Monthly Archives: August 2015

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:

https://bibleandscienceforum.wordpress.com/2015/08/21/arguments-so-bad-its-hard-to-turn-away-mark-armitage/

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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:

http://www.nature.com/news/university-sued-after-firing-creationist-fossil-hunter-1.16281

https://sensuouscurmudgeon.wordpress.com/2014/11/05/mark-armitage-update-05-nov-2014/

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 Adventist.org 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.
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EPILOGUE

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:

https://aperimentis.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/no-woman-no-drive/

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.

https://aperimentis.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/shit-faeces-excrement/

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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