Jack Chick is dead…

image_1477796812_44571917I can’t believe I hadn’t heard about this already but apparently the infamous Jack Chick, author of those vile little sooo bad they’re almost good cartoon religious tacts that you would sometimes find stucked under a windshield wiper on your car, or laying in a parking lot after someone pulled it out from under their windshield wiper and threw it on the ground… Yeah those, died last Sunday (10-23-2016) at the age of 92.

There were so many “great” tracts, like Dark Dungeons that attacked the game Dungeons and Dragons and in which Chick claimed that D&D could lead you to practicing actual, for reals, black magic.

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But of course for me the pièce de résistance was his antievolution tract, Big Daddy, wherein we read the story of an intrepid young creationist student who schools his teacher on how foolish and wrong evolution is, concluding with the teacher leaving head hung low in disgrace. Hilarious!prof-quits

Ah well, bye Jack, Big Daddy will always hold a special place in my… in my… ah, well, bye Jack and my condolences to his loved ones.

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Does intelligent design “theory” lack a mechanism?

No, says the Discovery Institute’s Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture’s resident attack Chihuahua Casey Luskin (and, yes, I’m stealing that John), who reports that he was recently confronted with this question at a talk he had given:

Last month I spoke at the University of Arkansas, and during the Q&A, a skeptic complained that ID theory lacks a “mechanism.” I explained that intelligent agency itself functions in that role, serving as a known cause / mechanism which produces high levels of complex and specified information (CSI).

[Snip a bunch of slides with various quotes from Luskin’s fellow Discoveroid (stealing that too) Stephen Meyer that don’t add anything to this discussion.]

[…] Intelligent agency, therefore, is a mechanism which we can observe and understand in the world around us, and from those observations we know it alone is capable of producing high CSI. But the skeptic wasn’t satisfied with this argument. He insisted what ID lacks is a mechanism that, at the direction of an intelligent agent, could be capable of instantiating information, or design, in the real world.

And this unnamed skeptic was correct. Intelligent design creationists prattle on endlessly about “complex specified information” in nature and how they think that “an intelligence” is required to explain it but they never explain how this “CSI” gets from the mind of their “designer” (wink, wink) to the features of the natural world it is supposedly intended to explain. In other words, even if we were to grant their source of “CSI” they’ve got nothing to offer on where the rubber actually hits the road.

As we spoke after the talk, I asked him, “Why should it be so hard to believe that intelligent agents can implement their designs in the real world? After all, we see intelligent agents manipulating the information in DNA all the time.”

Yes we do Casey. Intelligent agents who are physical beings with physical brains, physically manipulating physical DNA with physical tools.

As the skeptic was a philosopher, he was apparently unaware of the burgeoning field of genetic engineering, where biologists manipulate the information in DNA to produce new biological functions. Unfortunately, this hardened ID critic was probably still not convinced after I explained that it’s easy to believe intelligent agents might have ways of implementing their designs in the natural world — since we see it happening, reported in the scientific literature on a regular basis. This new research discussed in Nature News shows exactly how intelligent agents can manipulate information in DNA to create new structures and functions. There is no reason, in principle, why an intelligent agency must lack a mechanism for implementing designs in the natural world.

And if we ask these physical genetic engineers what mechanisms they use to manipulate physical DNA they won’t respond by merely pointing out that they are intelligent agents and that that fact should tell you all you need to know about the process.

This is the same fallacy that ID creationists engage in when they liken their ideas to the SETI (Search of Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) program. “SETI is looking for signs of intelligence” they say, “we’re doing the same thing.”. But just as with the genetic engineers we are talking about physical ET’s, ostensibly with physical transmitters, sending out signals propagated via some part of physical electromagnetic spectrum.

The reason for all this obtuse deflection about genetic engineers (and aliens) and tedious repetition about “CSI” is that the actual answer to the question of what the mechanism for intelligent design is that it is magic.

Their “intelligent designer” is God (everyone knows this); and God implemented his designs through unknowable miraculous means, end of story.

However, if they were to divulge this they know would lose their pretense of doing science and would be admitting to the fact that what they are actually engaging in is apologetics.

Reference

Luskin, Casey (1012) “Responding to the Challenge that Intelligent Design Lacks a “Mechanism”“, evolutionnews.org (blog) downloaded on 5-27-2012

[Hat tip to The Sensuous Curmudgeon.]

U.N. attack on freedom of speech

As reported on the Lou Dobbs program (with an interview of Christopher Hitchens) the United Nations is trying to pass a binding resolution to encourange member states to ban criticisms of religion (especially Islam). As far as I’m concerned the U.N. can stick any such resolution up their collective asses.

Do we really need to listen to lectures from this collection of tin-pot dictatorships (who think nothing of committing untold numbers of  human rights violations  against their own peoples) about the ‘horrors’ of possibly causing offense to  someones delicate religious sensibilities?

It’s even worse than listening to Bush prattle on about defending freedom and liberty while holding people indefinitely without trial (torturing many of them) and wiretapping his fellow citizens without benefit of warrant (just to scratch the surface).

[Via Pharyngula, though unlike P.Z. I don’t find Dobbs to be “odious” even if I  don’t agree with him on everything.]

“Creedocide”, very funny

Vodpod videos no longer available.

[Via Pharyngula]

Vow of Chastity Raffle

To make (not much of) a living I work as a small printing press operator and as you might imagine I’ve printed all sorts of things over the years. Last year we had some raffle tickets come through the shop that amused me (I just found a copy of the tickets I had saved while straightening up my office).

The tickets were for a Vow of Chastity Raffle Extravaganza“.

This “extravaganza” was put on by a local Christian ministry (no surprise there) to “celebrate” their “vows of celibacy”. Now I find this sort of thing to be rather odd myself and a tad amusing in and of itself, however what was  really funny, at least to me, was one of the things listed as a possible prize to be won in the raffle:

A queen sized bed (in a bag).

Is giving someone who is trying to remain celibate a portable bed really a good idea?


Well I thought it was funny.

McDonald’s + the gays = we are all going to die!

As Ed Brayton reported the other day on Dispatches from the Culture Wars, the “conservatives” over at Worldnutdaily have been “throwing a fit” because one of McDonald’s executives (Richard Ellis, vice president of communications) was elected to the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, and because McDonald’s is a corporate partner with the NGLCC. Oh the horror!

But “throwing a fit” is not a strong enough term for what is going on over at Pro-Existence the blog of Rick and Nancy Pearcey (Nancy is one of the top brass in the intelligent design crowd). Here is Rick’s “measured” reaction to McDonald’s actions:

Read on»

Oh, the horror!

The Atheist Apocalypse is upon us!!!
[Via Pharyngula, you know, P. Z. Mizerz blog.]