Monastic Science

I’m out of town at the moment, so here’s a scheduled post I wrote a couple of weeks ago for this occasion. I’ll be back Friday, I think?

We haven’t heard from the ICR’s lawyer/theologian extraordinaire, James J. S. Johnson, in much too long.

In the February edition of Acts & Facts he has an article called “Fishy Science.”  The thrust of this column is that humans aren’t evolving, and that we’ve always been able to do science. It makes for a better insight however into the young Earth creationist dystopia, in which observational science is the only science, along with being another example of Johnson’s strange obsession with the Vikings. Continue reading

Jake Hebert Insults your Intelligence

Annals of the WorldThat is to say, if you’re a non-YEC Christian. Those of us who don’t believe at all are instead “suppressing the truth,” but we’ll get to that later.

So in this month’s edition of Acts & Facts, the ICR’s monthly newsletter/magazine, Jake Hebert has written an article called “Earth’s Age: Science or Consensus?” This false dichotomy does not head an article that attempts to actually talk about, you know, the science behind how we know that the Earth is old, but instead discusses why some scientifically-minded Christians would not accept a young Earth. The point of the article seems to be to persuade the ICR’s own flock not to listen to the compromisers, for they have been deceived. He opens: Continue reading

Friday Falsehoods #5

Another week, another set of quotes from creationists for us to look at. We only have two from David Coppedge, one from Theology Archaeology, and one from Brian Thomas published at the website of Creation Ministries International (the weekly ad for the “Ark Encounter” was uninteresting this time, while Thomas’ ICR article for Friday is not easily quoted – I may write a proper post on it later). Let’s get right to it then: Continue reading

Proving Religion, Disproving Catholicism?

Wiccan Triple Moon - clearly the Wiccan's are right.A strange article from Brian Thomas: “Evidence of Eternity in Our Hearts?

People believe what they do for a wide variety of reasons, but it seems that some beliefs – politics and religion being being perhaps the most famous – may be in some way “hardwired.” Studying children from Ecuador, a recent paper (pdf, press release) looked at the belief in a “pre-life” of people from indigenous rural and urban catholic society. Thomas explains:

Natalie Emmons and Deborah Kelemen of Boston University conducted two studies on 283 children from Ecuador. They reasoned that survey participants from the jungle lived closer to life and death events and would have biologically based ideas about pre-conception existence, while the Catholic student participants from the city had more exposure to religious teaching that life begins at conception and therefore would “reject the idea of life before birth.” Surprisingly, both groups of students maintained that a core aspect in each person lives even without the body.

Continue reading

Ark Fight!

An (English) CoracleSo you remember that “round ark” story from a few weeks ago, right? Brian Thomas has finally gotten around to poo-pooing it with an article called “Cuneiform Reed-Ark Story Doesn’t Float.” He begins:

News emerged in 2010 that Irving Finkel, a cuneiform expert at the British Museum, had translated an ancient tablet describing Noah’s Ark as round and built of reeds. Now, Finkel is publishing a book on the find, and news reports again assert the tired tale that the Bible’s authors borrowed a Babylonian flood tale like the one on this tablet and modified it into their “story” of Noah. Babylonian or biblical, round or rectangular—which Ark story stays afloat?

Continue reading

Friday Falsehoods #4

Ironically – since it helped provide the reason to start this series – I didn’t watch the Great Debate. I did post more than my fair share of links to commentary elsewhere, but today we’ll limit ourselves to stories not directly related to it. Continue reading

Brian Thomas Misses the Point

Biston betularia f. carbonariaI could use that headline for every article, but “Fossil Skin Pigment Evolved Three Times?” is a particularly strong example. A new paper in Nature – which you can read all about in this blog post by palaeontologist Shaena Montanari – investigated fossil pigment of three different extinct marine reptiles and concluded that the trait known as melanism had independently evolved in each of them. This is to say that a darker colouring, perhaps for the purposes of heat absorption and retention, was selected for and became dominant in each group of animals separately. But Brian Thomas has apparently misread this to mean that the pigment melanin, which is what produces the colour, independently evolved three times and has written a 13-paragraph article based on this misconception. Continue reading

No Need for a Green Screen

For those who have forgotten, the Discovery Institute was busted a year ago for using a green screen “lab” as a background to a video of Ann Gauger. The ICR isn’t opposed to green screens themselves, but the multi-million dollar budget of their Unlocking the Mysteries of Genesis series means that they can do a bit more than use a stockphoto – they can make a 3d stockphoto-style lab of their own!

Also, holograms apparently (presumably they’ll be added in post). The presenter they’ve managed to hire is Markus Lloyd, who seems competent. The real test, of course, will be what they get him to say.

EDIT 12 June ’14: As you can see they’ve taken the video down. Here’s a frame:

Markus and lab