Archive for March, 2008

My Thoughts on Creationism

Before I begin this post, I have an announcement to make. It is the end of March and two things have happened.

1. I finally took my Christmas tree down. I put it up in December before I left for China and was too lazy to take it down when I got back. Eventually, I grew so used to seeing it that it blended in with the rest of the furniture until mum came to me and reminded me that it was there. Epic fail!

2. My Teen Vogue horoscope did not come true. I have no idea how I got a subscription to it. One day in the mail I got a sample issue and one of those little cards to fill out to get a subscription and… I didn’t fill it out and Teen Vogues kept coming. I usually just flip through it to laugh at the horoscopes and the last one said that the end of March would be the most romantic time for me the whole year. Well, I’m still boyfriendless. Epic fail!

And now onto more profound news…

I apologize for making such a long blog post that probably doesn’t look like it’s worth reading. I imagine that as you scroll down your attention is already slipping from fear of having to read all that junk. If you do read all of that, all the better, but at the very least watch the video at the bottom. It will most likely anger you without my profound explanation of why it so deeply pains me.

In Break the Science Barrier, Richard Dawkins filmed a scene in the Oxford Museum in a room filled with fossils and other treasures of science. He called the museum a “spiritual home” for him, saying that it was a wonderful place where you could find fascinating things and expand your mind.

Indeed, I as well have a bit of my own “spiritual home” in a museum. Every other weekend, I volunteer in the Space Odyssey exhibit at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. You know what? I love that museum with a passion, and not just for the free food that they occasionally leave in the volunteer lounge. Every time I go there, I have an absolutely splendid time.

The moment you walk in the door, the first thing you see are plesiosaur fossils hanging from the ceiling, and a T-Rex. Upstairs, they have even more fossils in Prehistoric Journey. Further into the museum, they have another ancient creature hanging from the ceiling, this time a fin whale. There’s a small mummy exhibit, a gems and minerals hall filled with shiny crystals and eye candy, an IMAX theater, and the Space Odyssey exhibit and planetarium where I volunteer, but most of the rest of the museum is devoted to diorama halls with taxidermied animals. It’s great fun just to walk through it.

But, I gain even more enjoyment out of volunteering there. DMNS is unique in that it has a small army of volunteers to keep the place from dying with the salaries of staff members. But also, the volunteers function as educators in the exhibits. It provides visitors with a much more interactive visit having an actual person to learn from. Sometimes, I’ll put things in vacuum chambers for them. Other times, I’ll give them a short tour of the Solar System using a computer program that has pictures of all the planets and some of their moons in three dimensions.

It really is quite a wonderful feeling sharing knowledge with other people. Occasionally, I’ll take out the spectroscopy cart. Some people may remember their Chemistry classes when the teacher sent electrical charges through little gas tubes and then gave you a spectroscope or little glasses. In case anybody needs a refresher, what happens is that when you have a lot of energy the electrons in the atoms will jump to a higher level of orbit, and when they come back down they release photons of light at different wavelengths depending on how far the electron fell. The spectroscope or little glasses function as a prism and break down the light released into the wavelengths which it is being released at. If you have, say, Helium, you’ll see two red bars, a yellow bar, a turquiose bar, a blue bar, and an indigo bar. Every element has a different pattern of bars.

I like to start by asking them if they’ve ever wondered how we know what the stars are made of. Of course they wonder how we know. You can’t exactly go to one… they’re millions of light years away! But, if you look at the light they’re emitting through a spectroscope, you can look at the pattern of bars and tell what is inside. I’ll explain this to them, and turn on a hydrogen or helium gas tube and hold up a short chart of elements and their patterns to let them try to guess. With younger children, it’s pretty much just pretty lights and that’s fine, but older children, even adults, will often have sudden moments of understanding.

“That’s so cool…” they say, and they don’t just say it the way you say “that’s so cool” when your friend gets a new cell phone. When they say “that’s so cool” it’s almost as if there’s an entirely different definition because their voices are so saturated with awe and wonder. I suspect that they’re not just saying it because of the pretty lights, but as a way of remarking about how amazed they are that they can understand it. I think that they’re remarking about how simple spectroscopy really is, and how cool science is when you understand it with little effort.

I absolutely love hearing them say it and seeing their eyes light up. It feels like I should be thanking them as they walk away to their planetarium show.

Another wonderful feeling I get is when I go up to Prehistoric Journey. I’ve heard that in some museums, they show dinosaur fossils with little or no mention of evolution. That’s not the case in DMNS. Evolution is everywhere in that exhibit. I love seeing families take their children there. After watching parents turn to their children and say that the universe is 6,000 years old every time I show them a 4.6 billion year old meteorite far too many times, it is deeply refreshing to see them turn to their children at a model of Lucy and say “did you know that humans used to look like that?”

Well, actually that statement is slightly scientifically inaccurate… but I won’t be too nit-picky. I love that exhibit because it educates people about evolution, the true story of how life got on Earth. But… then I saw this video on YouTube.

After watching that, do you feel angry? Annoyed? I assure you, it’s probably nothing compared to what I feel. Those poor children… those cute, poor children… You can tell that they are genuinely interested in science, but they’re having one of the greatest scientific truths kept from them.

I walked through Prehistoric Journey yesterday, recognizing all those places where those poor, poor, sweet children were being lied to and… it honestly brought tears to my eyes. Like I said, DMNS is for me as the Oxford Museum is for Richard Dawkins… a spiritual home. Mine has been invaded and is being tarnished by lying bigots.

We (the volunteers) are told that if somebody ever tries to argue with us about the age of the Earth, we are never going to get anywhere and should therefore get out of the argument as quickly as possible. The next time a parent turns to their child and say “the Earth is 6,000 years old!” I will do that, but not before I make this statement:

It is certainly your right to believe that, and it’s certainly your right to teach your child whatever you want, but I think that it ought to be your child’s right to know the truth, and at the very least it ought to be your child’s right to know that when I say that the Solar System is 4.6 billion years old it’s not a statement of faith but a statement backed up by evidence. Now, if you’re interested in knowing how I know that…

Update:

And in case anybody else decided to infer from my post that I am somehow a fascist, you can see the e-mail I sent to James Randi.

The Denver Museum is NOT ignorant of the BC tours, nor is it choosing to
remain ignorant. I took the opportunity to ask about BC tours after I saw
the video and blogged about it
(https://splendidelles.wordpress.com/2008/03/31/creationists-are-pure-evil/).

They are very aware of BC Tours and they despise them very much.
 
I once asked one of the staff members what I should do if a visitor insisted
on saying the Earth is 6,000 years old. That's when he first told me about
BC Tours, and how when they showed up, everybody would say "they're here" in
a spiteful manner.
 
Unfortunately, there is nothing they can do. The museum is a public
institution and people can go there and have their own tours if they wish,
so long as they don't harass anybody in the exhibit. That's the only time
when they're allowed to kick the creationists out.
 
They were able to get them to stop putting the museum logo on their website,
and got one of the "tour guides" to stop wearing a lab coat because they
want to make it clear that BC Tours do not represent the museum.
 
If there was anything more the museum could do, they would... But, to
protect our freedom of speech, we have to protect theirs.
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3000

“What, that Elles girl? I think that she’s a total twatbitchcuntwhorestreisand. If she were of legal age, I’d say fuck her!”

Reed Braden

Ha! I just hit 3000 views!

Alright, yes… it never could have been done without the help of Greg Laden… but it happened!

Yay!!!

Epic Fail!

With enemies like these, who needs friends?”

-The Evolved Rationalist

This morning, I was reading up some more on PZ’s latest adventure.

I started reading some of the comments on Evolved & Rational’s account of the teleconference and… it was just too hilarious not to share.

First, a person going by the name of “creationist” left a comment, believing that the Evolved Rationalist was Shalini Sehkar! Oh lordie, that in itself was hilarious.

The point here is that the Darwinist Shalini was being unethical when she sneaked into the ID teleconference to spew her hate on this hate site.

Thanks for proving our point, Shalini!!!!

And then he came along again and made another spontaneous, delirious comment.

Shalini is a GATECRASHER just like PZ MEYERS!!

Followed by a few more jewels.

Shalini, why did you GATECRASH???

Darwinists crash into a private conference to persecute creationists!!!!

Shalini is an evil Darwinist!!!

And of course…

We are being persecuted by Darwinists like Shalini!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We heard a few voices of reason. One from sciencefreak.

Creationist, stop being a dick and stop spamming. This site has nothing to do with Shalini.

And one from The Watcher.

What’s the matter, Creationist? Are you afraid of “teaching both sides?”

Creationist was still hanging around and made another redundant, delirious comment.

The matter is that Shalini gatecrashed. It’s not right, and Darwinists like her are claiming that we are being dishonest!!! Liar!!!

Cetacea, who would continue commenting until the Creationist was safely tucked back into bed said…

Creationist… I’m finding it very hard for me to believe that you’re not really an evolutionist who’s being satirical.

“Shalini is a GATECRASHER just like PZ MEYERS!!”

Seriously. It’s not funny. Shut up about this entirely unrelated blogger being Shalini or present whatever crummy evidence you’ve got.

Call PZ and Dawkins gatecrashers all you want. The makers of Expelled are just demonstrating their personal desire to control information even though they’re making a film making it seem like the evolutionists are controlling information.

“We are being persecuted by Darwinists like Shalini!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Go ahead and whine about being ‘persecuted’. The evolutionists are the ones who are having lies spread about them in this well-funded propaganda film.

Behold… Creationist had irrefutable evidence!

This is Shalini’s FAMOUS writing style this proves it okay, you Darwinist liars!! I have evidence, now why the gatecrash??

I am a scientist at AiG!

Evolved Rationalist finally came along.

Creationist, you need to get back on your meds. You’re getting delirious.

Cetacea pointed out how crappy the evidence he provided was, and just how credible AiG scientists were with rational people, but… behold! The Creationist had more evidence!

This is my evidence:

1. The theistard word
2. Gene pool Nazi Darwinism!!!!
3. Science worshipping
4. Arrogant Darwinist Shalini!!!!!!

Quickly debunked by Cetacea.

1. The theistard word
… is a meme.
2. Gene pool Nazi Darwinism!!!!
Evolved and Rational is a Nazi? Shalini was a Nazi? You need evidence for THIS as well.
3. Science worshipping
Heh. I worship science too. I guess I must be Shalini.
4. Arrogant Darwinist Shalini!!!!!!
Granted, Evolved and Rational is arrogant (sorry) but so are loads of other bloggers.

Then came Evolved Rationalist again in a comment in which she said the shining quote now at the top of this post. But, Creationist was unsatisfied. He kept rambling about anti-God darwinist nazis. He redundantly said that because Evolved and Rational was pro-evolution and anti-God it was therefore run by Shalini. Cetacea gave him a link to Planet Atheism

but he still kept rambling. In a continued state of delirium he announced that he would start a blog.

Since nobody is listening to me here, yes it is SHALINI SEHKAR EXPOSED, I will start a blog to EXPOSE this lunatic mad DArwinist science worshipper of a LIAR for SCIENCE PERSECUTION to expose HER LIES!!

Cetacea wished him well…

*sigh*

Have fun with that. I have no objections to alleged AiG scientists wasting time that they could be spending polluting young minds. That is… if you are one…

The Evolved Rationalist told him off again.

Cretinous theistard, what makes you think that my real name is ‘Shalini Sehkar’? Why don’t you provide some evidence to your inane claims?

**I have a really liberal comment policy here, but further incoherant rantings from ‘creationist’ on this ‘real name’ issue will be deleted unless he/she/it comes up with actual evidence. Stop spamming and stick to the damn topic, will you, creationist?**

And then Creationist said possibly the stupidest thing possible if you’re trying to aggravate an Atheist.

Fine, I will leave, but I know the truth. I will pray for you. When I first heard that Shalini closed Scientia Natura I wished she died and went to hell to pay for all her blasphemy but I cannot stand that she is still here now LYING and GATECRASHING!!!!!!!!!!

Evolved Rationalist, you are just like Richard Dawkins, deserve each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Oh lordie! The Evolved Rationalist thanked him for the compliment. The Creationist was actually confused.

What compliment????????????????????????

An Anonymous person came along and posted this picture.

epic fail!

And Cetacea got the last comment of the whole amusing battle.

“What compliment????????????????????????”

What is it with you and excessive punctuation????????????????????????

As hilarious as that was to read, I think that the Creationist is a perfect example of somebody who’s very thoughts are reeking with propaganda from Expelled. It’s quite a shame that something like Expelled which has such poor logic has succeeded already in linking the words atheist, evolution, and Nazi. Creationist, AiG scientist or not, is just an example of what we will continue to see in greater numbers once the film is released. People convinced that all atheists are Nazis.

On the Expelled website they openly say that the entire premise of the film is “Many scenes are centered around the Berlin Wall, and Ben Stein being Jewish actually visits many death camps and death showers. In fact, Nazi Germany is the thread that ties everything in the movie together. Evolution leads to atheism leads to eugenics leads to Holocaust and Nazi Germany.”

As laughable as that is, the people who are sympathetic to the film, the people who are used to believing lies without asking for evidence, are just going to eat it right up and regurgitate it all over the place.

Horoscope

And… here’s your horoscope in no particular order for no particular reason.
Pisces- Drop the caffeine pipe, and come down from the ceiling to save whatever miserly shreds of dignity you have left.
Virgo- Exciting career changes are ahead! When they come, you will be unprepared and will surely languish and die in the workplace.
Aries- Somebody has a passionate crush on you and you will face temptation. If you cheat, the one you are with will lock you in a small space and force you to listen to Sanjaya.
Libra- Don’t vote for Nader. Please, for the love of reason, don’t.

Taurus- A trip to the gynecologist is necessary… even if you are a man.

Aquarius- The sorrows you face today are nothing compared to the downhill turn your life will take in the next month. If you thought that Hell would be bad…

Sagittarius- You’re being cheated on. Sorry.

Capricorn- Mercury is in retrograde and Venus is sending more vibrational energy which is going to cause quantum vibrations to cause quantum flux ignunce. If you’re trying to figure out what this means, stop. Put the horoscope down and go to an Anime store.

Cancer- If you write a check to me for $500 in the next five minutes, I can prevent your boyfriend from breaking up with you.

Scorpio- Jesus hates you. Get over it.

Leo- Avoid fruits and vegetables and increase your intake of sugar five fold. You’ll lose weight. Trust me.

Gemini- You’ll forget your meds sometime this week and will go on a shooting rampage.

Fitna Pulled from Internet. Again.

Alas, my Friday has been ruined by news brought to my attention by Chicken Girl.

I’m not sure if anything proves that Islam is fascist better than its ability to terrorize internet hosting providers into silencing the truth about it.

Fitna was a short 16 minute film made by a Dutch MP named Geert Wilder who wanted to expose Islam for the violent, anti-democratic religion that it is. His hosting provider, Network Solutions, pulled his website after hearing news that he was making it. But, it finally got released on Live Leak yesterday until… today. It just got pulled… again…

On top of that, everybody from overly-liberal commentors on online articles to the UN are denouncing it as ‘hate speech.’

Here’s the video on Google Video which survived for your viewing pleasure. It’s rather gruesome so it’s not for the faint hearted and viewer discretion is advised.

Fitna.

Again, this is people getting pissed off just because somebody is bad-mouthing some religion. If somebody made the same documentary about nazism, would it still get the same reaction?

You’ll notice in the documentary that he is not just making random hate speech directed at Muslims, he’s making a plea to Muslims to renounce the violent aspects of the Quran.

Of course, the Muslims are just sending violent threats to the people willing to keep it on the Internet which pretty much proves the thesis of the film.

Islam is proving itself to be violent and anti-freedom and they’re whining about hate speech?

Geesh…

The Most Useless Thing You Can Possibly Do for Your Business

Ask yourself this simple question. Is your brand in God’s good books?

Well, this is truly revolutionary. Christvertising!

They pray for your brand (presumably after you’ve paid them) so that it’ll look better in God’s eyes! They claim to control 1% of the 55% of Americans who pray. Why? Because “if God likes your brand, it will do better” of course!

Sudden thought here, but why would an omnipotent, omniscient being be swayed to like your brand better because us lowly humans were asking him to? Wouldn’t he already have his mind made up about whether or not the brand was good, and would it not matter how much persuasion you try to do? I’d think it’d be impotent if I allowed a bit of persuasive rhetoric to cause me to like McDonald’s over Chipotle.

Right then. Let’s just chuck it into the already mountainous pile of scams done for religious reasons and move on with our lives.

Update: I just got informed that it’s a satire. Thanks Rebecca for telling me sooner… FSM, my scepticism is in need of an overhaul.

Ignunt Fool of the Week!

Alright, provided I don’t forget, this will become a regular thing on my blog. Random facts are fun but hard to come up with. There is no end to the supply of ignunt fools. Even when I run into blog-writer’s-block, I will have a good superfluous supply of ignunt fools to point to… provided I don’t forget that I’m doing this. So, check back every Friday! Friday is a good day.

This week’s ignunt fool of the week is…

rock.jpg

Mike Hallet

See that rock he’s standing next to? That’s not actually a rock. That’s a Halletestoneion Zoria. In other words a rock sea dragon which apparently is 540 million years old. Around the skull, he also found several pointy rocks teeth which are made of calcite which is calcium proving that they are teeth!

And now I know what the inside of a rock Halletestoneion tooth looks like.

His book is a great work of science, filled with his analyses of the rocks Halletestoneions that are so advanced I can’t figure out how he came to those conclusions. A quote from it that bowled me over…

Shattering All previous records With Age And Size Halletestoneions are the worlds oldest Biology is Also the worlds most Advanced Biology.

It’s in his book. Seriously.

And now, I’ve gotta wonder… Even the people who see faces in the rocks on Mars (I see it too, and I don’t think much more of it than the smiley face crater) wouldn’t think that those rocks look remotely like dinosaur skulls (or would they?). This man is deluded not in the religious sense, but in the psychiatrist’s use of the word (though religious people can fall under the psychiatrist use too). Also, I doubt that this guy could do all this by himself. Somebody had to be holding the camera for him.

Does this man have friends? Do these friends know that he’s mentally disturbed? If so, it’s their responsibility to not allow him to dwell in his fantasies. They ought to get him the help he needs, however harmless his delusions might be to others.

Update: I think they’re serious. I took the liberty of e-mailing them and said…

I’m curious about how many people are working on this project with you, who they are, and how they got involved.

The reply…

Dear Fish, about 12 major contributers so far in time and money. They have had an open mind and field experience at the zoria graveyards. One must not dissmiss this discovery using dinosaur technology. The proof is in the repeating biological structures. We will soon post such specimens on the site. We have a current lab in Kaysville, Ut. for anyone who is serious about an in depth look and personalized explanation from Mike himself. We have had 5,000 hits from 57 countries on our web site the last 2 days. Ron McEwen, Hallettestoneion Research Project

I’m not sure how I should feel about being called ‘Fish.’