Wednesday, May 25, 2005

I'll Take Religious Revisionist History For $200 Alex. Voyager 1 Leaves The Solar System.

I'll Take Religious Revisionist History For $200 Alex

In a story so ridiculous it reads as if it had been written by one of the madmen on The Onion, we have a religious fundamentalist with a lot of cash, and a plan to build a museum dedicated to the proposition that, among other things, the earth is, based on irrefutably logical calculations from the Bible, only 6,000 years old. Thanks to Senior Correspondent Em Jeigh for the leg work. Excerpt from

PETERSBURG, Ky. (AP) -- Ken Ham has spent 11 years working on a museum that poses the big question -- when and how did life begin? Ham hopes to soon offer an answer to that question in his still-unfinished Creation Museum in northern Kentucky.

The $25 million monument to creationism offers Ham's view that God created the world in six, 24-hour days on a planet just 6,000 years old. The largest museum of its kind in the world, it hopes to draw 600,000 people from the Midwest and beyond in its first year.

You'd think that someone with the ability to raise $25 million could find something a little more constructive to do with their time than something as goofy as this enterprise. I wonder if the trolls in Kansas who are busy trying to eradicate evolution from being taught in their state's public schools showed Mr. Ham some generosity?

Ham, 53, isn't bothered that his literal interpretation of the Bible runs counter to accepted scientific theory, which says Earth and its life forms evolved over billions of years. Ham said the museum is a way of reaching more people along with the Answers in Genesis Web site, which claims to get 10 million page views per month and his "Answers ... with Ken Ham'' radio show, carried by more than 725 stations worldwide. "People will get saved here,'' Ham said of the museum. "It's going to fire people up. If nothing else, it's going to get them to question their own position of what they believe.''

News Flash Ken: No it's not. The poor fools who believe this nonsense will flock to you to hear pleasing tales that don't rquire them to think about anything that goes against their indoctrinated beliefs. The people who think that you're a nutjob with too much money and time on his hands will simply stay away and mock you from a distance.

Ham is ready for a fight over his beliefs -- based on a literal interpretation of the book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament. "It's a foundational battle,'' said Ham, a native of Australia who still speaks with an accent. "You've got to get people believing the right history - and believing that you can trust the Bible.''

News Flash Number Two: Ken, baby, nobody is denying you the right to think silly thoughts. Hell, nobody is even denying you the right to build a shrine to display these idiotic ideas. What you need to know is that until there is compelling evidence to support your views, they remain wishful speculation at best, and coercive demagoguery at worst. And lest my eight readers think I'm being a bit harsh towards Mr. Ham, I urge you to read the next paragraph I've selected from the story:

Among Ham's beliefs are that the Earth is about 6,000 years old, a figure arrived at by tracing the biblical genealogies, and not 4.5 billion years, as mainstream scientists say; the Grand Canyon was formed not by erosion over millions of years, but by floodwaters in a matter of days or weeks and that dinosaurs and man once coexisted, and dozens of the creatures -- including Tyrannosaurus Rex -- were passengers on the ark built by Noah, who was a real man, not a myth.

Let's grant Mr. Ham the courtesy of accepting his claim that Tyrannosaurus Rex and Mrs. Rex were passengers aboard the Good Ship Noah. T. Rex was a forty-foot long, twenty-foot tall, six-ton killing machine. Despite these facts, Mr. Ham apparently believes the following:

A. That Noah could have been peacefully herded such a monster on to his ark.
B. That such a monster would have simply eaten whatever Noah gave it and left Noah, his family and the other animals alone.
C. That once the ark washed up on the slopes of Mount Ararat, such a monster would not have turned on the ark's occupants, animal AND human, in a fit of ravenous hunger when confronted with a dead landscape.

So if you, like Mr. Ham, can believe such things, then you are probaly well qualified to hold a cabinet post in the Bush administration.

Although the Creation Museum's full opening is still two years away, already a buzz is building. "When that museum is finished, it's going to be Cincinnati's No. 1 tourist attraction,'' says the Rev. Jerry Falwell, nationally known Baptist evangelist and chancellor of Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. "It's going to be a mini-Disney World.''

Well at least this project is being endorsed by someone with impeccable scientific credentials. For a moment I was wondering if all voices of rational thought had been too shy to speak up about this matter...

Full story:

Voyager 1 Leaves The Solar System

Voyager 1, a relic of a time when NASA was doing some terrific work, is nearing the edge of the solar system and will soon head out into interstellar space. Yahoo News excerpt:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - NASA's Voyager 1 has reached the final frontier of our solar system, having traveled through a turbulent place where electrically charged particles from the Sun crash into thin gas from interstellar space.

Astronomers tracking the little spaceship's 26-year journey from Earth believe Voyager 1 has gone through a region known as termination shock, some 8.7 billion miles from the Sun, and entered an area called the heliosheath. Voyager watchers theorized last November that the craft might be reaching this bumpy region of space when the charged solar particles known as the solar wind seemed to slow down from a top speed of 1.5 million miles per hour. This was expected at the area of termination shock, where the solar winds were expected to decelerate as they bump up against gas from the space beyond our solar system. It is more than twice as distant as Pluto, the furthest planet in our system. By monitoring the craft's speed and the increase in the force of the solar wind, Voyager scientists now believe the craft has made it through the shock and into the heliosheath.

Voyager 1 and its twin spacecraft Voyager 2 were launched in 1977 on a mission to explore the giant planets Jupiter and Saturn. The pair kept going, however, and the mission was extended. Voyager 2 went on to explore Uranus and Neptune, the only spacecraft to have visited these outer planets. Both Voyagers are now part of the Voyager Interstellar Mission to explore the outermost edge of the Sun's domain.

Both Voyagers are capable of returning scientific data from a full range of instruments, with adequate electrical power and attitude control propellant to keep operating until 2020. Wherever they go, the Voyagers each carry a golden phonograph record which bears messages from Earth, including natural sounds of surf, wind, thunder and animals. There are also musical selections, spoken greetings in 55 languages, along with instructions and equipment on how to play the record.

Nothing to add here except to say that this project was as ambitious as it got in the late 1970s. The tremendous amount of information we gained about the outer solar system can be of tremendous value if we ever decided to get off our collective asses again and begin to seriously explore the outer planets and their moons.

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