God-centered geography: A world of stupidity

May 31, 2008

If you had thought the God-centered math courses first exposed in the Bathtub to be the apex of Christian of religious folly, sit down; buckle up. Take a deep breath.

Did you know God sculpted Antarctica to look like a trumpeting elephant? Did you know God did it for political reasons?

Dr. Pamela Bumsted of Grassroots Science alerts us to this website, God’s Geography, which should contain enough abuse of scripture to offend all Christians, and Jews and Moslems, too. The site steals good maps from good sites — but the accuracy in geography stops there.

Consider Antarctica: Antarctica, from U of Texas Library, Perry Castaneda Collection

This is the map God’s Geography borrows from the University of Texas Libraries (to their credit, giving close to proper attribution), Antarctica (small map) from the Perry Castañeda Map Collection at the University of Texas Library.

Argh: Here’s what the site says:

Why is Antarctica shaped like an elephant’s head? I believe it is to illustrate a global political system. Nations typically have an animal or bird as their national symbol (such as the American eagle), but no single country owns Antarctica, although about 40 nations have made claims. So let’s think of these 40 nations as one nation, living in peace, and their symbolic animal is the elephant because it is the largest beast on earth.

* * * *

A global government means all nations cooperating together for the benefit of mankind, and not for the benefit of God or the King of kings. And as the world’s largest terrestrial animal it makes a perfect symbol of the world’s largest government.

So the elephant gives us a visual clue as to what a global political system looks and acts like. It’s very formidable, and can not be defeated except by God Himself. It’s futile to fight against it, but we shouldn’t want to because it’s part of our heavenly Father’s overall plan. He’ll guide the elephant where He wants it to go, and He’ll take care of the ivory towers, as it’s written in Amos 3:

13 Hear ye, and testify in the house of Jacob, saith the Lord GOD, the God of hosts, 14 That in the day that I shall visit the transgressions of Israel upon him I will also visit the altars of Bethel: and the horns of the altar shall be cut off, and fall to the ground. 15 And I will smite the winter house with the summer house; and the houses of ivory shall perish, and the great houses shall have an end, saith the LORD.

It’s crazy enough to send you to the law books to see if you can find a loophole in Poe’s Law, ain’t it?

I don’t object to the use of mnemonic devices. Remembering Italy as the peninsula and nation “shaped like a boot” seems to cement the identity of country into the minds of students otherwise a bit weak on European geography.

God’s Geography passes over the line into pure fantasy, into false claims about geography. The religious claims also far exceed any rational claim from Christian theology. I can’t imagine serious Christians not being offended at the religious messages the author claims to find in the simple shape of geographic entities.

My second complaint is that the religious claims tend to obscure reality, also. Again, on the Antarctica page, we find a gratuitous note about Elephant Island, which is off the tip of the archipelago this guy sees as an elephant’s trunk:

Near the tip of the elephant’s trunk is an island called Elephant Island, although I’m sure it wasn’t named for elephants, but rather for the largest member of the seals, the Elephant Seal.

Elephant seals were sighted there in the year of its discovery. But every description of the island I’ve ever seen notes that the island’s profile resembles an elephant’s head, and that’s how it was named. The island provided scant refuge, but enough refuge for the crew of Ernest Shackleton’s ill-fated ship Endurance in 1916, so it is relatively famous among history, exploration and geography buffs.

So contrary to the history books, the author of God’s Geography claims Elephant Island is not named because it looks like an elephant’s head. Fantasy is just one egregious problem with this site; gross error is a second. In a game where one strike equals an out, this odd site has three strikes against it: Whole cloth invention, offense to scripture, and geographic error.

And may God save us from God’s Geography’s description of the island of Lesbos.

Watch out: This is the sort of stuff that might excite Texas Education Commissar Don McLeroy.

Serious resources:


Can I turn this in late? More economics carnivals

May 31, 2008

Struck in Traffic works to lay claim to the title of King of the Economics Carnival with his bi-weekly American Economics Blog Carnival. Two editions since I last posted on it (though I confess, I visited a couple of other occasions thinking I would post).

For those correspondents who argue with me that the U.S. faces a crisis of turning to socialism, I invite you to find either posts advocating socialist policies (5-years plans, anyone?), or from obviously Marxist or socialist economists. Tell us what you find in comments, please, I dare you.

And I wonder: Do students learn the meaning of the word “sepulchre” anymore? Would they get the reference to a “white sepulchre?”


Taxis to the past, and the future

May 30, 2008

Bill Howdle lives, for a while longer anyway, in Manitoba. He’s got heart disease and a brain tumor, which explain the name of his blog, Dying man’s daily journal.

He used to drive a taxi. One woman was grateful he did.

That story is well worth the time to read it. Click on the link. After all, each of us is dying. We might learn something.


Quote of the moment: Sir Francis Bacon, creation as testament

May 30, 2008

Sir Francis Bacon (source unidentified)

Sir Francis Bacon (January 22, 1561 – April 9, 1626)

For certain it is that God worketh nothing in nature but by second causes: and if they would have it otherwise believed, it is mere imposture, as it were in favour towards God; and nothing else but to offer the Author of Truth the unclean sacrifice of a lie. But farther, it is an assured truth, and a conclusion of experience, that a little or superficial knowledge of Philosophy may incline the mind of man towards Atheism, but a farther proceeding therein doth bring the mind back again to Religion: for in the entrance of philosophy, when the second causes, which are next the senses, do offer themselves unto the mind of man, if it swell and stay there it may induce some oblivion of the highest cause; but when a man passeth on further, and seeth the dependence of causes, and the works of Providence, then, according to the allegory of the poets, he will easily believe that the highest link of Nature’s chain must needs be tied at the foot of Jupiter’s chair. To conclude therefore, let no man upon a weak conceit of sobriety or an ill-applied moderation think or maintain, that a man can search too far, or be too well studied in the Book of God’s Word, or in the Book of God’s Works—Divinity or Philosophy. But rather, let men endeavour an endless progress or proficience in both; only let men beware that they apply both to charity, and not to swelling [pride]; to use and not to ostentation; and again that they do not unwisely mingle or confound those learnings together.

Francis Bacon, Advancement of Learning (1605), Bk I. [for example, here]

Tip of the old scrub brush to John Stockwell commenting at Constructive Curmudgeon


NY Times blog gets in the donuts-for-terrorists scuffle

May 29, 2008

Nice post, too, with history of the doughnut:  “Doughnuts:  The Third Rail of American Politics.”


Double standard

May 28, 2008

George W. Bush was famously untravelled as a candidate for the U.S. Presidency.  He had spent more time hanging out in bars just over the border in Juarez than hanging with diplomats anywhere.  In 2000, conservatives found this lack of care about foreign nations, U.S. interventions, and foreign people to be “charming,” sort of a poke-in-the-eye to the Rhodes scholar-rich Democratic Party who worried about things like peace in Palestine and getting the North Koreans to agree to stop building nuclear devices (who could be afraid of a bad-hair guy like Kim Jong-Il anyway?).

That was then.  Now they desperately have to find something about Barack Obama to complain about.  Never mind that Obama has spent more time overseas and in Iraq than George W. Bush, still.  While John McCain can get his information in a one-day, flack-jacketed, armored personnel-carrier tour of Iraq, Obama’s two days isn’t enough to please Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit nor Jim Geraghty at National Review Online.

Observation:  Conservatives are really, really desperate to find mud on a nice guy; Reynolds and others really are losing badly on issues, to make so much of so little.  Also, William F. Buckley has been dead for just over three months, and NR has already gone to hell, deteriorating to a barking-dog cutout of its former intellectual heft.

 


Staying competitive: Do the math

May 27, 2008

Will Texas ever stack up to California? Do the math, at TexasEd.

Will Texas ever stack up to India? China?


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