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No Cherry Picking!

Relevant to Kim Davis’s situation.

No cherry picking!

Try again…

I would wager that this is the real reason most people who oppose gay marriage actually oppose it.

The Atheist Pig

Ken Ham is upset again

I’m not sure that’s accurate. I think it would probably be more accurate to say that he’s upset “still.” In the latest issue of the Answers in Genesis newsletter answersupdate, Ham laments that the Assemblies of God denomination, which had adopted a “evolution is nonsense because the bible says so” stance back in 1977, has now changed its tune and  says…

The advance of scientific research, particularly in the last few centuries, has raised many questions about the interpretation of the Genesis accounts of creation. In attempting to reconcile the Bible and the theories and conclusions of contemporary scientists, it should be remembered that the creation accounts do not give precise details as to how God went about His creative activity. Nor do these accounts provide us with complete chronologies that enable us to date with precision the time of the various stages of creation. Similarly, the findings of science are constantly expanding; the accepted theories of one generation are often revised in the next.

As a result, equally devout Christian believers have formed very different opinions about the age of the earth, the age of humankind, and the ways in which God went about the creative processes. Given the limited information available in Scripture, it does not seem wise to be overly dogmatic about any particular creation theory.

(source pdf)

For a theological position, that sounds pretty reasonable. But of course Ham doesn’t think so. He’s particularly aggrieved by the part about science expanding and changing. Says Ham…


Poor Ken Ham still doesn’t get it

I just got the latest Answers In Genesis newsletter today. I’m on the list because I ordered some of their videos on their site (one of which I reviewed here). This is the first one I’ve received and I can tell it’s going to be a monthly source of amusement and bewilderment.

The lead story in this month’s newsletter is titled “The Emotional Age Issue.” The gist of Ham’s point is that secular folks who obviously don’t have a scientific leg to stand on when it comes to the age of the Earth, get all angry and emotional about the issue when the AiG folks “prove” that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old. I kid you not. There are some wonderful quotes in here that I’d like to share with you (with comments, of course!).

Ken says that, in his years of ministry, he’s found that the age of the Earth and the universe is an “extremely emotional topic for secularists.” For biblical creationists, of course, it’s issue that should lead Christians to a “real zeal for the authority and accuracy of the Word of God.” It’s an amazing twist… and one that Ham and other creationists make on a constant basis… trying to make scientific data into an emotional issue while portraying biblical mythology as scientific fact.

Ham says…


Get out of jail free… almost.

The Onion has a great satire piece that hits the bullseye when it comes to Christian dogma. I’ve written before about how Christianity gives a free pass to sin, but The Onion, as usual, puts its satirical wit to good use and hammers the message home.

The first few months behind bars were the worst of my life. Every night I’d stare into the darkness, waiting for the nightmares, waiting to hear those horrible screams all over again. Even here behind these thick penitentiary walls, there was no hiding from what I’d done to that poor family.

Then, one night, it happened: I lay alone in my cell, my only companion the visions of wickedness that filled my head. Suddenly, there was a light, and somehow the light spoke to me. It was the voice of Jesus Christ. He told me he had died for the sins of mankind and all could find peace through his salvation. Was I ready to repent?

Uh, let me think about that for a sec. Yup!

It was a stroke of unbelievable luck. Here I thought I’d spend the rest of my life agonizing over that night I broke into a random house and methodically tortured all five of its residents, but Jesus was like, “Nah, you’re good.” He took all those years I expected to wallow in suffocating guilt for having forced a mother to choose the order in which I strangled her children and wiped them away in a jiff.

Which is ironic because the family I murdered in cold blood was praying to Jesus like crazy the whole time.

It gets better… and really shows the horrid problem with Christianity. It really says that you can do whatever you want and all you have to do is accept Jesus and confess your sins and everything is put right. It’s a free pass to engage in abhorrent behavior. (more…)

Possession & Witchcraft…2010?

This story is horrific. In the year 2010 we still have people accusing others of witchcraft and satanic possession. It was bad enough 300 years ago when people were accused of witchcraft in Salem, Ma. but at least the people involved were adults. Now there is a Nigerian woman named Helen Ukpabio who suggests that Satan likes to posses young children. Some of the children that have been “outed” have actually been burned, splashed with acid or, if they are fortunate enough, only abandoned. Remember, the year is 2010!

An HBO documentary will be airing tonight called, “Saving Africa’s Witch Children.” It follows the horrible story of these criminally and religiously abused children. Sometimes it’s hard to believe we live in the current century.

Elisha, God, and a couple of she bears

I came across this very, very funny video while perusing the Exploring Our Matrix blog and, since it’s based on one of my favorite horrid passages in the bible, I’d share it.

The passage in question is 2 Kings 2:23-25.

23 And he went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head.

24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

25 And he went from thence to mount Carmel, and from thence he returned to Samaria.

Here’s the funny video. Serious commentary follows.

Theists can spin this story any way they want, but it remains an example of reprehensible morality… period. Bible.org has an article on this bible story and attempt just such spin. I find it very telling that it takes so much text to rationalize the barbarity of this passage… or try to rationalize, I should say. It’s a failure.

From correcting the translation “little children” to “young men,” they seem to imply that killing them was somehow more acceptable.

This was a crowd of young men, perhaps students of the false prophets, who were here as antagonists to Elisha’s prophetic ministry and authority. If not students, they were sent by the false prophets or idolatrous priests of Bethel to stop Elisha from entering the city.

There seems to be a bit of speculation there as well. “…perhaps students of false prophets…” and “If not students, they were sent by false prophets…” Pure speculation and pointless speculation.

Then, of course, the men weren’t just mocking Elisha, but were mocking God

But the greatest disrespect here is in relation to God. These young men, undoubtedly under Satan’s influence, were attacking not just Elisha, the man, but they were also attacking his message. But the issue was, regardless of the personality of the man, his physical appearance, or even his short comings, Elisha was God’s man with God’s message. As a result, in the final analysis they were mocking or rejecting God and what He was attempting to do through Elisha as God’s spokesman.

So it’s not really about Elisha. It’s about God… who seems to be so thin-skinned that he just can’t contain himself when “young men” insult him and has to go into a frenzy of ursine violence.

But wait. There’s more!

Baldness was regarded by the lower orders as a kind of disgrace; for as it was one of the usual consequences of leprosy, so it was accounted a sign of personal and mental degradation. Hence, in using this opprobrious epithet, the young profligates had a most malicious intention. Their expressions are not to be viewed as a mere burst of youthful wantonness; but as poisoned arrows, pointed and directed by refined and satanic malignity.

Wait… so it is about Elisha? Certainly, God isn’t bald, is he? Otherwise, baldness wouldn’t be a “kind of disgrace.” So are the young men were really insulting Elisha? It sounds like it’s not so much a case of the men insulting God as it is a case of the men insulting someone that God likes… sort of like a man getting upset if you insult his wife. Again, that would portray God as a petulant narcissist, getting upset that everyone doesn’t like his favorites.

The article goes on, but it doesn’t get any better or any more convincing. In the conclusion, it states:

God does not take it lightly when we ignore His Word or hinder its propagation in the world among His people. This is serious business

I’d say that, from the perspective of the 42 young men, it certainly is serious business.

Here’s one more article about the bible passage, and it’s even worse, with more wanton speculation and more feeble attempts to justify God’s (and/or Elisha’s) actions. The more they attempt to rationalize, the less their god looks omnipotent… or loving… or fair… or just.

Angry and jealous, maybe.

Evolutionary Shenanigans

Here’s another snippet about Palin’s newly-verified creationist beliefs from The Daily Beast.

In her new book…

…[Palin] finally comes out of the closet as a creationist—or as she puts it, “the C-word.” In doing so, however, she manages to obscure the extent of those creationist beliefs by citing her acceptance of “microevolution.”

Oh, microevolution! It’s the favorite “concession” by creationists, used so they can sound accepting of science and therefore feel more credulous when they dismiss Darwinian evolution.

Biologists use the phrase “microevolution” to refer to changes within a group of organisms over a relatively short period of time. The most-famous example is the peppered moth of England, which became darker over generations in response to pollution from a local factory that blackened the trees it relied on for camouflage, encouraging the survival of similarly colored moths. Because these changes are so easily observed, creationists tend to concede their existence. But only to a point: They do not acknowledge that over time, natural selection will lead to radically different new types of organisms, the process known as “macroevolution,” responsible for bigger leaps like birds evolving from dinosaurs.

What caught my eye about this article were two points. First, the author quotes Dr. David Menton, who, if you read my Creation Museum writeup, was the speaker for the Microscarium presentation at the museum. He’s a “scientist” (sarcasm quotes intentional) who, in his presentation, showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he has almost zero understanding of evolution. Here’s the part with Menton.

The basis for this distinction is rooted in Christian doctrine, not science. According to Dr. David Menton, a staff scientist at the Creation Museum in Kentucky, microevolution is acceptable only if species vary within the same “kind,” a translation of a Hebrew phrase from the Old Testament describing the original sets of species that traveled on Noah’s ark.

“The point is you get a lot of different kinds of dogs but dogs remain dogs,” Menton said. “They don’t become cats.”

I find it interesting that he seems to admit his scientific claim isn’t based on science. The biblical “kind” argument is used constantly by creationists and figures prominently in the Creation Museum. There is no definition of “kind,” however, and it’s intentionally kept vague and nebulous so it can be used to support their arguments in whatever manner required.

Menton displays immense ignorance of evolution when he says that “dogs remain dogs… they don’t become cats.” Evolutionary theory doesn’t say that dogs become cats… or that chickens become horses… or that monkeys become people. What it does say is that minute changes build up gradually over a tremendous amount of time and eventually lead to speciation. Menton can’t accept this because, according to the bible, the universe is only about 6,000 years old, which doesn’t leave nearly enough time for evolution to occur.

The second point in the article that caught my eye was that Palin (and Menton) was refuted by an actual evolutionary scientist, Jerry Coyne, author of Why Evolution is True.

University of Chicago ecology and evolution professor at Jerry Coyne calls the passage in Palin’s book a “typical creationist ploy” easily refuted by fossil evidence suggesting transitions between animals as fish and amphibians or land animals and whales.

“Her stand is basically a biblically oriented stand…that has no basis in fact,” Coyne told The Daily Beast in an e-mail. “It is a ridiculous ploy of the ‘duck kind,’ i.e. a canard.”

Score one for Jerry Coyne.

Creation Museum – Microscarium

MicroscariumTicket One of the special presentations that Craig and I attended was called “Microscarium,” which required the purchase of a separate ticket and took place in one of the museum’s “classrooms.” The ticket indicated that this was part of the museum’s “Discover the Truth” series of workshops. I was rather dubious of that title.

The museum’s website describes the presentation with these words.

Welcome to the Microscarium! Enter the world of the microscopic with our intrepid Dr. Menton on a journey through a landscape filled with ferocious looking creatures that move rapidly through the dense jungle of the living world that is their home, hunting for something to eat. From single celled protozoa that accomplish many of the same functions that humans do with 30 trillion cells, to the more complicated creatures sucking in anything that comes near them, you will be thrilled with this trip through the wondrous [and sometimes a bit scary] micro-world created by our awesome Creator God.

Interesting, if not hyperbolic.

DavidMenton01 The presentation was being done by a Doctor David Menton, who gave us a bit of background about himself. He’s got  quite a list of credentials, which you can read about here and here if you’re interested. If not, suffice it to say that he he holds a PhD in cell biology from Brown University and the Washington University School of Medicine seems to think highly of him. It seemed somewhat encouraging.

He appeared in a white lab coat… very sciencey-looking until I noticed the “Creation Museum” logo embroidered on the front of it. Then it was just amusing.

The presentation was going to talk about all the life you could find in a drop of pond water and there was a very impressive phase-contrast microscope hooked up to a large-screen display so everyone in the room (about 30 of us) could easily see it. When we got there, we saw a pink image on the screen which turned out to be a very thin slice of rabbit tongue. While Dr. Menton was waiting for everyone to arrive, he was chatting about it. He seemed very personable, sometimes funny, and definitely happy to be there.

He talked about the tongue, pointing out the barb-like structures (mini versions of a cat’s barbs) and said that humans have them, too, which is why we can lick ice cream cones and actually get ice cream instead of having our tongues just slide off. He contrasted that by moving the slide to show the underside of the tongue which was very smooth. He also showed how the muscle cells in the tongue go every which way instead of in parallel like many muscles… because we can move our tongues all over in every direction. It was all pretty cool and his presentation was entertaining.

Then it suddenly want down the tubes. When talking about the barbs again, he said, “Can you imagine if they went the other way?” Everyone chuckled, and then he followed it up with, “That’s why I can’t be an evolutionist.” Almost everyone laughed. Craig and I were stunned. He then went on to make the same comment in relation to the tongue being upside down.

So after an introduction to some really cool material about the tongue, he lost all his credibility by showing that he had not the slightest notion of evolutionary theory… yet was quite content to dismiss it for reasons that anyone with a basic education in evolutionary biology should know are preposterous.

Craig left shortly after that (he wasn’t feeling well anyway… flu), but I stuck it out for the majority of the presentation and heard some gems.

Dr. Menton spoke about cells for a bit and said that the human placenta was a single, giant cell… the largest cell in the human body. I had never heard that before and he mentioned that he’s told that to other biologists and doctors who didn’t know that, either.

*skeptic bells go off*

Then he said (about the single-celled placenta), “You won’t hear that anywhere but here.”

*skeptic klaxon alarm blares*

Doing a bit of googling seems to indicate that the placenta is not a single cell, by the way.

That’s when what had been a somewhat interesting biology lesson turned into a high-alert bullshit-detection exercise.

He went on to show some slides of different single-cell (or thereabouts) organisms that we might see in the pond water (new pond water each time, so he never knows what he will see) such as amoebas and parameciums and the like. He got to one organism with a flagellum and my hackles went up in anticipation of a comment relating to bacterial flagellum, but no such comment materialized.

What did materialize was much worse.

flagellum He showed a diagram of the internal workings of a flagellum similar to the one on the left. His diagram was a bit more detailed but showed how it worked and how each internal piece interacted with others to create the whip-like motion that caused propulsion. It was a cool diagram and interesting information.

Then he said, “Can you imagine that just all happening by chance?”

*strike one*

He added, “There’s just so much that I know is going on there. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but I know too much to be an evolutionist.”

*strike two* … *strike three* … You are SOOOO outta here.

“I know too much to be an evolutionist.”

Seriously? How can someone seriously make a statement like that with a straight face? How can someone with any sort of ethical values make that authoritative claim to an audience so anxious to hear real scientific information? The audience ate it up, though. They laughed and nodded and thought this fraud’s information was all true and accurate. After all, he was a doctor!

To give you an idea of the crowd, however, I offer this anecdote. I can’t say if this example is indicative of the entire audience, but it struck me as interesting.

When Dr. Menton asked the audience how many cells were in the entire human body, one man called out, “thousands.” Yes, he said thousands. Not even millions. Not billions. Nobody said trillions. The real answer is trillions (about 50 – 100 trillion, depending upon who you ask). “Thousands” isn’t even on the continent, much less in the ball park. Much like 6,000 isn’t close to 13.5 billion.

Dr. Mention said one trillion, by the way.

At that point, I was done. I watched detachedly as he put the drop of water under the microscope and panned around to find a couple swimming organisms, but after a couple minutes of that, I got up and left.

It was an appalling display of ignorance and abuse of authority.

Creation Museum – Men In White

men-in-whiteA truly disappointing waste of theatrical technology and flair. As with most of the museum, this “show” was well produced (totally bat s%&t  crazy) but well done. The Men In White were the angels Michael and Gabriel. By putting a “hip” spin on an old story for the sake of youngsters, teachers and scientists are comically portrayed as villainous and silly.

The show starts with a young animatronic girl named Wendy sitting at a campfire pondering her existence and the meaning of life. During her moment of lost contemplation and doubt, Michael & Gabriel show up to raise her spirits. The implication is that without a purpose from God, Wendy is lost, alone and miserable. The angels show up to persuade Wendy that God exists and cares for her and they begin to show her “proof” of his existence.  It is here that the angels begin with, ” …if you use the bible as your starting point Wendy, then everything makes sense!” ANGEL SAYS WHAT?? Imagine if your science teacher started your first class with, ” …if you just take everything I say as fact, then everything makes sense!” From the very beginning this presentation insults the human intellect. Science doesn’t require blind faith and it never suggests a “starting” point.  This is where the “machine gunning” of  “facts” begins.

When you start with the bible everything makes sense like:

1. Marine fossils found on mountain tops? Those mountains were once covered in water from the great flood.

2.Volcanic dust found in ice cores? Just think of all that volcanic ash in the atmosphere after the flood.

3. Similarities in DNA found in the cells of every living thing? Since God created DNA he made it so that all living things could live and eat in the same world.

If you believe in evolution or as the angels call it “goo to you” then none of this makes sense. According to the angels, “…evolution makes no sense without billions of years!”

-Next we move on to discredit radioisotope dating.  This form of dating is flawed because there are too many assumptions required to be accurate, say the angels. Zircon crystals have been found with helium gas in them. This suggests that they are not nearly as old as man believes because the helium gas is escaping to quickly to be millions of years old. This is refuted on the following CHRISTIAN website http://www.answersincreation.org/RATE_critique_he-zr.htm . I highly suggest you read this article. It gets all “sciencey” but it is fascinating and alot more accurate than two white overall clad buffoon like angels.

-Next we learn from the angels that the earth can’t be millions let alone billions of years old because of the salt content in the oceans. The angels (portraying high school students in a science class) smuggly challenge a teacher about the age of the earth due to the lower than they expected salt content in the oceans. This is called EPIC FAIL. This moronic notion that if the earth were millions of years old there would be higher concentrations of salt in all of the world’s oceans is wrong. Wrong for several reasons but once again I would direct you to the following CHRISTIAN website to read the refutation of this quackery. http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G336_creation_science.htm This article explains that creationist’s salt theories are misguided and fail to account for several factors involving the mechanisms for the removal of salt from the oceans.

-Next up, the crazy dinosaur theory. Our smug little angels tell their professor that in 2005 a T-Rex leg bone was found with blood cells intact and un-fossilized. This obviously means that the leg bone could not be millions of years old, right? WRONG! Again the answers to the BS claim come from a CHRISTIAN website. http://www.answersincreation.org/rebuttal/magazines/Creation/1997/trexblood.htm . In this excerpt there is an email log from the actual paleontologist, Jack Horner, who was chiefly involved in this discovery. He goes on to explain that it is not true and that creationist are grasping at half truths and no facts.

-The angels just can’t quit. Next we find out from these two brainiacs that the earth’s decaying magnetic field would indicate that life could not have survived millions of years ago. This is again refuted at http://www.answersincreation.org/argument/G811_creation_science.htm . The angels are referring to a scientific article written by Thomas Barnes. It has been all but publically laughed at by theoretical scientists and bears no scientific weight.

-Next…lack of super nova remnants proves a young earth, say the angels. No, it doesn’t. http://www.answersincreation.org/malone_supernova.htm . I hate to keep linking after every point but since the creation museum didn’t use any real science to make their point, I figured I should.

With about thirty minutes of research on the Internet I have found tons of articles scientifically refuting everything said in this absurd display of purposeful ignorance. The men in White should be taken away and locked up by …men in white jackets. The most disheartening part of this “program” was the fact that children were in the audience being “taught”. Shame on the creation museum and shame on the parents who made their children sit through this glaring display of  stupidity.