October 31, 2005

Just when you thought IDiots couldn't make themselves look more stupid

http://www.zwire.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=15475356&BRD=2212&PAG=461&dept_id=465812&rfi=6

School board member didn't investigate "intelligent design"

A school board member who voted to include "intelligent design" in a high-school biology curriculum testified Friday that she never independently researched the concept and relied on the opinions of two fellow board members to make her decision.

Heather Geesey, a Dover Area School Board member, said she came to believe intelligent design was a scientific theory based on the recommendations of Alan Bonsell and William Buckingham _ both members of the board's curriculum committee.

"They said it was a scientific thing," said Geesey, who added that "it wasn't my job" to learn more about intelligent design because she didn't serve on the curriculum committee.

Geesey testified at the end of the fifth week of a landmark federal trial that could determine whether intelligent design can be mentioned in public school science classes.

The board in October 2004 voted to require students to hear a statement about intelligent design before ninth-grade biology lessons on evolution. The statement says Charles Darwin's theory is not a fact and has inexplicable gaps, and it refers students to a textbook, "Of Pandas and People," for more information.

Intelligent design supporters argue that evolution cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms, attributing those phenomena to an unidentified intelligent cause.

Eight families who are suing the school district argue that the board's policy promotes the Bible's view of creation, and therefore violates the constitutional separation of church and state.

Witold Walczak, an American Civil Liberties Union lawyer representing the families, noted in his cross-examination of Geesey that the policy was adopted over the objections of Dover High School's science teachers.

"The only people in the school district with a scientific background were opposed to intelligent design ... and you ignored them?" he asked.

"Yes," Geesey said.

(now that should make every tax paying citizen feel just grand about the system, eh? Can you believe this whackadoo is deciding what children should be taught? I'm surprised she can dress herself in the morning.)

Earlier Friday, two freelance newspaper reporters testified that they accurately reported on school board meetings in which creationism was discussed, even though they did not directly quote any board members using the term.

Heidi Bernhard-Bubb of The York Dispatch and Joseph Maldonado of the York Daily Record/Sunday News both said creationism was discussed at school board meetings they covered in June 2004. In pretrial depositions, school board members have denied or said they did not remember making statements about creationism during the meetings.
The trial began Sept. 26 and is expected to conclude Nov. 4.

The plaintiffs are represented by a team put together by the ACLU and Americans United for Separation of Church and State. The school district is being represented by the Thomas More Law Center, a public-interest law firm based in Ann Arbor, Mich., that says its mission is to defend the religious freedom of Christians. (and to fuck everyone else out of a proper education, apparently)

November's PSYCHO Spotlight

It was my intention to put a particularily whacky Islamic site up for this month's Psycho Spotlight, however sometimes pure gold just drop into your lap.

So, November's Psycho Spotlight goes to: Atheism Sucks

Their tagline is "we like to put non-Christians on the defense". (I guess their good Christian upbringing didn't include grammar lessons.)

Mr. Frank Walton (and friends) - who, btw refer to themselves as "average Christian laymen" (way to sell it, boys!), run a site dedicated to Xtians in college. You know those evil elitest bastions of atheistic liberalism. (*LOL*)

Be sure to check out the "What is a Fundy Atheist" section. Pure comedy gold. If you've ever wondered where theists get all the wrong info on atheists - here it is all in one list. The best of which is: "you may be a fundy atheist if: Last of all -- you write this website a letter which includes a rebuttal to the above listing!"

And who says fundy Xtians aren't openminded.

I enjoyed this site thoroughly. He praises Rush Limbaugh but bashes InfidelGuy - twice. He confuses "materialist" with "materialistic". From badly manufactured "proof" of atheistic antagonism to a pathetic attempt at equating atheism and fascism - this site is a laugh riot. And don't forget to check out the blog.

Mr. Walton is clearly a man barely clinging to some remarkably childish faith. Or, he just couldn't get some hot atheist chick to date him. You decide.

Either way, pity him. He knows not how fucking hilarious he is. In a "Plan 9 from Outer Space" sort of way.

Congrats Mr. Frank Walton (and ALL your imaginary friends), you are November's PSYCHO spotlight.

See last month's Quack-a-doodle-doo

October 28, 2005

The Wrong Sort of People

I leave you for the weekend with a litte giggle:




You know it's bad when hookers don't even want you around. ;)

Surprise, Surprise (or not)

Which religion do you fit with?

You fit in with:
Atheism

Your ideals mostly resemble those of an Atheist. You have very little faith and you are very focused on intellectual endeavors. You value objective proof over intuition or subjective thoughts. You enjoy talking about ideas and tend to have a lot of in depth conversations with people.

40% scientific.
80% reason-oriented.

October 27, 2005

*LOL*

Meirs Runs All the Way Home

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush on Thursday accepted the withdrawal of Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers after weeks of opposition from both liberals and conservatives, who questioned her qualifications and record.

In her withdrawal letter to the president, Miers said she was "concerned that the confirmation process presents a burden for the White House and its staff and it is not in the best interest of the country."

In a statement, Bush said he "reluctantly accepted" her withdrawal.


I'm a hardcore Liberal. But I have much respect for Republicans - REAL republicans-not these knuckle-dragging, mouth-breathing, bible humping whackadoos like Bush. He's a neo-con, and a tremendously worthless one at that.

It's good to see some bipartisan opposition to this idiotic nominee. Maybe this country isn't as screwed as it seems?

October 26, 2005

Pity the Poor Atheist

Gotta hand it to the admin on xnforums - some excellent links in tht skeptics section.

Atheists peacefully adrift without marching orders

The God of the Crusaders sent them to kill Muslims. The God of the Catholics had them kill scientists. The God of the Puritans told them to kill witches. The Hindu god is OK with killing cow-tippers. The God of the evangelists tells them to kill pro-choicers. The God of the Islamists wants them to kill just about everybody else.

Pity, then, the poor atheist. With no god to tell him whom to kill, he can only practice peace on earth, good will toward men.

Lawrence Manes

Augusta

The Tragedy of Brainwashing

Because of the wonderful site called Statcounter, I know who visits this site. (it's pretty cool - tells you who comes, where they came from, how long they stayed, if they return, and best of all isp #'s -all for free)

An interesting set of new visitors have come from a site called Xnforums. Since I find the religious to be endlessly interesting - natch, I had to check it out.

And then I found a post that exemplifies everything that is wrong with religious brainwashing. In a thread called "Morality and Atheism" I found this:

"One must accept God's Grace to have the power to lead a moral life.

However, a strange phenomenon exists.

Some who have NOT accepted God's Grace live lives morally superior to some who have accepted God's grace.

Why? Because God gives EVERYONE a sense of right and wrong and some have an incredible will and desire for justice and mercy even WITHOUT accepting God's Grace.

This confuses many people."



This level of brainwashed delusion makes me a little sad. Normally, I'd write something biting and sarcastic but I pity this person to much to do so.

Let's ignore the fact that it is remarkably insulting to atheists, and rather pay attention to one glaring omission in the "logic" (a more loosely used term there never has been). If those that haven't "accepted" the imaginary god's "grace" have better morals than those that do, what's the point in being religious?

C'mon my atheist brethren - anyone care to take a guess?

October 25, 2005

What Sanctity of Marriage?

Divorce Rates in the US

Remember all that psychotic bullshit about "gay marriage ruining the sanctity of marrige"?

Well, it looks like being religious does more damage.

Variation in divorce rates by religion:
Religion % have been divorced
Jews 30%
Born-again Christians 27%
Other Christians 24%
Atheists, Agnostics 21%

"Ron Barrier, Spokespersonn for American Atheists remarked on these findings with some rather caustic comments against organized religion. He said: "These findings confirm what I have been saying these last five years. Since Atheist ethics are of a higher calibre than religious morals, it stands to reason that our families would be dedicated more to each other than to some invisible monitor in the sky. With Atheism, women and men are equally responsible for a healthy marriage. There is no room in Atheist ethics for the type of 'submissive' nonsense preached by Baptists and other Christian and/or Jewish groups. Atheists reject, and rightly so, the primitive patriarchal attitudes so prevalent in many religions with respect to marriage."


Variation in divorce rates among Christian faith groups:

Denomination (in order of decreasing divorce rate) % who have been divorced
Non-denominational (small groups; independents) 34%
Baptists 29%
Mainline Protestants 25%
Mormons 24%
Catholics 21%
Lutherans 21%

George Barna, president and founder of Barna Research Group, commented: "While it may be alarming to discover that born again Christians are more likely than others to experience a divorce, that pattern has been in place for quite some time. Even more disturbing, perhaps, is that when those individuals experience a divorce many of them feel their community of faith provides rejection rather than support and healing. But the research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages."

According to the Dallas Morning News, a Dallas TX newspaper, the national study "raised eyebrows, sowed confusion, [and] even brought on a little holy anger." This caused George Barna to write a letter to his supporters, saying that he is standing by his data, even though it is upsetting. He said that "We rarely find substantial differences" between the moral behavior of Christians and non-Christians. Barna Project Director Meg Flammang said: "We would love to be able to report that Christians are living very distinct lives and impacting the community, but ... in the area of divorce rates they continue to be the same." Both statements seem to be projecting the belief that conservative Christians, liberal Christians have the same divorce rate. This disagrees with their own data.

90% of divorces among born-again couples occur after they have been "saved."

and HILARIOUSLY of all:

Variation in divorce rates by location:
Area % are or have been divorced
South 27%
Midwest 27%
West 26%
Northeast 19%

SO, all of us evil elitest northeastern (and western) atheists have better marriages then those so worried about preserving the sanctity.

Can't say I'm at all surprised.




October 24, 2005

Back to the Truth

If You're a Christian, Muslim or Jew - You are Wrong
We live in a twisted world, where right is wrong and wrong reigns supreme. It is a chilling fact that most of the world's leaders believe in nonsensical fairytales about the nature of reality. They believe in Gods that do not exist, and religions that could not possibly be true. We are driven to war after war, violence on top of violence to appease madmen who believe in gory mythologies.

These men are called Christians, Muslims and Jews.
Osama bin Laden is insane. He believes God whispered in the ear of Mohammed 1,400 years ago about how he should conquer Arabia. Mohammed was a pure charlatan -- and a good one at that. He makes present religious frauds like Pat Robertson look like amateurs.

He said God told him to have sex with as many of the women he met as possible. I'm sorry, I meant to say "take them as wives." God told him to kill all other tribes that stood in his way or that would not placate him with assurances of loyalty or bribes. God told him, conveniently, that everyone should follow him and never question a word he said.

He sold this bag of goods to the blithering idiots who lived in the Arabian Peninsula at the time. If that weren't shockingly stupid enough, over a billion people continue to believe the convenient lies that Mohammed told all that time ago -- to this very day.

We live in a world full of insane people. Sanity is an island battered in an ocean of frothing delusion. The people who believe in science are the minority. The people who believe in bloody fairytales are the overwhelming majority.

George W. Bush is the most powerful man alive. He is a class A imbecile. He is far less intelligent than the average Christian. But like most of the others, he believes Jesus died for his sins. That idea is so perverse and devoid of logic it should shock the conscience. Instead, it gets him elected, and earns him the reverence of a great percentage of America. America! The most advanced country in the world -- run by a bunch of villagers who still believe Santa Claus is going to save them.

There is no damn Easter Bunny. There is no Jesus waiting to return. Moses never even existed. These were all convenient lies from the men of those times to gain power. Their actions were rational -- they wanted to deceive their brethren so that they could amass power. I get their motivations. But I cannot, for the life of me, understand our motivations, thousands of years later, still following the conmen of yesteryear into our gory, bloody, violent end.

Jesus is said to have said on the cross, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?" Because Jesus was insane and the God he thought would rescue him did not exist. And he died on that cross like a fool. He fancied himself the son of God and he could barely convince twelve men to follow him at a time when the world was full of superstition.

Excellent marketing by some of his followers would later rescue his botched effort. How many people saw his miracles? One? Twelve? Eighty? Why didn't he show the whole world? Not because this is some giant pop quiz by God to test us -- but because he did not perform any miracles!

Even his apostles can't agree on what miracles he supposedly carried out or when he carried them out. Or whether he returned after death or he didn't. Whether they saw him in person or just as a vision. Rational human beings shouldn't believe this kind of nonsense. Yet most of the world does.

If a man today killed his only son to show how much he loved other people, he would be considered a madman, locked in jail and earn society's contempt. Yet we think this is some sort of noble act by our Father in Heaven.

In Heaven? What, with the harps and the winged angels and the 72 virgins? My God, how stupid do you have to be to believe that?

I know most of you don't actually read your religious texts, and when you do, you assiduously try to avoid the parts that make no sense whatsoever or hide underneath the comforting grasp of your religious leaders who have concocted a bunch of circular logic (a crime to even use that word in regards to Christianity, Islam or Judaism) to shield you from the obvious folly of the written text.

So, I'm not calling you stupid if you haven't really read the material. And I know how powerful brainwashing is. We all received it when we were young and it is exceedingly difficult to break its grasp. But people dance around the issue out of politeness because they don't want to call you what you are -- ignorant.

There are a lot of people I love dearly and respect wholeheartedly who believe in religion. I hate to do this to them. But we have killed far too many people, wasted far too much time on this nonsense for us to keep going in this direction for fear of offense.

Jesus was a lunatic. God is not coming to your rescue. He hasn't come to anyone's rescue in thousands of years, including Jesus. Mohammed was a power hungry, scam artist and ruthless conqueror. Moses and Abraham were figments of the imagination of some long dead rabbi. He would probably laugh his ass off at all of you who still believe the fairytales he made up thousands of years ago. He probably wouldn't even believe it if you told him.

Did I mention Judaism? The chosen people? Come on, get off it. People walk around in clothes from 18th century Russia, thinking they have been chosen by God when they look like a bunch of jackasses. I'm tired of all the deaths because we did not want to give offense. Orthodox Jews are wrong and ridiculous.

As are the orthodox and fundamentalists of all of the religions. It says in the Bible that it is an abomination to wear clothes made of two different cloths or to eat shellfish. If you think God will hate you because you mixed wool and linen or because you ate some shrimp, you are insane.

How long are we going to dance around the 800-pound gorilla in the room? The world is run by madmen. It's not just Bush and bin Laden. It is the leader of all of the countries in the Middle East, almost all of the Americas and most of the rest of the world.

Have I offended you? That's too bad. Stop killing each other in the name of false and ridiculous Gods and I will stop ridiculing you. Trust me, your offense is much worse than mine.

Right now as you read this, there are ignorant, hateful Muslims teaching other ignorant Muslims how to put on a suicide belt. There are orthodox Jews telling other Jews how they must never leave their "holy land" no matter what the consequences are to other human beings. They assure their followers -- remember, they are not the chose ones, we are. If we crush and oppress them, don't worry, God will excuse it, and even desires it, because He is on our side.

There are maniacal Christians who are praying for the end of time. Who are hoping that most of the world's population is wiped off the face of the Earth by their vengeful and murderous God. Whom they believe is, ironically, a loving God. Unless, of course, you make the fatal mistake of not kissing his ass and appeasing him, in which case he will slaughter you and condemn you to eternal torture. What kind of sick people believe this?

The kind who live next to you. The kind who voted for George Bush. The kind who send their religious leaders to the White House to argue against even-handedness in the Middle East because it would prevent their sick prophecy. The kind who have undue influence over how we use the greatest and most lethal army ever built by man.

If you don't want to be called ignorant or misinformed, then get informed. Learn the real nature of our universe and put aside old wives tales about resurrected Gods, omniscient prophets and a guy who could split the Red Sea but couldn't find where he's going in the desert for forty years.

It's the year 2005. Let's start acting like it.


October 21, 2005

To Be Fair

Okay, okay. I rag on theists (okay, Xtians) quite a bit on this blog. This is because I'm American, they're everywhere and rarely seem to miss an opportunity to bash my kind,or try to convert me. If I knew any Jews/Muslim/Buddhists/Pagans that did so, I'd rag on them too. (but honestly, after three years of Torah study in my earlier 20's I'm very keen on the Jews. People who take that much of a licking and keep ticking have my respect.)

And, as I live in the Catholic sea that is Buffalo, NY - most of the people I know are good people and also theists. (several of my brother's cheek-pinch worthy cute friends come to mind)

HOWEVER, to be fair, there are pleny of good theists out there, and I think it's high time I gave them a little recognition. In no particular order after #1.

Number 1 - my grandmother.
She rocks. Kind, gentle, generous and an excellent cook. And she taught me to knit. Also, despite her being a christian and anti-choice, she manages to build bridges instead of further divide.

#2 - Rev. Barry Lyn A lawyer, lecturer and all around bang up activist for the seperation of church and state.

#3 - Al Franken - liberal theists rule, no matter what neo-cons say

#4- Bono - all people (esp. those with that much money) should be this caring, generous and involved.

#5 - Dr. Martin Luther King , Jr. - A legacy such as this transcends a brutal end and still shines.

#6 - Jesus - (let's assume for the sake of argument that he did exist). Love they neighbor, feed the poor, cure the sick, forgiveness. Good stuff right there. Okay, so his followers aren't always grand- hey, some Red Dwarf fans can get scay too.

And on that note- #7 - Ghandi.

If anyone out there can think of more, I'm listening.

Know Thy Enemy

How Creationism Works
by Julia Layton

Michelangelo's
"Creation of Adam"
Every religion in the world has its own version of the origins of life and matter. In Abrahamic religions, including Christianity, Judaism and Islam, these explanations rest on the premise that God created the universe and everything in it. This is the basic tenet of creationism in the West.

In the United States, the public debate between Christian creationism and evolution, once considered dead in the wake of the Scopes Monkey trial, is back on its feet. Most people see evolution and the theory of natural selection as scientific staples; now, many supporters of creationism want their views to be accepted as a scientific theory known as creation science. In this article, we'll examine the different forms of Christian creationism, touch on creationist views in other religions and find out what's fueling the controversy.

What is Creationism?

Creationism is a blanket term incorporating all beliefs that the origins of the universe and life are attributable to supernatural or miraculous means. In Christianity, creationism states that God (the Christian deity) created the world and everything in it out of nothing. Creationists believe that the account of the beginning of the world offered in Genesis, the first volume of the Old Testament, is the true account of the origins of all that we see around us. The opening of Genesis states:

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.

The creation of the universe and all that it contains took a total of six days. On the first day, God created light and dark. On the second, He created the heavens, and on the third, He created the Earth's dry land and vegetation. God created the Sun and the Moon on the fourth day, fish and birds on the fifth day, and land animals and humans on the sixth day.

While the account of creation in Genesis is the basis for all Christian creationism, there are actually many different types of creationists within Christianity. A flat-earth creationist, for example, believes not only that God created the world out of nothing, but also that the Earth is flat, immobile and only about 6,000 years old. A progressive creationist, on the other hand, accepts the views of modern astronomy and geological dating methods that determine the Earth to be billions of years old, but does not accept the finds of modern biology: He believes that a species can only evolve under the direction of God.

We can roughly place the most well-documented types of creationism on a continuum from most literal to least literal interpretation of the Bible:

Most Literal

# Flat-Earth Creationism
# Modern Geocentrism
# Young-Earth Creationism
# Old-Earth Creationism

Least Literal

In the following sections, we'll address each of these varieties of creationism and find out what their proponents believe.

Types of Creationism: Flat-Earth and Geocentric
At the strictly literal end of the spectrum, the flat-earth creationists and the modern geocentrists reject practically all of modern science. In addition to a reading of Genesis as a factual account of the origins of the world, flat-Earthers and geocentrists also retain some of the ancient Hebrew conceptions regarding the structure of the Earth and the solar system, citing particular Biblical passages as the source of their beliefs.

Flat-Earth Creationism
Flat-Earth creationism states that the Earth is flat, immobile and the center of the universe. It is covered by a solid, dome-like sky, most likely referring to the second day of creation, when "God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament ... And God called the firmament Heaven" (Genesis 1:7-1:. The stars, sun and moon are embedded in this rigid dome.


Artist concept of flat Earth as described
in flat-Earth creationism

Addressing the topic of Christopher Columbus's apparent trip around a spherical Earth, The Flat Earth Society's mission statement says, "Using an elaborate setup involving hundreds of mirrors and a few burlap sacks, [Christopher Columbus] was able to create an illusion so convincing that it was actually believed he had sailed around the entire planet and landed in the West Indies. As we now know, he did not." When confronted with scientific and technological evidence of a spherical Earth and a non-rigid sky in such forms as global circumnavigation, humans walking on the moon and satellite photos from space, Charles Johnson of the Flat Earth Society explains in this Flat Earth Society flyer:

... technology is not in any way related to the web of idiotic scientific theory. ALL inventors have been anti-science. The Wright brothers said: "Science theory held us up for years. When we threw out all science, started from experiment and experience, then we invented the airplane." By the way, airplanes all fly level on this Plane earth.

Modern Geocentrism
Modern geocentrists believe the Earth is spherical, not flat; but they reject almost everything else in modern astronomy, viewing the Earth as the center of the universe and immobile. According to geocentrists, the sun rotates around the Earth in 24-hour periods, and all other planets rotate around the sun. More mainstream geocentrists point to the theory of general relativity in physics to back up their Biblical belief, noting, in essence, that all positions are the result of frame of reference, and no frame of reference can be disputed. Radical geocentrists refer only to the Bible and reject all of modern astronomy, physics and cosmology. Like flat-Earthers, many geocentrists believe the sky is a solid dome surrounding the Earth.

In the next section, we'll examine young-Earth creationism, which accepts most of modern astronomy but rejects much of modern biology. Young-Earth creation is the primary source of the "creation science" movement that pushes for the teaching of creationism alongside evolution in U.S. public-school science classes.

Non-Christian Creationism
Jewish creationists draw their view of the origins of life from the same place Christian creationists do -- a literal reading of the book of Genesis in the Old Testament.

Islamic creationists base their view of the origins of life and the universe on the teachings of the Qu'ran. The Qu'ran's account of the beginning of the world is very similar to that of the Old Testament.

Buddhist creationists believe that the creation of the world is eternally cyclical -- there is no beginning and no end, only a continual dissolving and reforming of matter and life triggered by spiritual beings who are reborn with each new cycle.

One Hindu creationist belief holds that the world began when the Gods sacrificed the primal man who was, in himself, the entire universe. When he died, different parts of his body became the sky, the earth, the seas, and all of the human components of the Hindu caste system.

Types of Creationism: Young-Earth
The primary supporters of the creation-science movement that strives to define creationism as a scientific theory, young-Earth creationists (YECs) believe that the Earth is a sphere and that it rotates around the sun, but they reject modern biology in favor of a literal reading of the Genesis creation account.

Young-Earth creationists believe that God directly and miraculously created the universe, the Earth and all life on Earth in the course of six 24-hour days. They calculate the age of the Earth to be in the area of 6,000 to 10,000 years old as opposed to the 4.5 billion years calculated using radiometric dating and other scientific dating methods -- thus the "young-Earth" designation. This calculation comes from information in Genesis, which includes data on the lifespans of Biblical patriarchs from Adam to Abraham, including how old they were when their son was born. If you add up those ages and then add six days for the period of creation (God created Adam on sixth day), you end up with approximately 6,000 to 10,000 years.

YECs reject the theory of evolution in its entirety. They also reject a great deal of scientific understanding in areas of geology, genomics and astronomy. For instance, young-Earth creationists do not believe that geological strata were formed over billions of years; instead, they believe that almost all geological formations are the result of a single, worldwide flood in which all life on Earth was wiped out with the exception of Noah and his family and the animals he saved on his ark.

Many people raise the topic of dinosaurs when it comes to YEC: What about evidence of dinosaurs in the fossil record? Evidence shows that humans and dinosaurs lived millions of years apart. Wouldn't that mean that Earth must be more than 6,000 years old?


Many young-Earth creationists believe that humans and dinosaurs inhabited the Earth at the same time.

The Young Earth Creation Club responds to the apparent discrepancy with the claim the humans and dinosaurs actually existed at the same time. Supporters point to evidence that includes writings of "several well-known ancient people," ancient artwork depicting dinosaurs and humans together and fossilized footprints of humans and dinosaurs in the same place [ref]. Citing eye witness accounts, the Young Earth Creation Club states that humans and dinosaurs may still interact today in the African Congo.

Young-Earth creationism has a large following in the United States. It is probably the most radical form of creationism supported by a large group of people today. Old-Earth creationism is less radical and more widespread in the United States, accepting parts of modern scientific analysis while maintaining that Genesis is a literal account of the beginning of the world.

The Omphalos Argument
The 19th-century writer Philip Henry Goss tried to reconcile scientific evidence of an ancient Earth with Biblical evidence of a young Earth using the following hypothesis: God created the Earth with the appearance of age, much in the way that God created Adam with a navel (omphalos is Greek for navel) even though Adam was not the product of gestation. God "made up" a long history for the Earth and included false evidence of that history when he formed the Earth out of nothing. Most scientists rejected Goss's argument on the grounds that it can not be disproved or proved and therefore is not a scientific theory. Most creationists rejected it because it would mean that God lied.

Types of Creationism: Old-Earth
Old-Earth creationists accept scientific proof that the Earth is much older than 6,000 years. There are a variety of ways in which old-Earthers reconcile this timeframe with the accounts of the Bible.

Gap Creationism
Gap Creationism holds that there is a huge, unmentioned temporal gap between some two events of the Bible. There are several hypotheses about where this gap might be. A couple of possibilities are:

* Between the first sentence and the second sentence of Genesis

This means that after Genesis 1:1, which states, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," millions or billions of years pass. During this period, some catastrophic event sends Earth into decay. Then Genesis 1:2 occurs: "And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." At this point, the six days of creation -- or in this case, re-creation -- begin.

* Between the seventh day of creation (the day of rest) and when Adam eats the apple, causing the Fall of Man

This means that Adam and Eve lived in the Garden of Eden for millions or billions of years before the Fall.

Day-Age Creationism
Day-age creationism addresses the time problem from a different angle. This explanation states that since God did not create the sun and moon until the fourth day of creation, the concept of the 24-hour day did not exist when creation began and when the word "day" was first used. Therefore, a "creation day" can be any period of time. Day-age creationists view each "day" of creation as a period of millions or billions of years, accounting for the scientifically determined age of the Earth within the framework of the Bible.

Progressive Creationism
Progressive creationism is the most common form of creationism in the United States today. This type of creationist accepts some aspects of evolution -- for instance, he believes that microevolution (evolution within a species) can occur under the direct guidance of God. However, he rejects macroevolution (evolution between species) and the theory of natural selection. A progressive creationist believes that God created each type of organism out of nothing.

Bridging the Gap: Theistic Evolutionism
Theistic evolutionism is also called "evolutionary creationism," but since it does not involve a literal reading of the Bible, and because many theistic evolutionists fall on the side of evolution in the creationism vs. evolution debate, many people view it as separate from creationism. Theistic evolutionists believe that scripture is generally meant to be allegorical, not factual. They typically accept most or all of the theory of evolution, including natural selection, believing that God sparked the process and sometimes that God created the natural laws that make evolution work. The Roman Catholic Church and most Jewish sects support theistic evolutionism.

Young-Earthers and old-Earthers comprise the majority of Christian creationism in the United States, with flat-Earthers and geocentrists making up only a very small percentage of creationists. Some tenets of creationism are not at all compatible with the findings of modern science, while others allow for a reinterpretation of the Bible in view of what some perceive as scientific proof. But in the end, creationism and evolutionism are aspects of personal belief systems that seem to have little to do with politics. And until recently, the debate between the two had receded almost entirely from the public forum. So what happened to bring it back?

The Controversy: Religion or Science?
Why does it matter that mainstream science contradicts religious views of the origins of life? In most cases, it doesn't -- one person may base his understanding of the origins of life on the teachings of the Bible, while another may base his understanding of the origins of life on the teachings of science. Each is simply a framework for understanding what we see in the world. But the movement in the United States to teach creationism in public-school science classes (where students learn about the scientific framework) makes the contradiction relevant, because theories developed through the scientific method defy arguments set forth in what has become known as "creation science."

Intelligent Design
The intelligent design (ID) movement claims that life as we know it could not have developed through random natural processes -- that only the guidance of an intelligent power can explain the complexity and diversity that we see today. Unlike creationism, ID does not state that God is the intelligent designer. The designer in ID could be God, but it could also be an extraterrestrial race or some other supernatural force. Also, ID does not draw its arguments directly from the Christian Bible. However, the intelligent design movement runs into similar problems as "creation science" when it comes to proving its theory scientifically.

To learn more about the ID movement, see How Intelligent Design Works.
This raises the question: What makes a theory "scientific"?

According to Jose Wudka, Professor of Physics at the University of California Riverside, the scientific method works like this:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
4. Test those predictions by experimentation or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between [hypothesis] and experiment and/or observation.

When consistency is obtained, the hypothesis becomes a theory and provides a coherent set of propositions which explain a class of phenomena. A theory is then a framework within which observations are explained and predictions are made.

The scientific framework hinges on observability and "falsifiability" -- in science, falsifiability is the possibility of observing something that would prove the theory false. For instance, the statement "Plants can only survive if they have access to sunlight" is falsifiable because someone could observe a plant surviving in total darkness, which would prove the statement false. The statement "God created plants to require sunlight" is not falsifiable because there is no possibility of someone making an observation that would prove the statement false.

Scientific evidence -- that is, evidence obtained using the scientific framework -- in favor of the theory of evolution and an "old earth" includes:

* radiometric dating showing the Earth to be approximately 4.5 billion years old
* evidence of speciation such as "Darwin's Finches"
* the fossil record
* evidence of common descent -- according to the National Academy of Sciences:
The code used to translate nucleotide sequences into amino acid sequences is essentially the same in all organisms. Moreover, proteins in all organisms are invariably composed of the same set of 20 amino acids.

According to the scientific community, there is no scientific evidence in favor of creationism; there is a Biblical record and there are holes in the theory of evolution. However, scientists note that citing holes in the theory of evolution is setting forth negative as opposed to positive evidence: The holes in evolution are proof only of holes, not of any particular competing theory. There is nothing to test for in "creation science" -- it is impossible to prove or disprove the presence of God or miraculous occurrences using the scientific method. Most scientists believe this makes creationism a metaphysical or philosophical theory, not a scientific one.

To learn more about creationism, evolution, intelligent design and related topics, check out the links on the next page.

The Price of Bush's Croyism

Awesome post from Daily Kos on how Brown (the ex-useless head of FEMA) lied about not being informed.

It was more important to get dinner reservations, apparently.

Make you wonder than what will yahoos like Roberts of (fuck me) Miers do?

October 20, 2005

All God, all the time

All God, all the time

By James Carroll | October 17, 2005

WHEN THEY told us in Sunday School that God is everywhere, they could have been talking about the recent news cycle. With Harriet Miers, we see that God lives in the politics of the US Supreme Court nomination process. In a culture defined by the separation of church and state, President Bush and his allies have mastered the use of religious affirmation as a deflection not only of criticism, but of critical thought. God is thus a trump card, a free pass. If the president, senators, and members of Congress can justify their decisions by appeals to God, why not judges?
Article Tools



''Acts of God" is the phrase applied to staggering natural disasters, from Katrina and the Pakistan earthquake to the coming avian flu. At the same time, survivors of such catastrophes credit God for having saved them, as if God callously let all those others die. Humans are perplexed when wanton suffering occurs, especially among children, and assumptions about God are overturned. The question becomes, How could God let this happen? Today, in Pakistan, where fatal disease, hunger, and thirst go unabated, the very ones who praised God last week for sparing them are pleading with God now, to no avail.

In the argument between creationists and scientists, those aiming to defend God make absolute claims about mysteries of the deep past as if they themselves were there. Air Force flyers have thought of God as their co-pilot in the past, but in today's Air Force, God sits atop the chain-of-command. At the US Air Force Academy, which was rocked by sex scandals not long ago, God is now the designated dean of discipline, but this jeopardizes infidel careers. Unit cohesion requires conversion. Indeed, displays of faith can be a prerequisite for promotion throughout a government where the White House itself is a House of God. In Iraq, meanwhile, someone will turn his body into a bomb today, killing others by blowing himself up while saying, ''God is great!"

Who is this ''God" in whose name so many diverse and troubling things take place? Why is it assumed to be good to affirm one's faith in such an entity? Why is it thought to be wicked to deny its existence? Most striking about so much talk of ''God," both to affirm and to deny, is the way in which many who use this language seem to know exactly to what and/or whom it refers. God is spoken of as if God is the Wizard of Oz or the great CEO in the sky or Grampa or the Grand Inquisitor. God is the clock-maker, the puppeteer, the author. God is the light, the mother, the wind across the sea, the breath in every set of lungs. God is the horizon. God is all of these things.

But what if God is none of them? What if every possible affirmation that can be made of God, even by the so-called religions of revelation, falls so far short of the truth of God as to be false? Who is the atheist then? The glib God-talk that infuses public discourse in contemporary America descends from an anthropomorphic habit of mind, dating to the Bible and beyond, that treats God like an intimate friend or well-known enemy, depending on the weather and the outcome of battles. But there is another strain in the Biblical tradition that insists on the radical otherness of God, an otherness so complete that even the use of the word ''God" as a name for this Other One is forbidden. According to this understanding, God is God precisely in escaping and transcending comprehension by human beings. This can seem to mean that God is simply unknowable. If so, humans are better off not bothering about it. Atheism, agnosticism, or childish anthropomorphism -- all the same.

But here is where it gets tricky. What if God's unknowability is the most illuminating profundity humans can know about God? That would mean that religious language, instead of opening into the absolute certitude on which all forms of triumphal superiority are based, would open into true modesty. The closed creation, in which every question has an answer, would be replaced by an infinite cosmos where every answer sparks a new question. If what we mean by ''God" is the living pulse of such open-endedness, then God is of no use in systems of dominance, censorship, power. God is everywhere, yes. But, also, God is nowhere. And that, too, shows in America, especially in its fake religiosity.

James Carroll's column appears regularly in the Globe.
© Copyright 2005 Globe Newspaper Company.

Link

Illicit Justification for War

An excellent post on the Atheist Ethicist blog concerning the implication of the Victoria Plame case.

October 19, 2005

IDiots on trial in PA

Check out http://www.pandasthumb.org/and http://pharyngula.org/index/for some hilarious and well done reporting on the Kitzmiller trial.Michael Behe is being shown for the total waste we all know he is

The Irony Meter Explodes

Get a load of this.... if you can stop lauging long enough to read the whole thing that is.

http://www.charlotte.com/mld/charlotte/living/food/12938086.htm

BILLY GRAHAM IN MY OPINION
Q. I grew up in a Christian home, but over the years I drifted away from it and don't believe in God at all now. My question is this: Once a person is a convinced atheist, is there any hope of becoming a believer again? I don't see how it's possible, but I'd be interested in your answer.

A:It's possible for a convinced atheist to become a believer -- if they aren't close-minded. Unfortunately, many convinced atheists aren't really willing to reexamine the evidence honestly and fairly. I hope that won't be the case with you. I could, of course, give you a number of reasons why it makes sense to believe in God; you probably already know them. But look at Jesus Christ -- not through the "lens" of your past experiences, but through the "lens" of the New Testament.

Before you begin reading it, I challenge you to pray something like this: "God, I don't even know if you exist -- but if you do, show yourself to me." God will answer that prayer. Why do I urge you to look at Christ? The reason is because he made a very startling claim about himself: he said he was God in human flesh. "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). Do you want to know what God is like? Look at Jesus, "For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form" (Colossians 2:9). Jesus said, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find" (Matthew 7:7).

Don't let anything keep you from seeking God, for he loves you, and coming to know him will be the greatest discovery you will ever make.


this is my favorite part: "It's possible for a convinced atheist to become a believer -- if they aren't close-minded. Unfortunately, many convinced atheists aren't really willing to reexamine the evidence honestly and fairly."

*LOL* HILARIOUS. And, it reminds me of a quote I read on the God is For Suckers Blog comment section. It refers to IDiotism, but still illustrates the hilarious hypocrisy of calling atheists "closeminded".

"They don’t realize that what they are saying is that airplanes don’t fly because of lift, but because this book I have that’s 2,000 years old says that the invisible almighty frog carries it on his back. And we know the almighty frog is real because the book says it is. How could this book be wrong, it was written by the 15 gnats of the glowing land. I mean it’s not like we figure out new things about this world everyday… how could anything have changed in 2,000 years? "

October 18, 2005

Can IT Happen Here?

This is just the first page. If you're aren't sufficiently terrified by this, keep reading.

As political and religious leaders in this country challenge the longstanding separation between church and state, Americans need only look to Europe, with its anxieties about homegrown Muslim terrorists, for a wake-up call. The European experience teaches that there is no way for government to favor religion in general; it will favor specific expressions of religion, invariably Christian, and thereby push others aside. In the contemporary, globalized world, where the United States and Western Europe provide new homes to millions of immigrants from all over the world, breaching the wall between religions and government runs great risks.

Yet that appears to be the direction in which we are heading. This past June the Supreme Court ruled that the display of a biblical text, the Ten Commandments, on a government monument is not inherently unconstitutional. President Bush recently suggested that the theory of intelligent design should be taught in the nation's public schools on an equal basis with the theory of evolution, thereby supporting the demands of some of his most conservative Christian supporters. FEMA has just announced that taxpayer money will reimburse religious organizations for their aid to hurricane victims; the Bush Administration has enabled them to receive other direct government funding, which amounted to $2 billion in fiscal year 2004. In the background lurk a host of other specters, such as school vouchers, supported by Bush and the Republican Party, to provide state financial support for religious schools; and the vulnerability of Roe v. Wade, which many conservative Christians hope will be overturned by a reconstituted Supreme Court.

In Europe we can see the dangers of the interpenetration of church and state. As secular as Europeans are, their societies have deeply institutionalized religious identities, which are the result of historic settlements after centuries of religious conflict. In France, where laïcité, the exclusion of religion from the affairs of state, is the official ideology, the state in fact owns and maintains most Christian churches and allows them to be used for regular religious services. The same law that establishes state possession of religious edifices also prevents the state from building new ones, thus keeping the country's 4-5 million Muslims from enjoying the same privileges as Christians. Most French mosques are, as a consequence, ad hoc structures, not very different from storefront churches. Adding to the religious divide is that half the country's ten or so state-designated national holidays are Catholic in origin; no Muslim holiday has equivalent recognition.

In Britain and France the state provides financial support for religious schools as long as they teach the national secular curriculum. Inevitably, these arrangements, while seemingly fair to all religions, favor the most established ones. In Britain (where, incidentally, senior Anglican bishops sit in the House of Lords by right as part of the Anglican "establishment") the government funds nearly 7,000 Church of England and Catholic schools but only five Islamic schools in a nation of 1.6 million Muslims. In the Netherlands the majority of children go to state-supported religious schools, nearly all Protestant and Catholic, while the country's estimated 1 million Muslims have only about thirty-five of their own publicly funded primary schools.


Science and non-science

Pharyngula is an excellent evolution/atheist blog I frequent quite a bit. Read THIS to see why.

October 13, 2005

Happy Birthday to me.

On this day in 1978, I was born. And yes, it was a Friday.

Why Richard Dawkins is my hero

God’S Gift to Kansas



I once introduced a chapter on the so-called Cambrian Explosion with the words, “It is as though the fossils were planted there without any evolutionary history.” Once again this was a rhetorical overture, intended to whet the reader’s appetite for the explanation that was to follow. Sad hindsight tells me now how predictable it was that my remark would be gleefully quoted out of context. Creationists adore ‘gaps’ in the fossil record.

Many evolutionary transitions are elegantly documented by more or less continuous series of gradually changing intermediate fossils. Some are not, and these are the famous ‘gaps’. Michael Shermer has wittily pointed out that if a new fossil discovery neatly bisects a ‘gap’, the creationist will declare that there are now two gaps! But in any case, note yet again the unwarranted use of a default. If there are no fossils to document a postulated evolutionary transition, the default assumption is that there was no evolutionary transition: God must have intervened.

It is utterly illogical to demand complete documentation of every step of any narrative, whether in evolution or any other science. Only a tiny fraction of dead animals fossilize and we are lucky to have as many intermediate fossils as we have. We could easily have had no fossils at all, and the evidence for evolution from other sources, such as molecular genetics and geographical distribution, would still be overwhelmingly strong. On the other hand, evolution makes the strong prediction that if a single fossil turned up in the wrong geological stratum, the theory would be blown out of the water. When challenged by a zealous Popperian to say how evolution could ever be falsified, J B S Haldane famously growled: “Fossil rabbits in the Precambrian.” No such anachronistic fossils have ever been found, despite discredited creationist legends of human skulls in the Coal Measures and human footprints interspersed with those of dinosaurs.

The creationists’ fondness for ‘gaps’ in the fossil record is a metaphor for their love of gaps in knowledge generally. Gaps, by default, are filled by God. You don’t know how the nerve impulse works? Good! You don’t understand how memories are laid down in the brain? Excellent! Is photosynthesis a bafflingly complex process? Wonderful! Please don’t go to work on the problem, just give up, and appeal to God. Dear scientist, don’t work on your mysteries. Bring us your mysteries for we can use them. Don’t squander precious ignorance by researching it away. Ignorance is God’s gift to Kansas.

October 08, 2005

Sam Harris: There Is No God and You KNOW It

There is No God (And You Know It)
Somewhere in the world a man has abducted little girl. Soon he will rape, torture, and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind not occurring at precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours, or days at most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of six billion human beings.

The same statistics also suggest that this girl’s parents believe -- at this very moment -- that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family. Are they right to believe this? Is it good that they believe this?

No.

The entirety of atheism is contained in this response. Atheism is not a philosophy; it is not even a view of the world; it is simply a refusal to deny the obvious. Unfortunately, we live in a world in which the obvious is overlooked as a matter of principle. The obvious must be observed and re-observed and argued for. This is a thankless job. It carries with it an aura of petulance and insensitivity. It is, moreover, a job that the atheist does not want.

It is worth noting that no one ever need identify himself as a non-astrologer or a non-alchemist. Consequently, we do not have words for people who deny the validity of these pseudo-disciplines. Likewise, “atheism” is a term that should not even exist. Atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make when in the presence of religious dogma. The atheist is merely a person who believes that the 260 million Americans (eighty-seven percent of the population) who claim to “never doubt the existence of God” should be obliged to present evidence for his existence -- and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. Only the atheist appreciates just how uncanny our situation is: most of us believe in a God that is every bit as specious as the gods of Mount Olympus; no person, whatever his or her qualifications, can seek public office in the United States without pretending to be certain that such a God exists; and much of what passes for public policy in our country conforms to religious taboos and superstitions appropriate to a medieval theocracy. Our circumstance is abject, indefensible, and terrifying. It would be hilarious if the stakes were not so high.

October 06, 2005

IDiots vs. Evolution trial via The Onion

Leave it The Onion to illustrate this absurdity.

http://www.theonion.com/content/node/41260

A debate has arisen over a Pennsylvania school board's decision to teach both intelligent design and evolution in the classroom. Here are some highlights from the trial.
  • Defense asks that scientific facts be stricken from the record
  • Beautiful painting of God creating universe with anvil and hammer admitted as evidence
    Defense appeals to jury's reason, fairness, and fear of eternal damnation
  • Final deliberations interrupted twice by mailmen, first bearing kids' letters to Jesus, then bearing kids' letters to Darwin
  • Monkey called as witness fails to identify anyone in courtroom as his descendant
  • Darwin found guilty on all charges
  • It is proven that this country is going to hell, but not for the reasons the intelligent design supporters think

October 05, 2005

File this under: DUH

Catholic Church no longer swears by truth of the Bible (Atheists all together now: Well, DUH)

The Catholic Church has decided for all of us what in the Babble is true and what is not.

Not true:
1. Genesis ii, 21-22 - So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept he took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh; and the rib which the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man


2. Genesis iii, 16 - God said to the woman [after she was beguiled by the serpent]: "I will greatly multiply your pain in childbearing; in pain you shall bring forth children, yet your desire shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you."

3. Matthew xxvii, 25 - The words of the crowd: "His blood be on us and on our children."

4. Revelation xix,20 - And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had worked the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshipped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with brimstone."

True:
1. Exodus iii, 14 - God reveals himself to Moses as: "I am who I am."
2. Leviticus xxvi,12 - "I will be your God, and you shall be my people."
3. Exodus xx,1-17 - The Ten Commandments
4. Matthew v,7 - The Sermon on the Mount
5. Mark viii,29 - Peter declares Jesus to be the Christ
6. Luke i - The Virgin Birth
7. John xx,28 - Proof of bodily resurrection


Notice that they list more "true" examples than "untrue". What is also interesting is that these supposed scholars of the Babble can only find 4 inaccuracies when the average Atheist knows at least 100.

October 04, 2005

October's PSYCHO Spotlight

From the 700 Club to Veggie Tales, I find most religious based material to be hilarious. Some atheists find these things offensive, but I simply can't take any of this seriously enough to be offended. While I'm not saying that any of these things aren't harmful, and outright deceitful - they are still hilarious.

Case in point:

Most internet-active atheists have heard of
Chick Publications. An especially racist, sexist, psychotic Xtian publication, Chick is indicative of everything non-Xtians find distasteful (to say the least) about Xtian fundies. It may be horrifying that these are ADULTS (who presumably drive, vote and worst of all - breed) publishing this trash, but I still find the constant contradiction, dizzying ignorance and absolutely cluelessness of it highly entertaining.

If you ever need a reminder of why not being brainwashed is such a happy condition, check out Chick Publications. Especially the free movies - those are my favorite.


Congrats Chick Publications. You are the Psycho Spotlight for October.