Archive for August, 2009

Did Jesus’s Life Fulfill Over 300 Prophesies?

I’ve recently had a gentleman (altonwoods) commenting on my blog who is trying to get me to see the truth, which, to him, is Christianity. To try to convince me that Christianity is true, he put forth this argument:

Did you know that Jesus’ life fulfilled over 300 individual prophesy’s[sic]? and that the odds on that are mathematically impossible?

(conservatively estimated to be 10 to the 156th power)

It was something I hadn’t heard before, and even though it sounded to me like someone was high when they came up with those numbers, I asked for more information. He told me that he got the information from a Peter Stoner *snicker* who wrote the book Science Speaks.

In the comments on my post about the atheist being expelled from the Creation Museum, altonwoods posted this list of 8 prophesies that have been fulfilled by Jesus (numbers added by me):

1. Micah 5:2 That He would be born in Bethlehem 1:100,000

2. Zechariah 9:9 That He would ride into Jerusalem on a donkey (the foal of a colt) presenting Himself as a king. 1:100

3. Zechariah 11:12 That He would be betrayed for 30 pieces of silver 1:1000

4. Zechariah 11:13 That the 30 pieces of silver would end up in the hands of the potter. 1:100,000 (who owned the field that was bought with the blood money Judas Escariot threw on the floor)

5. Zechariah 13:6 That He would be wounded in His hands in the house of His friends 1:1000 (Which refers to His experience with Thomas and his doubts about Jesus’ resurrection)

6. Isaiah 53:7 That He would be led to the slaughter like a lamb and would make no defense for Himself even though He was innocent 1:1000 (this is definitely a conservative estimate, you’re facing crucifixion here!)

7. Isaiah 53:9 That He would die with the wicked, and be buried with the rich. 1:1000 (excluding attorneys of course) We know He died a criminal’s death and that He was buried in a tomb provided by Joseph of Aramathia…Was Joseph just that interested in seeing an 800 yr old prophesy fulfilled that he donated a brand new tomb?

8. Psalm 22:16 16 For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; Whats most interesting is that this prophesy concerning the crucifixion is given 700 years before the practice of crucifixion was even invented. (Jewish capital punishment was stoning).

I’m not a Bible scholar, so my knowledge of the history of the area and the characters in the stories are limited to what I learned in Bible study, and that was a few years ago. With that said, I still want to talk about these prophesies.

The thing is, that the people writing the New Testament had access to, and were probably well versed in the stories of the Old Testament. So wouldn’t somebody who believes that Jesus is the son of God be motivated to work the details of the prophesies into the Gospels? Furthermore, Jesus was a Jew, so of course he knew the prophesies…

If you look at #2 above, which says that “He”, aka Jesus, would ride in on a donkey. That’s a pretty specific statement, so it does seem to be an amazing coincidence that Jesus did return to Jerusalem on a donkey. But if you read Matthew 21:4, it says “All this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet…” It says it right there in the Bible that Jesus was actively taking steps to make sure that he fit the prophesies. Go ahead, look it up yourself.

The numbers given by Stoner in this book are questionable to me too…they seem to have been pulled out of his ass…seriously they’re all products of 10?

Number 8 is the only prophesy of the ones altonwoods gave me that appears to actually be predicting something that was beyond the scope of the knowledge at the time that it was written. That’s assuming that it’s true that crucifixion wasn’t invented until 700 years later, which I’m too lazy to look into. But reading Psalm 22, I don’t see anything about crucifixion.

The King James version does say that the person’s hands and feet are pierced, but it doesn’t say that that’s because they’ve been nailed to a cross. To me, it’s simply talking about being attacked by dogs…if you’re fighting off dogs you’d be using your hands and feet, and dogs can pierce skin with their teeth. No mysteries there.

altonwoods said about Stoner’s work: “If science is whats credible to you, check this out!” Using the Bible as evidence for the Bible’s truthfulness is not scientific. If you want to convince me that Christianity is true then you’ll have to do so by other means that quoting the Bible, because it’s nothing more than a collection of stories.

Bigfoot’s Footprint? Or Pereidolia?

I noticed a cute little fluff piece in my local paper the other day: a man in BC had discovered a rock with an indentation that looks like a footprint:


That’s pretty cool, but I think it might just be a coincidence, a case of pereidolia. There are hills where there should be valleys. The people who found it did the right thing and sent pictures to anthropologists and paleontologists to verify whether or not it is a real fossil.

I didn’t think anything of the story until today when I saw this article in the Calgary Herald, which speculates that it may be Bigfoot’s footprint. What the hell, Calgary Herald?!

1. It hasn’t even been confirmed that this is a real footprint.

2. The guy who found it said his foot fit perfectly in the indentation…if it is a real footprint it’s probably human.

3. Bigfoot? Seriously? Maybe if Bigfoot were found to be real and residing in BC it would be reasonable, but there’s no reason why this reporter should be speculating that this is Bigfoot’s footprint.

A pathetic bit of reporting on what is otherwise a fun story.

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’

“Orb” Over PZ’s Shoulder in Creation Museum

Jesus? Is that you?

CreoZerg Orb

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

We Can’t Rely on Our Memories

I had an experience at work today that nicely illustrates the faultiness of our memories.

Last week I was supposed to mail these letters, and I was 100% sure that I mailed them, there was no doubt in my mind. The people waiting for them had called a few times already and I told them yes I sent them. It was Wednesday afternoon, I was on my way out and I quickly packed them in the inter-office envelopes and popped them in the mail. I remember it so clearly as if I were doing it right now.

Finally today, after my boss asked me about them and I once again asserted that I did send them, I actually checked to make sure they weren’t still sitting on my desk. And lo and behold there they were. I could have checked easily the first time somebody asked if I had sent them, but my memory of sending them was so clear that I didn’t have an ounce of doubt.

I’m pretty sure that what actually happened was that it was the end of the day, I didn’t have time to address the letters, so I put them down on my desk to remind myself to send them the next morning. Somehow that mental note to remember to send them turned into a clear memory of popping them into the mail.

This is why eyewitness accounts of UFOs, hauntings, or anything for that matter are not to be taken as evidence. Our memories can be altered over time to the point where they no longer resemble what actually took place, even with something as mundane as mailing a letter.

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’

A Day Full of Memories

Today I’ll be posting about something a little more personal…

It’s an anniversary of a couple of events, so today holds a lot of memories for me.

First, it’s my 2nd wedding anniversary. I have the most wonderful husband, and it has been an amazing two years. I really have to give him props for being so supportive of me because I’ve changed a lot over the past couple of years. When he married me I was a Christian. He was  not, but he allowed me to be who I was.

He never once tried to change me, and once I started to really question my beliefs he allowed me to dive right in. He satisfied my desire to have philosophical discussions over dinner, he didn’t complain when I spent hundreds of dollars on  books, he listens intently when I blab on and on about astronomy, and he let me hijack our summer vacation and turn it  into an educational trip to the Amazing Meeting in Vegas.

I’m really lucky to have him…happy anniversary sweetie, I love you!

Today also marks a year since my grandfather passed away. It really sucked to have him die on our first anniversary, but I know I’ll always think of him on this day. I remember one year after my then boyfriend now husband gave me an expensive gift my grampa told him that he had invested too much in me and now he would have to marry me…if that’s what made him propose then I’m grateful! haha…

My grampa was hard-working, family-oriented, and very brave. He was a navigator in the Royal Canadian Air Force in the 2nd World War, and in one of those amazing coincidences that fill life with wonder a Lancaster Bomber, the plane my grampa navigated while on duty, arrived here yesterday.

There are only two flight-worthy Lancasters left, and this one just  happened to fly in to spend one full day at the Aviation Museum on the anniversary of my grampa’s passing. My family had the chance to watch it fly in and to see it up close, and my mom and grandma got to step inside the plane and get a glimpse into that part of my grampa’s life.

Because I do not believe in an afterlife, I believe my grampa is gone, but the memories he leaves behind, the lessons he gave me, and the freedom he fought for won’t go away.

Perseid Meteor Shower Coming Up!

From the NASA website:

July 31, 2009: Earth is entering a stream of dusty debris from Comet Swift-Tuttle, the source of the annual Perseid meteor shower. Although the shower won’t peak until August 11th and 12th, the show is already getting underway.

“Earth passes through the densest part of the debris stream sometime on August 12th. Then, you could see dozens of meteors per hour.”

For sky watchers in North America, the watch begins after nightfall on August 11th and continues until sunrise on the 12th. Veteran observers suggest the following strategy: Unfold a blanket on a flat patch of ground. (Note: The middle of your street is not a good choice.) Lie down and look up. Perseids can appear in any part of the sky, their tails all pointing back to the shower’s radiant in the constellation Perseus. Get away from city lights if you can.

I know I’ll be heading out of the city  for this!

Perseid Meteor Shower

Here’s a little background on the Perseids, which have been observed for over 2000 years:

The Perseids are a prolific meteor shower associated with the comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseids are so called because the point they appear to come from, called the radiant, lies in the constellation Perseus. Meteor showers occur when Earth moves through a meteor stream. The stream in this case is called the Perseid cloud and it stretches along the orbit of the Comet Swift-Tuttle. The cloud consists of particles ejected by the comet as it passed by the Sun. Most of the dust in the cloud today is approximately a thousand years old. However, there is also a relatively young filament of dust in the stream that boiled off the comet in 1862. The rate of meteors originating from this filament is much higher than for the older part of the stream.

Yo…the Pope’s Album Drops November 30th

From the label that brought you Nirvana and Guns N’ Roses, Pope Benedict XVI, yes that Pope, will be releasing an album in November.

His album, Alma Mater, will be a mixture of singing and speaking…so sorta like Kanye?

I’m sure he’s hoping to chart:

In 1982, John Paul II reached number 71 in the charts with The Pilgrim Pope, and, in 1994, his recording of The Rosary peaked at number 50.

Pope Benedict

Proceeds from the album will be used to provide music education to underpriveledged children…somehow I think that education will include indoctrination, but hey, maybe I’m just being cynical.

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