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Reviewing Jack Chick: Sin City

First of all, I apologize for my absence.  I know it’s been a while, but I’ll try to get more work into this blog.  In the meantime, Jack Chick is a racist nutjob!  Just wanted to remind you guys.  And for those of you who were mislead by the title, no, we are not in Las Vegas!  We are in that warped world of Jack Chick’s mind where all LGTB people look like gypsies and all Muslims are psychotic extremists!  So, without further ado, Sin City!

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Ah, yes, it’s a BEAUTIFUL day here in Sin City!  The Festival of Offensive Stereotypes is in full swing, and… what’s this?  A single guy standing in the middle of the street, holding a sign?  Why, it couldn’t POSSIBLY be a Christian who either gets someone to repent/gets persecuted for his beliefs/all of the above?  That would just be ABSURD!

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It’s only the second panel, and already I get to do some legal nitpicking.  Technically, protesting ISN’T a hate crime.  Now, if you threw bricks at the parade float or beat some people up, that would be a hate crime.  But protesting?  No.

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Um, no, he didn’t act in hatred against you.  He was merely expressing his beliefs, albeit in a disruptive and somewhat offensive way.  Maybe you could get him on disturbing the peace, but even that would be unlikely.

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Oh, great, Jack is trying to be poetic now.

Zanah is actually a pretty cool demon name.  It sounds like some sort of magic word!  When I wave my magic wand and say “Zanah!”, an annoying character will appear!

Page 6

Zanah!  It’s Uncle Bob, a recurring Hitler-like guy who for some reason can’t grasp the concept of people having their own opinions, and instead uses half-baked arguments that come FROM THE BIBLE instead of a scientifically verified, peer-reviewed source.

Again with the hate crime nonsense!  HE WAS A PROTESTER!  Nobody said Occupy was a hate crime, nobody said the civil rights movement or the women’s suffrage movement was a hate crime!  IT DOES NOT MAKE SENSE!

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Um… the guy is near-paralyzed in a hospital bed.  You could probably say anything you like, provided the guy doesn’t scream “Nurse!  There’s a pudgy, annoying guy who’s probably going to repent in ten panels standing in my room!”

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Ray makes a good point.  Christians constantly say that God loves everyone.  So if that’s the case, A) why does everyone who doesn’t repent have to go to Hell, and B) why does Jack apparently NOT love everyone?  I mean, he’s downright racist a lot of times.

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Zanah!  Uncle Bob’s back!  And he apparently needs God to find Malcom’s room.  [Insert obvious GPS joke here]

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Wait… Malcom is apparently a minister or something.  Couldn’t he quote from the Bible and shoot Ray’s arguments down?  I wouldn’t buy it, but at least it would make sense, considering Malcom’s occupation.

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Okay, yes, technically Bob is right.  According to a random Bible website, Jude 1:7 does in fact say that Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of the cities’ abundant homosexuality.  This does not, however, excuse God from being a bigoted extremist who just won’t let people be who they want to be.

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All right, God.  Here’s a little suggestion.  Next time you want an entire city to change their ways, do it yourself!  Instead of sending one person who people probably won’t believe was sent by God, go down yourself!  Or shout something from Heaven!  There are easier ways of doing things!

  Page 13

Ladies and gentlemen, the coolest thing in the Bible has just happened.  Two angels and four people just barely escaping the destruction of an entire city.  That is actually kind of epic.  But not in this tract!

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And the children, and the babies, and everything inside this city, anything that could be of any historical significance, were burned to a crisp!  But God loves you!

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*sigh*  I can’t believe I’m saying this, but Uncle Bob is being rational for once.  The Rocky Horror dropouts DID in fact commit a hate crime.  But, again, that’s no excuse to be a bigoted extremist!  Very few people act like this in real lie!

Can anyone name any point in the Bible where Jesus talks about homosexuality?  Other than the whole Jesus/God thing?

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Um, apparently God is willing to banish millions of people to eternal torment.  That’s actually worse than wiping out a city.  If anything, God has done far worse.

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“I’ve had my own opinions!  I’ve been an individual, with my own personality and beliefs!  I’m going to Hell!”

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You need a savior TODAY, for only the cost of your dignity and individuality!  Call now and get a free hateful rant!

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Bob, do you have any evidence for Jesus rising from the dead other than “the Bible says so”?  I mean, all you’re saying is “No!”.  Just denying everything your opponent says without real proof is NOT a good way to win an argument!

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Again, proof?  You’re saying that all religions except Christianity are false.  Where is your evidence?  Don’t say that those religions are immoral, don’t use offensive stereotypes, don’t quote the Bible, just give me some evidence to support your claim that actually makes sense!

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Yes, let us reason together.  What reasoning?  You just quoted the Bible and said because it’s the word of God (which you didn’t prove), that it’s true.  WHAT REASONING?!

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“It happened!  I just became another stupid character who, for no logical reason, just repented, and will probably lose most of my social life!”

And that’s Sin City, and… okay, it’s not the worst tract I’ve ever reviewed.  The first few panels about hate crimes and LGBT stereotypes are probably the worst parts of it, but other than that, it’s just stupid and cliched.  So, is it bad?  Yes.  Is it worse than The Last Generation?  No, not by a long shot.

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Reviewing Jack Chick: Here, Kitty Kitty

Okay, time warn you guys: this will most likely be the worst Chick tract yet (even worse than The Last Generation, believe it or not), but it marks my fifth dissection!  Also, in case I can’t think of anything to write below the panel, I’m going to use the abbreviation AJPO or As Jabberwock Pointed Out, and point out things he’s said about the tract.  You probably won’t see it that much, considering 3/5 of the dissections so far were tracts that the Jabberwock hadn’t done yet, but I don’t want to get into a copyright mess here.  Let’s get on with this god-awful, sickly sweet cartoon tract about satanic schoolchildren.  Agh!

Okay… so, they’re just standing on a plain of grass?  No sun, no clouds, no trees?  Nothing else to guide our perception of this drawing except a thin line of grass?  Well, I guess I should be thankful for the grass, because sometimes these Chick tracts don’t even have that.

I’ve just found this tract’s main villain: an oversized It’s a Small World doll carrying an unrealistically small black cat.  Who owns a plagiarism T-shirt, apparently.  Get ready, this is the first of many Peanuts ripoffs.

I don’t even think that kid could talk realistically.  It would just be like an Audio-Animatronic figure, and one of the old ones, at that.  I’m losing my resolve.

“Look, Halloween’s tomorrow night.”  Thank you, Jack!  Finally, we have a time reference!  I mean, we had one last time, with Heidi dying in… what was that?  1998?

What happened to the cat?  Now it’s a clown’s head on a cat’s body.

AJPO:The Jabberwock pointed out that this is another Charlie Brown ripoff.  I mean, look at those desks!  Wait… please don’t tell me that’s Linus’s shirt in the first panel?  Gyah!

Wait… so the Charlie Brown ripoff is Betsy’s brother?  Jack has managed to pull off what he has never done before-an actual plot twist.  Who’d have thought?

YOU!  Dun-dun-dun!  Seriously, though, this is like Peanuts meets Harry Potter: Witchcraft Repackaged.  And I’ve seen some clips from that, so I know how that stuff is.

She doesn’t know who Jesus is, yet she capitalizes letters when she talks about him?  Does anybody else notice this?

Again with the confusion!  Jesus is God’s son, and the teacher is saying that he created the universe.  But, according to the creationists, God made the universe!  So, is this a joint thing?  God & Son Creation?  Hmmm?

So, all bad things count as sin?  Badness is really in the eye of the beholder, isn’t it?  Well, in some things, no, but you might watch a PG-13 movie when you’re only eight and somebody might call you bad, but… this is pretty much off topic, isn’t it?

Hey, there’s a building in the background!  At least, I think that’s a building.  From here it looks more like a giant Lego block.

God threw a giant arrow at the earth!  Aaaaahhhh!  Wait, is that even the earth?  You’d think Jack could at least give us some real continents, unlike the whale-looking land mass Jesus is falling onto.

Punish… [Him]?  Jesus even capitalizes the pronouns when he describes himself!  Interesting…

Gravedigger One: Hey, Earl, d’you think we should just dump the body here?

Gravedigger Two: Dunno.  Why not?

Where are the teacher’s eyes?  I mean, even if she was like Burgess Meredith from that one episode of The Twilight Zone, you could probably still see her eyes, right?  Interesting little tidbit of information for you.

AJPO: The Jabberwock also pointed out why Jack would need a “Later” sign in the second panel.  I mean, how long was that?

Hey, it’s Fang!  The strange, Chupacabra-like dog that appears in nearly every Chick tract ever published!  And by the way, did the girl step outside, or is her house just a flat movie set or something?

Uh-oh, Betsy had better run, or else she’ll be accused of taking part in a rumble.

Okay, let’s do some continuity error nitpicking here: the brother (who, by the way, remains anonymous for some reason) said that Halloween was the next night, implying that they were going to sacrifice the cat then.  But by the looks of things, they’ve sacrificed it the same night anyway.  That doesn’t explain them wearing masks, or for that matter, the surprised-looking pumpkin in panel two.

Don’t do witchcraft… do your HOMEWORK!  She’s going all after-school special on them.  You know, you’d think she’d be more like don’t do witchcraft, go to church, or something like that.  Hm.

We’re done, and I’m dreadfully disappointed in this tract, like I always am.  I mean, just look at all of the bad things:

  • Almost zero points of reference in the background.
  • All of these dumb Peanuts ripoffs!
  • The trying-to-be-appealing cartoony art that fails miserably.
  • Completely unlikeable characters, as per usual.

Overall, on the awfulness scale, I’d place this tract above The Little Princess (which, for those of you who haven’t read it, is not about a girl who lives on a tiny planet and likes drawings of sheep), because at least some of the art is distinguishable, but not as bad as The Last Generation, which made no sense and was just… plain… bad.  Join me next time when we do pretty much the same thing to a similar tract.  Whew… maybe I should get therapy for the badness of this stuff.

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Reviewing Jack Chick: The Little Princess

Today, we’ll be dissecting my first Halloween-themed tract, The Little Princess, in which a dying little girl gets saved.  As the Chick website puts it, this story has a “happy ending”.  Whenever a description on the site says that about a tract, you automatically know that the main character’s gonna die by the end.  Of course, they’ll go to heaven, but hey, it’s a double-edged sword.  Let’s begin!

Mrs. Spencer… Heidi has gills.  Wow, that is a hideous mother.  That reminds me of an urban legend I once read about: the whole dead-hand prank thing going awry.  You’ve probably heard about it.

Why does Heidi have a giant flashbulb camera next to her bed?  And, for that matter, why doesn’t her room have a proper light switch?  It looks like somebody smacked it off or something.

She can have anything, and she wants to go TRICK-OR-TREATING?!  I mean, sure, Halloween is loved by everyone (except for Jack here, who thinks it’s satanic), but I would wish for something like a laptop, or maybe a copy of the Spore Creepy & Cute Pack.  I don’t even go trick-or-treating on Halloween anymore, but I still dress up to hand out candy.

Yeesh, suddenly Heidi isn’t so cute anymore.  It looks like the oxygen tank is trying to tell her something secret.

Wait… what happened to her brother?  Now it looks like a zombified version of Billy the Kid is accompanying her on her final trick-or-treat.  Assuming she went trick-or-treating before, because this tract seems to imply that she hasn’t.

And NOW it looks like a newspaper cartoon is her chaperone!  Ack, what’s with the sudden change in art direction, Jack!  Help me out here!

Hey, she’s giving out actual Chick tracts!  Nice advertising, Jack!

What’s with the hesitation to mention Josh?  Is she trying to write him out or something?

Man, that dad looks sooooo smug right there, in the second panel?  Apparently, Jack doesn’t care what emotions his characters have, so long as what they say and do gets through to you.  Technical bit, there.

Let’s go, honey!  Salvation Plan Alpha Bravo, go go go!

Hey, there’s a giant mouse in her bed!  Why haven’t her parent noticed?

The parents are eavesdropping!  D’oh!

Aside from the oddly rounded chin, Heidi know looks a lot more grown up.  I’ll let this one slide, because the constantly shifting art styles in this tract are becoming a lot more familiar to me.

You’re right, Mr. Smith, it isn’t an accident.  Heidi asked for your company, and you accepted.  It’s because of Heidi that you’re here.  So, no, it isn’t an accident.

Oh my gosh, Heidi decapitated her own mother!  The horror!

Who could that be?  You have until this creepy staring session is up to figure it out!

Bingo!  It’s Jesus (as per usual), who has now joined Areosmith!

Just like in Somebody Angry, we have a side view of an old man’s face, with extremely geometric features.  It’s a trend in Chick tracts.

Wait… now a guy with sunglasses is standing in the living room!  Art style change!  Art style change!

I saw the welcome-to-heaven bit in another tract.  I really hate to say it, but it’s actually kinda cute.

Glad to see we have some recognizable time frame here-this tract takes place in 1998.  Which is weird, because Josh’s hair is totally ’80s.

Well, that’s the end of that!  That was a pretty short dissection, but taught me just how frequently the art style changes from bad to god-awful.  And why doesn’t anybody thank Josh?  I mean, if it wasn’t for him letting Heidi go to the Smiths’ and get the tract, none of them would have been saved!  For that matter, why didn’t Heidi just give the tract to her parents and brother?  A lot of overreaction here!

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Reviewing Jack Chick: The Awful Truth

Recently (actually, October 31st), me and the family were going to a Chinese restaurant.  While waiting to be seated, I found-lo and behold-a piece of obviously Christian literature!  No, it wasn’t a Chick tract, but just to celebrate finding my first piece of literature, I’m going to do a Chick dissection!  Once again, inspirational credit goes to the Jabberwock, and art credit goes to Jack Chick.  So, ladies and gentlemen, The Awful Truth!

What are we gonna do today, Mr. Deranged Sherman Super-Sized Nose Guy?  And by the way, what’s with the question mark when there should be an exclamation point?

Wait… has the art style suddenly changed?  That’s the thing with Chick tracts-the art style is awful.  Either it’s a super-cartoony mess that insult Charles Schultz, or it’s so realistic that it’s wooden (like The Last Generation).  Sometimes it’s in the middle there, which just makes it worse (like Somebody Angry?).  Hey, it’s the cover of Scott Westerfield’s Peeps!

So, in the Garden of Eden, you could braid your hair with sound effects while picking corn?  Will ANYTHING in this tract make sense?  Stay tuned!

So, Adam was fired.  That makes God Donald Trump, and Adam an unlucky loser on The Apprentice.  Never thought of it that way.

CSE, in a recent blog post, said that even the tallest mountains were covered by water.  Now here’s the problem: how much water would need to rain in order for Mount Everest to be covered?  And since all water on earth disperses evenly, the water level would have to be the same everywhere.  In other words, the rainfall for the flood to happen would be hundreds and thousands of times more than we see here.  And that’s not including the implications of Satan heading a space program, like we see in panel two.

I always get confused with the whole Jesus-God thing.  The Bible says that God created, but then we see here in this verse that Jesus created.  I’ve never really gotten a solid answer on this.

That’s too easy.  I refuse to believe it-buc buc buc-bacawk!  Bacawk!  Why is it that you can always find the most inhumanely hideous people in Chick tracts?  I mean, first there was Bobby, and now this guy!  Wow!

Hey, wait a sec… one of those guards is holding a spear gun!  They didn’t have those in ancient times!

So, let me get this straight: the Roman emperors were servants of Satan?  Man, Jack really has a bone to pick with almost everything in the world!

He came up with an idea-he would impersonate King Kong!

Another tract cliche I forgot to tell you guys about-unnecessary emphasis.  I mean, why the sudden emphasis on the word replaced?  Why, I sometimes wonder.

The surrounding images are supposed to be realistic (which they aren’t, I don’t mind telling you), but Mary and her kids (in the middle) look like badly done Barbie dolls.  Man, the art style in these tracts just keep getting worse and worse!

I see that Mini-Me has found new work on the Council of Trent.  That’s nice.

Agh!  Enough with the false religion charade, Jack!  I’m dying here!  Eh, at least he isn’t connecting Nazism to evolution.  Now there’s a lie.

Peace out, my son!  And why are Jesus and Satan even talking together?  Next thing you know, they’ll be Facebook friends.

Ahhh!  …here she is?  I’m finding Jack’s grammar more and more difficult to comprehend.

According to the second panel, after being poisoned, Pope John VIII’s head turned into a planetary system.  And why does being murdered convey distrust here?  The servants could have been disgruntled for any given reason!

Hey, it’s Doris the Ugly Stepsister, from Shrek!  What’s she doing in a proselytization tract?

What are those guys doing, anyway?  Building a Revolutionary War-era cannon?

Um… conspiracy theories, anyone?

It’s the final two panels of the tract proper!  So, here comes Angelzilla!

This is your basic informative Chick tract: a bunch of stuff that supposedly disproves anything that challenges Christianity, and ending with your stereotypical salvation message.  There’s a panel after this about getting saved, but I won’t show it because there’s nothing to riff.  Thanks for your time!

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Hominid Babel, ID’s Fatal Flaw, and Theistic Evolution

Believe it or not, evolution has a Babel-like story, too, except this one is based on real evidence and took a lot more time to happen than the other story.  It starts in Africa, where hominids (the ape-like ancestors of human beings) originated.  We have dated most hominid species (such as Australopithecus afarensis, one of the most famous “missing links” ever discovered) at being a few million years old.  Coincidentally, most of them are found in regions of Africa.  Newer fossils, like neanderthals, are found in northern regions, like Europe and Asia.  This points to one conclusion: hominids originated in Africa, then slowly migrated north, where they evolved into more fitting forms to survive the incoming last Ice Age.  Meanwhile, the Asian hominid species migrated to North and South America via land bridges (Stretches of land that can be traversed by animals.  Land bridges explain how many prehistoric species from the South American island continent went extinct-predators traveled to South America via land bridge.) and began to get more intelligent.  As the last Ice Age came to an end, all hominids evolved into one form: Homo sapiens, or us humans.  It’s a fascinating story, isn’t it?

Meanwhile, on the ID side of the creation/evolution spectrum, I know a way to win any debate with a proponent of intelligent design: start talking about bad design.  Now, this only works with proponents of intelligent design, because creationists explain bad design away with The Fall, but folks who believe ID constantly claim that their theory (ha!) isn’t religious.  However, no designer would give us the appendix (which has little or no use and is more like a biological time bomb), or force narwhals to swim upside down.  Things like this are no problem for evolution, because natural selection makes things better, not perfect.  But intelligent design clearly states that everything was designed, and is therefore perfect.  Now, if ID was actually creationism, The Fall would explain all of this.  That’s what makes this argument so clever: there is no way to explain bad design outside of The Fall, which is religion.  So, either evolution happened, or intelligent design is religion.  This puts ID proponents in a pretty bad spot.

Recently, I was reading one of Answers in Genesis’s daily articles (I check their website every day to check those articles), and found a piece called Intelligent Design Is Not Enough.  The article is basically about how intelligent design accepts evolution.  Let me quote from the article (in which Dr. Michael Behe, who teaches college classes in my town, believe it or not, is described):

“In fact, one could really call Behe a type of Theistic Evolutionist.”

It doesn’t sound like much, I know, but here’s what that sentence means: theistic evolution and intelligent design are equals.  Outright lie!  One of ID’s foremost books, the infamous Of Pandas and People, quite clearly states that intelligent design says things came into being abruptly, birds with feathers and fish with fins.  They say it came into being through an “intelligent agency”, and similar wordings.  If that doesn’t scream creationism, I don’t know what does.  But that’s not the point.  The point is, this definition of ID says that birds and fish didn’t evolve on their own.  On the other hand, theistic evolution says the opposite.  It does, however, allow room for a designer, or even the Christian God.  So, that AiG article is a falsehood, because there are a few major differences between God-friendly theistic evolution and supposedly scientific intelligent design.

Well, that’s all for now.  See you next time, when we hopefully discuss Answers in Genesis’s series of cartoons.

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Our Fair Curriculum

Teach creationism.  Teach intelligent design.  Teach the alternatives.  Teach the controversy.  These are some of the common claims that lead to massive lawsuits and headline stories.  Creationists (as well as proponents of intelligent design, misguided parents, etc, etc) sometimes claim that to teach a “fair and balanced curriculum”, you have to teach alternatives to evolution in science class.  Or to explain the massive controversy in the scientific community about the validity of evolution.  But there are reasons that those decisions get overturned in court, and here are some of them:

First of all, more often than not, the alternatives people want taught are creationism or intelligent design.  And those aren’t IN THE LEAST science.  Sure, evolution is not, to say, perfectly flawless.  Every scientific theory has stuff going against it, and that’s okay.  But what’s NOT okay is when a theory that is supposedly scientific cannot keep an argument!  Talkorigins alone has a massive index of creationist and intelligent design claims, all of which have scientific responses.  Evolution may have mountains of evidence stated against it, but very few of those evidences can be considered valid.  Now, if you wanted to do a comparative religion class of which multiple mythologies and their impact on the modern world were a part, that’s fine.  In fact, I support that.  But when you try to pass off creationism as science, and try to teach it in schools, that’s just wrong.

Now, on the subject of “teach the controversy”, there are two different meanings: state that there is immense debate in the scientific community about evolution’s validity, or teach the immense controversy about evolution vs creationism, intelligent design, etc.  I love the concept of teaching the latter, but the former is wrong because the scientific community overwhelmingly accepts evolution.  Societies like Creation Science Evangelism, the Institute for Creation Research, and the infamous ID think tank, the Discovery Institute, are not widely accepted members of the scientific community, despite repeated attempts to convince the public that creationism and intelligent design are scientific.  While there are debates on HOW evolution happened, like the evolution of certain creatures, there are practically no arguments against them evolving.

Science, and how science should be taught, is a tricky subject.  Obviously, evolution should be a part of every school curriculum, but there will occasionally be the inevitable fight to get religion in, too.  And that only leads to trouble and costly lawsuits.  Nobody wants to get into trouble with the law, so do what’s right: accept the science in a science class, and leave religion at home.

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Useless Blubber And Dolphin Blood

Today, let’s do two things: a follow-up on that post I did on the Flood of Noah, and why irreducible complexity is not applied in the cetacean world.  Okay, the follow-up:

Recently, I dissected popular theories about the Flood of Noah, and pointed out three major problems.  Well, here’s another, referencing how many problems there are with the idea that, if the climate was temperate, all animals could live together, expediting Noah’s two-by-two gathering.  Well, straight from the depths of the Talkorigins archives comes some more trouble: useless design.  You see, adaptions like blubber, which helps keep polar animals nice and toasty, would be useless in a temperate climate.  If God gave all of these animals special adaptions, why would he put them in the same place, with the same environment, where most adaptions wouldn’t need to exist?  Furthermore, another problem with the temperate theory is that, if there was only one environment, and since the Flood would have decimated everything on Earth, where did the other biomes (like forest, savannah, etc.) come from?  I’ve probably said it before, and I’m going to say it again-it’s a problem.

Now, let’s continue on through the world of bad science, all the way to intelligent design.  This bit is interesting for me because it hits pretty close to home-and I mean that literally.  There are several major colleges in the area.  Both of my parents work at one or the other, Dad being an admissions officer at Northampton Community College, my mother working at Lehigh University.  And LU comes into play for this paragraph.  You see, at the university is a biology professor who is an intelligent design idol-none other than Dr. Michael Behe.  He wrote the popular (if very controversial and scientifically suspect) book, Darwin’s Black Box, which basically stretches his entire argument-how complex formations such as mousetraps couldn’t have evolved naturally.  Wow, I didn’t know that mousetraps were living organisms, of the genus Mousetrapius!  Oh, that’s just an analogy?  Sorry.

But seriously, folks.  One of Behe’s main points of irreducible complexity (his name for the age-old argument) is blood clotting.  According to the professor, biological mechanisms that produce blood clots show clear evidence of complexity, and possibly design.  But, in the real world, it doesn’t work!  As pointed out in the Dover/Kitzmiller trials (from which we evolutionists celebrate the merry, albeit fake, holiday of Kitzmas), dolphins do not have all of the mechanisms that Behe points out!  If irreducible complexity were to be real and evident in nature, if you stabbed a thumb tack into a dolphin, wouldn’t it just bleed to death?

Thank you for joining me in this lively discussion about both useless design and irreducible complexity.

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