The Mad Aardvark

Critical commentary on culture…

Archive for April, 2010

Evangelical Reporting

Posted by madaardvark on April 28, 2010

As some of you may have learned, evangelical groups are claiming to have found Noah’s Ark on Mount Ararat in Turkey very recently.   This discovery was covered very differently by two news sources: FOX News, and MSNBC.

FOX news took an expectedly ‘open-minded’ approach to the topic.  That means they have taken the discoverer’s claims and published them without checking facts or other sources.  They simply present the material as it was in the press release sent out from the Noah’s Ark Ministries research team.  Of course, FOX News represents a predominantly conservative Christian viewer base, and to question or poke fun at such irrational topics as Noah’s Ark would drive them away.  You won’t find objective reporting here.

MSNBC has taken a different approach.  Instead of interviewing the research team, or publishing much of its press release, MSNBC reporters interviewed a few academicians – anthropologists, archeologists, historians – to give a scientific view of the discovery.  Of course, their reaction was less than enthusiastic and contained more than one accusation towards the evangelical research team of poor scientific skills, bias, and/or fraud.  MSNBC, it should be noted, has a predominantly liberal viewer base.

CNN, the usual leader in sensationalist reporting, remains suspiciously silent on the issue.  Back logs of CNN reports, however, contain stories about previous Ark discoveries that turned out to be bogus.  Maybe, on the Noah issue at least, CNN has learned a hard lesson from the past.  More likely, though, is that they are intentionally not speaking on the issue because of audience alienation.  Their viewer base is about as lowest common denominator as it gets, as the news network panders to ignorant atheists and Christians alike.

Now, I looked through some of the comments on this new story on both the FOX and MSNBC News sites.  Most of the pro-ark comments are misinformed about many things, so I thought I would clear them up here.

1. Science is based on peer review.  For some reason, people seem to think that just because a scientist had an idea, that everyone will blindly accept that idea.  The truth is, every scientific discovery is scrutinized down to the smallest detail before the scientific community comes to a consensus.  There are very few biases that spring from nowhere.  Most of them are based on my next point…

2. Consistency.  Science is consistent.  We know when science is correct because the end result was predicted correctly.  Ark discoveries have been consistent, too.  Each one has been consistently debunked and forgotten.  There is no surprise, then, when scientists admit to a certain level of skepticism when confronted with a new ark discovery.  Not only that, but

3. Carbon dating.  It’s consistent, too.  Stories of false data from insufficient collection practices are false because of the time, care, and repetition of carbon dating techniques.  A big controversy (if you want to call it that) in the Ark commentary is a question of who admits to carbon dating being useful when.  I want to point out that scientists are, again, very consistent with their carbon dating.  In the case of this ark that was supposedly dated to 4,800 years ago, scientists dismiss the evangelical team because DATING WAS ALREADY DONE ON THIS SITE, and the results were different.  Several times.  As MSNBC points out, “previous tests reportedly came up with more recent dates.”  That’s right, TESTS.  Plural.  As in more than one.  Consistent.  When there is a suddenly different result, that indicates a problem, mistake, flaw, or falsity with the testing method that one time.

And finally,

4. Science is not atheism.  There is no law anywhere, except in specifically literal-minded fundamentalist prosperity-religions, that believing science makes someone an atheist.  Arguing with science on subjects such as these is a veil for promoting literal-minded Creationism, not for promoting Christianity as a whole.  Most Christian sects – most world religions, for that matter – do not have a problem with science or  that unspoken subject, Evolution.  And that, folks, is the big, big issue with ark discoveries.  Inevitably, the new find will be debunked (if the scientific community gives another thought to it at all) and people will move on.  BUT a few folks, believers hope, will be fooled long enough for their minds to be opened to chicanery and lies.

Below are some links to pages on about religious views on evolution.  Enjoy

Evolution and religion overview

Christian beliefs about evolution

World Religion beliefs about evolution

Pagan/aboriginal beliefs about evolution


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Weird Searches…

Posted by madaardvark on April 27, 2010

Older posts of mine are still getting traffic, and occasionally still getting comments.  I must be doing something right if these older posts are still topical.  For reference, here is a list of recent search terms that have led people to my blog:

necronomicon, dorian gray, anime sucks, dorian gray 2009, the emotional let down after love making 18th century

I don’t know who is interested in 18th Century post-coital depression, but that’s the funniest damn search I’ve seen yet.  I’m also happy to know that people stumble on my blog when searching for Lovecraft-inspired fictional texts. 

I remember in high school, and maybe slightly before, during the epidemic of satanic cult hysteria that swept the nataion.  Nothing made kids tread dark paths more than parents freaking out about it.  Anyway, the Necronomicon was a powerful tool of initiation for pimple-faced teenagers looking to shock their parents and teachers with Dark Majicks.  Nevermind the fact that Lovecraft invented the whole idea of the Necronomicon.  It frightened parents and made scary kids scarier.

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American Purpose

Posted by madaardvark on April 26, 2010

In environments where nothing is beautiful, the elements of functionality and standardization encourage the living body to engage in all kinds of fruitless, purposeless activity, interested only in the aesthetic experience rather than substance or meaning.  It is a revolution and a rejection of formal, day-to-day, purposefully direct activity meant for pure literal productivity and materialist representation.  Even the soul, craving for something more interesting or beautiful than simple practicality in daily living, turns to the religious as metaphor while keeping the ideal of purpose and direction within.  Work, then, in deep boxes made of plastic and textile fabrics, reaches a religious experience: Puritanism returns in the form of work expectation and the beauty of a clear, white, cloud-like afterlife, floating in a blue sky.  Retirement is the Nirvana of American work ethic – dedicated mindfulness of duty to home, employer, God, society.  And Christ provides, typically through magnificent acts of favorable destruction that pays dividends to the honest, upright citizen – one who pays his insurance on time and keeps his premiums low.  We function for ourselves, our families, our companies, the burden of meaning and direction spiraling outward from the individual to the greater whole: the country, the Christ.  The melting pot is one of religious commerce, as each to their own and ability spreads out towards community, communication, commonwealth, capitalism, Catholicism, and corporate hierarchy.  Even those who profess no allegiance to deity or demon contribute to the overall workings of a Christian nation, spreading the value of dollar and deity further and further.  In the hearts and minds, all work and political ties are linked to religion, the thread of a single worker helping weave a tri-colored flag, and each thread made of singular strands of individuality, religion, work ethic, and want, until national identity is composed of all these things, inseparable from one another despite our attempts to ensure otherwise.  For the goal is the spread of ideas and ideals, the encouragement for other flags to keep their colors while adopting our threads and the machines  that make them, the machines that spin them, and the machines that sell them.  In the midst of this overwhelming necessity and drive, this unyielding demand for purpose and direction, this terrible importance of destiny in efficiency, the only escape is through emptiness, thoughtlessness, a void of refreshing oblivion and lack of stressful demands and doomed responsibility.  Impossibility breeds carelessness, ultimate urgency breeds frivolity.

God is a boss that knows our names.  Faceless crowds of people, pushing forward, buzzing, consist of individuals longing for recognition and thanks.  Personal saviors are the foremen and managers that are familiar with us and our work, who know how our efforts contribute to the whole project.  The earthly overseer all too often ignores us, forgets us, and has our checks signed by secretaries with rubber stamps that simulate names of power.  Take this check ye forth and present it, for unto those who believe, the relics of My station, My profits, may be seen as embodiments of My own Self and righteous Name.  I bestow upon the faithful the riches of Heaven.

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