Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Magic is Gone... Once the molecules are unraveled, god goes obsolete

What mystery is left in the world for the credulous to point to and say, “There be God!”? It would seem only the “miracle” of life remains. Science has laid waste to the divine watchmaker in virtually every other aspect of nature. During the days in which the books of Moses were penned, humanity needed gods to hold up the sky and keep the sun and moon going around. Centuries later comes this guy named Johannes Kepler who uses simple observation and deduction to begin working out the properties of the universe. The man didn’t realize it at the time (and might not approve if he had) but that was the moment when the gaps for gods began to shrink

And even life (whether YECs want to believe it or not) is not so mysterious as it was a mere two centuries ago. We now know a great deal about how life changes, how it explored and developed, and how it still seeks and always, always hopes for new beginnings. This new shrinking of the gaps was kicked off by (as if I needed to say) Charles Robert Darwin. Like Mr. Kepler or Isaac Newton our great benefactor didn’t have a perfect explanation burst full-blown from his mind. He observed and deduced a simple truth, that you don’t need a designer to mold life; life will mold itself once it gets going. So there we come to the crux. The origins of life are the last bastion of those who need to explain something by appealing to gods, but it seems that gap is closing up as well:

“Now researchers are poised to cross a dramatic barrier: the creation of life forms driven by completely artificial DNA. Scientists in Maryland have already built the world's first entirely handcrafted chromosome -- a large looping strand of DNA made from scratch in a laboratory, containing all the instructions a microbe needs to live and reproduce.
In the coming year, they hope to transplant it into a cell, where it is expected to "boot itself up," like software downloaded from the Internet, and cajole the waiting cell to do its bidding. And while the first synthetic chromosome is a plagiarized version of a natural one, others that code for life forms that have never existed before are already under construction.”

The entire article can be read here. Of course, it isn’t really a satisfying genesis story. We created a molecule that will hijack the machinery of a cell by copying a natural molecule from a living cell.

Ahh, but friends just wait! This is just the first step toward the goal any inquisitive mind must persue. I invite you to peruse the next step. Again, this isn’t real genesis, but it is one more tool that will eventually seal this gap forever. And then folks, belief in gods really will be optional.

One Smart Student

High school student Mathew LaClair of New Jersey had the education and common knowledge enough to tell that some of his text book was politically charged and just plain wrong. He brought it to the attention of The Center For Inquiry and they proceeded to critique the textbook and provide a press release to the Associated Press.

There have been many news articles on this story since then, but I’m not sure if very many readers have taken the time to actually read the CFI critique. It is quite lengthy, but covers errors and omissions in the text book to include topics such as global warming, prayer in schools, same sex marriage, and other astonishingly inaccurate and misleading viewpoints. All of which offer no citations or outside references to uphold the conservative bias of the text book.

CFI To The RESCUE – fortunately we have the non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote logic and reasoning over political slants or religious agendas. They used to be called CSICOP, ‘The Center for Scientific Inquiry of Claims Of the Paranormal’, and are the publisher of ‘The Skeptical Inquiry’ magazine which has monthly periodicals debunking myths and hoaxes on a continual basis. It is very fortunate that there are people willing to take intelligent action to battle the misconceptions that so deviously get into the mainstream. The publishers of the textbook have defended their 10th edition stating that it is not intended to be a science textbook, as quoted in this article.

My personal wish is that everyone be more like this young Mathew LaClair, and boldly question anything that seems, ‘just plain wrong.’

Goofy Stuff from the NKJV

Joshua 6:25 "And Joshua spared Rahab the harlot, her father's household, and all that she had. So she dwells in Isreal to this day, because she hid the messengers whom Joshua sent to spy out Jericho."
So this verse literally says that this woman is alive in the middle east even as you read this. She's like 4000 years old. Still creeping around, banging all comers to make a living, and no one has even bothered to look for her. Wouldn't this be every YECs wet dream to actually find Rahab bumbling around the Gaza Strip? Imagine being able to prop this prehistoric prostitute up in front of all those doubting atheist scientists and saying "Told ya so!"
Too bad though, cause they aren't even looking for her as far as I know.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Uncovering Ignorance

In a recent article on CNN it is stated that …Educated people have the notion that evangelicals are "barefoot people of Tobacco Road who, I don't know, sleep with their sisters or something.”

The article explains that not all evangelicals are fundamentalists, and that most ‘evangelical scientists’ believe in evolution guided by god. They are trying to shun the popular belief that christian evangelicals are uneducated, inbred, and socially retarded. They want to legitimize their place in the scientific mainstream, however, it is difficult for science to give credit to anyone who blindly believes in some magical genie in the sky that guides your day-to-day endeavors.

Scientific method starts without presupposition about any observation, and through repeatable experimentation, and much scrutiny from the scientific community, come to understand the nature of our surroundings. This is not true of one who places faith in spirits, afterlife, holy ghosts, resurrections, wild doomsday predictions, and untold myths explaining natural phenomena. Even the contradictory term ‘evangelical scientist’ painfully exposes the ignorance of a futile attempt to legitimize a flawed world view.

There are studies being done to determine the intelligence of evangelicals. How funny that the studies are being done by ‘Evangelical Sociologists’. Don’t be tempted for even one minute to think that religion and science can mix. Religion has long been used as a way to explain things away to anyone with an inquisitive mind, thereby quashing any chance at the progression of the species. This touches on the very heart of why religion is dangerous.

When then governor of Texas, George W. Bush proclaimed a new Texas holiday called Jesus Day, he ignorantly violated the establishment clause of The Constitution, and the people in Texas loved it. How can he even visit Jerusalem after crap like that? He even used his appeal to the evangelicals for political leverage to win the whitehouse, and we let him.

The evangelicals, fundamentals, young earthers, and the like had better be finding some hard evidence supporting their position, or I’m afraid they will never be published in any of the respected scientific journals. ‘An acceptance of science does not negate a belief in god’, but continued belief in god without any proof negates your credibility. Think About It.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ohh no! Now the Baptists are at it!

Yep, seems it's a slippery slope when church leaders give the go ahead on child rape. This man of the cloth, aged 52 years, stalked a 13 year old girl in much the same way as the stars of MSNBC's 'To Catch a Predator' series. I guess we've all come to expect this from Catholic priests, but Baptists? Hmm, maybe we should have seen it coming in retrospect, that bug up the ass they had over sexy dancing was probably an indicator.

Goofy Stuff from the NKJV

Genesis 28:12 "Then he dreamed, and behold, a ladder was set up on the earth, and its top reached to heaven; and there the angels of God were ascending and descending on it."

This is the bit about Jacob, after he pretends to be his brother Esau to deceive his father. He's having a dream and god is talking to him through the dream promising all good things.
I have two thoughts on this:
First, why didn't god have the foresight to install elevators, or escalators at least, for all those angels? I mean, think about it, there they are climbing this ladder day in and day out back and forth for all time? That doesn't seem very benevolent.
Second, obviously, in this scene heaven is like a penthouse floor for earth. You've got angels running back and forth between the two (like catering in a high rise hotel), and god is standing at the top talking down this stair to Jacob, right?
Do you think god gets pissed at us for all those times our communication satellites have crashed through one of the windows of the heavenly palace? I mean, think about it, maybe that's why we've been getting such colossal "acts of god" lately. Earthquakes, tsunamis, and hurricanes may very well be god's way of telling us to stop launching military spy-cams and global weather trackers into his breakfast nook.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Loads of Depth

If time is a dimension like length, width, and depth how is it that you can have loads of time or be out of time, but you can't have loads of length or be out of depth?

Friday, May 16, 2008

I Did Not Choose

One of the co-authors of this blog and I had a conversation one day about the definitions of the words, “atheist” and “agnostic”. Up until that conversation, I had always felt that claiming to be agnostic was the innocent way of saying, “I just don’t know whether there is a god or not.” And that being an atheist was a more militant way of stating you are opposed to god. However, after examining the definitions of the two words, I felt differently.
Agnostic means ‘the absence of knowledge’, so I was correct in stating that, “I just don’t know…”, and I still claim that. Atheist means ‘the absence of belief’, which by definition, we all are until we make a conscious decision to ‘believe’ in something. I learned that you can combine the words to come up with four possible scenarios. 1. An agnostic atheist would be one who doesn’t believe in god, and doesn’t have enough evidence to say there IS NO god. 2. A gnostic atheist is someone that doesn’t believe in god and knows there IS NO god. 3. An agnostic theist would be someone that believes in god, but is willing to admit that there is not enough evidence to say for sure. Finally, in my opinion, the worst and scariest of all: 4. The Gnostic theist believes in a god and knows it to be true.
I differ from the gnostic atheist because, although I am a non-believer, I don’t think that you can prove that a god does NOT exist. You can’t prove a negative. Read: Carl Sagan’s ‘Dragon in my Garage’. It is more my intention to find evidence that will support the existence of a supreme being. Sadly no compelling evidence has been brought forth. Remember, I am talking about empirical, repeatable, peer reviewed evidence, not some coincidence or testimonial. I want to believe, but I don’t want to place my faith in falsehoods. Until such evidence, we must start with the assumption that god does not exist.
I am really getting fed up with the accusations from Christians saying that, “Atheists hate god” or “They only love their lust.” Those statements are hateful and show their ignorance of the definitions of the words as well. They seem to think that I chose atheism over god, when in fact, I haven’t made any choice at all. I am still waiting on the evidence to come in.
Evidence – Yes, evidence. I cannot take that leap of faith and ‘decide’ to believe in a god, or anything for that matter, without any proof. What if some stranger told you that the only way to salvation is to eat snails on whole-wheat? That would be lunacy. The world is full of hundreds of major religions and untold numbers of off-the-wall sects and cults. Each one claims to be the correct religion, and the only way to seek eternal life. Even if I were concerned with living forever, I would have a very difficult time choosing.
I did not choose to be an atheist; it’s just what I am by definition.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

New Feature Yall! "Goofy Stuff from the NKJV"

Okay, so i'll try and keep up with this one. It's my new weekly post on stuff that's in the New King James Version of the bible that no one talks about because it's an iron age fairy-tale detail that doesn't translate well to modern culture.

Genesis 3:21 “Also for Adam and his wife the Lord God made tunics of skin, and clothed them.”

Presumably so that we’d have the opportunity to develop battery operated thermal underwear, Kevlar body armor and 5.56mm, air cooled, gas operated, hand carried, shoulder fired assault rifles capable of operating in either single-shot or three-round-burst modes for ourselves. Yeah… thx O lowrd. Any possibility of maybe getting like a suede back-pack to complete the ensemble?

Monday, May 5, 2008

Old Irritations Linger and Fester

I’m not unlike many of you who get various jokes, pictures, chain letters and what-not in emails on a daily basis. Today, someone on the long list of email buddies decided to send me this video. Turns out it’s an old email that has been going around for a while and just won’t die. Below is the email text, then the video is embedded below that for your enjoyment. After watching the painfully bad country song, please read my comments to the email buddy list.

This song was never released BUT PLEASE HEAR IT !!!!
> It's beautiful!

> > > Pump up the volume!!! Read this first and then 'play' the attachedsong
> & slide show.. The song you are about to listen to is from a Las Vegas
> Diamond Rio concert. They received an immediate resounding standing
> ovation, and continue to do so every time they perform it! Everyonewho
> loves America should be thrilled to hear this song! Although DiamondRio
> has never before done a statement song, they felt compelled to record
> 'In God We Still Trust.' But guess what? Sadly, major radio stations
> wouldn't play it because it was considered 'politically incorrect'.
> Consequently, the song was never released to the public. So America ,see
> what you think. If this offering speaks to your heart and you feel to
> share it with friends and loved ones, please do.


Over 200 years ago, our forefathers had the foresight and intelligence to exclude religion from the formation of a new government. They knew that to endorse any religious establishment would require choosing one religion, and not everyone would agree on the same one. The addition of the words ‘In God We Trust’ to our money happened almost 100 years after the country was founded and it wasn’t added to paper money until 1955. Source

The ‘Under God’ statement in our pledge of allegiance wasn’t added until 1954 after pressure from lobbyists warning that our pledge was too much like ‘those godless communists’. Source The following was written long before that:

"Thirteen governments [of the original states] thus founded on the natural authority of the people alone, without a pretence of miracle or mystery, and which are destined to spread over the northern part of that whole quarter of the globe, are a great point gained in favor of the rights of mankind....
The United States of America have exhibited, perhaps, the first example of governments erected on the simple principles of nature; and if men are now sufficiently enlightened to disabuse themselves of artifice, imposture, hypocrisy, and superstition, they will consider this even an era in their history.
Although the detail of the formation of the American governments is at present little known or regarded either in Europe or in America, it may hereafter become an object of curiosity. It will never be pretended that any persons employed in that service had interviews with the gods, or were in any degree under the influence of Heaven, more than those at work upon ships or houses, or laboring in merchandise or agriculture; it will forever be acknowledged that these governments were contrived merely by the use of reason and the senses..." 1788 John Adams – (emphasis added by me)

The lyrics of that song say ‘there are some who want to push Him out’. In reality there are some that wouldn’t mind going back to the original intent of the framers of the constitution. There ARE those who want to force their religious beliefs on others and that’s what I take issue with here. We don’t all want to be evangelical Baptists, it’s obvious by the number and diversity of churches in any given small town in America. Some of us don’t wish to be affiliated with any establishment of religion.

When the topic of separation of church and state comes up, I’m usually the unpopular one at the party. So I didn’t send this comment to everyone on the list, just you of the inner circle haha! But if you feel like forwarding this on, I don’t mind. I just don’t want to force my views on people I barely know.