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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 12:44 am 
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PZ Myers dismantles the Jenkins article here

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2005 1:18 pm 
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Thought you guys might get a kick out of this. From the L.A. Times...

By Ashley Powers, Times Staff Writer

CABAZON, Calif. — Dinny the roadside dinosaur has found religion.

The 45-foot-high concrete apatosaurus has towered over Interstate 10 near Palm Springs for nearly three decades as a kitschy prehistoric pit stop for tourists.

Now he is the star of a renovated attraction that disputes the fact that dinosaurs died off millions of years before humans first walked the planet.

Dinny's new owners, pointing to the Book of Genesis, contend that most dinosaurs arrived on Earth the same day as Adam and Eve, some 6,000 years ago, and later marched two by two onto Noah's Ark. The gift shop at the attraction, called the Cabazon Dinosaurs, sells toy dinosaurs whose labels warn, "Don't swallow it! The fossil record does not support evolution."

The Cabazon Dinosaurs join at least half a dozen other roadside attractions nationwide that use the giant reptiles' popularity in seeking to win converts to creationism. And more are on the way.

"We're putting evolutionists on notice: We're taking the dinosaurs back," said Ken Ham, president of Answers in Genesis, a Christian group building a $25-million creationist museum in Petersburg, Ky., that's already overrun with model sauropods and velociraptors.

"They're used to teach people that there's no God, and they're used to brainwash people," he said. "Evolutionists get very upset when we use dinosaurs. That's their star."

The nation's top paleontologists find the creation theory preposterous and say children are being misled by dinosaur exhibits that take the Jurassic out of "Jurassic Park."

"Dinosaurs lived in the Garden of Eden, and Noah's Ark? Give me a break," said Kevin Padian, curator at the University of California Museum of Paleontology in Berkeley and president of National Center for Science Education, an Oakland group that supports teaching evolution. "For them, 'The Flintstones' is a documentary."

Tyrannosaurus rex and his gigantic brethren find themselves on both sides of the nation's renewed debate over the Earth's origins and the continuing fight over whether Charles Darwin's "The Origin of Species" or Genesis best explains the development of life.

Science holds that dinosaurs were the Earth's royalty for about 160 million years. Their reign ended abruptly, possibly after a meteorite smacked into the planet, but they're considered the forebears of birds.

Unearthing dinosaur bones that are millions of years old "doesn't prove evolution, but it shows the Genesis account doesn't work," said Nick Matzke, a spokesman for the National Center for Science Education.

Drivers who pull off Interstate 10 in Pensacola, Fla., are told a far different story at Dinosaur Adventure Land. Its slogan: "Where Dinosaurs and the Bible meet!"

The nearly 7-acre museum, low-tech theme park and science center embodies its founder's belief that God created the world in six days. The dinosaurs, even super carnivores such as T. rex, dined as vegetarians in the Garden of Eden until Adam and Eve sinned — and only then did they feast on other creatures, according to the Christian-based young-Earth theory.

About 4,500 years after Adam and Eve arrived, the theory goes, pairs of baby dinosaurs huddled in Noah's Ark, and a colossal flood drowned the rest and scattered their fossils. The ark-borne animals repopulated the planet — meaning that folk tales about fire-breathing beasts are accounts of humans battling dinosaurs, who still roamed the planet.

Kids romping through the $1.5-million Florida theme park can bounce on a "Long Neck Liftasaurus" swing seat; launch water balloons at a T. rex and a stegosaurus, and smooth their own sandbox-size Grand Canyons, whose formation is credited to the flood. A "fossilized" pickle purports to show that dinosaur bones could have hardened quickly. Got an upcoming birthday? Dinosaur Adventure Land does pizza parties.

"Go to Disneyland, they teach evolution. It's subtle; signs that say, 'Millions of years ago' " said evangelist Kent Hovind, the park's founder. "This is a golden opportunity to get our point across."

Carl Baugh opened his Creation Evidence Museum in the 1980s near Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas, where some people said fossilized dinosaur tracks and human footprints crisscrossed contemporaneously. The Texas museum sponsors a continuing hunt for living pterodactyls in Papua New Guinea. Baugh said five colleagues have spotted the flying dinosaurs, "but all the sightings were made after dark, and we were not able to capture the creatures."

Organizers at Creation Research of the North Coast in Humboldt County, Calif., dream of building their own reptile park but lack funding and acreage. So do leaders at Project Creation in Mount Juliet, Tenn., who would need to raise about $1 million to assemble 30 to 50 pterodactyl and brachiosaur replicas to mingle with live chickens and goats.

At the Institute for Creation Research museum in Santee, a San Diego suburb, officials plan to enlarge its paleontological offerings.

"We like to think of [dinosaurs] as creation lizards, or missionary lizards," said Frank Sherwin, a museum researcher and author.

A 50,000-square-foot Answers in Genesis museum and headquarters is under construction near the Ohio-Kentucky border, where the group hired a full-time dinosaur sculptor. When the facility opens in 2007, the lobby will spotlight a 20-foot waterfall and two animatronic T. rexes hanging out with two animatronic children dressed in buckskins.

The creation museums are riling mainstream Christian denominations that believe the Earth is billions of years old and that God uses evolution as a tool. This conviction makes modern science compatible with their faith in a creator.

"Taking the Bible as astronomy or physics is blasphemy. They're treating it as an elementary textbook and it's not," said Francisco J. Ayala, a UC Irvine evolutionary biology professor and ordained Dominican priest.

"We believe that God created the world…. They misread, misquote and misuse the Bible, but they will lose out to science," said Ayala, a past president of the American Assn. for the Advancement of Science.

Hugh Ross, an astrophysicist and founder of Reasons To Believe ministry in Pasadena, frets that "young-Earth theologians" damage the credibility of scientists who are Christian and push intellectuals away from religion.

"I'd put them in the same category as flat-Earth people and the people that think the sun goes around the Earth," he said. "They think they're defending the truth, but the young-Earth model has no scientific integrity."

Advocates of the intelligent design idea, who assert that certain features of life are best explained by a creative intelligence, bristle at being lumped in with young-Earth creationists. There's little question that the Earth is billions of years old, said John West, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, a public policy think tank in Seattle that is critical of Darwinian theory.

"Critics would rather tar everyone with the brush of creationism," said West, who teaches political science at Seattle Pacific University. "I think the idea that Genesis provides scientific text is really farfetched."

Creationists defend their dinosaur museums and attractions as a way to teach a grander purpose: If the Bible's history is accurate, then so is its morality.

"If [evolutionists] convince people that dinosaurs are exotic, strange creatures, they've won right there, and the Bible looks like a book of Jewish fairy tales," said Sean Meek, executive director of the Tennessee group Project Creation.

In Cabazon, it was the apatosaurus' underbelly that first enticed an Orange County developer a decade ago.

Gary Kanter had driven to the desert to size up Dinny the dinosaur and the 60 surrounding acres of scrubland, with the idea of expanding the adjacent truck stop.

While gawking up at the dinosaur's tummy, Kanter imagined the beast's tree-trunk legs lumbering across the barren plain.

"He's like a movable Golden Gate bridge," he recalled thinking when he reached his epiphany: Dinny was the perfect pitchman for a higher power.

Kanter's development company bought the site from the family of the late Claude K. Bell for $1.2 million.

Bell, an ex-sculptor at Knott's Berry Farm, crafted Dinny from discarded steel and concrete in the 1960s.

The mayor of Cabazon at the time called the reptile an eyesore. The apatosaurus once sheltered two dozen people during a snowstorm and starred in an ad for an air-conditioning company that bragged about cooling the beast.

Bell eventually added Mr. Rex, a 65-foot-tall tyrannosaurus. The creatures' red eyes glare in tandem at nighttime drivers and on postcards that show Mr. Rex chomping a freeway sign. In 1985, actor Paul Reubens climbed inside Rex for the film "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," peering through 50 spiky teeth.

Kanter and his wife, Denise, are Christian home-schooling advocates who are hosts on a DVD titled "How to Home Educate with Ease." After the gift shop vendor's lease expired, Denise Kanter posted an essay on the Christian website Revolution Against Evolution, seeking volunteers for the attraction.

"Our national museums (that we fund through our taxes) leave millions of people with information that they are no more than an evolved rock," she wrote. "The destruction of millions of souls has been devastating."

Pastor Robert Darwin Chiles offered to transform the Cabazon Dinosaurs from tourist stop to place of worship.

The pastor and the Kanters now hope to turn Mr. Rex's innards into exhibits about cryptozoology — the study of speculative creatures, such as Bigfoot — and creationism. They will somewhat mirror those in Santee, which takes visitors from Genesis to modern times with placards that say Darwin "came at just the right time to be the catalyst for a revival of ancient paganism" and that evolution birthed Communism, racism and Nazism.

"It's what we call marketplace ministry. I bring the Gospel to the people," said Chiles, who runs a nondenominational church at the attraction, inside Bell's rickety old home.

Kids flock to the huge statues. "And it's not like they're crying, 'Oh, mommy, take me out, I'm scared.' They're drawn to it," Chiles said. "There's something in their DNA that knows man walked with these creatures on Earth."

The Kanters intend to spend $2 million to $3 million to add a giant sand pit where kids would rummage for fossils, a center that would contrast creation and evolution arguments, a maze and a replica of Noah's Ark. All that alerts visitors now is a cryptic sign that asks, "Is evolution true?"

Parents glanced past it on a recent afternoon as their children raced toward the growling dinosaurs. Boys wedged their heads between a smaller carnivore's teeth, or smacked its mouth with toy swords. Toddlers hugged Dinny's legs while one family crowded under his tummy in party hats, unwrapped presents and bonked a stegosaurus piñata.

Douglas Bant and his wife ushered their kids from gift shop to minivan for the trip back to Scottsdale, Ariz. The couple teach their children about Jesus, but Bant was miffed about a dinosaur trying to do the same.

"Who thinks, 'I'm going to open a gift shop and convince people this is church'?" he said. "Why would you turn a toy for kids into some sort of religious crusade?"

Corina Shreve had pulled off the highway with her son and daughter.

The family, from Westminster in Orange County, drops in on Dinny maybe twice a year. Shreve said a staffer recently piled pamphlets about creation onto her 6-year-old son Aeron's hands and told him to pass them to friends.

When Aeron asked his mom during this year's visit for a T-shirt, Shreve balked at buying the only one in his size. It read "By Design and Not By Chance."

http://www.calendarlive.com/visitor/cl- ... 4104.story

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 11:34 am 
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LOL. I love it when the Jeebus-lovers fight each other over which of their ridiculous beliefs is true.

TEACH THE CONTROVERSY!

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Kids flock to the huge statues. "And it's not like they're crying, 'Oh, mommy, take me out, I'm scared.' They're drawn to it," Chiles said. "There's something in their DNA that knows man walked with these creatures on Earth."


Kids also flock to huge construction machines....COINCIDENCE? I think not.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 07, 2005 1:06 pm 
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Kids also flock to huge construction machines....COINCIDENCE? I think not.


That's the funniest thing I've read all day.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 5:03 pm 
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As you've probably heard, the Dover ID curriculum was declared unconstitutional. The judge took the time to issue this stinging rebuke to the pro-ID forces:

Quote:
Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board's decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.


(The quote is found toward the end of the decision.)

Ouch.

Refreshingly, the judge also emphasized in his decision the fact that ID does not meet the criteria for a scientific theory (in that it is not provable or disprovable).

Ryan

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 10:35 am 
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Judge Jones' 139-page decision is like *porn* to me.

Everyone on the side of science suspected he was gonna hit a home run. But he batted the fucker right out of the park and into the next county.

What a nice Festivus present.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:45 pm 
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The spin by the DI (most pointed out by PZ) is astounding, as well.

-D

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:50 pm 
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Xenu wrote:
The spin by the DI (most pointed out by PZ) is astounding, as well.

-D


'Activist' judge..appointed by Bush. The DI knows it's taken a bad hit, and they're flailing.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 1:52 pm 
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Xenu wrote:
The spin by the DI (most pointed out by PZ) is astounding, as well.

-D


'Activist' judge..appointed by Bush.

Remember at the end Terminator II, when the bad Terminator fell into the molten vat? The DI is flailing like that.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 22, 2005 2:06 pm 
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My new favorite phrase, courtesy of Jones: Breathtaking inanity.

Hear that, Christians? BREATHTAKING INANITY. That's how one of your own describes putting I.D. in schools.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:36 am 
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Seeking to prop up his scandal-plagued administration, Kentucky Governor Ernie "Pardon My Indicted Buddies" Fletcher plays to his base (from last night's State of the Commonwealth Address):

Quote:
As I close, let me recognize Kentucky's veterans. You have served to protect our liverty and the freedom that spurs our quality of life in this nation. Please know that this administration is committed to supporting you.

And where does this freedom come from that many have died to protect?

Our founding fathers recognized that we were endowed with the right by our creator.

So I ask, what is wrong with teaching "intelligent design" in our schools. Under KERA, our school districts have that freedom and I encourage them to do so.

This is not a question about faith or religion. It's about self-evident truth.


(Note: "KERA" is the Kentucky Education Reform Act, a wide-ranging educational bill passed about 15 years ago. I have no idea why Fletcher thinks it exempts Kentucky from the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.)

Sigh. As long as we keep electing goofballs like this, Kentucky will forever be a backwater.

Ryan

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 9:31 am 
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Follow-up article below.

Apparently, KERA includes some language blessing the teaching of creationism, but it hasn't been tested in court. Lovely.

Yet another reason I'm glad I don't have a kid in the school system these days.

Intelligent design remarks get reaction
WHY FLETCHER BROUGHT TOPIC UP IS TALK OF CAPITOL

By Ryan Alessi
HERALD-LEADER FRANKFORT BUREAU

FRANKFORT - Among the 41-minutes-worth of policies and proposals Gov. Ernie Fletcher outlined Monday night in his State of the Commonwealth address, perhaps no subject sparked more conversation and curiosity than his endorsement of "intelligent design."

In five short sentences near the end of his speech, Fletcher said Kentucky school districts have the freedom to teach intelligent design if they want.

"And I encourage them to do so," he said.

That touched off discussions throughout the Capitol hallways yesterday about what it means for school boards, what the political implications of such a statement are and what prompted the governor to raise the controversial subject during his annual policy speech.

"I think the question is a good one. Why bring it up?" said Rep. David Floyd, a Republican from Bardstown. "In the same way that the president ends his speeches with 'Good night and God bless,' perhaps this was the governor's closing -- his own nod to our creator."

It's inclusion even surprised Education Cabinet Secretary Virginia Fox, who said it's "an interesting topic, but it's not in my portfolio."

"The governor and I have not discussed it," she added.

Fletcher yesterday insisted that he wanted to address the topic because he had been asked about it and thought it important.

"I just recommended that the local school districts look at that," he said when peppered with questions on the subject during a morning news conference. "Part of the responsibility I have as the governor is to use the bully pulpit."

Intelligent design says a supernatural force first created the universe and basis of life. Proponents describe it as a concept that bridges the divide between Darwin's theory of evolution and the idea of creationism, which is taken from the Bible.

Opponents have dubbed intelligent design a thinly veiled version of creationism and the advocacy of a particular religion. Many in the science community also say that intelligent design is not a "theory" because it cannot be tested.

Last month a federal appeals court ruled that a Dover, Pa., school board overstepped constitutional bounds by mandating the teaching of intelligent design.

In Kentucky, school districts draft the specific curriculum requirements. One statute explicitly gives permission for creationism to be taught but doesn't require it. The law does not mention intelligent design.

That level of freedom of choice, Fletcher said, was his main point.

"What he said was exactly true," said Democratic Rep. Frank Rasche of Paducah.

School boards might open themselves up to lawsuits from parents who don't think intelligent design should be taught as a scientific theory, but that's a chance they get to take, he said.

And for that very reason, Rasche continued, intelligent design isn't likely to be an issue for the legislature.

Rasche, the House education committee chairman, said he will quash any bill seeking to mandate that a particular topic be taught. The legislature only defines rough requirements and leaves specifics up to each school board, he added.

If any specific requirement passed the General Assembly, "it would be the only curriculum item on the books," he said.

So, again, why bring it up?

Several Democrats, including Sen. Ed Worley of Richmond and Rasche said Fletcher might have been trying to score political points with Christian conservative voters, especially as the governor's poll numbers have dropped in recent months.

Rep. Stan Lee, a Republican from Lexington, said many conservatives do think intelligent design should be taught in schools and that his constituents do talk about it.

But the governor's Secretary of the Cabinet Robbie Rudolph said Fletcher didn't do any political calculus when he decided to encourage intelligent design.

"He does believe in it," Rudolph said. "And he wanted to talk about it."

Another issue that has traditionally excited Christian conservatives is the posting of the Ten Commandments in public buildings.

While an e-mail from Fletcher's campaign to his supporters gave passing mention to that issue last month, the governor didn't utter a word about it in Monday night's speech.

Rudolph said he didn't recall any discussions about the Ten Commandments during the speech-writing process.

Rasche said the posting of the Ten Commandments might not carry the same level of political punch these days in light of recent Supreme Court rulings that laid out when and how such displays are legal and appropriate on public property.

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:34 pm 
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Kirk Cameron and his evangelist friend demonstrate the principles of intelligent design and homoeroticism:

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid ... 2081345878

(Good stuff from about 1:30 to about 4:40)

Ryan

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2006 6:49 pm 
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"you really gotta ignore the facts"

The banana thing is totally insane.

"squirters"

I was designed by Henry Ford.

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"It's funny how some people equate atheism with intellectualism, when it's really just the opposite."

"Ease of entry."

Ryan

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