Shameful pseudo-scientists

Dan Phelps sent me a link to a terrible, awful video of the Answers in Genesis astronomers babbling about how the JWST proves the universe is young. I know, that’s just nuts, but what else can you expect from AiG?

Fortunately, Dan provides a description, so I don’t have to watch it. You don’t have to either.

Young Earth Creationist Astronomers Declare Victory for Creationism Because of the Findings of the James Webb Space Telescope

Our favorite Young Earth Creationist (YEC) astronomers have finally discussed the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) at length. On Wednesday 9/14/22 on Facebook Dr. Danny Faulkner and Rob Webb of AiG, and Dr. Jason Lisle (formerly of AiG, now at the Biblical Science Institute) discuss the early findings of the JWST for a full excruciating hour. See: .

Faulkner and Lisle have PhDs in astronomy. Rob Webb, recently was hired by AiG as a preacher/scientist and has experience in aerospace engineering, helping design several different spacecraft (hence his AiG nickname “Rocket Rob”). Their “discussion” consists mostly of self-congratulation and sundry claims that every new finding supports Young Earth Creationism including having light from galaxies billions of light years away getting to Earth in 6,000 years (a miracle!). Their self congratulations are based on the fact that astronomers are revising their ideas about how quickly galaxies and heavy elements formed in the early universe because of new data from JWST findings. This motley crew seem to be gloating that other astronomers are, gasp!, doing science. Much of the rest is preaching/scripture quoting and, at about 23 minutes in, claiming a nefarious conspiracy of morally questionable “secular astronomers” based on their “worldview.” Most astronomers I know are rather upright citizens. The exceptions know who they are ;-).

About 32 minutes in Drs. Lisle and Faulkner joke about dead Democrats voting in Chicago, and Dr. Lisle claims “dead people vote Left.”

In Dr. Faulkner’s esteemed scientific opinion God only created life on earth, not elsewhere (~36 minutes in). However, he intones, this only includes “physical life like us; I’m not talking about spirit beings like angels and demons, and so forth.” (Is this video from the 13th century?). Then, after a discussion of exoplanets, Dr. Faulkner also tells us that God will destroy stars and galaxies when he creates a “new heavens and a new Earth” (~39 minutes). Golly wow! Thankfully, Dr. Faulkner goes on to rebuff an online questioner who asks about the Flat Earth, giving Biblical and scientific reasons the ancient Bible-based cosmology is wrong. Dr. Faulkner has even written a thick tome about the subject (for sale at the Creation Museum and Ark Park, as well as online). The three gentlemen then discuss Flat Earth Theory and the psychology of the cultish behavior behind it for a bit. They appear oblivious to the irony, that, in spite of their education, promoting a 6,000 year old universe and Earth. When they agreed that it is a “psychological issue,” I stopped the video for a few minutes out of necessity. I couldn’t decide to laugh or cry, so I took a bathroom break.

Near the end (~53 minutes) Dr. Lisle bemoans that mainstream science is ignoring his claim that he predicted the findings of the JWST. He goes on to claim that science itself wouldn’t be possible if the Bible weren’t true. Lisle then posts the inane cartoon below (my screenshot) insulting scientists and intelligent people as well as confusing evolution and cosmology/cosmogony.

The video ends with mentions of books they have for sale and the Creation Museum planetarium.

But, you ask, what about the biologists? We have to turn to the Institute for Creationist Research, which employs the most appallingly awful guy with some credentials in biology, Jeffery Tomkins. I’ve discussed Tomkins several times before, and I’m tired of. He’s incredibly dishonest fellow whose entire expertise is about distorting the scientific evidence in ways that anyone who knows the field sees is wrong, but he throws around technical terms that make lay people think he’s smart. It’s a classic pseudoscientific move.

I am spared the pain of working through Tomkins’ lies by Dan Cardinale, who explains how his arguments about junk DNA are totally bogus.

Reminder: Wanna hear some bad defenses of Noah’s Ark?

At noon my time Dan Phelps and I will be grading Answers in Genesis’s answers on the topic of Noah’s Ark. Spoiler: they fail. But you can tune in later to see how they fail.

If you want to help out, here is the AiG video (only 20 minutes long), and you can chime in in the chat. I’ll keep my eyes open for better rebuttals than ours. We sure won’t get it from the comments on their video, because they’re mainly about sucking up.

Welp, guess it’s time to start committing crimes

Only big crimes, though. The little crimes get you shot.

At least, that’s the lesson I get from the news. Arm yourself with a big gun, go murder a couple of protesters, you’re fine — better than fine, you’ll be lauded by your fellow gun fondlers. Commit treason and try to overthrow the government, and if you’re the big kahuna who incited it all, everyone is afraid to arrest you, although your little dupes get picked up and get jail time. Fill a court with incompetent ideologues, and you’ll be safe from everything, in addition to corrupting the entire goddamn government. Wrap yourself up in a great big flag and a great big god, and no one can touch you, as long as your criminality is sufficiently massive.

That’s justice in America. I really should start planning my crime spree. It’s tough, though. You can’t just knock over a local bank, instead you’ve got to wreck the entire economy to steal billions, and then you can get away with it. Anything less, then some bigger crook will take your ill-gotten gains and punish you.

Also, darn it, I’m infected with this no good secular morality that tells me I shouldn’t do harm to others. It’s really getting in the way of taking advantage of our system.

Classic example of the logic of cults

I mean, how could I not read a story with the title, White nationalist ‘America First’ group plunges into chaos after high-ranking official gets a girlfriend? It’s the most pungent kind of clickbait. It seems Nick Fuentes, that unbelievable cartoon of a man, is in disarray over the fact that one of his employees has done something fairly normal.

The America First movement has plunged into turmoil after its treasurer started a romantic relationship and moved out of the group leader’s basement.

Somehow, I could have guessed someone was going to be living in someone else’s basement somewhere in the story.

White nationalist Nick Fuentes, the right-wing group’s leader and associate of Reps. Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, urges his followers to abstain from sex, and he describes himself as an incel, or involuntarily celibate.

This led the nonprofit group’s treasurer Jaden McNeil to resign and call America First a cult, reported The Daily Beast’s “Fever Dreams” podcast.

“[Members act so] racist and ridiculous in public that it ruins people’s lives,” said co-host Kelly Weill on the podcast. “You can’t go and get a normal job after that, so they turn further and further into this movement, which really does function almost like a cult.”

The fact that Gosar and Greene, who have a modicum of power and influence, are entangled with Nick Fuentes, is revealing about the sad state of American politics. How can anyone in the halls of power take this guy seriously?

That last paragraph, though, explains a lot. America First is openly and loudly racist, and its members have openly slapped that stigma on their records. This is how cults start: throw out one absurdity for your followers to accept, watch as the majority walk away, but the ones who stay…give ’em another absurdity. Then another. And another. You’ve got the few so deeply hooked that you can get them to do whatever you want. Tell your followers that you translated the holy book by staring at magic rocks in a hat, and if they swallow that, you can load ’em up into a wagon train and go found a city in the middle of nowhere. Fuentes is such a patently hateful fool that his followers have to be committed to stick by him, not by virtue of the quality of his arguments, but because they’re so stupid that admitting that leads to an exposure of their gullibility.

By the way, this also explains how Michelle Malkin has ended up associated with this group. She’s been making horrible choices for many years — justifying the internment of Asian Americans in WWII just one of them — so of course she has sorted herself to the bottom of the dumpster.

Shouldn’t reporters be expected to know a little history?

The front lines in the vicinity of Kiev and across Ukraine shifted back and forth during the bitter fighting for control of the Ukrainian capital city in the waning months of 1943.

Listen to this guy. He compares Ukraine to Afghanistan & Iraq by suggesting that, unlike those middle-eastern countries, Ukraine is “civilized” and hasn’t known “decades of war”.

Iraq: the cradle of civilization. A modern nation before the US bombed it to hell.

Ukraine: They’ve been fighting Russia for 8 years. Multiple, massive tank battles were fought there in WWII. Kiev (the old name) was occupied by Nazis for 3 years. Ever hear of Babi Yar? I think Ukrainians have experienced a few atrocities, and have fought back bravely.

Maybe he should have simply said what he was thinking: Ukrainians are white, Iraqis are brown.

Resist the temptation to retaliate, please

It’s not Cthulhu, but Russia is getting aggressive, moving troops into regions of Ukraine and declaring that they recognize those regions as independent states. It’s a game they’re playing; no one is fooled. They’re nibbling at the country, breaking off pieces to be absorbed by the Russian state.

Russia said Tuesday that its recognition of separatist areas in eastern Ukraine includes territory now held by Ukrainian forces, raising Western fears that Moscow intends to invade more of Ukraine’s territory after sending troops into the rebel-held region.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia has recognized the independence of rebel-held regions within borders that the separatists originally proclaimed when they broke away from Ukraine in 2014. Because large parts of those regions have since been reclaimed by Ukrainian forces during their eight-year war, Russia’s declaration could lead to attempts to expand the breakaway region by force.

No, it’s not time for the US to move our troops into other regions. You don’t counter one country’s imperialism by advancing imperialisms of your own.

I appreciate the Kenyan ambassador’s statement to the UN. He draws on his own country’s experiences with colonialism to urge “respect for the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, because of Africa’s history. That continent got carved up by imperial powers that drew borders with little respect for the cultures of the peoples they were dividing — but if they’d fought over lines on a map they’d still be squabbling. Instead, they settled for the boundaries imposed on them and are working for “something greater forged in peace”, which is ultimately the only way to make a lasting nation.

I don’t think Putin appreciates the pain he’s going to suffer. He’s creating an everlasting smoldering fire on the border of Russia and Ukraine, and even if he gets his way now, it will be temporary and will cost his country more.

Note that he also says “we further strongly condemn the trend in the last few decades of powerful states, including members of the security council, breaching international law with little regard.” Hmm. Who could he be talking about there?

This wouldn’t fly in Minnesota

This particular bozo is the mayor of Hudson, Ohio.

If you allow ice fishing, the next thing you’ll get is ice shanties. We all know where that leads: prostitution! On the ice!

Our lakes are covered with ice houses right now, I don’t know that there is much of a prostitution problem. And if there were, so what? If some enterprising young woman or man sees a market opportunity, let ’em. That’s just capitalism, you know.

Go unwoke, go broke

What? You never heard of Gettr? Here’s Wikipedia’s summary:

Gettr (stylized GETTR) is a social media platform and microblogging site targeted to American conservatives. It was founded by Jason Miller, a former Donald Trump aide, and was officially launched on July 4, 2021. Its user interface and feature set have been described as very similar to those of Twitter.

So, basically, Twitter for assholes, which is kind of redundant (Twitter is already for assholes!). But this one is a worse version of Twitter, if you can imagine that.

The platform experienced issues shortly after launch, including internet trolls posting content that violated the terms of service, users flooding it with pornography, and the brief hacking of some high-profile accounts. Journalists have observed the prevalence of extreme content on the platform, including racism, antisemitism, and terrorist propaganda.

I had to look it up, because while I’d heard of it, vaguely, I’d never bothered to visit it or look deeper into it.

You’ll find this hard to believe, but Gettr is in trouble.

Social media upstart GETTR fired over a dozen staff members late last year, including two key executives and its entire IT and cybersecurity teams, amid rapid growth and what former employees said were funding problems.

The layoffs came even as interest in the company, founded by Jason Miller, a spokesman for former President Donald Trump, exploded.

But three people who were canned say that behind the scenes, GETTR is struggling with more than just growing pains, warning that the recent round of layoffs may have jeopardized the platform’s security.

Curiously for a far right-wing site, it’s so open-minded that it is a recruiting ground for both the Proud Boys and ISIL. I guess if you want to watch beheading videos or see Canadians getting beaten up by roving gangs of thugs, you’d better sign up fast before it’s gone. Hey, Joe Rogan has an account there!

I think I’ve crossed some threshold

Either that, or advertising is becoming increasingly desperate. Every morning now I get dozens of emails from “company representatives” telling me they have wonderful opportunities to partner with some ad agency or other by putting their custom ads on Freethoughtblogs, or Pharyngula, or my YouTube channel (the latter is odd, I’m a very tiny fish in that sea, hardly worth bothering with). I ignore them all. It isn’t happening. The frequency of these requests keep going up, and I don’t understand it.

Either I’m far more popular than I think — my general experience with the internet is that I get far more hatred than appreciation — or capitalism is broke and is scrabbling for every penny they can find. My ego favors the former, but my intellect is hoping it’s the latter.

Oh, relatedly: I’m getting a lot of first-time commenters asking to be approved. It’s the same dilemma, hoping that it’s because they really like me, but suspecting that it’s just trolls trying to sneak in so they can vomit up more hatred. I approve them anyway, because honestly, being the janitor and cleaning up the foulness the trolls throw around is both satisfying and trivially easy.