From Peter Apian, Cosmographia, 1524 via Wikimedia Commons

There was a minor anniversary recently: June 19, 2014, was the twenty-seventh anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Edwards v. Aguillard, establishing the unconstitutionality of teaching creationism in the public schools. I opened the box of materials in NCSE’s archives on the Edwards case to see if there was anything interesting, and what should I find but a list of prospective witnesses ... from McLean v. Arkansas, a similar case decided by a federal district court in 1982. Whoops. But the list was interesting anyhow.

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The Garden of Eden, from Les très riches heures du duc de Berry

A friend recently drew my attention to a newly reposted essay from Answers in Genesis’s Ken Ham, asking, “Where was the Garden of Eden located?” No answers, alas: according to Ham, Noah’s Flood so transformed the geography of the earth that there’s no telling where the Temptation of Eve and the Fall of Adam occurred. Faced with the fact that the Bible identifies two of the rivers of Eden as the Tigris and the Euphrates, Ham asserts—without evidence—that the present rivers were named after antediluvian rivers, just as the Thames in Connecticut is named after the Thames in England.

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One of the most popular resources on NCSE’s website is Robert A. Moore’s “The Impossible Voyage of Noah’s Ark,” which originally appeared in Creation/Evolution 4(1):1–47 in 1983—which, indeed, was the whole of that issue.

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Genie Scott and I share a fondness for the songs of Tom Lehrer, the satirical songwriter of the 1960s. The NCSE holiday party where we were prevailed upon to sing his Christmas carol (“Christmas time is here, by golly, / Disapproval would be folly / Deck the halls with hunks of holly / Fill the cup and don’t say when”) will not soon be forgotten, unfortunately. So, in the words of a different Tom Lehrer ditty, gather ’round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun.

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If you’re interested in making fun of creationism, it’s not too hard to do it. Indeed, there have even been a few book-length efforts, such as Robert S. Dietz and John C. Holden’s Creation/Evolution Satiricon: Creationism Bashed (1987) and Barrett Brown and Jon P. Alston’s Flock of Dodos: Behind Modern Creationism, Intelligent Design & the Easter Bunny (2007). And if you work at NCSE, where you’re professionally obliged to keep your eyes on the steady stream of creationist silliness...well, the phrase “spoiled for choice” springs to mind.

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