Archive for the 'Science' Category

Sometimes We Don’t Need To Try So Hard

June 3, 2010

I was doing what they call ^people watching^ the other day when I saw something that for some reason made me think about the arguments atheists tend to make when trying to convince people that religion is bullshit. In particular this has to do with creationism.

These kids had just gotten out of the local high school and were in the convenience store when I heard them talking about biology and evolution of all things. Though there was probably five or six kids only two or three were talking. It seemed like they were talking about somebody in their class who objected to evolution. I say this because in reference to a lady in the store with a really pronounced jaw, one of them said something to the effect of,

“I mean how could you be so stupid! Look at that lady right there and tell me you don’t see monkeys!”

Yeah it was your typical teenage wisecrack at someone else’s expense which really isn’t cool, and yeah I’ve thought the same damn thing looking at some mongoloid jaws on the bus, but that’s not the point. The point was that science teachers seemed to be working just fine. The person objecting was obviously  in the minority. The straight-forwardness of evolution was readily accepted by these other kids. As atheists, it’s easy to get used to thinking that we’re on the brink of the next dark age, especially when we over-saturate ourselves with atheist reading and atheist blogging and atheist this and atheist that.

So speak the truth and if it makes sense then you won’t need to try so hard.

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They Did WHAT?

October 22, 2009

So I just heard that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron will be publishing some version of Darwin’s Origin of Species by Natural Selection with some sort of creationist disclaimer? Is this true? Tell me that’s not true, and that I don’t actually live in a country where even science has to bow down to religion? Oh wait – it’s me, Randall, and I’m right here in America. 

This is sad. Now, I’m definitely not one of those atheists who thinks that evolution can neatly explain everything. I don’t buy the idea that everything just suddenly came into existence from nothing for no reason, and I do think that sometimes people like Comfort make a point that is valid or worthy of hearing. They also say some pretty stupid things, like that last bit about the crocoduck or whatever it was. Somewhere we’ve got to draw the line.

I guess much of it really also depends on what the disclaimer is actually going to say. Will it deny or reject currently held facts? Or is it going to be something more like a disclaimer meant only to remind people they can look to “intelligent design” or some such stuff? Either way, I gotta get a copy. If I do I can do a follow-up post; that would be kinda cool.

Some Disturbing News

September 4, 2009
creationism_in_hs

American Idiocy Rates

I came across this image while doing a Google image search for “creationists.” It caught my attention before it depressed me thoroughly. I think one of my biggest gripes against religion is that it so often turns a blind eye to anything not in the official cover story. I remember having WAY TOO MANY discussions with my dad about the whole “biology and the Bible” thing. My dad is not an idiot; he’s an engineer, yet a YEC, and that’s one thing that made it so hard: I know he’s not an idiot. To be honest, sometimes I think he looks at himself as some sort of maverick.

The point is, what’s the point of education if nobody wants to listen?

(the image originally appeared on Pharyngula)

Best Video Ever

August 23, 2009

I came across this video while scanning YouTube. Insane. Below the fold.

Read the rest of this entry »

Science Center in Golden Gate Park

July 15, 2009

This is just a quick advice: if you come here, fuck pier 39. It’s a tourist trap that’ll suck you dry, and there are far better places to git yer clam chowder, people!!

The new science center costs $25 bucks, but go on a Monday, preferably not over summer when we went, because there’s two billion kids. It’s well worth the money. The planetarium show is awesome and breathtaking, the aquariums alone took 3 hours to traverse, the live penguin feeding simply has to be experienced, and the 3-D bug show makes IMAX look like Beta.

Really, though, go to newly remodeled science center in Golden Gate Park and bring yer creationist friends!

Why The Cosmological Argument Doesn't Work

April 20, 2009

At my church back home they used to be really into whoever the current apologetic champion of the moment was. I remember at one point this included such fabulous thinkers as Rush Limbaugh and Ted Haggard, but let’s not shoot fish in a barrel.

William Lane Craig has been on or near the top of that pile for a long time now. As Common Sense Atheism points out (they have a huge archive of WLC debates and articles, BTW, the host is quite thorough), he’s been doing this since high school and is really a masterbater- er, uh… master debater.

Anyways, all the various versions of the cosmological argument seem fatally flawed to me. Either way, we must start with something we can’t really justify other than to posit, and that’s something that existed for eternity. Since nobody I know wants to argue that something can come from nothing, it seems there’s no way around this. Either God always existed, or non-conscious matter/energy always existed.

WLC would have us believe we should believe it was God, but if we’re going to grant WLC the premise that God can exist forever, doesn’t he also have to grant us the premise that matter/energy can exist forever? After all, it’s a fundamental law of thermodynamics that matter cannot be created or destroyed, so we even have a rational foundation for the claim that matter/energy always existed. Of course, it’s also true that modern understandings of physics literally disintegrate by Planck Time, so it’s probably not nearly as easy as I posit, but I think the bottom line is that cosmological arguments just don’t work.

If God can exist forever, so can matter/energy.

Ummm….

March 13, 2009

I was noticing my “stupidity” category only had one posting in it, when I stumbled across the perfect tidbit to change that fact: did you know they actually have a theme park for creationism?

Yup. It’s in Florida, and here’s what the website says:

The state-of-the-art 70,000 square foot museum brings the pages of the Bible to life, casting its characters and animals in dynamic form and placing them in familiar settings. Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden. Children play and dinosaurs roam near Eden’s Rivers. The serpent coils cunningly in the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Majestic murals, great masterpieces brimming with pulsating colors and details, provide a backdrop for many of the settings.
http://www.creationmuseum.org

Well, that about says it all. Who cares about science, right? I don’t get it. As if these ideas aren’t freely available in churches and Christian bookstores around the country, now they have to have their own theme park to inoculate young children in glorious 3-D?

Does this place have to pay taxes? Don’t even get me started if they don’t. Why should a theme park be exempt from taxation just because it’s based on the Bible? That’s about, oh, I dunno… fucking absurd?

Science – It Works, Bitches!

October 9, 2008

You might notice that’s what my avatar says, I think it’s hilarious. How badly I wanted to blurt that out time and time again in our “apologetics” courses that came and went at church. To be honest, I study and read probably more philosophy than science, but even back then I knew enough science  to know that what “Pastor Lucas” was telling me had problems. He would always try to exploit whatever difficulty scientists were encountering at those times, as evidence for God. You know. God of the Gaps, as I found out it’s called. It was always something like, “Well, evolution can’t be true because, because, because..” where “because, because, because” amounted to some of the most outdated arguments I’ve heard. How is it possible to argue against natural selection? Might as well deny cogito, ergo sum

Anyways, I just got back from the bar, and the point of our little rant this month is that science works. It might not be perfect, it’s not always right, but it works, and better yet, it can correct itself.