It is a time of fear in the face of freedom, a time of an emptying country and swelling cities, a time for the widening of previous roads and the opening of new paths, yet a time when these paths are mined by knowing algorithms of the all-seeing eye. It is the time of the warrior's peace and the miser's charity, when the planting of a seed is an act of conscientious objection. These are the times when maps fade, old landmarks crumble and direction is lost. Forwards is backwards now, so we glance sideways at the strange lands through which we are all passing, knowing for certain only that our destination has disappeared. We are unready to meet these times, but we proceed nonetheless, adapting as we wander, reshaping the Earth with every tread. Behind us we have left the old times, the standard times, the high times. Welcome to the irregular times.
In recent debates here at Irregular Times it has been suggested that it’s important to make a distinction between schools of thought within Creationist theology. We have been told that, while Young Earth Creationists, who believe that the Earth is only about 6,000 years old, are superstitious and unscientific, Old Earth Creationists, who concede that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years, are scientifically disciplined in the construction of their theories and should be taken seriously by academics.
To test this assertion, let’s take a look at one of the pieces of evidence often cited by Old Earth Creationists: The Dashka Stone – also called by them The Stone Of The Creator.
Old Earth Creationists claim that the Earth was populated with human beings and animals before the time of the flood described in the Book of Genesis in the Bible, but that these early human beings and animals were ruled by Lucifer, and were wicked, and so were all killed by God before the new creation that is described in the Book of Genesis. They claim that fossils and other odd bits of stone are evidence of this early Lucifer-ruled Earth.
One of these odd bits of stone is the Dashka Stone. It was unearthed, by Russian professor Alexander Chuvyrov, and has been studied subsequently by many Old Earth Creationist enthusiasts.
What makes the Dashka Stone so special? One source tells us that, “The Dashka Stone is a unique artifact of unknown origin that allegedly has a three-dimensional map of the Ural region. The stone map referenced a the [sic] presence of an advanced civilization on Earth that dated back 120 million years.”
Another source tells us, that the stone’s age has been dated to the broad range of between 100 million and 500 million years ago. Anyway, the point is that the Dashka Stone is very, very old, definitely older than the purported time of the killer flood that the prophet Noah supposedly rode out in a gigantic boat filled with two of every single species of animal alive at the time. If the described range of dating is accurate, the Dashka Stone would also be much, much older than the fossilized remains of any human being ever found.
And yet, say the believers in the Dashka Stone’s Old Earth Creationist fable, this stone is a map of a section of the Ural mountains – as observed from the air. They take this as proof that Lucifer-ruled people who lived over 100 million years ago had the power of flight.
Is the Dashka Stone a map? Does it really show a particular region of the Ural Mountains? The following is an image showing the Dashka Stone and the section of the Urals that they say it shows:
Do you see the similarity in the crack in the stone and the course of that river in the Ural Mountains? The Old Earth Creationists say that crack was made, on purpose, to represent that river.
First of all, that crack doesn’t match the river very well. Secondly, it’s not plausible to think that people who had the technology necessary to fly over areas of the Earth to map them would resort to the crude technique of making maps using cracks in stones.
Well, you might say, the courses of rivers change over time. That’s true, but they change so much over time, that it’s not reasonable to think that a particular river we know today in the Ural Mountains existed at all 100 million years ago, much less that it follows anything at all like the path it did long, long ago. Over 100 million years, many rivers have appeared and disappeared. The Mississippi is thought to have formed within the last couple of million years. If a river did survive as a waterway for so long as 100 million years, it wouldn’t have a recognizable shape. So, even if we accept that there were people living on Earth 100 million years ago, and that they made the Dashka Stone as a map of an area with a river in it, the map could be of any any river anywhere, but not of a particular river in the Ural Mountains we know today.
In short, the argument that the Dashka Stone is an ancient map of a certain river, proving that there was an ancient human civilization on Earth 100 million years ago, ruled by Lucifer, has nothing close to any scientific merit. It’s an absurd conspiracy theory that wouldn’t be believed by any serious scientist, or even any serious person with more than an elementary school education.
The Dashka Stone looks like a rock with a big crack in it, and some interesting natural texture. That’s all.
The Old Earth Creationists look as gullible as Young Earth Creationists, with a bigger time scale. That’s all.
Over on the web site for the campaign to elect Rick Santorum President of the United States, there is an impression of sluggish inaction from the candidate. The last official news from the campaign came one month and three days ago.
Over on Twitter, though, there’s been a flurry of little posts about Rick Santorum helping people at the Iowa State Fair serve barbecued chicken. People may wonder how serving up chicken at a State Fair qualifies Rick Santorum to run the United States of America, but at least these items show that the candidate is getting out of the house sometimes.
This struggle over the Santorum campaign’s timing of its media releases seems to be reflected in the graphic the campaign uses for its social media accounts. A red eagle soars through a tree plantation, with the message…
America: Taking Her Back Starts Now
This message leaves me a bit confused. Exactly when should I show up to take America back? Now?… Or how about now? Or, is the now they’re talking about back when somebody made this graphic? If so, how much of America has the Santorum campaign taken back so far? Could we have a taken aback update every now and then? Maybe there could be a map, so people could see if their town is in the taken away camp or taken back camp.
But then, who exactly has taken America, anyway? The Portuguese? Bangladeshis?
Where did they take America? Out to dinner? On a Caribbean vacation? To a secret, undisclosed location?
I’ve been in America since before the 2016 Santorum for President campaign began, and from what I could see, everything was still in place. It didn’t look like it had been taken away to me. Could the whole of America have been seized, and taken far away without our knowledge? What kind of sinister beings are capable of a theft of such dimensions? Is Santorum suggesting that America has been taken by a pan-galactic extraterrestrial civilization, carefully maintaining the illusion that our country is still on the planet Earth?
If so, I’d like to know what qualifications Rick Santorum believes he has for battling these nefarious space aliens, and how he’s going to get America safely back to the Solar System. Also, I would feel more confidence if I knew how serving barbecued chicken at the Iowa State Fair fits into this plan.
Could it be that Rick Santorum isn’t actually referring to a daring piece of space piracy, but simply means to suggest that America has been taken over by non-Republicans through democratic elections? If so, Santorum wants to take America back from Americans. It isn’t as if it was the Canadians who elected Barack Obama as President. Who does he intend to take America back for, then?
More importantly, how far back does Rick Santorum want to take America? Back to the 1950s, when men wore hats without a sense of irony, and racial segregation was still in place? Does he want to take America back to the days before women could vote, and when children had the Right To Work in factories for 12 hours every day? Would Santorum take America back to slavery? Back to just 13 states on the east coast? Back to the British Empire? Is it Rick Santorum’s plan to take America back into indigenous possession?
Before I agree to support Rick Santorum’s campaign to Take America Back, I need to know more about what his backwards path for America looks like. I’m concerned that Santorum is trying to walk backwards without looking behind him.
In a discussion on transitional forms in evolutionary biology, creationist Paul Glenn Cawley declares that there is no evidence that living organisms share common descent:
“Those who adhere to the evolutionary theory act like it’s been proven that all life “descended” from common ancestors when in fact it has NOT been proven! The best biology has proven is that living forms VARY within their own kind.”
This is not true. The following are links to lines of evidence for the common descent of life of which I’m aware:
All living things share the same structure of genetic code for DNA, RNA and the reading of DNA and RNA to create proteins (read: Cassandra’s Tears; Darwin Was Right). Recently, scientists have created an living, reproducing artificial organism with different nucleotides than used in nature (read: Nick Statt). This indicates that the nucleotides being used aren’t the only possible ones; and yet all living things do share the same basic code, indicating shared origins.
Organisms that appear to be more related according to other lines of evidence (such as fossil records of transitional forms and phenotypic similarity) also have functional proteins that are more similar to one another (read: Carl Zimmer, Douglas Theobald, Cassandra’s Tears). Organisms that are more distantly related according to the fossil record and phenotype share less similarity in the makeup of the proteins that regulate their biology.
The more closely related two organisms appear to be according to other lines of evidence, the greater the similarity in their shared set of non-coding genes and endogenized viral code (virus DNA incorporated into a host’s DNA) — two markers of shared history of inheritence that are passed down (read: Cassandra’s Tears, Douglas Theobald, Phylointelligence).
Chromosome changes– the correlation of chromosome number, type and structure (including the migration of centromeres and chromosome fusion) with other indicators of common descent (read: Discover magazine, Alec MacAndrew, Phylointelligence).
Vestigial organs are present in distributions that match transitional forms in the fossil record (read: Cassandra’s Tears).
If you’re aware of other web-available resources documenting additional lines of evidence for common descent of Earth’s living organisms, or enriching the lines already listed above, please add a comment and I’ll be glad to update this list. Thanks!
Right wing activists have tried to bring the presidency of Barack Obama down by claiming that he was born in Kenya, that he was raised by Marxists, that he wears a Muslim ring and uses Muslim hand gestures. They’ve even claimed that Barack Obama’s mother was a porn star.
Now, over on the evangelical Christian site Charisma News, Jessilyn Justice takes these attacks to the next level. In an article titled Is a Demon Following Obama?, she forwards a rumor started by Perry Stone, an evangelist who claims that he’s seen the grey figure of a demon rushing past Barack Obama.
To be more precise about it, Perry Stone says that, gosh, he sure doesn’t know what that thing on the video is, and it sure doesn’t necessarily mean that Barack Obama is possessed by a demon, but golly, you never know, do you? Wink, wink. “That doesn’t mean there’s a demon on him or anything like that, but there are spirits on that part of Africa,” says Stone.
There are spirits in that part of Africa? How would Perry Stone know that? Does he have an Atlas Of Places In Africa Where There Are Spirits, or something?
In the original video produced by Perry Stone, a grey blur passes in front of the crowd around Barack Obama on the runway. Here’s a still frame of that video showing what the grey blur looks on the screen.
Could this blur be a demon possessing Barack Obama, or some other kind of African spirit intent on controlling U.S. foreign policy?
One quick check on this claim is to take a look at another video of the same event shown by the video Perry Stone is hawking. It just so happens that when the President of the United States makes a state visit to a country, there are usually many video cameras on hand, recording the event.
NTV Kenya filmed the same event shown by the video in which Perry Stone shows a demonic grey blur crossing the screen. In this second video, seen below, at the very same moment Stone’s blur demon appears, there is no grey blur to be seen at all.
What is to account for this discrepancy? Was one of the cameras more spiritually attuned than the other?
What’s more likely is that the grey blur was purposefully added in post-production (after filming).
These kinds of effects aren’t difficult to create. Below, I’ve created my own version of the NTV Kenya video, with a grey blur demon, and a couple of other goofy fake spirits added in for fun. It was done in less than 15 minutes, using a version of Anime Studio software that costs less than 50 dollars.
This kind of video is easy to produce by anyone with a home computer, but the people who made the fake video of a grey demonic blur around Barack Obama are counting on the ignorance of that among a certain target audience of uneducated, isolated, gullible people who just so happen to also be prevalent among the readers of Charisma News. It’s the equivalent of the ghost pictures of the early 20th century, which were created with simple photographic double exposures, but seemed certain proof of the spirit world among the technologically ignorant at the time.
The people who made these ghost photographs were purposefully deceiving people so that they would pay for services such as seances and exorcisms. It was spiritualist dishonesty with a purpose to profit. In this line, we see that the video produced by Perry Stone, supposedly showing a demonic grey blur next to Barack Obama, has an advertisement placed at the beginning of it. In addition to being a right wing Christian slur against Obama, this video looks like a source of profit for somebody. It’s click bait – nasty, religious, right wing, faked, click bait.
This kind of stuff really isn’t very difficult to figure out. Anyone with just a scrap of familiarity with the Internet and some critical reasoning skills can work through it.
Yet, Jessilyn Justice and Charisma News went ahead this obvious hoax anyway. That reveals a great deal about what the people behind Charisma News are really up to. They aren’t sincere, earnest Christians just trying to spread the Good News. They’re in the business of spreading hoaxes that generate profit from the gullibility of a faithful audience that is eager to think the worst of non-evangelical Americans.
How do they know? Sure, they might look the same, but that’s no guarantee, as Chris Dodd and Josef Stalin know. Plus, maybe they’re fraternal twins, and how would you know that?
I suspect a ruse. People looking to fulfill their fantasy of cracking open and sucking out twins at a local restaurant are sure to be disappointed. But perhaps I am premature. Possibly the wait staff use DNA tests. What a speciality that would be.
The notebook you see below is sold in the school supply section of Target stores in The United States. It features Darth Vader and the message from him: “You underestimate the power of the Dark Side”.
Is this message:
A) immoral because it encourages children to appreciate the power of the Dark Side?
B) moral because it teaches children that critical thinking skills will be appreciated?
C) neither moral nor immoral because it is part of a commercial product and therefore outside of systems of morality?
In 2009, Republican Representative Louie Gohmert of Texas first introduced the Congressional Hope for Uniform Recognition of Christian Heritage Act, also known as the CHURCH Act. If passed, the CHURCH Act would have:
Required special note to be given to the Christian identity of early Presidents and the Christian-only religious services organized by them.
This was a bill, in short, to require an assertion of history in which Christians and only Christians matter, in which Christianity and only Christianity is central to the nation, and in which citizens’ choice is limited to different flavors of Christianity.
In the 111th Congress of 2009-2010, Gohmert attracted 14 supporters for his CHURCH Act. That figure rose in the 112th Congress of 2011-2012 to 28 supporters. By the 113th Congress of 2013-2014, Louie Gohmert’s Christians-only sign bill for the Congress attracted only 4 supporters.
Gohmert still believes what he believes. Recently, he publicly mocked the Supreme Court for legalizing same-sex marriage: “We know more than Moses, we know more than Jesus, we are the U.S. Supreme Court.” But in his Biblical supremacism, Gohmert increasingly finds himself alone.
I suppose we should offer up some kind of thanks to Jeb Bush, for reminding us that no, Donald Trump really isn’t much of an outlier in the Republican Party. Some people might have been tempted to think of John Ellis Bush as the reasonable Republican alternative to Trump, but Bush’s comments about his brother’s legacy this week have me shivering in memory of how very bad things got under George W. Bush.
Jeb Bush declared this week that he thinks the Iraq War, which began with blatant lies, then bankrupted our government, killed millions, and created a new generation of shell shocked soldiers, all to clear the way for Islamic State extremism, was “a pretty good deal“. Then, John Ellis refused to rule out re-instituting his brother’s plainly illegal, unconstitutional and ineffective policy of torture.
John Ellis Bush may not have effected as much of a thick Texan accent as George W., but he’s dragging his knuckles just as low to the ground. We can argue about who the most effective next president would be, but this week’s comments from JEB remind us that one point should be beyond argument: The last thing we need is another Bush in the White House.
In 2010 and again in 2011, American conspiracy theorists insisted that “in twenty years there will be enough Muslim voters in the U.S. and Canada to elect the President and Prime Minister.” In the United States, that would take a population majority.
It’s 2015 now, five years in to that imagined twenty-year span. How’s the majority-Muslim trend coming along? The 2014 U.S. Religious Landscape Study, released at the beginning of this summer, gives us a glimpse. In 2007, Muslims made up 0.4% of the U.S. population. In 2014, Muslims make up 0.9% of the U.S. population. That’s a growth rate of 0.07% per year.
At this rate, Muslims will constitute a majority of the U.S. population in the year 2702, 687 years from now.
This summer, Google bragged about its latest generation of server technology: “From Firehose, our first in-house datacenter network, ten years ago to our latest-generation Jupiter network, we’ve increased the capacity of a single datacenter network more than 100x. Our current generation — Jupiter fabrics — can deliver more than 1 Petabit/sec of total bisection bandwidth. To put this in perspective, such capacity would be enough for 100,000 servers to exchange information at 10Gb/s each, enough to read the entire scanned contents of the Library of Congress in less than 1/10th of a second.”
When I read this, the first thing that came to mind was a question: To what end?
What does it matter if Google’s servers could process the entire contents of the Library of Congress? Google’s servers can’t apply that content. They can scan the content, and run algorithms to analyze it, but the servers can’t, in spite of what Google claims, read the contents of the Library of Congress.
Reading a text requires consciousness with which to interpret, and to react, not just in terms of data processing, but in terms of meaning. Interpreting meaning requires subjectivity.
Reading is not, despite what teacher lingo would have us believe, as simple as decoding. It is an experience. It isn’t as simple as receiving a code and the. obeying it. Reading is about having one’s imagination provoked.
Google’s servers can decode the contents of the Library of Congress, but they can’t read it. We human beings can’t read the entirety of the contents of the Library of Congress, but we have the power to do something else that Google’s servers can’t do. We can read something in the Library of Congress – a piece of proposed legislation, perhaps – and then decide to act out of inspiration from what we have read.
So what if I take one billion times longer to grapple with a document from the Library of Congress than a server from Google does? It’s what happens after we are done reading that counts the most.
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