(h/ts to –JeevesMkII, Genghis Khant and Weirdstuff over at that most rational den of villains)
I do hope you’ll forgive me, but I’m all election-ed out at the moment and there will be plenty of time in the coming months to document either the frothing at the mouth of the rabid right should Obama win, or the US’s sad decline into some sort of quasi misogynistic theocracy should Romney and his science- and women-hating party hacks win.
In the meantime, I’d like to have a quick look at those “scientists” over at Answers in Genesis – you know, the people who try and shoehorn their perverted version of science into the Biblical account of the creation, to prove that Earth and everything on it was created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago.
AiG’s latest efforts comes courtesy of one Jean Lightner, who is apparently a veterinary doctor, despite what the crazy eyes you. Then again, this is a vet who claims in an interview that her “and her husband were surprised when she fell pregnant before she graduated.” No. The only way it would be a surprise is if it was an immaculate conception. If her and hubby were canoodling the fundie way (no evil contraception or maybe the rhythm method or even *gasp* abstinence) then no, it shouldn’t be at all surprising that she was knocked up.
Of course, this wouldn’t be the first creationist to have a sketchy grasp of the science they are apparently qualified in. Nor would she be the first to lie in her “research.” Dr Lightner published a “paper”… if you can call a 2 paragraph splurge a “paper” on Creation Ministries International website, in which she claims that red hair isn’t as a result of evolution, but rather that the genetic mutation that causes it came about Adam and Eve ate that pesky fruit that God told them not to eat. Because God is a bit of a swine like – talk about setting them up for a fall! Or as she says:
God created everything very good. Since the Fall (Genesis 3), mutations have caused alterations to the original genes. But these new ‘alleles’ (variant genes) have bad effects on existing biochemical pathways. Such errors in no way provide a reasonable explanation for the creation of complex pathways; only someone much wiser than us could have created them. That a number of mutations are well tolerated shows that we are very well designed; a less sophisticated design would simply not be able to tolerate such errors.
I’d expect this from an Andy Schlafly. But a vet?? She even quotes an authentic scientific paper in an attempt to give herself some credibility, the American Journal of Human Genetics, November 2004, pp. 739–751.
Of course, the article in question does nothing to support her claims and in fact goes on to say in one point: “Dating of some of the mutations under a coalescent model that assumes neutrality suggests ages of ∼25,000–50,000 years,” which – needless to say – is at least 19,000 years before people like Lightner a magical Sky Daddy conjured everything into existence.
However, it’s not her deceit that I’m writing about today. No, I’m just going to point and laugh at one of the great fails of creationist bullshit. First up, we had Muslim creationist crank Adnan Oktar, writing under the name Harun Yahya (because I also wouldn’t want my real name associated with it), and his hysterically bad “Atlas of Creation” – in which he tried to prove creation happened by comparing fossils to live versions and showing there was no change. Hysterically, one of the images he used – well. stole would be a better term actually, but more on that in a bit – which was supposed to show a live caddisfly, turned out to be a fishing lure. It didn’t take much deduction, as the hook is clearly visible. Not only that, but this image and another – used in a book, remember – had been nicked from a site that designs and sells fishing lures.
Not to be outdone, Lightner has published a new article on AiG, in which she tries to determine just how many “kinds” of animals there were on the Ark. “Kinds” is the creationist escape route when you ask them how Noah managed to round up 2 of the several billion different creatures that live on the planet (including microbes, but excluding the dinosaurs) and squeeze them onto his little wooden boat. Of course, when you ask them how Noah fed all these animals, their heads tend to explode.
The “research” seems to be something along the lines of “well, let’s look at animals that are alive today’ and decide whether or not they, or their predecessors in the baramin (another creationist made-up term) would need to be on the Ark. I’ll use her discussion on the platypus as an example:
Some may question the need of putting a semi-aquatic creature on the Ark. Who really wants to bring a creature with venomous spurs on the Ark? Besides, extant platypuses aren’t exactly known for doing particularly well in captivity (Pasitschniak-Arts and Marinelli 1998). While a platypus may spend half its day in the water, it lives in a burrow. Times of resting on land appear essential to its well being. It seems unlikely that months of swimming in Flood waters would be conducive to the survival of this created kind. Therefore we will assume it was on the Ark.
Not forgetting that those same flood waters came about because of magnitude 12 earthquakes, that would have shot water into the air with enough force to crater the Moon, create giant tidal waves and turned the earth into a mini-nuclear reactor, hot enough to melt the crust (according to some creationist points of view, anyway – this is why peer reviewing is important, people). Somehow, I think having to swimming for several months would be the least of the platypus’ problems.
The article is illustrated with pictures of all animals she’s discussing and all is well and fine, until we get to the “Greater gliding possum.” Then we get this:
Meet Misty, the Greater Glider. In fact, if you’d really like to meet Misty, you can watch a video about how Misty hurt her foot. And no, your eyes aren’t deceiving you – that’s a plush, stuffed toy. At least Lightner credits the fluffy toy site she stole the picture from.
Now, I’m not saying that a qualified vet doesn’t know the difference between a real and toy stuffed animal (although we are talking about somebody who wanted to be a vet since was 13, but retired after practicing for 3 years to raise her children) and let’s face it, it doesn’t quite match up to the glory of Yahya’s lure, but…
…are you seriously telling me that in the whole internet, she could not find a single picture of a real greater flying possum? For use in what passes for a serious scientific journal in creationist circles?
Hasn’t she heard of Google?