The Bible’s Greatest Hits – Week 47: Ecclesiastes 7:28

The Bible's Greatest Hits - Title ImageHello friends and welcome to the Bible’s Greatest Hits. I hope you’ve all got your hearts prepared for learning and inspiration from the Good Book because I’m about to share an incredibly meaningful and powerful verse from Jesus’ bestselling autobiography. But first, let’s talk about comets and the global flood. I happened upon this Examiner.com article by one Terry Hurlbut about calculating the date of the global flood based on the movement of the comets that jettisoned from the Earth “when a subcrustal ocean, once ten miles deep underground, broke confinement and rushed out of the bowels of the earth, at hypersonic speed”. According to the article, this is how comets came to be. Seriously. Anyway, according to Hurlbut and Dr. Walt Brown (Phd in mechanical engineering, i.e. comets?) the Flood happened in the year 3344.5 BC. I’m sure that half year is really important. Ken Ham and Co., however, have the date as 2348 BC, no .5 here.  Why am I sharing this? In part because the ocean comets thing is hilarious, but also because I love it when people argue over the details of something completely made up. It’s so entertaining. Now, how about that verse I promised?

Adding one thing to another to discover the scheme of things—
    while I was still searching
    but not finding—
I found one upright man among a thousand,
    but not one upright woman among them all.

Ecclesiastes 7:28

Yeah man. Chicks, what’s with them? Let’s go buy some Affliction t-shirts and workout, aight bro?

The Bible’s Greatest Hits – Week 42: Luke 19:16

The Bible's Greatest Hits - Title ImageGood afternoon everyone and welcome to another humbling and spiritually potent edition of the Bible’s Greatest Hits. Of course, I have an amazing piece of Biblical wisdom to bestow upon you today, but first I want to talk about Wesley Snipes. Actually, it isn’t me that wants to, but a tax blogger over at Forbes who really, really wants to. Writer Peter J Reilly has pumped out two articles in the past few days relating the Demolition Man star’s pre-release from prison on tax related charges with the similar case of our much beloved Kent Hovind. I’m not sure that Reilly has any angle other than being interested in the tax law issues, though he does state in one of the articles that he isn’t a creationist. Reilly also points out that Eric Hovind’s application and approval for non-profit status for Creation Today provides telling counter evidence for his father’s claims that the IRS discriminates against creationists. Touche. But enough of that, here’s today’s verse!

Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds.

Luke 19:16

Look, it’s been winter and I haven’t been getting outside to exercise. And the holidays are really difficult with all the food and candy, but you don’t have to rub it in, all right? Geez.

Creationists Put Their Money Where Their Mouth Is

Dr. Joseph Mastropaolo, whom the creationists are rather proud of because he has a real live PhD (in kinesiology), has placed a bet against we evolutionists: Prove before a judge that science contradicts the literal book of Genesis, and you can win even odds on $10,000.

I’m pretty tempted to do it, though not positive where I’d come up with $10,000 for the pot (maybe my dad would loan me some of his retirement fund?). Creationism has failed in US courts no less than six times: Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), Daniel v. Waters (1975), Hendren v. Campbell (1977), McLean v. Arkansas Board of Education (1981), Edwards v. Aguillard (1987), and Kitzmiller v. Dover (2005). The odds of it succeeding now are pretty much negligible, making this the safest 100% ROI you’ll ever make.

Frankly, I’d feel sort of bad taking the guy’s money so easily, but I’d obviously put it to better use than he would. I’d probably give a big chunk of it to the Against Malaria Foundation, for instance. A lot of scientists will balk at giving this guy any more attention, but come on; he’s going to spend that money supporting Creationist things if we don’t take it from him.

Mastropaolo has really set the bar pretty low here. Any scientist in any discipline will do (probably so he can include himself), and all you have to do is prove that the literal account in Genesis is unscientific. You don’t have to disprove the Bible; you don’t have to undermine Intelligent Design; you don’t have to prove evolution is true; you don’t even have to prove Creationism is false. All you have to do is show that the literal book of Genesis is not science. You could literally cite Papal Encyclicals to that effect; you wouldn’t even need science books. I’m thinking maybe just reading a couple paragraphs from each of about a hundred science textbooks, stacking them all up in the courtroom.

There is one bad sign however: He’s said he’ll do this before, and hasn’t gone through with it.

Prove it.

When I studied Catholic theology, I picked up a concept that has stuck with me in my post-Christian, militant lady-atheist years (albeit in the logical, non-Catholic understanding of it): invincible ignorance.  If anyone doubts the existence of invincible ignorance, this interview should settle the question. (This 2008 interview is broken up into seven parts.  I watched all seven, and it required frequent trips to my calming mind palace/happy place, just to keep my blood pressure in check.)

If you aren’t sure you can tolerate the whole thing (frankly, I can’t blame you), allow me to sum up.  In this corner, possessing a keen intellect, multiple degrees, and a thorough understanding of evolutionary biology, Dr. Richard Dawkins!  And in this corner, possessing a winning smile, several touching anecdotes, and a handful of well-memorized and oft-repeated talking points, conservative activist and armchair-scientist-of-some-sort, Wendy Wright! [Read more...]

The Weekly Roundup – 2/16/13-2/22/13

Each week, Crocoduck brings you the most cringe-inducing, mind-scrambling Tweets and Facebook posts from everyone’s favorite Creationist, evangelist, or just garden-variety stooges.

Starting us off this week is the unparalleled wisdom of Ray Comfort, whose response to those who don’t want to be proselytized to is a gleeful, “Shut up and listen to me harder.”

Ray Comfort 2.17.13

Next we have this beauty from Joel Osteen. I guess the biggest struggle for Joel’s all-powerful God is against ordinary people. Keep up the good work, ordinary people. Let’s keep God bogged down. [Read more...]

Creationism Has Merit

Jesus Creationism

I’m always a little confused when I run across a reasonably intelligent human being who also believes in creationism. Today, for example, I found an article by Ed Reep, a senior at Rutgers University. Rutgers is a good school, right?

Either way, Reep argues that, by providing evidence for god, he can set the stage for an easily-proven case for creationism.

In order to show the merit of creationism, I must first show that belief in God has merit, which is a far easier task. God’s existence, after all, is the best explanation for any supernatural phenomenon that might exist, so in order to reasonably demonstrate the existence of God, all I would have to do is reasonably demonstrate the existence of supernatural phenomena.

Wait. What?

How do we know that god’s existence is the best explanation for supernatural phenomenon? And which god are we even talking about? I have a preference for Jove, the Roman equivalent of Zeus, but I somehow doubt that Mr. Reep is talking about my beloved Jove. [Read more...]

Geology Professor Dispatches With A Discovery Institute Flunky

Callan Bentley, an assistant professor of geology at Northern Virginia Community College, gave us the most romantic Valentines Day gift: the transcript of a recent email interchange between himself and Andrew McDiarmid, a Discovery Institute lackey.

McDiarmid contacted Bentley to request the publication rights for an image that had been posted on Bentley’s blog:

I am in the process of looking for photos for his book and came across your set detailing a trip to the Burgess Shale. I am writing to see if you are open to giving him permission to use one of your photos, a picture of Emerald Lake and the Burgess Shale landscape. You describe the photo on your AGU.org <http://AGU.org> blog as:

“Emerald Lake and its gorgeous alluvial fan coming off the Presidential Range and filling in the basin.”
<http://blogs.agu.org/mountainbeltway/files/2011/08/burgess26.jpg>

I’d like to offer you $100 and a complimentary copy of the book in return for permission to use the photo. The book will be published in June 2013 by HarperOne Publishers San Francisco. If you agree to do this, can you please forward me a high-res version of the photo and your preferred wording for credit?

Bentley politely declined the offer, but closed his email with this little gem:

Best wishes for your good health, and the speedy demise of the sham institution that employs you.

Of course, the interchange didn’t end there. Bentley has written a pretty exhaustive play by play on his blog. You should probably check it out.

Will atheism defeat religion by 2038?

JDN 2456338 EDT 15:00.

No Religion

This article thinks so. Personally, I’m not so sure. It’d be nice, but I’m not sure it will happen. We do know that most of the developed world is becoming more secular, that much is clear. But there is a major exception: the United States of America. Religious fundamentalism is as strong in the US as it has been in recent memory, and we still have 46% of Americans who believe in Creationism.

Part of it is that the US is almost not a First World country; we’re more like Qatar than we are Sweden. We have absurd inequality, massive poverty, the highest incarceration rate in the world… so even if a more secure life does make you less religious, America has a long way to go before people are going to feel secure. (Ironically, this means that the people saying liberalism leads to godlessness might be right; Liberal economic policy makes people more secure, so they don’t turn to religion as much.)

There have been many predictions of religion’s demise, dating as far back as the Enlightenment, and so far it hasn’t happened. People are stubborn and irrational. So, I’m cautious about making the same prediction again.

In most of my science fiction novels, I theorize that the world will fracture in two: There will be atheists, about 60% of the population, and fundamentalists, about 40%; there will be no moderates. As science undermines religion, it leaves only two choices: Give up science (fundamentalism), or give up religion (atheism).

I’m not exactly looking forward to it, but it seems to be the road we’re on. Listen to the people who blame atheism for school shootings, and gay sex for hurricanes. Are they a minority? Yes, but it’s a large and vocal minority with a lot of political power.

Reports of religion’s demise have been greatly exaggerated.

Creationists Honestly Don’t Understand Humility

Eric Hovind - I know Everything

Eric Hovind has been clamoring for attention ever since he inherited his father’s creationist kingdom back in 2007. Typically, his attention-grabbing antics are simply misguided stabs at logical thought and a series of witless one-liners. It’s pretty entertaining to watch, which is why I follow his Twitter account.

But a couple of weeks ago, Hovind tweeted a little nugget of stupidity that’s a perfect metaphor for one of the major flaws in the creationist perspective; they’re genuinely confused by the concept of humility.

Hovind Tweet - Humility

Hovind’s comments were directed at Alex Botten, a British artist and podcaster, who recently goosed Eric with the following tweet:

Boten Tweet - Humility

The two of them, Hovind and Botten, have a bit of history together. “He’s sore that across several debates on the Fundamentally Flawed podcast, myself and my colleague Jim Gardner moved from stumbling bafflement to being able to confidently refute everything [he] said,” Botten told me via email. [Read more...]

A Missouri State Representative’s Attempts To Redefine Science

In a bizarre, albiet unsurprising, bit of legislation, Missouri State Representative Rick Brattin is attempting to recast the definition of Science so that it includes faith-based philosophies. Here’s the actual wording:

‘Scientific theory,’ an inferred explanation of incompletely understood phenomena about the physical universe based on limited knowledge, whose components are data, logic, and faith-based philosophy.

Obviously, Brattin is attempting to sneak creationism into the Missouri school system, but he’s doing it with a refreshing level of bravado. Most politicians try to mask their creationist nuttery in scientific lingo, but Brattin just whips out his balls and waves them in our faces:

If scientific theory concerning biological origin is taught in a course of study, biological evolution and biological intelligent design shall be taught. Other scientific theory or theories of origin may be taught. If biological intelligent design is taught, any proposed identity of the intelligence responsible for earth’s biology shall be verifiable by present-day observation or experimentation and teachers shall not question, survey, or otherwise influence student belief in a nonverifiable identity within a science course.

But redefining science isn’t enough for Rick Brattin. He wants to make sure that equal time is given to each position, so the bill requires that ”course textbooks contain approximately an equal number of pages of relevant material teaching each viewpoint.”

Normally I wouldn’t be concerned with Brattin’s antics, but Missouri is right next door to Tennessee and Bill Haslam, the Governor of Tennessee, recently allowed a bill that would open the door for creationism. Plus, Louisiana lives in the neighborhood, and those guys are a bad influence.

Source: Ars Technica