Monthly Archives: July 2015

Young Earth Creationists don’t have a monopoly on thinking they know better than the academy.

I find this fascinating: Some of the same people who criticize Young Earth Creationists for thinking themselves qualified to deny and correct the conclusions of the academy in matters of biology, paleontology, physics, and geology, nevertheless deny the conclusions of 99% of historians when it comes to the existence of Jesus.

Yes, it’s just another brand of denialism.

I’ve found that arguments against Jesus’ existence usually start with “lack of contemporaneous witnesses”, even though that has never been a historian’s “standard” for separating myth and historicity!

Of course, if that were to be adopted as the ultimate standard, most historical figures from the ancient world would thereby be labelled non-existent. I’d give some examples (e.g., Euler, Euclid, if I recall) but my reluctance to exert myself on a very lame topic just doesn’t motivate me to do someone else’s research for them.

Yet, the topic reminds me to investigate whether a former colleague who was pursuing a second Ph.D. in folklore followed through on his proposed dissertation topic. He told me how the non-existence of Jesus rarely got much serious traction until the Internet cultivated an “everybody knows that” type of meme outside the academy–if I recall his wording. He had an interesting hypothesis about how such ideas take hold, and he developed classifications similar to those used in the academic study of popular “conspiracy theories”, apparently because the driving force behind the non-existence idea was that the academy’s admitted consensus was based on various “evil motives” similar to creationists’ claims that “they’d all lose their jobs if they dared express doubts of Jesus’ existence.” (Yeah, right.)

Since retirement I no longer attend the relevant academic conferences so I don’t know if there’s been any important papers which have studied the development of this Jesus-never-existed idea amongst the general public. Nevertheless, I will say that the Jesus-never-existed denialists come very close to annoying me almost as much as Kent Hovind. Yes, it puts me in a very foul mood.

So I will restrict myself to just one admonition: If you find yourself tempted to promote any Jesus-never-existed nonsense, please investigate why the academy shows so little interest in Robert M. Price, who describes himself as a “Christian atheist.”

Even a Wikipedia-level of research on the “historicity of Jesus” and “the Christ myth theory” will get you started. To my knowledge he’s not listed in the Encyclopedia of American Loons but if they were to broaden their definition of “loons”, I think a place could be found for him.

And if you are wondering if I considered providing any footnotes for this essay, the answer is no. My advanced age brings me few special privileges but I will declare myself eligible for the privilege of declaring, “Jesus-never-existed denialists don’t deserve that kind of exertion.”

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As everyone celebrates the amazing photos & data from Pluto…

…sent back to earth by the New Horizon Spacecraft,

…and as all of the scientists at NASA,

…and the scientists working in association with NASA,

…all take their rightful bows,

…let’s not forget TO ALSO GIVE CREDIT to the many “CREATION SCIENTISTS”–who skillfully made use of the scientific principles which could ONLY have been discovered by means of “creation science” methodologies unique to that discipline–who made today’s discoveries possible.

So would the following “creation scientists” rightfully sharing in these scientific discoveries and milestones of today–AS WELL AS the many “creation scientists” who will be making important new discoveries in the months ahead as they carefully analyze the massive quantities of data coming from Pluto–WOULD YOU ALL please stand and TAKE A BOW as I announce your names one by one:

???_______________???

…and with very special recognition, we also acknowledge the teams of “creation scientists” at AIG and ICR whose perpetual whining and moaning about Oort Clouds make the New Horizons Spacecraft’s milestone such an excellent opportunity to contrast real science from pseudo-science and how pseudo-science purveyors exploit their followers for more donations.

LIKEWISE, let’s not forget TO ALSO GIVE CREDIT to the many INTELLIGENT DESIGN SCIENTISTS—who skillfully made use of the scientific principles and discoveries which could ONLY be discovered through the ID methodologies unique to that discipline—and who took part in this historic and very successful mission:

???_______________???

With great anticipation we also look forward to the many DISCOVERIES and NOTABLE CONTRIBUTIONS TO SCIENCE about to be made by the attorneys and propagandists of The Discovery Institute as they analyze the many gigabytes of data beamed back to earth by the New Horizon Spacecraft. Would you also PLEASE STAND and TAKE A BOW as I announce your names one by one:

???_______________???

Hmmm. Huh. That all went much more quickly than expected. And without further adieu, this special recognition ceremony draws to a… …what?

What’s that commotion in the back of the auditorium?

There appears to be a man with a white beard screaming.

What??

What’s he saying? Newton??? Something about Newton? …and Galileo?

Oh! I recognize him now! Officers, you can uncuff him.

(Just watch him carefully. He’s basically harmless, as long as he doesn’t get close to a radio microphone or a local school board. And definitely keep him away from impressionable children. You know. That moronic “Were you there?” nonsense.)

Yes, Ken Ham. I understand your question. We’ve been through this countless times before. Remember?

Think carefully. Yes, Ken. That’s right. Newton and Galileo were creationists. But they didn’t depend upon their creationist beliefs in making their contributions to science. They were good scientists who knew how to use the scientific method to make important discoveries. Newton did not depend upon Young Earth Creationism to figure out the Laws of Motion nor did Galileo to discover moons orbiting other planets much like the earth orbits the sun.

You see, Kenny, many scientists–holding all sorts of personal beliefs about theology and philosophy–made important scientific discoveries which made today’s milestone possible. What they ALL shared in common was the Scientific Method.

Now, if you promise not to hurt yourself or others, the nice officers will take you back to:

The Creation Mausoleum, “Where Bad Science Goes to Die” (Trademark, AIG)

___________________________
(c) 2015. Professor Tertius & the Bible.and.Science.Forum at Gmail.com.
All rights reserved. Email us at Gmail.com address for permissions on reposting and publication.

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Donald Trump Failed to Prepare for Alien Attack. (Miley Cyrus Makes Species Argument)

ANNOUNCEMENT: We invite all comments from everyone, positive or negative. Unlike most origins ministry websites, we do not censor. (We also don’t put posters on moderation unless replacing their vulgarities with asterisks takes the admin took much time. WordPress sometimes puts comments on moderation, even ours! So don’t be insulted if your comment is delayed. We will only delete obvious spam. In rare cases we may ask a commenter to resubmit their comments after vulgar language is removed. We don’t censor content.)


Get it? Clever, huh? Right? Remember, a while back?

This blog got huge traffic because I mentioned Ken Ham talking about Miley Cyrus. So combining Donald Trump with Miley Cyrus should do even better. And “alien attack” is a sure fire classic! Every tabloid publisher knows that “alien” is a magic word. Even antiquarian professors know that.

Ken Ham said that Miley’s choice of only having sexual relations with members of her own species made no sense at all under The Theory of Evolution. I kid you not, folks. If you didn’t read the Answers in Genesis webpage where The Ham Man made that Dunning-Kruger worthy challenge nor the BSF blog about that blooper, I will tell you everything that you need to know about that in order to understand this blog’s headline. You see, Miley’s sexual preference for her own species makes for a “species argument”. Get it?! Pretty good?! Huh? Right? Ya know, like a “specious argument”? OK. I suppose you’d have to be there. Or here. I happened to like it. (I love it when Ham opens his mouth and makes it soooo easy. Next thing you know, Ham will ask why evolutionists would logically choose to have sex.)

Fortunately for Ham, we’ve found a group working hard to topple Ham and his origins industry empire from the leading loon top spot. The Sensuous Curmudgeon blogged about the story and the late night comedians will soon be joining the laughter:

http://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/world/2015/07/1652603-a-group-proposes-to-the-portuguese-government-the-construction-of-an-embassy-for-extraterrestrials.shtml

Yes, they want governments on planet earth to build embassies and grand residential facilities for greeting and housing aliens from outer space.

Now, do be careful what you say about aliens. Look what happened to Donald Trump.

If I were Donald Trump about now, I would be watching for aliens very very carefully! I wonder if Trump thinks aliens from outer space would look green, as in those old sci-fi movies. Hey, do you think Trump would get on his bully pulpit again and demand that those outer space aliens all get green cards? [LOL! Right? Get it? LOL? Oh, come on now!] I can just imagine Trump standing at the landing field next to the alien embassy. The alien ship opens up and Trump is standing there with a bullhorn saying, “If you don’t have a green card, go back to where you came from! I’m going to put up a force field around the earth and make you aliens’ government pay for it!”

Ok…back to my story. I crawled into bed last night and got to thinking about this embassy plan. I imagined that we decided to build that welcome center. The first alien visitors from outer space land and are welcomed with great fanfare. But they want nothing but to check-in to their hotel rooms and get some rest. After all, they’ve had a very very very very [add exponent to the Nth power of “very”] long trip.

So, as I pondered these things, I found myself nodding off…. zzzz…. dreaming about such a place and event…. zzzz… and what it would be like… ZZZZZzzzzz…… zzzz. ….dreamed about aliens checking in at the hotel…

…I dreamed…alien check-in…would go … like this…ZZZZzzzzzzzz..

The front desk’s staff has trained intensively for this historic day but the Residence Center manager decides to step up and handle the first check-in himself. He says to the leader of the group, the very first outer-space alien in line for check-in, “Welcome, sir. So pleased to have you stay with us! I will process your registration. First, may I see some identification, please?”

The alien looks a bit perplexed–which is very hard to do with just tentacles and a bunch of unidentified orifices and/or sensory origins–and it asks, “What do you mean?”

The desk manager says, “Any kind of official identification card will do. If you don’t have a driver’s license….er…pilot’s license, perhaps you’ve got an ID card issued by your employer?”

The alien looks up hopefully, “How about my union card? After all, I’m here on business.” [How did it manage to “look up”? I don’t know. It’s an alien! Just shut up and read the damned story. It will go faster that way for both of us.]

The desk manager says, “Sure! That will do just fine, Sir.”

It is clearly evident from the resumption of the flow of green drool from the elephant-trunk-like excretory tube (which the alien drags behind him) that the first-time guest feels relieved by the desk manager’s answer. [Relieved, get it?? Pretty clever, huh?]

While the alien is lost to his thoughts, all while flexing his antennae to absorb the delightfully new flavors of the earth’s quaint and exotic mixture of gases, the desk manager punches up the intercom mode of the PA system and announces so all could here: “Clean-up at front desk. Clean-up at front desk. Be sure to bring the Wet-Vac. Er… Make that three Wet-Vacs…Hell, just bring all of ’em!”

Just as the manager restores reciprocal optical-sense-organ contact with his guest, the alien resumes the conversation. “I really love the atmosphere of this place.”

The manager smiled proudly and said, “Thank you, Sir! We try our best. And our florist daily brings…” as the alien resumed its praise and interrupted him in mid-sentence:

“It’s quite wonderful! Your atmosphere has the delightfully subtle essence of those oxidation wisps…ya know…those wisps you get near a freshly fallen meteorite on most any moon of Uranus? Oh my…the mix so punctually graces those earthy, full-bodied undertones you can only get from a very high-nitrogen air mixture. Yet all blended so splendidly and playfully with hardly a hint of those pretentious, low atomic-number gases ya always find on Jupiter. No thank you! I’ve never liked that place. Not one bit. I just can’t quite put my tentacle on it, but something really bugs me about Jupiter. [Get it? You know, like “Can’t put a finger on it?” Jupiter has no solid surface? Just gases? Get it now? Oh well…] On earth here I was expecting the argon but was very surprised by the low altitude hints of ozone and ….don’t tell me…. let me guess…. ..uhhhhh… halogen gases … and a very rich mix of partly oxygenated hydrocarbons and… and… yes! There’s even a few organometallics! Is that it? Gastro? Where is Gastro? He’s my assistant. Oh, there he is. Right behind me! Gastro, didn’t I say the moment we opened the hatch that that just had to be argon, sulphur, and a few organometallics?”

Another bundle of tentacles sprawled out in all directions just behind the alien seemed to tense up slightly and somehow expelled the words, “Yes sir. That is what you said.” as one of the creature’s sensory organs seemed to do a full revolution of rotation within its socket, as if to ask a question which the manager may have heard only by telepathy: “Why I did I volunteer for this mission? I actually endured 200 parsecs of this blowhard?”

Realizing that the top alien was begging for a compliment, the manager smiled widely and said, “Very good, sir! You must be something of a connoisseur of fine atmospheres! A trained gaseous sommelier perhaps?” The manager bit his tongue as he remembered one of the cardinal rules of his training, regularly voiced by his instructor: “Stay away from puns, turns of phrase, and unintended jokes. Too risky!” Yet, before he could worry too much, the alien replied:

“Oh, thank you, but it’s nothing! I tended air-bar at my uncle’s country club during summers, all through college. Great tips. … Oh! Excuse me. You had asked me a question. What was it?”

The manager politely reminded him: “I had asked you for an ID and you said: ‘How about my union card? After all, I’m here on business.’ ”

“Yes! Yes! The card…” The happy alien laughed so heartily, although it was difficult to determine exactly where the voice was coming from, and how does he speak without lungs to propel the air? The desk manager didn’t know, but he was starting to wonder why the noxious pulses of pungent odor seemed to correspond in sync with each new belly laugh. Is it actually possible that the alien had a club sandwich with extra garlic and onion on his last in-flight meal in the space ship? Or perhaps 10 to 30 hours ago? He didn’t know. Indeed, no one on planet earth could know. Whatever the case, any unfortunate earthlings living downwind were about to learn what the embassy staff already knew. Well.

The alien reaches into his pocket in the back of his fourth tentacle and pulls out his wallet faster than you could say “Take me to your leader.” He grabs the union card inside it with a single, dexterous motion of the first suction-cup of his ninth tentacle and deftly hands it to the desk manager. He thanks him and scans it into the Universal Reader-Translator. [Why does the alien speak English but didn’t plan and bring a legible ID card in the local language? Do you really think I wanna make this any longer by adding a backstory for every gap in the plot points? Just sit still and read the nice story. Slow down your thinking. You know. Like a young earth creationist conference speaker.]

The machine spits out its translation. The manager reads it aloud:
“Galactic Brotherhood of Intelligent Designers, Local #351”

He pauses and says, “Apparently the machine couldn’t figure out your name. It says ‘Boundary error. Char strings exceed limit.’ What is your name, Sir?”

The alien smiled [Don’t ask!] and said, “That last name is DodFaasuznmxzyuaaqqnmadlkjadsaf. Yes, I’ll save you asking: my grandfather was indeed a Faasuznmxzy immigrant, came over on the Sarminian xenocrafts of the Second Therminian Dynasty. It was just after the Splantaric Rebellion and his was one of the first incubation vats to be reactivated with full power by the Darmifian mercenaries, because they thought they could hold the ovapods inside for ransom. They had no idea that he was just one more metamorphosis away from growing up to be their master. So, yes. Everybody always asks me when they hear the name!” as it laughed and smiled even more widely, a feat made all the more remarkable because of the fact that it didn’t seem to have anything resembling a face. “So telepathy might be communicating the alien’s emotions directly into my brain….” thought the manager as another wave of stench made his eyes begin to water, much like one gets when peeling onions …. and perhaps evolution developed such telepathy to accommodate their consistently maintain a personal space between them of around 50 meters. Or at least that was the suggestion of the panel of scientists which kept up a steady stream of color commentary and speculations appearing on the text crawl at the bottom of the large CNN TV screen the manager couldn’t help but see hanging high on the opposite walls.

He realized that his extensive training on reading body language provided little help when one isn’t even sure what body parts to read. So he resorted to the fallback rule for intergalactic culture shock: gush and fawn. Well… …that’s…that’s very impressive, Sir!” gushed the desk manager as he struggled for words while collecting his composure, “And a celebrity deserves special accommodations so I’m going to give you an upgrade to the VIP suite.” (Of course, at intergalactic embassies, everyone gets a VIP suite–and all UFOs get free valet parking.)

“Thank you. Thank you. But no, I prefer to be treated just like everyone else. And I’ve never felt like a celebrity, despite the famous surname. To everybody else, my grandfather was Seventh Supreme Overlord of the Xzyl-Razmoid Empire, Merciless Slaughterer of the Klyqedfjdiiel Resistance, and Grand Puba of the Galactic Council. But to me and my brothers…he was just Pops.”

Getting better at handling the unexpected, the manager asked, “By the way, speaking of VIPs did any of our staff outfront tell you that we have valet parking? It’s free to our VIP guests.” The manager chuckled to himself and thought about being remembered as the first human to make a joke to an alien. He could take the chance because he learned in his training that the aliens had been monitoring earth’s TV broadcasts for years and the scientists who had communicated with the aliens in the months leading up to the landing said that the aliens not only understood the English language quite well, they had an excellent sense of humor. For them, the 1950’s TV shows premiered just 15 years ago and they loved the sitcoms. So despite his training to avoid humor, he had gone ahead and asked if the alien wanted valet parking for his space ship.

The alien replied without any indication of mirth, “Yes, somebody among your staff out front asked me if I wanted that kind of parking service you say you have, so I said yes to take advantage of it. After all, my vehicle–I heard you earth people call it a UFO–is quite large. I was afraid you wouldn’t have enough space to accommodate it. So I was very happy to bring the guy on board to help out and we found just the right place to park.”

“Sir, it sounds like one of our staff was just making a friendly joke by offering you valet parking, a service where our people out front can park the guest’s vehicle in a special place. But, back to reality, with your… uh… vehicle. It will be quite safe because our military will be guarding it no matter where you parked.

“Yes, I do understand what you mean! I never saw so many soldiers and military vehicles surrounding us. And they welcomed us with so many sirens and lots of people running and screaming and shrieking. It was much like Elvis in the building as you say.”, it explained. “We felt so very welcomed. I really do appreciate the parking service. We were lucky. My spacecraft just barely fit in the parking space. Very beautiful hills on both sides.”

The desk manager tried to hide his confusion, and asked the alien: “Barely fit? Hills on both sides? Where exactly did you park? Did our employee actually direct you to the spacious valet parking area? Did he say if it was a specific valet parking area? We have an east and a west valet parking lots. Did he say which valet parking lot?”

“Hmmm….Oh! Yes he did!”, exclaimed the alien, “I remember now. The young man happened to mention it was San Fernando Valley parking. I’m not sure that they were expecting us but it will do just fine.”

The manager froze for a minute but realized this was the very type of situation he was trained to handle. “Keep your composure throughout” was the rule of operation at all times. But before he could think for very long, the alien continued:

“Oh! I should get back to your question that I never fully answered: The first name is Ieiwzmoiqewmmiuasdfuiqwemmskfjaskdf. Ieiw for short, pronounced like ‘Iiieeeiooooew” but remember that the second ‘e’ and the third ‘o’ are silent except when used in the vocative case. So the full name is Ieiwzmoiqewmmiuasdfuiqwemmskfjaskdf Adsoiuxy Dodfaasuznmxzyuaaqqnmad. You can feel free to save space and use a middle initial instead of Adsoiuxy. That’s fine.”

The alien could tell that the desk manager was overwhelmed by the name and it surmised that the manager was going to have difficulty with the spelling. So after a brief silence, the alien said, “I am Ieiwzmoiqewmmiuasdfuiqwemmskfjaskdf Dodfaasuznmxzyuaaqqnmad. But why don’t you just call me ‘I.D.’ for short.”

Obviously relieved, the desk manager exclaimed, “Excellent! Now I’m sure I have heard of you.”

The manager asked the alien, “Sir, I mean, Mr. I.D., would you like a smoking or non-smoking room?” As soon as he speaks the words, he realizes again that the alien has no lungs–because it absorbs gases directly through its slime-covered, yet reptilian-like skin. “I beg your pardon for my not thinking that through, sir. You see, we’ve never checked anybody into the Embassy Conference & Living Center Annex before. You are our first guest alien. I’ll just go-ahead and give you a non-smoking room. … Let’s see…what else…uhhhh…. Oh! Would you like a bellboy, or perhaps even two?”

The alien replied, “No. No thank you. I had a really big lunch on the flight.”

It paused a moment and resumed: “And then they always hand out those endless bags of nuts. Insufferable nuts. We beamed them up from Seattle and Kentucky before we knew what we were getting ourselves into.”

The desk manager remembered his training and tried really hard not to react as the alien continues.

“Plus, I really need to lose a few pounds and work on my cardio. My wife hassles me about it. Keeps reminding me that my father died of congestive hearts disease. All five of them. It got to where his hearts wouldn’t even grow back anymore. What a sad and slow way to die. So I’m trying to do a better job of taking care of myself. After all, ya only live thrice. Maybe four times, tops.”

“Always good advice, Sir.” The desk manager replied while still trying hard to react as little as possible. After all, he was specially trained for this. He recalled countless hours of extensive study and practice, all in preparation for this historic event, and that schooling included a thorough practicum in intergalactic cross-cultural interactions. The manager regained his composure and continued:

“Oh! Almost forgot… Sir. Do you have any pets that will be rooming with you?”

The alien answers, “As a matter of fact I do. Just one.”

The desk manager smiles and nods affirmatively, “Very good, sir. And what type of pet would that be?”

The alien replies, “I don’t know what you earthlings call them but on my planet we call it a luskin.”

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


If you like Professor Tertius’ brand of humor, or you simply like to see YECist “creation science” shredded while the science-denialists cringe, or you just love to see reminders that a theologian-linguist-Bible-translator-professor-minister sage-wannabe doesn’t have to agree with Ken Ham’s wacky pseudo-science and Bible-illiterate shenanigans to be a “genuine Christian”, than we’ve got a Professor Tertius classic for you: The April Fools Day Massacre & the Seven Deadly Questions YECists Dread.

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Translating YEC Propaganda: Anti-Evolution Equivocation Fallacies Sound Even Stupider in Another Language

Ever since the Hollywood trades announced the greenlighting of a Disney film about Charles Darwin and the epic voyage of The Beagle, rumors of a creationist boycott have cheered comedy writers for the various late night TV talk show hosts. After all, this is a topic with everything a comedian could possibly want. Well… perhaps not literally everything a comedian could want in a current events topic. But it’s got literally clueless, science-illiterate young earth creationists. And that beats a maximally flexible modern-day-dinosaur (also known as a rubber chicken) any day of the week.

I do hope the Disney movie will include the public’s reaction to Darwin’s theory, especially the various Christian ministers who praised Darwin “for explaining how Our Creator chose to fill the earth with wondrous creatures”, among whom was one of the great heroes of fundamentalist Christians, Dr. Benjamin Warfield, “the Father of Biblical Inerrancy.” And that’s something they won’t pick up from any Ray Comfort video.

When the movie portrays how Darwin’s journey gave him first-hand observations of the horrendous treatment of African slaves and ignited his life-long impassioned opposition towards slavery, I also hope they mention how Darwin’s royalties from sales of On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life funded the printing of scripture-filled Abolitionist tracts written by the various Christian ministers Darwin also generously supported. Then perhaps Ken Ham can explain to his followers how he and other millionaire origins ministry entrepreneurs justify their pathological lying about Darwin supposedly being such a rabid “racist.” (Yeah, right. We all know how “creation science” purveyors are always so conscientious about setting the record straight and publishing errata compilations when caught red-handed in their lies.)

That would also give linguists and lexicographers like me yet another opportunity to explain to overly trusting Hamites that in 19th century English the word race meant “variety of organisms”, as in this updated title translated into 21st century English:

On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Varieties of Organisms in the Struggle for Life.

Indeed, today’s readers of recently translated editions of The Origin of Species in other languages have this potential advantage over most English-speaking readers stuck with Darwin’s original text: New translations generally bypass (and re-word accordingly) the archaic features of Darwin’s language from a century and a half ago and thereby avoid the reader’s likely misunderstandings which would have accompanied that outdated language from another era. Of course, that general observation fails if the translator(s) have limited working knowledge of 19th century English. Yet, the best publishers understand that potential problem and assign translator contracts accordingly.

After all, between Darwin’s day and our own, inevitable changes in English language vernacular rendered many Bible translation editions seriously “outdated” (and Bible paraphrase editions even more so) within a generation or two, if maximal reading comprehension accuracy trumps all other translation goals. (Despite the accusations of Bible critics that profit motives drive every new Bible translation edition, even an often cynical “insider” like me–one who regularly calls out the disingenuous spins and the duplicitous misdeeds of every “side” in most such conflicts and controversies–must agree that most modern day English translations pass their prime in twenty years, at most.)

Considering how Ken Ham and many other YECists and IDers regularly exploit such equivocation fallacies as exemplified in the “…the Preservation of Favoured Races…” clause, I’ve wondered how such language-dependent equivocations “underwhelm” the non-English-speaking audiences and readers of their anti-evolution propaganda. AIG, CMI, and many other organizations in the origins propaganda industry proudly brag about the numbers of foreign language editions of their books and videos. Yet, I wonder if any of their multilingual staff or donors have ever explained to them how and why their many equivocation fallacies only “work” in English (and perhaps sometimes with a few other related Indo-European languages with similar words and cognates.) Indeed, this “Darwin’s evolution book has a racist title!” argument of nonsense makes even less than zero sense in Mandarin Chinese, Tagalog, and Hindi. [Yes, I do enjoy exploiting the irony of illustrating the total nonsense of this particular example of Ham’s propaganda rubbish through “repayment in-kind”!]

Frankly, the more I think about the difficulties of conveying such English-based equivocation fallacies in other languages, I realize that an honest translator of YECist and IDer propaganda would find it extremely difficult to explain the argument in another language without also debunking the argument at the same time! Think about it: A typical Ken Ham tirade-filled, anti-evolution sermon would sound even more ridiculous in translation, depending upon and varying with the particular target language involved. “The Theory of Evolution is only a theory, not a law” already evokes a bored “Duh!” from science-literate English speakers. Yet, when translated into a language which lacks the word coincidence of theory=hunch and theory=scientific explanation, one gets a double-Duh! In other words, with this dishonest attempt to fool readers and audiences, the English language ploy only works in the target language if the target word’s semantic domains closely parallel the source word’s semantic domains.

Ham’s favorite violations of the “EtymologyLexicography” maxim could similarly fail. In the Bill Nye debate, Ham pompously tried and failed to bolster his arguments with “The word SCIENCE simply means KNOWLEDGE” when it would have made more sense to say “The Latin word SCIENTIA is where English gets the word SCIENCE.” Obviously, such etymological histories of a word do not necessarily dictate what the word actually means. [In fact, sometimes a word makes a 180-degree turn over time, such as the word AWFUL, which originally meant what its component morphemes would suggest, that which makes one feel full of awe but which now means extremely bad or inferior. Because of that negative shift in meaning, English speakers today often rely upon AWESOME to convey their sense of being awed by something.]

Of course, Ham resorts to this lame etymological argument (a subcategory of the Equivocation Fallacy argument) when he wants an audience to believe his claim that “Atheist and materialist scientists have hijacked the word SCIENCE from its former meaning of KNOWLEDGE.” because he is employing the same tactic Michael Behe tried to defend in the Dover Trial. If what one is trying to “sell” is obviously not science in terms of being supported by the Scientific Method, one can only hope to somehow appropriate the natural appeal of modern science as well as the authority and prestige which comes with it in the minds of general public. The propagandist must pretend that the word SCIENCE is a far broader term than those ‘materialist scientists’ have defined it. Yet, I would suggest that this “Science is simply a collection of knowledge” argument from English and Latin etymology would sound even sillier in languages which lack similar Latin pedigrees.

I’m over-emphasizing and redundantly pounding this observation of “Arguments based on equivocation fallacies don’t always translate well into other languages” into the ground because (1) I think it would make a fascinating doctoral dissertation topic for a linguist or religious studies candidate focusing on the difficulties and obstacles of taking any such propaganda global when trying to appeal to an international audience; (2) I wonder if Ken Ham’s finds it much more difficult to generate a following (and donors) in countries where the language translation dynamics deprive him of some of his favorite logical fallacies. [Fortunately for Ham, some European languages probably share enough cognate vocabulary and a similar scientific heritage heavily dependent upon English language publication and terminology so as to allow some of these ruses to survive translation. I’ve not spent any serious time and effort investigating many of the most popular equivocation fallacy examples, but I’ll bet that some of Ham’s crowd-pleasing spiels which get strong audience reactions and laughter in the States produce “dead air” and blank looks overseas when he preaches one sentence at a time with a live translator.]

But let’s get back to those rumors of a Christian boycott of the Darwin movie. I’m neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet but I’m willing to make at least one prediction about this: Based on Hollywood’s reputation for strict historical accuracy in all of its bio-epics, I expect the Disney movie will have just about as much science content and educational value as a summer internship at the Creation Museum. Or a Ken Ham documentary based upon his authorized biography. Or a graduate degree from the Institute for Creation Research.

{Even though it should be obvious, I’m told that some Ken Ham biggest fans/groupies are angrily denying the following satire–because the fact that it is simply satire went right over the heads. Yep, just like most science. Apparently they don’t quite grasp the meaning of words like “fictitious” and the comedy which is based on Ken Ham’s well documented long history of litigation.

Hey, did you ever wonder why there is no such book as Young Earth Creationism for Dummies?

Answer: Intellectual property infringement. Ken Ham threatened to sue. That’s already the title of the Answers in Genesis New Employee Handbook. (There’s also a new employee orientation film of the same name and based upon the book. Can you imagine being a docent for the Creation Museum or the upcoming Ark Park?) Yes, this paragraph is satire. There is no such handbook, even if there should be.

Speaking of fictitious Ken Ham lawsuits, the newest edition of Ken Ham’s Answers in Litigation: Building a Mega-Ministry Through the Courts is soon to be released. All nine volumes. {Satire alert!} Several of the chapters of previous editions have been greatly expanded with updated material, including my personal favorites:

“Sue Ain’t Just a Dinosaur”
“I for an I Justice”
“Persecute Them Before They Persecute You”
“Bloodletting in the Courtroom: The Legal Way to Play Chicken”
“Ham on Nye”
“Who Peed in My Gene Pool?”
“Always Be the Underdog by Building Up the Boogeyman”
“Every Protagonist Needs an Antagonist”
“Propaganda: If It Makes Sense, You Ain’t Doing It Right”
“Jurassic Justice and the Jurassic Dark Arts”
“Dr. Who’s On First”
“How I Won the Dover Trial: Winning Without Even Playing the Game”
“Fighting to Repeal the Laws of Thermodynamics: We’s In It Till We Win It”
“Recognizing Satire When You Read it”

Some people don’t know when to quit. I do.

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