Ark Park? What Ark Park?

Ken Ham has been planning to build this colossal boondoogle in Kentucky, a life-sized replica of Noah’s Ark. Except they’ve hit one little snag.

Their groundbreaking was pushed back from spring, to summer, to fall, and the most recent media report was to next spring. Meanwhile, their fundraising goal of $24.5 million appears to have ground to a halt at just over $4 million, where it has been for quite a while. They had reached the $3 million mark all the way back in May.

I don’t know what the problem is. $4 million is more than enough to hire one old man with a wooden mallet and a bronze axe for a year.

$4 million is also a lot of moolah for Answers in Genesis to walk away with if their Ark project flops.

(Also on FtB)

Creationist abuse of cuttlefish chitin

A few weeks ago, PLoS One published a paper on the observation of preserved chitin in 34 million year old cuttlebones. Now the Institute for Creation Research has twisted the science to support their belief that the earth is less than ten thousand years old. It was all so predictable. It’s a game they play, the same game they played with the soft tissue preserved in T. rex bones. Here’s how it works.

Compare the two approaches, science vs. creationism. The creationists basically insert one falsehood, generate a ludicrous conflict, and choose the dumbest of the two alternatives.

The Scientific Approach

find traces of organic material in ancient fossils

Cool! We have evidence of ancient biochemistry!

Science!

The Creationist Approach

declare it impossible for organic material to be ancient

steal other people’s discovery of organic material in ancient fossils

Cool! Declare that organic material must not be ancient, because of step 1, which we invented

Throw out geology, chemistry, and physics because they say the material is old

Profit! Souls for my Lord Arioch!

You see, the scientists are aware of the fact that organic materials degrade over time, but recognize that we don’t always know the rate of decay under all possible conditions. When we find stuff that hasn’t rotted away or been fully replaced by minerals, we’re happy because we’ve got new information about ancient organisms, and we may also be able to figure out what mechanisms promoted the preservation of the material.

The creationists start with dogma — in this case, a false statement. They declare

Chitin is a biological material found in the cuttlebones, or internal shells, of cuttlefish. It has a maximum shelf life of thousands of years…

and

Because of observed bacterial and biochemical degradation rates, researchers shouldn’t expect to find any original chitin (or any other biomolecule) in a sample that is dozens of millions of years old–and it therefore should be utterly absent from samples deposited hundreds of millions of years ago. Thus, the chitin found in these fossils refutes their millions-of-years evolutionary interpretation, just as other fossil biomolecules already have done.

But wait. How do they know that? The paper they are citing says nothing of the kind; to the contrary, it argues that while rare, other examples of preserved chitin have been described.

Detection of chitin in fossils is not frequent. There are reports of fossil chitin in pogonophora, and in insect wings from amber. Chitin has also been reported from beetles preserved in an Oligocene lacustrine deposit of Enspel, Germany and chitin-protein signatures have been found in cuticles of Pennsylvanian scorpions and Silurian eurypterids.

So the paper is actually saying that the “maximum shelf life” of chitin is several tens of millions of years. And then they go on to describe…chitin found in Oligocene cuttlefish, several tens of millions of years old. The creationists are busily setting up an imaginary conflict in the evidence, a conflict that does not exist and is fully addressed in the paper.

The creationists do try to back up their claims, inappropriately. They cite a couple of papers on crustacean taphonomy where dead lobsters were sealed up in anoxic, water- and mud-filled jars; they decayed. Then they announce that there’s only one way for these cuttlebones to be preserved, and that was by complete mineralization, and the cuttlebones in the PLoS One paper were not mineralized.

…mineralization–where tissues are replaced by minerals–is required for tissue impressions to last millions of years. And the PLoS ONE researchers verified that their cuttlebone chitin was not mineralized.

Funny, that. You can read the paper yourself. I counted 14 uses of the words “mineralized” and “demineralized”. They state over and over that they had to specifically demineralize the specimens in hydrochloric acid to expose the imbedded chitin. And of course the chitin itself hadn’t been mineralized, or it wouldn’t be chitin anymore! Did the creationists lie, or did they just not understand the paper?

The scientists also do not claim that the chitin has not been degraded over time. They actually document some specific, general properties of decay in the specimens.

β-chitin is characterized by parallel chains of chitin molecules held together with inter-chain hydrogen bonding. The OH stretching absorbance, at about 3445 cm−1 in extant chitin, is diminished in the fossil and shifted to lower wavenumbers, showing that the specimen is losing OH by an as yet undetermined mechanism. The N-H asymmetric stretching vibration is shifted to slightly lower wavenumbers, showing that it is no longer hydrogen bonding exactly as in extant specimens. Changes in the region 2800-3600 cm−1 indicate that biomolecules have been degraded via disruption of interchain hydrogen bonds.

So, yes, the creationists seem to have rather misrepresented what the paper said. Here’s another blatant example of lying about the contents of the paper.

The question they did not answer, however, is why the original organic chitin had not completely fallen apart, which it would have if the fossils with it were 34 million years old…

Actually, they did. A substantial chunk of the discussion was specifically about that question, a consideration of the factors that contributed to the preservation. It was a combination of an anoxic environment, the presence of molecules that interfered with the enzymes that break down chitin, and the structure of cuttlebone, which interleaves layers containing chitin with layers containing pre-mineralized aragonite.

In vivo inorganic-organic structure of the cuttlebone, in combination with physical and geochemical conditions within the depositional environment and favorable taphonomic factors likely contributed to preservation of organics in M. mississippiensis. Available clays within the Yazoo Clay in conjunction with suboxic depositional environment may have facilitated preservation of original organics by forming a physical and geochemical barrier to degradation. One key to the preservation of organic tissues, in particular chitin and chitosan, is cessation of bacterial degradation within environments of deposition. Bacterial breakdown of polymeric molecules is accomplished through activities of both free extracellular enzymes (those in the water column) and ektoenzymes (those on the surface of the microbial cell) such as chitinases. Chitinases function either by cleaving glycosidic bonds that bind repeating N-acetyl-D-glucosamine units within chitin molecules or by cleaving terminal N-acetyl-D-glucosamine groups. These enzymes adsorb to the surface of clay particles, which inactivates them. Strong ions in solution like iron may act in the same manner. Once bound to functional groups within these polymeric molecules, Fe2+ ions prevent specific bond configuration on the active-site cleft of specific bacterial chitinases and prevents hydrolysis, thus contributing to preservation.

Organic layers within cuttlebones are protected by mineralized layers, similar to collagen in bones, and this mineral-organic interaction may also have played a role in their preservation. Specimens of M. mississipiensis show preserved original aragonite as well as apparent original organics. These organics appear to be endogenous and not a function of exogenous fungal or microbial activity. Fungi contain the γ form of chitin not the β allomorph found in our samples. Also, SEM analyses shows there is no evidence of tunneling, microbes, or wide-spread recrystallization of the aragonite. Therefore the chitin-like molecules detected in fossil sample are most likely endogenous. Similar to collagen in bone, perhaps, organics could not be attacked by enzymes or other molecules until some inorganic matrix had been removed.

Like I always say, never ever trust a creationists’ interpretation of a science paper: they don’t understand it, and they are always filtering it through a distorting lens of biblical nonsense. They make such egregious errors of understanding that you’re always left wondering whether they are actually that stupid, or that sleazily dishonest. Or both.

But imagine if the creationists hadn’t screwed up royally in reading the paper, if they had actually found an instance of scientists being genuinely baffled by a discovery that should not be. What if there was actually good reason to believe that chitin could not last more than ten thousand years?

Then the only sensible interpretation of this observation of 34 million year old chitin would be that the prior estimation of the shelf-life of chitin was wrong, and that it could actually last tens of millions of years. What the creationists want to do is claim that that minor hypothetical is actually correct, and that instead the entirety of nuclear physics, geology, radiochemistry, and modern cosmology is wrong. On the one hand, uncertain details about the decay of one organic molecule; in the other, entire vast fields of science, already verified, and with complex modern technologies built on their operation…and which hand would the creationists reject? The trivial one, of course.

I’m leaning towards “stupid” as the explanation for their bad arguments.


Oh, after I started this dissection, I discovered someone had already beaten me to it: here’s another analysis of the creationist misinterpretations.

(Also on FtB)

The Pluto objection

I’m so sorry, Kentucky. How do you end up with such ignorant school superintendents?

Ricky Line is concerned because his school district is teaching the facts of evolution.

“I have a very difficult time believing that we have come to a point … that we are teaching evolution … as a factual occurrence, while totally omitting the creation story by a God who is bigger than all of us,” he wrote. “My feeling is if the Commonwealth’s site-based councils, school board members, superintendents and parents were questioned … one would find this teaching contradictory to the majority’s belief systems.”

“My argument is, do we want our children to be taught these things as facts? Personally, I don’t,” Line said. “I don’t think life on earth began as a one-celled organism. I don’t think that all of us came from a common ancestor … I don’t think the Big Bang theory describes the explanation of the origin of the universe.”

So a school superintendent rejects all of modern science. The only novel thing here is his excuse:

The vast majority of scientists contend that evolution is an accepted cornerstone of modern science, and that there is no real scientific debate over the concept.

Line counters that “it’s interesting that the great majority of scientists felt Pluto was a planet until a short time ago, and now they have totally changed that. There are scientists who don’t believe that evolution happened.”

That argument might work a little better if Pluto had winked out of existence when it was retitled…but it still whirls about the sun. Just as life on earth keeps bubbling up, and descent with modification keeps on happening.

And just like bible-thumping American yokels keep meddling in our children’s educations.

(Also on FtB)

Mommy, why is that man covered with penises?

Have fun and go visit the Missing Universe Museum online. You will feel as if you are finally getting close to the bottom of human stupidity.

Every page promotes this argument:

If you don’t believe God created all living things, male and female, in 6 days….
How many millions of years was it between the first male and the first female?

It’s idiotic when Ray Comfort says it, and it’s just as inane when whoever put this website together says it.

I had to stop and close the web page at the sight of this, their argument against vestigial organs. You see, if evolution were actually true, and vestigial organs actually existed, then we’d all look like this:

i-57f8d74f2816f11c37ffd17d64284d2d-evovestigial.jpeg

I’m baffled. Why would anyone imagine that a prediction of evolution is that humans should be covered with penises?


I had to add one more thing: their evolution test.

Students, give this test to your teachers. When they fail it, ask them why they are teaching this nonsense!

Teachers, give this test to your students if you really want them to know the truth about evolution!

1. Which evolved first, male or female?
2. How many millions of years elapsed between the first male and first female?
3. List at least 9 of the false assumptions made with radioactive dating methods.
4. Why hasn’t any extinct creature re-evolved after millions of years?
5. Which came first:
…the eye,
…the eyelid,
…the eyebrow,
…the eye sockets,
…the eye muscles,
…the eye lashes,
…the tear ducts,
…the brain’s interpretation of light?
6. How many millions of years between each in question 5?
7. If we all evolved from a common ancestor, why can’t all the different species mate with one another and produce fertile offspring?
8. List any of the millions of creatures in just five stages of its evolution showing the progression of a new organ of any kind. When you have done this, you can collect the millions of dollars in rewards offered for proof of evolution!
9. Why is it that the very things that would prove Evolution (transitional forms) are still missing?
10. Explain why something as complex as human life could happen by chance, but something as simple as a coin must have a creator. (Show your math solution.)
11. Why aren’t any fossils or coal or oil being formed today?
12. List 50 vestigial or useless organs or appendages in the human body.
13. Why hasn’t anyone collected the millions of dollars in rewards for proof of evolution?
14. If life began hundreds of millions of years ago, why is the earth still under populated?
15. Why hasn’t evolution duplicated all species on all continents?

Finals week is next week. Should I give that to my intro students?

(Also on FtB)

I am honestly happy that Phillip Johnson is still alive

The last time I saw an appearance of the founder of the Intelligent Design movement, Johnson was looking very frail, recovering from a stroke. It’s also been quite some time since I’ve seen him make an appearance. I hope that his mental faculties are also strong, and that he’s alert and aware. The IDists are celebrating the 20th anniversary of the publication of his book, Darwin on Trial, so I’d love to know that he’s having a grand time.

Why, you might wonder…after all, that book they’re celebrating is dishonest tripe, and the ID movement has been pure poison to science. I make no bones about the fact that I consider Johnson to be an intellectual criminal.

The reason is simple: Jason Rosenhouse is right. Intelligent Design is dead. I want Johnson to suffer the pain and frustration of knowing that he has wasted his life, and that he’ll be remembered as a failure.

His book was a cobbled together hodge-podge of specious reasoning, using legal logic to raise unwarranted doubts over concepts he couldn’t understand. He was no scientist; neither are his followers. He was a pettifogging lawyer coming off a divorce and a midlife crisis who tried to find redemption by lying for Jesus. It didn’t work.

Creationism staggered out of the Edwards v. Aguillard case in 1987 in a shambles — creationism was repudiated, it was tarred entirely as a religious concept, and prohibited from schools as a violation of the Establishment Cause. They had to find a strategy to hide its religious underpinnings, and there was good ol’ Lawyer Johnson, happy to provide it. That was his contribution, the smokescreen of ID.

It thrived for a while; it had its successes as yokels everywhere embraced it as a way to pretend their Old Time Religion was actually cutting edge science. It received a mortal blow in the Kitzmiller trial, which saw through the nonsense. It’s tainted fruit now. THey’re struggling to find a new frame in which to cloak their agenda, but the Discovery Institute is always going to be associated with Intelligent Design.

All they have succeeded in doing is flooding the discourse with fallacious turds like “irreducible complexity”, which still gets parroted by ignorant politicians, like Michele Bachmann.

Irreducible complexity is poorly formulated and not an obstacle to evolution; at this point, the explanations are so common that bringing up IC is simply an admission of ignorance, of someone with a Bachmann-like understanding of biology.

And for a scientific movement, look at the quality of the proponents who have flocked to it: basically no one. The primary spokesperson of the Discovery Institute is Casey Freakin’ Luskin, a freshly minted lawyer with an undergraduate degree in earth science, and who is demonstrably incompetent at basic biology — not that that prevents him from flooding the DI website with patent nonsense.

They’ve got propagandists like David Klinghoffer, who’s reduced to sticking his fingers in his ears and chanting la-la-la to the existence of criticisms.

It’s latest pseudo-scholarly efforts are bloated, preening, vacuous babble like Signature in the Cell, books that even fans of the idea find tedious and uninspiring.

Their websites are little walled garden, either no comments allowed or comments carefully screened, because they cannot tolerate open discusssion and criticism.

They’ve got nothing new. There is no new science emerging from the cesspit of ID.

I think we’re done.

I really just hope that Phillip Johnson is vaguely aware of, and vaguely perturbed by, the failure of his ideas. And I hope he lives many more years, to witness the continuing decay of his pathetic movement.

(Also on FtB)

Hamza Tzortzis on the Intellectual Dishonesty of Professor Myers SHOCKING!

That’s what he titles his latest youtube video, anyway. I laughed, just like I laughed when Eric Hovind called to complain about the misinformation on my website. He also claims I “accept defeat”

Myers accepts defeat see below:

Myers changes his stance from Ireland, In Ireland Myers says the ‘Quran is Wrong’. After reviewing the iERA Research Paper he now believes its the Quran has ‘ very little opportunity for disproof, and they can be made to fit just about any reasonable observation.’

I am surprised to learn that I accepted defeat. Doesn’t he know I’m indomitable? Anyway, here’s the video where Tzortzis crushes me.

I will give him credit — he does link to my article debunking Islamic embryology, which is more than most creationists would do. But still, he’s got it all wrong.

During our encounter in Ireland, I pointed out that their specific claim of a discrete sequence of development in the embryo, from bones to muscles being added to bones, was false. In the article I wrote on Tzortzis’s strained exegesis of two verses from the Quran, I explained that you can’t make concrete claims about embryology from such a vague, cursory, and intentionally poetic source, such as those two verses. These are not incompatible arguments. The second point is not a softening of the views made in the first point.

If anything, Tzortzis has backed down. In Ireland, he and his friends were trying desperately to argue that Mohammed knew things that no man in his position could possibly have known without a divine source of information; my argument was that no, what’s in the Quran is very much in line with the knowledge of his day, derived from Aristotle and Galen. No miracles were required to write those two verses.

Now Tzortzis’s claim is greatly reduced; it is that the Quran does not “negate reality”, or does not make claims that contradict known science. That’s fine; as I said, it’s the most minuscule of verses saying the wobbliest things, and it’s derived from observations of embryos made by Greek and Roman predecessors, so it’s not surprising that it can be retrofitted to fit modern science by playing enough word games.

Tzortzis relies on what he calls “lexical analysis”, but it’s little more than compiling the equivalent of thesaurus entries for words in the verses, and then picking and choosing the ones that fit the point he’s trying to make. That’s not analysis, it’s cherry-picking.

Amusingly, he does the same thing to modern developmental biology. He’s gone rifling through legitimate embryology texts, trying to prove that I don’t know what I’m talking about, and he found one sentence in a textbook — “after the cartilaginous models of the bone have been established, the myogenic cells, which have now become myoblasts, aggregate to form the muscle masses” — that he thinks shows I was wrong and that his interpretation of the Quran phrase — “bones were clothed with flesh” — is correct.

Wrong. See, this is the problem with his “lexical analysis” approach — it means he tries to conform what he reads to what he already thinks he knows. I know what a developing limb looks like; mesodermal masses condense gradually into organized clusters of cells that differentiate in parallel. Centers of what will become bones aggregate and form cartilage (not bone, notice) as centers of what will become muscle (the myogenic cells in that description) aggregate and begin differentiation into myoblasts and myotubes and eventually muscle fibers.

Here’s what we actually see in the developing limb: branching patterns of cell fate decisions by tissue precursors, and parallel differentiation of the cellular components of those tissues.

i-74e8bd4c9cd0ca6809cc81aab3fd904a-musclebone.jpeg

The simplistic and discrete idea of “bones, then flesh” doesn’t even recognize that “bones” and “flesh” aren’t simple binaries, and the sequence isn’t a simple temporal switch. What you had instead was the early segregation of cells into differing mucopolysaccharide matrices, within which cells began complex sequences of shifting patterns of gene expression and differentiation into mesodermally-derived tissues.

Or more poetically, bones and flesh congealed together out of balls of snot. There are sequences within that pattern, but chondrocytes aren’t bones and myoblasts are not muscles. Tzortzis is trying too hard to fit the Quran to science, because he can’t appreciate that it’s just a book written by men trying to make sense of the world, and also unfortunately trying to add extra weight to their opinions by claiming the authority of a god behind them. A sad state of affairs that I’m afraid their modern descendants continue to perpetrate.

(Also on FtB)

Gals and show mares

This video has been going around — it’s a group of women talking about the importance of evolution to the biological sciences.

I confess to cringing in a few places — there’s too much ready equation of evolution with natural selection — but I certainly wouldn’t question the competence of these accomplished scientists, even if I might argue with them a bit.

But now the clowns at Uncommon Descent have discovered it and given their assessment.

It shows sixteen female academics or science writers, mostly young, whose enthusiasm for evolution is so overwrought that they turn themselves into propagandists.

Eager to show how well they have been trained, they are like show mares who trot around the paddock jumping over each gate in turn. All the while they give the camera a look that says: “Aren’t I good?”

And then the conclusion:

Here, we’d wondered who would be the next Lynn Margulis. Our scouts can now save time by crossing these gals off.

“Gals”? Really? And since when do creationist hacks get to cross “gals” off the rolls of worthy scientists?

That’s right there in the article. There is worse in the comments; I know the site isn’t entirely responsible for what commenters say, but this is from one widely known freakish creationist who agrees with the sentiment in the article, that these women won’t cut it as real scientists. (There are also others that disagree with this guy; no one seems to have noted the patronizing attitude of the article itself.)

There is however a liberal establishment with a agenda to promote women and this means over more deserving men. Affirmative action , openly/secret, is powerful in nOrth america.
They want women to be as smart as men in these perceived smarter things.
They think it should be at least 50/50.
However it ain’t and it never will.

(Also on FtB)

Lonely broken-hearted creationists

Aww, poor Intelligent Design creationism is feeling unloved. Or perhaps it’s jealousy. David Klinghoffer, that clueless ideologue at the Discovery Institute, is whimpering that blogging scientists aren’t paying enough attention to his brand of creationism.

Darwinian scientists who blog — in other words, those whose comments are most readily accessible to us — may indeed not pay attention to ID arguments, but that’s certainly not because of any lack of “rigorous and persuasive ideas” on ID’s part. The proof is that Darwin defenders are typically very busy indeed picking on other arguments that no thoughtful and critical person would remotely regard as “rigorous and persuasive.” What those other arguments have in common is that, unlike ID, they’re too weak to effectively fight back.

As a convenient example, right over at Panda’s Thumb, Scanlan’s colleage PZ Myers contributes a longish post (1500+ words) attacking some guy’s rather… well, strained attempt to discover the details of all of embryology in two vaguely formulated verses from the Koran. Dr. Myers complains:

I have read the entirety of Hamza Andreas Tzortzis’ paper, “Embryology in the Qur’an: A scientific-linguistic analysis of chapter 23: With responses to historical, scientific & popular contentions,” all 58 pages of it (although, admittedly, it does use very large print). It is quite possibly the most overwrought, absurdly contrived, pretentious expansion of feeble post hoc rationalizations I’ve ever read. As an exercise in agonizing data fitting, it’s a masterpiece.

Who is Hamza Andreas Tzortzis? On his Facebook page, he is identified as “a convert to Islam, …an international lecturer, public speaker & author. He is particularly interested in Islam, philosophy and politics.” How Dr. Myers discovered Mr. Tzortzis and what an easy punching bag he makes, I do not know.

Don’t worry, Davy! I think you’re just an easy a punching bag as Tzortzis, and just as obscure and irrelevant! Also, I think Intelligent Design creationism is just as strained, just as ludicrous, just as fallacious as Tzortzis’s Muslim creationism, or Ken Ham’s fundamentalist creationism, or Hugh Ross’s old earth creationism, or Biologos’s theistic evolution. I despise you all equally.

Big hug, OK?

Now I know these guys are used to cherry-picking all of their data and seeing whatever they want to see, but Klinghoffer has made a ridiculously bogus claim, that we don’t pay attention to Intelligent Design creationism’s arguments. Of course we do! It’s just that right now ID is rather spent — they’ve blown it in all of their attempts to legislate creationism into the schools, they’ve got nothing credible published, and their predictions have all fallen flat — in 2004, Dembski predicted the demise of “molecular darwinism” in 5 years, which, you may notice, has passed. Instead, it looks like ID has lapsed into a twitching coma, with nothing new to say…not that they ever did, since all they were was warmed over William Paley in the first place.

Besides, ID creationism was only a puppet for the religious creationists anyway. Almost everyone in the movement is devout in some way or another (cue Berlinski to swirl in superciliously and declare that no, his only god is Berlinski), and their support was entirely derived from a creationist base that saw ID as a convenient secular facade to plaster over the godly superstition of its underpinnings. Sorry to say, that base was only loyal when they thought ID was a useful mask…as it has failed, they’re all flocking to the Hams and Hovinds and local megachurches instead. You know, the religiously-driven fanatics that Klinghoffer so lightly dismisses as our easy targets.

But it’s silly to claim we haven’t addressed their arguments. Personally, I’ve reviewed Meyer’s Signature in the Cell and

Jonathan Wells’ Icons of Evolution and The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. I’ve tackled Casey Luskin and Michael Egnor
and
Paul Nelson
and
Michael Behe
and
William Dembski. I’ve written general critiques of ID creationism. I’ve trashed ID creationism repeatedly, and with bemused enthusiasm.

Let’s not forget all those other science bloggers and writers who’ve also stomped on ID repeatedly: Ian Musgrave,
Wesley Elsberry,
Carl Zimmer,
John Wilkins,
Larry Moran,
Steve Matheson,
Jeff Shallit,
Allen MacNeill,
Jerry Coyne,
Ken Miller and many more. Or the whole danged gang at the Panda’s Thumb. We’ll all continue to take swipes at ID creationism occasionally, but the Discovery Institute just has to learn that as far as creationism goes, we’re polyamorously promiscuous, and we’re happy to screw the whole damned bunch of anti-science goombahs.

ID is just one minor and particularly pretentious form of the pathology. We don’t focus on only ID, and it’s not because we’re afraid that they’ll “effectively fight back”. They won’t. What they’ll do instead is pretend our critiques never existed…just as Klinghoffer does here.

(Also on FtB)

‘Tis a good day to #creozerg

I’m in Springfield, Missouri, and today at noon I’ll be joining a mob of skeptics and atheists at the Gillioz Theater to prepare to hit the Creation Ministries of the Ozarks. We shall descend upon them as a horde and sweep through their “museum”, documenting the foolishness and mocking the silly. You’re all welcome to join, but if you do show up, there are a few rules to follow:

  • Be polite and nondisruptive. This is their property and you are a visitor.

  • Remember: the Christians running this show, and the Christian attendees, are the delusional victims here. Feel some pity for them.

  • Do not, however, forget that this is an institution dedicated to promoting lies and ignorance. Do not pull a Michael Ruse and start admiring what they’ve accomplished.

  • Do not loudly insult the gift shop, if they have one. They hate that — that was the one thing that made the goons at our last #creozerg snap.

  • Do not have gay sex on the exhibits.

  • Document. Take notes and photographs. Your goal is to come away from this with a better understanding of what the promulgators of ignorance are teaching, and to spread the word about their folly afterwards.

  • Converse. One of the cool things about these trips is that you’re in a large group of critical thinkers, many of whom may have expertise on the subjects being mangled by the exhibits. Ask questions. Learn stuff.

  • Just to be on the safe side, you probably shouldn’t have heterosexual sex on the exhibits, either.

  • Be in the right frame of mind: you are not a gang of hooligans planning to vandalize the place, you are skeptical anthropologists there to observe the peculiar and pathological folkways of a backwards, intellectually impoverished people.

  • Have fun.

I’ll try to throw a few comments on twitter, hashtag #creozerg, as we pass through the halls of unlearning. Don’t expect a lot, though; this is a small, rinky-tink local creation “museum”, unlike that monument to idiocy built by the notorious leech, Ken Ham. We’ll probably race through it fairly fast, just because there won’t be a heck of a lot to see.

(Also on FtB)

I get email

Did someone rattle the monkey cage recently? I have been getting a sudden wave of email from defenders of Kent Hovind, which is not good. Of all the creationists, Hovind spawns the most illiterate, incomprehensible mess; I think you have to be of very low intelligence to find anything at all appealing in that guy.

Anyway, here are two examples. I’d kind of like to be game-fully employed — does that mean I just sit around all day playing games? Because I suppose that could be fun.

Your assessment of Kent Hovind

You are an arrogant jackass. Your pompousness is only exceeded by your stupendous idiocracy. The fact that you are game fully employed is proof that we were created and it was obviously not survival of the fittest. If there were any true justice in this country, you would be the one sitting in jail. Hey ape-man, go back and crawl under the rock from witch you came and do the world a favor…

Have a wonderful day

This next one is just weird. He spelled my name right, but misspelled Hovind’s, which is a first. He’s also very confused — I think he has the impression I’m a Hovind supporter.

Kent hovend

as much as I love Kent hovend I have to say he is guilty
any one who has listened to any of his video’s has seen him say don’t pay your tax’s
I don’t if he did not say that in his video’s they would have left him alone
however there is a good part he get’s a captive ears that need to here what he has to say
we have copied his videos & passed them around
any one that watched them loves them
he makes it easy to understand
keeps it light [ funny ]
none of it is boring unlike most all church’s most guys drift off
in to never never land our wife’s have to nudge us
where no one that watch’s Kent never drift’s off ever

if he get’s out some day he will maybe in a few years
tell him not to talk about tax’s for or not just shut up about it
he can do more good out than in jail
on the good side when he gets out he will have a new set of suckers to
debate the old one retire or die off
hes still a young man & he has his son’s to take over
yes I did signed your paper to get him out
about a year ago
remember it is better to use a little honey to get them on your side than to
make them pissed off & wont talk to him any more
yes I know its not as much fun hahahhaha

Those are the strange line breaks in the original. I get the feeling he was trying to write a poem.

(Also on FtB)