The Discoveroids’ Fourth of July

Buffoon Award

In our last post, Fourth of July Weekend Free Fire Zone, we said:

One thing we always watch for is when the Discoveroids, as they usually do on the Fourth, continue their gruesome campaign of intellectual body-snatching and quote-mining by hijacking one of America’s Founders and claiming him as one of their own.

And lo, it has come to pass! We present to you, dear reader, some excerpts from Intelligent Design Is “Based on Religion”? Tell That to Thomas Jefferson, which appears at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog — written by John West. He’s a Vice President of the Discovery Institute, a Senior Fellow, and Associate Director of their creationism think tank, the Center for Science & Culture, which makes him one of the chief Keepers of their wedge strategy. Around here we affectionately call him “Westie,” and we always look forward to his output. Westie was an early winner of the Curmudgeon’s Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo above this post.

Here are some excerpts from Westie’s post. The bold font was added by us:

Next time someone tells you intelligent design is “based on religion,” you might point him to American Founder Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence. As I explain in a special July 4th edition of ID the Future, Jefferson not only believed in intelligent design, he insisted it was based on the plain evidence of nature, not religion: [link to something].

Aaaargh!! How many times before this have the Discoveroids made the bizarre claim that they are continuing the intellectual legacy of Jefferson? We’ve written about a few of them. In 2008 we wrote Usurping the Fourth of July. In 2009 we wrote Thomas Jefferson Joins The Discovery Institute!, and also Another July 4th Hijacking. But that’s not all. In 2013 we wrote Discoveroids Again Hijack the Fourth of July. In that one we discuss the mined quote from Jefferson’s letter to John Adams, from Monticello, April 11, 1823, which Westie mentions in today’s Discoveroid post.

Okay, let’s return to Westie’s latest. He says:

Ironically, the critics of intelligent design often think they are defending the principles of Jefferson. The National Council for the Social Studies, for example, claims that intelligent design is religion and then cites Jefferson’s famous Letter to the Danbury Baptists calling for a “wall of separation” between church and state. The clear implication is that Thomas Jefferson would agree with them that intelligent design is religion. In reality, Jefferson did not believe that intelligent design was a religious doctrine. In a letter to John Adams on April 11, 1823, he declared: [quote omitted].

We’ve already discussed that letter in a prior post. At most, Jefferson was groping toward what amounts to Paley’s watchmaker — which wasn’t altogether unreasonable in Jefferson’s generation. Let’s read on:

In sum, Jefferson believed that empirical data from nature itself proved intelligent design by showing the natural world’s intricate organization from the level of plants and insects all the way up to the revolution of the planets.

To know how Jefferson really thought, see Thomas Jefferson on Young-Earth Creationism. Westie continues:

As I document in my book The Politics of Revelation and Reason, Jefferson was hostile toward traditional Christianity and lashed out in private at those who believed in the divinity of Jesus. He even created his own redacted version of the New Testament from which he cut out the miracles. So he certainly can’t be accused of trying to promote “Christian fundamentalism.”

That’s true. Why does Westie mention it? He explains:

That makes his defense of intelligent design as based on unassisted reason rather than divine revelation all the more powerful.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Even if that were an accurate description of Jefferson’s thinking (it isn’t), there’s no way he would hold to that conclusion today, given what’s been learned since then about geology, evolution, and astronomy since he wrote that letter. Only creationists continue to hold fast to what may have seemed reasonable, albeit unscientific, conclusions in Jefferson’s time. And now we come to the end:

If more people knew about Jefferson’s real views on intelligent design, they might not be so quick to accept bogus claims that it is simply repackaged theology.

But as all the world knows, intelligent design is repackaged theology. Anyway, there you have it — another Discoveroid Fourth of July.

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

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Fourth of July Weekend Free Fire Zone

Liberty Enlightening the World

As we always do on this occasion, we ask our non-US readers to indulge us as we celebrate America’s Independence Day.

There wasn’t much news today, and there won’t be much over the weekend, but if we find something, we’ll certainly post about it. One thing we always watch for is when the Discoveroids, as they usually do on the Fourth, continue their gruesome campaign of intellectual body-snatching and quote-mining by hijacking one of America’s Founders and claiming him as one of their own. They did it last year with Jefferson when they wrote On Independence Day, Recalling the Intelligent-Design Views of the Man Who Wrote the Declaration of Independence. They did it the year before too — see Discoveroids Again Hijack the Fourth of July.

Regardless of what creationist websites may claim, there was nothing biblical about the Revolution. Most of the clergy opposed it — divine right of kings, you know. The bible is all about monarchy, on Earth as it is in heaven. It’s not much of a blueprint for the American Revolution, or the Constitution — see Is America a “Christian Nation”?

We always take this occasion to load you up with a bunch of historical links, so we’ll do that once again. Here’s a link to the Declaration of Independence, plus the Articles of Confederation, which — except for a few tweaks — was also drafted in July of 1776, but it wasn’t ratified until 1781. No collection would be complete without Common Sense by Thomas Paine.

Those links are about the Revolution. The time when we were living under the Articles is the often-neglected period when we had ten Presidents before George Washington — see President of the United States in Congress assembled. Finally we come to the Constitution.

Here’s the Federalist Papers — that splendid and still authoritative series of essays by the Constitution’s principal authors, who explain the meaning and purpose of its every clause. The website has a search feature at the bottom of the page. For some wholesome family amusement, invite someone over who insists that the nation was founded on religious principles. Encourage your friend to search through the entire thing for all the religious words he can think of, and then let him ponder the results.

After that, check out our post on Jefferson’s Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and then our post on The Unknown Bill of Rights.

It’s astounding what you can find at Primary Documents in American History (1763-1815). And you ought to be aware of this: Veto of federal public works bill by James Madison, because pork barrel spending is unconstitutional. Hey –it’s always handy to have a link to Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith. Searchable!

Because we’re not expecting any of our kind of news this weekend, it’s up to us to entertain ourselves. Therefore, we’re declaring another Intellectual Free-Fire Zone. As with all our free-fire zones, we’re open for the discussion of pretty much anything — science, politics, economics, whatever — as long as it’s tasteful and interesting. Banter, babble, bicker, bluster, blubber, blather, blab, blurt, burble, boast — say what you will. But avoid flame-wars and beware of the profanity filters.

We now throw open the comments to you, dear reader. Have at it.

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

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Republican Presidential Candidates & Creationism

This is a subject about which we need to keep updated, but it’s difficult to find all the information in one convenient place — although Salon posted this back in Frbruary: Evolution and the GOP’s 2016 candidates: A complete guide .

Wikipedia has an article on the Republican Party presidential candidates, 2016. It lists them all (so far), but it doesn’t give their positions on evolution and creationism. Some of them are already known to us.

Those who are definitely creationists are Ben Carson, Ted Cruz (almost definitely), Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal, Rick Perry, Marco Rubio (probably), and Rick Santorum.

Those whose views we don’t yet know are Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, Rand Paul, and Donald Trump.

John Kasich and Scott Walker have not yet declared their candidacy, and we’re not certain of their views either. But see Scott Walker Is a Creationist.

So your Curmudgeon is asking for help. If you know anything about the candidates’ views on evolution, and you can provide an authoritative link to your source of information, please let us know. There’s no need to bother with their views about climate change, same-sex marriage, immigration, or Obamacare. We’re pretty sure we already know.

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Creationist Wisdom #590: Evolution Is a Fraud

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin of Walla Walla, Washington. It’s titled Evolutionary frauds perpetuated on public. The newspaper has a comments section, but it looks like you need to sign in to see them.

Because the writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is Guillermo. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary and some bold font for emphasis. Here we go!

Wow! A new evolutionary human lineage based on nothing more than a partial jawbone, allegedly human! How many times are they going to trot out this evolutionary dead end before folks get fed up with being duped?

We assume he’s talking about this: Genetic analysis of 40,000-year-old jawbone reveals early modern humans interbred with Neandertals, which has been all over the news. Guillermo isn’t impressed. He says:

When it comes to religious zealotry, no one beats an evolutionary true believer. Evolutionists asserted that Piltdown man was an ancient ancestor of modern man.More than 400 doctoral degrees were awarded based on Piltdown man. None of those degrees was rescinded after the fraud was exposed. Talk about scientific integrity.

BWAHAHAHAHAHA! We’ve written about Piltdown Man here, and the TalkOrigins Index to Creationist Claims has an entry on all those non-existent doctoral degrees. Let’s read on:

Next, we have Nebraska man. The scientific evidence consisted of a single tooth. Despite this paucity of evidence, public school science textbooks carried artistic depictions of not only the male tooth donor, but his female mate. Alas, the tooth actually belonged to an extinct peccary.

Aaaargh!! What textbooks has Guillermo been looking at? TalkOrigins debunks that too. Guillermo continues:

Then came Orce man. Discovered in Spain, it was claimed to be the oldest fossilized human bone ever found in Europe. Plans were made for a huge celebration with evolutionary luminaries from around the world in attendance. Alas, the bone actually came from a young donkey.

We never heard of that one. According to TalkOrigins, it’s a story told by Duane Gish about a briefly misidentified fragment — see Creationist Arguments: Orce Man. Guillermo declares:

These are just a few examples of evolutionary frauds perpetuated on the public by evolutionists in the past.

Yes, it’s just one fraud after another. Here’s more:

Yet, when Dr. Ben Carson (arguably the greatest neurosurgeon ever) declared for the presidency, the U-B [presumably the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin] failed to mention he is a young-Earth creationist who disdains evolution.

Carson is a very likable man, but alas, he’s a flaming creationist. The newspaper was being kind to Carson by not mentioning that, but Guillermo thinks it’s part of a conspiracy to suppress the evidence that a genius opposes evolution. Skipping to the end:

Could it be that evolution is really nothing more than a humanist religion based on the philosophical assumption that God does not exist and is not endemic to real science? Think about it.

So there you are. Guillermo has exposed us. Evolution is a total fraud. Now you know.

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

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