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Dembski – A Classless Bitter Soul Friday, June 29, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anti-creationism, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, atheism, biology, Chu-Carroll, creationism, Dembski, Europe, evolution, faith, intelligent design, Jason Rosenhouse, Jerry Coyne, rationality, religion, science, Uncommon Descent, William Dembski.
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A recent blog entry posted by William Dembski – one of the most prolific Intelligent Design proponent – has really infuriated me.

For those who do not know, Dembski posted a photo of the eminent evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne right next to a picture of Herman Munster – a Frankenstein monster from an old television show. That is right; Dembski is making fun of how Coyne looks. This sort of personal attack is low, despicable and inexcusable, and has provoked me to attack Dembski. Fellow blogger Jason Rosenhouse called Dembski “a classless, no-talent buffoon” in which I unapologetically agree.

That post was posted a couple of weeks ago. Since then I have tracked some of Dembski’s recent posts, and there is hardly any substance in any of them. They are simply short rants filled with bitterness, anger and negativity. You’d expect someone with Dembski’s qualification to do better than that. Don’t get me wrong – it is perfectly OK to post a rant or sarcastic mockery every now and then – but not continuously, not when you make fun of your opponent based on how he/she looks! This is truly sad.

Dembski Dembski in a grandpa’s sweater

So here is the list of Dembski’s posts for June 2007 in reversing chronological order.

25th June – Teaching ID = A crime against humanity

More short and bitter post by Dembski. I think he is at war against the Council of Europe. Here is what he is up against.

25th June – Dembski Interview with Mario Lopez

This is a transcript of an interview – perhaps the most positive post for this month.

22nd June – Have I been too hard on the NCSE?

Dembski complains about the National Center for Science and Education because of an advertisement states that an understanding of the separation between state and church, as well as the evolution vs. creationism is a plus.

21st June – Point-Counterpoint: Steven Weinberg vs. Eugenie Scott

I am not too sure what the point is?

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I’ve Been Tagged! Thursday, June 28, 2007

Posted by h3nry in Blogs, Daniel Dennett, Dennett, electronica, Inca Trail, Machu Pichu, Peru, weight loss.
10 comments

I am honoured to have been tagged by Scientia Natura! So I will for the first time write a post that is not atheism nor evolution related.

:-)

Basically the idea of been tagged is that you write 8 things about yourself, post it and tag 8 other people. Before I do that, here are the rules that I must follow:

1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

So here are 8 little things about me.

  1. I love electronica music – not the usual Euro-trash or pop dance music, but the more underground ones. These include psychedelic trance, goa, ambience and some drum and bass – all of them which are sometimes termed collectively as intelligent dance music. Some of the more famous musicians include Aphex Twin, Autechre and Orbital.
  2. My favourite book of all time is perhaps Darwin’s Dangerous Idea by Dan Dennett. I found a copy of it on a book shelf during a time when I was having a big argument with my closest friend on, well, the topic evolution vs. creationism. That book enlightened me tremendously and opened my eyes to reason, science and the dangers of religion. It also introduced me to Richard Dawkins and atheism. The rest is history.
  3. I lost around 25kg (around 55 pounds) of weight in about 6 months several years ago – and that made a big positive change in me in terms of self confidence. If anyone interested in how I did it, let me know. ;-)
  4. I went to Machu Pichu in Peru in 2004, and trekked the magnificent Inca Trail – one of the most best one in the world. It was a truly unforgettable and spiritual experience… oh the wonderful scenery and those spectacular and mysterious ancient monuments…
  5. I am a chocoholic.
  6. I was a great fan of the now infamous book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken back in my teen years. I completely believed in it, and I used to get quite frightened by the theme of the book that the early human history as we know today is all wrong because aliens had visited us in our remote past. Well, now that I know how to think rationally, of course I no longer believe it that. However I still maintain a soft spot for the book because it has raised my interest in our remote past.
  7. I enjoy sport, particularly basketball, all racket sports and cricket. I am a keen follower of the NBA and play squash, badminton, tennis and table tennis socially. I also enjoy soccer (or football in the US). I think the only ball sport I don’t like is golf.
  8. I can spin a book on my finger – just like people spinning a basketball. :-)

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Notable Quotes #4 Sunday, June 24, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anthropology, atheism, David Eller, Eller, God, Natural Atheism, Notable Quotes Series, rationality, reason, religion, science.
2 comments

This is a quote extracted from the book Natural Atheism which I reviewed earlier:

Virtually all of human history and thought has been grounded on the premise of gods. Atheism alone has not been responsible for the gradual disintegration of this ground; rather, Atheism is the finished product, not the process. Reason, natural investigation (i.e. science), cultural comparison (i.e. anthropology), religious diversity, and other world-shaking and world-dissolving forces and discoveries have slowly but inexorably chipped away at the ground of god(s).

Eller has certainly express the simple truth well!

Natural Atheism Saturday, June 23, 2007

Posted by h3nry in agnosticism, anthropology, atheism, book review, David Eller, Eller, faith, fundamentalism, God, logic, Natural Atheism, rationality, religion, science, secularism, spirituality, theism.
4 comments

“I was born an Atheist. All humans are born Atheists.”

This is the powerful opening of a superbly written book, Natural Atheism, which I feel deserves as much attention, if not more, as the current best-selling atheism books such as The God Delusion and A Letter To Christian Nation. The author of the book is Dr. David Eller, an American anthropologist.

This atheism book is a fresh break from the usual passionate and vocal (or, aggressive and strident, to many people) tones of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens – it is of a modest and thoughtful tone. Reading the book is rather like a typical scholarly textbook – impersonal, very well structured and presented, important words are critically defined and crucial points are argued in logical steps.

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Do Evolutionists Believe in God? A Study Friday, June 22, 2007

Posted by h3nry in atheism, biology, Cornell Evolution Project, evolution, religion, science, secularism, survey, theism.
3 comments

The relationship between science and religion has always been uneasy and sometimes controversial. The religious views of eniment scientists have been studied in a couple of surveys conducted in the early part of 1900′s. In a poll conducted in 1910 to 400 scientists, 32% of them believed in a “personal god”. The same poll was again carried out in 1933, and this time the belief in a personal god had dropped to a mere 13%, which is not all that surprising given the rapid advancement in our scientific understanding back then, and even more less surprising is the fact that biologists scored lower percentages in both polls.

Now, in 2003, we have another similar but more sophisticates survey conducted – this among eminent evolutionists. This is the website for the study, and here is the article featured in American Scientist Online.

This time, the concept of god is widened to include more choices for the participants, and the graph below shows the result:

Cornell Evolution Project Chart on Theism

Only a mere 4.8% of the evolutionists consider themselves to be a full theists i.e. believer of a personal god. Yes – only 4.8% of them believe in the personal God most of us are familiar with!

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Comic – Just Ask the Creationist Patrol Thursday, June 21, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, Bible, Christianity, comic, creationism, evolution, fundamentalism, funny, humour, religion, science, United States.
2 comments

Courtesy of Tom the Dancing Bug:

Just ask the Creationist Patrol

Pics of the Creation Museum Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anti-evolution, Bible, Christianity, creation museum, creationism, evolution, fundamentalism, God, human evolution, museums, photos, pics, rationality, religion.
4 comments

If you ever wondered what the new $US27 million dollar Creation Museum looks like inside, then check this out – apparently a couple of young atheists have visited the museum and took quite a number of photos.

You can’t help but notice the number of biblical references in the museum. I know I am stating the obvious here – the museum is simply a plain Christian advertisement without any scientific credentials. And what’s more disturbing is that the number of kids there were – even one child is one too many.

Post the photos, spread the words so that less people go there.

Here are some samples from the photo album.

Creation Museum Sample 1

Above – Isn’t that, er, evolution?

Creation Museum Sample 2

Above – Eve and Adam – of course…

Creation Museum Sample 3

Above – Great real-life models – see what $27 million dollar can bring?

Creation Museum Sample 4

Above – Unlabelled rocks?

Why Darwin Matters – The Case Against Intelligent Design Saturday, June 16, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, biology, book review, Charles Darwin, Christianity, creationism, Darwin, Evangelical, evolution, fundamentalism, Jerry Coyne, Michael Shermer, rationality, religion, science, United States, Why Darwin Matters.
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This is the title of a highly enjoyable book written by Michael Shermer, which I have just finished reading now (how can one ignore a book with such a title?). Prior to this I have never read of Shermer.

Why Darwin Matters - The Case Against Intelligent Design

It is important that we read what Shermer has to write on this topic. A former creationist and Evangelical Christian, and even more interestingly a friend to some of the Intelligent Design proponents such as Dembski, Shermer presents a highly readable and well-researched book to the general public.

The first few chapters are on the defensive. They tell what evolution is, and why it is under attack. Then the book begins its attack on Intelligent Design – its fallacies and the real agenda behind it. Shermer then concludes the book with a couple of chapters on why evolution cannot contradict religion – and why fundamentalist Christians should accept evolution.

One thing I like about Why Darwin Matters is that the author fills the book with many real life examples, not just dry and scholarly arguments. One of my favourite example looks at dogs. Dogs evolved from wolves very recently, yet there is hardly any “transitional fossils” available – however,

the convergence of evidence from archaeological, morphological, genetic, and behavioural “fossils” reveals the ancestor of all dogs to be the East Asian wolf.

Although personally I think the attack on Intelligent Design somewhat lacks some punch – see Jerry Coyne’s brilliant paper on this attack – however, I think Shermer writes with the general laymen in mind, hence the book is not as technical nor as in-depth.

In summary, I very much enjoyed reading this well-structured and well-researched book. It is a great book for the people who are curious about the whole evolution-vs.-creationism debate, and a fantastic introductory book for anyone interested in knowing evolution better.

An Update on Chemical Origin of Life Friday, June 15, 2007

Posted by h3nry in chemical catalyst, chemistry, enzyme, natural selection, origin of life, science, scientific model.
2 comments

According to Science Daily, the study of the origin of life has made further progress.

A pair of scientists have proposed a model where natural selection is the seen as the driving force at chemical level. An enzyme catalyst might produce chemicals that other catalysts require, and they will seek that enzyme, and they stabilise and thus forming a complex. This process is coined as a “search, selection and memory” Darwinian process. For example:

The process could go like this: Catalyst A produces a chemical that catalyst B uses. Now, since B normally seeks out this chemical, sometimes B will be attracted to A — if its desired chemical is not otherwise available nearby. As a result, A and B will come into proximity, forming a complex.

Of course, currently this is only a proposed model. However, it is testable, and depends only on known chemical and physical laws (no skyhook required here).

Oh No… Creation Museums Thursday, June 14, 2007

Posted by h3nry in anti-evolution, Australia, Canada, Christianity, creation museum, creationism, fundamentalism, intelligent design, Kentucky, museums, religion, science.
1 comment so far

The recent opening of the $US27 million Kentucky based creation museum has ignited a wide media coverage and caused a storm in the blogsphere. The timing of it is right on the money, given the recent popular rise of atheists books and the pesky Intelligent Design movement.

And there is the opening of another creation museum, this time in Canada. This one turns out to be a flop so far – little media coverage and its opening was miserable. Perhaps $27 million does make a difference, hey?

Anyway, after a quick research on the Internet, here is a list of creation museums. I am based in Sydney and so was pleased to see that there is none in Australia… until I remembered that the organisation behind the creation museum, Answer In Genesis, is being sued by its Australian equivalent, Creation Ministries International in Australia. Apparently the brain behind the Kentucky “museum” has some Australian roots.

Creation

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