Archive for April, 2008

Because Scientology is Evil

And because L. Ron Brown asked nicely… I’m giving linkage to CarnivUL of The fraudless: exposing the CULT!

For the Last Time…

An otherwise good (for us, bad for Stein) review spoiled by this paragraph.

Unlike Moore, Stein doesn’t resort to (many) cheap shots. He gives the opposition – stoutly represented by “The God Delusion” author Richard Dawkins – ample opportunity to make its case. In getting Dawkins to concede that there might be some intelligent source to life, Stein scores big.

I had to go outside and scream, as a cloud of birds shot upwards at the wretched noise I made.

Stein asked Dawkins to imagine how Intelligent Design could be possible. Dawkins fell into the dishonestly set up trap and gave panspermia as an example. As I have said before, Dawkins does not believe in panspermia (see River Out of Eden, The Ancestor’s Tale, and his Royal Institution lectures), but believes that it’s possible. The reason why it’s more possible than the Judeo-Christian god is because the aliens would have to have come about through natural causes.

OK, so panspermia would make an intelligent source of life possible, but it’s not nearly as foolish as Intelligent Design really is.

Everybody knows that Intelligent Design is just another faux name for creationism. Anybody who denies that can take a good look at my transitional fossil…

cdesign proponentsists

The Intelligent Design being pushed for in our schools and science is about the Judeo-Christian god creating life. Not a scientific theory that would be supported by panspermia.

The only reason why otherwise intelligent people are crediting Stein with scoring big is he’s actually managed to make good propaganda by making a fabrication shortly afterward saying “What? Richard Dawkins thinks that Intelligent Design is a valid scientific possibility?”

No, you pig-faced dumb ass. Richard Dawkins thinks that panspermia is a valid (questionably) scientific possibility since it does not ultimately postulate supernatural sky fairies. However, Occam’s razor applies to it only a little less than it applies to your fairy tale. Go back to selling eye drops, and stop demonstrating your foolish ignorance of science.

Haha, Stein. Haha.

If Stein was hoping for a sympathetic audience for his film, you’d expect it to be an evangelical Christian, right?

Well, not s’much.

My friend, Created Rationalist, has posted his review of the film after his church was invited to see Expelled. It’s not very favourable. He deals at a much greater length with all the cases Stein attempted to present in the film than I did.

But some of those atheist and science bloggers are mean!

Well… yes… Yes I am. How exactly am I supposed to feel about being equated to a Nazi?

Now, unfortunately, there are a few things I must take issue with.

I agree;
–that there is some evidence one way or another of Intelligent Agency in the universe
–that the scientists don’t always do a very good job at explaining how they think life began through natural causes
–that Atheism and Philosophical Naturalism are inherently metaphysical and unprovable
–that many atheists are incorrectly equating atheism with science and trying to create a flase dichotomy of sorts
— that there is an active movement among atheists to devalue religion.
–that science (Evolution in particular) can be used to rationalize evil deeds such as killing off the weak

I suppose that evolution does not disprove god (the deist god), though I would have to say that it does contradict the Judo-Christian god who is supposedly playing an active role in the creation of life on Earth.

For example, if I were guiding evolution along, with the intent of making man in my own image, I would have avoided completely unnecessary evolutionary off-shoots such as dinosaurs. It was only after the dinosaurs had gone extinct that the age of mammals occurred, eventually leading to us. But it took another… oh… about 200 million years before this could happen.

Now, it is true that we’re not sure exactly how life happened, but we have a few equally plausible theories of how it could have started. Essentially, all you need is carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen to create organic molecules, and then you need a self-replicating molecule for selection pressure to take place. The main scientific controversies over the origin of life have to do with whether DNA or RNA came first, or if it started in the primordial soup or elsewhere (like around hydrothermal vents).

Contrary to what Ben Stein would have you believe, most scientists do not really believe in panspermia, though it certainly is the most plausible way in which you could stretch ID to be true. For the most part, all scientific theories of the origin of life are plausible and do not need to postulate supernatural jazz.

Now, as for saying that Atheism and naturalism are supernatural and unprovable… Well, you’re calling naturalism supernatural. You can’t get much of a better oxymoron than supernatural naturalism. Naturalism is based on what is observable and empirically testable. Supernaturalism is based on faith. Very different.

I suppose that you can do science and still be a religious person (Francis Crick, Newton, Kenneth Miller), but you’d definitely have to compartmentalize your brain severely. I don’t really buy into the whole NOMA, or “ways of knowing” relativist stuff. You can seek truth, or you can compartmentalize and only partly seek truth.

Alright, you got me. I’m trying to devalue religion. I was an in-the-closet devaluer of religion and now I’m out.

OK, fine. I am actively trying to devalue religion. What’s wrong with that?

And as for saying that science (evolution in particular) can be used to justify evil though it does no necessarily lead to Nazism…

Evolution by natural selection was not a necessity for eugenics. If you think about it, we had eugenics around for thousands of years before Darwin had the brilliance to think of nature as doing the selection. Darwin did not come up with selection. He came up with selection by nature, which is very different from a human selecting traits that he/she likes.

Before natural selection, we were breeding pigeons, dogs, cabbages for traits that we liked. This was artificial selection, the real necessary component to eugenics.

Hitler, though he tried to make it seem like science justified him, was scientifically ignorant about some things.

For one thing, he was a racist. There is no science supporting racism. Also, based on what I read from Mein Kampf, he seemed to think that being in different races was almost equivalent to being in different species. He begins his chapter on nation and race by talking about how animals in different species can’t mate with animals in different species… and applies that to people in different races, saying that hybrids are inferior.

Being half-Chinese and half-American, I took offence to that. I take offence to anybody who says that Hitler was justifying his madness with science as that would be saying the thing that I love most passionately justifies saying I’m inferior.

I think we should make a clear distinction between Hitler’s motivations and his justifications. Hitler’s motivation was a pathological hate for Jews. His justifications were that he was “breeding a super-human race”. Whether he actually thought he could do that, I don’t know, but it’s clear that he would want to kill Jews anyway. If he hadn’t been aware of the idea of eugenics, he might have justified the holocaust by saying that the Jews deserved to die because they were ruining the economy or something.

That said, I’m glad that the Created Rationalist has enough critical thinking capabilities to see through most of Stein’s lies. Give it some time, and you’ll have both feet in the world of reason.

Pokemon Provide Instances of Observed Speciation

From the Facebook group: If you reject evolution, then how the FUCK do you explain Pokémon?

I Was Wrong…

OMFSM! Telekinesis is real! This video proves it! It’s undeniable!

Why?!? Why did my dogmatic scepticism have to have such a strong hold over me?!? I was a maniac!

Guess Which Pig-Faced Maniac is Supporting Anti-Evolution Bills?

Surprise, surprise… look who’s supporting the Florida “academic freedom” bill.

Image source: NPR

Oh, I’m not just linking to NPR for the image. There’s also an article, and some sound clips to listen to of people saying that they’re trying to teach children critical thinking in science. If that’s truly what they were trying to do, that would be all well and good but… Why are they singling out evolution?

Freedom and Democracy Everybody!

We went into Iraq for Weapons of Mass Destruction to bring freedom and democracy. Well, it has finally been achieved!!!

That is… if you ignore the honour killings

Like a 17-year-old girl who was beaten to death by her own father for the wretched crime of being in love with a British soldier! The horror.

“You are in a Muslim society and women should live under religious laws.

-Sergeant Ali Jabbar of Basra police

The feminist within me is kicking and screaming and wanting to throw dung hysterically.

The only reason why I wasn’t actively expressing my annoyance at the Iraq war before was because I agreed in part with Christopher Hitchens, and I was hoping that we might actually bring a bit of democracy to that country even after we’d invaded it for the wrong reasons. I was hoping some good might come out of it.

But, alas, we’ve kicked out one oppressive government and allowed the creation of a theocracy. Epic fail.

I Should be in English Right Now

I’m not ditching, I’m just purposefully arriving late. It’s the most I can get away with when a teacher pisses me off.

On Friday, we had begun talking about Freud in English and a kid reccommended a book, A New Earth, to her because it apparently dealed with the ego. Over the weekend, I went ahead and took a look at it… and it was far from worth reading. The guy who wrote it is a Lamarckian evolutionist. Considering that he accepts evolution, that already puts him ahead of the curve… but Lamarckian evolutionists still go down in my book as idiots.

He also buys into the whole Gaia thing.

Not only that, but he says that everything is made of “vibrating energy fields” and that the reason why we can’t see thoughts is because these vibrating energy fields are vibrating at a higher frequency.

In short, whenever he said something about science, even if it were a correct fact, he managed to twist it around to something completely and utterly dumb.

I was explaining to my English teacher this morning how reading the book wouldn’t be worth her while because the science was wrong. Somehow I also started talking about how The Secret was another exemplary example of somebody twisting scientific jargon to either make a quick buck or comfort themselves, and she said in a rather harsh voice…

“You know what? I think you need to lighten up and deal with a little spirituality.”

She knows I’m a materialist.

Well, I’d have to say that for a materialist, I’m as happy as a lark. There is plenty in the real world to take awe and wonder from. Quantum mechanics on its own is freaking awesome. There’s no need to twist it to add in the spirituality.

I’d rather take happiness from something that’s real than all this ever so hallowed spirituality which needs to distort truth to make people happy.

And with that rant done, I’m going back to English.

Science Outshines Jesus… Again

Jesus may have done a few alleged miracles in the Bible, and there are people who claim they can heal you just by praying to the Judeo-Christian god, but they haven’t helped thousands of people, and it’s not very consistent.

Science, on the other hand, has developed a way that can help thousands of people who have a condition that causes near-blindness.

It’s the first time gene therapy has been used to cure disease. Cool, eh?

I Get YouTube Messages

Dear Elles,
How well read are you on religious literature? You seem very confident in the conclusions you have reached on religious matters, as I was at 15. I could be crazy, but I don’t think a video recording of you praying to God proves anything about either the existence or non-existence of God.

I’m a student at an elite university (Duke), high IQ and SAT’s, working for a think tank, and double majoring in two departments with a minor in a third. I love to read, think, and write. I am not saying to brag, only to question your assumption that all Christians are brainless. Intelligence and religion are not that strongly correlated. Maybe in your experience the brightest people you know are atheist, but experience is so limited and proves almost nothing about factuality. IQ and degrees do not necessarily speak to issues of truth. Some of the smartest people I know are Christians—and so are many of the dumbest. Ditto atheists.

I’m not angry with you and do not want to argue. I’m simply pointing out that it is a straw-man to attack anonymous Christians from random internet forums and expose their lack of critical thinking. I hope you agree to the intellectual shallowness of that tactic. I could enter into countless atheist forums and rip naive atheists for their errors, but don’t want to waste my time doing so.

I saw a link to your video and wondered what the deal was. Thanks for posting. As a small, but maybe helpful tip, I suggest that you pray in private and without fanfare. In all seriousness, if there is something you would like prayed for, I’d be happy to do so.

–Benjamen

And my reply…

Dear Benjamen,

I would like to clarify that I do not, in fact, think that all Christians are brainless. I have many Christian friends who are very smart people who simply are unwilling to question their faith in Christianity. I eat lunch every day with a creationist because he’s the closest I can come to another intellectual at my school (lamentably enough).

Ultimately, the existence of the Judeo-Christian god has nothing to do with the intelligence of those who believe in him. It has to do with what evidence there is. I never would try to use the overall or individual intelligence of Atheists as an argument against the Judeo-Christian god.

I have read much of the Bible, and I do try to follow some of Jesus’ teachings not because I think that’s what Judeo-Christian god wants me to do, but because I think that it just makes sense to be nice to your fellow human. I’ve also perused through a few religious books, though I was unwilling to purchase them, and I was unimpressed. If there is a particular book you feel I absolutely ought to read, please recommend one.

I’m sorry that it seemed like I was holding up Dawkinswatch as an example of what all Christians are like. I would most certainly not want to do that. Considering that he thinks that Dawkins is a New Ager, he’s an embarrassment to all of humanity.

And lastly, I have tried praying in private a few times and found no difference in the results. There is nothing I’d like prayed for for the time being, but thanks for the offer.

–Elles

Gotta hand it to him… friendly person. 🙂