2.24.2012

12 Headlines That Prove We're Living In Bizarro World

If I had a nickel for every time I heard a news story over the past 12 months that seemed like something out of a dystopian political mockumentary, I would have joined the ranks of the 1 percent by now.

While shocking, we become numb to these stories after a while. Like glitter-bombings on the GOP campaign trail, we just brush them off and go on about our business.

But, for just a minute, try to take yourself back in time -- even just a few years -- and try to forget everything you know now. Imagine the shock you'd experience upon reading the following headlines:

Conservative Voters Boo Ron Paul's 'Golden Rule' (Yahoo! News, Jan 19, 2012)

Bill Would Ban Aborted Fetuses in Food (ABC News, Jan 26, 2012)

Okla. Senate Gives 'Personhood' to Embryos (ABC News, Feb 16, 2012)

An American soldier booed at GOP debate (Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sept 23, 2011)

Tea Party Debate Audience Cheered Idea of Letting Uninsured Patients Die (ABC News, Sep 13, 2011)

Santorum backer suggests aspirin as birth control (USA Today, Feb 16, 2012)

GOP Debate Audience Boos Contraception (Dallas Morning News, Feb 22, 2012)

Mitt Romney Declares “Corporations Are People” (Time, Aug 11, 2011)

Santorum in '08: "Satan is attacking" America (CBS News, Feb 21, 2012)

Megadeth rocker endorses Rick Santorum for president (Patriot News, Feb 16, 2012)

Dick Cheney lobbied for Maryland gay marriage measure (NY Daily News, Feb. 18, 2012)

John Edwards sex tape to be destroyed (News & Observer, Feb 24)



We are truly living in strange times.



2.23.2012

Ken Ham: The Battle Over Genesis, Literal Adam & Eve, Really Heating Up

Ken Ham claims there's a war on Adam & Eve. As the founder of Answers In Genesis and the man behind the Creation Museum, you kind of expect him to say that. His livelihood, after all, depends on it.

Ken Ham: founder, house of cards
Ham spoke to the Christian Post:
"One of the things that we see happening in the Christian culture is that the battle over Genesis – the literal Adam and Eve, the literal fall – is really heating up," said Ham, who leads what is considered the largest biblical apologetics ministry in the United States. "Not just the battle over the age of the earth, between creationists and evolutionists, but now it's gone onto a battle over literal Adam and Eve, their literal fall."

The opponents are "getting much more involved, and really challenging the Church to take a stand on God's way to Genesis," which he stressed as "the foundation for the rest of the Bible."

"That history is the foundation for every doctrine."

If there is no literal Adam and Eve, then why are men sinners, Ham asks. Where did sin come from? Why did Jesus die? "Once we reject Adam and Eve, the rest of the scriptures fall like dominoes," he added.

They sure do, Ken.

Well, they do if they read the Bible as a scientific and historical document, something that most people do not do. (Three in 10 Americans take the Bible literally -- still an unfortunate number of people.)

Ham believes that too many churches are teaching that Bible stories are just that -- stories.

When I teach children I tell them: 'The Bible is a very special book. It's the history book of the universe,'" he explained. "This is history, it's not just stories." Ham also sees the churches approach to teaching the Bible as stories as the reason for young people leaving church. They are being taught that church is not the "real stuff."

he outspoken apologist is a controversial figure, even within the Christian community. He has attracted criticism from other apologists for what many view as more extreme views. For example, Ham believes that the universe is relatively new and that it was created about 6,000 years ago. He also believes that dinosaurs co-existed with modern humans, which is illustrated at AiG's Creation Museum in Petersburg, Ky.

Ham is also convinced that the animals carried on Noah's ark produced the biological diversity observed on Earth. To spread that idea he has embarked on a grand project of building a life-size ark in Williamstown, Ky., to serve a similar purpose as the museum – attracting visitors from across the nation and the world.
Ham's concern is certainly good news for rational people everywhere, for it shows us evolution in action. One day, if we want to hear about a literal Adam and Eve and a literal Noah's Ark, we won't be able to hear about it in a church. We'll have to visit a theme park or a tacky tourist trap instead.




2.22.2012

GOP Reproductive Ideology: Ridicule Is The Only Weapon

Between trans-vaginal ultrasound legislation and personhood initiatives, it is clear that the GOP is completely off the rails. One might think the train has stopped in the 18th century.

Thomas Jefferson once said, "Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions." It's nice to see that the spirit of Jefferson lives on in halls of legislation (even though many conservatives would like to forget about him).

Take Yasmin Neal of the Georgia House of Representatives. In response to the insane attacks on women's reproductive rights, she authored a bill that would ban vasectomies.

"Thousands of children are deprived of birth in this state every year because of the lack of state regulation over vasectomies," wrote Neal in a statement. "It is patently unfair that men can avoid unwanted fatherhood by presuming that their judgment over such maters is more valid than the judgment of the General Assembly, while women's ability to decide is constantly up for debate throughout the United States."

Beautiful.

Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams added, "What is more deplorable is the hypocrisy of HB 954's author. If we follow his logic, we believe it is the obligation of the General Assembly to assert an equally invasive state interest in the reproductive habits of men and substitute the will of the government over the will of men."

This came on the heels of another bit of legislation-as-ridicule, this time out of Oklahoma.

State Sen. Constance Johnson proposed an amendment to Oklahomas' personhood bill. The amendment was referred to as the "Every Sperm Is Sacred" Bill, after the brilliant Monty Python song from 'Monty Python's Meaning of Life.'

The amendment states, "[A]ny action in which a man ejaculates or otherwise deposits semen anywhere but in a woman’s vagina shall be interpreted and construed as an action against an unborn child."

It's a slippery slope.






2.20.2012

Rick Santorum Actually Believes The Entire Cosmos Was Created For Homo Sapiens

Rick Santorum, like many humans, has a problem with perspective.

On "Face the Nation," Santorum attempted to clarify his accusations that Obama's theology is "phony":
"I accept the fact that the president is a Christian," Santorum said on CBS' "Face the Nation." "But when you have a world view that elevates the earth above man and says we can't take those resources because its going to harm the Earth, it's just all an attempt to centralize power and give more power to the government."

Santorum said that while Obama believes "man is here to serve the Earth," he believes "Earth is not the objective. Man is the objective."
Silly Rick Santorum.

Here are a few basic scientific considerations:
  • The earth is approximately 4.5 billion years old.
  • Anatomically modern humans evolved in Africa approximately 200,000 years ago.
  • Scientists estimate that at least 99.9 percent of all species of plants and animals that ever lived are now extinct.
  • Based upon evidence of past extinction rates, University of Chicago paleontologists David M. Raup and J. John Sepkoski (among others) have suggested that the average longevity of vertebrate species seems to be 2-4 million years.
  • In 7.6 billion years, the earth will be swallowed up by the expanding sun.
  • According to the Drake Equation, there are "at least 125 billion galaxies in the observable universe. It is estimated that at least ten percent of all sun-like stars have a system of planets, i.e. there are 6.25×1018 stars with planets orbiting them in the observable universe. Even if we assume that only one out of a billion of these stars have planets supporting life, there would be some 6.25×109 (billion) life-supporting planetary systems in the observable universe.
You do the math, Rick.

To think for a minute that man is the objective, you exhibit an embarrassing (and dangerous) level of ignorance about the vastness of time and space.

Someone who is capable of believing that homo sapiens are "the objective" is either deluded by their faith, or incredibly dense (and very likely both).