Fighting for a system built to fail

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Anti-science Republican Rep. Paul Broun is unopposed on the ballot for re-election to his U.S. Congress seat from Georgia. But Broun — the “lies from the pit of Hell” guy — is now facing a bipartisan challenge. Georgians who care about reality are waging a write-in campaign for Charles Darwin.

An ultraconservative congressman whose district includes the University of Georgia campus, Broun told a Baptist church last month that evolution, embryology and the Big Bang theory were lies spread by scientists out to erode people’s faith in Jesus Christ. He also claimed the Earth is roughly 9,000 years old, a view held by fundamentalist Christians based on biblical accounts of creation.

Now scientists are questioning whether Broun, a medical doctor and a Baptist from Athens, should serve on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee if he rejects widely accepted scientific ideas. And a talk radio host in nearby Atlanta is trying to rally voters to cast write-in votes for Darwin, the English naturalist who first published his theory of evolution in 1859.

Religious fundamentalists like Broun damage the Republican brand, said Neal Boortz, the libertarian-leaning radio host who has a strong following among Georgia conservatives.

“It makes Republicans look like knee-dragging, still-tending, tobacco-spitting Neanderthals,” Boortz said.

… The write-in campaign is tongue-in-cheek, said Jim Leebens-Mack, a plant biologist at the University of Georgia who started the Facebook page. But its supporters hope Darwin gets enough votes to pressure Republicans into removing Broun from a leadership post on the House science committee.

“I’d think the Republican Party would want to put a serious legislator in this seat rather than have Paul Broun,” Leebens-Mack said.

(Via Raw Story)

* * * * * * * * *

“The Creation Museum — you will never find a more wretched hive of dumb and villainy …”

Seth Andrews and a group of skeptics visit Ken Ham’s Creation Museum in Kentucky and share what they learned. I believe in God and I love the Bible, but I agree with nearly all of what Andrew & Friends say in this video. (And boy does Andrews ever have a great voice for narrating videos.)

* * * * * * * * *

Today is my wife’s birthday, and also my dad’s. Tomorrow is my oldest daughter’s. In all the excitement, I completely forgot all about Tuesday’s big day — according to Bishop Ussher, October 23 is the birthday of the universe. So let me wish a belated happy 6016th birthday, to everything.

Ussher, patron saint of young-earth creationists, “calculated” that the universe was created in 4004 B.C. — or, roughly 5,000 years after the city of Jericho was settled. So according to Ussher’s “math,” that makes the universe a mere 6,016 years old. (Sure, every piece of evidence from everything makes it look much older — closer to 14 billion years old, but it’s not polite on someone’s birthday to mention that they look so much older than their age.)

How does one commemorate the birthday of the universe? It’s too late to send a card … and yet the card is already there. Whoa.

For the record, Ussher’s chronology pegs the birth of the universe as 6 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 23, 4004 BCE.

I imagine that must have been quite startling to the people of Jericho. Or maybe they just didn’t notice. The people of Jericho could be really oblivious like that — such as 1,655 years later, according to Ussher’s figures, when they completely failed to notice that the entire world had been destroyed in Noah’s flood.

Quite seriously, Jericho has been continuously inhabited for 11,000 years and its history as a human habitation older than young-earth creationists can accept is indisputable. It is there and it is real and it is old — a fact that can cause a serious crisis for young-earth creationists visiting from America.

  • Loki100
  • Jeremy Mejia

    Surprised you didn’t include a link to this in the last section:

    EDIT: Loki100 beat me to it.

  • Kiba

    (And boy does Andrews ever have a great voice for narrating videos.)

    Yes, yes he does. And that wonderful voice makes the line, “and the whole world went to shit.” That actually made me laugh out loud. I also loved the dinosaur at the end with the saddle.

    Also, Happy Birthday to your wife, father, and daughter.

  • Baby_Raptor

    My birthday was the 20th. Yay, October birthdays!

    And happy birthday to your wife, daughter and dad. I hope their days are/were awesome. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/jrandyowens Randy Owens

    My dad’s birthday too, as it so happens.  I’m pretty sure he hasn’t hit the big 6,016 yet, though.  And happy birthday to your kinfolk, Fred.

  • Matri

    “These two people made in his image do not know how to communicate, lack
    skills in both mathematics and farming, and have the intellectual
    capacity of an infant,” one Sumerian philosopher wrote. “They must be
    the creation of a complete idiot.”

    *roflmao*

  • Mks Mary

    6 pm on 10/23? I don’t know about you, but in my high school chemistry class, we celebrated 10/23 as Mole Day. Because 6*10^23 just happens to be the number of molecules in one mole of a substance… We celebrated by decorating stryfoam moles.

    But, really it’s a number that tells you what the weight of a proton or a neutron is. So, you know, pretty fundamental.

    It must mean something that Bishop Ussher thought the universe was invented, not just on 10/23, but at 6 on 10/23… Maybe God was trying to explain to him something about how the universe was created, as opposed to when, and poor Ussher just got confused and misinterpreted the number that God mentioned. Like, Ussher just wasn’t paying enough attention in God’s chemistry class, and didn’t exactly understand why God wanted him to celebrate Mole Day.

  • PurpleAardvaark

    I will remember to put that in my calendar but, like Spencer Tracy (Inherit the Wind), I’m a little shaky on the time zone. And 3 cheers for The Low Anthem.

  • rrhersh

    Is that October 23 date for the creation of the universe old calendar or new?  It would be pretty ironic if it were new, but if it is old, we may still have a chance to celebrate it.  Or perhaps it went by three weeks or so earlier.  I can never keep that straight.

  • Kirala

    Drat it. I thought the world was created at 9 AM, because God likes to get work done early in the morning when he’s feeling fresh. But Wikipedia tells me that it was not Ussher but some guy named Lightfoot who came up with that, and that Lightfoot also changed the date.

    Forget both of them. I’m trusting Agnes Nutter, whose work clearly indicates that the world was created October 21st.

  • http://thecosmicdance.dreamwidth.org/ SB

    Archaeologists working in New England recently discovered the remains of  a paleo indian campsite.  http://www.newhampshirelakesandmountains.com/Articles-c-2010-08-03-151753.113119_New_PaleoIndian_site_discovered.html

    http://averyremoteperiodindeed.blogspot.com/2010/06/new-paleoindian-site-in-keene-nh.html

    Even America had people before Young Earth Creationists think the earth was created.

  • David Evans

    I liked your story about the YEC in Jericho. Two things struck me:

    “the skewed arithmetic of the infamous Bishop Usher,”

    That’s unfair. Even if his arithmetic was dubious (I haven’t checked) he was right to think that the Bible’s timescale is of the order of 6000 years. His mistake was in taking the Bible too literally – as many people have done.

    “then he was able to set about the hard but necessary task of deciding for himself just what it was he really believed.”

    No doubt that’s what he did. But shouldn’t he have set about the even harder task of finding out for himself what was really true?

  • Lunch Meat

    Happy birthday to your family! My husband and his twin’s birthday is Monday, and their dad’s birthday is Halloween. Busy week for us.

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Actually, the Ubaidians. The Sumerians did not replace the Ubaidians in S. Mesopotamia until the fourth millennium  BC. Also, there was no writing in the fifth milennium or early fourth milennium BC, so the Onion article’s point is somewhat weakened by its including Sumerian tablets.

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/joe-hill-sung-by-paul-robeson.html Murfyn

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_house-ussher.htmlThis links (for free) to the text of an article about Bishop Ussher, written by Stephen Jay Gould.

  • Jurgan

    I can understand how he came up with the year.  The date is a stretch but I’ll accept.  But how in the young world does he know what time of day it was?

  • http://ifindaudio.blogspot.com/2010/02/joe-hill-sung-by-paul-robeson.html Murfyn

    No, this links (for free) to the text of an article about Bishop Ussher, written by Stephen Jay Gould.

    http://www.stephenjaygould.org/library/gould_house-ussher.html

  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Jericho has been continuously inhabited for 11,000 years

    -Certainly not Tell es-Sultan proper! If one takes a simple look at any encyclopedia of archaeology describing the history of Jericho/Tell es-Sultan, one will easily see that Jericho/Tell es-Sultan was abandoned once in the PPNA, twice in the PPNB, throughout the entire Chalcolithic (post-Wadi Rabah), four times in the Bronze Age, and during the early 2nd millennium AD. See http://www.lasapienzatojericho.it/padis/maps . Simply put, there were no people living in Jericho proper in 4004 BC. If Fred is meaning the Jericho oasis, then why does he not use those words?

  • P J Evans

    6:22, yes?

  • Runic

    Yeah, as Stephen J. Gould pointed out, Bishop Ussher was working in a long established and respected intellectual tradition, using the best evidence available to him at the time.   None of us could have come up with a better answer than him under the circumstances.  He’s not at fault, the people who insist on holding on to his conclusions despite centuries of better data and scientific methodology are.

  • Mks Mary

    6:02, I think. But Bishop Ussher could hardly be expected to get that kind of resolution out of studying all those begats…

  • Victor

     
     
    Very Deep Video!

    Hey Fred! “IT” seems like “IT” was just yesterday when me, myself and i complemented you on your wedding when I use to visit your old blog and forgive me for not having stayed around to ask ya how your honey moon went but there was so much for me to do if ya know what I mean and so little time cause we know how time can fly or do we?

    OK Victor! “IT” is my turn NOW! Fred forgive me for not taking you and your wife on a trip in my time machine but long story short back then Victor blew my nose and then he blew my mind if ya get my drift and you being a god would know what “I’M WHO I AM” means and that a moment for U>S (usual sinning) gods is timeless and we gods can get awful jealous NOW! Fred why is “IT” that some Christians know this and don’t tell me that “Faith” is that strong cause animals are closer to U>S (usual sinning gods) and because of that we’ve made them closer to U>S by giving them a ratio of Victor’s Jesus 7% cells as far as human age are concern and those who don’t believe me simply need to talk to Darwin’s Soul and if his soul won’t answer ya just ask his spirit.

    Look Fred I’ve got to go NOW butt we have to find a way to work out this little jealousy that is taking place and yes I must conceed that you NOW have a rosary glog chapel and the angels have burnt Victor chapel, “I’M” not giving UP to you yet if ya know what “I” mean cause there can only be “ONE” and Victor’s so called 7% “Jesus Cells” have been co-operating somewhat with me and long story short, his cells have been crying to GOD his so called Good Old Dad and thank U>S gods that He really doesn’t really exist.

    God Bless and Peace to you and your readers

    Very Deep Video!

    Hey Fred! “IT” seems like “IT” was just yesterday when me, myself and i complemented you on your wedding when I use to visit your old blog and forgive me for not having stayed around to ask ya how your honey moon went but there was so much for me to do if ya know what I mean and so little time cause we know how time can fly or do we?

    OK Victor! “IT” is my turn NOW! Fred forgive me for not taking you and your wife on a trip in our time machine but long story short back then Victor blew my nose and then he blew my mind if ya get my drift and you being a god would know what “I’M WHO I AM” means and that a moment for U>S (usual sinning) gods is timeless and we gods can get awful jealous NOW! Fred why is “IT” that some Christians know this and don’t tell me that “Faith” is that strong cause animals are closer to U>S (usual sinning gods) and because of that we’ve made them closer to U>S by giving them a ratio of Victor’s Jesus 7% cells as far as human age is concern and those who don’t believe me simply need to talk to Darwin’s Soul and if his soul won’t answer ya just ask some of his spiritual cells.

    Look Fred I’ve got to go NOW butt we have to find a way to work out this little jealousy that is taking place between U>S gods and yes I must conceed that you NOW have a rosary blog chapel and the angels have burnt Victor chapel down butt “I’M” not giving UP to you yet if ya know what “I” mean cause there can only be “ONE” and Victor’s so called 7% “Jesus Cells” have been co-operating somewhat with me and long story short, his cells have been crying to GOD his so called Good Old Dad butt thank U>S gods that HE really doesn’t truly exist if ya get me drift? :) 

    God Bless and Peace to you and your readers

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOAjAWToYMI

  • Ursula L

    A write in campaign for Charles Darwin?  Couldn’t they find an actual candidate to organize a write-in for, and maybe get the ignorant fool out of power?  

  • http://dumas1.livejournal.com/ Winter

     Alas, the pocket of sensible people who’d vote for such a candidate is only a small part of Broun’s district. He has enough wingnut constituents elsewhere to not give a damn what he sounds like to a relatively liberal college town.

  • Raj1point618

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Fred’s Wife and Fred’s Dad! An early HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Fred’s Daughter!

    My birthday is a week from now: November 3.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    It must mean something that Bishop Ussher thought the universe
    was invented, not just on 10/23, but at 6 on 10/23… Maybe God was
    trying to explain to him something about how the universe was created, as opposed to when,
    and poor Ussher just got confused and misinterpreted the number that
    God mentioned. Like, Ussher just wasn’t paying enough attention in God’s
    chemistry class, and didn’t exactly understand why God wanted him to
    celebrate Mole Day.

    Well, given that Ussher probably lived before Amedeo Avogadro, chances are he simply missed the significance of the fundamental quantity inserted into that date (to three sig. figs anyway :P )

  • AnonymousSam

    Echoed what I was about to say, which is:

    “It makes Republicans look like knee-dragging, still-tending, tobacco-spitting Neanderthals,” Boortz said.

    So long as knee-dragging, still-tending, tabacco-spitting Neanderthals keep getting voted into office, suggesting a majority of the people of a particular area endorse these beliefs, then I have a difficult time not seeing them as exactly what they appear to be.

    It’s very troubling that there are so many Republicans who act as though these politicians just usurped the office seats, somehow kicking out the reasonable, rational people who were sitting there until just a moment ago. They call you RINOs — “Republican In Name Only.” You are the exception now, not them.

    In the words of Jerry Falwell,

    “Our goal has been achieved…The religious right is solidly in place and…religious conservatives in America are now in for the duration.

  • http://stealingcommas.blogspot.com/ chris the cynic

    Happy Birthday to your wife, who I have met, and your daughter, who I have not.

    As for the universe, …uh, predating the sun and all kind of makes the whole, “The earth is approximately in the same place relative to the sun as it was the day you were born,” not really work.  No offence, universe, but I don’t think you have a birthday.  Celebrate any day you like, I’ve got no objections.  Have a happy existence.

  • P J Evans

     You have a point there…. (It’s more than 35 years since ( was in chemistry. I guess I can claim memory rot.)

  • Dan Audy

    In this case a write-in candidate who doesn’t exist is more useful.  His district is ridiculously republican and would elect a ham sandwich if it were on the ballot with a (R).  A genuine candidate could be written off as a loser who could barely scrape together the few thousand votes as a write-in.  A non-candidate on the other hand is a much more useful form of protest vote if one understands that your vote isn’t going to count anyway.

  • Tricksterson

    Hello, I represent the Neanderthal Anti-Defamation League.  Here’s a supoena.  They’re suing you for comparing them to the Republican Right.  Mr. Boortz has already gotten his.

  • Joshua

    Stephen Jay Gould is a great essayist as well as a great scientist, and well worth the read. He’s also clearly named after Homer Simpson.

  • http://timothy.green.name/ Timothy (TRiG)

    Happy birthday to Fred’s family and universe.

     Also, the Earth’s a Libra.

    TRiG.


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