I get mail

January 6, 2010 • 12:31 pm

. . . unfortunately, sometimes it’s from creationists.  Here’s a present that came from Paul Nelson in yesterday’s mail.  Nelson was apparently inspired by my post about this movie (whose showing is causing a bit of a kerfuffle in Los Angeles) to send me my very own copy.  I just can’t wait to see it!

Fig. 1.  Madness on the hoof.

Nelson, who has a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, is a young-earth creationist (YEC) and a fellow of the Discovery Institute. (Not surprisingly, the DI doesn’t mention his young-earther views in its biography, probably because they’re at odds with the views of the DI’s old-earther loons.)  Nelson has written some stuff about the Cambrian explosion, and co-authored a book with two others, including Stephen Meyer, who as far as I know is an old-earther.

I’m baffled about how a YEC can even deal with the Cambrian explosion.  Sure, they might think it was instantaneous (it was not), or that it couldn’t be explained by natural selection, or that God did it, but one thing they must confront is this:  when did it occur? All the available evidence points to around 550 million years ago. Folks like Nelson think that it occurred no more than 10,000 years ago.  To hold that view, they must categorically reject every bit of geological, chemical, and physical evidence that enables us to date fossils.  This is a species of insanity I can’t fathom, even if it comes from a blind adherence to religious dogma.

Anyway, I will watch this movie and report back.  Don’t expect a positive review.

30 thoughts on “I get mail

    1. Ugh, creepy accomodationism.

      Also, it starts out with the horrendous non-factual assumption that things are true instead of facts. But truth depends on your freely chosen axiom system, while facts are unambiguous. For example, 1 + 2 = 2 can be true in group theory while it’s a poor choice of truth for reality.

      Maybe there are some valuable tidbits in there, but how are we supposed to be able to read it when it’s so untrue … or true, depending on your outlook.

      1. Don’t forget 2 + 2 ~ 3 for small values of 2.

        On a more querulus note, why do YECs and OECs silently, albeit not peacefully, coexist? There’s hypocrisy in there somewhere. What would Jesus say?

  1. “This is a species of insanity I can’t fathom, even if it comes from a blind adherence to religious dogma.”

    The skin thickens when stationed at a research facility in a highly fundamentalist region of the country…

    I advise taking it in small doses. That’s what I’ve had to do with Marvin Lubenow’s (2004) Bones of Contention that I was recently asked to review by one of said fundies who objected to my (part-time) teaching of evolution as fact at the local college.

    Although, the main reason I’ve had to take it in small doses is that the number of whoppers in two pages of text requires several hours to untangle and explain and one only has so much time…

    1. Although, the main reason I’ve had to take it in small doses is that the number of whoppers in two pages of text requires several hours to untangle and explain and one only has so much time…

      Incidentally, this is why I abandoned my short-lived grassroots campaign to combat anti-vax propagandists. It’s the ol’ Gish Gallop… while our side is bound by annoying things like “facts” and “accuracy”, the other side can just make shit up. It is virtually impossible to debunk them as fast as they can bunk.

  2. Well, sure, if you go into it expecting it to be bad, you’ll form that opinion.

    Why not have an open mind, jerry. Maybe God will touch you. be careful, though, he’s a frisky fucker.

  3. When the Lord Our God sent rain down to the Earth for Forty Days and Forty Nights, Satan, the Deceiver, secretly poisoned God’s Holy Rain with all manner strange and unearthly creatures – Anomalocaris, Hallucigenia, Trilobites, Marrella, Opabinia – all were created in Satan’s foul realm, for his foul purposes. God saw Satan’s evil act, and turned these strange creatures to stone, so that they would harm no-one, and caused them to buried deep in the Earth.
    Sadly, today’s scientists, in their overweening arrogance, have dug up Satan’s dangerous creatures. Even now, Evil radiates from the Burgess shale. Nonetheless, scientists, hard at work in Area 51, seek to weaponize these creatures. They hope, in their desperate vanity, to use them in their secret war against the Derros, who are beginning to emerge from the Hollow Earth. Indeed, even now as we speak the Derros are melting the Antarctic Ice Cap, in order to reveal the largest and most terrible of the portals to Hollow Earth. The Derros will use these portals to invade and dominate the unfortunate surface world, in preparation for the arrival of the Alien Planet Nibru, which will destroy the Earth in 2012. The Derros, having foreseen this terrible event through Necromantic Augury (by the power of Satan), plan to board Nibru in the nick of time, and thereby escape to another Solar System, and spread their Evil throughout the Galaxy.
    Now I hope you all understand the Cambrian Explosion and the Terrible Truth it represents.

    1. Nelson’s missive was actually quite polite. It almost makes it a little unseemly that Jerry is holding him up to such ridicule in response. Almost. But then I remember the shit he is feeding, and the political ramifications. Yeah, nevermind, the bad guys don’t get a pass just for being polite…

      1. I find that the “pray for you” schtick conveys a lot of useful information.

        If the missive ends with this phrase then you can be sure the preceding text contains the usual religious babble often combined with personal attacks and inappropriate capitalization, spelling, punctuation and grammar.

        Thus the entire message can be quickly discarded with a minimum waste of time.

  4. Presumably Nelson thinks that the Cambrian Explosion, as we (and old earth creationisrs) know it, never occurred. It was the product of flood dynamics, not related to the biological development of life on earth. So one wonders why he criticises something he doesn’t think happened.

  5. The problem as I see it is that YECs in denying standard dating techniques have no means to date their insane ideas. Neither can they then use scientific arguments about the age of fossils to support their misrepresentations of things like the Cambrian explosion. Whether they like it or not, they are then faced with the fact that the fossil sequence must actually mean something

  6. I’m baffled about how a YEC can even deal with the Cambrian explosion.

    Oh, and here I thought that the Cambrian Explosion was YEC evidence that Darwin was a terrorist. Left a massive amounts of jumbled up bones and all.

    [He noted, reaching for the carton of danish. Suddenly a brisk media storm appeared outside the window. – What in FSM name have I started now, he asked.]

  7. If you can ignore all of the evidence of evolution sans purpose or rationality, little problems like how long ago the Cambrian radiation occurred is no problem to ignore.

    As for the movie itself, it’s really quite creationistic. They claim that the Cambrian phyla appear without precedents–completely leaving out the fact that genetics and morphology indicate common ancestry for the phyla. There is nothing about Behe’s magical evolution.

    There is mention of the similarities within the phyla, which they simply compare to automobile evolution. Very convenient that, because automobiles continue to have many of the components and the general plan that early internal combustion engine autos did–and they’ll conveniently ignore all of the utterly unrelated parts added over the years.

    Of course had they compared evolution (design for them) within phyla with airplanes and computers, it wouldn’t just be the computers added to internal combustion technology, and the like, that would break their “analogy.” A Boeing 787 has engines quite unrelated to the Wright’s internal combustion engine, and a host of other changes that force one to realize that revolutionary changes have occurred within “plane phyla,” of the kind we never see in biology.

    Yes, the thing is as dishonest as one can imagine it being. Paul Nelson is continuing to do his job of spreading dishonesty about scientific subjects.

    Glen Davidson

    1. Yes, automobile evolution. So why don’t current autos have hand cranks in the truck but humans still do?

      Do we need to excuse the christian god idea as it is a little slow under “His” hood?

  8. Let’s believe in the cambrian explosion, hopefully it will embarrass the godless biologists.
    But that doesn’t mean we have to believe in the Cambrian.
    They never disappoint.

  9. A birthday present from a YEC! Maybe you can sell it on eBay, making sure to include your review, of course.

  10. Damn! This was on TBN last night at 11pm on the West Coast and I failed to recognize it was the self-same one that caused the LA kerfuffle. Ah well – suppose I saved myself some brain cells.

  11. Good old Paul Nelson!

    Does he actually have a job? I don’t think so. Paul can bloviate on any subject and it doesn’t matter.

    Which is the rub, isn’t it?

    Paul, you don’t matter, old buddy. Who gives a flying banana what you say or think any more than a Chick trac.

    Some years ago Paul “claimed” (as he’s “claimed” on many occasions”) to have a list of things that would convince him that evolution was true.

    He’s never produced the list which he apparently lost or the dog ate it.

    Basically, who cares?

    My cat says evolution is true and he should know. Unlike Nelson my cat is a product of evolution.

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