Why it’s good to have a lawyer

Kent Hovind has been dealing with some legal issues lately — in particular, he had a court date to argue about this restraining order his ex-wife filed against him. Atheist Jr dug up the documents Hovind filed to support his claim that, oh yeah, he has definitely been obeying the restrictions. It’s clear he’s acting as his own lawyer.

Here’s a pdf of his defense. It’s a step above submitting it in crayon, I’ll admit, but it’s repetitive and indignant and petty, and contains maps with circles and arrows, and testimonials from the culties at his church camp, including one from his “wife”, Sandra Hovind (it’s not clear whether he was legally divorced from any of his string of partners, or if they made any binding commitment to each other). It’s signed Dr. Kent Hovind, so it’s all built around false testimony and ought to be thrown out on that basis.

You’d think he’d have learned by now that having a real lawyer to help with your case would bring a little knowledge and professionalism to the affair.

Bad money drives out good, again

This was the Renaissance Center in Dickson, Tennessee. It was supposed to be an educational resource.

The Jackson Foundation created The Renaissance Center in 1999, four years after the foundation was started with the stated mission to “motivate and educate children and adults through the use of technology in the area of the arts, science and humanities.”

It took some tornado damage a year ago, but was still used to house a community college, a branch campus of Freed-Hardeman college, a planetarium, and various other properties, like a dinner theater.

No more. It’s been bought by David Rives Ministries, and they plan to put some kind of creation museum in there. Yuck.

Who, you may wonder, is David Rives? He’s a baby-faced turdlet who achieved some minor celebrity as an evangelical Christian and columnist for — Jesus, it still exists? — World Net Daily. Apparently, being a Christian fraud associated with conspiracy theories and far right politics is a recipe for riches.

Rives is the kind of guy who claims gravity is in, and only makes sense in the context of, the Bible. He’s a grinning simpleton who calls himself an amateur astronomer while rejecting most of the evidence of astronomy — he’d be laughable if he wasn’t such a goofy little gomer who mostly inspires pity.

Yet somehow he acquired the many millions of dollars needed to buy a local educational institution, spend many more millions of dollars to renovate it, and is planning to rip out anything of value inside and turn it into a collection of lies and religious bullshit.

Plans for The Wonders Center & Science Museum include replicas of life-size dinosaurs, hands-on experiments for children, space-themed exhibits, and a rare historical collection of artifacts, including ancient Biblical scrolls.

I bet he’s going to make it tax-exempt, too.

It’s less than 350 miles from Ken Ham’s parasitic fake museum, and Rives has already fired a shot across AiG’s bows, claiming it will be the largest museum of its kind. I do hope they parasitize each other’s clientele and crash and burn.

This Theme Park Evangelist is not going to be popular with Ken Ham

Answers in Genesis has opened a shiny new attraction, The Journey of the Animals Carousel. It is what it sounds like, a carousel with different fiberglas (I assume) animals that goes around and around. That’s it.

This guy who calls himself the Theme Park Evangelist was very enthused, and called it exciting and unique in a video about it. It’s neither.

While gushing, though, he spilled a lot of the truth about it.

it has not had a lot of people on it yet: correct. It reflects my experience with the place: a whole lot of real estate with what may be, in aggregate, a substantial crowd, but everyone looks lost and scattered in it.

it sounds like Jurassic Park: oh, he noticed. They try very hard to rip off more popular intellectual properties, so they play a Jurassic Park sound-alike theme. There’s no originality here.

it’s got pictures all over the walls: there is no intrinsic didactic purpose to a carousel, but this is supposed to be an evangelical display, so they scatter plaques and posters on the walls to explain Jesus’ purpose. Which get ignored. The inside of the Ark is similar, the fake boat is there to provide convenient wall space for signage.

there’s no AC in here whatsoever: unsurprising. It’s a cheap outfit, all about providing a facade.

I do wonder what Ken Ham will think of this video made with the intent of promoting the Ark Park, but which only succeeds in making it look boring?

Thin-skinned creationists don’t like their lies dissected

Aww, Saturday’s video about the Ark Park got a copyright claim, from something called “Matter Entertainment” (maybe they’re a company hired to edit AiG’s videos? I have no idea). They objected to a random short segment where Chaffee was babbling about how they didn’t have to bring insects on the ark — I think they just arbitrarily typed in a time code.

I have disputed this, just on the general principle that we’re making critical commentary. All that’s happened is the video has been demonetized, but since I only make a tiny pittance off these videos, I’m not worried about it. It’s still silly that these people are worried about criticism of this nature.

An afternoon of irrelevant objections and silly answers

Answers in Genesis is posting a video tomorrow which they claim will answer all the objections us horrible people have to the Noah’s Ark story. They’ve even provided a playlist ahead of time!

0:00 – Intro
0:07 – How did Noah fit all the animals on the ark?
0:42 – How big was the ark?
1:36 – How many animals were on the ark?
6:19 – How many people built the ark?
7:16 – Was it just a local flood?
9:18 – Wasn’t the ark box-shaped?
10:32 – What is gopher wood?
11:20 – How long did it take to build?
12:26 – How did Noah find the animals?
12:57 – Wasn’t the ark pretty small?
13:42 – Wouldn’t a wooden ship this huge break and sink?
14:28 – Wasn’t the ark copied from ancient myths?
15:34 – Was there no rain before the flood?
16:04 – Were there no rainbows before the flood?
16:37 – Was Noah an amateur?
16:58 – Did the flood last 40 days and 40 nights?
17:10 – Was Noah mocked while preaching?
17:42 – Who was Noah’s wife?
18:36 – Who was Noah?
19:58 – Why does the ark matter?

Those really aren’t the top 20 objections. None of those are the big objections I have — like, how is it there’s no evidence of your global flood? How do you account for the current genetic diversity if we’re all descended from 8 people 4000 years ago? How did the kiwis get to New Zealand from the Middle East? Etc., etc., etc. — and giving me imagined details from the imaginary life of an imaginary character doesn’t address any of that.

But OK, I’ll watch it to laugh at it, and then on Saturday afternoon Dan Phelps and I will get together in a live stream to dismantle their pathetic and irrelevant answers. It should be fun! And easy!

Be there to laugh at the stupidity, and cry at the fact those bozos are raking in the cash.

I guess I need to say it again: squid didn’t come from space

Fuck panspermists, and fuck creationists. They are pretty much indistinguishable. It’s their fault I had to listen to Ann Gauger of the Discovery Institute misrepresent wackaloons like Chandra Wickramasinghe as representative of good evolutionary thinking, in a podcast titled Octopuses from the Sky: Scientists Propose “Aliens Seeded Life on Earth”. You can see why that caught my eye.

On this ID the Future from the vault, biologist Ann Gauger discuss panspermia, the topic of a peer-reviewed paper published recently by several very serious scientists. Panspermia tries to sidestep problems in origins biology by suggesting that, to quote the title of an old science fiction movie, “it came from outer space.” And yes, according to this explanation, maybe aliens even sent it our way. Maybe (honest — this is a real theory) the first octopuses came here special delivery, as encapsulated embryos falling from the sky. Anything but intelligent design, for these very serious scientists. Tune in to learn from Dr. Gauger what precisely drove these scientists to such an explanation.

They are also indistinguishable from Kent Hovind and Matt Powell, who have also promoted this idea that serious scientists seriously propose that squid seriously fell from comets to land on Earth. Gauger even claims that “some scientists say” bats came from outer space (I’ve never seen such a claim), because the fossil record of bats is very poor, so they couldn’t possibly have evolved.

That gives the game away. Bad scientists, panspermists and creationists, see any absence of evidence is evidence for their cockamamie ideas, and ignore all the evidence against them. Bats are poorly preserved as fossils, but we’ve got unambiguous molecular and genetic evidence that bats are mammals, not aliens, just as we have unambiguous evidence that octopuses are molluscs. There’s no reason to think that any complex organism fell from a comet. Anyone who argues otherwise is an ignorant loon. No, no one with any credibility in science thinks panspermia is a scientific idea; a few people have suggested it as a possibility — a remote possibility that complex molecules falling from space might have contributed to the evolution of protocells — but they all have to agree that no, there is no scientific evidence of such a thing, and further, most would agree that a more productive hypothesis, one with real evidence, is that life arose here on Earth from prebiotic chemistry.

To argue that scientists really believe that crap is deceitful scumbaggery that aligns Intelligent Design creationism with literalist Biblical creationism. They both lie.

They didn’t even realize how badly they were crushed

This was amusing. A graduate of the Lenski lab got into a conversation with a couple of creationists about — would you believe? — the Lenski experiment. They argued with him about the results of the experiment! Of course, the creationists learned nothing.

Gutsick Gibbon provides some commentary, in particular explaining how creationists don’t even understand the concept of fitness.

AiG has no shame

I watched a bit of this video from Answers in Genesis, but couldn’t take much of it. Daniel Phelps had more stamina, and watched the hacks at AiG spout their BS about the shiny new space telescope. Danny Faulkner is their pet astronomer who rejects most of astronomy.

Their response was by AiG’s astronomer, Dr. Danny Faulkner, and their “rocket scientist,” Rob Webb. Their discussion was a rather weak critique of the JWST’s findings and funny and sad at the same time. Through most of their simulcast, one couldn’t hear what the NASA people were saying, but this may have been a technical difficulty. About 23 minutes in Dr. Faulkner and Webb bizarrely claim that light year distances don’t necessarily equal long time scales (thus not refuting a 6,000 year old universe). Soon after, Dr. Faulkner states his “theory” (not a scientific theory, but he doesn’t seem to know this) that we can see things billions of light years away in a 6,000 year old universe because of a “miracle.” His position is literally “then a miracle occurred.” This is reminiscent of the famous Sidney Harris cartoon found here:. Dr. Faulkner goes on to say that Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden saw pretty much what we see today when looking at the night sky.

They do know that the Harris cartoon is not a recommendation, right? As soon as you resort to “miracles”, you’ve left science behind.

Not that that would bother AiG.

I get email: for the programmers out there!

I got a challenge from a creationist.

Hello, I am a Muslim.

Recently I have written a small script as a test to see how many attempts would a random mutation require to reach a target DNA Sequence.

The script simply creates a random target DNA Sequence, and keeps generating random DNA Sequences until it matches the target, and then prints the number of attempts needed.

The Result shows a very large number of attempts the longer the Sequence is.

How does evolution explain the results of this script?

The attached files are a C++ and Python versions of the script.

Thank you.

I don’t know why he needed to announce he’s a Muslim, it’s completely irrelevant.

Here’s his code. I don’t think anyone will have much trouble reading it — it’s about the level of a “hello world” program in an introductory office tech class.

In C++:

In Python:

I think you can see the problem. It’s a typing monkeys simulation: there’s no selection, there’s no accumulation of small variations, on every pass it generates a totally random sequence of the desired length and compares it for identity with the search string. Of course it takes a very large number of attempts to get the desired result!

Here’s what evolution says about it:

Evolution has nothing to say about that script, because a) evolution is not a conscious entity, b) the script has no relationship to the process of evolution, and c) the author is very stupid.