Tag Archives: Birds

Arizona Senator Sylvia Allen (R) Loses Mind

Comedy courtesy of DesertPhile

Prepare to sigh with frustration at how effortlessly an idiot can gain a political seat. Arizona State Senator Sylvia Allen (R) says the Earth is 6,000 years old. Surely, the turnip truck that delivered her into this world yesterday can just as easily take her back as defective merchandise; she must have been bruised when she fell off the back.

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The Lazy-Minded Creationist

What I find most irritating about debating creationists isn’t their ignorance of general science; we all don’t know things. What’s most annoying is their apparent lack of curiosity. If I don’t know something I like to do research. But if creationists don’t know something, they often pretend that they do know it, proudly and dogmatically, even if it’s blatantly wrong.  This behavior reminds me of something Ron Reagan once said about his father, former president, Ronald Reagan:

He knew what he knew, and he didn’t want to know any more.

Well, I found a post titled The Great Debate: Genesis or Science? by Allen Epling, a man claiming to be a former, public school, science teacher, and believer in the inerrancy of the Bible. He begins by declaring his apathy toward science:

Why is it so important that we know how man got here? To believers it shouldn’t matter so much HOW [his emphasis], as much as WHY.

He then resorts to revisionist history to make religion appear accommodating.

In the past 300 years we have seen several instances where true science has advocated an opinion that is different from the Church’s, with the result that the Church has adjusted its interpretation of the Word of God to reflect a more modern view.

The Catholic Church has adjusted its position, reluctantly and belatedly, on several issues, like evolution. But how have fundamentalist Christians –who believe the Earth is 6000 years old and who think The Flintstones is a documentary– ever adjusted their “interpretation of the Word Of God to reflect a more modern view”? Biblical literalism doesn’t sound objective.

Allan Epling’s continues with another historical inaccuracy:

Galileo was threatened with excommunication from the Church if he didn’t recant his statements that the moon was full of craters, even though his telescope clearly showed their existence.

No, Galileo was accused of heresy for stating that the Earth revolved around the sun in his book Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. After being threatened with imprisonment and death, he recanted, and was given the lesser sentence of house arrest, which lasted almost 10 years. In 1992 –350 years later– the Catholic Church apologized for the incident.

And as a former, physics teacher, Allan Epling should know better than to make the following ridiculous statement, which turns an aspect of quantum physics into philosophy.

Many scientists firmly advocate a “certainty” that there is no God, in spite of believing ‘religiously’ in the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principal. In the forefront of today’s science is a body of evidence, catagorized[sic] as Quantum Mechanics, that makes clear that nothing in the entire universe is certain but is determined by a “probability factor”. Any scientist that is certain about anything is admitting hypocracy[sic] to his own field of study.

All Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle states is that “the more precisely the POSITION [of a particle] is determined, the less precisely the MOMENTUM is known”. It has nothing to do with the general reliability of scientific evidence.

And where would creationists be without quote mining. Allen Epling delivers with the ubiquitous Einstein citation.

The truth must come from both sides without the barriers that now exist that prevent us from seeing that truth. Einsten[sic] said that “Religion without science is blind, and science without religion is lame”. How true.

It’s fairly obvious Einstein wasn’t specifically paying homage to Christianity, but to the fantastical nature of religion in general, as a source of inspiration and imagination. Nowhere in Einstein’s work will we find the religion variable; there is no equation E=MC2 + God.

The last paragraph of Epling’s post sums up creationism in a nutshell:

Each week a new topic will be dealt with presenting, hopefully, a balanced, educated viewpoint, while ALWAYS upholding the divinity and sanctity of the Bible. The basic tenet of this article is that every word of the book of Genesis is factually, historically, and scientifically true.

What Epling is really saying is that science should accommodate Christianity, while Christianity should concede nothing.

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Channel Surfering For Creationism

This afternoon, after wasting several minutes of my life being appalled at Glenn Beck’s smarmy self-satisfied monologue on FOX News, I decided to surf the channels for some old-fashion creationism. Within a few touches of the remote button, I came across CMT (Country Music Television) –not a channel I’ve ever cared to watch before, for fear of having to hear Toby Keith sing about kicking liberals in the head with his cowboy boots.  But what I stumbled upon was a reality show called Trading Spouses: Meet Your New Mommy. In the episode (titled, Chaffee/Hornaday) a liberal mommy from Georgia, who is also a die-hard, Star Wars fan, temporarily switched places with a mommy from a conservative Christian, Kentucky family. One particular moment stood out.

The conservative husband while driving the liberal mommy through town pointed out his family’s church as a place of interest. And that was enough to broach the subject of religion and evolution.

She said she didn’t care for churches.

He asked if she was an evolutionist.

She said yes; her family accepts science and Darwinism.

The Kentucky man then spoke up in a solemn tone and asked if he may say something on the subject. Without a thought he outright claimed there is no “absolute proof” for evolution. He knows so because his family subscribes to a Christian periodical called Creation Magazine. He then invited the liberal mommy to read it for herself –his family keeps a copy in the bathroom.

Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. How beautifully appropriate.  I can see it now –the juxtaposition of the crinkled heavily-read pseudo-scientific magazine against the shine of the toilet bowl; it speaks to me like a Monet seascape. It’s perfection. And yes, I can spare a square; I mean a page.

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Get A Job At The Kentucky Creation Museum

The Kentucky Creation Museum has a list of available jobs. (Sorry, nothing in management; those positions are already filled by the best and the brightest, like the least dull of all the dull knives in the kitchen drawer, I guess.) The question is, are you qualified to work in the fast-paced highly controlled –and I do mean highly controlled– world of creation science? And do you have the proper documentation? Here’s what you’ll need:

Items needed for possible employment:

  • Resume
  • Salvation testimony
  • Creation belief statement
  • Confirmation of your agreement with the AiG Statement of Faith

Prospective applicants may be wondering – Now where the hell do I get a resumé? Seriously, what is a salvation statement or a creation belief statement? Will I need a pastor to sign off on all this paperwork? How about a notary public? Does the notary also have to provide proof of his or her own faith? How and where do I confirm? Is there a form to download? And is drawing blood involved in any of these affirmations?

Darn, I must not be qualified because I don’t even understand the freaking requirements. Damn you, Ken Ham, for running such a tight ship… I mean Ark.

P.S. In this economy, I can imagine someone falsifying their creation-belief salvation confirmation thingies just to gain employment. For shame, for shame! But hey, they just might fit in with the other bearers of false witness.

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Watch Out For Bird Brains

I’ve always thought that the observational powers of birds could be harnessed for good or evil. Perhaps the nuthatch republicans would like to place a tiny camera on a yellow-shouldered Amazon parrot’s head to spy on Venezuela’s leader, Hugo Chavez. They’re obsessed with his socialist activities, for some reason. Or the paparazzi would like to use little Tits to spy on bigger tits.

There are so many birds around us on a daily basis, we most often tune out their chatter. What a shame. I’ve noticed over twenty-five bird species in my own backyard while paying a minimum of attention over the years. On any given day there must be at least a dozen. I just hope none of them have been watching me too closely. Sometimes I have their cousins over for dinner.

Check out David Attenborough on YouTube. His series on the Life of Birds is brilliant and educational. The Bowerbirds are my favorite.

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What’s Wrong With Being A Mad Scientist?

Fictional mad scientists are most often portrayed as highly driven and glory hungry; they are the unwitting villains, the victims of their own inquisitive natures. Author, Reto Schneider, has written The Mad Science Book, which chronicles the history and present of questionable experiments carried out by real-life “mad” scientists. A list of nine of these experiments is on The New Scientist website. My favorite is Dogbot, the robot dog that was a social reject. Real dogs wanted nothing to do with him. Maybe his nose glowed red or he aspired to be a dentist. Whatever the reason, Dogbot was not allowed to participate in dog games.

What I like about mad experimentation is it’s raw unbridled curiosity. What does it matter if some experiments go wrong or if others are completely useless and outright wacky? What counts is that humans have a desire to understand the world. Thomas Edison was a mad inventor; he wasted ten years of his life on devising a new mining technique, which failed miserably. He also designed furniture and homes made out of that comfortable substance know as concrete. Not big sellers.

The lesson here is that in a complex world, curiosity saves the cat, it doesn’t kill it. But still there is an intellectual divide in society. There are those who care to know the world, and those who don’t care to have their world views tarnished by reality. I’m talking about creationists here. To them a mad scientist is someone to be feared.

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Texas Evolution Poll Dancing

Over at ScienceBlogs.com, PZ Myers, on his Pharyngula blog, issued a request for people to bust up a pathetic evolution poll (read the text of the story). His readers succeeded and the poll was dashed. The question asked in the poll was:

What do you think the appropriate lesson should be in public schools?

1. Evolution only
2. Evolution, pointing out weaknesses in theory
3. Evolution and creationism
4. Creationism only

What strikes me as disturbingly normal about this poll is that creationism is immunized against criticism. Evolutionary biology is a science and all scientific positions are open to falsification, if valid counter evidence is presented. But in the poll, creationism isn’t set up in the same manner as evolution is in choice #2. To be fair, shouldn’t there have been the following 5th choice?

5. Creationism, pointing out weaknesses in the theory

Denounce evolution all you want, but if creationism is to be allowed in the science classroom, it has to be able to withstand rigorous testing, picking and prodding. And that means looking at all its weaknesses. All of them. It’s kind of like asking a sleazy politician to open up his closet door. Skeletons aplenty.

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