Monthly Archives: May 2022
We here at the seminary have enjoyed kicking Ken Ham and his ridiculous ideas about science around. Today, I came across a twelve year old post from his organization of dipshits, Answers In Genesis. Poke around, they’re hilarious if you have a smattering of understanding evolution and the scientific method.
The post is titled, “Do Creationists Reject Science?” The answer, of course, is yes. They don’t expect their ignorant readers to know any better, though.
Let’s take this baby paragraph by paragraph. I may ignore one or two if they bore me.
“Anyone familiar with the creation/evolution debate should know that anti-creationists love to lob the accusation that creationists are “anti-science” or that they “reject science.” Evolutionists frequently label creationists “flat-earthers” and even go as far as suggesting that consistent creationists should deny the law of gravity!”
There is no such thing as an “evolutionist”. It is a scientific theory that is 100% accepted by scientists who study the natural world. The dichotomy is clear: you either believe the bullshit in the Bible, or you believe in what science has proven to be true, which makes you a scientist. Our early writers of the creation hadn’t a clue about what was above or below them. It’s really not much of a stretch between them and flat-earthers of today.
Much of the problem stems from the different starting points of biblical creationists and Darwinists. Everyone, scientist or not, must start their quests for knowledge with some unprovable axiom—some a priori belief on which they sort through experience and deduce other truths. This starting point, whatever it is, can only be accepted by faith; eventually, in each belief system, there must be some unprovable, presupposed foundation for reasoning (since an infinite regression is impossible).
What the fuck is a Darwinist? Again, this is ridiculous terminology, science isn’t arguing his theories anymore. These idiots can’t even get the idea of a hypothesis correct. You begin not with something unprovable- why the fuck would you bother doing an experiment if your conclusion would never waver from the hypothesis? You begin with something falsifiable-something that is subject to disproof, but could, through the rest of the steps in the scientific method, be shown to be true, or come to a conclusion that requires more hypotheses. That is how it is done. This has nothing to do with faith. If we are simply talking about cosmology and physics, then we must work backwards through the evidence to get the clearest possible picture of what is happening in the universe and what has happened. We’ve gotten so good that we know what happened a ten thousandth of a second before the creation of the universe. And we’re not guessing at that point-we’re observing and using theories of energy and matter distribution that prove to be correct every time. Some of us are answering the question of how what seems like nothing became something. We’re doing exciting work, exciting thinking-not this boring-ass Biblical shit whose writers were consumed by superstition 2000 years ago.
You can’t ask a question, fail to get your answer, and just go “God must have done it. It says so right here in this Bible”. It’s a particular Christian prejudice they will never unlearn. God exists because the Bible says so, and the bible is the word of God.
Holy fucking circular logic.
But they do it anyway:
For Bible-believing Christians, God’s Word is our starting point: our presupposed foundation through which we interpret and balance fallen man’s ideas, including those derived scientifically. Although some may consider this a foolish faith, everyone has such faith in something. But which is foolish: faith in the unmovable Word of the omniscient creator God or faith in man’s fallible, changing ideas?
A-ha. You motherfuckers ARE anti-science, because our fallible changing ideas are what help us move on to more advanced experiments. When we developed things like lenses, the whole world was new. Nothing was as it seemed, small or large. You couldn’t ignore the previous fallibility if you tried. It’s the nature of science to keep questioning and looking, unless you are up against something like evolution, which has been impossible to disprove. Evidence piles up for it constantly, through the fossil record, through direct observation of organisms, and our ability to look at the genomes of any creature we wish. That is why it has special status as a theory, like relativity, like gravity. It remains the same no matter how many whacks you take at it (this is not totally true for some of these but for simplicity’s sake let’s leave it alone).
Also causing confusion is the simple distinction some try to make between “faith” and “science.” Answers in Genesis believes this dichotomy is in error, because some form of faith (in a religion) is required to believe in creation or evolution. Both creation and evolution make claims about an unrepeatable past that was not observed by humans. Thus both creation and evolution fall under the category of historical science.
The old “you weren’t there, so how could you know” argument. Well, that pretty much kills both science and religion, doesn’t it? Only belief in a magic book can get you out of this conundrum. I’ve already addressed the fact that there’s plenty of the observable past inside and outside our bodies.
This author goes on to extol the work of Gregor Mendel, a monk who taught us a lot about breeding and genetics by studying butterflies; and to disparage the work of Darwin, who merely made up a “story” about what he “thought” might be true. Mere “philosophizing”. In the author’s mind, these are different things, and one is of no use. But we do what Darwin did all the damn time in science; we see something interesting, and begin formulating hypotheses and creating ideas. And like it or not, Darwin has been right on the money every time. Indeed, we are all related, from the protozoan to the human. This is a process that has taken billions of years to occur. Religious weirdos always think that evolution must always mean a jump to another rung on the species ladder. No. Things evolve all the time. Every time something reproduces, an evolution can occur. Could be a negative one. There are so many factors that can contribute to an evolutionary change-even mere chance and error. It takes time we often can’t comprehend for life to order itself in a radically different macroevolutionary manner. The similarities between all creatures, though are simply impossible to ignore. But we have to be “special” in the religious mind, so people like Ken Ham won’t really engage Darwin’s actual theories, merely present cartoon versions of it. It’s easier to demolish a strawman than have an actual argument.
They end thusly:
We believe that the evidence, when speaking for itself, attests to the faith required to assemble a viewpoint on origins. When students have access to both sides of the argument, we have no doubt they will see that evolution, like creation, is a position supportable only through faith. When they see that many of the “evidences” for evolution are simply suppositions, they will understand that only God can give an eye-witness account. And, as we know from science, first-hand experience is much more reliable than just-so stories.
Do these people see the things they write? Is there anything more story-like than the creation myth? Talking snakes? Whole people made from ribs? Magic apples? Punishment by a deity just for knowing stuff? Light being created before the sun? The moon as a light source? Flaming swords and angels? And that’s just the first three idiotic chapters of the Bible. But somehow that’s more convincing than what science, always wondering, has shown us how things really are. And it will continue to find itself incorrect and improve upon itself and that is OK.
Uncertainty is what the religious mind cannot handle. We who are done with silly superstitions are fine with the unknown. You can’t know what you can’t know. So it goes.
The United States has been having some interesting…communication problems with China. Some of them are originating from the president. Since October, there have been several statements that the White House has had to “walk back”, clarifying our actual stance on Taiwan.
This isn’t a new phenomenon, but during his visit to Japan recently, he said a few things that are going to really piss off the People’s Republic. I will use his words so there is no misunderstanding.
Two things could be happening here:
#1 Biden is not up to speed on our policy regarding Taiwan, or
#2 The remarks are part of our continuing policy of strategic ambiguity.
#1 is always possible, if we are to keep advancing the theory that Biden’s mental acuity is declining and he’s off the reservation. #2 is a strong possibility as well; it would not be the first time that The United States has played crazy to deter actions from other nations. By saying two different things, the White House commo and Biden could be working in concert to discourage China from continuing their flexing of military muscle around the archipelago. I’m going with #2, because I am sure that if Biden is at cross purposes with actual policy, he has been spoken to by advisors and probably would not do it again.
But he keeps doing it. So I’m inclined to believe we are just up to our old unpredictability strategy. It seems to work pretty well, so I’m not totally alarmed by what appears to be a communication foul-up. Republican hawks don’t seem to be in the know on this, because Adam Kinzinger had a shit-fit on Twitter ranting that the Biden administration should fire everyone who is walking his statements back.
So someone needs to read The Taiwan Relations Act, and I’m not sure if it’s Joe Biden. Because we do not have a defense treaty with them; we do provide arms for self defense but we have never written anything that says unconditionally we go to war with mainland China if they fuck with Taiwan. Not since 1980, at least.
Little noticed is an economic accord Biden signed on his visit to Japan, with multiple Asian nations signing on. One of them is NOT Taiwan. So there’s a limit to what we are going to do for them that would upset the Communists. I think Biden is simply putting them on notice that they should remain non-expansionist, unlike their neighbor to the north- because they just don’t know what the senile hawk in the Oval Office could do next to keep the world order as it is.
Not too far back, I authored an opinion that Ginni Thomas’ involvement in the coup was tenuous at best. Yes, Ginni has connections to several of the plotters to steal 2020, but at the time I wrote it just didn’t sound like she had any actual clue as to what was being done, merely ideas about how it could be done.
John Eastman will go down as the chief plotter of the steal, and any of his foot soldiers will also go down for seditious conspiracy. But I still don’t see Ginni being one of them.
Now it has come to light that Ginni was very much convinced that the elector plot was going to work, even as it was on very shaky legal ground. And to that effect, she did contact family friend Republican Arizona State Representative Shawna Bolick, exhorting her to consider sending a false, or in Ginni’s words, “clean” slate of electors. This was November 9. Ginni received a response from Bolick the following day, advising Thomas to file a complaint if she had evidence of electoral fraud.
Ginni never did that. Why? Because she didn’t have it, just like all the other claimants that the elections were stolen. It took Ginni a month to re-contact Bolick, sending her a brief message telling her to view a fucking YouTube video as proof of a conspiracy, which we all know is an unimpeachable source of information. Well, we know that Bolick was unconvinced, because there was no elector fuckery to come from Arizona. She was probably one of many Republicans (Raffensperger of Georgia comes to mind) who were disappointed in the outcome of the election, but not willing to break the rules to achieve a desired result.
I have no doubt that Bolick received many other such requests from less prominent people. And it’s simply not a crime to contact a rep and say something’s wrong. But without evidence, all it is is conjecture. And Thomas didn’t have the goods and clearly wasn’t prepared to be a conspirator, she obviously got no marching orders from Eastman. Other lawyers were hard at work on that.
Ginni Thomas is a hyperactive, paranoid fretter, who from all communications I have seen from her paint her as simply a nut, a true believer convinced without evidence, like most faithful cultists. Those kinds of people are poison to a plot. I may be wrong in the end here, but I gotta see harder evidence than contact with a legislator with no follow up complaint.
If you’ve spent any time on social media, you’ve noticed that many influential and well known Republicans are now saying they don’t recognize their party anymore, even going so far to break with it. Who would ever have thought that we’d suddenly have common cause with a Bill Kristol, a Joe Walsh, a Max Boot, or even a Cheney?
Well, I suppose there is one simple answer. Democrats have become more hawkish since the Clinton years, and that’s really the major priority for a neocon, that we project American strength everywhere possible. That’s been their whole deal since PNAC. Insofar as social liberalism goes, the idea doesn’t really interest the true neocon. Republicans as a party, however, have slid into the goo of reactionary politics in a big bad way. Obviously that degeneration began in the sixties and enjoyed acceptance in the Reagan administration, but it really wasn’t until the advent of The Tea Party that things really started to go truly whacko in righty land. It was then when star-spangled politics became legion, if you ask me. They identified with revolutionaries who were doing their patriotic duty to throw off oppression. It was absurd on its face; it got people screaming about taxes and the abolition of government and that was considered within the bounds of acceptable rhetoric. It had no regard to the people it would hurt if a functioning government could not provide services. They wanted anarchy. Freedom of responsibility from their fellow man. A radical idea of individualism that cared about nothing but itself, history be damned,
There’s nothing inherently bad about revolution; in fact, colonialism is no damn good, period. It’s important that a government come from its own land. But let’s be real about who Americans are. I am a third generation immigrant mutt, a mixture of the European refuse that landed in New Jersey in the early 20th century for a better shot at survival. I do not have slaver blood. But our white American forefathers do, and their offenses are now mine. My kin and I have prospered well enough in this country, having all of the advantages of white society that are still denied to people of color every day. But our revolution was tainted. We established ourselves with genocide and enriched ourselves with slavery, the echoes of which we are still feeling today. I’m not interested in arguments that “everyone was doing it”, especially if we want to claim “exceptionalism” as we are so often wont to do. Our revolution was supposed to be based on our natural human rights, and that was a quantum leap in a way, but it was only for white people, not the Indian “savages” nor the human chattel they owned.
So, to wrap that up, let’s just say I’m not in love with the myth of how great this country is. In terms of modernity, it’s slowly becoming a miserable experience for everyone, as the inequality gap widens. The cost of shelter, energy and food without appropriate wage increases is grinding on all families, and it feels like no one is interested in stopping it. Women just lost the Constitutional right to reproductive freedom. A steady diet of bad news screaming out of the television, radio and the Internet has made people resentful and hostile, looking for someone, some group to blame besides the greedy bastards who are Hoovering up more and more profits.
Anyway, to get back to the neocons-all they really care about is American military hegemony around the globe, and the Biden administration is providing that by proxy warring with Russia over Ukraine. So neocons have cover now to speak their conscience about the hatriot movement that has suddenly replaced the Tea Party patriot movement. Anyone with functioning eyes and ears has now seen at least part of the white supremacist movement in action; it has also seen Republican leaders, young white nationalists and talking heads on TV espouse white grievance or excuse it. Charlottesville was a major flashpoint in 2017 where we saw the true strength of the white hate movement reveal itself and its message that it would not be replaced by inferior races. You have young kids who play too many video games and can’t get a girlfriend find camaraderie in the fascist bowels of the right wing. As I write this, we are still paralyzed by the Buffalo shooting and its seemingly senseless origins. Having read the shooters screed, I can tell you that we need to have a bigger conversation on the depth of the militarization of this fascist white Christian male supremacist movement, who their targets are, and how to destroy this movement. Because it’s not about “speech” anymore-a line must be drawn, a bright one that states objectively that some information and practices are simply toxic to a polite democracy. They are hiding their hate and possibly another revolution under our founding documents and that is much cause for concern.