Creationist news

August 1, 2012 • 5:52 am
  • In Kansas, there’s a school board election on Nov. 10; half the seats are up for grabs.  The issue is whether Kansas will adopt the new Next Generation Science Standards based onthe recommendations of the National Academies pamphlet, “A framework for K-12 science education“, available online for free.  As a product of a group of distinguished scientists, this pamphlet, of course, puts a big emphasis on evolution.

As the Los Angeles Times reports, the once-creationist Kansas school board has mellowed, and there’s little chance that creationists will get control this time around. In fact, major creationist organizations have given up trying, which is a great sign:

Yet the debate has lost some of its vigor since the 1999-2007 years, when a revolving-door board of creationists and evolutionists overturned the state’s education standards five times, including one 1999 vote that scrubbed most curricular references to evolution and another 2005 vote that challenged evolution by trying to redefine the discipline of science itself.

The board now safely sits in the hands of members in favor of teaching evolution as a core science standard. Opponents have internalized the “what’s-the-matter-with-Kansas?” mockery once captured by the Onion headline “Kansas Outlaws Practice of Evolution.”

“Anybody who deigns to take a questioning position regarding anything to do with evolution is pretty well named to be a crackpot or a kook of some sort,” Willard said at a recent board meeting, according to the Associated Press, as he walked back his own criticism of evolution education.

Creationist advocates outside of Kansas, such as Answers in Genesis in Kentucky, have distanced themselves from the most strident calls to ban teaching evolution.

“Answers in Genesis opposes efforts to remove evolution teaching from schools,” Mark Looy, co-founder and chief communications officer for Answers in Genesis and the Kentucky-based Creation Museum, told The Christian Post. “It is a major worldview that affects so much of society, and thus it needs to be studied.”

But the creationists are still coming out.  Here’s a screenshot from the page of Jack Wu, candidate for a school board slot.  Of course he attends the Westboro Baptist Church:

Taxpayer dollars in Louisiana’s new voucher program will be paying to send children to schools that teach creationism and reject evolution, promoting a religious doctrine that challenges the lessons central to public school science classrooms.

Several religious schools that will be educating taxpayer-subsidized students tout their creationist views. Some schools question whether the universe is more than a few thousand years old, openly defying reams of scientific evidence to the contrary.

. . . What they’re going to be getting financed with public money is phony science. They’re going to be getting religion instead of science,” said Barbara Forrest, a founder of the Louisiana Coalition for Science and a philosophy professor who has written about the clashes between religion and science.Superintendent of Education John White says annual science tests required of all voucher students in the third through 11th grades will determine if children are getting the appropriate science education in the private school classrooms.”If students are failing the test, we’re going to intervene, and the test measures evolution,” White said.Refusal to teach evolution or challenging it as refutable won’t get a school booted from the voucher program, which was pushed by Gov. Bobby Jindal as a way to improve educational opportunities for students in schools ranked with a C, D or F in the public school grading system.For example, a handbook for Ascension Christian High School, posted online, declares among the goals of “Household of Faith Schools” that “the learner will be expected to defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible versus traditional scientific theory.”

Here’s a screenshot from the Ascension Christian webpage, stating quite clearly how it differs from public schools:

This seems quite manifestly a violation of the First Amendment, not only in providing public funds for religious education, but in promoting religiously-based views of science to students funded by taxpayer dollars:

A biology teacher at Northlake Christian High School, a St. Tammany Parish school slated to teach 18 voucher students this school year, outlines his curriculum on a website that talks of giving students the opportunity to challenge evolution against “a creation worldview of life origins.”

The website contradicts fossil evidence of millions of years of life on the planet, calling it incompatible with the Bible. Meanwhile, the school’s doctrinal statement says Northlake Christian — which will get $375,000 in state-funded tuition payments for its high school and elementary school — promotes “the creation of man by the direct act of God.”

College student Zack Kopplin, an outspoken critic of teaching creationism in science classrooms, found at least 19 of the 119 mostly religious schools in the voucher program either promote creationism or teach with curricula from Christian textbook publishers that are known to challenge Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution.

I’m glad to hear that Zack, who featured on this site a while back, and who was in high school when he started opposing Louisiana’s idiotic drive to teach creationism in public schools, is still on the case. A brave lad.

  • Finally, in the Netherlands a crazed Dutchman has finished building a full-sized replica of Noah’s ark (see video at the 2011 MSNBC link, and lots of photos here). The first report is from a year ago:

Dutch builder Johan Huibers is expected to complete work on the massive vessel sometime next month in what has been a staggeringly ambitious project to bring one of the best-known stories of the Bible to life. It’s taken three years of his life and $1.6 million out of his pocket, but Huibers, owner of a successful construction company in Holland, says the project is a dream come true — literally.

“I dreamed a part of Holland was flooded,” Huibers, 60, told Janet Shamlian in a report that aired on TODAY Wednesday. “Then, the next day I get the idea to build an ark of Noah.”

. . . “Johan’s Ark” clocks in at 450 feet long, true to the Bible’s account of a 300 cubit-long ship (in ancient times, a cubit was the length of a man’s arm from elbow to fingertips, or roughly 18 inches). The ark weighs in at a whopping 2,970 tons, and is constructed of Swedish pine, which Huibers told The New York Times is in keeping with God’s command to Noah that the ark be built of resin wood.

Well, the Bible’s word was “pitch,” I recall, and that’s a fossil material that wouldn’t have existed in Noah’s world. Too, Huibers has built the ship around an iron frame, and that isn’t kosher. The Ark’s only competitor’s for size were the masted schooners of the 19th century, which were far shorter than the ark (about 300-350 feet, I recall) and were strapped with iron: an all-wooden boat simply couldn’t survive in normal seas, as it would deform and break.  Noah didn’t have iron, and of course the Biblical seas were far choppier than those of the modern ocean. That alone invalidates the Biblical account.

And what about the animals?

As far as God’s command to Noah that the ark be stocked with two of everything in the animal kingdom, Huibers steered a wide berth around animal rights activists and opted for inanimate models instead — and indeed, the ship now boasts faux giraffes, zebras, cows and donkeys by the pair.

But what about the plants, fish, and whales, which wouldn’t have survived an inundation of boiling brackish water?

According to Sunday’s HuffPo, the Ark has now opened its doors:

He hoped to take it to London, but had to dry dock those plans when Olympic officials asked him to use safety rules that weren’t around in Noah’s time.

And it may prove a popular tourist attraction for the Dutch. I hope they’re going to gawk rather than to worship, since many Dutch are nonbelievers. And I’d like to think that this ark nonsense (in two years an Ark Park will open in Kentucky) is limited to the U.S.

Here’s the Dutch ark. Notice that although the Bible says there was only one window, as specified in Genesis, the builder has made a big window wrapping around the top. How did he and his sons fabricate plate glass in 4000 B.C.?  Note too the absence of windows in the rest of the boat, which would surely have limited air circulation and light, killing off most of the animals:

h/t: Tom & Stan

63 thoughts on “Creationist news

  1. So when does this highly seaworthy vessel come off it’s floating pontoon and venture into the open ocean?

    1. Well, with no sails and no motor, it’ll be a problem.

      It is rated as seaworthy, however. That little thing called a “steel frame” being helpful in that regard.

      BTW: The ark was to be made of gopher wood and sealed with pitch (pine tar). Not made of pitch. What’s gopher wood? Anybody’s guess. The translated word doesn’t track with known species of tree. The best guess is pine, cedar, or cypress.

      The folks at IKEA must be green with envy at all that Swedish wood.

  2. Noah didn’t have iron, and of course the Biblical seas were far choppier than those of the modern ocean.

    Okay, explain the ‘choppier’ thing to me; I’m not getting it. But otherwise, yeah.

    I’m actually kind of glad someone built this. Most adults who see it are going to instantly understand that two of every ‘kind’ of animal couldn’t fit on it.

    The actual, life-size boat is probably the best disproof-of-principle we could ever suggest.

    1. It’s in the bible IIRC – storms, flooding, heavy seas. All the vestments of angered sociopath gods.

    2. Choppier indeed. Drowning everyone on the planet with 40 days of continuous rain would require, what, 5000 ft. of water? That’s about an inch per minute – probably a harder rain than has ever fallen anywhere on earth. I’m not sure that a modern aircraft carrier could withstand it.

      1. Oh, it’s worse than that.

        Much worse.

        I can’t be arsed to look it up, but there’s a passage somewhere in there that says that the tallest mountains were submerged (or something to that effect). Everest is 29,000 feet. Over 40 days, that works out to 30 feet of rain per hour, or a tenth of an inch per second. It’s monsoon season here in Arizona, and we’ll often get fast-moving small cells with torrential downpours that don’t even dump a tenth of an inch before they’ve moved on.

        Hell, let’s say that it was only enough rain to cover Mt. Ararat, on whose peak the Ark is supposed to have landed after the waters subsided. It’s just over 18,000 feet, giving us just under 19 feet / hour. That’s 3 3/4 inches per minute. Day and night for a month and a half.

        Clearly, the goatherds who canonized the story were innumerate — or, at the very least, they expected their audience to be.

        Cheers,

        b&

      2. Let’s be fair: According to the Bible, the waters of Ye Fludde didn’t just come from heavy rains. Gen7:11 says “all the fountains of the great deep [were] broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened”. The ‘windows of heaven’ bit is obviously rain, but the ‘fountains of the deep’, well, who the heck knows what that could be?

  3. … constructed of Swedish pine, which Huibers told The New York Times is in keeping with God’s command to Noah that the ark be built of resin wood.

    Fir Yew I Pine And Balsam, Too gone hypergolic.

    Isn’t it ironic that HMS Beagle measured only 27.5m by 7.5m, yet it scuttled all Arks, and pulled the plug under the deluge?

      1. Seems like an excellent opportunity for the greater atheist community to contribute to what seems like an excellent project.

  4. Even ICR and AiG in all their literature illustrated the ark to have multiple window wraparounds while the Bible states that the ark only needs to have just one window on it. Whether in wraparound forms or having just one window, it doesn’t matter. The ventilation will still be poor for the passengers inside.

  5. In the Canadian province I live in, they still publically fund a Catholic school system. They are forced to teach evolution (at least they were when I was a victim of them), but they made a half-hearted attempt at best. In Canada at least, we can be every bit as foolish.

    1. Catholic (and Islamic) schools in secular European countries are also publically funded. In the three schools I attended they didn’t teach us evolution, just biology sans evolution. In fact, none of my friends or acquaintances knows anything about the subject. But they also don’t give a fawk about religion, and seldom go to church (exceptions are funerals or weddings or communions). Science is extremely unpopular these days, tens of thousands of young graduated scientists from my country emigrate every year towards the U.S.A. or Canada because of lack of career opportunities.

        1. Indeed, I suspect that the new strategy is to drain off enough resources from local public systems as to make them collapse.

          When I was in highschool in the Northern Virginia suburbs in the mid-60’s, the Catholic kids had their own school system, but as far as I knew, they supported it entirely themselves. They had their own buses, which they maintained themselves. That was the part I knew about most, since my (honorary) Uncle Rutherford (who wasn’t Catholic) was one of the volunteer mechanics. I think he did it to get away from his wife. He and his pals would do things like change engines in these fairly clapped-out buses (swearing liberally in the process). I learned some good mechanics and vocabulary on nighttime visits to their garage.

          So by the time I got to grad school in NJ in the early 70’s and began to take an interest in the community, I was astonished to find that the bus system for the Catholic schools was publicly supported. It was seen as a good deal, since the Catholic schools themselves were not publicly-supported. Now it seems that we’ve gone to paying for every damn thing, at a rate based on the per-student cost to the public system. But here outside Pittsburgh now, the local charter school, at least, doesn’t have its own gym, so they use the public school’s athletic facilities. I suspect that largely since the charter schools are new, they don’t have any pensions to pay, and so they turn a profit.

    1. I disagree: I find it a practical example of the inanity of the whole biblical story. Lot of people (especially children) visiting this ark and realizing the place taken by the animal replicas, will question the idea of putting two (or seven) living specimens of each species in such a small volume.

      Sure, if people were rational there would be no need for such boat. But it is not the case, so we should thank this creationist for losing his time and waste his money to prove our point 😉

      Desnes Diev

    1. Genesis 6:14 is commonly mistranslated as “gohper wood.” The correct translation is “steel barges.”

      😉

    2. I’m sure that somewhere in the litany of ‘begats’ between Adam and Noah, you’ll find someone named Bessemer.

  6. I hope he also included plastic mock-ups of kiwis, kangaroos, tapirs, and cassowaries, along with an explanation of how Noah found those animal pairs to save.

  7. Woah, Jack Wu’s site has a picture of a baby calculating volume of a sphere with the constant π.

    Bad form, if this guy wants to teach what the ratio of radius to circumference is, he better use the biblical value of 3.

  8. “I dreamed a part of Holland was flooded,” – wow! As Sophocles said, “It needed neither god nor oracle to tell them that.”

  9. “Anybody who deigns to take a questioning position regarding anything to do with evolution is pretty well named to be a crackpot or a kook of some sort,” Willard said at a recent board meeting, according to the Associated Press, as he walked back his own criticism of evolution education.

    Score one for the power of mockery!

  10. How anybody could take even one glance at that boat and think that it would be capable of supporting even one good-sized zoo, complete with food, veterinary facilities, waste disposal, and the rest — let alone an entire biosphere — is utterly beyond me. And then we’re to believe that it did this in the midst of a trans-torrential downpour of 29,000 feet / 40 days = 30 feet (10 meters) of rain per hour?

    If this were just some sort of fantasy thing, like some kid building a full-sized replica of the Enterprise in his mother’s basement, I’d be cheering it on.

    But this idiot is stupid enough to think that it really happened! And he wants you to believe that it really happened, too!

    What a maroon….

    b&

    1. C’mon. Do you know that God miraculously kept everything in balance? At least that’s what some Christians say when confronted with these facts.

          1. What the heck is going on?

            There’s supposed to be a strikethrough on “starship.” Doesn’t seem to be working for me, for some strange reason.

    2. I’ve just been reading about this in the NIV bible (Jerry is not the only masochist here), and I understand that all these animals were on board for more than a year, and not just in pairs, but in groups of fourteen for the “clean” animals (in spite of the fact that god hadn’t defined “clean” and “unclean” at this point). Fortunately god told Noah to bring enough food on board before the rain started, so that’s OK.

      Sorry, I can’t be bothered to do the maths, but I’m fairly sure it’s not all going to fit, let alone float.

      1. Yes, and do you have any indigenous elephants?

        No? I didn’t think so! See, it is all (st)ark insanity.

    3. If you weren’t a blinded evilutionist, you would learn to think outside the box. Didn’ya ever see Honey I Shrunk the Kids? Clearly, Noah shrunk all them critters down to itty-bitty size before the voyage and re-expanded ’em all when the cleansing flood was over. Ha!

  11. “the Bible’s word was “pitch,” I recall, and that’s a fossil material that wouldn’t have existed in Noah’s world.”

    Pitch, or asphalt, certainly was, and still is found in and around the Dead Sea as a naturally occurring deposit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asphalt. There isn’t much of it now, but in historical times, there was a thriving industry engaged in harvesting the stuff. Fairly large lumps of asphalt, as big as a small car, have been found floating on the surface. Less viscous deposits can still be found seeping from some spots around the banks.

    Some Cretinsists do acknowledge that the fossil record is real, but none are more than a few thousand years old, isotope-dating being less accurate than The Babble, and that the dinosaurs were all wiped out by Noah’s flood.

    10 wooden 6-masted schooners were built in the US, the largest of which was the Wyoming (1909) at 100.4m (140m overall).

    These ships had to be reinforced with steel beams to prevent them breaking apart and even then, had to be constantly pumped out to prevent them sinking and would ‘snake’ visibly in a heavy swell. Most of the 6-masters sank in heavy seas.

    1. I think Professor Coyne’s point was that most YECs insist that all the fossils, oil, coal, and tar deposits are the result of Noah’s flood and therefore couldn’t have existed before the flood happened.

  12. As a current resident of Louisiana and an educator, it is very, very hard to sit by and watch Jindal destroy public education in this state, knowing he will win reelection by a landslide.

  13. It appears to have a steel hull as well. I don’t remember the bit about Noah building the ark on an iron barge.

    1. The Ark couldn’t have had any iron. Iron was YHWH’s Kryptonite.

      Judges 1:19 And the Lord was with Judah; and he drave out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley, because they had chariots of iron.

      I feel sorry for all those Christians with “Rapture Ready” bumper stickers. They do know that they’ll be left behind, since Jesus won’t be able to reach them inside their iron chariots, don’t they?

      Of course, this won’t apply to those in Corvettes….

      Cheers,

      b&

  14. Obviously Noah dehydrated all the animals, so they could fit on the ark. Also, the re-hydration of the animals explains where all the water went after.

  15. I don’t recall anything in the New Testament advocating spending $1.6 million on an ark. I do recall there was talk in the NT about helping those less fortunate. Does anyone know how many poor and underfed children this ark has helped so far?

    BTW, they’re wasting their time looking for ark remnants in the mountains of Ararat. It’s in Arkansas. Where do you think the state’s name came from – Ark & Saw?

    1. Of course! However,I find support for that good work from humanism.The support from that egregious simple subjectivism of the anthologies the Tanakh and the Christian Testament reflects reality whilst most of their ethics reflect the misanthropism of those men o yore who made up the ethic from their own tastes and whims in large part, hardly any from decent moral sense!
      People should make their political choices on reality,not that faith-based misanthropy!
      WEIT, do you appreciate my commentary as haven’t had any recent feedback?

  16. Well, I have to say, I’m quite happy that he used his money and all of these resources on something useful and important, we wouldn’t want to go and waste the effort and expenditure on something stupid like feeding and housing the poor. [/snark]

    I truly love the idiocy of the ark story. As someone who served in the Navy and studied architecture (both academically and as a hobby), I look at the story with particular amusement. Sure, there were ships that approached the size of the mythical ark, but none that I am aware of that were constructed entirely of wood during the bronze age. The damn thing would destroy itself under its own weight let alone hoping for it to survive a conventional storm. The idea that such a construction could survive the mass destruction and chaos of a global flood?

    C’mon, pull the other one.

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