Creationist “Audits” Chicago’s Field Museum. Stupidity Ensues.

Megan Fox Creationist

I always feel a little guilty for posting stuff like this, mostly because it feels like I’m shooting fish in a barrel. But if people are going to keep uploading their stupidity to YouTube, I’m going to keep writing about it.

Last week, creationist Megan Fox posted a video of her visit to Chicago’s Field Museum. Obviously, this isn’t the same Megan Fox that some of us have had naughty dreams about. This one is kookier.

The video documents Fox’s tour of an exhibit called “Evolving Earth,” where she is supposedly scrutinizing the museum’s inconsistencies. Here’s how she describes it on YouTube:

In November 2014, Megan Fox toured the Field Museum’s “Evolving Earth” exhibit to audit it for bias. She found many examples of inconsistencies and the Field Museum’s insistence that people support opinion as fact without proof. The Field Museum pushes certain theories as if they are absolute proven law when that is not how the scientific method works. She found enough bias to show that the people who put this exhibit together at the Field Museum pushed an agenda with quasi-religious overtones: the cult of “science” where the “scientists” are more like high priests pushing a religion instead of using the correct scientific method. Aside from having time machines, there is no way these people can be this certain about things they speculate happened millions of years ago before recorded history.

Here’s the video, if you can stomach it. I managed to choke down about 5 minute’s worth, but my stomach started making a funny noise, so I shut it off.

Kent Hovind is Back In Court

Hovind

I’m usually not the sympathetic type when it comes to religious shysters ending up behind bars, but I’m starting to feel bad for Kent Hovind. Back in August, Hovind was relocated to a Santa Rosa County Jail so the state of Florida could run him through the legal system yet again.

Hovind’s latest judicial bugaboo revolves around his inability to pay off his governmental debt while incarcerated. I’m not a lawyer, but it sounds like the state of Florida registered an injunction against Creation Science Evangelism, Hovind’s former ministry, which prohibited the company from filing liens agains some Hovind-owned real estate. But that didn’t stop them from filing a lis pendens lien.

“Lis pendens” is a bit of legalese that only effects real estate. From what I can tell, it means that whoever purchases the property from the government would be responsible for any outstanding lawsuits, severely reducing the value of the real estate. Here’s a snippet from wikipedia:

Recording a lis pendens against a piece of property alerts a potential purchaser or lender that the property’s title is in question, which makes the property less attractive to a buyer or lender. After the notice is filed, anyone who nevertheless purchases the land or property described in the notice takes subject to the ultimate decision of the lawsuit.

Since the state of Florida already had an injunction against Creation Science Evangelism’s lien-filing ability, Hovind is, apparently, in contempt.

Hovind’s son, Eric, posted an update on his dad’s blog back in August, but his description of the problem doesn’t exactly match the court’s filings. Here’s what Eric said:

The prosecution obtained approval from Judge Rodgers to press more criminal charges. These allegations purport that the appeals, motions, and lawsuits filed by Kent Hovind are “frivolous” and that they have “encumbered” the government.

Obviously, I have no idea how it all went down, but if Hovind intentionally filed this lien, he’s got super huge balls. He had to know about the injunction, which means that he’s either purposefully trolling the government or he’s ignorant about how the legal system works. Either way, he’ll be back in court next month.

Right now, he’s scheduled to be released on August 10, 2015, but it might be a while before we see him in the wild.

Source: Forbes, Kent Hovind’s Blog

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…]

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.

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

Teaching creationism is child abuse

Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist and cosmologist from Arizona State University. He also runs the Origins Project, a program intended to “guide students through an exploration of the most fundamental questions we ask as humans.”

So, we definitely like him.

Durring the interview, Krauss explains that creationism, like the taliban, is actively teaching children to avoid educating themselves, because education is dangerous for religion.

…well then it’s like the Taliban at some level, which is an extreme form of child abuse. The Taliban don’t want girls to be education, or people to be educated, because when they do, they’ll understand the myths that they’re learning are crap, and they’ll do something else.

The prodigal blogger returns

JDN 2456236 EDT 11:25.

 

It’s been too long since I’ve posted on Crocoduck. I’m not even really sure why; I can’t really say I’ve been any more busy than usual. But hey, I’m back now, with a video of Ken Ham contradicting his own museum (thanks to Hemant Mehta).

“I don’t know where people get the idea that people rode dinosaurs. I mean, there’s no evidence in the Bible that that is so.”

Yeah, where would they get that idea? Also, I love how he puts “evidence” and “Bible” in the same sentence.