(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IIa: In Which We Are Told About Science!

The best thing about being an adult is that I get to read textbooks by choice*, something my younger self would find fairly horrifying. The other best thing is that I don’t have to read them sober.

When it comes to Christianist educational materials, it’s best to be slightly sloshed. Less painful that way. Novocaine for the brain. So, let us lift our trusty glasses of whatever aids our concentration, and find out What Science Is according to Good Christian™ Publishers.

In our A Beka Book, Science of the Physical Creation (SPC), we learn that physical science is “the systematic study of God’s physical creation and how it works.” Ah. Not even a paragraph into the book, and it’s got God all over it.

The subsequent section on mathematics as the language of science isn’t bad, and I like the clear and simple explanation of how equations work. However, comma, we then come to “Limitations of Mathematics,” which goes all on about how “people are not bound by the laws of the universe to act a certain way,” which seems kinda inappropriate in a straight-up science textbook: free will belongs in philosophy class. SPC also wants to assure us mathematics can’t “prove or disprove the existence of God.” Glad we got that cleared up. We’re then treated to several paragraphs about how scientists can make mistakes (egads, stop the presses!), are “subject to the sin of pride,” and can totes use math and data “to deceive people or distort the truth.”

Certain information may be purposely or erroneously omitted from a presentation of data, or it may be presented in a way that appears to favor the viewpoint of the one presenting it.

And after pounding on this point for a bit, they finish with this flourish: Continue reading “(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IIa: In Which We Are Told About Science!”

(Repost) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education IIa: In Which We Are Told About Science!
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(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXIX: Wherein the 2nd Law is Misused

Well, my darlings, we’re on to Science of the Physical Creation’s “Chemistry in Action” chapter. I have got good news and bad news for you.

The good news is, this chapter has the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics in it, and you know what that means! Lots of creationist fuckery. Oh, yes, we won’t be left starving in a desert of secular sensibility this time.

The bad news is, real kiddos are taught this bullshit is the truth. And with it embedded in basic chemistry facts, they’ll have a hard time sorting fact from fuckery.

We begin with only a reflexive nod to religiosity, as they state in their intro that “Studying chemical reactions helps us more clearly understand the workings of God’s physical creation.” Yes, okay, whatevs. Hey, kids: just don’t forget how much room for error and general misery God left in his supposed creation, okay? And before you go relying on the Fall to excuse him, just remember: he could have made it failsafe from the beginning. All he had to do was keep one pest out of the Garden. Or, y’know, give Eve and Adam enough knowledge and wisdom to be able to avoid temptation. The fact we had a fall in the first place is completely on God.

Right. Good talk. Let us proceed.

The first few pages of the chapter are unexceptionable: they’re a workmanlike discussion of chemical equations, balancing of same, conservation of mass, and the energy required for chemical reactions. We learn about exothermic versus endothermic reactions, which includes explaining how instant cold packs work. I liked that. See? This is why it’s so very neat to be alive in this particular age: we’ve learned how to do a bunch of really neat stuff. How did we learn? By using science. Note: we didn’t pray for instant cold packs and get the method for making them handed to us by God. We did all the work.

Not that the SPC authors will ever admit that.

Now we arrive at entropy, and, as we all know, creationists loves them their Second Law of Thermodynamics. In the main text, they don’t babble about God, but they’re very careful not to explain that the 2nd Law only refers to isolated, or closed, systems. They’re also loathe to admit that, even in a closed system, entropy can locally decrease as long as it increases elsewhere. This is a very inconvenient truth for them.

Image shows a white man in a black suite with a red tie, pointing at a screen on which some stats are projected. Caption says, "Thermodynamics. U R doin it rong."

The real shenanigans start when we get to an info box entitled “Thermodynamics and the Bible.” Let us take its parts apart.

The first and second laws of thermodynamics demonstrate the agreement between science and the Bible. The first law states that although matter and energy may be freely converted into each other, neither is created or destroyed. The Bible tells us that God’s work of creation is complete and that the universe is being conserved (Gen. 2:1; Neh. 9:6).

Firstly: the Bible ain’t science. It is not a science paper, nor a science book, nor even a real true history. It’s an often-contradictory collection of myths, fables, stories, religious rules and rituals, and many outright forgeries, but it’s 100% definitely not science. Quoting it as if it settles a scientific question or claim murders your credibility deader than God killed Aaron’s sons when they messed up the incense.

Next, the 1st Law can’t be used to prove science wrong and the Bible right about the origin of the universe, because nothing in it precludes the universe from coming into being all on its own. No God is required to make a universe.

The second law of thermodynamics states that for every process, there is an overall loss of useful energy and a tendency toward greater disorder. In other words, the universe is slowly “running down.” We see evidence of this law everywhere we look: rocks and soil erode, machines wear out, and people grow old. The Bible states that the heavens and the earth are wearing out like an old garment (Ps. 102:26; Isa. 51:6; Heb. 1:11-12).

We also see new rocks and soil forming, new machines being made, and new people being gestated and born. The earth receives energy inputs from the sun, you jackasses. Where is your Bible now? This is a super bad argument. You fail.

The second law of thermodynamics is the most important scientific principle showing that there had to have been an act of creation. If the universe is now “running down,” there must have been a time that it was “wound up” more than it is now. Evolutionists try to avoid the necessity of a Creator by proposing that billions of years ago, a huge explosion from nowhere (the “Big Bang”) created the universe by chance, out of nothing.

First: the fact that the universe is evolving doesn’t mean it’s “running down.” Right now, it’s expanding. Lighter elements are being forged into heavier elements in the hearts of stars. Stars eventually die. There’s less free gas for new stars to form. This might go on until the heat death of the universe, sure. Then again, the universe may stop expanding and start contracting, until all that matter and energy is compressed into a tiny singularity, causing a brand-new Big Bang and birthing a bouncing baby universe. Some models say we live in only one universe in a multiverse, with new universes being born as old ones die, and for all we know, that cycle is perpetual, with neither beginning nor ending. We don’t know yet. We’re still trying to find out.

One thing we can be pretty sure of, though, is that in our particular universe, there was indeed a Big Bang. We can even see echoes of it today.

Image shows an oval with blotches of red, yellow, orange, green, blue, and purple. A red streak with a yellow and green outline runs through the middle.
Image of the cosmic microwave background radiation, taken by the Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) satellite. Public domain image courtesy NASA.

Science told us it would be there, and there it was. We predicted this with the theory of the Big Bang. Your Bible didn’t predict it would be there. Science pwned your holy book. Again.

Of course, we know that the universe is not the product of some spontaneous explosion, but was called into existence by the words of God Himself.

You don’t know any such thing. You’re basing your “knowledge” on a book that is no more true than the Qu’ran or the Upanishads. I could point out verses of the Tao Te Ching that match observed reality better than the Bible. That doesn’t make it true in all its particulars. And none of those texts, including yours, has the explanatory and predictive power of a well-developed scientific theory.

Creationists: stop clinging to the 2nd Law. You don’t understand it, and it doesn’t support your arguments.

(Tier 1) Adventures in Christianist Earth Science Education XXIX: Wherein the 2nd Law is Misused

Protected: (Tier One) “A Person of Little Faith” – Escape Chapter 23: Ruth’s Nose

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Protected: (Tier One) “A Person of Little Faith” – Escape Chapter 23: Ruth’s Nose

Thank You for My New Work Backpack!

So, I needed to get a backpack for work. I have nothing suitable for hoofing it through the streets of Seattle – the backpack I do have is too rough for wearing all day, and it’s a weird design that doesn’t hold a lot of stuff well, and it’s got rock dust all up in it anyway. One of you kindly donated enough for me to go shopping. I hoofed it down to the thrift store and began digging.

They were having a 50% off sale. I’d wanted a backpack that cost around $5. I wanted it to be soft and breathable and light. And… I found one that fit those criteria. Continue reading “Thank You for My New Work Backpack!”

Thank You for My New Work Backpack!

(Repost) Fundamentalist High School Drama – Escape Chapter 6: The Nusses

After the unremitting awful that was the last chapter, it’s nice to hit a light-ish one again. This is Escape, so there’s still plenty of bullshit that will make your teeth grind, but I’ve gotta admit, it’s kind of fun to get a taste of high school drama FLDS style

There’s a new high school in town, so those folks on the Prophet Uncle Roy side of the great religious divide can finally get an education.

The split in our community was now in it’s seventh year. One of the consequences was that many families pulled their children out of the private high school so they would not be contaminated by the children of the families on the other side of the divide who supported Uncle Roy. As a result, many boys wound up working on construction jobs instead of going to high school. The girls who were forbidden to go to the private high school were confined to their homes. Most of the girls who were kept out of school were disappointed because they had wanted an education and a diploma before they were assigned to a marriage. They knew that their futures were being shortchanged.

Yep. When you’ve got your eyes on eternal salvation, you don’t give a shit about your kids’ education. You don’t care if their ignorance cripples them here on Earth, condemning them to a lifetime of misery and poverty, just so long as their souls are saved. Besides, too much book-learnin’ could lead to H-E-double-hockey-sticks. Continue reading “(Repost) Fundamentalist High School Drama – Escape Chapter 6: The Nusses”

(Repost) Fundamentalist High School Drama – Escape Chapter 6: The Nusses

Good News and Bad News: Why I’ve Been Absent

Hello, long-suffering readers who by now are possibly wondering if I’ll ever return! There’s good news: I’ll soon be back.

Also good news: the reason I’ve gone missing from the blogosphere is because I got a job! It’s an awesome job. It’s with a progressive, grassroots non-profit that does things like help press for universal healthcare and other social justice causes. They fought for the minimum wage rise in Seattle, and currently are working to get minimum wage raised throughout the state. After I’ve been there a bit longer and am comfortable with details, I’ll tell you all about who we are and what we do.

This is me hard at work:

Image shows me standing by a tree, with a street and buildings visible in the sunshine behind me. I've got my tan Mount St. Helens hat on. I'm holding petitions that say "Yes on I-1491. Save Lives. Empower Families."
Moi with petitions for a really awesome gun control measure.

(In case you’re a Washington resident and you’re wondering: yes. If someone thrusts a petition for I-1491 in your face, and you are one of those folks who wants to do something that will cut down on domestic violence homicides and mass shootings, sign this. It’ll help take guns out of the hands of people who’ve told their families they’re either going to shoot them or someone else. We’re circulating that one and one for protecting vulnerable people like seniors and people who need in-home care from identity theft. Great causes!)

Bad news: Continue reading “Good News and Bad News: Why I’ve Been Absent”

Good News and Bad News: Why I’ve Been Absent

(Repost) Fleeing Marriage – Escape Chapter 5: “Linda’s Flight to Freedom”

I informed you last week, after that relatively light chapter of Escape, that we’d be right back into the horror show. People, it’s bad. You might want to grab a mouth guard, because you’re going to be spitting nails and gnashing your teeth to nubs.

Content notice for emotional abuse, creepy old men, stalking, spiritual abuse, and coerced marriage.

We’re plunged eyebrow-deep in awful right from the first paragraph, when we learn that a creep in his fifties has been stalking Carolyn’s seventeen year-old sister, Linda. He reports to her father things he disapproves of: Linda’s skirt’s too short one day, her heels too high another, and why did she comb her hair differently today?

The girls’ mother, Nurylon, is incensed enough to tell her husband “that she didn’t trust this man.” This does zero good: Continue reading “(Repost) Fleeing Marriage – Escape Chapter 5: “Linda’s Flight to Freedom””

(Repost) Fleeing Marriage – Escape Chapter 5: “Linda’s Flight to Freedom”

Protected: (Tier One) “We Would Be Completely Vulnerable” – Escape Chapter 22: Merril’s Heart Attack

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Protected: (Tier One) “We Would Be Completely Vulnerable” – Escape Chapter 22: Merril’s Heart Attack

Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home”

If it’s not already obvious from the title, Sam and Dean are going back to Kansas. It’s on, y’all.

There are shenanigans happening in their old childhood home. A pretty young single mom is moving in. As she unpacks, her daughter comes to tell her something’s in her closet. Mom checks and finds nothing. She does the parental reassurance thing and goes back downstairs, where she hears a skittering like rats. We know it ain’t rats. She goes down to the basement, where she finds a box full of old Winchester Family photos.

And, back upstairs, the chair wedged against the closet door slides away, and a burning figure steps out.

Image looks into a dark closet, the two white doors wide open. A vaguely human-shaped pillar of flame stands within.

Freaky-deaky.

Meanwhile, Sam has a dream about the mom standing in the upstairs window of their house and screaming. He turns to art, sketching the tree from their house on hotel stationery while Dean tries to find a case for them. He gets a count for asking Sam if any of these possibilities are blowin’ up his skirt. Continue reading “Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home””

Supernatural S1 E9 Summary: “Home”

New at Rosetta Stones: Help Save the AZ Geological Survey!

The jackasses who run my old home state of Arizona have managed to screw over the Arizona Geological Survey to a hideous extent. Raging incompetence doesn’t even begin to touch it. Find out what happened, why it’s bad, and what you can do about it at Rosetta Stones.

While you’re over there, learn how to deal with volcanoes in six easy steps.

And while you’re here… Continue reading “New at Rosetta Stones: Help Save the AZ Geological Survey!”

New at Rosetta Stones: Help Save the AZ Geological Survey!