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Scientific Evidence and Proof 101 Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Posted by Henry in anti-creationism, creationism, evolution, rationality, reason, science, Steven Novella.
2 comments

The skeptic and neurologist Steven Novella has, as usual, posted a clear and concise entry to explain what proof and evidence really mean to refute an evolution-denial claim. While the post itself makes a good read, a reader’s comment caught my eye as it states the same explanation in a creative and convincing way by using a dog-ate-my-homework analogy.

The commenter Matt says:

Regarding evidence vs. proof, I do think this is sufficiently (or at least repeatedly) misunderstood such that a more detailed example might serve.

Your completed homework is missing. You think to yourself that there are several things that might have happened to remove your homework from the top of your bedroom desk. One is that the dog ate it. Another is that your brother stole it to make life difficult for you. Another is that God removed it from the universe as a test of your faith.

Before any other thought is put into practice, these are hypotheses.

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Darwinists’ Worst Nightmare – The Frightening Spectre of ID Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Posted by Henry in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, creationism, Darwinism, evolution, Fred Hoyle, fundamentalism, intelligent design, natural selection, naturalism, rationality, reason, religion, science, scientists, straw-man.
2 comments

Apparently the Intelligent Design movement has got the “Darwinists” scared, according to an article posted on an American right-wing extremist website (courtesy of the resourceful Darwininia).

While the title of the article “The frightening specter of Intelligent Design” sounds spectacularly frightening, it fails spectacularly to frighten anyone who knows something about ID. This is because the article is a simple repetition of the usual ID and creationism rhetorics.

So why are Darwinists scared? Because the progresses of science have rendered natural selection more and more unable to explain the complexity of life.

And this is pretty much the entire article offers – it mentions absolutely nothing, zero, nil, nada, on what these recent science progresses are.

And unlike many other more sophisticated ID arguments, the author displays all the hallmarks of basic creationism knowledge. The article starts with the main ID theme that life is too complex to be explainable by natural selection. This is where the ID argument (if there is one to start with) ends, and the good old dose of creationism takes over.

The author says that life is too complex to have come about by random chance – and he even brings up the really, really, really old and wrong Fred Hoyle chance calculation which I thought has been buried for good!

Then the scientific community is under attack with his straw-man argument:

But if design, conversely, is rational, why do so many scientists reject it? Because this is not an issue of science, but of religion. Their religion is that of materialism and naturalism, and they are under no illusions as to the implications of design.

Now this line of thinking exemplifies the frightening spectre of religious fundamentalism.

Abide By The 10 Commandments Saturday, July 14, 2007

Posted by Henry in Australia, Bible, Christianity, comic, funny, humor, humour, rationality, reason, religion, Ten Commandments.
9 comments

I stole this cute clever comic from the Rationalist Society of Australia website.

Abide By The Ten Commandments

Intelligent Design Marching Into UK Thursday, July 12, 2007

Posted by Henry in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, anti-ID, BBC, creationism, education, Eugenie Scott, evolution, intelligent design, Lewis Wolpert, podcast, rationality, religion, science, Science Weekly, Simon conway Morris, Truth In Science, UK, United States, video.
6 comments

Blue Rat alerts us that the dishonest, disingenuous and manipulative movement called Intelligent Design is trying to get into the UK schools. Here is a video of an interview conducted by the BBC’s Newsnight program between an ID advocate from an organisation called Truth In Science and Professor Lewis Wolpert, a distinguished biologist and humanist.

In December 2006 Science Weekly published a podcast on this very topic, this time again involving Professor Wolpert as well as the famous paleontologist Simon Conway Morris. Also in the podcast is Dr. Eugenie Scott from the USA, a leading science educator who has been at the front-line of combating creationism and Intelligent Design for years, and has recently published a book titled Not in Our Classrooms: Why Intelligent Design Is Wrong for Our Schools. You can download the entire podcast in mp3 format on the Science Weekly website.

A Boy Named Hell Rejected by School Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Posted by Henry in Australia, Catholics, Chinese, Christianity, hell, numerology, rationality, religion, superstition.
1 comment so far

Here is another piece of the middle-age mindset that has characterised the Catholic church. A boy whose surname is Hell, which has its origin rooted in Austrian, was rejected from enrolling in a Catholic school in Australia simply because of the name, for the obvious reason.

Apparently here is the sequence of events that happened: at first the father of the boy offered to change the surname, but the school would not change its mind. Then the father decided not to change the boy’s surname, but the Catholic school decided to accept the boy. However this was too late for the father, who now says there is now no way that he would send his boy to the school.

The father correctly states:

“It’s 2007, not 1407 — it’s not the Dark Ages.”

According to the report, this is what the school statement has to say:

“The issue of a change of surname of the child was an initiative of the parents which they believed would assist the child in the transition of schools,” the school said in a statement.

“The school is working with the family in the best interests of the child,” the statement added.

While this issue has its religious context, this kind of incredible stupidity know as supersition is not limited to the religious. Numerology is one obvious example. Apparently the recent date of 07/07/07 has seen a large number of weddings planned on that day because many people believe this unique date brings good luck.

Also the number 13 and springs to mind. In the Chinese culture, the number 4 is considered bad luck because it sounds very similar to the word “death”, while the number 8 is considered very good simply because it sounds like the word “fortune” or “sudden fortune” in Chinese. So next time if you see a number plate filled with 8’s – you know why.

Another Faith-Based Human Tragedy Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Posted by Henry in Australia, faith, family, fundamentalism, Jehovah's Witnesses, murders, psychiatry, rationality, religion, scientology, tragedy.
3 comments

This is a family murder tragedy that could have been avoided. But sadly it wasn’t, apparently because of blind beliefs in scientology.

A 25 year old Australian woman in Sydney has been accused with the murder of her father and sister whose bodies were found last Thursday. She is also charged with grievous body harm on her mother.

Investigations into this family tragedy have shown that the accused woman has been denied psychiatric treatment for about a year by her parents because of their scientology beliefs. From the news article it is quite clear that the woman has been very ill mentally, but the parents have denied her of psychiatric medication on scientology grounds, and so no effective treatment was done on her.

This really maddens me – lives are lost, souls are destroyed because of credulous minds believing in completely ignorance and utter stupidity. When are we going to make this aspect of scientology a crime? This, along with Jehovah’s Witnesses’ horrible religious doctrine of rejection of blood transfusion, must be made criminal offences so that lives can be saved. This is not about freedom of beliefs; it is about saving human lives!

While it is so unfortunate that the father and the sister died, I feel even more saddened for the woman, and cannot imagine how she will live the rest of her life knowing the family-destroying crime she inflicted upon her own family. What she said after the murder is truly haunting and painful to bear:

“What have I done? I just butchered my family … I have just butchered my family. I stabbed Dad, Mum and sister. They are all dead.”

And all this could have been avoided.

Awesome Video Refuting Creation Museum Monday, July 9, 2007

Posted by Henry in anti-creationism, anti-evolution, anti-fundamentalism, creation museum, creationism, evolution, fundamentalism, geology, Kentucky, rationality, science, video.
18 comments

Here is yet another video refuting the stupidity that is of the creation museum, but this time with a twist. This video shows that the museum is built right on an area rich in fossils and geological features!

Although undoubtly videos like this or anything else is not going to convince the dogmatic and ignorant creationists, this video is quite educational and well-made, worth your time going through it. PZ Myers has already declared this to be one of the most effective refutation.

Courtesy of Richard Dawkins .net.

Creation Museum Video Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Posted by Henry in anti-evolution, Bible, creation museum, creationism, evolution, fundamentalism, God, museums, rationality, religion, science, video.
4 comments

Here is a creation museum video clip. It is not a virtual tour, nor does it contain lots of shots of the inside of the museum; rather it is a refutation on the concept of “super evolution” presented by the museum.

Warning – the background music might irrate you. 🙂

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

Posted by Henry 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.
2 comments

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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Notable Quotes #4 Sunday, June 24, 2007

Posted by Henry 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!