Archive for the ‘Creationism/Intelligent Design’ Category

ABC Article on Creation Museum Visit Misrepresents Atheist Bus Slogan

The recent Creation Museum visit taken by 300 secularists has been getting lots of attention and even an article from ABC. While overall I found the article to be pretty fair and balanced, I couldn’t help noticing that there was an error. You may have heard the story of Derek Rodgers (namedrop: I knew him personally before he became famous!) who got kicked out for wearing a shirt that said “There’s probably no God, now stop worrying and enjoy your life.” In the article, the shirt, and the bus campaign slogan, is quoted as saying “There’s probably no God, so get over it.”

Now, a quick Google image search, and the above photo (although you still can’t really see the shirt all that clearly) are evidence that that’s not what the slogan actually says.

Minor error? You might say that, but there’s also some cheesy saying about the devil being in the details.

I would say that there is a big difference between saying that the shirt said “stop worrying and enjoy your life” and “get over it.” The devoutly religious will probably still be offended either way, but the average passerby who reads “get over it” probably thinks to himself or herself “humph, those rude Atheists are at it again being rude” whereas they’d be less likely to react negatively to the former.

So what did I do about it besides hash out a blog post? I sent ABCNews.com an e-mail using this comment form with the category of “Inaccurate Information”, told them I was an acquaintance of Derek Rodgers and happened to know what the shirt said, and politely suggested that they Google-image searched the Atheist Bus Campaign.

What I’d like to know is why more people don’t seem to get worked up about this sort of thing. My experience with a few non-atheism-related errors in articles in the past is that they get fixed. The BBC once did a sloppy job of changing an article that said the Columbine shootings occured “in Denver, Colorado” by saying they occured “near Denver” but these people pay attention to these things nonetheless. They do have reputations at stake.

And Atheists have reputations too.

News sources usually do have means of contact for tips like these from the general population and they’re not hard to find. What I don’t understand is why more people don’t do that. If you can write a letter to a senator, or, hell, if you can get worked up because somebody once spread a nasty rumor about you at school, you can find the motivation to fix errors in widely read news sources where people get their information from.

And again, here’s a link to that small little contact form.

Science

While reading my biology textbook (Campbell-Reece, 6th edition), I found this useful description of how molecular systematics is making taxonomy a dynamic field. I thought I’d share it on here so that people can refer it to the next creationist or post-modernist that you meet who attempts to claim that science is completely useless because it’s something-scientists-believed-was-true-fifty-years-ago-is-different-now:

As emerging technologies such as molecular biology and fresh approaches such as cladistics produce new data or stimulate scientists to reconsider old data, hypotheses sometimes bend or even break under the pressure of the closer scrutiny. New hypotheses or refinements of the old ones represent the latest versions of what we understand about nature based on the best available evidence. And evidence is the key word in this disclaimer that even our most cherished ideas in science are probationary. Science is partly distinguished from other ways of knowing because its ideas can be falsified through testing with experiments or observation. The more testing a hypothesis withstands, the more credible it becomes.

I think that it should be inexcusable for anyone to not understand this when challenging well-demonstrated “theories”. Evidence, evidence, evidence my friends.

Answers in Genesis Ads

Somebody explain this to me…

Is the kid giving me a death threat for being a non-Christian, or is the kid killing people because he’s a non-Christian?

The latter would make more sense. Answers in Genesis can’t be stupid enough to put out a mass death threat to all non-Christians. Then again, it’s Answers in Genesis we’re talking about. I should probably go with the interpretation that makes the least sense.

And someone explain this other one to me…

Forcibly converting everybody to fundie Christianity = stopping prejudice?

God damn it. What happened to the Answers in Genesis I used to love where I could just laugh at them uncontrollably? Now they’re just confusing.

I want my old Answers in Genesis back!

Make a Difference

Having long ago signed up for the Expelled e-mail list and not received much from them since it came out on DVD, I was surprised when I found an e-mail titled as a “insider update” and was amused to find this:

I’ve got a better idea.

Make a difference… give your creationist friend, science teacher, or professor a copy of one of these books:

Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne

Evolution: What the fossils say and why it matters by Donald Prothero

Science, Evolution and Creationism from the Big Science Academy National Academy of Sciences

Or, you can poke around Amazon.com for books about evolution yourself. Hell, buy some creationist books for your science teacher anyway so that they can have a good laugh. Expelled was just boring. Don’t put them through that. Have them read Answers in Genesis instead.

Why Edward Cullen is Not Sexy: A Biology Nerd Rant

A certain co-author of mine has been making me read Twilight out loud to him over Skype so that he can mock it (which is admittedly loads of fun), but even if we weren’t mocking it there is no way I could find Edward Cullen hot enough to make the book worth the 500 pages of tedium. Why?

Quite simply because Edward Cullen is a creationist.

Observe, page 308:

“Well, where did you come from? Evolution? Creation? Couldn’t we have evolved in the same way as other species, predator and prey? Or, if you don’t believe that all this world could have just happened on its own, which is hard for me to accept myself, is it so hard to believe that the same force that created the delicate angelfish with the shark, the baby seal and the killer whale, could create both our kinds together?”

This can’t be ignorance talking. This is a man (with the body of a 17 year-old) who has been taking high school biology classes for the past ninety years! In all this time it would seem he has never heard of fossils, Malthus, Mendelian genetics, or variation within populations.

The occasional creationist who snickers at me when I talk about achaeopteryx I can understand. Ignorance is forgivable… to a certain extent. How much time do you have to spend in a high school biology class with evidence staring you in the face before you accept the fact that creationism is complete bollocks? Answer: Not ninety years!

The vast majority of the creationists in my 8th grade science class came out at least theistic evolutionists (I can only think of one exception). A classroom full of thirteen to fourteen year-olds, half of whom have been brought up with terrible misconceptions of evolution, and almost all come out accepting evolution, while a 100 year-old man has been in high school level biology for ninety years still denies it? This can be indicative of only one thing:

Edward is a stupid git.

How thick do you have to be?

Answer, far too thick for it to be worth it giving your genes a chance. In other words, completely unsuitable as a mate. In other words, not the least bit sexy. Even if he weren’t a creepy paedophile who follows me home, breaks into my house and watches me sleep, oh, and sparkles in the sunlight, Edward Cullen is too thick to be sexy.

This is why I shall never become a rabid fangirl like my friends. My standards simply aren’t low enough. If I don’t become a rabid Edward Cullen fangirl then I won’t fit in. And this, my friends (to quote John McCain), is the reason why I will never fit in at school.

End rant.

Update: Read before commenting.

I have identified this as a post likely to attract comments of low quality. In order to not make fools of yourselves if you fall into a certain range of literacy, I implore you to read this post.

Ahahahahahaha!

Expelled has put out a new press release for the DVD coming out in October…

The film’s numbers proved that freedom-loving Americans were outraged to discover that teachers and professors across the nation are teaching a theory as indisputable fact and that scientists who dissent from that theory are being silenced and ousted.

A theory? Oh noes! Well, at least we know that they don’t teach the theory of relativity, or the atomic theory of matter, or the germ theory of disease. That would just be absurd!

“Big Science in this area has lost its way,” says Stein. “Scientists are supposed to be allowed to follow the evidence wherever it may lead, no matter what the implications are. Freedom of inquiry has been greatly compromised, and this is not only anti-science, it’s anti-American.”

And if you had any evidence you could have gotten published in a peer-reviewed journal by now. So far all I’ve heard is “this is too complicated for me to be able to explain, ergo Santa Claus God did it.” That’s not science, that’s the argument from ignorance.

Well, all the rest has been said before. I’ll still get good laughs from this stuff but Expelled died a long time ago. Besides, I have a speech in two days on the subject which will be just as uncreative as the argument against intelligent design has been said by all of us before. It’s unfortunate that I still have to repeat it for people.

Hm… now, I wonder… I can continue to poke fun at them or I can go to sleep… Hm…

PZ Myers is Made of Win

So, after the Metro-State Atheists went through much stress and annoying bereaucracy stuff involving the student government, I got to see PZ Myers give an epic speech that was made of win!

After having heard the majority of my non-science teachers pussyfoot around having to say the “E word”, it was refreshing hearing somebody say that we shouldn’t avoid talking about evolution just because the creationist “has a big rock”.

Most refreshing was hearing somebody say that science and religion are in fact competing worldviews. One relies on faith, while the other asks for evidence. Now, that doesn’t mean that people can’t be compartmentalised and use faith in one situation to make them feel warm and fuzzy on the inside and science when they end up in an emergency room, but they’re really not the same.

PZ gave a very good summary of the present state of science education in our country, loaded with all those juicy statistics and stuff. He also pointed out that a certain vice-presidential candidate is a creationist and thinks that creation should be taught along-side evolution.

He then divulged his evil plan for when he becomes Emperor of the world by showing us a clip from Expelled with him saying that he wanted religion to become like knitting. But of course, after saying that quote a bunch of knitters (including myself… er… not really… I’ve knitted a few scarves and stuff) because upset that he had vilely compared their hobby to religion so he made a new analogy (and I will paraphrase and plausibly severely misquote him here)

I want religion to become like masturbation. Something that everybody does, doesn’t talk about it that much, doesn’t affect their lives… but it feels good and it doesn’t harm anybody…

I don’t want it to become a deciding factor for president of the United States though.

He then talked about the whole cracker incident and shared a few of the e-mails he had gotten from it, and as entertaining as it was to hear him tell the tale in person, I frankly felt he spent more time on it than he needed to… and I don’t think he tied it in to the talk very well. Actually, I still have no idea how it related to science education. I loved listening to it and all but…

Sorry, PZ. You’re still made of win. Just a touch of constructive criticism…

He ended with a quote from Lawrence Krauss…

I wonder which is more important: using the contrast between science and religion to teach about science or trying to put religion in its place?

He said “why can’t we do both?” And I agree. The better a person understands the scientific method, I’ll bet the more likely they are to apply it to everything.

Education needs to be about freethought. It needs to be about teaching kids skepticism and not telling them “apply this to everything! But not your religion.” We can’t make conclusions for them, but we can give them the freedom and the tools to get to their own conclusions… if they choose to use them.

So, in conclusion, when PZ becomes emperor of the world it’s not going to be that bad of a place. If you don’t like cephalopods, though…

Anyway, still a pretty awesome talk.

Nazi Darwinism

The mini-debate on biochemistry that’s been going on in the comments of one of my older toasts just keeps reminding me of Expelled. So, I’m just going to post a few random videos.

And now a random picture.

Ignunt Fool of the Week

This week’s ignunt fool of the week is committed to a man who is passionately committed to having our splendid country march back into the Dark Ages.

This week’s ignunt fool of the week is…

HIS

Today is indeed a sad, dark day as Governor Jindal decided to value fundamentalist evangelical voters over reason when he signed Louisiana’s anti-evolution (which was also anti-insert scientific theory which conservatives and fundies don’t like here) bill. But what’s more depressing is one of the comments left at the bottom of the article. I have taken the liberty of breaking it down ignunt statement by ignunt statement.

I am amazed at the lack of intelligence by the comments here concerning the THEORY of evolution. Did you not notice the little word “theory”. This is not a proven, scientific absolute.

Don’t you love it when people make fools of themselves as soon as they open their mouths (or start typing sentences)?

I suppose he never noticed the little word “theory” in front of several other scientific theories in his grade-school science textbooks. Ever heard of the atomic THEORY of matter? The germ THEORY of disease? The THEORY of relativity? The THEORY of gravitation? If you want to say that gravity is not a proven, scientific absolute, you are welcome to come with me to anything above oh… three stories with me and jump off. If you jump off, you win!

In fact, if you did some objective research you will find that more & more real scientists are dropping this theory altogether because of the mounting physical, factual evidence to the contrary.

Uh-huh. Real scientists dropping this theory altogether, I see… Except…

Not a single one that I have ever met. At least not a single real biologist, and I have met many. For some odd reason, the majority of scientists who reject evolution aren’t biologists but are chemists, physicists, engineers, and other people who don’t actually specialize in that field.

As for “mounting physical, fatual evidence to the contrary,” I’d like to know why DNA, the fossil record, and all that jazz are completely compatible with evolution.

It is nothing more than a man’s theory !

And you think that your Bible isn’t? What about Greek myths, do you believe that the Greeks made those up? If so, why isn’t your Bible made up by a man?

It amazes me at the lack of integrity people posses in the fact that they can believe in something so whole heartedly, & passionately in something just because “alot” of other people believe in it. This is no different from old wives tales, where people believe in something just because it was taught them & believed in by others. They need no proof or evidence, it’s just blindly accepted & what’s worse is even passionately defended out of pure ignorance.

First of all, the most recent Gallup poll has shown that there’s still a lot of people who believe in creationism. And no, I did not blindly accept evolution.

I in fact had my doubts about evolution for quite some time in grade school. During my middle school conservative phase, I was very much in favour of equal time for evolution and creationism Intelligent Design. But then, in 8th grade I actually read some creationist literature and realized how fucking dumb people like Ken Ham are. It was after that that we studied evolution in my 8th grade science class and the teacher presented us with loads more evidence for evolution. Even after that, I wasn’t sure about some things and I read and read and read books about evolution until all of my doubts (mostly from creationist propaganda which I hadn’t realized was creationist propaganda until then) were answered.

Is this guy going to realize soon that he should be asking himself why he’s blindly accepting his faith?

If you want to believe in something, believe in God & do this whole heartedly & passionately. The real igorance is in shunning God, His love & wisdom in favor of the narrow minded & short sighted wisdom of little men.

Why should I?

Why your God? Why not Zeus, Allah, Thor, Ba’al, Ra, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

This country is messed up & getting worse by the day not because you people can’t get all the politicians to do what you selfishly want but because there is no longer any genuine reverance for the God who created you & this creation in the first place.

Gotta love Jerry Falwell’s quote from September 13, 2001.

How’s this for ignorance ? You liberals do not want religion being taught in schools basically because it is based upon “believing” in something.

No. We (and I’m not a Liberal) don’t want religion taught in schools because this is a secular country. There’s a reason the founding fathers wanted to keep church and state separate and I think you are a good enough reason why. Creationism doesn’t belong in the science classroom because it’s based upon blind faith.

Believing in something that supposedly has nothing factual in this world with which to substantiate it’s validity. Instead you wish to “impose” a BELIEF that there is no one & only true God that created you & me & all that there is in existance. There’s not enough room here, but there is more than enough evidence to believe in God then there is to not believe in God so that it takes more faith to not believe in God then it does to believe in Him. The truth is, not believing in God who has made Himself known to all men, in your innermost being, is more an act of simple deffiance than that of disbelief.

Again, give me a reason why I should believe in your God and don’t just ramble about “evidence”. Present your evidence.

With that being said, I am not a proponent of telling or forcing people to believe in God & neither is God. He gives all people a free will to choose for themselves. Therefore, when it comes to child eductation, there should exist every opportunity for the child to be given the right to choose for himself.This cannot be a legitamate opportunity if it does not contain the true “options”. To force either Christianity or Darwinisim or any other thing is outrageous & hypocracy. If anything at all is going to be exposed to impressionable children it should be done in such a way as to allow them the opportunity to choose just as God Himself proposed in the garden of Eden.

You know, there is a difference between teaching and indoctrination. Children don’t have evolution forced upon them, but they do have to have a basic understanding of it to pass the class. Something which you obviously lack.

Yes, children should be able to choose. But they should also have a good understanding of the subject before they choose, unclouded by creationist propaganda which this bill is obviously trying to inject into the classroom.

I find it interesting that these people make arguments about giving children the right to choose and then label their children as “Christian children” and send them off to Sunday School.

Personally, I think that because it is vertually impossible to present opposing beliefs objectively, I would tend to lean towards not teaching these types of things at all in public schools. The only way this could be done properly would be to “offer” these as electives to be taught by teachers who themselves believe in what they are teaching.

You know, I’d agree. Have a elective course called “comparative religion” or “mythology” where they can study creationism along with Greek creation myth, Mayan creation myth, Lakotan creation myth, Aborigini creation myth, etc. But sorry, science is still going to be a required course.

Praise the Lord !

Fuck your “Lord” with a female seahorse.

RAmen, and congratulations on making Ignunt Fool of the Week!

Colonel Drummond is Rolling in his Grave

You know… the fact that the Discovery Institute, an organization that promotes Intelligent Design which was ruled to be a religious theory by Judge Jones, drafted the “academic freedom” bill that Louisiana wants to pass doesn’t raise any red flags for me that there’s religious motivation behind it! Neither does this:

British atheist and staunch Darwin defender Richard Dawkins’ official website is urging Americans to oppose the Louisiana Science Education Act. Newsflash for Richard, we’re not a British colony anymore.

Barbara Forrest has been scare-mongering all over the country that the LSEA is a secret ploy to get religion or creationism into science classes. And she’s been complaining loudly in Louisiana that outside groups are trying to get it passed. Now, though, she’s not just asking for help from outside her state. She’s asking for help from outside the country!

In fact, the LSEA is a home-grown measure. Drafted by Democratic state senator Ben Nevers, the bill was inspired by the Ouachita Parish School District Policy which was established almost two years ago. The LSEA echoes some of what Discovery Institute has called for in its sample academic freedom legislation, but the bill has been advanced by Louisiana citizens and has won overwhelming support from Louisiana legislators.

Forrest and her friends, however, are calling for help from around the world. Forrest’s letter is being showcased and e-mailed all over the world by Richarddawkins.net. As usual, the letter is full of falsehoods.

This bill is not about creationism or religion. That’s a red herring from desperate Darwinists. The bill is about allowing teachers to present scientific evidence that supports Darwin’s theory, as well as some that challenges it. If a tenth grader can understand arguments for Darwinism, she can understand scientific arguments against it. For more information on what the bill does (and does not) do, see here.

Forrest’s new “coalition” is trying to rile up activists to flood Governor Jindal with hate mail. Instead, why don’t you click here and send him a message of support and let him know Louisiana should lead the way to academic freedom and freedom of scientific inquiry by signing the LSEA into law.

Oh for cryin’ out loud! This is absurd!

The “Academic Freedom” bill is obviously anti-intellectual anti-science mush which is going to screw up science education even more in this country which happens to have a foreign policy that involves extending beyond its borders.

Pardon Richard Dawkins for caring about the dung pile of ignorance I’m sitting in whose stench is continually being carried across the seas.

I for one am glad that we’re getting help from the rest of the enlightened world. The Discovery Institute is just a swarm of dung beetles who are upset because they can’t get anybody outside of this nation of backwardness because the world is shooting ahead of us while we fall back into the 16th century.

“This community is an insult to the world.”

“Colonel” Drummond