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An Incredibly Biased Straw-man Blog Post Against Atheism Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, atheism, creationism, DaveScot, evolution, faith, fundamentalism, God, intelligent design, rationality, religion, science, straw-man, Uncommon Descent.
12 comments

Warning! Creationist Ignorance Encountered!

The incredible ignorance of religious fundamentalists never ceases to amaze and offend. This time, the notorious blogger DaveScot at Uncommon Descent (an anti-evolution blog site) has done it again with a post that has to be one of the most childish and ignorant piece of writing I have come across.

Titled “Why Atheism Fails: The Four Big Bangs“, the essence of the blog can be summarised simply with the following extract:

Atheists respond to all these types of questions with essentially the same style answer. “We know God doesn’t exist. Therefore, since we’re here, though, it had to have happened this way. Thus, like the universe itself, life, mind, and morality all ‘just popped’ into existence out of nothingness.”

I call them the Four Big Bangs:

1’) the Cosmological (the universe “just popped” into existence out of nothingness).

2’) the Biological (life “just popped” into existence out of a dead thing).

3’) the Psychological (mind “just popped” into existence out of a brain).

4’) and the Moral (morality “just popped” into existence out of amorality).

For their many obfuscating words, the authors still don’t improve much beyond the “just popped” thesis, if at all.

It is recommended that you skip the rest of the blog – not only it offers nothing insightful and useful, worse, as the reader OhioJoe2 pointed out in his comment (comment number 5), it is full of utterly false, discriminating straw-man claims against scientists and atheists alike.

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Behe Writes Richard Dawkins on “100 Most Influential People of the Year” of Time Magazine Friday, May 4, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, faith, fundamentalism, intelligent design, Michael Behe, rationality, religion, Richard Dawkins, science, Time Magazine, top 100, Uncommon Descent.
2 comments

It is well-known to Richard Dawkins’ fans and observers that he has been listed as one of the “100 Most Influential People of the Year” by Time Magazine. This is all very well, given that his book The God Delusion has been selling extremely well (in the UK and US anyway).

Now, what is interesting – and outrageous – is that the Time Magazine editor has asked Intelligent Design advocate Michael Behe to write an entry on Dawkins. This has understandably caused a mass outrage amongst bloggers. Just take a look at Pharyngula’s post. Needless to say I am equally appalled by Time Magazine’s journalistic choice.

What is even more interestingly though, is that according to a post on the Intelligent Design blog site Uncommon Descent, some portion of the original entry has been edited out by the magazine.

So, here is a copy of the entire original text submitted to Time Magazine by Behe:

Of his nine books, none caused as much controversy — or sold as well — as last year’s The God Delusion. Yet the leading light of the recent atheist publishing surge, Oxford University’s Richard Dawkins, has always been a man driven by the big questions. Born in Kenya in 1941 of British parents, he received a mild Anglican upbringing. But at the age of sixteen Dawkins discovered Charles Darwin’s theory, and thought he’d found a pearl of great price.

Obsolete imperialist myth-maker

His academic career as an evolutionary biologist got off to a fast start in the 1970’s with his first book, The Selfish Gene, which argued a then-unfashionable notion: like many politicians in Congress, individual genes of a genome are looking out just for their own good. So if somehow an unconscious gene mutated to be copied more effectively, it would outcompete its fellow DNA fragments. The fundamental idea of this “gene-centered” view of evolution had been proposed by other researchers. But, using his remarkable gift of scientific exposition, Dawkins painted the abstruse concept so clearly, and drew out the logic of its problematic premises so brightly, that it quickly became evolutionary orthodoxy.

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How To Think Like a Religious Fundamentalist Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, atheism, Christianity, creationism, education, evolution, faith, fundamentalism, funny, God, humour, intelligent design, parody, rationality, religion, sarcasm, science.
50 comments

I have just discovered this seemingly ancient, yet ageless article on how to think like a religious fundamentalist. Buried in a Web 1.0 style website, I decided to bring it to spotlight and submitted that page to Digg. Don’t you just love it when stumbling upon a germ like this?

The opening statement is great:

Planning a career in online Christian fundamentalist apologetics? How about the exciting world of Young-Earth Creationism? Witnessing to, and debating with, atheists and other hellbound unsaved sinners on the internet can be hard work, so you need to familiarise yourself with the tried and tested methods used by fundies all around the world. After completing this simple training course, the shadow of doubt will never again flicker across your mind whilst listening to the lies and deceptions of those ignorant infidels who disagree with your self-evident truths.

After all, that is what religious fundamentalism is about – being blinded by faith without any discourse to reason and rationality. This how-to “training course” then starts with what I call the Fundy Rule 1 on inerrancy:

First and foremost, the Bible is the absolute, literal word of God. Contrary to popular opinion, it contains none of the following: errors of any kind, contradictions or absurdities .

which I believe can be expanded to the Koran of Islam, as well as other holy scriptures, not just that of the Bible of Christianity.

Here comes Fundy Rule 2 which is on science:

There is but one measuring stick required to determine the truth of any claim – how it compares with Holy Scripture. More precisely, how it compares with your personal reading of Scripture. So, if some secular humanist scientists dare to dream up a theory (or “wild guess”, as it is more accurately known) that apparently conflicts with the teachings of the Bible, clearly these egg-head mad professors have made yet another idiotic mistake, possibly under demonic influence. How do we know they are mistaken? See “1 Inerrancy”.

Here comes my favourite – how to debate and reason against attacks on fundamentalist thinking. While I don’t claim myself as being particularly analytical and intelligent, and definitely not a fan on belittling people’s mistakes and intelligence – but, time and time again, we come across totally ignorant and utterly bewildering stupid arguments put forward by religious fundies. So this training course has it, with Fundy Rule 3 on how to debate like a fundy:

  • Self Contradiction – the Bible stands correct at all time;
  • Logic and Reason – just the playthings of the unbeliever – faith in the Lord is all that is needed;
  • Burden of Proof on the Skeptic – the unbeliever claim God does not exist – ask them to disprove that;
  • Repeating Yourself;
  • Reply with Huge Answers;
  • Grammar and Spellings – not important, as long as the Holy Spirit guides us;
  • Knowledge – there is no need to know anything science offers us – all the evidence in the world is no match for a single grain of the True Faith;
  • Definition of Words – the Spirit will guide us through if unbelievers say we are mistaken with words;

Furthermore, the training course provides the last of priceless rules, Fundy Rule 4 – performing mental gymnastics. Here is :

  • Lying for Jesus – being economical with the truth, making up data on the spot and ignoring conflicting evidence are all handy weapons to save souls;
  • Compartmentalisation – keep scriptural knowledge away from the secular knowledge that allows you to function in worldly matters;
  • Wilful ignorance – Ignorance is bliss, and what is more blissful than reading the Word Of God?

Feel free to click on the Digg button below to Digg that fantastic article.

add to del.icio.us :: Add to Blinkslist :: add to furl :: add to ma.gnolia :: Stumble It! :: add to simpy :: seed the vine :: :: :: TailRank

Not Only In America – Evolution Science Endangered Worldwide Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, atheism, Christopher Hitchens, Daniel Dennett, Europe, evolution, intelligent design, Japan, rationality, religion, Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, science, Turkey, United States, world.
7 comments

The scientific theory of evolution is under attack – and not just in the United States alone – but on a global scale.

Firstly, the result of a study published last year shows conclusively that the adult populations of US and Turkey are the least likely to believe in theory of evolution. The study was conducted over 34 countries which include Japan, US and 32 European nations. A question “Human beings, as we know them, developed from earlier species of animals.” was asked, in which correspondents could respond with true, false or unsure.

A graphical depiction of the study is re-posted here. Click on it to enlarge it. Evolution Less Accepted in U.S. Than Other Western Countries

Remarkably, but unsurprisingly, only a paltry 14% of the adult US population actually believes in evolution, completely outnumbered by the one-third who firmly rejects the idea.

Turkey, where 99% of its population is Muslim, represents another worrying trend. Using the result of this study, we can probably safe to conclude that the Muslim population, in general, reject the theory of evolution strongly. In fact, looking at the graph, one could also say that the ratio of rejection is quite high in comparison to US and the rest of surveyed countries.

A second article written recently also adds worry that the anti-evolution movement is gathering pace worldwide. It lists a couple of examples of how evolution is being attacked. One case is that in Kenya, a bitter dispute is taken place as the plan of exhibiting a prehistoric human skeleton is being opposed by local religious forces. Another example involves a well-funded Turkish publishing house mass-distributing anti-evolution books to French speaking schools and universities across Europe. The article also shows an example from Russia, and of course, there is the well-known Intelligent Design movement that is currently taking place in the US.

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Egnor with Another (shockingly) Bad Argument Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, intelligent design, Michael Egnor, science.
1 comment so far

Michael Egnor has recently come up with a shockingly bad argument against the process of evolution. It is so bad, that some scientific commentators have even called it the worst anti-evolution argument they have ever heard. For those who don’t know, Egnor is a pro-ID neurosurgeon working for the Discovery Institute (a pro-ID organisation), whose bad creationist arguments have made him a favourite target of ridicule and rebuttal amongst scientific bloggers.

Egnor’s argument goes like this: cancer is a real evolution phenomenon that should produce better brain through random mutation and natural selection.

Here is the full text that I have reposted here. The entire article can be found here.

Dr. Novella is missing a much better example of random mutation and natural selection that’s not metaphorical at all. Cancer is a test of Darwin’s theory. Cancer is real biological evolution by random mutation and natural selection, writ fast. There’s no reason to invoke encyclopedia typos or tractor engines in order to understand what “chance and necessity” can do to a living system. Brain tumors are perfect little Novellian “two-cycle engines” nestled inside the skull, “random mutations” coming out the ears, and “natural selection” like there’s no tomorrow (excuse the metaphors). Brain tumors are constantly generating new biological variation, and they are avatars of natural selection. They provide a tremendous spectrum of variation, from “variation jet-engines” like malignant glioblastoma multiforme to “variation tortoises” like benign pilocytic astrocytomas. Cancer wards are full of patients brimming with “two-stroke engines” of evolutionary change.

… If random mutations and natural selection — Dr. Novella’s “two stroke engine” — is the source of all functional integrated biological complexity, brain tumors ought to help our brains evolve in some way.

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Pope Speaks on Evolution Thursday, April 12, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, Christianity, creationism, evolution, faith, God, intelligent design, pope, religion, science, Vatican.
3 comments

The Pope has, for the first time as a Pontiff, spoken his view on the science of evolution, as shown in this report, which is bound to add fuels to the now re-emerging debate of evolution and “intelligent design” (ID for short).

Pope Benedict

Pope Benedict has in general being rather vague on this issue. According to the report, the Pope seems to neither openly endorse ID nor completely disagree with evolution. This comes as no-surprise as the Vatican continues to hold the “theist evolution” view that evolution is perfectly capable to exist side-by-side with Catholic Christianity. Although difficult to interpret what the Pope is really saying from the report, it seems to me that although he thinks science provides a natural explanation, it is only part of a bigger picture (which he says cannot be explained by faith along), and evolution cannot take away a “dimension of reason”.

I think the Pope is implying that while evolution itself is a rational process, the process itself must be explained away by the “creative reason of God”. Quoting the report:

“The process itself is rational despite the mistakes and confusion as it goes through a narrow corridor choosing a few positive mutations and using low probability,” he said.

“This … inevitably leads to a question that goes beyond science … where did this rationality come from?” he asked. Answering his own question, he said it came from the “creative reason” of God.

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Map of Teachings of Evolution in the US Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, education, evolution, faith, intelligent design, map, rationality, religion, science.
1 comment so far

This is a map showing the status of teaching of evolution in the US on a state-basis. On the map, the colour red indicates the more anti-evolution states, where the teaching of evolution is seen as “unsatisfactory, useless or absent”. Yellow means “satisfactory or good”, and green indicates “very good or excellent”.

This post, featured as Blog of the Minute on the WordPress home page, provides a commentary on the map – and as you ca see from the 250-plus comments made by the readers, it is no kidding that the evolution vs. creationism debate is still raging well and alive.

After spent quite some time reading through the comments (much of it at work…), it is just more and more obvious to me that many people who are anti-evolution are still very ill-informed. Amateurish arguments against evolution such as evolution is a theory of chance (“airplane in the junkyard” argument), that we descended from monkeys, that the word “theory” means speculation… etc are seen quite commonly in the readers’ comments on the post.

Is this evolution vs. creationism debate a truly US of A phenomenon? I was just thinking the other day, after reading through more ignorant, bigotry arguments from creationists, that we should not waste any more time in debating with these people. However, on the second thought, I was alarmed that we must do something to combat these people – their impact is real. Just look at the map mentioned, and the several court cases concerning the teaching of evolution at schools that have taken place in the US recently.

Anyway, here is a thumbnail copy of the map here, click on it to enlarge:

How Evolution is Taught

The Banana – Atheists’ Nightmare Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Posted by henry000 in anti-creationism, anti-ID, creationism, evolution, funny, God, humour, intelligent design, nightmare, rationality, religion, science, video.
20 comments

Continuing with the spirit of showing mind-boggling creationist videos, I will post another one – and a very good one too – which has recently being shown in great popularity on the internet:

So, according to the speaker in the video, the only way to explain the existence of the humble banana is God, because the banana is so fittingly designed in every form for humans.

Many people in different cultures hold the banana the other way around (such as the Polish and most Asian countries), so that the “tap” actually sits in the hand. I hope these upside-down-banana-holders world-wide are not sinners against God’s design!

This video is quite incredible, and has further opened me up to just how ignorant people can be sometimes.