I hope you have a bucket handy

The Creation “Museum” is advertising on Nickelodeon with commercials aimed straight at your children.

Notice that nowhere in their ads do they mention biblical literalism, young earth, god’s extermination of most of mankind, or that their audience are all damned sinners. Instead, we get dinosaurs and animals and a lot of false implications that the museum is a fun place for kids.

It isn’t. It’s a pretty dry series of exhibits, full of earnest sincerity, and a good bit of it in the middle is an attempt to scare everyone away from hellbound evolution.

Oh, well, I hope they’re spending a lot of money on advertising, and that it all contributes to this year’s red ink.

More legal fun and games from Kent Hovind!

Kent Hovind wants the property he forfeited in his criminal conviction back! He has filed a lis pendens on the property that was seized. I am not a lawyer, and had to look it up, but apparently it’s an intent to make a legal claim on some real estate. I guess you’re not supposed to do that with properties forfeited to the government in a legal process, and which are under an injunction. But the law won’t step ol’ Kent!

So the court has fired back with a threat to hold him in contempt.

Kent E. Hovind is required to appear before the Court at 8:00 a.m., on September 8, 2014, to show cause why he should not be held in criminal contempt of Court, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 401(3) and Fed. R. Crim. P. 42(a). This will be a jury trial and will be held in Courtroom 5, United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Pensacola Division, located on One North Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida 32502.

He has an option to get a court-appointed defense lawyer. I hope he doesn’t, and instead relies on the advice of his wacky right-wing conspiracy theorist buddies, because the shenanigans are always so entertaining. Anyone remember subornation of false muster?

Another thumbs up for AtheistTV!

Ken Ham hates it! He’s actually pretty clueless.

The new channel brags of having “superstition-free programming,” which implies that religion is just silly superstition but atheism is rational and logical. However, laws of logic and rationality only makes sense if God, who is logical, created them and made us in His image so that we can understand them! Laws of logic shouldn’t exist in a completely random materialistic universe that the atheists believe in —and yet they do!

But god is illogical. There is no reason to believe in any deity, let alone the bizarre one Ken Ham worships, who is little more than a tribal warlord writ large, promoting archaic ideas like blood sacrifice.

If logic can only arise from a logical intelligence, where did Ken Ham’s putatively logical god come from?

It is incredible that atheists spend so much time, effort, and money arguing against Someone that they don’t even believe exists! Where are all their books, websites, and magazines that argue against the mythical Easter Bunny? This is because they do know God exists but they are suppressing the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18).

No, I don’t believe god exists. I do believe religion exists. When militant EasterBunneyists start running for political office to promote their beliefs, I’ll argue against them more.

And why do atheists care so much about proclaiming their message? Atheism offers no hope and is ultimately a totally purposeless religion. If you die, that’s all there is, so why do atheists push so hard to preach their message of hopelessness? Why does it matter to them what anyone believes? It’s because they have the knowledge of God stamped on their hearts but are living in rebellion against their Creator (Romans 1:18; 3:10, 24–25).

Weird. No. I don’t believe in gods. One trivial, basic fact about atheism…and Ken Ham gets it wrong. Also, our message is that it’s a fool’s game to live for an imaginary life after you’re dead. Life’s beautiful, live for it now.

But here’s the part of Ham’s tirade I find particularly funny.

Sadly, this new TV channel is not just targeting adults with a hopeless message of godlessness, but they are also trying to indoctrinate children into an atheistic worldview. Isn’t it bad enough that humanistic thinking has lead to over 55 million deaths of aborted children in the U.S. alone, and now the atheistic humanists want to continue their attacks to poison and destroy the minds children who have survived the abortion holocaust. You see, we live in a world that is fiercely battling for the hearts and minds of our kids. And yet, it is a world where those who teach their kids the truth of God’s Word are accused of child abuse!

Unforgivable! They’re teaching children!

But here’s his very next paragraph:

But Scripture commands believers to “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), so we need to boldly stand on the authority of God’s Word and teach our children that the Bible’s history—and message of salvation—can be trusted. I encourage you to take advantage of our “Kids Free in 2014” program at the Creation Museum—bring as many kids as you can to hear the message that the Bible can be trusted, there is a God, and He died for them.

There is a god, and he’s dead! Oh, wait, he’s not. He was just restin’ for a bit. You have to catch ‘em young to convince people to believe that kind of nonsense.

Ray Comfort is such a special little child of God

Did you know that science has discovered that gravity doesn’t exist in space, just like the Bible says?

comfortidiocy

Tell that to Newton. I wonder what keeps satellites in orbit, or the earth zipping around the sun, if they are hanging on “nothing”.


There’s more! Ray has attempted to cover his error.

comfortagain

There is invisible gravity in space, but the earth…it hangs on nothing!

What a maroon.

They don’t understand allometry!

I think the engineers are just trying to wind me up, again. Joe Felsenstein tackles a paper published in an applied physics journal that redefines evolution and tries to claim that changes in aircraft design are a good model for evolution. It’s a terrible premise, but also, the execution is awful.

But permit me a curmudgeonly point: This paper would have been rejected in any evolutionary biology journal. Most of its central citations to biological allometry are to 1980s papers on allometry that failed to take the the phylogeny of the organisms into account. The points plotted in those old papers are thus not independently sampled, a requirement of the statistics used. (More precisely, their error residuals are correlated). Furthermore, cultural artifacts such as airplanes do not necessarily have a phylogeny, as they can borrow features from each other in massive “horizontal meme transfer”. In either case, phylogeny or genealogical network, statistical analysis requires us to understand whether the points plotted are independent.

The paper has impressive graphs that seem to show trends. But looking more closely we notice that neither axis is actually time. If I interpreted the graphs as trends, I would conclude that birds are getting bigger and bigger, and that nobody is introducing new models of small airplanes.

And they really do redefine evolution.

Evolution means a flow organization (design) that changes over time.

I’m going to redefine bridge construction as gluing together lots of matchsticks. Hire me, everyone, to help fix your infrastructure problems! I can probably underbid everyone!

But it’s just kind of amazing that they’ve defined evolution without any mention of populations or shifting allele frequencies or any of the processes (which don’t include design) that lead to changes in genotype, or even a recognition of how these processes derive from a core unity and lead to diversity. Design done did it.

My big gripe is that they got this paper published that is all about allometry with scarcely any understanding of the concept. Here’s the abstract of The evolution of airplanes.

The prevailing view is that we cannot witness biological evolution because it occurred on a time scale immensely greater than our lifetime. Here, we show that we can witness evolution in our lifetime by watching the evolution of the flying human-and-machine species: the airplane. We document this evolution, and we also predict it based on a physics principle: the constructal law. We show that the airplanes must obey theoretical allometric rules that unite them with the birds and other animals. For example, the larger airplanes are faster, more efficient as vehicles, and have greater range. The engine mass is proportional to the body size: this scaling is analogous to animal design, where the mass of the motive organs (muscle, heart, lung) is proportional to the body size. Large or small, airplanes exhibit a proportionality between wing span and fuselage length, and between fuel load and body size. The animal-design counterparts of these features are evident. The view that emerges is that the evolution phenomenon is broader than biological evolution. The evolution of technology, river basins, and animal design is one phenomenon, and it belongs in physics.

Isn’t it cute how they claim biology as a small subset of physics? Blech.

But they only address a very narrow part of allometry. There is a functional constraint on form: you won’t survive if you have a human-sized body and a mouse-sized heart; if you scale the diameter of your legs linearly with your height, you won’t be able to walk; for a given metabolic rate and mass, you need a certain amount of respiratory surface area. That’s interesting stuff to a physiologist, but it’s also purely defined by necessity.

A developmental biologist might be more interested in how the relative sizes of different body parts change over time. Again, relative growth rates of different parts of your body are not linearly related; imagine being six feet tall with the same proportions as a baby. There are regulatory constraints on development that impose different rates in different areas.

But these guys are talking about evolution and allometry…and they treat it as a simple function of physics, where you need an engine of size X to propel a plane of size Y. Then how come every animal of the same size don’t look identical? Why doesn’t every passenger plane that carries a certain number of customers look the same (well, they do kind of blur together for me, but I’m sure any aerospace aficionado can tell me about all the differences between Boeing and Airbus. But many of these differences in animals are a result of inherited patterns, and phylogeny is essential to understand them.

For example, here’s a plot of brain mass relative to body mass (yeah, ugh, “lower” and “higher” vertebrates; let’s call them anamniotes and amniotes instead).

eq

Notice that there are two lines drawn. Both show an upward trend, with a slope that’s proportional to the 2/3 power of the body size (that N2/3 shows up a lot in allometric growth plots). But given a fish (an anamniote, or “lower” vertebrate) and a mammal (an amniote, or “higher”) of exactly the same body mass, the mammal will have a relatively and absolutely much larger brain.

Explain that, engineer, with nothing but algebra and no concern about phylogenetic relationships. It takes more to understand evolution than physics alone, and you have to take into account history, environment, inherited properties, selection, and chance as important parameters.

Oh, well, I’ve learned that physics must be really simple. I can design a plane from the ground up if I simply postulate a spherical 747. Ha ha, all those fools getting engineering degrees when they could just bring in a clever biologist to solve all their trivial little problems.

Big News: God was not a Klingon

Poor Ken Ham: the media has been distorting his words. They claim that he said all the space aliens are damned to hell. He did not! He plainly said:

And I do believe there can’t be other intelligent beings in outer space because of the meaning of the gospel.

See? They aren’t going to hell, because they don’t exist. He continues with a beautiful example of fundagelical creologic:

You see, the Bible makes it clear that Adam’s sin affected the whole universe. This means that any aliens would also be affected by Adam’s sin, but because they are not Adam’s descendants, they can’t have salvation. One day, the whole universe will be judged by fire, and there will be a new heavens and earth. God’s Son stepped into history to be Jesus Christ, the “Godman,” to be our relative, and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin—the Savior of mankind.

Jesus did not become the “GodKlingon” or the “GodMartian”!  Only descendants of Adam can be saved.  God’s Son remains the “Godman” as our Savior.  In fact, the Bible makes it clear that we see the Father through the Son (and we see the Son through His Word).  To suggest that aliens could respond to the gospel is just totally wrong.

An understanding of the gospel makes it clear that salvation through Christ is only for the Adamic race—human beings who are all descendants of Adam.

Now that’s impressive arrogance and delusions of grandeur. So there are 1011 galaxies and almost 1023 stars in the universe, and they’re all entirely empty of intelligent life, and they’re all going to be burned away and discarded when a Magic Jew comes reappears on Planet Earth. We know this because of an ancient book written by people who thought the earth was flat and the sky was held up on pillars.

Ooooookay.

Quote-mined by Casey Luskin!

Once again, Casey Luskin demonstrates that he’s a biological ignoramus. He is much buoyed by a science report that chloroquinone resistance in the malaria parasite requires two mutations, claims that Michael Behe has been vindicated because that’s exactly what he said, and demands an apology from all of Behe’s critics.

Will Ken Miller, Jerry Coyne, Paul Gross, Nick Matzke, Sean Carroll, Richard Dawkins, and PZ Myers Now Apologize to Michael Behe?

No.

Here’s what his critics actually said. We have no problem with the idea that a particular functional phenotype requires a couple of mutations; I can think of lots of examples of that, such as the work of Joe Thornton on corticosteroid receptors. That the malaria parasite needs two mutations was never a point of contention, nor was it particularly worrisome. What was wrong with Behe’s work is that he naively claimed that the two mutations had to occur simultanously in the same individual organism, so that the probability that could happen was the product of multiplying the two individual probabilities. That’s ridiculous.

As Sean Carroll explained:

Behe’s main argument rests on the assertion that two or more simultaneous mutations are required for increases in biochemical complexity and that such changes are, except in rare circumstances, beyond the limit of evolution. .. Examples of cumulative selection changing multiple sites in evolving proteins include … pyrimethamine resistance in malarial parasites (6) — a notable omission given Behe’s extensive discussion of malarial drug resistance.

To show that the activity required two mutations, as the new paper says, is not an issue; it would have to claim that two simultaneous mutations were required, and that the cumulative accumulation of mutations in the population does not happen. And Behe goes further and declares on the basis of his bogus calculations that no evolution, beyond minor changes in a species or genus, occur at all.

So it’s weird to see Luskin announce that I’ve already conceded Behe’s point. No, I have not.

What we’ll probably get is nothing more than PZ Myers’s concession, offered in the context of the rant quoted above:

Fair enough; if you demand a very specific pair of amino acid changes in specific places in a specific protein, I agree, the odds are going to be very long on theoretical considerations alone, and the empirical evidence supports the claim of improbability for that specific combination.

Well, that’s more or less what’s required to generate chloroquine resistance. We’ll gladly take this — i.e., simply being proven right — in lieu of an apology.

Yet if you actually read the post in question, you’ll see that I’m not conceding that Behe is right — I’m explaining that a low probability is not a barrier to evolution.

Yet his argument for this dramatic conclusion is not only weak, it’s wrong. I could, for instance, correctly argue that the odds of getting a straight flush dealt to you in a 5 card poker hand is about 1 in 6×104; we could calculate this with probability theory, and we could also deal lots of poker hands and determine it empirically. No one’s going to argue with that part of the math.

But now, if I were to define a Straight Flush Complexity Cluster (SFCC) parameter and wave it around and claim that “no hand of the same complexity as a straight flush has been dealt by chance in the last ten years of poker games here in town,” that players can only possibly win one hand in 60,000, or worse, that no one has won a poker hand without cheating and stacking the deck, you’d know I was crazy. But that is basically Behe’s entire argument — he claims to have found the “edge of evolution,” and that it is much sharper and steeper and more impassable than anyone but a creationist could believe.

I’m flattered that Luskin thinks a concession from me would be so significant, but he ought to wait until I’ve actually made one before declaring victory.


Ken Miller wrote to second my comments:

With respect to the malaria mutations, your rebuttal is exactly correct. I’m attaching my review of Behe’s book in Nature. The portion of that review that directly deals with Behe’s contention about two mutations is this:

Behe, incredibly, thinks he has determined
the odds of a mutation “of the same complexity”
occurring in the human line. He hasn’t. What
he has actually done is to determine the odds of
these two exact mutations occurring simultaneously
at precisely the same position in exactly
the same gene in a single individual. He then
leads his unsuspecting readers to believe that
this spurious calculation is a hard and fast statistical
barrier to the accumulation of enough
variation to drive darwinian evolution.
It would be difficult to imagine a more
breathtaking abuse of statistical genetics.

Then, later on, I wrote:

“Behe obtains his probabilities by considering
each mutation as an independent event, ruling
out any role for cumulative selection, and
requiring evolution to achieve an exact, predetermined
result. Not only are each of these
conditions unrealistic, but they do not apply
even in the case of his chosen example. First,
he overlooks the existence of chloroquine resistant
strains of malaria lacking one of the
mutations he claims to be essential (at position
220). This matters, because it shows that there
are several mutational routes to effective drug
resistance. Second, and more importantly, Behe
waves away evidence suggesting that chloroquine
resistance may be the result of sequential,
not simultaneous, mutations (Science 298,
74–75; 2002), boosted by the so-called ARMD
(accelerated resistance to multiple drugs)
phenotype, which is itself drug induced.”

I hope these quotes are useful to you and your readers. As usual, Luskin is playing the “pretend” game of taking a new scientific paper and telling folks that it presents a “problem” for evolution. Ain’t life grand?

Best Wishes,

Ken

Minnesota Republicans are not nice

We try. We really try. But no matter how progressive the state might be, we’re still afflicted with horrible, demented people who run for office. Fortunately, there’s a tell: they always join the Republican party.

Look, here’s Michele Bachmann (she’s still around?). She thinks because a few immigrants committed crimes once upon a time, the entire recent influx of foreigners — including the children! — are all an invading horde of rapists.

“Foreign nationals that have come into the United States are between 300- to 500,000,” Bachmann told an incredulous Crossfire co-host Van Jones. “My heart is broken for a female college student in Minnesota who was raped, murdered and mutilated by a foreign national who came into our country. We had a school bus full of kids in Minnesota — four children were killed on that school bus because an illegal alien driving a van went into that schoolbus.”

“There are lines that can’t be crossed here,” Jones responded. “I’m sorry, congresswoman. Are you gonna scapegoat children for the crime of this despicable person?”

Uh-oh. Did you know the guy who kidnapped the Lindbergh baby was Bruno Richard Hauptmann, a German? All you Germans — out of my state. Robert Hanson was a serial killer in the 1980s. Look at that name. Scandinavian. All you Swedes, Norwegians, and Danes…out. The Lakota…you can stay. Clearly all those European immigrants were a bad influence.

But Bachmann is a fading star, soon to be out of Minnesota politics altogether and persisting only to haunt the media, where a dumbass conservative is always welcome. Are there any others we should watch out for?

Meet the Freys.

Bob Frey is running for state office. His big issue is sodomy, and he has a theory, which is his, about what causes AIDS.

“It’s more about sodomy than about pigeonholing a lifestyle,” he explained. “When you have egg and sperm that meet in conception, there’s an enzyme in the front that burns through the egg. The enzyme burns through so the DNA can enter the egg.”

But Frey said that it was a different story when the “sperm is deposited anally” because “it’s the enzyme that causes the immune system to fail.”

“That’s why the term is AIDS – acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,” he opined.

That’s an amazingly distorted version of the acrosome reaction. Yes, the sperm head releases enzymes like hyaluronidase to digest away matrix that surrounds the egg, and also triggers changes in the oocyte membrane to facilitate fusion at the entry point and to also inhibit fusion elsewhere. This has nothing at all to do with AIDS. For one thing, the reaction is specific; it requires recognition of receptors on the egg surface that are not present in generic epithelial cells. For another, we know how the HIV particles (which are not sperm) enter immune system cells and it doesn’t involve a mechanism anything like the acrosome reaction. We also know quite obviously that sperm aren’t the cells involved in transmission.

Mr Frey is an idiot.

Also, if his sperm is transmitting anything, it seems to be idiocy. His son Mike also has the same silly idea.

Last year, Frey’s son, Mike, used the exact same theory while testifying against a same-sex marriage before the Minnesota House Civil Law Committee.

And earlier this year, Frey distributed a DVD that claimed an anti-bully bill was part of a plot to infect the general population with AIDS through sodomy.

I’m trying to puzzle out how anti-bullying legislation would spread AIDS. Because…if bullies aren’t beating kids up, they’re … having …anal sex … with them?

I’m also reminded that years ago, when Cheri Yecke was on her crusade to get creationism into Minnesota public schools, Bob Frey was a particularly loony witness at state hearings, who would show up with a giant plastic bone, claiming he had proof that there were giants in the earth in those days, and therefore every word of the Bible was true. He also threatened the education committee.

Frey: I have about 25 hours of presentation material with lots of slides of dinosaurs, lots of slides of this sort of thing, and also the consequences of teaching known fraud and everything to society.

Kelley: Thanks very much Mr. Frey .. .

They’ve always got hours and hours of noise.

Oh well, if it’s any consolation, this dynasty of Freys will end with this generation. No one is ever going to marry a Frey ever again.

I feel so dirty now

Kent Hovind is counting the days now, and unfortunately he has followers who are going to afflict us with badly made videos. If you feel the need to be deathly bored, here’s an interview with Hovind’s “lawyer” (not really a lawyer, but a “consultant” on Hovind’s financial planning — which is why he’s in jail right now.) Yes, you want to listen to this man’s crazy tax advice.

I only mention it because it includes a note from Kent Hovind that mentions me. The ignominy.

Dr. Hovind says:

Hey folks! New way to mass communicate! Check clubcreation.org and ask about Zello! They let us out 1st today so it’s 4am in Vancouver.. I’ll not call. Maybe tomorrow?

For Tommy Comer- The 1040 days of wrath is from Dan 8 and the 2300 days of the temple being desolate minus the 1260 days of great trib we go through. more in WOE about that! WOE=What on Earth is About to Happen for Heaven’s Sake by Dr. Hovind

For Ian- He does good math but bad logic- he needs to see seminar part 4 about Jump frog! Ps 104:6-9 says the mountains rose up near the end of the flood and the water rushed off. There is enough water in the oceans today to cover the earth 8000ft deep. Plenty to drown in. As for "comparing his doctorate with mine" if his education left him believing he came from a rock I’m already un-impressed! he also makes the silly assumption that the water for the flood came from rain where the Bible says it came from inside the earth via the fountains of the deep. He also says the flood lasted 40 days where the Bible says the earth was covered for 5 months and Noah was in the ark over a year. read the Bible Ian!

For PZ- glad you exposed Michael Shermer’s behavior and his rape of the other atheist at the atheist conference. I don’t understand how any atheist can decide ANYTHING is right or wrong. Where is the standard to judge by? If that woman’s husband or brothers or dad or uncles get Shermer drunk and make him a eunuch (which I suspect they have thought of and may yet still do!) would that be "wrong" in PZ thinking? Christians have God’s Word to show us right and wrong. What do atheists have?

Until next time.. see you at the finish line!

Kent Hovind

Jebus. I decide that something may be wrong by empathizing with the victim, and recognizing that an injustice was done. I don’t need a magic book to see that a harm was done to someone else. Further, when a wrong is committed, it makes me a worse person to consider committing a greater wrong in revenge. That Hovind considers castration to be a reasonable response simply tells me that God’s Word is simply a compendium of barbarisms used to excuse savagery.

Here’s what atheists have: respect for our fellow human beings.

Muslim creationists are as obtuse as the Christian kind

Over the last few days, I’ve had a ‘conversation’ with a Muslim creationist on Twitter. He’s claiming that the embryology in the Quran is accurate and specific, and amusingly, he’s citing this article on the web to support his claim, saying that it is on his side. He starts off with some criticisms — he doesn’t like the tone, it’s not sciencey enough — but he says that it confirms that the “Quran is more specific and very different in the level of detail then Greek”.

There’s an amusing bit where it suddenly sinks into his thick skull that I’m the author of the article.

That’s not going to stop him, though. Watch. He still insists that I wrote the opposite of what I actually wrote.