An Update on Professor Tertius

As some readers know, and as some deduced from the long silence here on the Bible.and.Science.Forum, Professor Tertius has had some recurrent difficulties with disabling strokes.  And once again, he is bouncing back. Yet, pressing project priorities are crowding out some of his secondary pastimes, including this blog. So in reply to many inquirers, Prof T relays his thank yous for your concerns and hopes to be fully operational by early 2016.

Meanwhile, I’m going to ask him about running some of his draft backlog. I’ve had some hectic distractions as well so I thank you for your patience.

Saito, BSF admin




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Let’s stop casually dismissing on-line academic degree programs.

{In today’s topic, Professor Tertius steps away from the usual origins topics in order to reflect on false perceptions of what constitutes quality higher education, as well as the fact that Young Earth Creationists don’t have a monopoly on letting ideological biases overwhelm the relevant evidence.  So read at your own risk.}

As an educator (retired), I can’t help but comment on the outdated notion that there is something automatically second-rate or deficient about online education or distance-learning in general. I’m not saying that there are never advantages to more face-to-face classroom contact nor that every course and concentration lends itself equally to online education. Yet I’m concerned about the reckless disparagement that is all too common in online discussion forums.

I spent a lot of years teaching at a wide range of institutions of higher learning, both public and private, both secular and Christian, and two very large taxpayer supported universities as well as some more modest-sized institutions. And even though the subject of this blog is usually focused on origins topics, I’m very concerned that the general public has no idea what constitutes a good or poor education, and that enormous sums of public funds (i.e., taxpayer funds) are poorly expended as a result. Even though I retired before online education became fully mainstream, I support it for so many reasons.

I won’t even attempt to summarize the many advantages of online education, but I do want to emphasize one central idea: the traditional, lecture-model format of higher education is about 500 years out-of-date. While it has considerable POTENTIAL for quality education, I believe that it generally fails to meet that potential—especially at large taxpayer supported universities. The main reason we got in the habit of putting one scholar at the front of a lecture hall facing a group of students was because: (1) few books existed and students couldn’t afford them in any case, and (2) the scholar in the front of the room read aloud from the books the school was fortunate enough to own and the students wrote down what he said! Furthermore, the best scholars had good memories of books they had been fortunate enough to have read and could tell the students what was in those books.

So the entire lecture model was developed to deal with a scarce resource: books and the knowledge in them. Once books and knowledge became more generally available, the lecture model continued to have value ONLY when (1) the knowledge was so new that it hadn’t yet been published in books or easily accessed, peer-reviewed academic journals, and/or (2) the lecture itself was de-emphasized and the teacher-student interaction focused on Socratic learning, aka The Socratic Method. In reality, #1 rarely occurs except in the most advanced post-graduate courses which most students never experience and, unfortunately, #2 is the exception more often than the rule, especially at large institutions and tax-payer funded institutions.

In general, the Christian privately-funded institutions of higher learning have a broad mix of advantages and disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses—just as do large, taxpayer-funded universities. I have my share of differences with the faculty of Liberty University** (just as they have their differences with the Evangelical universities where I’ve worked) but they have many strong departments and programs there. They also have some weak programs, just as most schools do. I’ve also seen Liberty University grow tremendously in quality since its founding and the overall quality of their faculty and student body has steadily increased with that growth. (While the late Jerry Falwell, the politically-outspoken Founder of LU, had his share of outrageous rantings—and even Falwell himself eventually acknowledged some of the damage done by his political activism—judging the present-day academic programs of LU on the basis of the founder’s politics is just as irrelevant and inane as dismissing the scholarly prestige and achievements of Brigham Young University because of Brigham Young’s polygamy and considerable notoriety.)

Furthermore, an online academic program is no more automatically deficient than is a traditional, on-campus program automatically superior. And it is time that anti-Christian nay-sayers stop recklessly spewing their knee-jerk assumptions that (1) Christian universities are automatically deficient in quality and prestige of faculty PhDs and that (2) student achievement, both incoming and as graduates, is somehow and necessarily subpar. Indeed, just last week I found it necessary to point out that Patrick Henry College (famous for focusing on home-schooled students including many Quiverful Movement families) does NOT have “faculty with nothing but unaccredited doctorates from no-name schools” and does have HIGHER SAT reading-exam scores for the middle half of incoming student percentiles versus a high-ranked, world-class university like New York University. (And by the way, while I don’t actively follow the competitive debate programs of LU and PHC, to my knowledge both schools continue to have some of the very highest scoring and debate team rankings in the nation, often defeating Ivy League opponents and many other prestigious schools in both the USA and UK.)

I make these factual assertions because I care about EVIDENCE and despite the fact that I have my share of theological and ideological disagreements with Liberty University and even more with Patrick Henry College.** I am not personally familiar with the Masters in Counseling program at LU but I have no reason to assume it somehow professionally defective. (Frankly, I have had some strong reservations about some counseling programs at secular universities.)
** FOOTNOTE: Obviously but worth mentioning in the name of fairness, I also have some very substantial disagreements with the secular universities where I’ve taught. And even though I’ve never been a member of the faculties of LU and PHC, I have been invited to guest lecture at both and my published scholarship continues to appear in syllabi and the libraries. So I am not implying an uncordial relationship with either institution or its faculty. In fact, some LU professors have been my classmates and/or students.

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This kind of smarmy, ignorant, childish appeal to what science-ignorant donors want to hear…

…hardly needs extensive commentary. So I will simply provide the link along with the final sentence from Dr. Danny Faulkner at Answers in Genesis:

“The continued hype about water and possible life on Mars is all wishful thinking of evolutionists desperate for some evidence that the evolution of life has occurred somewhere.”

The title of this article is Mars Water: Much Ado About Very Little.

Yes, what AIG calls “hype” and “wishful thinking” is just “desperation.” The rest of us call it science. Perhaps if Dr. Faulkner could beg his boss, Ken Ham, to spare a few bucks headed for building a Noah’s Ark which will never float and will never be like the floating warehouse described in Genesis. Just think: If he could get a few bucks diverted into scientific research, he might begin to understand what real scientists do. They observe the universe, collect evidence, and try to understand how things work.

No, Danny, it’s not all about “desperation” and “wishful thinking”. That’s what you fellows at AIG are doing. In fact, you can do that all you want.

Just don’t blame it on the Bible.


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Evolution-Denialism Propaganda Playbook: The “Everybody Knows Atheist Scientists Think That…” Game

Bible.and.Science.Forum readers know that, despite his many years of hiding from vindictive “creation scientists” via the Ex-YEC Witless Protection Program, Professor Tertius still manages to get around. Thanks to our many friends in the science-friendly Christian underground and an incredibly clever series of identities and disguises, you’ve probably seen our indomitable Emeritus Professor on TV or even in a movie cameo appearance (e.g., Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult) without realizing it.

This week was no exception as our geriatric genius of Genesis exegesis for Jesus wraps up his tour of America and heads for home and a much-needed change of clothes. Never prone to the pretentious, our nonagenarian sage prefers his thread-worn and faded terrycloth robe to the formal white one required by this week’s disguise—even if the latter can be contrasted with the former in terms of the wholly holy versus the wholly hole-ly. In other words, when the professor wears his favorite robe, he hasn’t been this vulnerable to drafts since WWII.  (When he wears it, the hole-ly see includes a land down under, if ya know what I mean.)

Despite a busy week of saying “Bless you!” almost as many times as Ken Ham ignores scientific evidence in a single day, Professor Tertius took the time to address a question posed at the Sensuous Curmudgeon blog.

Dr. Christine Janis asked:
“How do Klinghoffer and other members of the DI know what scientists are thinking?”

They work from the same game and script as the YECist ministries: The “Everybody Knows Atheist Scientists Think That…” Game.

Obviously, it all about promoting a caricature. But it is a caricature that resonates with the donor base. For years, they’ve generalized statements by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1 that they’ve taken to mean that all atheists choose to deny the Creator “so they can sin all they want to with total impunity.” (They either gloss over the fact that Paul’s target group in the much-cited Romans 1 passage are idol-worshippers, or they generalize “idols” to include The Theory of Evolution as the “shrine” worshipped by the evolution-religion.) From there, they embellish their caricatures by imagining, “How would I think and reason if I were a dirt-bag atheist scientist?”

Any organization which has to meet a payroll and depends wholly or in significant part on donations must continually “feed the beast.” Emotions must not be allowed to calm. The threat of the “enemy”, whether real or imagined, must be constantly described in the most dire of terms.

For the YECist or IDist origins-ministry entrepreneur, the reality of what scientists actually think and do is inconvenient at best and distracting at worst. All propaganda depends upon repeating a script over and over. Why? Just yesterday I saw yet another research project which indicated that even obviously false statements which a test audience knows to be false nevertheless take root in subtle ways by repetition—even in the minds of an audience who knows better. The subject experiences a “softening” of their truth concept because of the repetition and loses motivation to act on the actual truth.

This example is extrapolation and conjecture based on such studies but it makes a good illustration of the concept: Suppose one is an Aryan in 1940 Nazi Germany who thinks that the anti-Semitic propaganda claims are ridiculous and demonstrably false. Nevertheless, after years of repetition one’s sense of the truth has been so worn down by the retelling of the lies that one has become much less likely to feel appalled by the lie and to act to opposite it—even if there were not criminal penalties for doing so. The truth has been softened, and thereby one is less likely to feel motivated to deny the lie.

IDists and YECists focus entirely on their target audience’s uninformed concept of how scientists think. If you question a typical donor as to their beliefs about scientists, they will say, “You know how those godless scientists think they know everything!” If I express my surprise at their description and say, “How many scientists do you know? I’ve worked with many scientists, both in academia and in industry, and I can’t think of a single one who thought they knew everything or acted like they did. In fact, if scientists knew everything, they’d have no jobs.”, they will either huff their disapproval and walk away OR will say, “Then you must not have been paying attention.”

And if that sounds silly, is it really that much different from the Fox News devotee who thinks that all Democrats just love to “dismantle America’s military and destroy private enterprise” and the MSNBC fan who thinks that all Republicans are “homophobic and engaged in a war-against-women”? Political fund-raisers work from a script not all that much different from origins ministries:

(1) Regularly remind the donor of the impending dangers and doom posed by the despicable enemy.

(2) Tell them that our organization has the solutions but…

(3) …desperately needs help NOW to continue holding back the enemy from totally destroying us all, and…

(4) only the donor has the wisdom, foresight, and means to stand with us in preventing such a disaster.

As to #1, personification of the danger always helps: Richard Dawkins will suffice now that the late Christopher Hitchens passed on. (You can bet that there was very real grief at AIG and ICR upon hearing the news of Hitchens’ death. Nevertheless, they already had ready-to-go the “Christopher is no longer an atheist and will miss his air-conditioner if you know what I mean” fund-raising appeal letter.) Republican fund-raisers have Hillary and Barack. Democrats have Rush and now Donald. Fund-raisers pray that their “evil enemy” remains in good health and as despicable as possible. Caricatures do the rest.

(C) Copyright 2015.  Professor Tertius and the Bible.and.Science.Forum at All rights reserved. Permission terms available upon request.


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Not to give away my identity but I’m on a six-day trip around America…

…and so I will not have a lot of time to write essays this week.

I’m about to be introduced, so gotta go for now.

[THIS WEEK AT BSF: As always, we can’t disclose any revealing details or potential forensic evidence which particularly cunning Young Earth Creationist militants might use to determine Professor Tertius’ real title and identity. Therefore, we will only state that due to a series of special meetings and speaking engagements in a six-day tour of America, the professor will not have much time this week for questions about YECist exegesis gone bad. Of course, the trip is not just 24/7 theology and surveying the Wholly Sea in the west. He’s never too busy to show people that he cares. For example, this morning his very first stop was to visit an African-American family who are about to lose their home in Washington, D.C. The unfortunate executive is losing his job next year with no chance of ever getting it back. (We also understand that many of his co-workers will be losing their jobs at the same time.) Thanks to unprecedented levels of security, we are confident that Professor Tertius will face little danger during his travels. Besides, nobody would ever think of finding him in an unimposing Fiat! The downside of the Fiat is that once you add the team of bodyguards alongside him, he had no room for luggage. As a result, he’s stuck wearing the same clothes for the entire week.]

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Listening to Ken Ham Could Save NASA Millions of Dollars!

“You don’t have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars, as NASA and others are doing, to try to meet a (non-existent) alien.” — Ken Ham, Answers in Genesis

Yes. The Wise One himself just saved NASA many millions of dollars looking for aliens. Yet I wonder if any of Ken Ham’s theologian friends will explain to him that his pronouncements are reminiscent of those of some Christians during the Middle Ages. You see, explorers were venturing further down the African coast, and even sailing closer and closer to the equator. And from ancient times, some philosophers had reasoned that no human could survive the equator. After all, the further south one goes, the more unbearable the heat—and the Egyptian Sahara was bad enough!

Why did ancient philosophers have so much influence? After the fall of the Roman Empire, it was as if an atom bomb had destroyed civilization itself, and lots of learning had gone with it. In fact, hardly anyone could even read except the clergy. The Roman aqueducts still stood, and Roman roads continued to hold up remarkably well while connecting major population centers—and yet the technology to build such things were considered to have died with them. So the Greek and Roman classics were valued almost as much as the Bible itself, and monks in monasteries made copies and preserved those precious written treasures of ancient knowledge.

Thus, some of the monks got to thinking: If the sailors are getting closer and closer to reaching the equator, perhaps life is possible there after all. Yet, they got to thinking about the Great Commission: Jesus had told his disciples to “go ye to all the earth” and make disciples of all nations. Yet, everybody knew—they assumed—that nobody had ever reported evangelism trips to the antipodes in the southern hemisphere. [An antipode was an idea which fascinated scholars in those days. An antipode is a place in the Southern Hemisphere which is directly opposite of some point in the Northern Hemisphere, just like you drove an enormous pole through the earth so that it came out the other side of the spheroidal planet. The most famous antipodes-pair, and just about the only antipodal pole we talk about today, is the North Pole/South Pole.]

So here is the implication: Jesus told his disciples (not just the original 12 but all who followed him at the the time of his ascension) to go to “all the earth” and evangelize the people in all nations. Therefore, to do that, they would have to actually reach all nations, including those in the Southern Hemisphere. Yet, even by the time of the Middle Ages, nobody had ever done that. Why? They figured that it was because there were no people living in the Southern Hemisphere! No people. No reason to go preach! Therefore, problem solved!

Not necessarily. Reports from sailors finally confirmed another important milestone in exploration. Men in ships had reached the equator! So apparently, travel to the Southern Hemisphere and the antipodes was indeed possible after all. In fact, those European sailors were, therefore, apparently, the first humans to reach the part of Africa south of the equator.

But, oh no! The next thing ya know, they get reports that European sailors have explored the African coast south of the equator and they report the unthinkable: There are native peoples living there! Yes, people live in the Southern Hemisphere.

Yet, now they had a new quandary. Is the Bible in conflict with “science”? After all, if the Bible says that Jesus’ disciples were supposed to take the Gospel to all of the nations of the earth, they must have failed. The explorers didn’t find any Christians in southern Africa, so Jesus’ disciples must not have reached them. How disappointing! (And their esteem for Jesus’ disciples dropped a few notches.)

But wait! Another “hypothesis” was posed by some theologians, a way to preserve the “honor” (i.e., the obedience and devotion) of the disciples of Jesus and yet explain the findings of people in sub-equatorial Africa. Those theologians decided that the black-skinned people who lived south of the equator weren’t people at all! Sure, they seemed to look like people—except for noticeable differences like skin-color, hair texture, and some types of facial features. Therefore, some theologians decided:

“Those black-skinned ones are not actual people! They are simply other kinds of creatures. And like all other animals, they have no souls. And if they have no souls, it’s because they aren’t human, and, therefore, they don’t need to be evangelized. And that would explain why the disciples didn’t go teach them the Gospel and make disciples of them, because they weren’t nations at all. Just herds.”

Now, if the Africans are not humans with souls, they aren’t eligible for heaven, and so they don’t need evangelized. Yet they do qualify as very handy beasts of burden. So why not purchase herds of them from African traders and war lords, and sell them as slaves? Yes, what a convenient idea!

Thankfully, the majority of theologians disliked such an interpretation of the Bible and absolutely deplored the idea of making them slaves in any case. They realized that Jesus’ declaring the Great Commission to his disciples did not necessarily mean that that challenge was fulfilled quickly in the lifetimes of the disciples. And many of those same theologians helped organize missionaries to take the Gospel to the Africans. But slave ships went ahead anyway with their profitable voyages and eventually established “the Golden Triangle”, an enterprise of three profitable trade routes and types of commerce between Europe, Africa, and the New World.

Thus, when I read where Ken Ham had pontificated on who is and isn’t of the Adamic lineage, and thereby is or isn’t in need of the Gospel—and thereby determining if aliens exist at all—I couldn’t help but think of the interesting parallels in Christian history. Frankly, Christian theologians don’t always have a great track record when it comes to theologians telling scientists what is and isn’t valid. So, I wonder if someone will tell Ken Ham what I’ve just told you.

Yet, somehow, I kinda’ doubt that the historical insights will come from anybody on Ham’s payroll. After all, when it comes to not knowing things, gambling on Answers in Genesis staff is close to a sure thing.

(c) 2015. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum at All rights reserved.

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A VERY ROUGH & INCOMPLETE DRAFT: De-YEC-ification Strategies & Ideas

This is NOT YET a blog article per se. Yet, I’ve had several parties ask questions or request my notes on several topics related to helping Young Earth Creationists embrace an old earth and evolutionary processes. Posting a link to this blog-page provides a simple means for people on various forums to read them without bothering with email traffic.


** Strategies for Defeating Evolution-Denialism **


A Guide to De-YEC-ification
(Getting rid of the YECism, not the YECists.)

I think I’ve made this appeal before. Has anyone any idea of what arguments would actually make creationists change their minds?

In my experience there are three routes out of Young Earth Creationism which I will classify by their respective “destinations.” That is, the YEC denier of evolution and billions of years abandons that position and becomes a(n):

(A) From YEC to Evolution-Affirming Christian

This transformation requires:

1) Hermeneutical Help & Overhaul.

I’m tempted to say Never start with the science. Yet, chances are that’s what has already transpired. Try wrapping up whatever scientific points you were making and then see if you can get them to tell you their answer(s) to this question: “Suppose someone addressed all of the scientific issues and evidence so that you could honestly say that all of that evidence you’ve seen points to an old earth where evolutionary processes explain how life on earth diversified into all of the species we have observed. Would that be enough to convince you that God used evolution over many many millions of years?…or would their be specific scriptures which you think rule out that possibility entirely? Could you name the scriptures which would be ranked at the very top of your list of evolution-denying and billions-of-years-denying verses of the Bible?

The passages cited will in no way describe the last hurdle you must clear to de-YEC-ify them. Yet, in my experience, if someone can successfully convince them that there are valid non-YEC alternative interpretations of those formidable passages, the YEC may be genuinely convinced that they need to revisit and rethink their present interpretations of those scriptures. Most will tend to immerse themselves in YEC commentaries so that they are simply “digging in” and filling their YEC trenches with additional ammunition gleaned from Bible commentaries written by like-minded YEC scholars and pseudo-scholars. (Of course, many YECs will simply search the AIG and websites.) Therefore, you must be ready to supply some specific articles and webpages, although if you know they have access to major libraries, you might want to consider primary sources.

With probably 99% of Young Earth Creationists, you will find that no superlative quantity and quality of scientific evidence will be enough to convince them to abandon their Young Earth Creationism. To better understand this phenomenon, the YEC hero, geologist Dr. Kurt Wise, provides not just a fascinating demonstration of cognitive dissonance but an extreme confidence in the utter superiority of his unassailable Bible interpretation skills—despite his lack of academic training and skills in Biblical studies. Dr. Wise provided considerable technical consulting for the exhibits of the Creation Museum and mutual friends have told me that he remains frustrated that he was unable to restrain various of the overt propaganda, right-wing politics, and poorly supported science for which Ken Ham is famous. Anybody interested in understanding the YEC worldview should get to know Dr. Wise:

If I were to interview Dr. Wise, he would most likely cite the agreement of his favorite, like-minded Biblical scholars and that would be sufficient confirmation to justify his confidence in his interpretations of the Bible.

But if pressed, most YECs cite the Doctrine of Bible Perspicuity as ample divine affirmation of YECism. This Perspicuity dogma deserves its own chapter in any study of YEC hermeneutics [Bible interpretations], though most YECs don’t know of its Protestant Reformation origins. YECs almost always apply the perspicuity of scriptures well beyond its original definition and applications. To reformers, the perspicuity of the scriptures simply means that the major themes of the scriptures, especially those pertaining to individual salvation through the Gospel message, are sufficiently clear to all Bible readers such that they do not require the clergy or some church hierarchy to serve as sole interpreter. Some call it “the clarity of the scriptures”, though in discussions of systematic theology, even among YECs, I find perspicuity the most common term. Here’s an historical and theological overview:

Many YECs tend to over-apply and even misapply the perspicuity of the scriptures to claim that the simplest and “most obvious” interpretation of a scripture passage should usually be assumed to be the correct one. As a result, perspicuity dogma has become a kind of Christian Ockham’s Razor, where many of the best hermeneutical insights provided by careful study of the cultural contexts and the grammatical/syntactical gleanings are rejected outright because “God doesn’t expect a 10-year old Bible reader to understand _________ when reading the passage.” Thus, many YECs will appeal to perspicuity dogma to dismiss the various definitions of YOM (“day”) in Genesis 1. Obviously, that mindset often leads YECs to assume that what is “obvious” to English Bible translation readers today would have seemed just as obvious and the same to Bible readers of the Hebrew text of the Old Testament thousands of years ago.

This perspicuity of scriptures dogma is just one of dozens of major factors one must be prepared to engage if expecting to challenge the Young Earth Creationists interpretations of relevant passages of the Bible.

Yes,The denialist needs someone to explain how the relevant Bible passages can justifiably be interpreted in such as way as to allow evolutionary processes and billions of years—all without compromising the denialist’s high view of scripture. In most cases this “high view of scripture” will mean respecting and preserving the Doctrine of Scripture Inerrancy. Otherwise, you will find yourself perpetually mired in a debate taking you further and further from your objective. Plus, all you will succeed in doing is reinforcing the YEC’s suspicions of your ulterior motives and their being taught for many years that “evolution=atheism.”

If you are confident that you can “Kill two birds with one stone” (i.e., destroy his/her faith in the Bible as well as eradicate his evolution-denialism) by using those “undeniable Bible errors & contradictions” you found at websites such as the Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, the YEC will quickly decide that you are as gullible and ignorant as you consider him/her to be. Seriously. The Internet meme which boasts that “the average atheist knows far more about the Bible than the average Christian” depends upon one’s definition of “Christian” and is as irrelevant as it is pointless. If you are the rare individual who truly is prepared to take on their confidence in the Bible, postpone that battle until a later date, after you’ve freed them from their Young Earth Creationism mire. Otherwise, you will only make your undertaking exponentially more difficult—not just for you but for anyone in the future who tries to help the person escape from YECism.

In many cases, the denialist may need to be shown that some of their respected Bible scholars define “inerrancy” somewhat differently than they have presumed previously.)

2) Show Scientific Evidence for Old Earth.

Show the many types of evidence for an old earth.
Define and explain the importance of CONSILIENCE.
Show how consilience destroys the lame and dishonest YEC argument that “Fossils are dated by the rocks in which they are found. The rocks are dated by the fossils in them. That’s circular reasoning.” Explain how fossils and rock are indeed helpful in dating because the reliability of all dating methodologies have already been established by consilience.

Biologos provides an excellent summary of the many types of evidence establishing an old earth in this infographic:

Be prepared for these typical rebuttals YECs may throw at you:

(3) Scientific Evidence of Evolutionary Processes

I’ve not created an outline for this yet because of the obvious complexity and the fact that one has to assist most YECs in “unlearning” a lot of misconceptions in wrong terminology. Explain the difference between the evolutionary processes we observe versus the explanation of that evolution: The Theory of Evolution.

Be prepared to explain to Hamites that even Ken Ham understands that his post-flood diversification of each KIND (which he generally defines as roughly equivalent to the taxonomic family) into all of the species we observe today happened in the first 200 or so after they walked off the ark. If they deny this, show them the Creation Museum poster explaining the “hyper-evolution” of a single pair of the cat-kind into lions, tigers, leopards, cheetahs, panthers, house cats, and every other cat-family species. (Always be prepared to show that real scientists have copious evidence for their claims while Ham has zilch.)


B) From YEC to Old Earth Creationism

Many would confess from personal experience that YEC-to-OEC is an excellent first step on the way to affirming The Theory of Evolution. In my experience this is especially common among those who forged their own path out of Young Earth Creationism without the aid of friends or colleagues. Obviously, the outline for YEC-to-Evolution-affirming Christian can be a wise route because there’s no particular necessity of an all-or-nothing or hasty transformation.


C) From YEC to an Evolution-Affirming ___?___

While I’ve certainly met ex-YECs who now call themselves agnostics/atheists/non-Christian-others, I’ve not had much experience hearing and learning about the routes they took and what issues mattered to them most. Yet, what struck me in all of my one-on-one conversations with a few such individuals is how they had basically accepted Ken Ham’s false dichotomy of “You must choose between “the authority of God in His Infallible Word or the authority of fallible man and his fallible science.” Everyone will obviously make their own free will decisions based upon absolutely any priority or process they wish—but it does concern me when someone has been led to make a decision based upon faulty or incomplete information. Obviously, Ken Ham is either lying or is far more ignorant than he pretends to be. [OK. I admit it: I thought it would be mildly humorous to defy Ken Ham by objecting to his position through a false dichotomy of my own.]

Needless to say, most of the world’s Christians have no conflict with The Theory of Evolution. Moreover, lot of scientists works in fields which require an understanding of evolutionary processes and/or millions and billions of our earth’s history–and they have no difficulty seeing evolution as a part of the Creator’s plan for his Creation. Perhaps most of all, we only need to look to history to see that some Christians dragged their feet for a few generations before accepting various scientific discoveries as fully in harmony with God’s will for his created world. For years I’ve asked Young Earth Creationist leaders why they think The Theory of Evolution will be any different in that regard. I still await their response. (I don’t consider excuses and denials a valid response.)

A YEC-to-atheist transformation which captured my attention in media reports and Youtube not so long ago was the case of Rachel Slick, daughter of Christian apologist Matt Slick. Her reasons for her change of mind struck me as much more complex (or should I say much simpler) than what she articulated. Yet, it is not for me to judge why or for what reason(s) she left not just Young Earth Creationism but theism entirely. So I won’t bother to explain any of my speculations. I will say that I found very interesting the conundrum she described as having led her to dig more deeply into why she had considered herself a follower of Jesus Christ. She said it was that particular “problem” with the Bible led her out the Exit Here door of her Christian faith. I’ll not append the series of paragraphs which expand upon it, but this was the starting point:

If God was absolutely moral, because morality was absolute, and if the nature of “right” and “wrong” surpassed space, time, and existence, and if it was as much a fundamental property of reality as math, then why were some things a sin in the Old Testament but not a sin in the New Testament?”

Even if I ignore a number of questionable presumptions and classifications, I find it incredible that the daughter of a Christian apologists who continuously drilled her on quite technical theological terminology and various Christian doctrines of every sort—according to her own descriptions of her childhood—how could she possibly have been stumped by such a trivially simple question? Even a OT-201 “Introduction to Old Testament” student at any state university learns how the Torah Law was basically the national constitution of the Children of Israel and was based upon the Suzerainty treaties common in the Ancient Near East. It includes a great many detailed regulations which specifically target, deny, and prohibit all sorts of religious practices found in the neighboring cultures which signified loyalty to and worship of those pantheons of pagan deities. No wonder God YHWH Elohim had forbidden them in the Promised Land. The national constitution (the Torah), which specified how the Israelites were to live, established rules of conduct which expressed the citizens loyalty to YHWH God and prohibited all treasonous behaviors and signs of devotion to other gods. Thus, while modern readers may be baffled at why the Torah Law forbid tattoos, trimming beards in a certain way, and many other painfully detailed prohibitions, those ancients for whom the Torah Law applied knew that these banned practices were rituals of devotion to those pagan Gods. They were similar in those regards to provisions in some present day national constitutions in Europe, where wearing or displaying a Nazi swastika is strictly prohibited. Is that an absolute moral standard? Why don’t all nations have such a prohibition? One doesn’t have to be a citizen of Germany or Austria to understand why they considered such bans to be appropriate.

Of course, this contrast between the Old Testament and the New Testament is underscored by their titles. “Testament” is just an old word for “contract”. Thus, the Bible generally consists of the Old Contract and the New Testament, where the former applied to the ancient nation of Israel and the latter was clearly described as a new covenant based upon the ultimate Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, being sacrificed on the cross—at which time the Gospel author says the sacred curtain to the Holy of Holies was torn, pointing to a change of contracts: Gentiles as well as Jews could have direct access to God and the priesthood became the reality for all who had faith in God’s provision.

Matt Slick and anyone familiar with his teaching ministry would understand these fundamentals from the Bible. Rachel Slick surely had known them since her earliest days. So I remain baffled as to why this question would have stumped her. Therefore, I’m quite willing to say that I’m no authority on the various reasons people leave behind their Christian faith along with their YECism. Clearly such decisions involve much more than simply not knowing the answer to a Bible question.

Never forget this important truth:
For most YECs, these issues are ultimately about feelings not facts.
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“Creation Science” terminology: The Bodie Hodge

September 7 is the Labor Day holiday in the USA and in the light of that very special occasion, we ever so lightly honor a not-so-often-sung hero of the “creation science” movement, Mr. Bodie Hodge.

Whenever I see the unique name of this “creation scientist”, I find myself recalling a question on the latest edition of the CSAT exam. The CSAT is the Creationist version of the SAT exam which homeschooled Young Earth Creationists take in order to qualify for admission to any unaccredited institution of hired [sic] learnin’ and what-not.

The vocabulary segment of the CSAT includes the following multiple-choice test question:

29) The Bodie Hodge is:

A) the fifth pillar of YECism whereby every Young Earth Creationist must resolve to visit the Creation Museum at least once in his/her lifetime. Obviously, every pilgrimage to the Creation Museum is wholly a holy journey (a Hodge), but only that first pilgrimage is the sacred and mandatory every Bodie Hodge.

B) the shortened, colloquially-corrupted phrase for that required-for-everyone journey (i.e., the “everybody Hajj”) which Sofia Vergara and most phonetic-spelling-prone creationists call the “EFF-va-ree BO-dee Hajj.”

C) the only hand which can top a Royal Fizzbin—but only on the first Tuesday following a New Moon during a month with no more than 30 days and only if the first player to the dealer’s immediate right is a third-generation Young Earth Creationist through the maternal line. Of course, the chances of actually getting a Bodie Hodge are . . . well . . . they’re of Biblical proportions. Some would even say that getting one would be a miracle and just about as likely. Others would simply say that getting one for a Sunday Morning service would be really really stupid.

D) Ken Ham’s son-in-law.

E) all of the above

If you answered “E”, you are correct.  And what qualified Bodie Hodge for his duties as a Answers in Genesis speaker and “creation scientist” at the Creation Museum?  He’s got a mechanical engineering degree! Don’t ask me why, but a lot of “creation scientists”, “Senior Fellows”, and “popular speakers” at origins ministries are engineers, lawyers, and physicians.

Of course, in Bodie’s case, marrying the boss man’s daughter was not such a bad career move and went a long way towards getting a lucrative management position at Answers in Genesis.

Interested in a sample of Bodie’s scholarly output? Here’s Bodie’s explanation of why one should answer honestly when the Nazi Gestapo officer asks if you are hiding Jews:

Bodie’s answer got a lot of reaction from readers at the Answers in Genesis website, many of them strongly disagreeing, to say the least. But as many of you know if you have ever dared express disagreement on an AIG Facebook page or website—or even if you simply posted a “inconvenient” question—deletion and total bans are easily achieved by anyone who fails to show ample approval of Ken Ham & Co. for their latest antics.  But in this case, our undercover operatives tell us that many of the not-so-pleased readers pointed out to Bodie that various people of faith in the Bible told lies in order to save lives and that God greatly blessed them accordingly. So if you want to learn more about Hodge’s helpful hermeneutics, you’ll just have to check out the aforementioned link for yourself.

And while contemplating the full Bodie-ness of the Bodie Bodhisattva, don’t miss his explanation of why non-Christians shouldn’t get off work during weekends and Christmas vacation breaks.  Why? Bodie Hodge says it’s just not logical! Here’s a sample:

A weekend is a Christian thing, God created in the six days, he rested on the seventh, the Lord resurrected on the first day, that’s a Christian thing.

Of course, the Saturday Sabbath is actually a “Jewish thing” and though the first day of the week, Sunday, could be called a “Christian thing” because it commemorates the Lord’s resurrection, it was not a no-work-day like the Jewish sabbath. But Hammites have never let what the Bible actually says get in the way of a good “spin” when it fits the propaganda objective at hand. To fully savour that traditional creationist brand of “logic”, here’s some text and video sure to enlighten the curious:

As Americans commemorate this holiday for the working man (and woman), it is good to know that Bodie Hodge is on the job delivering all that “creation science” crunchy goodness and selling silly pseudo-science for the masses. After all, it’s a job that somebody has to do.  In this case, some Bodie keeps doing it like nobody else can. Well, that is…except maybe his father-in-law.

Yes, at Answers in Genesis, pseudo-science runs in the family—as does profiting off of the gullible.  And what could be more American than that?  Junk science is a growing export business and “creation science” origins ministries constitute one of the fastest growing sectors. So as you celebrate Labor Day with your friends and family, we hope you will consider the contributions of the unsung and uninformed pseudo-science purveyors of this growing industry. And if you think somebody should do something about it, just remember that some Bodie has.

(Reader Advisory: AIG’s website contains materials which the Surgeon General has determined to be hazardous to the public health. Readers may experience headaches, confusion, suicidal ideations, and loss of lunch.)

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Stupid Things Young Earth Creationists Say

“That’s the biggest problem for evolution: how life got started!”
—- Jeff Tomkins, PhD in Genetics, Institute for Creation Research

Really, Jeff? Let’s think about that:

“That’s the biggest problem for photosynthesis: how light got started.”

“That’s the biggest problem for Atomic Theory: how atoms got started.”

“That’s the biggest problem for Prime Number Theory: how prime numbers got started.”

“That’s the biggest problem for relativity: how all my relatives got started.”

“That’s the biggest problem for creation science: lots of creation, no science.”

— Professor Tertius

If you cross ICR and ISIS, what do you get?

I don’t know. Both are too defiant to listen to reason. But with ICR you’ve got a group of people who hate science enough to ignore all of the overwhelming evidence for evolution diversifying life on earth.

I don’t care how often ICR and AIG claim, “We love Science!”.  Their tradition-based propaganda harms science education–and the damage is world. As I’ve explained in countless venues over the years, Young Earth Creationism has much more to do with TRADITION than the Biblical TEXT. (Before Morris & Whitcomb published The Genesis Flood in 1962, only a small percentage of evangelical and fundamentalist Christians were passionate about a young earth viewpoint. Yet, after a half century of steady “creation science” propaganda, it’s the only view the younger generations have ever known. Many assume YECism is intrinsic to Biblical Christianity all the way back to the first century apostles. So regardless of the actual age of a cherished belief, once a dogma has achieved that august status, it’s a TRADITION which must be defended at all cost.  Welcome to the YECist world, where the TRADITION always beats the EVIDENCE, no matter the quality and quantity of compelling evidence.)

With the various Young Earth Creationist origins ministries spending many millions of dollars annually, you’ve got a powerful destructive force harming science education throughout the world.

“Young Earth Creationism:  Just say no!” — Professor Tertius

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Reader Alert:

Mr. Armitage was furious at Professor Tertius so we know our efforts to educate the public do matter.  Please sharing our link on relevant forums.  Armitage is seeking crowd-funding for a “dinosaur soft tissue research center” and the last thing science education in America needs is yet another Young Earth Creationist propaganda machine. We know that home-schoolers’ cooperatives are already promoting Armitage as a “martyr of creation science.”  Based on email feedback from Christian readers, Armitage’s failed pseudo-logic and his angry rants against Dr. Mary Schweitzer do matter–especially to YECs who realize that she is a Christian evangelical who is simply following the evidence where it leads.  Please share on relevant forums Professor Tertius’ expose on Armitage at:


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Arguments So Bad, It’s Hard to Turn Away: Mark Armitage

{The two videos linked in today’s blog entry are NOT parodies. Nothing has been altered in any way. Mark Armitage is a real person. Nobody is portraying a creationist stereotype just to get laughs. I’m telling you, this is the real thing…or I’m not Professor Tertius!}

You may know Mark Armitage from the lawsuit he filed after losing his lab technician & microscope maintenance job with California State University. Lawyers don’t rate his chances positively. After all, he often told students that he had evidence of dinosaurs living contemporary with humans just a few thousands years ago–and liked to argue that his “dinosaur soft tissues” finds couldn’t have survived for millions of years. If you haven’t seen any of the media coverage, here are some summaries:

Now Mark Armitage wants crowd-funding help to set up his own “dinosaur soft tissue laboratory” so that he can overthrow The Theory of Evolution and all of that pesky evidence for many millions of years.  I kid you not:

It is hard to rate really bad pseudo-science on even an exponential scale so I’m not even going to try.  And even if you can’t justify wasting your time watching his plea for cash to help him forge ahead in the Young Earth Creationist cause, I guarantee you will be thoroughly entertained by his whining and ranting against Dr. Mary Schweitzer and everybody else who is trying to figure out the natural processes which made what was apparently 65 millions years of preservation possible:

I considered posting a compilation of his “logic bloopers” as an outline–but like a really really bad joke-teller who is so bad on stage that it is almost good, you’ve got to actually see for yourself how Armitage “explains away” the possibility that iron could have played a role in the preservation.

OK, I can’t resist. Here’s just a few of the logic bombs you’ll find on that page (in the video and/or in his comments under the video):

1)  If iron could somehow preserve soft material from a dinosaur for millions of years, cryogenic human body-freezing companies would already be using the process in order to preserve the bodies of rich people.

2) If the preservation process actually worked, it would already appear in the microscope instruction manuals he consults.    [You bet!  Someone, even though scientists don’t know exactly what the process is or how it works–much less, know how to do it for themselves in the laboratory–non-scientists or the general public would already be using it.]

3) Mark also argues that if iron could play a part in tissue preservation, then Detroit wouldn’t have trouble with cars rusting out!

4) If the iron in blood could contribute to preservation, one could visit Civil War battle fields and find lots of preserved bodies!

If I’m not mistaken, this guy has either finished his PhD or will be defending his dissertation soon.  Either way, one wonders how he got through legitimate degree programs and did graduate work while suffering such cognitive dissonance.

Of course, it is also possible he is simply giving the Young Earth Creationist audience–and potential crowd-funding donors–exactly what they are looking for: idiotic but sciencey-sounding “arguments” which supposedly let them laugh at the real scientists. But I’ll let you decide that one:  Is it IGNORANCE or is it just PATHOLOGICAL LYING about the Science?

I honestly don’t know.  But I do know this:  I just won a dinner bet when Mark announced that he was CENSORING/DELETING all of my counter-arguments and evidence I posted in the comment section below his JurassicWorldLies.  I’ve yet to encounter a Young Earth Creationism activist who could debate more than a round or two without running out of arguments (while having zero evidence) and resorting to the creationist-wildcard:  Censorship.

And that’s why I have often said that “creation science” scammers and propagandists aren’t just dishonest and ignorant of the evidence. They’re cowards.

I’ll let Mark Armitage display his exceptional debate skills in his own words:

“If Professor Terdius’ comments were not pablum puke I would keep them up for all to see. They were deleted because he contributes nothing to science.”

Isn’t it interesting how every “creation scientist” thinks himself clever in turning “Tertius” into “Terdius”?  And I never knew that all Youtube comments had to contribute to science!  (I wasn’t trying to contribute to science–although by exposing Mark Armitage I may have managed to do just that. Yet, if nothing else I thought I’d let Mark know that science actually exists and that he should check it out sometime. Oh, well!)

Meanwhile, having been inspired by his iron-causes-rust level of logic failures, I’ve suggested to him the following:

Firemen must stop pouring water on fires! Don’t you know that there’s dangerously flammable HYDROGEN in that water?!

And if salt were actually NaCl, we couldn’t be shaking it onto our food because the sodium would burn us and the chlorine would poison us! And seeing how that’s not happening, I’ve proven that salt doesn’t exist!

And so now you understand why iron could never be involved in any compound associated with the preservation of ancient tissues. (Warning: If all of this made perfectly good sense to you, you just might have an exciting future in “creation science!”)

By this point, if you didn’t take the time to view his JurassicWorldLies, you are going to think that I’m pulling your leg.  But I’m not!  Promise.  And I’ve only scraped the surface of the Mark Armitage world of pseudo-science and quasi-logic.

Meanwhile, I’m finishing up my refutation of Einstein’s theories of relativity. How did I refute Einstein? Easy! I learned the perfect argument format from Mark Armitage: If Einstein actually got his science right, then we would have been visited by time-travellers from the future by now. But we haven’t, so relativity is a lie from Satan!  

Impressed? So am I.  I hope I didn’t go too fast for anybody.  (Mark, I typed that sentence very very slowly because I know that you don’t read all that fast. You’re welcome.)

As readers have already anticipated, I’ll be waiting to see whether Mark Armitage or Professor Tertius will be winning a Nobel Prize first.  So stay tuned!

And if I ain’t tellin’ the truth, then my name isn’t …..

{Enable echo chamber sound-effect, maximum reverb.}

……Professor Tertius! ! ! ! ! ! !
…….Professor Tertius! ! ! ! ! ! ! 
……..Professor Tertius! ! ! ! ! ! ! 

………..Professor Tertius! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
………….Professor Tertius! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

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The Amazing Dr. Benjamin Carson: Using Science to Prove God and Intelligent Design

Sometimes when I’m reading something mind-numbingly stupid, a pseudo-scientific assault on sanity itself, all coming from a self-appointed “creation science” or IDist science-denier, I imagine a nightmarish scene. I see long lines of chain-ganged neurons, all stolen away from the brains of pitiable people, the unfortunate ones who can least afford their loss. Their owners are mesmerized under the incessant spell of Ken Ham, Ray Comfort, Kent Hovind and other wizards of the origins industry. The kidnapped neurons are being beaten and whipped by demons to move them ever forward in their many queues, headed towards their final neuron-frying fate, all passing under a large sign painted by Dante: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

The following is not pretty. So sensitive readers and children under 12 are cautioned about the material which follows. This is a true story.

A few years ago, not very long after Dr. Benjamin Carson received major media attention from insulting President Obama at the National Prayer Breakfast(?), I happened to read a Carson one-on-one interview proudly posted at the Seventh Day Adventist website.

As a prominent surgeon and the real-life hero depicted in a TV movie about his climb-from-the-ghetto success, the SDA church regularly reminds the public of Carson’s SDA roots and continued affiliation. I can no longer find the interview at but I so wish I had saved it, along with my very respectful, tactful but frank, point-by-point questioning of his many atrocious science blunders where he was trying to “prove scientifically” that God is the only logical explanation for everything we observe especially “the intelligent design” of the diversity of life on earth and our special place in the solar system.

Nothing surprising there, but rarely have I seen an interview subject excessively touted as “an obviously brilliant scientist” confidently explaining “amazing, indisputable facts of science!” which anyone who stayed awake throughout their junior high science classes could so easily shred. Dr. Carson managed to sink to being so-very-wrong that it would have taken some major editing just to bring him up to the level of appearing just plain bad at science.

My Carson science-blooper recollections include the following—I do wish I could remember many more of them—all of which allegedly proved that God must have not only created everything, he provided commentary of how each of these alleged “facts of science” shouts Intelligent Design:

(1) The earth orbits the sun at a distance of 93 million miles. That is the just-right distance for life on earth to thrive. Just one million miles closer to the sun, and we’d all be fried within minutes! Just one million miles further, and we’d all freeze to death! That can’t be mere random chance! The atheists like to ignore these simple facts because of what they tell us about the Intelligent Designer!

[In my comment-reply I posted below his interview, I asked if an important sentence or two from the interview had been accidentally dropped because “Obviously, the way you were quoted from the interview, it makes it sound as if you don’t know that earth orbits the sun in a roughly-elliptical path, rather than a circular one. Also obviously, the earth’s perihelion of about 91+ million miles takes North America closest to the sun in the winter, while in summer we are 94+ million miles from the sun. So there is an annual difference in our distance from the sun of over 3 million miles, yet we don’t boil or freeze!”]

(2) Hitler and the Nazis loved Darwin and The Theory of Evolution, so they applied Darwinism to explain Aryan superiority and to carry out genocide including the Holocaust against the Jews. Likewise, Stalin and Mao justified their genocides on the basis of evolution.

[In my reply-comment to Carson posted at the bottom of the webpage: “If Hitler loved Darwin and his theory, why did the 1935 banned book list for Germany’s libraries condemn to bonfires all of Darwin’s books and every book containing even explanations of The Theory of Evolution and evolutionary biology in general. Likewise, why did Stalin prohibit Darwin’s science as contrary to the revolution and why did the anti-evolution Lysenkoism starve untold millions over some 30 years of Soviet agriculture?”

(3) Louis Pasteur proved by actual experiments that abiogenesis would always be impossible! Years later, mathematicians also proved mathematically that abiogenesis is impossible and the probability is so low that in any other situation, atheist scientists would admit the chance of it happening was zero!

[My comment-reply asked him how a scientist could possibly design an experiment which could determine and eliminate as impossible all conceivably-relevant future experiments—and declare what discoveries would be forever impossible? All I’ve been able to find on this topic is Pasteur’s experiments depending the ancient “folk-wisdom” about how creatures like maggots and body lice suddenly appear. ]

(4) Evolution says that everything came from nothing [You know, like creation ex nihilo in Christian theology, SDA include.] and that everything came via random chance.

[In my posted reply-comment, I asked him if he was thereby saying that “everything came from nothing” meant that the Bible and Science are in agreement on that ex nihilo stuff.]

(5) A live clam was once dated in a laboratory as being 20,000 years old! So that also disproves the evolution theory.

[In my reply I asked him this: “Because you’ve read the scientific paper about that dating of a live clam, you know that it demonstrates that carbonates from dissolving rocks get absorbed by the clam and that, therefore, the carbon dating was measuring the age of the original rock the carbon came from. So then, you are saying that the 20,000 years age of the clam means that the earth must be at least 20,000 years old and the 6,000 years old earth of Young Earth Creationism is thereby incorrect for sure. Is that what you are saying?”]

As mentioned, there was a comment section at the bottom of the page containing the interview but no comments displayed, despite the interview’s posting-date from the year before. So I decided to write, very carefully, a very respectful rebuttal comment which would, hopefully, survive censure and deletion.

So I started my reply-comment with glowing praise for his illustrious career as a pediatric surgeon, his famous ground-breaking operation to separate conjoined twins, and the “inspirational” rags-to-riches, African-American success story of overcoming blatant discrimination and his own deep-seated anger and explosive temper which went with it, all which threatened his career at very important junctures. (You see, I had recalled the made-for-TV movie about his life story and basically cribbed from the old promos online.) So after a paragraph or two of my praising him profusely for his accomplishments, I hoped that the website admins would assume me a congenial, humble, and genuinely admiring fellow Christian (and perhaps even a fellow Seventh Day Adventist) who was genuinely surprised and baffled that so many basic facts of science were so clearly denied. I even tried to give Dr. Carson a respectable escape route so that he could save face, such as asking if it was possible that he was misquoted or that aggressive editing to fit the interview into the allotted space led to leaving out important context and the entirety of his remarks.

I ended my reply-comment with a very general, positive statement along the lines of this: “Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life.” Because of our shared interest and emphasis on the importance of truth, we can surely all agree that an accurate and unambiguous expression of the scientific facts is absolutely essential, especially when alleged scientific facts are being used as arguments for the existence of God, a Creator, and/or an Intelligent Designer.

My reply-comment to the Carson interview remained on the SDA website for about three days. No other comments ever appeared. My comment simply disappeared without explanation. Neither Dr. Carson nor the admins ever contacted me.

Yet they did manage to delete the comment section code entirely from the webpage! So no future reader of the Benjamin Carson would ever be allowed to comment on Carson’s appalling science ignorance, nor would they ever see my commentary explaining his .

I have no doubt that Dr. Carson is a fine surgeon. Yet, when it comes to general science-literacy, Carson functions on a strictly don’t-need-to-know basis.


When I mentioned my experience with Dr. Benjamin Carson’s pseudo-science and amazing lack of junior-high science acumen under an Amazon book review, an online acquaintance asked for the link to see for himself. As a microbiologist who teaches evolutionary biology at a medical school, the professor was utterly stunned at the dismal state of Carson’s science ignorance, even as Carson was already preparing for a presidential run. He recognized Dr. Carson as a fellow Yale University alumnus and decided to consult his alumni directory where he found Carson’s email address. He wrote him and listed some of the same atrocious science blunders I identified above. Because Carson closed his interview with a description of his plans to write a book on these topics for the general public, the microbiologist urged him to first learn some science and if insistent on writing the book, to at least send him a draft so that he could point errors. He begged him not to embarrass their alma matter by publishing such an erroneous series of claims.

From what I was told their email exchanges were polite and Dr. Carson thanked him for his offer. He gave the impression that help with the first draft sounded like a good idea to him. However, when I asked a few months ago if there had been any further correspondence, the answer was no. Yet, perhaps Dr. Carson is entirely focused on winning the presidency, choosing his cabinet members, and fund-raising for the presidential library to be built after his terms are over.

Yes, with Dr. Benjamin Carson, remedial science education will have to wait until the future when he no longer has irritating distractions, such as the Presidency of the United States.

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Recommended Random Readings: Volume I

Various of our readers from the old Bible.and.Science.Forum email digests ask now and then:

“Why don’t you bring back your old Recommended Random Readings? I learned so much about many fascinating topics, especially general linguistics.

So, let’s do that. I’d also like to broaden the subject matter to include virtually anything which helps us remain conscious of cultural dynamics and historical factors which relate in any way to our trying to understand ancient texts in general and thereby Biblical texts in particular. Sometimes we will include commentary and sometimes not. Yet the goal is always the same: understanding why we think, speak, and write as we do and how we can go about understanding how others have understood the world. Some links will lead to satire and even parody but all will have didactic implications. Therefore, we hope you will always pause to consider the lessons to be learned from our eclectic sampling of Recommended Random Readings and Viewings:

Many people who helped make “No Woman, No Drive” a viral video see it as just another reminder of the “backwardness” of the Arab world (or Islamic world, depending upon who you ask). But I can wish that more viewers would remind themselves that western Europe and the USA of a century ago treated women remarkably similarly in many respects. Even the bicycle was a scandalous symbol of female freedom and demands for independence, autonomy, and the vote. People tend to assume bans on women-drivers are evidence of the harms of a religion when, in fact, such patriarchal phenomena are rooted in cultural traditions which predate the presumed association with religion by many many centuries.

Both Young Earth Creationists and anti-theists critics of Professor Tertius have claimed him to be filled to the brim with an example from our next topic. The Battle of Hastings in 1066 brought radical changes of many types but my interest in the battle’s outcome focuses on the linguistic changes. Many call Modern English a creole language because of the ways the Germanic languages of the natives absorbed/merged/grew with the addition of the Norman tongue, a Latinate language which was on its way to becoming Modern French. The sociological and lingering “class-consciousness” of that collision between cultures and languages lives on in amazing ways as the webpage’s jarring title aptly indicates. Those who have been reading BSF essays for years will find little to surprise them there but the well-done systematic presentation merits attention. Ancient Palestine and the Mediterranean world in general had its own linguistic clashes and confusions and English Bible translation readers miss many of them. And whether we like it or not, every time we write or speak, most people make subtle (or not so subtle) judgments of us based upon our choices between Latinate and Germanic language elements.

Training workshops for authors often stress the importance of Latinate vs. Germanic language element choices in conveying the author’s message. The same goes for university programs in journalism. So this topic is far from esoteric or mere fodder for trivia games.

[Clarification: Over the years I have sometimes casually expressed the conflict as Norman versus Anglo-Saxon languages, a habit shared with a great many writers of linguistic history.Unfortunately, that leaves out Frisian, another set of Germanic languages which came to the island with the migrations. So keep that in mind when following links from the aforementioned page.]

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