Posts Tagged 'Creationism'

Genesis in 3D

This is something I actually think could be pretty cool. According to this blog, Paramount is planning to tell the Genesis story in 3D. I think a depiction of the creation of the Earth and the story of Adam and Eve could make for a visually stimulating movie experience.

I also think that putting the Genesis story on the big screen would make it blatant that it’s a fairy tale, but I don’t even care if it does that. I would love to see what today’s movie technology could do to bring the Garden of Eden to life.

The relationship between God, Adam, Eve and the Serpent could make for an interesting script, too. It sounds like they’re making this movie to appeal to religious audiences, but if they don’t restrict themselves to sticking to scripture they could take the story of Genesis in a lot of interesting directions.

PZ Myers Braved Winnipeg…in January!

Yeah okay, he is from Minnesota, but still!

On Saturday night I was pleased to be able to see one of my favourite bloggers, PZ Myers of Pharyngula, speak on “the war between science and religion”, thanks to the Humanist Association of Manitoba.

Although I wasn’t sure how the topic related to Canada, American issues tend to spill over the border so it was relevant nonetheless. (The talk was recorded, but I’m not sure where or when that will be posted. I’ll post a link as soon as I find out.)

The main point that PZ was trying to get across was that atheists need to be “out”, and unafraid to talk about atheism, unafraid to criticize religion, and unafraid to criticize ideas that contradict science. I agree with him. I think that atheists are afraid to talk about their lack of beliefs for fear of offending somebody, this is certainly something I’m guilty of. I have the Out Campaign “A” on my blog, but I still have close friends and family members from whom I hide my atheism.

The conversation on beliefs really needs to be opened up. Even among atheists, there seems to be a tendency to think that we should just stay quiet and avoid causing a ruckus. But maybe it’s this tendency that makes it okay for religious people to deride atheists, and maybe it’s the fact that atheists are such a closeted group that makes them America’s least-trusted minority.

After PZ’s talk was over, I had a conversation with my mom about whether his cracker controversy was really necessary. If you don’t know the story, you can read his blog post about it here. The short version is that he desecrated a communion wafer…but really, read his version. I know that a lot of people think this whole thing was a silly exercise that accomplished nothing more than pissing off loads of Catholics. That was my first reaction. Think about it though, all he did was trash a cracker (as well as some pages from the Qur’an and the God Delusion). What he really did was demonstrate how ludicrous religious thinking can get. Some of the emails he received from angry Catholics illustrated how some people put the importance of the cracker above the importance of other human beings.

He has posted some of these emails on his blog, but one in particular that he showed at the talk really shocked me. It basically said that desecrating the wafer was worse then the holocaust or 9/11. Seriously. This is the kind of thinking that needs to be challenged publicly. PZ did something utterly harmless: he threw a few things that he didn’t hold sacred into the trash, and by doing this he was showing that not everyone was bound by superstitious beliefs. That’s something I can support.

What was your reaction to “The Great Desecration”?

Moving along…

My favourite part of lectures is pretty much always the question period, and there were a couple of questions in particular that stood out.

First, there was a local blogger (if you end up here let me know because I’d like to read your blog!) who mentioned that Canada doesn’t have any official separation of Church and state. I actually didn’t know this…I had made some lazy attempts to find out whether we had something similar to the US’s establishment clause, but came up empty. His question was did PZ think that we would benefit from making the separation of Church and state official. PZ’s answer, briefly, was no, and I agree. It might come in handy on occasion, but Canada has done great without it, compared to the US with its White House Faith-based initiatives, its national prayer breakfast, and its presidents (both the current and the previous) that can’t seem to make it through a speech without mentioning god or Jesus.

What do you think? Should Canada have an official separation of Church and state?

Second, a brave creationist showed up! His question: What do you have to say about molecules to morals? It was a weird question, but pretty much just a different wording of “can you be good without god?” PZ handled this well, and you can read the discussion on this in the comments on his blog, but how would you answer?

I’m always puzzled by this idea that we need someone (a god) to tell us what to do in order to be good. It just makes sense: if I don’t want to be harmed, I won’t do harm to other people.

Time to wrap this up…I’ll conclude by saying that I think atheists in general are moral and thoughtful people, and we should be loud and proud of our ability to think for ourselves. Cheers!

Richard Dawkins on the Colbert Report

If you’re in Canada, You can watch here, in the US PZ Myers links to it here.

I love it because Colbert captures the creationist mindset perfectly throughout the interview, but especially with his intro statement:

My guest tonight has written a new book supporting evolution. I’ll prove it’s a farce by having the same opinion at the beginning of this interview as I do at the end.

Beautiful!

The interview itself was alright, I get annoyed at Colbert’s style because he doesn’t let the guest speak, but that’s a part his character on the show, so I guess I can’t complain.

Steven Colbert Richard Dawkins

Dawkins was on to promote his new book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. It should be good, I love his writing style, but unfortunately I won’t be able to read it for awhile…I’m currently in the middle of three books and have a long list of to-reads before this one.

Ray Comfort Compares Himself to Oskar Schindler

Bananaman Ray Comfort has cooked up his most recent scheme as an attempt to brainwash students into thinking that creationism is a legitimate alternative to evolution before they start their education. He is concerned that too many students lose their faith in the course of their university education…is that supposed to be a bad thing?

So Comfort has defecated on inserted his own introduction into Darwin’s On The Origin of Species containing all of his made up crap arguments about why evolution is wrong, and he’s giving away free copies on university campuses on November 24th.

Origin of Species Ray Comfort

He obviously thinks that this is some noble cause and that he’s going to be saving lives (or, I suppose, souls) by doing this as evidenced by his words in the September 22nd Way of the Master newsletter:

Recently, I watched a (clean) version of the movie, “Schindler’s List.” Schindler used his wealth to purchase 1500 Jews from Nazi death camps. At the end of the movie, he broke down in tears because he wasted much of his wealth on vanities, and said, “I could have saved more!”

I can’t help but think of this when it comes to what we are doing.

He then goes on to brag about how he’s giving $10,000 of his own money to the project and to ask people to donate their time and money to this deceitful venture.

Get over yourself Ray Comfort. Oskar Schindler was actually saving lives. What he did was dangerous and helped people, and it’s an insult to Schindler to pretend that Comfort’s mission is in any way comparable to someone who risked their life to help others. All the bananaman is doing is lying to students about science and hoping that some of them are gullible enough to believe him.

PS: I’m disturbed by the idea of a “clean” version of Schindler’s List. In my opinion if you’re going to watch a movie about the Holocaust it should disgust you, anger you, and freak you out.

I wonder if Comfort reads a “clean” version of the Bible…

Atheist (and Science) Expelled from Creation Museum

Ben Stein brought the word “expelled” into the Intelligent Design vs. real science debate in 2008 with his horrendous movie in which he sanctimoniously blamed evolution for the holocaust. The premise behind Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed was that ID proponents were being expelled from academics for their beliefs.

The truth was that Stein and the filmmakers had to resort to deception and lies in order to make their case, and their dishonesty was exposed by the NCSE soon after the film came out. The ID movement is a reaction to science explaining more and more of what was previously attributed to god. They want to discredit science and to replace it with religion in the classroom, and Expelled is just one example of how they attempt to do so.

Because Intelligent Design is no more than religion dressed up as science, censorship is a key ingredient so that they can brainwash more people and keep criticism out. And this was demonstrated beautifully when an atheist was expelled from the Creation Museum yesterday.

Ken Ham’s Creation Museum is a shining example of religion dressed up as science. The $27 million monstronsity built in 2007 is 49 acres of Biblical literalism. Exhibits use quotes from the Bible and science-y sounding “facts” to convince visitors that the world is 6,000 years old.

Biologist and outspoken, godless science-blogger PZ Myers was in the area, and decided to make a trek to the museum along with about 300 other atheists in order to see for themselves what kind of information the Creation Museum were promoting.

Continue reading ‘Atheist (and Science) Expelled from Creation Museum’

CreoZerg! PZ Myers and 285 Atheists Visit Creation Museum

Today PZ Myers and a whole lot of godless folks made a trek to Ken Ham’s Creation “Museum” in Kentucky and provided my entertainment for the day.

By following te #CreoZerg tag on Twitter those of us who weren’t lucky enough to be there in person got live updates…and the results were both hilarious and disturbing.

Dank Finke over at Camels With Hammers did a nice job of summarizing the best tweets and twitpics throughout the day, so I’ll just point you there.

The best part of today by far, though, was when PZ himself got atop the famous saddle-wearing triceratops (wearing his crockoduck tie and with squid in hand). I’ve made my own version of a “motivational poster” with the picture, in honour of the day:

Atheist Motivational Poster Creozerg PZ Myers


ETA: I’ve also posted some more in-depth thoughts here, and here‘s PZ Myers’s blog post about the day

Creation or Evolution…the Logical Fallacies

Some interesting advertisements have been showing up on scienceblogs lately:

 Pharyngula Creation Evolution

Is evolution true? The mounds of evidence show that yes, it is. But The Good News Magazine (“A Magazine of Understanding”…claiming understanding and actual understanding are not the same thing) is taking advantage of the economic downturn:

 “There are a couple of things to know about this. One is that the economy sucks, and the media, in particular are struggling. Science media especially are suffering, so everyone is scrambling to scrape up whatever revenues they can. The other thing to notice is that in a down economy, faith-based lies and wishful thinking are cheap to produce and continue to sell, so that’s what’s happening.” – PZ Myers, Pharyngula

Rather than pouting about it, PZ Myers has called for bloggers everywhere to order their free creationist literature (they’ll ship to any country), and critically dissect them on their blogs. This way, when someone googles the organization, they’ll get a long list of reasons not to buy into the bullshit they’re peddling.

So like the good little minion that I am, I’ve put in an order for their “Creation or Evolution” booklet. While I’m waiting to get it in the mail, I’ve downloaded the free copy of that they have on their website and written up my own dissection (below the fold). I’m not an evolutionary biologist so I’ll leave it to people more educated than myself to deal with the nitty-gritty of the booklet. Rather, I’ll be picking out the logical fallacies to point out how intellectually dishonest these people have to be to get people to think they actually have a valid position.

Continue reading ‘Creation or Evolution…the Logical Fallacies’

Conversation with Thunderf00t Absent from Ray Comfort’s Newsletter

I found it strange that Ray Comfort neglected to even mention the conversation he had with Thunderf00t in his weekly newsletter. It’s as if it never happened! Comfort mentioned during the recording that he had cameras filming it as well, but there’s nothing new on his YouTube channel. I also couldn’t find any mention of it on his website.

I suspect that they’re going to edit it and play around with some ominous music and release a video making it look like Thunderf00t thinks rape is good or something…we’ll see.

I did have a laugh reading their newsletter when I read this quote by Charles Spurgeon that they had posted:

“I am sure our Lord Jesus Christ does not want His ministers to deliver magnificent orations, spread-eagle sermons, with long and elaborate sentences in them. He wants them to just come and talk as He talked, in all simplicity, so that the very poorest and most illiterate of their hearers may understand their meaning, embrace the Truths of God they proclaim and find everlasting life in Him of whom they speak.”

I see so they’re targetting the illiterate, that explains why they always sound like they’re speaking to children. How insulting! Kirk Cameron says:

We must remember that it is not the wise, the mighty, and the noble that God has called, but rather the foolish, weak, and the base, so “that no flesh should glory in His presence.”

There’s one way to weasel out of speaking to someone who will actually critically analyze what you’re saying. But what does this say about how they think of the people they do approach?

Cameron also typed out this gem: “The Pharisees loved the sound of their own voices”…pot, meet kettle.

Kirk Cameron, everyone.

Thunderf00t Converses with Ray Comfort

Pearlist (Physical evidence and reasoned logic supporter) youtuber Thunderf00t, and Creationist Ray Comfort recently sat down for a conversation. It’s really long, but touches on some interesting subjects so if you want to watch you can take a look here.

I always have mixed feelings about these discussions between, because it’s hard to see whether they accomplish anything. Neither is going to change the other’s mind, and Thunderf00t, by sitting down with Comfort, is in a way giving him credibility.

I thought it was an interesting discussion, and I found it easier to watch than most between creationists and non-creationists, mostly because it didn’t turn into a shouting match.

Here are some observations I made during the conversation:

  • Comfort starts off by poisoning the well, saying he thought Thunderf00t goes by that name because he “likes stomping on Christians.”
  • Thunderf00t drives in the fact that he doesn’t know everything, he doesn’t know why we’re here, but Comfort asserts that he does know. Comfort doesn’t seem to understand the difference between knowing something and believing something. Comfort even goes as far as to say that statistics show that more people believe in an afterlife. That may be true but the popularity of an idea doesn’t make it true.
  • Comfort reuses his tired old anecdote that if you see some writing somewhere you know it was put there by a person, therefore looking at the universe, you have to think that it was put there by something intelligent. I like Thunderf00t’s answer to this, and that is that we can deduce that a person created the writing because we have observed people doing this before, so it logically follows. So far we have no evidence that would suggest that an intelligent being created the universe, so it isn’t reasonable to assume so.
  • Comfort is always using special pleading.  He asserts that he knows the answers because god has shown him the answers, for example at 4:30 “He’s made everything clear to me.” Comfort’s use of logical fallacies such as this one throughout the conversation make it extremely difficult to have a reason-based discussion.
  • At the transition between parts 3 and 4, Comfort quotes Penn Jillette, and completely misunderstands the quote. It’s kind of hilarious and really pathetic.
  • In part 4 my desire for Thunderf00t to really go after Comfort is somewhat satisfied when he criticizes Comfort’s street preaching techniques. Watch this video for an example. It’s really dispicable how he makes people feel guilty, and then puts them in a position where they want to prove themselves to him. Comfort’s style of preaching is just plain mean, and he clearly makes people uncomfortable.
  • In part 6 Comfort really falls into his preachy rhetoric. He’s pretty pathetic to watch throughout the conversation, as he is always trying to change the subject while Thunderf00t is making a point, and when all else fails he starts quoting the Bible and talking about sin and the ten commandments. So sad.

I think Thunderf00t did well at driving in the point that what Ray Comfort is doing is retarding the advancement of human knowledge. He is claiming that the Bible has all of the answers, and thus discouraging people from free inquiry. Comfort is unable to see the world outside of the framework of the Bible, and I suppose doesn’t want anyone else to be able to either.

I think the kicker is in Part 7 at about 7:33, Comfort says “All you need is an overactive imagination to believe in evolution.” Replace the word ‘evolution’ with ‘god’ and it sums up Ray Comfort’s beliefs. In fact, believing in evolution does not require a lot of imagination because of the wealth of evidence to validate the theory.

Comfort seems to think that everyone needs some kind of god to have faith in. Throughout the recording he says that Thunderf00t’s god is evolution or science or time. But when one uses physical evidence and reasoned logic to form ones body of knowledge, faith is not necessary.

Ray Comfort Unconvinced that Evolution is True…Surprise!

I subscribe to the Way of the Master newsletter because it gives me some good laughs. Today I got a great laugh but I was also saddened because people are probably patting Ray Comfort on the back for spewing this crap.

Comfort is a well-known creationist, and along with his sidekick Kirk Cameron, he uses things like the banana and the coke can to “prove” there is a god and that evolution is a LIE AND YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!!!

Moving along…Comfort decided to go and visit the Smithsonian to lookRay Comfort Smithsonian at their display on evolution. So far so good, it’s great that he’s taking the time to consider the evidence for evolution. The mounds and mounds of good evidence. But I guess considering the evidence wasn’t on his agenda because this his summary of the visit:

I spent a few days in Washington D.C. and took the time to visit the Smithsonian Museum, particularly to see their exhibit on evolution. After some searching we found it …the crowning glory of the Smithsonian Institute’s evolution display–a family of hairy dummies looking like a cheap window display at a Halloween store. It was underwhelming. I had a similar experience in Paris’s “Museum National D’Histoire Naturelle Grand Galerie De L’Evolution.” The French also had exhibits of thousands of God’s creatures, and tried to justify the name of the museum by displaying one copy of Origin of Species and a stuffed monkey with a “Lucy” sign on it.

God bless,
Ray

Seriously? The Smithsonian’s display didn’t look real enough, therefore God.

I can’t wait to read about PZ Myers’s visit to the Creation Museum.


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