1970.

Wikipedia has a write up on the En-Gedi Scroll, which says:

The En-Gedi scroll is an ancient and fragile parchment found in 1970 at Ein Gedi, Israel. It contains a portion of the Biblical book of Leviticus. It is significant as one of the oldest portions of the Bible in existence, and showing an important stage in the development of Hebrew scripture.

Here’s what Brian tells us about it:

Emmanuel Tov from the Hebrew University co-authored a technical report on the scroll scans. He told the Associated Press that the words were “100 percent identical” to the Hebrew book of Leviticus used today for Bible translations. “This is quite amazing for us. In 2,000 years, this text has not changed.”

Once again, we see that scribes took their work seriously. But we still see nothing about the author of the original text. This is Brian’s final paragraph:

Did humans write the Bible’s words? Yes, but not apart from God. Those “holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” And His faithful servants have been meticulously copying those exact words ever since.

So there you are, dear reader. Now you have the answer to Brian’s title question: “Who Wrote the Bible?” Well, you have Brian’s answer.

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

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Speciation Has Been Observed

How may times have we seen creationists argue against evolution because no one has ever witnessed one species evolve into another? It’s far too many to recall, but this is a typical example: Hambo Says Bacteria Don’t Evolve. We know, of course, why speciation hasn’t been observed — because it takes a great many generations to happen. With long-lived species like ourselves, it’s impossible to literally witness. So we rely on fossils, morphology, and DNA evidence. But that’s not enough for creationists.

When we point to Richard Lenski’s E. coli long-term evolution experiment, creationists claim it’s only micro-evolution. They’re always screaming that no one has literally seen a monkey evolve into a man, or a dog into a cat, or a crock into a duck. They demand visual evidence of actual evolution, while at the same time they insist that the unseen and unevidenced events in Genesis are true. (Ah, they respond, but that’s different!)

Well, now we have something else for them to ignore — if they can. It’s at EurekAlert, the online news service of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS): Biologists watch speciation in a laboratory flask. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Biologists have discovered that the evolution of a new species can occur rapidly enough for them to observe the process in a simple laboratory flask. In a month-long experiment using a virus harmless to humans, biologists working at the University of California San Diego and at Michigan State University documented the evolution of a virus into two incipient species — a process known as speciation that Charles Darwin proposed to explain the branching in the tree of life, where one species splits into two distinct species during evolution.

One species of virus evolved into two in only a month? Let’s read on:

“Many theories have been proposed to explain speciation, and they have been tested through analyzing the characteristics of fossils, genomes, and natural populations of plants and animals,” said Justin Meyer, an assistant professor of biology at UC San Diego and the first author of a study that will be published in the December 9 issue of Science. “However, speciation has been notoriously difficult to thoroughly investigate because it happens too slowly to directly observe. Without direct evidence for speciation, some people [Hee hee!] have doubted the importance of evolution and Darwin’s theory of natural selection.”

After that we’re told:

Meyer’s study, which also appeared last week in an early online edition of Science, began while he was a doctoral student at Michigan State University, working in the laboratory of Richard Lenski, a professor of microbial ecology there who pioneered the use of microorganisms to study the dynamics of long-term evolution.

Lenski? Aha — they’re all in it together. It’s a Darwinite conspiracy! Anyway, here’s the paper in Science: Ecological speciation of bacteriophage lambda in allopatry and sympatry. All you can see is the abstract, unless you have a subscription.

EurekAlert has some technical information, which you can read for yourself. Here’s one last excerpt, which is certain to be seen as a challenge to creationists:

“With these experiments, no one can doubt whether speciation occurs,” Meyer added. “More importantly, we now have an experimental system to test many previously untestable ideas about the process.”

We’re anticipating a vigorous reaction from the creationist websites, including denials like: “They’re still viruses!” and “The experiment was intelligently designed!” This should be fun.

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

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Klinghoffer: We’re Special, Really Special!

The Discovery Institute — which always claims to be a science outfit — is once again insisting that the universe was created just for us. The new post at their creationist blog is Harvard Astronomer: “We Seem to Be Cosmically Special, Perhaps Even Unique”, written by Klinghoffer. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

Writing in the Washington Post, Harvard astronomer Howard Smith forcefully blunts Stephen Hawking’s assertion that “The human race is just a chemical scum on a moderate-sized planet.” Of course, it’s not only Dr. Hawking who says as much — denying human exceptionalism is close to universal orthodoxy among the socio-academic demographic he occupies. Carl Sagan put the same view a little more mildly: “We find that we live on an insignificant planet of a humdrum star.”

This is Smith’s article: Humanity is cosmically special. Here’s how we know, which already has attracted 300 comments. He’s described as “a lecturer in the Harvard University Department of Astronomy and a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.” Smith’s article says:

There was a time, back when astronomy put Earth at the center of the universe, that we thought we were special. But after Copernicus kicked Earth off its pedestal, we decided we were cosmically inconsequential, partly because the universe is vast and about the same everywhere. … An objective look, however, at just two of the most dramatic discoveries of astronomy — big bang cosmology and planets around other stars (exoplanets) — suggests the opposite. We seem to be cosmically special, perhaps even unique — at least as far as we are likely to know for eons.

Smith’s “objective” conclusion seems a bit excessive, but he attempts to support it by mentioning the Anthropic principle, a controversial concept, after which he declares:

The universe, far from being a collection of random accidents, appears to be stupendously perfect and fine-tuned for life.

[*Groan*] It shouldn’t surprise us that everything we discover about the universe is consistent with our existence — were it otherwise we wouldn’t exist. But it doesn’t follow that the universe was designed for the purpose of our existence. If it were true that the universe was created to support life, then its appearance would be inevitable throughout the universe, wherever congenial conditions existed, and it would require no additional activity from an intelligent designer. Smith also mentions the discovery of thousands of extra-solar planets, and because most are apparently unsuited for life, he also spins that into an argument for our unique status:

For all intents and purposes, we could be alone in our cosmic neighborhood, and if we expand the volume of our search we will have to wait even longer to find out. Life might be common in the very distant universe — or it might not be — and we are unlikely to know. We are probably rare — and it seems likely we will be alone for eons. This is the second piece of new evidence that we are not ordinary.

Okay, that’s Smith’s opinion. Klinghoffer gleefully provides extensive quotes from Smith, after which he tells us:

Atheists aren’t having any of it. At Why Evolution Is True, biologist Jerry Coyne hits back, complaining that Smith doesn’t confess right up front that he is in fact, as Smith himself has written elsewhere, an observant Jew. Coyne frets that Smith is a “religious Jew who spends his time reconciling science with the mystical tenets of the Kaballah.”

Coyne’s reference to Smith’s religion is a small part of his article, which does a good job of dismissing Smith’s views on scientific grounds. Klinghoffer doesn’t dwell on that part of Coyne’s article, of course. Instead, his Discoveroid post says:

If Smith thought that scientific evidence confirms his religious views in all their details, he could have written that, though it would have provided an even easier excuse to dismiss him. Or perhaps, more reasonably, he agrees with ID advocates that science takes you so far and no farther, leading only to the minimal conclusion that life bears evidence of design.

Although Klinghoffer admits that it’s “unclear” whether Smith agrees with the Discoveroids to that extent, he ends his post with this:

Smith does, however, say this: “Scientists have been admirably honest about admitting ignorance, and, it seems to me, offer a lesson in humility to theologians: we do not know it all, regardless of our Scriptures … or our egos.” [Ellipsis in the original.]

So we’re left with a bit of a muddle. Smith obviously has a tendency to see supernatural implications in what astronomers have discovered; but at the same time, he acknowledges that we have a lot more to learn. Klinghoffer already knows all he needs to know, and he attempts to take Smith where he clearly doesn’t go, and adopts him as a potential Discoveroid fellow-traveler. We’ll leave it to Smith to decide if he wants to make that leap, but we suspect that, albeit a theist, he’ll decline the opportunity.

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

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