Biblical slavery was such a lovely and tolerant experience

The clueless goons at AiG are confident about the outcome of Ken Ham’s debate with Bill Nye, claiming that the scientific facts of the Bible will win the day. Of course, you have to understand that what creationists call “fact” and what rational people call fact are rather different things. For example, when confronted with the Biblical support for slavery, here’s what they have to say:

What do you mean by slavery? Biblical slavery (servitude) was much different from what most people today think of as slavery (e.g., what some Europeans and Americans shamefully did with some African peoples, which is a recent example of forced slavery in the Western world).

Slavery (servitude) in the Bible was when someone was overextended in debt and could not pay it off. They would sell themselves into slavery for a seven-year term to pay off that debt to a wealthier person. During that time, they were given room and board, were paid a small wage that they could put into savings, and were taught a vocation. Then when they came out of this seven-year servitude, they could enter the culture with means and a profession.

Oh, really? That was only sometimes true, and then, only for the men, and only if they are Hebrews. Read Exodus 21.

2 “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he is to serve you for six years. But in the seventh year, he shall go free, without paying anything. 3 If he comes alone, he is to go free alone; but if he has a wife when he comes, she is to go with him. 4 If his master gives him a wife and she bears him sons or daughters, the woman and her children shall belong to her master, and only the man shall go free.

5 “But if the servant declares, ‘I love my master and my wife and children and do not want to go free,’ 6 then his master must take him before the judges.[a] He shall take him to the door or the doorpost and pierce his ear with an awl. Then he will be his servant for life.

7 “If a man sells his daughter as a servant, she is not to go free as male servants do. 8 If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself,[b] he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her. 9 If he selects her for his son, he must grant her the rights of a daughter. 10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights. 11 If he does not provide her with these three things, she is to go free, without any payment of money.

This idea that slaves were all happy Hebrews who were going through the ancient equivalent of bankruptcy court is amusing, but atypical. Where did many slaves come from? It’s just a real shame if you happen to be a woman, or for instance, a Midianite, because you were spoils of war. Read your bible, Numbers 31.

7 They fought against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and killed every man. 8 Among their victims were Evi, Rekem, Zur, Hur and Reba—the five kings of Midian. They also killed Balaam son of Beor with the sword. 9 The Israelites captured the Midianite women and children and took all the Midianite herds, flocks and goods as plunder. 10 They burned all the towns where the Midianites had settled, as well as all their camps. 11 They took all the plunder and spoils, including the people and animals, 12 and brought the captives, spoils and plunder to Moses and Eleazar the priest and the Israelite assembly at their camp on the plains of Moab, by the Jordan across from Jericho.

13 Moses, Eleazar the priest and all the leaders of the community went to meet them outside the camp. 14 Moses was angry with the officers of the army—the commanders of thousands and commanders of hundreds—who returned from the battle.

15 “Have you allowed all the women to live?” he asked them. 16 “They were the ones who followed Balaam’s advice and enticed the Israelites to be unfaithful to the Lord in the Peor incident, so that a plague struck the Lord’s people. 17 Now kill all the boys. And kill every woman who has slept with a man, 18 but save for yourselves every girl who has never slept with a man.

I am not so confident of the outcome of this debate. You can see what the liars at Answers in Genesis will do; not even the words of their Holy Bible are safe, but will be twisted and misrepresented to produce a false picture of their claims. I do wish these loons who so enthusiastically endorse the “literal interpretation” of their Bible would actually acknowledge what it says. If you’re going to claim that the Earth is less than ten thousand years old because you are forced by logic and consistency to accept every word of the Bible, then you must also accept that your daughters are your possessions to be bought and sold into slavery, and that the rape and genocide of foreigners is God’s will.

They’re always hucksters at heart

When I heard about Eben Alexander’s I-died-and-went-to-heaven story, my first reaction was dismissive: I’ve heard these stories so many times, and they always turn out to be confabulation. When the brain is rebooted after trauma, especially if the process is prolonged as in Alexander’s case, it tries to reconstruct the continuity of experience by building memories (heck, even in normal healthy brains, memories are constructed). What I would have condemned Alexander for is extreme gullibility, unforgivable in a highly trained neurosurgeon.

I did not assume he was making stuff up for a payday. But not so fast; an Esquire reporter did some digging into Eben Alexander’s background, and also checked the details of his claims in his book, and it looks like we ought to be more suspicious.

When Alexander got sick in late 2008, he hadn’t practiced surgery in a year and faced a $3 million malpractice lawsuit. He now has a best-selling book and a movie deal.

Not just a malpractice suit, which are fairly common, but a whole string of malpractice suits that made him the subject of the highest number of such suits in his state. He’d similarly faded out of practice in Massachusetts, first, and then moved to Virginia to restart, where he then lost his surgical privileges at his hospital after a succession of screwups in spinal surgery…and after altering surgical records to cover his tracks.

Whoops.

Oh, well. When you’re a venal fuckup, you can always find a loving home in the Christian community by lying about Jesus a lot.

In the proud tradition of Expelled

Gosh, where do the kooks get their money? Watch this slick trailer for a fancy new “science” documentary called The Principle. There’s Michio Kaku…oh, wait, he’s always getting cheerfully dragged into woo…and Lawrence Krauss? Krauss is one of those hard-headed rational types who wouldn’t be a knowing part of any nonsense. But just watch, and the subject of this movie will gradually emerge.

It’s a pseudo-documentary about geocentrism. Zeno tells me he heard about on that weird Catholic zealot Michael Voris’s show. It’s being made by weird uber-kook Rick Delano, who’s sole claim to fame seems to be advocating geocentrism, and showing up in the comments of every blog that ever laughs at the subject (so don’t be surprised if he appears here).

What isn’t at all surprising is that Lawrence Krauss has already repudiated the movie.

Wow, Phil Robertson is getting famous!

I never watched his duck show, and I didn’t know who he was until he started saying these egregiously stupid things, but now the all-seeing eye of the internet is scrutinizing him carefully and all kinds of slime is emerging. You already knew he was a homophobe, and you also probably knew he was some kind of nasty racist, but did you also know he was a misogynist and proud recipient of male privilege? And that he uses Christianity to prop his odious beliefs? And if you didn’t know, are you at all surprised?

He’s speaking to a sportsmen’s ministry in Georgia, waving a Bible and telling the men they have to marry girls who are no more than 15 or 16, and that by 20 they are too old.

By the way, that quote he throws around, that George Washington said you can’t run the world without god and the bible? Totally fake; so fake even David Barton has disavowed it, which tells you it’s got to be ridiculously invented.

Anti-choicers arguing against me in absentia

Some Christian named Scott Klusendorf responded to my interview on Issues, etc., largely by distorting my position, misunderstanding what I said, and pretending to be a better authority on developmental biology than I am. I’ve copied a quick and sloppy transcript of parts of it from another Christian.

I guess I have to get used to the idea that if you give an interview to Christians, whether it’s the Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church or Ray Comfort, they’re going to use it as an opportunity to make an incomprehending hash of whatever you say. (Apparently, they’re milking me hard: they had another 2 hour interview in which a theologian argues against me, but I haven’t bothered to listen.)

Myers: I could imagine a culture where a child doesn’t have the right to life until they are 5-years old

Mod: Myers is an atheist. He believes that standards of conduct are variable depending on what is dominant in a culture. Since cultures vary by time and place, and none is objectively right or wrong, then a 5-year limit for personhood is as valid as any other standard that might evolve. There is no way to judge between cultures against some objective standard

That’s correct. There is no magic objective standard to say when an organism is a person. We rely entirely on cultural perspectives to define when we grant that organism the rights and privileges of a full member of the culture. This does not imply that I personally approve of societies that treat a newborn as expendable, only that it’s clear that there is no objective or scientific boundary. We always rely on an arbitrary definition.

Mod (to Klus): Myers says that the unborn is a “piece of meat”. It’s not a person until well after birth. Do only atheists believe this?

Klus: No others hold them. But what is more interesting is that he just asserts his views, he never argues for them. He says that pro-lifers lie when debating this issue

Yes, anti-choicers lie. I didn’t go into detail on that because it was a short interview, but here’s one plain example: they claim life begins at conception. That’s nonsense no matter how you look at it. There is continuity of life for about 4 billion years; every human life comes from living gametes. The fertilized zygote cannot be legitimately called a “person” — it has none of the attributes of a conscious being, like awareness. As I have said repeatedly, personhood, consciousness, humanity, whatever you want to call it, emerges gradually over the course of development; it is not a magic zap that occurs instantaneously and allows you to say one moment, it’s not alive/human, the next moment it is.

Mod: (to Myers) What is the unborn?

Myers: It’s a piece of tissue that will develop into a human being over time

Mod: (to Myers) What is it 5 minutes before it’s born?

Myers: It’s fetus, it’s not a baby

Klus: The development stages of a human are all stages of development of the same entity, as even Peter Singer and David Boonin admit

Mod: He made a distinction between before birth and after birth

Klus: Yes, and that contradicts what he says later when he says there are no sharp boundaries

No it does not contradict my statements. Development is a continuous process of change. Continuous. A conceptus is different than a 3 month old embry is different from an 8 month fetus is different from a teenager, even if they are the same developing organism. The boundaries we confer on this process are arbitrary.

Klus: Myers is confusing parts with wholes. The skin cells on my hand are part of a larger human being. The embryo is not part of a larger human being, they are a whole human being, directing its own development

Klus: Myers also makes the claim that embryos are constructed piece by piece from the outside. But the science of embryology is clear – the embryo develops itself.

Say what? I have never claimed any such thing. There are autonomous processes in development; in mammals like us, however, there is also an extended dependency on the parent. You can’t say either of those things: embryos are not externally constructed, and they also do not develop entirely on their own.

It’s like these people have a pathological need to slice everything into absolutely rigid boundaries and are incapable of comprehending a gradual process.

Mod (to Myers): Is the unborn a person?

Myers: Personhood develops gradually. A newborn baby is not a person. A baby’s brain is still forming so it’s not a person. There is no specific moment when a baby becomes a person. It is culturally determined. Our society says it’s birth. Some people say viability. Either of those are acceptable to me

Mod: (to Myers): So drawing the line between unborn and born is arbitrary?

Myers: Yes it is

These guys have a really rough time grasping this simple idea. Yes, it’s arbitrary. Different cultures draw the line in different ways. Would it help them to read their Bibles, in which inducing an abortion is not regarded in the same way as committing murder? Even their own religious tradition draws a different line than they do!

Let’s watch their argument get really offensive:

Klus: He is separating human beings into classes: persons and non-persons. This has resulted in injustices, historically speaking. E.g. – with American Indians

Klus: He says that a human being becomes a person when their brain is fully developed, but even teens don’t have fully developed brains

Klus: Look at this scientific evidence from PBS about NIH research which shows that brains still developing in teens and it causes them to make poor decisions

Klus: If development gives us value, then those with more of it have more of a right to life than those with less

Klus: This point was made by Lincoln in his debates about slavery, when he warned his opponent that someone with lighter skin could enslave him

Wait. So if we decide that a blastula is not a fully developed human being, then that can be used to legitimize enslaving black people? Why? Are they making the implication that they are less fully developed than white people? Who is walking around with “more development” than other people?

Look, if you’ve made the cultural decision that newborn babies have a right to live, you’re done: you cannot now say that American Indians or black people or teenagers are lesser than a newborn white baby. There is no difference in the developmental status of different human races. How do these people even make such an argument without realizing the fundamental racism of their assumptions?

Mod (to Myers): How do you decide these life issues?

Myers: We use the notion of “greater good”

Mod (to Myers): that’s a culturally determined notion?

Myers: Yes. The greater good here is that we maximize the security and happiness of most people in the society. Women are persons, so we favor their rights.

Klus: His response begs the question. He is assuming that the unborn are not human persons. He talks about the need for women’s rights. Are unborn women included in those who have rights?

You know, they did this constantly through the show, using this bizarre phrase, “Unborn X”. There are no unborn women. It’s as nonsensical as looking at a tree and saying it is an unbuilt house, or calling a cow an uncooked hamburger. A house is not a tree and a cow is not a meat patty; we give them different names to reflect their very different state.

We should give “unborn women” all the deference and protections we provide for nonexistent women, or imaginary women, or fantasy women, that is, none. Perhaps if these fellows were more respectful of the rights of real women, they wouldn’t be saying these stupid things.

I also have to add another thing to my statements. It’s not just the notion of greater good, but also of empathy. I can see that women and teenagers black people and babies and kids with Down syndrome and other adult men have an inner world, goals and ideas, and I can empathize with them — I no more want harm to come to them than I do to myself. I want to live in a society that defends them, because I want to live in a society that defends me.

An embryo has none of those elements of self-awareness that make it a relatable conscious being. I do not want to live in a society that fetishizes a gastrula over my wife or daughter.

Klus: If cultures decide who is and who is not a person, then he cannot oppose cultures that say that Jews are not persons, or that women are not persons

Klus: He admits that he cannot oppose cultures that think that children of age 5 are not persons, and can be killed

Really? I did? I don’t think so. Hey, look, there’s an example of a “pro-lifer” lying!

I said I could imagine cultures that defer granting personhood until a baby reaches a certain age. That’s actually fairly common; Victorian Europe, for instance, exhibited a marked reticence about the status of newborns, with individuals often waiting a year or more to give them a name, because infant mortality was so high. I can easily imagine a culture that thinks Jews are not persons — I just have to crack a history book.

And I certainly can oppose infant mortality and Nazis. I can recognize that those are symptoms of an unhealthy society that I would not want to live in, and that they do great harm to conscious, living persons.

Mod (to Myers): You call that kind of society “brutal”, why do you say that?

Myers: It’s my personal preference because I like my own kids

Mod (to Klus): Respond to that

Klus: He has no argument, just his own opinion. He cannot oppose any society that things that it is OK to traffic, kill, etc. 5-year-olds

Klus: He says that he has a personal preference. That is an interesting fact about his psychology, but he has no argument

I was not making an argument there. I did not think I had to — I assumed the interviewer and the audience would all share my personal views that kids are good people.

If I’d been asked a little more, like about why I like my kids, I could have gone deeper. My kids were not possessions. They were not things I liked like my iPad or my fluffy pillow — they were people I respected because they had personalities and interests of their own, and one of the things you quickly appreciate (if you’re not a psychopathic quiverful Christian who sees children as tools to deploy) is that they really are thinking, reacting, learning, growing human beings. Again with the empathy! They deserve protection because they do have attributes like autonomy and curiosity and affection and many others that are of human value.

Klus: In an atheistic worldview, human beings at any stage are cosmic accidents

Klus: How do we get any kind of intrinsic value and human rights out of an atheist worldview? I don’t see how you can

At last, something they get right, sort of. You can’t derive intrinsic human rights from an atheist view. There aren’t any. Values and rights are emergent properties of communities of people. Note: that does not say that values and rights don’t exist, it says that they are generated by the interactions of individuals in a group, and not imposed from above.

Klus: Even a woman’s absolute right to an abortion is not grounded by atheism

That’s actually an interesting and complex point. It’s true; atheism in and of itself says nothing about how human beings should treat other human beings. The absence of a caretaker god does not say you couldn’t build a patriarchal atheistic society that held women and other races as chattel. Or a Libertarian atheist society built on Ayn Rand’s hideous values. Or an inward-looking nationalistic and secular society that had no problem with maintaining its security by raining bombs down on every other nation on earth.

Atheism is only the start; it frees you from destructive traditions and throws off the shackles of dogma. The next part is the hard part: you have to think consciously about how you want civilization to operate, and you have to make commitments to other values, like humanism.

Atheism does not tell me women have rights. That I can look at women with eyes unfogged by superstitious nonsense and see that they are my equals tells me that women have rights.

Mod (to Myers): What do you think of the pro-life movement?

Myers: I’m a developmental biologist. The pro-life movement is lying to people. An embryo is not a person. “Personhood implies much more than being a piece of meat with the right number of chromosomes in it”. The primary issue in abortion is women’s autonomy. It is entirely the woman’s decision

Klusendorf: You have to present arguments to prove that pro-lifers are lying. There are pro-abortion scholars who have arguments, he isn’t one. He only has assertions, opinions and preferences.

Klusendorf: What if a woman gets pregnant solely in order to take a drug during pregnancy in order to have a deformed child. Myers has no argument against that

“Pro-lifers” consciously make claims that are false, and yes, I have made arguments against the anti-choice position, many times. That Klusendorf thinks a brief wide-ranging interview contains the entirety of my position is his problem.

As I said at that link,

We don’t have to revere every block of rough marble because another Michaelangelo could come along and sculpt it into something as wonderful as his David; we don’t have to treasure every scrap of canvas because the next Picasso is going to use it for a masterpiece. The value isn’t in the raw materials, but in the pattern, the skill, the art put into it. Similarly, those cells are simply the raw clay that the process and time will sculpt into something that is worth love and care.

Which is more important, the pigments or the painting? Even worse, do you think the pigments are the painting?

And speaking of non-existent arguments, the transcriber cut off a lot of the absurd details Klusendorf made up at the end. He went on at painful length: what if a woman got pregnant just so she could take a drug that made the fetus limbless? What if she refused to give birth by taking drugs that kept the fetus small and held it inside for 70 years?

Yeah, you’re damn right I have no argument against that. Because they’re the bizarre hypotheticals of a bigoted ideologue who’s incapable of recognizing women as conscious moral agents on their own, and is reduced to fighting against nonexistent, imaginary women who do random freakish things during their pregnancy for no reason at all.

But then, I guess that’s what you’d expect of a guy who believes in “unborn women” — no attachment to reality at all.

Magic RNA editing!

One of those wacky Intelligent Design creationists (Jonathan McLatchie, an arrogant ignoramus I’ve actually met in Scotland) has a theory, which is his, to get around that obnoxious problem of pseudogenes. Pseudogenes are relics, broken copies of genes that litter the genome, and when you’ve got a gang of ideologues who are morally committed to the idea that every scrap of the genome is designed and functional, they put an obvious crimp in their claims.

So here’s this shattered gene littered with stop codons and with whole exons deleted and gone; how are you gonna call that “functional”, creationist? McLatchie’s solution: declare that it must still be functional, it’s just edited back into functionality. He uses the example of GULOP, a gene responsible for vitamin C synthesis, which is pretty much wrecked in us. Nonfunctional. Missing big bits. Scrambled. With missing regulatory elements, so it isn’t even transcribed. No problem: it’s just edited.

As I mentioned previously, the GULO gene in humans is rendered inactive by multiple stop codons and indel mutations. These prevent the mRNA transcript of the gene from being translated into a functional protein. If the GULO gene really is functional in utero, therefore, presumably it would require that the gene’s mRNA transcript undergo editing so that it can produce a functional protein. It’s not at all difficult to understand how this could occur.

Yes, RNA editing is a real thing. RNA does get processed before it’s translated into protein. McLatchie has a teeny-tiny bit of knowledge and is abusing it flagrantly.

I’ve hammered out dents in a car, and I’ve touched up rust spots with a little steel wool and a can of spray paint. My father was also an auto mechanic and could do wonders with a wrench. Auto repair exists, therefore…

old-wrecked-car-outback-australia-14466708

…patching up that vehicle should be no problem at all, right? I expect to see it cruisin’ down the highway any time now.

Maybe two cans of spray paint this time…?

Big ol’ shameless liars with a poll for Jesus

Every once in a while, someone chastises me for calling someone a liar. It’s rude, they say, and you don’t know if they’re intending to utter a mistruth, so you can’t really call them “liars”.

Oh, fuck that noise. When you get patent phonies like the Christians of Evansville, you have to call it as it is: they’re lying. Lying, lying, lying. The West Side Christian Church is putting up 30 crosses on the public streets along the riverfront, and they’re going to have them decorated by their vacation bible school. How can the city get away with permitting this blatant violation of the separation of church and state? By LYING.

The Board of Public Works has jurisdiction under city ordinance to approve or reject such requests, Ziemer said.

“We told (the church) they could not have any writing of any kind of them,” Ziemer said of the crosses. “So they are statues. They might be a religious symbol to someone or they might be attractive statues to someone else.”

Oh, yeah? Just an “attractive statue”? Does this look like an “attractive statue” to anyone with half a brain?

evansvillecross

This is the same kind of stunt Christians tried to pull with the 9/11 “cross” they want to install as a memorial. The same thing they did with the Soledad cross. Somehow we’re all supposed to pretend that their obvious religious symbol, erected by a church, used as a prop for religious instruction, is supposed to be a merely secular symbol. Lies. And within the context of their own religion, worse — it’s a denial of a symbol of their faith. It’s total cowardice and dishonesty.

Of course there’s a poll. And of course the majority of godflogging pudtuggers in that town are for it.

Should West Side Christian Church be allowed to put crosses along the riverfront?

Yes 55%
No 44%

I have an idea. Let’s cast a decorative bronze statue of my ass, and erect multiple copies of it on Evansville’s streets. To some, they might be an obnoxious symbol of my contempt, but they might be attractive statues to someone else.

In case you still held the illusion that Liberty University was a real institute of higher learning…

A ‘professor’ at the far-right wing diploma mill, Judith Reisman, has come out with a bizarre explanation for homosexuality.

On Sept. 21, 2012, Texas neurosurgeon Donald L. Hilton Jr., M.D., spoke on pornography addiction and sexual orientation, saying:

“Pornography is a visual pheromone, a powerful 100-billion-dollar per year brain drug that is changing sexuality even more rapidly through the cyber-acceleration of the Internet. It is ‘inhibiting orientation’ and ‘disrupting pre-mating communication between the sexes by permeating the atmosphere’ and Internet.”

This complements my theory perfectly. My theory is that while watching televangelists on TV, every once in a while a cartoon rabbit with a mallet jumps out and bonks the viewers on the head, causing transient memory loss that eliminates knowledge of the bunny, and also causes the viewer to become more stupid.

I am calling these brain-damaging rabbits ‘leporobashins’, because as we all know, giving things a Latin name makes them real.


(Edited to remove link to source that mangled the story, and replace it with a direct quote from the original source at WND.)

Bobby Jindal opened his mouth again

He was asked about education. He replied with a tired creationist excuse.

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Bottom line, at the end of the day, we want our kids to be exposed to the best facts. Let’s teach them about the big bang theory, let’s teach them about evolution, let’s teach them — I’ve got no problem if a school board, a local school board, says we want to teach our kids about creationism, that people, some people, have these beliefs as well, let’s teach them about ‘intelligent design.’

The first sentence is sort of OK — yes, let’s teach the best ideas, the best evidence, the best science, the facts as we know them, and that includes good science like evolution and the big bang. But what Jindal then throws up as examples are bad science, claims without evidence, bad ideas that are contradicted by the evidence. Creationism and Intelligent Design Creationism are not the “best facts”, they don’t even cut it as “adequate facts” — they are bad and they are non-facts.

Can Jindal not tell the difference?

And since when is good education about teaching kids what their less-well-educated parents want them to know? How about if we teach them the truth, instead?

The Ice Age in the Bible

Every time I despair at the dreadful nonsense from the Discovery Institute, I can reliably turn to Answers in Genesis and despair harder. They’ve just announced that “after two centuries of research”, they’ve finally determined the dates of the Ice Age. They’ve even announced that they’re going to have a chat on their facebook page at 2pm ET today if you really want to learn more. They have figured out the dates of the Ice Age (singular) from reading their Bibles closely.

You might quibble and say that the Bible doesn’t say anything about glaciers or ice sheets or changes in climate, so how could they possibly determine anything about Ice Age(s) from that book? Easy. They make shit up.

First step: build everything around a chronology derived from the catalog of patriarchs in Genesis.

The Bible gives us an inerrant chronology for marking historical events. It tells exactly how many human generations passed from the Flood to Abraham’s birth: eight.1 God’s judgment occurred at Babel sometime during the days of Peleg, who was the fourth generation after the Flood.

Second: reject all of the science that says the Ice Ages occurred between roughly 3 million and 10 thousand years ago.

Though this range is clearly not accurate because it lies outside the Bible’s total timeline of 6,000 years, several lines of evidence support the choice of the Pleistocene layers for the Ice Age.

Pay attention to that last line. They’re accepting that the Ice Ages and the Pleistocene occurred concurrently. But the third step is a devious one: reject the dates set by the radiometric and other data, and simply compress and shift the entirety of the Pleistocene into a Biblical window: it started in 2250BCE, and instead of lasting 2½ million years, it was only 250 years long. They’re only off by four orders of magnitude.

Wait. That puts the Pleistocene smack in the middle of the Bronze Age. How can they do that? Fourth: by ignoring the actual dates and making sweeping, simplified claims about human technology.

Knowing these things, how can we use the human history described in the Bible to shed light on the Ice Age’s beginning? Well, for one thing, no human tools or fossils appear anywhere on the earth until found in deposits from the beginning of the Ice Age.8 (God appears to have wiped away all remains of pre-Flood man; see Genesis 6:7.) Since their earliest remains suddenly appear throughout the Old World (Asia, Africa, and Europe), it appears that these are the people who scattered from Babel.

It’s not true: the earliest stone tools are found in the late Pliocene. But setting that aside, it’s a cunning game they’re playing. They can say that they accept the science, that modern humans appeared in the Pleistocene and that they built stone tools, and make the case that they accept the evidence real scientists have uncovered. It’s just that they’ve redefined the Pleistocene to be a brief sliver of time in a window that occured only about 4,000 years ago.

It’s a bit like saying I believe the historians when they say Charlemagne existed, and I think the primary documents and accounts they have are just nifty, but they read the dates wrong, because I had a burger with him at White Castle last week. Only worse.

Fifth: that old reliable standby, the argument from incredulity. They point to stone tools, and say it’s absurd that human beings would use such crude and ugly things for millions of years. We’re smarter than that! Doesn’t it make much more sense that the Stone Age only lasted for a few decades?

same-tools-different-views

Huh. I look at the Bible, and see how stupid it is, and wonder how it stayed popular for thousands of years instead of being laughed at and discarded after a few minutes. Maybe people are often willing to stay with what works for them for a long period of time?

Sixth: Polish the turd. They’ve come out with a fancy poster with a map and timeline to illustrate their glorious theory, which is theirs (pdf). I’m sure it will be going up on walls at homeschools and bible colleges everywhere. Here’s just the timeline part.

ice-age-timeline

Let’s ignore all of history. Let’s take various peoples with rich and elaborate histories preserved in cuneiform tablets and weathered monuments scattered all over the centers of human civilization. Erase the entire Egyptian 6th dynasty; obliterate Sargon of Akkad; ignore the civilizations thriving in the Indus or Yellow River valleys; delete the entirety of humanity except eight mythical figures living on an impossible boat with an impossible zoo.

They’ve plopped their ridiculous timeline right on top of known, documented historical events. They don’t care. They claim to accept the scientific evidence, except the stuff that contradicts their fairy tale…which is all of it. They’re unconcerned. These bozos are anti-science, anti-history, and anti-knowledge, all because they’ve decided that their holy book is the only arbiter of truth. But they are serenely confident in their ignorance, and many people will accept that as a reason to believe.


Another amusing perspective: if the creationists really accept all the data, what happens if you try to cram the Pleistocene climate record into 250 years?