Rev. David Rives — Not a Flat-Earther

The Drool-o-tron™ kicked in suddenly with its sirens and flashing lights. The blinking letters of its wall display said WorldNetDaily (WND). Our computer was locked onto WND’s presentation of the latest video by the brilliant and articulate leader of David Rives Ministries.

Because we’ve been recently slimed by some re-postings of the rev’s older videos, we were skeptical, but that vanished when we saw WND’s headline: Was ‘flat earth’ theory grounded in history? We’ve never seen the rev talk about that before. Creationists usually avoid the subject because the bible is so spectacularly wrong about the shape of the Earth.

But your Curmudgeon has mentioned it. In The Earth Is Flat!, we gave you all the scriptural references to a flat Earth — in the Old Testament and also in the New. So we were curious to see what the rev had to say.

The rev has his own title for the video, which is Testament to the Spherical Earth, Detriment to the Flat Earth. He doesn’t tell us anything new. He points out that Columbus didn’t set out to prove that the Earth isn’t flat. We know that. He tells his drooling fans that Aristotle demonstrated that the Earth is a sphere. We know that too. But what about the bible? Isn’t it the world’s greatest authority on science?

He mentions only the Isaiah passage (Isaiah 40:22) that we discussed in our post, where there’s a reference to “the circle of the Earth” — but as we pointed out, that’s properly translated as “disk.” The rev doesn’t even quote it, although it’s all he’s got. Instead he recites the line before it, which doesn’t help him at all: “Have ye not known? have ye not heard? hath it not been told you from the beginning? have ye not understood from the foundations of the earth?”

Otherwise, the rev wisely avoids all other scripture discussions of the Earth’s shape. Smart boy! He knows the bible is a flat Earth book from beginning to end.

We don’t understand the purpose of his video, unless it’s to clarify that he’s not a flat-Earther. Few creationists are, which says a lot about their lack of consistency in relying on scripture. Six-day creation? Oh yeah! Flat Earth? [*Silence*]

The rev is wearing his bible-boy suit — with a necktie — and he’s still the cutest rev you’ve ever seen! The video is his usual 90-second presentation — before the commercial. 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!

Addendum: Can you believe it — we’ve been slimed yet again! WND posted the exact same video a year ago — Rev. David Rives and the Flat Earth. This is ridiculous! We’re done with the rev.

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

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Zack & the Louisiana Creationism Repeal Bill

Last week we wrote about Louisiana’s 2015 Creationism Repeal Effort — an attempt to repeal the Louisiana Science Education Act (the LSEA). The LSEA was based on the Discovery Institute’s anti-science, anti-evolution, pro-creationism Academic Freedom Act. But something was missing.

In all earlier attempts to repeal the LSEA, besides Senator Karen Carter Peterson who courageously sponsors the repeal bills, we could always expect Zack Kopplin to be involved. He drives the Discoveroids crazy because: (1) he makes sense; and (2) he gets more press coverage than they do.

Well, dear reader, Zack is back. He has an article at Slate, titled Dismissing Darwin, in which he gives examples of creationist horror stories in Louisiana’s public schools. Some may be controversial as to whether they were specifically caused by the LSEA, or just the sort of thing that traditionally goes on in Louisiana, but the LSEA presumably protects those teachers, and the overall effect of Zack’s presentation is quite powerful. The first paragraph is all we need to excerpt. If that doesn’t encourage you to read the whole thing, nothing will:

When I was a high school senior in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in 2010, I began a campaign to repeal my state’s “creationism law,” which allows teachers to sneak religion into public school science classes by using materials that criticize evolution. Seventy-eight Nobel laureates and many other prominent scientists and educators have joined me in calling for the repeal of this law, officially known as the Louisiana Science Education Act, and tens of thousands of people have signed petitions against it over the past four years, but so far we’ve failed. Louisiana teachers can still bring religion into public school science classrooms, legally.

In addition to that, the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) posted this about Zack’s article: Creationism revealed in Louisiana schools. They quote Zack:

I have evidence that religion, not science, is what’s being taught systematically in some Louisiana school systems. I have obtained emails from creationist teachers and school administrators, as well as a letter signed by more than 20 current and former Louisiana science teachers in Ouachita Parish in which they say they challenge evolution in the classroom without legal ‘tension or fear’ because of pro-creationism policies.

Will this have any effect on the Louisiana legislature? We doubt it. Here’s a link where you can monitor the progress of this year’s repeal bill. It was pre-filed on 31 March — the day the legislature convened — it was sent to Senate’s Committee on Education. That’s where all the earlier repeal bills have died. Nothing has been scheduled yet for this year’s bill — no hearings, no votes. Alas, we’re expecting a replay of what happened to all such bills before. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on 11 June.

The Discoveroids haven’t yet posted about the situation. No doubt they will. The LSEA is their biggest triumph, so they have to defend it. They’ve never made any contribution to science, and they never will, so Academic Freedom bills like the one they promoted in Louisiana (and later in Tennessee) are all they’ve got to show for the millions they’ve spent, and they won’t let it go down without a fight.

To understand what we say next, you may need to read the Curmudgeon’s Guide to “Academic Freedom” Laws. In the spirit of one of the most absurd provisions of the LSEA, we close with this:

Nothing herein shall be construed as being disrespectful of the Discoveroids.

Addendum: Breaking news! We’ve just been informed that there’s a hearing on the repeal bill scheduled for today, at about 10:30 or 11 AM in the Hainkel room in the Louisiana State Capitol. You can watch it here.

Addendum: More breaking news! NCSE has posted Repeal effort fails again in Louisiana. They say: “Louisiana’s Senate Bill 74 (PDF) was deferred on a 4-3 vote in the Louisiana Senate Education Committee on April 22, 2015, which effectively kills the bill in committee.”

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Creationist Wisdom #557: Lies, All Lies

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the Beloit Daily News of Beloit, Wisconsin. It’s titled Show the facts for evolution. The newspaper has a comments feature.

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

Darwin is still waiting. Darwin knew 132 years ago that he didn’t have the evidence to prove his theory of a true species turning into a new true species. He hoped future scientists would find it. Scientists failed; not that they didn’t try.

Yeah, everyone has been trying, but so far — nothing. Poor Darwin. Then Kevin says:

Evolutionary scientists like to show off Darwin’s finches or the famous peppered moths of England to prove their theory. We called it adapting to their environment. Scientists call it evolution. But the finches stayed finches and the moths will always be moths. No new species, yet they remain icons of the lie of evolution.

He’s right. Nothing ever changes. Let’s read on:

Do paleontologists know that geologists don’t have good evidence for the age of their rocks? Do geologists know that paleontologists don’t have good evidence for the age of their fossils? Circular reasoning is not good science.

Oh? Answers in Genesis says it’s great science — see AIG’s Logic: Prepare To Lose Your Mind. Kevin continues:

Knowing mutations are a loss of information, like removing letters from this sentence — how can anything evolve into something better? That would take thousands of mutations.

Isn’t this great? Here’s more:

Once or twice a year scientists get all excited when someone finds another missing link. It’s in all the media. Upon further investigation it turns out not to be a missing link. Everything from Archaeopteryx to Lucy have failed the tests. Of course they don’t tell us they don’t have any evidence, so their lies continue.

How did this guy figure it out? Moving along:

Throughout the earth’s history we don’t see evolution. We do see plants and animals after their own kind: Genesis 1: 11-25.

Ah yes. It’s so true! Keven finishes his letter with what looks like a fair request:

If anyone replies to this letter, please don’t comment on me or my beliefs, just show the facts of evolution.

Well, dear reader? If you can’t comment about Kevin, and you don’t have any facts, there’s nothing to say, is there?

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Creationism in the Shadow of Stonehenge

Things are wild in England. Look what we found in the Wiltshire Gazette & Herald of Wiltshire, a county in South West England. Stonehenge is located there, which might explain the bizarre occurrence reported in the newspaper’s headline: ‘Stop teaching evil theory of evolution’, demands Chippenham clergyman.

The newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature, so we don’t know what the good people of Wiltshire think. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us:

Liberal Democrat candidate Duncan Hames defended freedom of expression in the Chippenham hustings debate after calls from a clergyman of the town to ban the teaching of Darwinism in schools. All five of the Chippenham constituency’s general election candidates, gathered in St Andrew’s Church this evening, were responding to impromptu questions from a packed church hall.

There’s nothing more entertaining than having a routine campaign event interrupted by a creationist. Let’s find out what happened:

Among the queries from the floor – on [list of local issues] – came a less expected question on the origins of the universe, in which a clergyman blamed Darwin for the Holocaust.

Who was that bold and brilliant clergyman? Let’s read on:

The Rev Melvin Banks, of The Redeemed Christian Church of God on Station Hill, Chippenham, tried to seek assurance from candidates that schoolchildren would be taught the Bible as the truth and that Darwin’s theory of evolution, which he referred to as “evil”, would be struck from the curriculum.

Why bother the politicians? Why doesn’t rev Melvin just ask the Man Upstairs to do the job? That’s not explained. We continue:

He [Melvin the rev] said: “The South Korean Government, one of the most prosperous countries in the world, recently on the advice of top scientists, have decided to ban the decadent and unprovable theory of Darwin’s evolution in their schools.”

What? [*Curmudgeon checks his archives*] BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s old news, and it’s totally wrong — see South Korean Creationists Repelled. Here’s another quote from rev Melvin:

They say it’s the father of permissiveness and sexual decadence. Leaders in the last war said it was their belief in Darwin’s evolution that caused them to carry out the Holocaust against Christians, which caused six million deaths.

Wow — evolution is really bad! The rev ranted on:

Will the candidates fight to stop this evil theory being taught as the government now wants it to eight-year-olds and above, and instead teach the truth, the sure truth and the Holy Bible, bless His name, of a God created universe?

Verily, the rev was inspired. Or would a better word be unhinged? But how can your humble Curmudgeon judge a man who is so steeped in holiness? Well, how did the meeting react? Surely they were moved by the rev’s passion. Actually … they weren’t. We’re told:

The Rev Rod Key of St Andrew’s Church, who was chairing the event, said the question did not fit in with overseas aid and swiftly moved on.

Oh, how disrespectful! Another excerpt:

But Duncan Hames [a candidate] seized his next opportunity to speak to give a response, saying he would not be looking to ban the theory of evolution from schools. He said: “My observation is that places that start burning books tend to turn out to be places where they end up burning people. We shouldn’t, just because you may disagree with a theory being taught, seek to ban it, seek to put it aside so that people can’t discuss it.”

One final excerpt from the article — a quote from someone else, perhaps another candidate:

After the hustings Mr Key said: “The vast majority of Christians believe in evolution, it is a very small minority that doesn’t.”

So that’s the news from the land of Stonehenge. What will rev Melvin do now? We hope we haven’t heard the last from him.

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