Carnivalia, and an open thread

It’s late, I’m going to be unconscious in my bed, those of you with insomnia or living in distant time zones need something to chat about — so here, just for you, it’s a Pharyngula Late Night open thread, primed with a few fun carnivals.

What’s that? It’s not enough? Late night chats need something really weird to keep them lively? OK, here, how about Creation Ministries International. Be sure to read their “What we believe” page — this is the Christianity everybody assures me doesn’t really exist.

Still not enough? How about the Hovindite efforts to suppress free speech on the web? Yeah, I know, just annoying and creepy.

Hindus riot over blasphemy! Bridge built by army of monkeys saved!

Hmmm. Tough crowd. How about “Priest defrauds congregation! Lives in luxury on proceeds from promises never kept!” Dang. But they all do that.

Sorry, gang. I’ve got nothing. You’ll have to entertain yourselves for a while.


  1. Craig says

    The DMCA contains a little-used response process by which people who have material taken down because of incorrect or fraudulent claims of copyright infringement can get it reinstated.

    They should look into this. There’s not reason to just throw up their hands and say “YouTube banned us!” They can file a response and unless the complainant can come back with proof of infringement, their stuff gets put back up.

  2. says

    Bullshit, Paul. Nobody thinks that sort of religion doesn’t exist. They just think that it’s not the whole of, or the standard of all, religion.

    Look, I’m really sorry that you live in such a warped and twisted part of the world, and that you have to deal with absurd believers and beliefs, but this is not the rule everywhere, even if there are many places where something like it is. You are overstating.

  3. says

    I don’t have anything constructive to say, just an observation. Has anyone besides me noticed that Kent Hovind is signed up as a Friend of Charles Darwin, or is this old news?

    I can’t imagine what his motive could be, other than to give his already besmirched name another avenue of exposure.

    What a perfect example of Christian hypocrisy.

  4. says

    One way any of you others folks awake at this hour could entertain yourselves is to watch this short video I just made. It’s a stop-motion animation for a song in a project I’m working on. It includes some mollusk-related things like pearls and clamshells. And I know how Pharyngula readers feel about mollusks (myself included, of course).

  5. Kausik Datta says

    I was wondering if PZ’s attention would get to this… it did. And it shames me. To no small extent.

    The government of India bowed down to relentless pressure from the political parties in the opposition, who are supported by ultra-rightwing Hindu fundamentalist groups. Earlier the government, along with the Archaeological Survey of India, had submitted an affidavit to the Supreme Court of India, stating that Rama, the Hindu God and object of blind devotion to millions of Indians across the world, was a mythological character with no historical evidence of his existence. It was pressured down, and was forced to expunge that reference, and the education minister – no less – of the central government came out and said that Rama was a historical entity!

    Oh, the stupid! It burns!

    There is no proof whatsoever of the existence of Rama, beyond Ramayana, the mythological epic tale of his life and reign as a king. Doesn’t it ring familiar to the Pharyngula crowd? The “Bible is true because it says so” argument?

    But perhaps this is not surprising in a country where a television soap opera – yeah, that’s right, a soap opera, that too with extremely cheesy special effects – based on this epic created so much fervour and passion among scores of people that in many households across the country, when this soap came on, people put garlands on the TV, blew conchshells (to herald an auspicious occasion) and burnt incense sticks in front of the TV before sitting down to watch it. And at one episode a week, it ran for years.

    At least two of the actors in the soap were elected to the Parliament by popular vote. Their only qualification? They acted in this epic soap, Ramayana, and their sponsoring political party was – guess who? – the same political party supported by Hindu fundamentalists, now in opposition. This is also the same group, who, under various guises, has been constantly trying to introduce glowing references to the Hindu religion – on the sly – into school textbooks and historical texts. Scientific evidence and historical accuracy, of course, were deemed unnecessary.

    It should be a day of National Shame… the day when not only the principles and spirit of secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution were grossly violated, but also the overall level of intelligence of the entire country, expats included, went down several notches.

  6. slang says

    Creation Ministries International–formerly Answers in Genesis

    Was anyone surprised? First link to their site is busted, PZ. Or was that a clever google-hack to draw their visitors here? :)

  7. Carlie says

    Bullshit yourself, John. I’m really tired of hearing about all those other Christians who don’t believe like the AIG people. The Christians with the highest number of adherents and the most political power in the United States ARE the fundamentalist whackos. That makes them the ones to talk about. I don’t care about all those happy moderates out there, because they don’t seem to be making any impact at all one way or the other. They might not be making it worse, but they’re certainly not making it any better. No, I take it back, they are making it worse because they keep making all sorts of apologia that shelter the fundies too.

  8. Stwriley says

    As an historian, I should point out to all you scientists (once again) that you’re not alone in this fight. Notice what each of these examples of has in common besides that rejection of scientific evidence: the rejection of historical evidence. Indeed, most of these fundies (of whatever religion) reject empirical history even more fervently and specifically than they do science.

    That they reject history is hardly surprising, since their entire belief system is based on The Preferred TextTM no matter how dubious its own history or provenance. Just take a look at the final statement in the CMI “What we believe” rant, where they specifically single out “history and chronology” as catagories of evidence that cannot contradict “the Scriptural record.” The whole Indian fracas is based on an interpretation of history, with disputes over scientific evidence only secondary to disputes over the historical veracity and provenance of their Preferred TextTM.

    Historians battle this kind of nonsense every day, especially those of us who teach. Unlike many academic scientists (even biologists like PZ), we actually need to confront these religious assumptions in order to properly teach our subject. It is impossible to address virtually any period in history without dealing with the religious aspects of it, since these are inherently part of the human activity that is the stuff of history. We don’t have the luxury of ignoring our students beliefs: not to confront them with the methods and conclusions of empirical history is to neglect our professional duty.

  9. sailor says

    Kitsjan, that was an amusing link. I notice that the newspaper, although not in favor of absinence only, bought into:
    “Evidence suggests abstinence campaigns might delay the age at which youngsters first have sex, but most who sign up break their pledge and might indulge in more risky sexual behaviour.”
    I was just reading that the way this worked statistically was that those who failed to abstain were removed from the abstinence group!
    I bet there are many scientists who would lik to be able to remove from their experimental group all those that did not perform as predicted.

  10. Charley says

    Kristjan is referring to the Silver Ring Thing, a ministry of John Guest Evangelical Team… Ugh, my marriage was actually performed by John Guest. Another reason I want the first (Christian) half of my life back.

  11. Julian says

    Woot! Spot on Stwriley.

    If I had a nickel for every time I had to smack someone down for refusing to accept the historically verifiable progress of Christian conversion in Europe…

    Hell, even getting some to admit the actual stated dogmas of reform founders can be like pulling teeth.

  12. P.C.Chapman says

    Would someone please check out CMI’s resident ‘expert” Dr. (?) Robert Carter. Claims a doctorate in Marine Biology from Miami?! Be interresting to read his disertation.

  13. Branko Collin says

    Nor was there any historical record that Lord Ram, one of Hinduism’s most popular heroes, was a real person or that any of the events in the epic took place.

    Wow, that must have taken some serious balls. For comparison: try and claim in the USA that Jesus of Nazareth is not a historical figure and see where that gets you.

  14. says

    My favorite bit in the “what we believe” document is the way that they write the numbers out in D2:
    The days in Genesis do not correspond to geologic ages, but are six [6] consecutive twenty-four [24] hour days of Creation.
    …putting the arabic numerals in parentheses after the spelled-out words, just in case someone might misunderstand. (Oh, you meant six days?)


  15. John Scanlon, FCD says

    According to Hindu tradition, Lord Ram lived something like 1.7 million years ago. Obviously he can’t really be historical, because that would have been before the Creation.
    /fundy moron

    The point’s been made somewhere that caste-based societies don’t do history real well. But India certainly does like what most of us younger nations would consider large numbers.

  16. bernarda says

    Yes, the hindus do like large numbers. Here are some from a reactionary organization, the Vedic Foundation.

    “Indian Civilization has unceasingly existed for 1,972 million years ago as the fully developed Ganges civilization”

    “Sanskrit has been in its perfect state since its origin millions of years ago”

    “Hindu religion was first revealed 111.52 trillion years ago”

    “Bhagwan Ram ruled Ayodhya during the prevous tretayug, 18.144 million years ago”

    All that must be absolutely historically true because scripture says it is so. Notice the exactness with the decimal points.

  17. says

    More for the record than anything, here’s linking to an exchange between myself and, by self-identification and appearance, one of the writers for “Expelled,” Kevin Miller. I quoted him and made some points here:

    He responded, quite dishonestly, here:

    Since he accused me of taking his remarks out of context, when I quoted extensively with a link to my source, and also accused me of claiming that his argument wasn’t what it really was, when in fact I had characterized it quite properly, I made a long response starting here (and continuing over several more posts):

    Anyhow, it’s obvious what sort of honesty and intelligence went into this movie, essentially none.

    Glen D

  18. António Martins-Tuválkin says

    The september 2007 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction carries an unsettling novellette (p.60-81), “The Prophet of Flores”, by Ted Kosmatka, set in an alternate present after a mid 20th cent. “scientific” acceptance of Fixism-Creationism.

  19. António Martins-Tuválkin says

    The september 2007 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction carries an unsettling novellette (p.60-81), “The Prophet of Flores”, by Ted Kosmatka, set in an alternate present after a mid 20th cent. “scientific” acceptance of Fixism-Creationism.