Friday, 31 May 2019

Christian Abuse News - Jesus Army Church Closes

The Jesus Centre, former home of the Jesus Army, Northampton
Jesus Army churches close after child sex abuse claims - BBC News

In what could be a metaphor for Christianity itself, an extreme fundamentalist church in Northampton, UK, has lost so many members over child abuse scandals that it has decided to call it a day and close its doors, just as have so many other Christian churches.

Decent people are walking away from the church, repelled by the behaviour of the clerics and the church's leadership in tolerating it and even facilitating it and participating in it.

Monday, 27 May 2019

Christian Hypocrisy News - The Preachers of Hate

Six antigay church leaders who have found themselves ensnared in sex scandals / Queerty

Sanctimony is commonly used as a cover. Who would believe that upright, married Christian pastor who weekly fulminates against homosexuals and calls down the wrath of God upon them, would be gay?

It's like the scandalised gossip who condemns others but who keeps her curtains tightly drawn and only opens her door a chink to callers lest they glimpse the squalor in her own home.

We are becoming inured to the daily scandals as yet another priest is caught abusing his position to abuse yet more children or procuring an abortion for his under-age victim while preaching the sanctity of life and a ban on abortions for others. We now almost take it for granted that behind public sanctimony there will be private hypocrisy and the louder the condemnation of others, the more likely is the attacker likely to be an abuser.

Here, by way of illustration is a very short select of Christian hypocrites whose actions contrast sharply with their preaching lectures on what constitutes decent behaviour and whose virulent messages of hate directed at homosexuals are intended to deflect from their own behaviour. The list comes from Queerty, an online magazine with an openly gay agenda.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Another Massive Rejection of Catholicism in Ireland

1995 campaign poster.
Jesus says no; Ireland said yes. Now Ireland says more, by a massive majority.
Divorce referendum: Ireland votes to liberalise laws - BBC News

In another massive rejection of the teaching and advise of the Catholic Church in the Republic of Ireland, the Irish people have voted to liberalise their divorce laws in a referendum held on Friday.

The scale of this shift away from Catholic teaching can be gauged by the scale of the vote in favour of liberalisation compared to the vote to allow divorce in 1995. In 1995, the majority in favour of divorce itself was a mere - 50.3%. Friday's referendum gave an 82.1% vote in favour of the liberalisation of it.

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Ark Encounter Suffers Flood Damage

Ark Encounter owners sue over rain damage

Don't laugh!

Ken Ham's Ark Encounter in North Kentucky, which claims to have a replica Ark, is suing its insurers for not paying out for the flood damage caused by heavy rain in 2017 and 2018.

Perhaps, the five different insurers regard this flood damage as an act of God or force majeure. It was caused by an act of gross stupidity. The insurers say they didn't ensure against "correcting design deficiencies or faulty workmanship."

Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Civilised Societies Leaving Religions Behind

Pastor Anderson of the Faithful Word Baptist Church.
Preacher of hate.
World - Christian US Pastor Who Prayed For Obamas Death And Celebrated Orlando Gay Club Massacre Becomes The First Person Banned From Ireland | Daily Mail

In a stunning example of the yawning chasm that has opened up between fundamentalist American Christianity and what is considered normal, civilised standards of behaviour, the Irish government has banned an American preacher from entering the country because of the hateful and socially unacceptable nature of the opinions he spouts from the pulpit.

The Irish Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan, signed an exclusion order to stop Pastor Steven L Anderson entering Ireland after learning that he had publicly prayed for President Obama's death, celebrated the Orlando massacre of 48 people in a gay bar and called for the death of all homosexuals.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Evolution News - How One Thing Leads To Another

Giant armadillos (glyptodonts), Doedicurus clavicaudatus
Credit: © Peter Schouten
Climate, grasses and teeth: the evolution of South America mammals | UANews

Recent findings by scientists from the Universities of Arizona, Wyoming and Connecticut, give a fascinating insight into how Earth's ecosystems are dynamic, and how evolution is an integral part of how the system works to maintain itself, without the need for magic or interference.

The researchers, led by Barbara Carrapa, professor and head of the UA Department of Geosciences, showed that there was a major change in the climate of South America between 7 and 6 million years ago, caused by a change in the global tropical atmospheric circulation known as the Hadley circulation. The result was that South America became drier allowing subtropical grasslands to expand.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

'Persecution' News - 'Good Christian' Paedo Rapist Treated Leniently

Good Christian, David Lynn Richards Jr, convicted of nine counts of rape, incest and sexual battery.
Photo credit: Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel
Former pastor sentenced to 12 years in prison for rape conviction

A former Christian pastor who repeatedly raped his 14 year-old adopted daughter has been given a light sentence by a Judge in Knox County, Tennessee because he is a good Christian.

According to this report in the Knoxville News Sentinel, David Lynn Richards Jr, a former minister in the My Father's House Church of God in Lenoir City, was convicted by a jury at Knox County Criminal Court on nine felony counts of rape, icest and sexual battery. He protested his innocence throughout the trial, despite the evidence of his DNA being found in semen on his daughters bed frame.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Malevolent Designer News - Winning The Antibiotic Arms Race

The mcr-9 gene's protein structure graphic depicts the differing protein chains (solid color ribbons) and the protein surface (mesh) surrounding it.
Credit: Ahmed Gaballa/Cornell University
Cornell scientists discover new antibiotic resistance gene | Cornell Chronicle

Creationism's malevolent designer has been at it again in its arms race with human medical science, and it seems to have gone into overdrive.

As Cornell University food scientists have discovered, it has created a new 'diabolical' gene to convey resistance in bacteria to our antibiotic of last resort, colistin.

And not content with giving that resistance to a bacterium like salmonella, it has made the gene fully transferable to other species via a plasmid, so, by horizontal gene transfer, any bacteria can now acquire resistance to colistin. Colistin has been designated by the World Health Organisation as a highest-priority antibiotic. Unless we can find a better one or find some new way of killing bacteria when they infect us, that's it. We will have run out of options.

Creationism Goes off the Rails

Aldabran White-throated rail, Dryolimnas cuvieri subsp. aldabranus.

Photo credit: Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0]
The bird that came back from the dead | UoP News

Here we have a very nice example of how evolution is 'directed' by the environment, and an example of how the Theory of Evolution has explanatory powers that creationism simply does not have. This example is of a flightless member of the rail family of birds that evolved not once but twice on the small Indian Ocean atoll of Aldabra.

Julian P Hume of the Bird Group, Department of Life Sciences, Natural History Museum, Tring, Herts, UK and David Martill of the School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK, have shown that the present day flightless white-throated rail of Aldabra has some strikingly similar features to an extinct flightless rail. The extinct rail inhabited the atoll until climate change caused the sea level to rise and cover the atoll about 136,000 years ago, exterminating all plant and animal life.

Monday, 13 May 2019

Anglican Abuse News - Peter Ball, Prince Charles and the Archbishop of Canterbury

Peter Ball, Bishop of Gloucester, jailed in 2015 for sexually abusing 18 young men.
Inquiry publishes report into the Diocese of Chichester and Peter Ball | IICSA Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse

The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse (IICSA) has revealed that the Church of England had a casual approach to child abuse by it's clerics that was the equal to that in any Catholic diocese. All the 'sympathy and understanding' was reserved for the cleric who had given in to temptation and been caught, and none for their victims.

This 'understanding' went all the way to the top and included Prince Charles, future titular head of the Anglican Church. As with the Catholic Church, according to the IICSA, the Anglican Church was more concerned with “putting its own reputation above the needs of victims”.

The IICSA has found that former Bishop of Gloucester, Peter Ball, misused his position to sexually abuse young men, talking them into stripping naked to prey, and taking part in masturbation and flagellation sessions. Ball was convicted and given a 32 month sentence for the admitted sexual abuse of 18 young men between 1977 and 1992. Two further charges of indecently assaulting two boys, aged 13 and 15, were allowed to lie on file by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Peter Ball, along with his twin brother Michael, set up the Community of the Glorious Ascension, an Anglican monastic order through which he met many young men and boys as novice monks. He later became Bishop of Lewes, within the Anglican diocese of Chichester and in 1992 he was appointed Bishop of Gloucester.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Perfectly Plausible Abiogenesis

I get more than a little bit bored with almost every debate with creationists eventually, and often very quickly, coming down to a demand that we explain abiogenesis, or more likely an assertion that it can't be explained because it's 'impossible'.

Then comes the parrot squawk, "you can't get life from non-life", as though any of them could define this 'life' thing.

So, with that in mind, I thought I would both give a puff for my book, What Makes You So Special? From the Big Bang to You and put on record a perfectly plausible explanation for how abiogenesis could have happened. Note, it's not meant to be an account of how it actually happened, just how it could have happened, to refute creationist claims that it is impossible.

If any creationists wishes to substantiate that claim, please feel free to go through the following ten steps and say which laws of chemistry and/or physics would make one or more of them impossible. If you can't, clearly, it is not impossible.
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