Tuesday, 31 March 2009

Tuesday 31/03/09

Joy from Texas happened to alight on my site yesterday and left the following comment: “As a Texan I'm proud that our state has stepped up to inform students not just of the Theories of Evolution but also to expose them of a Creationist Teaching. What is everyone so afraid of? I believe the Biblical account of creation.”

Joy, what I’m afraid of is unsubstantiated opinion, as that’s all it is, being passed off as science and a whole generation of students thinking creationism has any validity as such - otherwise why would it be in the science curriculum? By all means teach creationism in religious studies or the history of philosophy, but there is not one shred of evidence or science behind it, so it cannot by any stretch of the imagination be a part of a science course in any modern society.

If you do want to teach creationism then you must also respect other creation myths, which have equal validity as a metaphor, and teach them also. Elephants all the way down, as they say. I have no problem with that, so long as it’s left in the religious education curriculum. Evolution (or the modern synthesis), on the other hand, has overwhelming evidence to support it to the extent it is accepted as fact by any rational thinker, including the leaders of every major Christian sect.

If you choose to ignore all the evidence and remain convinced Texans haven’t evolved, then that’s your choice. I suppose George Bush does kind of support your theory.

I’ve just become aware of a new board game that’s sweeping the market. It’s called Vatican. Make sure you get yours for Easter.

This is an extract from the reviews. QUOTE:

AT THE ROLL of a dice a cardinal's chances of becoming Pope can be boosted or destroyed. That's the scenario in the impeccably researched board game Vatican, in which players take the role of cardinals vying for the throne of St Peter.

During the course of their "careers", players "Take a Stand" on weighty theological and moral issues, including contraception, clerical celibacy or the campaign to have the Virgin Mary proclaimed co-redeemer. The race begins as soon as the previous papacy ends, sometimes in bizarre circumstances. "The Pope dies when the popemobile rolls over after hitting a truck carrying bananas. Your earlier warnings that the popemobile was unstable are now seen as evidence of your sound judgment and you gain additional support," reads one card.

Players must seek to climb the ladder to spiritual perfection while simultaneously avoiding the "Cesspool of Sin", by not, for example, committing the "Sin of Gluttony: at a papal banquet, you have three helpings of cannelloni". Thankfully these sins can always be expiated with a trip to the confessional.


Rabid racist, actor Sir David Jason, has been forced to apologise for a joke he made on Absolute Radio. Despite no complaints having been made to the station, an Absolute spokeswoman said the joke was "unacceptable". She continued: "We consider the views of our listeners to be very important and have received no complaints about these comments.” What!?

The joke was what do you call a Pakistani cloakroom attendant? Jason’s punchline was the aged and superannuated Mahatma Coat.

Now I’m not surprised this joke was considered highly offensive – everyone knows Mahatma is an Indian term for a spiritual adept and not a Pakistani name. No doubt Muslim leaders the world over will boycott re-runs of ‘A Touch of Frost’ and ‘The Darling Buds of May’, calling for a fatwah against our living national treasure.

Sir David Jason

Mahatma Coat was not apparently available for comment.

I got this joke from an Indian site and deny all responsibility for it:

Two guys, an Indian and a Pakistani, are out walking together one day. They come across a lantern and when they rub it a Genie pops out.
'I will give you each one wish, that's two wishes total,' says the Genie.
The Pakistani said, 'I want a wall around Pakistan so that no neighbours or infidels can come into our land.' With a blink of the Genie's eye, 'POOF' there was a huge wall around Pakistan.
'Hmmmm', the Indian asks, 'I'm very curious. Please tell me more about this wall.' The Genie explains, 'Well, it's about 150 feet high, 50 feet thick and completely surrounds Pakistan. Nothing can get in or out.'
So the Indian says, 'Fill it up with water.'

To redress the balance, I got this one from a Pakistani site:

American scientists dug 50 metres under the ground and discovered small pieces of copper. After studying these pieces for a long time America announced that the ancient Americans 25,000 years ago had a nationwide telephone network...

Naturally the government of India was not that easily impressed. They ordered their own scientists to dig even deeper. 100 metres down, they found small pieces of Glass and they soon announced that the ancient Indians 35,000 years ago already had a nationwide fibrenet.

Pakistani scientists were outraged. They dug 50, 100 and 200 metres underground but found absolutely nothing. The scientists concluded that the ancient Pakistanis had wireless systems.

Tesco is opening banks at some 30 outlets. Rumours suggest that the bosses will get bonuses in the form of 30m Nectar points.
West Midlands Labour MEP Michael Cashman says he will raise the hole in the pension fund of pottery firm Waterford Wedgwood with the government. While he’s at it he should also highlight the crack in their marketing and examine the chip in their remuneration policy, although his eyes may glaze over.

Local communities in England and Wales are to be given the chance to decide what punishments offenders sentenced to community service orders should face. It is believed that the options include;

• Being pelted with rotten vegetables in the stocks,
• A good thrashing with a horse whip,
• Appearing in the next Big Brother series,
• Being branded, or
• Getting a job.

Canadian researchers have discovered that an electronic spy network, based mainly in China, has infiltrated computers from government offices around the world. The UK government is understandably worried, as it could undermine the entire parliamentary expenses system by opening it to Chinese scrutiny.

I hear that the Argentinians are wanting to open up old wounds again in respect of the Malvinas (aka the Falklands). Gordon Brown has stated that they’re not up for negotiation, unless Argentina is willing to fund UK MPs’ expenses, in which case he’s sure a deal could be done. Brown emphasised the importance of self-determination, on the basis of which Cuba has just lodged a territorial claim on Miami. I wonder if the Argentinians would accept Hull instead?

A scheme to improve attendance and behaviour at schools in Wales is to be unveiled by the Welsh Assembly government. Organisers are just hoping that someone from the Welsh Assembly will actually turn up to talk about it.

This one’s a bit old, but a famous and respected judge in Australia has been caught out telling a series of porkies in an attempt to get out of a speeding fine which would have cost him a few quid. His fibs grew into lies which grew into perverting the course of justice, resulting in a two year jail term and his reputation being trashed. He claimed someone else, currently living in America, had been driving his car, but it was discovered that this other person had been dead for 3 years. He then went on to compound the error by saying it was another person of the same name, who also turned out to be dead. He even implicated his mother. It was when he claimed to be God that the authorities became a tad suspicious, as God doesn’t drive.

The Commission for Catholic Education has given the go-ahead for Catholic grammar schools in Northern Ireland to set entrance exams. I should imagine that pupils will be tested on their ability to suspend belief in the laws of physics as well as their ability to unquestioningly obey medieval notions of morality and not use condoms. There is an incentive to passing – if you fail you’re burned at the stake as a heretic.

Irish Grammar Schools Entrance Exam Orals

"No, I said revolution, not evolution."

Brother Ignatius concluded that Matron’s innovative hiccups cure would never work on O'Grady Minor.

Members of the Religious Studies faculty prepare for the new intake.


Jinksy said...

What a lovely start to my day - never mind the world...Boom or Bible, that is....

Chairman Bill said...

Jinksy: Seems I've already attracted one 'Unfunny'from an addict having a humour bypass.

The Irascible Fairy said...

I get so fed up and annoyed by the foolishness promulgated by this wretched blog – I really don’t know why I read it at all – BUT – Joy has it absolutely right - if you add up the generations of the Bible, and the Bible is the word of God, we come to 5700-plus years, from that it is so, so obvious that God put the fossils in the ground and juggled the light arriving from distant galaxies to make the world appear to be billions of years old. Now God loves us – in fact he loves us so much that if we don’t have faith in him and don’t have faith in him creating the universe about 5700 years ago – Archbishop Ussher says October 24th 4004 BC – then he, God, will express that supreme love by burning us for all eternity. So well done Joy - I'm with you - let's teach Young Earth creationism as science.

Richard x x x

Chairman Bill said...

Richard - now you're just being contentious, you old atheist! So you're the Mystery Grump!

The Irascible Fairy said...

Moi! No No - I am sweet, adorable and agnostic! No faith positions for me - or that bloody teapot!

Richard x x x

Kat said...

I have come to the conclusion that everyone needs to get a sense of humor and tell off colour jokes as much as possible. If you can't at least laugh at the stereotypes of your culture than really, you are too sensitive.

The Irascible Fairy said...

But Kat - the stereotypes of my (our?) culture are not worthy of laughter - they make me want to weep!

Richard x

Chairman Bill said...

Richard : That would have to be Anglo-American, as Kat hails from the USA.

Chairman Bill said...

Oh God - I've got 'Free Calls Pakistan' as an advert now!

kapgaf said...

Ok, I’ve got
1 New Scientist – 40% off
2 Creation or Evolution? Is evolution just a theory? You can prove creation. Order free booklet
3 Intelligent design facts. Scientific discoveries support ID Read these fascinating articles Y-origins.com
4 Life Science. Beaker Online Community Build your Career in Life Sciences.

1 – In a recession, it’s better to have 60% of something than 10% of nothing.
2 – The site is crappy and I still don't see how a free booklet is going to make me able to prove creation.
3 – Fascinating is not the word I would use to describe the articles on this site.
4 – "career in life sciences". Isn't that an oxymoron ?

You will note that I clicked on two of the links so I reckon that you owe me about a teaspoon of coffee.

As for today’s post, well I found it quite Joyful and I think the IF is being very unkind in poking fun at someone who believes that there is someone who takes responsibility for George Bush. And I note that the IF while denying the existence of BR’s teapot (no, not the rail company teapots in which they used to bring you tea in the morning on the sleeper from Penzance to Paddington - but perhaps those teapots no longer exist.) says nothing about the Spaghetti Monster. Heretic !

Michael Cashman is obviously all fired up but I am sure that we will discover he has feet of clay.

Vatican sounds like fun but I’d really like to see the full set of rules : can you buy indulgences, have rivals excommunicated, is there a get out of boring rituals free card ?

I liked the captions but that last picture really took me by surprise because, as many of us will remember, NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Char said...

"It was when he claimed to be God that the authorities became a tad suspicious, as God doesn’t drive." And, now there is one less- respected judge in Australia.

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Has anyone yet proved he does not drive - I thnk he might have a license, see: http://www.myspace.com/godtaxidriver

The Irascible Fairy said...

Of course he drives - he's omnipotent - takes his own teapot with him too!

Richard x x x

The Irascible Fairy said...

Why am I getting an advert for a Bad Breath remedy?

Richard -

Chairman Bill said...

Kapgaf: I keep getting that Atheist Riddle one too. Pure pseudoscience. If there was a proof, then all they have to do is write a scientific paper, get it peer reviewed and publish. The fact is it's bunkum and wouldn't pass first base as a proof.

Char: You mean there are some respected ones there?

Woman: You have a point.

IR: The Breath of God?

kapgaf said...

Oops, forgot to vote (sorry Bill, shiver me barnacles and all that),
I have an ad for Dynamic Concept Mapping - it's an ad for software that does what your brain does but on computer in and obviously takes far longer because you have to drag and drop and I often drop well before I've finished dragging !
Wow, Mr Chairman, if I carry on like this, before you know it, you're going to owe me a whole tablspoon of coffee)

Chairman Bill said...

Kapgaf: Wouldn't it be quicker and easier to use one's brain?

kapgaf said...

Well that's what I said, diddle I ?

Joy said...

Didn't know after one visit I'd make the opening line of your long post. :)
(whew, glad I was at the beginning and not the end as some may not make it that far) ;)

The State of Texas is correct to present both the theory of evolution and creation science to students. Very simple. I really don't understand why people are so opposed to this. The school is not there to tell a student what to believe concerning this, but to present these two predominate views of how this universe, earth and people, plants and animals came into existence.
I don't claim to be a scholar or be able to match the variety of thought presented on this blog and I shall not try.
I do believe one of the sad side effects of teaching evolution only is that people do not value life. If life evolved and there wasn't a Creator who created their inmost being and knit a person together in his mother womb (Psalm 139:13). Then why value life.
I just look at the variety of animals that we have and can't imagine that they all evolved from whatever evolutionist believe they evolved from. I'll stick with Genesis 1:25 and on to Genesis 1:26-27 when it comes to people.
I know it does take faith to believe that, but faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. Once again, it comes back to the Bible.

Joy from Texas

The Irascible Fairy said...

Dear Joy from Texas - I was going to respond to your latest comment - then I realised that there was little or any point - after all you are quoting from the bible to prove the bible! I was going to ask you for one tiny little bit of objective evidence to prove your creationism - but then I realised that if you had that little bit of objectiveness you would have already used it.

I was also going to ask you why you (and your cohorts in Texas)decided that the particular creation theory you teach as science was the right one - after all there are thousands - there is even two slightly different ones in Genesis.

Finally I was going to ask you that if I accept the idea of an intelligent designer (is that god?) then in its universe the most complicated and wonderful thing must be that Intelligent Designer - in fact so complicated and wonderful it could only have come about by intelligent design - So I was going to ask you if you thought that there were Intelligent Designers all the way down? Perhaps an infinite number.

Richard x x x

kapgaf said...

Dear Joy,
There is lots of proof that being taught only religion has the sad side effect that people don't value life. However, I would very much like to know what proof you have that teaching only evolution has the same one.
I believe (no pun intended) that many of us who visit this blog have only been taught evolution and yet we still value life (even if the quizzical look is used from time to time to devastating effect on believers and there are sporadic outbreaks of severe sarcasm).
Thanks in advance.